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Sunday, March 27, 2011

Palate Adventurers - Inaugural Run - First Quarter, 2011 - Peli Peli

First of all I would like to say that that Peli Peli is a beautiful restaurant. The decor is truly aesthetically pleasing. Sadly, looks are not everything. I really expected much better service. There were eighteen of us present and we were spread over two tables. Each table had a different waiter. The main thing that was displeasing about it was that we did not get our orders taken or our food brought to us at the same time which caused half of the group to have to wait for the other half at the end of the meal.

As far as what I ordered; it was the Chilean Sea Bass with Scampi. I felt like adding the scampi was not worth the extra money charged ($10 for four shrimp). The sea bass however was very scrumptious and paired well with the lemon garlic butter sauce they provided. The seasoning on the sea bass I thought was good and the fish was hot and tender. Regretfully my Couscous was cold and that was very disappointing since it was one of the things I was looking forward to trying for the first time. The Carrot Bredie though I found to be quite good. It is like mashed potatoes with carrot, onion, and other seasonings within. The scampi to me were just sort of plain. I did taste the scampi taste I was expecting, but not to the extent of what I'm used to. When I’ve had it in the past it is served in a small dish swimming in the sauce. Luckily, I already had the sauce from my fish to help it out. One of the other people in our group got just the scampi and he had to order something on the side to flavor up the plain tasting shrimp. I believe he ended up getting some mango salsa which he said was good. The baby spinach was edible and I say that only because I don't usually eat much cooked spinach. I thought the texture was totally doable and the flavor was decent.

One of the attendees ordered the Surf and Turf which was supposed to come with prawns. Shortly after ordering her entrée the waitress came back to say they were out of prawns. Boo! I was disappointed because the waitress had asked her if she had ever eaten prawns before and said there was a special way they were to be consumed. I was looking forward to watching this process, and enjoying the look on my friend’s face.

I had ordered a margarita which wasn't the best I had ever had. As an appetizer we went with the flat bread and I fondly nick named it super pizza. It was a different taste but very good. I also was given a stuffed peppadew which I have to say was pretty awesome. While eating it I felt it took me on a journey or told me a story. There were four different distinct tastes enjoyed while gobbling it down! I as well snuck some of my husband's sweet potato fries off of his plate and they were really good. They were perfectly salty to counter the sweetness.

As far as the other people in the group it seemed like everyone who had ordered a steak, except for one person, said that they were undercooked. The table on the outside complained about the temperature. Two of the people had to go outside and thaw out at one point, and my friends that brought their son had to go out and redress him, because he was complaining of being cold. My friend’s husband who is a chef in the country on vacation from England said that it almost seemed as if it might have been the chef’s night off, and that if the way we were served would have happened at the last restaurant he worked at someone would have lost their job.  One of the other things I found sort of ironic is that they say their food is "flame pepper fusion", and not one thing was spicy or felt like it had any spice to it at all.  Very disappointing

If you do find yourself stuck with eating at Peli Peli here are my top couple things to order. According to my boss, who didn’t tell me this before I had been to the restaurant, the lamb chops are where it is at. Of course he probably did not term it like that, but one of our group had gotten them and raved about them. The second choice is the Chilean Sea Bass just by itself. I let a few others try the fish and everyone seemed to have the same opinion about it. So like I said if you absolutely have to go… lol!

After eating at a place like Fogo De Chao it shows you that when you pay that much for your food there should be not just good service, but excellence. Like I said before it is about good food and good service. As far as Peli Peli goes I would say that the food was just okay for the price, the service was horrible, and congratulations guys the decor is beautiful.  I'm pretty sure I will not be returning to Peli Peli anytime soon. :o/

 I did however have a great time with everyone, and can't wait to do it again!!!
Peli Peli's Website

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

New Place Report - The Melting Pot

On our second year wedding anniversary (we have been together 5 1/2 years) my husband and I decided to try out The Melting Pot. We cook fondue at home, and we wanted to check out the concept out and about.

Upon entering the restaurant you immediately notice that it is quite darker than most. With the romantic atmosphere set we headed to our table. (Side Note: I just want to get on my soap box for a minute. I do not like these two person tables restaurants have. I believe that a two person party should be seated at a four person table just due to the fact that by the time you get your food this little table you have been sat at does not accommodate all the food. I may be being a baby here, but seriously!) Obviously I did not feel that our "couple booth" was adequately spaced.

We chose to do the "Big Night Out" because it was our anniversary. It is a four course dinner starting with a cheese fondue, moving to a salad, then the entree portion of the meal, and ending with a dessert fondue. The big night out theme at this time was France. So for our first course we enjoyed the "Fondue a la France" which consisted of a mixture of four cheeses including Brie, Fontina, Raclette, and Gruyere. It was very scrumptious. We were given broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, apples, and three different types of breads to gobble up the cheese with. The breads kind of messed me up for a minute though, and I thought I didn't really enjoy the cheese. What the problem was one of the types of bread had herbs in it, and I just didn't really feel like it went well with the cheese. It pretty much left a very sour aftertaste in your mouth. Of course being the me that I am I had to mention it to the waiter what my issue was. Partly because he had walked by twice and seen a bitter beer face look on my face. He told me that it was rosemary bread, and it made sense to me because I have been known to not enjoy dishes containing rosemary in the past. After I avoided that bread I discerned that the cheese was very tasty.

Next came the salad. I ordered the salade nicoise, and my husband enjoyed their house salad with peppercorn ranch dressing. I had never had this type of salad before, but crazy as it must sound it was almost the highlight of my meal, besides the dessert of course! I really do recommend if you are ever at a restaurant and you have this as your option for your salad course ORDER IT!!! My husband as well said that it was the best ranch dressing he's ever had. So surprise surprise you could almost go here just for the salads!

The main course arrived with a plethora of meats, sauces, batters, and condiments. Regretfully there is no way I can tell you about all the various sauces there were just too many, and half way through the entree I even forgot what most of them were. They might want to think about a little sauce helper card or something. It may be a little confusing when they set so much stuff down in front of you at one time. Thanks to the website I can at least tell you about three of them which are teriyaki, ginger plum(personal favorite), and a mild, yogurt based curry sauce. One of the things I do remember is there were Mushroom caps and the waiter advised me to fill one of them with the Green Goddess sauce and then batter it in one of the two types of batter(guessing here people, but I think one was a tempura batter which is lighter and a sesame batter which is heavier). I believe he told me the thicker batter. This was good when I ate the concoction, but I kind of felt a pang of disappointment when I went on the website and there it was the suggestion I thought was between my waiter and I. The meats that we had on the big night out were the following: lobster tail, filet mignon, pepper-corn encrusted NY strip, chicken provencal, garlic shrimp, duck a l'orange, ratatouille and goat cheese filled ravioli. The cooking style we chose was called Bourguignonne which is a European-style fondue done in fat free canola oil. I wish we would have done one of the other kinds because that is how we do it at home all the time. Oh well though. Everything was very good. It seemed they had trouble keeping the temperature correct on the oil. Sometimes it was too hot, and other times it was too cold. It was almost like a we had tickets to a fight between the manager and the waiter, but I'll go into more about that in a minute right now we are talking about food! They gave us the lengths of time that everything took to cook, but it was hard to judge really how long it had been. It would be cool if they had a cute timing system you could use like maybe those flip over sand times with the different levels being marked for the different foods. I was kind of thinking to myself that it might be the difference between the oil and the bouillon type of cooking methods, but like I said above it could also have been the temperature problems. If I would have left my meat in as long as they said, say the either the filet mignon or the NY strip, it would have been burnt to a crisp. As well both the lobster and shrimp took no time at all. After finishing our entree portion of the meal we made our decision about desert.

The good thing about the big night out even if you don't like a certain portion of the menu you are allowed to substitute it out for one of their other regular menu items.

The dessert however we kept with French theme, because it was a crème brulee. One of our personal favorites. It encompassed white chocolate complete with a caramel salt on top then sprayed with some sort of edible fuel and was flambéed right there at our table. Also a lot of their other desserts are lit on fire, so if this one isn't your cup of tea there are others with just as much excitement. With dessert came another grouping of things to stab, cover in the chocolate, and enjoy. There was bite size brownie pieces, pound cake pieces, a slice of cheesecake, rice crispy treat bites, both crushed graham cracker covered and crushed Oreo covered marshmallows, strawberries, and bananas. My personal favorites believe it or not were the marshmallows. I can imagine the s’mores dessert they have is to die for as well.

We were also given a free glass of rose colored champagne for our anniversary. I wish it would have come sooner in the meal though with all that food and a few alcoholic beverages already down we couldn't quite fit the bubbly stuff. It was yummy the few sips I had. Even though there were some issues I was trying really hard not to let it ruin a momentous event.

I do have that thing I started talking about that I can't leave you hanging... Our waiter was a pretty good guy. It seemed like he might have been stretched over too many tables, and if that wasn't the case... Then I just don't know... The manager ended up mixing our first course for us, and his enthusiasm was not the greatest. It made me think the waiter probably would have done a better job. With the temperature of the oil it was almost like the waiter and the manager were going to get into a fight. The manager rudely came over and took our oil away before we were able to start our entree course and said it was too hot and he was going to take it in the back, change the pot to a cool pot, and add more oil. In my opinion burnt oil is burnt oil he should have just told us he was getting fresh oil. As well his pompous attitude while doing so I assume he was trying to either make the waiter look/feel bad, but he really only succeeded in making himself look like an ass. Like I said earlier it was hard to keep all the sauces straight, and I think it is because not only is the waiter explaining what the meats are which there were a lot of them, but even I had to bring to his attention that he hadn't even told us what any of the many little containers were that he set in front of us. So that was one thing that didn't bode well for the waiter.

All I can say is I hope they were busy that night, but on a Tuesday night it's hard to believe that they would have been that busy to cause such a constant inconsistency in service. The total time we were there, and I'm not sure if this is the typical amount of time for the big night out, but we arrived at seven and did not leave until three hours later at ten. We weren't really expecting that much time to have gone by, and that late of a night on a week night. I apologize if some of the things I have said seem harsh, but my first job was in the food service industry and I've always been a real stickler on customer service. There are two essential things that will keep an establishment in business great food and great service.

Overall I would return more because I have a twenty-five dollar gift certificate, and I always like to go to a place at least twice before completely writing them off.

Let me know if you've had a good experience there, and tell me your waiter's name. ;o)

The Melting Pot's Website

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Usual Spots Report - Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen

On this day I was able to meet up with some friends of mine from England.  Well just to clarify my friend is from here, but her husband and her son are from there.  She was really wanting some gumbo, and who can blame her?!?  I'd miss the food here too if I moved to a different country. 

While perusing the menu they had decided to get frog's legs as an appetizer.  I have never had the pleasure to try these before.  I was very excited to do so.  So after a little bit of a wait here they come sitting (hehe) all pretty on the plate five frog's legs.  They were served with a buttery sauce, some slices of garlic bread, and I'm not sure if they came from the sauce, but there were some stewed tomatos as well in the mix. 

I have to say I've heard people say that frog's legs taste like chicken, but you often hear that everything different tastes like chicken!  In my opinion if I had to relate them to something I would have to say they tasted more like fish; almost with a firmer fish texture like say a Mahi Mahi (my favorite fish by the way). 

The butter sauce they cooked/served it in is really what made the dish(per my friend's husband).  We dipped the bread slices in the sauce with some of those stewed tomatos to polish it off.  It was very yummy, and now I can proudly say I have tried frog's legs and they are not scary they are actually tasty!

Pappadeaux's Website