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Friday, June 10, 2011

Usual Spots Report - Cafe Express

First of all I wanted to share with you that I'm a sucker for 'buy one, get one free' coupons.  So when I received one in the mail for Cafe Express' new breakfast sandwiches I had to go. 

I ordered the Cafe Croissant which has scrambled eggs, roasted tomatoes, goat cheese, and basil on a croissant.  I wanted to devour this sandwich as soon as I got in the truck because the smell permeated out and into my little nose making my stomach antsy. 

My co-worker was the person to benefit from this coupon and she ordered the Breakfast BLT.  She said that is was very good. 

My croissant was so super extra yummy, and yes that is the best way to describe it.  It was warm and the goat cheese went well with the roasted tomatoes and basil.  Each time you hit a tomato it would explode with such a robust flavor in your mouth it was heaven.  There might have been some moaning and eye rolling with this meal.  It really was that good. 

I would definitely recommend Cafe Express' breakfast.  They really do have such good food there.  The pricing is a little on the expensive side, but the quality of food you get it is definitely worth it. 

Cafe Express' Website

Monday, June 6, 2011

Palate Adventurers - Second Quarter, 2011 - Angus Grill Brazilian Steakhouse

(DISCLAIMER: I would like to apologize ahead of time, because I have only been to one other Brazilian steakhouse and it will be hard for me not to compare the two.)

As far as the outside appearance goes; when you are on the way to Angus Grill the word that you would be most looking for is Churrascaria. It is the biggest word both on the building and on the sign out front. This made it slightly difficult to locate for a few of our attendees.

The atmosphere of Angus Grill felt a bit more intimate to me than Fogo De Chao. As we were seated at our table we waited for a while before a lady came up to us and asked us if we knew how the process worked. I was closest to her so I just asked her to go ahead and let us know just in case someone did not. She said simply while pointing in the direction of the salad bar, "The salad bar is over there, and you can help yourself. The card in front of you, flip to green if you want meat, and flip to red if you do not."

After she finished our party had finished arriving, and we all headed over to the salad bar. The salad bar at Angus Grill is exactly that a salad bar alone. You make a salad. At Fogo De Chao it is more than that. There are so many different options of vegetables, meats, cheeses, and salmon. As well instead of putting the sides they offer you on the table for you to enjoy, at Angus they are located in a hot serving container in the salad bar area. I wished that the sides were a bit fresher and hotter.

When we were ready for meat they put our meat on our plates from the salad bar, and I quickly asked for a fresh plate. I will have to note that the staff at Angus Grill is very nice and attentive they just do not have the force that Fogo has. That being said the wait between meats, refills, and fresh plates were a little greater.

At first we were having a problem of the Gaucho (Brazilian Cowboy) starting on one side of the table with a particular type of meat and before he could get over to the other side of the table he had to go back to the kitchen because he had ran out of meat. The good thing was that they started to realize this and brought out more meat at one time, and alternated where at the table they started.

They did bring to the table the cheese bread which was piping hot and so good. Again comparatively I felt like the cheese bread at Anugs was more "homemade". It felt like the ones at Fogo could have been made by a machine. Now it's time to talk about the star of the show at any Churrascaria, the meat!!

My favorites were the garlic beef, the baby beef, the house top sirloin, the grilled pineapple (I know, I know it's not meat, just roll with it.. :o)  ), and the pork ribs. I can't even begin to tell you how good the flavor was on those pork ribs. The ribs, for me, took first place as far as this meal was concerned.

The grilled pineapple was tremendously good as well. The cinnamon they put on the outside was not overpowering and complimented the tartness of the pineapple perfectly. I have to say that in this department Angus Grill totally takes it for me, because I just have never been a cooked banana person. The texture I just can not do. So having another option of a desert fruit was fantastic.

When it comes to the meat I felt that Fogo may have had a higher quality meat, but Angus Grill blew them out of the water with the flavor and spices. Everything was very juicy and delectable. The chicken was some of the most tender I've had in quite some time.

As well, yet again, I fell in love with their house top sirloin. The meat to fat ratio on that thing is amazing. I tend to shy away from fattier pieces of meat strictly for textural reasons, but when you have just that little ring around the outside it tends to have more of a crunch to it, and the flavor that bursts out of that fat is simply like no other. I understand why some people just can not understand how I could not get past the texture when the flavor that is contained inside is pretty much mind blowing.

I almost forgot to mention the butter beef; two words that should never be torn apart. The meat literally melted in your mouth. Definitely up there with the other favorites I've already listed. The baby beef is I'm sure veal, and the flavor really didn't blow me away it was more the tenderness of the meat that made me respect it. I've never had veal before, but I can say my interest in trying this meat at a place that really knows it well has risen. 

Overall I believe we all had a really great time with very few complaints to my knowledge.  Like I had said before the attentiveness that you get at Fogo isn't quite as high at Angus Grill, but for the price difference it is so worth it.  My husband and I paid half the amount that we had paid at our last trip to Fogo.  So for half the pricing and much better flavor I don't think I need my glass refilled every time I take a sip from it.

Angus Grill Brazilian Steakhouse Website