Friday, April 25, 2014

Longmont CO: Antonio's A Taste of Mexico

My buddy Mike introduced me to Antonio's in Longmont. They also have a branch in Taos. They specialize in New Mexican cuisine, something I couldn't precisely define if you asked but I recognize as clearly distinct from Tex-Mex.

We both started with the Sopa Azteca. It's a black bean and cream based soup garnished with a variety of ingredients. The taste is striking, much more complex than just the starch of the beans. It's a wonderful concoction.

My main dish was mole enchiladas with duck. Duck, as it turns out, is a great complement to mole sauce, since the strength of the duck taste can compete on even footing with the sauce. Their mole was very, very good, several notches above the typical.

Mike went with the enfrijoladas, which are black bean enchiladas topped with cotija cheese and several other items. He was very pleased with his dish.

Antonio's Taste of Mexico on Urbanspoon

Boulder CO: The Buff

I was surprised and delighted on this trip to Boulder to find that The Buff, my favorite breakfast in town and one of my favorite in the country, has moved across the street to larger and beautiful digs. No one has been spoiled by the upgraded decor---the service is still outstanding and the food excellent.

This is my veggie omelette. I sprinkled some smoky Tabasco sauce, which was a superb addition. I found out the next morning that not all of the tables come equipped with the smoky version of Tabasco. I substituted fruit for my potatoes; everything was fresh.

I also ordered a singleton lemon curd and pecan pancake. The lemon curd was amazingly good. It was just tart enough without losing the sweetness that goes with a pancake. The lemon, in fact, helps to cut through the sweet and really round out the flavors.

The Buff Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Chicago MDW: Nuts on Clark

While I was in Chicago, I stopped by Nuts on Clark. It has a sizeable collection of nuts, both roasted and chocolate coated. It also has a variety of popcorns. I went with a bag of peanuts that I saved for my return flight and some caramel corn, which I nibbled on immediately. The corn was great, both sweet and very buttery.

Nuts on Clark on Urbanspoon

Chicago MDW: Gold Coast Dogs

When I got off the plane in Chicago, a sign from the Airport Authority greeted me: "We provide fresh, healthy food for our patrons." I don't want healthy food. I'm in Chicago. So I headed over to Gold Coast Dogs at the center of the terminal.

This is my jumbo char dog with everything, Chicago style. Some of the posts here didn't like the char, but I thought it added character to the dog. It certainly satisfied my craving for a hot dog.

I spent a few months in Chicago and I came to decide that the Chicago dog is one of America's great culinary traditions and the ultimate form of the hot dog. Let's pay homage to the Chicago dog by reciting its toppings: yellow mustard, chopped white onions, unnaturally bright green relish, dill pickle spear, tomato slice, sport peppers, and celery salt.

Gold Coast Dogs on Urbanspoon

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Blacksburg VA: India Garden

The last official act of my visit to Blacksburg was lunch at India Garden's buffet. The interior is well-decorated. They also feature music performances, although not during my visit.

A vegetarian lunch was a pleasant option. All my dishes were quite tasty. They were rich with cream and moderately spiced but not hot. The hit of the meal was the eggplant and potatoes---a very satisfying combination. The chaat was a nice treat, too.

India Garden on Urbanspoon

Blacksburg VA: Ceritano's Ristorante

As part of my visit to Virginia Tech, Haibo took me to Ceritano's across from campus. The owner is Italian and the food reflects great care. Our service was the sort of unforced graicousness that I have come to expect from Italian restaurants.

We started with a plate of mussels, which was large, as were all our dishes. The mussels were tender and had a wonderful butter sauce.

My lasagne was excellent. The pasta was fresh and very tender. The filling was surprisingly light, showing off the Bolognese sauce.

I'm a cannoli nut and this one met my expectations.

Ceritano's Ristorante at Tina's Gourmet on Urbanspoon

Blacksburg VA: Preston's

As part of my lovely visit to the CECS group at Virginia Tech, I stayed at the Inn at Virginia Tech and breakfasted at Preston's. The breakfast buffet is, I believe, the only option in the morning. The service on my first day was very good; on the second day it was a little spotty.

Overall, this was a very good breakfast. The omelet station cranks out great custom creations. You know you're in the South when breakfast features biscuits and creamy gravy. (No Virginia ham, though.) The fruit was excellent. Everything on the buffet was very fresh.

Preston's on Urbanspoon

ATL: Garbanzo Mediterranean Grill

I just discovered Garbanzo. They have several locations in ATL; I tried the D concourse location. I'm very glad to have another vegetarian option at the airport.

My very generous meal included hummus, falafel, and diced vegetables, among other options. The falafel was a tad overdone but overall the food was quite good, not to mention filling. I always appreciate the luxury of a meal on a plate when I travel. This light but filling vegetarian meal was a welcome treat for dinner.

Garbanzo Mediterranean Grill on Urbanspoon

Friday, April 11, 2014

Chamblee: Rincon Latino

Grant and Marie suggested a restaurant expedition and selected our destination---Rincon Latino. It's a family-run Central American restaurant with a good, well-rounded menu and very friendly, nice service. We all felt very comfortable and welcome.

I ordered the pork platter. The pork comes with a rich, thick tomato sauce that's almost the consistency of tomato paste. I greatly enjoyed the sauce; I'm sure there's more to it than tomato paste but I can't quite put my finger on it. The rice came mixed with some vegetables. The refried beans were quite good. The plantains were a special treat; they are one of my favorite things about Central American food and they complement pork very well.

I also had a chance to try the pupusas. They come with a variety of fillings: meat, cheese, beans. The outside is corn meal but thicker than a tortilla. The assembly is pan fried. These were tasty and very filling. This is the sort of food that fills you up after a hard day's work.

Rincon Latino on Urbanspoon

Rincon Latino

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Nana G's Chik-N-Waffles

Today I had the chance to try Nana G's. Their truck features a super sized portrait of a rather stern-looking Nana G. I would be afraid for my personal safety if I complained about my dinner to her. But according to the Web site, the truck is run by Nana G.'s grandson, who appears to have come out not only unscathed but with a talent for cooking. The inside of the truck features a battery of flippable waffle irons---think Courtyard Inn on steroids.

This is my bacon-infused waffle; I decided to hold off on the chicken for today. The waffle was right off the griddle, piping hot and crisp. The critical question is that "bacon-infused" part, of course. It really did have a bacon flavor. I'm not sure exactly what they infused (the milk?) but whatever their technique, it worked.

It appears that most of the GT food trucks run out of food early---a lot of the food trucks told people in line that they were out of certain items. A lot of students come out of class at 1:25 on Tuesdays and Thursdays ready to eat after hearing their professor drone on for not just 50 minutes but an entire hour and twenty minutes. Let's hope that they figure out their provisioning to be sure that those hungry students get fed.

Nana G's Chik-n-Waffles on Urbanspoon