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Showing posts from April, 2018

Gainesville FL: Metro Diner

Metro Diner is a well-known breakfast spot in Gainesville. I enjoyed my breakfast along with a little time to catch up with my email. My veggie omelet was very good, fluffy and tender. My server suggested the hash browns extra crispy and she did not lead me astray---they were very crunchy while maintaining their soft center. I substituted the biscuit from toast and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Gainesville FL: Embers

My University of Florida friends took me to an outstanding dinner at Embers to continue our discussion. The atmosphere is fairly classic steakhouse with a modern touch. The service was very gracious and helpful. The meal started with not one but three different types of bread: garlic, cheese, and one other. The garlic bread was my favorite. We started with two appetizers. The blue crab bisque was outstanding. It was nicely rich but the crab still came through. The calamari was outstanding with a crunchy crust and delicate interior. My ribeye was the best steak I've had in quite some time. The fat content and the meat were very nicely balanced; the steak was nicely tender with just the right amount of tooth. The vegetables were excellent, including both a zucchini drizzled with balsamic vinegar and a grilled Vidalia onion. My flourless chocolate cake was outstanding. The steak had done its job so I saved most of the cake for breakfast.

Fayetteville AR: The Inn at Carnhall Hall

Carnall Hall was the University of Arkansas' first womens' dormitory. It is now a beautiful guest house for the university. The feel of this building is very solid, elegant without being fussy. You can't build this sort of building any more. They serve a good breakfast, too. My omelet was expertly prepared and very fluffy. The biscuit, a mainstay of Southern culture, was tender. The yogurt was interesting---it had a distinctly buttermilk-y taste. Just to be sure, I checked with the server, who came back from the kitchen with assurances that it was, in fact, fresh. It wasn't bad, just an unexpected flavor. It never hurts to check.

XNA: Smokewood American Grill

My arrival at the airport left me a few minutes to grab a bite before I boarded the plane. I snuck in under the wire at Smokewood just before they closed; the staff was very gracious. My veggie burger was pretty good. My chili was great. The little bits of brisket added both smoke and meatiness to the beans. The beans themselves were thick and soft, very comforting.

Fayetteville AR: Taste of Thai

My University of Arkansas friends took me to Taste of Thai for discussion and lunch. It is located in downtown Fayetteville, a charming area with many vintage buildings. My meal started with a nice cup of soup. My main course was masaman curry with tofu. The menu offered five levels of heat plus Taste-of-Thai hot. I took the challenge and went for extra hot. I rate the sauce on my scale as medium hot: it got my attention but I didn't cry. The sauce was smooth , nicely umami, and very well spiced. Overall, very good fuel for nerd talk.

Gainesville FL: Reggae Shack Cafe

I hit the ground in Gainesville ready for a homey dinner. Reggae Shack Cafe turned out to be the perfect choice. The atmosphere is fun, the service wonderfully welcoming. And the food is superb. I ordered the Jerk Tofu, extra hot. The heat sneaks up on you. I started to tear up after about 30 seconds. The heat was wonderful. Tofu is ideally suited to soak it up and give you a nice blast. The vinegar in the sauce also gives it a good tartness. The bread was billed as like cornbread but it reminded me of a cruller. It was delicious and it really did help tamp down the heat. The vegan coconut cake was superb. It was moist and dense with a very nice texture. The coconut was very fresh and extremely flavorful. Vegan baking is the hardest type of baking. My server explained that the owner makes the cake in the morning and brings it to the restaurant---kudos!

Philadelphia: Breakfast at Dutch Eating Place and Reading Terminal Market

Reading Terminal Market is a great place for people who love making or eating food. I have written about the market in the past but I haven't visited in several years. My visit was an ideal opportunity to enjoy its enticements. Gail recommended the Dutch Eating Place for breakfast. I arrived shortly before their official opening and sat down at the counter; just a few minutes delay would have resulted in a wait. The Amish women are very efficient but those big portions take time to eat. I ordered the apple french toast special. I could have used a little more apple but overall it was very good. That is turkey bacon on the left which turned out to be deliciously savory. The meal was very satsifying. The gentleman next to me ordered the pancake special, which he said would require a take-home box. I tried to work off that big breakfast by checking out the market. This display from just one of the vendors gives you an idea of the range of items available. The …

Philadelphia: Dante and Luigi's

My Drexel friends introduced me to Dante and Luigi's in South Philadelphia where we dined splendidly and talked about our work. The restaurant is housed in an elegant old house. The service is warm and inviting. The effect is of a Sunday dinner with your Italian grandmother. Gail mentioned that her mother would want to see pictures of all the food. Rest assured, Mrs. Rosen, that your daughter is well-fed. The meal started, of course, with bread. Our antipasto was a wonderful reminder of many meals in Trenton's Chambersburg. Everyone agreed that the escarole was superb. The calamari were superb as well. I typically jump at the chance to order osso buco. My dish was an excellent example: very tender meat and a rich velvety sauce. Note the little fork to scoop out every last bit of marrow. And the other excellent dinners... We ended with coffee and dessert. My ricotta cake was superb and very different from other such cakes I've tried. It had …

Fayetteville AR: Hog Haus Brewing Co.

My friend Christophe made sure that I started off my visit to the University of Arkansas well-fed. We enjoyed a dinner and conversation at the Hog Haus in campustown. Hog here refers, of course, to the Arkansas Razorbacks. Hog Haus offers a complement of beers but I stuck with the protein. This is my ribeye steak, glazed carrots, and very nice roasted potatoes. After a long flight, it hit the spot.

Philadelphia: Cozara

Several Drexel students and I enjoyed a great lunch and good conversation at Cozara. The West Philadelphia scene in the University District has blossomed. Cozara has a good environment for enjoying lunch and discussion. We started with edamame and gyoza. My lunch came with a good miso soup. I always enjoy the subtle combination of umami and salt. I ordered the sushi set with the U Love Salmon option. Everything was very fresh. The students branched out and tried several options.

Philadelphia: Midtown III Restaurant

My day started with a breakfast meeting at Midtown III, a classic diner. Everything is just as it should be for a comforting start for the day: pleasant, lived-in decor, gently attentive staff, good food, and plenty of coffee. My veggie omelet was very enjoyable with nice vegetables and a good dose of mushrooms. The hash browns were brown on the outside, soft on the inside. I don't usually order rye bread but I really enjoyed my slice.

Philadelphia: Hip City Veg

After arriving in Philadelphia, I walked to Rittenhouse Square in search of dinner. I quickly decided that Hip City Veg was worth a try. (I found out during my postprandial stroll that they have several locations across Center City.) I stood in line briefly with a very youthful crowd as I perused the menu. The vegetarian Philly steak sounded like a challenge that I had to try. It turned out to be very umami-ish and satisfying. The body contains tempeh steaks along with an abundance of very nice mushrooms. The sauce was plentiful to provide smoothness but not overwhelming or goopy. My sweet potato fries were also excellent. I asked for the sriracha aioli was an outstanding blend of heat and creaminess. My meal met all my expectations and more---definitely worth a visit or three.