Thursday, February 21, 2008

Godfather soon to be Famous ?

I have been a regular at Big Daddy’s Burger Bar eating lots of salads as of late in an effort to build a better godfather. Great salads topped with chicken breast, turkey burger etc.
The general manager Donny mentioned that to keep things fresh he was going to add some new items to the menu. He mentioned a tuna burger, Portabella burger to name a few. I have had the Tuna burger and it is a gem. I had it atop of mixed greens with the soy ginger dressing and it was truly delicious. The great news in addition to being delicious it’s made with no filler. It is actually good for you.
Donny asked the godfather what burger I would like to see added to the menu and I of course said the godfather burger, as I am a shy and unassuming kind of guy.
Well asked Donny “what is a godfather burger?
Burger with marinara sauce and melted mozzarella cheese I explained. To which Donny replied, “done”
Today as a lunch special low and behold there it was!!
The Godfather – Prime Angus Burger cooked to your desire topped with mozzarella and marinara sauce with your choice of side. WOW I am deeply moved. Well I just had to go for it. I didn’t go totally nuts. I had it on a whole-wheat bun, with a side of the chopped salad and a UN sweet tea. What a tasty tribute. What a thrill to eat myself and to my delight I am a very tasty treat indeed. Donny tells me it is a great seller and people are raving about it. I am truly touched just ask anyone.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

crisp 7th Street Cafe - Salad Sensation in Elizabeth

First I like the name. It conjures thoughts of fresh and vibrant ingredients. Next I enjoy being in the space. The dining area has a green leaf design on the walls that creates a vibe that is serene and cool. The food prep line from which you order your food attractively shows off the wholesome array of spring mix, spinach, butter or romaine lettuce and a choice of interesting toppings. You also can select a protein choice that includes grilled flat iron steak, herb marinated grilled chicken, herb roasted turkey and grilled teriyaki shrimp. The day I was there the specials were a salad with pesto marinated shrimp and turkey, black bean chili. I opted for one of the house designed signature salads. The steakhouse salad consisted of romaine lettuce, grilled flat iron steak – cooked to order, portabella mushrooms, tomatoes, blue cheese crumbles, grilled red onion and balsamic vinaigrette. Very impressively prepared. Your order is taken and custom made to your liking right in front of you. Salt and freshly ground pepper are added to your liking and the protein is married to the salad at the end of line. Its dressed and served in a hefty bowl. Get your beverage from the case near the cashier, settle your tab have a seat and enjoy. I thoroughly enjoyed my meal. All of the veggies were bursting with flavor and freshness and yes crisp. The steak was prepared just as I ordered it and the quantity was enough to be satisfying but not so much as to ruin the whole idea of having salad to begin with. Most importantly it was tender and delicious.

While on the road to building a better godfather I will be consuming many salads. I am sure a good many of them will be enjoyed at crisp. It is a tribute to crisp that I look forward to trying all the many salad options that they and I can come up with.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Fiamma my favorite Italian Restaurant

The Godfather and Mrs.G had a wonderful dinner at Fiamma - my favorite Italian restaurant located in the former Reinland House at the other end on the parking lot from Rusan's. We shared an appetizer of seared sea scallop served over pureed cauliflower with porcini mushrooms and a balsamic reduction. It was sublime, the scallops perfectly done and the puree the best thing to ever happen to cauliflower. The porcini cooked to edge of crispness to maximize flavor. Between courses we were served a lovely lemon sorbet a refreshing palate cleanser.
Mrs. G. had Chilean Sea Bass served with spaghetti squash with pignoli nuts and pan-fried artichokes. The fish was simply broiled and perfectly done, the artichoke crispy on the outer leaves and buttery inside. The spaghetti squash had a hint of truffle oil to enhance its earthy and sweet flavor. I had the homemade taglionni pasta with bay scallops, calamari, mussels and shrimp with a light garlic and oil sauce. The pasta was perfection and all of the seafood was pristinely fresh and delicious. The garlic use was restrained so that the flavors of the seafood and the pasta were not overwhelmed. The food, service atmosphere and the graciousness of host Alex all add up to a terrific evening of dinning.

Fiamma on Urbanspoon

Friday, February 1, 2008

Magnifico Mexican in Charlotte

Magnifico Mexican in Charlotte
Earlier this week the Godfather lunched at one of his favorite spots Big Daddy’s Burger Bar on East Blvd. On the way in I said hello to Frank Scibelli the owner of not only Big Daddy’s but also Mamma Ricotta and 2 locations of Cantina 1511.

Frank offered a nice hello and to my surprise knew I was the GFL and about my postings on Chow Hound.
So he asked – you don’t like my other two restaurants? Why? First I expressed my surprise that he read the postings on Chow Hound to which he replied of course its important to be aware of what people are thinking and saying. Straight away he won my respect and admiration! I explained that I thought the food was too Americanized. Frank asked me to give it another try; he explained he travels to Mexico and studies with Mexican Chefs and that he uses many authentic ingredients. They even use lard to make the house made tortillas. I thought his request was very reasonable and agreed to check it out soon.

The Godfather is a man of his word so the next day GFL and three other hungry hombres arrived at Cantina 1511 for lunch. To my delight my former feelings are out dated and we had a truly great meal.

The quality of the food and the authenticity of the ingredients were impressive.
The menu has a strong Oaxacan influence, which insures a more sophisticated and vibrant experience
My base line for checking out Mexican places is Taco’s. Not the fried yellow things but rather the soft tortillas served at countless Taqueria’s here and in Mexico. I had the corn tortillas rather than the flour but both are available. I had several taco’s the Taco al Pastor- slow cooked pork with shredded cabbage, habanero crema and fresh cilantro, the Guadalajara style- shrimp tacos with masa tempura batter, cabbage, radish, pico de gallo & lime, the Carnitas taco- braised Pork with avocado habanero salsa, and the barbacoa de puerco- Slow cooked, braised, shredded pork. Each was fantastic! Fresh, high quality ingredients prepared in an authentic and delicious manner. Accompanied by cilantro rice, charro beans, and tortilla slaw. The most spectacular was the Barbacoa de Puerco - so very tender, juicy and bursting with the flavor of Mexico. Lunch was exceptional and I plan to be back often.

I have leaned an important lesson. Before this lunch the last time I ate here was shortly after they opened. I will keep in mind that the best restaurants like the best people continue to grow and develop. This is the case at Cantina 1511 they have grown and developed into a authentic Mexican restaurant where you can experience both traditional street foods and genuine Mexican fine dining while enjoying both a great atmosphere and attentive first rate service. I strongly recommend you give it a try. The Godfather knows it’s the real deal!!!