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Dining at Girl & the Goat

A few months ago I was in Chicago for a work conference and I had the most incredible and wonderful dining experience at Girl & the Goat. Stephanie Izard, the owner of the restaurant won “Top Chef!” For our team dinner, we had our own private room downstairs. The room where we dined was lovely and rustic, featuring a beautiful setting on a wood table with candles and a plant in the center.

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We met Gary, our go-to server for the evening and he was awesome. He knew the menu well, listened and tended to our dietary needs, and was completely gracious throughout the night.

I asked if any of the amazing-sounding cocktails could be made without alcohol and so I got The Royal Rubus that way. It was citrusy soda with lemon bitters, blackberry and lime. It came in a brilliant raspberry red and was very tasty and refreshing.

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The meal started off with an assortment of breads: One sourdough with little pieces of ham in it, which was okay. I didn’t have a ton of flavor but I liked the green peas and ham that came with it. There was also muffin top bread, which was nicely moist and it came with yummy seasoned butter.

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Next we had “Fried Naked Cowboys” which were fried oysters with egg salad on the bottom. These came in cute little spoons and one bite form. Even though I’m not a huge fan of oysters, it was quite good fried and the sauce on top worked well with it.

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Then there was salad which consisted of fennel, evalon cheese, toasted almonds and blueberries. This was nice and I especially liked the cheese, which was a sweet goat cheese with fruity and nutty finish. It added an additional layer of delightful flavor to the salad.

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The goat empanadas were one of my favorite dishes. It had strawberry, white asparagus with it and smashed avocado underneath. The empanadas were perfectly crispy and the goat meat was so very flavorful and melted in my mouth!

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We also had green garlic pierogis which was decent, but I didn’t taste a strong garlic taste. The filling was like mashed potatoes.

The vegetables we had were cauliflower, broccoli and string beans. The cauliflower dish had pickled peppers, pine nuts and parmesan cheese. It was slightly crispy and had a nice burst of flavor. The broccoli had little crisps and the green beans had yummy cashews!

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The entrees were pasta, fish and pork shank. The pasta was spiral with tons of appetizing beef, which was wonderfully juicy and incredibly savory. There were also little orange tomatoes and tomatoes on top that were fresh and flavorful. We also had wild striped bass in a coconut green curry, new potatoes and artichokes. I enjoyed this dish, especially the slightly charred skin on the fish.

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Last, was the crisp braised pork shank with naan and the following dipping sauces: Grilled spring onion kimchi and buttermilk dressing. The pork was so wonderful and tender!  I loved the crunchiness of it.

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After all that, there were 5 different types of desserts. My absolute favorite was vanilla gelato with chocolate shell, caramel sauce and caramel popcorn. This dessert was truly delectable and so decadent. I could have a whole bowl of it if I wasn’t already so stuffed.

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My second favorite dessert was balls of coated gelato with peanut butter inside and candied peanuts.

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There was also a tres leches cake with strawberry and some pudding, as well as fruity sorbet. It was a nice, light and yummy treat.

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Then there was a pudding-like dessert with a blend of pure toffee pieces, expresso and vanilla. The last dessert was different and interesting. It consisted of gelatin, blueberries and pieces of meringue.

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Each dish from appetizer, to entree, to dessert was well thought out and unique in a good way. All of the food exceeded my expectations and was mouthwateringly delicious! The service was impeccable. Everything came together seamlessly. This is absolutely one of the best dinners I have ever had!

Girl & The Goat
809 W Randolph St
Chicago, IL

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Dinner at Burger & Lobster

I had the pleasure of dining at a lovely new restaurant in the Flatiron District, called Burger & Lobster. The concept is so simple that they don’t even need a menu. There are three choices: Burger, whole lobster or lobster roll. Each meal comes with both fries and salad.

I chose the lobster because I haven’t had that in awhile and I figured that was probably the best deal. I decided to go with the grilled lobster option and was not disappointed.

burgerlobster_meThe lobster was a decent size and it came with lemon-garlic butter. Plus, it was pre-cracked so it made it a lot easier to enjoy. The lobster meat had a nice flavor to it and that lemon butter is life. The salad was mediocre to me but the fries were warm, crispy and delicious!

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My friend ordered one of the desserts: Chocolate mousse and was kind enough to let me try some of it. Truly delectable flavor of sweet, rich, delightful chocolate with darker chocolate at the bottom.

burgerlobster_dessertEven though I did not get to try the burger or lobster roll, I heard that the burger was quite good (and worth the $20), and the same for the lobster roll. I would definitely come back to try the burger!

Tip: Try it soon, before it becomes completely crowded and difficult to get a table (they don’t take advance reservations).

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Burger & Lobster
39 W. 19 St
New York, NY

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Roast Pig Feast at Back Forty

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I had the chance to enjoy a roast suckling pig feast for a private dinner last night at Back Forty. We were served salad first, which consisted of pork, beans, crispy skin and/or bacon and a sauce that I couldn’t quite figure out. It was delicious- Very flavorful and I enjoyed the crunchy saltiness of the salad.

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Next we had goat soup, which tasted like it had a tomato base with various vegetables. It was just okay. Then there was corn bread which came in a super cute iron skillet, with herb infused butter. The corn bread was wonderful- Warm, moist, with a crumbly consistency and slightly sweet. And the butter brought out the flavors more fully.

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After that the waiters came in to show us the whole suckling pig on a platter, which was a bit disconcerting actually- It kind of ruined my appetite to some degree. The suckling pig was served Porchetta style — Boned out, stuffed, and roasted with slaw on top. It was incredibly tender, succulent, flavorful and the skin was crisp and salty. The slaw was a nice accompaniment and slightly spicy.

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There was also crunchy thick country style bread with spinach, which was delicious and didn’t even need butter!

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And then there was dessert. It was what looked like chocolate cake with whipped cream and poached pear. Upon tasting the concoction, we realized it was ginger cake and that the whipped cream was bourbon infused. The cake had a nice zesty flavor and the bourbon whipped cream, along with the maple-soaked pear  added to the deliciousness.

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Overall, a pretty good meal with excellent service, though a little on the pricey side.

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Back Forty
190 Avenue B #1
New York, NY
http://backfortynyc.com/

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An Evening with Comedian Lewis Black

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I headed to the Theatre at Westbury in Long Island to meet up with a friend to see Comedy Central star, Lewis Black on tour (The Rant is Due). Lewis Black is known for his “comedy style, which often includes simulating a mental breakdown, or an increasingly angry rant, ridiculing history, politics, religion, trends and cultural phenomena.” We got to the theater early and found our seats.

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It wasn’t too long until Lewis Black’s comedian friend John Bowman came up to do his bit. He was great- Weird, fun, cynical and played these cool twisted songs.

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After that, the man of the hour, Lewis Black came out to thunderous applause and his first comment was, “I wish I was going to the show that all of you are making so much noise for!” Lewis Black was hilarious– He definitely made me laugh and I loved that he could back up what he was talking about, making compelling points about the absurdity of our world, whether it was social security, government, Obamacare, TV in the old days, Facebook, congress, business, and so much more.

I was in stitches hearing about his experience with signing up for Facebook and then Spotify through Facebook. Also when he discussed the difference between “dumb” and “stupid” as well as Democrats and Republicans. Or when he went on and on about social security and long division, proving how it’s impossible to figure out. And when he likened ADD medication for children to speed and discussed how we all have ADD & cannot focus on just one thing anymore. The list goes on… I had such a great time seeing Lewis Black perform and it was well worth the travel to Long Island.

Afterwards, my friend and I were trying to find a nice spot for dinner. We stopped in at Frank’s Steakhouse but the waitress was rushing us to order because the kitchen was closing and was quite rude about it, so we decided to take our business elsewhere. We ended up finding a Ruby Tuesday, and we were not disappointed. The food was delicious and the service excellent.

I started off with the “Tropical Sunrise” drink, which is a blend of mango, pineapple, and O.J. shaken with ice and served with a splash of grenadine and a cherry. It was pretty good. I liked the bits of mango mixed in with the drink and loved the tropical fruit flavors together.

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As for the food, my friend and I shared the crispy coconut shrimp appetizer which was very tasty. For my meal, I chose the New Orleans seafood, which consisted of creole-seasoned tilapia topped with sauteed shrimp and a rich, creamy Parmesan sauce. This also came with two sides. I chose rice pilaf and the salad bar option. I really love the salad bar because you can create your own deliciously healthy salad… I added mushroom, peas, onion, tomato, sunflower seeds, edamame, peas, cheese to my salad, along with a bit of pasta salad, apple salad and potato salad. It was almost a full appetizer in itself!

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Then my entree came and it was wonderful. The tilapia was flaky, tender, nice flavor and the shrimp in the Parmesan cream was divine. The rice pilaf was decent– Maybe could have been seasoned a bit more but still pretty good. Of course I had to take most of it home, and it was just as good the next day.

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Last, my friend and I shared an amazing peanut butter brownie with topping of caramel spread, with chocolate and caramel sauce mingling around the brownie. It was delectable… Very rich, deep peanut buttery flavor with the chocolate and undeniable taste of sweet, sticky caramel.

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I had a wonderful night in Long Island… Top notch, hilarious entertainment by Lewis Black & John Bowman and a delicious dinner at Ruby Tuesday!

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Hotel Abrego Dining

Hotel Abrego

Hotel Abrego

Recently, I had the pleasure of enjoying a beautiful meal at the not-yet officially opened restaurant at Hotel Abrego in Monterey, California. The Hotel Abrego lobby and dining area is warm, inviting and cozy, complete with brown accents, a stone fireplace and lovely lighting.

The chef, Marc Jones, personally came out to introduce himself and present us with the menu. He was personable, knowledgeable about the food he prepares and concerned with keeping everything sustainable. The menu itself didn’t have a ton of choices, but that didn’t bother me as it normally would, because all the choices sounded so delicious! For an appetizer, we had salad which came with grapes, tomato, fresh lettuce, Parmesan and pepper with a light vinaigrette.  It was tasty and I enjoyed the added sweet flavor of the grapes, combined with savory.

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Salad

I also loved the honey bread which came with the meal. It was perfectly crisp, fresh and warm from the oven, a delightful mix of sweet and a tiny bit of salty. It was something different, but delicious. I couldn’t get enough of these little morsels!

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Honey Bread

We tried 2 different main courses. The first being pan fried Alaskan sand dabs, accented with grilled squash on the sides and mashed potato below. The sand dabs were fried in butter and topped with olive oil. I enjoyed the crispy well done texture of the sand dabs, as well as the yummy flavor. The mashed potato was superb, perfectly creamy and smooth, and seasoned well.

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Pan-Fried Sand Dabs

The other dish was bacon-wrapped shrimp with filet mignon with risotto and mushroom sauce. The bacon worked well with the shrimp, and the risotto had a great appetizing flavor to it, but I think my favorite was the filet mignon. The filet was amazing- Tender, like butter and quite juicy, full of deliciousness.

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Bacon-Wrapped Shrimp, Filet Mignon, Risotto

I will have to come back to try the desserts, calamari appetizer and filet of sole, cooked in parchment paper, with a bounty of in season vegetables.

 

Location:  755 Abrego Street in Monterey, CA

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