Thursday, April 18, 2013

Murphy Creek Tavern

My house is out in the middle of nowhere it seems. Sure there are other houses around it but there aren’t any shopping areas close by, and the closest stop light is at least five miles away. It is hard to find places nearby to go out to eat at because of where I live. When the community down the road from us advertised their clubhouse served dinner it was a must try.
The clubhouse is very small; at full capacity it might seat 50 people, including the small bar, three televisions are mounted to the walls. The wait staff is very friendly and seems to enjoy their work. They are attentive without being overbearing and make sure to keep drinks filled, while requests are filled for mayonnaise and other condiments.
Since the class talked about fish and chips ($11) in class I’ve wanted to find a place that did fish and chips and just hoped that it would be good. Murphy Creek paid up with some golden, crispy fried fish, only one side was a little soggy because it was laid on coleslaw. The chips had an overdone brown to them, which would normally be associated with nicely crisp French fries but I was let down with half.
Build your own burger ($8 plus $0.50 per topping) is where the customer gets the choice of toppings to add, it comes stacked with the usuals of lettuce, tomato, and onion. It was ordered with sautéed onions and mushrooms and cooked to a medium rare. The burger was cut and showed a perfect medium rare, the flavor just bursts in the mouth while the juice ran down the forearms. The strange part of this burger was that it came with both the raw and sautéed, don’t get me wrong I love onion, but that is a bit excessive.
It was not after five pm when I visited the establishment, I was unable to order the prime rib dinner, I settled for the French dip ($9) which had prime rib meat. The meat was juicy and tender, the au juis barely needed for anything besides a flavor booster. The bun could have used a little bit more crisp to it so it could hold its own against the au juis a bit better.
Overall this place had me hooked just because of the proximity and has reeled me in with the food.

Best part was some pretty awesome fish and chips, in a land locked state.

Worst part: had to listen and sort of watch on the televisions the golf game.

Bar Food | 1700 Old Tom Morris Road, Aurora, Colorado 303-361-7310 | $6-26 | Mon-Thurs 8:30 am- 8pm, Friday 8:30 am- 9 pm, Sat 8am- 8 pm, Sun 8am- 5 pm | all forms of payment

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Fondue Night

One year while living in Germany, my family and I went on a ski trip to Switzerland or Austria, I can't remember which, it was the Alps, I know that much. After a long day of skiing we went out to dinner at a place that had some fantastic fondue. The thing that I remember most about the place is our server. He had pants on that were cow patterned and I loved them the moment I saw them, I wanted a pair for the longest time. I finally got a pair for Christmas last year, Merv and Maude got them for me.

Occasionally Betty, Johnny and I have a night were we have fondue. We use to buy a package that was really good, but the store stopped carrying it and we were forced to find a recipe and make it from scratch. Even though we have a recipe it never comes out the same way twice. We don't always have the same kind of cheese. I'm pretty sure that it still wouldn't come out the same way twice if we did have the same kinds of cheese.

The whole point of this post is to let you in on the crazy that is me. I got excited because I was at work and I was wearing my cow patterned pants. I came home and it was fondue night. It brought me back all those year to when I first saw cow pants and wanted a pair for myself. Here is a picture of me in my cow pants having fondue, don't judge. Also, that is Johnny in the picture, being his usual grump self.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Arada, Ethiopian Food

I've visited a lot of places in my life, more than some people dream of. I have been to over 25 different countries and countless cities. Living in Germany had its advantages, if you wanted to do a day trip you could take one to another country. When I say that something is a bit of an adventure I sort of know what I'm talking about, and this time it was.

Ethiopian is quite unlike anything else I tried, sure there might be things that are recognizable such as the tomatoes from the tomato salad or the chicken pieces from the Doro Alitcha. The flavors are completely unique though, along with the serving style. I quite enjoyed the way the meal is supposed to be eaten, with your hands and pieces of the imjera, the spongey bread like serving dish. I am a savage at home and try to use as few utensils and dishes as possible, at a restaurant I am mostly polite and civilized. Betty might disagree here, she likes to scold and reprimand me sometimes when I'm not behaving they way she thought she raised me. I'm just doing my part to conserve water by not using utensils, or a better excuse that I might make up later to justify eating with my fingers because it is fun. Back to the point that this restaurant was enjoyable for me just for that reason. We had the entire restaurant to ourselves for the majority of the time spent there, Maude had said that it was unusual for it to be so empty.

Our server was attentive without being overbearing, she made sure our glasses stayed full of water and was sure not to disturb us while we were consuming. This really surprised me because I would have thought with as empty as it was I would have though she would be bugging us a lot due to boredom.

I'm sure I have said it before but I'm saying it again, I do not enjoy foods that have a lot of spice. Things I eat should not make my mouth feel like I swallowed a burning coal, there should be discernible tastes, most of the items we ate were not that spicy, the ones that were were very spicy. The yemiser wot was especially hot.

Yatakilt alitcha was my favorite, with the steamed potatoes and carrots that had a slight sweetness to them, maybe I was imagining that, it was a break from the spice of the yemiser wot and the siga wot. The injera was a very interesting piece to the dish. It was almost like a tortilla in the uses for it, by itself it had a very vinegar taste but was easily masked. The texture was the weirdest thing and hardest to describe other than a sponge, I know that doesn't sound very appealing but it is better than it sounds.

The Yater Alitcha was a yellow pea dish that did not have a lot of flavor to it. It looked much like a corn mash.

Yemiser wot was a lentil dish with a berbere or a red pepper sauce, I only got spice and heat off of this, making it my least favorite.

Gomen is a steamed greens dish, it was my second least favorite. It had almost no taste to it and what taste it did was not very pleasing.

The siga wot and doro alitcha were the only two dishes with meat in them. The siga wot was tender beef in a berbere sauce, this was a little spicy but was nothing compared to the yemiser wot. The doro alitcha  was chicken that was bland, but the sauce had a garlic taste to it, that redeemed the chicken slightly.

Overall: I enjoyed the experience but I would not return, because I did not enjoy the food that much. It was not horrible food and I know people like Merv and Maude enjoy it, but I can do without.

Best part: Having the restaurant mostly to ourselves and our service.

Worst part: The price, it was pretty expensive.

Ethiopian | 750 Santa Fe Drive, Denver, CO 303-329-3344 | $10-18 for single person entrees | Tue-Sat 11:30-10pm | all major credit cards

Thursday, April 4, 2013

La Sandia

When I have a blog I seem to start out great and then sort of teeter off after I've done couple posts. I then feel bad and want to make it up and apologize, I make promises that I know I won't keep. I'm trying really hard to be really good at keeping up with posting but life gets in the way and I don't post as often as I should or as much as I want to.

I've already told you about my job and how I love it, this last weekend I had to work a lot of hours in two days, not typical for me, but pretty typical throughout the industry. Friday was a particularly long day, I was away from home upwards of 14 hours, 12.5 of them actually spent at work. The 2.5ish hours I got as a break were spent eating and critique a restaurant. I was starving, we had been busy all day and I did not realize that it was past 3:30 pm before I got a break, this was after getting to work by 6 am, and having ate something in the car om the way to work.

Since I only had a short amount of time, at rush hour I might add, I had Betty and Johnny come to take me out to eat in a restaurant that is located near my work. We went to a place that I have been many times before and have almost always enjoyed the experience. La Sandia is a little Tequila Cantina in the Northfield shopping center, with plenty of parking all around, a slight walk though from the parking areas. It serves Mexican food at decent prices. The hostess was friendly and gave us the option of sitting in the happy hour section or the patio or in regular dinning area.

Our server was actually someone I knew from school, she could have been a little bit more attentive but took pretty good care of us. We were the only ones sitting in that area for a little while and it was hard to judge other servers or our server on other tables. From what I did observe of the other servers is that they are very friendly and try to accommodate requests.

I ordered the cantina nachos ($7.95 plus 2 for meat), which is actually an appetizer, with some skirt steak when it came out it was piled up like a mountain of food. I immediately grabbed a chip and dug in, the chips had a nice crunch and were just salty enough to make the dish have more flavor. I ordered it without jalapenos because of my extreme dislike for them, this did not take away from the dish at all in my mind, it might have made it better. The steak was juicy and succulent, protein that my body was craving. There was a pile of guacamole that was not enough for the size of the dish. Each component meshed with the others into a frenzy of tastes with none popping out as a dominant overlord in the flavor war, this was not a bad thing though. I tried my hardest but was unable to finish even half of the dish

Betty was not that hungry, she went with a chopped salad ($8.95). It was average salad size and had crispy bacon bits, tomato, cheese, hard boiled egg and lettuce. Like so many Americans I love bacon, but in this instance the bacon did not fit, it was sweet and clashed with the cilantro, the clear winner of salad flavor war. The cheese was the clear loser with no flavor at all, might as well have been white cubes of nothing.

Chopped Salad
Johnny is half Mexican and grew up eating Mexican food a lot, but there is always one thing that he loves to have over any other dish, enchiladas. I was taught at a young age to make this classic Mexican dish and could have made the enchiladas ($9.50) better than this dining establishment. There was a small pile of pickled onion on top that did not make sense, it also translated into the enchiladas with an overwhelming taste of vinegar. This maybe the only time I say something like this, but there was no heat or spice to it when there should have been. The "Mexican" rice looked as if someone added a slight amount of tomato sauce, didn't taste much better.

Overall: I would not go back for anything but the nachos, and I would bring a friend to help me eat the nachos.

Best part: The nachos, seriously and maybe the prices.

Worst part: I would have to say the enchiladas brought shame to the Mexican cuisine.

Mexican | 8340 Northfield Blvd #1690, Denver, CO 303-373-9100 | $5-24 | Sun- Thurs 11-9; Fri-Sat 11-10 | all forms of payment