Saturday, June 25, 2016

Earl's Rib Palace, Edmond, OK

The first thing you have to know about Earl's Rib Palace is that Earl's most famous admirer was Elvis Presley! Earl traveled with the King as his personal chef for several years. Earl's food was so good that Elvis gained a whopping 50 pounds during that time. I'd say that was a pretty good endorsement. We took a lunch break after getting the three penny tour of OKC and I threw down on the chopped brisket sandwich smothered with some real good barbecue sauce and balanced it out with a side salad. I cleaned my dieting this week. Tara went for the sliced brisket and loved it (she's been here before!) Now hubby had the same thing but he thought it was dry. The perfect brisket would have some of that luscious fat along the edge and so he missed that.
It's a charming place with a friendly, casual atmosphere and kitchy bbq design. Earl's has six locations in Oklahoma and prides itself on knowing how the Okies like their barbecue. Judging by the lunch time crowd I'd say they're right about that.
Under the heading "it's a small world" Tara was approached by a nice young man who recognized that some six years previously she'd been his teacher at Taft Middle School. Hugs all around and even his parents came forward to meet the teach. We're so proud she's remembered so fondly by her students. Obviously she's an awesome teacher. Emails were exchanged and he shared his plans for college. It was a lovely chance meeting.
2121 S Broadway, Edmond, OK 73013
Earl's Rib Palace Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Boulevard Steak House, Edmond, OK

Who doesn't love a good steak? Dining in a real "Steak House" is always a treat and given it's price point, we reserve these nights out for special occasions. We were visiting newly found sister Tara & Warren in Oklahoma for the first time and they treated us for hubby's birthday to her favorite Steak House - Boulevard. The really good steak houses all have that same atmosphere of rich dark old world mahogany and wood paneling, low lights, waiters dressed in formal black & white that offer impeccable service. There's always a fabulous bar serving martinis. Boulevard hits all the points and more.
We started with a delicious 2014 Bodega Norton Malbec that was the perfect accompaniment to our Filet Mignon. Being a purist, I had mine plain - no steak sauce, no toppings - when I get a good expensive steak that's all I want to taste. And boy was it good. Tender, juicy and flavorful. Tara ordered hers rare and I ordered mine medium rare. Our waitress did something I've never seen done before (and I've eaten at quite a few good steak houses). She served our plates and asked us to please slice into the middle and confirm that they were the correct doneness. Turns out they had been flipped so a quick swap of plates delivered to us our perfect steaks. Hubby had the 12 oz. Rib Eye and it was perfection. All the steaks they serve are PRIME and you really can tell the difference.
Apologies for the dark pictures but the restaurant was very dimly lit. Frankly I'm all for atmosphere but would prefer a little more light when I'm eating. While there was just no room for dessert, Tara went for the Crème Brulee and devoured it while I indulged in a Cappuccino and hubby had an Espresso. We left quite satisfied and added this to our list of great Steak Houses to frequent.
505 South Boulevard, Edmond, OK 73034, 405-715-2333
Boulevard Steakhouse Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Friday, June 10, 2016

Captain Brian's, Sarasota

Sometimes just the girls have to 'escape' on their own for the day - away from housework and husbands and the routine. Today Cheryl kidnapped me and we escaped for a day of lunch and market shopping. First stop was Captain Brian's in Sarasota. It's a rather large space and we hit it just before the lunch crowd piled in. We were handed a lot of menus (three I think) which always drives me crazy. We ladies ordered variations of the same thing. I had Manhattan Clam Chowder and she opted for New England. Both were delicious, chunky, flavorful. Cheryl had the shrimp salad platter and I chose the Crab Salad platter. We enjoyed this light fare and it was a perfect portion.
Captain Brian's also has a market at one end of the restaurant featuring showcases brimming with mounds of luscious seafood options you can take home and cook. Everything looks fresh and inviting, and the trophy shark hanging overhead lets you know there are some real fishermen running this establishment.
The restaurant is participating in the yearly "Savor Sarasota Restaurant Week" which runs from June 1-14th. During Savor Sarasota you can enjoy 3-course meals from about fifty of the finest Sarasota eateries for just $15 per person for lunch and $29 per person for dinner. It's a great deal and a chance to sample some of the more expensive restaurants that may not fit your budget.
Our next stop was Jessica's Stand, an Organic Farm Stand located near the Desoto subdivision (GPS it).....and they are open Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The first thing we noticed when we parked was the plot of land adjacent to the farm stand - it was notable for having such a dark rich earthiness to it, attesting to its organic integrity (or at least that's what came to mind, but frankly we're city girls and easily impressed).
I was wowed (and wooed) by some absolutely beautiful fruits and vegetables and they were in such a colorful array they fairly begged to be picked up and squeezed and sniffed and enjoyed for their wholesomeness.
I prepared a salad of organic tomato and arugula tonight drizzled with olive oil and red wine vinegar and it was the perfect accompaniment to the shrimp & pasta hubby prepared. Tomorrow I have great plans for the Escarole in an effort to impress hubby and remind him of his childhood dinner table. Wish me luck as I search for an old Italian recipe.
8421 N Tamiami Trail Sarasota, Fl 34243
Captain Brian's Seafood Market & Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
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Tuesday, June 7, 2016


Last night hubby picked me up at the office and we decided to have a bite to eat in Brandon and wait for the rainy traffic to subside a little. Here's how the conversation went....Me: "what do you feel like eating?" He: "I don't know, what are you in the mood for?" Me: "I asked you first cause you care more and when I make a suggestion you make a face, so just tell me where you want to eat...etc." How many times have y'all had that exchange? More often than you'd like to admit, right? So I came up with a brainstorm on the spur of the moment as we were driving along Falkenburg - let's go to Top Golf!
We've been here before a couple of years ago with friends to hit some balls and were surprised with how much we enjoyed their restaurant. But this venue is a very nice option even if you don't play golf. It's a slick operation (one of dozens around the US), beautifully decorated and designed for lively fun for all ages. Don't try going on a weekend evening or you'll be met with long lines. But we were there for the food and it was as good as we remembered.
I had a Turkey and Avocado Wrap with oven-roasted turkey, avocado, carrots, cucumber, lettuce, tomato and a chipotle aoili that gave it just the right 'kick' to spark my taste buds. I upgraded to a side of fruit salad. The sandwich was so large that I took half home to enjoy for lunch the next day. The fruit salad was also a generous portion and I shared it. Hubby had a Fried Chicken Sandwich on a brioche bun and opted for the Tater Tots. Both dishes were very good and we left very satisfied.
The staff is young, energetic and very friendly and we enjoyed our banter as they took good care of us, even agreeing to pose for a photo.
We managed to resist ordering dessert but I'm including a photo here of the ultimate indulgence which we had last time. Donut holes served with an injector filled with your choice of: raspberry, chocolate or Bavarian cream. OMG get one to share with friends and worry about dieting some other time!
10690 Palm River Rd, Tampa, FL 33619
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Topgolf Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Monday, June 6, 2016

Acropolis, Ybor

Last night was a particularly fun 'escape' that started with dinner at The Acropolis in Ybor City and ended with opening night at the Straz for Jersey Boys. In a word.....WOW. We selected the Ybor Acropolis for its good food and also its close proximity to the Straz, a mere ten minute drive. The restaurant was very quiet at this midweek point which meant quick service. Our waitress was dressed in the cutest 60's retro style, sporting a black and white polka dot head scarf and matching nail polish. I know it's not the 'Greek' styling you'd expect from the Acropolis, but her style seemed perfect for Ybor City's trendy atmosphere, and besides - she was an excellent waitress in every way. I love the ambiance at Acropolis and the Ybor City location differs slightly from the Riverview one but they both appeal.
I had a Greek Burger sans bun with sauteed mushrooms and onions and topped with feta cheese served with lettuce, tomato and red onion. It was absolutely delicious, juicy and flavorful and I'd definitely order it again. Hubby had the seafood pasta and as is typical when he orders pasta, it didn't measure up. The sauce was a bit to creamy for his taste but he ate all the clams and scallops.
The real star was his appetizer of Roasted Red Pepper Hummus served with Pita Bread. We all scooped that up eagerly and enjoyed it immensely.
Marianne had the Spanakopita and loved its flaky pastry dough and the side of Tzatziki. Phil had the Blackened Shrimp Wrap with olives, sun dried tomatoes, avocado, spinach, feta...yum, in a Spinach Tortilla.
We finished up quickly and headed over to the Straz for what was the most wonderful show - I've seen the Jersey Boys before and enjoyed it, but this production was exciting and joyful. The crowd roared with applause each time they sang one of their hits, sustained applause that filled the room and gladdened the hearts of the singers. It was a wonderful opening night and I'm glad we were there to see it.
1833 E 7th Ave, Tampa, FL 33605 Acropolis Greek Taverna Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato View my food journey on Zomato!