Jul 142012

Disclosure: I was invited out to The Capital Grille on this visit for the purpose of The Generous Pour wine event.  Our meals and wine were provided for us.

Cuisine: Fish & Seafood, Steaks
Restaurant Features: Bar, Banquet, Valet Parking
Location: Downtown Minneapolis, MN
Address: 801 Hennepin Ave Minneapolis, MN 55402 612-692-9000
Hours: M-F 11am-2:30pm  M-Th 5-10pm  Fri-Sat 5-11pm  Sun 5-9pm
Links: The Capital Grille’s Website * The Capital Grille on Facebook * Google Map

Atmosphere: The Minneapolis location of The Capital Grille is located down town in the Hennepin Theater District, with the main entrance on Hennepin Ave and an additional entrance from inside La Salle Plaza.  The main dining room is big with several booths arranged around the room to maximize both space and privacy There are also a couple of smaller private dining rooms.

There is a bar area just inside the entrance from Hennepin.

Menu: Appetizers at The Capital Grille include Wagyu Beef Carpaccio, Cold Shellfish Platter, Lobster and Crab Cakes, Pan Fried Calamari with Hot Cherry Peppers, Smoked Salmon, Shrimp Cocktail, Fresh Oysters on the Half Shell, and Prosciutto Wrapped Mozzarella with Vine Ripe Tomatoes.

Soups offered are the Clam Chowder, Lobster Bisque, and French Onion.

Salads offered include Fresh Mozzarella with Tomato and Basil, Chopped Salad, The Wedge, Caesar, Spinach with Warm Bacon dressing, and Field Greens with Tomatoes.

Chef’s Selections include Seared Tenderloin with Butter Poached Lobster, Cedar Planked Salmon with Tomato Fennel Relish, Bone-In Kona Crusted Sirloin with Caramelized Shallot Butter, Porcini Rubbed Delmonico with 12-Year Aged Balsamic, Sliced Filet Mignon with Cippolini Onions and Wild Mushrooms.

Other Entrees at The Capital Grille include Filet Oscar, Dry Aged Sirloin, Dry Aged Porterhouse, Dry Aged Steak Au Poivre with a Courvoisier Cream Sauce, Filet Mignon, Delmonico Steak, Double Cut Lamb Rib Chops, and Roasted Chicken.

Seafood items include Broiled Fresh Lobster, Grilled Swordfish with Lemon Shallot Relish, Seared Citrus Glazed Salmon, Lobster and Crab Stuffed Shrimp, and Sushi-Grade Sesame Seared Tuna with Gingered Rice.

Side Items include Vidalia Onion Rings, Parmesan Truffle Fries, Lobster Mac ‘N’ Cheese, Au Gratin Potatoes, Fresh Asparagus with Hollandaise, Fresh Creamed Spinach, Roasted Seasonal Mushrooms, Sam’s Mashed Potatoes, Sauteed Spinach, and Fresh Green Beans with Roasted Tomatoes and Fennel.

Desserts include Trio of Handmade Ice Creams, Cheesecake with Fresh Seasonal Berries, Fresh Berries in Vanilla Ice Cream, Fresh Strawberries Capital Grille, Coconut Cream Pie, Flourless Chocolate Espresso Cake, Chocolate Hazelnut Cake, and Classic Creme Brulee.
What we ordered: We started with a basket of different breads and enjoyed the first of many glasses of wine as part of The Generous Pour, the Lunetta Rose, a sparkling rose wine from Italy.

We started with an order of Raw Oysters, served in the half shell and on ice.  They were served with cocktail sauce and lemon and horseradish at my request.  Fresh and delicious. These went so well with the Gary Farrell 2009 Chardonnay that is part of The Generous Pour.  I love oysters and I thought these were really good

We also tried an order of the Wagyu Beef Carpaccio.  The beef was sliced ever so thin, raw with just the very edges seared.  It was topped with arulgula and lemon vinaigrette with shaved parmigiano.  This was wonderful! The beef was so tender and delicious, it melted in my mouth.  This was excellent, I especially enjoyed it paired with Villa Mt. Eden, Grand Reserve 2007 ~ Pinot Noir, Russian River

For my entree I was debating between the Kona Crusted Sirloin and the Delmonico Ribeye. Our server made my decision very easy for me by suggesting I get the Delmonico with the Kona rub. Sold! This steak was so wonderful that it has moved its way to the very top of my Best Ribeye Steak list.  I would say this whether or not my meal was free.  The Delmonico was served bone-in and was perfectly seasoned.  The shallot butter really kicked up the flavor a notch as well.  I ordered it a medium minus and it was cooked perfectly for me.  The cut was of superior quality, the fat marbled to really give it a rich meaty flavor.  The quality of  steaks at The Capital Grille is consistently among the best out there.  We enjoyed our steaks with Conn Creek Cabernet and Ferrari-Carano.

My companion ordered the Porcini Rubbed Delmonico, which has become our new pick for best ribeye in the Twin Cities.  This bone-in steak was prepared medium rare, just as requested, with a beautiful char on some of the edges.  It was juicy and tender as can be, a superior cut  aged to give it a more robust, deep flavor.  This steak had just a hint of sweetness form the balsalmic vinegar that it is cooked with.  Wonderful flavor, a great departure from traditional steak seasonings or sauces.

We shared a half order of sauteed mushrooms to go with our steaks.  Delicious!

I absolutely had to order the Lobster Mac N Cheese. If you have never had this before, you absolutely MUST try this at The Capital Grille! It is rich and cheesy, made with a bland of marscapone, havarti and Grana Padano cream sauce. It had several big pieces of lobster throughout and was baked with white cheddar and panko bread crumbs on top.  The panko was a nice crunchy contrast to all the creaminess. SO GOOD!

We also got a half-order of Asparagus to share, grilled perfectly.

We also ordered one mini coconut cream pie to bring home.  This was absolutely delightful, I could eat it for dessert once a week if I truly wanted to indulge, it was one of the best coconut cream pies I have tried.  The base of this pie was similar to a sugar cookie and absolutely wonderful as each bite melted in my mouth. It was then topped with a layer of coconut pastry cream, whipped cream, and then shredded toasted coconut.  The portion was about the size of two pieces of standard pie so plan to share it ;)

Service: We had a reservation and The Capital Grille was expecting us as their guests for dinner and to experience The Generous Pour.  That being said, we had great service.  Our server was great about explaining each wine as he poured them for us.  Complimentary valet parking
Overall Impression:  Dinner at The Capital Grille is always a treat and it is even better when you can enjoy it with a glass of good wine… or several, as is the case with the famous summer wine event, The Generous Pour.  The Delmonico Ribeye steak and the Lobster Mac N Cheese are two of my favorite food items that I have eaten this year, if not ever.  That says a lot!

The Capital Grille on Urbanspoon

Jun 182012

In case you missed the finale of Cupcake Champions last week on Food Network, Kevin VanDeraa of Cupcake bakery in Minneapolis was declared Cupcake Champion and took home the $50,000 grand prize.

VanDeraa won by baking the Alton Brown, s’more, carrot, and Boston cream; several of which are available daily at Cupcake. Photos are courtesy of Kevin VanDeraa.

3338 University Ave. SE.
Minneapolis, MN 55414
(612) 378-4818

May 282012

Cuisine: Fusion
Restaurant Features: Bar
Location: Minneapolis, MN (warehouse district)
Address:428 Washington Ave N. Minneapolis, MN 55401 (612) 375-1971

  • Lunch: (Monday – Friday) 11:30am – 2:00pm
  • Dinner:  (Monday – Thursday) 5:00pm – 9:00pm (Friday – Saturday) 5:00pm – 10:00pm
  • Closed on: Sunday and  Major Holidays

Links: Sapor Website * Sapor on Facebook * Google Map

Atmosphere: Sapor is located on Washington Ave at 5th Ave N, in the Warehouse District of Downtown Minneapolis.  The restaurant is divided into a dining room on one side and the bar on the other.  There are a handful of rectangular tables that can easily be combined for large parties.  In the evening the lighting is very dim but it seems like it would be rather colorful in the daytime.

The bar area also has a handful of tables as well as seating around the bar.  It is cozy and casual with richly painted walls and bistro prints.

Menu: The Menu at Sapor changes frequently.

Items offered at lunch include Burger ( Sourdough Bun with Worcestershire, Onion Ring and Pickles – Choice of French Fries or Salad ), Falafels (with Feta, Greens, Tomato, Ginger-Yogurt Dressing and French Fries Salad or Sandwich),  Torta Milanesa (Breaded Pork on Ciabatta with Chipotle Mayonnaise, Avocado, Tomato, Lettuce, Piparra Peppers and French Fries), and Bacon Burger ( Brioche Bun with Roasted Garlic-Tomato Aioli, Roasted Sweet Peppers and French Fries).

Salads currently offered at Sapor include Romaine Salad (with Creamy Garlic Dressing, Parmesan and Croutons), Strawberry-Avocado Salad (on Artisan Greens with Honey-Goat Cheese Dressing ), and a Soup du Jour.

Small Plates include Panucho (Black Bean-Stuffed Handmade Corn Tortilla with Pepita-Poblano Salsa and Guacamole), Beetza (Roasted Beet Pizza with Caramelized Onion, Goat Cheese, Spinach and Honey Citronette), and Southern Style Macaroni and Cheese (with Sharp Cheddar and Bacon).

Full Plates include Drunken Beef (Hanger Steak with Chinese Black Bean-Ginger Vinaigrette, Canton Noodle Cake, Snow Peas and Bean Sprouts), Thai Grilled Shrimp (with Mint, Mango, Grapefruit, Jicama and Peanut Sauce), Asparagus-Mascarpone Ravioli (in Lemon-Parmesan Broth with Preserved Mushrooms), and Massaman Lamb Curry (with Yukon Potatoes, Haricot Verts and Jasmine Rice).

Desserts also change regularly but may include Salty Caramel Pannacotta (with Shortbread Cookie), Churros (with Mexican Hot Chocolate), Coconut Cream Pie (with Macadamia Nut Crust, Bruleed Bananas and Caramel Sauce), Almond Cake (with Grapefruit Curd and Berries)

Price guide: Small Plates $7-13 Full Plates $14-21 Desserts $7

Happy Hour:

  • Happy Hour 5pm-7pm   Monday-Saturday
  • $4 and $5 Bites and Bar Features with special pricing

What we ordered: My companions and I started with the complimentary dinner rolls with herbed butter.  Pretty standard but welcome when you’re hungry!

A few of us tried the Southern-Style Macaroni and Cheese ($9) small plate.   This dish contained penne pasta coated with a sauce made with sharp cheddar which had several bits of smoked bacon mixed in and melted cheese on top.  The flavor of this mac n cheese was very good, but the noodles were a little on the dry side so it wasn’t as smooth as I usually like it.  I’d still eat it again, however.

One of my companions ordered the Sweet Potato Puree  soup, which looked good but I did not try.

Several of my companions and I ordered one of the evening specials, the Panko-Crusted Pork Tenderloin ($18) served over angel hair tossed with pesto.  The pork tenderloin was tender while the crispy golden brown panko breading was perfectly crispy.  The pesto was light but flavorful and the angel hair was the right choice to accompany the pork without overdoing it.  The corn that was sprinkled on top gave it a summer sweetness that complimented the savory of the pesto.  Very good, several of us ordered this.

Another companion or two ordered the Marscapone Ravioli ($17) in Lemon-Parmesan Broth with Preserved Mushrooms.  I was lucky enough to try one of these raviolis and it was incredibly delicious! There were six round pockets filled with creamy marscapone that had the faintest hint of sweetness.  The broth was light and savory, and very flavorful.  The asparagus and mushrooms brought a lot of texture to this dish.  Wonderful!

Some of my companions ordered the Thai Shrimp ($19) with Mint, Mango, Grapefruit, Jicama and Peanut Sauce.  This was a very light, summery dish with the fresh fruits, while the peanuts added an interesting element to the texture.  The shrimp were perfectly sauteed and the entire dish was tossed in a light creamy sauce.

Service: Our party of 13-14 had an advance reservation for 8pm on a Saturday evening.  The restaurant was busy with a couple of other large parties.  Our server did a nice job keeping up with our large party while leaving us to socialize and enjoy the evening.
Overall Impression: I had heard good things about Sapor Cafe and Bar and it lived up to them all.  The menu is small but contains a variety of cuisine that changes frequently; you might not know what dish you can expect from visit to visit but you know it will be delicious.
Sapor Cafe and Bar on Urbanspoon

May 052012

Cuisine: French
Restaurant Features: Bar, On-Site Parking, Sidewalk Patio
Location: Uptown Minneapolis
Address: 1600 W. Lake St.  Minneapolis, MN 55408  612.827.5710
Hours: Sun-Thurs 8am-1am * Fri-Sat 8am-2am
Links: Barbette Website * Barbette on Facebook * Google Map

Atmosphere: Located in Uptown at the corner of Lake St and Irving Ave, Barbette is much bigger inside than it might appear from the exterior.  The irregular-shaped bar run along one side of the restaurant, with many tables in all direction surrounding it.  There are simple pendant lights suspended from the industrial-style ceiling and eclectic pieces of art adorning the walls.

Menu: Breakfast items include Croissant, Scone, Muffin, Fruit Salad, Yougurt, Omelette, Quiche, Poached Organic Eggs, Buckwheat Crepe with Scrambled Eggs, Herbs, Brie and Strawberries, Eggs with Bacon or Sausage, Waffles and French Toast.

Sandwiches served from 11am-5pm include Croque Monsier, Croque Madame, Fischer Farms Ham and Brie Crepe, Royale with Cheese, Spinach, Roasted Tomato and Chevre Crepe.

Salads include Field Greens, Roasted Beet Salad, Nicoise, Cobb, and Grilled Skirt Steak Salad.

Appetizers served after 5pm include Oysters, Daily Soup, Daily Tartare, Steamed Mussels, Pommes Frites, Seared Scallops, Pea & Carrots, Daily Vegetable, Warm Olives, Linguini with Grilled Asparagus, Charcuterie Platter, Truffled Whipped Brie, Fondue au Fromage, Artisanal Cheese and Fruit Plate.

Barbette’s Entrees include Fischer Farms Grilled Pork Loin, Steak Frites, Langostine and Seared Scallops, Steak Helene, Roasted Kadejan Chicken, Pan Seared Atlantic Cod, English Pea Risotto with Pecorino Romano, Ham Hock & English Pea Risotto, and Halibut.

For dessert, Barbette features Vanilla Creme Brulee, Carrot Cake, Sorbet, Molten Chocolate Cake,
Price guide: Breakfast $2-13  Sandwiches $10-13  Appetizers $5-15 Entrees $18-38

Happy Hour:

  • Mon-Fri 3-6pm  *  Sun-Thu 10pm-1am
  • $3 PBR
  • $4 House wine and bubbly
  • $4 Domestic Taps
  • $5 Select appetizers

Weekly Specials:

  • Mondays- 5 to 10 p.m., Barbette prepares 4 to 5 course dinners, including dessert and/or a cheese course for $32. Menus often include sustainable harvested fish or locally farmed meats, but Barbette is happy to accommodate vegetarians, vegans, and others with dietary constraints.

What we ordered: My companion and I shared the Nicoise Salad to start.  There was a pile of greens with roasted red peppers, purple potato, olives, green beans, anchovies, soft boiled egg and ahi tuna.  The tuna was  seared perfectly and had almost a smoky taste to it.  It was great!

My companion and I decided to try several of the appetizers for dinner rather than order entrees.  Barbette serves steamed mussels two ways: one with white wine, lemon and garlic, and the other with a
chorizo-harissa sauce.  We tried the Chorizo-Harissa sauce, a spicy garlic red pepper sauce.  The order had several small mussels, all cooked tender.  We both thought these were very good.  It was served with three slices of crustini.

The “Tartare of the Day” happened to be Steak Tartare.  This was one item on the List of 100 Food to Eat Before You Die (The Food List Challenge) that neither of us had previously tried but I had heard that Barbette was the best place to have it, so we decided to order this too.  When it arrived, it resembled a pile of raw hamburger topped with a very soft egg and my companion and I both shared a look before we cautiously dug in.  It was really good!! The beef was so tender that it had a texture similar to sashimi.  It was served chilled and tasted of garlic and must’ve been marinated in a white wine.  It was served with crustini and field greens, mustard and slices of dill pickle.

We also tried the Truffled Whipped Brie, served with crustini and field greens.  This was wonderful if you like brie and truffles!  We put a little on the bread and then topped it with some of the steak tartare and the combo was really good!

Service: We had reservations on the Thursday night of Dining Out for Life and Barbette was very busy.  There is a very small lot in the back of the restaurant and it fills up quickly, and I wasn’t lucky enough to get a spot.  Be prepared to walk a couple of blocks, parking is hard to come by.  We entered Barbette through the side entrance and there didn’t appear to be a host stand nearby but it was quite busy already so we started walking toward the front when the host spotted us and brought us to our table.  We were greeted by our server within five minutes, who then took our drink order and told us about the daily specials.  She was knowledgeable about the menu and had good recommendations for us.  The food was brought out in two courses, as we had requested.  After dinner we ended up moving to one of the tables on the patio where we were joined by a couple of friends for drinks.  Our new server easily  transferred to the new server, who was also very attentive.
Overall Impression: Barbette is regarded as one of the best restaurants in the Twin Cities and it is easy to see why.  The service is very good and although the menu is somewhat limited, it is well executed.  If you want to try Steak Tartare, Barbette is a excellent choice.
Barbette on Urbanspoon

Apr 082012

Cuisine: American, Desserts
Restaurant Features: Bar, Flatscreen TVs, Rooftop Patio
Location: Uptown Minneapolis, MN
Address:  3001 Hennepin Ave S., Suite 1230  Minneapolis, MN 55408  612-877-7263
Hours: Mon-Thurs 11:30am-12am * Fri 11:30am-2am * Sat 9am-2am * Sun 9am-12am
Links: Uptown Cafeteria Website * Uptown Cafeteria on Facebook * Google Map

Atmosphere: Situated in a prime space on the lower level of Calhoun Square, Uptown Cafeteria is located at Hennepin Ave, looking out onto Lake Street.  The windows that look out onto Lake Street have the ability to open completely, making it an open-air restaurant for many months of the year.  The main dining area is tucked away from the bar and is decorated to have a very retro look to it with the booths, tables and chairs.

The bar is the central feature at Uptown Cafeteria and has seating on all sides of the bar as well as several bistro tables along the windows.  There are a handful of flatscreen TVs hanging above the bar tuned into a variety of programs.  Uptown Cafeteria also has a Sky Bar that is on the rooftop and is open from May-September.

Menu:  Breakfast is served on Saturday and Sunday from 9am-3pm.  Menu items include Warm Banana Bread, Egg White Scramble, Yogurt Parfait, Bacon and Eggs,  Waffles, Chilaquiles, Full Monty English Breakfast, Eggs Benedict, Smoked Salmon Florentine Benedict, Hangover Helper, Cheddar Biscuits and Chorizo Gravy, Pancakes, German Potato Pancakes, and French Toast Treasure Box.

Appetizers at Uptown Cafeteria include Walleye and Corn Fritters, Buffalo Shrimp, Battered Onion Rings, Cold Smoked Salmon, Jalapeno Cheddar Poppers, Crunchy Mushrooms, Short Rib Chili Cheese Fries, Crispy Sweet and Sour Chicken Wings, Cheese and Crackers, and House-made Potato Chips.

Soups include Chicken Noodle, Soup of the Day, and Short Rib Chili.  Salads offered are Hearts of Romaine Caesar, Field Greens, Classic Wedge, Greek Salad, Cobb, Big Hippie Salad and Taco Salad.

Sandwiches are served with fries, chips, side salad or cottage cheese.  Options include Tuna Melt, The Jerk, Grilled Cheese with Tomato Soup, Fancy Grilled Cheese (with bleu cheese, apple and bacon), The Burger (cheese, onions, fried eggs and mushrooms), Turkey Burger, Turkey Club, Cuban Sandwich, BBQ Meatloaf Melt, and Southwest Veggie Burger.

Uptown Cafeteria also has entrees such as Meatloaf with Mashed Potatoes, Fried Buttermilk Chicken, Beef Stroganoff, Country Fried Steak, Chicken and Waffles, Shrimp and Grits, Hot Tom Turkey, Four Cheese Mac & Cheese, Chicken Potpie, Thick Cut Pork Chop, Lake of the Woods Shore Lunch and Grilled Fresh Fish.

Side Dishes include Mashed Potatoes and Gravy, Bacon and Bleu Cheese Brussel Sprouts, Green Bean Almondine, Cheddar Drop Biscuits, and Fries with Ranch.

Uptown Cafeteria also has a selection of homemade desserts including Warm Apple Pie, Pumpkin Pie, Chocolate Silk Pie, 5 Layer Chocolate Cake, and Red Velvet Cake with Raspberry Ice Cream Soda, Caramel Pecan Malt, Oreo Grasshopper Shake, and Chocolate, Strawberry or Vanilla Malt.
Price guide: Appetizers $5-11 Salads $7-14  Sandwiches $8-13 Entrees $10-17 Desserts $5-8

Weekly Specials:
Sunday- Lasagna with Side Salad and Garlic Bread $11
Monday- Spaghetti Dinner with Side Salad and Garlic Bread $12
Tuesday- All-You-Can-Eat Tacos $11
Wednesday- Pot Roast $12
Thursday- Chicken Subgum Chow Mein $10
Friday- All You Can Eat Fish Fry with fries and coleslaw $16
What we ordered: My companion and I visited Uptown Cafeteria on a hot, beautiful afternoon and a delicious cocktail was in order.  I had the Blueberry Mojito $10, a blend of rum, mint leaves, club soda, simple syrup and blueberries.

As soon as I saw the Cuban sandwich on the menu, I knew that was what I wanted to order. The sandwich had roasted pork and smoked ham piled on a french roll with Swiss cheese, mustard and pickles, then pressed until the bread was crusty and everything within hot and melted.  I ordered it with fries, which were fresh cut, hot and salty.

My companion ordered the Turkey Burger with Chili and Avocado.  The burger was made with fresh ground seasoned turkey, which was moist and very tasty.  It was topped with melted cheese, big slices of fresh avocado and roasted green chilis.  It was very good but messy to eat; fork and knife proved to be a better option.

Service: We arrived for a late lunch on a beautiful Friday afternoon and all of the tables near the windows were already taken so we chose to sit in the vacant dining room, which we ended up having to ourselves for the entire duration of our visit.  We were assigned a server and we saw her exactly four times…. once to take our drink order, another to bring drinks and take our food order, another to bring the food and the fourth time was to bring us our bill (which I paid for with cash since we didn’t want to wait forever).  We didn’t require a lot of attention but it would have been nice to feel like we weren’t forgotten.
Overall Impression: The food at Uptown Cafeteria is what I would consider comfort food, although the prices seemed a little high to be comforting on a budget. Our two sandwiches and one cocktail ended up being over $40 after tip, which seemed expensive for what we got but is typical for any restaurant in Uptown.  The food was good and the atmosphere was pretty cool.

Uptown Cafeteria on Urbanspoon

Apr 072012

Cuisine: Breakfast, South American
Restaurant Features: Beer & Wine, On-Site Parking,
Location: Northeast Minneapolis, MN
Address:  2851 Central Avenue NE  Minneapolis, MN 55418  612-788-1328
Hours: Mon-Thur: 11a–3p / 5p–10p Fri: 11a–11p  Sat: 8a–11p  Sun: 8a–9a
Links: Chimborazo Website * Chimborazo on Facebook * Google Map

Atmosphere: Chimborazo is located in Northeast Minneapolis on Central Ave at 29th Street.  The building is small and stands alone at the corner and the sign is easy to miss if you don’t know what you’re looking for.  Inside the restaurant there are several tables running along the walls and a handful of round tables in the middle.  It is cozy, with warm yellow walls and framed woven tapestries in the style native to South America.  Each table had a little vase with cute fresh flowers that we thought was a nice touch.

Menu: Breakfast is available from 8am-2pm and includes Chimborazo (pancakes, roast pork and egg), Tungurahua (eggs, rice, beans), Cotopaxi, Llapingachos (potato pancakes with onion and cheese), Mote Pillo (Hominy with scrambled eggs), Tortilla de Puerco, Tortilla de Espinaca), Buttermilk Pancakes, Pancakes de Platanos, Empanada de Queso, Eggs, Chorizo, and Bacon.

Appetizers include Ceviche de Camaron, Muchin de Yuca (cassava croquettes filled with onion and cheese), Yuca Frita, Empanada de Queso, Empanada de Carne, Llapingachos, Patacones con Queso, and Platano Maduro.

Chimborazo has a selection of Sopas including Soup of the Day, Encebollado, Caldo de Bolas de Verde, and Caldo de Bagre.

Sandwiches offered include Roasted Pork, Grilled Chicken and Veggie.

Entrees at Chimborazo include Hornados con Papas, Seco de Carne, Seco de Pollo, Saltado, Milanesa de Pollo, Churrasco, Llapingachos con Chorizo, Chaulafan (Ecuadorian Fried Rice), Encocado de Mahi Mahi or Shrimp, Chupe de Pescado, and Ecuatoriano Vegetariano.

Desserts include Coconut Batido, Tres Leches Cake, and Higos con Queso
Price guide: Appetizers $2-10 Sandwiches $7-8  Entrees $9-12
What we ordered: Chimborazo does not have a bar but does serve beer and wine in addition to a couple of non-alcoholic drinks such as the Coconut Batido.  This was my first time trying this particular batido and I loved the toasted coconut flavor of the drink, it gave it a nice nutty taste that was quite pronounced in a very good way.  It was a frozen blend of coconut milk, ice, toasted coconut, (and perhaps other magical ingredients) then was topped with whipped cream and toasted coconut. It wasn’t overly sweet but would be great for dessert; I took me an hour to finish it but it was delicious.

My companion and I started off with a couple of different Appetizers, starting with the Platanos Maduros.  These were thick slices of sweet platanos (banana) fried and then topped with soft, mild, melted white cheese.  The platanos were served with the most delicious sauce called aji criollo, an Ecuadorian hot sauce made with hot peppers, cilantro, garlic, onion and lime.  The spicy, citrusy sauce worked well with the sweetness of the banana and creaminess of the cheese. Yum!

We also tried the Empanada de Queso.  This pocket of dough was filled with soft, mild white cheese then fried until golden brown and flaky.  It was dusted with powdered sugar that gave it a hint of sweetness.  This makes a good appetizer, snack or dessert!

We also tried the Empanada de Carne.  This was fantastic! Inside the beautiful crispy brown crust were bite-sized pieces of grilled steak, peas, red pepper and onions.  It was served with fresh diced tomatoes and I also dipped it in the aji criollo sauce which made it even better.

There were many dishes that sounded really good but I ended up ordering the Hornados con Papas for my entree.  The pork is slow roasted for 16 hours until it is extremely tender.  The pork was served with llapingachos, which were ‘pancakes’ of creamy seasoned mashed potatoes filled with cheese and then browned.  Very tasty! The dish was also served with salad and mote, which is what hominy is called in Spanish.  It is similar to corn but bigger and not nearly as sweet.

My companion ordered the Encocado with Mahi Mahi.  This dish was rich and full of flavor, the sauce made from coconut milk, coconut, lime juice, orange juice, garlic, onion, cumin, coriander, bell pepper and cilantro.  It was both sweet and savory at the same time, and went really well with the mild mahi mahi.  The rice was just the right accompaniment to soak up the rich sauce.

For dessert we shared the Tres Leches Cake, which was very good .  It wasn’t overly moist but the leches were still distinguishable.  It was topped with whipped cream and slices of fresh strawberries.  I wish I hadn’t been too full to have more than a bite or two.

Service: My companion and I met at Chimborazo on a weekday when it was just opening for dinner.  We had our pick of both parking spots and tables in the dining room.  Our server was nice and took time to explain various items from the menu and we were very happy with her suggestions.

Overall Impression:  We both enjoyed Chimborazo a lot and I am now very much turned on to South American food.  The food and service were both very good at Chimborazo and the prices were reasonable for the amount of food we got.  If you like coconut, there are many dishes you will likely enjoy at Chimborazo. We will be back!
Chimborazo on Urbanspoon

Mar 132012

A few weeks back I received a package in the mail with a couple of new candy bars from Cakedy Candy Bars.  These candy bars are unique in that they are filled with a nougat made from cake batter.  I am willing to try nearly any chocolate and since these sounded interesting, I said I would give them a try.

The package that was sent to me included two different bars, the Redhead and the Peanutter.  They were each in a  sealed plastic wrapper with a homemade sticker proudly displaying the “Cakedy” name.

The first bar we tried was the Redhead.  It is described on the package as “Strawberry Cream Cheese Nougat with Strawberry Chips and Vanilla Shell”.  I had two other companions who were willing to be guinea pigs with me, and a couple who were far more leery. One friend of mine was suspicious and thought I was crazy to consume a product that was sent to me in this fashion but I assured her that Cakedy was a real company and that everything was fine.  Then I tasted it and to put it nicely, I really didn’t care for it and wish that I hadn’t tried this one first.  My two guinea pigs both thought it was good but I didn’t care for the flavor or texture.

The Peanutter looked much more appealing and tasted far better to me and my companions.  It had a thick layer of chocolate surrounding the peanut butter flavored nougat.  It also had the distinct taste of butterscotch from the chips inside the nougat.  We would all buy these to eat again.

Overall Impression: Everyone who tried the Peanutter bar enjoyed it and thought it was really good.  The Redhead was enjoyed by 2 out of 3 but I personally thought it missed the mark.