Thursday, January 29, 2009

sultry reds and the Vegan-ista

I've eaten entirely too much this week.

Between being off work from the ice storm and having too much time on my hands I took it upon myself to do what I do best and...well, eat. Along with my excessive eating out spree, my beloved (and crazy) college friend came in from NYC- she was a part of my gluttony.

To start off the week, a group of us met for an early dinner at Winslow's. Eager to try the revised menu, the meal had its ups and downs. Always a fan of the cheese board, it didn't fail to please. We also started with the garlic-truffle oil hummus. It was full of flavor and perfect with the grilled bread.

After our appetizers, my girlfriend ordered the wedge salad (bacon, tomatoes, bleu cheese dressing) and it was a complete disappointment. The "wedge" was tiny, the flavors were lackluster and the presentation was amateur- definitely not worth $8.

For our entrees, we ordered the lobster ravioli, spinach and goat cheese pizza, spicy shrimp with angel hair and the buffalo short ribs with a rosemary goat cheese mashed potatoes. The lobster ravioli was fishy and chewy. I didn't even finish my bite. The shrimp with angel hair was missing the flavors of the two main ingredients- the only things I tasted were olive oil and red pepper flakes. The goat cheese and spinach pizza was ok. The crust was nice but the abundance of goat cheese masked the bechamel and vegetables.

Thankfully, I ordered the best dish of the night- the buffalo short ribs. They were perfectly tender, fell off the bone and had rich flavor. The mash was a nice accompaniment although the rosemary overwhelmed the goat cheese. Nice dish- my Dad would love it.

Dessert had its ups and downs as well. We shared the chocolate ganache "ravioli" with blueberry Creme Anglaise and chopped mint. I couldn't get past the appearance- the blueberry anglaise was unappetizing. After a bite, the chocolate ganache was overwhelming, the puff pastry was packaged and I couldn't taste any hint of the blueberries.

Although the meal had its disappointments, I'll be back to prove myself wrong.

For lunch the next day, I took my NYC lover to Spiral Diner- notorious for its innovative, homemade and simply delicious Vegan fare. We started with some iced black tea and hummus dusted with paprika and lime juice. After I added a bit of salt, it was very tasty

I then ordered the "Sweet Luv'us" hummus wrap with sweet potato, hummus, broccoli, cucumber, avocado, salad greens and spicy walnuts with a tahini dressing. The flavors were great, I just wanted a little more texture- perhaps more spicy walnuts to offset the creamy consistency of the hummus, sweet potato and avocado.

NYC ordered the hot hummus wrap with grilled broccoli, black olives, carrots, corn, green peas, black beans, pine nuts and avocado with ranch dressing. Although I liked the flavor of my wrap, I preferred the texture of this one- delicious!

A few days later, my roommate and I returned to Spiral Diner for Sunday brunch. Although my mouth was watering looking at the "all you can eat" cranberry walnut pancakes, I ordered the seitan wrap with seasoned seitan grilled with red bell pepper, black olives, tomato, corn, carrot, avocado and a chipotle mayo. The marinade for the seitan was great- the waitress told me their secret was liquid smoke. I also liked the heat coming from the chipotle mayo.

The roomie ordered the "big taquito" with a tofu "scramble", diced "sausage", onions, red bell peppers, potatoes, avocado and salsa. Although the consistency of the scramble irked me a bit, the flavors were nice as well.

Later in the week I stopped by WineStyles on Camp Bowie to scour through the bottles of wine for an extended happy hour with the girls. Out of our purchases, my favorite was a 2006 red blend called Hey Mambo Sultry Red. With flavors of blackberry, plum, espresso, dried herbs and chocolate; this wine was inexpensive, yet decadent and will appear on my table again.

After our afternoon of decadence, the dinner choice was the fun, laid-back locale on Bluebonnet Circle: Ocean Rock. Amongst the table, we ordered top shelf margaritas, Fat Tire-battered halibut tacos with chipotle and a cabbage slaw, seared ahi tuna with a pineapple mango salsa and fish tacos with a mango habanero sauce.

The halibut tacos had a good texture, smoky flavor and weren't greasy. The tuna was served rare, although ordered medium rare, but was still tasty. The other fish tacos fell flat while the mango habanero salsa overwhelmed.

My final stop on my gluttonous journey ended with a lax dinner and brews at Boomer Jacks in Montgomery Plaza. Although our guy friends prefer Hooters, we came up with a (somewhat) suitable replacement. Even though the skin-tight orange booty shorts were lacking, the food, cold beer and attentive service made up for it (for me at least).

The Cajun chicken wings were crispy, saucy and spicy- perfect with ranch dressing. The bacon on the bacon cheeseburger was crispy and delicious- perfect with the juicy, medium-well chuck patty. Finally, the chicken fingers were hand-battered, moist and crispy- perfect with the well-seasoned, hot and crispy french fries. Sorry guys, this place totally trumps Hooters.

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