Sunday, August 21, 2016

The Sanctuary: Elements and the Jade Bar

I took five ladies from Wichita to Scottsdale to stay at the Sanctuary.  We ate at Elements the restaurant there.  I've been hanging out at the Jade Bar--also playing golf.  I've got to say, New Port Grill in Wichita is still the most creative cocktail joint I've been to, but the Jade Bar is a great hangout.  If you get here, you need to try the roasted edamame.  I've had it for lunch every day and it matches their cocktails.  The Vieux Carre is wonderful.  The Old Fashioned is wonderful.  These are classics and match the edamame like you can't imagine. Just try it.  I've read and written while drinking and eating for three days in a row.  We are talking about a great venue and great bar. 

Elements is a great restaurant for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.  I'd recommend sharing--the food is great, but much more than the normal human can consume comfortably.  The breakfast is great too and well done, but mucho lotso.  I could subsist on the appetizers.  The food quality is good.  Portions are large to enormous.  Quality is very fine.  If anything, I'd like more diversity in their style and types.  There is no lamb and no although some eclectic selections they don't go far enough.  It is a great restaurant.  Try the Jade Bar and have the roasted edamame and an old fashioned cocktail.     

Monday, July 4, 2016

Sushi Tour KC

Here's the dirt on the 2016 sushi tour.  This time we went to KC.  We were supposed to fly, but the weather was poop and supposed to be poop for the entire weekend.  We drove out on Saturday to KC and the Ambassador Hotel.  I wanted a Ritz-Carlton, but there aren't any in KC anymore.  The Ambassador is supposed to be the best in KC, and I think it might be.  Everyone greeted us with a smile.  The staff were all friendly.  The rooms were similar to the high end hotels I've stayed in Europe and Asia.  The Reserve restaurant is excellent.  They will give you a ride from the hotel to anywhere important in KC.  They say five miles, but they took us to the Plaza and back as well as the Art Museum and the WWI Museum.  The Ambassador is middle priced but top end for amenities.  It really is a boutique hotel.

The first step on the sushi tour was Mr. Le's.  This comes up as the number two sushi spot in KC.  I'd say it is the number one for quality and price.  It's a hole in the wall on Parvin.  The service was good, the location isn't for any special occasion, but the sushi makes the trip worthwhile.  We had spicy tuna hand rolls, the combination of nigiri and shashimi, and their yellow tail carpaccio.  Hot sake of course.  The shashimi was in large chunks, and the nigiri was very nice with a classical but nice flavor to the rice.  Everything was tip top fresh.  Try it--it is likely the best sushi in KC.

We went to the WWI Museum in KC.  History buffs you gotta visit.  It is supposed to be the only WWI museum in the USA.  Really good bargain and museum.

Next on the Sushi tour was Nara NeoJapanese downtown.  The Ambassador gave us a ride to the restaurant.  The atmosphere is modern and the feel is metropolitan.  We had their vegetable rolls,  special roll, some Nigiri, and spicy tuna hand rolls.  The service was good but a little busy.  I made reservations with open table.  I recommend reservations.  They were busy and others had to wait--we didn't.  Nara didn't really have anything special that the Neo kind of promised. The sushi was excellent and fresh.  hey handled our requests.  The sushi rice wasn't standard.   wouldn't call it number one, but it i definitely a hopping place and a fun restaurant.  No negatives and the prices were good.  They have Saporo on tap.

We went to the Art Museum the next day.  Highly recommended.

For lunch, I had open table reservations for Kona Grill.  This is a chain, but we found it an excellent restaurant during our Dallas tour.  It didn't disappoint.  They have perfect sake bombs with the big Kirins, light or regular.  We ate the yellow tail carpaccio and the tuna tower.  The yellow tail is one of their signature small plates--you gotta try it.  It is wonderful.  The tuna tower is excellent and slightly neutral.  Kona Grill is a perfect lunch venue.  The service was excellent.  No disappointment and very flavorful.  The sushi quality was excellent.

Dinner was at Drunken Fish. This is also a chain.  We walked from the Ambassador.  Drunken Fish is in the Power and Light District of KC.  I had Open Table reservations and we came late, but got right in.  I had the Teriyaki Beef with fried rice.  The fried rice was my request. At first they balked, but the server made the restaurant a "yes" experience by figuring out how to make it happen.  We also had a spicy tuna hand roll and a Drunken Fish roll.  They threw in another spicy tuna roll--impressive.  They also have Sake bombs, but more like Irish bombs.  We had the Saporo, also on tap, and the Nama cold sake.  The place was metro and upscale but not fancy.  Food quality was good and the sushi was great.  I'd go again.  The server made the experience very good.

All in all, we had a great sushi tour.  All the places we visited had great to excellent sushi. No complaints.

By the way, shopping at the Plaza was fun--lots of guy and gal places to check out.  Oh, I should mention, we had drinks with some friends at Reserve--they make a mean martini.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Dallas Sushi Tour - Kona Grill

We went on a sushi tour to check out the best sushi restaurants in Dallas Texas.  We only had time to check out the top three.  We perhaps picked a poor weekend for a sushi tour, but we had a great time.

Our first stop was to take N17979 (Tammy Lamb) from Wichita to McKinney Airport on the outskirts of Dallas.  We had a rental car waiting us, so we went car to car with no TSA involved.

From McKinney we headed for Kona Grill.  We had a reservation through Open Table for 1200.  We really didn't need a reservation, but we should have.  Kona Grill was outstanding.  The restaurant is in a mall and has an outside seating area.  The seating was very nice.

We were impressed from the beginning when we could order saki bombs from the menu.  They were Kirin and Kirin light in 22 oz. bottles each with a small container of hot saki.  Talk about a great start to lunch.  The Kirin was chilled nicely and the saki was heated well.  In an open courtyard seating under the trees, the spot was idyllic.

The menu at Kona Grill is a mixed polopolesian and sushi.  I chose the restaurant because of its ratings and because it was the only nice place with sushi open for lunch on the 4th of July.  Kona Grill isn't rated in the top five or ten for Dallas, but it should be.  For the purist, Kona might not be the best, but we had a taste of Southwestern shashimi that will bring us back next time.

We were sharing shashimi and sushi for the weekend, so we tried the jalapeno yellowtail and the jalapeno salmon from the shashimi menu.  We also ordered spicy tuna hand-rolls, and tuna and eel nigiri. 

The shashimi was excellent.  It wasn't classic, but the fish was fresh and the spices were natural and not overwhelming to the fish.  The yellow tail had a piece of jalapeno and cilantro on top.  It was excellent.  The salmon had a puree of jalapeno on top and something tasty in the middle.  The presentation was beautiful.  The nigiri was classic.  The spicy tuna hand-rolls were pretty typical.  They were surprisingly not too spicy.  The birth-day girl is on a search for the perfect spicy tuna hand-roll.  To her, that means chunks or slices of tuna with hot sesame oil and other spices--she'll know it when she tastes it.  It was the way one of our favorite sushi places did it before it shut down.

Kona Grill was a great start to our Dallas sushi tour.  We will return.     

Friday, March 16, 2012

Hangar One, Wichita

I have been eating out, and I have been smoking cigars.  I just have not reported for a while because I'm busy.

I have a couple of positive places to recommend in Wichita.  The first is Hangar One.  The first couple of times I visited this restaurant, I wasn't impressed.  That changed with the last visit.  Hangar One is a flying motif restaurant and bar.  The bar is at the top, like a air traffic control tower.  The Society of Experimental Test Pilots (SETP) had a monthly beer call there.  I can report that the selection of draft was excellent.  It wasn't as numerous as some specialty bars (like Fox and Hound), but the selection was great and varied.  I was impressed with the Moose Drool (a dark ale).  It wasn't too bitter.  I also ate a KC Strip there.  The steak was good quality and properly cooked.  This was a distinct improvement over the last couple of times I had been there.  I can recommend the atmosphere, the beer, and the food.  The music in the bar was a little loud, but it didn't prevent conversation.  Prices were also reasonable.

I'll also mention the new Lakeside club.  I had a meal and a Martini there with the regular copilot.  The meal was great and the prices very good for the quality.  This is a private club.  The know how to shake a drink and the drinks are large.  The portions were large too.  In addition, the Lakeside club has live music and a place to dance.  The music was very danceable.  I was impressed by the bar tending at Lakeside--the bartender mixed my Martini wrong, but corrected it right away.  Very good bar tending.

I'm smoking a Baccarat cigar, a box I won at a Texas Hold'em tournament.  The cigar is pleasant, but is very sweet.  The taste of the tobacco is especially sweet.  I suspect it is a flavored cigar.  It isn't unpleasant, and doesn't have a flavored taste to the draw.  It's an unusual cigar.  I likely wouldn't have bought it for myself, but any winnings are pleasant.


Monday, February 20, 2012

Osaka and The Doughnut Hole, Destin, Florida

I'll give you two in one: Osaka and The Doughnut Hole.  I've been to Osaka many times.  Osaka is an outstanding Japanese restaurant on the Emerald Coast.  It has both a hibachi and a sushi area.  We ate in the sushi area on this visit.  Even if you don't like sushi, Osaka has Japanese food you will like.  Everything I've had there has been excellent and authentic.

Almost everyone drank hot saki, and we all reported that it was pleasant.  About half had sushi and half had a hot meal.  One of our group ordered the beef curry and reported that it was excellent.  Another ate the beef terriaki and gave that a thumbs up. 

I had the Chirashi sushi.  I've had it before, and it is consistently the best Chirashi I've had on the east coast.  A Chirashi is shashimi (raw fish) and other sushi toppings served over sushi rice.  Actually, the rice is the sushi.  The stuff on top is the topping on the sushi rice.  This Chirashi has always been excellent.  I've never been disappointed.  The prices at Osaka are at the higher end, but everything on this side of the bridges is more costly.

Visit Osaka, you will enjoy it.

For breakfast, we went to The Doughnut Hole.  This place was packed on the weekend.  It was packed this morning (Monday).  It is small but wonderfully decorated with real wood everywhere.  The coffee is freshly ground and excellent.  I had a doughnut and coffee.  Everyone else, except Bun had a real breakfast.  When I say a real breakfast, I mean a real breakfast.  Even the diet plate was heaped full.  Here is a photo proof of what a "real" breakfast pastry looks like.
The photo is Bun and the Apple Fritter, or Bun and the Very Large Bun.  My doughnut wasn't this large.  Still for a hearty breakfast, check out The Doughnut Hole.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Hog Heaven, Shalamar, Florida

Okay guys if you are looking for an unbelievable amount of food for a lunch time price, you have to visit Hog Heaven in Shalamar, Florida.  This is a barbecue joint of unparalleled quality.  It has character and the food there is of a superior character.  Now, I have to warn you, this is man food.  If your sweet love doesn't mind man food in a man food joint, go for it, but otherwise...don't take them along.

We ordered the onion rings and the jalapeno poppers.  The onion rings were the size of Phillis Diller's bracelets.  A country girl might even use them for bracelets.  There were enough to feed all five at our table and each one was like eating a whole onion.  The were perfectly fried and excellent man food.  The jalapeno poppers were filled with some kind of good gooey stuff.  The point of identification isn't important, the taste is--they tasted great and were hot (fire and spice).

I had the pulled pork sandwich.  It was "can't put down food."  That is, it was so packed that once I got it together, I was afraid to put it back down, because I wouldn't have been able to get my hands around it again.  Definitely man food.  I had the fried okra with it.  The made it a side for me.  It was about the best restaurant okra you are going to get.  I was pleased all the way around. 

I need to mention the sweet tea--perfect sweetness and lots of it flowing.  Your kidneys will be happy.

I'm going to feature my buddy's lunch too.  Here's a picture of the Home Wrecker Dog:
The dawg is 12 inches long.  We aren't sure why it's called a home wrecker:  the gas production, the comparisons, the man food?  We aren't certain, but it's gooood.  And this is a real representative of Hog Heaven at the extreme.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Aegean Restaurant Miramar Beach Florida

Now we are talking.  At the Aegean in Miramar Beach, Florida.   Back to my stomping grounds and a restaurant I haven't visited before.  This place is really good.  We ordered a couple of bottles of inexpensive Greek wine.  There were four on the "by the glass" menu.  The Greek house wine was very nice, very fruity, and very Greek.  It was like a taste of the country.

The food was likewise very good to excellent.  I had the special, Lamb Souvlaki.  It came on rice with spiced yogurt and flat bread.  An Americanized-Greek salad was included in the meal.  The lamb was tender, cooked exactly the way I like it, and especially tasty.  It was the best quality lamb I've had in a long time.  The other parts of the meal were fresh and properly spiced.  I was impressed and highly recommend the Aegean.  For a tourist area, the prices were excellent and the service was good.