Monday, July 07, 2008

Taos! New Mexico!

You might find yourself in Taos sometime, you know, just traveling across the country – this time well north of I-40 – yep, the journey into the great southwest continues! Here we were able to leave the vast Interstate for awhile to explore northern New Mexico.

Let me guess, another La Quinta and a brewpub?
No no no! Here we had the best lodging of the trip – a great dog-friendly B&B. We'd highly recommend a stay here should you find yourself in the area for a few days.

But then you blew your budget on your room and went to McDonald’s right?
Oh my Lord, no, here we had our push into Taos finer dinin’ at Lambert's.  All out with a shared heirloom tomato salad, mains of roast duck (for her) and elk for me, drinks (a couple) and a good chocolate mousse dessert.  There is other good eatin' in Taos but this was a very good choice.

Boring. What about that Crapper Barrel?

Oh, did I misspell Cracker Barrel? Oops.
Oh, yea, we went to a Cracker Barrel once in Colorado Springs after a tiring (and surprisingly cold day in June). Normally you go here and expect this great pants splitting amount of food.

Did you say pants splitting or pants shitting?
Oh my God, you have to stop this. I think this screwy Q&A format exists just to give me – I mean you – the opportunity to say inane things.

*Crickets chirp* ... Back with more soon!

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Flagstaff! Arizona!

You might find yourself in Flagstaff sometime, you know, just traveling across the country – this time on I-40 – hell, it’s the summer of love roadtrips (Orange Popsicles and Lemonade as the B-52’s famously sang) and decide it’s a reasonable stop along your trip. Let’s stick with that Q&A session…I don’t care about the nasty emails requesting I immediately be fired from the newspaper staff.

Should they at least cancel their subscriptions?
Sure, I don’t care.

Okay, what’s this about Flagstaff?
Cool it – I’m getting to it. It turns out that Flagstaff (after a hot and zesty drive thru AZ) was our first stop on our road trip.

You took a road trip? Have you seen gas prices?
Oh my Lord. Anyhow, Flagstaff is at an elevation about 7,000 feet above sea level so it’s cooler. In early June, when we were there, daytime highs were probably around 78 with lows around 50. I’d say it’s the gateway to the Grand Canyon.

I’m sure you ate.
Naturally! We checked into our DogFriendly™ hotel – and from my advance research on Chowhound and Yelp I saw that a place in downtown Flagstaff called the Beaver Street Brewery got some highmarks.

Wasn’t Cracker Barrel an option?
Yea probably.

Beaver Street just seems … a little sexual.
You have to stop this.

You know you are arguing with yourself…
Shut up.

Okay, you went to a brewery or something?
Oh yea, they’ve got the brews, burgers, woodfired pizza, the works. Of course I had to check out the beer sampler – 5 oz tastings of everything they make. And a burger for me – the Beaver Street Burger. Yum.

Anyhow, how are those DogFriendly™ hotels or *yikes* motels working out?
Great! AAA has a book about 2 ½ inches thick of woofer-friendly lodging. Technically, you really aren’t to leave your pup unattended in the room but hey we have to eat right? Our dog did great in the car and with each new experience nightly in a new spot.

Thumbs up for the Beaver Creek Brewery, right? Oh sure! 

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Restaurant Week 2008! Summertime eatin’!

Just some quick notes on our two eatings for the summer Restaurant Week – we went to George’s (the longtime La Jolla favorite) and Nine-Ten just down the street. Not the same night - we aren't nutty. This is the first time for a summer RW.

What about that road trip?
Seriously, the Q&A format continues? I’ll get back to the road trip next time.

Why couldn’t you real-time blog from the road like any normal dude from the year 2008?
Next time!

So you went to George’s California Modern?
We were last there at one of the first times they did restaurant week – really probably nearly our first so-called “high-end” dinning experiences. Now flash-forward 3 or 4 years we are much more foodie-ized.

The menu?
Unlike most of the restaurants with these special three course menus for $30 or $40 that limit you to three choices per course, George’s gives you the full menu. Now that comes with a slight hitch – some menu times have a supplemental charge (normally 4 bucks with a few higher).

Uhhhh…almost sounds like a bad thing.
Not really – at least the options are there. And included in the $40 RW price were about 5 options each for starters and entrée’s. And 8 desserts.

The food dammit.
Okay – L had the (copied directly from the menu) Black Olive Cured Fresh Albacore – this was a real winner! Main was the Loch Duart Salmon (farm-raised off the coast of Scotland – I don’t know if that is a good thing or not.) Salmon wouldn’t be my first choice – it’s kinda like ordering chicken. But it was a big hunk and came with a variety of interesting little sides and L was pleased. Dessert was Marscapone Cheesecake with rhubarb salad.

I started with some pork meatballs - just okay. And I had Pacific albacore – two nice sized pieces, seared on on side only, on top of some grain, surrounded by a mix of salad and a veggie or two. Dessert was a gooey chocolate tart.

Who’s food won?
Is it a competition? I think we decided that the Albacore was the winner for starter and entrée. Desserts were both good – maybe not quite great. We had cocktails to start us off – I had something called a Pisco Sour – apparently a Peruvian drink.

How about Nine-Ten?
It was good too – but I’d pick George’s again before Nine-Ten. Especially the way George’s did RW plus the food was just more interesting. Here is the quickie rundown of Nine-Ten: sashimi and heirloom tomato salad, braised short rib, potato foam!, duck breast, white chocolate mousse, strawberry rose shake with beignets. Started off with a cocktail for each.

Oh shit, do they a mandatory gratuity?
Nope – neither did. I don’t care either way but I know some people get their panties bunched up about that stuff.