Saturday, August 18, 2007

Old Friends and a New Acquaintance

My husband and I visited some old friends recently and introduced ourselves to a new acquaintance that is sure to become an old friend.

On a Tuesday we headed to Tarrant’s Café to once again take our medicine. I ordered the same thing that I did the first time – Grilled Cheese (with ham and bacon) on Texas toast with the out-of-this-world potato salad. And as always, the garlic bread knots were extremely scrumptious. My husband tried the Manicotti special and enjoyed the thick, gooey cheese as well as the drizzling of pesto. I adored our waiter – he of the tall bearded sort with a very pleasant deep voice. And on this weeknight, custom was slow. If you want an inexpensive, very delicious meal – go to Tarrant’s Café on a weeknight and order a sandwich. And I promised myself that the next time I go, I’ll order the Talapia with Lobster Cream Sauce…

On the opposite end from Tarrant’s Café lies Texas de Brazil. My husband had a birthday coupon – buy a meal, get a free meal. The last time we had been there the service was sub-par (the newness was wearing off and our waitress was not hitting on much). This time we probably had the best service we had ever experienced at the place. Used plates were promptly whisked away and the waitress continued to be attentive in refilling our wine glasses and refolding our napkins when we headed for the salad bar. And a new wine was added to the wine list – 2002 Oberon Merlot Napa Valley for $36. A great pairing with the filet and the flank steak. If you go to Texas de Brazil, sign up for email alerts on their web site. The coupons make this high price place a little more affordable. You can also make reservations via Open Table.

The last place was an old friend, indeed. Mekong has been enjoyed by us for years. And its transformation into a specialty beer and ale hub as well as possessing a decent wine list makes dining there all the better. On this night we perused the red wine list a little more thoroughly and discovered a rare gem – 2000 Neyers Syrah Hudson Vineyards Napa Valley. The $45 price tag was very reasonable. The 2005 version is selling for $48 at the winery. And the wine was silky smooth, bursting with cassis, accompanied by black cherry undertones. I ordered Banh Hoi Thit Nuong - Grilled pork with steamed rice vermicelli – one of the house grill platters. My husband had the beef sautéed in a light brown garlicky sauce with green beans and onions. When we go back we might take a gander at the Chateau Gloria…

Despite a wealth of old friends, new acquaintances can also be fun. And the new Italian ice cream place at Gayton Crossing Shopping CenterDeLuca Gelato was delightful. They carried a variety of gelato and sorbetto and encouraged tasting before deciding (which is good since the flavors are listed in Italian). The chocolate hazelnut was yummy, yummy and jam-packed with flavor. And if you are really craving the stuff, try a Frappel – a gelato milkshake.

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