Sunday, October 26, 2008

Dinner - 10/25/08

Don Carlos Mexican Restaurant
4651 S. Jack Kultgen Frwy
I-35 and Hwy 6 in Central Texas Marketplace
Waco, TX 76701



Ramona: Margaritas (2!), Enchiladas Suizas (three chciken enchiladas with sour cream and tomatillo sauce, beans and rice, tres leches cake

Jim: Mexican Dinner (2 chicken enchiladas, 1 bean enchilada, beans, rice, soft beef taco, flan, iced tea

Those of you who read us regulalrly, know Jim is not a big fan of Mexican food. Ramona's platter was good, and Jim's agreed about the beans and rice, but the chicken in the enchiladas was dry and tasteless. I happened to have lunch on Friday at El Conquistador in Bellmead, TX. I got the chicken enchilada lunch platter, and it was outstanding.

Ramona thought the margaritas were ordinary, although I suspect the second was better than the first ;->

Deserts were a complete disappointment. Flan is one of Jim's favorite after dinner treats, but this one tasted burnt. Ramona's tres leche cake was also flat and tasteless. It did not even come close to the delicious version served at El Siete Mares.

We will give the Don a second chance, but not anytime soon. A much better meal with all the same items can be had at La Fiesta, for 2/3s the price of this meal.


Dinner -- 10/24/08

Mama Baris
904 N Valley Mills Dr
Waco, TX 76710


5:45 -6:30 PM


Ramona: Mama Baris' Sampler (lasagna, spaghetti, manicotti), iced tea

Jim: Chicken parmigiana with spaghetti, iced tea

Shared: Small Baris salad

We were planning a big dinner for Saturday night, since it was the 300th consecutive Saturday night we have spent together, so we went out light for Friday. Mama Baris' is the closest we can get to authentic Philly salads, hoagies (she calls them "subs" based on her origins in New York),
pizza, and Italian dishes.

Unfortunately, I bit a little too hard on my fork and broke a crown. So we delayed our special dinner at Cheeve's Brothers Steakhouse in Temple. We will get back there as soon as I can get to a dentist. After all, how often do we get to celebrate 300 consecutive Saturday nights?

The food here is perfect and more than reasonably priced. Tonight was no exception.


Dinner -- 10/22/08

Magic China
221 Jack Kultgen Fwy (I-35)
Waco, TX 76710


6:45 - 7:35 PM

$$ (low end -- pu-pu platter pushed it up a level)

Ramona: Egg drop soup, egg roll, Happy Family (chicken, pork, shrimp, scallops, Chinese vegetables), fried rice, iced tea

Jim: Won ton soup, egg roll, mu shu pork, hot tea

Shared: Pu-Pu Platter (2 fried shrimp, 2 egg rolls, 2 wings, 2 fried won tons, 2 chicken sticks

Outstanding meal! I spent the afternoon as an on-air "personality" for KWBU, our local NPR station during its Fall fund raiser. While I am on the subject, support your local NPR station with a pledge. It can be done on-line for most stations.

I haven't had mu shu pork in a while, and the thing I like about Magic China's version of this dish is they make the wraps before serving. Much neater, and the ingredients are spread more evenly among the four pancakes. The plum sauce was great, too. Ramona's usual dish is really amazing. Lots of delicious chicken, roast pork, shrimp, and scallops. I tasted a few items, and she still brought some home for lunch the next day. She also ate one of my wraps.

The pu-pu platter was good, except the fried won tons were lacking in taste this time, but the chicken sticks were much better than last time. They seemed to be more tasty and more tender than we remember. A must visit for all Chinese food fans in Waco!

Ramona's fortune: "Be prepared to receive something special"

Jim's fortune: "You have the ability to plan a practical course for yourself and follow through."


Sunday, October 19, 2008

Lunch -- 10/19/08

Jason's Deli #41 Waco
4302 West Waco Drive
Waco, TX 76710

Fax: 254-772-6219

1:10 - 2:00 PM


Ramona: Grilled Reuben, chips, pickle, diet Coke

Jim: Reuben, chips, pickle, iced tea

Excellent sandwiches for a quick bite after some shopping. Hard to believe this is the first time we have been at Jason's since the blog began.

The bread was fresh, and they piled on the meat. Good pickles. Jim stole a gingerbread muffin from the buffet. Don't tell anyone!


Dinner -- 10/18/08

Buzzard Billy's
100 N. I-35
Waco, TX 76704


7:10 to 8:10 PM


Ramona: Fried combo (catfish, shrimp, oysters), cole slaw, french fries, hush puppies, iced tea

Jim: Trout czarina (fried fillets with grilled shrimp and brown sauce), red potatoes, steamed veggies, iced tea

After a couple of hours working at our local NPR on-air fund drive (hint: support your local NPR station. Most are having fund drives this week) we decided for something a little different. BB's was on the way home, and we haven't been there in quite a while.

Ramona's platter was excellent, except for the fried oysters, which seemed a little over-cooked. The hush puppies were great (not Bridge's in Shelby, NC, great, but definitely Waco great). They had a slightly sweet flavor and were not fried to golf ball consistency.

Jim's trout was delicious, and so was the sauce. He could have done without the string beans, but there were plenty of carrots, peppers, and broccoli, so no harm was done.

With Baylor out of town -- losing to Oklahoma State -- the restaurant was not crowded, and we had a pleasant dinner.


Dinner -- 10/17/08

Cheddar's Waco
4208 Franklin Ave
Waco, TX 76710

5:30 -- 6:20 PM


Jim: Oriental Salad with Grilled Chicken and Shrimp, croissant, iced tea

Ramona: Oriental Salad with Grilled Chicken and Shrimp, croissant, iced tea

Neither of us was very hungry tonight, so we settled for the lovely (and filling) Oriental salad with grilled chicken and shrimp. This is a very tasty salad that I have had several times. Jim enjoyed it as much as I. The buttery croissant is a nice touch.

Regular followers of Jim & Ramona's Restaurant Journey may have noticed that we've been focusing more lately on the $-$$ restaurants. We're watching our budget these days as well as trying to watch our weight. So be prepared for more of these kinds of postings and fewer excursions with desserts!


Dinner -- 10/14/08

Happy Wok Restaurant
1910 Park Lake Dr.
Waco, TX 76708


6:00 - 6:30 p.m.


Ramona: Roast pork with Chinese vegetables, egg roll, fried rice, iced tea

Jim: Seafood delight (crab, shrimp, scallops, lobster, vegetables, white sauce), egg roll, white rice, iced tea

A quick dinner after attending One Book, One Waco event at MCC. This is not our favorite Chinese restaurant by any means, but the food is good and it's on the way home.

Jim's fortune: An unexpected event will soon make your life more exciting.

Ramona's fortune: You could prosper in the field of medicine.


Saturday, October 11, 2008

Breakfast -- 10/11/08

IHOP #3001
4109 S. Jack Kultgen Freeway (I-35) at New Rd.
Waco, TX 76711


9:00- 9:50 AM


Ramona: OJ, French toast, bacon, coffee

Jim: V8 Juice, Buttermilk pancakes, sausage patties, coffee

We wanted to get a relatively early start today with school work, campaign calling, and lots of reading to catch up on this weekend. The restaurant was crowded, but we only had about a ten minute wait.

The service was good, the food was perfectly prepared, and we were on our way to do Saturday shopping.


Dinner -- 10/10/08

Samurai Japanese Steakhouse
5912 Bosque Blvd. Ste. #347
Waco, TX 76710




Ramona: Miso soup, salad, steak & shrimp, fried rice, mixed veggies, iced tea

Jim: Miso soup, salad, steak & shrimp, fried rice, mixed veggies, , plum wine, iced tea

Japanese hibachi steakhouses are always fun, and we had a great chef. He was animated and build up a rhythm with his tools that was actually musical.

The food was perfectly prepared and tasty. The sauce for the meat was a little spicier than Ramona likes, or we are used to, and she thought her fried rice was flat.

We were at a hibachi by ourselves, and this was one of the first places we went to when we first met years ago.

No sushi, so missed that treat. But otherwise a fine, fine dinner.


Breakfast -- 10/5/08

Cafe Cappuccino
4700 Bosque Blvd
Waco, TX 76710


8:45 - 9:30 AM


Ramona: OJ, banana nut French toast, bacon, coffee

Jim: V8 juice, eggs Benedict, coffee

Sunday morning. A beautiful day. The New York Times. What else but Cafe Cappuccino! Another perfect breakfast, except I forgot to ask for the hollandaise sauce on the side. The sauce here is good, but they put too much on the eggs, and the yolk gets lost in the sauce.

We also got a half pound of their delicious decaf for the office coffee pot. CC has the best breakfast coffee in town. 236th week celebration could not start any other way!


Saturday, October 4, 2008

Dinner -- 10/04/08

Outback Steakhouse
4500 Franklin Ave.
Waco, TX 76710


4:45 - 6:00 p.m.


Ramona: Caesar salad, prime rib, loaded baked potato, iced tea

Jim: Caesar salad, prime rib, baked sweet potato, iced tea

Shared: Appetizer -- shrimp on the barbie

Since we had a somewhat bad experience on our Friday night outing, we decided to make things right with another dinner out on Saturday.

One of Jim's favorite meals is steak, shrimp, Caesar salad, and iced tea. Friday night and time for our occasional red meat feast, so we decided on Outback. We arrived at a perfect time and were immediately seated. Not long after we arrived, there were quite a few people waiting.

The meal was perfect, but the service was so-so. We had to ask twice for several things -- bread, creamy horseradish sauce, and, of course, extra lemons. The server seemed a bit nervous. We hope our picture isn't hanging in half the restaurant kitchens in Waco!


Dinner -- 10/03/08

217 Mary
Waco, TX 76701


6:15 - 7:15 p.m.


Jim: Chicken Parmesan, spaghetti, Caesar salad

Ramona: Lasagna, Caesar salad

Shared: Calamari, Chianti Bellagio

Jim's son wanted to join us for dinner tonight and we happened to have an offer for a free appetizer from Gratziano's so we decided to meet at this restaurant in downtown Waco. Jim and I had been there before, but not since we started the blog.

We enjoyed the calamari and the wine, but Jim was not pleased with his meal. He said the chicken was good, but he didn't like the sauce they served on the spaghetti. Jim also felt there was too much dressing on the salad. I thought the lasagna was fine, but not any better than what we can get at Baris for much less money. Chris enjoyed his chicken alfredo pizza.

If you're in the downtown area during the lunch hour and hungry for Italian food, Gratziano's is a good place to go for their lunch buffet. However, I doubt if we'll be returning there for dinner very often.


Dinner -- 09/30/08

1115 N. Valley Mills Rd.
Waco, TX 76710

5:30 - 6:15 p.m.


Ramona: Chicken burrito with all the fixings, diet coke

Jim: Chicken tacos with all the fixings, iced tea

Another quick dinner was in order tonight because of another meeting to attend. By chance, I had gotten an e-mail offering a free burrito to Baylor faculty so we decided to go to Chipotle. A lot of my coworkers had the same idea!

I asked for fewer items on my burrito this time and Jim decided to try the tacos instead. We were both stuffed by the time we finished the meal. The only problem with this restaurant is its size. I think they should have bought a bigger building!


Dinner -- 09/29/08

Dickey's Barbecue Pit
621 North Valley Mills
Waco, TX 76711


5:50 - 6:25 PM


Jim: Brisket sandwich, potato salad, iced tea, soft ice cream

Ramona: Pulled pork sandwich, potato salad, iced tea

In a hurry to make a 6:30 meeting, we stopped by Dickey's to have a quick sandwich. This is becoming a regular spot on our list! See other postings for more details.


Lunch -- 09/28/08

Cathay House
825 Wooded Acres
Waco, TX 76710


12:15 - 12:50 p.m.


Jim and Ramona: Lunch buffet, iced tea

Cathay House, as regular readers of our blog will know, is one of our two favorite Chinese restaurants in Waco (the other being Magic China). But we'd never been to the Sunday lunch buffet until this week. Based on a recommendation from one our readers, we decided to give it a try and were not disappointed.

Cathay's lunch buffet doesn't have as many options as some of the other Chinese buffets in town, e.g. Summer Palace. But everything on the buffet is wonderful. They had three soups, including chicken rice which Jim tried for the first time. In the entree section were several dishes with a variety of meats and levels of spiciness. I ate a little of several of the chicken-based dishes and also wanted a sample of the pepper steak, which is a dish I rarely order but like a lot. Their pepper steak was one of the best I've ever tasted. Jim and I agreed that the beef was so tender and tasty that we want to order that again sometime.

Jim and I also agree that we'll go to the Sunday brunch again soon. However, we must warn you that it's a lot more crowded and noisy then than during weeknights when we enjoy the quiet.

Jim's fortune: You will soon be in the limelight.
Ramona's fortune: Your lucky number for the week is the number two.


Lunch -- 09/27/08

Panera Bread #915
2516 West Loop 340
Central Texas Marketplace
Waco, TX 76701

1:15 - 2:00 p.m.


Jim: Ham & Swiss on rye, cup of summer corn chowder, potato chips, 1/2 baguette French bread, iced tea

Ramona: 1/2 Sierra turkey sandwich, cup of creamy tomato soup, potato chips, iced tea

I love Panera Bread's low-fat honey walnut cream cheese spread for my morning bagels and we were out, so I suggested we go by there for lunch and pick some up.

Once again we were pleased with our soups and salads. Jim likes the bread so much that he always wants a baguette as a side item even when he is having a sandwich. We also bought a loaf of rye bread to take home.