Saturday, December 27, 2008

Dinner -- 12/26/08

Mama Baris II
1201 Hewitt Dr.
Waco, TX 76712



Ramona: Chicken Cachovie, cannoli, iced tea

Jim: Chicken Cacciatore, cannoli, iced tea

Shared: Small Baris salad

Going to the movies to see Marley and Me took us toward Hewitt, so we decided to head on over for dinner. We had originally planned to go to Tomatoes, the little Mexican-Italian restaurant that we've written about here several times. However, when we got there we saw that Tomatoes has closed and there's another Italian restaurant opening there in its place. Fortunately, Mama Baris was open and we knew it would be good.

As usual, Jim and I shared a small Baris salad, which consists of lettuce, olives, tomatoes, pepperoncini, and shredded mozarella cheese. We've made the mistake of thinking we could eat a large one...Wrong!!! We are perfectly satisfied with the small one, especially when it is followed by Baris's wonderful homemade bread.

I was adventurous and tried a dish I've never had before. The Chicken Cachovie was delicious: sauteed chicken breast with artichoke hearts in a white wine cream sauce over spaghetti. The serving was so generous, I brought half of it home for another day.

Jim stuck to his tried and true Chicken Parmesan. We both had a canolli for dessert; a very pleasant way to end the meal.


Dinner -- 12/22/08

McAlister's Deli
4551 W. Waco Dr.
Suite A
Waco, TX 76710


5:50 -6:30 PM


Ramona: Spud Max, iced tea

Jim: Submarine, iced tea

Finishing up our Christmas shopping, we decided on a quick dinner at McAlister's. I decided to try their spud max, which is a huge baked potato loaded with ham, bacon, cheese, chives, olives and sour cream. It was delicious! Jim was equally pleased with his submarine, although if he had known it had olives on it, he would have asked for them to be left off. We definitely like their iced tea, which came with plenty of lemon.


Lunch -- 12/22/08

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


11:30 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.


Ramona: Moo Goo Gai Pan, egg drop soup, water

Jim: Sweet and sour chicken, chicken and rice soup, egg roll, iced tea

I had the day off but Jim had to teach his minimester class, so we met for a quick lunch together at our neighborhood Chinese restaurant. We both had tried and true dishes that never fail to satisfy. As usual, I only ate half of mine and brought the rest home for another day.


Dinner --12/21/08

Chili's Grill & Bar
5804 Bosque Blvd.
Waco, TX 76710


6:35 - 7:30 PM


Ramona: a bowl of Chili and Caesar salad, iced tea, paradise pie

Jim: Mushroom Swiss burger, iced tea, fudge brownie w/ ice cream

Of all the times I've been to Chili's over the last twenty years, I don't remember ever ordering their chili, so I decided to try it. I'm sorry I did; I think it would have been just as good if I had opened a can of chili from the grocery store. But it inspired me to dig out my own recipe and make a pot of Santa Fe Stew a few days later. The paradise pie was very good, but I couldn't eat it all. It had coconut in it, so I couldn't share it with Jim.

Jim was disappointed in his burger also; it had mayonnaise and pickles on it. He sent it back for a new bun, one without the mayo, etc. When it came back, the cheese was gone as well. But he finished it off anyway. He was more restrained than I was in his dessert selection, having one of their little mini dessert shots.


Saturday, December 20, 2008

Lunch -- 12/20/08

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



Ramona: Chips, salsa, and queso with beef, Enchiladas la crema, rice, beans, and iced tea

Jim: Chips, salsa, and queso with beef, soft chicken taco, three chicken enchiladas rice, beans (modified Mexican platter), and iced tea

Friends from western Texas was passing through Waco, and invited us to meet them for lunch. They were recently married in California, so we were happy to sit down with them, catch up on events, and congratulate them for their nuptials.

The food was good, and there was plenty of it. Dinner will be late tonight. The queso with beef was something new, and we enjoyed that. The jalapeno peppers did not overwhelm us, and did give the cheese a little kick.

This lunch was more about friends and old times, so we had a great lunch.


Dinner -- 12/18/08

Cheddar's Waco
4208 Franklin Ave
Waco, TX 76710


5:20 -- 6:30 PM


Ramona: Chicken fried steak, mashed potatoes, cole slaw, iced tea

Jim: Caesar salad, chicken fried chicken, broccoli rice casserole, baby carrots, iced tea

Ramona needed gas, so, since we were out, we decided to get something to eat. This situation always calls for Cheddar's -- excellent, quick, inexpensive, and fast.

Unable to decide, Jim mentioned he wanted chicken fried chicken, and to our surprise, the server told us it was an off menu item and available. He never thought there might be such things, and this is good information. Always ask! We never know what might show up on our plates.

Ramona's CFS was great as always.

Although the parking lot was full, every person must have driven alone, because we were immediately seated.


Dinner -- 12/15/08

Poppa Rollo's Pizza
703 N. Valley Mills Drive
Waco, TX 76710


5:45 - 6:45 PM


Ramona: 8" Supreme pizza, diet Coke

Jim: 8" Canadian bacon and pineapple pizza, iced tea

We went here for a meeting of the county party for Obama, but bad weather forced a cancellation. We had already ordered when we found out about the weather, so we stayed and watched the news while we ate.

The pizzas were great. Jim always orders the same item, because many pizza joints do not use Canadian bacon or they do not have pineapple. He ordered the small and soon regretted not getting the 10"

Ramona's pizza was excellent. We could hardly see the crust for all the extras piled on -- sausage, olives, onions, pepperoni, hamburger, bell peppers, and cheese.


Monday, December 15, 2008

Dinner -- 12/13/08

Bread Winners Bakery and Bistro
3301 McKinney Avenue
Dallas, TX 75204



Ramona: Caesar salad, Black Angus flat-iron steaks, sea salted fries, fried onion straws, Chocolate genache cheesecake

Jim: Caesar salad, Black Angus flat-iron steaks, sea salted fries, fried onion straws, raspberry cheesecake, coffee

Shared: Dona Paula "Los Cardos" (Argentina) 2007 Cabernet sauvignon

Before what would prove to be another disappointing evening at the Dallas opera, we were lucky enough to have a most enjoyable meal at one of the hundreds of local fine dining spots in the Dallas Metroplex.

The steaks were tender and cooked to perfection. The salad was excellent, and even had a hint of anchovies. The wine was excellent, also. Jim thought the desserts looked great, but in fact were just okay. He could not detect any raspberries associated with that cheesecake.

The place was great, however, and we will definitely go back for another visit. The decor and ambiance were cozy and warm. All in all, a great spot for a quiet dinner.


Breakfast -- 12/13/08

Cafe Cappuccino
4700 Bosque Blvd
Waco, TX 76710


7:30 - 8:25 AM


Ramona: Orange juice, Banana nut French toast, bacon

Jim: Orange juice, oatmeal, bagel with cream cheese, decaf coffee

We had some grocery shopping and errands to run, so we thought an early breakfast was the thing to do. The place was empty at that hour, but nearly filled by the time we left.

Ramona's bacon was perfect this time, and the oatmeal was hot and delicious with some brown sugar on top. Still no poppy seed bagels, despite and article in the paper that the poppy seeds will not give a false positive on a drug test. Seinfeld episodes rule from the grave!


Breakfast -- 12/15/08

4330 Franklin Ave
Waco, TX 76710



Ramona: OJ, sausage biscuit

Jim: Egg McMuffin, decaf coffee

We had to drop Jim's car off early for a check up, so we decided to use a coupon for a free sandwich on the way to dropping off Ramona at work.

Service was a bit slow -- there was only one counter person, and one drive-thru server, and one manager, who seemed to be trying to do all three jobs.

But the food was good and hot.


Sunday, December 14, 2008

Dinner -- 12/12/08

Pei Wei Asian Diner
4300a W. Waco Dr
Waco, TX 76710


6:35 -- 5:30 PM


Ramona: fried rice, lemon pepper beef, diet coke, fortune cookie.

Jim: steamed rice, Mongolian chicken, sweet garlic soy sauce, scallion, white mushrooms, Mandarin orange green tea, fortune cookie.

Shared: Spring Rolls

Ramona's fortune: "You are a lover of words, someday you should write a book"

Jim's fortune: "Relax and enjoy yourself"

We had not been here in a while, and despite the fact this was our third Asian meal in 10 days, we decided to go here because Jim's son was joining us, and he had never eaten here.

The food was great! Jim especially liked the mandarin orange green iced tea. Ramona's beef dish was one neither of us had ordered before. It was delicious with just a hint of pepper and lemon. As usual, she had a to-go container to carry home half her meal.

The only problem with Pei Wei is the menu has a lot of really spicy items, so our choices are limited. If this were not true, we would most likely eat there more often.


Dinner -- 12/10/08

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


5:45 - 7:05 PM


Ramona: Egg drop soup, egg roll, lemon chicken, fried rice, hot tea

Jim: Won ton soup, egg roll, Happy Family (chicken, pork, shrimp, scallops, Chinese vegetables), steamed rice, hot tea

Ramona's fortune: "Others see you as a fine person with great qualities" -- not a prediction nor a proverb, but the truth!

Jim's fortune: "Good luck is coming your way" -- we can only hope!

Jim was downtown for a meeting that ran past 5:00 PM, so he called Ramona at work and suggested we have a quick, delicious dinner at Magic China -- twice for this food in ten days, and at another of our favorite Chinese restaurants to boot!

There is not much to say! Like Cathy House, these two restaurants might have the same chefs. Notice I had the same dish as earlier in the week, and both were perfect. This now becomes a battle of locations for us, because both dining spots are near perfect.


Dinner -- 12/9/08

Rosati's Pizza (Waco)
824 Hewitt Dr.
Waco, TX 76712



Ramona: Meatball sandwich with mozzarella cheese, french fries, diet Coke

Jim: Meatball sandwich with mozzarella cheese, french fries, iced tea

We had an unusual Tuesday night book club at the house of one of our members, and Rosati's was conveniently located nearby.

The food was great, the sauce was excellent and so were the meatballs, although even Ramona commented they were not as good as mine!

The problem, however, was the way they cut the roll. Instead of opening it like a "V," they completely cut the roll in half. Any self-respecting Philly boy would protest that, and I did. When we picked up our sandwiches to eat, everything fell out.

We told them about it, and I guess Hewittians eat their sandwiches with a knife and fork. Oh take me back to Jim's Steaks in South Philly!

We must remember this, and next time warn them about cutting too deeply into the roll. There sure are a lot of sixes in that phone number. Maybe the devil is behind those rolls.


Dinner -- 12/6/08

Olive Garden #1222
5921 W. Waco Dr. at Richland Mall
Waco, TX 76710-6356

6:30 - 7:45 PM


Ramona: Shrimp Primavera, glass of house white wine

Jim: Chicken parmigiana, iced tea

Shared: Olive Garden salad, "Choose Your Own" sampler (stuffed mushrooms, calamari, toasted ravioli with ranch and marinara sauces), tiramasu

We had a coupon for $4.00 off any two entrees, and when that happens, we usually end up buying a $7.00 appetizer. Jim's son was a guest, so we needed all the extra food.

Chicken Parmigiana is one of Jim's favorites, and Olive Garden has one of the best around Waco. Ramona ended up bring half of her dish home, and that made a nice lunch the next day. Unfortunately, none of Jim's survived to see the next day.

We were also pleased to be seated immediately -- a rare event at Olive Garden, especially this time of year.


Dinner -- 12/2/08

Cathay House
825 Wooded Acres
Waco, TX 76710


5:15 - 6:45 p.m.


Ramona: Egg drop soup, egg roll, Lemon chicken with broccoli, snow peas, water chestnuts, and bamboo shoots, hot jasmine tea

Jim: Egg roll, chicken rice soup, Happy Family (chicken, roast pork, shrimp, beef scallops, and Chinese vegetables), steamed rice, hot jasmine tea

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

Jim's fortune: "Opportunity knocks on your door every day -- answer it"

Cathay House had just opened when we arrived, and there were already three tables taken. By the time we left, the place was full. We think people have begun to discover one of the best Chinese restaurants around anywhere.

We have often mentioned the quiet ambiance, the coziness in addition to the excellent food, but the service is also great. Add to that more than reasonable prices, and anyone can find a near perfect dining experience in Waco.