Thursday, February 26, 2009

Lunch -- 2/20/09

Cathy's Boardwalk Cafe
Old Town Salado #8
P.O. Box 441
Salado, TX 76571



Ramona & Jim: Turkey sandwich on Sourdough bread with tomato and lettuce, iced tea

On the way back from Austin, we stopped in Salado to visit the store where we bought our wedding rings almost six years ago.

This cute little place had a charming and comfortable atmosphere. The fresh bread held an ample serving of roast turkey. Fresh tomatoes and crispy green lettuce completed the sandwiches.

The service could have been a bit faster, but then we really were in no hurry. A nice, leisurely lunch we recommend to all weary travelers heading up or down I-35. The village of shops also provide a pleasant way to spend a warm spring afternoon.


Sunday, February 15, 2009

Dinner -- 2/14/09

1424 Washington Ave
Waco, TX 76701


5:20 - 7:15 PM


Valentine's Day. This holiday calls for something extra special, and 1424 fit the bill as always. We tried to eat here last year, but they had a full house. This time, we made our reservations when we visited in November.

Nick had prepared a special prix fixe menu consisting of a fresh greens salad with pesto, leek soup, and an entree consisting of shrimp with etoufee, two broiled lamb shanks, and beef wellington, all over a bed of rice. Vanilla creme brulee finished of a wonderful meal. We shared a bottle of Bomarito Cabernet, 2004, Napa Valley. The wine had an exquisite bouquet, and went perfectly with this absolutely perfect meal.

While the food clearly deserved a rating of outstanding, we do have a couple of suggestions for next year. First of all, Nick, you need to put bread plates for each guest. Second, for special occasions, a prix fixe menu is perfectly appropriate, but a card should be at the table listing the menu and the price. After we settled in and ordered our wine, the waiter informed us of the price. We felt a bit uncomfortable, as if we might want to make sure we could afford the dinner. I know that was not the intention, but it seemed as if a young couple left rather quickly without eating. As regulars at 1424, we know what to expect, so we had no "sticker shock." I think this information could also have been revealed when we heard from them to confirm our reservation about three weeks ago.

None of this will stop us going to 1424 as often as we can. We love the atmosphere, the food, and the wine list -- except it could benefit from some French Bordeaux's. We want 1424 to be as good as it possibly can, especially since we always refer friends there when the occasion calls for a special dining experience.


Lunch -- 2/14/09

1411 N. Valley Mills, Dr.
Waco, TX 76710



Ramona & Jim: 1/3 pound burger, mushrooms, onions, iced tea

Shared: Large basket of fries and onion rings

Because of our special (triple!) weekend, we decided to visit a couple of new places. Surprisingly, we had never visited Fuddrucker's together, and Ramona felt in the mood for a big, juicy hamburger.

These hamburgers rate among the best in Waco, but at $20.00 for two, Fuddrucker's might scare some people away. We won't make frequent trips there, but this weekend had no rules.


Dinner -- 2/13/09

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


5:20 to 6:10 PM


Ramona: Top-shelf frozen margarita, corn crab soup, Fried combo (catfish, shrimp, oysters), cole slaw, french fries, hush puppies, iced tea

Jim: corn crab soup, alligator chenier, rice, iced tea

The first meal of our special weekend. My car was in the shop all day, and Ramona had to be at the radio station at 6:30, so I picked her up from work, and we decided to re-visit this Waco landmark. The atmosphere differs from the old place on University Parks Drive and Franklin, but the river view is a special treat.

Ramona got her usual, and it was as good as ever. Jim tasted one of the oysters, and they seemed fresh and unusually large. Since BB's is the only place to get alligator, he always gets one or the other of the dishes. The corn crab soup also lived up to its reputation.


Thursday, February 12, 2009

Breakfast -- 2/1/09

Cafe Cappuccino
4700 Bosque Blvd.
Waco, TX 76710



Ramona: orange juice, mixed nut pancake, sugar-free syrup, bacon, coffee

Jim: V-8 juice, eggs Benedict, latte

Even though we have frequently reviewed Cafe Cappuccino, we felt it deserved a special mention, as the celebration of Ramona's birthday continued this weekend.

The only problem Jim experienced at CC involved the drowning of eggs Benedict in the hollandaise sauce. He began asking for it on the side. As he placed the order this time, the manager told us they had begun the regular practice of placing the sauce on the side. We hope our little blog made some small contribution to this improvement.

Too much sauce drowns the egg yolk.

Bravo, Cafe Cappuccino! And thanks for six years of wonderful breakfasts. We will see you soon again!


Dinner -- 1/31/09

Chamberlain's Steak and Chop House
5330 Beltline Road
Dallas, TX 75254


5:00 - 6:30 PM


Ramona: Stephen's Caesar salad, Kobe (Akaushi) sirloin steak with Bearnaise sauce

Jim: Stephen's Caesar salad, Kobe (Akaushi) sirloin steak with Bearnaise sauce, cappuccino

Shared: Colossal shrimp cocktail, Warm chocolate gateau

Wine: Chateau St. Georges St. Emillon (French) 2004

We had a coupon for a complimentary Kobe steak dinner for Ramona's birthday. We also had tickets for the opera, so we took advantage and had what turned out to be a fabulous dinner reminiscent of our days together when Ramona lived and worked in Dallas.

Our server Taylor did an outstanding job of keeping our water and wine glasses full, our bread plate overflowing with delicious warm, fresh bread right out of the oven.

The shrimp cocktail WAS colossal. Each piece was nearly as long as my hand, and resembled small lobster tails. The sauce -- made at Chamberlain's -- had a tangy touch and complimented the fresh, crisp shrimp.

The Caesar salads came with nine, yes nine, pieces of anchovy on the top. Most places no longer bother with the salty little treat on this staple salad, but Chamberlain's has atoned for the sins of others.

The steak. Neither of us had ever had Kobe steak because of the price. Most restaurants list it at $75 per serving or more. Since we had the coupon for Ramona's birthday, we decided to splurge for this extra special occasion and try this delicacy. In case anyone is unfamiliar with Kobe steak, the animals receive excellent personal care, a diet of rice and milk, and a daily hand massaging but their keepers. A friend who lived in Japan told us the creatures come running for the rubdowns when they see the massagers arrive.

The wine. St. Emillion rates as my very favorite Bordeaux, and this bottle did not disappoint in the least. The bouquet floated delicately from the class, and the aroma also stayed with throughout the meal.

The dessert. Chocolate cake, chocolate sauce, strawberries, and raspberries. Need we say any more?

An an outstanding meal! Jim's birthday fast approaches, and we might try the sister restaurant -- Chamberlain's Fish Market. Not for the faint of heart in the wallet department, but if you crave a first-rate dining experience, Chamberlain's should sit at the top of your list.


Dinner -- 1/30/09

220 s. 3rd
Waco, TX 76701


5:15 PM - 6:20 PM


Ramona & Jim: Chicken fajitas for two, sopapillas, iced tea

We promised to review every new restaurant we did not visited last year, or any restaurant with an unusual new dish or a significant problem. We will also continue our "second chance" visits.

Surprisingly, we have not visited Ninfa's in a long time, even though we both like it. The problem lies in the fact that Jim remains less than big fan of Mexican food, so it never comes to mind.

The food tonight was good, no question, but the restaurant was crowded and exceedingly noisy. The service was good, not too fast, but not too slow either considering how crowded it was. We arrived at the right moment, because large numbers of guests came in right after us, and a large crowded waited for tables when we left.

The fajitas included a generous portion of delicious chicken, peppers, and onions. We both left satisfied. The sopapillas made the drive home with us for a snack later that evening.

Poor Raji! She knows when we come home with a white plastic container it carries some treat she might get, but not that time. The traditional Mexican dessert barely fit in the large container, and a few seconds in the microwave warmed them perfectly. Ninfa's provided us with plenty of honey.

All in all a good night out.