Barcelona's - Scottsdale, AZ

April 14th, 2005

Every bar I have ever walked into has had an alarmingly poor ratio of men to women (too many men and not enough women). I have often wondered if every bar has too many men, there must be one place where all of the women go. Where is that place? That question was once rhetorical. It turns out, in Scottsdale, Arizona, that place is Barcelona's.

We were seated early in the section that is cleared out to make way for a dance floor as later in the night Zooey Boey takes the stage. We started with a few appetizers, of which my clear favorite was the macadamia nut encrusted shrimp; they were incredibly good (I do not even like macadamia nuts). The portions were more than generous for each person at the table. I had the bone-in-ribeye which came with a Bearnaise sauce on the side that was very good. They serve a molten chocolate desert that was heavenly on a soft bed of ice cream. We all left extremely full and even more satisfied with the meal.

The place is a little pricey, but Barcelona's is easily my new "go-to" restaurant in Scottsdale. Attire is casual through professional.

Barcelona's is located on the Greenway-Hayden Loop east of Scottsdale Road.

I can't wait to get back.

Peanuts

March 30th, 2005

Just an FYI.

There is a "best before" date on containers of peanuts.

(I wish I had known that prior to 3/2/05. Maybe that explains how I've been feeling over the past few days.)

Gallagher's Steakhouse - Las Vegas, NV

March 24th, 2005

Gallagher's Steakhouse is located in the New York-New York Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.

A steakhouse that was highly praised on a few occasions to my boss; we were set to have dinner there Monday night. Seating was quick once the table was ready for our reservation. Staff was nice for the most part.

They recommend their dry aged new york strip and their filet. I asked if she would talk me out of the king cut prime rib. After looking at the menu online before heading to the restaurant, I was excited for the prime rib. It is not an item offered everywhere and I try to get it when the option exists. Unless, of course, she was going to suggest something else. She said she would not talk me out of it, and I ordered it thusly.

I had a terrible piece of meat. It was riddled with fat that the waitress tried to tell me was "marbling". Excuse me, I am one of the few steak eaters who actually enjoys the true marbling. This was not the good stuff. She told me I had to get to the center of the steak to find the good part. I had cut all the way through to the center and was still unhappy. I suggested that either I had a very dull steak knife or my steak was a bad cut. She said they did have very dull knives at the restaurant. Yeah, I bet they do. Why would you want sharp steak knives at a steakhouse?

She came back after a few minutes and offered me a small cut of something else if I wanted it but I was too disgusted with my current meal to want any more.

The other entrée ordered was the cowboy cut bone-in ribeye (what I should have gotten) and that was said to be good. Not the best, but nothing to complain about.

We had an order of beer-battered onion rings that were very good though they only gave you four on a plate. Their calamari was average and they give you a half a loaf of a sesame bread that was probably the highlight of the meal for me.

As long as I have the choice, I will not go back to Gallagher's.

March 7th, 2005

No challenge is too big for you.

March 1st, 2005

Your biggest virtue is your modesty.

The Capital Grille

February 28th, 2005

Link: http://www.thecapitalgrille.com

The Capital Grille With locations all over the country, it is unlike me to agree to The Capital Grille as our destination of choice when visiting a friend in Washington, D.C. When I travel I like to try restaurants that I cannot have anywhere else. I like those that are unique to the area.

In D.C. I did not fight the trip to The Capital Grille. The plan was for us to go out and not worry about the bill. There were three of us and we made sure to stop by an ATM before having dinner. We agreed limits were off. Not that this is the only way you can enjoy The Capital Grille, this is simply how we opted to approach dinner on this reunion weekend.

Whenever I sit down at a nice restaurant and peruse the menu my eyes immediately drift to the Soups. I am always keeping an eye out for restaurants that serve a lobster bisque. I have a soft spot for lobster bisque. The Capital Grille happens to be my favorite. Now you see why I did not fight the suggestion to have dinner here.

Though they are known for their dry-aged steaks, I (in a moment of weakness) opted just for the delmonico. My steak was great, but next time I will try one dry-aged.

One of my dining partners opted for a smaller steak to facilitate eating of two pounds of lobster as well. The other began his meal with oysters on the half shell.

In true steakhouse-style, the side items are served family style to encourage sharing and passing. Our table ordered Sam's Mashed Potatoes and the Fresh Asparagus with Hollandaise. (Hungry yet?)

The Capital Grille has great food, but also has a very comfortable atmosphere that is conducive to a long meal. This is understood and would be a reason behind the dinner menu including a full wine list and the dessert menu coming equipped with an extensive selection of after dinner drinks. Between the three of us we had no trouble finishing two bottles of wine before it was time for a round of desserts and a pair of after dinner drinks.

The Capital Grille is a restaurant chain that I do not mind having locally. It, obviously, it also a place I will gladly go even when on the road.

(No, we did not go to the original Capital Grille on Pennsylvania Avenue. We went to a different location in the metro area.)

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Old Town Tortilla Factory - Scottsdale, AZ

February 28th, 2005

Link: http://www.oldtowntortillafactory.com/

Old Town Tortilla FactoryI found this place last April when I took my first work trip to the greater Phoenix area. It is located just west of the main drag of art galleries in Old Town Scottsdale. For someone who prefers mild warmth to severe heat, the atmosphere was perfect in April. Having just been there in February, the temperature was a little chilly.

The restaurant has an indoor seating area, though I cannot imagine a scenario when I would try to sit there. There is also a full patio which is why you have no reason to go inside.

The patio (covered in the rain) has space heaters if it does get cold out. There is a beautiful fountain in the middle of the patio that mixes a fire and water show with ambiance.

The menu is a modified Mexican. Traditional Mexican meals and tastes presented in new ways. The food is very good and I am told their margaritas, though not the best in town, are very good as well.

So far, this is my favorite restaurant in Phoenix/Scottsdale/Mesa, Arizona.

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Journey: Desert Sage

February 27th, 2005

A diverse collection of root bark tea and root brew recipes is the source of Journey's Historic Brews. Native Americans shared intense aromatic root tea with conquistadores in the 1500's. Since then, the Anglos, Germans, Scandinavians and Americans have blended and brewed an estimated 60 root beer types over the last five centuries.

Desert Sage honors the Native American tradition of including sage in their sassafras herbal root beer. Enjoy the surprise of delicious herbs and savory root beer.

A surprise it was, and delicious it was not. This does not even taste like anything I would call a root beer. It tastes and smells like Christmas decoration. I do not like this one.

Virgil's

February 20th, 2005

Link: http://www.virgils.com/index.html

Using Natural Ingredients, We Brew A Root Beer So Pure, So Rich And Creamy, You'll Swear It's Made In Heaven.

Brewed using ingredients from all over the world, Virgil's has a distinct flavor. Unfortunately, for my taste, the licorice is too overpowering. It even tastes more like a Birch beer to me, than a Root beer. Good, but not the best.

February 16th, 2005

You are capable, competent, creative, careful. Prove it.