Thursday, March 18, 2010

You Choose

This week I had interesting experiences which once again reinforced the choices which all of us must make when we choose to "eat out". All involved restaurants on which I have posted items from a few to many times.
Sunday night we met a group of younger, that's not hard, at our age, to do, relatives and children at the "Oriental Wok" at the Regency. Marilyn and I have become good friends with the owners and especially the chef. Because of this I almost always put myself in his hands, not a bad thing to do if you know the kind of preparations in which he/she specializes and are adventurous. It is my recommendation that all of us try to get acquainted with the person who prepares our food.
Instead of food from the regular menu, Guy, suggested I try the special spicy shrimp salad, which he intended to feature during Restaurant week and also suggested the soft shelled crabs, as he had done in the past. The crab( singular, I ordered only one) were just as good as I had had previously( see earlier postings) and to me the salad was outstanding. The shrimp had been grilled, seasoned, cut in quarters, or smaller, and covered with a light sweet and pungent sauce. The shrimp were then placed on a "hockey puck" shaped bed of chopped Granny Smith apples, celery, red onions and golden raisins. A perfect combination and an outstanding creation. The regular food is good but given the choice I'll go with my, and your, special treatment when choosing to follow the chef's recommendation.

I now want to describe two dinners at different seafood restaurants:
Monday we went to a perennial favorite "The Pelican's Reef". Arriving late, after drinks and cheese at home, we tried to order a meal but not a feast. I had one of the evening specials, a Grouper Ruben served with one side. For my side I ask to substitute a cup of the Cajun Black Bean soup which turned our to be delicious. It had just the right amount of spice and sausage to compliment the perfectly done beans and tomato based liquid. The Ruben came on marbled rye and consisted of a large piece of grilled Grouper placed on a light layer of sauerkraut and topped with melted Swiss cheese. Instead of a heavy 1000 island dressing the top piece of bread had been spread with a very light Cajun mayo and tomato mixture. Plenty of wonderful food at the unbelievable price of $9.95.
The next night we ventured to "McCormick & Schmick's in the Westin Hotel at 5th and Vine( the heart of downtown) The accutrements and ambiance are much more up scale, as is the location but the food, and especially the service, was no better, overall, than the night before.
I had a different meal at M&S, with a good chilled head of lettuce covered by a tastee creamy blue cheese dressing while for a main course I chose Artic Char grilled and served with sauteed peppers and onions on a bed of orzo. Certainly more "classy" than soup and a sandwich. The food was good, not outstanding, the service was spotty and the price for the two dishes of $32 dollars certainly quite a bit more expensive

It's up to each of us to choose in dining out, as it is in most things in life, which impulse to follow.

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