Saturday, July 30, 2005

Bistro Louise

Bistro Louise is Monika’s favorite restaurant.

Why, you might ask? First, the ambience is top-notch. The setting is a bit rustic French countryside, and the place is constantly full of people who you can tell are regulars. The owner walks around frequently over the course of the night asking you how the food is, eager to hear your comments. For some dishes, fish for example, she’ll cart your meal out and de-bone the fish right in front of you. Or she’ll whip up some Bananas Foster (insanely good, by the way).

The food overall is spectacular.

The best thing I’ve had there is the pecan-fried chicken. Now, you might ask yourself – fried chicken? Why would you go to a fancy French restaurant and order fried-freaking-chicken?

Well, it’s that same sort of “it doesn’t make sense” gibberish that goes through my head that convinced me to order it one time, and they delivered the goods. The batter was crisp and well-seasoned, the chicken was tender and flavorful. I can’t for the life of me remember what the sides were, but one of them involved gravy, which was obviously a good match for the chicken.

Monika is a big fan of the assorted cheese appetizer. It comes with a few slices of bruschetta, some greens, and some seriously stinky cheese, including a local goat cheese crusted in pepper. Now, it’s noteworthy to point out that this place is pretty expensive, on the order of ~$60 for a two-person meal.

However, they also serve breakfast on Saturday morning, and the prices are dirt-cheap in comparison. We’re talking less than $10 per person, and the caliber and quantity of food is comparable.

Overall Grade: A

Okay, I’ve now decided that I need to split the grade…one alone doesn’t encompass enough.

Food: A+

Value: A-

Delaware Sub Shop

In the heart of Austin, Texas... Posted by Picasa

Delaware Subs is an Austin fixture and, in my opinion, has the best sub sandwich you will ever eat.

Bring your appetite; the options are 7- or 14-inchers. Remember the last time you conquered a foot-long from somewhere else but felt like you could have eaten just a bit more? Delaware’s “Large” is perfect for you. And they don’t skimp on meat. The traditional deli-style selections start with a hefty helping of cold cuts, which are covered in veggies, oil, hot and sweet peppers (all optional, of course), and then topped with – you guessed it – more meat. It’s Homer-Simpson-type drool inspiring.

Each day of the week, they have a different special – I believe the special runs ~$5 for a large on that day. Other days a sandwich is still no more than ~$7 for a large, though, which is a downright bargain for such an awesome sandwich.

The only “negative” at Delaware is that the sandwiches are so delicious, you’ll trick yourself into thinking you can actually eat a large and not feel grotesquely stuffed. When Monika and I went there last, I got a small Deluxe (my standard issue – ham, turkey, and bacon) and a Meatball (it was the special; I couldn’t resist). I was so full after eating half of the deluxe that I had to eat the meatballs from the other sandwich by themselves…there was no more room left for bread. Monika had the fried eggplant, which was also excellent.

One final note – Delaware Subs is actually home of *the* best Philly Cheese Steak you will ever eat (in Texas, at least). They make it with catsup; don’t ask me exactly how it works – just try one for yourself, and you will be impressed.

Overall Grade: A


Yogi's Menu Posted by Picasa

Yogi’s has a special place in my heart because Monika and I went there when we first started dating and have continued to go there since.

Their core competency (sorry, I couldn’t throwing MBA jargon in there) is breakfast. My favorite is the Breakfast Special – two eggs your way, bacon or sausage, a bagel (4 thousand choices), hash browns, and God’s own grits. Seriously, these grits are insane. They key, of course, is massive amounts of cheese. I believe they also put trace amounts of cayenne pepper in there, which does not make them spicy, but gives them a bit of a kick to make things interesting. Now, they actually stopped offering the special a few months ago (they probably realized that charging $5.99 for that much food was ludicrous), but if you say “the special,” they know what you mean. By the way, if you saunter in around 11 a.m., the grits will be long gone. We found this out the last couple times we visited.

Monika’s weapon of choice is the bagel sandwich with a Café Mocha. The Bagel Sandwich is the standard fare, but the coffee ranges from good to excellent, depending on who makes it. If you see a guy with a lot of tattoos on his arms, you are about to get a mean cup of coffee.

Differentiation: although most people who know me know that I’m not big into the whole “Bread Thing,” (no, I’m not on the freakin’ Atkins diet, random internet cruisers of the world) this place has killer pancakes that truly stand out in a world full of “who cares?” pancakes at every corner. Imagine a doughnut, but not as sweet and flagrant – that’s a preview for how their pancakes taste.

The caveat: no real butter, no warm syrup. I’m baffled that a place with such good, unique pancakes doesn’t have better pancake “accessories,” shall I say. The only butter option is crappy individual plastic foil-covered margarine packs, and room-temperature syrup which lives in plastic “Ballpark Hot Dog” squirt-containers. Why?

Others – the eggs benedict are good, the Bagel and Locks are great, the Migas are okay.

Overall Grade: B+