Posted by tipcheck on 11/16/2010
Picture a warm and sunny Florida day, 85 degrees with gentle, warm breezes every now and then flirting with your hair and skirt hemline. Gorgeous day. Now imagine what type of food goes well with this kind of gorgeous day. Certainly not anything heavy and terribly filling. Certainly something Caribbean inspired, light and served with a laid back atmosphere. Certainly Bahama Breeze.
Spicy Mango Mojito — refreshing blend of silver rum, fresh mint leaves, lime wedges, mango puree…and a hint of cayenne pepper. Wowzas! Exactly the kind of beverage I needed after a day of laying out by the pool!
My best friends are Jamaican, so naturally, I’ve eaten plenty of beef patties in my lifetime, so naturally, I am a huge fan. Imagine my giddiness when I saw that Bahama Breeze had West Indies Beef Patties on their menu! These crispy little patties stuffed with spicy, savory beef dipped in cool sour cream and apple-mango salsa were quite delectable…but to be honest, didn’t compare to the real ones made by an immigrant Jamaican father!
Creole Baked Goat Cheese…perfect blend of smooth, creamy goat cheeses stuffed into sweet red bell peppers and baked to absolute deliciousness…served with little delicately toasted parmesan mini breads! Top each little bite with a bit of pineapple-mango salsa…oh. my. goodness.
Crab, Shrimp, Mango and Avocado Stack sounded enticing enough from the menu description, but when it was served, I was certain that I was in all sorts of love. Stunning presentation. Perfect mingling of textures on the palate. Gorgeous fusion of flavors. By far one of the most delectable treats I’ve ever had the pleasure of tasting.
Fruit Salad. Okay so I know fruit salads aren’t very exciting — honeydew and cantaloupe and watermelon – blahhh. That’s what I thought when I saw it listed on Bahama Breeze’s menu, but when I inquired about it and found out exactly what fruits were featured in it, I was drawn in and just had to request one. Fresh pineapple chunks, plump red grapes, juicy strawberry slices…topped with a sweet scoop of mango sorbet. Now that’s a fruit salad.
I absolutely adore any type of dessert featuring bananas, so when I spotted the Bananas Supreme on the menu, I was immediately smitten with the idea of sticky slices of banana carelessly thrown over warm slices of sweet banana bread, drizzled with a hot brandy butterscotch sauce…garnished with roasted almond slivers and whipped cream. I couldn’t control my pleasure moaning from the mouth orgasm this treat was giving me.
…and what better way to end a gluttonous meal of appetizer and dessert sampling than a Warm Chocolate Pineapple Upside Down Cake? Decadent, rich and oh so smooth molten chocolate cake topped with a caramelized pineapple ring…surrounded by a butterscotch brandy sauce and raspberry sauce moat…I believe a second mouth orgasm took place while this little piece of delicious was being delightfully devoured.
Gorgeous weather + tasty, tantalizing, tremendously delectable foods = incredibly satisfied Tip.
Posted in Yummy! | Tagged: appetizer, bahama breeze, check, dessert, food, mojito, restaurant, server, tip, trip, vacation, waiter, waitress | Leave a Comment »
Posted by tipcheck on 11/14/2010
I don’t know about you, but I absolutely adore little non-big corporate chain restaurants that have eccentric feels to them, and offer delicious little treasures of food at ridiculously reasonable prices. Don’t get me wrong — I love chain restaurants just as much as anyone, but there’s something charming about little, less known restaurants that fills my heart and tummy with all sorts of happiness. I’m super excited to share with you the experience I had at Cafe Tu Tu Tango (I adore the play on words of this restaurant name)! It was a total spur of the moment decision to go to Cafe Tu Tu, but boy am I glad I stopped in.
Just to give you a little bit of an overview of what this restaurant’s about: Cafe Tu Tu Tango is a tiny little hole-in-the-wall place that features a tapas style menu that is ever-changing. The space is covered in eccentric art, most of which is made by local artists. The atmosphere is laid back and even a bit gypsy/starving artist/hippie/omgipoppedtoomanyepills. It’s got great upbeat music and is colorful, friendly and oh, I could just go on and on about how much I love this place…
My friend and I decided on a carafe of white wine mango sangria made with white wine, (mango/apple/orange/lime) fruit juices, Spanish Brandy, Triple Sec, gin, and fresh slices of Granny Smith apples, oranges and lime. A bit strong for my little self, but mmmm, it was beyond tasty.
The first tapa of the night: Roasted Pears on Pecan Crisps. Oh. My. Goodness. Instant mouth orgasm. The pears were juicy and perfectly oven roasted, beautifully complemented by the sweet crispiness and lightness of the flaky pecan crisps they were served over. The fresh, soft and smooth arugula coupled with the creamy crumbled bleu cheese and savory balsamic drizzle worked wonders with the sweetness of the pears and crisps. This tapa was an explosion of flavors and textures — perfect first dish that made my mouth water for more…
Second tapa of the night: Duck Confit Salad. Un. Be. Lievable. Chopped tender roasted duck meat atop a bed of smooth arugula and mixed Mediterranean greens, creamy goat cheese crumbles, dried cranberries and balsamic vinaigrette…served over a crispy flat bread and caramelized onions. There’s just something about layers of opposing but oh so complementary flavors and textures that make me the most giddy and satisfied person in the world. I believe I fell in love eating this tapa. Mmmmm…
Third tapa of the night: Macadamia Crusted Mahi Mahi Skewers. Lightly crusted chunks of moist mahi mahi grilled a la plancha (for those of you who are non-Spanish speakers: on a metal plank/plate/surface), served with sweet, sticky pineapple jasmine rice with a drizzle of coconut soy sauce. Island inspired flavors, bold colors and a gorgeous plate presentation makes an absolutely heavenly delight for my mouth.
Fourth tapa of the night: Spicy Crab Chopsticks. Whimsically plated and absolutely lovely to stare at, this dish was wonderful. Three ‘chopsticks’ consisting of a light, crispy outer shell (similar to a thick egg roll wrapper) stuffed with sweet and spicy crab meat, topped with drizzles of spicy Chinese inspired hot mustard sauce and black sesame seeds, chopped green onions and cilantro. Oh my delicious.
Fifth tapa of the night: Flame Grilled Baby Lamb Chops. Rare. Bloody Rare. Mmmm…served over a ball of Greek inspired orzo salad with bits of diced roma tomatoes, crumbled feta cheese and pitted black olives, a bed of blanched baby spinach and topped with a balsamic drizzle. This dish melted in my mouth. There’s nothing like rare meat on the bone…mmmm.
Sixth and final tapa of the night: Gator Bites! Lightly breaded and deep fried bits of farm raised alligator meat served with a horseradish mustard and key lime pepper aioli. Tender and juicy interior and crispy and peppery exterior…yum.
If I could build a Cafe Tu Tu Tango in my basement and eat a few tapas a day, I would definitely do it without hesitation. Absolutely phenomenal in every way — flavors, textures, colors, plate presentations, atmosphere…everything was well above extraordinary. 100% worth the $91 ($71 for the total check, $20 tip for the delightful server) spent. Do yourselves a favor, fly down to Florida and visit this place! You’ll fall in love, I promise.
Posted in Yummy! | Tagged: cafe tu tu tango, check, delicious, dinner, food, restaurant, server, tapas, tip, waiter, waitress | Leave a Comment »
Posted by tipcheck on 11/14/2010
There’s nothing like going on a mini vacation and spending ridiculous amounts of money that you normally wouldn’t spend. Quick tangent — I discovered outlets in Florida and decided to spend some hours browsing the designer shops. Long story short, additional luggage purchases were made in order for me to pack all my stuff to fly home with me. Anyway, there is a more upscale — though not reaching the level of ’5 star dining’ — restaurant that I had heard lots of tales about but have never had the pleasure of dining in, simply because the closest one to my home state of Connecticut is in New Jersey…and quite frankly, a three hour drive to dine is just not worth it to me. The name of this restaurant is Seasons 52.
Seasons 52 is a restaurant that prides itself on the freshness and high quality of their foods, and the fact that they constantly change their menu — once a week, or 52 times a year to be exact — based on the current season’s offerings of meats, fruits, spices… The restaurant features an open kitchen where chefs and line cooks expertly prepare meals, a posh bar area, and extremely fancy restrooms. I ventured off to Seasons 52 with high expectations based on all the hype I’ve heard, and I’m very glad to say that I was not disappointed in the least.
The evening’s dinner began with a selection of wine. Being a lover of robust red wines, I chose a bottle of St. Hallet Gamekeeper’s Reserve 2008 — a rich and powerful Shiraz with a very delightful blend of red berries with a hint of spice. Bottled Fuji water was necessary as well.
The appetizer menu at Seasons 52 looked absolutely phenomenal, but in the interest of sharing, and per recommendation of the server, my colleagues and I decided on three flat breads to try (in order from top to bottom): Garlic Chicken Flat Bread featuring balsamic roasted red onions and red peppers and a blend of shredded mozzarella and romano cheeses, Spicy Chipotle Shrimp Flat Bread featuring sweet grilled pineapple, roasted spicy poblano peppers and crumbled feta cheese, and Grilled Steak and Cremini Mushroom Flat Bread featuring fresh spinach and bleu cheese crumbles. All were explosions of playful flavors mingling and flirting with my taste buds, satisfying with every bite.
Medium rare venison chops served over sauteed greens and mashed sweet potatoes with a savory balsamic reduction. Absolutely phenomenal melt-in-your-mouth, moan and sigh with each delightful bite kind of main course.
What I loved most about dinner at Seasons 52 has got to be the mini indulgences: perfectly portioned decadence in square shot glasses. Of the eight ultra tempting choices, I selected two (the third and fourth from the left) dessert shots. Banana creme layered with warm banana cake, fresh whipped cream and crushed pecans, garnished with a glazed banana chip. Mouth orgasm. Peanut butter mousse layered with chocolate mousse, fresh whipped cream, and finished with shavings of Belgian milk and white chocolate. Mouth orgasm.
And what dessert would be complete without the accompaniment of a fresh hand crafted cappuccino? Bold, intense and smooth with the perfect proportion of steamed milk countering the sinfully sweet mini indulgences. Mmmm…
Overall, entirely too much money was spent on this meal, but it was entirely worth it. Every bite was a journey of flavors and textures…decadent, delicious, wonderfully satisfying in every way.
Posted in Yummy! | Tagged: check, decadent, delicious, dessert, dinner, meal, restaurant, seasons 52, server, tip, waiter, waitress | Leave a Comment »
Posted by tipcheck on 11/10/2010
I’ve been on a mini vacation from the workplace…I am down in sunny Florida, and what better to do with my spare time than enjoy food? I absolutely adore flavors, textures, colors, plate presentations…mmmm. I figure that since Florida has a plethora of restaurants and foods not available in my current home state Connecticut, why not visit as many as possible and try some new dishes? I’ve been in Florida for four days thus far, and each day has been a new food experience. I will present the food experiences in no particular order of occurrence…just what I feel like uploading at the time. The focus of this experience will be BENIHANA.
Benihana is a teppanyaki style chain restaurant focusing on personalized service and prepared as requested culinary delights. I heard a rumor that there used to be Benihanas in Connecticut, but alas, they no longer exist in the Constitution State. Anyway, to sum it up, my experience at Benihana was absolutely incredible; the food was fresh, flavorful and playfully plated and served by skilled teppanyaki chefs. Everything I tasted was an explosion of goodness in my mouth and I left feeling extremely satisfied…
Left: White Peach Sake Sangria featuring peach, passion fruit and pineapple puree perfectly mixed with white wine and sake. Right: Exotic Mojito featuring a masterfully muddled concoction of Malibu Mango Rum, passion fruit puree, pineapple juice, lime wedges and fresh sprigs of mint. Bottoms up.
I chose the Rainbow Roll specialty sushi roll as an appetizer: sticky rice wrapped around crab stick, cucumber and izumidai, topped with colorful layers of salmon, yellowtail, avocado, and shrimp. Beautifully rolled and exquisite in flavor balance and texture.
The first course of the meal was Benihana’s own onion soup. The soup had just the right balance of onion flavor and broth, complimented by fried onion strings, shiitake mushrooms, and green onions. Not overwhelmingly pungent…just perfect for whetting my appetite.
Second course of the meal: delightfully light green salad accented with chopped carrots and shredded red cabbage, finished with a fresh in house-made ginger dressing. Mmmm…
Third course: freshly prepared chicken fried rice! The teppanyaki chef was wonderfully whimsical in his preparation and presentation of this dish. He playfully juggled the eggs prior to cracking them and adding them to the rice, and playfully shaped the mound of rice into the shape of a heart for his hungry audience. He skillfully scooped rice servings into each adorable little bowl, and literally ‘cartwheeled’ the bowls off his spatula, and sent them rolling just perfectly enough to land in front of each member of his audience. Wow.
Course number four: Tantalizing colossal shrimp, sweet yellow bell pepper, fresh asparagus and cilantro sauteed in a sweet mango sauce finished with a touch of lime. Fantastic interaction of sweet and spicy flavors bring out the natural sweetness of the shrimp and strongly satisfy my taste buds.
Fifth course: Benihana’s Seafood Diablo which is a firey combination of plump colossal shrimp, succulent calamari strips, and sweet sea scallops with assorted Chinese vegetables and Japanese udon noodles seasoned with a splendorous spicy sauce made in-house. This dish was totally worth my face sweating beyond belief.
Sixth and final course of the evening: freshly cut and skillfully arranged Pineapple Boat! This is by far one of the most cute and capricious desserts I have seen; a quartered pineapple cut into Jenga-like pieces, garnished with fat, juicy maraschino cherries and a little mini umbrella? I’ll eat one every day for breakfast, lunch and dinner!
MmMmmmmm…Tip is full. And very content. Time for a nap!
Posted in Yummy! | Tagged: appetizer, benihana, check, connecticut, courses, delicious, dining out, dinner, florida, japanese, meal, noodles, restaurant, server, shrimp, sushi, teppanyaki, tip, waiter, waitress | Leave a Comment »
Posted by tipcheck on 10/03/2010
What can make a girl’s eyes open wider than a small child’s eyes on Christmas morning? What can make a girl’s mouth smile from ear to ear bigger than the Grinch? What can make a girl drool more than a baby laughing it’s butt off? And what can make a girl giggle like a little school girl on the playground when Johnny looks her way? CUTE BAKED TREATS!
While deciding on a hot morning drink at Starbucks, I had the pleasure of spotting these absolutely gorgeous little pink frosted cake donuts topped with delectable little crunchy white sprinkles. As soon as I saw it, I my eyes opened to their widest capacity, my mouth formed an enormous smile, globs of drool dripped down my chin…and I couldn’t stop giggling for the life of me. I just had to have it. And I did. Mmmm…it tasted just as sweet and delicious as it was adorable.
Adorable pink Starbucks donut next to my adorable pink Juicy Couture handbag.
If you think it can’t get any cuter than that…wait ’til you see these absolutely adorable — yet sassy — little cupcakes I baked at 2 am (yes I know I may be harboring some sort of crazy cute/sugar addiction). They are teal tinted vanilla cupcakes topped with an eclectic swirl of red and black frosting….and dusted with edible silver crystal sprinkles. If these cupcakes don’t immediately trigger your inner little giddy school girl, then you clearly do not have a soul.
Cute little cupcake striking a pose…shortly before savage consumption.
I heart cute baked treats. TIP + CBT 4eva.
Posted in Yummy! | Tagged: adorable, baked treats, check, cupcake, cute, delicious, donut, restaurant, server, tip, waiter, waitress | Leave a Comment »
Posted by tipcheck on 09/06/2010
You know what makes a delicious dinner? Grilled salmon (medium of course) infused with a homemade marinade of maple, soy sauce, brown sugar, lemon and garlic…complimented by sauteed sugar snap peas seasoned with worchestershire sauce, extra virgin olive oil, and a touch of cayenne pepper and cinnamon kissed baked sweet potatoes…paired with a sweet, crisp glass of riesling. Perfect balance of sweet, savory and spicy. Great end to a long day at the restaurant.
Posted in Yummy! | Tagged: check, delicious, dinner, food, grilled, recipe, restaurant, riesling, salmon, server, tip, waiter, waitress, wine, Yummy! | Leave a Comment »
Posted by tipcheck on 08/30/2010
After a terribly long double, what could be better than a good bottle of wine? A bottle of wine that combines all of my favorite things! 2008 Shiraz from Cupcake Vineyard in Barossa Valley. Crisp, dry, fruity notes with a hint of oak. Call me a lush, but one delicious sip turned into 3 glasses of sweet, smooth heaven. Mmmm….
Posted in Yummy! | Tagged: check, cupcake, delicious, red wine, restaurant, server, shiraz, tip, vineyard, waiter, waitress, wine, Yummy! | Leave a Comment »
Posted by tipcheck on 08/02/2010
This past weekend was a delightful one in terms of my food intake. I took time off from the hell hole of a restaurant I work in and totally enjoyed myself. Saw Jeff Dunham on his Identity Crisis tour, rocked out to Maroon 5…and of course, savored delicious foods. The following is a photo documentation of the foods that caused my taste buds to explode.
My food adventure started with this meal pictured above: a basket of light, crispy fried clam strips & fries…and a succulently juicy lobster roll courtesy of Jasper White’s Summer Shack.
Couldn’t resist a sweet and sour little gummy snack during the Jeff Dunham show!
I recently got really into bento boxes and have been dying to make one of my own. The Veggie Fried Rice I ordered from Sunrise Square after the show just so happened to come in a box…so I figured, why not go for it? 3 happy little mushrooms basking under a fried egg sun…ready for my consumption!
Mmmm…what could be better than waking up to a delicious cup of coconut coffee (cream only) and a sweet, caramel-y maple frosted donut? Is it just me or are maple frosted donuts very difficult to find these days? Maybe I’m looking in all the wrong places? Either way…I had a swell time devouring it. The Veggie Pizza Pie I got to go was absolutely delicious as well.
I couldn’t help but stop by my favorite restaurant (Michael Jordan’s Steakhouse) for dinner before the Maroon 5 show. The meal started with a glass of sweet, slightly dry Shiraz and a basket of fresh dinner rolls kissed with a hint of garlic, onion and cheddar…
…followed by a bowl of steaming hot lobster bisque shot full of tender lobster claw meat…
…a juicy, melt-in-your-mouth filet mignon (rare of course) atop a bed of truffle potato salad and a tangy, yet slightly spicy brandy peppercorn sauce…
…a delicately grilled long bone veal chop with fresh arugula salad…
…juicy rack of lamb with rosemary jus and pea puree (which I had last time I was at MJSH)…so succulent and full of complex flavors and textures…
…a mouth-watering side of assorted mushrooms roasted in a white truffle oil complimented the filet mignon and Shiraz terribly well…
…and of course no dinner would be complete without a decadent dessert! Baked Alaska with warm butterscotch sauce and crunchy slivered almonds. Perfect orgasmic explosion in my mouth.
…and to finish off the night, following the intensive screaming and singing along to Maroon 5, I had to treat my throat to a creamy, Double Chocolaty Chip Frappucino (made with soy milk and light whipped cream). Yum.
A weekend of ridiculously good eats indeed.
Posted in Yummy! | Tagged: concert, delicious, food, jasper white's summer shack, michael jordan's steakhouse, pepe's pizza, restaurant, server, show, starbucks, waiter, waitress, weekend, Yummy! | 1 Comment »
Posted by tipcheck on 07/05/2010
One of my favorite things in the world to eat…is meat. Give me an aged, well seasoned, rare steak and I will be one happy, satisfied woman. It’s not too often that I dine out and have a steak I believe is cooked to perfection by little magical steak elves whose primary purpose on earth is to produce immaculate cuts of meat for human consumption…but the other night, I had the pleasure of dining at Michael Jordan’s Steakhouse at Mohegan Sun Casino. I had a glass of Penfold’s Shiraz (Australia), a deliciously crisp, dry wine that paired perfectly well with my rare Kansas City Strip Steak (aged, rubbed with MJS’s special blend, and finished with a mouthwatering Worcestershire glaze) and medium rare rack of lamb (served with rosemary jus and a delicate pea puree). My sides of choice? Lobster mashed potatoes that was seasoned with a perfect blend of claw lobster meat, cheeses, and garlic, roasted corn off the cob tossed in a spicy chili butter sauce, and a basket of white truffle oil herb crusted french fries. Flavor explosions in my mouth, a melody of textures over my palate…followed by feelings of immense satisfaction in my tummy…this was a feast truly fit for a queen.
Kansas City Strip Steak
Rack of Lamb
Lobster Mashed Potatoes
Roasted Corn off the Cob
Fries…served in an adorable little wire mesh basket…with a personal sized mini ketchup!
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Posted by tipcheck on 06/28/2010
My birthday was this past Friday (hence the lack of updates…heh). It was a fun couple of days for me, full of festivities, presents and of course…delicious foods. Another year older accompanied by another slew of memorable moments. Being a closet fatty like I am, of course the biggest highlight of my birthday were the desserts!
Exhibit A: A delectable match made in heaven; rich red velvet cake layered with creamy classic cheesecake…garnished with white chocolate shavings and a heaping of fresh whipped cream. Tons of yummies in my tummy.
Exhibit B: Sweet, decadent and oh so smooth concoction of delicious banana creme pie in the form of mouth watering cheesecake…garnished with fresh slices of sinfully succulent banana and perfect dallops of fluffy whipped cream. Intensive explosions of happiness in my mouth…
Exhibit C: Layers of plump, juicy, tender slices of strawberries basking in a sticky, sweet strawberry sauce…light, fluffy pieces of shortcake, and delicate mounds of heavenly whipped cream make up this classic indulgence of strawberry shortcake that left my taste buds in a state of pure ecstasy.
I think I’m ready for Round 2 of delicious (and totally not weight-conscious) birthday desserts…who’s with me?
Posted in Yummy! | Tagged: banana creme pie, birthday, celebration, cheesecake, decadent, delicious, dessert, red velvet cake, strawberry shortcake, whipped cream, Yummy! | Leave a Comment »