Tag Archives: Dining

Hurricane Cafe – Juno Beach, Florida

Blown Away by Good Eats

For three or four years we drove US1 through Juno Beach, Florida noticing a small strip mall anchored by an eatery. The Hurricane Cafe caught our attention because the parking lot was always full. I seriously doubted the chiropractic office had that many patients.

Hurricane Cafe_OutsideI searched Internet sites such as Trip Advisor for customer comments. The Zagat Guide has granted an “Excellent” rating every year since 2004. Chef/proprietor Scott Philip has been featured in Great Chefs of the West. The positive reports made us put the cafe on our“To Do” list. During a January visit Judy, Janis and I headed to Hurricane Cafe for Saturday breakfast. Despite a bit of morning chill we chose an outside table instead of waiting for one inside.

Although numerous offerings sounded tempting my decision was simple – Banana Praline FFrench Toastrench Toast, thick slices drizzled with caramel sauce, sprinkled with pecans, all topped with sliced bananas. Judy and Janis ordered eggs benedict – one with tomatoes and spinach, one with smoked salmon and fresh hollandaise. We left well satisfied, armed with to go boxes because of the generous servings. We would have another morning savoring our Hurricane breakfast offerings.

Yesterday we needed lunch after 2pm; shopping had created hearty appetites. Judy selected the lobster, corn and spinach quiche served with a generous green salad and bowl of fresh fruit. I opted for the turkey, avocado and smoked bacon wrap with potato salad as my side. The ice tea met my fussy standards, with my glass kept refreshed with ice and tea. Service was extremely expedient and friendly. As hungry as we were we truly appreciated how quickly our meals appeared. Our waitress patiently answered all our questions about menu preparation and offered knowledgeable advice.

We’ve picked a number of salad entrees for future visits. We’re told the pecan crusted chicken salad probably holds most popular status. I’m looking forward to the coconut shrimp salad with mango vinaigrette while Judy plans on trying the Georgia peanut salad.Eggs Benedect2

Dinner specialties include NY strip with gorgonzola and port fries, sautéed macadamia nut crusted basa, sweet chile roasted salmon and portobello, mozzarella veal meatloaf. The casual restaurant has built a devoted following consistently serving fresh and creative food.

Now we know why the parking lot is always filled; we plan to add to the congestion.

When You Go: Hurricane Cafe is located at 14050 US1 just north of Donald Ross Road in Juno Beach, Florida, 561-630-2012. The beach, Loggerhead Park and the Marine Life Center are all within a couple of  blocks of the restaurant. Breakfast service begins at 7am daily, the cafe closes at 9pm.

Hurricane Cafe, Juno Beach, Florida
Hurricane Cafe, Juno Beach, Florida

*Update II* – Perfect Landing Restaurant – Centennial, Colorado

Awesome Addition

Yes, we did go to the Perfect Landing at Centennial Airport this week after my friend told me they added a prime rib dinner to their $10 Awesome Anniversary Specials. This week we went late after an art show reception; it’s a different feel with the lights of the city instead of the setting sun.

We both indulged with the prime rib, Bob ordered an end cut and even after 8pm they Filet Special - Perfect Landing were able to fulfill that request. Plus, they were cooked exactly as ordered and served with au jus and a creamy horseradish sauce. The luscious creamy mashed potatoes and a mixture of fresh green and wax beans accompanied the meat.

We started with a grilled Caesar salad and right out of the oven crusty bread. To no one’s surprise we ended with a slice of key lime pie. Good, but not quite as tart this week. I like the tartness; that’s what makes it key lime in my mind.                    Perfect Landing – Filet Special         Salad and pie an additional $5/each.

On the piano, Boogie Bob’s selections are a bit mellower at 8pm than at 5:30pm.

When You Go: Check out an earlier blog for details on the $10 Awesome Anniversary Special running through May.

*Update* Perfect Landing Restaurant – Centennial, Colorado

Awesome Anniversary Special Continues

The Perfect Landing Restaurant at Centennial Airport continues their anniversary special through the month of May. Available Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings, the special menu includes:

  • Center cut filet dinner
  • Teriyaki glazed salmon filet dinner
  • Alaskan king crab legs (1/2 pound)
  • Maine lobster tail
  • Shrimp scampi
  • Bottle of cabernet or chardonnay

Each for only $10

The filet is served with mashed potatoes and green vegetable, the salmon with rice and veggie. The crab legs, lobster and shrimp are a la carte items. Order the filet dinner, add a lobster tail – quality surf and turf for $20.

On our last visit we ordered a bottle of wine and were delighted with the Salmon Creek cabernet. We usually share a salad ($5), either the Perfect Salad of spring greens, craisins, pecans and bleu cheese crumbles with an orange balsamic vinaigrette, or a traditional Caesar. On our next visit we’ll order the Grilled Caesar. The basket of crusty in-house baked bread always empties at our table.

Sunset at Perfect Landing We’re declining desserts these days but the Perfect Landing key lime pie can’t be missed. I’ve heard good reports on the chocolate soufflé cake but we’re sticking with the key lime pie.

As diners have heard about the anniversary special the restaurant has been very busy; by 6pm every table is filled, with people waiting. The wait staff have been up to the task with cheerful efficient service. I wouldn’t go without a reservation. Last week we went at 5pm and had the rest of the evening for an activity.

In addition to excellent food and service we enjoy the music of Boogie Bob at the piano and panoramic views of the Rockies as the sun settles behind the Continental Divide.

When You Go: The Perfect Landing opens for breakfast and lunch seven days a week, open for dinner Tuesdays through Saturdays. Phone 303-649-4478 for reservations.

Find It!

Perfect Landing Restaurant at Centennical Airport
Perfect Landing Restaurant at Centennical Airport

Old Stone Church Restaurant – Castle Rock, Colorado

Old Stone Church

Old Stone Church - Exterior After a wind blown visit to Castlewood Canyon State Park we take sanctuary at the first church built in Castle Rock. Today the Old Stone Church serves cuisine instead of a congregation. Where the confessional once stood a table for two awaits diners as does the choir loft.

We always enjoy the creative dishes from chef/owner Jeff Richard. Trained at The Culinary Institute of America, Richard features fresh ingredients with a sense of adventure. I like the southwest influences and order the shrimp enchiladas with goat cheese and chipotle cream. A half-dozen grilled shrimp fill each enchilada. Packed with flavor, I soak up every drop of the chipotle cream with tortillas and the Mexican rice. Old Stone Church - Java Salmon

Bob chose the Old Stone Church because he was lusting after their salmon. Java salmon is rubbed with coffee, ancho chile powder and brown sugar, served over a goat cheese pasta and topped with a corn relish. Sighs of contentment come from his side of the table.

While we waited for the entrees we dipped warm pita pieces in a thick sauce of herbs, red pepper, red wine vinegar and olive oil.

Old Stone Church - Ladies Lunching Although we didn’t have any on this visit every soup I’ve ever tried at The Old Stone Church has been perfect. I especially remember the cream of asparagus on our last visit. I believe Chef Richard shines when it comes to soups and sauces.

Locals consider the Chaplain’s Bar, next to the dining room, their secret. From 3-6pm  they relax with $5 appetizers and drink specials.

The only complaint I’ve ever held is that we’ve never had a host/hostess that seemed glad you’ve walked in Old Stone Church - Leaded Glass Window the door. Once we start interacting with the wait staff we feel welcome and receive good service but the initial greeting could certainly be improved.

Flickering tea lights, a softly falling fountain, original stained glass windows and music creates a relaxed, a reprieve from a busy day, atmosphere. I feel I must confess we don’t come to the Old Stone Church frequently enough.

Find It!

Old Stone Church - Castle Rock, CO
Old Stone Church – Castle Rock, CO

When You Go:

Old Stone Church Restaurant

210 3rd Street

Castle Rock, Colorado

303-688-9000

Open Tuesday – Saturday

Lunch 11am-2pm

Dinner 5-10pm

Closed Sunday & Monday

South Broadway Grill – Denver, Colorado

Neighborhood Comfort

It was a gray and damp Thursday night when we realized it was our last chance to take advantage of the Dinner Deal at South Broadway Grill in Denver. Listeners to the Warren Byrne Restaurant Show on KEZW 1430 Radio hear about a weekly Dinner Deal – a great incentive to get out to restaurants we’re unfamiliar with or to revisit tried and true favorites. The Meal Deals usually run from Saturday through Thursday evenings; we never cease to be amazed at how Thursdays slip up on us each week.

south-broadway-grill-salad1We abandoned the comfort of home and headed to South Broadway Grill which opened a few months ago. The location first saw a Mr. Steak restaurant back in the \’60s and has seen numbers of eateries come and go. The completely redone interior  is pleasing in its sleek urban simplicity, contemporary art and floral highlights. Bob immediately noticed an impressive orchid on the hostess stand. The host assures us that it’s real. We later learn that co-owner Carolyn Kinsella is a talented floral designer.

Carolyn along with husband Val Erpelding also own the extremely popular Breakfast on Broadway and Flower Wraps, a unique flower shop and full-service cafe.

south-broadway-grill-sole2Dinner started with the Broadway Salad – fresh spring greens, dates, figs, toasted almonds, goat cheese dressed with the house vinaigrette and topped with polenta croutons. I loved the salad, next visit I may make it my entree. Bob selected the grilled sole with a creamy caper sauce served with mashed potatoes and spinach. He ate the whole thing – there was no need for a to-go box. My choice was the pasta Fabiano. Sautéed chicken breast, broccoli,roasted cashews and penne pasta in a basil cream sauce. The cashews added a nice texture and flavor to an otherwise rather bland dish. A little added salt helped bring out some flavor. The ice tea received excellent reviews from both of us.

south-broadway-grill-bread-pudding1 A serving of chocolate chip caramel bread pudding to share capped our Dinner Deal. I watched dishes coming out of the kitchen, a number of sandwiches looked very appealing as did the buffalo short rib stroganoff. The clientele spanned the range from young singles watching a ballgame while eating at the bar to three-generation families with Grandma in a wheelchair. I’m thinking one of the circular corner booths will be just right for the next girls night out.

South Broadway Grill has a neighborly feel, I can imagine dropping in often if it were in my neighborhood. We found warmth and comfort in the food, service and setting even on a gray, damp evening.

Find It!

South Broadway Grill
South Broadway Grill

When You Go: South Broadway Grill is located at 2200 S. Broadway, Denver, CO – one block south of Evans. They haven’t yet put up a web site, call 303-993-2301 for information.

Perfect Landing Restaurant – Centennial, Colorado

*Deal*

Perfect Landing – 10th Anniversary Specials

Looking for excellent food, a relaxed, comfortable dining atmosphere and super views of Colorado’s front range -plus a great deal? The Perfect Landing restaurant celebrates ten years at Centennial Airport with $10 specials worth the drive from anywhere in the Metro area. Or, fly in.

perfect-landing-day-is-done

 During the month of April on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings Perfect Landing offers a half-dozen items for $10. We took advantage of the special on Tuesday night. Bob ordered the teriyaki glazed salmon filet served with rice pilaf and broccolini. He pronounced the salmon the best he’s had in a long time; he’s ordered a lot of salmon lately.

I selected the beef filet served with whipped potatoes and broccolini. Eavesdropping on the waitress at the table behind me, I heard her say that their chef cuts the filets himself. She added that the $10 special filet was just slightly smaller than the one on their regular menu. Mine was perfectly trimmed and wrapped in bacon. I’m not a rare beef eater so asked for medium; it was a notch under my idea of medium but not enough to send back. The meat was flavorful, tender and a very sufficient size. The potatoes were creamy and wonderful.

perfect-landing-salmon

We devoured the warm,  in-house baked bread, crust ideally crunchy without being tear-up-the-roof-of-your-mouth tough. The bread center perfectly textured. There wasn’t a crumb left in our basket.

From past visits we remembered the key lime pie and added a dessert to our  order. The pecan pie, chocolate souffle cake and key lime pie are all made in-house. On every trip to Florida my sister and I search for the best key lime pie. Forget Florida, all we need do is go to Perfect Landing in Centennial – better than any other I’ve ever had.

Additional $10 anniversary specials include a bottle of cabernet or chardonnay wine and a la carte servings of shrimp scampi, 4-0z Maine lobster tail or 1/2 pound of Alaskan king crab legs.

perfect-landing-boogie-bob

A long time Denver favorite, “Boogie” Bob Olsen entertains at the piano bar Tuesdays – Saturdays, 5:30-9pm. Our hostess gave us the option of being near the piano or further away. We enjoyed watching him play and his happy following.  At the cocktail bar and in the piano lounge area $5 appetizers are available from 5-7pm .

perfect-landing-sunset1 The dining room overlooks Centennial airport’s runways  and the western horizon – a panoramic mountain view from Pikes Peak to Rocky Mountain National Park. We watch helicopters come in for a quick refueiling and planes, from small two-seaters to corporate jets, land and take-off. As we finish the last bite of key lime pie the sun sinks below the mountains, capping our evening with a technicolor light show.

Bob says he’s going back every week in April. We’ll see if that happens; however, I’d encourage everyone to put Perfect Landing on their radar.

When You Go: The Perfect Landing opens for breakfast and lunch seven days a week, open for dinner Tuesdays through Saturdays. Nancy’s Note – The breakfasts are tremendous. Dinner reservations strongly advised, especially on weekends and during the April anniversay special.

Golden Shanghai – Denver, Colorado

Golden Shanghai

Golden Shanghai on South Parker Road serves up a golden experience. For several weeks I’ve felt the need for a Golden Shanghai dinner, tonight we satisfied that need. From the initial greeting to the final thank you all was as it should be for a pleasant dining experience.

A pot of hot tea is brought to the table as soon as we’re seated. We selected the family dinner for two at $13.95/person. Each person receives soup, choice of egg drop, wonton or hot and sour, an egg roll, cheese wonton, rice and any entree on the  menu priced up to $9.95. Bob ordered wonton soup and hot and spicy chicken, Nancy went for the hot and sour soup and pork with garlic sauce. Soups were  flavorful and served piping hot, of the two we prefer the hot and sour. Vegetables used in the entrees were fresh and cooked to perfection – maintaining a bit of a snap. All dishes can be ordered with no vegetables, no sauce,  or sauce on the side and can be prepared hot, mild or not spicy at all. MSG is not used in any dishes at Golden Shanghai.

We resisted the temptation tonight but I highly recommend the plum wine ice cream, it’s a lovely ending for a Chinese dinner. Individually wrapped almond cookies are presented along with traditional fortune cookies. My fortune said to, “Trust your instincts.” I believe we did just that by heading to Golden Shanghai for dinner.

Service matches the quality of the food, attentive without intrusion. From the outside Golden Shanghai looks like just another Oriental restaurant in a strip mall. Inside the dining room is attractive with tall, padded booths along the walls, and well spaced tables in the center of the room. An alcove offers a degree of privacy for small groups (I would guess up to a dozen). A well-kept aquarium and small bar complete the room.

Beyond the Chinese dishes you expect are specialties like lobster in garlic sauce, Cantonese or Szechuan style. I’m not a scallop person but I hear the sesame scallops are to die for. In addition there are a number of Southeast Asian fusion dishes on the menu. Golden Shanghai always appears to have a devoted take-out clientele and delivers in the immediate area.

With the quality of food, preparation, service and ambiance it is no wonder Golden Shanghai has been named one of the top 100 Chinese restaurants in the country.

I went hungry and totally concentrated on our meal. When all was said and done I realized I should have taken pictures, my mistake. Check Golden Shanghai’s website to see their photos and menus. Then, stop in and have your own golden experience.

Wisdom’s Cafe – Tumacacori, Arizona

Wiser About Wisdom’s

We now know what all the regulars are wise to about dinner at Wisdom’s in Tumacacori, Arizona. The doors open at 5pm. On a March Tuesday night there will be a full house by 5:05. They haven’t even had time to remove the “Closed” sign.wisdoms-outside

The day before, on our way to Santa Cruz Chili & Spice Company we noted the number of cars at an adobe roadside restaurant. The sign above the door read, “Wisdom’s.” That’s all it took for me to be intrigued, I did a bit of Internet searching and decided we couldn’t leave the area without partaking of a little Wisdom’s for ourselves.

In search of birds at Madera Canyon we made lunch a Drumstick ice cream. We were saving ourselves for an early dinner at Wisdom’s and ordering dessert – the fruit burrito they’re credited with “inventing”. We literally pull into the parking lot at 5pm – WWV time according to Bob’s watch. By the time we make it to the front door every table is taken – inside and out.

wisdoms-herbWe’re lucky to grab a couple of seats at the bar where owner/family patriarch, Herb, sets up a steady stream of drinks. I start on a margarita served in a pint glass fruit jar. Before long I’m in conversation with two ladies from Green Valley (20+ miles north), they’re absolutely rapturous discussing Wisdom’s menu. They tell me Tuesdays are 2-for-1 margarita night and you need to get in line 20-30 minutes before opening.

While I’m getting the low down on what to order one of Herb’s sons comes over and asks if we’re willing to share a table. A couple at a four-top feel guilty since so many are waiting and they have two empty chairs. We join a charming retired couple from East Lansing, Michigan who winter in Arizona. They too are Wisdom’s regulars and highly recommend the tortilla soup. It looks delicious – I so badly want to put my spoon in their bowl and try a taste, but I resist. We’re also told to order the dessert fruit burrito as we order the meal and mini-margaritas are available.

wisdoms-diners1We decide on one cherry burrito – split in half with a scoop of ice cream for each of us. Bob selects the bacon wrapped shrimp served with salsa, guacamole, sour cream, tortillas, rice and beans. I want to try a half-dozen items but settle on a chile relleno, turkey enchilada, rice and beans. Food arrives hot, tempting and oh so good. No wonder people drive for miles to eat at Wisdom’s. Our dinner partners introduce us to Herb’s granddaughter, Sasha. I’m guessing she’s about 10 years old and already a charmer.

Not that we’re at all hungry for dessert but we both dive into the cherry burrito – yummy! Local legend has it that one afternoon a tortilla spread with jam fell into some hot cooking oil. Quite by accident the fruit burrito had its start to becoming famous. Apple, peach, cherry and blueberry always appear on the menu plus a daily special – banana cream the night we were there. I was curious but stayed with the cherry choice. The hot, crisp fruit-filled burrito is rolled in cinnamon sugar and served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Wisdom’s has been owned and operated by the same family since 1944. It ‘s the kind of place that feels like everyone is a regular yet you’re not out of place as an outsider. Before the Green Valley ladies left they came to our table to see what we ordered and how we liked it. The food is worth waiting for and the margaritas strong – there’s no way I could have two and not peacefully fall sleep for the night.

When we’re anywhere in the Tubac area we’ll become regulars and now we know – get there early!

wisdoms-patio4wisdoms-chicken1 wisdoms-dinner-companion3

When You Go: Wisdom’s Cafe is located at 1931 E. Frontage Road (off I-19), Tumacacori, Arizona – 4.5 miles south of Tubac, 15 miles north of Nogalas, AZ. It is a short distance north of Tumacacori National Historical Park. Open year-round, Monday – Saturday lunch is served 11am-3pm, dinner 5-8pm, closed Sundays, daily specials, excellent childrens menu.

 

Gracie’s Station Restaurant – Benson, Arizona

New in Benson – Gracie’s Station

I was thrilled when I heard a new restaurant had opened in Benson, Arizona. With much to explore in the area we’ve frequently stopped for meals, never finding one that especially excited us for a return visit. There was no question we would have dinner at Gracie’s Station.

It got even better when we discovered Gracie’s was next door to our hotel. We didn’t have to get back in car, we could stretch our legs and walk to dinner – yea! A red stagecoach sits out front, the building facade reminds us of an Old Western town movie set. The interior is fashioned after a late 1800s railroad station and decorated with railroad memorabilia and historic photographs. Each of three dining rooms reflect unique atmosphere – Jenny’s Hotel, TJ’s Round House and The Brothel. Of course, there’s The Saloon for before and after dinner beverages and Makena Kate Goods & Needs Store for a bit of shopping.benson-gracies-2

The menu presents a potpourri of choices. There are sandwiches, burgers, soups and salads, steaks and pastas. Station Stop Favorites include good old fashioned comfort food such as meatloaf, turkey dinner, chicken pot pie, catfish and chicken fried steak. Each entree accompanied with soup or salad, homemade bread and two side dishes. Skillet corn bread, pueblo pinion-pumpkin bread and forge fry bread fills the enticing bread basket. Gracie’s offers an all you can eat fish fry on Fridays and prime rib on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

We’re impressed to find gluten free items on the menu and a note that gluten free pasta can be substituted in any of the pasta entrees. What a nice option for those who need such consideration.

After dinner at Gracie’s we knew that new can be better. Welcome to Benson.

When You Go: Gracie’s Station is located just west of Hwy 90 south of I-10, exit 302, on the west side of Benson, Arizona. Open seven days a week 4-10pm.

One Negative: When we approached the Gracie’s hostess stand a half-dozen employees were grouped around a waitress who was having a hissie fit about something. My impression was that it was a conflict with the kitchen. Whatever the cause it was the wrong place to deal with the issue; not a good first impression for the customers. Hopefully this was an isolated instance and management is wise enough to remove such tantrums from the public view in the future. Our waitress was very pleasant and service oriented.

Contessa Cafe Italian Buffet – Tucson, Arizona

Caps Off to Contessa Cafe

I love it when the day comes together with sunshine, fresh air, outdoor activity, a good meal and relaxation. We spent most of the day at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, then finished the afternoon at the Red Hills West section of Saguaro National Park. No lunch, an ice cream cone bridged the hunger cap at mid-afternoon. Checking into our motel we asked for locally owned restaurant suggestions. Not only did they offer options but handed me a coupon for 20% off at either Contessa Italian Buffet or La Olla Mexican restaurant. The desk clerk made it known that the margaritas at La Olla where the best.

contessas-chef-diane1Bob was ready for a switch from Southwest cuisine so Contessa became our destination. We expected it to be nearby but drove several miles before finding the address in a rather dark, nondescript strip mall. We experienced a moment of doubt about our choice. A Pizza Hut stood in the same parking lot nearer the street, should we go there instead?

Stepping through the door we were immediately greeted and seated by chef/owner Diane Gallardo. The dining room is rather small but nicely decorated – booths had church pew style seating, colorful inlaid tile tops tables. A family with young children enjoyed the warm March evening on the patio.

The dinner buffet offered caesar and pasta salads, fresh fruit, ingredients for a make-it-to-your-liking garden salad and antipasto. Bob started with a cup of the daily soup, a chicken ???. A basket of fresh in-house baked bread was served along with our ice tea. Five main dishes and a nightly special change throughout the week. Diane says Tuesday night is stuffed shells night. Main dishes are kept covered until served by an staff member, nothing is dry or sporting that crusty, no one’s eaten me buffet look. We tried small servings of most of the items including the evenings special of Chicken Palerno, eggplant parmesan, and what Diane declares to be the best meatball on the planet. I indulged in the fettuccine – some with marinara, some with alfredo. I thought the creamy cheese sauce to be the perfect balance of richness without being thick and heavy. We stopped after one plate of entrees but could easily have gone back for more.

contessas-dessertsIn the name of research we made selections from the enticing dessert tray, raspberry cheesecake for Bob and cannoli for me. I opted for the traditional instead of the one with chocolate chips. Bob totally enjoyed the cheesecake but one bite of my cannoli and I thought I might have to fight him off with dual forks.

Diane and staff were friendly and extremely service oriented, especially for a buffet style restaurant. Most everything is made in-house from old family recipes – good Italian comfort food. We’re delighted to tip our caps to Contessa Cafe and the motel staff that recommended it.

When You Go: Contessa Italian Cafe is located at 4145 W. Ina Road, Tucson, 520-572-0222. They do not have a web site. Reservations accepted for six or more. Open for lunch 11am – 2pm, dinner 5-9pm Tuesdays – Saturdays. Closed Sundays and Monday. Lunch is $7.50 for an adult, dinner $11.99.