Archive | August, 2012

Pacific Coast Dining Company — Not a “PIMT”!

30 Aug

Dining out gone wrong

*Disclaimer* I would like to issue a disclaimer I try very hard not to complain or give bad reviews! I leave a lot a room for improvement during a dinner service. I even reward great service when there is lackluster food. I try to tip 20~25%. I am in no way trying to be a negative Nancy when it comes to Dining out.

Last night I used one of my last Summer of Groupons at Pacific Coast Dining Company.  I went into this experience hoping that the reviews I saw were not true and that maybe it was fluke. I was wrong. Walking by the restaurant it seemed moderately busy with guest at tables along the window. We walked in and asked for a table for two. Even through, I made a reservation and was expecting the host to have a list of expecting guest. I alerted the host that I would be using a groupon that evening, already I felt as through maybe I said the wrong thing. We were seated and waited for our server. She came back over 10 minutes later and asked if he had come over to give us water. At the time he hadn’t and he came over immediately. From there everything seemed to go smoothly, he introduced himself and asked if we wanted an appetizer or salad and informed us that it did not come with the entrées. We said no that we would just order our dinner entrée. The groupon was only good for Dinner entrées and I was hoping to have some dessert at the end of the evening. He took our order and that’s when everything went downhill. We arrived at the restaurant at 7:30, we placed the order by 7:45~7:50, our meals did not come out until 8:45. There was no type of bread or Rolls while we waited. Two other couples came in and were served before us and checked on regularly by our waiter. At 8:24 pm another waiter came over to tell us that our order was never received by the kitchen and they had just put it in. Nothing was offered in terms of compensation no free salad, no free appetizers and no bread! After that the waiter went outside and his took his break as we watched the couple behind receive food, the couple at the bar received food.  At 8:40, caught the attention of not our waiter but the one who alerted us that our order did not go in properly, told him as nicely as possible that we no longer wanted our meal and would be leaving. He kindly replied let me talk to the manger and give me on minute. He came back and said our food was being plated. I felt bad and didn’t want to be a problem, so I agreed to at least try, maybe the food would be good and I could forgive them. The food came out hot but when you see the pictures of what they served us it was unpleasant.

*Disclaimer* I misread the menu they have two dishes with blackened chicken and I accidently ordered the one with bacon. I have not eaten beef or pork in over 10 years. I actually have gotten sick from eating items with either item in it.

My friend order Shrimp Scampi which they should be disciplined for serving spaghettis with Crushed Parmesan Cheese as Shrimp Scampi. I will be honest they had huge, pretty shrimp on the pasta but it had a bad odor. The Shrimp tasted like salt! In addition, the sauce was not an opulent creamy white, but a putrid brown that appeared to be more water than cream.  The noodles were undercooked and not al dente undercooked but like dropped in water until it looks limp, than plated. She actually gaged a little trying to eat the first bite.  I ordered the Blackened Chicken Risotto; I meant to order the Blackened Chicken Penne pasta. The risotto apparently had bacon.  But either way it did not look appetizing the bacon was the extra fatty piece of and it had a huge piece of onions. The other vegetables look like they poured a can of Del Monte mixed veggies into the risotto. The chicken was small and didn’t look as if it was blackened at all.  The risotto was watery and not creamy; it looked like they just added enough cream to make it look creamy. So after one bite all I could taste was salt, the whole plate was drenched in salt. The whole time the waiter was staring at us and asked how we did like it. He even said it looks like you don’t like you food. He offered to have kitchen redo my meal. By now it was 8:55.

Blackened Chicken Risotto

I kindly said no, and asked for the check. This is when everything went further downhill. Because I used a groupon I was automatically charged Gratuity. I asked the waiter in private to take it off cause at this point. We waited and hour and half for food, the food was nasty and no consultation was offered. I understand a mechanical error was the issue but our waiter did not tell us this he sent another waiter to tell us. While he waited on other guest and brought their food out promptly. He tried to convince me that it was automatically done for all groupons. I can understand that, but Horrible Service is Horrible Service. By the time we left I had a headache from the food. I offered it to my brother and his response was no. He never turns down food that I bring home.  Overall, this is by far one of the worst restaurant experiences I have ever had. Gordon Ramsey should put this place on Kitchen Nightmares.  The food was not well plated, it was thrown together and it was spiked with unnecessary amounts of Salt. It says something when my friend said you can make better shrimp


than that place.  I am unsure what happened with the whole service. By 8:00 pm the place had cleared out and it was only us and two other couples. I try not to be a complainer but this is not a restaurant I will patron again. For it to be in the heart of Little Italy, I hang my head in shame for the disgusting food they severed to use.  If anyone was to ask me if they should go to this restraint I would be honest and say only if you are breaking up with your significant other, you are breaking up with your jump-off or you are firing someone.


*Disclaimer* the views of this restaurant do not reflect the views of the owners of PIMT blog. This is only the opinion of one of the writers. I did not use the name of any wait staff present and omitted the day the service was completed to maintain amenity.

Happy Banana Pudding!

25 Aug

The finished product!

Banana Pudding!

So last week ,I asked a friend what their favorite dessert was their response was banana pudding. For most people Banana Pudding is the easiest thing to make it takes less than 5 ingredients (Vanilla Wafers, Pudding, Milk, and Bananas). All I can think to myself something so simple can be ruined so easily if you are not careful.  For me making banana pudding is a source of contention since I am not a fan of banana pudding. I feel the banana get in the way of my pudding and soggy wafers at the bottom cause a texture issue should I chew or swallow, but I digress.  So one of my co-workers who won the dessert contest at work, made Ms. Paula Deen’s “Not Yo’ Mama’s Banana Pudding” I read the recipe and thought it should be really good she use Pepperidge Farm Chessman cookies and Whip Cream. Furthermore, I did not have to turn on the oven.  So I proceed to make the pudding. I did add 2 tsp of vanilla extract and 2 tsp of Banana flavor extract (it the baker in me). I used two types of cookies. I used traditional Vanilla Wafers on the bottom and Chessman on top to give it a pretty look. Overall the recipe is really simple.  Layer your cookies on the bottom than you banana. At this point I drizzled about a tablespoon of honey over top of the banana and cookies. Follow the instruction of the pudding (French vanilla pudding and Milk with 2tsp of vanilla), mix. Then mix the Whip cream and Cream Cheese in a separate bowl, here is where I add the banana extract to the 2nd mixture.   I mixed the combo together. At this point I actually sprinkled some vanilla extract over the bananas. I tasted the pudding cream cheese mix all I can say was OMG it was like sex in my mouth. I mean it was creamy, rich; the banana extract made it the perfect flavor with the vanilla finishing it off. It was so sinfully delicious. I coated the pan with the combo, than arranged the chessman cookies on top. I allowed the banana pudding to refrigerate for 3 hours. I ended up making two pans one large and one small.  What were the reactions from this pudding?

Well it ranged from good to OMG:

  • I forgot that extract is made with alcohol so if no heat is applied it still will taste like you guessed it alcohol. This did not ruin the flavor.
  • Most people enjoyed it and asked if I added alcohol.
  • The person I made it for said it tasted happy. Which made me happy, because I wanted to make sure if I made this a smile would come across their face and just have a warm feeling of joy after eating it.

Below is the exact Paula Deen Recipe. Any extra adulteration I made I put optional and an asterisk* beside it. I hope you decide to make someone smile and make this banana pudding.

1   12-ounce container frozen whipped topping thawed, or equal amount sweetened whip (10 oz tube
1   14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1   8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
2 cup milk
1   5-ounce box instant French vanilla pudding
6-8   bananas, sliced (Used 3 bananas)
2   bags Pepperidge Farm Chessmen cookies * ( I only used 1 bag)

1 Tbsp. Honey* (optional)

2 tsp. Vanilla Extract* (optional)

2 tsp. Banana Extract* (optional)

½ box Nilla Wafers* (optional)


Line the bottom of a 13x9x2-inch dish with 1 bag of cookies and layer bananas on top.

In a bowl, combine the milk and pudding mix and blend well using a handheld electric mixer.  Using another bowl, combine the cream cheese and condensed milk together and mix until smooth.  Fold the whipped topping into the cream cheese mixture.  Add the cream cheese mixture to the pudding mixture and stir until well blended.  Pour the mixture over the cookies and bananas and cover with the remaining cookies.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Recipe courtesy Paula Deen

Yummy! Slap yo’ momma good. Please don’t she may slap you back.

Sascha’s 527 Not what I expected!

22 Aug

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Sascha’s 527 Not what I expected!

This past week I finally went to Sascha’s 527 located on Charles Street. I feel I should give you a little background, during my late teens and early twenties, while I was still in college. I use to work in the Inner Harbor, unlike Mitt Romney I was not able to survive off of Stocks during my college years. On most spring, summer, fall nights I walked home. Luckily, a 40 block hike gives you enough time to investigate the wonderful little restaurants, coffee shops, video stores and clubs within the city. I always would walk past Sascha’s and wonder what the food was like ( I read the city paper and would see their ads within the paper). I always saw mature adults come out, smiling and engaged in jolly conversation. I would read the specials and remind myself that I could eat there one day. Fast-Forward 8 years later and Thanks to GROUPON made that day possible.  So I finally went and well was it worth the wait?

Short answer: Yes but it’s not for everybody.

Atmosphere: Once entering the restaurant, you are introduced to low soft lighting with upbeat but classic pop music playing. The artwork on the walls is eclectic.  The thick red theater curtain helps reduce outside light and adds a certain appeal. The host came over and (he seemed laid back) and showed us to our table.  Each table has tea light candles and summer flowers on the table.  Definitely, the atmosphere is set for a romantic dinner. I was stunned by the 16 ft. columns and ceiling they just made the restaurant feel like a trendy NY restaurant. The color scheme (Deep red, beige and mute light orange) was perfect for relaxation and setting the mood. The Dress code is casual so you get a fancy meal with laid-back feel.

Food: Before we started to looking through the menu the host provides us with bread sticks. Not like the huge massively bread ones you get at olive garden but the very small dainty ones. They were perfect! I did not feel like I would over eat. The parmesan – (insert Italian spice) blend was magnificent. I loved the bread sticks to bad we only got three. After perusing the menu many of the items seemed delicious. Instead of getting entrées we decide on taste plates instead.  The taste plates were all delectable but we could not order everything. My dining partner for the evening order the Shrimp & Grits Grilled Jumbo Shrimp w. Grilled Corn Grits & Andouille Nage(14.50) and Pan Seared Scallops Coriander Encrusted w. Potato Blini & Tomato Confit (10.00). I did not get to try anything from his plate. He seemed to enjoy everything, was slight disappointed about the amount of food received. However we ordered taste plates so it was the perfect amount for me.  I tried the Salmon Tartare which included Cucumber, Whole Grain Dijon, and Avocado &Champagne-Tarragon Vinaigrette (8.00). My First bite and my mouth was slight on fire from the combination of tarragon, Sprouts and Dijon but after a second the coolness of the cucumber set it. The bread was not hard like I expected but soft and slightly warm. I love contrast between the warm bread and cold salmon. The champagne-vinaigrette was interesting it had a bite that seemed to enhance the other flavors. All I can say about the avocado was it there didn’t enhance nor overpower the flavor combination.  Next I ordered the Fries in a Cone w. Old Bay Mayonnaise & Moroccan BBQ Sauce (5.00). I am a slut for fries I l LOVE fries. There was nothing super special about the fries except for the dipping sauces. I loved the old bay mayonnaise and felt like it should have been on a burger or a chicken sandwich. I want to make this mayonnaise from scratch and use it!!!!!  The Moroccan BBQ sauce was spicy and hot and would be perfect on a grilled meat or vegetarian dish.  For dessert we had the Cornmeal short cake w. fresh peaches & berries (7.50). This was the only thing I was not thrilled by the dessert it was dry, but it was cornmeal shortcake so of course it will be dry. I think it would have been awesome with a drizzle of honey along with the crème added. Also I do not think it was peaches but nectarines on the shortcake, I may be wrong.  I may try to make this dessert at home. I think it would have been awesome with some honey drizzled over the fruit, berries, crème and shortcake.

Overall: I enjoyed the experience. I think this perfect place to go for a date night or special occasion (graduation, Promotion, engagement dinner, or break-up spot). This is not for everyone (non-adventurous) such as a meat and potato person. They do offer meat and potato options, but if they read through the menu they may be discourage.  I loved the service,  the waitress came over just enough and she was knowledgeable about the menu. Spacing may be an issue you really don’t have space for a private conversation but that what inside voices are for.

Would I go again? YES! At happy hour and next time will try an entrée and wine also taking one of my girlfriends with me.

Rub me tender, Rub me right!

17 Aug

Rub me tender, Rub me right!

The following is a product review for broiled/baked chicken wings. I am pretty sure if a cook was to read this they will turn their nose up or dislike how I prepared these wings but I like to keep it simple and tasty.  So I tried three types of rubs from three different places. One was the honey Rub sold at Crate and Barrel valued at $4.95, the next was the tomato, basil and garlic (TBG) marinade from a regular grocery about $1.50-$2.00 (depends on what store I think I paid $1.79). The last rub I tried was from Harry and David, Red Roasted Pepper Rub a value of $6.95.  So the basic recipes call for your meat product (in my case chicken wingettes. I am too lazy to cut up the whole wings to make my own wingettes).  Of course prep you wings properly, do not mix cooked and raw products. Wash your hands constantly and pay attention. I coated the each wings with olive oil than covered each set of wings with their respective Rubs.  The honeys rub and roasted red pepper rub could be applied directly to the coated wing. The TBG called for mixing the marinade with vinegar, and oil. For two of the wings I did add some modifications, for the honey rub, I drizzled honey over each wing and the Roasted Red Pepper wing  with some of Harry and David Sweet Red Pepper Spread.  All wings were marinade for 30 minutes in the refrigerator.  The baking took place I over bake my chicken for fear of Campylobacter, Salmonella, and other bacteria. So I baked the wings at 350* F for 30 minutes covered.  Than changed the setting to broil for 30 minutes than I removed the aluminum foils. So it took about 1 hour.  I was afraid that I would over dry the wings but the amazing thing the wings were still moist and tender.


 1st Place Honey Rub: These were some of the best wings ever. They were peppery, sweet and tender. The extra honey used brought out more of the honey flavor in the Honey rub. The rub was not too salty or overly sweet. This rub is totally worth the money and it covers the wings nicely for that browned appeal. If you are looking for something amazing splurge and get this rub for $4.95 from crate and barrel. These wings were finger licking good.

2nd place Red Roasted Pepper Rub: The one thing I can say about H&D is they do a lot of things well and this is one of those things. The kicker you get a lot of rub for you money. So you can do steaks, pork or more chicken, make it as a dipping oil spice or  as marinade also. I loved the fact that it has a sweet heat which is always good. Not too sweet but the heat is just right to bring out the tenderness of the chicken meat. Also make really good Roasted Almonds.

3rd place Tomato, Basil and Garlic: So what can you expect from McCormick.  The wings were good but it was missing something. Next time, I will add some diced tomatoes to the mix. I think if you were doing Chicken breast and sautéing this would be really good but for wings , it was a little too sophisticated sounding.

Honorable mention goes to: Tequlia Chili Wings. I still need to work out the kinks but the 2nd day you tasted the heat of the chili with lime and was a little tipsy from the tequila.


Until Next time,