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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.

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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)

Directions

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

http://www.pauladeen.com/recipes/recipe_view/not_yo_mamas_banana_pudding/

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,

–deaverster

Chiyo Sushi Awesome or Ok?

12 Jun

Chiyo Sushi Awesome or Ok?

On May 31, 2012, I went out to Chiyo Sushi in Mount Washington in
Baltimore. I will be honest I am a sushi slut! I love sushi and I usually
can tell you where the best places are in the city. I can also tell you
where to stay away from. I had the honor in the summer of groupon (I am
trying to use all my groupons before the end of summer) to go to Chiyo
sushi. From first appearance it appears to be in the cut. Seriously, you
may drive by it if you miss your turn or go too fast. It’s up the street
from the Mt. Washington light rail stop, so be green and take the light rail.
When you first enter, the restaurant is very quaint and cozy. At first, you
may feel like there is not enough room, but the hostess will lead you
upstairs where they have more seats. Like most sushi restaurants, they have
two menus. One with all items, and of course a sushi menu. The sushi menu is
extensive, it has two sides with over 100 choices of rolls, either cooked or
vegetarian options. So we started the meal with green tea, my eating buddy
had iced green tea. I had the hot honey green tea, which was good with a
strong honey after taste. So we finally decided with the help of our
waitress to get the New Orleans roll, Florida roll, Kamikaze roll, Honey Nut
Shrimp roll and Ivy roll. Sidebar, I must say our waitress was nice and
bubbly and suggested the Florida Roll and Ivy Roll. Each roll was unique
too in its own right, and just made me smile after eating it. All rolls were
served on the same plate.

Here is the breakdown of taste below:

Tasty!

The Ivy roll was made up of apple, avocado, bean curd and cucumber if I
remember correctly. The apple brought out a sweetness that enhanced the
flavor of the bean curd. This was very tasty and for any vegetarian reader
out there was a delish roll to try.

Okay!

Next up was the Florida roll. Again, I forgot what was inside the roll but
it was similar to other sushi restaurants Florida roll. It was still
refreshing and delicious. The Kamakaze roll was super spicy with black
pepper tuna with avocado and tuna inside and tuna on top of the sushi roll.
The roll off the break was SPICY. If you like spicy then , this is the roll
to get. It will set your mouth on fire, but in a good way.

Amazing!

The last two rolls that were enjoyed were the Honey Nut Shrimp roll and the
New Orleans roll. Both are lightly fried outside. The honey nut shrimp had
this amazing sauce, walnuts, apple and shrimp tempura. The roll was still
delicate, with the right amount of sweetness. The cool part, the
crunchiness came from the whole roll not just the walnut. It wasn’t a
flavor explosion but more like a small symphony of savory and sweetness.
The New Orleans roll was just as good also, with crawfish, and a fried
outer shell. I do not remember all of the details, but it sort of blended
New Orleans flavor with sushi, which just made everything awesome.

In my opinion I would suggest this place for a date or a dinner with
friends. Uncle Wiggly is up the street on Forge Avenue, which serves Taharka
Brothers ice cream. The sushi was good, service was good and atmosphere
was relaxed and nice. It’s right off of the light rail and several bus stops
so one doesn’t have to worry about parking. If you are in Baltimore, and want
to try something new that’s not in the heart of the city, then jump on the light
rail and explore Mt. Washington.

Until Next Time,

— deaverster

The Family Guy Salad

2 Jun

This Salad reminds me of the opening scene in Family Guy episode “Grumpy Old Men”

The Family Guy Salad

So last week I had the opportunity to go to the Blue Dolphin Seafood Bar and Grill, located in Gambrills, MD on Route 3.  Funny story, so this was not the first choice to go out to eat.  First we were supposed to go to Jaspers in Largo. However, one of my co-workers suggested trying a different place. Turns out the second choice Fins, a Hawaiian fusion and sushi bar located in Crofton MD, was recently closed for business.  So the last effort before McDonald’s or Wendy’s was searched out was the Blue Dolphin Seafood Bar and Grill, across the street. We went in and it did not seem too busy.  Well it was a Tuesday night, so you would expect it to be quiet and laid back. The hostess offered a choice of where to sit either lounge side or dining room, and we chose the lounge side.  Of course, Happy Hour was taking place. Everyone was dressed as they came from the office. We were quickly seated, served bread with butter, and a little while later the waiter came to take our order. First up was the Thai Shrimp Rolls. I found the shrimp rolls to be flavorless, and missing a crucial element. After examining the menu, they had a Tuesday special for Fish and Pasta. However, you can either get 1lb of shrimp for $8.95, pasta or fish and chips. I just found that to be an odd title, but did not question the wording.

My eating buddy ordered the lasagna. I proceeded to order the “House Salad” which is not on the online menu. On the online menu they have a salad called the “Blue Dolphin Family Salad” described on the menu as an unending bowl of crisp greens tossed with fresh vegetables, feta cheese, shaved parmesan cheese and house dressing.  Our food came out, the lasagna looked overly cheesy.  My salad came out next and the best way to describe it is the scene from Family Guy about how pizza places make salads. I was not thrilled, and I LOVE SALADS! I mean love; anyone can tell you how I annihilate a salad when we go out to eat.  The olives tasted bitter, my cucumbers were bitter, and the tomatoes were flavorless.  On top of that I had two of my favorite cheeses, feta and parmesan. Well the parmesan cheese was not shaved, it was the crushed stuff you get from Kraft! I mean if you can’t put fresh parmesan cheese on it, then LEAVE IT OFF!!!!!  Wait for it …. Wait for it…. It had whole yellow jalapeno peppers, similar to the ones you get with your Papa John’s pizza. I was done, only thing I liked about my salad was the dressing. I did not get any breadsticks.  On top of all that, the happy hour crew that was there started talking about escorts while we ate. I was hoping the dessert could have saved my experience, but alas, it didn’t. I ordered the Oreo cheesecake to go , it had a cover of chocolate ganache over top of the cheesecake.  On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being the Kraft Oreo dessert and 10 being better than sex, this cheesecake was a 5. Nothing great about it but not really worth the calories I wasted eating it. I will have to hit the gym harder to prevent the fat from building up in my abs. Overall, if you want happy hour go to the Blue dolphin. If you are over the age of 55 you should go here. I will not be going back anytime soon, and if I do I will probably just have water and bread. The rolls and butter were awesome.  There are some better places in the area.  I have heard nothing but good things about “The Nautilus Diner and Restaurant,” if you choose to partake of culinary eating in the Gambrills/Crofton area.

Below is a video for the Family Guy Salad.

Family Guy Salad

Until next time.

— deaverster

P.s. They also had Vegetable sushi that I ate. I was not thrilled the rice was horrible and overcooked.

I’m Back! Sort-of…

21 May

Well, I have been long absent. I will break my WordPress Cherry by judging some pastries that I had at LaMill in the new 4 Seasons in downtown Baltimore.

I decided to give myself a mini- “treat yo’ self” day and eat a bunch of shit. My first stop was LaMill. Why? They have macarons, Beignets, and the kept saying to “come on down”, on Twitter, so down I came.

Food: Yummy

Service: *side eye*

Will I return: If I am feeling friendly and French

Food: When I first walked in all I smelled was fry oil. Not coffee or pastries, so I was already worried. I decided to get real fat, and I ordered Chai tea, 3 Beignets,1 huge cookie,  and 1 macaron. I kept  tabs on my cell phone. Before a critique the food a few pet peeves. Those chairs are crazy uncomfortable. They are made out wicker, and the front of the chair has a ledge that puts pressure on the backs of your thighs in the worse way. There were no local newspapers available to read which was disapointing. The Chai tea was perfect. It didn’t need sugar, I absolutely loved it and will compare all others to it. I don’t remember the official name of the cookie, but it was a junk cookie. Popcorn, chips, oats, chocolate chips, and whatever else. The cookie was served warm, which was a nice touch, but the popcorn gave the cookie a stale mouth feel. It tasted good. The macaron was way too sweet. It had a nice thin shell, moist middle, and good “feet”, proof of a macaron built well.  The cookies themselves are always sweet, to fix that you have to tweek the filling. It was a strawberry/strawberry jam macaron. A bit of salt , basil, lemon ,or lime added to the jam would have helped the cookie a lot. The Beignets themselves were wonderful. I received 3 dipping sauces. Lemon Curd A+, Butterscotch A, and Chocolate D. Yep Chocolate gets a “D”. It barely tasted like chocolate! A thin ganache would have served better than that fudge crap.

Service: I placed my order and was sitting and reading at 11:55 a.m. There were only 4 other occupied tables. As of 12:12 I still hadn’t received a thing, not even my drink. At 12:18 I was told that my order was “on the way” If I was on a 30 minute lunch break, I would have been fucked. A few minutes later my food arrived without Beignets. Before I could state they were missing,  I was asked to compensate for the wait, would I like a free order of Beignets. WHOMP! I of course stated that I had ordered Beignets, they arrived at 12:26, I was not offered further compensation.

Would I go back: If friend wanted to go, I would tag along.

-Shavonya