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Vacation Dining – Las Vegas

27 Nov

Hubs and I are making our way to Las Vegas for a long weekend.  This trip is right around the corner, December 1 to be exact, and we can’t wait. One of the main things we are looking forward to – the food. I was there for work one year ago and had the best crab legs ever, but I am curious to what any of you would recommend. Anything I must check out? Anything I must avoid? Anything you are dying to hear more about?

Would love to get any recommendations from all of you!

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Kathy’s Breakfast & Chowder House (Maine)

26 Nov

Leaving Bar Harbor and making our way to Bangor for the flight home, our stomachs grumbled. Yes, the party was hungry, so me and three of my Maine trip friends stopped at a little restaurant on the side of the road. First off, this place doesn’t look like much from the outside by any means, but they can be jewels. Plus, chowder was in the name (with breakfast); I was intrigued.

The menu was all over the place, some items listed without any explanation (i.e. The West sandwich…) I did ask a few questions here and there and got a strange look from our server. She was nice, but clearly knew we weren’t local by any means and was just there to take our order. I settled on a lobster combo – once again, lobster mission on hand.

The combo consisted of a lobster roll and lobster stew. I was really pleased with the roll. Chunks of lobster mixed up with your basic mayo. A few crisp finely chopped pickles were mixed in – one of the women didn’t even notice it they were that finely chopped. Then again, maybe it was celery, because it didn’t impact the flavor by any means. It was sweet like I expected, and the buttery bun was the perfect vehicle. The stew was a bit different. It was lackluster, needing salt and other seasoning desperately bad. It was basically a thin, almost milk like base with chunks of lobster. Paprika adorned that (and the sandwich) to give it color I assume. I was disappointed with the stew, and it was expensive at $10 a cup.

My meal, including half a drink (they only sell soda in bottles, so a friend and I split it), was around $25 without tip. An expensive lobster lunch considering all the other lobster commodities in the area. Though the roll was good, I wish I would have ordered breakfast, which seems to be the reason many people stop here.

Decor matched the outside of the restaurant (honestly, the restaurant slightly resembled a beat up lighthouse). Not much to look at by any means, but sufficient and clean from what the customer eye could see. Would I go back? Eh, probably not. There seemed to be too many other places I would want to try that could deliver a more seasoned meal.

Kathy’s Breakfast & Chowder * 952 Bar Harbor Road * Trenton, ME

Kathy's Breakfast & Chowder on Urbanspoon

Gayln’s (Bar Harbor, ME)

23 Nov

I don’t think I would ever want to escape seafood. I love the stuff.  While in Maine, I was on a mission to only eat lobster. As much lobster as I could to be exact. So when our server at Gayln’s informed us ‘this is where the locals go for meat’, I was a little surprised. I guess every town, even coastal Bar Harbor, has to have a steakhouse. But on this trip, I was continuing with my lobster mission. I was determined to eat lobster in as many ways as possible and Gayln’s provided me an opportunity like no other.  Lobster enchiladas.

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but when I was served this entree, I instantly started to drool. Flour tortillas encased chunks of sweet lobster meat, covered in a cilantro-lime cream sauce. I loved the freshness of the cilantro and how it played with the sweetness of the lobster. A slight touch of lime really freshened the dish, making the heavy cream sauce a bit lighter on the palate. Everything tasted quite fresh, and the sprinkling of parsley and tomatoes on top added to the freshness. The texture was slightly crunchy from being baked, but all the flavors definitely made everything soft as they worked together.

I could have done without the ‘signature’ potatoes, but it sounds like I was the only one. They weren’t plain mashed potatoes, either sweetened with sweet potatoes or another vegetable (does this sound familiar?).  They were just a little too sweet for my liking, a little lumpy as well. Then again, maybe I just wasn’t craving potatoes with my enchiladas. But the vegetables were a great (and surprising) accompaniment. Lightly seasoned and sauteed, I enjoyed the lightness that they gave the dish.

We had several appetizers while we were there too – all delicious – including baked brie and stuffed mushrooms.  I also had a simple salad with my entree, basic romaine with shredded carrot and their house celery seed dressing (which was really great).

The service was a little slow, but we were a large group of 30 for dinner, so I won’t hold that against them by any means. My overall impression is Gayln’s may be one of the more upscale restaurants in the area, though attire and attitude is still casual and comfortable. The food matched the decor – rich in detail and cozy in comfort. I could easily see dining there anytime during the year as I really enjoyed the experience and meal.  I wonder if the locals would agree…

Gayln’s * 17 Main Street * Bar Harbor, ME * 207.288.9706

Galyn's on Urbanspoon

The Lobster Trap (Maine)

14 Nov

On a recent trip to Maine, our group stayed in Waterville, Maine for the first evening. We found ourselves, all twenty three of us, dining at a restaurant called The Lobster Trap.  My only expectation was that lobster would be available, so there was a lot of room for flexibility here.

Overall impression, it was one dark restaurant in regards to ambiance.  Dim lighting may even be an understatement.  Wooden chairs and tables covered with the thick plastic/cotton table covers, white walls with a few nautical photos here and there.  It wasn’t anything special in decor by any means, simple arrangements of napkin wrapped silverware and salt/pepper shakers on the table. I don’t want to say a hole in the wall, but it skimmed that line closely.

For dinner, I had a hard time narrowing down my selection.  I knew I wanted seafood, but I found myself drooling over everything in the plastic covered menu.  When I asked the server for her selection out of a few options, she directed me to a medley.  A medley of of shrimp, lobster, haddock and scallops baked together in a buttery sauce.  There was more haddock than anything else, which didn’t surprise me by any means, only left me subtly disappointed.  The haddock was overcooked leaving it tough and lacking flavor.  The shrimp was lackluster, overcooked as well while taking on a subtle flavor of the white wine which they were cooked in.  The lobster was portioned in large chunks so it wasn’t hidden, and had a subtly sweet flavor when it wasn’t being masked by the buttery breadcrumbs layered (not sprinkled) on the dish.  My favorite were the scallops as they had good flavor, with and without the breadcrumbs.  The wine and butter didn’t overshadow the sweetness of the shellfish.  Overall the dish was good with individual bites, but when eaten with the breadcrumbs the dish had a thick butter taste to it with crispy texture.

I also had a baked potato and smashed butternut squash on the side.  Both were not seasoned at all, on purpose, so you could jazz them up anyway you liked.  I have mixed feelings about this.  I appreciated dressing the baked potato, but there wasn’t much you could do with the squash besides butter. I would have liked some cinnamon or something mixed into it.

Though I didn’t try any of the whole lobster, I had to show this photo of two of the women with us.  The reason I’m showing you is that the price for these bad boys was only $13.99.  That is what happens in Maine – cheap lobster!

The service was fine – nothing extraordinary but efficient.  The food did take a little bit, but we were a group of 23 so that was to be expected.  The food was hot though, so any delay did not cause the food to be disrupted.  I could see many of the locals enjoying dinner there for a casual atmosphere, though it wasn’t very busy for a Friday night.  Which is probably good, because our dinner may have been delayed a bit more.

The Lobster Trap * 21 Bay Street *Winslow, ME * 207.872.0529

Lobster Trap & Steakhouse on Urbanspoon