April 30, 2013

Radio City Pizza

Fremont East has a number of new eateries open recently. Le Thai, Comida and Park on Fremont are at the top of my list. Radio City Pizza had also piqued my interest so we grabbed dinner with friends Sunday night. When we walked inside, the bartender mentioned the A/C was broken, but we were welcome to take a seat. We asked if the beer was cold? "Yes" the bartender replied. That's all we needed to know. We figured we'd be in and out fairly quickly so the heat wouldn't be a bother.

We were the only table seated, but service was slow from the start. It's a fairly long and narrow space with a long bar, open kitchen and tvs line the dining area. Oddly enough for a brand spanking new place the color isn't accurately adjusted on a single one. Anyhow, the beer selection is good. Unfortunately, the beers weren't nearly as cold as advertised and they quickly heated as a result of no A/C. After our first beer we chugged water to keep cool.

We started with parmesan fries, we devoured them before I thought to take a picture. They were real good, nice and crisp with a heavy dose of parmesan. We had to ask for the ranch we ordered on the side a few times before we received it. Next, we ordered the Meat Stromboli and Pizza with sausage, mushrooms, olives and green pepper. We waited forever for our order. There was filming taking place over by LVCS and the crew came in for a dozen pizzas. This must have backed up the kitchen. Our waiter never mentioned a thing, it's just our assumption based on observation. While waiting a couple in our group went to use the restroom, when they returned they noticed that Radio City has outside dining in back. We were a bit perturbed that it wasn't offered to us as an option when they mentioned the A/C was done. We questioned our waiter and we were told that it was an owners private function.

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Back to the food, the stromboli and pizza looked appetizing. I was happy to see they use slices of italian sausage rather than sausage crumbles. The crumbles remind me of cafeteria food and weird me out a bit. I'll never understand why some places prefer it that way, but I digress. The crust was chewy and crisp about 3/4 through the pizza. It suffered the wet center that majority of NY Style pies do. Both the stromboli and pizza were extremely high in sodium. I couldn't get enough to drink. I retained enough water I could've soaked up Lake Mead. I've had worse pies, but just down the street at Pop Up Pizza inside Plaza they're doing a better job at a cheaper price. And they have A/C. Our friends picked up the tab, so I'm not sure what the final damage was, but if I recall accurately pizzas are $19, Stromboli is about ten bucks and the fries were $7. In any case, Radio City has some work to do. Starting with its customer service.

Radio City Pizza on Urbanspoon

April 25, 2013

Heidi's Brooklyn Deli

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My brother and I have been branching out to find new lunch options. Heidi's Brooklyn Deli has been a pleasant surprise. I'm hooked on the Cajun turkey with avocado. I've had it on sourdough and marble rye, but I prefer the latter. The sourdough was too dense and dry. When I saw Cajun Turkey on the menu I expected seasoned turkey breast, but it is only roasted. The Cajun comes from the mayo spread. It has a nice kick and combined with the cool creamy mashed avocado it's the perfect match. Crisp lettuce, sliced purple onion and tomato makes it complete. The lunch special is $5 for half a sandwich with a pickle, chips, potato or macaroni salad and a cookie. However, I prefer the full sandwich with pickle, chips, potato or macaroni salad for a buck more. My brother has taken a liking to the chicken salad. One of these days, I'll have to try something else on the menu, but until then I'll happily enjoy the Cajun Turkey.

Heidi's Brooklyn Deli on Urbanspoon

April 11, 2013

Dishcrawl Las Vegas

Dishcrawl debuted in Las Vegas last night. Being the lover of food that I am, I was excited to attend. Dishcrawl takes a group of diners on an mystery dining date where you sample dishes from four different neighborhood restaurants; Reservations are $45. Only the first location is disclosed 48 hours before the event. I thought it was a neat concept, but some friends didn't like the element of surprise and declined to go. Unexpectly, we ran into a fellow foodie friend when we showed up at the first restaurant. So, that was a nice surprise.

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Las Vegas' first Dishcrawl was at Tivoli Village. We began the evening at Kabuki Japanese Restaurant. I was familiar with the chain, I've walked by the one at Town Square numerous times, but have never tried it. We mingled a bit before our first course was served. Kabuki served us marinated beef and mushrooms, and two sushi rolls: "Lotus on Fire" california roll topped with spicy tuna and jalapeno and likely the "Sunkissed Roll" with salmon with avocado. Our table of four was split on what the best roll was Frank and I preferred the "Lotus of Fire" since we favor sushi with a kick. It was a good start to the night. We were excited to see what else was in store.

The next stop was Cantina Laredo. I dined there earlier this year at a Yelp event. That visit I enjoyed the tuna tacos and cantina rolls so I was hopeful to experience them again. However, they chose different dishes to showcase for Dishcrawl. We had a tasting of their empanada with red and green sauce, chicken flauta and ceviche. The empanada lacked any punch, the flauta was overseasoned with a heavy hand of salt. I couldn't even finish it. And the ceviche had a mediteranean twist with capers and olives. I hate olives. So, it was like a perfectly good ceviche was ruined. If this was my first impression of Cantina Laredo I'd be sorely disappointed just as Frank and others in our group were. I mentioned to the manager that they have better dishes on their menu to showcase. To make matters worse, cocktail orders were taken when we were seated and we didn't get our beers until the end of our meal with only five minutes to spare - we only had 35 minutes at each location;. Chug-a-lug.

The Pizza Lounge was next. I never even knew it existed so thank's Dishcrawl for turning me onto something new. It's been open nearly a month and it's a quaint, but stylish place tucked into a nook. They'll soon be adding outdoor patio space. They specialize in gourmet pizza and pasta. However, it was the beer selection that left an impression on us. Several draft handles were a pleasant surprise for such a small space. Here we had a sampling of two types of pizza: shrimp chipotle and California pepperoni, pesto bowtie pasta, meatball and pear & gorgonzola salad. I liked the California pepperoni pizza best with bacon, spinach, and sliced roma tomatoes. I only wish the crust was crisper. Perhaps it would be under regular circumstances? The pesto bowtie pasta with chicken and sundried tomatoes was the other crowd pleaser. The staff was fantastic. They moved at rapid pace and did so with a smile.

Dessert was at Leone Cafe. They stayed open to accomodate our group. They put out a spread of pastries and served granita samples. I had the chocolate croissant. It was nice, but nothing too memorable. The mocha in the granita was overpowering. Where was the coffee?

All in all, there were some dishes that shined and others that fizzled. I'm glad we took part. It be better if they frequented fewer chains and highlighted local mom & pop restaurants. In any case, it'll be interesting to see if it takes off.

After the Dishcrawl, we went over to La Casa Cigar Lounge for a smoke and nightcap. It has a huge properly humidified humidor. I just love the smell. I could camp out in there all night. Instead, Frank pulled me away and we went out on the back patio. It was a nice place relax for an evening. Midnight came much too soon. I see more evenings there in our future.

April 10, 2013


A couple weeks back, we celebrated my birthday at Sage inside Aria. We've been once before during Restaurant Week and it was fantastic. It was time to return. We made reservations on opentable ahead of time. We were seated promptly upon arrival. We had a quaint table that was a bit sectioned off; I loved it, it felt like we had the place to ourselves. We perused the menu and scanned the tablet with all the beer and wine selections. Sage is one of the few restaurants that offers beer pairings with the tasting menu, it was tempting, but we preferred to order from the menu. We selected beers; North Coast Scrimshaw ($8) for Frank and Lefe Blonde ($10) for me. While our waiter fetched those, we were given a choice of breads: bacon or sourdough with sea salt. We snacked on these scrumptious treats and ordered the green garlic soup ($16) and roasted sweet breads ($17) to get us started.

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Sweetbreads have intrigued me, I've only seen them on menus previously in my less adventurous days. I figured there was no better time to try them than at 33. Well? They were... delicious. For those unfamiliar, they are most often the thymus gland of calves, lambs or piglets. When properly prepared, like these were, they are a bit crisp on the outside but perfectly tender inside. Think about the most flavorful chicken nugget you can imagine, times that by 1000 and you have sweetbreads. These were served with glazed bacon, trumpet mushrooms, and creamy polenta. The garlic soup is a vegan dish. The garlic is very mild, and the soup is like silk. At the bottom of the bowl was a sweet surprise of potato stuffed tortellinis. Truly it was thing of simplistic beauty.

For the main course we had difficulty making our selections because everything sounded wonderful. Eventually, we narrowed our choices down to the red snapper ($42) with crispy bread crust, english peas and braised leeks, and the lamb saddle ($42) with braised lamb shank and fava beans.

I don't know that I've laid my eyes on two more beautiful dishes that packed such a punch of flavor. Well executed doesn't begin to described how expertly these dishes are prepared. My snapper was superb, but I must admit it was outshined by the lamb. The fava beans weren't our favorite, but the lamb prepared two ways was stellar. My favorite was the braised shank it was so carmelized it was like candy. I mean that in the best way possible. I'd ask for it for my final meal. It was that good.

We didn't think the meal could get any better, but we gave the dessert menu a gander. I have this knack for selecting items I can hardly pronounce because I'm so curious about items that are new to me. In this case it was the Gianduja Pave ($12). I didn't have the slightest clue what it would be, but I was anxious to try it. I later learned that Gianduja is a type of sweet chocolate with hazelnut paste. It's used in the pave which reminded me of a light mousse, it was served with a scoop of olive oil ice cream, and dressed with hazelnut crunch, basil jam and pomegranates. I love desserts that are a bit more savory than sweet and this was simply perfect. A perfect end to exceptional meal. I cannot think of a better way to celebrate my thirty-third year.

Sage on Urbanspoon

April 5, 2013

The Cooking Experience Mise En Place

As a treat for my birthday I signed up for a Flash Course: Stir Fry cooking class. The Cooking Experience Mise En Place recently opened and it located on Eastern just south of the 215. So, it's easy to get to from most of the valley. The class allows a maximum of eight, but only six were attendence in my class. The small class size is appreciated. It allows more time for hands on cooking and one and one questions, etc. We learned about the products we were using, knife skills and a few tips. Plus, everything you need to know about wok cooking. The kitchen is fully professional grade. It was neat to feel like a contestant on Top Chef.

I am a novice and came away with the confidence to cook with a wok at home. I'll be making the purchase soon. We made two recipes: Ginger Pork and Mongolian Beef. I preferred the former, it was light and had a nice blend of flavors.

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I tend to find Mongolian Beef salty, my version was no different. If making it at home I'd sub reduced sodium soy sauce. Portions were large I had plenty of leftovers. While we ate our second course, the chefs made sweet and sour shrimp. We were able to taste that as well. It's not a dish I enjoy, but it was well executed. By the way, there is water and iced tea to wash down the tasty eats and we had a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon to accompany the Mongolian Beef. It was fun, yummy and educational. I'll return with friends for another class.

April 4, 2013

Grimaldi's Fashion Show Mall

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My brother and I came in to cash in my birthday reward of a free large one topping pie - Thanks VIP club. We were warmly welcomed by the manager and seated in a hurry. Our waiter was pleasant and eager to please. We knew we only had an appetite for the pizza so we skipped starters.

The pizza was ready before long and we dug in. This was the best Grimaldi's pizza I've had to date. The crust was perfectly crisp throughout. I was impressed by the ovens at the Rainbow location, but these at Fashion Show Mall are dead on. The manager came by to see how we were doing and I praised the kitchen staff and their ovens for fabulous pie. She agreed they have one stellar team. Keep up the good work, Grimaldi's FSM!

Grimaldi's Pizzeria on Urbanspoon