Friday, August 8, 2008

Starbucks - Strawberries & Cream

Allow me to preface this review by stating that I hate and despise coffee with every fiber of my being. And, no, this review is not of a meal, but since my drink cost as much as a chicken sandwich, I’m reviewing it anyway.

I recently ended a late night with a visit to the Starbucks on Bayou Blvd. I can probably count on one hand the number of times I’ve been in a Starbucks and don’t really care to up that to a two handed count any time soon. Alas, the other members of my party on that particular night love the place.

I ordered a Strawberries & Cream Frap Blended Crème with Toffee Nut on the recommendation of my sister. She assured me that there was absolutely no coffee taste to it what-so-ever and promised that I could punch her in the ear if I detected any. After paying $4 and some change and waiting long enough for little Starbucks gnomes to run to the Strawberry farm in Allentown, my blessed little pink drink was served. Sip…dramatic pause…hey, that’s actually good. Sarah’s ear is safe. It tasted exactly like Captain Crunch with Crunch Berries. Amazingly like CC w/ CB. So much like it that I thought maybe they just threw a bowl of cereal in the blender. And maybe they did, which I am cool with as long as it doesn’t taste like coffee.

The Low Down:
Coffee, Tea, Snacks
Local Favs: um, coffee
Location: every freaking corner
Open morning, noon and night
$$$ considering what you get

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Thursday, August 7, 2008

Times Grill - Cajun Sunset

According to Times Grill, “Times Grill is a family-friendly, casual dining restaurant best recognized for its 20 specialty burgers offered in conventional versions and wild variations. Our most distinctive burger is the Cajun Sunset®, seasoned with Creole spices and topped with a pan fried egg. At the heart of every Times Grill hamburger is the patty. All patties are chargrilled and hand made to order. “

I ordered the Cajun Sunset not knowing that it boasts the title of “Most Distincitive Burger”. I just have a penchant for burgers and runny eggs and thought I might like them together. And boy, do I! I ordered my Cajun Sunset medium-rare with cheddar cheese, mayo and a side of sweet potato fries (regular fries are so last year). The huge burger comes out open face, with a perfectly cooked egg staring up at you just waiting for the yolk to be popped. And the smell is outstanding, just like you would expect a burger to smell (not like fast food).

Note: if you are an attention addict, this burger is for you - I’ve ordered the Cajun Sunset on three different occasions with three different parties – each time my party exclaims “OOOO – look at Jen’s burger!”. Everyone looks. Everyone wishes they ordered my burger. I eat with an aire of superiority and enjoy every minute of it. I will not apologize.

So, does the taste live up to the look and smell? Yes! It is delish, albeit super messy. The bun is fluffy and fresh. The Creole spices aren’t too spicy or overbearing. The beef is cooked to perfection. The yolk runs down your fingers. I couldn’t ask for anything more from a burger.

Now, about those sweet potato fries. I’ve had better. Times Grill does a nice sweet potato fry. I will order them every time I dine there (my almost inappropriate adoration of the Cajun Sunset assures I will dine there again). They just aren’t as tasty as Jerry’s Cajun Café’s sweet potato fries. Give me a blind taste test…I’ll know the difference.

By the way, Times Grill isn’t the fastest game in town, so make sure you have a few minutes. The minutes will be well worth it.

Your Most Distincitive Jen-o-saurus

The Low Down:
Burgers/Sandwiches/Wraps, Entrees, Bar, Dessert
Local Favs: um, the burgers
204 E. Nine Mile Road
Open for Lunch and Dinner
Around $10
Take out available (no delivery)

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Thursday, February 28, 2008

My oh my, Siam Thai

Robust, rich, rotunda…Siam Thai. Okay, so maybe ½ rotunda minus the dome.

Several years ago my favorite Thai restaurant disappeared. Literally. It was there one day and not the next. Convinced that the joy of dining was lost forever and contemplating a feeding tube, I began a search for authentic Thai cuisine. I was about to give up hope when the heavens opened over Siam Thai. Angels sang, fairies dusted and Chevy Chase brought me a Christmas tree.

Siam Thai uses fresh (many home grown) ingredients. You’ll discover herbs and spices including lemon grass, sweet basil, lime leaves, and galangal root. And curry, glorious curry! Reds, yellows and greens; hot, sour, sweet, salty, want it, you got it. My personal favorite is Panang Curry. It is a spicy red curry coconut chicken soupy kind of thing that tastes great over jasmine rice. I like to nearly set my mouth a'fire, so I also suggest visiting the condiment cart of peppers and such.

I can’t review Siam Thai without a hats off to the staff, an exceptionally nice crew. My glass is never half empty and my used buffet plates are quietly removed so I never know exactly how gluttonous I’ve been. And they are so thin! Thin enough that I believe I’ll eventually be thin if I nosh on Thai cuisine.

You might also enjoy the eclectic décor. Slow moving fans, glitzy golds and colorful cloths make for a nice atmosphere. You may opt to take some atmosphere home with you as it is available for purchase. Oh – and if Buddha is your bag, baby, make a stop at the shrine.

The Low Down:
Entrées, Buffet, Dessert
Local Favs: Pineapple Fried Rice, Panang Curry, Cashew Chicken, Sushi Rolls
6403 N. 9th Ave
11 a.m. -10 p.m. Tues-Sat; 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Sun (I believe they are closed on Mondays)
Lunch Buffet $7.95, dinner buffet $8.95, entrees $8.95-$13.95
Take out available (no delivery)

Review by Jen-O-Saurus

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Pensacola Food Critic