Wednesday, October 24, 2012


Okay, here I go; two babies now, but I am still going to try to bang out a few reviews. Please bear with me that I am updating in reverse order from now (end of November) back to July (when I stopped being well enough to focus).

So, despite never having heard of it, we bought a Couvon to Sassy's in Brentwood. After one particularly rough day with a toddler and newborn, we all tackled our first family dinner out.

Charlie is a turd to take out now. To keep him in check he needs to be strapped in at all times, and even that only cures my inability to chase him (post c-peat) and worsens his attitude.

Still, Sassy's lives up to being a family restaurant. The waitress did an excellent job helping entertain him.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Cafe Mexigo

I must start by saying that I HATE Cafe Mexico downtown. I think it is by far the worst Mexican food on the face of the planet.

So, when the Groupon came up for Cafe Mexigo, I was hesitant. Seriously, who expects to order a chicken and veggie quesadilla and get hard, raw carrots in it? Yuck.

But, we decided to give this place a try and bring the in-laws as our treat.

The starter was chips, salsa, and guacamole. I thought the salsa sucked. I doubt they make it. Maybe they make the chips. I couldn't really tell but they probably do. Matt liked the guacamole, but this is one food that I just cannot force myself to like.

Matt's mom had a veggie burrito, and the rest of us had chicken enchiladas with rice and beans. I liked it. I thought it was tasty. The biggest fan was Charlie, who ate more than a healthy serving of the rice and beans. It could have used a few more chips for eating the beans, but it is really nothing to complain about.

The dessert was really good. Sugary, deep-fried flour tortillas. Nothing special but tasty none the less.

The staff seemed a little overwhelmed, but they held their own (and they were not complaining by the HUGE number of people coming in with Groupons).

Cafe Mexigo on Urbanspoon


So, after our awful experience at The Office, we tiptoed over to our favorite taco place, Hernande'z.

Man, these are by far the best tortillas I have ever had. I just love these tacos and we do not get to come here often enough.

They have raised the prices slightly since the last time we visited, but only $1 per taco order (5 are $6 instead of $5). Now, you can add an extra tacos for $1. So, including tax, it was $7.84 for 6 super yummy chicken tacos.

Quick, cheap, quality food. Need I say more?

Hernande'z (Yates St) on Urbanspoon

The Office Lounge

Hmmm, not usually let down by our Groupon, but this one really sucked.

I will caution everyone against going to The Office, especially for the Sunday/Monday movie night, because as it turned out, that is what we bought (despite the Groupon being a $60 value and this deal of dinner/movie being only $54).

The choices are severely limited. Two appies: bread or Ceaser salad. Two mains: linguine or salmon. The linguine had tomatoes and olives, the salmon is salmon: all of which Matt doesn't like.

We were not even offered the regular menu.

The appies came. My "jem lettuce" Caesar was actually just plain old romaine in a small dish. The dressing was very good though. Plus, the "naan" and tatziki Matt ordered turned out to be stale Thrifty's pita (not naan) and store-bought tatziki. I was proud when he sent it back and asked for the salad instead. The salad was small, but at least it tasted good. There is no way this is on the normal menu though, and if it is and more than $4, what a rip off!

But seriously, it really bothers me that they upscale the lame dishes on the menu and then serve total bottom of the line crap. Why say it is jem lettuce when it isn't? If Matt hadn't worked in produce (for years), we probably wouldn't have noticed, but why lie? The average person has no idea about types of lettuce beyond iceberg, leaf, and romaine.

We ordered one of each main course. Matt went for the pasta. It was well done. It had capers, sun dried tomatoes, and black olives. It really could have used a seafood or chicken. I would be surprised to see this item on a menu for more than $12. It also came with 2 pieces of focaccia.

I had the salmon with fingerling potatoes, green beans, a creepy 1/2 tomato, and crispy onions. The salmon was supposed to have crispy skin, and it did on the ends. It was actually well cooked and fairly tasty. The potatoes were very good. The green beans were plain, but fresh and well cooked. I really don't have any complaints about this entree. I could have made it at home though. It was simple, but at least they can do simple food.

The dessert, at best, can be described as sketchy. It was an apple crumble with ice cream. No choice. Hope no one is allergic to apples! Ours had a slice of Granny Smith on top; everyone else seemed to get a gooseberry. It was small. VERY small. Like, for a normal sized person, 4 bites? That wouldn't be a big deal, if it was good. But it was not. It was SO over cooked. Basically, I could make this by putting a spoon of applesauce in Charlie's baby bowl, and then some crumble on top and microwaving for 2 minutes. This mess was topped off with a tablespoon of vanilla ice cream. Classy.

Why would anyone go here? I cannot fathom. Sauce has the same atmosphere and menu style, but the food is actually good.

My one compliment would be our waitress. She was very good. We were not much into being warm and happy customers, although we didn't try to cause trouble, and she did a good job.

Honestly, this was an awful experience. We will not be back. This is the second time in our lives we went and got a snack directly after dinner. It wasn't that we were still hungry; it was that we were very very unsatisfied. Considering this meal would have been $27 EACH, that is horrifying. I can't believe this place stays open.

This is exactly the WRONG way to offer a Groupon. If you read the Urbanspoon reviews, you will see there are even more people upset over their experiences. Why alienate people who are not even your customers yet?

The Office Lounge on Urbanspoon

Broadmead Bakery

This morning we ventured out for breaky to use another of our Groupon surplus. We went to the Broadmead Bakery, a place neither of us had eaten at but both of us have walked by numerous times.

We knew going in that there would be a limited menu to choose from, and I am impressed because I feel like rather than only offering up the least expensive items they chose the items that put their best food forward. I think this should be a mandate of all business that offer a Groupon: attract new customers! Don't use it to press people through the doors! That is a poor way to play the situation, as no one ends up happy and you end up with a bunch of negative reviews on Urbanspoon.

Anyway, the Broadmead Bakery had at least two options either of us would have eaten happily, but we both went for the Eggs Benny. The fact the Groupon also included a drink kind of threw me off, as I am not drinking coffee, so Matt got us both a hot chocolate, which was quite good.

Now the food...

Presentation = A
Doesn't it look nice?

The Hollandaise = A
Oh man! It was good! Very lemony.

Benny ham and cheese = Yum (that is a grade on my scale now)

Eggs = C-
Sorry, but the egg almost ruined the entire meal for me. It was WAY too over cooked. The yolk was dried out and flakey. Even though there was enough sauce, because the eggs were so dry, I could have used double.

Scone = A+
The benny was served on a cheese scone instead of the traditional English muffin. I really enjoyed the scone itself. Frankly, I enjoy eggs benny served on other starch types, just not super tough bagels (take note, Blue Fox!).

I will not grade the side dish. It was some sort of yam stick hashbrowns. It looked very nice, but I don't really like yams anyways, so it wouldn't be fair for me to criticize this. Matt liked it a lot and ate both our servings.

As an important side note, this place does not seem child-friendly, as there are no highchairs on site or in sight. After Charlie's terrible behavior (throwing, whining, being a grump, etc), I am not surprised. However, I still think a highchair or two could expand the clientele and encourage those with well-behaved babies (re: not toddlers) to come and enjoy a meal.

Broadmead Bakery on Urbanspoon

Chorizo Nachos and Raspberry Angel Food Cake

Cost: $12

Prep: 15 minutes

We decided to redo the nachos that didn't go so well last week. We had leftover sausages from last night, and this time, I added enough cheese!

The only problem was that when we bought the cilantro, the store had actually labelled Italian parsley cilanto. Oops. So, the salsa was simply tomato, onion, sugar, and lime..not so great.

Because of our excursion to the raspberry patch today, we have (had) three pounds of raspberries in the fridge. We bought a little whipped cream and an angel food cake to compliment a few of these. What a great dessert. Raspberries are my favorite, but the ones sold in stores taste so wrong. Has anyone else ever noticed that? There is something about raspberries either eaten straight off the bush or saved for later that has so much more flavor than the packaged and shipped store-bought counter-parts.

Euphorium Bakery & Cafe

Over the next couple weeks, you will notice us eating out A LOT. This is because of 2 factors.  The first is that it is quite hot, and since our beautiful kitchen has 2 non-opening skylights, it is stinking hot. It is soooo hot, I can barely stand to even go in there for a late night snack.

The second reason is that in not too long, we will be housebound again with a new baby, as well as our misbehaving toddler, and we need to use up the surplus of Groupons, Couvons, Swarmjams, etc that we have accumulated.

So, this morning we went and picked raspberries. We filled our buckets, then our bellies, then pet some goats.

On our way back, we decided to use our Groupon to the Euphorium Bakery. Matt's work often visits here, and he has heard good things.

I cannot remember how much we paid for the coupon, but I think the "value" was about $25 (ie, that is how much this lunch would cost).

It included 2 sodas, 2 panini, and 2 soft ice cream cones.

I loved the sodas. I think there is something about the glass bottles, which hold the same amount as a can, that is just so classy. It reminds me of being in France on a patio sipping a soda and watching the crowd (although I am not sure that either time I was in France I actually drank from a glass bottle).

The panini were great. The bread they used was deliciously salted. We had 1 that was ham and edam, and the other was the curried chicken. As I ate each, I was sure that it was my favorite, but after, I couldn't decided. The curried chicken was so interesting and flavorful, but the ham/cheese was so classic and gooey.

The ice cream was fine as well, exactly as suspected. Charlie had some weird, huge tantrum over it. He wanted to hold it, or not hold it, or hold it only upside down, or just eat the cone, or just eat the ice cream, or have the ice cream but in a bowl, or have no one touch him, or be cuddle, or or was very unclear.

I do have one criticism. It was the smokers outside. In the background of the picture, you can see three people. The woman on the left and man on the right BOTH decided to light up while we were EATING with our CHILD. One: that is rude. Two: that is unhealthy. Three: that is illegal. Four: that is just stinking gross. We didn't want to deal with it, as we were outnumbered, but the staff really should have said something, as they are the ones with signs up and are then the ones complicit with someone breaking a law (no smoking on patios, as well as a certain distance from doors) in the vicinity of their business. One of the employees should have told the people they couldn't smoke there.

We packed up and moved inside, but I was very disappointed. Was I disappointed enough not to come back? Despite the food being good, I'm not sure. It really did sour the experience for me.

Euphorium Bakery & Cafe on Urbanspoon