Friday, July 9, 2010

Calling all Foodies!

Me and Dan need restaraunt suggestions. So, I ask you all, the readers, to come up with places for us to visit. Now most of the time we are going to hit a place during the lunch hours so keep that in mind.

But if there is somewhere you want us to visit, that you want to see us review and give our generally honest no-nonsense opinion, then please tell us.

Hope to hear from some of you soon!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

No Tirade About Thai...

Dan here with another chapter in Furious Foodies!

So here I am, reviewing Royal Thai, because Thai food is something I've had on my list for a long time to try.

The sign seemed rather plain in its title and declaration, but that belies the experience.

The environment was well lit with natural lighting from the windows. In the inner dining area there was lighting soft enough to create a warm area, but not so much that the menu would be difficult to read. A scene depicting some supernatural battle between two foes was woven in cloth below the solid glass tabletop. Beautiful decor all around. There was a feeling of privacy even though we could see tables in front and behind us.
The menu was very carefully crafted, with maximum legibility in mind, as was the convenient dessert menu under the glass of the table.
The waitress greeted us and we asked questions about some of the dishes. They expressed great knowledge and proficiency.

The appetizer was Satay, marinated chicken on skewers with a peanut sauce, and cucumber salad. The chicken was quality meat with a low spiciness to it. The peanut sauce transformed the flavor to something sweet yet not sickeningly sweet.

Ga-ree Gai was the dish I ordered, in the style of "Thai hot." The Ga-ree Gai is sliced chicken in yellow curry along with potatoes and onion. It mentioned that it had milk in it. It is served with a cucumber salad. The salad was a (tasty) repeat of the appetizer's salad, containing chunks of carrot and sliced cucumber set in a shallow vinegar. It was crispy, fresh, and no problem to eat.

When one of the waiters arrived with the Ga-ree Gai, another came with a highly ornate cauldron just a bit larger than the size of a basketball of hot, sticky rice in a plate beside the bowl. Bit by bit, I added with the included spoon parts of the Ga-ree Gai and began to eat. The presence of the milk was there in the sort of broth this dish was drenched in. Seconds after the first bite, the spice crept up and the intensity of the burn increased until just minutes after when I was forced to put my water to use.

When we were done, we were asked if we wanted dessert. I looked over the menu and selected the Banana Delight and Coconut Ice Cream.
It featured banana pieces wrapped in a sort of rice paper and fried. These pieces were then arranged in a circle around a scoop of coconut ice cream, then lightly covered with honey. The bananas were still hot, but when the ice cream touched them the burn was swept away. It was something I most certainly would want to order again.

In all steps of the dinner, we were checked on and were asked of our impressions. Our responses: fantastic.

I rate this restaurant 9/10

Clayton: I give this a 10/10. Plain and simple! I cannot express anything that Dan has not other then I really like Pad Thai!

Royal Thai on Urbanspoon

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Quickie Review - Marty has Beef! And Chicken too!

So today I was a little annoyed at work, and whenever I get annoyed I want to eat. So I decided to hit a place I have eaten at a few times in the last 2 months, Cafe Marty. A small privately chef owned restaraunt hidden in Maitland, this place specializes it seems in BBQ. And they do it pretty darn well.

The few times prior to today that I have gone I have gotten their sandwiches, which are large and tasty (my fav being the Pulled Pork sammich!) Today however I came in and found a $10 All you can eat Lunch Buffet that involved Prime Rib, Turkey, Pork, and a few other things. I paid my $10 and believe me I was not let down. I almost slosh with the amount of food I ate.

The other items were some baked ziti (good stuff), mashed potatoes with some chedder on top, and a salad and soup offering. I got a little of each meat, some potatoes and pasta and sat down to enjoy. The prime rib? Awesome! The Turkey? Juicy and delicious. The Pork? Probably the weakest member because it was a bit too fatty for my liking. My only major complaint was that the food was a tad on the cold side. I think he needs to increase the wattage on his heat lamps or something.

For dessert he had 2 options: Banana Foster and Brownies. Lemme tell ya, the brownies were the way to go. The Banana was good (and I would eat it again) but man I could just devour those devilish brownies!

All in all, if you are in the Maitland area and want a quick tasty bite to eat, I heartily recommend Cafe Marty.

7/10 Rating!

Café Marty on Urbanspoon

Monday, June 28, 2010

This is Latin Food?

Clayton Says: So this past Saturday me and Dan decided to try yet another restaraunt, this time one suggested to me by a coworker named Carlos. He suggested we try Amazona's Latin Grill, stating they had Venezualen food there. So, wanting to try real hispanic and latin flavors, we went. Now Dan was going to be the expert here, as the boy is Puetro Rican and has a full blooded latino mother. I was going to be the dude with no experience with the food for a change.

So we get there, walk in, and the first thing I notice is how they seem to be going for a "intimate" dining setting, with dark colors, small tables and booths, and the like. Then you hear the blaring latino music and that setting is shattered like some much glass on the ground.

We were told to seat ourselves, so we took a booth that had no hanging light. I then noticed that for some reason the booths before ours and behind ours had lights, but ours only had a track light. Odd setup if you ask me, but I digress.

So we get our menus which are basic lamenated doubled sided things. We order an appetizer to get started, and I stick with some water. Now, I do have to mention the service here. While they waitstaff was friendly they were kind of inattentive. The girl who took our order and brought our drinks walked past our table 5 times in a span of 10 minutes. During that time my water glass was empty. Never did she glance in our direction. And it was not like the place was busy. There were maybe 3 tables full.

So our appetizer came, and here is what it had:
Two croquettes, two tequeños, two patacones and one potato ball served with cilantro & garlic cream. I am going to break down what each one was like:

1. Tequeños - I must admit I prefer this way to do a cheese stick!
2. Croquettes - Not bad, but apparently they should have been firmer. They were kinda soupy.
3. Patacones - I was told that this is a venezualen treat. It was very soupy and tasted mostly of the pink sauce, which was like ketchup to me.
4. Potatoe Ball - I gotta laugh. This tasted just the ones I get from Publix sometimes. Had the same consistancy too.

Overall, an average appetizer. So we are then asked what we want for our meal. I go with something called the Venezualen Burger, and I am told that this how they eat burgers in that country.

Here is what the Venezualen Burger had on it (I kid you not):

½ pound beef, cheese, bacon, fried egg, avocado, ham, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, potatoes sticks, garlic sauce, cilantro sauce, ketchup, mayo & homestyle pink sauce

Note that it never mentions green peppers (this is taken from their online menu). Mine had Green Peppers, and was missing the Avocado...I THINK. See the issue witht he burger is I could only taste 2 things: Ketchup, and Garlic. Thats it. Look at that list! You would think that bad boy would be flavorful and tasty. But no. It has 2 flavors. Despite being this huge messy thing. Oh, and apparently a burger that stands a good 7 inchs tall is street food. INSANE.

Finally I ordered a dessert: 4 Milk Cake. Kinda like Tres Leches only with 4 milks! This was the best part of the meal, but I am not sure if they made the dessert since it was prepacked in a little plastic container...

Overall, I want to try better latin food but I cannot recommend this place. I give a 4/10, below average rating.

Dan Says: So here's the way my experience went.

The front windows were tinted and a bunch of sticky graphics were slapped across the windows. I shrugged and stepped inside.

The ceiling was black. This kinda made the place look smaller. I looked at the menu and when I saw it (and my friend's) I noticed that the leading on the print was a little too small for the menu to be comfortable to read. Also, their ID was smeared on the page with the color running. The signs against the register/kitchen seemed grainy and pixelated. There was inconsistent lighting placement in the restaurant. I think I heard Clay mention that we didn't have enough light while we were eating. But enough about me getting "furious" at the building itself.

On the bright side, the restaurant staff spoke Spanish fluently, and the menu items were appropriately named and well described.

I tasted the appetizer. The chicken croqueta inside was soupier than I was used to in Spanish cooking. My family's Hispanic so I have something to compare this food against. It just seemed thin. The cheese stick was commendable, since it used a completely different approach to typical restaurant cheese sticks and instead used a flaky crust instead of an ordinary fried, breaded one. The plantain that was supposed to be stuffed with a piece of pork was actually just a small strand of pork, and when I bit into it I was assaulted with the taste of ketchup... The potato ball was what I was used to in stores like Medina's down in Bumby. It was essentially a papa rellena.

When the time came to order drinks I ordered a papaya juice with milk added. I noticed as it was being prepared that it was a sort of sauce packet tossed in a blender, essentially. I didn't like the fact they did that in a non-chain restaurant with "30 years of culinary experience," particularly because papaya is capable of being grown locally in Central Florida and does yield fruit. My Grandma had one for years. The drink tasted somewhat metallic. Use the real damn thing.

For the main dish I ordered the paella. The dish took 20 minutes to complete, which I was perfectly comfortable with since things like this take time. When the dish arrived it seemed to be presented well. The mussels and peppers as well as shrimp were presented in a radially symmetrical design. It sat on top of another larger dish where I could place the shells and shrimp tails, telling me that the dish was planned well. But that's where the praise ended.

The rice was uncharacteristic of traditional paellas I tasted in both home cooking and in restaurants south in Miami and Coral Gables. It was too dry (rice in paella is typically very moist and often gooey) and tasted like Uncle Ben's or Success Brown Rice. There was no toasted rice at the bottom, either, another characteristic of paella that was absent. I also encountered something of a show stopper. 2 of the mussel shells were shattered in places, so that meant that somewhere in the dish I was going to have a bite of some nice hard shell. And that I did!

About halfway through the paella I bit down on hard shell fragments; 3 occurences to be exact. Mmmmmm.

I spent a good 10 minutes searching around for the fragments without spitting the food out I was chewing since that would've looked rather offensive to the staff who had an unobstructed view of me. After I finished eating it I felt rather uncomfortable.

I did not order dessert.

Maybe I'm holding all this to a higher standard because of my background with these foods. I was really hoping that this restaurant would meet my expectations in Spanish foods, but it fell short of them. I am not interested in returning.

Dans Score - 5/10


Amazonas Latin Grill on Urbanspoon

Monday, June 21, 2010

I pity the 'Pho'!

Clayton Says: So, like a Phoenix rising from the ashes, the Foodies are back! In a way that is. We (Me and Dan) have decided to start back up, albiet much slower then before. Now, once a month or so we will review a place here in Orlando Florida and let you guys know if its worth it or not. We are moving also to a very simple "Out of 10" rating system to speed things up.

So lets start with the new review: Pho 88 Noodle House. Hidden in what amounts to Orlando's "China Town", Pho 88 specializes in Pho, a vietnamese noodle soup. Now me, personally, love soup. If I could only eat 1 thing for the rest of my life it would be soup, because you can do it in all sorts of ways.

So me and Dan went and attacked this noodle house with a vengence. When we got there, it was not terribly busy and were seated quickly, and got our drinks fairly quick as well. Instead of lemon in the water they used lime, but I barely tasted it. We perused the menu and were quickly confused. It was....long. Like nearly 200 items long. And everything was numbered, so you could just say "I want a 5, 25, and 103" and be done with it. Nice, I guess, but the simple fact was this: TOO MUCH STUFF! I mean, there were at least 10 versions of Beef Pho, and I think 2 or 3 of the Chicken, and I personally didn't even check out the other pages really beyond the appetizers.

I ended up getting us an appetizer of "Pork Rolls" which were these strange spring roll like things. Basically they were large rolls, made of Rice paper and filled with some rice noodles and veggies. Then, each roll had one long piece of pork which was hot, but the rest of the roll was cold. It was served with cold peanut sauce. I myself was not impressed with it. Its not my thing I guess.

The Pho then was served and I was amazed at the sheer size of the bowl. I had gotten the "regular" size as had Dan, and it was a huge bowl of soup. Along with our soup came a plate of stuff. I say stuff cause beyond the Bean Sprouts I have no effin clue what it was. I assume it was herbs, but...I just dunno. I did not use any of it and instead just dug into the soup.

The soup was fragrent and flavorfull, but at the same was odd. The 2 standout flavors were, of all things, cilantro and cinnamon! I have never had that in a soup that included beef brisket and ribeye steak! Dan's chicken soup had the same base flavors as well. In addition, the soup had green onion, but even eating the onions I couldn't taste em (A first for me!) because of the cinnamon and cilantro.

Overall, it was an extremely filling and inexpensive lunch (with appetizer I think my bill was $16ish) and was a very tasty dish. However, its not something I will be eating again soon simply because it was...odd to me. If you are used to these flavors then I highly recommend it.

I give it a solid 8/10 (Would visit again, just not soon)

Also sorry there are no pictures, we forgot the camera and this was originally just a spur of the moment thing!

Dan Says: I had some of the appetizer Clay ordered. It was chewy and tasted fresh. The pork was lean meat.

So for the main dish I ordered the Phở Gà-Thịt Trắng "Noodle with tasty, natural chicken broth and sliced white chicken meat" and I must say I was surprised at the size of the regular bowl.
These were some serious white chicken pieces, about the size of the palm of my hand, and below the chicken was delicious noodles. We were provided with bean sprouts and herbs in a seperate plate to add. I added some bean sprouts to the soup.

The taste was amazing, and the soup filled me. I rate it an 8


Phó 88 on Urbanspoon