Friday, July 30, 2010

Eating Out

(I must be in some kind of time-warp or something.  Maybe the "or something."  I thought I posted my visit to a Chili's in Orlando, FL right after I got home.  Time warp?  Mind warp?  I dunno.  Anyway, I couldn't find it.  Perhaps I only THOUGHT about posting it . . . Hmmmmmm.)

Any way, I went to Orlando three weeks ago to spend a special day with my youngest daughter, her husband, their precious daughter, Baby Cakes, and son-in-laws parents at the LDS Orlando Temple.  It was a wonderful experience--even though it was exceptionally hot that afternoon!

As we traveled to the airport for my return flight--the in-laws had other obligations to attend to--the rest of us found a Chili's restaurant to feed our hunger.  Daughter and I chose to split a "Caribbean Chicken Salad" that sounded good.  Let me tell you, it was REALLY good!  The chicken marinade was excellent, not overpowering, but very tastey--like lime juice, maybe brown sugar, and other seasonings that when grilled, was better than I expected.  Add to that the pineapple, mandarin oranges, and cherries, cilantro, scallions, some salad greens--and honey/lime salad dressing--VERY yummy.  I want to eat it AGAIN!

OKAY!  I'M POSTING MY DISCLAIMER:   I'm not a professional food critic.  (Shock!)  Not a gourmet. (Double shock!!)  Just so you know.  (Now I know you all feel better knowing I'm just a regular person who's picky about what she finds at restaurants.)  No claim to culinary training or special knowledge of the culinary arts.  I just like to eat good food.  (But, I like some junk food, too, so there you have it!)

Tonight, my sweetheart took me out to eat on our regular Friday-Night-Date to "Hana's Japanese Sushi Bar and Grill" in Natchitoches, LA, a new-to-us place.  The decor was pleasant.  The meal, okay.  We each began with miso soup and a salad (iceberg lettuce, a whole "baby" carrot, one cherry tomato  with ginger salad dressing--left a lot to be desired) before our Spring Rolls.  They were passable, but I've had much better.  I had shrimp and vegetable tempura.  The flavor was not bad, but it was warm, not hot.  Rather than being light, it was heavy and greasy. The presentation, however, was attractive.  Husband had chicken terryaki served in a cast iron skillet on a bed of sliced onions with barely steamed broccoli florets..  The chicken was tender.  Each item was passable.  Not impressive. 

Of course, since we lived in Japan and had the "real deal" there . . .  we might be somewhat biased in our views.  However, we've had the privilege of  eating some excellent Japanese food in various places over the  40 years we've been married (as of tomorrow). And this meal didn't qualify/measure up/impress us.  Sorry, Hana's.

Chili's Caribbean Chicken Salad = **** (or 4 stars)
Hana's Shrimp Tempura and Chicken Terryaki dinners = * (or 1 star)


BUSH BABE said...

Hey - this new-look site rocks! Been too long since I visited obviously... firstly, Japanese is close to my favourite foreign food. Right near Italian. And Greek. And Thai. And Indian. (I'm a foodaholic, I'm afraid). But Japanese done badly - that just shouldn't be allowed, I;m afraid!

Shabu Shabu is my kind of Divine. Did you have that much in Japan? Mmmmmm...

BUSH BABE said...

PS Happy Anniversary Mr and Mrs Pencil Writer!

Bob said...

The best food critics are those like you. You liked it or you didn't like it. Wise to split a salad at Chili's -- they are full of sodium. I'm trying to get my blood pressure down so I'm taking note of such things. Sometimes it sucks to be in one's 50s.

I had a good friend in college from Nathitoches and I went to see the Christmas lights there a couple of times. Also had some of those yummy meat pies. Beautiful town.

Pencil Writer said...

Actually, BB, I've never had Shabu Shabu. Had sukiyaki--which most people here in the states murder in the pronunciation--in Nara once (near Kyoto) an ancient capitol of Japan. It was really good. Also had it other places and still love it, but haven't fixed any in years. I should do that! I love Chinese, some Thai, Greek, Italian, German, Cajun, and a variety of others. I, indeed can say, I just like food!!!

Thanks, for the happy A. wishes.

And Bob, you've been to Natchitoches!!!??? To see the Christmas lights? How long ago? We might have even passed each other and not known. (The world is a small place, actually, isn't it?) Yes, those Natchitoches Meat Pies are good! And full of fat and all things tasty and bad for you. I guess it's all in "how much" of the "bad stuff" we eat, right? I love gumbo, and shrimp remoulade! Oh, the first time I ever ate shripm remoulade in New Orleans . . . I thought I'd died and gone to Heaven! I had trouble (even here in Louisiana--and even in New Orleans) finding any as good as the first time. Joe's Crab Shack's is almost as good, but they don't quite get there. I have to get extra horseradish. Oh, how I'd love to have some right now!! (The other reason it's wise to split a salad at Chili's or other places like that is . . . I can't eat any more than half, and sometimes not even that! So, have you ever tried their Caribbean Chicken Salad? I looked at the calories--only 530 for the whole salad! Don't know about sodium value.

I've been telling my daughter we've got to make some Jambalaya soon. It sounds really good.

Bob said...

It would have been the late 70s when I was there. I went at least twice. I went to college at LA Tech in Ruston and knew a few folks from Natchitoches, one of whom visited me here in Nashville just recently.

The foods you just described -- love them all. I love seafood and another treat I enjoyed in college was going home with my buds from South LA -- now those people know how to cook (and eat)!

Pencil Writer said...

How funny is that! My husband started his college career at LA TECH! But in the 60's. You were probably already back in Nashville (or wherever you went to law school) by the time we moved back to Louisiana.

Yes. South Louisianians KNOW how to cook. And eat. This whole post this is making me hungry. Not to mention the wonderful aromas wafting up from the kitchen from the celebratory meal our daughters are cooking up for tonight! (In the 102 F actual temp weather.) Yes. Steak grilling will be involved. :-P

Mary Paddock said...

Happy (late) anniversary!

It's early AM here and you've made me hungry. :)

I must remember to check out Chili's the next time we're talking about eating out somewhere.

Pencil Writer said...

Thank you, Mary. We had a very nice dinner that our 2 oldest girls fixed for us. Very tasty!