Archive for February, 2014

Caffe Martier, Delray Beach Fl

Monday, February 24th, 2014
cafe2

caffe martier

Atlantic ave in Delray Beach is full of restaurants with outdoor seating so choosing one without a recommendation is a hit and miss proposition. They all have a good view to people watch and I would assume they have a wide range of price difference depending on what you are looking for.

After arriving at our hotel we set out for a bite for lunch and decided to sit outdoors at the first place that looked inviting. Being it was late in the afternoon we were just looking for a light lunch and with this Caffe’s menu, it seemed to be the right place.

The menu is inviting with a good amount of choices in salads, sandwiches and such. They also boast a breakfast menu and a good sampling of desserts to choose from. I decided to try the Turkey and Hummus sandwich. Fresh turkey with hummus, baby spinach and tomatoes, with a side of greens and chick pea kim-chee salad.  Served on a French baguette it gave an added crispy, chewy touch to the sandwich. The greens needed a bit more dressing for my taste and the chickpeas were spicy and fresh tasting. My wife ordered the Summer salad made with strawberries, grilled chicken, oranges, goat cheese and almonds which she seemed to enjoy. All in all the lunch was tasty and quite good, and the added outdoor seating makes it a nice place on a sunny day. At $10.25 and $12.95, the menu itself is a little pricey for the size of the portions served, but not not a surprise for the surrounding area. I might add that the fresh squeezed lemonade was very good.

After walking off our dinner, we returned later that evening with friends for dessert.  The coffee served is very good as were the cheesecake and lava cake, but the chocolate honey cake was very dry and disappointing because it looked good in the pastry case. Again its not a place for inexpensive dessert as it cost more than $40 with tip for three desserts and four cups.

As a side note our server whose name I believe is Jade, was exceptional and we never had to look for her when she was needed because she made it a point to check ALL her tables each time she resurfaced from the kitchen. Pleasant surprise!!!

The Regular Guy rating   * * *

 

Lone Star BBQ and Merchantile, Santee South Carolina

Tuesday, February 4th, 2014
lone star

Lone Star BBQ and Merchantile

Well this one got me! There are three restaurants in Santee South Carolina and I already ate at one of them on my last trip so that left me with a choice from two. I went online to read reviews of both places in hopes that I could make my choice a little easier.

This place got good reviews on about 90% of the posts I found and even today, four day later I can’t fathom why.  A lady from New Jersey, my home and a great place to find BBQ,  even loved it. And what about that Tomato Pie did she really like. That’s not even in the same food group as the Tomato Pies from Jersey. I don’t know what that was. It looked like baked custard with a slice of tomato on top. Really???

Sorry, I digress. After driving some 11 hours, I had a hankering for some southern BBQ and was really looking forward to comfort food but what I found was a buffet of southern mush.

Really, everything except the fried chicken was soft including the green beans. They were so overcooked and unrecognizable I had to ask what they were. The rest of the buffet included BBQ pork hash( pureed pork and potatoes in sauce) and shredded BBQ pork (without the BBQ and so so very dry) as entree’s and I believe there were black eyed peas, baked mac and cheese, mashed sweet potatoes, hush puppies, rice, and a few unrecognizable items( see tomato pie above). There were some desserts which were also unrecognizable other than seeing something with peaches and something drowned in cool whip. There wasn’t an item I would try. Lone Star also states on their website that they serve salad bar items, which other than some cut tomatoes and cucumbers swimming in a liquid, I didn’t see anything that resembled salad bar items.

I ate three pieces of fried chicken, ( of which I could only locate two breasts) two hush puppies and I have to say some very tasty sweet potatoes. Oh and I did try the cole slaw which was pretty good too. The mac and cheese could have been better if it was creamier although I liked the crispy edges so I was okay with the sampling.  When I asked if there were more breasts of chicken the server said she didn’t see any in the kitchen. Really??

The atmosphere is pretty cool and a throw back to the 60’s- 70’s. The tables and clothes reminded me of my grandmothers kitchen table from back then. The decor is all over the place from toys, tin signs, candy, and old cigar store Indian and other food stuff for purchase. It’s like the storefront in the Cracker Barrel food chain on crack.

It was very disappointing to say the least because the reviews spoke the opposite and the atmosphere was pretty cool, but I have experienced better BBQ in New Jersey than here, where it should be better hands down. How can you have dry pulled pork and then worse no BBQ sauces at the very least, to drown it in on your plate. It just looked so unappetizing  just sitting in a pan on the buffet. To be honest there were two sauces on the buffet. Both were ice cold and tasted like mayonnaise based dressings. I just didn’t get it.

The chef boasts of his background in Culinary and that he attended Hyde Parks Culinary Institute but I would never have known and actually was shocked at how terrible the food was. Being a graduate myself of a Culinary school and having worked in the field for over 40 years, I would have thought at least the presentation would have been outstanding.

Regular Guy rating

* *  (for the atmosphere and fried chicken)