#SCBDEventRecap: The Great Jersey Shore Burger Contest

scbdeventrecap

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This is the 2nd event for April’s Jersey Shore Restaurant Week. If you’ve wondered about going, stop wondering and go next season. This is a day of fun and food. Isn’t that what the Jersey Shore is all about?

This is hosted by Bar A in Belmar. For $30 there were many burgers and these cute little tasting mugs for beer. The beer was Jersey Shore’s very own Beach Haus. There was an IPA and a Pilsner. It’s got me hooked on the IPA. Bold, yet satisfying. And did I say great with burgers? A shout out here to Julie the bartender in the main area of the burger competition. She was filling those tiny mugs for hours with a smile. Thanks.photo 1

So my companion and I signed in and got our tasting mugs and were on our way. A little burger, a little beer. What a fine time. People were inside, outside, taking up all spaces Bar A provided.

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Now to the burgers. They were all so different. Cave, an all Paleo restaurant in Avon had a bunless burger that was juicy and tasty with a hint of siracha. Bar A, representing the house, had a Tex mex burger with a ghost pepper sauce, hoo haa, spicy!

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Langosta Lounge, Asbury Park had a burger with caramelized onions that they do so well. Harpoon Willy’s, Wall, had a burger with avocado and roasted tomatoes that made it so juicy. Shipwreck Point from Point Pleasant, known for its gourmet fair, did not let us down. Their burger was pulled brisket in their own BBQ sauce and a special slaw. Jersey Shore BBQ, Belmar, had a burger with pulled pork on it, oh yeah. I’ll be stopping by for one of those again.

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709 in Point Pleasant had a no bread cheeseburger. No bread, but a Haloumi cheese bun. It was a 2 napkin burger but well worth the needed napkins.
The Committed Pig from Manasquan, did the People’s Choice winner burger. It had an onion ring on top and a little siracha, just a little and the bun,like a pillow for that burger. I may be committed to this burger. All in all, a fun time and creative food, too.

Now, enjoy the rest of Jersey Shore Restaurant Week.

#SCBDEventRecap The Village Voice Choice Eats Event 2014

scbdeventrecap

So, I’m not a foodie. In fact, if I could choose between eating and not, I’d take the latter. That’s just me though. But, when our editor-in-chief sent out an email stating she was ill and needed someone to attend The Village Voice “Choice Eats” Seventh Annual Tasting Event, I decided to dive in to help her out. It’s not like it was a burden because I was already in the city that night.

Getting there was a doozey because I hadn’t a clue where Basketball City was. But after I hopped onto the M line, got lost and hailed a cab, I was there. I forgot about everything else and focused on the event.

After checking in with the press table, how special I felt, it was time to mosey around. I had no clue where to start and I felt extremely disorganized. I’d never attended an event and I wanted to present myself as professional and organized as possible. My hope is that it showed.

The VIP area was upstairs and I made my way to check out the selections. Before my eyes were desserts, burgers, barbecued items, chicken, alcohol, you name it. Wherever food you were in the mood for, it was present. But, you must remember a fact about me, I’m all about health & fitness and even still, at an event such as this, I wanted to try to keep my cals in check.

doughnut

When I inquired about the amount of calories in one of my favorite desserts, the Peanut Butter & Blackberry Jam from Doughnut Plant, one of the women laughed at me and said, “Oh, honey, you can’t worry about calories at this event.” I mean, I totally wanted to be conscious of what I ate, but at the same time, I had to sample these delectable foods. Between you & I, some of the time, I bit half of it and then threw the rest away because that is the protocol at events like this, because there is food for days. I bet you’re thinking, “how dumb of you,” but, hey, I couldn’t enjoy it too much. I’m sort of trying to lose a couple of pounds.

Primarily, I was hooked to the back, where the desserts sat. I tried pastries, brownies, ice cream, butterscotch popcorn, Bubble tea and strawberry shortcake. Then, I made my rounds to the real food. I tried chicken burgers, a sandwich at Pickle Shack, Clarke’s famous cheeseburger, pork tacos and a vegan apple sage sausage sandwich. After that, I tried not to worry as much about calories. Oh well. I would just work out tomorrow harder.

I made my rounds. I couldn’t help but circle round and round. I told myself to stop, quit it, cut it out, but I couldn’t help myself.

bakery,

I would say my favorite was definitely the Chocolate chip cookie bar with chocolate ganache and pretzels from Robicelli’s in Brooklyn, NYC. The chocolate and pretzels went together well and I fell in love! I can’t hide it.

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My second was probably the OddFellows Ice Cream Company’s Cedar Creamiscle orange infused foam, graham cracker ice cream. It tasted so creamy and the graham cracker bits added to the taste.

shortcake.

And, my third was from Fayda Bakery in Chinatown served their Strawberry Shortcake, which was out of this world! It was served with a strawberry and whipped cream on the top. Yummy much?

I was filled to capacity and needed to leave before I made another round. All in all, I believe this event allowed foodies to get a taste of popular desserts and foods of all kind. I was happy to attend and try everything from vegan, vegetarian to the not so healthy foods.

Happy eating!

#SCBDTravels: Do #LA the right way in 72 hours!

scbdtravels

About a month ago, I had the opportunity to travel to LA for my job at the time. It was my first time ever traveling to to the West Coast and I loved every bit of it. I stayed in Downtown LA in the Little Tokyo area which meant having ramen was a must.

Here are some of the spots I loved and checked out while I was in DTLA for 72 hours:
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1. El Pollo Loco (various locations)- It’s a chain but a great one, you can find down South in Texas and a long the West Coast. They serve some of the best rotisserie chicken, tortillas, rice and beans that fills you up!

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2. Ford’s Filling Station (Culver City) – My first night in LA, I spent going out with my cousin who lives in the area and we went to Ford’s for dinner. They serve homestyle classic American food with a Modern twist. I’d definitely come back since it was hip spot. The food was delicious and filling like they mention in the title.

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3. Sprinkles Cupcakes (various locations)- Home of the first cupcake shop in the US. Sprinkles is a staple in LA. The cupcakes are delicious and all they are cracked up to be. I enjoyed a classic cupcake– chocolate cake with chocolate frosting. The cupcakes are delicious and #SCBDApproved.

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4. The Original Pantry Cafe (DTLA)- This downtown LA restaurant is a staple in the area. They serve a homestyle breakfast so I decided to go with sausage gravy with biscuits. It was delicious and I’d definitely go back but keep in mind they only take cash!

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5.  Citadel Outlets (Citadel) – About a 20 minute drive from DTLA (without traffic), this outlet is huge and even has an American Apparel Outlet Store in it. I loved and had a great time shopping there. I would definitely come back on a weekend when I had more time on my hands.

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6. Daikokuya Ramen (Little Tokyo)- For about $10 and change you can get a hefty bowl of ramen and a soft drink. It’s delicious and LA local favorite. Keep in mind that they only take cash and be ready to wait and put your name down before your seated. It’s totally worth the wait!

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7. LA Live- The new place to eat, drink, and enjoy LA sports teams. I went to the Yardhouse while I was there and the spot was definitely the place to be. Check out there website, to see what other restaurants that are in LA Live.

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8.  JiST Cafe (Little Tokyo) – JiST is a hidden breakfast nook in Little Tokyo. They serve classic breakfast dishes with an Asian twist. I got chocolate chip and banana pancakes and the serving was huge and delicious! It was a perfect breakfast before my last day working in LA.

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9. In & Out Burger- No trip to LA or even to the West Coast is complete without stopping here. Yes, it’s fast food but its the bomb. I really loved my burger and fries and will be asking for animal sauce next time. It was such a deal and was only $5 too! No complaints!

I still can’t believe I went to as many places as I did in 3 days while I was in Cali! I definitely would love to live there eventually but until then I’ll be finding my way to vacation back! I got to take a peek into so many places I’d love really get to spend a day or two at to get the full experience, including Santa Monica Blvd.

Stay tuned for more travel posts!

Cheers,

scbdlogofinal

 

 

 

#SCBDReview: Burger Bach: A Taste of New Zealand in Richmond, VA

scbdreview

 

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Richmond, VA- Travel to any major city in the U.S. and you’re bound to hear about the local favorite burger joint in town. Relocating to the Richmond area, and having a love affair with burgers, I was on a mission to find where the best ones are. One evening, a broadcast on our local ABC affiliate station aired a “Best in Richmond” news special. The timing of this couldn’t have been better! They covered everything re: where to enjoy the best brunch, best BBQ, best cupcakes and more in the Richmond metro area. Being a new resident, I was taking notes so that I could eventually visit these restaurants/merchants. Then luckily for me, they covered “best burgers”- so now I introduce you to Burger Bach.

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Burger Bach (pronounced ‘batch’- slang for vacation home), owned by Michael Ripp, is a New Zealand inspired gastro pub that serves gourmet burgers and a variety of craft beers on tap. So what’s the relevance of New Zealand to these famous burgers? Burger Bach receives their meat (lamb, chicken and beef) fresh from Silver Fern Farm where the livestock is raised free range with no steroids, antibiotics, or hormones. The seafood (fish and shrimp) is caught in the wild, not artificially farm raised.

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I went to Burger Bach for the first time back in November. The menu is overwhelming- but in the best way possible. So many types of burgers to choose from, but ultimately I decided on the “The Original” beef burger (pictured)- onion, cheddar cheese, uncured bacon, lettuce, and tomato. Absolutely delicious- and I loved that the burger wasn’t huge, just the right sized portion without leaving me uncomfortably full. Oh, and what pairs well with a burger than french fries? I have to admit, these were some of the best tasting fries I’ve ever had- fresh hand cut Idaho potatoes cooked in 100% peanut oil. Plus, there is a variety of dipping sauces (for those who think outside the ketchup box) that pair very nicely with the fries. My favorite sauce so far is the Basil Pesto Aioli- but I still have many more to try. Sadly, I’m not a beer drinker- so sampling their selection on tap wasn’t an option. However, I am hooked to their homemade lemonades- they have a couple of varieties. I enjoyed the lemon/limeade and the strawberry-lemonade (both pictured) and I couldn’t have been more pleased.

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As of now, Burger Bach is my personal favorite in Richmond when it comes to burgers and fries. There are currently

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two locations in town- the original location in Carytown and the newest addition in Shortpump. Do not be surprised if you see a location popping up in a city near you- giving your current favorite burger joint a run for their money. Just after one visit, you will be saying, “I’ll be bach!”

www.burgerbach.com

Carytown location: 10 South Thompson St. Richmond, VA 23221

Shortpump/West Broad Village location: 2225 Old Brick Rd. Glen Allen, VA 23060

#SCBDRecipe: Score Big With These Super Bowl Snacks

scbdrecipe

How many of you are hosting a Super Bowl party? Or, going to watch the game at a friend or family member’s home?

Either way, you will probably be whipping up some snacks for you and your fellow party-goers to munch on while watching the game, commercials (probably my favorite part) and Bruno Mars and The Red Hot Chili Peppers during the halftime show.

Not sure what you are going to make yet? Don’t just go to the store and pick up a generic, run-of-the-mill veggie or meat and cheese tray – try these ideas to help make this the tastiest Super Bowl party your friends will attend.

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Bacon Wrapper Jalapeno Poppers | Grilled Portobello Sliders | Rice Krispie Footballs | Loaded Baked Potato Dip | Chicken Parm Sandwiches | Grilled Cheese

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Guacamole and Bacon Bruschetta

There are many other great, and easy, ideas on my Pinterest board of Super Bowl Munchies. What other great ideas do you have for snack for football parties – or any other gathering in general? Share your thoughts and ideas!

 

#SCBDReview: Prospect Tavern

scbdreviewIt’s usually a terrible idea to go grocery shopping on an empty stomach, but in this case I’m glad that I did. I not only bought enough groceries to feed a small army, but also stumbled upon my new favorite spot for food and drinks. Prospect Tavern is a relatively new restaurant, but it has gained a lot of popularity in Madison, NJ, among locals and college students alike. It has a classic tavern feel with a dining room complete with a stone fireplace and a full bar with a patio, but it wasn’t always a restaurant. The building originally housed a coal company in the late 1800s.

Prospect Tavern has a new menu, encompassing everything from tavern favorites like wings and burgers to gourmet dishes like brie and spinach stuffed pork chops and lobster mac & cheese. While I am usually partial to all things brie, I decided to try their lobster roll. As the daughter of a Maine native, I must admit that I am a bit of a lobster roll snob. My expectations were exceeded by far, especially because it was served in a toasted hot dog bun (the New England way). The roll was perfectly complimented by their sweet potato fries.

iphone 007No visit to Prospect Tavern is complete without having a drink (or two). I am a big fan of their pumpkin pie martini, but after trying the new apple cider fizz, I might be a convert. The apple cider fizz is a seasonal twist on a mimosa in a cinnamon sugar rimmed flute. It’s served with an individual bottle of prosecco, which is not only adorable, but gives you the ability to make this sweet concoction as boozy as you want. Aside from specialty drinks, Prospect Tavern offers a variety of draft and bottled beers and wines. They also have happy hours at the bar almost every night of the week including College Night on Tuesdays, which draws in a nice bar crowd.

iphone 005If you find yourself in Madison, check out Prospect Tavern for great food, drinks, and service.

#SCBDRecipe: National Hamburger Day

scbdrecipe

Happy National Hamburger Day!

Thought this would be the perfect day to share my stuffed burgers with you. Yumm!

{And, super simple!}

 I don’t really have exact measurements for anything in this recipe. How much cheese, what kind of cheese, how much meat for each burger, etc.. It is all just personal preference.

What you need:

  • Hamburger meat
  • Onion
  • Bacon
  • Hot peppers {I like jalapenos and/or serrano peppers}
  • Cream cheese

What to do:

1. Combine onion, meat and bacon

2. Mix cream cheese and hot peppers

2. Form meat into even, thin burger patties

3. Add a spoonful of cheese and pepper mixture to the center of half of the patties, top with burger patty that does not have cheese and pinch the edges together until the two patties are sealed together completely

4. Place on grill until done to your liking

5. Add your favorite toppings {mine are lettuce, red onion, ketchup and mustard} and enjoy!

 

#SCBDFavorite: Business Power Hour at Croton

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I turned 21 a few weeks ago, and despite the fact that I am now considered a legal woman in the United States, I must say that I have always been and always will be a mummy’s little girl! I recently had a business power lunch with my mum on our lunch breaks during the work week at Croton. I come from a Filipino household, so to my pleasant surprise, Croton had the Filipino beer San Miguel in stock! There are few things as authentically Filipino as cracking open a San Miguel on the island, whether it be on a Philippine island or the Manhattan island.

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Croton Reservoir Tavern is an American style bar, located a block away from Bryant Park. Its central location is on 40th street between 6th Avenue and Broadway, attracts businessmen who sign contracts and talk loudly about luxury cars, golf, and women. Croton is considered a more expensive restaurant but it is still relatively affordable. If you do not want to spend too much money, enjoy Croton for lunch and not its more expensive dinners. During lunch, I had a hearty Grilled Black Bean Veggie Burger for $14. If you want something a bit cheaper than a $14 burger, I highly recommend their bar menu which offers small plates such as $9 Polenta fries. Their glass of J. Lohr Riverstone chardonnay was quite a steal for $10.

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If you’re around midtown during pre-theatre hours, there is also a 3-course prix fixe menu for $34.95 between the hours of 4 PM – 7 PM. The prix fixe menu includes a glass of Croton’s House Red or White, a starter, a main, dessert, and coffee or tea. Make sure to take advantage of both the upstairs are and downstairs bar! Croton is open every day starting at 11 AM, so don’t be shy about day drinking and enjoy yourself a local Captain Lawrence Freshchester Pale Ale. Cheers!

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#SCBDReview & #SCBDGiveaway: Win $25 #Smashbucks to celebrate the @SmashburgerNNJ Opening in Brick, NJ!

scbdreview

 

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Smashburger- who doesn’t love hamburgers? Well, if you don’t they have chicken and black bean burgers that they will smash for you also. Gee, where do I start? When I was told this is not just your average hamburger spot, I was doubtful. After tasting some of Smashburger’s offerings at the Brick location press preview, I am no longer in doubt. Smashburger likes to call it “Immediate fast casual”, but this is no ordinary fast food spot.

A few things before I discuss the individual items. Every morning, they make lots of stuff, fresh. Doesn’t sound like a big deal, but that includes the black bean burgers, the burgers themselves, the guacamole and the truffle oil-mayo, just to name a few.

Haystack Onions

Haystack Onions

veggie friessweet potato friessmashfriesfried pickles

While we were waiting for the burgers, they brought out the sides. Haystack onions with a Texas petal sauce, love that horseradish tang! And those onions are so thin; I just can’t imagine how they slice them that way? We were told they stole a little from the Italians for the Smashfries. These are tossed with rosemary, olive oil and garlic. Make no mistake about it, these are GROWNUP fries; now don’t tell your kids that, they will eat them too. We also had the sweet potato fries and veggie frites, ideal taken from the French. These are carrots and green beans seasoned and quick fried. We also had their fried pickles, and these are on the SHHH, “secret menu”. I just love places with secret menus. If you are not familiar with this, it means it is not on the regular menu, BUT, if you ask for it they will make it for you. Cool, eh?

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The first burger we tried was the Classic Smash. You know, American cheese, smash sauce, ketchup, lettuce, tomato, pickles and onion on an egg bun. Well, this is like NO burger you’ve had before. The smashing of the 5 or 7 oz burger in their own soon to be patented smasher makes this possibly the juiciest burger you’ve ever had. Yup! You can add or remove things as you see fit. It is all make to order.

Truffle Mushroom & Swiss

Truffle Mushroom & Swiss

Next up was the Truffle Mushroom Swiss. Wow! This is truffle mayo, sautéed baby portabella mushrooms and aged Swiss on an egg bun. As I already mentioned Smashburger makes a lot of things themselves. They couldn’t find a truffle mayo on the market they liked, so they made one they did like! I know I’m going back to get one again. Rich, juicy, dang!

BBQ Bacon Cheddar

BBQ Bacon Cheddar

Then came the New Jersey burger. It is mayo, tomato, lettuce, haystack online, bacon, grilled onion, blue cheese crumbles, on an onion bun. Now I know you are saying New Jersey Burger? “Where’s the pork roll?” Well, they tried it in the North Jersey market and it just didn’t sell. So, the NEW New Jersey burger was created. Absolutely delicious.
Now we had the BBQ, bacon & cheddar. This is BBQ sauce, applewood-smoked bacon, cheddar and haystack onions on an egg bun. At Smashburger, knowing their market is very important, so they choose a BBQ sauce according to the area. We get K.C. Masterpiece. I don’t know about you, but it’s the BBQ sauce in MY pantry.

Spicy Black Bean Burger

Spicy Black Bean Burger

The next item hits 2 kinds of patrons who won’t eat or don’t want a traditional burger. It is the Spicy Black Bean burger. It’s appropriate for the vegetarian in your group OR the one person who wants Mexican food when everyone else wants a burger. The black bean burger itself is made there fresh and has 10 ingredients. Take that and add fresh jalapenos, guacamole, pepper jack, lettuce, tomato, onion and chipotle mayo on a spicy chipotle bun. And SPICY it is!

Classic Chicken Club

Classic Chicken Club

Well, I bet now you are saying you have someone who only eats chicken? Well, they’ve got a whole line of Smashchicken and salads. The Classic chicken is a fresh marinated, smashed chicken breast with lettuce, tomato, pickles, red onion on a multi-grain roll. Now, you would think this smashed chicken breast would be dry, but again, nope. This was a moist and juicy chicken sandwich, the likes of which I don’t think you’ve had before.
The next chicken sandwich was their Avocado Club. Oddly enough, if you look at the pictures, I believe our chicken looks like the state of New Jersey. While they did not do this on purpose, what they did on purpose was to make another delicious combination. Fresh avocado, applewood-smoked bacon, lettuce, tomato, ranch dressing and mayo on a multi grain bun.

Shake at Smashburger

Shake at Smashburger

Let’s not forget the kiddies. I didn’t have any with me, but they have a 3oz burger for them in the kids meals as well as chicken strips or a hotdog. Something for everyone.
And as if this is not enough, and you really didn’t feel like a soft drink…they have incredible shakes. We tried Oreo, chocolate and Nutter Butter. And for the summer you can get the PB&J shake, after the summer, it will be on the secret menu.
Oh, yeah, you’ll see me back, Smashburger.

Smashburger
Cedarbridge Ave and Rte 70
Brick, NJ
732-477-0789
Open 10-10

scbdgiveaway

 

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Note: This contest has ended.

In honor of the Smashburger opening in Brick we are holding a giveaway for $25 Smashbucks, here’s how to enter:

  • Follow @SmashburgerNNJ
  • Follow @smchickbigdeals
  • Tweet us what you’d get with #25Smashbucks & use the #SCBDGiveaway hashtag
  • Winner will picked this ***Wednesday 08/29*** at 6 PM EST
  • Good luck!

#SCBDReview: Perfectly Posh at Pastis

scbdreview

On Monday night, I met up with The Dentist and his younger brother at Chelsea Market. Since they are from Pennsylvania, they trusted my SCBD skills to lead them to the proper dining establishment in the Meatpacking District. I suggested that we get perfectly posh at Pastis: a French restaurant made popular by the show Sex in the City. There, Carrie Bradshaw enjoyed brunch with “the Russian” while I dined with two handsome gentleman.

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For dinner, I had a Hamburger à Cheval which is a hamburger with a fried egg on it. It’s worth noting that Pastis only uses organic eggs. It was $17, which, even for Manhattan prices, I find a bit steep just for a burger. However, the hamburger with the organic fried egg was delicious. It came with a load of fries, a large bun, a huge crispy piece of lettuce, onions, and a tomato. The Dentist had a Croque-Madame, which was the same price as my hamburger.

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A croque-madame is the same as a croque-monsieur except that the madame has a fried or poached egg on top. In parts of Normandy in France, this is called a croque-à-cheval. I’ve come to believe that Pastis is all about the cheval. The Dentist was really pleased about his grilled ham and cheese sandwich topped with the poached egg. He wasn’t sure if he had to eat the leafy decoration on the side, but I assured him that since he was paying $17 for a croque-madame that he could do whatever he wanted within the bubble of the non-judgmental SCBD reviewing zone.

The Dentist’s brother was an interesting character since he noticed that the wait staff was extremely adept at constantly refilling our waters. He was disappointed by the fact that the water was unnecessarily warm in the summer heat without ice cubes. He asked for a huge cup of ice, and they served us ice in a tiny cup with a spoon that was intended to serve all three of us. If you’re a fan of ice with your water, Pastis is apparently rather stingy when it comes to ice service. In fact, the service was not remarkable at Pastis, but I come to Pastis for the French food in the heart of the MPD.

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The Brother had Assiette de Saumon Fumé which, on the menu, was listed under hors do’oeuvres, but the Brother had it as a resonable entrée. When you’re paying $16 for smoked salmon, potatoes, cucumber, and pickled onions, I’d rather have it as my entrée. The Brother was extremely pleased the Assiette de Saumon Fumé. He devoured the entire dish like a true champion of smoked salmon eating. The Dentist and I were too busy enjoying our Hoegaarden white ales and Stella Artois to notice much else. Cheers!

 

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