Herb-crusted salmon on top of mashed potatoes with smoked tomato cream.
I heard about RouXbarb because one of my writers for The Tennessee Journalist did an article on the chef and his take on bringing fresh ingredients to the table. The article sparked the food writer in me and made me want to see what my take on his innovative flavors were. I have to say that I wasn’t disappointed. The prices are pretty fancy, my bill was $40 including tip and that’s pretty steep for a college student. However, I will say that it was worth the money. At times I thought it wouldn’t hurt for lower prices. I think he’d attract a larger college audience if the menu prices were lower. Anyway back to the food, we started off with the cheddar biscuits (which were complimentary, thank God). The cheddar biscuits were like most I’ve ever tasted. The wow factor came with the marinated mushrooms which were served cold, but had the most amazing flavors. They were salty and savory paired with the smoked rhubarb marmalade the starter wasn’t a bad beginning. I ordered just a simple sweet tea to drink, but was delighted at the mint simple syrup incorporated sweet tea that was set before me. It was absolutely amazing. In fact, I feel sorry for people who walk in there and just order a coke. The tea wasn’t advertised as that superior, but I’m lucky that I got to experience it. For my main entree, I got the herb crusted salmon on mashed potatoes with smoked tomato cream and green beans.
The fish was nicely seasoned although the herb crust I expected turned out more like herb mush on top. The herbs were way too overpowering for the fish. The mashed potatoes were nothing special and the tomato cream had decent flavor. Overall, there was nothing displeasing about the entree, but nothing extraordinary either. My roommates shrimp & grits however, were especially delicious with cajun spices that made me think I was back in the bayou. I guess I ordered the wrong dish, but that’s why you also bring along people who don’t mind to share a little
The meal ended on a sweet note with vanilla icecream topped apricot bread pudding. The bread pudding was very excellent although not the best I’ve ever had. Overall, the meal was delectable. The lack of a star is due to the herb fail and my entree miscalculation. However, I look forward to come to RouXbarb for brunch possibly when I get more money.
I really appreciate the amazing responses that I’ve gotten from readers. This semester of school has been pretty long and with finals coming up it has been super crazy.
Thanksgiving is approaching, the mother of all food holidays. Perhaps I will post a recipe, but I can’t promise anything.
Special shout-out to steamboat bill’s for featuring me on their website.
Thanks again for reading. It honestly means a lot to an aspiring food writer like myself.
I’ve been to Atlanta three times now and each time I’ve never found a place that left me wanting to go back. If you’ve been reading my blog it’s very apparent that when I travel I ALWAYS focus my attention on the food. Atlanta wasn’t any different, but my researching always failed and even asking locals hadn’t helped. However, fate was smiling upon me this weekend when our taxi passed by the flying biscuit cafe. I remember the restaurant being on food network many moons ago. My friends and I decided to try it on Sunday for brunch. The wait was pretty long about 30 minutes. It was seriously worth it though. I got the salmon scramble and a half order of the French toast. To quench my thirst I ordered the chai latte. It was one of the best chai latte’s I’ve ever drank. Hot, creamy, with hints of cinnamon. It was more than satisfying. My salmon scramble was slightly more fishy than I would’ve liked, but not too overpowering. The grits had to be my favorite. Combined with the salmon scramble and the creamy saltiness of the grits. It was a win-win bite each time. Their claim to fame biscuits didn’t disappoint either. The French toast was more like toast with sweet dipping sauces. It wasn’t the best, but the Creme anglaise sauce was definitely a redeeming factor to the dish itself. Overall, this is the go-to brunch spot in Hotlanta. There is always a wait, but the meal is always satisfying.
When you hear of a place like Cheesecake Factory then you are like, “Wow, that sounds like a nice establishment and it’s a pretty well known chain.” Well, at least that’s what I thought. Also, it just opened up in Knoxville and my friends peer pressured me. Anyway, we got there and the wait was terrible. About 40 minutes and I wasn’t too upset about it because it’s a new restaurant so, I expected it to be that crowded. We were a party of 6 and it took us that much longer to get seated. However, nothing was going to break my happiness. I got to spend time with my friends so, I was happy. That is until I tasted my food. I was on a semi-health kick so, I ordered the lunch portion salmon with mashed potatoes. When I got my food the salmon was of mushy texture and the blandest that I’ve ever tasted the fish. The mashed potatoes reflected the fish as a pile of sticky goop with little to no flavor. Here was a menu full of literally a plethora of options and yet none of my friend’s food was above mediocre. The happiest part of the meal was the exquisite cheesecake and macchiato I ordered, but come on! At that point that’s what I was hoping for since they specialized in that at least. Overall, Cheesecake Factory was overpriced, time exhaustive with bland food. My advice is go for the cheesecake and eat your main meal somewhere else.
If you think about how rare it is to find good Asian food in such a small town as Maryville, TN then you are left with the question, “When will I ever find yummy Asian food in this town that doesn’t even have a P.F. Chang’s?” Well, I think I have lucked out folks. With a little help from my dear friend Google, I found New Asia. A small Vietnamese restaurant located in my current hometown (at least until I go back to college for the semester). They have awesome lunch specials featuring some of the classic Vietnamese dishes I have come to know and love. Their shrimp in pants appetizer pictured above was let’s be honest pretty much a spring roll with shrimp hanging out of it. However, it was still very much delicious. The presentation might need a little bit of work, but I’m definitely not complaining. Their Pho has great flavor with small hints of cilantro and lime. My favorite dish is the grilled pork. It is perfectly marinated with a smoky flavor from the grilling preparation that takes place. Add some of the steamed rice and you have an exquisite bite of Asian deliciousness. I really hope this place makes enough business in Maryville to stay open. It’s so close to my house I know they’ll be getting LOTS of business from this little Asian college student. (:
Happy Eating <3
Bistro To Go: Shreveport, LA
I am officially back in Knoxville after saying goodbye to one of the most delicious summers I’ve ever experienced. While I was sort of disappointed with the Cajun food in my adventure I was taken by surprise at the delightful gem that my aunt showed me the day before I was supposed to get on the plane headed back to Tennessee. Bistro To Go located in Shreveport has amazing Cajun specialty items on their menu that are sure to impress even the natives of the swamp lands. The restaurant was bustling with people when we got there and it was pretty difficult to find a table. However, we were seated as soon as they were able and after glancing at the menu I decided on the special of the day which was southern fried catfish. The meal started on a spicy note with their shrimp Étouffée. It had a nice flavor from the dark rue that was used. There was lots of celery in it which helped cool the palette a bit. My only complaint is the shrimp was a bit muddy tasting. There is a special place in my heart for Bistro To Go’s crisp, fresh, and perfectly seasoned catfish. The hush puppies that came with the fish were fluffy and moist. The balance between the two fried items had to be the green tomato relish. It was sweet and tart at the same time. The meal ended in the most amazing way possible. Their famous bread pudding. It was simply delicious. The glaze that covered the bread pudding was light and yet bound all the cinnamon nutty goodness that was the bread pudding. Talk about amazing Cajun food. Thank God for my aunt who can really pick great restaurants. It was a good way to end my Cajun food experience.
I swear I’m not a breakfast person. I know it’s the most important meal of the day and all that jazz, but you cannot force me to eat breakfast usually. As long as I have my cup of coffee in the morning, then I’m good. So, it seems unusual that I would be eating at a restaurant whose menu centers around breakfast. Another Broken Egg adds flare to the meal that I’m not so fond of. With creative menu options like the Benedict Oscar, crab cakes, and bananas foster french toast it seems impossible for even breakfast haters to not find something that meets their fancy. I ordered the Benedict Oscar which I absolutely adore. A toasted English muffin topped with a poached egg, tender steak medallion, hollandaise sauce, asparagus, and succulent lump crab meat. All the flavors mesh together to create a savory bite packed with deliciousness. Washed down with raspberry tea it is truly a satisfying meal. The place is pretty pricey, but definitely worth it. I would pay good money for that food any day. If breakfast can taste that good maybe I should re-evaluate my stance on the most important meal of the day.
As my time in Louisiana comes to a close I’ve felt the pressure to check out as many restaurants that I can while I’m still in the area. It’s funny because my goal at the end of this was to find good authentic Cajun food and what I’ve found is that I didn’t even scratch the surface. However, I did find some pretty amazing Asian food. Pho Bowl located in Bossier City, La has great authentic Thai foods with flavors and spices that knock your socks off (I wasn’t wearing socks, but I’d say it would). I started off with their Thai ice tea that is creamy, cool, and still maintains that delicious tea flavor. Their lunch specials are reasonably priced and conveniently proportioned to fill you up. I ordered the Beef Laab with papaya salad. The beef is tender and marinated with diverse Asian flavors from chili peppers to cilantro leaves. The papaya salad is crisp, refreshing, with hints of saltiness created by the traditional Asian staple sauce (no, not soy sauce), but fish sauce. It’s a great skill to find any Asian dish created with fish sauce that isn’t too distasteful or salty. Overall the meal was delicious. The flavors were so complex that it’s simply something you have to experience for yourself. Pho Bowl is simply any Asian’s paradise.
When vacation time comes, families are constantly trying to find destinations that the kids will enjoy with a little something for the adults too. Even though I haven’t been to that many other vacation destinations I think that Dallas has a lot to offer. I think that when a location can incorporate entertainment with good food then, they’ve achieved what every tourist destination should aspire to. I won’t spend a lot of time on the attractions we’ve visited, but I want whoever is reading this to consider Dallas when planning your families next vacation trip. It’s better than following everyone and their mother to the sandy beaches of Florida.
Rainforest Cafe: [pot roast dish pictured above] The atmosphere of the rainforest cafe is one filled with excitement and adults trying to get their drink on. The excitement is mostly from the children who are anticipating the next time the rainforest animals around them will come alive. It was my first time going and even at the age of 19, I was smiling at the gorilla pounding its chest. The pot roast that I ordered was slightly less amusing. It was better than mediocre, but less than spectacular. The meat was tender and seasoned deliciously, but the vegetables were raw, tasteless, and basically inedible. However, it’s still worth giving the restaurant a try if not for experience then for the creative alcoholic frozen drinks. Your children won’t care if their chicken fingers aren’t the best they’ve ever had.
Great Wolf Lodge Critter Cafe: [sandwich pictured above] Great Wolf Lodge is a resort that has restaurants, a spa, indoor/outdoor water-park, and different activities for kids of all ages. I really enjoyed going there because of the variety of things they had for varied ages. While I was relaxing at the spa my family could enjoy the water-parks. Now, places like these can get pricey when it comes to food and again it was all about the experience and less about the cuisine. We did eat at the critter cafe one day for lunch and my sandwich was actually pretty good. It was a BBQ pork sandwich on a toasted kaiser bun topped with onion strings. The pork was tender and lightly flavored with tangy sweet BBQ sauce. The sweetness of the kaiser bun really helped bind all the flavors of the sandwich. The best part was the crunch that the onion strings gave to the sandwich with each bite. Overall really good especially for a little cafe in the middle of a resort. If you ever want to add a creative flare to a barbeque sandwich or even a hamburger the onion strings really do add a great variety to something ordinary. That’s what’s so great about tasting different foods from everywhere, it adds variety to the food you serve in your own kitchen
Happy Eating! <3
When we were bringing a close to our New Orleans trip, I really wanted to end it with a really high note with concern to what restaurant we would choose for dinner. None of the restaurants in New Orleans look too promising so, we decided to eat dinner in Lafayette on our way back to Shreveport. Prejean’s was right off the interstate and seemed to be the homeland of Louisiana cajun cuisine. You see when you are making a decision such as this one to try and find a place that was conveniently located, but also was proclaimed to have authentic cajun food you find yourself in what I would like to think of as a “tourist trap.” These are places that are looked at highly as tourist attractions, but have the least promising food. I ordered the crab lover’s plate because the waiter recommended it and because I really do love crab. My friend got the gumbo which was supposed to be a specialty of theirs. The sauce which covered the crabcake and my pasta was less than satisfying. It seemed to clump all the flavor that was supposed to be in the crabcake into the sauce. In simpler words, everything tasted the same. It was bland, muddy, and mediocre tasting. Definitely not worth the $25 price the dish held. Interestingly enough the least distasteful thing on the plate was the fried green tomato slice hidden underneath all of the slopped sauce. The gumbo was slightly better. Although, the crawfish in it was not the best I’d ever eaten. After getting the bill I was left hungry, depressed, and disappointed. I went in expecting the best and I left after eating the worst. The best part of the experience was the free rolls at the beginning. If you are looking for good cajun food eat in Lake Charles. Save yourself from cajun food heartbreak.