Monday, March 23, 2015

Camarons Acapulco at Pancho's & Gringo's- Brookfield, Ct.

Shrimp wrapped in bacon, perfectly spiced, laying on a bed of queso sauce. What's not to love about it? Pancho's & Gringo's is fast becoming our favorite Mexican place and a dish like this just explains why. 

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Chili's Sweet and Smoky Burger- Poughkeepsie, NY

We used to go to Chili's all the time and never had a bad experience, but when we started to focus on local restaurants we drifted away. Today we decided to stop by the Poughkeepsie location for lunch and we realized why we liked it. The food and service were excellent at reasonable prices. If anything, I think they got even better since we were last at a Chili's restaurant.

I went with the Sweet and Smoky burger at $10.79 and swapped out the fries for a side salad for an extra buck. It was fresh and a good sized salad. Teresa went with one of the lighter dishes, the Mango Chicken at $10.19 and she said it was very good.

The burger was excellent. Here's what comes on it direct from the corporate website, "Topped with melted pepper Jack cheese, applewood smoked bacon, NEW spiced panko onion rings, fresh leaf lettuce, tomato, NEW mango-infused smoky BBQ sauce & NEW Chili's Signature sauce. Served with a side of mango-infused smoky BBQ sauce." I ordered it medium and it was a bit closer to medium-well, but the juices were still dripping out. It was nicely seasoned and the combination of all of the ingredients worked very well. 

We will be going back to a Chili's. One thing I remember is that they are consistent across the chain.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

The Habit Burger Grill- Fair Lawn, NJ

The Habit Burger Grill is a West Coast chain, started in 1969, that is slowly making its way east. There are now two in Jersey and I was invited to the grand opening of the one in River Edge, but we couldn't make it. Today we were near Ikea and decided to hit the Fair Lawn location. To sum up the visit, it was great and this chain has real potential to give its competitors a run for their money.

The inside is modern without being over the top trendy. You place your order and are given a buzzer, then you find a table. In about five minutes or so the food is ready. 

I decided on the Double Char Cheeseburger meal with bacon added at $9.75. Teresa ordered the single Char Burger and a side salad which came to $5.50. Both were quite delightful with quality meat cooked and seasoned perfectly on a toasted bun. 

The fries were just right, crispy on the outside and soft in the middle served hot and seasoned with just the right amount of salt. 

The Salad was a nice size and even the croutons were seasoned, I think I detected a touch of rosemary but I may be wrong. 

Overall, really good burgers and fries at low prices. Our whole meal came to $16.32 with tax. The same thing at similar places would have hit twenty bucks easily. 

So, how does the food compare to the competitors? I would say they are way better than Five Guys, much better than Shake Shack,  a bit better than Jake's, and on a par with Smashburger. Smash has more options, but Habit is cheaper. We will return and we will be going to the River Edge location. 

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Red Robin- Danbury, Ct

Smoke and Pepper Burger

We stopped by the Red Robin at the Danbury Mall for lunch the other day. I never realized there was one at the mall and once I found it, I wanted one of their new craft burgers. Red Robin is one of the few chains I like and one of the reasons is that while they have good fires, they are very accommodating in substituting other things for them. I like to get the side salad and Teresa likes the steamed broccoli, both of which are bottomless. 

I got the Smoke and Pepper which was topped with black-pepper bacon and extra-sharp Cheddar on a toasted ciabatta bun with house-made Smoke & Pepper ketchup for $13.49. It was quite tasty and filling. 

Teresa ordered the DGB burger with oven-roasted tomatoes, savory roasted garlic aioli and fresh arugula tossed in citrus olive oil dressing on a toasted ciabatta bun for $12.99. She said it was good and so was the broccoli.

Overall, consistent with Red Robin quality. Now that I know it is there, we'll be back. 

DGB Burger