Apr
15
    
Posted (Rick Lupert) in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, United States on April-15-2017

If you’re only going to pick one restaurant to have dinner, in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, you can’t go wrong with Home 231. We had one night in town escaping our child who was safely tucked away with his grandparents in Allentown, PA and a good New American place with plenty of vegetarian small plate options is our weakness. So in we went. It’s a farm to table spot…with most ingredients sourced within 30 miles (according to our waitress who was super nice!)

Lavendar Martini

Lavendar Martini

I started with the Lavender Martini which was boldly floral, maybe a tad too sweet for my tastes (although I happily finished the whole thing) and in certain light a bit more purple than lavender.

Brussels Salad

Brussels Salad

We split the Brussels Salad. Mine with the blue cheese on top, and my wife’s without. This was great and had the cutest little tomatoes you’ve ever seen. The Blue cheese and peanuts made it delicious.

Cream of Zucchini Soup

Cream of Zucchini Soup

I also had the Cream of Zucchini Soup which was perfect. Lots of flavor and perfect consistency, served in a little crock, topped with freshly ground pepper. This was the soup of the day, so they might not have it when you go, but it’s a good indication of the quality of any future soup they might offer.

Smoked Paprika Polenta

Smoked Paprika Polenta

We also shared the Smoked Paprika Polenta side – I didn’t actually see any paprika in this or get a sense of a smoke flavor. It was very salty and rich. I couldn’t finish it. Bonus points for serving it in cute little cast iron pan.

Black Bean Barley Cake

Black Bean Barley Cake

My wife had the Black Bean Barley Cake side. She loved it so much she ordered a second one. (There’s a “main” version of this which comes almost all the same ingredients and the addition of bok-choy…getting two of the sides was less expensive and a perfect option for us, especially since we were ordering multiple small plates. She thought this was delicious. It had a quinoa base and it sat on top of a little bit of a lovely sweet corn puree. It all melded together well. It reminded me of what some restaurants present as a “house-made veggie burger.” With that framing, the same item on a bun falls apart as you try to eat it between the bread…as a standalone piece, the “cake” eaten with a fork was perfect.

A strange side note – this was the first of two restaurants we ate in in Harrisburg in which it was very cold UNDER the table. We didn’t see a vent where we were seated but it was definitely a different climate under the table than above. I wanted to ask for fleece napkins to lay on my lap.

We would definitely come back to Home 231.

Home 231
231 North St.
Harrisburg, PA 17101
https://www.home231.com/


 
Apr
15
    
Posted (Rick Lupert) in Brunch, Coffee, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, United States on April-15-2017

We decided to launch into an overnight in Harrisburg at the Tomato Pie Cafe…the tales of their signature dish, house-made pastries, and smoothies, promised something for everyone! (Everyone being my wife and I.) It’s a nice place, slightly upscale breakfast and lunch venue, comfortable, casual and designed with a modern flair.

Coffee Mug with Swell Tomato Pie Cafe Logo

Coffee Mug with Swell Tomato Pie Cafe Logo

It was a good sign that the house coffee was strong. This is what one needs out of coffee. It’s roasted locally so you’re getting something unique and regional. It was a little acidic for my tastes but excellent on its own terms.

Green Machine Smoothie

Green Machine Smoothie

My wife had the Green Machine Smoothie – This was everything she’d ever wanted out of a smoothie. She almost left me for this smoothie. (But I had the car keys…) Not too sweet, perfectly thick, and served in a glass so you still feel like you’re dining somewhere. (As opposed to a plastic to-go cup.)

Tomato-Pie-with-Berries

Tomato-Pie-with-Berries

I went with the Tomato Pie. It’s their signature dish and name-sake…and when was the next time I was going to be in Harrisburg? I went with fruit for the side (potatoes, and parmesan git cake were the other 2 options) and they were nice enough to do all berries instead of the more standard mixed fruit.  The presentation was a little messy.I guess it’s hit or miss when you’re scooping a slice of pie out of a tin…It might’ve looked a little better on the plate had I gotten the potatoes or grit cake right on the plate instead of the bowl of berries placed on the plate with the pie. I didn’t love it. It definitely had a savory take on a fruit pie vibe about it…the bottom crust and tomatoes were good, but it wasn’t quite as cheesy as I thought it would be and the topping (which had the cheese in it) also had a noticeable mayonnaise element which I didn’t like at all. I wish the ingredients were listed on the menu. I really don’t like mayonnaise and had I seen it in the description of the dish, I definitely would’ve gotten something else

Red Beet Egg and Beet Salad

Red Beet Egg and Beet Salad

My wife had the Red Beet Egg and Beet Salad. It came with with bread which was nice, but it didn’t mention that on the menu, so my gluten free love, had she known, would have asked them not to bring it, or if they had a gluten free option. (which they did.) The salad was okay, but a few too many candied nuts came in it for her preference. The beeted eggs (apparently a Pennsylvania standard) were beautiful. They forgot to put the goat cheese on top so that had be brought separately, and when added the salad did come together a little better

All in all the vibe of the place was pretty cool, and although we didn’t love what we got, considering all the cool options they had, which we didn’t get, we definitely would come back and try it again.

It also was very reasonably priced for what seemed like a pretty nice restaurant and the amount we ordered.

As a side note there’s another location in the nearby town of “Lititz” which we had no reason to go to, but sure had fun mispronouncing out-loud for days.

Tomato Pie Cafe
3950 Tecport Dr.
Harrisburg, PA 17111
https://www.tomatopiecafe.net/


 
Apr
15
    
Posted (Rick Lupert) in California, Faux Meat, Los Angeles, United States, Venice on April-15-2017

Whoa is the butcher whose daughter launches a vegetarian restaurant…but for the rest of us vegetarians, we salute her branching out on her own path. We had a great experience at The Butcher’s Daughter restaurant in Venice. The restaurant had been on our radar for a while since we almost had brunch there a couple of months back, and decided to give it a try when the wait at another nearby restaurant was too long. We were seated right away on a Saturday night.

Rosemary's Cup

Rosemary’s Cup

I started with a Rosemary’s Cup cocktail which was very refreshing and a tiny bit sweet with muddled cucumber and big pieces of fresh rosemary sticking out of it. Very well done.

Butternut Squash Risotto

Butternut Squash Risotto

My wife and I split the butternut squash risotto which was perfect as the split portions were large and the dish was rich so the full serving would have been too much for one of us. This dish had lots of flavor with a little bit of an Indian spice to it. This was a very nice take on butternut squash risotto.

Rainbow Carrots

Rainbow Carrots

We also shared the rainbow carrots – A sweet dish full of multicolored carrots that would have been too sweet to eat on its own but perfect when shared.

Vegan Sausage

Vegan Sausage

I saw vegan sausage on the menu that normally comes as an add-on with the cheese board and asked if I could try that thinking it would be a good salty companion to the risotto. The flavor (white bean and fennel) was good although the texture wasn’t perfect for a faux meat.

Kale Chips

Kale Chips

We also got the Kale chips which was quite an experience top with a vegan parmesan Parmesan topped with lime. My wife was in love with this dish.

Although we didn’t order it, the veggie burger that walked by (okay, technically it was being carried by a human) looked amazing.

There were plenty of other things on the menu we didn’t get but would have loved to try, including desserts. We’ll definitely be back.

The Butcher’s Daughter
1205 Abbot Kinney Blvd
Venice, CA 90291
https://www.thebutchersdaughter.com


 
Apr
15
    
Posted (Rick Lupert) in Ardmore, Pennsylvania, United States on April-15-2017

This was our third time at a Not Your Average Joe’s, and our second time at this location. (Pretty good streak for people who live in Los Angeles.) We definitely prefer this location with it’s steam-punk retro vibe and old movie clips projecting on a large white screen visible from anywhere in the restaurant’s two floors.

I started with the Maple Bourbon Old Fashioned cocktail. I’m a Bourbon man and a sucker for anything with the word maple in it. This was quite tasty and definitely did the job it was meant to.

Joe Schmoe's Pizza

I also had the Joe Schmo pizza…this is the basic cheese pizza, about 12 inches, wood fired style. The crust was great though I would have liked a bit more sauce.

I finished with the Ginger Stout Cake – a seasonal dessert. It was more dry than dense as they advertised in the menu, and mine came with an onion mixed in with the cinnamon whipped cream. It had a nice ginger flavor but I didn’t get so much stout out of it.

We were there with a large party with people of all ages…it was nice they could accommodate us, but there were a few issues. An salad came with dressing on it and not an the side as ordered. Another pizza ordered for one of us didn’t come until everyone else was finished with their entrée, and it took a couple of reminders before we got the bread and oil dip that usually comes to every table after ordering food.

My gluten-free wife always enjoys the gluten free bread they serve too. (although this time it was cold on the inside when the previous times she got it, it was perfect.)

Odds are we’ll be back as it’s just in the right location for family to intersect when we’re in town and there are a lot of options to eat including specials that change with the seasons…hopefully the service issues we experienced on this visit were a one time thing.

Not Your Average Joe’s
Suburban Square
49 St James Pl
Ardmore, PA 19003
https://notyouraveragejoes.com/


 
Mar
20
    
Posted (Rick Lupert) in Faux Meat, Hollywood, Los Angeles, Mexican, United States on March-20-2017

We stopped in for a quick pre-show dinner at Te’Kila Hollywood. I somehow got the impression from the website that it was a little more ‘restaurant-y’ than bar-y so I’m not sure it was exactly what we were looking for in terms of ‘vibe’ but knowing that ahead of time would’ve made the difference.

The food was pretty good…I had the soyrizo tacos…they were served in very small flour soft-tortilla shells with tasty salsas on the side.

Soyrizo Tacos

Soyrizo Tacos

Unlike many Mexican restaurants (nouveau, bar, fine dining or otherwise) they didn’t serve chips. I think one of our God-given rights when we go into a Mexican restaurant is a basket of chips, so, hear this Te’Kila…make with the chips when people are seated!

I also had the melon-margarita…it was a tad-sweet for my taste, though to be fair it was labeled as sweet on the menu. (And it certainly did the job of making me forget about being seated outside in the cold where the awning mounted heaters didn’t quite do the job for us.

Also the water was served in disposable thin plastic cups which just feels like a no-no for in-house dining. Te’Kila…the Earth needs you!

Oh, and as a completely irrelevant side-note, the women’s bathroom door has a beautifully painted door…whereas the men’s bathroom door has nothing on it. So when women go to the bathroom, they are ushered in to an artistic fantasyland. Men, however, must erase their brains of all artistic sensibility and simply get our business done.

I’d give the place another chance as the soyrizo tacos were memorably good.

Te’Kila
6541 Hollywood Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90028
http://tekilahollywood.com