Archive for November, 2009

Sigh for Uprise…

November 28, 2009

They never seem to be open when I want them to be open or have what I want when I want what I want. ūüôā

When I get fixin’ on a chocolate croissant, I can’t get it out of my head and Upper Crust’s chocolate croissant is terrible! ¬†I need them on the West side of Columbia too now that I’m complaining.

A perfect fall dinner

November 23, 2009

I’m full, fat and happy at the moment. ¬†I had an abundance of squash and apples at my house and decided, “Why not roast them?” Well that’s exactly what I did, with a honey-thyme infusion, cider vinegar and a bit of olive oil. ¬†A perfect side dish to any poultry or pork product. I happened to have some pork belly on hand. Slow-braised and then crisped, it was perfect on top of my roasted squash and apples. A nice 2004 Penfolds Bin 28 Kalimna Shiraz and some crusty bread to soak it all up and it was a little bit of fall-perfection.

A Review of Taqueria Del Rodeo

November 19, 2009

This is the best Mexican place in town in my opinion. ¬†Consider yourself disclaimed…

For those that aren’t “in the know,” Taqueria Del Rodeo (or Taco Rodeo if I’m in a funny mood) is located in the small strip mall right by El Maguey on Nifong. ¬†It was started by a person who worked at El Maguey for several years, all the while saving and dreaming of doing it better.

I’ll be honest if not a bit politically incorrect: the reason I visited Taco Rodeo for the first time is because I consistently saw several Mexican construction workers eating lunch there, not at El Maguey. ¬†That clued me in that there must be something good happening in there, and I wanted to check it out.

This place is small, really small. Tight quarters and kind of loud. Service is decent, they seem to operate in an effective tag-team waiter fashion. And it’s almost always busy at lunch, moderately low-key for dinner. ¬†Cleanliness is about on par for a typical Mexican restaurant.

For the food, their chips and salsa are just ok and yes, they do the pointless beans and rice side dish with almost everything. BUT, they have REAL MEXICAN COCA-COLA MADE WITH REAL SUGAR. ¬†All caps because it’s exciting to me and I order one every time I go. ¬†It’s in a bottle, made with real sugar, and absolutely screams 1987. ¬†They have decently priced lunch specials every day and I’ve tried something new almost every time I’ve been. Their taquitos are phenomenal, perfectly seasoned and fried. Their tacos have WAY too much cilantro, but the meat is cooked well and it feels like the simple, tasty Mexican street food I crave. ¬†Their grilled chicken and steak dishes are also cooked and seasoned perfectly. ¬†Ironically both the best and worst mole dishes I’ve had have been there too. ¬†The only mis-step I’ve experienced was a mole that was oddly sweet, really sweet. ¬†But, I’ve had mole dishes several other times that were home runs. ¬†I wouldn’t steer away from it for sure.

7/10 – – Always satisfying and while not the best Mexican food I’ve had (that would be Frontera Grill in Chicago) it’s the best we have in town.

Sick blogging and squash soup

November 12, 2009

Since I’m sick and can do little else, I thought I’d post a picture and brief recipe of a nice fall soup, Butternut Squash and Apple Curry soup. ¬†I had something like this a while back at Wine Cellar Bistro and tried to re-create it at home. ¬†I was moderately successful my first time. ¬†I roasted butternut squash and then added to a pot with onions, tart apples, chicken stock, salt, pepper and a bit of apple juice. ¬†Oh, and a touch of curry powder. ¬†I’m going to cut the stock next time and go with a little more water as the stock is actually a bit overpowering here. However, lots of potential. ¬†Puree and serve, with a garnish of cream if you like.

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A review of Tin Can Tavern & Grille

November 8, 2009

I checked out Tin Can Tavern before the Baylor vs. MU horror show on Saturday. ¬†I had heard good things going into it but this was my first visit. The atmosphere is interesting, definitely fitting of the name “Tin Can Tavern.” ¬†I didn’t check out every nook and cranny, but it has a bit of a sports bar feel to go with that “Cheers” sort of atmosphere. ¬†I was mostly looking for a large TV to plant myself in front of, which I quickly found.

On to the food! ¬†Their menu is simple enough; there’s nothing on it that you’d look at and think, “Wow that sounds impressive/intriguing.” ¬†It looks a step above bar food from a menu-only perspective, and has a ring of classic diner to it. ¬†I ordered the meatloaf sandwich and fries, my friend had the grilled chicken with bacon and macaroni and cheese. ¬†The food came quickly after ordering and the plating was simple. ¬†I think one word would accurately sum up the taste: awesome. ¬†The meatloaf sandwich was outstanding and I’m anxious to try the meatloaf dinner. ¬†I’ll say up front that I’m a fan of meatloaf, however my friend is not. ¬†He was surprised that he really liked Tin Can’s version though. ¬†It was lighter in texture than what I’m used to, but stayed together well. ¬†It was well-seasoned, moist and had the delicious ketchup and brown sugar glaze on it. It was served between slices of perfectly buttered and grilled bread, and it was one of the most satisfying sandwiches I’ve had. The fries appear to be made in house, cut McDonald’s size on a mandoline, blanched in hot oil and then fried crispy. They’re sprinkled with what I think is Old Bay Seasoning, and they were fantastic.

My friend is a bit of a grilled chicken connoisseur , he orders it often. His final take on it: one of the best he’s had. ¬†Cheese and bacon made it even better. ¬†And the mac and cheese? ¬†It’s homemade, period. ¬†It tastes almost exactly like my friend’s mom’s homemade mac and cheese. ¬†It was delicious and I’m excited to have it again. ¬†Maybe paired with the meatloaf dinner or the breaded and cooked to order buttermilk chicken I keep hearing about.

Tin Can Tavern and Grille does simple food, but they do it really really well. So many restaurants are caught up with making things sound and look good, but they forget about making things taste good. Tin Can doesn’t, pure and simple.

9/10 – I can’t wait to go again.

Nominations for The Best of Columbia

November 7, 2009

These things are a joke but some people take them seriously. ¬†“Then why are you telling me about it, Ryan?” ¬†Good question and it has 2 reasons in the answer: because I want people to experience better food and more restaurants, branching out. Second, I have an interest in keeping some of the places I worry about open, because they’re my favorite! ¬†(If you don’t have a preference, vote Bamboo for sushi and Taqueria Del Rodeo for Mexican!) ūüôā

http://www.insidecolumbia.net/