Angelina Italian Bistro

>> Saturday, January 22, 2011

Angelina Italian Bistro

January 7th
Angelina's is located in what is the old Madison theatre (circa 1917) in Detroit's Grand Circus Park (which was at one time considered Detroit s theatre district). The old theatre seated 1800 people and ran it's last film in 1984.
Tonight we have all our players except Thad. But we do have a special guest star, new to ADD, Mr. R. Everyone is in a great mood tonight, and I must say Lulu was on fire. Never has she made me laugh more. However, she does point out that she heard that January 7th is the saddest day of the year? We toast the night to Jack Sparrow's "here is to giving it all & taking nothing back!".
For starters we have the Catalina bean hummus, the large antipasto platter (pictured below), the fried artichoke hearts and the fried risotto cakes. The platter is so interesting with lots of pickled veggies (note the pickled white asparagus), smoked trout & salmon, cured meats and cheeses. We enjoy it very much. We liked all the apps. I especially loved the fried artichoke hearts with the basil aoili...I noted in my book "DIVINE".
Fried artichoke hearts with basil aioli

Entrees: Mr. R has the sicilian brick chicken, which he said was "great". Master P has the salmon stuffed with lobster and crab, which was a special this evening, and he thought it was ok, gives it a 3.5? I'm not sure why he did not like it better.
Salmon stuffed with lobster & crab

The Greek has the gorgonzola-crusted organic pork chop with braised napa cabbage and rosemary potatoes...I thought it was really good. He hated it. But here is the thing, the gorgonzola was strong, and this is why he did not like it. If you like a nice strong gorgonzola, I recommend this dish.
Gorgonzola-crusted organic pork chop

Scarlet had the butternut squash ravioli. Now, it seems alot of joints are doing these this winter, but I'm here to tell you these are the best, hands down. They had such a delicate flavor without being "gummy" as I have had experienced at other places.
Butternut squash ravioli with amaretto butter sauce

Lulu has the sweet potato gnocchi. We all agree it is not so great, kind of bland. The ravioli is a much better choice as is my dish. I had the wild mushroom risotto. I love risotto and this one is so perfect. They do a great risotto, so if you are a seafood lover I'm sure their seafood risotto is great.

We have three bottles of red wine, and I honestly do not remember the details, put here is a pic...maybe the "wine gal" from the Angelina website can help us out. One is a zinfandel. I love zins, but everyone else hated it. They loved the other one and ordered two bottles.

For dessert we have the chocolate brownie, the trio of gelato (peanut butter, blueberry & white chocolate) and the apple crostado. Dessert was decent, the brownie didn't blow me away. The PB & blueberry gelato tasted like pb&j when eaten together...yum. The apple crostado was my favorite of our desserts.
I averaged together everyone's ratings and came up with 3.875....which rounds up to 4. Our total bill was $344.96.
We go 'round the corner to The Detroit Brewing Co. for drinks. We do not stay long because the bartender has NO sense of humor and does not appreciate Lulu's shenanigans. It is a freezing cold night for walking, but we finish out the eve at Coach's corner. I swear everyone in that place was 18 years old. Oh well. We had fun and even danced a little.
Good things!

 btw, Blogger users....I am more than frustrated with the new editor...moving my pics and D's around, lining them up, text wrapping....ugh!!!! Why don't they fix this??

The winegal answered my question about the Zin I enjoyed, and in SUCH a poetic way.  Thanks, Winegal!  I'll add your blog to my blogroll.  Cheers!


Rojo Mexican Bistro

>> Sunday, January 16, 2011

 Lulu and I had a quick lunch at Rojo, in between some shopping in Novi.... Our server made the tableside guacamole for us with the giant morter and pestle, called a molcajete. I have seen these at Crate & Barrel and have been tempted to buy one, but how often would I actually use it? It would just look cool in my kitchen. The guac was decent, but I felt it needed more salt and some garlic...however, you can have it custom made to your liking as they create it right in front of you! It brought back memories of tableside-made guac in the restaurants of Puerto Vallarta...sigh. I have the wild mushroom quesadillas, which is one of the "signature" dishes. They are yummy, kinda creamy inside. Also filling, this is a large portion and was not finished, especially since I also ate one of Lulu's grilled veggie enchiladas, pictured below. They were good, pretty much what you would expect, with a typical enchilada sauce.

Although we were stuffed and it was only lunch, we felt OBLIGATED to try the tres leches cake. Let me tell you about the tres leches cake at Vicentes in the D. We are absolutely in love with it...tres leches cake is so moist and creamy as it is soaked in "3 milks". Hopefully we will make an official ADD visit to Vicentes soon, as it has always been one of our faves. So we thought we better sample the Rojo version for comparison. Good news, guys! This cake was every bit as delicious! We highly recommend it. I didn't record our total, but the prices are available on their online menu. The quesadillas are $13 and the veggie enchiladas $12...pricier than Mexicantown for sure. I'm giving a score of 3.5 I believe Lulu gave it higher, she liked her food and they had a lot of vegetarian options on the menu.


Cork Wine Pub

>> Thursday, January 6, 2011

12/18/10 The holidays have kept me so busy! Sadly, we did not do many dinners together in the month of december. On this night we went to the new Cork Wine Pub in Pleasant Ridge. Thad is still in Florida and Scarlet is otherwise engaged, so it is a foursome tonight. I didn't take any other pictures at Cork other than the sign, but I love the cozy feel of the place. I have been here a few times already and have loved it every time. I start the evening with my absolute new favorite cocktail, the Bermuda Holiday. This is basically a dark & stormy (Gosling's black seal bermuda rum & ginger beer) with a twist - muddled basil, lemon and a fresh cranberry garnish. LOVE these. I had to go right to holiday market and buy some Goslings. I made these and called them "Christmas Mojitos" for friends and family, but nobody seemed to enjoy them except me. I'm still making them, except I have just pared down to the lemon, some sugar with the rum and ginger beer. Thanks, Cork, for giving me my new bar staple. Anyhoo, our server tonight is Brad. We have wine, of course: St. Innocent white rose vineyard pinot noir, two bottles. We order many small plates: The cheese platter, fried chick peas, Grammy's knishes, the brick roll and the amherst egg. These were all hits. I loved every bit of this. Especially the brick roll, which is somewhat of a wild mushroom spring roll - you MUST try this. Period. The Greek also deemed it awesome. Master P highly recommends the amherst egg as well. Lulu has the butternut squash soup and we think it is the best winter squash soup we have ever tasted, not to sweet, just right. As for full entrees, the menu is short. Master P has the salmon, he says it was great, just right. The Greek had the Elm Park pork, which was served with crispy spatzle - yummy. Lulu, as there was not a vegetarian entree option, was made a plate of the champagne risotto with asparagus. It was a decent risotto. We were hoping she would also get some fried green tomatoes with her put-together veggie option, but we were disappointed. I had the duck devonshire. Now, I have had duck in my life, but it was always something greasy served at a family dinner of some sort. I never had a medium rare, professionally prepared dish like was fabulous. I mean, the duck was fabulous. The quinoa zucchini side was rather blah. For desserts: chocolate mousse cake with red wine reduction and the apple tart tatin, which Master P states is like a fried apple donut. The mousse cake has a distinct ginger component that nobody at our table likes. Brad is kind enough to take it off our bill. I wish I would have tried the butterscotch pudding. Lulu orders espresso, which is actually not espresso, but something "Dutch" per Brad. It is not served with sugar, as Brad says it does not need it. I tried to look up what this espresso-type coffee was...but I came up nil. It was served with a little financier, which is not a little banker, but a little french teacake pastry, cute! Our total bill was $283 plus tip. I averaged together our scores and came up with 4.35, which rounds to 4.5. I see today on the Freep website, Cork is listed as one of the ten best new restaurants. Cool. I know it is going to be one of my regular watering holes.

addendum:  I returned in January with my sis-in-law from Idaho and had a great dinner again.  The small plates are still fabulous, the service is great, and the cocktail menu has been greatly expanded (hurray!).  Love, love, love this place.  You Must Go! My only (small) complaint is that it is a tad chilly in the dining area...