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Finally caught a break…. March 3, 2010

Posted by graciegrapes in Food, Uncategorized.
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SOrry for the lack of updates lately… school and work have just taken over my life and left me less than inspired to do much of anything. My boyfriend and I realized that when we’re stressed and depressed we tend of eat out a LOT, as a result the workout plan I mentioned that we were going to be starting was put on the back-burner. During the past week or so we’ve eaten out at Europa, Cheesecake Factory, TGI Fridays, Olive Garden, Village Cafe, and Red Robin. When we didn’t eat out we turned to frozen pizzas.

To find out what suddenly pulled me out of slump, and for my food reviews…

At Europa we took advantage of Tapas Night – 1/2 off tapas (Sunday). Unfortunately I forgot my camera and it was too dimmly lit to ue my camera phone. We will definitely be going back to Europa! I had tried tapas in Las Vegas, but I didn’t really try much since it was kind of pricey. Tapas night made the price perfect to enjoy quite a few dishes, in fact I think in all we sample about 7 different dishes:

  • Lump crab and artichoke – basically a crab dip with artichoke served with crostata; this dish left me pretty disappointed.  Overall, it was quite bland, not much crab taste or texture for that matter.  I had to get a heaping portion of the dip to actually faintly taste it.
  • Sauteed mussels – mussels sauteed in a white wine broth with pancetta, scallions, and gorgonzola.  This was perhaps my favorite dish; wonderful blend of flavors.  I was worried about the gorgonzola being too strong, but it wasn’t at all.  In fact, once the mussels were all gone I was still scooping through for the bits of pancetta and gorgonzola and was dipping my bread into the broth.
  • Hanger kabobs – served with a sesame, honey tahini sauce.  Another one of my favorites; Erwin and I each ordered out own servings of this one.  The meat was soo tender and flavorful, and the sauce was delicious!
  • Date fritters – dates wrapped with prosciutto and fried.  These were nice – sweet salty combination.  Nice little tidbit to snack on between our meat and seafood.
  • Seared DIver Scallops – three large scallops with a roasted shallot, pancetta, wine rosemary reduction.  Erwin picked this and when it came out we felt like we were eating dessert; since that’s what it looked like.  The reduction was like a syrup drizzle over the scallops.  These scallops were perfectly cooked and had a nice sweet taste.  Another favorite of ours.
  • Fried Oysters – served with a spicy aioli.  We picked this as a change from our typical calamari; however, the table next to us got the calamari and it looked like a pretty good portion.  The oysters were lightly breaded and the aioli was a perfect match.  Nice portion to share.
  • Crab stuffed shrimp – my roommate order this and it wasn’t really anything special.  The shrimp were rather small and just barely stuffed.  After being friend they didn’t really have much flavor to them.
  • Chorizo quesadilla – served with a cilantro creme fraise.  Nice simple dish; I mean how can you go wrong with a quesadilla.

We skipped dessert this time, but like I said we’re definitely going to be going back to Europa.

Our most recent trip to Cheesecake Factory was both delightful and disappointing.  The delight came with my dish the chicken bellagio.  It was on their “special menu” so I don’t know if they always have it.

Chicken Bellagio = perfect combination of flavors

It’s a crust chicken breast served over basil pasta with a parmesean cream sauce topped with prosciutto and arugula salad.  Sometimes I feel like Cheesecake Factory puts a little too much into their pasta, but this was PERFECT.  The chicken was not too heavily crusted, and paired with pasta and arugula it was a perfect little bite.

Caramel Pecan Turtle Cheesecake

Unfortunately I can’t say the same for the cheesecake that Erwin picked. This visit we went with the Caramel Pecan Turtle cheesecake. Definitely one of my least favaorite from here.  The cheesecake portion was fine, but the “crust” they pair it was just does not work for me.  The “crust” is basically a layer of brownie, but not sofy at all.  Rather it’s very dense and almost tough.  This was just a very heavy cheesecake that I felt weighted me down.

Now… what suddenly changed my down and out mood.  Yesterday when I got off from work and checked my phone I had a missed call and a voicemail from a number that I did not recognize.  Luckily I was not driving when I listened to the voicemail since it was VCU’s School of Nursing calling to inform me that I was being taken off of the waitlist and being offered admission for the accelerate BSN program!  This was such an utter relief since when I found out I had been waitlisted I basically gave up.  After everything I had gone through with my applications to medical school and post-bac, and taking the MCAT’s for the second time, being placed on the waitlist was the worst news ever… the way my luck had been working out I was expecting not to make it in.  Thankfully I caught a break here, and I thnk my motivation to continue with medicine has really been renewed.

Unfortunately I can’t say the same for the cheesecake that Erwin picked.  This visit we went with the Caramel Pecan Turtle cheesecake.

Caramel Pecan Turtle Cheesecake

Definitely one of my least favaorite from here.  The cheesecake portion was fine, but the “crust” they pair it was just does not work for me.  The “crust” is basically a layer of brownie, but not sofy at all.  Rather it’s very dense and almost tough.  This was just a very heavy cheesecake that I felt weighted me down.

Now, what suddenly changed my down and out mood.  Yesterday when I got off from work and checked my phone I had a missed call and a voicemail from a number that I did not recognize.  Luckily I was not driving when I listened to the voicemail since it was VCU’s School of Nursing calling to inform me that I was being taken off of the waitlist and being offered admission for the accelerate BSN program!  This was such an utter relief since when I found out I had been waitlisted I basically gave up.  After everything I had gone through with my applications to medical school and post-bac, and taking the MCAT’s for the second time, being placed on the waitlist was the worst news ever… the way my luck had been working out I was expecting not to make it in.  Thankfully I caught a break here, and I thnk my motivation to continue with medicine has really been renewed.

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