Sunday, November 16, 2014

Flavors Indian Cuisine

If you liked the old Taj Mahal restaurant on Walton (which is now Miss Pho Saigon) then you're in luck!  They're still here.  They had to move and are now called Flavors Indian Cuisine. 


We went there on a Saturday, about 5pm.  They had just opened and were a bit slow.  There was a jug of water on the table, labeled as Culligan.  The menu is gigantic!  It takes a long time to go through it all.  And there is a huge vegetarian section, too.  I recommend viewing it ahead of time.

There are booths on the outside of the room and tables on the inside.  It connects to an area next door, which is their party room. I think the lunch buffet is there, too.  There was Indian MTV of some variety playing on the TVs. 

We ordered Vegetable Samosas, Lamb Curry (a la carte), Naan, and Goat Saag (thali).  You have the option of ordering A La Carte, which is your curry and a bowl of rice, or Thali, which comes with rice, naan, soup, dessert and some other stuff.  You'll have to see the pictures below.

The Vegetable Samosas were great!  They were actually kind of spicy, which I'm not used to.  They came with tamarind and mint sauce.  Well, they called them chutneys, but they were more like a sauce.



The Lamb Curry was really good. I ordered it Medium, which was just right for me.  I could taste the heat, but it wasn't so hot that I couldn't eat it.  The lamb was "diced" into small pieces, kind of like small stew meat size.  My basket of Naan had 4 pieces (a full round naan).




Frank had the Goat Saag.  It was also in small pieces, but his had some bone in it, too.  He figured that wasn't unusual if you were hacking up a goat joint.  Also, check out all the stuff in the Thali selection below!  There's rice, naan, some kind of soup - maybe lentil, some yogurti thing, and fried okra. 

The okra was sliced up and fried in a skillet, not deep fried.  And it was really good.  It looked kind of weird, like it might be burnt, but it was delicious.  No slime!  Frank put some yogurt stuff on it and that was good too.

Frank got his goat Hot, and the waiter warned us it was Indian Hot.  We found it amusing, because we're used to spicy foods, but if you're from this area or the Midwest, please be careful how hot you order your food.  The Hot was very hot, because Frank had a good burn and his nose was running.





The food was really good and the ambiance is fine.  The old building was orange on the outside and this one is orange on the inside.  The service was a bit slow, but they had just opened for supper, so I don't hold it against them.  They don't currently have a takeout menu, so use the website for any To Go orders.  Overall, I'm giving them 4 to 4-1/2 stars.



Flavors Indian Cuisine on Urbanspoon

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Miss Pho Saigon Vietnamese Restaurant

This place just opened up in Bentonville and we've been itching to try it!  We went there about 5pm on a Sunday.  They're open 7 days a week, from 10:30 am - 9:00 pm.  The place is so new I had to add them to Urban Spoon, and their website doesn't appear to quite be up yet. 

This used to be an Indian restaurant, I think it was Taj Mahal.  It was orange.  The outside has been repainted and the inside has been redone, but no extensive changes have been made.  There is a large, brightly lit sign advertising them and a drive-thru window.

There are booths around the outside walls and tables in the center.  Vietnamese music plays in the background, and there's a large flat screen TV behind the register, which was showing some kind of Asian show.

The wait staff was very friendly and many of them had English as a second language.  There were also a lot of Asians getting to-go orders.  We ordered hot tea.  They were out of Jasmine so we had green instead.

Frank got the H4 which is Egg Noodle with Wonton Soup.  The soup is described as "Clear or egg noodles with BBQ pork, shrimp, squid, crab meat in chicken broth, served with bean sprout, lime, jalapeno, cilantro."  He really liked it!  The crab was Krab, which is fairly typical.  And he said the wontons were sort of like shumai; they were twisted up, not how he was expecting them.  There were 4 shrimps, 3 pieces of squid, 3 Krab, 2 quail eggs and a buttload of pork!  The quail eggs were soft boiled and tasty!   



I got the B5 Grilled Pork and Grilled Shrimp.  It's described as "Vermicelli noodle with lettuce, mint, cucumber, carrot, daikon pickle served with homemade fish sauce."  It was also tasty!  There where 4 shrimp.  These weren't the tiny shrimps either, they were a bit larger.  I did have to peel the tails off.  The shrimp and pork were grilled very nicely.  The homemade fish sauce was rather mild, and there seemed to be more noodles and less veggies than I'm used too.  I still haven't decided if that's good or bad.


We were so excited to be eating Vietnamese that I almost forgot to order Spring Rolls!  I had to call waitress over again and order some.  And the food came out really fast.  I got my Bun before the Spring Rolls came out.  We were so stuffed from eating our food that we got Spring Rolls to go.  And Frank got his broth to go too!  I haven't eaten the Spring Rolls yet but they look really good.  We got the A1.


They did have a vial of regular fish sauce at the table, but I forgot to try it.  Frank put some in his broth and it tasted yummy!  Also, they give you real wooden chopsticks, not the cheesy break-apart kind.


Overall, we really liked the place.  I'm giving it 4 stars.  I believe I gave other Vietnamese place in Bentonville 4 stars as well (it's just a few doors down from this one).  I will say, the quality seemed better at Miss Saigon Pho.  It was very clean and crisp looking.  We will be going back soon!


Miss Saigon Pho Vietnamese Restaurant on Urbanspoon  

Long Hiatus

Okay....it's really been a while since I posted. I have been going out and eating, I just haven't been updating the blog.  Partly it was because of the photos.  I've gotten used to showing photos of my food, and I really enjoyed it.  Then I got a new phone in 2012 and it was such a pain in the butt to get the pictures off of it!

My old phone, I just plugged it in and it worked like a hard drive.  My new phone required much more effort. I had to plug it in to my computer, then tell the phone that I had plugged it in.  Then tell the phone I wanted to use it as a device.  That took a LOT longer than it sounds like it should.  Or maybe I had to tell the phone first, then plug it in.  All I know is that I kept doing it the wrong way.  And once it was done the wrong way I had to reboot the phone before I could do it the right way.  And even if I did it the right way, sometimes it didn't work.

Anyway, now I have another phone and I can transfer my pictures over WiFi.  So hopefully I'll be blogging more!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

May Hong

This is my favorite Vietnamese restaurant in Albuquerque.  But first, some background and disclaimer.  I used to live in Albuquerque and May Hong opened up shortly after I moved there.  We started eating there the first week they opened, and for about a year, we were regulars and ate there once a week.  It was also some of my first Vietnamese food.

The place is small, with about 10 booths around the outside walls and 8 tables in the center.  The booths are the originals from 1999, and are starting to show their age.  They have some kind of Vietnamese pop/rock playing in the background.

They have really good soups here, so Frank got some kind of chicken soup.  It comes with noodles and a side of sprouts and greens (cilantro, etc.) to put in it.  The serving is huge - it was great!

I got the vermicellli (bun) with grilled pork and shrimp.  In the past, this came on a platter with the vermicelli in woven mats and large pieces of lettuce, and you would make lettuce wraps out of everything.  This time, it came in a large bowl, with loose noodles and the lettuce and cucumbers were all chopped up.  You also get a side of fish sauce.  [When I was in Houston, the Vietnamese restaurants I ate at there all used bowls, too.]   It tasted great!

We also got an appetizer of spring rolls.  These are the noodles and grilled pork and shrimp and mint rolled up in the clearish wrap.  And the fish sauce was a bit spicy too, and delicious.

They have ice tea, but it's Jasmine tea with a slice of  lime.  It was okay.

So, how do they rank now, compared to 1999?  If I hadn't been there before, I would say it was really very good Vietnamese food.  But since I have been there, I compare it to how it used to be.  The food still tastes really good, but the quality has gone down slightly, possibly because of the recession.  That said, I'd still give them at least 4 stars now.  They're much better than any Vietnamese place I've eaten at in Northwest Arkansas.  So, 4 to 4-1/2 stars.  Oh, and did I mention our bill?  Total cost $23!!!




May Hong Vietnamese on Urbanspoon

Twisters

This is an Albuquerque chain, and we always go to the one on Juan Tabo, near the interstate.  If you've never had a New Mexico breakfast burrito, then you've really never had a breakfast burrito.  Twisters offers a huge variety, with different meats and chiles.  My personal favorite is a relatively new creation, the El Nino breakfast burrito for kids.  Every time we visit Albuquerque, we buy a huge pile of breakfast burritos for our drive home (it's about 12-13 hours) and that's literally all we eat on our drive home.

So, the El Nino.  Supposedly this is a child-sized burrito, but it's much bigger than anything you get from your regular fast food places.  If I'm hungry, I can just eat 2 of them.  The ingredients are Carne Adovada and fried potatoes.  Carne Adovada is pork that is slow roasted/stewed in New Mexico red chile sauce.  Combine that with fried potatoes in a burrito and you have heaven!  I swear, Carne Adovada is addictive!  The last time we were in Albuquerque, I had El Ninos for 7 out of the 8 days we were there!  That's how good they are! 

The El Ninos cost about $2 each.  The regular breakfast burritos on the menu run more like $4.50 each.  Before you freak out about the price, remember, these are not the little skimpy fast food burritos you are used to.  These are real breakfast burritos that are designed to fill you up.  So you get plenty of food for your money.

I also like to get my green chile chicken chimichangas here too.  They are really big and very tasty!

I haven't eaten inside in years, usually we just go to the drive-through.  The service is generally fast and friendly.  And they now carry sweet tea too!  So I'm going to give them 4-1/2 stars.



Twisters on Urbanspoon

Los Cuates

Unfortunately, this restaurant is in Albuquerque, not NWA.  I've labeled this restaurant as New Mexican, not Mexican, because there is a difference.  That difference is Chile!

We went to the restaurant on Menaul Blvd, for a late lunch.  They have a number of lunch specials, but these specials make you choose between rice or beans; you don't get both.  So I opted for a regular entree and got one of my favorites:  a green chile chicken chimichanga.

Everyone probably knows what a chimichanga is by now - a fried flour burrito.  Well, when you're in New Mexico, you also get a choice of chile to put on your order - red or green or both.  If I remember correctly, it's the same chile pepper, but the green chile is green because it's harvested early.  The red chile is after the green has ripened.  There's a huge chile industry in New Mexico and these chiles are NOT the same as you get elsewhere in the US, like in California.  If someone tells you they're the same, they're wrong.

Anyway, back to the food.  They brought out the ubiquitous salsa and chips, but their salsa was so hot I couldn't eat much.  The ice tea was okay.

The chimichanga was amazing!  It was huge, and the chicken wasn't dry but nice and moist.  The green chile was a bit mild, but that's fine because it tasted great!  Mine came with a side of guacamole, which was also good.  The beans and rice were your basic beans and rice.

Frank got a burrito that consisted of ground beef and fried potatoes.  He said it was well seasoned and since it was the lunch special, larger than he was expecting.

Overall, I liked the place.  The only problem was that the service was really slow.  But very friendly!  But the food was good enough for 4 stars.


[I don't think I have photos for this one.]

Los Cuates on Urbanspoon

Duffer's Cafe

This is a small restaurant in a strip mall in Bella Vista.  I went there for an early lunch one day, and returned with my husband to get his impressions too.  They're open from 6 am -  3 pm.

It has a good atmosphere.  There are tables scattered throughout the place, with a few nooks and crannies if you want to be more isolated.  The menu is hanging in large print on the back wall, and there are daily specials too.  You order towards the back right of the restaurant, and pay when you order.  They give you a cafeteria tray and a flag with a number on it.  Then you get your own drinks and silverware and grab a seat.  Put the flag in the holder on the table so they can find you.  They also have pastries in a case by the cash register.  And there are coffee pots on the left side of the restaurant, so you don't have to walk across the room when you need a refill.

Frank got a half-Reuben with a side of potato soup.  He said the Reuben had lots of dressing, but it was a decent dressing.  And he really liked the potato soup.

I had a small fried chicken tender salad.  It came with mushrooms, craisins, coated walnuts, and 2 small slices of cheese.  The tenders were okay, but the coating wasn't my favorite.  We also got a small piece of cranberry bread and orange bread.  I think they came with my salad.  The cranberry bread was pretty good, but the orange bread was a little generic.

Overall, I liked the place.  It's a small, local business and the food is decent to good.  Four stars.
[If I find the photos I took, I'll post them later.]


Duffer's Cafe on Urbanspoon