Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Flavors Update

If you read this blog, you know that Flavors Indian Cuisine is one of my favorites.  Well, that may be changing.  I went there a few weeks ago with my mom, and it was totally different.

I went during the week, instead of a weekend.  When I got there, there seemed to be a nice Indian couple running the place.  But there was a Hispanic server and the person who brought my food from the kitchen was Hispanic.  Usually it's Indian guys.

The food was not good.  The samosas were the same as normal, but I don't know if they make them on-site or just fry them on-site.  Same for the naan.  I got my normal Korma, which I love, and mom got Curry.  The Korma was really pale and I'd ordered it medium heat and there was no heat.  Mom's Curry was supposed to be medium, and she said parts of it were spicy and parts of it weren't.  It was very thin and you could see tomato pieces in it.  It didn't taste right either.

Anyway, I'm disappointed.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Havana Tropical Grill Restaurant

This place is located in Rogers, kind of on the NE corner of Walnut and 13th.  There's a Waffle Hut on the corner, and some kind of Rent-A-Center place, and then a little strip mall next door.  Havana is in that strip mall.

The place is nicely decorated with wood and kind of an Afro-Caribbean theme.  When you walk in, there's a bunch of tables.  The restaurant wraps around the side where there's a bar, and I didn't really see past that.   There were several TVs around the bar.

I was getting a little hungry when we arrived, about 4:30 pm on a Saturday.  And that means my blood sugar was dropping.  So I was a little annoyed by how loud the music was.  That's mostly just me - I carry earplugs for just that reason.  After a bit they turned it down.  Frank said it was probably loud because we got there during the lull time.

A young guy showed us to a table and gave us menus.  Then a woman came around to get our drink orders.  Guy delivered the drinks, and woman took our food order, and guy delivered the food.

The ice tea was okay, but not great.  Frank couldn't tell the difference, but he's not a connoisseur.  We ordered the Cuban Sampler and the Cilantro-Lime Shrimp.

Oh my god!  I've never had Cuban food before, but it was amazing!  The smells passing by our table were driving us nuts before we even got our food.

Here's the sampler:
Lechon Asado
Ropa Vieja
Black beans
Maduros (sweet plantains)

Here's my shrimp:

 Shrimp with lots of garlic
Black beans
Tostones (green plantains)

The food was incredible!  The spices were wonderfully done and melded well together.  The maduros plantains went perfect with Frank's dish, while the tostones were just right with mine.

We were supposed to meet up with friends, who ended up having to cancel.  So we'll probably be back with them really soon!  Overall, I'm going 4-1/2 stars.  The food was that good.  The pork in the sampler was outstanding.  I'm not sure what all of the spices are in Cuban food, but now I really want to find out!

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Huong Que

This is a relatively new Vietnamese restaurant in Rogers. I cannot tell you how excited I am to have 4 freaking Vietnamese restaurants in Benton County!!! This one is on Dixieland, just north of Walnut. There's a strip mall with a few Hispanic markets, a panaderia, and an Asian market.

Unfortunately, I forgot to take pictures, so it's just my words this time.

This place is located in the center of the strip mall. When you go in you can go right or left. To the right is the restaurant. To the left is pool and billiards, some machines (video poker?) and the beginnings of a karaoke area. They're still fairly new, and it looks like the left side isn't complete yet.

Now, this is a small restaurant in a strip mall. It's a little bare bones. There's tiled carpet and the walls are pretty bare. It's a long and narrowish space, with the cash register at the back, with a big TV over it. No music. There were some tables for 4 down the middle, most of them pushed together. Tables for 2 were spaced along each side wall. The tables had napkins in a dispenser, chopsticks, straws, and condiments.

There was a kid watching a baby at the cash register when we arrived, which definitely means a family-run restaurant. In my experience, that's a good thing! A lady came out and we grabbed a seat and got menus. I had heard there's a "secret" menu for Vietnamese customers. I asked, but it's not in English. She offered to translate, but we figured since it's our first time, we'd use the regular menu.

The menu is a bit small. It's got all the basics: pho, bun, sandwiches, spring rolls, etc. I got hot jasmine tea and Frank got iced jasmine. I ordered the spring rolls, but I asked if I could get fish sauce instead of peanut sauce. I got the bun, which came with grilled pork, pork skins, maybe pork belly, and a cut up egg roll. Slightly different from my normal bun. Frank got the pork soup.

The spring rolls were really good. And Oh My God, the fish sauce!!! Finally!!! The lady brought the fish sauce out in 2 bowls, and it had garlic and peppers in it. She asked if that was what I wanted and I was like Hell Yeah! Okay, I didn't say that out loud. But I could smell the fresh garlic in it and the sauce itself. When I've gotten fish sauce at Miss Saigon Pho and Pho Thanh, it just tasted really watery. This was exactly what I was looking for and I dipped my spring roll in it like a madwoman!

My bun came out in the bowl and was also really good. It had chopped up carrots, bean sprouts, and some chopped cucumbers. But no lettuce. I was actually kind of glad. I like the bun at Miss Saigon Pho, but it seems to have a ton of lettuce in it. I poured the rest of my fish sauce over my bun and I was in hog heaven.

Frank had the pork soup and it was what he calls his normal pho. It had many thick slices of pork loin, 4 shrimp, 4 pieces of squid, and 2 quail eggs. Plenty of noodles. Parsley, bean sprouts, and lime. Frank says, "There was no basil, but I didn't miss it." There were also "no fucking jalapenos." Frank doesn't like those in his veggies. He also didn't have to add fish sauce to the soup. Overall, it was yummy.

Overall, everything was yummy. The total bill was $24. Service was a little slow at times, but it was one woman running everything and checking the kitchen. And everyone was really friendly. We will definitely be back! I'm going 4 stars and right now this is my favorite Vietnamese place in Benton County.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

DeVito's of Eureka Springs

A friend and I went there during the week.  We were wandering around Eureka and needed something to eat so we had lunch there.  This is still pre-season for Eureka, so they weren't packed.  We got a nice table by a window and ordered. 

When you walk in, there's a bar, and you go right to the restaurant section.  The front section only has about 6 tables, but there's also a back section.  I didn't peek, so I don't know how big that is. 

I got the California Club with Cole Slaw and ice tea, and she got a Monte Cristo with Potato Salad.

I enjoyed it.  I had them hold the gorgonzola. There was a lot of romaine lettuce on it.  Some bacon, but not as much as I expected.  And the chicken seemed to be sliced off of a chicken breast, which I really liked.  The cole slaw was of the tarter variety, not the sweet kind.  The ice tea was decent.

The Monte Cristo was made panini-style and my friend said the potato salad was really creamy, like it was also made with milk.  She wasn't entirely sure what type of dressing came on the side, but she said it tasted home made and was good.

Overall, it was decent.  The server had a few problems, like not knowing who had which food or which bill (or which change).  Nothing really stands out though.  Three and half stars.

DeVito's of Eureka Springs on Urbanspoon

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Cafe Amici

Cafe Amici is located in the Bella Vista Country Club, but it is open to the public, not just to Bella Vistans.

Okay, so a friend of mine loves Cafe Amici,and she knows I food blog, so she asked me to eat there with her and blog about it.  Unfortunately, I didn't like it.

We showed up at 11am, on a sunny weekday in January.  It's quite a large area.  There's 2 sides to it, one with a bar.  And the lower section is right in front of the windows, with a great view over the golf course.

When we arrived, we were the first ones there for lunch.  The tables were covered in white tablecloths, which my friend said were new.  As soon as we sat, the server brought us some glasses of water.  The silverware was rolled up in the napkin, along with the straw.

The service was really slow.  I mean, really slow.  At one point my friend even got up and whistled to try and get some attention.  We ordered when the server brought the water, otherwise it might have taken forever.  When the food was ready, she brought it out, but after that she vanished again.  My friend went searching for an ice tea refill, but couldn't find a pitcher.  Eventually the server showed up and we asked for refills.  It took forever for her to return, which is when my friend started whistling to attract anyone's attention.

When we were ready to leave, we sat around, waiting, and finally gave up and went up to the cash register.  A different server came out and said we could pay at the table.  We said our server had vanished, so she found her in the kitchen so we could check out.

The food was okay.  I ordered the Chicken Marsala, which came with a salad.  My friend tried to order blue cheese dressing, but was told they didn't have it anymore because the servers were wasting it.  (They put the dressing on the salad for you.)

Here's a picture of my meal.  Tell me if you notice anything wrong with it.

Did you find it?  Apparently, the noodle portion of your dish is spaghetti with sauce.  The bread was pretty good. The marsala was okay, if a bit strong and buttery.  Probably because there were no noodles with it.  Even the spaghetti was alright.  But how hard is it to keep a pot of noodles with butter going, that you can throw some marsala over?  Especially if you're keeping the spaghetti going for every plate.

Overall, I was not impressed.  I'm giving it 2-1/2 stars.  The food was okay.  The service was really bad.  Someone said they hire people with disabilities to work there, which is great, but you still need to train them.  Our waitress didn't know how to take an order.  She just stood there and stared at us.  We finally started telling her our order.  When I placed my order, she wrote it down, and stared at me.  I had to ask if it came with a salad.  And then what the dressings were.  It was very odd.

The place had been open for a while by then, but apparently no one is training the servers.  The servers seem to take your order, then reappear when the salad is ready, then reappear when the main meal is ready.  Otherwise, they seem to hide out in the kitchen, where you can't reach them.  If they can fix their server problem, I would consider going back to give them a second chance.

Cafe Amici on Urbanspoon

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.

Quality Update:  https://laurenseatingout.blogspot.com/2016/09/flavors-update.html

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