Catay Restaurant Review,Alicante area, Costa Blanca
By Kim Carlson | | 0 Comments |

A brisk stroll in the chilly December air brought us to a restaurant I frequently pass in the Alicante Golf area of Playa San Juan, it is part of a family owned chain of restaurants and what we call "Everything" shops, we had a spendid A La Carte experience last year at their first restaurant in the village of Sant Joan, and we were not disappointed at the buffet restaurant.

From the moment you walk through the doors you are welcomed warmly, and the service is exceptional throughout. The food is plentiful, there is a reasonable wine list with the more expensive wines still around the 10 euro mark, they also sell Sake by the cup or small carafe so we warmed up straight away with a carafe which was only 4.50!


There are three large main course buffet trolleys, one with raw ingredients you plate up and take to the chef for cooking, one with hot prepared dishes like rices and fried starters, one with cold salads and vegetables, a nod to the Spanish House Salad with olives, boiled eggs, tuna, cheese etc. There is also a smaller dessert buffet with a good selection of fresh fruits and a fridge with puddings.

There is a fantastic selection of seafood and meats for the chef to cook for you, shelled raw tiger prawns, langoustines, razor clams, squid, large shell on prawns, and just as many meats to choose from, lamb chops, steak whole or sliced, chicken breast whole or finely sliced, with lovely fresh vegetables if you're so inclined, I had some asparagus, oriental mushrooms, green pepper and brocolli for example.

The puddings were also very good, there were Asian fruits as well as more local ones, and an assortment of puddings from Tiramisu to Creme Caramel.

Everything was fresh, well stocked and the waiting staff were friendly and attentive. The chef was a charming man too, even under pressure when it got busy as the evening progressed. Unlike the waiting staff I don't think he spoke any English, however should you need help there was always a waitress nearby waiting to see if you need anything.

We arrived early which I recommend as the restaurant gets really busy, but lingered for a good couple of hours. They open for the evening at 8pm and by half past 9 they were almost full.

We had a great evening and will definitely be making this a regular haunt! To have such great choice for such a reasonable price it's great value. Well worth getting out of the city for, there is also a tram stop on the L4 route from the city within sight of the restaurant, called Sergio Cardell, once there find the street Avenida Vicente Ramos and within a few seconds you will have passed the Post Office(Correos) and have found the shopping complex where the restaurant is situated. There's also a taxi rank outside. The buses-there's a stop for the number 9 almost directly outside, and the …

NY Fried Chicken and Seafood Restaurant in Towson
By Kim Carlson | | 0 Comments |
The local Popeye's on Joppa road is temporarily closed, so my husband and I decided to try the NY Fried Chicken and Seafood on Loch Raven in the Hilton Plaza Shopping Center. We had seen the place and the smells emanating from inside were not easy to resist. The staff though small is pleasant which goes a long way when you are not a regular in a restaurant. Besides, customer service is not why people go to big chains, but for the familiar flavor of the food. I ordered the two piece fish with French fries while my husband ordered the three piece chicken. Walking back to our car, the food in the bag smelled like a carnival, like local food from a local vendor. I was impressed with the fish as it was not a complicated batter. It complimented the fish quite well and brought out the flavor of the tilapia. I'm not the biggest fan of fried chicken but my husband's dish was good too. He found it to be quite juicy and the rolls that came as a side certainly brought a light sweetness to the meal. I was a little timid to try the French fries because I am picky about my fried spuds. Although they lacked in saltiness they were still some of the better restaurant fries I have tried. More salt could easily be added to them. Since I can no longer get my fry fix from the McDonalds across the street, I might be a regular at NY Fried Chicken and Seafood just for their fries. The prices are slightly higher than the big chains, but the food is fresher and has less preservatives. In addition, the portions were big and I was able to save half of it for dinner. All in all the food was a great value. Although the batter was not as flavorful for the chicken as Popeye's or KFC, NY Fried Chicken and Seafood offers a wide menu. For one thing they have collard greens as a side. Collard greens are a popular cook out food that Popeye's and KFC do not carry here. They also offer ribs, salads, ice cream, pies, and gyros. Without a doubt, I would recommend this location of NY Fried Chicken and Seafood as a new place to try. It's been two hours since I had lunch and my mouth is craving more.…
Restaurant Etiquette: The Do's and Don'ts of Dining Out
By Kim Carlson | | 0 Comments |


If you are running late and you do not wish to lose your reservation, call the restaurant ahead of time and let them know how late you expect to be.

Barging in an hour late and demanding your table is inconsiderate. Be courteous, and by calling ahead, you could be in luck because there might be a last minute cancellation.


If you do end up losing your table, do not yell at the staff. If you do not show up on time, they will have to assume that you are not coming.

Ordering Food

It can be frustrating to receive food that is undercooked, burned, tastes bad, or food that you simply did not order. You have a few options in this situation. You can eat it anyway, say nothing at all, or alert the waiter. If you choose to alert the waiter, calmly explain that the food is not to your liking, or that it is not what you ordered. The waiter is usually accommodating, and if the food is not what you wanted, he or she will gladly replace it for you.

Remember that waiters do not cook the food, they serve it. Do not yell our curse at the waiter if you do not like the food.

Cell Phone Use

Avoid using your cell phone in a restaurant. It is especially difficult for the waiter who is trying to communicate with you. If you must use it, wait until after you have placed your order, excuse yourself from the table, and make your call.

Carrying on a cell phone conversation at the table is not only disrespectful to your guests, but to the other diners who do not want to be disturbed by your cell phone conversation.

Children and Dining

According to an LATimes interview, experts suggest that if you will be bringing your children to a restaurant, you should first practice a few things at home:

  • Ban electronics from the dinner table
  • Parents, lead by example at the table. Don’t tell the kids not to do something and then do it yourself
  • Practice “please” and “thank-you”
  • Sit upright at the table
  • Have everyone eat together

Don’t have your children running around, fighting, bothering other diners, or tugging on the waiter’s apron or hair.

Before going to the restaurant, urge your children to be on their best behaviour. If your child is yelling and screaming, he is no doubt embarrassing you, but he is also disturbing other diners, and making life difficult for the staff.

Paying the Bill

When you are ready, ask for the check. The waiter generally will not ask you if you want your bill because this is considered rude. It is not the waiter’s job to rush you out of the restaurant.

Tip 15 percent or more. According to an interview, waiters are paid as little as $2.15 per hour in some states, and must live off their tips. Waiters must share their tips with the bus staff, bartenders, hosts, …

Restaurant Survival Guide for Parents
By Kim Carlson | | 0 Comments |

So how do mom and dad accomplish a successful night out to eat with the kids? It’s not that hard, with a little key preparation beforehand.


Steps to Set the Family up for Success When Dining Out

To have a great evening out with young kids at a restaurant, parents can try the following ideas:

  • Make sure the kids sit down beforehand and explain what is expected of them at the restaurant. It may sound silly to grownups, but for children who have never been to a restaurant, it is important for mom and dad to go over what will happen and what is expected, including how the children should behave.
  • Choose a family friendly place. This way if the kids do get a little loud, it will not be so noticeable like it would be at an expensive five-star restaurant, where there most likely will not be any other children around.
  • Timing is key. Try to go around the kids' usually meal time. If the kids are used to eating dinner at 5:30pm and mom and dad make reservations for 7:00pm it’s going to spell disaster! The kids are going to be hungry and cranky way before the food arrives.
  • Pack a bag of tricks. A few key items to play with while the kids wait for the food to come could mean the difference between disaster and a successful outing. Keep the items small and try to have them do double duty.

Some Great Toys to Keep Kids Busy at a Restaurant

Kids have short attention spans and can't sit still for long. Many won't wait patiently for their meals. Parents can keep them busy with some fun activities.

  • Crayola Click-em On Markers– These are great for this purpose. Not only can they be used as markers to draw on the back of a placemat, kids can click them together and create all kinds of shapes. Make a game out of it and have the kids see who can create the tallest tower or the most unique structure.
  • Crayola Color Wonder Watercolors –No water is required for these really cool water color markers. Kids can create a design on the back of their placemat or bring along a printable from one of their favorite shows for them to color.
  • Mad Libs– For older children Mad Libs is great fun. They can take turns writing in the words and reading the stories to each other. For younger kids Mad Libs makes a dry erase book that lets them complete the silly faces. It’s great fun for little ones and they get to erase and do it all over again!

Waiting and sitting still can be really hard for younger kids. By doing some preparation before-hand mom and dad can make a meal out a successful event. Younger children do better when they know what to expect, so be sure to go over expectations well before leaving the house.

In addition, make sure to have a bag …

Chef Profiles: Chris Shaften, Farm Restaurant, Calgary
By Kim Carlson | | 0 Comments |
Sustainable and Seasonal In terms of his food philosophy, Shaften says, "The main point that we like to make with our food at Farm is about sustainability and, of course, using as much local product as possible and reducing carbon emissions through that. Seasonality of course is a result of using sustainable products." Shaften adds,"I believe in getting back to nature with food and really connecting people to what real food is and trying to educate through the medium of food and show people that you can still eat in a responsible way and enjoy it. You don't have to sacrifice flavour or quality."   Alberta hasn't been known as a haven for producers of artisanal products but Shaften says that a change is happening,"In Southern Alberta it's a little more difficult than in major growing regions in Canada like the Okanagan or the Niagara region. but there's a number of local, artisanal producers that have popped up in Southern Alberta and we're really excited about that. I think its changing in such a way that in ten years we're going to have products that are comparable to anywhere else in Canada." Shaften says he is excited by his suppliers who show passion and excitement for their product. He says, "When one of the suppliers like Gerrit from Driview Farms shows up with a piece of his lamb he's excited and passionate because he knows that all the work he puts into that lamb comes through. He gets excited by it and I'm excited to use his product. He always wants to know what we're doing with it and that kind of connection, that care and that passion from the ground up is phenomenal. You can never make good food without good products and if the supplier's not as excited about selling me their product as I am to use it, there's something missing." He goes on to say that many of his producers are small, family-run operations in Alberta. Shaften adds, " When they come down, they'll come down personally and deliver whatever it is they produce and they're thrilled not only to be making it but in having a restaurant like Farm preparing it and showcasing it in a really respectful way." Refined Comfort Food Shaften explains how he goes about thinking of what to feature on the menu. He says, "At Farm we don't do really classic comfort food, it's comfort food but refined a little bit. A lot of times I'll start by just going through things I really, really enjoy eating at home. I'll talk to some of the staff and ask them about their favourite childhood dish and take some of those memories and feelings and but them into the food." But along with the food at Farm, Shaften says he was drawn there by the way the company does business. He points out," It's based on respect. Whether its the owner talking to a new dish washer on their first day and shaking…
5 Best Restaurants in Old Town Alexandria Virginia
By Kim Carlson | | 0 Comments |

Restaurant Eve

Dublin native chef, Cathal Armstrong has brought innovation and passion into Old Town with his cuisine. Restaurant Eve is a family business that Armstrong started with his wife, and the restaurant is named after their first child. The restaurant has two different dining experiences, which are the bistro and the tasting room. Each offers their own menu and atmosphere in two separate rooms. The food is tantalizing yet still homey with such dishes as roasted belly of Korubuta pork and seafood chowder with shellfish, baguette croutons and aioli. For desert try the birthday cake which is delicious. The restaurant is expensive and dress attire is required.

110 South Pitt Street, Alexandria, VA 22314; 703-706-0450;


Grape + Bean

Grape + Bean is located in a quaint row house on Royal Street. Grape + Bean is known as a wine and coffee stop with a lunch and dinner menu. Grape + Bean is the brain child of longtime Alexandria residents David Gwathmey and Sheera Rosenfeld. The goat cheese and onion jam on a toasted baguette is enticing, and if you are looking for a bigger meal, try the American Artisan Flatbread with shaved prosciutto. For desert have some coffee and ask for a sample of the chocolate coco nibs or skip the coffee and just have the nibs. The menu is limited but inexpensive. Check the Grape + Bean calendar for wine tastings and wine education classes.

118 South Royal Street, Alexandria, VA, 22314; 703-664-0214;

A la Lucia

This casual Italian eatery is full of rustic charm and offers homemade pastas, as well as brick oven pizzas. You can sit at the bar, one of the two dining areas or pick up your to go order. Several local favorites are house made lasagna and thin crust pizza gorgonzola or have a cannoli for dessert. The menu prices are moderate and the atmosphere is casual.

315 Madison Street, Alexandria, VA 22314; 703-836-5123;


Fresh ingredients and premium frying take this chipper to the next level. Who needs fast food when you can have Eamonn’s fish and chips? The restaurant is owned by Chef Cathal Armstrong and Meshelle Armstrong who also own Restaurant Eve and The Majestic. People go there for the cod, but there are other different kinds of fish with a great selection of homemade dipping sauces. Don’t forget dessert, where there is a variety to choose from including fried bananas, dough balls and candy bars. Eamonn’s is an inexpensive place to have a perfectly fried meal.

728 King Street, Alexandria, VA 22314; 703-299-8384;


This restaurant boasts the talent of executive chef Tony Chittum and recently won the 2010 RAMW award for the best upscale casual restaurant. Located in a quaint row house with yellow trim, chef Chittum marries fabulous food with moderate prices. The pastas, sausages and scrapples are all made in house. Try the “brandade” crusted halibut or the beef striploin. Follow it up with the crispy ricotta fritters for dessert. On …

Little Tibet Restaurant: Tibetan Cuisine on Queen Street West in Toronto
By Kim Carlson | | 0 Comments |

Little Tibet is a small, unassuming Toronto restaurant that used to be in Yorkville and is now on Queen Street West, a few blocks west of Bathurst. Although allegedly very popular in the evening and on weekends, the place is quiet at lunchtime on a weekday.

While Tibetan food is spicy in the sense that it is seasoned with ginger, garlic and spices from India, most of it is not hot. Not well known in North America, the cuisine is based on barley, dairy products, and meats such as lamb and yak. Staples such as rice are borrowed from neighbouring China; few vegetable crops grow at the high altitudes of Tibet.

  • Hours: Lunch Tuesday-Saturday 12:00-3:00 pm, Dinner Tuesday-Thursday and Sunday 5:00-10:00 pm, Friday and Saturday 5:00-11:00 pm
  • Prices: At lunch, meatless dishes range to about $14; meat dishes go up to around $16
  • Location: 712 Queen Street West, Toronto (near Niagara Street)

Tibetan Herbal Tea, Tsampa, and Tenchung

Besides the de rigueur barley tea with yak's milk, there is a Tibetan Herbal Tea with the alluring description: "A blend of handpicked herbs from the Himalayan Mountains. Used by Tibetan healers." One regular patron claimed that the herbal tea is reminiscent of a new-mown field of hay. Along with several homemade sauces, the tea is available in packaged form to take home.

Several soups are available to start the meal. Tenchung is a "red lentil soup with roasted onion, garlic, herbs”—salty but not otherwise spiced. It is fine-grained and delicious. The less interesting Tsampa (named for one of Tibet’s staple dishes) is "roasted barley simmered in chicken broth with thinly sliced radishes and lean minced beef."

Meatless Items at Little Tibet

The Tibetan staff spends the off-moments of the lunch hour preparing a beautiful array of Momo (steamed barley flour dumplings) at the back of the room. One option is Cheese and Spinach Momo, an excellent plate to share; "marinated in roasted onion, ginger and oregano” and served with a green salad, the dumplings also come with a mild tomato relish or salsa for dipping.

Shogo Ngopa is similar to very thinly scalloped potatoes and it has only one fault—it is virtually impossible to eat with chopsticks. Bo Thuk Ngopa is a dish of “pan-fried egg noodles topped with salted mixed seasonal vegetables tossed in a light ginger and garlic sauce.” Tasty, but very mild.

Meats (Beef Sham-Dae), Desserts (Mindha), and Extras (More Momo)

Beef Sham-Dae is “Cinnamon spiced beef curry slow-cooked in ginger, garlic, onion, and seasoned with exotic Indian spices.” For meat-eaters, this is one of the more memorable among the main lunch dishes. It comes with a separate bowl of steamed rice. The beef is very tender and deeply flavoured by the sauce, which is exquisite.

  1.  Momo (also called Tingmo) is like an ultra-pure dumpling: it is unfilled Tibetan steamed bread, which patrons call "spongy" and "interesting.” Indeed, the texture is hard to describe: it manages to be puffy and substantial at the same time.

An unusual …

Where to Eat at Pike Place Market Seattle – Best Restaurants
By Kim Carlson | | 0 Comments |
The Pike Place Market is a legit and historic place. It was started in 1907, long before Disney or Hollywood had ever heard of the small town of Seattle. Way before cruise ships went to Alaska on a regular basis, Pike Place Market, also called The Public Market, or just The Market, was a real “farmers market” with produce, meat, fish, tea, coffee, and restaurants (the Athenian). It was something like a “front porch” for Seattle locals. Seattle Tourist Attraction Back in the 60s and 70s city officials kept trying to tear the Pike Place Market down. Fortunately, there was a community backlash against the “evil” developers and The Market lived on. So, The Market is not really a “tourist” attraction. It’s just a cool place to hang out, shop, drink, eat, and watch the:
  • Tee shirt buying tourists from cruise ships
  • Street musicians (good and bad)
  • Pretty girls
  • Old hippies
  • Crazy fish-throwing loonies
Well, don’t forget the digital camera (and some wide-angle or telephoto lenses). There are some fairly amazing views and quirky scenes, inside and outside The Market, and they rival any photo op on earth. Eat Breakfast at Pike Place Market Here are some spots for taming those early morning munchies:  
  • The Daily Dozen Donut Company: This place is sort of at the entrance to the Pike Place Market, so look for the line. Government Food-Nazis may frown, but mini donuts are definitely part of any healthy well-balanced diet.
  • Le Panier: Le Panier’s croissants (amandine, raspberry, ham and cheese, chocolate-almond paste) are very French. Add a cup of hot coffee to burn off the morning chill. (On the other side of street from main building.)
  • Lowell’s Restaurant: This place is right in The Market and some tables have a nice view. Lowell's has hearty American-style-working-man’s food.
Lunch or Snacks at Seattle Market There are lots of yummy options to consider.
  • Buy a Dungeness or other crab (they are cooked) from a seafood vendor and have them crack it. Get some fruit, cheese, or whatever looks good, and have a picnic at Victor Steinbrueck Park (just north of The Market) or take the food back to the hotel room.
  • Beecher’s Handmade Cheese: Cheese curds, sandwiches, or delish Mac n Cheese. (Across street.)
  • Three Girls Bakery: Great bread, good sandwiches. Try the turkey or baked salmon. (Across street in Post Alley.)
  • Pike Place Chowder: Lovely hot soup and samples for customers. (Across the street in Post Alley.)
  • Mee Sum Pastries: Great barbeque pork or curry humbow and potstickers. (Across street.)
Another option, for Market newbies, is to look for a crowd and get in line. Avoid the line if people look like they're from a tour bus. Good Restaurants at the Pike Place Market Some restaurants need reservations for dinner, but it depends on what night of the week it is.
  • Matt’s In The Market: Foodie people love this place and Matt’s has a nice view. For lunch, consider the lamb burger or fish sandwich.
  • Place Pigalle: French
Delicious Indian Recipes
By Kim Carlson | | 0 Comments |
I found these tasty Indian recipes at the library. They are made from ingredients that are relatively easy to find, yet combined in unusual ways. The lentil soup, for example, contains ginger and chickpea powder. Some of the traditional Indian recipes have been changed to use ingredients more easily found in the United States or for more rapid preparation time.
This dish is flavored with turmeric, the spice that gives curry it's yellow color.
1.Boil 4 medium sized potatoes until warm but not mushy (14-17 minutes)
cool, peel and dice
2.Heat oil in skillet on medium high heat,
add mustard seed and cumin seeds. When seeds sizzle and splutter add 2 to 3 diced MILD chiles OR 1 to 2 medium or hot diced chiles. Remember: chile seeds=heat. Scraping seeds from chile skin will cool down dish, Decide what tastes good to you. Wear gloves and /or wash hands when touching hot chiles. Turn down heat to medium. Add 1/2 teaspoon turmeric. Cook 3 to 4 minutes.
3. Add potatoes, 2 to 4 tablespoons raisins, 2 cups peas, and 2 to 4 tablespoons chopped cashews. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt if you use unsalted nuts.
4. Just before serving sprinkle with 1 teaspoon lime juice and garnish with cilantro.

Mix 1 tablespoon orange juice, 1/2 cup yogurt, 1/4 cup original or low fat sour cream, 1/4 tablespoon honey OR 1/2 tablespoon applesauce. This is a tasty dressing for a lettuce and/or cucumber salad.

Indian Style Lentil Soup
Heat 1and 1/2 tablespoon oil in a soup kettle on medium high heat
Add 1 inch piece of ginger root and 3 cloves of garlic
Stir in vegetables of your choice. I like chopped carrots, potatoes, and a small amount of cabbage or spinach.
Add 1/2 cup lentils and 2 inch cinnamon sticks, cilantro, and 2 tablespoons of chickpea flour. Gradually add 4 cups of water.

Creamy Corn and Bean Soup
The original recipe called for mung beans. I was in a hurry, and I couldn't find mung beans at the store. I substituted garbanzo beans, and receiveved no complaints from my guests.
1.Simmer 1/2 cup canned garbanzo OR mung beans, 1 cup corn and 2 cups water together for fifteen minutes. Remember, if you use dried beans rinse, sort and soak following package instructions. Dried beans will also take quite a bit longer to cook.
2.Add more cups water, 1 teaspoon salt, 3/4 teaspoon pepper, and 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice.
3. Serve in individual bowls and add a large dollop of original or low fat sour cream and garnish with watercress.…

Easy Pizza Recipes
By Kim Carlson | | 0 Comments |
Once you master the art of this easy dough, pizza's sure to become a regular on your family menu. These simple recipes give perfect results every time, whether you like your pizza thick or thin. For a quicker version, purchase pre-made pizza bases or use pita or flat bread as a base. For mini pizzas use English muffins sliced in half and topped with your favorite pizza topping.


  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon onion salt
  • 1 teaspoon crushed garlic
  • 7g sachet dried yeast
  • ¼ cup oil
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 2/3 cups plain flour
  • 1 egg, beaten
  1. Preheat the oven to a moderate 350F (180C). Lightly grease one or two 12 inch (30cm) pizza trays with oil. Combine sugar, onion salt, garlic, yeast, oil and warm water in a bowl. Add flour and mix to a dough. Knead dough for 5 minutes.
  2. Roll the dough into a circle, about 12 inches (30cm). For thin bases, roll dough into 2 x 12 inch (30cm) circles. Transfer to the tray ore trays. To form a thick crust, turn the edges of the base under. Glaze with a beaten egg, top as desired and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until golden.


Spread prepared pizza base with pizza sauce. For kids, use ½ cup of tomato sauce. Drain a can of pineapple pieces. Chop a few ham steaks or four rashers of bacon, dice a red capsicum. Top the prepared pizza base with pineapple pieces, prepared ham, chopped red capsicum and 1 cup of grated cheese. Sprinkle toping with 1 teaspoon of mixed dried herbs of 1 teaspoon dried basil or oregano, then bake for 30-35 minutes or until crust is well browned and cheese is melted.


Place an 8oz (250g) jar of sun-dried tomatoes in oil in a food processor, add 1 teaspoon garlic and process to a spread. If necessary, add a little more oil. Spread over prepared pizza base, top with chopped salami of your choice, 1 cup of grated tasty or parmesan cheese, and scatter the top with black olives. Bake for 30-35 minutes.


Cook 7oz (200g) beef mince in oil, and then add ½ cup tomato pasta sauce and 1 teaspoon each of chili powder, dried coriander and cumin. Spread prepared pizza base with pizza sauce. Top with cooked mince and sprinkle with ½ cup of grated tasty cheese. Bake for 30-35 minutes, and then top with sour cream and avocado before serving.…

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