Posts Tagged With: gluten-free

Kick up your heels at Raglan Road Irish Pub and Restaurant

Exterior

TEDDY’s RATING: 

For quite a few years now, I’ve been in love with Celtic music – Irish, Scottish, even Canadian bands like The Chieftans, Solas, Altan, Leahy, Off Kilter, The Corrs and the Celtic rock band, Enter the Haggis.

Irish dancersWhat does this have to do with travel and food? Well, Raglan Road is an authentic Irish pub in Downtown Disney where you can enjoy a traditional Irish meal and be entertained by traditional Irish dancers and musicians. Two of my favorite things: great music and great food.

Raglan Road was constructed using salvaged pieces of Irish taverns and churches. The four bars are each over 130 years old. All of this adds to the authentic atmosphere and charm of Raglan Road.

Now, the Irish aren’t that famous for their culinary creations, but Raglan Road’s updated menu of old world favorites is definitely worth tasting. And there are a lot of choices on that menu. Master Chef Kevin Dundon has taken classic Irish dishes and pumped them up with a contemporary flair. It’s more Sod the Stewthan corned beef and cabbage. The menu includes Shepherd’s Pie, Fish and Chips, chicken and wild mushroom pie, bangers and mash, beef stew and several lamb and seafood options. For dessert try the amazing Strawberry and Apple crumble, the bread and butter pudding, Triful Sinful or the Black Forest Kiss.

I couldn’t decide between the Shepherd’s Pie and the Stew. I opted for the stew because the pie contains lamb, which I’m not that crazy about. But I am going to try the Shepherd’s Pie next time for sure. The stew was full of beef, carrots and potatoes and flavored with a hint of Guinness. For dessert, the crumble with vanilla ice cream was quite delicious.

Irish DancerAnd don’t forget the libations – beer, wine, specialty drinks and a wide variety of whiskeys. You can even have flights of beer or whiskey, a great way to try new flavors. I had Jay’Gail Sangria which was a blend of Magners Cider, Peach Schnapps, fruit liqueurs and juices. Yummy. With dessert, I asked for an iced Bailey’s coffee, not on the menu, but they made it for me. Also, yummy.

The service was exceptional. Our waiter, Todd, was very knowledgeable about the different beer offerings as well as the dinner menu. Our food arrived piping hot and very quickly.

Of course, since Raglan Road is part of the Walt Disney World Resort, you can expect high prices. But I think the delicious food is well worth it, plus you get free entertainment. There’s live music and Irish folk dancers “river dancing” seven nights a week. I think the price is quite reasonable for dinner and a show.

Date of Visit:  February 2013

http://www.raglanroad.com/

If you enjoyed this post, you might like my other blog:  http://ilovebritishtv.com

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“Taste the Love” at Luella’s Bar-B-Que

TEDDY’s RATING: 

There used to be a really great barbecue restaurant in Asheville called The Fiddlin’ Pig. At least, I thought it was great. Good food, good service and live music every night. Well, unfortunately, The Fiddlin’ Pig went out of business. So, on my last trip to Asheville, I was looking for a new place for barbecue. I found it at Luella’s.

The place is named after founder Jeff Miller’s grandmother as well as his daughter, nicknamed Elly. “Grandma Lue” cooked for all the family gatherings and handed down her love for good cooking to Jeff. His interest in food, along with his family background and the desire to create an authentic barbecue taste, prompted Jeff to open a restaurant.

To compliment the smoked pork, beef, chicken and turkey — and that’s how Jeff looks at sauces, as complimentary, not overpowering – are five distinct sauces: Hot Flash, Smoked Jalapeno, Lusty Mustard, Scooter’s Vinegar and the most popular, Sweet Pisgah. (The last two are homemade and gluten-free.)

Their top seller is the chopped pork sandwich with macaroni & cheese. I had the chopped pork sandwich and topped it with the Sweet Pisgah sauce. Instead of the mac & cheese, I had a side salad with homemade blue cheese dressing. The meal included hush puppies, which were great. That’s what I loved the most about The Fiddlin’ Pig, their hush puppies, sweet and crunchy, and soft in the middle. I’m glad Luella’s has great ones, too.

This made-from-scratch barbecue brings in customers of all types from retirees to students to business professionals. The building used to house a pizza joint which was a popular hangout for students from the University of North Carolina. So when Jeff remodeled the place, he kept that in mind, creating an atmosphere that pleases everyone.

Asheville is known as a beer town and six local microbrews are featured at Luella’s. I’m not a beer drinker, so I tried the Ultimate Luella’s Strawberry Lemonade with fresh strawberries, Absolut Citron, lemon and ginger ale. Quite refreshing and delicious.

Portions are a good size, service is very good and prices are competitive. And sometimes they have live bluegrass music. If the parking lot is full, which it always is at Luella’s, then you know it’s got to be good.

Dates of Visit:  May 2012

http://luellasbbq.com/

If you enjoyed this post, you might like my other blog:  http://ilovebritishtv.com

Categories: Eat, North Carolina | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Tupelo Honey Café and Their Awesome Sweet Potato Pancake

TEDDY’s RATING: 

On one of my many trips to Asheville, North Carolina I was looking through a magazine and came upon a marvelous photo of the Tupelo Honey Café’s Sweet Potato Pancake. I could have licked the page, it looked that delicious. So, I vowed that I would get to the café to sample this delight.

Well, on that particular visit, the Tupelo Honey Café had had a flood in the basement and was closed! Noooooooo! I would have to wait until my next trip. It may have been a year later, but I have to say, it was well worth the wait.

Tupelo Honey Café is known for its Southern style cuisine, but with a different twist. Using farm-fresh ingredients from local suppliers, Chef Brian Sonoskus has designed dishes like Root Beer Molasses Glazed Pork Tenderloin with Green Apple Salsa and Southern Fried Chicken Saltimbocca with Country Ham and Mushroom Marsala, neither your traditional Southern fair, but original creations that make this restaurant a must try. They also offer soups, salads and a variety of sandwiches. They have a yummy dessert menu and have gluten-free options as well.

But back to the Sweet Potato Pancake. This is what Tupelo Honey Café is famous for, what was pictured in that magazine article. This buttermilk pancake is flavored with cinnamon and sweet potatoes and is topped with their fabulous peach butter and spiced pecans. It actually fills the entire plate. I’ve never been able to eat the whole thing in one sitting. I can’t imagine getting the double stack.

I almost hate the fact that this pancake is so good because it has kept me from trying all the other wonderful food that they have. Next time I’ll have to go there for two different meals so I can try something besides the sweet potato pancake.

Tupelo Honey Café has been part of the Asheville food scene since 2000. They now have two Asheville locations, downtown and southside.

Dates of Visit:  May 2009, May 2012

http://www.tupelohoneycafe.com/

If you enjoyed this post, you might like my other blog:  http://ilovebritishtv.com

Categories: Eat, North Carolina | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Latin Flavors Abound at the Columbia Restaurant

TEDDY’s RATING: 

I’m a very picky eater. So, when it comes to reviewing different restaurants, I’m not that easy to please. You already know that I’m not crazy about seafood. Well, I’m also not crazy about Latin food. Now, many of you who read this probably do like seafood and Latin cuisine, and that’s great. Take what I say here with a grain of salt, if you like salty food!

The Columbia Restaurant is very, very popular. It’s been in business for well over 100 years. And that should tell you something. There are eight locations around Florida: Celebration, St. Augustine, St. Petersburg, Clearwater Beach, Sarasota and three locations in the Tampa area, the oldest location in Ybor City (outside of Tampa.) This is the one that I visited with friends. It opened in 1905.

Cuban immigrant Casimiro Hernandez came to Ybor City in the early 1900s along with a lot of his countrymen looking for a new homeland. He opened a corner café that catered to the workers in the cigar-making industry. Now, over 100 years later, 4th and 5th generations of the original family still own and run the restaurants. Not only is Columbia the oldest restaurant in Florida, but it claims to be the largest Spanish restaurant in the world.

When my friends said they wanted to go to this restaurant, I perused the menu online to find something that I could tolerate eating. I don’t like spicy food, or black beans and rice or really anything in the Mexican, Spanish or Cuban realm. But I did see that they had their “1905 Salad” which was something I could try. It was good — Romaine lettuce with ham, cheese, tomatoes, olives (I chose to opt out in the olive area) with a garlic dressing. USA Today said that the Columbia was “One of 10 Great Places to Make a Meal out of a Salad.” And that’s what I did. Accompanied by their yummy Cuban bread, the 1905 Salad does fill you up.

I also tried one of the appetizers, Croquetas de Pollo — six fried chicken croquettes rolled in Cuban cracker crumbs. These were very good. Other entrees my party tried were Pollo Manchego (breaded chicken breast with sun dried tomatoes and basil) and Camarones Rellenos “Jesse Gonzalez” (shrimp with crab meat and lemon butter.) Both were tasty, but somewhat salty.

The menu is quite extensive with several seafood, chicken, steak and vegetarian entrees. There’s a wide variety of tapas to choose from as well as salads, sandwiches and soups. The Columbia also has a gluten-free menu.

After reading the menu online, I was looking forward to trying the Silver Meteor cocktail, a combination of Spanish Sparkling Cava (champagne), blood orange liqueur and elderflower liqueur. I have to say it wasn’t what I expected. It just tasted like a glass of plain champagne. They are known for their Sangria, which is what I should have ordered.

The décor at the Ybor City location is quiet extraordinary with hand-painted tile work and elegant chandeliers. The service was wonderful. We had two waiters that were very attentive and knowledgeable. This location also features performances by Flamenco dancers (Monday through Saturday) and a live jazz band (Tuesday through Saturday.) They even have a gift shop where you can buy the 1905 Salad dressing, sangria mix, and pottery imported from Spain.

The Columbia Restaurant has won many awards, including being named one of the top restaurants in Florida since 1967. It’s been named an All-American icon by Nation’s Restaurant News. And with 8 locations and various other accolades, they must be doing something right. Just because I’m not a big fan of Cuban food doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give it a try. But if you are a big fan, you probably already have!

Dates of Visit:  July 21, 2012

http://www.columbiarestaurant.com/ 

If you enjoyed this post, you might like my other blog:  http://ilovebritishtv.com

Categories: Eat, Florida | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Stoney Knob Cafe-Weaverville’s Best

TEDDY’s RATING:

Weaverville is a little town, just north of Asheville, about a 10 minute drive from downtown. Population: just over 3,000 people.

If you’ve driven through Weaverville you might think of it as just a sleepy little hamlet, but they’ve got some great eating spots. I’ve already written about the Well-Bred Bakery. Definitely check that out if you’re there. But if you’re looking for a great meal at a fun, funky bistro, try the Stoney Knob Café.

When you walk in, you’d think you were in a restaurant in downtown Asheville or even a much more metropolitan city. The décor is a “whimsical blend of artifacts and artful spaces,” as their website says and the menu is made up of American, European, and Mediterranean cuisine.

The Stoney Knob Café started out as a small diner back in the 1960s. When original owner Gus Dermas emigrated from Greece to the US, he discovered Weaverville and fell in love with it because it reminded him of his homeland. The restaurant is currently run by Gus’s sons, John and Yotty.

In 2000, the Stoney Knob Cafe was expanded. The original diner remains, but is now flanked by two other dining areas. On one side is the Red Room where you can enjoy an intimate dinner by the fire. On the other side is the Mediterranean Room, also called the “saints and sinners” room. This larger dining room is decorated with a mish mash of everything from velvet Elvis paintings to a life-sized statue of the Virgin Mary. So, one restaurant with three distinctive looks, but all of them inviting and fun, and like nothing you’ve probably ever seen before.

The menu is as eclectic as the atmosphere. They prepare dishes “from near and far” combining local tastes with world-wide flair. You can get Spanish paella, Greek moussaka, Asian spring rolls, falafel, Kobe beef burgers, and filet mignon. There are also seafood, vegetarian and gluten-free choices.

We started off our meal with an excellent cocktail, the Love Potion #69, a blend of strawberry kiwi Vodka, peach schnapps, lemon juice and sour mix. Delightful. They have other original cocktails, a full bar and an extensive wine list.

For entrees, the tortellini with chicken was light, creamy and totally delicious with a parmesan carbonara sauce, prosciutto and peas. And as the menu says, the tender braised boneless short ribs with asiago stone ground grits were “to die for.” We rounded off the meal with their luscious Italian lemon cake.

Service was excellent, as was the food and the entire experience. There’s really nothing negative I can say about the Stoney Knob Café. I can’t wait to go back there on my next trip to the Asheville area. 

Dates of Visit:  May 2012

http://www.stoneyknobcafe.com/

If you enjoyed this post, you might like my other blog:  http://ilovebritishtv.com

Categories: Eat, North Carolina | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mitchell’s Fish Market – Even if you’re not a seafood fanatic

TEDDY’s RATING: 

If you’ve read my previous posts, you know that I’m not a big seafood fan. So why would I go to a place called Mitchell’s Fish Market? Well, there were expiring gift cards involved, so I kind of had to go. But I definitely was not disappointed. Of course, I made sure ahead of time that they had several “Turf” choices on the menu.

First off, I’d like to shout out to our wonderful waitress, Aline. She was top-notch, making some excellent suggestions. She recommended the Elderflower and Pear cocktail. It sounded unusual, but Aline said it was very good. And it was. So much so that I wasn’t willing to let anyone else in my party take a sip! This signature drink contains Absolut Pear Vodka, St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur, champagne and fresh lemon juice. I love champagne drinks. This was light and bubbly, very refreshing.

Since I’m totally a Turf girl, I chose the pot roast for my entree. (Decided to forego the appetizer, soup or salad to save room for dessert.) It is served with mashed potatoes and vegetables. It was delicious, very tender and tasty. The rest of my family tried the Parmesan Crusted Chicken with Angel Hair Pasta, the Lemon Chicken with mashed potatoes and vegetables, and the Cod and Shrimp with Hush Puppies and coleslaw. All entrees were highly rated by all.

So, now we come to the dessert. Yes, the best part of every meal. Aline recommended two desserts, the towering 7 layer Carrot Cake and the “Sharkfin” pie. We got one of each. These desserts are gigantic. More than enough for sharing – with 27 of your closest friends.

The Carrot Cake was quite moist and sweet, but I have to say that my favorite Carrot Cake is still baked by The Dessert Lady.

“Sharkfin” pie, what a crazy name for a dessert, but when you see it, you’ll know why it’s called that. This dessert is a huge wedge of vanilla ice cream layered with chocolate fudge, peanut butter, a chocolate cookie crust and honey roasted peanuts. You’ll be hooked after your first Great White bite.

Mitchell’s has over 80 different menu items which change daily based on the availability of fresh seafood. Their website says they’re “absolutely, positively obsessed with freshness.” If it’s not 100% fresh, right off the boat, they don’t serve it. Their motto is “Fish any fresher would still be in the ocean.”

And to ensure their seafood is the freshest and the best, Mitchell’s is “chain of custody” certified. I had never heard of that before. It means that Mitchell’s has a screening process for their suppliers, so they know exactly what they’re getting and where it comes from.

I noticed that there are a lot of blogs out there devoted to gluten-free diets. All of you out there will be pleased to know that Mitchell’s has a gluten-free menu.

Mitchell’s has several locations across the eastern and central US including Ohio, Michigan, Florida and Pennsylvania.

Date of Visit:  February 26, 2012

www.mitchellsfishmarket.com

Categories: Eat | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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