Friday, January 3, 2014

Casa No More, Lupita's is the Score

I am not sure when this happened, but Casa is closed. I shed a quiet tear for them.
Never fear, my friends! Lupita's is here to fill that cheesy void in your soul.

Lupita's is over by City Park in what was a donut shop about 20 years ago. I can't recall everything that has occupied that spot since the donut shop closed, but I hope Lupita's is here to stay.

Lupitas is everything you want in a Mexican restaurant: cafeteria ambiance but table service, giant plates of food covered in green chile, and cheap ass prices. Crispy chile rellenos smothered in hot, medium, or mild green chile. Cheap ass breakfast burritos made to order (sorry, Consuelo's.) The perfect cheese enchilada, swimming in red sauce, with fresh diced onions. Sopapillas stuffed with shredded beef. I can't even write this without my mouth watering - seriously, I might go there for lunch today.

Anyway, check it out and tip well. Keep our real Mexican food around and give the finger to the stupid fake, overpriced bullshit.

<a href=""><img alt="Lupita&#x27;s Mexican Restaurant on Urbanspoon" src="" style="border:none;width:104px;height:15px" /></a>

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Underground (Social)

It was a cold and crowded night out, but after leaving another bar at midnight we noticed there was no line at Social. Whee!
It really is what TV and movies tell you a speakeasy was like. It is crowded and noisy with the usual bar chatter. There are Edison bulbs and screens and cosy alcoves. They give you tiny cups of hot cider while you wait for your table. There are loud pretentious people over-pronouncing the names of meats.
Get a fancy cocktail. Yeah, they are pricey but you are not here to save money I assume. Go to Surfside for your beer/shot special. Come here for a date or to treat yo' self! Actually the drinks are very reasonably priced.
Charcuterie. It is all the rage right now. People love ultra thin slices of super expensive pork product. Skinny people. Adding some deviled eggs and some meatballs to a board made a good dinner for two people. Or me alone. Deviled eggs are replacing the pickled egg of old as a common bar snack, so keep your eye out for this. The meatballs are big and tender and rich.

You get more than just meat; the seasonal fruits, nuts, and pickled veggies are awesome. Consider adding a cheese flight to your meat board to get the full experience. Then order another cocktail. Then go lurk around the big window into the kitchen and watch a big bald guy work the incredible slicer. Also look around and see how many of your favorite staff from other bars around town are now working here.
Which brings me to another cool thing about Social: this is not a bar born from the excess and boredom of some trust-fundy from out of state. This is a enterprise created and executed by industry folks from all the favorite Fort Collins bars, from Elliot's to Surfside. It is owned, operated, and staffed by all our friends. So be nice, tip well, and mind the stairs. They are fucking steep.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Hey, ladies.

I am not sure why restaurants and bars still have "ladies' night." So people who date women can 'afford' to take them out? So that ladies have something to look forward to after being fucked over by the systemic sexism of our society all week long? To market a happy hour deal in an unnecessarily gender-biased way? To highlight the inability of Americans to use an apostrophe in the correct way EVER?
(I know the real reason for ladies' night. To get ladies drunk so they will not notice your bar is full of skeezy losers.)
(Also I am now certain there will be one apostrophe mis-use in this writing. Mock as you will.)

HOWEVER, I am pretty sure that Bacco Trattoria is just doing it for the fun of calling something "ladies night." I don't speak Italian, but 'Bacco Trattoria' can mean a few things -- "Eatery of the god Bacchus," "The mood of drinking at a silk-throwing mill," or "Let's gather to blow off steam over a fuckton of wine because we are not young enough for margarita night any more."

The most interesting thing Bacco offers is tapas. I saw your ears perk up. I know you saw Anthony Bourdain eat tapas and now you think you can be suave and sexy like him. Well, you are wrong. You can be like every other person discovering tapas for the first time, even though Fort Collins has had tapas around in different places for like 16 years at least.
The other recently trending food they offer is 'charcuterie.' I don't know how to say it either, but I have eaten it and enjoyed it.

We went on a Wednesday (NOT LADIES NIGHT.) At 5pm there was no one there. Our server was pretty chatty with me as I sat alone. The service was slow in general, but we have a complicated group of people so we don't complain much. However, if I were there as a couple or a smaller group and got the same speed of service I would not have been happy.

Anyway she brought some bread and herb-y oil (which turned out to be actual pesto sauce) to the table with ample water, so that was nice. And they brought more bread whenever you wanted it, hand sliced by a nice young man in nothing but a loincloth. Whoops, no, that is only on ladies' night.

All the dishes have complicated names just to show you how useless taking one year of Latin and one year of German really was. Luckily they also have good descriptions so you can just point and say "This fish thing" and the waitress can shame you by saying the name in a perfect Italian accent.

The tapas were the best of what we got. The calamari were not rubbery, and not greasy, and the dipping sauce was tasty with red pepper flakes on top. The Brussels sprouts were not over-cooked and tasted sweet and fresh. The duck prosciutto was 'not really worth it' according to the person who ordered it. It looked good but was a very small portion. The lamb skewers were decent chunks of lamb and peppers.

The salads were also popular, the beet salad came with two giant golden beet slices on the bed of greens.
I had the french onion soup. The soup itself was good, but had some issues. LEAF OF DEATH -- I got a huge bay leaf in my soup. Not that I was really that upset, because this usually means your food was made by a real person from scratch and not out of a vacuum-sealed, frozen bag. The bread was burnt on the bottom, but the cheese and bread were not very toasty on the top. Additionally the bread tasted very WHITE BREAD, unlike the bread at the table. 

Two people ordered pasta dishes. They were both typically over-sauced. The linguini rustica was drowning in oil. I thought it was gross. It did come with some white anchovies, which were not like anchovies I have had before -- these were just like little pickled herrings, a little sweet and not too salty and not "hairy" like the grey, oily anchovies I know. The spinach ravioli were similarly swamped in a pink vodka sauce, which was trending like 10 years ago.

The wine list is big and expensive. Actually I don't drink wine (because it seems really fucking expensive), so I have no idea what to say other than they only have 3 tap beers. Which is both refreshing and equally annoying in this beer-sodden town.

I recommend this place for tapas for sure. Everything else -- caveat emptor. See, Latin.
If you meet me in person, ask me about my very funny Latin joke. A qui ambulat in tabernum...

Friday, October 25, 2013

I Killed Cock Robin

Red Robin fucking sucks.
I could end there, but I suppose you will want my anecdotal evidence.

I have eaten at RR three times in the past year. Every single time the service has been terrible. I will repeat myself to say I am VERY forgiving of waitstaff. I am polite and don't complain about minor things that don't cost me money. I don't complain if my burger is cooked wrong, or if my refills are slow in coming.

Red Robin has taken shit service to a new level. I didn't review my second time there this year because not only was the experience the same level of crap, we had the exact same server. 

The most recent time we stopped in on a pretty busy night. The lobby was empty, but after the hostess asked me how many were in my party she basically ignored me immediately to talk to another employee.
We elected to wait for a booth and were sat after about 10 minutes. 

The place was swarming with giant families that seemed spread out over twice as many tables as necessary. Waitstaff were everywhere - before we even saw ours the table next to us had at least two different servers visit them. 
We ordered from our plucky waiter who kept trying to talk to the 'conventional looking male' out of the three of us, even though I was the one doing most of the talking. (Like "Hi! Great, thanks. That would be super.")

Let me sum up -- we did not get refills on drinks or fries, extra salad dressing, the boxes for our food, or our check in anything remotely resembling a 'timely manner.' We did not get extra fries or salad dressing for the entire time we were there, despite asking for these things at the time we ordered and multiple times afterward. We were completely polite the entire time and never abusive to the waiter at all.

Our waiter said he was really busy, but we could see him most of the time we were there. He did have other tables, but it didn't seem excessive. Plus, as I mentioned, there were like 100 other waitstaff. After asking for my check, the waiter noticed that my friend's salad was uneaten. He asked "Oh did she need extra salad dressing?" YES, 40 MINUTES AGO. My friend went to talk to the manager at this point, and by the time she came back and told me we were not paying for our meal, the waiter had still not returned with dressing or the actual check.

Also the food is really not that good. And my burger was cooked wrong.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Ye Olde Towne Cilantroe Grille

I really hate when people make the name of something "unique" by adding an 'e' to the end of one of the words.

Cilantro Grille. Mixed reviews from friends and family, but gave it a chance.

Bummer #1: This is a place with table service, so not ideal for a "grab lunch and chow down" situation.

Most popular item (self-reported) was the Chile Relleno burrito, which sounded awesome so that is what we both ordered, along with chips and guac.

Bummer #2: Soda comes in a can, so no refills, and it costs a dollar. ONE WHOLE AMERICAN DOLLAR.

The chips were good, seemed freshly made, and the guacamole was fine - a little under seasoned but also tasted fresh.

This place is trying to be fancier than any little restaurant in the basement of Alley Cat has the right to be. But it has a cute set-up, nice light, really not a bad place. Tiny though.

Our burritos arrived and were as described, melty cheese and good chile, salsa on the side. I found the beans and rice under seasoned as well, so the balance of flavor in mine was really off unless I mooshed everything together.

When we got our bill we just handed over the credit card, but when we went to sign the check said:

.79 (extra pico, which it does not state is extra anywhere on the menu)
.49 (sour cream)
1.00 (soda)
4.99 (chips and guac)


I get 21.25, and with current FTC tax of 1.56 I get a final total of 22.81. Since we couldn't get her to come back to the table and needed to get back to work, we signed the check with no additional tip and told her what happened, thinking she could correct the transaction so she got the remainder as tip.

She got really pissy and said "Well that price was written down wrong, those are supposed to be 7.99! But whatever!" Then she crumpled the SIGNED CREDIT CARD SLIP and threw it.



23.25 + 1.71 = 24.96

See how we are still not at the real total we were charged on the card?

I went and checked the menu online and I see that the Chile Relleno burritos are actually 8.49.


24.25 + tax of 1.78 = 26.03

There is seriously no way to get to our charged amount with what we ate.

So that is a lot of bullshit, we were over charged by no less than a dollar, but possibly 4.00 more than what was WRITTEN DOWN, and when we mentioned it the waitress had a fit.

Sorry Cilantro Grille, your delicious green chiles will not draw me back.

UPDATE 7/2013: Cilantro Grille is closed. Nothing to do with me.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Walleye and such.

So last night I finally made it out to the Coopersmith's Walleye Fish Fry *all you can eat*!

It was pretty great.

I think they much improved their breading over what I last remembered. It is a nice crispy cornmeal breading that is not too thick. The fish was cooked well and tasted great. You get four nice sized pieces to start, and if you skip the sides you will have room to get however many additional pieces you think you can cram in your face. They will not give you a box, so order realistically.

You can get more of any of the sides, as well, but WHY?

I don't think I mentioned in the last post that it comes with Coops pub chips - thick cut fries which are pretty good.

The slaw was a little better than I remembered, but still needs a little more pep - I added some of the malt vinegar and it tasted better.
The beans are regular old pork and beans and yes, they contain pork if you avoid that kind of thing.

Tartar sauce... meh. It wasn't remarkable, but at least it was "normal" and not something weird like they have some places. Adding some malt vinegar to this was helpful as well. (I wouldn't put malt vinegar directly on this fish.... it doesn't seem to 'go' with the flavor.)

I honestly didn't even look at the rye bread. I am sure it was lovely, but I needed room for more FISH.

So there it is, next Wednesday is the last day until next year so hit it while you can. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. Stay tuned through the next month for Great Plates rantings sprinkled with constructions woes! Yay!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Bob bob bobbin' along.

After a failed attempt to eat at Black Eyed Pea (too many pinochle players and one lady giving us the SERIOUS stink-eye, also the fact that we stood there for more than 5 minutes and no one ever looked like they might come help us,) we made our way to Red Robin.

Since it was busy we had the choice of the "fancy red chairs" or a booth by the kitchen. My co-diner got to spend the whole meal watching a dude tear up bacon and open bags of their gross shredded lettuce because my ass didn't like the fancy upholstered dining experience. Give me a wide booth any day.

I always forget I really don't like this place. Unlimited steak fries is great...if you can get a refill.
All the burgers have too much going on. One has steak sauce, horseradish, AND Dijon mustard in addition to cheese and bacon. Holy overkill, Batman.

So I order the Prime Rib dip sandwich and one of their free refill lemonade things.
Side note: Why the fuck do they put cheese and onions on the french dip like EVERYWHERE in this town? (Probably all over the US now. It's like they don't want to have to list a Philly "cheesesteak" AND a French Dip, so they put them in one. See also: "We can't make a BLT, we have no turkey.")

 I get the sandwich and it is mostly bread and pretty flavorless because they forgot the jus. The waiter was trying be nice and helpful but everything was off and ill timed and late.... ugh, just no good and I know it was busy because ti was a holiday but JFC* try to keep up, people.

Anyway, this fucking meal ended up costing over 30.00 for the two of us. What a load of shit. Plus they charged my credit card three times for weird amounts of money which added up to the final total.

So... well you know, pretty much fuck big chains like this.

* Jesus Fucking Christ