Tuesday, 28 October 2014

NANDOS FLAME GRILLED CHICKEN 3.5 out of 5

832 Bay Street, Toronto, On. (416) 925-8888, 11:00 am to 11:00 pm every day, except Fri. and Sat. 11:00 am to 12:00 am
Originating in South Africa in the late 80's Nando's quickly became a success story due to it's Portuguese style rotisserie chicken with a peri peri sauce that sure has a kick.  It has since spread around the world and recently opened a spot on Bay Street in downtown Toronto (it also has 5 other locations in the GTA).
The interior is rather cramped when it gets busy and very noisy and the Brazilian music is quite loud.  The furniture is sourced directly from South Africa and is very colourful and unique.

Upon entering you may find yourself in a line (we have been here a number of times and it can get very busy) that may include take out patrons.  You are seated as the line moves and are given a menu.  Here is where it gets tricky - you select from the menu for your table (you have to remember your table number) and place the order at a counter where you will also pay for the entire order including any drinks and alcohol!  You better remember what each person in you group wants because once you pay for it if someones order is wrong, or someone wants to add something - you will have to get back in line!!  This may work in South Africa, but I find it a silly process.  Next, you have to go to a counter to collect all the utensils for your table.  The food is prepared and then delivered along with any alcohol ordered.  Soft drinks are self serve.  On a very busy evening it can be a nightmare.  We saw an employee being a waitress, busboy, cook and maitre d.  Our only conclusion here - cost savings!!


Pop machine is self serve and includes coca-cola and various flavours like vanilla, cherry, strawberry etc. that can be added to it.
We usually chose their Catedral red wine and it was very good.
My son Mark ordered their hummus dip with pita as an appetizer. Unfortunately I did not get a picture of it - but it contains a good portion of hummus and an unequal portion of pitas.  When we asked for more (not to waste the large amount of hummus left in the bowl - we had to pay 85 cents!!
For his main he ordered the quarter chicken with leg (with medium peri peri) and peri peri fries.  The fries where very tasty and the chicken very meaty and tender.
My wife ordered the quarter chicken with breast and coleslaw.  She really like the coleslaw and found that even the breast meat was very tender.  I ordered the half chicken with garlic mashed potatoes and coleslaw.  The potatoes were filling, the coleslaw was delicious and the chicken was tender and meaty.

All in all we have found the food here quite good and filling and reasonably priced for the portion received -unlike Swiss Chalet where they look more like pigeons than chickens. The wine is very reasonably priced and tipping is not necessary, since you are paying at the cash and are not really assigned any waitress.  The only problems here are the ordering process is very annoying and the noise can get quite loud. We have been here several times and found things much the same each time.
Nando's Flame Grilled Chicken on Urbanspoon

Saturday, 4 October 2014

CHEESECAKE FACTORY 4.5 out of 5

Forum Shops at Caesars, 3500 S Las Vegas Boulevard, Las Vegas Nevada, (702) 792-6888, Mon-Fri 11:00 am to 11:30 pm, Sat-Sun 10:30 am to 12:30 am

Beverly Hills, 364 N. Beverly Drive, Beverly Hills, Ca. (310) 278-7270, Open for lunch and dinner 7 days a week and late hours Fri. and Sat.

We went to two cheesecake factories while on vacation.  One was in the forum shops area of Caesars, the other was in Beverly Hills just off Rodeo Drive.  They are absolutely amazing restaurants!!
CAESARS






While examining their giant menu we decided on a nice Berringer Cabernet Sauvignon which is sold here under their label.
After we ordered our wine, a basket of fresh breads arrived at our table.
Their menu is quite extensive and varied, which makes selection so hard, however my wife and I chose the same dish, herb crusted salmon.
Despite being so covered in herbs, it tasted divine and not a bit over done.  The mashed potatoes under the fish were melt in your mouth and the asparagus spears were cooked perfectly and not mushy.  This meal was excellent!
Normally I avoid dessert after such a large portion, but since it was the Cheese Factory, I had to indulge.  So we examined the dessert menu of cheesecakes and other desserts.
Since the mains were so large we decided to split the dessert and chose the Tiramisu cheesecake.  It was light not heavy and spectacular!!!

My wife accompanied it with a coffee and I had a double espresso.
The meal was incredible and any dishes I saw come out of the kitchen were impressive.  The price was very reasonable for what we had.



BEVERLY  HILLS
We also managed to have lunch at the Cheesecake Factory near Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills - it too was amazing!! 


My wife had the fetuccine alfredo it was divine!
I had a half turkey sandwich and salad (the pic did not turn out well).
 We absolutely enjoyed both cheesecake factories and would certainly return.  They are well run, have great food and service and are very reasonably priced - a winning combination!! They have become one of our favourite restaurants!!

The Cheesecake Factory on Urbanspoon

The Cheesecake Factory on Urbanspoon

Friday, 3 October 2014

P. F. CHANGS CHINA BISTRO 3.5 out of 5

Planet Hollywood, 3667 Las Vegas Boulevard, (702) 836-0955, Mon-Thurs and Sun 11am to 12:00am, Fri and Sat 11:00am to 1:00 am
During our visit to Vegas we decided to try P. F. Changs located in the Planet Hollywood Hotel.  It has an elegant and dramatic feel when you walk in.




The waiter came over and gave us a menu right away.
We chose the dynamite shrimp as a starter.
It was a good portion for sharing between the two of us, but we found the sauce a little too hot and we have had better versions of this dish.  Next we ordered some fried rice, it contained some broccoli, green onions, shredded carrot and tiny pieces of snow pea. It was a typical fried rice for sharing.
For our main we chose a dish consisting of chicken, shrimp, bok choy, snow peas, celery, carrots and water chestnut in light plain sauce.  Though filling and reasonably priced, it was rather ordinary in flavour.

We were not too impressed with the food here, however we only tried some limited selections and kept comparing it to Noodles in the Bellagio (far superior in our opinion).  However, we would give it another try in the future and be a little more daring with our selections.  The service was efficient and the restaurant is very comfortable.

 P.F. Chang's China Bistro on Urbanspoon

Thursday, 2 October 2014

NOODLES 4.5 out of 5

Bellagio, 3600 Las Vegas Boulevard, Las Vegas Nevada, (702) 693-7223, open Monday to Sunday 11:00 am to 2:00 am
Located in the Bellagio Hotel is a classy clean oriental restaurant called noodles.





We began by ordering a wonderful, reasonably priced California wine.
We ordered the calamari (usually our favourite app).  They were tender crispy and were accompanied by a delicious Thai chili sauce.
We also ordered edamame and they were warm and nicely salted and there were plenty of them.
Knowing that the portions here would be large - we decided to split a shrimp pad thai.  It contained very large and tender shrimp that were cooked to perfection.  The noodles were firm not mushy and ratio of sprouts to vegetables to noodles was perfect.  It was one of the best pad thai's we have ever tasted.



We did not have room for dessert so my wife had a cappuccino.
I had a double espresso.  Both coffees came with a plastic spoon coated with sugar to stir the coffees.
We thoroughly enjoyed our meals here and would definitely recommend it if you visit Las Vegas.  The food is outstanding and the prices are very reasonable - especially considering that this restaurant is located in the Bellagio.

Noodles on Urbanspoon

http://www.bellagio.com/restaurants/noodles.aspx