Grand Ole Wasabi?

Was in Nashville recently and had to visit the Grand Ole Opry. Before the show started, there was time to roam around the Opryland Hotel and enjoy some dinner. After looking over the menu at the many restaurants the venue offers, we decided on Wasabi’s.

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When our waiter came over to take our drink orders, at a Japanese restaurant, we asked what they had to offer. He mentioned the traditional stuff, along with the local offering — the Gaylord Opryland 77 APA by Blackstone Brewing Company. Why not go local? Nice amber beer with a good history, so had to pair it with asian food, right?

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They have a traditional Japanese menu so deciding what to eat was sort of hard but sort of easy, in the sense that we knew what was on the menu. Ended up starting with some Seaweed Salad. Very nice taste to it.

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For the main course, we went with the Wasabi’s Sushi Sampler:
California Roll (6 Pcs)
Tuna Sashimi (3 Pcs)
Nigiri (3 Pcs): Tuna, Salmon, Shrimp

It was a very nice size and very well presented. Quite tasty, too. Now, since two of us were splitting this, we weren’t really full at the end. So, come the end, we opted to get one more bite to eat, which was/were some edamame. Perfect.
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And after dinner, the fun truly started…

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Sfoglina, DC

A restaurant visited in DC earlier this year in the Van Ness area was Sfoglina. It’s a ‘Fabio Trabocchi Restaurant, named for the female artisans and Italian cultural icons that carry on the tradition of rolling sheets of pasta by hand with a rolling pin, a technique passed through the generations.’

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Since it is a pasta house, they have quite the selection of that on the menu. There are some other choices, as well. I found some other stuff that sounded far too good not to try. So I went for the Grilled Spicy Calamari, Romesco Sauce and Maria’ Chilled Tomato Gazpacho, Vine-Ripened Tomatoes, Cucumber, Red Pepper. There were both very tasty. The calamari was just quite spicy. But I will say, quite the good size dish.

My friend opted for the special of the night, which was a spinach and veggie pasta dish. It was apparently quite good.
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Overall, the place was good. Fairly pricey for what it offered, but it’s DC. Service was intermittent. Simply getting water (re)filled was tough. We sat outside on the patio, which was nice. Glad I was able to check it out.

Torchy’s Tacos

Just moved to Fort Collins, CO and a friend came to visit. She said we had to go to Torchy’s Tacos for lunch. And, I happen to live just over a mile away from this place.

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Well, we were able to snag great seats in the bar section (vs. just the stand-in-line-and-place-an-order one). At this type of place a margarita is a first order of business. I got their ‘lite’ (or not regular) one and it was awesome. Not super syrupy – which my friend said hers was. We also had to start the meal off with some guac (no picture). This is a place that adds cheese to everything. Had to ask them to bring one sans-queso after it arrived with it on top (lactard speaking).

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There were so many choices on the menu, I was a bit overwhelmed. For a tex-mex place, there was a lot of fried stuff, which I was surprised about. I ended up getting the:

Brushfire
Jamaican jerk chicken, grilled jalapenos, mango, sour cream and cilantro with diablo sauce (got it without sour cream and diablo sauce on the side).

Mr. Pink
Gaujillo seared ahi tuna, cabbage fresca, cotija cheese, cilantro & a lime wedge with chipotle sauce (nixed the cheese and chipotle sauce).

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Fried Avocado
Hand-battered fresh avocados fried with vegetarian refried beans topped with pico de gallo, lettuce & Freshly grated cheddar jack cheese with poblano sauce.

Trailer Park
Hand-battered fried chicken, green chiles, lettuce, pico de gallo & Freshly grated cheddar jack cheese with poblano sauce. “Get it trashy” – take off the lettuce & add queso.

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There was some spice/heat involved in these guys. And dang these tacos are filling! The two of them maxed me out (not to mentione there was guac before hand). Great place to check out for awesome tex mex food in Ft. Collins.

Post Winery, Arkansas

When driving across the country you learn and see a lot of things. For me, one of those was that it is really true that all states have wineries. Found this out even more with research while writing this — check it out. One of the wineries that I visited was Post Winery in Arkansas. Oh yes, Arkansas. Post Winery has been making that grape juice since 1880.

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Per the site, they are ‘the largest winery in Arkansas and the first commercial vineyard to produce here, and the first to bring you 100% Muscadine Juice and that famous Muscadine Wine. Post Familie Vineyards is our sustainably managed farm in the foothills of the Arkansas Ozarks, altitude 780 feet, straddling the first plateau above the Arkansas River valley.’

They have a decent selection of wines. For the (free) tasting, you can pick what you’d like to sample. I will say, they weren’t from Napa or Bordeaux. Most had a taste close to Welch’s. There wasn’t anything there that I needed to leave with, but it was nice to check a winery state off the list.

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Olney Ale House

After after an adventurous morning at the Sandy Spring Adventure Park (just outside DC), my friend and I needed to refuel. Note: if you’re looking for climbing, zipline, and more, check this place out! We found a restaurant a couple miles away that was just perfect — the Olney Ale House, in Olney, MD. It has quite the history.

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It was a nice day outside so we were able to sit on their large deck and enjoy the weather. They have quite a selection of brew and good menu. My friend and I both decided on the same thing, the Ginger Shrimp Salad   .   .   .   $14.50
Grilled marinated shrimp, field greens, pineapple, mange, toasted sesame seeds, cilantro.

This salad was amazing. So bright, so fresh, and so many flavors. That whole thing was devoured. I enjoyed it with a hard cider, too. Great way to refuel after the morning and enjoy the gorgeous day.

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Yellowstone

Finally got to visit Yellowstone National Park when I was in Wyoming this year. The size of it is just amazing, so much to explore. The trip was primarily driving, with a few stops along the way.

Was able to take in Old Faithful. We had about half hour to wait before seeing it, which meant we were able to snag front row seats. It was such a beautiful day outside that waiting was not a problem. As the geyser started to erupt, it took some time before the tallest one came about, then it lived up to expectations.

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Lunch was enjoyed at the Old Faithful Snow Lodge Geyser Grill, after watching Old Faithful. Enjoyed a Smoked Bison Bratwurst Sandwich and local brew.

Throughout the rest of the park (and before seeing Old Faithful), we soaked in so many sights. Pictures barely do them justice:

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Shortly before leaving the park, we saw wildlife! I was not zooming in on the bison, and I was ‘far’ away, still in the car. Some crazy people were literally at arm’s length from the animal and almost looked to be petting him.

 

 

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As the day wrapped up, we left the park in Montana. To get back to Jackson, had to go back through Idaho, so a nice 3-state day. Loved the Yellowstone trip!

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This thing they call a Rodeo

Finally got to see a Rodeo. Garth Brooks came to mind with two of his songs when I walked towards the event — both Rodeo and Beaches of Cheyenne, since I was in (Jackson,) WY watching all this take place.

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The cowboy boots were set by those attending, I just didn’t happen to have my hat with me.

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Had never seen all the ins and out of this great event, from hearing the announcer, the amazing country music, the cowboys and the animals.

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Great night in Jackson, will definitely check out another one, either there or where I happen to find another when in town.

Teton Thai

Was in Jackson Hole, WY earlier this year and got to check out a couple places. The first was Teton Thai, which is right at the base of the mountain.

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With the beautiful weather and scenery…

 

had to kick off the meal with a refreshing brew. Opted for the Hoback Hefe(weizen) by Snake River Brewing Company. Perfect for a warm summer day. While a hefe, not overkill on the wheat, hint of banana and just refreshing.

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There was a lots of good stuff to pick from on the menu, which made it tough. I finally narrowed it down to the YUM WOON SEN $14. Glassy noodles, chopped chicken & shrimp, tomato, red onions with cilantro, lime & chili dressing. I asked for the dressing on the side because it was apparently hot.

This salad was perfect. Light, fresh and just delicious. So many flavors came together. Could eat something like this everyday. And, enjoying it while sitting outside and taking in the scenery made it even better.

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Black Market

Black Market can mean many things. Well, the most recent place I tested the name was at Jeff Black’s version of it in Garrett Park, MD, Black Market Bistro.

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The last time I visited the place was probably 12 years ago and that was for brunch. Wow, it’s changed – it’s gotten much more popular and the menu is different.

Went on a Wednesday night and it was a solid 30 minute wait at around 7:45pm. Once we sat down, it didn’t take too long to decide what to get because we’d had a chance to glance at the menu while waiting. I will say, I ordered a heck of a lot of seafood!

So for the first course, the food that came to the table included:

Marinated Warm Grilled Squid Salad | $14 | Over Arugula in a Red Wine Vinaigrette with Kalamata Olives, Chili Flakes, Feta Cheese, Red Onions, Pine Nuts & Lemon Zest

First — the feta was genuine feta, so I could eat it. Everything other than the lettuce was hot-warm (which was perfect), and the squid was perfectly cooked. Heaven! I had to not eat it all because of the 2nd course.

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Cornmeal Crusted Oysters | $13 | House Made Tartar Sauce

The plate was demolished, or the food on the plate was. Apparently perfect — crusted and cooked to perfection, with quite a tasty tartar sauce.

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Second Course:

Swordfish special of the night. Can’t remember the entire description, but solid steaks, lettuce, nice vinaigrette, and delicious!

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New Orleans Style Barbeque Shrimp | $27 | Sweet Corn & Scallion Grits, Wilted Swiss Chard & Toasted Baguette

Bring on the grit drool and mouth watering shrimp is what I determined/heard from across the table.

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I took home a good amount of leftovers because both courses were big. The service was a bit slow and it was hard to get the waiter at some points, and then at others he was always there. But, as mentioned, it was a busy night.

A couple good wines were enjoyed, but forgot to take note of those. I think the food was the highlight of the night.

Check it out if you’re in the area. It’s definitely a hidden gem. Even if you know the area, you might have to pull out your phone to get you there from Strathmore Ave.

Cheers!

Servilleta

If you speak Spanish, you might be thinking napkin. But, if you look around the cheese section at Trader Joe’s you might know I’m talking cheese. Found this one recently, which is a goat cheese, aged in cloth (which I am sort of thinking is where they got the name) for at least four months.

It has a subtle bite and is more firm than the ‘normal’ goat cheese. It can be easily cut, as in it doesn’t squish. Nice to serve on crackers, with veggies and to pair with wine.

Salud!

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