Coyote Grill, Queenstown, NZ

Next place to check in a NZ town if of course a Mexican restaurant, right?  After getting back fairly late from a tour it was close to the hotel and looked pretty good, so why not?  So we checked out Coyote Grill.


One of two mandatory orders was right (and done right away) – chips & guac.  The other that wasn’t (margarita) was simply replaced with sangria.

The guac had a perfect texture and spice to it.


Two appetizers were ordered after that for dinner.

Prawns (that’s what they call shrimp) Veracruz– sautéed with mild guajillo chili and slow cooked garlic IMG_5406

Duck Tostada – shredded roast duck served on a crispy corn tortilla with salsa


The shrimp had a nice kick to them and whatever seasoning they used on the duck was amazing.  And for appetizers, these were big dishes.  Perfect end to a long day.


Went to check out a place down the street from me with all this heat because of little desire to cook.  It’s Paladar, in the DC-area, and I’d been there once right when they opened so it was packed.  Was looking forward to checking it out again.

IMG_3528 It’s a Latin restaurant which means some of their drinks are perfect for a hot evening.  My friend and I both opted for Sangria — one of us red, one of us white.  These things went down way too easily!!


For some food, we grabbed the neccesary guac then went with ceviche. The guac is served with yucca, plaintain, malanga and ‘regular’ chips.
IMG_3534They have unique ceviche options!  I opted for Salmon & Mango, which was thinly sliced salmon, fresh mango and red onion tossed in sweet and tangy coconut ginger marinade.  Very nice balance between all the flavors.


The other ceviche at the table was the Mixed Seafood one, with a great blend of fresh snapper, calamari, and shrimp tossed in sweet and tangy broth made with lemon, lime & orange juices, aji peppers, and celery, topped with fresno peppers, carrots and onion.  Nice flavors all around.

IMG_3532A place worth checking out for drinks and/or dinner, definitely on a hot summer night.

Sangria…en France

France doesn’t have to mean just (straight) wine.  When you’re in SW France you can mix some stuff in it.  When in Dax, since it’s so close to Spain, I saw a good amount of sangria on menus.  So, of course had to give it a try.  Stopped by Cafe de Bordeaux.


IMG_3143What was even better?  The price!  Think a very healthy half bottle of wine.

IMG_3145While sipping the sangria, enjoyed looking at this great fountain.  Later touched the water…naturally very warm.  Pretty interesting.



Revisited a restaurant recently that I hadn’t been to for a few years — Sugo in Potomac, MD (a suburb of DC), an Italian Osteria and Pizzeria.

IMG_2995[1]The best thing this place has to offer is their Sangria, and they also have other phenomenal dishes.


After browsing the menu for awhile decided on the Brussels sprouts to start with, served with crispy pancetta & caper aioli sherry vinaigrette. The Brussels sprouts were so perfectly crisp.  And, I don’t like aioli, but let me tell you, there wasn’t quite enough in the bowl.  I don’t know what they put in there besides what the menu states…

IMG_3003[1]Next I ordered the squid.  Or properly said, charred octopus with potato, ‏ capers and pickled radish.  Let me tell you, there was so much seafood on that plate, it was awesome!  And, so perfectly cooked, just moist when you bite into it with amazing flavor.

IMG_3004[1]Great place to check out if you need something new.

Spanish Food, Good Taste, Nice Price

There always seem to be new places opening in this area and it’s fun to actually check them out.  There is this new one in Bethesda, MD (part of a franchise) who’s name is tough to figure out based on the font but after discussion, wine, food, more wine and deep thoughts, we find out the official name is 100 Montaditos.  And what is this place?  Deep research tells you “100 Montaditos was founded in 2000, near the Spanish southern city of Huelva. Recreating the atmosphere of a traditional 19th century Spanish tavern, the restaurant specialized in montaditos, crunchy Spanish rolls baked to order and jam-packed with traditional ingredients as Serrano ham, Spanish tortilla, chorizo sausage and Manchego cheese.”

They have a huge menu of bite size food (basically little sandwiches) with great meats and cheeses.  They are all about $1-$3!  They also have some options for salad and meat plates.  My friend and I split a Spanish Gourmet platter of Serrano, Chorizo, Salami, Manchego, arugula and great bread.  It was $9 for more than enough goods.


For wines, she had some nice white for $4/glass.  I started with sangria — there are several options of basically wine and soda.  They are $3!  After that I opted for (straight) red wine for a whopping $4/glass.  Very nice house selections.

IMG_2533We sat at the bar so had service right there.  Otherwise you walk in, order at the counter, get a number, then they deliver your food to your table.  But a waiter continues to come to your table to see if you need anything.  Nice casual place.  Affordable, tasty, can be quick, or you can stay awhile.


As the food fun progresses (we know it will never end), I was able to check out another new place the other night (it’s been my true week of fun!).  After DC and Pizza Pi, I went to downtown Annapolis and per a friend’s suggestion checked out Red Red Wine Bar.  Hmmm, the name had me sold and when I knew what I was about to write, I had to pour myself a glass of such liquid to set the recap scene.

You walk in and see both beer AND WINE on tap…that’s one you don’t spot all that often.  Happy hour runs until 7 and includes a tap wine, ‘regular’ white & red (as in from bottles with corks or screws tops), beer and a unique sangria.  The atmosphere and decor are very nice and there are wine bottles for sale.

Wine menu-wise, you can get wine by the glass, flight or bottle.  They also have a full bar.

I sampled the sangria — super sweet, they had to add soda water to make it drinkable, had a flight of Pinot (CA, OR and NZ tastes) then had a wine on tap — interesting — a little too chilled, but worth the taste.

We had dinner and the food was good — I opted for seared scallops with couscous as did another at the table, while another opted for shrimp creole.  We then had a cheese plate for dessert.  Did you know even lactards (or those who are lactose intolerant) can eat, or should be able to eat, Manchego?  It’s from sheep milk!  I found this out last year…happiness.  Amazing Manchego plate with apples, dried cranberries, pecans and honey.

In the end, great overall evening, would definitely go back.  This is a great place to go when you have a variety of palettes, from drinkers to eaters.