Friday, July 31, 2015

Restaurant Review: Aviary Cafe and Creperie with [Video] Recipe

Strawberry, Banana, Nutella, Gluten-Free Crepe
My prospects for a trip to Paris in the near future are non-existent, so yesterday I opted for the next best scenario in the mid-west, lunch at the Aviary Cafe and Creperie.  Upon entry, the decor gives homage to the quaint artsy-crafty detail of the French countryside. I immediately smiled as I entered, leaving the cold cloudy December day behind. 

A bit too much drama? Maybe?

Roasted Red Pepper Soup

The Aviary is the perfect beginning. The employees are some of the most attentive and knowledgeable I've encountered. Our server was conscientious and eager to make our dining experience positive and gluten-free. It didn't come up, but I don't think "hold the bacon" would upset the staff. 

Yes, they offer gluten-free crepes for just $2.00 extra. What a treat! The options are plentiful and next time I plan to try the Coq au Vin, but yesterday I had the Venetian Garden crepe served with a side of sauteed butter beans and kale. The crepe is a tasty faire of fresh asparagus, spinach, mushrooms, and cherry tomatoes sauteed with garlic and shallots, inside the crepe the mixture is topped with ricotta. The flavor is divine and much to my surprise the portions are man-sized. That's right guys, you won't walk away hungry. The menu includes many beef, chicken, and pork options and if you aren't in the mood for a crepe, no worries, Aviary offers a wide variety of sandwiches and salads. 

I don't drink alcohol at lunch unless the occasion is extra special, nevertheless, tempted to try the Spanish Sangria, I resisted and had some excellent coffee instead. I can't wait to return on an evening with friends to share a mimosa drink board described on the menu as "A bowl of oranges, a bottle of bubbly, flutes and a juicer! For fun and for sharing, when you just want to do it yourself."  It does sound fun.

The restaurant  has an excellent website: Aviary Cafe and Creperie on the web!

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Friday, June 12, 2015

YOSHI JEN GRILL & SIDES in Springfield, MO

Yoshi means good luck at Yoshi Jen it translates into good food!

Jen tells me: Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Vietnamese cuisines fuse in the Hawaiian Islands to emerge as Pan-Asian.

Over the last decade, the trend perfected in the major metropolitan areas landed in the Heartland. In the beginning, here in middle-America, the adaption was slow as the imitators went a little too wild with strong overpowering flavors, and unfamiliar names, but recently; we’ve all become more mature and educated. The mild fusion of delicious aroma and flavor known as Pan-Asian are some of our favorite foods in the Ozarks.

Today, many do it well, but no one blends the flavors, atmosphere, and genuine customer service better than Yoshi Jen. The sleek understated furnishings allow the feeling of sunshine to radiate from the pale yellow walls while tiny pastel metallic tiles add the reflection. The small restaurant could easily serve as a model of positive Feng-Sui. Yoshi Jen is proof positive that Asian inspired food does not require diners to eat in the dark. This establishment might be the cleanest I have had the pleasure of patronizing. Even the floor is spotless. Yoshi Jen is a happy place.

The food is delicious! I should know, it is my neighborhood spot, a place where I feel completely comfortable going alone any time of day. Dine-in, carry-out, it is consistently wonderful.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Bambu Vietnamese Cuisine in Springfield, MO

When Bambu opened its doors several years ago, it was different than it is today. Back then the server had to painstakingly explain the dishes and the ingredients to our party and quite frankly it was too laborious to be enjoyable. Often an establishment will begin to spiral into a decline, but this tortoise slowly but surely climbs.

Recently, on a few occasions I revisited the restaurant. These days the menu is more sympathetic to the average patron which allows for a more pleasant beginning to the dining experience. 

The decor is charmingly gaudy. Sitting in the midst of the reoccurring bamboo theme I'm entertained by the overall appearance. The mood lighting is somewhat retro, all soft and shadowy which is okay with me, but for many it might be problematic.

Although it isn't by definition a standard use of the word, my son refers to a category of cooking as sub-Asian. For him, this includes: Vietnamese, Korean, Pan-Asian, Thai, and Indian cuisine. It separates the modern influx of distinctly different kitchens from the area's older more common Chinese meals.

Barbecue Pork with Steamed Rice
The menu is extensive with a lot of curries and soups that are visibly very popular. I love curry, but on three different occasions I ordered variations of beef steak. The beef is so delicious, it's hard to consider anything else. Reportedly, the barbecued pork is equally as succulent.