Friday, October 22, 2010

Review: Sunday Brunch at the Broadmoor - Colorado Springs, Colorado

Ahhhh...the Broadmoor.

I had seen the fine delicacies of this hotel on many travel and food network shows, and  I have always wanted to come here for Brunch.On our recent visit to Colorado Springs, M didn't let me down. I am normally not a huge buffet fan, the good ones are so expensive and I usually get full on one plate. I also have a hard time deciding what I want, and make all of the wrong choices. Not at the Broadmoor though; not at all!

As you drive onto the property you are immediately greeted with stunning mountain views and beautiful architecture. The sight took my breathe away, and I was giddy with excitement. I imagine that when I strike it rich I'll be staying on properties around the world that are this breathless, but for now I relish in the moment and thank M once again for bringing me here.

We had a reservation for 11:30, after getting a little lost on the way in we made it to the hostess station at 11:31. We were immediately seated and the hostess pulled out my chair AND laid my napkin across my lap. As our waitress arrived to take our drink order, I mentally prepared myself for the treats that lie ahead. Once she walked away, we practically ran to the buffet.
My Plate

M's Plate

One of my most favorite breakfast dishes is Eggs Benedict. I knew that they had a made to order station for them, so this was my first stop. M headed straight to the omelet station. We had to wait for a little while, and I have to admit that once I got my order an overwhelming feeling of anxiousness set in. I had no idea what I wanted now or what direction to go. As soon as I noticed the mountain of bacon and sausage, I felt more at ease. My first plate consisted of the following: Eggs Benedict, corned beef hash, bacon, sausage link, cheese blintz with berry sauce, mini bagel with lox, pan fried potatoes. M had an omelet, bacon, sausage link, potatoes, and a cheese biscuit. He said the omelet was the best he ever had! After we finished, we took a 15 min break, and then explored some more. From the carving station, we both got a slice of Honey Glazed Ham. I  also had a slice of Rib Eye Tenderloin with fresh horse radish sauce. The ham was so good; it was moist but crispy on the outside. I also had a few slices of cheese and a Belgium waffle; M had pancakes.

Only part of the dessert table

I forgot to take a picture of the Bananas Foster!

After that plate, we took another break and then headed up for dessert. There was a lady there making Bananas Fosters to order, and that was what I HAD to have. I made M get some too, even though he said he didn't like them. Next we hit up the chocolate fountain, because I don't know anyone that can pass up 4 feet of liquid chocolate goodness. M also got a gold dusted brownie; it was delicious!!!

I loved this place! I loved the food, atmosphere, and everything about it!!! There was only one thing wrong....and it's not even my complaint. M wanted grits, and there were none on the buffet. The buffet staff told us to ask our waitress and the kitchen staff could make some if they had them available. We did that, but our waitress forgot all about it.

If you decide to check out the brunch, dress sharp as they have a strict dress code and don't forget your wallet because it's pretty pricey. I bet they'd make you work for days if you couldn't afford it!!! Just kidding, everyone was so nice, they would probably let you slide...Oh, and wear your expandable pants :o)

Here are some photos from an area just past the dinning room. It was really a spectacular place.

View from right above the front entrance of the hotel

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Review: La Baguette French Bakery & Cafe - Colorado Springs, Colorado


On Saturday, M and I decided to explore Old Colorado Springs. We were pleasantly surprised to find a ton of shops, restaurants, and ton of people walking around, enjoying theirs days. It was kind of late and we didn't eat breakfast before we left, so luckily we found this local hot spot - La Baguette French Bakery & Cafe. Check out the beautiful Croissant Chicken sandwich above. We sat outside and shared our sandwich, which was accompanied by some fresh fruit. The croissant was huge, fresh, flaky, and buttery. The generous portion of chicken salad was very flavorful, and didn't have all of the fru-fru stuff that some places add (you know raisins, walnuts, grapes, curry, etc). The restaurant was crowded and I noticed that a ton of people were enjoying the french onion soup. It looked delicious! I would've liked to try it to if we weren't on the go....I'll keep that in mind for next time. 

As we were strolling around, we hit up a farmers market that was happening down the street from the bakery. Everything looked so fresh and delicious. If we were headed back to ABQ right away, I would have bought one of everything!

La Baguette French Bakery and Cafe on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Review: Ritz Grill - Colorado Springs, Colorado

Last weekend, M took me on a surprise weekend getaway to Colorado Springs. He planned everything!!! Which was awesome because I didn't have to do a thing....We started our trip out of Albuquerque around 9, and arrived in the Springs around 2:30. We had plans as soon as we got there to go to the Money Museum. I'm kind of a coin collecting nerd, so this was a real highlight for me! Afterwards, we went to our hotel and relaxed for a while before dinner.

Dinner was in downtown at a restaurant called the Ritz Grill. It gave the impression of being an upscale old fashioned diner. They are famous for the really good food and martinis, of course. Since it's downtown there was an wide array of customers. There were a lot of business people mixed in with some hip looking youngsters.

We had a reservation, and were seated right away. We picked out a booth and had a really nice, but very quiet waitress.We could barely hear a word she said, but thank goodness she could hear us because she got our drink order right. I got a Cherry Limeade martini, and M got his usual Tanqueray and Tonic.She also brought out some warm house baked sour dough bread. We knew that the food would be good when we ate this.
Beef Bulgogi Lettuce Wraps
Graham Cracker Encrusted Calamari
Chicken Cordon Bleu

There were so many things to choose from on the menu, that we decided to share a few things. Plus, we were  starving so the idea of having lots of food in front of us right away was very appealing! We ordered 2 appetizers, Graham Cracker Encrusted Calamari and Beef Bulgogi Lettuce Wraps with Kim-chi and Pickled Cucumbers (isn't that a pickle anyway?). Both were amazing! For our entree we split the Free Range Chicken Cordon Bleu with ham, gouda, mornay sauce, baby carrots, spinach. This was also amazing!!! We could've licked the plate, but since we were minding our manners we used the chicken to mop up all the sauce.

We were at the restaurant pretty early, as we had reservations at 7:30 but stayed until after 9. There was a band setting up while we were eating, but we left before they played.We were so full that we wanted to walk around awhile to check out the downtown nightlife. After about a block we were ready for dessert, and found Pike's Perk Coffee & Tea Shop and got our chocolate fix on with a slice of cake AND a mocha. The cake slice was humongous and equally delicious!!!

I was very impressed with both the Ritz and Pike's Perk. And not to mention Colorado Springs. We had such a fantastic time strolling through downtown. We found a ton of other restaurants that we're going to have go back and try. My only complaint about the Ritz was that it was so loud. It seemed like M and were yelling at each other across the table the whole night.

Ritz Grill on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Review: 5 Star Burgers - Albuquerque, New Mexico

This past Monday was Columbus Day. M and I both had the day off, and it was such a nice day! For lunch we went to the new Rt. 66 Malt Shop on Central only to find it closed...Sooo, instead we went to 5 Star Burgers on Wyoming and Academy. This hamburger spot was recently mentioned in USA Today's 51 Great Burgers list. Currently there are two 5 Star Burger restaurants; one here in Abq and the other in Taos. When looking at the prices, here are some things to remember about this place (they are pretty pricey):
  • there beef is All Natural, hormone and antibiotic free Black Angus, ground fresh every day at Five Star
  • No Trans Fats, anywhere
  • Continually source products from New Mexico
  • Recycled and biodegradable paper products
  • Drink cups are made from recycled plastic
  • Carry out containers are made from 100% recycled paper
  • Energy efficient equipment
  • Frying oils recycled for bio diesel fuel
Business was pretty good for a Monday afternoon. As I perused the menu, I was also eyeballing other people's burgers (M hates it when I do that, but I think it's a perfectly fine way to figure out what to get). I decided on the green chile cheese burger with Pepper Jack cheese and Green Chile mayo, and M chose the  5 Star Burger with Gorgonzola cheese and Applewood Smoked bacon. They'll cook your burger how you'd like it as well.

The burgers were really really tasty, and juicy! At some places when you order a burger well done it's served so dry. Having this one that was so juicy was a pleasant surprise. One thing that disappointed me were the fries. First they are not included with your burger, and when you're shelling out over $8 for one burger this is pretty disappointing. Second, we ordered some to split and they are not as generous of a portion as the burger and they weren't anything special.

I do like that they have a burger of the month, and if you follow them on twitter you can also find other deals. Today they were offering 10% off meals for APS teachers or maybe that's all the time. Not sure.

I'm posting the menu for you all to check out. What do you think, am I being a cheapskate?

Five Star Burgers on Urbanspoon

Review: Thunder Road Steakhouse and Cantina - Albuquerque, New Mexico

My New York Strip

M's T-bone

Derek had the tacos del pescado (fish tacos)

Sacha had the Bistec del Mar (Flank Steak with Sauteed Crab and Asadero Cheese Sauce)
As I mentioned last week my friends and I were still celebrating my birthday by going to the Rt. 66 Casino over the weekend. M and I got a room because I wanted to party it up (yeah right), and I have to say that we were pretty impressed with the entire place as soon as we got there.

We arrived around 4, and immediately went upstairs to check out our room. We were on the 6th floor, and had a great view of the hotels' marquee and parking lot. Not that bad of a view, there were lots of lights and people coming and going, so we had a lot to look at. Once settled, we went down to the casino to find a drink. We found some really great margarita's at the new restaurant Thunder Road. In fact, the margarita's were so good that I quickly guzzled down the first one and found that I had room for a couple more. The bartender was really friendly and pointed out that they have a complimentary salsa bar with 12 salsas, fresh made tortillas, and a few other things to nibble on. This made my day because we weren't going to eat until 8, and I needed a snack.

After awhile we headed back up to the room, took a quick nap, and felt recharged for the night! We met some friends for dinner, and I think that we were all pretty impressed with the steakhouse. The food was good, the prices were decent, and there was live music. The band plays on a stage that above the bar! It was all pretty exciting.

See that police car? It is actually on the bar, and when the band comes up, the car goes into the ceiling!

Anyway, back to the food...I had a NY strip, that came with calabacitas and chile mashers. The mashers were excellent! They were loaded with green chile, butter, and garlic. I am definitely going to try and make these at home. M got the T-bone with mashers and beans. The steaks were cooked just right, and really juicy! I had another margarita to accompany my meal, and my buddy Derek had a Green Chile Rita that had quite the kick.

After dinner, we checked out the KXX Nightclub and did a little dancing. It was pretty crowded and the music was good! It was SO nice to have a room afterwards...

Overall, I really enjoyed the restaurant; and the casino for that matter. The atmosphere was fun, and the food was good and not too expensive. They offered generous portions as well. The waitstaff was attentive, and friendly. It's definitely worth the drive out; Rt. 66 is about 20 min west of Albuquerque on the Laguna Pueblo.

Thunder Road Steakhouse & Cantina on Urbanspoon

Friday, October 8, 2010

Birthday Party!

After work on Wednesday I went to my moms for a special birthday dinner. She and my sister-in-law prepared a fantastic feast! We had a dish my mom is famous for called french beef with rice. My sister-in-law made her famous green chile stew. Also, there were chicken wings, salad, and a ton of various side treats. For dessert we had a birthday cake, with 2 kinds of ice cream.

My mom even made candied apples. Yes, candied apples. Which I thought was funny, because I cannot remember my mom EVER making candied or caramel apples when we were little, even though I always wanted her too. I was too full to eat one on this night, but I had one the next day, and boy was it good. I found out later that she made them with apples from one of New Mexico's most famous apple orchards, Dixon Farms. That reminded me of another thing we never did as kids...picked apples!

Another birthday has come and gone, but the celebrations haven't! M is coming up from Alamogordo this weekend and we are going to eat dinner here and then party it up here. It's going to be so much fun! I'll try to remember to take lots of pictures, but the restaurant has a tequila bar, and my friends know how I am when it comes to margaritas!

Thanks again to all my FB friends for the birthday wishes! It made me feel so special!

Review: The Range Cafe - Albuquerque, New Mexico

Wednesday was my birthday, and my boss treated me to lunch at a famous local dive called The Range Cafe. When I was in cooking school, I got to go on a field trip to, at that time, the only location in the town of Bernallilo. We went to check out all of the in house desserts and had a great talk with the owners about running a restaurant and cooking. I don't really remember all the details, but I know that it took forever to get there! So, I was glad when they started expanding throughout the city, and now they have 3 locations. I keep hoping that they'll take over the old Carrow's on the corner of Zuni and San Mateo. It would be so nice if it was just down the street...

This place is famous for it's eclectic interior design, and delicious home style cooking. Oh, and their bakery (I can't forget that!). I have enjoyed just about everything that I have sampled and a few of my favorites are the Eggs Benedict, Meatloaf Sandwich, Huevos con Queso, and the B.L.O.A.E.T.M. (bacon, lettuce, onion, avocado, english muffin, tomato, and mayo).

On this particular visit I stuck with something I know best, and had the meatloaf sandwich with a side salad. It of course was delicious...the waiter was really cool, and for dessert he brought me a slice of a heavenly chocolate cake that tasted like a brownie.

I, of course, recommend the Range.We were seated right away, the service was great, we got our food fairly quickly, and the food was served hot and delicious!

I only suggest that if you're headed there for breakfast or lunch, get there early! We arrived around 11:30 and had no problems having a party of 6 seated right away, but the restaurant filled up fast and there was a wait when we left.
I hope that my wish comes true!
Range Café on Urbanspoon

Friday, October 1, 2010

Recipe: Deep Dish Apple Pie

I have never made an apple pie before! Not even in culinary school. I was more partial to cream pies (especially coconut). Since we're in apple season, I decided to give it a whirl. The recipe was pretty easy to follow, and it tasted really really good. My only complaint is that after baking  I couldn't get the slices to stay in shape. Can anyone tell why this happened? The only thing I could think of is that my apple slices should've been thinner...

See what happened when I sliced into it!

 Here's the recipe (courtesy of Food Network):


  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 pounds Granny Smith apples, sliced 1/2-inch thick
  • 2 pounds Macintosh Apples, sliced 1/2-inch thick
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • Pinch ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup pecan pieces (we did not use nuts)
  • 1 recipe Pie Dough, recipe follows
  • 1 egg, beaten


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large saute pan, melt the butter. Add the apples and saute for 2 minutes. Add the sugars, lemon juice and flour. Continue to saute for 2 minutes. Season the apples with nutmeg, cinnamon, and salt. Mix thoroughly and remove from the heat. Mix in the pecans. Cool the mixture.

Lightly dust a surface with flour. Cut the dough in half. Roll out each half to 12 inches in diameter and about 1/8-inch thick. Fold 1 circle of dough in fourths. Carefully lift the dough and place in a 10-inch deep-dish pie pan. Unfold the pie dough and spoon the apples into the pie shell. Place the second round of dough over the apples. Using a sharp knife cut away the excess dough. Using your fingers, crimp the edges of the pie firmly to seal the dough completely. With the same sharp knife, make 3 slits, about 4 inches long and 2 inches apart, across the pie dough. Brush with the beaten egg, place the pie in the oven, and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes.
Pie Dough:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
11 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
3 tablespoons solid vegetable shortening
5 tablespoons ice water

Sift the flour, sugar, and salt into a large bowl. Using your fingers, work in the butter and shortening until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add 4 tablespoons of ice water and work with your fingers until the water is incorporated and the dough comes together. Add more water as needed just until the dough comes together, being careful not to over mix. Form the dough into a disk, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before using.

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