Sunday, November 3, 2013

Bleu Monkey Grill ~ Hot Springs, Arkansas

On now for the final restaurant from Mr. Music's Hot Springs trip. This one apparently did not live up to its lofty reputation.

Our friend, Ms. ChefGirl had done some research and wanted to try a place called the Bleu Monkey. It looked like a modern, American spot. The menu had some interesting items and they boasted a dozen or so beers on tap so we decided to give it a try. My buddy, BeerBoy and I bolted for the bar, but the most exciting things on tap were Blue Moon and Goose Island Honker’s ale. I opted for iced tea. We sat down and looked at the menu and I actually saw a few things that looked really good. Cuban sandwich? Bleu Monkey Shrimp, a dish made with pan seared shrimp seasoned with a pickapeppa sauce served with Cuban black beans, fresh mango salsa, steamed white rice and fried plantains was a contender as well. But Mr. Music settled on what seemed to be a twist on a Vietnamese specialty: Lemongrass chicken sandwich! Grilled lemongrass chicken with marinated cucumbers, carrots, onion, chilies, and cilantro all on a fresh roll with shallot mayo. Mrs. Music ordered the Crabby patty! Being a huge SpongeBob fan, Music Junior immediately wanted that too until I explained it was a patty made from crab! With that she opted for chicken tenders. Baby Music got some grilled chicken and mashed potatoes. The food came and everything looked really good and the portions were good sized too. The crab cake on the Crabby Patty was huge! Mrs. Music took a big bite of her Crabby Patty. And then another. After a few bites she said the patty barely had any crab and was almost all corn meal! I took a bite myself. It was mushy and didn’t taste like crab at all. My Lemongrass chicken didn’t have much lemongrass or any other seasoning that I could taste either. I noticed Baby Music wasn’t eating her food so I tried the grilled chicken. Dry and bland! The mashed potatoes were as well. How could everything sound so good on the menu, look so good, yet all be so blah? Our friends also said their meals were lacking taste as well. Our waiter was really good and the staff was friendly, but overall what a disappointment! I couldn’t believe this place got “Best new restaurant in Arkansas” by the Arkansas times!

Website

Bleu Monkey Grill on Urbanspoon

Saturday, November 2, 2013

The English Muffin ~ Hot Springs, Arkansas

(photo courtesy of Urbanspoon)

Oh where have thou gone RJG? Well, believe it or not, we haven't been to a single new restaurant since Burrito Jimmy in late August. You can always tell when the RJG is in work hell by my total absence from this blog. My last two months have averaged 75 hours a week (some closer to 90). I use the weekends to catch up on stuff a normal person would do during the week. When I'm cooking on this blog, so to speak, I'm at a usual 45 to 50 hour a week pace. And even better are the stay at home vacations. We have been eating out some - certainly not near as much as normal - but mainly to our favorites around NE Tarrant. I do sense the clouds are breaking some. November might be my re-entry point. For certain in December we should be back on pace. I have been diligent in keeping up with the updates, which keeps me tethered to the blog in some form or fashion anyway.

Just because the RJG stopped doesn't mean that DFW did. There are a lot of new restaurants in the area that we are anxious to try, plus some new breweries coming along such as Grapevine Craft Beer, Shannon Brewing (Keller), and Cobra Brewing (Lewisville - and a personal friend of our own Mr. Music).

And speaking of Mr. Music, we still have two more entries from his Hot Springs trip back in August. Time to get these out there!

This restaurant got some of the most promising reviews of any place we read about, so we were excited to go. Nestled in a corner spot that overlooked Lake Hamilton, we got a nice long table by the window. The menu was pretty basic: This is for certain a breakfast diner. I ordered a spinach omelet with Swiss cheese and a side of fruit. Mrs. Music ordered Eggs Benedict. Music Junior got pancakes and Baby Music had some scrambled eggs and a sausage patty. The omelet was really good - lots of spinach and the eggs were whipped or something as they were so fluffy! The cheese they used was processed Swiss cheese food, not real Swiss cheese. I would have preferred real Swiss, but it was still good. The biggest disappointment for me was the fruit. I was expecting a bowl of fresh fruit, but it was canned fruit in syrup. My dish also came with a sourdough English muffin. I’m not sure what brand they used, but it was thick and sour and really, really good! Mrs. Music loved her eggs Benedict. She asked for the yolks to be fully cooked and they were perfect. ChefGirl got the homemade corned beef hash with hash browns and said it was fantastic. She gave me a bite and I agreed - some of the best corned beef hash I’ve had. It was very meaty with almost no filler. Overall, it was a good experience. So much so that BeerBoy wanted to go again to try the corned beef hash. We did and I had the same omelet but went with home fried potatoes instead of the fruit. They were great! They sautéed fresh onion, bell pepper, and diced potatoes on the grill for a tasty companion to my omelet. Mrs. Music had a seafood omelet and loved it. BeerBoy loved his corned beef hash and gave me some - again I concurred. We had read the coffee was very good and so we all had it and agreed. On each of our visits our waitress was friendly and attentive. Two good experiences!

The English Muffin on Urbanspoon