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Levon's Obsessions

A gal whose obsessions lie within fat, sugar, carbs, caffeine, and beverages that could strengthen the heart or seal up a womb.

Archive for the tag “fine dining”

Minton’s Playhouse – Harlem

After going to the Minton’s Supper Club reception the other week in Harlem (ok fine, I’ve slacked, it was several months ago..) it was a no brainer where I’d be heading that perfect Saturday evening in Harlem with my number one guy. The food presentation from the reception never left me, nor did the owner’s full historical recap, not-to-mention revival tale of the landmark location.

mintonsreceptionThe intrigue re-emmerged at our 8:00pm reservation that evening, and I was still a bit shocked about how such a rich history at this foodie gem had remained hidden until I discovered it a few months back.  Well the secret was definitely out, and Chef Banks White and Executive Chef Alexander Smalls now both have a face to go with these impeccably plated creations.

That night all the mouth-watering hors d’oeuvres from the previous Minton’s Supper Club re-opening came full circle.  The biggest hit being the mini crab cakes, with the prosciutto wrapped asparagus not at all being short of flavor, and the spicy Cajun prawns immediately punching you with intensity.

Saturday we started with the Grilled Shrimp and Charred Okra, and the delectable and nearly orgasmic, Smoked Gouda and Gruyere Mac and Cheese.  Out of the one million and five mac cheese combinations, this is truly my favorite.  It was incredibly moist and flavorful, which really leads me to believe there was possibly some truffle oil involved.  But I guess I’ll have to keep guessing and experimenting in my kitchenlab to figure that one out.

We then went with the Cremolata Crusted Grouper…mintonsfish

…and the Smothered Lobster and Shrimp Casserole.

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The Lobster Casserole was simply everything.  I had to take several pauses to truly absorb what was happening at our table.  The magic in that plate was indescribable.  I tasted my FPIC’s grouper, which had a nice texture and vibrant presentation, but in all honesty the lobster completely overshadowed and stole the fish’s moment.  It was the showstopper.

With the old skool crowd, the old skool band, and even the old skool “jackets only” rule, it truly was reminiscent of Old Harlem and what I’d imagine the Renaissance feeling like. It made me step back a few decades, but the food unquestionably crossed over into the now.  Minton’s Supper Club aka Minton’s Playhouse is certainly making its resurrectional mark in this age of Harlem gentrification.

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Truluck’s – San Diego, CA

Sometimes after a night of unexpected flight delays, rental car snafus, and hotel comps due to short staff headaches, the fraction of energy you have left at that point is devoted to heading to the first place one of your friends mention.  As luck may have it, San Diego doesn’t have a shortage of good restaurants, and therefore if a place is recommended by one of your well traveled friends, ditch the Locals/Yelp app (for once) and just go.

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I’ll just say that never in a million years would I expect a bar of this caliber to offer such a low priced happy hour.  Then again if there are secret hh gems like The Palm and Morton’s that only the frequent travelers and hh connoisseurs know about, then I guess it makes all things possible.  Lucky for me, I caught Truluck’s happy hour by a hair and was able to get their featured Sauvignon Blanc for $6.  With a smooth vibe and piano bar’s theme, it made for a perfect date spot even.  Its ambience was definitely appropriate, and therefore was able to salvage my mood to a certain degree.  It also meant sipping on anything outside of the white wine family simply was not an option.

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Truluck’s in University Center would’ve easily qualified for Happy Hour Obsession of The Week if it weren’t for the fact that I completely bypassed the hh menu and went straight to the regular menu.  It was for no reason in particular other than me simply having the urge to delve into the dinner menu offerings.  The light fare menu had a very generous selection of goodies but I went with the crab cake from the massive sized menu.  The one that always takes up the most space at the bar, causing everyone near you to start rearranging their place setting.  It was simply delicious, and was what you would expect of fresh catch SoCal seafood dining.

imageAfter another glass and a then expanded appetite, I decided on the  Swordfish Pontchartrain for a main entree. Smothered with crawfish tails, shrimp and blue crab in a spicy piquant Creole sauce, it was a flawless execution of this cajun style fish.  If it weren’t so busy at the bar I would’ve definitely summoned the bartender for a piece of bread to slam dunk into its amazing sauce.

With the classy yet not stuffy ambience, beautiful decor, gorgeous bar, expectedly sharp bar staff, great food, and surprisingly economical happy hour, I’d say Truluck’s serves as a great choice for anyone.  My experience allowed me to forget about all my traveling woes and focus on the things that really matter in life.  ..Great food in beautiful towns.

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