Wednesday, July 14, 2010

picture's worth a thousand calories--but who's counting

My friend and co-worker Mandy is the one to blame for this sugary overdose.  She is the one who suggested that we get together at Back in the Day Bakery.  She and I have a long history with this bakery and its beguiling confections.  It is our favored meeting place for lunch, for cupcake happy hour, and for cupcake bingo.  For this lunchtime visit, pictures tell the story better than I can.

Mandy's Cheese Vérité Panini   ciabatta w/cheddar & provolone cheese panini style and chicken

My Fontina, Arugula Pesto Panini   fontina cheese w/house-made arugula pesto and ham

see for yourself @



Superior in every way!

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here is your second chance. take it and fly.

Bowl of chili with sour cream and cheeseImage via Wikipedia

For lunch yesterday, I stopped in at the Jalapenos Mexican  Restaurant on Skidaway Road.  It was after 11:30 a.m. and for once the parking lot was nearly empty.  Usually when I pass this location, the parked cars have flowed out of the little shopping center parking lot and on into a large woodsy area next door.  I have always marveled at how many cars are packed into the areas used by The Driftaway Cafe and Jalapenos EVERY TIME I pass by.

I used to go to this Jalapenos quite often since it's on the route through the Isle of Hope to my mother's house; but one day during a slow lunch I was seated behind a short wall and forgotten.  Not one of the waiters who passed my table brought me a menu or silverware even though they were staring in my direction and jabbering to each other in Spanish, presumably about why they did not want to wait on me.  I was wishing I had some of my Spanish teacher friends with me so they could translate, kind of like Elaine's experience at the Asian nail salon on Seinfeld.  You know the episode.  Anyway, after 10 minutes of being ignored, I left and have not been back in more than a year.  I was not quite ready to put the flaming voodoo* on them, because the food is so good and so convenient!  I would wait and give them another chance.

Today Jen was helping me shop at Sam's and and run errands in the Sandfly neighborhood.  She is absolutely necessary when the Sam's trip has to be made.  I need help with my cases of Diet Cokes-- lifting from the shelf, to the basket, to the conveyor belt checkout, to the basket again, then into the Jeep.  Then out of the car, through the gate, into the courtyard, and up flights of stairs.  Whew, I'm tired just thinking about it.  Any way, I had already eaten at Loc's (just catty-cornered or kitty-cornered or cater-cornerned from Jalapenos) once this week and had been craving Mexican food.  Or should I say American Mexican food?

I was immediately impressed that this Jalapenos had expanded since my last visit.  They've opened up into a new space to the right of the front door, expanding the bar, adding a much needed waiting area and banquette seating for 5 more tables.  New paint and attractive Aztec themed light fixtures created an ambiance that had been lacking.  This location, however, is always clean.

I was equally impressed that the waiter arrived even before we were seated and took orders for drinks, then just as quickly returned with the drinks and the obligatory salsa and chips.  The chips were hot, but not as fresh as usual.  The salsa, hotter than usual.  Drinks here are sized and priced to keep a crowd satisfied!

Jen settled on Lunch Special #9 with a chicken burrito, a cheese enchilada, and rice ($4.95) which she determined "delicious, but not enough cheese in the enchilada."  There were bite-sized chunks of chicken in the burrito, rather than shredded chicken.  I had the beef burrito ($3.95) with an order of cheese dip and sour cream, because I like my burrito as unhealthy as possible.  The burrito was topped off with a spicy ranchero sauce and cooked to perfection.  Jalapenos uses standard, but tasy flour tortillas for their dishes.

All in all, the meal was reasonably priced and tasted good.  Our check was $15.43 before tip and tax.  Although it has won awards for "The Best of Savannah," I would not go so far as to say it is the best Mexican American food in Savannah, but it is about the same as what you would find at LaNopelera, Carlitos, or Juarez.  Some reviewers think that this restaurant is too loud, but it's a great place to get together with friends or family.  And when friends and family are having fun, things do get loud.  Especially when you add frozen margaritas.  So don't expect an atmosphere of whispery quietness.

I liked the addition of fiesta ware and the new seating area at this Jalapenos.  Jen noted that the abundance of cute young male waiters.  Plus, they have a wall full of awards for "The Hottest Chili in Savannah" and the trophy for "2nd Place Peach State Slowdown Finals" in softball.  The Jalapenos empire has grown from just two restaurants when I first moved to Savannah to locations in Pooler, Whitemarsh Island, Bluffton, and Richmond Hill, so they must be doing something right.

Jalapenos at Sandfly gets a second chance and flies with more good than flaming voodoo this trip!

*I will need an entire separate post to explain my flaming voodoo, so stay tuned!
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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Monday, July 12, 2010

the all nighter

Imagine my surprise when Jen returned from Kroger with Doritos Late Night All Nighter Cheeseburger Tortilla Chips in a shiny black bag featuring a neon burger joint sign.  I scoffed at the idea of chips tasting like a late night cheeseburger.  Reading the nutritional label, I learned that the chips have Og transfat and are porcine and gluten free!

Do the folks at Doritos really believe that anyone eating these chips is concerned about transfat, porcine "enzymes," or gluten?

 The aroma of a well-grilled burger emerges from the bag as I open it.  Once the chips are out of the bag, I note that they are brightly colored and flecked with what the nutritional label calls bits of whole corn, msg, "natural flavor," onion powder, cheddar cheese, garlic powder, swiss cheese, mustard seed powder, and other unidentifiable substances. Biting into one of the crisp chips, I begin sensing the individual flavors...there's ketchup. Then I taste the mustard.  Oooo, pickles and lettuce.  Mmmmm lots of cheese.
 Not bad!  Surprisingly,  I like them.

When you are hungry at 2 a.m. you really don't care if the bag says Doritos instead of Krystal or McDonald's.
I rate the flavor good, but the looks you will get when people see that you have actually bought these chips will be evil...

Don't worry if you enjoy these chips; even well-known chefs have their own guilty pleasures:
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