Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Nick's on Main - a lunch with a smile in your heart

My mom wanted to go to lunch at Nick's on Main. How could I refuse to check out a new place. Wow. That's all I can say. I wish I'd been less awed and could have taken some photos for you. The black and white decor is elegant. I love the chef holding the chalkboard up near the ceiling. He's very cute. They have an excellent wine selection, very charming service, and the chef wanders around to ensure everyone is having a good time.

Mom had the lobster salad and I had the crab risotto. In addition, we split the soup of the day which was mushroom. And, of course, I had a glass of wine. I mean, I am me after all.

The soup. Remi the rat couldn't have done better. It used a variety of mushrooms that were well blended together to give a balance of creaminess and earthiness. I didn't detect much, if any, cream. The broth was flavorful and not overpowering. The portion was described as small, but you know, it wasn't. It was perfect as a starter for us both.

Mom really liked the focaccia style bread and pepper jelly that they provided on the table.

I was amused by the small dishes with spoons for the ground pepper and salt. And yes, they were literally recently ground. I pepper just about everything, and am picky. Yes, I said it. I'm picky. And I loved being able to put my own freshly ground pepper to my own tastes without waiting for someone to come back with a pepper mill and grinding twenty or so grinds while looking at me wondering "isn't she done yet???"

My risotto was creamy and to the tooth...exactly how I prefer my risottos. I mean, if I didn't want to know that there was rice in there, I'd get pudding. I like the mouth feel of a perfectly cooked risotto. The crab meat was fresh and in big lumps. There seemed to be a decoration of a balsamic reduction...it was dark in color like a chocolate and it decorated the bowl perfectly. There was also a hint of lemon that blended well with everything. I could go on about the smell, but I won't make you any more hungry then you already are.

Ok, I will. Wait until you hear about the lobster salad. It was semi-deconstructed with the dressed veg on one corner and the lobster on the other, so you could mix it any way you preferred. Mom said that the dressing was a well blended citrus dressing that worked well with the sweetness of the lobster. The yellow grape tomatoes were a bright contrast to the dark greens.

We were sorely tempted by the banana bread pudding, but knew we needed to be good. We're both trying to lose a wee bit of weight before the holidays pack it all back on.

So, Nick's on Main, four thumbs up. It will put a smile in your heart having the great food and great service. And the parking was easy. I wish I could link you to the site, but unfortunately, it doesn't look like they have a website. I should offer to fix that for them in return for the meatloaf. I saw them serving that and the pulled pork to the table next to me, and the meatloaf looked awesome...a huge slab leaning up against the mashed potatoes. Ok, I've got to stop. Now I'm hungry again.

Teach them early and often

I went up to Testarossa yesterday to get my wine club wine. So much fun every time to fetch it. Normally, I would be doing tasting but not yesterday. Still my daughter had a blast checking out the cork oak tree in the front seeing the beautiful photographs of the flowers on the wall, and just checking out the shopping opportunities. She now wants to see behind the curtain how the wine is maid.

I remember growing up on College Avenue...there were grapes on the front hillside that could be swiped since they didn't harvest them anymore. And whenever people would visit, my parents would inevitably take them up to the winery for a tour. Back then, you didn't need an appointment...you'd just show up and someone would walk you around. The vats and the crush pads were incredible, and the smell was amazing. I hope my daughter can experience that.

I think it's important to teach kids about the components of alcohol and that it's not just something to get drunk on. When you learn about the various flavors and how things are made, it helps you to respect what you're drinking that much more.

And, in an omigawd moment, Rob Jensen came out and was assisting people at the tasting bar. I didn't know he really existed! Ok, I did but it was a bit of hero worship after all. And yes, he does have red hair. Just in case you were wondering.

Friday, September 05, 2008

J.J. Magoo's is finally open

You'd think I would have caught opening day of J. J. Magoo's since I get my nails done once a week over at True Nails, and I walk that way often. I was sick with strep, what can I say. What's really embarrasing is my mother caught it just after opening day, and dragged my father down there. It's nice to have them check out places first sometimes. That's how we found out about Main Street Burgers. Which was another post.

I did manage to take a picture of it when they were putting up the neon signs, though, back in August.

And here's a nice write up of the history of Magoo's and J.J. Magoo's in the Mercury News.

I used to love the original Magoo's. They had a nice thin crust. I even remember when they had the second Magoo's where Double D's now is. The second one was supposed to be more of a sit down place rather than a pizza parlour.

We went there last night, and it was very good. The fresh tomato and garlic pizza that I loved at Mountain Mike's is there. As is the combo. It wasn't easy to squeeze the 5 of us in, but we made do. Thankfully, one of the booths is open on the side (perfect for wheelchair access) and there were chairs.

And if you want an appetizer, make sure they know you want it first, otherwise, it's served with the meal. I have to say, those were some of the best onion rings...they were large, the onion was still crisp, they used a meal coating rather than the beer batter coating, and it wasn't greasy.

Yup, it's pizza. And it was good.

As they mentioned in article in the Merc, they were able to keep the pizza ovens:

Everything really is snazzy looking. It's clean and warm and friendly. There were two parties going on while we were there. So it's definitely the happening place to go.

So, this Los Gatos Girl gives it two paws up. It retained all that I had loved about Mountain Mike's while expanding upon it (you should see the sandwiches!). And they're closer to me, so I can walk.