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Lunch in Elizabeth

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#211 basquecook

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Posted 12 March 2014 - 10:29 AM

Just labeled as Porco Grelhada (i speak Portuguese Menu-ese) I think I am just getting a simple grilled pork steak.. However, out comes pork and clams.. The pork steak was grilled over coals and has that very Portuguese smoke and salt thing going.. It's awesome.. With these bursting clams, lots of garlic and a little wine. This was outstanding.. 


Served with rice and fries: 


And a very large glass of wine and awesome bread: One glass and I am ready for a nap.. Especially when the one glass is a pint glass. I had two espressos but, the dessert brandy did not help. I am pretty sure this is why cigarettes were invented. 


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#212 basquecook

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Posted 12 March 2014 - 10:30 AM

Started with a 3 dollar salad


Basic old school salad.  Could have fed 4 people




We split the BBQ'd Sardine. 6 per order for 12 dollars and a half a BBQ chicken.  This was 7.50


Sardine were awesome.. It doesn't hurt that the guy that runs the fish store directly across the street eats lunch here almost ever day.   Topped with coarse sea salt. 




Nor does it hurt that the guy who runs the butcher shop in town was at the table across from him.  Really nicely cooked chicken. 



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#213 basquecook

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Posted 12 March 2014 - 10:30 AM

More from Kylie's Place.. I had this vegetable for the first time.. It's called pacaya.. It's slightly bitter, a little crunchy.. I really enjoyed it.. Apparently it's a big thing in Guatemala. 


Stuffed in egg with cheese. Served with tomato sauce, rice and plantains. 


#214 basquecook

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Posted 12 March 2014 - 10:31 AM

 We sat at the bar, talked, drank some wine.. It was fun. It's a working class bar.. Parking lot is filled with every roofer, contractor, or commercial van within a 10 mile radius. 

The guy behind the counter today was this guy about 20 years old.. One week in America. His uncle is the manager. I asked for a glass of wine.. I got a frosty glass of red wine. Carlos Rossi or something to that nature. 


I normally get the BBQ chicken or frango. It's delicious., not as good as the old Portugal BBQ but, that is closed. I have had their soup, their garlic chicken, the sardine stew. They have a regular menu but, you order from the small daily specials. Today, I had the BBQ Squid. Squid cooked over coals, served with olives, potatoes, peppers and onions in a wine sauce. It was pretty good. I love squid and make it at home quiet a bit. Wanted to see a new preparation. I wouldn't get it again but. it was good. Had more sauce than the photo appears. 

#215 basquecook

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Posted 12 March 2014 - 10:31 AM

So there is this Dominican Place that has been around for at least two years that I go to sometimes.. The place is dirt cheap, the food is honest, stick to your ribs, and often times delicious.. This morning I wanted to get the typical breakfast.. It includes some baked eggs, beans, sausage, pork rind, plantains and creme.. You know, a light little something.. 

But, their mofongo is great, their daily specials on the steam table are really nice. I like their soups, their stews, pretty much everything they serve..

as I walked in , they were taking two huge pernils out in a metal baking container.. They were beautiful, it had that dark crusty sticky glazed top.. Half way submerged in its cooking juices, Well, how could I resist.. 

I got a large plate of boiled yuca with garlic, lime and onions, I asked for extra mojo.. They then topped the yuca, which I had them stop adding to the container as I was certain to eat it all.. It was all topped with the pernil or roasted pork... The tongs sunk right into the soft meat and they portioned off about a half pound or so.. They offered me rice and beans and a side of chicken soup.. I declined.. 

Breakfast/lunch was 5 dollars on the nose.. It is so good.. Only depressing thing, being done eating for the day until dinner.


#216 basquecook

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Posted 12 March 2014 - 10:32 AM

558 Elizabeth Avenue


I have been to Kylie's Place a few times in the last couple of months. My mother comes to have lunch with me and we like to explore various places in Elizabeth NJ. Our most recent place has been Kylie's Place Restaurant or Kylie's Restaurant Place. All we know for sure is, this place is a restaurant, serving some really lovely food from El Salvador. Whether or not a Kylie exists, has yet to be confirmed.


The restaurant itself is not much to look at. It's the type of place you would drive by a hundred times and not even notice it. Then, after getting out of your car and noticing it, you might not even want to enter the place. It's tiny, there are plastic sheets of fake brick screwed to the walls, there is a tiny little steam counter and a small fridge holing some sodas. There may be room for 6 tables.


The first time we came here there were two options for lunch. The first option being this green bean and mozarella cheese stuffed egg foo young type dish, sitting in a tomato sauce.. It was called, Ejotes Rellenos de Queso. It was delicious. My mother ordered this dish and was in love. For the next two weeks, everyday she would send me an email asking to go back there for lunch.

Finally, we went back and they had a similar dish but, with potatoes. Some fried egg foo young shell, stuffed with potatoes and cheese sitting in a tomato sauce. It was served with plantains and rice and beans. The plate was 7.5 dollars and comes with a drink.


The first couple of times I had gone there, I ordered a stuffed cod fish dish which is delicious. The next time or two I went, I ordered, the pupusas. Now, if you are not familiar with what a pupusa is, I suggest you run out and find your nearest pupusaria. These are wonderful little stuffed discs that are made with masa. You essentially make these discs and then stuff cheese and pork or whatever you like into them. You then put them on a griddle and serve them with a slaw and a salsa. Similar to an arepa but, better. Very traditional in El Salvadoran Food.

Homemade salsa, homemade pickled peppers, homemade coleslaw.




I am telling you, you need these guys in your life. You will be a better person for it!

Great little spot. If you are in the area,

#217 basquecook

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Posted 12 March 2014 - 10:33 AM

Le Perrada de Chilache
940 Elizabeth Ave
Elizabeth, NJ 07201
(908) 629-9692 


Thanks to Mr. Rail for the suggestion.

Literally translated it means a pack of dogs.. But, in the terms of restaurants, it's a Spanish Hot Dogeria.. There are several of these Perradas popping up now around NY.. A big chain of over a 100 strong out of Columbia has recently landed in Queens I think.. 

So, On a beautiful Friday afternoon, I decided to head on over and see what was doing.. 

On top of hot dogs, they have several items on the menu. Chorizo, Arepas, fried chicken, hambugers, and polla a la brasa.. But, today, we came for the hot dogs.. 

Here is a chorizo con arepa.. I was expecting something completely different.. But the chorizo was a wonderful garlicky sausage.. 


My dad, who was rolling with me today, went for the super Hot Dog.. This was a foot long bady boy with shredded chicken, potato chips, russian dressing, and ketchup.. A pretty bold move for the guy.. I was expecting him to go grilled chicken sandwich... 

Here you have hot dog, then shredded chicken, then a crumbled potato chip layer, then ketchup, then ketchup mayo dressing.


I went for the Caribeno which was hot dog with bacon and potato crumbled potato chips..


Here is a biten dog


Hot dogs tasted like they were pork hot dogs.. A little smokey. Buns were great as were the toppings.. My father said it was his first hot dog without mustard on it since he was like 6. 

Really impressive, love the twist to the dogs. I am looking forward to the Perradas trend hitting NYC 

#218 basquecook

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Posted 12 March 2014 - 10:33 AM

Stopped by this newish place called Orientale something.. I thought it was going to be another Peruvian Chinese spot but, it is just a Cuban sandwich spot.. Two Cuban ladies eating some snack when i walked in.. They got up from the table to help me. I ask for one sandwich to go, not heated.. It was 1030 in the morning so, i wanted to heat it myself.. 

I don't know if the photo translates but, the bread was this wonderful eggy yellow


The best part of the sandwich was the pork.. expertly cooked.. the best pork in any Cuban sandwich i have had.. So good.. 

The burnt little edges, the best part of the best part.. 


You know.. when you have an office in a Cuban Neighborhood, you need to be prepared.. 



#219 basquecook

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Posted 12 March 2014 - 10:39 AM

So, went to the fish market. It's the other fish market, it caters to a lot of the local people in the surrounding public housing.  It is not like my main fish place because, those guys are distributors as well.  This place is a small little place with 12 feet of ice for a few different cuts of fish filets.  There was Basa, Catfish, Salmon, Whiting, two clams and a bushel of blue crabs.. I will come here if my other spot is out of Crab.  But, it's a rarity.  




What they do have is a pretty nice set up.  It's a small counter on the opposite side of the room.  You are standing perhaps 8 feet away from two deep fryers which are always on.  


Note:  I would not eat anything off that bottom shelf.  




Behind the top shelf on the counter is the new stuff.







I ordered a whiting sandwich as, I was nudged in that direction.  When someone suggests something to you at a suspect fish place, you go with the flow.  


Three large patties on white bread.  As she was finishing my fries, the lady gave me a bowl of tartar sauce and had me dressing the sandwich.  I firstly salted the fish real quick, tartar'd in between the fish, a little hot sauce and put a healthy shot of t sauce on the bun.  Lettuce and Tomato got  you a look. 




Fries, as, you can almost reach into the fryer yourself, you should make sure she drops the fries a 3 or 4 prior to the fish.  Not wanting to sacrifice the sandwich for the fries, she took them out medium 


Sandwich was still hot and crispy by the time i got to the office.. Fries were eh, i am happy not to eat many fries any how.  




Sandwich was $4.00.  A very good sandwich, better than my other fried fish sandwich last week.. The bun with the tartar sauce melted, which was great. I added some fries and hot sauce to the top bread and ate it with a fork once the sandwich broke apart.  

Next time I would most likely ask for only two patties of whiting.  As, it's too much for me but, hey, 4 bucks is an awesome deal if it were 2 or 3 filets. 


Lady was super nice. 

#220 rlibkind

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Posted 12 March 2014 - 11:00 AM

Thanks for reviving this thread and your extensive report. If only Eluzabeth was like that when I grew up there in the 1950s, tho we did have excellent Hewush deli and "appy" as well as great Italuan Thank heaven Spirito's survives for pizza and red sauce dishes, and DiCosmo's for lemon ice. But I've to get back up there from Phila. To try the Portuguese and Lain American goodies. And Tommy's hot dogs, of course, though the perratas look enticing.
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#221 basquecook

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Posted 12 March 2014 - 11:16 AM

I have yet to go to Dispirtos or DiCosmo's.. Dispiritos only opens at 5 and i am out of there by that time..  But, will have to look into DiCosmo's. 

#222 basquecook

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Posted 12 March 2014 - 11:19 AM

52 Westfield Ave

Elizabeth NJ 


I have been wanting to try this place for quiet some time.  After passing it one morning, it lead me to look it up.  I tend to get intrigued by places that don't feel the need to Americanize their name. Torna A Sorrenta is going to get me more interested than say, The Pasta Bowl, The Meatball Shop or something like that.   While Torna A Sorrenta means Back to Sorrenta, I found it is also the name of a famous opera song.  Anyway, a quick search and you find out the place is family owned and has been there for at least 25 years. That's good enough for me. 


Our Party of five arrived for our 6:15 reservation.  We were the first people in the restaurant.  The restaurant is small and homey.   Men in tuxedos greet you.  That's another thing I like.  All male waitstaff in tie and jacket.  They have linen on the table. 


We sit down and order a round of scotch and sodas and gin and tonics.  We later find out, each drink is 5 dollars.  Crazy, I am so warped as a New Yorker that I am conditioned to accept 12 dollar cocktails.  Twelve dollars, please, I am freaking happy when it's only 12 dollars.  These drinks my friends, they were 5 dollars.  We ordered 12 drinks, the bar bill was 64 dollars. 


As we look over the menu, hot bread and sesame breadsticks come out with wrapped butter.  We also get a plate of olives and pickled peppers.   In addition to their menu, they have a page of specials.  A roast grouper, stuffed artichokes, a salmon pasta, asparagus with parm, broccoli rabe and sausage.   But, what catches my eye is the wine list.  it's a pretty fat book but, i later find each wine essentially has its own page.  But, they have a decent list, gavi, dolcetta, russian river pinot 2008, a langhe, all at least 5 to 6 years old and around 25 to 30 a bottle.  Easily 50 dollar bottles anywhere else.  The one wine I remember loving, we were served during a tasting menu at a 2 star michelin in Italy.  That was 60 bucks though. 


We ordered mozzarella en carozza, clams oreganata, stuffed artichoke, a shrimp cocktail and there are also house salads that come with each entree. 


One thing they really know how to do here is use that eggy topping. The mozarella en carozza was pretty perfect. Fluffy, light with melted mozzarella.. It was very good.  I could have used a thing of basil in between the bread slices but, what are you going to do. 



The tomato sauce here is very fresh and simple.  Chunks of tomato mixed with the bright fresh sauce.  



Clams a very nice rendition. 




I have definitely had better artichokes.  I would skip these.  No real flavor. stuffed with garlic and breadcrumbs.  




I had  the veal marsala.  It was dunked in flour then egg, then fried.  It had the light shell. It was fork tender.  The problem was, the marsala sauce was not cooked long enough.  It still tasted off cheap marsala and was not finished with butter.  It was a light sauce of weak marsala.  The mushrooms and veal were very nice though.


Someone went off the menu and order the chicken picatta.  This was really nice.  Fresh lemon, perfectly cooked and tender chicken.  This dish I split with the other person. 


We had a really nice tiramisu for dessert.  A slice of ricotta cheesecake that felt like a couple days hardened in the fridge but,the taste was there.  


All in all, this is a really nice place to go in the area.  There were a lot of fish items on the menu.  Our waiter recommend i have the lemon veal, next time i will get it.  Their tomato sauce was very nice so, i would try the baked ziti or a lasagna or something along those lines.  Just don't get the marsala. 


It's open for lunch, I think it's a great lunch spot to go with a customer.  For meeting people in the general vicinity, i too think it's a nice place to go.  Entrees were 17 dollars.  

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#223 basquecook

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Posted 12 March 2014 - 11:21 AM

5 Burgers
510 E St Georges Ave
Linden, NJ 07036
(908) 718-5671

Oh my.. This is a seriously good burger.. In fact ,I am trying to think of when I had a better burger in recent memory.. It was just perfect in everywhere. Now, I understand, everyone has their personal favorites, some like thin and smashed, some like a nice big bar burger, this was kind of like a mix between the two.. It was super juicy, needing many napkins.. It was dressed kind of like a Cali Burger and definitely needed to be wrapped up.. Buns were hearty yet, super soft.. Loved the bun. 

I ordered a bacon burger it had a ton of bacon. Very excited about this place. 

Burgers came out fairly quickly, seasoned fries.. Staff was super nice. I am a huge fan. 




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#224 basquecook

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Posted 12 March 2014 - 11:22 AM

Posted 04 July 2012 - 01:43 AM

655 Monroe Ave
Elizabeth NJ

Just moments in between Kean and Route 1 sits this Portuguese/ Spanish Restaurant called Valenca. It's a nice looking spot. The restaurant is divided into a few different parts. There is a place for large parties, there is a casual bar that has a separate entrance and menu and there is the more formal restaurant area. The formal area is complete with table side flaming chorizo presented by waiters in vests. steaks cooked table side on stones and wonderful Sangria. This is very much along the lines of other Portuguese restaurants that can be found in Central Jersey and Newark's Ironbound. Perhaps one could call this Red Sauce Portuguese. 

When you sit down, you are given a large bowl of salad with olives bread and butter. The salad is great. Nothing fancy, has a strong vinegar taste that is great for sopping up with the dry bread. 

We started with Flaming Chorico. 



We also had an order of baked clams


Fried Snapper:


Jumbo Garlic Shrimp:


And the two of us split the Seafood in Green Sauce. Lobster, Plump little clams,New Zealand Mussels, baby scallops and shrimp. 27 dollars for a dinner for two. It comes with chips and yellow rice. Lobster was cooked very nicely as was the rest of the seafood. We were happy/surprised that it was not over cooked. This was done very well. 



For dessert we had this really lovely ricotta ice cream with toasted almonds and honey. it was delicious. The prices were really inexpensive. Appetizers that fed the table were 10 bucks. Dinners were like 18 bucks for most dishes. Service was ok. What seemed to be the big dish was their stone cooked steak. Large steaks were served on a cutting board that had a hot stone embedded in it. Diners would slice pieces of steak and place on the stone with lots of garlic butter that they provided.. It looked like a lot of fun. 

The rice and potatoes were disappointing but, overall, it was a fun dinner. 

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#225 basquecook

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Posted 12 March 2014 - 11:26 AM



It's directly across the street from the bank of First Street..  I assumed it would be Spanish run and owned and that Gus must be long gone.. But, I was surprised to see, what looked like a father and son team, speaking Greek to each other.   So, this morning I ordered a grilled cheese and a black coffee.. People were getting down.  Full huge breakfasts, pancakes, eggs, bacon, hash browns.  It was a full greasy spoon.  





So here is the menu, this is the reason I came back for lunch today..  




They have two burgers on their menu. One says Homemade burger, the other just says burger.. Being a pretty inquisitive fellow, i had to start asking questions.. A burger is just a frozen patty heated up on the grill while, a homemade burger is a patty that is formed in house, made from fresh beef. 




Now, I was super excited.. I ordered the fresh burger.  I got a aw onion cheeseburger,  a plate of fries and a black coffee..   


When the burger came out, it sort of reminded me of the burger from Newark.  Krugg's Tavern..It was big, juicy and looked like it was loosely formed..



My issue was with the quality of the beef.. It was also slightly overcooked and dried out but, because the beef was so low budget, I am happy they overcooked the meat.  


It was truly disappointing because, i thought i was on the verge of discovering a gem.    


In the end, it's a very charming and homey spot.  It's a greasy spoon where things appear to be good but, not over the top great..  It's the closest place to where I would order a cheeseburger, I just don't order a cheeseburger unless I love the burger the people are making.. I am more forgiving I guess eating mediocre pizza or something.. But, if a burger isn't awesome, it's not worth it to me. 

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#226 basquecook

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Posted 01 April 2014 - 10:43 AM

Today, got some rough news.. Not hungry, i used the excuse for a good meal to bang down some wine.  My google photo search of kittens did very little to lessen my anger.  


daily special




A mix of crispy pieces of pork shoulder and some other fatty part, with crispy wine soaked chorico, fried potatoes, pickled vegetables and shrimp.. It was all in a thick garlicky wine sauce. 




three coffees and flan



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#227 basquecook

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Posted 14 May 2014 - 11:00 AM




2 dogs with the works - no ketchup.. mustard, sour kraut, chili, hot peppers and relish. 



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#228 basquecook

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Posted 14 May 2014 - 11:01 AM

Fried whiting with tomato and pea rice.  





Whiting was fried perfectly.   The rice was delicious.. Lots of lemon, lots of tabasco.  a little less wine,  




lunch with two glasses of wine and two espressos was 20 bucks. 

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#229 basquecook

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Posted 14 May 2014 - 11:03 AM

Quail Piri Piri.



Edited by basquecook, 14 May 2014 - 11:04 AM.

#230 basquecook

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Posted 14 May 2014 - 11:05 AM





Skipped the cold carlo rossi and went Portuguese Red,, I may have had three today.. 


Tripas à Moda do Porto




Tripe and white bean stew.. In addition to tripe there was pig feet pieces and various Chorico.. I tasted sweet and hot.. In addition they had the blood sausage too.  It's from the grocery around the corner that makes their own Chorico.. The best I have tried.  


With a shot of tabasco sauce, it was awesome..   I find a lot of Portuguese Food lends plays nicely with Tabasco.  It plays well with the wine and garlic.  


This was awesome.  I was going to go Sardines grilled and get some white wine but, the waitress said it was going to take 15 minutes.. And when someone in one tells you in Spanish that it's going to be 15 minutes.. It could be 15 minutes to 40 minutes  




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#231 AlexanderJevon

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Posted 18 May 2014 - 11:48 PM

hey i have also tried the Fried whiting with tomato and pea rice , and it was really very delicious. i totally enjoyed the food , worths every penny.

#232 basquecook

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Posted 19 May 2014 - 07:27 PM

Yeh, there is no doubt this place is good. I suggest you hit up Portugal express when you get a chance.

#233 patrickamory

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Posted 23 May 2014 - 06:00 PM

This is the best thread ever … how did I miss it?? Thanks basquecook!

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#234 rotuts

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Posted 24 May 2014 - 05:35 AM

Im also a shadow fan.

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#235 basquecook

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Posted 26 May 2014 - 10:53 PM

Hey thanks guys... Elizabeth is an interesting city with so much to offer food wise..  I am happy to share it with you all..  Now that i know people are reading, i will happily share more.. 

#236 basquecook

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Posted 26 June 2014 - 11:49 AM

From the other day 



So, I am going to go broke, become a drunk and die of a diabetes brought on by obesity from the World Cup..  


Watched the second half over at my spot.. I now get hugs from the owner, a handshake from the busboy and a kiss on the cheeks from the bartender.

stingray, shrimp and rice. 





plate of cheese and a few coffees 



Edited by basquecook, 26 June 2014 - 12:20 PM.

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#237 basquecook

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Posted 26 June 2014 - 11:50 AM

Today, I had the veal stew that had chunks of veal, tomato, chorico, bacon, peas, potatoes and carrots.. This was delicious as per usual..  They bumped up the lunches to 14,95 today.. Very tricky.. The place was vibrating with the cheers of the defeated.   


I arrived early, there were several saved seats at the bar.. The bastards didnt even show up till half time.. I squeezed in to a spot only to find out, non of the televisions were tuned to the US game..  


I finally talked them in to putting a tv on the US game, in the way back.. I sat by myself, squinting and standing.  






two wines, two brandies. 4 espressos. 






i should live in a Country that appreciates Siestas.  

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#238 rotuts

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Posted 26 June 2014 - 12:17 PM

what's the rice and shrimp dish called ?


like the Flan.

#239 basquecook

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Posted 26 June 2014 - 12:20 PM

it wasn't just shrimp,, it was stingray and shrimp in a white wine sauce.  I forget the name now.  

Edited by basquecook, 26 June 2014 - 12:21 PM.