Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Granville Cafe

Last week, my husband and I were in Burbank around lunch time, and we decided to break out of our rut (Porto’s, Market City Café, Chevy’s and IKEA are our usuals) and try a different spot for lunch.  I remembered years back when I worked at Yahoo! that some people went to Granville Café for lunch, so we decided to give it a try.

Granville is located about a block away from Market City Café.  We arrived just before noon and were lucky to get a parking spot right in front.  One of the things I love about downtown Burbank is that the parking is free, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s easy to find a good parking spot…especially during the week of Spring Break.

When we walked up to Granville, I was immediately impressed with the casual/rustic décor, yet it seemed classy at the same time.  The hostess greeted us and asked us if we’d had their casual dining service before.  We said “no.”  She gave us menus and explained that we order at the counter and they’ll bring our food out to us. 

We joined the short line of customers and looked over our menus.  A lot looked good.  I thought about getting the Pastrami Sandwich or the Santa Barbara Chicken Sandwich; however, I wanted to eat something healthy, so in the end I ordered the El Gaucho Salad, which is described on the menu as “Fresh Organic Spring Greens, Queso Fresco, Grape Tomatoes, Jicama, Red Bell Peppers, Sliced Red Onion, Fresh Avocado, Spiced Tortilla Croutons and Pepitas tossed with Granville’s Chimichurri Vinaigrette.”  I asked for the vinaigrette on the side and added all-natural chicken to the salad for a couple dollars extra.

My husband went with his gut and ordered what sounded best, not what sounded healthiest.  He ordered the Southwest Burger, which is described on the menu as “100% Fresh, All-Natural Angus Beef, Roasted Poblanos, Cheddar Cheese, Applewood Smoked Bacon, Red Onion, Organic Arugula and Granville's Chipotle Aioli on a Rustic Roll.”  All sandwiches come with Housemade Herb Potato Chips, which are described on the menu as “Thick-Cut, sprinkled with Sea Salt and topped with Freshly Chopped Rosemary and Thyme.”  You can upgrade to fries or sweet potato fries, but my husband decided to try the chips.

We were given a number for our order, and then all we had to decide was where to sit.  Considering it was lunchtime, I’m surprised it wasn’t more crowded.  There were lots of tables available in all sections of the restaurant, and each section had a slightly different feel.  It was a beautiful day, so we decided to sit on the patio, which was completely covered and had a fireplace nearby.  The music playing was relaxing, and the whole atmosphere was really mellow.  Having not even tried the food yet, I decided that I’d come back here just for the atmosphere.  It seemed like a great place to meet friends for lunch or dinner. 

When I walked to the back of the restaurant to find the restroom, I noticed that you can see directly into the kitchen.  I love when restaurants have windows into the kitchen.  It makes me feel like they have nothing to hide, and it makes my mouth water watching the food preparation.

It didn’t take too long for our food to be delivered to our table.  I was immediately impressed with the looks of both entrees.  You can’t judge a book by its cover though, so taste would be the deciding factor.

My salad tasted very fresh.  The chicken was nice white-meat chicken with a delicious marinated flavor.  The dressing was on the side as requested, and it complemented the salad well.  No complaints.  It was a big salad, and I actually started to get full about half-way through.  It was delicious, so I finished it anyway.

My salad was fresh and delicious, but my husband’s burger was, let’s just say, a first.  Every time I blog about a burger I end up saying something along the lines of “it was good but not as good as the Kilauea Burger at Islands.”  I took a bite of my husband’s burger 100% prepared to have the same comment.  In fact, the comment went through my mind, but before I could say it out loud to my husband, I changed my mind.  I think this is the first burger I’ve ever tasted that’s BETTER than the Kilauea Burger at Islands.  The bun was delectable.  The meat was juicy, flavorful and melted in your mouth.  The roasted poblanos and chipotle aioli gave it a nice spicy kick.  I could go on and on.  Add in the fact that everything at Granville is fresh, organic and made-from-scratch.  I’m sure Islands can’t say the same.  I have a new favorite burger, and it only took one bite to win me over.

The only negative about the burger was that it was so big and juicy it was a little difficult for my husband to eat.  It came with a stem of rosemary sticking out of the bun (super cute idea), and he broke off the rosemary and put it inside the bun.  He also cut it in half, but it was still a juicy, messy challenge.  He ended up eating half of it with a knife and fork just to make it easier. 

The housemade chips were delicious too.  They had a great flavor and are much better than store bought chips.  I highly recommend trying them when you come here.  No need to upgrade to fries!

I look forward to dining at Granville again sometime soon.  I’m glad my husband and I tried two completely different entrees.  They were both exceptional.  Whether you want something healthy or something sinful, you can find it at Granville and know that it’ll taste fresh and delicious.  I just might have to try the Pastrami Sandwich next time.  I have yet to find a good pastrami sandwich in L.A., but I think Granville is probably up to the challenge!  The menu’s description just convinces me even more: “Not for the faint of heart! Premium Pastrami slices layered with Roasted Poblano Peppers, Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Red Onions and melted Swiss Cheese, with Granville's Kalamata Tapenade Spread and Garlic Aioli.”  It just might be better than what I remember eating in New York.

Happy eating!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Shrimp Quesadillas

Almost a year ago, I started this blog, and my husband and I departed for a business trip to Maui.  One of the highlights of that trip (as far as dining is concerned) was Happy Hour at the Sands of Kahana restaurant.  We loved their Mai Tais and shrimp quesadillas.  When we returned from Maui, I was on a mission to make my own Mai Tais and came up with a real winner of a recipe.  Being pregnant, I'm not able to drink those right now, and that made me a little sad when reminiscing about Maui.  Then I thought about the shrimp quesadillas.  I can't believe I didn't try to replicate those a long time ago!  I can eat those while I'm pregnant, maybe while drinking some orange juice or pineapple juice (or, when not pregnant, one of my Ono Mai Tais), and feel like I'm in Maui.

With a little experimentation, I came up with a simple and delicious recipe for shrimp quesadillas.  Cheese and shrimp are so amazing together.  You just can't go wrong!

Shrimp Quesadillas
(serves 1)

1 ounce shredded cheddar cheese (or your favorite Mexican cheese blend)
1 flour tortilla
5 jalapeno slices, chopped
10 small precooked shrimp, chopped (and defrosted if frozen)
TexJoy Seafood Seasoning (click here to buy it online)
spray butter

Briefly heat the shrimp and jalapenos in a frying pan over medium heat.  Set aside.

After removing the shrimp, spray the frying pan with cooking spray.  Spray one side of the tortilla with spray butter and sprinkle with salt.  Place butter side down in the frying pan.  Spray the other side of the tortilla with spray butter and sprinkle with salt.  Cook until the tortilla starts to bubble and is golden brown on the bottom.

Flip the tortilla over in the pan.  Sprinkle half of the cheese on one half of the tortilla.  Add the shrimp and jalapenos on top of the cheese.  Sprinkle with a pinch of TexJoy Seafood Seasoning (a little goes a long way!).

Put the rest of the cheese on top of the shrimp. 

Fold the tortilla in half over the cheese and shrimp.  Cook until the bottom of the tortilla is golden brown.  Then, flip the tortilla over, and cook until the bottom of the tortilla is golden brown and the cheese is melted.  The shrimp should be hot at this point.

Place the quesadilla on a plate and cut into four pieces.

Aloha, and Happy Eating!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

TexJoy Turkey Sausage

If you read my blog, you know I love TexJoy and use TexJoy's spicy steak seasoning on just about everything.  Well, I just found a new favorite seasoning, and it's also made by TexJoy.  It's TexJoy Old Fashioned Sausage Seasoning.  OMG.  You have to taste it.  My husband and I mixed this seasoning with ground turkey, and it transformed the flavor of the turkey so that it tastes exactly like sausage, and not just healthy sausage but the kind of sausage you'd expect to find at your favorite breakfast spot...only without all the calories and grease!  You. Must. Try. This!

TexJoy Turkey Sausage

1/2 pound ground turkey
1 tsp TexJoy Old Fashioned Sausage Seasoning (click here to buy it online)

In a bowl, mix the ground turkey and the sausage seasoning with your hands to combine.  That's it!

Then you can break the turkey up in a frying pan to make ground turkey, or you can break the sausage into four 2-ounce sausage patties which are perfect for breakfast sandwiches.  Just cook on a griddle or in a frying pan until cooked through.

A couple nights ago, we made ground turkey and put it on pizza.  So good!

You can also put 2 oz of ground turkey in a breakfast quesadilla (click here for my breakfast quesadilla recipe).  It tastes like a breakfast burrito from McDonald's only way better.

You won't believe the delicious taste of this turkey sausage.  Seriously, you have to try this!

 Happy eating!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Mediterranean Deviled Eggs

Easter is less than a week away.  If you plan on making deviled eggs out of all those eggs the kids are busy decorating, why not try this healthy low-cal spin on the classic recipe?  We swap the mayo and egg yolks for hummus for a different but completely delicious Mediterranean flavor.

Mediterranean Deviled Eggs
Hummus (get my husband's easy recipe)
TexJoy Italian Seasoning (click here to buy online)

Boil the eggs for 15 minutes.

Remove the shells, and rinse off the eggs to remove all the bits of shell.

Cut the eggs in half lengthwise.

Remove the yolks.

Dab half an ounce of hummus into each half.

Sprinkle TexJoy Italian Seasoning on top.

When testing this recipe, we tried 3 different seasoning toppings, the typical paprika, spicy TexJoy, and TexJoy Italian Seasoning.  The Italian seasoning was the clear winner.  The other two seasonings couldn't stand up to the delicious hummus flavor, but the Italian seasoning complemented it perfectly. 

Happy Eating!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Saltgrass Steakhouse

Our last night in Texas, on the way to the Houston airport, my father-in-law decided we should drive to Kemah and eat at Landry’s.  Traffic was worse than we expected on the drive there.  There was a half-hour wait when we arrived, and we didn’t have time to wait or we’d get to the airport too late to check our bags.  We ended up eating at SaltGrass Steakhouse instead.



I’d never eaten at SaltGrass before, but looking over the menu, I saw many items that really looked delicious.  It was fairly crowded when we arrived, but we were still able to be seated right away.  If we’d been able to wait, we probably could’ve gotten a table by the windows with a water view, but we still had a nice view from our table one row away from the windows.

We told the waitress that we were in a hurry and needed to order right away.  I usually try to pick a “healthy” option at restaurants.  Since I didn’t have time to put too much thought into my order, I ordered the first thing that sounded really good.  What was it that caught my eye?  The Coconut Shrimp, which comes with a side, and I chose Sweet Potato Fries.  Yeah, so not healthy, and sweet enough to almost count as dessert!

I wasn’t the only one in the mood for shrimp.  My father-in-law ordered the fried shrimp, and my mother-in-law ordered the Stuffed BBQ Shrimp Enbrochette, which are described on the menu as “Jumbo shrimp stuffed with cream cheese & a jalapeño sliver, wrapped in bacon & basted with BBQ sauce, served on a bed of scampi rice with grilled onions, chopped tomatoes & poblano peppers.”  They both chose a Baked Potato for their side item.

My husband broke the trend, kind of.  He ordered a steak, the 12oz version of Pat’s Ribeye.  I say “kind of” because he didn’t order shrimp, but he did order a Baked Potato for his side.  However, he asked for all of the potato toppings on the side instead of having them put directly on the potato.

All of our meals came with our choice of a dinner salad, Caesar salad or cup of soup.  We all chose dinner salads.  My in-laws chose honey mustard dressing, and my husband and I both requested ranch dressing on the side.  Our salads were good.  They were basic dinner salads, pretty much what you’d expect.

Our meals also came with Shiner Bock Beer Bread, which my father-in-law sliced as soon as it was brought to the table.  It was a good brown bread, but what was exceptional was the honey butter that was served on the side.  Yum!


Our entrees were exceptional.  I’ll start with my husband’s ribeye.  First of all, it was seasoned with SaltGrass-7 Steak Spice (I’m suspicious that it’s TexJoy under a different name) and topped with garlic butter.  Okay, you had me at garlic butter!  He ordered the steak cooked medium, and he couldn’t rave about it enough.  I’m pregnant and not supposed to eat red meat that isn’t cooked well done, but I had to know what this steak tasted like.  I asked my husband to cut off a tiny piece on the edge without any pink.  OMG.  I mean, now that’s a steak!  It melts in your mouth, and I’ll say it again, you had me at “garlic butter.”  As for his potato, it came dry as he requested with all of the toppings on the side.  The toppings included butter, sour cream, chives, cheese and bacon.  He ended up dumping most of the toppings on the potato because they were all so good.  He said that next time he wouldn’t bother asking for the toppings on the side.  My in-laws kind of smirked, like “duh?”

On to my entrée.  Coconut shrimp is a real treat for me.  I always think it just about tastes like doughnuts.  This was really good coconut shrimp.  Even my husband liked it, and he always says that he doesn’t like coconut.  I didn’t use the roasted jalapeño & pineapple marmalade that came with it for dipping.  I tasted it, and it had a nice kick, but I’m not a fan of citrus dips with meat, even when it’s coconut shrimp.  The sweet potato fries were cut really thin like shoestring fries.  I had never seen sweet potato fries cut like that before.  I prefer a thicker cut for a sweet potato fry, but that didn’t stop me from addictively devouring these fries.  They were nice and sweet.  This meal was a definite splurge for me, and it was worth it.

I didn’t taste my in-laws meals, but their shrimp looked really good too.  My father-in-law had no problem polishing off his shrimp and loaded potato, but my mother-in-law needed a box for about half of her shrimp.

In summary, the SaltGrass in Kemah is located right on the water with a great view, even if you don’t sit right next to the windows.  The décor is very Texas.  I don’t know how else to describe it.  The food is delicious, and next time I just might have to order a steak!

Happy Eating!