Archive for ‘Oh’

April 12, 2011

Oh, the Entertainment, Volume II – Shehnai, Cuisine of India

“Oh, the Entertainment” is my series reviewing Entertainment Book restaurants.  You can find all the reviews in the series here.

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On Saturday night the hubs, J, my mother-in-law, and I went out for some good, old-fashioned, Entertainment-Booking fun.

We decided we had a hankering for Indian food and so decided to try Shehnai, Cuisine of India, because it had decent reviews on Yelp.

Our first impression of Shehnai was that it is eerily similar in decor and setup to another Indian restaurant we’ve been to a number of times, right down to the red linens and red silk rose on the table.  It was perfectly pleasant, though, and the service was prompt.

The highlights:

The mango chutney.  So, so delicious.  I want to go back just for that.  The papaddam was good also.

A yogurt drink the hubs ordered called lassi.  It was such a perfect accompaniment to the spicy food!  Highly recommended.

Here you can see the chutney and the lassi at the top of the picture and the inexplicable mess I make whenever I eat at the bottom.

The medium: our chicken dish “Karahi Chicken” was good.  A solid offering.  I’d eat it again for sure.  And the na’an.  Who doesn’t like na’an??

The not my favorite:  the lamb curry, while certainly not bad, was definitely not the best curry any of us had ever eaten.  This might be because we got it mild so the flavors weren’t as good, but whatever the reason it was just okay.

My plate: karahi chicken on left, lamb curry on right (messy splatter on left)

The verdict: It was a solid restaurant with some very high points but was an overall somewhat forgettable meal.  $11.95 seems a little high for the fairly small chicken dish, but we did get a ton of rice (also, notice that they garnished it with a maraschino cherry.  I was unfamiliar with that practice until Saturday.).

April 4, 2011

Oh, the Entertainment – The Auld Irisher

Since the hubs and I started dating lo these 3 1/2 years ago, we have had a great time visiting new (and often extremely interesting) restaurants.  Our favorite way to find out-of-the-way places is to flip through our Entertainment Book and pick something that sounds good and is close by and to check it out.  This method has resulted in a number of entertaining stories, because as often as not, the restaurants advertising in the EB are… how do you say… unique.

There is the “Italian” restaurant that also serves hot wings, burritos, and orange chicken.  There is that other Italian place with great food but a strange owner who tossed the menus on the table, grunted when we ordered our food, and poured the wine straight to the top of the glass (I’m talking, we needed straws to keep our laps dry).  When he brought the check, not only did he not give us our discount, but he used some imaginative math to find our total.   We could have eaten at Ruth’s Chris for what he tried to charge us.

At one french restaurant we made best friends with our waiter who told us that their bananas foster was okay, but his wife’s was better and did we want to come over later to try it?  The first Indian restaurant we tried had an actual matchmaker working in the back corner (I kid you not).  We were the only other people in the place and spent no time talking to each other and the entire time listening raptly to the matchmaking going down in the back corner booth.

Despite a few negative experiences, for the most part we have loved checking all these new places out and if nothing else, we almost always get a great story out of it.  In case anyone else in the Orange County area wants to get in on the fun, I’m going to start a new review section chronicling our adventures (and misadventures) at locations in our Entertainment Book.

Oh, the Entertainment, Review #1 — The Auld Irisher

Long overdue for a date, the hubs and I went to see a movie (The Adjustment Bureau – recommended.  Philosophically interesting with a love story.  Listen for the sweet Thomas Newman score– love him!) and have dinner.  We wandered over to the restaurants adjacent to the theater and saw the Auld Irisher among them.  A quick consultation with the book told us we had ourselves a winner (buy one entree, get one free!) and we went in.

The ambiance was just right for a pub: loud but not raucous, dark but not scary, and intimate but not crowded.  We settled down into our booth and ordered a Jameson (to split; were I to have a whole Jameson to myself the hubs would have had to toss me over his shoulder, caveman-like, to get me out of there).  Just perusing the menu was fun.  They have everything from ahi burgers to steamed mussels to shepherd’s pie (plus they spell “Children’s Fair,”  “Children’s Fayre” and what’s not fun about that?).  I settled on the fish and chips, and after much debate he went for the lamb burger.

While we waited our waitress brought us HP Sauce (!) and other British-y condiments.

See?  Authentic.

The food came out quickly, was piping hot, and looked lovely.  My fish and chips was deliciously crispy and beer-battery.  Just exactly what one wants in fish and chips:

Do forgive the terrible phone picture, but as you can see my fries were so irresistible some were already being stolen.

Hubs’s lamb burger was also so, so good.  It was juicy and flavorful and I didn’t even know I liked lamb.  Just excellent.  Another equally bad picture:

That salad had homemade bleu cheese dressing on it as well.

All told, we really enjoyed the Auld Irisher and would highly recommend it to other Entertainment Book treasure hunters.  I’d go there without the discount too; the prices were very reasonable for the high quality food: 14 dollars for the fish and chips and 13 for the lamb burger, I believe.  With our buy one, get one free discount we got out of there for under 30 bucks even after the whiskey and tip.

This pretty much speaks for itself:

Rest assured, all the fries were eaten before any plates were cleared.