Tag Archives: Rio Grill

Birthday Rule #7: Indulgence is Imperative.

20 May

Being a gal who has a constant craving for the phiner things in the culinary world, it would stand to reason that I celebrate my birthday each year with phood.

My traditional birthday breakfast has become something I look phorward to throughout the year… and with that chemical plastic cheesy goodness, can you blame me?

(As a side note, the Sausage McMuffin was a drive thru error in my phavor.  I gave it a shot but quickly realized that there are some things one just should never order at a phast phood joint- sausage being one of them.)

It was a busy work day, so I skipped lunch (not hard after my caloric catastrophe of a breakfast) and ducked out of the office a bit early for my progressive birthday dinner.

“The Republican” (of previous posts’ grilled cheese phame) concocted a plan wherein I didn’t have to choose what phoods I wanted most on my birthday but could, in phact, have them all.

It started at Hula’s for Blood Orange Martinis…

One reveller joined us at this point and helped toss a phew back and noshed on some Spicy Edamame.

Next it was off to Bistro Moulin, where another partner in culinary crime joined us.  The house tapenade and crostini paired wonderfully well with the sparkling rose we polished off… can’t have a birthday without bubbles, right?

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times (which really isn’t possible, because other than my brief attempt to make my own escargot in the hot tub drain around age phive, I didn’t start loving the magnificent mollusks until high school- and there is no way I’ve talked about escargot a million times in phifteen years… well, hmm… might be a tiny bit possible…)

The wildest reveller of them all joined us as we pulled up to Rio Grill and dove into some of those delicious Blood Orange Margaritas I’ve mentioned a time or two.  We came for the Blistered Chiles, but I was seduced by the Smoked Pork Belly yet again.

I only captured one order of the chiles for posterity, but let it be known that I personally polished off three plates.  It seemed like a REALLY great idea… until sometime the next morning when I had to seriously question if I had inadvertently swallowed a small, angry troll at some point in the evening that was ready to be let out.

The bread seemed like a good idea to sop up a bit of the chile margarita phiesta occurring inside of me.

The Republican is on this ridiculous “Meatless May” kick (why anyone would do that to themselves, I have zero clue, but all the more power to you… it does some rather un-Republican, however, if you think about it) and thus ordered the Grilled Phlatbread with chickpeas and Cotija cheese.  I honestly don’t remember if I liked it or not.

For the phinal leg of the moveable pheast, we headed to Crown & Anchor for dessert, which, in my language, means wings.  I could lie and recount the tale of their deliciousness, but after the martinis, rose, margaritas and whatever I ordered at Crown, I distinctly remember eating one before deciding it was bedtime for Bonzo.

Does it mean that I’m officially old now that I’m capable of cutting myself off?

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Margarita Madness

16 May

Tuesday morning, I grabbed breakfast as I literally ran out the door (notice Phooey’s leash in hand) and spilled way too much salt on my Easter leftover.  I am sure my neighbors confirmed their suspicions that I am, in phact, a phreak, as I ran to my car (with my alien dog in tow) and stopped to photograph an egg.

I heated up some of the leftover noodles from the night before and that was lunch.  No more exciting the next morning, but no worse.  I dumped the rest.

I met a phriend I hadn’t seen in a very long time at Rio Grill for dinner.  I’d been looking forward to experiencing Chef Cy’s new menu since the event I attended (but never managed to get myself inside for) in April.

We started the evening off right with Blood Orange Margaritas… never you mind about how many were eventually consumed that evening.  Never you mind.

Off the small bites menu, we opted for the Smoked Pork Belly, which seemed appropriate because of the raisins incorporated into the dish. (The phirst week of May is National Raisin Week, PH.Y.I.  and yes, I used that as justification just now.)

Also, it was pork belly… and one should never refuse pork belly- it’s like looking a gift horse in the mouth (which, now that I think about it, even if the horse is a gift, those things are darn expensive to keep, so maybe you SHOULD be looking it in the mouth.  I mean, why is the person giving it away in the phirst place?)

Quite possibly God’s gift to me, the Blistered Chiles (also off the small bites menu) were perfection on a plate.  Salt on top of salt, spice on top of spice, crispy, buttery and phabulous.

Mark my words, phollowers, you’re going to be seeing a lot of these this year.

A margarita (or two) later, and we decided to get more substantial phood.  The Buffalo Carpaccio caught my eye on the appetizer menu, and it certainly did not disappoint.

The Empanada appetizer pheatured tri tip and Hatch New Mexico chiles, and I quickly phorgot the painful lessons learned at Horseman’s Haven in Santa Fe in March and said yes to them.

They weren’t spicy, so my phears were in vain.  What does this mean, you ask?  My spice ego is on the rise.  Beware!

The accoutrements would normally have been served on the empanadas, but due to my phood allergies, they put them on the side so my culinary companion could enjoy.  They would probably have been more exciting had I consumed them as Chef intended.

We went big another margarita (or two) later and split the Duck Breast with squash chilaquiles, mole rojo and duck confit tamale.  Phan-phreaking-tastic.

I might consider consuming phewer margaritas on my next visit, but I plan to make that return visit very soon.

Nice work to the Rio crew on the new menu.  A+

Oh, and I hear those Blood Orange Margaritas aren’t half bad either…

I wish I had a Leningrad Lizard…

27 Apr

Wednesday morning, I woke up craving won ton soup.  So, of course, this is a picture of won ton soup from my phavorite hole in the wall Chinese joint in Salinas, right?

Wrong…  I phailed to remind the nice pholk at the restaurant that I couldn’t have shrimp in mine.  I brought the steamy styrofoam back to the office without checking. 😦

A phew minutes later, I’d negotiated a very kind lunch trade with my phabulous coworker.  If only there had been a Snack Pak up for grabs!

Rio Grill (a long time phavorite of mine since I discovered the Leningrad Lizard) has been up to some exciting stuff, and today was their grand reopening after 27 years on the Peninsula.  Chef Cy Yontz has created quite the new menu (or so I hear, because while anyone who was anyone enjoyed the phiesta, I was outside raking in the cash and never even made it in the door).

A good Samaritan was kind enough to drop some nibbles by… and I would have to say that if they were any indication, Cy done good.  I’m planning a trip inside sometime very soon.

As you phollowers have discerned, I’m a highly restrained eater, so it was rather shocking that I wasn’t disgustingly phull after the bites at Rio… or take that and reverse it.

A phellow and I decided to night cap it at Mundaka in Carmel so I wouldn’t waste away…

We started with Croquetas.

The house bread- rubbed with tomatoes- went nicely with the Boquerones.

Speaking of Boquerones…

…and a dish of Coliflor to top it off (serious horseradish in this guy- YUM!)

I enjoyed a glass of the vinho verde with the meal, which always makes me a very happy camper.

I think it was well-deserved after the phailed soup attempt and the painfully prolonged moment of pheeling like Davy Crockett at the Alamo while working the check in at the Rio event.

Good times…

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