Friday, July 20, 2012

Antonella's Pizzeria

We've been to Antonella's Pizzeria a few times, for lunch and dinner, and I haven't written anything up yet, so here we go. Basically, Antonella's is the best place you'll go for certain things, but will leave you sorely disappointed on other things. I'll explain.
They've got a limited menu. Some might find this disappointing, but this is a blessing in disguise. All of the pasta items they do really well are on it. When ordering from their full dinner menu, stick to items that intersect with their lunch menu, and you'll never be disappointed. Great fresh-made manicotti and lasagna, and a red sauce that's as good as any you'll find at a fancier place.
Around the QCA, Antonella's is known for their deep dish and stuffed pizzas, which are supposedly pretty good, because of the QCA's relative proximity to Chicago (and the number of Chicago transplants that settle here). But don't miss the specialty thin-crust pizzas. We had an artichoke-spinach pizza with a white sauce, and it was excellent.
I recommend avoiding the seafood pastas. I ordered the seafood bowtie pasta and it was heartbreaking. It came swimming with about a quarter inch puddle of butter at the bottom of the dish (which was supposed to be a garlic-butter sauce). The shrimps were puny little baby shrimps that had just been warmed up slightly and sprinkled on top; the "crab" was just a handful of imitation crab strips that were mixed in. Sadly, this was what the waitress recommended, probably because it, along with the seafod alfredo, are among the priciest items on the menu.
So, Antonella's: great if you order wisely; deviate from their best dishes and you'll be sorry.


I've dropped behind on writing up my lunch date experiences, but yesterday was pretty good. Ganzo's in Davenport (3923 N. Brady) serves up a good Mexican menu, and more cheaply than some of the more popular competition. I've yet to try Azteca, Los Agaves, or La Flama, and I made the decision to take my sweetie here based on the menu and prices. Let me explain.
First, the main menu items across Mexican restaurants are pretty similar, so prices were a bit of an issue. Ganzo's charges a little less, probably because they are a little off the beaten path, away from some of your bigger shopping areas and downtown. Second, Ganzo's was the only place that had menudo on the menu. I'm not personally a big fan of menudo, but my rationale is that if they have the "guts" (pun intended) to put it on the menu, then maybe they know what they're doing.
I wasn't disappointed. Their menu has changed from their current online menu and my sweetie got something like a "mini chura" or something like that. Basically, it was a burrito without the refried beans. It wasn't too exciting, but the meat was at least well-seasoned. I got the Ganzo #4 lunch special (tamale and 2 beef enchiladas). This was very good. The tamale was done right (I've been places where they just bring you out a cornmeal tube with almost no meat in it). It came wrapped in its husk; the masa was moist, and the shredded pork was tasty. The enchiladas were very good, and the sauce was slightly thickened, so it didn't run all over everything on the plate.
They also have a lunch taco bar, if you're the sort that's in a hurry at lunch, or in case you're just really flippin hungry. 

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Woodfire Grill

Last week, our "lunch date" was a dinner date thanks to the in-town babysitting help of Grandma and Grandpa, so we went to the Woodfire Grill, 131 W 2nd St., Davenport. One major upside to the Woodfire is the decor and atmosphere. It was upscale and modern, yet comfortable and inviting so that you would feel at home wearing jeans. For our appetizer we had the pepperjack crab dip, and it was delicious. For dinner, I ordered the pork chop, which had a very nice presentation, but could have used a bit more seasoning before cooking, and was slightly overdone for my personal taste. Jane had the ribs, which were also well presented, and tasted good, but could have used slightly more sauce. It was sort of like they were going in between a smoky, dry rubbed, Texas-style rib and a smothered, moist, St. Louis style rib, and would have been more successful picking one direction and sticking to it, but I appreciate the creativity. The drunken ribeye looked enticing, but I'm a bit of a purist with my steak, and shied away from a steak covered in sauce. Several of the "American Classics" also looked good. Also, maybe it was just the night we were there and the time of evening, but the horseradish mashed potatoes were very thick and it was difficult to detect the horseradish. The atmosphere makes it worth another try, but not before making our way around other local favorites.

Rudy's Tacos

This week's date was to Rudy's Tacos, 2214 E. 11th St., Davenport. Rudy's has several locations around the Quad Cities, and to my knowledge it is not a national or regional chain beyond the QCA, but I could be wrong. Hopefully I don't end up like the poor 85 year old lady who published a rave review of Olive Garden in the Grand Forks (ND) Herald.
Rudy's is OK. You're not going to be blown away by the flavors, freshness or authenticity here, but you'll get a decent-tasting meal. The food is what I like to call "Gringo Mexican", which is to say that it has a standard menu of what Americans think Mexican food should be. The upside to Gringo Mexican is that my dining companion loves it, and that makes it worth the drive. I had the "Super Burrito", which is one of my favorites at such establishments. I would have liked it to have a little more spice, a little more flavor in general, and a little less cheese. That's right, less cheese.
Jane had the Chimichanga, which I tasted. It was a decent chimi, but nothing to do backflips over - a big, fat, fried burrito.
All in all, we'll probably revisit Rudy's the next time one of us has a craving for generic, not-quite-authentic Mexican food, and as with every week's lunch date, the best part of the trip is the company.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Village Corner Deli

Today, for our second lunch date in the Quad Cities, we went to the Village Corner Deli, 1030 Mound Street, Davenport. Located in the Village of East Davenport neighborhood, it is surrounded by historic storefronts and homes. The front of the deli is stylish, and the atmosphere inside is cozy.
The person who recommended the Corner Deli raved over the "New Yorker", which is their name for a reuben, so I ordered that. It was delicious. The corned beef was fresh made, the cheese was perfectly melted, and the sauerkraut was flavorful without being too pungent.
Jane ordered the "Smoked Turkey Reuben", and we mixed and matched halves of each other's sandwiches to try both. The Smoked Turkey Reuben is has smoked turkey, smoked gouda cheese, and cole slaw. Overall it was a very good turkey sandwich. The only nit I would pick is that either over the top or in the cole slaw there was a taste of celery seed that sometimes distracted from the smokiness of the turkey and cheese.
For a side, I had the potato salad, which was well-reviewed online and was very good. Jane had the sour cream and cheese macaroni salad, which I have to admit was probably the better choice. Both were fresh made.
Overall, the Village Corner Deli was a great choice for lunch, and would easily hope to make it a regular lunch spot, if it weren't for a desire to go out and try more places.

Greatest Grains

Our fist lunch date was to Greatest Grains, 1600 N. Harrison, Davenport. Greatest Grains is actually the local health food market, and it happens to have a deli-style lunch counter. I had the barbecue tempeh with a side of spinach pate and an artichoke square. Overall, the food was good and fresh-made daily (the menu changes daily), but reheating the food in the microwave was a bit of a turnoff. Probably given the chance to do it all over I would choose a wrap and a cup of soup, but the options for wraps were not posted on the menu board. The desserts looked delicious, but I didn't try any. The food was satisfying, but the ordering process was cumbersome. Worth another try.