Monday, February 27, 2012


Now I know there's already a fabulous review on Hattie's brunch by Jenny from Mamatoga, but I realized the other day that I've been living here for so long and I've never been! Granted - Hattie's doesn't scream "vegetarian friendly", but still, it's a pretty classic local favorite. So this past Saturday night we decided it was time to check it out and see what all the fuss was about.

Before we even walked in I knew I was going to fall in love with the decorations and the feel of the place when I saw this outside.

How cool is that? Hattie's automatically got funky points for the old stove and then when we walked in there were so many other chicken themed decorations (not in a tacky way) with checkered tableclothes and mardi gras knick perfect. In fact, I was so content reading all of the old newspaper clippings on the wall and admiring the pictures that I barely noticed the fifteen minute wait we had for a table. We ended up sitting at a cozy table in the corner, close enough to other tables to feel neighborly but not overcrowded.

So for those of you who don't know much about Hattie's, they serve Southern and Louisiana style food and are particularly famous for their fried chicken. Apparently I am not very familiar with Southern food, something I didn't even realize until I looked at the menu and discovered that I hadn't had (or heard of) a good amount of what they offered! So my date and I decided to just go ahead and try everything!

I started this adventure with a mint julep. This is how much I don't know about Southern food - I had this idea that a mint julep was a drink that was light and sparkly...maybe even with sugar on the rim or something. Instead, what I got was straight up Bourbon.

Not that it wasn't good, just not what I expected and very intense. This drink is Woodford Reserve with a few springs of mint and little bit of simple syrup. And I love that they served it in the traditional pewter cup, keepin' it classy. Let's just say I had to let the ice melt a considerable amount before I could drink it without making that "my throat's on fire" grimace.

Then for an appetizer we ordered something that neither of us had ever had before - Hush Puppies!

These pups are pretty much fried pieces of corn bread. It felt good to eat something hot after walking in the cold, but they weren't particularly remarkable. Maybe if they had a dipping sauce or something? We ended up dousing ours with hot sauce and agreed that it would have been just as nice to get those instead of the complimentary basket of biscuits before our meal. And it was definitely a lot of carbs to have right before a HUGE dinner. Fair warning if you go with only two people - you probably don't need an appetizer because the main courses are so. much. food.

My date got their famous fried chicken with smashed potatoes and succotash. What is succotash? Good question, we didn't know either which is why we both ordered it with our meals. Succotash is a side dish that is corn and lima beans in a tomato based sauce.

We were both really glad we tried it too, it's delicious! It's got this great combination of the sweetness of the corn and the tang of the tomato, and the lima beans add a great texture to the dish. And look at that chicken, I told you it was a lot of food right? Our waitress assured us that the chicken would taste just as good as cold leftovers the next day, so no pressure to eat everything on your plate!

My new thing that I was trying that night, besides a mint julep and hush puppies, was catfish! I was worried there wouldn't be much that I could eat there but there were a couple fish options, plus mac and cheese and a beans a rice dish. The catfish was really good but so heavily fried that there was more fried than fish. I ended up taking of the bottom part of the breading and eating it like that which was just as good.

I think I would have been more ok with the catfish being so heavily breaded if it didn't seem like everything we were eating was deep fried - welcome to the South I guess? Don't get me wrong, the catfish was really good, I just felt like I needed a little break by the end. I also loved that they served it with cocktail sauce, nothing like a little kick of horseradish to make a dish exciting!

Another thing that I really like about our waitress - she was very friendly - was that she was accommodating with substitutions. The appetizer special was fried okra with a creamy vinaigrette dipping sauce. I looooove fried okra but couldn't handle another appetizer so she let me make it one of my two sides. So I ended up with succotash and fried okra, but I guess the kitchen on confused and gave me an appetizer size side. Even more food!


After we made a sizable dent in our meals, I couldn't even begin to think about dessert. They all sounded so amazing and chocolate-allergy friendly, but I just couldn't do it. Maybe next time we'll split a dish so we have room for dessert? Once you get that huge plate of food it's hard not to eat it all it's just too good. So I definitely recommend Hattie's to everyone, it holds a lot of Saratoga history and the food is a whole lotta home comfort goodness.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


I can't tell you how many times I have unknowingly walked right past Lillian's on Broadway. I don't know why but I've never thought to go in, maybe they need a little more pizzaz to catch some foot traffic. Well it was one of those Sunday mornings when every place seemed packed for brunch and my date and I walked up to Lillian's and thought why not?

Well as soon as we walked in I was shocked, it's huge! I had no idea! Lillian's has a beautiful space with lots of different rooms for events and a classy looking bar. One of the things I loved was all of the stained glass tiffany lamps, there were no two alike. This place gets an A+ for style, definitely a place to impress the parents. Also impressive - as soon as we walked in the hostess offered to take our coats, always a nice touch.

As soon as we were seated at our table by the window it was hard not to people-watch. You can get some quality people-watching on Broadway, and yet it still felt like we had our privacy. Our waitress came over to introduce herself, fill our water glasses and take our drink orders. Somehow in filling our water she got a little ahead of herself and spilled water all over the table, the floor, and little on me. At first it didn't bother me too much, these things happen and she apologized. But I kept expecting her to come back later to clean up the mess...and she never did. So I ended up having to use my napkin to wipe down our table and we were stuck with a small puddle at our feet. And then she didn't even offer to get me a new napkin, I had to ask for one since mine was soaked. No good...

I couldn't find anything on the menu that I was super excited about because in my heart of hearts I knew all I wanted was Eggs Benedict. Well actually I really wanted Hollandaise sauce, but you can't ask for a bowl of that for brunch. There were no vegetarian Eggs Benedict on the menu but the waitress was accommodating and let me switch out the bacon for the spinach and here's what I got:

There's a whole lotta food on that plate! I can barely finish two eggs benedict to begin with, do I really need a danish and all those potatoes? Those potato wedges were pretty amazing though, and even though I was about to burst I couldn't stop picking at them. They were the perfect amount of crispy and salty for me! The eggs were pretty disappointing though, they weren't poached long enough so that the whites were still really runny and the whole thing sort of disintegrated when I tried to put a bite on my fork. Not to mention that the english muffins were so hard that I could barely cut them, which I'm sure didn't help the mess I was making on my plate. Overall the potato wedges were the saving grace of my meal.

My date on the other hand had a pretty successful meal. He started his meal with a French Onion Soup and ended with a Great Dane burger (that's the beauty of brunch, you can get either breakfast or lunch and everyone's happy).

The French Onion soup was satisfying though a little too salty, and the melted cheese was so gooey that it was impossible to eat gracefully, just like it should be. I don't know why but I was sad it didn't come in the traditional brown bowl that french onion soup normally comes in. Oh well, it was still tasty!

The Great Dane burger was cooked medium rare with bacon and bleu cheese on top. If that's not a fantastic combination of flavors, I don't know what is.

This burger was the melt-in-your-mouth kind of delicious (yes I tried it, I couldn't help myself) and neither the bleu cheese nor the bacon overpowered the burger, which sometimes they have a tendency to do. My date said the quality of the burger itself (since I'm not one to judge meat) was pretty good too. Personally, I think they should have paired the burger with the potato wedges rather than plain old french fries, but that's just me.

I feel like maybe I should give Lillian's another chance. Maybe they were having an off day, or maybe that's the norm. Maybe they're more on top of their game for dinner. I also have a feeling they would be a fun place to go for happy hour, so we'll see...

Monday, February 13, 2012


I always love going to Ravenous and the other day when my friend and I had a lunch date it seemed the natural choice. There's something great about being extremely hungry and thinking "ravenous? why yes, I am". The food is always exactly what I'm craving and the space itself is intimate and cozy with it's big community table in the middle, what more could you want?

We started off our meal with Moroccan Ice Tea, which is green tea with mint and honey. This is one of the most refreshing drinks, and not too sweet which is important - I feel like a lot of ice teas out there are just a means to get a sugar high.

Notice that sign? They always have the most amazing sounding specials! Personally, I get the exact same crepe every single time, but I'll get to that in a moment, first I want to talk to you about their pommes frites.

YUMMMMM! These babies are fried twice to give you double the amount of crunchy, savory goodness. Hands down the best in Saratoga. Throw in some horseradish mayo mixed with a little bit ketchup (my personal favorite) and you've got yourself an appetizer you won't be able to stop eating. We ordered a medium but I think a small would have done the job for two people, we weren't able to finish them and I wanted to save some room for my crepe.

A note on the staff at Ravenous - while we were enjoying our pommes frites and waiting for our crepes our waitress was helping in an elderly couple. I noticed that the man was in a wheelchair and that there is a small step coming in the door that might prove difficult. Our waitress immediately ran over and helped to lift him into the restaurant. She was a great waitress overall, and it's the small things like her good deed that really make a restaurant stand out.

So remember I said I get the same crepe every time? I have literally gotten La Sorbonne every time I've gone to Ravenous for the past six years...I just can't bring myself to get anything else! It's not that the other crepes don't look appealing, I'm just particularly dedicated to this one.

Doesn't that look delicious? That is the perfect combination of asparagus, goat cheese, and sun dried tomatoes. And since I always get the horseradish mayo for my pommes frites I also like adding a bit to my crepes for a little extra kick. Maybe one day I'll try another crepe, maybe.

My friend opted for the Crepe Heloise. This crepe has goat cheese, tomatoes, scallions and basil.

Next time I'll move the garnish out of the way so you can see the food a bit better, but doesn't that look good? This crepe is jam packed with flavor and is a lot more filling then you would think. Ravenous has great portion sizes that never leave you over full...unless you go crazy with the pommes frites which is understandable.

Another cool thing that I found out at lunch - Ravenous is starting a happy hour! I always loved that they served woodchuck, one of my favorite kinds of cider, but I would have never thought to go there for drinks. But now you can go to Ravenous for happy hour and enjoy complimentary pommes frites! Might as well make it a real deal and use your coupon from your Food Pack for $8 off! Just make sure you get there early, Ravenous' only possible downfall is that it's pretty small and fills up quick. But even though it's a bummer when you've had your heart set on crepes and you can't get a table, I don't think it would have half it's charm if it was in a bigger location, don't you agree?

Long story short - Ravenous is awesome.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Valentine's Day!

Hello everyone! Are you getting excited for Valentine's Day? I won't be able to go out on the actual night (gee thanks grad school) but I still wanted to let you guys know about all of the Valentine's Day specials going on. In fact, there are even some specials that are for more than just Tuesday night, since not everyone can (or wants to) go to dinner on the 14th. So here they are -

Sperry's has a special menu from Friday 2/10 until Tuesday 2/14. This menu is $45 per person and includes all sorts of exciting things like a San Francisco Ciopinno for Two and a Double Chocolate Truffle Sweetheart Cake for Two (try saying that ten times fast).

The Wishing Well has a special steak and lobster dinner that is being offered Monday, Tuesday AND Wednesday. This romantic meal is $79 per couple but is exactly what it sounds like: steak and lobster. So while this sounds perfect for some people, vegetarians may want to head elsewhere.

Panza's doesn't have anything on their website about a special Valentine's deal, BUT they do have a weekly "Romantic Friday Dinner". This menu actually has a list of all of the aphrodisiacs used...pretty sexy.

Wheatfield's has a special Valentine's Day menu that is looks classic and delicious. Check it out.

Maetro's has three different options for couples dinners. There's the "Comfort Food Feast" for $70 per couple, the "Italian Feast" for $75 per couple, and the "N.E. Lobster Bake" for $125 per couple. I like that Maestro's offers different prix fixe deals so you know you'll get what you want. It all looks so good!

Last but not least, the Saratoga Winery has two separate events that look equally exciting. First, on Saturday the 11th there is a Sweetheart's Surf and Turf Wine and Food Pairing at $35 per person. Then on Valentine's Day there is a wine and chocolate tasting at $50 per couple. For those of you who have never been to the Saratoga Winery, it's an adorable and cozy environment that can certainly turn on the romance when it wants to!

So that's all I got for now, but let me know if you've heard of other romantic dinner deals! So I'm thinking of creating a Facebook page for Savoring Saratoga...what do you think?

Friday, February 3, 2012

Mouzon House

The other night was the perfect night to go to the Mouzon House. This is by far one of my favorite restaurants in Saratoga and it always reminds me of summer, and lately I felt like I needed a little bit of summer in my life. So after printing out our local living coupon my date and I headed to an early dinner.

As we walked across the parking lot to the house we could already hear warm music floating our way, I love it when restaurants try to draw you in off the street with music! Oh and when I said an early dinner, I mean 5:30. We were going to a concert later that night and needed to be on the road by 7, so 5:30 sounds about right...right? And since it was so early we figured we didn't have to worry about making a reservation.

When we were greeted by the hostess she asked us if we were there for the cocktail party. (In retrospect we should have said yes and hit up some free drinks) But since we weren't there for the party she then asked us if we had a reservation. Even though the restaurant was empty except for the party she made us feel like we really should have made a reservation, which was sort of strange, but I guess in her defense it did fill up a little later.

We were seated in the back's hard to describe where that is though because one of the many things I love about this place is that you can sit in any room in the house for dinner. Each room has it's own feel with beautiful art and furniture, they definitely made every little detail count. So even though it's a rather large restaurant you still have a sense of privacy wherever you sit, which was great when we barely even noticed the loud party in the next room. When you go, make sure to ask your server about the story of the house and restaurant, if you're lucky you might even get a tour...this house holds a lot of interesting Saratoga history. And did I mention that the Mouzon House is a strong supporter of the farm to table movement? That always earns extra points in my book.

After our waitress introduced herself she told us the specials for the night (yum!) and asked us if we wanted anything to drink. My date asked for a glass of wine and I thought I would be a little adventurous and asked for a Papa Doble. This was Hemingway's favorite drink (and mine too!) and even though it's not so common, I figured it couldn't hurt to ask. Her response was "I don't know that drink" so I thought, ok well maybe if I tell her what's in I started saying grapefruit juice, lime...and then she just said again, before I could finish, "I don't know that drink". Alright then, guess I'll just go with a gin and tonic. I understand that it's a random drink, but she made me feel silly for even asking about it. All she had to do was say "oh yeah, we've got some grapefruit juice, I can throw something similar together for you!" oh well.

Onto the food! For an appetizer we ordered the Bruschetta Trio. Tonight's had a mediterranean theme and was (from top to bottom) green apples with goat cheese and honey, red peppers with goat cheese and fried fennel, and mediterranean salsa with feta and fried fennel.

How amazing do those look! Slightly difficult to eat gracefully, but still delicious! I like getting a lot of different tastes with one dish, and this one certainly did just that while still tying all of the tastes together.

For my entree I ordered the Crawfish Ettouffee. Mouzon House rocks crawfish like there's no tomorrow. Normally we get the Crawfish Beignets for an appetizer (we've been told that the kitchen staff refers to them as "crack" because they are just that addictive) but I didn't want to over do it with crawfish and the Bruschetta sounded really good.

But back to the ettoufee, which is crawfish in a spicy tomato sauce over rice. Why is the plate so blinding in that picture? I need to figure out how to work my camera better. Anyways. I've gotten this dish before and it's always had a definite kick to it. But tonight that kick kicked my butt and I was feeling the (heart) burn the rest of the evening. I don't know what happened to my spice tolerance, normally I'm pretty tough, but I must have had about three glasses of water and two thick slices of bread with this dish.

My date was more than happy with his choice of chicken with potatoes and collard greens. Doesn't this picture just scream "comfort food"?

Warning though for vegetarians who like to pick off of other people's plates - the collard greens are true southern style and are cooked with smoked pork! I had a big bite before I remembered, but I'm not gonna lie, I'm pretty sure the pork was what make the collard greens taste SO good.

For dessert we ordered Bananas Foster. By ordered I mean my face lit up so much when our waitress said "bananas foster" that my date started laughing and our waitress said "so I guess that's what you guys want?" Yes, I always want warm bananas with a sweet rum sauce over ice cream.

And this dessert had a twist, it was served over cinnamon ice cream! This added a whole new aspect to this classic dessert. I must admit, it was a little soupy by the time it got to us, but it still earned it's rank as one of my favorite desserts ever.

I feel like Mouzon House is one of Saratoga's best kept (slightly expensive) secrets, so many people pass it on the way to the farmer's market but never know that it's a restaurant. I also want to say that though it's a great place to go in the winter, this review does not do it justice when it's in it's full summer glory. I'll have to write about Mouzon House again once the garden is open, there's live music on the patio, and the menu is full of local summer produce. Just wait, it's gonna be great.