KK Sushi review: high quality Japanese food in Mississauga!

Finally, I have located a high quality option for Japanese food in Mississauga! No more having to look elsewhere; KK Sushi is here! Located in the bustling restaurant neighbourhood on Dixie, leading up to the highway, KK Sushi is a superb option for a fine Japanese dining experience. The people are very nice too; I called several times asking about their menu and they were very helpful.

Vegetarian options 9/10

My meal: I ordered my usual favourites. The avocado rolls tasted particularly good. They’re not difficult to make—I have a recipe for avocado rolls here—but they tasted even better than ever at KK Sushi. The avocado salad tasted too strongly of onions but the vegetarian sushi pizza was heavenly. The peppery sauce is strong but with just the right kick and the vegetables are finely chopped into a tasteful, nutritious dish. Vegetarians will not find themselves without choice! (Even spring rolls are on the menu—yay!)

The Food

The avocado salad: Your typical dose of avocado, lettuce and onions with house dressing but a little strong on the onions.

Avocado rolls: More heavenly than ever!

Vegetarian sushi pizza: A strong, peppery sauce with freshly chopped vegetables that will leave you satisfied yet wanting more! Delicious.

Spring rolls: Simple; a little more fried dough than actual vegetable stuffing, but tasty.

Miso soup: A nice beginning.

Edamame: Good, as always.

Prices 8.5/10

Bonus: You can order all-you-can-eat or a la carte style. All you can eat costs $21 most days and $23 on weekends. The a la carte options are decently priced too—perfect when you’re looking to satisfy that craving!

It’s too bad vegetarians can’t eat a la carte while their partners order from the buffet menu (I doubt most vegetarian meals amount to more than the $28 you’ll pay for an all-you-can-eat option, with tax and tip).

Service 8.8/10

The servers were attentive to us and never left us waiting for more food or our bill. They checked on us to make sure we were doing well and were kind enough to let us know when something we had ordered was or was not included with the buffet menu (i.e., they let us know there would be an extra charge instead of surprising us later with the bad news). In fact, when we ordered jasmine tea, they offered us green tea (which was free).

Atmosphere 8.8/10

A delightful surprise! There are pictures on the website but the place looks even lovelier in person. I was struck by the polished white walls, nicely accentuated tables and chairs, and—most of all—the wall of mirrors, accentuated by overhanging leafy green plants. A Japanese bar, all decorated, lines the opposite wall. I went for a Saturday night dinner and the place was barely half full. The music is finely tuned to match a dinner atmosphere too (some Bryan Adams, that sort of thing).

Tip

Don’t order more than you can eat! One order of spring rolls is enough for two people. I recommend ordering a la carte if you’re not going to eat $22’s worth (do the math; the item-by-item prices are on the menu).

Would I go again?

Yes, this is a lovely place to bring your date, your friends or your family. I’m still thinking about those avocado rolls days later!

Makimono review: Japanese buffet

Makimono is my go-to option for all-you-can-eat Japanese food. The restaurant (Woodbridge location) is super clean and conveniently located in the parking lot of a shopping plaza. This restaurant is family-, friend- and date-friendly.

Vegetarian options 9/10

My meal: I usually order the garden salad with ginger dressing, avocado rolls, cucumber rolls and the sushi pizza. I may also order some edamame.

Grain: 1
Fruits&veg: 3
Protein alt: 1 (if you order edamame)
Dairy: 0

This is the kind of buffet where you’re met with a list of menu items. You check off the food you would like to order (+ quantity) and the food is brought to you one course at a time. Make sure your eyes aren’t bigger than your stomach! You’re responsible for eating a certain percentage of everything you eat; otherwise you pay the price (literally…).

You can order rolls, sushi, nori, soup, etc., and ice-cream. With so many delicious options, it’s tough to limit yourself but you can always come back again! There is so much to try.

The Food

The ginger salad: I love this salad! I search for it on any Japanese menu I find. The dressing is super delicious. This small sample will get your appetite moving.

Avocado/cucumber rolls: They taste the same as anywhere—a familiar dose of creamy avocado and salty soy sauce. Be careful if you order the rolls with rice; you’ll get full sooner.

Vegetarian sushi pizza: I prefer the sushi pizza down the street but this is indeed tasty. My favourite Japanese treat!

Prices 8.7/10

What can I say, buffets usually charge the same: around $20 for an evening or weekend meal and a more reasonable $15ish for lunch. But it’s all you can eat!

Service 8.7/10

I’ve never had a problem with the service here and they time the arrival of your food quite nicely.

Atmosphere 8.8/10

Quite lovely! The décor is sophisticated and modern and there’s enough space to experience a different ambiance depending on where you sit. I’ve sat upstairs—which is comfortable and private—downstairs in a booth (comfy!) and at the corner table, which is a perfect spot for couples who wish to sit somewhat side-by-side.

Tip

Don’t order more than you can eat! After all, you can always order more later if you’re really that hungry.

Would I go again?

Yes! I’ve been at least four times and it’s the best Japanese buffet I know. Unfortunately, the downtown locations have strange hours so you may have to head to Woodbridge. But it’s worth it!

Quesada Mexican Grill restaurant review: can’t get my mind off it!

I had been planning on buying a veggie dog outside the ROM as a quick dinner but when I found the street hot dog vendor-less, I was left with three options: Quesada Mexican Grill, Subway or McDonald’s. I’ve eaten McDonald’s about five times in my life and I can’t think of many exciting veggie options there. Subway is delicious, but I had been wanting to try Quesada for a while. And, boy, was it worth it.

Vegetarian options 9/10

Mexican cuisine is very vegetarian friendly thanks to its inclusion of beans. I’m always surprised when I confess my love for tacos and someone asks, “But what do you eat?” Beans, of course! Tacos, burritos and the like are just as easy to prepare for vegetarians as they are for meat-lovers.

Quesada Mexican Grill offers burritos (bean or grilled veggies), veggie tacos, veggie quesadillas, soups and snacks (think chips with salsa or guacamole). They will even serve a burrito on a bed of lettuce if you’re watching carbs, but don’t forget carbohdyrates are just as important as protein and good fats! Opt for a whole grain tortilla with your burrito or taco.

More good news: you can choose between black beans or pinto beans. Yay: choice!

The Food 8.5/10

A vegetarian is sure to find her or his fair share of options here. The only downside is that while tacos, quesadillas and burritos can come vegetarian-style, only the burritos give the option of beans over vegetables. Perhaps if we ask, they’d be willing to put beans in the tacos?

My meal: the small bean burrito, $5.07 (with tax)

Burritos are my Mexican go-to because they have everything I want: beans, rice, vegetables, salsa, sauces and all the goods rolled into one tortilla. I was offered a white or whole grain tortilla and very happily pounced on the opportunity to eat whole grain (kudos to Quesada Mexican Grill!). I also had black beans, rice, tomatoes, mild salsa, sour cream, corn, lettuce and cheese. Delicious!

Grain: 1 (whole grain)
Fruits&veg: 2
Protein alt: 1
Dairy: 1

Prices 8.2/10

Quesada Mexican Grill is basically competing with other semi–fast food “restaurants” like Mucho Burrito (which I don’t like very much). It’s expected that the prices will be higher than that of a fast food chain like my favourite Taco Bell (almost $4 for a burrito) and lower than that of a restaurant’s burrito (usually around $8-12), so keeping that in mind, $5 is very reasonably priced.

On the other hand, I ordered a small burrito. But then, a large bean burrito only costs $1 more! This seems alright.

Service 8.5/10

Service is difficult to rate at a place where no one, well, serves you. But the workers behind the counter were amusing, indeed. It was my first time ordering at Quesada so I wasn’t sure which toppings were part of my burrito order and which would cost extra (though it did say on the menu…).

I experienced a Rat Race moment as the man working behind the counter was a new employee, aided thankfully by two experienced co-workers. I say “thankfully” not because he did a bad job of making my burrito (he didn’t), but because I wasn’t sure which toppings were at my disposal and as the man was new too, neither of us knew who should take the lead. When I asked for guacamole, one of the woman warned me that it costs 75 cents extra, so I promptly cancelled the demand just as the man was dipping a spoon into the avocado blend. I was eyeing the cheese and lettuce when one of the women informed me that cheese was $3 extra but just as quickly said that she was joking. I explained, “I was ready to believe you because cheese is so expensive!” In future, they may not want to confuse a new customer…

Then, my burrito was ready. The man wrapped it up only to have his female co-worker explain that there was a more efficient way to treat the burrito. My two friends were standing nearby waiting for me. I looked on patiently as my burrito was wrapped and re-wrapped three times—there’s the Rat Race moment!—only to then have me wait for it to be grilled. But it was worth it!

Atmosphere 8.5/10

The place was relatively empty but seemed like a comfortable, clean place to eat.

Would I go here again?

Yes! My burrito tasted good and the ingredients felt and tasted so fresh and pure. I already wanted another one after I’d finished mine. I definitely want to eat here again!

Note: If your stomach is sensitive to Mexican food, good news: this burrito did not cause any stomach pains.

Jack Astor’s restaurant review: fun place for parties but not so much for hungry vegetarians

We’ve all heard of Jack Astor’s and many of us probably have good memories there (especially those of us who can’t draw for beans—yum, beans…OK, I used that cliche on purpose). With their fun drawing-on-tablecloth concept and delicious smelling food, Jack Astor’s is a very popular place! But how do vegetarians feel about it?

Vegetarian options 8.2/10

Jack Astor’s makes minimal effort to support vegetarians. They offer pizza, a veggie burger, vegetable fajitas, a house salad, spring rolls and nachos, which sounds pretty good, but really, it’s not a lot of choice. If I want a healthy, wholesome meal, my only choice is a veggie burger or the fajitas, which aggravate my pet peeve of serving vegetables instead of beans (at least serve both). My vegetarian friend actually ordered pasta off the kids’ menu. See how desperate we are?

You know a restaurant caters to vegetarians when it marks veggie meals with a special symbol and offers a variety of healthy vegetarian choices (e.g., offer us more than 1 salad choice, more than 1 protein choice).

The Food 8/10

My meal: the Bangkok spring rolls,$8.98

I do have to say these spring rolls are easily in the top 3 best spring rolls I’ve had from a restaurant. They are soooo good! They’re very satisfying and do not disappoint.

Of course, spring rolls don’t make for a very healthy—or filling—dinner. They used to come with a small cucumber concoction (which the menu clearly stated I would receive) but this has been replaced with a side slaw (one that I actually like, though, and I usually don’t like slaw).

My meat-eating friend told me she finds the food below par (her burger was very small) and that picky eaters won’t be happy here. A few years ago the prices were upped and the portions degraded in quality. Also, I had the spinach-cheese dip once and it was so bad that I couldn’t enjoy my Caesar salad or pizza afterwards. I probably just didn’t enjoy one of the ingredients in the dip, or I was comparing it to the amazing spinach-artichoke dip at Boston Pizza.

Still…those spring rolls are GOOD!

Grain: 0.5 (can you really call a fried shell a healthy source of grain?)
Fruits&veg: 1-2
Protein alt: 0
Dairy: 0

My 2nd meal: the veggie burger, $10.47

I have to say the veggie burger was delicious. A well-cooked burger (and a good one) is topped with lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, mushrooms, BBQ sauce and chipotle mayo in this pretty well-balanced meal. It also comes with a side of fries or the house salad. I neglect to mention the pickle spear because I hate pickles and asked not to have mine. This is a pretty good meal!

Grain: 2 (I suspect the bun was whole grain…)
Fruits&veg: 2 (double if you order the salad!)
Protein alt: 1-2
Dairy: 1

Prices 8.5/10

The meals seem pretty decently priced, though others around me commented that I was paying a lot for spring rolls. 

Service 9/10

I usually get pretty good service at Jack Astor’s. They did a great job handling our large group!

Atmosphere 9/10

Jack Astor’s is great for parties. They have a social, bustling atmosphere that accommodates large groups. (Though my friend would have liked having the hockey game played on a larger screen in place of replaying America’s Funniest Home Videos clips.)

Would I go here again?

If a friend wants to go, I’ll go, and because I have fond memories here, I respect the place. But if I’m hungry (which I always am), this definitely won’t get me excited.

Hemingways restaurant review: comfortable atmosphere and great pub-style food!

My classmates and I wanted to get together for dinner and Hemingways was the recommended choice. This place is ideal for a group getting together to eat, socialize and stick around. The atmosphere welcomes conversation and no one will bother you. Plus, there are plenty of lovely Yorkville stores to check out if you’re early for dinner, or you can admire the city from atop the Cumberland rock, which is what my friend and I did!

Vegetarian options 8.5/10

From what I could tell, Hemingways offers a vegetarian’s dream of pub-style foods. What you might not notice on the website is that Hemingways has a snack menu (whose link doesn’t work…) bursting with possibility for carnivores and vegetarians alike. One could order spring rolls with spicy sauce (yum), a quesadilla, samosas, nachos, a veggie burger, pizza, and more delicious pub-style items! The only problem with pub-style food is that it doesn’t tend to offer a wholesome meal. If you’re looking for a complete meal, I’d advise the fajitas.

According to Hemingways’ dinner menu, a vegetarian has little hope for a wholesome meal; the only way to achieve greens, protein and grain in your dinner is to order from the mains section, where each meal comes with a side of vegetables and your choice of mashed/baked potato or vegetables with rice. Vegetarians cannot order from this part of the menu as every single main contains meat or fish. You could, actually, order  $12.49 vegetarian fajitas, which sound pretty good considering they come with guacamole and don’t attempt to pass off steamed vegetables as a taco filling, as some restaurants unfortunately do—we need beans, my dear!

The Food 8.5/10

Note: there is even a gluten-free crust option for the pizza! (Though it costs $3 more.)

My meal: the Taster, around $9

I figured this was the perfect meal for someone like me who loves to eat buffet-style (I like to get more flavour packed into my meal!), and it’s rather “wholesome” as well. My plate arrived with a heaping pile of red nachos, a stack of thinly sliced pita triangles and a couple cucumber and carrot sticks. I had the choice of red pepper hummus, baba ganoush, eggplant and tomato dip or a too-watery dip supposedly containing spinach (it was not even in the same universe as the spinach and artichoke dip of Boston Pizza that I had imagined it to be). Around 4 or 5 cucumber slices donned with a slice of cheese and red pepper lined the border of the plate. I was happy to find there was enough hummus and pita to satisfy me. I really liked the red pepper hummus and baba ganoush on pita! Yum.

The eggplant and tomato dip was the best, as it most closely resembled salsa. I needed something like that to make my meal a little less dry. I think the taster would have been better with at least one tomato salsa (after all, there are nachos on that plate!). It was a good snack but a little too dry for me to want to order again. And there were plenty of nachos left over!

If you’re eating the taster as it’s meant to be eaten—you know, sharing it with everyone around the table as an appetizer—and you’re looking for a sampler to start off your meal, you’ll like this. There are plenty of nachos to go around!

Grain: 2
Fruits&veg: 2
Protein alt: 1-2
Dairy: 1

Prices 8.7/10

The meals seemed very reasonably priced. 

Service 9/10

One server accepted our request to move to a more spacious table in the room.

As for our waiters, they did a great job. My friend ordered for me as I was away from the table when our waiter came, and since we were ordering the same meal, the waiter misunderstood that we were sharing and brought only one taster. However, we corrected this misconception, my meal was delivered, and the rest of the evening flowed smoothly. When I asked for my bill, the waiter brought it promptly.

We did hear glass break three times throughout the evening…but everything was okay. Very comfortable service!

Atmosphere 8.5/10

This place is great! The lights are low but candles adorn every table. The chatter is loud but at a very comfortable pitch. Music plays overhead and the booths are very comfortable. Our first table—a tiny thing that fits only four people, two of whom sit on very small stools—wasn’t very comfortable, though. I think this place is great if you want to eat out with friends and not be bothered.

Would I go here again?

Not to be predictable, but yes! After perusing the snacks menu I proclaimed to my friends, “We’d have to come here at least four more times so that I can eat everything I want!” It’s a very nice place for hanging out with friends where no one will bother you, you’ll feel safe, you’re close to the subway and you have many snacks to choose from.

Hemingways
142 Cumberland Street (right across from the huge Cumberland rock)
An entrance to Bay station is directly across from the restaurant—awesome!

Texas Longhorn restaurant review: worst service ever but I still like them

On Sunday I experienced one of those rare treats: a spontaneous invitation to dinner. I love planning, yet I also love spontaneous outings; the thing is, you can’t really plan for a spontaneous outing, and what we certainly didn’t plan on was waiting an extraneous amount of time for our dinner.

My boyfriend called and when I mentioned I had still never taken him to Texas Longhorn—one of the only restaurants of the Mexican variety left in Mississauga (Mexican Post, my sister’s favourite, disappeared), and a former family favourite—he spur-of-the-moment suggested we go out for dinner. Giddy with excitement, I said yes! And he whisked me away to Texas Longhorn.

Warning: You are about to read a tale of service so bad, you may suddenly find yourself feeling annoyed, frustrated, and incapable of soothing said negative emotions. Fear not—redemption closes our story.

Vegetarian options 9/10

Almost any taco-variant on the menu can be adapted to include refried beans instead of meat, at your request. The burrito is already offered in a vegetable version for those who are avoiding meat, and the restaurant has, in the past, allowed me to personalize a taco with beans. Naturally the steak and ribs portion of the menu is out of the question, but there are plenty of other sizzling snacks from which to choose.

One of the things I love about Mexican food (by the way, Texas Longhorn serves Tex-Mex fare but I maintain it is still of the Mexican variety) is that it is so easily adaptable to a vegetarian diet. Simply sub any meat ingredient for refried beans and voilà!

Unfortunately, Texas Longhorn is one of those restaurants that hasn’t really caught onto this yet. They seem to share—along with the Fox and the Fiddle and who knows which other unsuspecting restaurants—this idea that a vegetarian fajita should demand a simple swap of meat for vegetables.

Now, I’m not pulling an expected “nooo, not vegetables…” on you here—I do eat at least five servings of them a day now! But if there is one place I don’t want my vegetables, it’s in my taco (or burrito or fajita or other taco variation). I would like a tortilla or hard shell packed with refried beans, sour cream, cheddar cheese, lettuce and some form of tomato. Rice is a sometimes addition too.

Where in the vegetarian rule book does it read “For vegetarians, simply replace the meat portion of the fajita/taco/burrito with vegetables”? Hello, we don’t eat meat. So if the meat is taken out of our taco, we’re left craving some form of protein. Last time I checked, the stir-fried broccoli, carrots and onions handed to me were lacking in protein, though rich in vitamins. Doesn’t simple logic dictate we replace the meat with refried beans?

And even if you do argue that the fajita handed to me with a steaming plate of vegetables is completely reasonable for someone craving a traditional Tex-Mex fajita, then at least agree on this: the vegetarian rule book certainly does not state that the $13.99 meat fajita come with a side of rice and beans while the $10.99 vegetarian fajita have double the amount of rice to make up for not coming with a side of beans. Just give us the beans!! Where’s our protein? Thankfully my boyfriend swapped his side for mine (thank you, sweetie!).

And if fajitas are going to include some form of vegetable, does not tradition state they include julienne peppers? I’m not a fan of them but as a vegetarian and lover of Mexican food, I abhor the new trend of broccoli and carrots with my fajitas.

Our Meal

I ordered the vegetable fajita, which came with

  • fresh tortillas
  • lettuce, sour cream, cheese and pico de gallo
  • steaming broccoli, carrots and onions
  • a side of rice

My boyfriend ordered the meat fajita, ¼ pound.

The pico de gallo, I must say, is the best pico de gallo I’ve had. One thing you must know about me is I loooove tomato by-products and I live for them, but I hate the taste of biting into a tomato (hate). Fortunately, I have somehow managed to start eating tomatoes without biting into them for the past year (cue dicing tomatoes into tiny pieces and immediately swallowing!). But Texas Longhorn’s pico de gallo, seasoned with green flecks of a tasty herb, is sooooo good.

And the guacamole was pretty good too! I have high standards for guacamole (see the guacamole recipe my boyfriend makes); I like it plainer and closer to its natural avocado flavouring.

The rice is flavoured and appears the appropriate shade of reddish musk, perfect for burritos. The refried beans were delicious as well. My fajitas tasted great!

The food 8.5/10

I find the food to be pretty good and the free salsa you receive while waiting for your order is SO GOOOOOOD. I ate my fajita leftovers the next day and they were DELICIOUS!

My boyfriend, on the other hand, informs me that the tortillas and the meat (which did appear to be on the el-cheapo side as far as portions go) paled in comparison to the fajitas served for roughly the same price at the Tickled Toad. I have no other Mexican/Tex-Mex restaurant to compare it to, and I admit it’s difficult to butcher Mexican food (or the Canadian interpretation, sorry). It seems you’ll have to try out the food for yourself!

Prices 8/10

The prices seem to vary around the $10 mark for a basic meal, which is reasonable. We were fortunate to have a coupon, but we deserved a discount after the service we experienced…

Service 5/10

Shocking! Surely I, who never mark so low, must have a reason.

My boyfriend and I arrived at the restaurant around 6:35 p.m. and were seated within a minute. We were even given the option of choosing on which side of the restaurant we were to sit; if only we could have chosen to sit directly in front of the kitchen, as maybe then we would have received our meal within the hour.

The restaurant was barely half full, and both sides appeared equally inviting with their dark wooden tables and friendly patrons; my boyfriend opted for a table near the bar, facing the television screens. Oh, how having a television screen nearby came in handy.

We were given menus and then the server disappeared, never to be seen again—which is pretty much true, in our case. We had two coupons with us and needed to see the dessert menu before we made a decision. We both decided we would order fajitas and proceeded to wait. And wait. It was now 6:50 p.m. and no one had come by our table, though they had passed it several times with heaping plates of food, which they carried outdoors to the patio. Thirsty, I realized that one of my preferred restaurants had failed to abide by the #1 rule of all restaurant service: always ask guests what they would like to drink, promptly upon seating. My parched throat, however, took a back seat to our predicament as we realized that a family had just entered the restaurant and was being served before we were.

To our “luck,” a waitress came and kindly offered to bring a dessert menu, as requested in our quest to determine which coupon we wished to use. The waitress was confused about my coupon—I knew more about it than she did—but that is to be expected, as coupons are feared by any who work in the food industry! The dessert menu was brought right away, but this action did little to help the waitress’ subsequent disappearance.

Hungry, and having decided we weren’t going to order dessert after our meal, we began to eye the free nachos and salsa on the tables of all the guests around us. The salsa makes up 40 per cent of the reason I enjoy coming to this restaurant—it is more delicious than any store-bought salsa could ever be and is usually handed to guests as a free appetizer along with their drinks.

Seeing the hunger eat away at my boyfriend (shouldn’t it be the other way around?), I approached our waitress and asked her as cutely as possible whether the coupon would work. Without looking at me, but instead surveying the area, she announced, “I don’t know, I can’t find the owner.” Still cutely, I asked, “May we have our free chips and salsa?” and was granted the tasty snack by a confused waitress who stared at someone behind the bar in order to first seek confirmation. “She didn’t even know if this was the right table,” my boyfriend informed me. Gesturing to the people around us, he pointed out, “Everyone else already has theirs!”

Much, much later (it must have been 7:15 p.m. by now, by which time I’d figured we’d be finishing up our dinner), our waitress returned to take our order. She kindly gave me advice on our fajitas when asked and then disappeared. I noticed, as we waited, that the family behind us looked rather annoyed with the lack of service. We sympathized.

Dinner came relatively soon, but by then our appetites, following Darwin’s theory of survival, had dissipated. The waitress explained, “Sorry, the kitchen is beyond capacity,” to which I thought, “If this place can barely survive being half-full, then…?” Please don’t let another Mexican restaurant go out of business! She asked whether we needed anything else and a thought began to form, “We don’t have any cutlery…” but I spotted a spoon and let it slide. We proceeded to eat our meals without any forks or knives, and with certainly no napkins. I placed two tissues on the table, one for each of us, and we proceeded to eat. The waitress did stop by later to ask whether everything was okay, at least.

Atmosphere 9/10

No complaints here! (“Any left?” you’re wondering.) The volume was perfect and the temperature cooled down eventually. The place is designed with horns—suitable for its name—and has a Tex-Mex feel, as it should. Upon entering, you find yourself facing a room covered in dark wood, with an outdoor patio overlooking the busy Dundas street and a bar highlighted by televisions broadcasting sports while a singer’s voice drifts gently from the speakers.

Tip

Be patient—this place is worth trying! Just don’t let it try your patience or you’ll never get a chance to enjoy the tasty homemade salsa, host of salivating dinner options or a great Tex-Mex vibe in the friendly city of Mississauga.

Despite the horrible service described above, I had a great experience. Why? I was with someone I care about, and being together is a gift in itself (awww). However, if you brought someone here on a first date, you’d have a tough time of it—the service could just about ruin it for you, if you didn’t have enough conversation to make it rich or the humour required to make a big joke of it.

Would I go here again?

Actually, I would. The service would have made a horrible first impression, but I’ve frequented Texas Longhorn for many years and although I rarely go anymore, I’m fond of my city’s only Tex-Mex restaurant (to my knowledge) and I certainly don’t want it to go away. I need my Mexican fix!

Milestones restaurant review: Girls’ Night Out menu

My friend recently brought it to my attention that Milestones offers new well-themed and tempting dinner specials. We kindly obliged, attending their Monday Girls’ Night Out special with two other friends.

The deal on our meal

4 appetizers and 4 bellinis for $40, before tax and tip. If you bring three girl_friends, that’s one appetizer and one bellini per person, for only $10. Hello!

Vegetarian options 9/10

Hurray, here’s to not having to awkwardly question the waiter: “I’m a vegetarian…do you have anything without meat?” Five of the six appetizers are meatless! Boy, does it feel good.

The food 8.5/10

Milestones’ Famous Hot Spinach & Artichoke Dip

This dip really should be famous. I often split the spinach and artichoke dip at any restaurant, and this one certainly arrived in a creamy, cheesy glory, and with red tortilla chips and a side of sour cream and fresh-cut tomato salsa to boot. It was delicious and easily the best part of the meal.

Yummy Yam Frites

I can see why this dish was recommended to me. The plate of yam frites, easily made for sharing, is accompanied by an orange mayo I only wished to have a few tastes of (mayo is yummy, but too much of it…) . The fries taste quite good, and I believe yam is a little healthier than regular potato…no? (Maybe not when it’s fried.)

Baked Goat Cheese & Slow-Roasted Garlic Flatbread

I didn’t recognize half the food I was eating from this dish, but they all taste good, and that’s what matters! (Well that and the healthiness of the items in question.) A lightly garlic-covered flatbread simply asks to be covered in a rich, creamy goat cheese I’m still drooling over, a spiced cranberry relish (so THAT’S what that salsa-looking dip is), roasted corn and onion salsa, fresh papaya (still don’t know what I ate) and roasted red pepper salsa (which is the cranberry, which is the pepper…?). Don’t think too much on this one; it looks and tastes good. Did I mention the creamy goat cheese?

The fourth appetizer we ordered was crispy honey phyllo shrimp, for which I cannot, of course, offer a proper review, reasons being obvious (see this blog’s domain name). However, I can say that every single piece of shrimp was accounted for by my companions (although the lettuce was sadly untouched). They described the accompanying dip as tasting sweet, like maple.

Nutrition information: scroll to the bottom of the Milestones website

Prices 9/10

A drink and an appetizer for only $10 before tax and tip? That’s a deal you just can’t get very often anymore, especially from a restaurant chain. Even if you order more than the Girls’ Night Out menu offers, you’re still getting your drink and appetizer for about half price.

Service 8/10

The waiter’s transition into acquiring our I.D.s was all too transparent; I noticed him take a breath before remarking, “You all look so youthful…May I see your I.D.s?” However, when I asked for water rather than my bellini (which my three friends bartered for before assigning it to someone), he kindly brought me water and later, recognizing the glass was running low, he “topped off” my supply.

The only fault was leaving us to sit with our dirty dishes hogging the table space for a few minutes too long. But how picky can you be?

Atmosphere 8.5/10

We were fortunate to be seated in a private corner sectioned off by a fairly transparent but fine set of curtains. I particularly love the fact that on our way out, I noticed the high volume of girls at the restaurant, and recognized the Girls’ Night Out menu items on the tables. Milestones should thank its marketing team. Even though the Girls’ Night Out menu isn’t necessarily just that—in the name of fairness, the restaurant opens the special to groups of more or less than four, and both men and women—the restaurant still succeeds in drawing in customers who otherwise may not have chosen to go there for their Monday night dinner.

Tip

If you want to make it easy to split the bill, go with three friends and assign each friend one drink and one appetizer.

I suggest sharing all four appetizers; assign cutlery to each dish so everyone can scoop the desired amount onto their plate to avoid double-dipping. That’s what we did and it allows everyone to sample a variety.

One of my best friends cleverly pointed out that two people could enjoy the Monday Girls’ Night Out menu, earning two drinks and two appetizers each for only $20 per person before tax and tip. That’s quite a deal!

Would I go here again?

I would and, in fact, I am; the Wednesday night Date Night special beckons next week!