Sunday, March 27, 2011

Become a Follower GIVEAWAY!!!

We are giving away a $25 gift certificate to Katz 21 Steak & Spirits in Corpus Christi, TX! To qualify to receive this prize, you must sign up to be a follower of the Everyday Couple Eating Out blog. If you live in Corpus Christi, the surrounding area, or just visit once in a while, sign up now! Deadline is April 9, 2011. On April 10 we will draw a name from our list of followers and notify the winner.

A little info on the gift certificate: This is a gift certificate with no expiration date. Valid for Dinner only, minimum purchase of $50, dine-in. It is not valid for taxes or tips and excludes alcohol and other offers/promotions.

Katz 21 Steaks & Spirits -- Corpus Christi, TX

Katz 21 Steaks & Spirts is located at 317 Mesquite Street, Corpus Christi, TX, in the downtown area ( The moment you walk up to Katz, you feel welcome and important. Just before we reached the door it swung open and we were greeted warmly with "Welcome to Katz." The doorman then proceeded to guide us to the reception desk where we were greeted again. We informed the two lovely young ladies that we had a reservation and one of them led us to our table. On the way to our table every staff member we passed greeted us, and again welcomed us to Katz. The interior is paneled is rich dark woods and elegantly trimmed. We were guided to our table in a booth that was all but completely private. High walls divide the booths and the various sections of the restaurant, so that wherever you sit you never feel like you're in a large impersonal space.

Our server, Alisa, introduced herself and told us about the night's special. She was very pleasant and informative. Considering the atmosphere, you might expect the waitstaff to be a bit stuffy. Not at all. Alisa was quite personable and we enjoyed her. As we perused the menus, bread arrived at the table -- a very nice white bread with a crunchy crust, served with real butter. I love real butter! The menu prices are on the higher side and everything is separate (salad, entree, sides, etc) so be prepared (as we were with our $25.00 coupon). I ordered a Greek Salad and the Pesca al Forno. Rob ordered a Ceasar Salad and the 6 oz Filet of Beef with a Baked Potato. They were out of the wine I ordered, so Alisa brought me a better one.

I love Greek Salads and this one is the best I've ever had. Large chunks of tomatoes, cucumbers, artichoke hearts, and black olives piled up on a small bed of various lettuces, dressed with a wonderful vinaigrette and liberally sprinkled with an herbed feta cheese. I was regretting having ordered anything else. The salad was huge and delicious. When my entree arrived I almost asked for the to-go box right then! The prices may be up there, but you get your money's worth. A filet of tilapia about the size of a small sedan lay across the plate. It was topped with crabmeat, two large shrimp, olives and capers. Next to it lay a medley of squash, zucchini and carrot. I was glad I had not ordered a side, yet Alisa showed up a minute or two later with another dish and informed me that the chef told her the the Pesca al Forno was now being accompanied with a rice pilaf. I could have fed two other people with this dish. As it turned out, we actually had enough of my entree left over for both of us to have dinner the next night! My first bite tasted a little salty and I relayed that to Alisa, who offered to have the chef remake the dish. I declined, explaining that I've been on a low sodium diet and I might be sensitive. Rob tasted it and didn't think it was salty at all. So, it was just me. The fish was nicely cooked, tender and moist but not fishy tasting. The shrimp were perfect. I could not finish even a third of the fish, nevermind the rice and everything else on the dish.

Rob's steak was served with the same vegetable medley as my dish. His potato was served on a separate dish and was quite large. The steak was cooked perfectly. I had a taste and commented that I liked the seasoning, especially the fact that it wasn't heavily seasoned. He said that he usually preferred more seasoning on his steak, but this was such good quality beef that it didn't need more seasoning. He had his potato completely dressed, sans the sour cream, and it must have been good, because he put quite a dent in it.

As Alisa arrived with to-go boxes (she read my mind) on a tray (classy), and boxed up the leftovers, she asked if we wanted dessert. Rob asked if they had chocolate. She told us about their Godiva Cheesecake that she said, "will change your life!" I believe she called it "sin on a plate." She also said that they had a flourless chocolate torte, but I'd had that before. I went with the Godiva Cheesecake and I do believe my life has been changed. Creamy, rich chocolate cheesecake encased in Godiva chocolate, served on a pool of raspberry sauce. Absolutely amazing, and worth every decadent calorie!

Katz is not going to be your everyday, run of the mill date night restaurant, but for the special occasion it is the perfect place. The staff treat you as if you are the most important people to walk in that night. The food is excellent, and although you're spending more than you normally would, you won't feel as if your money was wasted.

We understand that Katz will be moving later this year to the old Trend House building on Esplanade. According to our server, it will have patio dining as well as an elegant interior and live music. We're looking forward to it!

We are giving away a $25 gift certificate to Katz to one lucky "follower" of our blog. If you are not yet a "follower," become one now! (Winner will be announced April 10, 2011).

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Lisa Bella's Bistro and Java Bar -- Port Aransas, TX

Lisa Bella's, 224 E. Cotter Ave, is not a restaurant you visit in a hurry. The atmosphere and the service are relaxed, which is fine for us. After a 45 minute drive to Port Aransas the last thing we want is to rush through dinner. I'm sorry that there are no pictures this time, but Lisa Bella's Bistro is not the type of place where you whip out your cell phone and start snapping. It is an intimate place with only about a dozen tables, so that kind of thing sort of sticks out. So, I hope I don't mess up any details, since I have no pictures to refer to nor a menu online to glance at.

A little history. This was not our first trip to Lisa Bella's. On previous trips we were encouraged to bring our own wine and they would serve it for us, even chilling the white wine. We noticed the last time we were there that there was a notice posted in the window that the restaurant had applied for a liquor license.  Remembering that, we called ahead to see if we should bring our own wine. They told us that they had their license, but if we preferred to bring our own, there would be a $15 corking fee per bottle. Not worth it to us, particularly after finding that they offer some very decent wines. I got the impression that they serve only imported beer as I did not see a domestic in sight, but I could be wrong. Personally, I thought it was a unique and charming aspect of the restaurant to bring our own wine, and wish they had not changed.

Enough of that, on to the food! We had a coupon, so we went all out. We started with an appetizer of Panchetta wrapped Gulf Shrimp. Again, no picture, but the presentation of each dish was beautiful and mouth watering. On a colorful plate we received three large gulf shrimp wrapped in panchetta and drizzled with a honey chipotle glaze. It was beautiful and delicious. The shrimp were plump and nicely prepared. The glaze was sweet with just enough chipotle to give it a kick.

For starters I had the Espincada Salad. Baby spinach with dried currants and walnuts, tossed with goat cheese dressing and topped with slices of green apple. Simple and fantastic. Rob had the Mermaid soup. The description read "Lobster, shrimp, scallops, secrets." It was light and didn't taste fishy or too briny, which is a good thing in my book.

I ordered the Crabcakes. Now, if you've ever made crabcakes, or eaten them in just about any other restaurant, you know that you mix a bunch of ingredients together, form the cakes, fry them up and hope that the crab shines through. Well, no, not a Lisa Bella's. I don't know how they got the cakes to stay together long enough to cook, but the only thing I found in my crabcakes was blue crab meat. It was lightly breaded with what I believe was seasoned panko breadcrumbs and fried to perfection. There were two crabcakes on the plate sitting atop a light creamy sauce and topped with a mango salsa. The sides included coconut jasmine rice and green beans. The green beans were sauteed with garlic and the rice had just a light coconut flavor. Very nice! Rob had the Salmon for his entree. The fish was beautifully prepared and sat in a shallow pool of coconut curry sauce.  The flavors were sublime. This dish was also accompanied by green beans and coconut jasmine rice.

We were on a roll so we ordered dessert; Chocolate Cake. I don't know what the formal name was as we just kinda told the guy, "we want the chocolate cake like she had." Well, it was chocolate. I mean really, really chocolate! Just like I like it!

Lisa Bella's is always a treat. It is definitely worth the drive to Port Aransas. If you're visiting on a Friday or Saturday evening we recommend that you make a reservation.