Saturday, March 31, 2012


Congratulations to Amber and Rebekah, winners in the P.F. Chang's Give-away!

Amber and Rebekah will each receive:  $15 Gift Card, Free Appetizer Card, and Free Child's meal Card. Life is Good!

Black Sheep Bistro -- Corpus Christi, TX

The Black Sheep Bistro at 15201 S. Padre Island Dr. ( is a small, eclectic little place across the bridge on the Island (North Padre for those of you not in South Texas). It's very casual with an eclectic mix of music -- think Willie Nelson, CCR, Crosby, Stills & Nash, played a little louder than most places -- and an eclectic menu. One would expect a place on the Island to serve predominately seafood, but not here. At Black Sheep you can order a steak, pasta, burger, or seafood. Just because you're on the Island doesn't mean you gotta eat fish.

The manager met us at the door as we walked in and seated us at a table for two. This was our third trip to Black Sheep. We went with the intent to blog so we were paying close attention. Of course, this was the one time we'd be served by the daughter of a friend, and Rebecca's amazing, so there's nothing bad we can say about her. Rebecca took our drink orders while we looked over the menu and specials written on a chalkboard that is playfully decorated to draw your eye to items that you won't find on the menu. Rob ordered one of the specials and I ordered from the menu. Rebecca turned in our order and while we waited for our food, we caught up with all that's been going on in her life and her folks since we'd seen them last.

Rob had the Crab Stuffed Flounder. The flounder was beautifully wrapped around the crab filling and sat atop parmesan mashed potatoes with white truffle oil and asparagus. The potatoes were delicious, the truffle oil a faint echo in your mouth. The asparagus was cooked past the al dente stage (we prefer it a bit more crunchy). The crab filling was rich and creamy, but the flounder was just slightly overcooked and a little bit dry. All of the flavors played nicely together and we did a great job of cleaning the plate.

I had the Pescado a la Ticla. Three mahi tacos on corn tortillas with jicama slaw and a chili lime vinaigrette along with a mango salsa and Spanish rice. Rebecca warned me that it was spicy. It was. Very spicy! This dish is not for those with whimpy taste buds.  Fortunately, I like spicy, and I found if you added the mango salsa to the tacos a nice balance was achieved. The heat was fairly intense, but it didn't overpower the flavors. The fish was nicely grilled and meaty, the tortillas perfectly cooked (not fried). The salsa was sweet, but not too. I enjoyed every bite. The only criticism would be for the Spanish rice. I felt it could have more flavor, but it wasn't bad.

As I've stated, this was our third visit and the food has consistently pleased us. We would absolutely recommend Black Sheep Bistro, and we are excited to learn that Black Sheep is adding on to the bistro. Next door, the Barrel is being built. It, hopefully, opens next month. It will basically be a wine bar serving tapas. We will definitely be checking that out!

Since it was slow (we tend to eat earlier than most people), I asked Rebecca if she'd ask the chef if he would mind sharing a simple recipe or kitchen tip. He was willing to offer a tip. I will try to do this for future reviews, also.

Kitchen Tip from the Chef: When cutting onions use a very sharp knife. The sharper the knife, the fewer tears you'll shed because it will cause less damage to the cells as you cut.

Monday, March 26, 2012

P. F. Chang's Give-Away!!!

Hey Kids, I scored some Gift Cards and other goodies from P.F. Chang's and I'm going to share them with two of my followers. When you become a follower of Everyday Couple Eating Out you will automatically be entered to win!

What will you win?

Each winner will receive: $15 P.F. Chang's Gift Card, A Free Kid's Meal Card, and A Free Appetizer Card! Not a bad deal.

Become a follower now!

Name will be drawn from followers and winners will be notified on March 31, 2012.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Luciano's Restaurante - Corpus Christi, TX

The thing I love about Luciano's (1821 S Alameda St. at Six Points) is that the tables are covered with starched white tablecloths (although now the tablecloths sit under glass) and the waitstaff look so professional in their white shirts and black pants. So, I was a little surprised when we walked in last night and the staff were dressed more casually in green tshirts and khakis. Then I realized that it was St. Patrick's Day. It made perfect sense, except that we were in an Italian restaurant. Which brought to mind the night, several months ago, when Rob and I visited Molly's Irish Pub where Tejano music was playing. We know how to celebrate diversity in South Texas!

Okay, back to Luciano's. We were seated at the same table that we've sat at on our last two visits, which was great, because I love that table. It's right in the corner where the two glass walls meet. It's almost like sitting on a patio, but without the wind and insects. Our server, John, greeted us and took our wine orders while we looked over the menu. Rob picked the Shrimp Diavolo and I chose a classic, the Chicken Parmigiana. John arrived with our drinks and took our orders.
Bread Sticks

As we waited for our meals, John brought us breadsticks. I swear I only took a couple of bites, but my breadstick just disappeared. Before I knew it, all of it's soft, salty, cheesy goodness was gone. I dared not touch another for fear I'd not have an appetite left for my meal. Rob was also struggling to keep from eating another. Fortunately, we were not tortured long and we were glad we saved room for dinner.

Chicken Parmigiana
My Chicken Parigiana was beautiful in every way. The chicken was moist, tender and abundant, wrapped in a light crust of breadcrumbs and parmesan. It lay atop a mound of spaghetti that was drenched in a sweet tomato sauce. Mozzarella Cheese topped the dish -- gently melted until it was just beginning to brown. So good! To look at the dish you would expect heaviness. Not the case. There was flavor, but it was delicate. The dish was all about enhancing the chicken, not covering it. Subtle hints of basil in the tomato sauce served to create great plate of comfort food.

Shrimp Diavolo
Rob stuck with his favorite Shrimp Diavolo. This dish is make-your-nose-run spicy. Not too much heat, but definitely there. The sauce also contained plenty of vegetables and was served over nine (nine? Really? Yes, nine!) plump shrimp and linguini. I don't know, maybe the shrimp were a little smaller than last time, but at our previous visit, he got six. You would think that a sauce with so much flavor and spice would overpower the flavor of the shrimp, but no. The shrimp were cooked beautifully and held their own in this robust dish. Wonderful harmony of flavor.

Luciano's is a real treasure. It may not always be perfect, as in our last review (June 2011), but there is always redemption. In our many visits to Luciano's we've learned that they strive to provide excellent food and if something isn't right they will work hard to make sure you're satisfied. I like that in a restaurant and that's why we continue to eat at Luciano's.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Outback Steakhouse -- Corpus Christi, TX

Rob wanted a steak and I wasn't in the mood for any specific cusine, so I was game. He pulled up Urban Spoon on his phone and started flipping. It brought up Outback Steakhouse, 4221 S. Padre Island Dr. ( Now, I have to say that at one time we were really fans of Outback. Then about eight months ago my mother passed away, and with several family members in town, we wanted to go out to dinner. My sister suggested Outback. It had been about a year since Rob and I had eaten there, so we thought it was a great idea. It was one of the worst experiences we've ever had in a restaurant. Food not cooked properly, slow, surly server; we basically vowed we would not return. Then last night Rob wanted a steak. We decided to give it one more chance.

Fortunately, it was not like our last visit. It was early in the evening, so we were seated right away. Anthony waited on us, and he was eager to please. He got our drink order while we perused the menu. Rob selected the 10 oz. Ribeye with a baked potato, and I settled on the Filet and Grilled Shrimp on the Barbie which featured a "petite" filet with grilled shrimp. Now, I noticed that the 6 oz. filet was one dollar more than my selection so I asked Anthony just how petite the steak was. He told me that it was 5 oz. I ordered. I asked for my steak to be cooked medium rare. Anthony said that the medium rare would be red throughout (which I would consider rare) and that medium would be pink with a red center. So, I ordered medium. Rob ordered his steak medium rare.

Considering the restaurant was nearly empty, the meal took a little longer than it should have to reach us. When it did arrive and we cut into our steaks, Rob's was a bit overcooked and mine a bit undercooked. Not terrible, but noticably off. We didn't complain about it. What bothered me more was that my "petite" filet didn't really look like a filet. It was about a half inch thick, but the flavor was good. The shrimp were small (I expected that due to the price) and the sauce that accompanied them was not to my liking. The shrimp lay among grape tomato halves with basil. This little salad was way too salty. I do not know if it was prepared that way, or if the salt that encrusted the potato skin of my baked potato fell into it. Either way it was barely edible. The baked potato was dressed with all the trimmings. Both of our baked potatoes were properly cooked.

As I stated, Rob's steak was overcooked, but again the flavor was there, and he said that it satisfied his desire for a steak. He didn't feel it was anything special, though -- not quite worth the price we paid.

When Anthony brought the check he noticed that I had hardly touched my wine. He asked if I liked it and I told him that I really didn't. I told him that I was only drinking it because we were paying for it. He insisted on removing it from the check, which earned him tipping points.

I know this has not been a very exciting post (I almost didn't post at all), but that was exactly our experience. Not really bad, but not really good either. Just not an exciting dinner. Anthony was great, but considering our last experience there, and what we were served last night, not even great service could inspire us to want to return to this location. It's too bad, too, because we used to enjoy eating at Outback Steakhouse.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Fajitaville -- Corpus Christi, TX

Fajitaville at 221 South Hotel Place in Corpus Christi, TX ( is actually three spots in one. Located on Corpus Christi Beach (what I've grown up calling North Beach) this bright, multi-colored building houses the open air Bamboo Beach Bar on the first floor, The family oriented "Grill" on the second floor, and the more upscale Club Riviera on the third. We opted for the third floor experience. (The Grill and Riviera share the same menu.)

While researching, today, I found that the restaurant opened on October 29, 2011. I would think that after four months things would run a little more smoothly. We felt as if we had come into a very new operation. The hostess greeted us warmly and explained that she would have someone take us up to the third floor shortly. "Less than ten minutes," she said. True to her word, in actually less than five, there were not one, but two hostesses expecting to take us up, leaving the family of five who were there before us wondering if they would make it to the second floor.

After a bit of confusion, we arrived at our table with only one hostess in tow. She graciously seated us, and our server arrived shortly thereafter. She seemed a little green, but eager to please, although she was not very familiar with the drink menu. The wine list did not include my favorite wine, Sauvignon Blanc, so I asked if they had one. With a slight look of panic in her eyes she said, "If it's not on the menu, we don't have it." It surprised me a little that a place on the beach, serving seafood, would not have a more varied selection of white wines. I ordered the Pinot. Rob ordered the Malbec. I noticed after she served our water that she had to tear the bartender away from his meal to fill our drink orders. I like a server who makes sure the customer doesn't wait longer than necessary.

We had decided on our entrees by the time she arrived with our wine. Many items on the menu sounded intriguing, and I finally settled on the Seashell of Salmon Roulade which is described as, "Salmon fillet rolled in Rockefeller creamed spinach, finished with tarragon pesto cream." I was allowed two sides and ordered the "hand-hacked mashed potatoes" and house salad with a raspberry vinegarette dressing. Rob ordered the Stuffed Gulf Shrimp which are stuffed with blue crab, fried, and served with lobster butter and roasted red bell pepper sauce. He opted for the baked potato and house salad with a Caesar dressing, because they didn't have his favorite, honey mustard.

Our salads came and we knew we were in trouble. Although fresh, they were the classic bowls of lettuce (dressed up with Romaine rather than Iceberg) with one slice of tomato, one slice of cucumber, a little dusting of shredded carrots and croutons. We have learned that you can generally judge the cuisine of a restaurant by the quality of the salad they serve. This salad is generally indicative of less than top-notch food; unfortunately the stereotype held true.

Let's do Robs food first this time. When our server sat his plate down, he looked at it and said, "I thought the shrimp was stuffed." She server said they were. In defense of the restaurant, he was not expecting fried, but after checking the menu, he had just missed that. I thought that stuffed shrimp would be larger. These were about the size of medium sized shrimp. There was no lobster butter on his plate, but there was a red sauce. I tasted one of the shrimp with the red sauce. First, the sauce was nothing special -- no memorable flavor --  and second, the shrimp were indeed stuffed, with about a quarter of a teaspoon of what I supposed was crab. You could not taste it, but what you could taste was that the shrimp were of the frozen variety.

Now my dish. The potatoes had no seasoning. I take medication for high blood pressure and so I have become accustomed to eating foods with a minimum of salt. I had to add salt and pepper these, they were so bland. My first thought was that Robert Irvine would have a field day with the kitchen staff. (Reference to the Food Network Show, Restaurant Impossible, for those of you who are scratching your heads.) The salmon tasted as if it had landed on the griddle right behind an order of bacon. I have never had salmon that tasted like bacon before. The "Rockefeller creamed spinach" was sandwiched inside the salmon. Let us have a short cooking lesson: A Roulade is the french term for a thin slice of meat rolled around a filling and Rockefeller generally refers back to Oysters Rockefeller which was named so because it was so rich. Nothing on this plate was rolled, and not only was the Rockefeller creamed spinach not rich, it tasted as if it came out of a can, having no real flavor at all. And forget about a tarragon pesto cream. It was finished with a drizzle of the raspberry vinegarette. Yes, the very same dressing I had on my salad. We passed on dessert.

The building is festive, with a pleasant decor and wonderful view. The seating and wait staff, although trying to please, were very unpolished. The food, if ours was any indication, was not worth what we paid, much less the drive over the bridge. We could only figure that it being a tourist oriented restaurant, they expect to get away with less than excellent food. In my book, that is the wrong attitude to take. Rob left with an upset stomach, and this couple will not be eating at Fajitaville again.

We're Baaaaack!!!

Hey, food fans! After some downtime due to me needing to care for my mother, her death, and dealing with handling the estate, I got out of the habit of blogging. Then last night my Knight in Shining Armor and I ate at Fajitaville and I felt the need to get back to writing about our experiences. You'll find our experience there in the next blog. I just wanted to take a moment here to say "hi" and get you caught up with some of the places we've revisited over the past several months. Some have changed our mind and others remain the same. So here you go:

Dragonfly continues to be a favorite with us. They have changed the menu some and the new additions are amazing.

Hester's is as great as always. The food is consistantly good and the staff always friendly and ready to please.

La Fogata Grill in Corpus Christi has closed it's doors. This is sad, because I think the cusine was one of the best we've experienced in this city.

Shockley Market has also closed. Another favorite down. We may have to move to San Antonio or Austin.

La Playa Mexican Restaurant in Corpus Christi. Thank goodness they're still open! We continue to enjoy eating here. Very casual, of course, and reasonably priced, their little inconsistancies aren't a big deal. Most of the time the food is very good.

I wish I could say the same for Dos Comales. Twice out of the three times we've dined there we have been disappointed. Sad, because it could be so much more.

Luciano's was more enjoyable the last couple of times we visited. Good service and rich Italian fare.

Broadway Bistro in San Antonio is always great.

La Fogata Mexican Restaurant in San Antonio is still some of the best Mexican food around.

Silo Restaurant, also in San Antonio, labels their food "elevated cuisine." It truly is, and not because you're eating on the second floor. This is gourmet!

La Madeline is still our favorite breakfast spot.

And finally, back home in CC, we like to stop by the bar in P F Chang's for a glass of wine, and sometimes dinner. The bar staff are like a well oiled machine, yet never too busy to stop and share some friendly conversation. Bobby, Miranda, and Vanessa are the best!