Blue Ginger

Bread: Three varieties of bread came with a small side of butter. The flat cracker sesame bread and potato-like bread didn’t need any butter as they had their own unique flavor, but I did spread a little on the slice of plain white.

Menu: The structure of the menu is simple, offering Appetizers and Entrees. There’s also a note at the bottom of the page about the Chef’s Tasting Menu, but I didn’t inquire as I had a hard enough time with the options in front of me. The prices are definitely steeper than I’m used to but I knew this going into dinner, as Chef Ming Tsai is one of the best in MA, is nationally known, and has appeared on The Food Network numerous times. This is the kind of meal you don’t mind paying $40+ for because you know you won’t be disappointed, and it will probably be one of  the best versions of whatever it is you’re ordering. That being said, I was torn between 3 dishes and opted for one of the signature dishes which has been on the menu for over 10 years.

Tempura Sole-Avocado Roulade with Black Garlic Aioli and Ponzu Vegetables
I wasn’t sure what to expect with this appetizer, but our server did a great job of describing how it was prepared. Three sushi roll-like pieces topped the vegetables and were surrounded by small dollops of black garlic aioli. The typical “rice” section of this roll was actually the sole which encompassed the avocado and carrots. The outside may have been deep fried but it didn’t make the dish heavy or greasy. Definitely a great way to start the meal!


Garlic-Black Pepper Lobster with Lemongrass Fried Rice: Pea Tendril Salad with Tamari-Ginger Vinaigrette
For my entree I was deciding between this and the other signature dish which a friend recommended, the Sake-Miso Marinated Sablefish (a.k.a. Butterfish). I think either choice would have been a good one, but I’m really glad I chose the lobster. The shell of the body was stuffed with spinach and rice, and the plate was covered with big pieces of lobster tail, more rice, a few mushrooms, tomatoes, and incredible flavor! A fantastic lobster dish without the typical mess and work that comes with de-shelling.

Peanut Butter Creameuax: chocolate sorbet, pomegranate jelly, black sesame cocoa shortbread
The dessert menu looked to good to pass up, so my cousin & I split this take on PB&J (one of my favorite combinations). The chocolate sorbet had a strong flavor, the jelly was amazing, and the peanut butter component had a smooth mousse consistency. Great way to end the meal!

Restroom: The women’s room has 2 private stalls with wooden shutter doors (my favorite), a nice granite countertop, and warm and comfortable hues. I wouldn’t mind basing my home bathroom off of this design!


Service: Our server was well informed and shared with us the signature and popular dishes as we had never been to Blue Ginger before. When deciding on appetizers he made a helpful suggestion; we were thinking of ordering the Tempura Sole-Avocado Roulade and the Shiitake-Leek Springrolls but he pointed out that they were somewhat of a similar appetizer, so we went with the Caesar instead. We were taking our time with the first course and he was great about not rushing us. When our entrees were ready and we still had some salad left on the plate he asked if we wanted to delay the second course until we were done with the first. We said it was fine to bring the entrees over, but it was nice of him to ask and make sure we were ready!

Overall: Blue Ginger is Ming Tsai’s first restaurant, opening in 1998 and serving East meets West cuisine. A recent 2008 renovation added private dining rooms as well as a modern lounge featuring an Asian style tapas menu. The casual and chic dining room is set up with free standing tables and banquettes. Based on the high prices I thought the dining area would be a bit stuffy but I was happy to see it was more of a comfortable atmosphere. The service was great and the food was really excellent, just be prepared to spend! Appetizers run from $10-$17 and entrees range from $22 for a tofu dish to $41 for lobster or the signature sabelfish, most plates being $30+. Blue Ginger has an impressive beer, wine, and cocktail menu as well. I went with the Polly-Tini: Ketel One, lychee puree, and pink grapefruit. The menu of course has Asian influences but offers standard items like scallops, halibut, beef, lamb etc. I highly recommend whether you’re in the Wellesley area or not, Blue Ginger is a must try.

The Perfect Bite: Lobster, fried rice, and all the goodies!


Not Your Average Joe’s

On Monday November 12th I was invited to a VIP tasting at the Medford location of Not Your Average Joe’s where they were introducing their fall/winter menu. I’ve been to the Westborough location multiple times and have always had a great meal, so I was really looking forward to the evening. If you’re not familiar with the restaurant, Not Your Average Joe’s offers what I’d call upscale bar food. They use fresh ingredients and every menu item is made from scratch so you’re able to add or omit specific ingredients in order to adjust dishes to your liking. Joe’s prides themselves on quality food at a great price – you won’t ever see a menu item over $20! (however some specials which include prime items like lobster may stretch a tad over…)

Executive Chef of the Medford location, Gene Mendes, prepared the following dishes for us…

Poached Pear and Blue Cheese Flatbread
red wine poached pears, grilled hill blue cheese, candied pecans and craisins
This flatbread certainly has enough sweet components that balance out the strong and savory blue cheese. The pears were a good consistency (not too mushy) and there was a bit of each ingredient on every piece which is important. I sure did help myself to 2 pieces!

Short Rib Pretzel Bites
red wine braised short ribs over pretzel bread with spicy mustard and crispy onion strings
This appetizer – my favorite dish of the evening – was inspired by trips to NYC, most likely by the street vendors you see on every block. A small mound of short ribs was piled on the soft pretzel bread and topped with onion strings and a drizzle of spicy mustard. I adore all mustard – except yellow – and this one was really excellent; spicy without being over powering. I of course went back for round two…

Meat Lovers Pizza
mello’s spicy linguica, zoe’s cured salami and italian sausage, with tomato sauce and fresh mozzarella
I enjoy Italian meats in small doses so this pizza isn’t exactly up my alley but I enjoyed the small slice I tasted. It had a thin crust base with a doughy end, and small pieces of each meat throughout.

Poached Pear Spinach Salad
red wine poached pears, great hill blue cheese, candied pecans, craisins, baby spinach and crispy onion
strings with warm maple vinaigrette
This dish is the salad version of the flatbread mentioned above. Served with warm maple vinaigrette, this sweet salad is perfect for the winter months. These ingredients go great together but I could have done without the onion strings.

Pear Spinach Salad - full portion

Pear Spinach Salad – full portion

Pear Spinach Salad - tasting

Pear Spinach Salad – tasting

Farmer’s Market Chicken Carbonara

grilled chicken breast with fettuccine tossed in a light white wine cream sauce with country bacon, grilled fresh corn, grape tomatoes, asparagus, and grilled red onions
I typically don’t love Carbonara as it tends to be heavy, rich, and filling. This version however was light but still quite flavorful. I loved the vegetable addition of corn and asparagus!

Carbonara - full portion

Carbonara – full portion

Carbonara - tasting

Carbonara – tasting

Smokehouse Jambalaya

andouille sausage, tasso ham, mello’s spicy linguica, shredded chicken, shrimp, veggies and rice simmered in a cajun-spiced tomato broth (gluten free!)
I don’t know that I’ve ever had Jambalaya and I’m not sure I’d ever order it but this dish was pretty good. It’s hard to go wrong with rice, chicken and veggies, and there was just enough spice to give it a solid kick without being overly spicy.

Jambalaya - full portion

Jambalaya – full portion

Jambalaya - tasting

Jambalaya – tasting

Vietnamese Salmon
curry spices, rice noodles, sugar snap peas, fresh herbs, chopped peanuts in a lime-infused chili broth (gluten free!)
This Vietnamese inspired entrée displayed a generous portion of salmon atop a bowl of rice noodles surrounded by peanuts, snap peas, and plenty of dill. The noodles were slippery and required slurping (things got messy); the salmon was cooked well and I really loved the crunchy peanut component.

Salmon - full portion

Salmon – full portion

Salmon - tasting

Salmon – tasting


© Studio Nouveau 2010

© Studio Nouveau 2010

Bread: This is easily one of the best breads I’ve ever received at the beginning of a meal. Seasoned, thick slices, perfectly soft with a bit of crunch on the crust, served with a side of EVOO and some kind of tomato paste? Thank goodness there was only 1 piece per person because I could have gone for seconds… or thirds.

Menu: Primi, Pasta, Al Forno, Wood Grilled, Contorni. L’Andana also offers a prix-fixe 3-course menu for $45 (Sunday-Friday) which is a great deal considering the prices on the regular menu. The list of Primi is filled with salads, soup, seafood, and a few surprises (see below), the Pastas provide ½ and full portions, and the famous Wood Grilled section offers a few fish options but mainly different cuts of meat.

Four Cheese Fonduta, roasted garlic & sopressata
Before I go any further I’ll let you know that I work for the restaurant group that L’Andana is a part of (Columbus Hospitality Group), so this review may be a bit biased but it will also be truthful! This evening one of my co-workers was serving and he made it a point to come by and suggest a few dishes, one being this Fonduta which we couldn’t pass up. Essentially a creative cheese fondue, this app was served with chunks of bread for dipping in the warm cheese. Each bite was almost like a pizza sans tomato sauce. Perfect to split among the four of us!

Mussels, steamed out of the shell, tomato & basil crema
I don’t believe I’ve ever had a mussel appetizer where the mussels were out of the shell, which is really quite helpful! The broth was so flavorful I made people dip their leftover Fonduta bread in it. The bread it came with added a deep smoky flavor to the dish. A must try if you enjoy mussels.

Filet Mignon, 8oz center-cut tenderloin, salt baked potato, roasted garlic butter, vin cotta, grilled romaine with gorgonzola (with additional side of Squash Risotto)
My steak was perfectly cooked medium rare and was accompanied by a baked potato and romaine with a bit of somewhat melted gorgonzola. The meat was fantastic and I liked this different side of greens (rather than broccoli or asparagus, both of which you could have gotten as a side).
I couldn’t not try the Squash Risotto which I ordered as a side (and could have easily passed as an app). Topped with a chunk of squash, pumpkin seeds, and sage, this dish was creamy, rich & flavorful. The squash had a surprising sweet component which I loved.

Service: Our server was great, friendly and quite helpful; when my friend Sarah wanted to order the ½ Tortellini as her meal our waitress mentioned that the ½ portion only came with 4 tortellini, so she went with the full. Each course came out in a timely manner, with a nice break in between to digest the apps and prepare for the entrées! We were (un)foruntely too full to order dessert so our server brought out chocolate truffles with the check.

Restroom: 3 automatic sinks, stone counter top  tiled walls and floor, thick L’Andana drying napkins, and a touch of bright orange on the stall doors. I love when even the bathroom has character and style.

Overall: Located in Burlington MA, L’Andana is small town restaurant with big Boston quality food & flavor. Part of Chef Jaime Mammano’s Columbus Hospitality Group (including Teatro, Mooo, Sorellina, and Mistral), L’Andana lives up to the high expectations set by his other popular Boston restaurants. The rustic décor has elements I’ve seen in both Mistral and Sorellina, a consistency which I appreciate. On a Saturday night the bar and lounge area was packed, as was the 210 person dining room. L’Andana won’t disappoint, especially is your looking for a great steak and/or pasta meal. Based on the prices I’ll be heading back for a special occasion 🙂

The Perfect Bite: This is nearly impossible to decide. Out of the dishes I actually ordered (I tried both Matt & Sarah’s pastas which were excellent) I’ll say… the Risotto with a piece of the sweetened squash!

For more photos & descriptions of what everyone in my party ate, visit my Facebook Page or find me on Twitter and Instagram!



Alta Strada

 The last stop on my Chef Schlow list is Alta Strada in Wellesley MA. I tried Radius for Restaurant Week a few years ago, Via Matta is one of my favorite (expensive) Italian spots, Tico is perfect for cocktails & small plates, and my recent trip to Happy’s wasn’t bad (although I think it needs work). Out of all of Schlow’s concepts I think Alta Strada fits me perfectly.

Bread: A think slice of bread that could have served at least four people was brought to our table as EVOO was poured into a shallow dish. It tasted fresh and I would have eaten the entire piece but we had quite a bit of food on the table already. Our Antipasti were served first and we were then asked if we wanted bread, which I thought was smart b/c not everyone wants that much food.

Menu: The Antipasti Table (where you can select 1 for $6, 3 for $15, or 5 for $24 – all served at room temperature) Primi, Salads, Pizza, Pasta, Secondi. I was having a hard time deciding; I wanted to try some Antipasti, but a few of the Primi selections looked amazing (Lobster & Watermelon with English Cucumber, Basil & Citrus), and the fact that they offered ½ portions of pasta didn’t help! Not to mention the Famous Chopped Salad with Matteo’s Secret Dressing also sounded excellent.

Roasted Cauliflower, Pine Nuts, Golden Raisins
I feel like people are quick to dismiss cauliflower, and sure it’s bland on its own, but it’s very rarely prepared that way. This Antipasto had a nutty flavor from the pine nuts and a sweet component from the golden raisins. Light & tasty. I’m looking forward to the leftovers 🙂

Homemade Ricotta with Crostini
A generous portion of ricotta was topped with red pepper flakes, black pepper & EVOO and served with 2 oil-brushed and toasted crostini. After the crostini was gone I spread the ricotta on the fresh bread which was even better! Really can’t go wrong with ricotta.

Spicy Green Beans with Prosciutto
I only had a few bites but these were as good as green beans can be. Nice and crispy, and plenty of small bits of prosciutto at the bottom.

Spicy Chitarra with Lobster, Shrimp, Tomato and Basil
It was between this ½ portion and the Famous Chopped Salad with its not-so-secret dressing of lemon and cayenne pepper, but I’m really glad I chose this dish. Chitarra pasta is typically cut with guitar-like chords creating long stringy pasta which held this thin spicy sauce well. This dish had a bit of a kick but wasn’t too spicy (perfect for me), and there were a few pieces each of the lobster and shrimp.

Bathroom: Both the men’s and women’s restroom were labeled with an “M” and “W” on a motorcycle headlight. I expected the inside to have more character but it was pretty plain with 2 stalls and one bold red wall.

Service: Gina was trying to decide between the Tagliatelle with Summer Corn, Mushrooms and Pancetta, and the Raviolis. She ordered the tagliatelle but the server also brought out a small portion of the Mushroom Filled Lune pasta dish for us to try! I’m generally not a mushroom fan but I can’t deny that some varieties have an amazing flavor. If you happen to like mushrooms you’d love this pasta dish.
Besides that lovely surprise, our server was really great. As we were 1st time diners he described the entire menu to us, explaining certain dishes and the names/types of the pasta offered. The manager checked in on us as well which you don’t always see.

Mushroom filled Lune

Mushroom filled Lune

Overall: So I’ve completed the Michael Schlow list and I can honestly now say that my overall favorite is Alta Strada! While Happy’s may be considered the most casual of the 5 restaurants, Alta Strada is the most comfortable, consistent, and the menu is right up my ally. The food is top notch with perfect portions, and the atmosphere is sophisticated casual and modern with an open dining room complete with brick walls, earth tones with pops of red and lime green, and chalk boards hung above a long bar. The typically 20 minute ride from Boston took me an hour with rush hour traffic but it was totally worth the drive.
And if you live/work in the area think about visiting the Alta Strada Market on the basement level which sells lunch items and to-go containers of almost everything they have on the menu!

courtesy of Alta Strada website

courtesy of Alta Strada website

The Perfect Bite: Chitarra pasta with a forkful of lobster meat.

For more photos & descriptions of what everyone in my party ate, visit my Facebook Page:

Top Shelf

 When meeting my family 1/2 way between Worcester and Boston for dinner we usually find ourselves at Papa Razzi or more recently The Met. I can only repeat a restaurant so many times (unless it’s one of my favs) and tonight was a special occassion – my birthday dinner – so I needed to find something different. I heard about a new opening on rt 9 in Framingham, Top Shelf, and decided it was worth a try!

Bread: More than enough rolls were served on a dish with rosemary & crushed red pepper EVOO for dipping. The bread was unreal – each roll was warm, flaky on the outside and light & fluffy on the inside.

Menu: Soups, Beginnings, Salads, Little Italy, From the Coals, From the Nets. All entrees (excluding the pasta dishes) came with a choice of 2 sides (choice of 6 including veggies & carbs). I was a little disappointed that the Seasonal Soup offering was Tomato Florentine – I was clearly hoping for some kind of butternut squash. But I was probably better off since I already had my heart set on a specific app.

Lobster Quesadillas: house pico de gallo and guacamole
I wasn’t leaving Top Shelf without trying these, and I’m glad we did! Usually served as 4 quesadillas, the waitress had the chef cut each of them in half to accommodate our part of 6 so everyone could have a taste. Each bite had plenty of the lobster and their pico and smooth guac weren’t bad additions.

look at that lobster!

look at that lobster!

Lollipop Lamb Chops served with rosemary mint sauce
Three lamb chops were served between broccoli and a pile of sweet potato fries. I was looking forward to the fries the most and unfortunately they were a soggy disappointment – no crunch or crisp at all! The lamb itself was good though and you can’t really mess up steamed broccoli.

Chocolate Mousse Cake served with chocolate ganache
Divine! This was excellent, especially with a spoonful of the ganache, raspberry sauce and homemade whipped cream. Thank goodness I had others to share it with…

Bathroom: The restroom was pretty plain, with half painted half tiled walls. There’s plenty of empty wall space to add some pictures or photographs to give it some character…. I’ll chalk it up to”It’s a new estbalishment, give ’em some time.”

Service: We didn’t interact too much with the waitress but each course was served on time and she was able to answer a few questions we had about the menu.

Overall: If you’re not looking for Top Shelf, chances are you won’t find it. The store front itself is modest and barely looks like a restaurant. I was surprised they actually had an L shaped bar in addition to the 10 or so 4-top tables. I like that they had espresso as well as tea & coffee, and the cappuccino was actually good (except who only has 1 type of milk?). If you hate dealing with city parking and prices, I would recommend you try Top Shelf. Only 2 entrees are listed at $24 and most run $18-$20, while the salads and apps are all $10 and under.



The Perfect Bite: The bread was really addicting but every bit of that mousse cake was unbelievable: mousse, whipped cream, raspberry sauce, blueberry to top it off!

Ceres Bistro

A kick-off to Restaurant Week in my pseudo-home town with 5 girlfriends from high school! Ceres Bistro, a faily new addition to the Beechwood Hotel in Worcester, serves modern American farm-to-table meals inspired by local fresh ingredients. The dining room décor is warm and welcoming with comfortable booths and tables that sit beneath a beautiful stained glass ceiling, illuminating the diners below. This was my first real meal at Ceres (not including a post-wedding slightly hung-over brunch), so I was excited to experience their dinner menu.

Bread:  We were all so busy catching up that it wasn’t until our first course was served that I realized bread had not been delivered! And it wasn’t served for the remainder of the dinner. I hate asking for bread – I feel it’s an unnecessary request since it’s 95% of the time complimentary – so we were breadless the entire evening and not happy about it.

Menu: The Restaurant Menu offered an option of 2 first courses, 4 second courses, and 2 desserts. I started with the Petite Bistro Salad (the goat cheese and beets persuaded me), went with the Butternut Squash Risotto for my entrée, and the Pumpkin Bread Pudding for dessert! The only difficult decision I had was between the risotto and the Native Haddock which offered “lobster home fries” as a side. Thank goodness a couple other friends ordered this meal because I needed to see/try this phenomenon!

Petite Bistro Salad: beets / tomato / cucumber / roasted peppers / local goat cheese / champagne vinaigrette
A small side of greens sat opposite a few thinly sliced beets, a golf ball sized goat cheese mound atop the remaining vegetables. Everything was delicious, I just wished for more greens and beets, and less cheese.

petite bistro salad
petite bistro salad

Tsougas Farm’s Butternut Squash Risotto: shaved parmesan / seared spinach / black truffle / warm spiced crème fraiche
I do love these plates! Perhaps because it makes you feel as though you’re eating less than you actually are? It may seem like a small serving of risotto but it was a perfect size for me. Topped with the crème fraiche and spinach, the risotto was absolutely delicious – rich but not overwhelming, with the just the right amount of crème.

butternut squash risotto

butternut squash risotto

Late Harvest Pumpkin Bread Pudding: candied spiced walnuts / “rummed raisins” / double cream
Served in a white ramekin on a plate surrounded by haphazardly tossed walnuts and raisins. The middle was piping hot and I don’t particularly remember the ‘pumpkin’ aspect, but that may have been a result of the 4th round of drinks… Fully enjoyed this dessert though!

pumpkin bread pudding

pumpkin bread pudding

Note: lobster home fries were in fact tiny pieces of potatoes and separate tiny pieces of lobster. Quoting “lobster home fries” on the menu is very tricky and deceiving.

Bathroom: Located just outside the restaurant in a hotel hallway. I love the privacy of each stall – there’s no gap in between the top/bottom of the stall door for an at-home fully isolated effect. The sinks were clean and sleek, the Xelertor hand dryer is a plus, and I appreciated the mirror lighting. 



Wait Staff: Well, our waiter never brought us bread, and I’m still not sure if this was his mistake or if Ceres just doesn’t offer bread (which I find hard to believe). 2nd mishap: Angela was the only one out of the 6 of us not to order off of the Restaurant Week menu. After everyone’s 1st course was finished and cleared, Angela’s entrée was immediately brought to the table. We proceeded to sit for 15 minutes before everyone else’s entrée was served. Isn’t this Restaurant 101?! I was shocked and disappointed – the kitchen/waiter should have anticipated this potential issue and shouldn’t have served Angela until all of the main courses were ready.

Overall: The food was undeniably delicious, and there were clearly a few services issues but they weren’t major enough to ruin the meal/evening. Definitely a contender among all of the near by established Shrewsbury Street classics. And the bar is fantastic! Not only is there bar seating along with bar booths, but there’s what I’ll call an ‘island bar’ in the middle of the room which provides additional seating on all sides (a picture on their website can explain further). The illuminated bar top makes it modern and fun.

Bubbling Pear on bar top

Bubbling Pear on bar top

The Perfect Bite: Butternut Squash Risotto, black truffle, crème fraiche. Spinach or no spinach, this meal is a winner.

Metropolitan Bar & Grill

turkey burger with avocado & hummus / sweet potato fries

turkey burger with avocado & hummus / sweet potato fries

This was probably my 5th time back to the Met at the new Natick Collection, and I already can’t wait to return. This modern steakhouse is stylish & comfortable, with plush materials from the booths to the bar stools. The lounge area has plenty of seating & TVs if you’re trying to catch a game; luckily for the men in my party we were seated close enough that they could check up on the Master’s leader every few minutes. Large murals of popular cities from around the globe line the back wall of the main dining room, which is on two levels and filled with oversized relaxing booths.

Bread: The rolls came in a bread basket with individual butter packets. Not disappointing but nothing too out of the ordinary. They were easy to tear into two equal halves which was a nice change since I tend to assault my bread with the butter knife when trying to cut it open.

Menu: There’s something for everyone on this menu. From pastas of the day to their mouth-watering salads to the club sandwiches, I always have a difficult time deciding where to look first. But since I knew I’d be reviewing the restaurant after this visit, I told myself I had to order from their famous Burger Bar. With burgers named after US & International cities, there’s a choice for every meat lover. “Vermont-The Farm” is topped with bacon, cheddar & a fried egg, while “Athens” is a veggie option complete with tzatziki, feta, cucumber, tomato & hummus. Or you can customize your burger, but beware: not only are there 5 meat options, but over 40 toppings & condiments to choose from. While my heart was truly set on the “Shanghai Chop Chop” salad, I opted for the make your own burger: turkey meat, whole wheat bun, avocado, hummus, sweet potato fries.

Presentation: My turkey burger was served on top of my condiments, with the fries & pickle on the side. The burger itself was good but I could have been more creative with my toppings. I get nervous & overwhelmed when I have so many options, and when it comes to burgers I always want to do it right! Next time I may add some sprouts, caramelized onions, black olive tapenade, or roasted garlic aioli (but not all together). For those who love sweet potato fries, I need to warn you about the Met’s version. I applaud them for being different, but when I order sweet potato fries I truly just want some sweet potato fries! Their’s is a thinly sliced sweet potato plank that has been deep-fried. I enjoyed the first one, but spent the rest of the time peeling off the fried-ness and just eating the barley there sweet potato.

Bathroom: Plenty of stalls with a hook in each one for your coat or purse. Tiled floors and beautiful counters, this bathroom was shiny, clean, & modern.

Wait Staff: Our waitress seemed a bit frazzled at times, perhaps because we had such a large party. But she was pleasant, able to cater to our needs, and got all of our orders correct!

Overall: I have a soft spot for burgers, so I recommend you try Met Bar & Grill if you feel the same. I wish I had gone with my instinct and tried the “Shanghai Chop Chop”, but with all the meat, toppings, & condiments surrounding me I couldn’t look away from the Burger Bar! I will absolutely return, especially since they’re building one in the old Joe’s spot on the corner of Newbury & Darmouth in Boston’s Back Bay (check out their other locations in Dedham & Chesnut Hill).

The Perfect Bite: I’m disappointed in myself for concocting a semi-boring burger. My boyfriend’s “Met L.A. Chopped” salad looked amazing, so next time I’ll force myself to ignore the burger menu. I have to say the chili that my aunt & uncle ordered was meaty, tasty, had just enough spice, and the small dollop of sour cream (which I usually omit) made it a winner.