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Patou Party

Friday was our company holiday party. Yes, it’s February. This is just the way it works for us. Get over it. Last year’s was at a hotel, but this time around, they rented out an entire restaurant – Patou. The place was surprisingly large. First room is a big bar, next areas are several dining areas where the open kitchen is. There’s also a small bar and some more seating available upstairs.
I didn’t eat much, but there was some food available, in random stations around the place. Big salad? Potatoes? Even the picture knows that I was drunk…

There were some appetizers that were floating around the place, including these little mini burgers, which were pretty tasty. There were also chicken skewers served with a hoisin based sauce. I didn’t snap a pic of it, I was too busy shoving them in my mouth. But the things floating around the place most? The drinks, and there were plenty!

There was some kind of meat being sliced, along with a giant chicken. I didn’t taste any of this, so I have no opinion. In fact, I can’t give my opinion at all about this place, other than it being large and pretty on the inside. The bartenders also were very skilled at making extremely strong drinks. The food? I have no idea.

Patou on Urbanspoon

Graduate Hospital Eats And Drinks – Divan And Sidecar

Saturday night was spent in the Graduate Hospital neighborhood, dining and drinking at two of the area’s best spots – Divan Turkish Kitchen and the Sidecar. Dinner was first up, at Divan. It’s a cute and cozy spot on the corner of 22nd and Carpenter. There’s quite a number of tables, but very little room to maneuver between them. When I say cozy, I mean it. I apologize for the crappy pics. It wasn’t very bright in there, and I was experimenting with my dumb point and shoot by not using flash, and as you can see, it just didn’t work well. We had fairly early reservations, so when we first got there, we were one of the few parties there.

You get some complimentary bread, which is always nice, and we ordered the falafel with hummus as an appetizer. The falafel were delish – warm, flavorful, good texture, with a tahini sauce on top. The hummus, good, but a bit too liquidy. It seemed like it should have been thicker. So this place has a liquor license, but it’s also a BYOB, with a corkage fee. It’s nice that they offer that option.

D got the Karides (shrimp casserole). Notice the hilarious presentation in a fish shaped dish. He seemed to enjoy this dish quite a bit. S got the Hunkar Begendi (pureed eggplant topped with lamb). I didn’t taste the lamb of this, but I did taste the eggplant and I loved it. It had a kick ass smoky flavor. I could certainly have eaten a plate of this.

C went with the Kayseri Manti (turkish dumplings). This was pretty good, but the dumplings were so teeny. I think it would have been better with bigger dumplings, so you could taste the filling more. I went with the Iskender, which was the doner kebab (ground lamb) with a tomato sauce. It was ok, but I should have gone with the plain doner kebab. The sauce was rather bland, and it was supposedly served over a turkish pita, but it looked like to me that it was served over burnt croutons. It was weird. I would have liked it if it actually came on top of a pita. Yes, that is a giant pepper on my plate, and yes, it was hot.

In general, the food at Divan was good. Everyone enjoyed the food. Some of the portions could have been bigger, but the food was fine. Now, the service? Well, the service was weird. We keep wanting to chalk it up to “lost in translation”, but let’s just say that perhaps there were some communication issues with our waiters. We’ll just assume they’re Turkish, and they seem really really fresh from the motherland or something. D ordered an unsweetened iced tea. He got it. Then he asked for sugar, so he could sweeten it on his own. He got no sugar. Then he asked again, to another waiter, and he still didn’t get it. So then he asked again to the original waiter, and he brought D a new sweetened iced tea. It was bizarro. We were having a pretty good time, so even after we’d finished all our food, we just hung out talking and drinking wine and watching C drink his turkish coffee. They gave us a not-so-subtle hint of wanting us to leave by shoving another two-top next to our four-top. Ok, we get the hint, we’ll leave! We don’t blame them, it was a Saturday night, and they were quite busy. On to the next joint!

We walked down the street to the Sidecar. And you know how much I love this place from my previous experience here. I was the DD, so I did not drink, but S had a greyhound and C had some kind of weird beer he liked. And D, well, he was actually still hungry from his meal at Divan (he’s a good eater!) so he actually ordered more food! :-) He got the Philly. He seemed pleased, and finally sated.

And I certainly could not forget the pecan square from my last time here. I HAD to order it! Yum. Sweet, chewy, sweet, sticky, sweet, nutty goodness. Man. So damn sweet, but so damn good. We also had a slight communication problem here. D had to ask for ketchup twice. So weird! Maybe D just had bad condiment karma that night. Otherwise, the service at the Sidecar was good, and the waiter was funny and a good sport. Like I said before, I just love this place.
Divan Turkish Kitchen on Urbanspoon
Sidecar Bar & Grille on Urbanspoon

My First Continental

Over this holiday weekend, T and I headed downtown to get a nearly summer’s night meal in the city. We wanted to go to Samson Street Oyster House, but boo, it was closed. We were bummed. So then we walked around and around in the vicinity looking for a good place to eat, but nothing really appealed to us. With all the walking, we kept getting more and more hungry. So after rounding the blocks again, we saw the Continental, again, and just said hey, why not?

It was my first time to the Continental. I’ve never been to the one in old city and I’ve never been to the midtown location either. It’s pretty cool on the inside, there’s a huge funky light installation hanging down from the middle of the ceiling. There are two levels, with tables and booths on the first, and tables lining the edge of the second floor with the middle of the second floor being floorless, so it overlooks the first. The bar is all the way in the back.

So it is a martini bar, so we had to get a couple of drinks. Somehow, we both picked the Buzz Aldrin, which was tang, peach vodka, and triple sec in a tang rimmed glass. You get your drink in your own cute little mini shaker. It was good, but a little too strong. Perhaps, it could have used a tad more tang. You would think T would have ordered a more manly drink, but no. We were both sitting around sipping these little orange drinks.

I ordered the lobster mashed potatoes as an appetizer and T ordered the crab cakes. The mashed potatoes were GINORMOUS. Way too much. The portions for them were just out of control. It could have easily fed a family of 6. But I quite liked them. I have a soft spot for mashed potatoes in general, and these had good hunks of real lobster. The crab cakes were small and you got three with your order. I’m not a huge crab cake fan. I tasted it and it was a bit too mustardy for my liking.

I had the thai chicken lettuce wraps as an entree and T had the fish tacos. The lettuce wraps were ok, but nothing spectacular. I’m no great fan of PF Chang’s or the Cheesecake Factory, but really, their lettuce wraps are much better. Plus, they only gave me three pieces of lettuce. And there was enough chicken for plenty more wraps. Come on Continental, stop being so skimpy with the lettuce. The chicken itself was ok. There was a spicy ginger sauce that came with it and that was the best part. I tasted the fish tacos and I liked it. T did not like it. There were two of them, and the tacos were filled with a lightly battered and fried fish, some kind of sauce, and a red cabbage sauerkraut type of concoction. T kept taking very small bites, looking puzzled each time, as if he wasn’t sure he liked it or not. Turned out he didn’t like it. They did have a very strong fish smell, which probably did not help. But I like sauerkraut an I especially love red cabbage, so I enjoyed the crunchy and sour bits. But neither of us would ever order it again.

I’m not quite sure what I expected, as I never really had any desire to go to the Continental. Not ever. But I thought it was ok. The prices on the food isn’t too bad, it’s really only the drinks that seem a bit high. The service was good, attentive, and my water glass was filled most of the time.

Continental Mid-Town on Urbanspoon

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