Eating out, Food, Mexican, Philadelphia suburb, Restaurant, Reviews

El Limone, Ambler, PA

El Limone is one of our favorite spots to go for quick, inexpensive and delicious Mexican food. It’s authentic and we always leave with big smiles and full tummies.

El Limone is a BYO. We often see people sharing a bottle of wine or drinking a couple of beers. If you forget your alcohol fear not my friends as they offer FREE margaritas. I understand they are supposed to offer a max of 2 margaritas per entree but I have seen them pour more. The margaritas are sometimes a bit watered down on occasion but who’s complaining if they are free right!?

Complimentary margarita

I almost always order the same thing…the loaded nachos with carnitas for $9.95. They are mouthwatering. I literally crave them at times. The pork is shredded with big chunks of meat found throughout the plate (see blown up pic below in pic collage). The nachos are smothered in refried beans, cheese, guacamole, sour cream and pico de gallo. The chips are house made and served crunchy and warm. I love adding their house made hot sauces. They offer a tomatillo and a chipoltle option. I love both and I use both. Use the chipoltle cautiously though…it’s hot both at the time you eat it and the next day (if you get my drift). It’s true folks. I gotta let you know but I also have to let you know that, to me, its worth it.

The most perfect nachos you’ll ever have

Below is a pick of Dan’s sopes. He ordered a chorizo and an al pastor. Sopes are a thick corn tortilla (fried masa) covered in Mexican goodness. Note El Limone’s sopes are often greasy (as well as the chorizo) but still so good. Sopes are covered in lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream and cheese at $2.50 each. You just can’t beat it.

Sopes

My Mom got a shrimp quesadilla for $8.00. It was cooked perfect and the shrimp were big. She was happy…I was happy.

Shrimp quesadilla

Dan and I love the Tres Leches cake at El Limone. It’s only $5.95 and it was big enough for the 3 of us to share. It was wet with milky sweetness and satisfied our dessert desire. Yum. Get it!

Tres Leches

The restaurant is located in the middle of a strip of stores in Ambler. It’s a bit run down and lacks everything fancy. The tables are set close together and there are a few placed outside on the sidewalk. The chefs are not in a closed kitchen so you can see them cooking in the very small space. TV’s are anchored in the corners of the small room often showing sporting events.

This place is loved by many so it’s usually crowded. Expect to wait on busy “out-to-eat” nights like Friday and Saturday evenings. Its always a full house with a full (and cramped) waiting area and a line often out the door but they have a quick turnaround so the wait has never been extreme. They are also very popular with the take-out so you will see door-dash folks coming and going.

It’s a great place for friends to gather, families with small children to get together and honestly, even a fun date night with maybe a show to follow down the street at Ambler Theater. One last note, in addition to it’s Ambler location, there are locations in Ardmore, Bryn Mawr, Conshohocken, Norristown, Malvern, Paoli, Royersford, and West Chester. I have only been to Ambler and Norristown. Ambler is my fave of the two.

I give El Limone in Ambler 4.75 stars out of 5 forks. For the money you can’t get a better meal. Skip the fast food restaurants and head on over to El Limone. Thanks for reading and eat out more often folks!

Eating out, Food, Italian, Philadelphia suburb, Restaurant, Reviews

Valley Forge Trattoria & Lounge, Phoenixville, PA

I had heard from two different people that this was the new place to be so I wanted to try it. We went on Sunday of Labor Day weekend with out neighbors and friends. They actually recommended it too as they heard it was good.

The decor was beautiful. It had a very fitting Mediterranean Tuscan decor. There was a lovely inside dining area with a beautiful and large bar as well as an outdoor patio. We sat outside since the weather was lovely. Note if you decide to eat outside, the patio is directly across the street from the newly renovated Valley Veterinary Hospital so be ready to hear some howling and barking dogs intermittently during your meal. It only happened a couple times so it wasn’t too distracting.

They have a very interesting cocktail list with drinks at an average cost of about $13. Below you will see two Manhattans, one gin and vodka martini with blue cheese olives, and a pomegranate martini. We all were very happy with our drinks. The waitress did have some difficulty serving them but that’s because they were filled to the brim which is fine by me!

Coctails

We shared a seafood stuffed egg roll appetizer. It was crispy and delicious. It was served with a sweet and tangy Asian style dipping sauce which complimented it nicely. It was a generous portion and perfectly prepared. Yummm I would order again.

Appetizer

Each of our meals started with either a house salad or a cesaer salad. I had the cesear and it was just okay. The dressing was a bit to vinegary for me. It needed more parm cheese I think and lose the tomatoes. I don’t think tomatoes should be in a cesaer. Other than that, the ingredients were crisp and fresh.

My cesaer

All tables are treated to complimentary garlic knots. They looked a lot better than they tasted. The knots were a bit chewy. It almost reminded me of the texture a roll gets after its been microwaved. I hope they don’t microwave their knots before serving. That would be so bad. I believe the sauce was their pizza sauce. It was sweet…just okay. I will pass on them next time. They are not worth the carbs or calories.

Complimentary garlic knots

I had linguini with mussels and clams in white sauce. The pasta, sauce and clams were devine. After a few bites the mussels became questionable. Some were nice but others were mushy. Also there was one mussel that was not cleaned properly (see the bottom left mussel in my picture). It had the hard hairs still attached to it. Please if you can’t remove them, toss it and don’t put it on the plate. It grossed me out. I don’t know that I would order mussels here again based on this experience. I want to know that each mussel I put in my mouth is going to be good, not take a gamble.

Mussels, clams and linguini with white sauce

So not to bore you too much I decided to put a collage together of the dishes my husband and neighbors enjoyed. No one complained and all said their food tasted good. Dan had the lobster ravioli (looks a little too saucy to me), my neighbors had the spaghetti with seafood and a chicken dish with a side of pasta. I try not to be too annoying to eat with so I didn’t ask too many questions so pics is all your gonna get regarding their dishes.

Everyone else’s food

Would I go back again? I don’t know. Probably I would but I won’t go out of my way for sure. If someone invites us I’d go. Hopefully the experience would be a bit better. I’ll surely avoid the mussels though.

As a side note I’ve decided to increase my forks to 5. It’s too difficult with only 4 so for this place, I give it 3.5 out of 5 forks.

Thanks for reading and be sure to eat out more often folks.

Bloody Mary, BRUNCH, Eating out, Food, Philadelphia suburb, Restaurant, Reviews

BRUNCH SERIES! Stone Rose, Conshohocken, PA

It’s a Bloody Mary lovers dream I tell ya. I mean look at this Bloody sampler! I have never heard of such a thing and I’m not sure why. What an awesome idea. It included three different 5 oz glasses…their classic Rose Mary, the Spicy Verde and the Bloody Maria for only $11. The Bloody Maria was made with tequila and surprisingly it was really good. My fave was the classic and Dan’s fave was the Spicy Verde. It was also served with an extra glass with bacon and lemon and limes which is nice but like I always say, chuck a chunk of cheese in there or maybe a pickle and some celery too! Me likey the options. That’s one of the best parts…all of the fixins!

The sampler

We started by sharing the Chef’s Daily Flatbread for $14. It was buffalo chicken and it was quite good. The crust was thin and crispy. It wasn’t soggy or overcooked. It was done just right. The chicken was tender, the scallions and arugula were fresh and the sauce was amazing. We confirmed the sauce was made in-house. It wasn’t very “buffaloey” though. It was spicy and somewhat sweet. It wasn’t what we expected…it was better.

Buffalo chicken flatbread

I had the crab and avocado salad for $15. It included crab meat, avocado, mixed greens, a roasted pepper and crispy potato strips. It was very light and fresh. Note though that if I didn’t have some of the flatbread, I don’t know that I would have been satisfied. Now I do have a few comments both good and bad. Let’s start with the good first. The citrus vinaigrette was amazing. Aannnndddd that’s pretty much it for the good. Now the bad. The mixed greens were a little lackluster. Literally it was just a pile of greens…boring. It was saved by the delicious vinaigrette. The roasted pepper was a bit much. It was a whole pepper barely roasted. It needed to be roasted longer. The avocado and crab were fine although I didn’t have one piece of “lump” in my serving and the menu indicated it was lump. It was just a bunch of shredded crab meat. The crispy potatoes added nothing flavor wise and it’s texture over the crab/avocado stack just didn’t make sense to me. This dish was just boring and lacked finesse.

My salad

The hubs ordered the frittata which is the chef’s daily creation served with arugula salad and fresh fruit for $11. This frittata was made with red pepper, cheddar cheese and spinach. Personally, I’m not a frittata fan in general. It’s something that I would never order. Dan said it was good. He really enjoyed it. If you look at the picture, it looked a little brown on the bottom to me but again, the hubs didn’t complain one bit. He enjoyed the arugula on top and the fresh fruit consisted of a few slices of ripe cantaloupe.

Fritatta

On the day we went we were lucky enough to have great weather so we sat outside at one of the few tables they offer. We made a reservation but I don’t think you need it for brunch as it was not busy. I believe the evening is when reservations are needed. The servers were fabulous. They worked as a team and were very attentive. Our table was a bit wobbly and our server grabbed a wedge to put under the leg and quickly steadied it up for us. The food came out as ordered and in a perfectly timed manner. The stars of this meal were the surely the Bloody Mary sampler and the flatbread. It was a good experience but not a slam dunk. In conclusion, I give Stone Rose brunch 3.25 out of 4 forks. Thanks for reading folks and be sure to make an effort to eat out more often!

Eating out, Food, Philadelphia suburb, Restaurant, Reviews, steak

Texas Roadhouse, Royersford, PA

Talk about bang-for-your-buck! If you are in the mood for a decent steak you must try this place. It’s a chain and they are all over so you should be able to find one within a reasonable distance.

Our server was pleasant and attentive despite how busy she was. The restaurant employs servers, bus people, runners, and frankly enough people that they seem to have their stuff together. No long waits and all of our courses came out in a timely fashion and just as we had ordered with no screw ups. Know that lines are to be expected on a busy family out-to-eat-night so be sure to call ahead since they offer it!

The meal started with warm, shiny, soft rolls with a creamy, cinnamon butter. All you can eat on these little suckers but my 46 year old bod said stop at just one.

As if the cinnamon rolls weren’t enough, they have all you can eat peanuts sitting on each table. I restrained myself from these as I knew I had a plethora of food to come. But I suspect these are good to entertain the littles….or maybe get them in trouble?

The entrees (specifically steaks since that’s what we got) include two sides. They have many sides to choose from. One interesting side offered is a cup of chili. I thought that was different anyway. Also, they offer a house salad or a caesar salad as a side and I love that!

I got the caesar and Dan got the house. The caesar was great with the perfect amount of cheese, dressing and crunchy, fresh croutons….nothing like a stale crouton to ruin a caesar. Dan’s salad was a meal in itself. It included your usual lettuce, tomato and croutons but also included chopped up hard-boiled egg and lots of shredded cheddar. Yum.

Salads

If you sign up on their website you get coupons and deal notifications. Also near your birthday you get a free appetizer (or dessert I think) so Dan and I ordered the Cactus Blossom. It’s normally $6.99 but free for us since I had my birthday coupon. The Cactus Blossom is a large onion, golden-fried and served with a cajun horseradish sauce for dipping. According to the Texas Roadhouse nutritional guide, the onion with 3 oz. of dipping sauce totals 1,970 calories. WHHHAAAATTTT! It’s quite the treat but note this is a sharing appetizer people. Do not attempt it by yourself!

Cactus Blossom

Dan ordered the 8 oz. Dallas Filet with a loaded baked potato for $20.99. It was cooked perfect and tasted good. BTW the “loaded” part is butter, sour cream, bacon bits and shredded cheddar. (I’m salivating as I type). Also the potatoes are baked with little bits of sea salt on the outside which really brings out the flavor of the baked potato. The steak was cooked just right and everything came out hot and juicy.

Dan’s Filet

I ordered the smaller option of their New York Strip. It was a 8 oz. thick cut New York Strip smothered in sauteed mushrooms and a loaded baked potato. It was $14.99 for my meal plus an extra $1.99 for mushrooms. Isn’t that nuts! What a deal. The mushrooms were so flavorful and they added so much to the dish but you do have to be a mushroom lover because when they say smother, they mean smother. Note you can also get your steak smothered with sauteed onions, jack cheese or brown gravy….any combination of the 4 toppings that is for a measly $1.99. You couldn’t even see my steak they gave me so many mushrooms but believe me, it was there and it was cooked just as I requested.

Thick cut New York strip

Just a quick observation. I’m not quite sure why they call it “thick”. It wasn’t very thick to me but for $14.99, I’m not complaining.

They even have their own steak sauce!

An important feature here That I must mention is that you can actually go to their meat display counter and choose the steak you want them to cook for you! Fun for the whole family lol.

So in conclusion, the food was plentiful and satisfying. The restaurant was busy and loud but that’s okay so long as it’s not a romantic evening out. I say its a good place when you are craving a steak, don’t want to lose and arm-and-a-leg and don’t mind the busy atmosphere with lots of children buzzing around. I’m mean sure if you go to a fancy steakhouse and pay $50 for your steak and $10 for your side, the quality of the cut of meat is better and it might be a bit more tender, etc. (or at least it better be) but really this place was perfectly fine in satisfying our carnivorous craving. Well gitty up partners! I give Texas Road house a 3.25. Thanks for reading and eat out more often folks!

BRUNCH, Burger, Eating out, Food, Italian, Philadelphia suburb, Restaurant, Reviews

BRUNCH series! First review from Panache in Blue Bell, PA

Previously I reviewed Panache for dinner and it was a huge hit so I thought I’d start the BRUNCH series with this fab establishment and let me tell you this was no mistake.

It was Sunday morning at 10:30. We had a reservation but we certainly didn’t need one. It wasn’t like dinner when it is packed and always a wait. We started with a cocktail. I had a Ruby Red Spritzer for $7.00. It was champagne, pineapple infused vodka and a splash of pineapple juice. It was very fizzy and refreshing as well as STRONG my goodness! Dan had a Bloody Mary also for $7.00. I tasted it and it was fine for a regular Bloody Mary but for me, I prefer a Bloody with a little more pizzazz. Chuck a chunk of cheese and a pickle on a skewer and throw it in there! A crunchy piece of bacon or a fresh, crunchy piece of celery!

Brunchtails

Ummmmm can you say dang good mini croissant? I have never been a huge fan of the croissant but these complimentary mini croissants have changed me. They were still warm and buttery and oh-so-good. The picture does not do them justice. We were given 4 croissants for the two of us. I let out server know how delightful they were and she offered us more. I wanted to say yes but my thighs said no.

The menu had a nice variety of meal choices. It offered Belgian Waffels, steak and eggs with Béarnaise sauce and your regular ol’ eggs with bacon or chicken sausage. Or you could get something lunchy like the Panache Burger (that’s what I had). If you are feeling like you want something a little different maybe try the Sweet Potato Pancakes or what Dan enjoyed the Shakshuka Merguez.

The Shakshuka Merguez was served in a piping hot cast-iron pan. It was as delicious as it was beautiful to see. It was served with two sunny-side up eggs baked with spicy tomato sauce and lamb merguez sausage for $13.00. I tasted the “sausage” and the sauce and both were yummy, however, I don’t really know that you call call it sausage. Their was no casing and it reminded me of lamb kofta which for me is fine because kofta is exotically delicious. But overall it was a home run for a new and exciting brunch entree.

The Shakshuka Merguez

I had the Panache Burger. I am a lunch kinda girl rather than breakfast. I know I know, what is wrong with me? lol Anyway, presentation was just okay but that’s fine because the burger was cooked perfect and that my friends makes for the perfect burger. It was served on a soft brioche bun which frankly is the only way to serve a burger. The fries were….well fries. Nothing special. A little drizzle of truffle oil and a sprinkle of parmesan and parsley could really elevate this plate. Don’t get met wrong, it was good. I bet they would have let me substitute the fries for a side salad. Maybe next time I’ll ask. OH just so you know, they have 1/2 price burgers during Wednesday happy hour so you have no excuse not to give it a try.

Perfectly cooked burger in my book

Panache did it again my friends. The atmosphere like evening atmosphere was lovely with soft Italian music playing in the background. Our server was kind and attentive. I had a question about the menu and since she wasn’t sure of the answer she quickly went to the chef to find out for me. Everything was timely and delicious. I did notice though that it wasn’t crowded like the evening and maybe because people just don’t know how good their brunch menu is? Well thank goodness I’m here to tell you! I give Panache brunch 3.5 out of 4 forks. Thanks for reading my blog all! Their is more to eating out than just dinner. Try some BRUNCH!

Eating out, Food, Mexican, Philadelphia suburb, Restaurant, Reviews, Tropical drink

Plaza Azteca, Plymouth Meeting, PA

First know this is a Mexican chain restaurant but that’s okay. This place is great on so many levels. First starting with the atmosphere. It’s fun! Great music in the background and the colorful decor is sublime . It’s big enough for larger parties of say 10 or so, great for a girls night out, accommodating to families with small children and even suitable for couples looking for a date night. The prices are right, the drinks can be a-flowing and the food options are a-plenty.

Because it’s so inviting it’s usually busy. Disappointingly they don’t take reservations so if you are going on a Friday or Saturday night know you might have to wait a bit but it’ll be worth the wait. They offer some happy hour specials so you can always sip on a margarita while you wait. If you don’t mind the bar area, this area is “seat yourself” and there is usually a table that somehow isn’t seen by others that you can slip in quietly and avoid the long wait…but this is my secret so share that tip sparingly.

Once seated you are greeted with house made chips and house made salsa. We’ve been there so many times and notice that sometimes the salsa is spicy and other times not so much so be prepared either way. They also have a creamy white dip for the chips that is complimentary but you have to ask for it so be sure you do…it’s tasty.

Start with a cocktail

Happy hour Jumbo Margarita on the rocks…no salt (with a pretty flower accent) Haha just noticed the glass is chipped on the bottom but its ok, it’s not 5 star you will read below

Over the the last 6 years or so, I have had house margaritas, red and white sangria and beer. All have been served icy cold and swiftly regardless of how busy they are. I usually get the “house” margarita but they have soooo many different flavors so if you are daring give them a try.

I often order my favorite dish Enchiladas Rancheras which is two cheese enchiladas with shredded pork, cooked with onions and bell peppers, served with rice and beans for $14. Soooooooo good! This was actually recommended to me by a women I used to work with (CG you know who you are!). Ever since she recommended it to me and I tried it I could not go back. It’s honestly so good…heavy, cheesy, gluttonously fabulous. Now if you do get this don’t eat it right away. After they serve it just wait five minutes because they are so fast in the kitchen I think they just pour the hot delicious pork over the cheese filled enchiladas before the cheese is melted so the pork melts it perfectly. You just need patience. For the record I’ve I also love the shrimp quesadilla (big shrimp) and the Molcajeta for two which really feeds three. Just be sure to just order a few extra tortillas. Its fab and it’s also one of Dan’s favorites.

Enchiladas Rancheras!! MMMM

Dan had the El Pastor Tacos. Corn tortillas with grilled pork marinated in a pineapple adobo with cilantro and onion served with a side of rice and beans covered in cheese for $13. They were served on this really cool taco stand that I need to buy for home. Each taco was also served traditionally with two shells (not one like some cheapo places) so the sauce and delicious pork grease don’t split the shells. Dan liked it a lot. He’s had them before and has never been disappointed. I’m not a fan of fruit in my savory food so its not for me. Another recommendation from Dan would be the Burrito Chipotle.

El Pastor Tacos

By this point I have no room for dessert BUT we got it anyway. I am not a fan of Mexican desserts either but what the heck! We ordered the Flan. It was a little on the chunky side for me. It wasn’t smooth. Also the gelatinous texture of flan in general is not my style. But I have had churros there and they are amazing. They are stuffed with warm apples…OMG so good. Calories galore so I usually forgo dessert when we eat here.

Flan

We have been going to Plaza Azteca in Plymouth Meeting for years. It’s always good in a pinch. I don’t think there has ever been a time we left unsatisfied. Also they have salsa dancing on Saturday nights! I haven’t been there for it but I’ve heard it’s fun especially for a girls night out. They have Quizzo and karaoke on designated nights so check it out. Bang for your buck with this place. You usually go home with leftovers and leave full. It’s not 5 star dining but that’s not what this place is. It’s good food, reasonable price, fun atmosphere, and service with a smile. Oh be warned that not all of the staff speak English. The servers do but most of the runners don’t so when they drop off the food to the table and you ask for something like hot sauce or extra napkins, don’t expect to get it because they will say “okay” but never return. Be sure to ask for those things when you place your order with your server. Truth. Plaza Azteca gets 3.25 out of 4 forks. This place is consistently satisfying. Give it a try if you can. Thanks for reading and go eat out folks!!