Since my parents were in town this weekend, we spent plenty of time eating out. I decided to write a quick blog post about a few of these restaurants because I was pleasantly surprised by some, and oddly disappointed in others. First, the disappointments.
We went to Trudy's on Sunday morning for their breakfast buffet. Only now, it is barely a breakfast buffet at all. It is now considered a "brunch" buffet, and if you haven't been there in a while, I think you will be greatly disappointed. On the buffet we found about 5 breakfast items, about 5 more "Tex-Mex" items, and then the most random selection of food ever. For example, meatballs. Meatballs... really? You're putting meatballs on your breakfast buffet at a Tex-Mex restaurant? The whole thing is really just a disaster. While this used to be one of my favorite weekend breakfast stops, it is now off the list!
Many of you know, Maudies is my favorite Tex-Mex comfort food restaurant. I always want to go to Maudies. At some point, within the last week, Maudies decided to roll out their new menus with a few new "rules." First, the menu. It seriously looks like a 5 year old designed this thing. It's so confusing, big bold words everywhere, and very difficult to follow. I eventually found all my favorites, so at least it appears that they have not changed the food at all. Sometimes I really wonder what makes people take something that's working and change it up. Change for the sake of change is a stupid idea. Maudies, your old menu was just fine, why did you re-design it to look like a childs menu?
Unfortunately, the menu wasn't the only change. Apparently there are new "rules" now. For example, I was told that I probably could not substitute zucchini for my rice and beans, as most menu items "No longer allowed substitutions." Seriously? WTF. Okay, I understand if you want to tell me that you can't substitute guac for rice, as there is a major cost difference there, but the least you could do is offer me the chance to pay the difference. I don't think it would be difficult to say "Sure, we can do that, but there may be a slight upcharge." We're not talking about a fancy restaurant here, we're talking about Maudies.
Now, to end on a happier note, here's a review of my experience at The Carillon.
The Carillon is housed in the AT&T Conference Center on the UT Campus. Parking is just below for about $9 for 3 hours. Since it was pouring rain, we choose this option. Heck it was going to be an expensive dinner, so what's another $9 at that point. I should mention here that we choose to check this place out because my boss raves about the chef and I had a Groupon for $50. I knew since it was the 4 of us going, this would probably only make a dent in the bill, but that's okay, I love checking out fancy restaurants.
We each choose the 3 course tasting menu; you get 2 appetizers and 1 entree. Below are some pictures of the food that we got. The presentation was great and the food was amazing. For appetizers we had:
BABY ICEBERG SALAD
apple smoked bacon | smokey blue cheese | chervil ranch | red pepper syrup
parmesan | truffle | potato | whole grain mustard
SEARED HUDSON VALLEY FOIE GRAS
vanilla french toast | macadamia butter | balsamic figs
CRISP PORK BELLY
diablo glaze | asian pear salad | fried mint
And for dinner, I got:
BRIOCHE CRUSTED RACK OF LAMB
english pea risotto | whole grain mustard | tomato confit
All the food was just so amazing, including the olive oil poached prime beef tenderloin that my parents got and the braised beef short ribs that Jeremy ordered... oh and the prince edward island mussels that my dad got (though I can't seem to upload the picture correctly). I would highly recommend checking this place out. It's the perfect date night... just be willing to put up the bucks around $70/pp for a three course meal, a glass of wine, tax & tip.