The Crepery, Fairbanks – Restaurant Review

We has lunch at The Crepery our first day in Fairbanks. The restaurant has great reviews online, and it’s easy to see why.  The crepes are really awesome.  They are also unlike any crepes I’ve had before.

The Crepery was started by a European couple who visited Fairbanks and decided to settle there.  It serves savory and dessert crepes, as well as different types of coffee drinks.  The space is rather small, but we were able to grab a couple of tables which the owner was very kind to put together.  The crepes, however, are toasted and folded into triangles, so that you can actually hold them and eat them without having to use silverware.

I got the prosciutto and blue fig crepe and it was extremely delicious.  I might have enjoyed a little bit more fig to add additional sweetness, but that’s a minor issue.  I loved every single bite.  I thought, at first, that the crepe would not be large enough to satisfy my hunger – not really a problem given that they also serve dessert crepes – but I was actually pretty full at the end, though to be fair I did end up eating some of Camila’s crepe as well.

Camila got the ham & cheese crepe.  I thought it was delicious, I don’t know where they source their ingredients in Alaska, but they certainly do a great job.  Camila, however, felt it had too much diced ham and, indeed, it was a generous serving.  She did take much of it out and enjoyed her cheese crepe.

Mika had the tomato basil crepe.  She’s been into caprese lately and this crepe really hit the spot, she thought it was delicious.  Mike had similar feelings about his smoked salmon crepe.

At the end we were so full that we didn’t actually try any of the sweet crepes, and while we meant to go back, we never did.  We should have.

The Crepery
535 2nd Ave
Fairbanks, AK
(907) 450-9192
M-F 7 AM – 7 PM, Sa 9 AM – 6 PM, Su 11 Am – 5 PM

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Lemongrass Thai Cuisine – Restaurant Review – Fairbanks, AK

Lemongrass Thai Cuisine was recommended to us as one of the best Thai restaurants in Fairbanks (which has surprisingly many).  While we liked the food at Tiparos better, Lemongrass is a much more upscale experience – and the food was very good.

We went there during what looked like the dinner rush a Monday evening in March, 2015.  The place was packed and service was a little slow at first, but we didn’t care much as we had a lot of time to waste before taking our plane back home.  Service during dinner, however, went very smoothly.

I played it safe and ordered my favorite Thai dish, mussaman beef ($14).  It was lighter in color that I’m used to, and perhaps a little bit less intense in flavor, though it was somewhat spicy.  It was very good, however.  It was a large enough portion that I was able to share it with Mike (being our last night in Alaska, we didn’t want any leftovers).   Mika had the pad thai ($14) as usual, and she also enjoyed it.  Camila had the kid’s chicken satay ($6).  The skewers were very small, but Camila thought they were very good.

In all, it was a very good dinner experience.

Lemongrass Thai Cuisine
388 Old Chena Pump Road
Fairbanks, AK
907 456-2200
http://www.lemongrassalaska.com/
M-Sa 11am — 4pm, 5pm — 10pm

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Tiparos Thai Food Review – Fairbanks, AK

We went to Tiparos for dinner our first day in Fairbanks, in March 2015.  It was recommended by the concierge at our hotel, who had heard it was the best Thai place in town.  I only tried one other Thai restaurant, but I liked Tiparos better.

Tiparos is a humble place, it has a third worldly look to it with decorations thrown into the walls rather than carefully arranged. When we went there for dinner, perhaps before the dinner rush, the place was pretty empty but for some kids belonging to those who worked there.  Despite that, service wasn’t particularly attentive – it took a while for the waitress to take our orders and later bring us the bill.  She was very nice, however.

The food is what matters, however, and Tiparos it was very good.  Los Angeles level good (which is saying a lot as LA has uniformly good Thai restaurants, unlike the Bay Area where I live).

I had the yellow curry with beef, and very much enjoyed the rich and fragrant curry.  Mike had the panang curry with chicken and was just as delighted.  Mika had the pad thai, and she gave it her stamp of approval while Camila had the chicken satay.  That one was probably the least successful dish, I think the chicken needed more flavor.

I doubt I’ll return to Fairbanks, but if I did I’d have dinner there again.

Tiparos Thai Food
404 Lacey St.
Fairbanks AK
(907) 455-8424
http://tiparos.webs.com
Mon-Fri: 11am-9pm
Sun: 12pm-8pm

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The Cookie Jar Restaurant, Fairbanks, AK – Review

We visited Fairbanks in March 2015 to see the northern lights and one of our days there we had a late lunch at the Cookie Jar.  It was all in all a good experience and I’d go back if I was to visit Fairbanks again.

The Cookie Jar is a large coffeeshop style restaurant serving typical American food.  The prices are reasonable for Fairbanks, though high for the continental US (that’s the case with most restaurants in Fairbanks).  The decor is coffeeshop cute and the restaurant is divided into several dining rooms, so noise levels are quite manageable.  Even though we were there for a late lunch, the place was pretty busy and there were quite a few families.

My vegetarian 12-yo had the Becca burger ($12), a black bean burger with cheddar cheese and guacamole.  She thought it was very good.

My 10-yo was less pleased with her kid’s spaghetti ($8).  She just didn’t like the sauce.  I’m not sure why, as it was a generic tomato-based pasta sauce. She loved the garlic bread, however.

I had the Monte Cristo sandwich ($11): “two thick slices of bread dipped in egg batter then grilled with ham, turkey, Swiss, and cheddar cheese” and sprinkled with powdered sugar.  It took a while to come to the table and when it did, it was missing the filling: they were just french toast slices.  The waitress was very apologetic and brought me a substitute as soon as she could – I thought it was pretty funny.  By the time I got it, however, I had filled up on my daughters’ fries, garlic bread and spaghetti, but I thought the sandwich was quite good.  Fortunately our hotel had a fridge so I was able to enjoy the rest of it later.

Service was great, our waitress was both friendly and solicitous.  All in all, a good experience.

The Cookie Jar Restaurant
1006 Cadillac Ct
Fairbanks, AK
907-479-8319
http://cookiejarfairbanks.com/


Joan’s Bakery Cafe

Joan’s Bakery Cafe has been opened for just a few months and is already in its last legs.  It’s clear from the offerings that its owners don’t have the capital to keep it running. My bet is that it will close soon, very soon.

The space that Joan’s occupies has been having troubles for years.  It seemed fairly successful when it operated as Planet Coffee under its original owners, but a series of new owners and new names were unable to make it succeed.  I’m not exactly sure as to why, as before this latest incarnation as Joan’s Bakery, the offerings were both good and well priced.

Joan’s Bakery Cafe, however, is a mess.  First of all, it’s not a bakery.  I don’t know if it ever was, but right now all they sell are pre-packaged, dried Chinese baked items from a bakery in Oakland and old and stale bagels and doughnuts, I recognized as sold at Grocery Outlet.  They do have cafe offerings, though I cannot comment as I didn’t try any.  Though I did order a large glass of orange juice, thinking it’d be freshly squeezed (it should have been, for the $4.50 price), but it was not.

The place was empty, both of customer and of stock, and it seemed to me like the owners had run out of money and couldn’t keep with the expenses of daily operations.  Indeed, it turns out that the space is up for lease.

The food itself wasn’t bad, though grossly overpriced.  I had the lamb shawerma ($8).  The tiny sandwich came with lamb, thick slices of cucumber, tomato and sauce.  The lamb was nicely spiced, it definitely had some curry powder, but not an overwhelming amount.  However, there were no sides (not even chips) and I was nowhere close to full after eating it (the doughnut I bought for dessert must have been a week old).

Mike had the rib-eye blue cheese sandwich ($8) and it was also minute but very tasty.

The whole cafe is in charge of a young girl with limited command of English. She has to attend to customers, answer the phone and prepare and serve the food.  That means limited service even if you’re the only ones eating there.

In all, I’m sad this cafe was such a bust – but I look forward to the space being occupied by a good restaurant one day.

San Leandro Restaurant Reviews


Restaurant Review: Grotto at the Golden Nugget, Las Vegas

We stayed at the Golden Nugget our last night in Vegas in August 2014, and we were too tired to leave the hotel to go have dinner.  Of the several restaurants at the hotel, Grotto seemed to be the best choice in terms of cost and reviews.  Indeed, we had a fairly good meal. It’s overpriced, but it could have been worse.

Grotto is divided into two sections.  The main section occupies a large, semi-open space near the front desk.  The second section is across the pathway that leads to the casino, by the pool and has views of the pool area.  We ate in the main dining room, which is kept somewhat dark. It’s nice, but too open to pool-attired passerbys to feel anything other than casual.

I had the chicken marsala ($20), which comes with fettuccine alfredo.  I enjoyed this dish very much, I hadn’t had that combination before but it worked very well.

One of the kids had the Margherita pizza, which I also remember enjoying.  I don’t remember what Mike and the other kid had.

Service, I recall, was fine.

Grotto
Golden Nugget
129 Fremont Street Experience
Las Vegas, NV
(702) 386-8341
http://www.goldennugget.com/LasVegas/eat_grotto.asp

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Lotus of Siam, Las Vegas

Lotus of Siam is described as being the best Thai restaurant in Las Vegas, if not the country – so, of course, we had to try it.  After a failed attempt in 2012, we finally managed to get in in 2013.  It was very good, but not extraordinary.  Then again, Thai food is so good in general, that finding extraordinary Thai food seems like a Herculean task.

Lotus of Siam has a huge menu, offering both traditional Thai foods, Issam and northern specialties.  With so much choice, it’s easy to get lost so I asked for my waiters’ recommendation and ended up getting the duck on drunken noodle ($26).  That was a mistake.  The duck was OK, but the noodles lacked flavor.  I liked them, but I didn’t love them.  I would have been better off going with one of my favorites.

One of the kids had the chow mein ($9).  This was a lovely dish.  It tasted like a combination of Chinese and Thai flavors, which were perfectly melded.  Unfortunately, it wasn’t a large portion.

My other daughter had the Pad Thai and this was phenomenal. The noodles had a welcomed smokeyness I’d never experienced before.  Unfortunately, the portion was not large enough for me to get more than a taste.

Mike had one of the special panangs. I don’t remember what meat he had, but the sauce was described as a panang with cognac.  It was good, but it didn’t taste any different from a regular panang sauce.  Still, he was happy with the dish, if not the price.

The place was very crowded, it took a long time to get seated and service was competent but busy.  In all, I think it’s a restaurant worth trying, but which cannot possibly live up to its hype.

Lotus of Siam
53 East Sahara Avenue Suite A5
Las Vegas, NV
Phone:(702) 735-3033
http://www.saipinchutima.com/

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Capo’s Restaurant & Speakeasy – Las Vegas

It’s definitely not fair to review a restaurant a year and a half after you had dinner there, when your memory of the experience is dimmer than the lights at dinner, but I’m creating a travel page on Las Vegas, and I want to include Capo’s.  Though the restaurant is definitely overpriced, it offers such a cool Las Vegas experience, that I can fully recommend it.

Capo’s is a prohibition era Mafia theme restaurant. It plays the part of a speakeasy, and the coolness starts from the moment you make your way inside. I won’t spoil the surprise, but it works best if you get yourself in the mood: it’s prohibition era and you are trying to gain admission to a speakeasy, where they may be a bit weary of you.

The restaurant itself is both sumptuous and very dark – it plays very well with the Mafia scene and it’s easy to believe you are in another era.  The food, as I remembered it, was good, though not outstanding.  I remember service being very, very slow – which I didn’t mind as much, because I loved the atmosphere, but it can be hard with hungry kids.  They have live music later in the evening, and I wished I’d been there for more than a song or two – but my kids were tired.

As I mentioned, prices are high but they have groupons and other discounts, worth hunting for (e.g. they currently have a Travelzoo deal of lunch for 2 for $19).

Capo’s Restaurant & Speakeasy
5675 W Sahara Ave.
Las Vegas, NV
(702) 436-2276
http://www.caposrestaurant.com/

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Review: The Cheesecake Factory at Caesar’s Palace, Las Vegas

I am putting together a Las Vegas with Kids webpage, containing all my reviews for Las Vegas.  Some of those reviews never made it to my blog, so I’m adding them now. 

You can get great food on the Las Vegas strip, and you can get cheap food at the myriad of food courts, but finding tasty, affordable food is very hard.  That’s probably why the Cheesecake Factory has actually become one of our favorite places to eat in Las Vegas.  The food is tasty, the portions are generous and the prices are reasonable.  Plus they have cheesecake! We now make it a point of shopping at the forum shops, watching the Fall of Atlantis show and then having dinner at the Cheesecake Factory every year.

I’ve been quite happy with pretty much everything I’ve eaten there.  Last visit I had their Pasta Da Vinci ($17), penne in a Madeira sauce with chicken, mushrooms and onions.  It was as good as it sounds.  Another year I had their spaghetti & meatballs ($15) and it was as good as you can expect.  They no longer seem to carry the Monterey burger ($12) I had another year. It came with cheese, onions, arugula and avocado. It was cooked to order medium rare, but it was drier than I would have liked it.  Still, the accompanying sweet potato fries were phenomenal.

The Cheesecake Factory has a well-priced children’s menu. Last time, my youngest daughter enjoyed the pasta with marinara sauce.  In a previous visit, my oldest had the pasta alfredo ($7) but was disappointed by the lack of flavor.  My youngest had the kids cheese pizza ($6), which was the size of a regular dinner plate – basically, adult size. The pizza tasted like an Italian pizza margherita rather than your typical American cheese pizza, so she didn’t like it. I, however, did.

Portions at the Cheesecake Factory are usually large, so we get to enjoy leftovers when we stay at hotels with kitchenettes.

Of course, one of the main reasons to go to the Cheesecake Factory is the cheesecake.  Slices are large enough to share and $8-$9.   I prefer the plain cheesecake, but the Dulde de Leche cheesecake we had once was pretty good.  The Adam’s Peanut Butter fudge cheesecake, however, was too sweet.  My youngest had the kids hot fudge sundae once ($2!). It was a large enough portion that she couldn’t finish it.

There is usually a long wait when we go to have dinner at the Cheesecake Factory, but you can pass the time shopping or watching the show.  Service has been mixed.  The first time we went, we barely saw our waiter.  The second, service was great, even though we were in the second floor.

The Cheesecake Factory
Caesars Palace Forum Shops
3500 Las Vegas Blvd. S.
Las Vegas, NV
702-792-6888
http://www.thecheesecakefactory.com/

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Review: Magnolia’s Veranda at the Four Queens Hotel & Casino

I am putting together a Las Vegas with Kids webpage, containing all my reviews for Las Vegas.  Some of those reviews never made it to my blog, so I’m adding them now.  This one is rather old, from July 2012.

We stopped for dinner at Magnolia’s Veranda after checking out the Fremont Street Experience and we were pretty happy with the food. Both of my girls ordered pancakes for dinner and they were pretty good, in particular the blueberry pancakes. They are huge, the size of a regular dinner plate, so of course none of them could finish their portion (I had anticipated this, so I dined on their leftovers).

My husband had the ribeye dinner ($14, I think) and he enjoyed the soup (a liquidy jambalaya) that came with it. The ribeye wasn’t as thick I’d like it, but it was perfectly cooked medium rare and it had a great flavor. The mashed potatoes were also good. Service was very friendly and efficient.

In all, it was a great dining experience – made better by the fact that we got a coupon for $10 of bonus play when signing up for a players’ card and we won $24 on the poker machines – which paid for most of the dinner.

The only minus was the fact that the restaurant is open to the casino floor below and therefore the smoke flows right in. Still, I’d go again. Make sure to get a players’ card first, as there are many specials for cardholders.

Magnolia’s Veranda
Four Queens Hotel & Casino
202 Fremont Street
Las Vegas, NV
(702) 385-4011

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