Archive for the tag “Salad”

Viva l’Italia – Vincenzo’s, New Jersey

It’s been a couple of weeks since I went to New Jersey to visit with a customer whom I had been wanting to meet for a long time. I’ve heard great things about this company, and I know we have opportunities to partner on some good things!

So, my colleague (and now frequent road trip buddy) and I set out to Middlesex, NJ to have a couple of meetings as well as a nice dinner up the street at Vincenzo’s with our customers.

Foolishly, I only brought my small Clemson clutch with me, which funny enough, my dear girlfriend who lives in New Jersey gave me as a gift earlier this year.


Anyhow, the point being that I forgot to bring my blog card with me. Thank goodness for mobile phones. I called it up from the blog page itself!

I had been warned that this dinner and our dining companions were going to be fabulous, so I came hungry! In addition to fabulous table mates, our server, Carlos, was perfect. He was professional, yet was equipped with a biting sense of humor. The best of both worlds!

Carlos started us off with several appetizers: calamari (two ways: fritti and with an “Italian hot sauce” – which everyone at the table claimed was Thai sauce!), escarole and pignoli nuts, and sausage and peppers. To be honest, I was full by the time we worked our way through these delicious plates of apps!


A mesh of apps! Calamari, sausage and peppers, and escarole. 

And then came this salad… I think it’s one of my favorite salads – ever. The tri-colore insalati. The mesh of flavors – and that cheese! Heaven on a plate.


Tri-colore salad made of European blend, tomatoes, pepper, and parmagiano cheese.

I’d say finally, because it really should have been the final set of bites, but it wasn’t. This is the penultimate dish.


Grilled salmon over escarole and served with roasted potatoes.

Without flinching while reading the blog card, Carlos had chosen a popular dish that evening – salmon over escarole with roasted potatoes. The salmon filet was enormous, and cooked to perfection. Those who know me know that salmon is not my favorite seafood, but when cooked well,  I really do enjoy it! I loved that there were some greens on the plate and just a few potato bites.

It was  a simple, delicious dish and light enough not to pain me after all of the appetizers!

It was then that our customer insisted that we all have dessert. What?!? How was I going to fit one more bite into my mouth and belly?

Here’s how:


Chocolate banana pie with fresh whipped cream, strawberries and mint.

I mentioned “heaven on a plate earlier”. This banana chocolate pie is heaven on a plate served by singing angels! I could have eaten two or three slices (but I didn’t!).

Our dinner lasted a marathon four hours, but the time flew by. We did indeed have a wonderful time with our customers and we really enjoyed the ambiance, the service, and the FOOD at Vincenzo’s! I’m still working off those glorious calories. 🙂

Since I’m not a huge connoisseur of salmon, I’m curious to know your favorite way to prepare it. I’d love to try more recipes at home. Please leave a comment if you have a recommendation.





The Marathon Business Trip – CA, WA, and PA

Some of you may recall my first business trip with my current company.  I still owe y’all a post on the other dining adventures in New Orleans, but this post is about a few meals I had on my second set of business trips.

This particular trip saw me visit six different airports, three different customers, three different time zones, travel 6,200+ miles – in four days.  (the kicker… last leg of the journey had a four-hour delay!  But…I got home, and that’s the important part!)

My coworker, Jeff, and I (bless his heart for having to travel with me from 6AM Monday to 7AM Wednesday!) first went to California to visit my old stomping grounds in Orange County.  It’s amazing how much I had forgotten about getting around the OC.  I was not the best navigation guide!  However, we did have a nice, healthy lunch in Irvine, and then after meeting with our customer, we had a fantastic dinner out in Newport that evening before heading out to Seattle the following morning.

In Newport, our customer led us to Newport Landing – a great location right on the water.  It was a lovely view, and the food was pretty darned fabulous too!  We started with the oysters on ice and calamari strips (friends…that calamari was some of THE BEST I’ve ever had – really meaty, with a light tempura breading).  Shame on me for not snapping a picture of our apps, because they were worth selling y’all on having them!

For dinner, I handed our server my trusty little card. She was quite receptive, and decided to bring me a dish from the downstairs kitchen.  I was delivered the “Hawaiian Nut Opakapaka”, macadamia nut crusted, and served with mango salsa, roasted tomato with cheese, and fantastically delicious wild rice.  Seriously, the flavors on the fish were tremendous, and the wild rice was amazing – red peppers, onions, celery, cheese, spice, etc.



The wild rice – YUM! And, the mango-pineapple salsa – so good!

This filet was quite thick in the middle, and for me, it was a bit undercooked in the center. There was plenty enough food on the plate for me, so I simply picked around the center of the filet.  I was rather impressed when our server came by and asked if she could have the chef further cook the fish to make it more palatable for me because she had noticed that I was picking around the edges.  I politely declined, because I was already full, and there was no reason to send the dish back. However, I did admit that the center was a bit undercooked, IMO, so she could provide feedback to the chef.

All in all, the service, the apps, and the dinner (despite a slight misstep) were fantastic at Newport Landing!  Not to mention that the atmosphere was casual and beautiful – who doesn’t enjoy looking out on Newport Bay?

Jeff and I then continued on to Seattle to visit with another customer.  We were delayed out of LA and into Seattle, but we got there in time to have a good business discussion.  Following our meeting, we headed over to Salty’s for a pre-dinner cocktail.  That one cocktail turned into another and eventually turned into dinner as we waited out a thunderstorm.  Again, we were sitting right on the water, so we had a cool view – even during the storm.

2013-06-25 16.54.56A bit reluctantly, Jeff and I tried the calamari appetizer at Salty’s, and as expected, it simply did not live up to the calamari from the night before.  It wasn’t “bad” calamari; we simply had extremely high expectations after the appetizer at Newport Landing!

2013-06-25 17.14.49We had the blackened fish taco appetizer as well.  I couldn’t really taste the “blackened” flavor, but it was still tasty – if a bit messy!

For my entrée, our server, Chloe, enthusiastically chose the Grilled Copper River Salmon – because it was in season and had been a really popular choice of late.  The salmon was served over sticky rice and with an Asian salad consisting of green papaya, radish, daikon sprout, Oregon baby shrimp, and finished off with a creamy red wine vinaigrette chili sauce and toasted sesame seeds.

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Chloe had asked to have the fish prepared “medium”, and it was cooked absolutely perfectly!  It was a really nice choice, and I love that Chloe chose the dish because she really felt it was the best entree and the right time of year to serve it.  She and I talked for quite a bit at the end of the evening, and this woman knows her stuff!  She’s also going to school to become a dentist and volunteers time helping folks who cannot afford dental care (helping prepare them for job interviews and such) – just a really cool woman!

I have to admit that I think the food is a bit overpriced at Salty’s.  It was good, but $50 an entree is more than I would generally spend.  There are lower-priced options, but the four of us still managed to rack up a rather hefty bill.  I’m glad Jeff took that one to expense!  🙂

It was still raining a bit when we left Salty’s (I know, raining in Seattle – shocker!), and one of the guys mentioned that there was “liquid sunshine” above us.  I’d never heard that phrase, but I quite like it!

2013-06-25 22.59.35The next morning, Jeff and I headed to the airport and then headed in different directions (sort of). He headed home to Milwaukee and I headed further east to Philadelphia for another customer meeting.  The evening that I arrived, another coworker took me to dinner at a charming haunt that is a fave of our business contact.  We went to dinner at The Saloon Cucina Italia on 7th Street in downtown Philadelphia.  It’s now one of my recent favorites as well.  Everything from the exterior door, to the interior decor, to the service – and THE FOOD!

I was actually able to decide what I wanted for dinner, so this doesn’t truly warrant a “She Ordered What?” post, but the food and atmosphere were too fantastic not to mention!

We started off with a hot appetizer plate of two each of the: Grilled Langostino, Poblano Peppers (yum!), Clams Pavorotti, and Clams Casino.  The Langostinos lacked flavor, but everything else was divine!

I ordered a half order of a salad special that evening. Spinach, mozzarella, apricots, & toasted walnuts wrapped in prosciutto, and topped with fresh black pepper.  It was such an interesting spin on a salad, and it was spectacular!

2013-06-26 20.35.48For dinner, I chose the Fettuccine Lobster Amatriciana.  It just jumped off the page and sounded exactly like what I wanted that evening.  Folks, I made a good choice!  The dish was made of homemade fettuccine with lobster, bacon, onion, fresh tomato, leeks and sharp provolone cheese in tomato sauce.

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I’ll just leave you with this, friends.  If you’re in Philadelphia and want good Italian food, friendly service, and a cool atmosphere, please check out The Saloon.

And…when you see me and I’m fat and happy – you know why!  My new job has me eating a very well thus far!  🙂



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