November 16, 2009

Gorgonzola Cracked Pepper Scone from HomePage Cafe

Update: HomePage Cafe has since gone out of business.

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Rating ■■□ 4.4 / 5 ”An impressive scone!”

Reviewed by Craig Dugas

Savory scones can hard to come by, which is why the Gorgonzola cracked pepper ultra-mini scone was so tantalizing. Although the ultra-mini is about one quarter the size of the average HomePage scone, it feels about half the weight. With a belly of Gorgonzola and a coat of savory spices and cracked pepper, this scone packs a punch.
A while back I purchased a different savory scone from HomePage – the Spiced Walnut Scone (□□□□□ 0/5 ”Never again…”). The flavor throughout had an unpleasant burnt taste, with an even worse after-taste – making it nothing but another office prank prop for weeks to come.
This new recipe is a complete 180, offering a mildly complex flavor that is delicious from start to finish. The size is fine for a side, although if it’s all you’re going to eat, you might opt for two.
A job well-done to HomePage’s chef. Hopefully this item remains available on the menu along with the cranberry-orange muffin and other great morning treats.
HomePage Cafe is located in the heart of Downtown Bozeman near the corner of Rouse and Main.
November 13, 2009

Eastside Egg Salad at Gandolfo’s

Rating: ■■■■□ 4.2 / 5 ”A satisfying, fluffy sourdough sandwich”

Reviewed by Craig Dugas

Ahh, egg salad.  A classic sandwich lost over the years in the midst of foot-long sub sandwiches and fancy-schmancy ingredients. Eastside Egg Salad is Gandolfo’s take on the traditional egg salad sandwich. Tangy, fluffy slices of sourdough with a layer of fresh tomatoes and shredded lettuce are the foundation for the mound of egg salad mixture that is piled high then pressed down with a slice of bread.

The sandwich is great, however the avid multi-tasker should beware (warning: you will get messy eating this sandwich). It took a full four napkins to work my way through the sandwich – wow! You can’t hold that against a good egg salad, though, since an egg salad that isn’t exploding as you eat is probably lacking in one or more core ingredients.

Perfect size, great flavor and overall satisfaction make this sandwich a winner. Another plus, especially when it comes to egg salad, is that the filling isn’t a gut bomb. It’s satisfying, but doesn’t sit heavy like so many egg salads do. If you’re in the mood for a classic, give it a whirl!

Statistics:
Calories consumed: 862
Napkins used: 4
Other tasks completed during sandwich eating time: 0

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November 12, 2009

Spicy Asian Noodles at Naked Noodle

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Rating: ■■■■□ 4.5 / 5 “Like fire in your mouth”

Reviewed by Eric Barnes

We trekked on over to the Naked Noodle for lunch today. Some hot noodles sounded like just the thing to get warmed up from the cold, snowy conditions outside.

I was in the mood for something Asian, so I ordered a custom dish with yakisoba noodles, Korean barbecued beef, and sesame garlic sauce topped with green onions. Much to my surprise, it was the tastiest meal I have had from the Naked Noodle to date. The beef was very tender and spicy–very much true to Korean bulgogi style. The flavorful sesame and garlic sauce went hand-in-hand with the beef. The only downside was that when I finished eating the noodles, I was left with a plate of watery sauce. A spoon was required.

I’m definitely going to order this again. Sometimes the best things in life are custom-made.

November 6, 2009

Experience Frank’s for Dinner

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Photo courtesy of http://www.frankscatering.com

Rating: ■■■■□ 3.75 / 5 “The Frank’s Experience”

Reviewed by Jane Crites

Most people wouldn’t think “fine-dining” upon viewing the modest building that holds Frank’s Custom Catering and Deli. Tucked away in the basement of this local favorite sandwich shop was a whole new world for this foodie. Frank’s Deli is known for its tasty sandwiches and the sassy disposition of its proprietor by day, but hopes to be known soon as fine eatery by night. Walking into the establishment you immediately see the fast-order counter below a large sign filled with the various mid-day offerings. A large refrigerator holding various bottles and cans of your typical lunch time beverages stands on your left and dead ahead is a small bar complete with barstools, napkin holders and condiments. Walking through the open kitchen between the cart full of chips and snacks, posters advertising local events and stacks of dishes you head to the top of the stairs which leads down to the dining room. Upon first glance you become somewhat anxious as to what sort of ambiance awaits you on the lower level. If the journey is any indication as to how the final destination will be some adventurers might turn around and never turn back, however we ventured on.

Much to my surprise at the bottom of the stairs awaits an elegant dining room. The room is cozy with light green colored walls with a large horizontal mirror that stretches along the East side wall. Various artwork is splashed about the room which gives it a very warm, welcoming feeling. It reminds me very much of those small French restaurants that locals go to that are off the beaten path. The subtle sound of jazz plays in the background to complete the atmosphere.

Looking over the menu, it is exciting to see a unique and delicious selection so much so it is difficult to decide what to enjoy. It is obvious that Chef Frank Winkler has a passion and love for culinary creations. His twenty years of experience shines through in his unique combinations. Since we were with friends we decided to order several things and share.

Although I mention all the menu items that we decided to sink our teeth into I won’t go into detail of each one instead I would rather focus on my favorites. We started off with the Forester Wood-fired pizza which had roasted garlic, wild mushrooms, fontina and mozzarella cheeses topped with fresh arugula and shaved parmesan. Wow! It was absolutely incredible. For me, I can always tell a good pizza when I want to eat the crust. The wild mushrooms had beautiful earthy flavor wrapped with the subtle taste of roasted garlic. The cheeses were perfectly melted on the wood fired crust. The arugula was a refreshing little addition that tied in some very nice texture.

The next course we went with two appetizers -the Sautéed Maryland Crab Cakes served with remoulade and the home-made wild mushroom ravioli tossed in a fresh herb white truffle broth. The crab cakes were nice, a little small but it was an appetizer shared by four people. Plus, they were rather rich, unlike other restaurants in town that serve crab cakes these were 90% crab meat. My favorite here was the home-made ravioli. It was one of those pasta dishes that was rich and full of flavor but wasn’t heavy which is sometimes difficult to accomplish. The ravioli was a hearty helping – it could have easily been served as an entrée for most people. Our salads were rather basic but nice. I wasn’t really expecting something extraordinary but wasn’t disappointed by any means. Our main courses arrived shortly after we finished our salads. We went for the Osso Bucco with truffled polenta, Chicken Picata with a lemon-white sauce and capers served over fresh angel hair pasta and the Swiss Style Veal with Spaetzle. (For those of you that don’t know Spaetzle is basically the equivalent of a southern dumpling only it is the size of a piece of macaroni). The Swiss Style Veal with Spaetzle was earth-moving, ground shaking and overall life changing-ly incredible. I found myself going back several times to delight my taste buds with this dish. If I could break down what I think about this dish in two words they would be – ORDER IT! It was I have to say, Bad-ass. Of course there are those who don’t like the idea or taste of veal, in which case go for the chicken picatta. It was quite good as well but I make something similar at home that I enjoy just as much if not more. The Osso Bucco was not my favorite but the accompanying truffled polenta was tasty. The night was finished with the home-made tiramisu – dense creamy goodness- and a cup of decaf.

For those who don’t mind spending a little coin on a nice meal (entrees range from $18-25) I would definitely recommend Frank’s. If you want to watch your pennies you may want to consider sticking to Frank’s by day or ordering a wood-fired pizza (~$14) to take it home for something that can satisfy without hurting the pocketbook. Also, I should mention that the service was stellar! Overall, I do believe that Frank’s fine eatery is just what this town needs for a night on the town that is off the beaten path – for locals to enjoy and adventurist visitors to discover