Thursday, June 30, 2011

Polonza Bistro

This restaurant is fairly new to Pensacola. It is a coffee house/breakfast and lunch venue.It actually used to be another restaurant called Eat. Anyway, this restaurant is clean, simple, and has a lot of windows.

The menu features reasonably priced homey dishes as well as a wide variety of coffees.

I ordered the homemade pimento cheese, the potato soup, and the pulled pork sandwich with sweet potato fries. The pimento cheese contained freshly roasted peppers and was served with an herbal bread. The potato soup was impressive. The last few times I've ordered potato soup at a restaurant it was thick and paste-like. This soup, however, was silky. The pulled pork was juicy and smothered in barbecue sauce. This sandwich is pretty messy so make sure you get extra napkins. The sweet potato fries went perfectly with the pork. They were crunchy on the outside, soft in the inside, and not too sweet.

Wednesday's daily special was meatloaf served with your choice of two sides.

For dessert, I got the bread pudding which was served with a bananas foster/butterscotchy flavored sauce. Though it was delicious, it was way too big for one person to eat alone.

We all like to have snappy service when we go out to restaurants, but sometimes snappy is not always a good thing. I had just started to spread the pimento cheese on a piece of bread when the soup was delivered to the table. I set the bread down, took a spoonful of soup, and then, my sandwich was brought to the table. The sandwich would get cold if I didn't eat it, but then the soup would get cold if I didn't eat that. And, what about the appetizer? I can understand that they would want to be quick and efficient with serving the food, but by not spacing out the courses, it was hard to really enjoy the food.

Overall: 3.5/5

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Five Sisters Blues Cafe

If you are a fan of comfort food, then this is the place for you. A lightly decorated restaurant with bluesy jazz emitting from the speakers.

Upon being seated, a basket of hot rolls are brought out to the table. Now sweet tea usually goes well with comfort food. But, mint sweet tea is even better. It is clean and refreshing and addictive.

The menu of Five Sisters has everything from fried chicken to smothered pork chops to barbecue. They also have a soup and Gumbo of the day as well as a great selection of specials.

Today I ordered the Gumbo of the day which was Cajun sausage and green onion. It was amazing! I think it has to be the best Gumbo I have ever had. It was thick and creamy with the spiciness from the sausage and the slight crunch from the onion. Okra adds a bit of texture to blend. I even begin to say how delicious it was.

For my main meal, I ordered one of the specials. A blackened catfish over cheese grits with a side of sweet potatoes.

I do not usually eat catfish, but this was great. The fish was moist and flaky and well-seasoned. I was very
impressed with the grits. Usually when I order cheese grits with a meal, they turn out clumpy and hard. These were soft and smooth with just the right amount of cheese. The sweet potatoes were coated in a citrusy glaze with hints of brown sugar and possibly honey. They were sweet but not overly so.

For dessert I ordered the peach cobbler. It was served warm which enhanced the juicy tenderness of the peaches.

One of their appetizers is a sampler. You get fried green tomatoes, Chorizo crusted shrimp, and crab cakes. With this you get three different kinds of sauces.

Overall, the food is packed with flavor, and the atmosphere is bright and friendly.

I would give this a 4.5/5

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Jordan Valley Cafe

This is a small yet unique eatery. It may seem simple with its soda dispensers plain wooden tables, but sometimes simple is a good thing. The wallls are painted with murals of camels in a desert and Grecian columns. Music plays as the waiters/waitresses bustle around getting orders. 

The menu consists of Greek and Middle Eastern dishes.

I ordered grapes leaves, falafel, and a fattoush salad.

The grape leaves are stuffed with a blend of rice, tomato, and spices served with a tzatziki sauce. The spices combined with the creamy texture of the tzatziki makes this a very tasty dish.

The falafel is a mixture of chickpeas, herbs, and spices that have been fried. I know that does sound a bit weird, but it is quite delicious. Even though it is fried, it is not in the least bit greasy, nor is there any kind of breading on it. So, it could actually be considered healthy.

You have the option of getting gyro meat on the fattoush salad, which I did. I did order the small, but somehow I ended up getting a large. Anyway, this is basically a Greek salad with pita croutons. Cucumbers added a nice crunch to the salad, while black olives gave it a nice salty element. As for the gyro meat, it was amazing. It was full of flavor and added a bit of umph to the salad.

If you want this salad, however, it would be best if you arrive early. It is a very popular item on the menu, and they sell out of it pretty quickly.

Whether you are a fan of the gyro or a vegetarian, Jordan Valley can satisfy either. One good thing about it is that you don't feel overly full when you leave. One negative thing is that they have plastic utensils. It is really annoying trying to spear a salad with a plastic fork.

Overall, I would give this a 4.5/5

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

O'Brien's Bistro

This charming restaurant could not be more different from last week's experience. You have a choice of dining in or outside, though eating outside in this heat is not advisable at this point in the year. O'Brien's has large windows allowing daylight to fall upon the diners. The walls are lined with quaint prints and an aquarium full of colorful fish stands in the middle of the main room.

Within minutes of sitting down, you are instantly brought a basket of these rolls or savory scones or...well, I don't know what exactly their proper name is, but they are so so tasty. But, these rolls are made with rosemary which gives them a clean fresh flavor. They are even served warm right out of the oven.

I ordered a bowl of French onion soup. If you haven't already noticed by now, I am a big fan of soup. There are very few places here in Pensacola that serve soup and even fewer places with GOOD soup. Anyway, this soup was delicious. The onions were  sweet and the cheese was nice and melty and gooey. Need I say more?

One of their lunchtime specialties is called Trio of Salads. It is basically a salad sampler where you can choose 3 salads from a list of 7. The list includes chicken salad, shrimp salad, egg salad, Caprese salad, roasted corn and black bean salad, marinated mushroom salad, and Caesar salad.

The three that I chose were the Caesar, fruit, and shrimp salads. The Caesar was crisp with croutons and shavings of Parmesan cheese. The fruit was sweet and juicy. The shrimp salad was made with baby shrimp and, most unusually, dill. The dill actually married nicely with the flavor of the shrimp, a very clever combination.

For dessert, I ordered the creme brulee. The custard was cold, such a nice treat on such a hot day, and there was a gentle drizzle of raspberry sauce on top that was to die for. It was velvety and seed free. My only complaint was that there should have been more of that sauce.

So, if you are one of those people who likes to go to Olive Garden for that ever popular soup, salad, and breadstick deal, keep in mind that you can have the same thing but 1000 times better at O'Brien's Bistro. The bread is complimentary. You can choose what kind of salads you want to try. The French onion soup is packed with flavor. A simple yet delicious lunch that puts others like it to shame.

Overall meal: 4.8-5/5

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

2 Stix

This is one of many sushi restaurants in Pensacola. The atmosphere was quite somber. With its dim lighting and lack of decor, one would think that they were entering a funeral home. The only upbeat element was that music was playing over speakers, and even that did not add to the quality of the dreariness.

The menu features a number of sushi rolls, lunch specials, and various Asian dishes.

I ordered Miso soup, a spicy tuna roll, and Pad Thai, and I'm afraid to say that the soup was the best part of the meal. It was very flavorful. I even got a second complimentary bowl.

The spicy tuna roll, on the other hand, was very disappointing. This "spicy" roll did not live up to its name. It was just a plain roll, a plain roll with no flavor.

As for the Pad Thai, well, it was really just a blob of noodles. The shrimp were dry and there was hardly any sauce on it. What little sauce was on the noodles lacked the brightness of tamarind or even lime. In a word, the dish was dense.

So, I would say that the overall meal was a 1.5-2/5