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Oct 15

Dinner at Cattlemen’s – Selma

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I emailed Cattlemen’s and also left the following comment on their website:

Last Saturday night 7 of us had the Prime Rib dinner at Cattlemen’s in Selma.

I want you to know that it was the worst Prime Rib any of us have ever eaten.

My wife complained and was brought another piece of Prime Rib that was as bad as the first piece: the meat was stringy and tough.

One in our party said that he was used to beef jerky so it wasn’t too bad. He was joking.

A manager apologized but did not offer a discount or replacement entrees.

None of of us finished the meal. I took the meat home. My dog, who doesn’t know better, is enjoying it.

I will say that until the entree everything was excellent: the service, the salad, the atmosphere.

This is the fifth, and last time, I will ever eat a meal in your restaurant. Always before the Prime Rib has been excellent.

If I were you, I would find another meat vendor. This is not the fault of the cook; this was just plain junk meat.

Bob Robesky

Should I get any response, I will post it/them.

Jun 04

Eat Your Food!

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Good for her.

May 09

Dinner at Justin Winery, or how not to spend an evening…

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Saturday night six of us took the winding 35 minute drive from Atascadero to Justin winery for some “fine dining”. Four of us had been to the Justin winery on a tasting tour a few years ago and were looking forward to this meal. It did not turn out as expected…

We were a few minutes late, but were welcomed by the wait staff and taken to our table in “Deborah’s Room.” The seating was very nice as was the setting.

We all decided to have the wine pairing and were served some very nice Brut before beginning the meal.

I will begin by saying that the wine served with each course was fine and matched the food. All wines were from Justin’s cellar and I would recommend them.

Then to dine…

The appetizer was excellent.

The starter was a mixed bag. Several of us had the Grilled Sonoma Foie Gras which, unfortunately had a sauce which though very nice, overwhelmed the Foie Gras. The Roasted Pheasant Galantine was, according to those who had it, excellent.

We were all saying what a great choice this was and then came the entr?e and the troubles.

Four of us ordered the Kobe beef and though it was well presented, three pieces of the meat contained gristle. Mine was about 10% gristle; Lou’s had a small amount, and Denise won the prize by getting a piece that was all gristle.

But that is not the worst of it. The waiter, who up until the entr?e had been attentive, and helpful, chose this time to disappear for 20 minutes. His helper also vanished.

When they finally reappeared, the waiter ignored us for another 5 minutes even though we tried to get his attention by waving our arms about wildly.

You have to realize that by now we were all, except Denise, finished eating and becoming irritable from the non-service. When the waiter finally decided he couldn’t ignore us any longer, he tired to convince us that the meat didn’t contain any gristle; just fat. Which is just plain stupid. I realize some of us are from Fresno, but we are old enough, and intelligent enough, to recognize a bad cut of meat. Couple this with the condescending “dear” the waiter began using when addressing the women at the table and you can get an idea where this might be heading.

Denise got another piece of Kobe beef, while we were all served the Cheese.

The cheese was nice. Nothing further needs to be said about it.

The dessert was ok. The Spice Poached Red Delicious Apple Cr?me Br?l?e was served in an apple that was so hard it could have been made from ceramic. I irritated the waiter by pulling out my pocket knife to cut it which caused him to give us utensils.

We finished; we paid; we left.

I think part of the problem, and the reason we were ignored, was because there were six of us and the gratuity was built in; which means that the service can be awful and the waiter still gets paid. Which also means we should have deducted the gratuity from the final payment; which we didn’t.

What should have been done? Denise’s meal should have been comped and the waiter should have apologized for the vanishing act, after all we weren’t at a magic show, for the bad cut of meat and not called the women “dear”, or was it “deer?”

Would we go again? No, never! 70 minutes, 35 each way, of winding road driving for an expensive, mediocre meal coupled with below average service, is not my idea of “fine dining.”

For those who don’t know the difference:

Pronunciation: ‘gri-s&l, -z&l
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English gristil, from Old English gristle; akin to Middle Low German gristel gristle.
: CARTILAGE; broadly : tough cartilaginous, tendinous, or fibrous matter especially in table meats.

Function: noun
: animal tissue consisting chiefly of cells distended with greasy or oily matter.

Grade: C overall. F for the Kobe beef entr?e. An A to F for the service which probably doesn’t make much sense, but it started off well.

Jul 09

Max’s Wines of the Summer

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“>Click for large image
We arrived at Max’s around 6:30 last evening and were escorted to the rear of the restaurant where the dinner, and tasting, was to take place.

The first wine, a Domaine Carneros Sparkling wine was poured, and we were treated to a history of this winery, which is in Sonoma, and the wine itself. After a glass, or two, the first course was served. It was well presented, and better yet, delicious. The wine went well with the Foie Gras.

The next wine, an Andlau Reisling from the Marc Kreydenweiss winery in France was poured and the second course was served. Again, information about the winery and the wine. The salad was also, again, well presented, delicious, and the wine, food coupling worked well. The sweet corn broth was wonderful with the crab and avocado salad.

The third course started with a tasting, and description, of Michele Chiarlo’s Barbera d’Asti, an Italian red wine. Very flavorful and not too heavy; actually very nice. The wild salmon, tamed now by cooking, was, once more, well presented and delicious and went well with the wine.

We were getting filled up with both wine and food at this point and there were two more courses to go. Also, I was becoming concerned because I knew I would have nothing negative to write about. Bummer, as we used to say.

Once the salmon had disappeared into the wilds of our stomachs, a Chalone Vineyards Pinot Noir was poured. This winery is located in the Salinas valley and the Pinot was a nice contrast to the Barbera and went well with the Duck Col Vert. Again, well presented and delicious. But, we couldn’t eat it all and had it boxed for home.

Last, but certainly not least, we were served a Chambers Muscat from Australia. This is a marvelous after dinner wine with lots of bouquet and flavor. The wine was coupled with an Apricot Souffle that was, again, well presented and tasted wonderful.

This was the first Tasting and dinner at Max’s and I will have to say that they did it right. Each course was poured and served with style. Silverware was replaced between courses. The wine was described in detail and we were told why each wine was paired with its food partner.

Max’s is planning on offering a Dinner and Tasting quarterly which I expect will shortly be impossible to get into. Those of us who were there last night have first choice next time; we will not miss it.

The cast included:

Joshua S Thornton, Sommelier
Kent Specht, Executive Chef
Doug Hayes, Account Rep, The Estates Group

Joshua and Doug did an excellent job chosing and describing the wines. Kent gets the credit for the superb dinner. And, thanks to the wait staff; great job.

So, was there anything negative about this experience? Well, yes, sort of. I must say that the food portions were too large. I realize that this is not a complaint heard very often in Fresno, but there it is. And, as I wrote before, by the time many of us got to the fourth course, we were full.

Overall rating: A+

Max’s Bistro & Bakery is located at Bullard and West in Fresno. You can visit their website here for more information. Psst… frescoe is, or should be, spelled fresco.

Jun 29

Mars Drive In Restaurant

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Menu: Hamburgers, hotdogs, french fries, milk shakes, etc.

Location: Shaw and West in Fresno.

Atmosphere: Retro 50’s, sort of.

Service: Very good but with some minor confusion. Yesterday evening I ordered a medium drink and a cup for water and got a large and medium drink. I think some of this has to do with the fact that the music, mostly 50’s, is played way too damn loud. And I’m half deaf; so how bad is it really? I have no clue.

Food: The hamburgers are excellent. A++

The hotdog tasted good but looked like it was stepped on; it was very unattractively packaged in a smashed bun, and, I think, overpriced. B for flavor. F for looks. D for price.

The french fries are a crap shoot as they haven’t figured out how to cook them yet. Anywhere from B to F. Also, we found out last night that large french fries are now medium french fries at the large french fry price. This change happened because some people didn’t eat all their french fries. (Bad boy! Go to your room!) This is, to me, not a good sign; once you start cutting corners pretty soon there aren’t any corners left to cut. Besides, people notice this stuff and expect to get what they paid for even if they don’t eat it all.

Overall grade: C.

Recomendation: I highly recommend the hamburgers.

We have been eating there at least once a week since they opened. However, because of the poor hotdog and french fry “down sizing,” we will not be going back for a while.

Apr 05

The next best thing…

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We didn’t get to join Stephanie at El Bulli on Friday night, but she did get me the next best thing which is as close as we will probably ever get.
And, the damn book costs as much as the meal, but less than plane tickets.

Do our cats name us? My former husband swore that Humphrey and Dolly and Bean Blossom called me The Big Hamburger. - Eleanora Walker




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