B & G Diner

Restaurant Reviews By:   CavewomanB&G pic

Restaurant:  B&G Café

Location:  Gilbert, AZ, (roadside)

Day & time visited: Saturday Morning, 9am

Reservations:  No such thing

We woke up on a Saturday morning and instead of our usual Burrito Shack run, Caveman was in the mood to try a place (again) that we had tried a long time ago…  During a time when our favorite breakfast spot on the planet had recently been closed – Bongo’s –and we were on our mission to fulfill its greatness.  Being that this is no easy feat and that our breakfast mark had been set quite high…we decided to take another look at B&G’s.  Besides, the first time we went there – we were both hung over!  Shhhhh.

Being that this local spot is only about 10 minutes down the road, we jumped in our jeep and were there in a flash.  Located in what looks like a little deserted strip mall, this place sits next to a cactus feed store and you wouldn’t think by the outside that delicious soul food cooking is brewing’ on the inside…

After “off-roading” behind the alley to get to the parking lot…**Caveman turned too early on Ray Rd. and put us behind the restaurant. Instead of admitting that maybe we needed to turn around…he found a welcoming hole opening in the wall, which of course our Rubicon could easily fit through… Right?  Needless to say, I pulled my seatbelt on tighter and became certain we could not fit through the hole. But what does he do? He continues cruising forward, toward the hole, determined to make it work.  I had my doubts, my fears…I even held my ‘oh-shit handle’ and before I could say a prayer – Caveman maneuvered beautifully down a sufficient awkward hill with a bump to top it off, and through the wall opening we went.  We parked, and it’s time for breakfast!

We walked in to an “older style café” atmosphere with mostly booths and a few tables. It is not a large space and probably wouldn’t seat many people at once.  The wait-staff was sharing all the tables in the restaurant and you could see the cooks prepping food behind a window.  B&G’s gave off a friendly family vibe, like everyone knew everyone, and we were the outsiders walking in.  We were immediately welcomed and sat ourselves in a booth near the wall. We didn’t even have to wait. Who doesn’t like that?  A friendly woman greeted us and promptly brought Caveman his tea and coffee for me.  The menus were aged to say the least and hung from a hook on the wall with a homemade hole punched in them.  They were bent and old, but located right at our table, so we started browsing the choices.

The menu was simple really, offering up many breakfast classics.  Any avid breakfast eater could find something to order at B&G’s.  They offered things like biscuits and gravy, to any style of egg combo including omelets, chorizo and even pancakes.  If you’re a skillet guy or gal, you’re outta luck.

It took Caveman exactly 1.2 seconds to figure out what he wanted because that Country Fried Steak and eggs was calling his name.  As for me – I knew I wanted eggs and potatoes, and some bacon but I also wanted biscuits and gravy!!  I have “decision making” issues sometimes…what woman doesn’t??  To my luck – I was able to get 1 egg, 1 slice of bacon, and 1 side of potatoes from the kid’s menu…YEP! She let me do that, but mainly because I was also ordering that side of biscuits and gravy. And boy I’m glad I did!!  My breakfast was the perfect size.  Our friendly waitress jotted down our orders and to my surprise, I recognized her from a newspaper clipping on a nearby wall.  Along with what looked like the cook and seems like they might be family.  And maybe even the owners? The article explains that B&G Cafe received a “best of the best” award in 2010 for best new breakfast restaurant.  Hmmm, pretty motivating.

We didn’t have to wait very long before our food arrived.  Just long enough for our stomachs to start growling.  As she set the plates down, I noticed that mine and Caveman’s plates are portion appropriate…Not too huge to clean our plates without feeling gut guilt. **Caveman would disagree, and even try to tell you that the portions were “small” but from this Cavewoman’s opinion – you will get full. And you won’t feel like you have to go to the gym afterwards.

I took my first bite and it was clear to me that the breakfast potatoes on both our plates were real potatoes! Sliced in house and even seasoned well, with a teeny perfect crunch on the outside.  You’d be surprised how many breakfast places open up a bag of frozen potatoes, heat then up and throw them on your plate without even adding salt and pepper! YUCK!!  I had ordered my eggs over easy and my plan was to throw my egg on my potatoes and let the runny part ooze onto my potatoes making for a nice combination of savory tastings!  What a relief to me that my plan worked!  My egg was cooked correctly!  Not over hard, not sunny side up, but perfectly over easy, just as I wanted!  I threw that on my homemade potatoes and tore up the bacon and made myself a little “messy.” At this point, I’m very pleased with the flavor of my breakfast so let’s talk about caveman’s chicken fried steak.

As I mentioned, it was not a frozen patty!  It wasn’t larger than the plate but about 2 fist sizes large.  It was covered in the same generous amount of sausage gravy as my biscuits.  The country fried steak in itself was delicious.  It offered nice texture with the gravy and finished with a perfect crunch.  All the flavors together were satisfying enough to not add salt and pepper.  Overall – we’re happy we came back to B&G’s.  Chicken Fried Steak on Caveman’s level is hard to find.

As we’re eating, both Caveman and I are picking up this unidentified zest in the gravy……hmmm, what is that? Poblano pepper I suggested?  Is it green chile?  Then we look closer in the gravy and we see these little pieces of green spice. We know it’s something… We know we like it, we’ve just never had that in our gravy before, and so we’re a little puzzled.  We continue to taste and identify what this zing in our gravy is; when not to my surprise – Caveman, with his excellent palate, whips out – Jalapeno!  It’s Jalapeno.  My reaction was no …. Is it?  Another bite, another delight…Yep. It’s jalapeno.  It’s good.   Just then, our pleasant waitress comes back to check on us.  So we ask…”is this jalapeno in your gravy?? It’s goooooood!”  She confirms that the green spicy zest we have tasted is in fact jalapeno, and she seems very pleased that we like it.  And we did like it.  The gravy had the right consistency and flavor, and the jalapeno makes you want to take another bite.  It also substitutes the need to add extra pepper, if you’re a pepper person.

Both Caveman and I cleaned our plates and had a great breakfast.  I must say it was unexpected, because last time we went, it was not on our radar or priority list to come back.  Well, we must not have been paying attention!  We know without a doubt, we would love to come back to B&G Café.  You can’t just go anywhere and find tasty, homemade soul food…for the price we did this morning.  Our entire bill with drinks was less than $19.  Between the service and overall experience, it made shell out about $7 in tip!

 On a scale of 1-10, 1 being poor, 5 being mediocre, and 10 being the best experience I can describe, here is how I rate the following for B&G’s Cafe:

Atmosphere – 4     Service -8     Appetizers- n/a     Food-9    Drinks -7

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Tuttu Santii

Restaurant Reviews By: Cavewoman

Restaurant:  Tutti Santi

Location:  Gilbert, AZ,  on corner stop

Day & time visited: Friday night, 6pm

Reservations:  Not needed.

 

 

It was my turn to pick the restaurant so I chose, Tutti Santi.  I had passed it several times on my way to the gym and it appeared to be local and I like to support local restaurants.  Caveman and I had read reviews on this place and sort of had a mixed bag going in.  We heard negatives like it was way too expensive and the food was mediocre and then positives like the service and food was great!!! So, we decided to see for ourselves.  Just so you know – My Caveman makes the best marinara sauce known to man – it’s homemade and fabulous, so we will never order marinara “out and about”….just something we know about ourselves to be true…This makes the “Italian restaurant” feat a little more challenging.

I dressed cute – turquoise jeans, and a black tanktop, and Caveman wore a nice button down shirt with jeans. We set out on our ‘date night’.  We got to Tutti Santi around 6pm on a Friday night and there was zero wait!  We went inside and were immediately seated by the host.  We were instantly impressed with the totally white décor they had chosen for the inside.   They had white curtains draping elegantly over the windows in the dining area, as well as old fashioned family pictures, and old world paintings.  The chandeliers were gorgeous and complimented the dining area, giving it lots of character inside. Definitely looks better inside than roadside.  The most confusing part of this first impression was the apparent sophistication around the restaurant …and then you look into the bar, and the TV was playing an NFL replay!?? What? It was the Jets no less and it just didn’t seem to fit the pleasant décor….

Time for drinks!!!  I liked the wine menu, as red wine sounded fabulous….. I order the Alamos Argentine Malbec, about $7 a glass.  My man opted for a greyhound (not a wine guy) vodka and grapefruit juice – which tasted great and ran about $6 a glass. Our service was prompt and confident, which we both appreciate. I did notice they were confused on the proper wine glass selection as they served my red wine in a white wine glass.  Upon delivering our drinks, our waiter instantly described the “specials” which included an appetizer and 2 different entrees. He sold Caveman on the spot by the sounds of ‘that one special.’  Before our waiter let us have another minute to decide on food, he served us a basket filled with Italian bread & butter all wrapped in a white cloth.  But this was not just ordinary butter.  This butter had the slightest hint of something blended into it.  Not an outstanding amount though, as it took us a minute to figure out what seasoning was enhancing this butter.  And then it came to us….. Rosemary! Just the tiniest dash of rosemary was blended into the butter and we liked it.  Something nice to munch on with the drinks.

Now, let’s get to appetizers.   We ordered the Carpaccio di Bue which comprised of thinly sliced raw pieces of filet mignon, covered in capers with basil and extra virgin olive oil on the plate.  It came presented with provolone cheese slices on the side and a diced tomato mixture to top it off.  So, we started gathering each component and gave it a taste. Wow!  The meat slices were well seasoned and practically melted in my mouth.  Add the tomato mixture and a slice of cheese – talk about balance!  The salty taste of the cheese paired very nicely with the filet and tomatoes and capers really made my palate dance. We found ourselves enjoying every single bite of the Carpaccio di Bue.  Worth every penny of the $15.95 price, and we would order it again.  As we’re sitting enjoying this delightful appetizer, Caveman and I begin looking around when we saw an old Brick Style Pizza Oven that appeared to be out of commission…  We asked our waiter “Why, (oh why) is that pizza oven out of commission?! Why would you let that happen in an Italian joint?”  He simply replied they tried making it work, but he wasn’t sure the latest status.  **Special Note: We hope they bring that pizza oven back to life!**

Almost time for dinner, but before I get to that, we had our pre-dinner accompaniments.  Caveman had the minestrone
soup and I got a salad.  The minestrone was colorful and chunky, with a liquid base that was not too creamy.  The flavor was missing salt, so we had to add a couple spoonfuls of parmesan cheese to make it taste better.  The biggest “no-no” of all was that it was brought to the table lukewarm!  Too cold for soup and very sad for us.

The salad was very basic, both in presentation and taste.  It had roma tomatoes, lots of greenery, but was too large for a dinner salad.  The balsamic vinegar dressing was a house combination and tasted good, but overall it was just average.  We recommend some additional color on the plate for the salad (onions or olives) and some croutons or something similar to give us the crunch that was missing.   At this point…we are hoping the entrees taste more like the appetizer. The funniest part of all…Caveman and I ended up switching, my salad for his soup!  Give me soup any day!!  But – I will say – I need it hot.

We needed another drink.  We asked, and very quickly – we received another Greyhound and Malbec.  Hey – this time the Malbec was in a red wine glass!! Did that bartender read my thoughts?  Very attentive service by our waiter…always important when it comes to drinks!

Time for dinner. I ordered the Agnello Dorato which was lamb shank braised in lamb vegetable stock and served over a bed of risotto alla millanese. It was priced at $25.95, so I had high expectations.  Plus, I had to get the lamb shank because this particular dish was like nothing I’ve ever ordered at an Italian Ristorante, so I wanted to see what Tutti Santi had to offer.  As it came to the table, I will say that the portion of Lamb Shank was huge!  The lamb was braised properly and proved to be extremely tender as it fell apart using only my fork.  The sauce tasted good, but 2 things I caution when ordering this dish:  One, there was entirely too much sauce on my plate which drowned out the taste of the risotto completely; and two, the Agnello Dorato was lacking salt.  This opinion is coming from a Cavewoman who never adds salt to any dish she is served.  However, at Tutti Santi, the Agnello Dorato needed salt!  For $25.95, nothing I order should need salt.  It is unfortunate that I cannot say too much about the risotto because it tasted like the millanese sauce that covered all the food on the plate, and I believe we mentioned the need for salt. The Italian Lamb Shank and Risotto combination can be best described as “comfort food.”  We all like it and at times, it’s needed…but it was nothing like Cavemom makes.

Remember that special from earlier that sold Caveman on the spot??  We believe they call this the “Chicken Special” and we can tell you that it was a boneless chicken breast, egg-washed, and then covered and stuffed with prosciutto, topped with gourmet cheeses and covered in a marsala mushroom sauce, served over Julian Vegetables and it ran for $22.95.   The chicken came to the table and the presentation was respectable.  Caveman started to dig in and noticed a couple of things.  First off – the vegetables were cold and were not seasoned!!  I know it’s a side dish, but side dishes still need to taste good!!  And be up to temperature, to that point.  What an important impression, especially after serving him cold soup earlier…

The chicken had a crispy exterior, but was bland in flavor.  The prosciutto stuffing made the chicken dry and it was also overcooked so that made it a tough, like chicken jerky.  While we were unimpressed with the chicken (I was definitely liking my lamb dish after trying the chicken special), we have to say the marsala sauce made the dish!  The sauce was seasoned very well and had a wonderful mushroom gravy flavor, but also the right consistency for a sauce.  We really enjoyed the essence of what the sauce did to the chicken and it helped raise the dish to a more suitable level.  To sum it up – the chicken lacked seasoning and was dried out, but the sauce saved the dish and made it edible.  We also feel the vegetables did absolutely nothing to compliment the meal and we want to remind Tutti Santi that food should always be served at a desirable temperature.  **at this time, we both have our forks in the lamb shank because it completely outweighed the presentation of ‘chicken special’**

As we were finishing dinner, I decided to stop at the restroom, and that’s when I saw this magnificent Mary Magdalene painting!  I had to stop and stare because it was completely awesome!  The décor continued to impress us and we liked the atmosphere in every corner.

Still wanting to satisfy that special something we were missing from this date night dinner, we wanted to continue on the mission of ‘trying something different.’ So, we decided to order a slice of the Mascarpone Cheesecake.  It came sensibly portioned, not too big, not too small, and it was drizzled in a lovely raspberry sauce.  Still, if you’re anything like me – raspberry sauce is not my first choice, so maybe ask prior to doing so or play it safe, and put it on the side.  Nevertheless, I was a trooper and do feel it added to the dessert.  The cake was served cold which we appreciated, but we noticed it was not real rich in flavor.  It was actually more creamy than New York Cheesecake…for those of you who have not tried this type.  We would have loved to relish more crunch from the crust to help break up the creaminess.  The texture was too smooth, and that much needed crunch in the crust could have helped to break up the monogamy on my palate. Altogether, it was kind of a boring dessert.

As the evening came to an end, we decided we really did like the artwork and overall mood of this restaurant.  They did a fine job delivering a decadent ambiance, but we just wish the food would have compared in the same ballpark as the price we paid.  Our base bill ended up at $115.94 and that was without the generous tip we added. (due to the incredible service)

On a scale of 1-10, 1 being poor, 5 being mediocre, and 10 being the best experience I can describe, here is how I rate the following for Tutti Santi:

 

Atmosphere – 8     Service -9     Appetizers- 7     Food-4     Drinks -7

Down Under Wine and Bistro

Restaurant Reviews By:    Cavewoman

Restaurant:  DownUnder Wine Bistro

Location:  Gilbert, AZ, Strip Mall

Day & time visited: Friday Night, 6pm

Reservations:  We made one but I don’t think you need one.

 

 

We visited a local bistro, Down Under Wines and Bistro, on a Friday night for date night.  As we parked in the parking lot, we were not sold on “curb appearance,” as the strip mall it’s located in seemed a bit deserted; however, we were pleasantly surprised once we went inside.  The place was unexpectedly busy, and customers appeared to be having a great time.  The hostess was very friendly, and the atmosphere was “happy hour enjoyable.” I would not describe DownUnder as a lavish sit-down dinner place.

 

We started with drinks.  I was impressed with the wine list, as they listed wines from Australia to Chile, with a variety of reds and whites alike.  The wine pricing was certainly fair.  I ordered the Boxhead Shiraz, from Australia which had a blackberry, raspberry and plum flavor, with a peppery spice.  Just like me!  The caveman (not being the wine-type) attempted to order the 22oz. Vetlins Pilsner, right off the menu, but was told “we do not have that in-house.”  So, our waiter quickly suggested a similar standby Pilsner.  Caveman seemed to enjoy this beer as he had more than 1…so, no hard feelings there!  I do feel the need to mention that beyond wines, the beer menu is limited and cocktail menu is almost non-existent.

 

The menu was very cool, listing a range of tapas and the option to build your own cheese and meat plates to go along with the wine.  I could definitely see myself going back with my girlfriends for a wine happy hour night.  That said, we decided to order a couple of the house appetizers.  We chose the Crocodile Kabobs and the Chef’s Choice Bruschetta.

 

The crocodile bites were respectable, a gamey meat in nature, but served with a sweet flavored BBQ sauce that took the meat to the next level.  The meat resembled pieces of sausage, sliced and served on a skewer with grilled red onions and green bell peppers.  The kabob was placed over a bed of white rice and drizzled with the aforementioned sauce.  I, personally, am not a fan of gamey meat, so I would probably not order the crocodile bites again; however Caveman liked it! Although, for $9 he thought the portions were a little skimpy.  Before I get to our review of the Chef’s Choice Bruschetta, I feel I should mention that they had a “Specials Board” with several of the day’s most popular sellers and tasty suggestions listed for different categories (i.e. desserts, fresh fish, daily wines, entrees, cheeses, etc). However, our waiter never once mentioned any specials once we sat down.  We found that to be odd.

Now onto the Chef’s Choice Bruschetta…. It was delivered to the table by a “food runner” and  it appeared  to be a slightly brown cheese-fluff mixture sitting atop a thick slice of toasted sourdough.  We immediately asked what was the topping on the bruschetta made of.  She had to run back to the kitchen to ask.  At that time, our waiter approached and informed us it consisted of a cream cheese, bacon and sriracha mixture on toasted sourdough.  Okay, (pause to let this information sink in)…Initial thoughts included, “interesting…” “I love all those ingredients!” “This should be yummy”… So needless to say, I was expecting heaven on a piece of sourdough.  Unfortunately, what I experienced was more like a cheap, disappointing cheese-whiz spread on too much bread.  It had a little spice,  and that’s the best I can say.  We were charged $7 for this chef’s concoction and needless to say it was nothing special…nor is it anything I’d eat ever again.

 

On to our entrees:  Caveman ordered the Kangaroo Loin.  I mean, how often can one say they ate a kangaroo loin?  I went with the Seared Barramundi, for the lighter fare.  The waiter suggested Caveman order the Kangaroo loin as “rare as he can take it” so he went with medium rare.  The loin was delivered in a timely manner and was served thinly sliced with grilled Portobello mushrooms and a port reduction sauce, topped with 3 crispy fried onion rings, over a bed of rice.  The portion was enough to feed my caveman, overall  an exotic dish for $15. The kangaroo was tender with a good sear and great flavor.  The port reduction sauce complimented the dish well; still, the one regret he did have, was not ordering it rare.  When dealing with steak, caveman likes an appropriately cooked medium to medium rare, but one thing we learned – kangaroo is not steak.  Order it rare!  At this time, we were both due for another Boxhead Shiraz and Pilsner.

As mentioned, I got the seared barramundi.  Upon my first glance, I could immediately tell that barramundi must belong to the sea bass family, as it was a light pink and beautiful fish.  I received a fist sized piece of fish with the skin on and a nice sear, but it was not crispy.  The barramundi had nice pink coloring around the edges and was flakey in the most delicious way.  My plate was filled with color, with a lemongrass vin blanc sauce around the edges, and some type of garlic sauce approaching the fish. It was served over a nest of spinach and leek rice, all booming with wonderful flavors when eaten together. It was well worth the $14 and I would definitely order it again, recommending  you do the same.  The portion size was adequate, especially after our appetizer experience.  Sadly, we did not save room for dessert, so no review on that portion.  The wine was sweet enough.

 

On a scale of 1-10, 1 being poor, 5 being mediocre, and 10 being the best experience I can describe, here is how I rate the following for DownUnder Wine & Bistro:

 

Atmosphere – 7     Service -7     Appetizers- 3     Food-8     Drinks -6