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Saturday, June 28, 2014

Earls Kitchen & Bar

     In keeping with the spirit of my birthday month, the celebration continued at Earls courtesy of my friends Jackie and Liz.
     We were here once before, but I forgot my camera that day and I was itching to have a do-over so I could blog about it. The space is ample and open. Even the kitchen exposes itself and its cooks, offering a bustling spectacle to the patrons sitting in its proximity. We sat at the core of the place, a wide, bright expanse framed by enormous glass doors where an ocean of elegant picnic and counter tables surround a large island that is the main bar. This area is itself surrounded by a balcony on the other side of the glass providing outdoor seating under happy red umbrellas.
     Earls is one of those places that follows the new trend to kick off Happy Hour at 3:00 pm, and we, tired teachers at the end of the school year, were happy to partake. Jackie and I started with white and red wines respectively, and Liz ordered a Raspberry Lemondrop. None were memorable, so Jackie had a Vodka Cranberry. She wasn't impressed with that either. But then we discovered their frozen White Peach Bellini, and the gates of joy opened wide. Rum, sangria, white wine and peaches in perfect alchemy. It's attractive, it's sweet and it goes down smoothly in a most dangerous way.
     For appetizers, we ordered a side portion of onion rings and an order of yam fries. The onion rings didn't make any lasting impression, but oh those yam fries! They're the kind of thing you crave in a bottomless bucket, curled up on the couch with something good to watch on TV on a rainy Saturday afternoon. I don't care who you are or what your eating habits are... all bets are off!
     For entrees, Jackie ordered the Dominical Fish Tacos, grilled wahoo with mango avocado salsa, and she enjoyed them, except for the hot sauce, which fortunately was served on the side. Liz and I ordered Chicken, Brie and Fig sandwiches. What could be better than the combination of cheese and fruit in ciabatta bread? Maybe some roasted apples, some spinach and garlic mayonnaise mixed in with the sweet fig jam and Brie to give it extra punches of flavor? Done. The perfect match to those heavenly Bellinis. Liz had a side of kale salad with her sandwich and I had a side of delicate Yukon potato fries with mine. They sure know how to fry things at Earls.
    The first time we were there, we shared the Chocolate Sticky Toffee Pudding for dessert, a structure consisting of chocolate cake, vanilla bean gelato with toffee and chocolate sauces. It was a delightful choice, but this time we went for the featured dessert, the Fresh Berry Shortcake, a homemade shortbread cookie swaddling a sublime vanilla cream mousse, topped with seasonal berries, which for us turned out to be strawberries.
     I like this place, I really do, and even though I wouldn't characterize the menu as spectacular, it offers enough solid selections to make any visit pleasant. Nevertheless, I found a snag that I can't let go. In all fairness, this is not the restaurant's fault but rather a lack of judgment on the server.
     I counted four separate instances in which she addressed Jackie while I was in mid-sentence, which forced me to stop so my friend could answer her questions. I understand that they are trained to be accessible to the patrons, but couldn't she just stay visible without interrupting, or perhaps wait for a natural stopping point in the conversation to address someone at the table? I can see it happening once, but the same behavior four times? How could she not notice that she was constantly cutting into the conversation? I don't know, maybe it's me.
   All ranting aside, I'm glad we went back, and I'm glad the experience was enjoyable, for the most part, and I wouldn't mind visiting again.

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  1. Yummmm fish tacos. This place looks yummy. I was just in Miami, I wish I would have read this post before my trip! :)

    1. Stay connected, Dominique. I may be of some help at another time. Thanks for stopping by.

  2. What a quaint looking place. And frozen peach Bellini...yes please! But 3 o'clock happy would get me in trouble. Ha The food looks pretty good too.

    1. Yes! Getting "happy" that early is dangerous. Thanks for reading!