Stanford’s   Leave a comment

I tried out Stanford's Restaurant because I was in the area to get new glasses and contacts after my annual eye exam. Ok, maybe I only go there every 3 years. My prescription doesn't change though, and it's usually because I scratch up my glasses. Last time it was the lens. Now they have protective coating on the lens but I scratched some of the paint off the frame. I apparently abuse my glasses by throwing them off when I go to sleep.

They are still on order, so I have no photo with my new glasses. My contacts prescription is switched out to one that I can change out every 2 weeks instead of monthly. Every time I go to clean them they still feel really bizarre to me, but I can definitely feel how thin they are. Sort of plasma-like too in feel when I try to rub them with the solution. However, I do have photos of my lunch.

Stanford's is a local chain restaurant that tries to fit in the niche of being a family restaurant but being classy at the same time so you feel like you are dining out, not just eating food so you don't have to cook. There are many restaurants in the Chicago suburban malls that fit is similar in feel to places like Wildfire, Maggiano's, etc other restaurants in Lettuce Entertain You chain. It's a safe choice, though it doesn't wow you either, but it's just fine considering that niche. After all, it's sitting on that line between local (which it really tries to advertise as – good food but casual but nice and also friendly) but ultimately it's a corporate venture. The menu and atmosphere is designed to be just good enough for everyone.

We started out with 4-Cheese Cheesy Focaccia Bread. I too wonder why it was necessary to clarify the 4-Cheese with Cheesy. it's garlic butter brushed focaccia bread sliced up into breadsticks and topped with Jack, Cheddar, Mozzarella, Provolone cheese. This was ok- sorry, can't beat Domino's cheesy bread.

This meaty looking deliciousness looks like little steaks, but actually is wood-fire grilled portobello mushrooms with seasonal greens, rosemary vinaigrette, basil aïoli. Portobello mushrooms are always a great veggie option.

Next, here is one of their specialities, their mac n cheese with Gruyère, Fontina, Cheddar, bacon. This was a pretty good mac n cheese, something I'd expect to see in a Food Network recipe.

My close favorite though was the Knife and Fork Crab and Artichoke Sandwich topped with sliced tomatoes, aged Parmesan and Cheddar cheeses. This was less rich then the mac n cheese, and although I love cheese I had to take the mac n cheese home to enjoy for a second meal it was so heavy. The crab and artichoke sandwich though I had no problem polishing off. I think having a little mixed green salad with vinaigrette would have been the last bit to balance the sandwich and fries.

Also in this same neighborhood is another similar restaurant (I would even say competing execution of the same concept), the Newport Seafood Grill. Here my entree of the "seafood favorite" (as advertised on their menu" of Seared Alaskan Scallops with butternut squash risotto, lemon, basil, and Parmesan could only boast that it had excellent scallops, but there are only 4 in there. The risotto is more like Rice-a-roni, soggy and sitting almost in a soup, the rice is overdone. But the scallops were excellent. And, the mini-sweets were really great: just enough for a taste without having to go all overboard in sweetness. I wish more restaurants offered this.

Scallops, the only redeeming part of the dish, thank goodness they didn't ruin those…

The Chocolate Puddin': Rich, smooth chocolate, vanilla crème anglaise, toasted hazelnuts, served in a demitasse. Super rich chocolate, just as advertised.

I adored my cute chocolate trifle cordial of chocolate cake, raspberry sauce, chocolate sauce, vanilla crème anglaise, toasted hazelnuts layered in a cordial glass.

Last week I was in the Silicon Valley. Next: Boston, Chicago, Shanghai then training through Suzhou to Nanjing, flight to Shenzhen, a weekend in Hong Kong, and then hitting Taipei before returning home to Portland. I had a wonderful time catching up to my old college roomie H and her family, and we dined at the cool concept restaurant Foreign Cinema. I was having such a great time I forgot to take any photos.


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