Checkout the new menu items at LongHorn Steakhouse

On Tuesday night, after yet another day of living the dream (aka meetings, meetings, and more meetings, while trying to work, pack for vacation, take care of things for caregivers for the kids, etc.), cooking dinner just wasn’t in the cards. When I told the kids we were eating out after weeks of not eating out, two very loud “YES”s could be heard throughout the house.

You all know I hate to cook, hate to plan cooking and sometimes execute meals in less than a stellar or edible manner. Having a chance to eat out makes ALL of the Eborall’s happy. Getting a gift card to stop into our local LongHorn Steakhouse to check out the new fall menu item additions made us immeasurably excited! LongHorn came out with some seasonal specials and we went in to check some of them out.

I’m not big on crowds or waiting, so if you’re not either, be sure to make reservations before going in. This way, you’ll be able to be seated quickly so that you can have a nice evening out. I also liked that we went mid-week — it was just a very pleasant relaxed atmosphere in the Rookwood Pavilion location — perfect for my loud kids.

We were served by Tonya, and she was excellent. She took the time to be attentive and to answer our many questions, but didn’t push her attentiveness to the point of it being annoying and not attentive anymore if that makes sense? I have two very different kids with two very different food preferences. Tonya took the time to help me figure out if my son should be ordering off of the kids menu or the adult menu.

Tilapia with Mango SalsaMy twelve year old daughter is a vegetarian. Going to a place like LongHorn normally means she’s stuck with pasta or salmon. Don’t get me wrong, pasta and salmon are good choices, but we were both super excited to see that LongHorn offered a Tilapia with Mango Salsa as a new menu item. And friends, this was as delicious as it sounds. The salsa was perfectly fresh and the tilapia was perfectly cooked. It was served on a bed of rice with pimento seasoning. Oddly enough, this is one of my kids favorite foods – she adores pimento cheese. Her dish was gorgeous to look at delicious to eat. This was also a lower calorie menu option, so a good choice if you’re watching what you eat.

My son’s adult steakburger was “one of the best burgers I’ve ever had, Mom!”. It was cooked perfectly and served just the way he wanted it — cheese and lettuce only. The fries were seasoned, but were seasoned so that they appealed to both kids and adults. We hate it when a restaurants tries to make fries for adults only with fancy seasoning. When it comes to fries, I’m still a kid at heart. Keep them simple. Which is just what LongHorn did.

Mushroom filetI had the Harvest Mushroom Filet. My filet was perfectly cooked. I loved the variety of mushrooms that topped the steak — shitake, cremini and oyster mushrooms — each has such a distinctive texture. The “gravy” or sauce was a hearty red wine bordelaise. It was very good as well – for me the sauce was just a little too salty, but it didn’t detract from the overall taste of the dish.

You can re-create this dish at home. Here’s a recipe for the Roasted Mushrooms:

Roasted Mushrooms
Author: 
Recipe type: Condiment
Cuisine: American
Serves: 4
 
A tender filet topped with cremini, oyster and shiitake mushrooms in a hearty red wine bordelaise sauce.
Ingredients
  • 1⁄4 cup of oyster mushrooms, peeled
  • 1⁄4 cup of shiitake mushrooms, stem removed and sliced
  • 1⁄2 cup of cremini mushrooms, quartered
  • 4 filets, grilled
  • 1 teaspoon of finely chopped garlic
  • 1 tablespoons of olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup of red wine bordelaise sauce (store-bought or from scratch, recipe below)
Instructions
  1. Peel the oyster mushroom cluster and stem, then discard the center remaining cluster. Stems
  2. can be left on the mushroom.
  3. Combine trio of mushrooms with garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper, and mix.
  4. Transfer mixture to a foil lined sheet try into a flat layer.
  5. Cook at 350 degrees for 10 minutes or when olive oil starts to bubble slightly. Set aside.
  6. Add mushrooms to bordelaise sauce and let warm.
  7. Spoon mushroom mixture over expertly grilled filets.

If you’d like to make the Red Wine Bordelaise Sauce, I can’t insert another cool recipe card, but here’s how you make that:

recipe

My filet was served with a potato & leek au gratin – YUM – potatoes, leeks, cheese and bacon? How can you possibly go wrong?

My husband had a Rocky Top Chicken Sandwich with fresh broccoli. He devoured it and wouldn’t share, so I’d say that he enjoyed it. He said the broccoli was absolutely perfect (something I clearly haven’t mastered!).

Throughout the entire meal, the service was just amazing. In addition to Tonya taking such great care of us, we spoke to the manager as well. She was just so super nice. She really wanted to make sure that we enjoyed our time in the restaurant. I loved the thoughtful questions both asked of me and my family. 

Overall, we were all pleasantly surprised with our dinner. Since our daughter became a vegetarian, we typically avoid steakhouses, because, well, they’re steakhouses and while I adore steak, finding something special for her to have isn’t always the easiest. We were impressed that LongHorn had clearly taken the time to develop a nicely represented menu.

Pumpkin Spice Lava CakeWe rarely have dessert, but if I were to have gotten dessert, it so would have been the pumpkin spice lava cake for me. This just looks ooey and gooey and amazing!

Well done, LongHorn! We’re sure to be back!

Diclaimer: LongHorn Steakhouse did send us a gift card to use towards our meal along with a sampling of spices to try at home. Thank you!

With this ring…

I’ve been married for 24 years. I’ve had nine wedding rings in that 24 years. I just got numbers eight and nine last week. And no, it hasn’t all been for upgrades.

My first engagement ring was a little gold ring with diamond chips in it. I think it cost about $90. It was what we could afford, so I was happy with it. My husband promised me a “real” ring before our wedding.

Soon after becoming engaged, we moved to England. Right before our wedding, we drove to Birmingham which at the time had a large jewelry section in the downtown area – a street lined on both sides with jewelry stores. We (I should say I) spent an afternoon going from shop to shop goggling all of the pretty sparkly rings. Tagging along at my side, goggling just as me was my husband’s older brother. I’m sure we must have looked like the couple to all of the sales people who waited on us that day — he would point a ring out, I would try it on, we’d decide it wasn’t right and move on to the next one. This went on for hours. It was soooo much fun!

When we finally picked an engagement ring and wedding band out, and right before I paid for them, I asked them to hold on to the rings for a second. I went out to the car, drug in my soon to be mate, and had him give his blessing. So imagine the scene — there I was dragging in an unknown man to approve of the rings with another man, who helped me choose them standing right next to me. Oh to be a fly on the wall after we left!

I happily wore that wedding band and engagement ring for seven to eight years of our marriage. And then I became allergic to gold. As my rings were 18K as they came from England and that’s like our 14K here. Everyone I spoke to stated it was impossible to suddenly become allergic to gold particularly one as pure as 18K. Well, I’m here to tell you it happened to me. My ring finger looked like someone had taken a curling iron and burnt my fingers right across.

So I tucked my rings away and didn’t wear them for a few years. I hated not having a ring, and after being stalked on a bus because the stalker didn’t believe that I was married because I didn’t have rings, I’d had enough. I upgraded my set to platinum. By this point, I had added an anniversary band, so I had all three rings reset into platinum. It’s a beautiful wedding set. I love it. After wearing platinum for about seven to eight years, I became allergic to it as well.

I haven’t worn a wedding ring in years. I hate not wearing one. I’m one of those women who think that men who don’t wear a wedding ring are trying to hide something. It really bothers me, so not being able for me to wear a ring always nagged at me.

tungsten ringtitanium ringSomeone suggested that I try Tungsten or Titanium. So I decided, why not just try both! For about a $30 investment, I acquired these two rings. Two weeks in, two weeks good. I hope I’ll be able to wear one or the other of them for the rest of my blissful wedded life. If all goes well, I think I might just spend another $15 and get myself a CZ engagement ring. I’m in love with my rings. Who knew?

Fingers crossed.

Cucinova comes to Cincinnati – Review and Giveaway

Cucinova openingFirst, before I forget. What are you doing for dinner tonight? Instead of pulling something out of your…. refridgerator, consider heading to Kenwood. Today, October 9 from 11 am until 8 pm, Cucinova is having a free day. During this time, guests can enjoy a complimentary Neapolitan pizza, pasta or salad. (Located at 8060 Kenwood Road – right off of I-71 heading east on Montgomery road -away from the mall.)

I have the scoop (or should I say slice?) on how delicious the food at Cucinova is. I was fortunate enough to be invited to and to be able to attend their grand opening last Thursday evening.

First – asthetically the restaurant is just lovely. Bright, airy and welcoming are the words that come to mind.
Second – the staff is super friendly and knowledgeable.
Third – the food is absolutely positively delish!

So how does this work?

“Encouraging individual expression through culinary creativity, the Cucinova menu features create-your-own Neapolitan pizzas, along with customizable spaghettini pasta bowls and salads, all for only $6.99. The menu, inspired by the flavors of Italy, encourages inventiveness, asking guests, “What’ll you create today?”

Guests of Cucinova line up at a workstation to create their own masterpiece or choose from a chef-created specialty. Each artisan pizza starts with hand stretched dough, made from scratch every day. Guests will have their choice of more than 25 toppings to choose from, including fresh whole milk mozzarella and fire-roasted veggies. After ingredients are selected, artisans fire each pizza in a Wood Stone oven at a temperature of 700 degrees in three minutes or less. In addition to its customizable pizzas, pastas and salads, Cucinova will also offer domestic and craft beer and wine. Special happy hour pricing will also be available.”

Cucinova - my creationI made a pizza with regular and parmesan sauce, added a combination of three cheese and then topped it off with bacon and spinach. I was so surprised with how quickly my pizza cooked. I wasn’t even through getting my salad made before it was ready. BTW – I love that you pick your salad ingredients, and then the salad chef puts them into a big metal bowl, adds your dressing and tosses it all together. Perfection!

My food was delicious. I can’t wait to take my family there for dinner. Not only can each person choose their own — oh.so.important when you have a nine year old with a mind of his own and a 12 year old who’s a vegetarian. Let someone else be my short order cook for the night! Regardless of the amazingly affordable price, seeing the fresh ingredients where vegetables are not an afterthought will make this a place we will hopefully be frequenting often.

Giveaway

Enter to win a $25 gift card to Cucinova. Use it to purchase your choice or combination of pizza, pasta, and/or salad. If you win (or even if you don’t), be sure to come to my page on Facebook to let me know what you got and how you liked it!

To win, you must be 18 and a resident of Greater Cincinnati. Winner will be chosen at random on Thursday, October 16 at Noon. Mandatory entry: leave a comment and let me know why you’d like to win.

Additional entries:

1. Check out LWAA on Facebook as well as Cucinova‘s page.
2. Share the giveaway and share the promotion on your Facebook page.
3. Sign up to get my email.
4. Tweet about this – include @KarenEborall and #mycreation in your tweet.

Info about the restaurant

The 3,500-square-foot restaurant seats 80 in a new building in Kenwood City Place at 8060 Montgomery Road.

It will be open 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday and Saturday; and 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday.

Disclaimer: I attended the complimentary grand opening last week, and have been given a $25 gift card for hosting this giveaway. All opinions are my own.