Jacksonville: Cantina Laredo

on Saturday, March 07, 2009
It was a whirlwind of activity this week I started out in Jacksonville FL. Its always best to have the people most familiar with the area take you out and that's exactly what I did. My colleague recommended this joint for dinner. I was a little bummed that we were going for Mexican again given my previous entry and what is now seemingly becoming a frequent cuisine on the road for me despite my hesitancy with the food.

Well I am going with the flow, and once again I was really surprised. This was a complete flip from my last Mexican dining experience. This place is a little more fancy, with white table cloth and defining itself as gourmet Mexican. They offer some unique touches such as custom made salsas per your request and table side prepared guacamole.

As any other restaurant they start you out with chips and salsa. The difference here is that the chips a warm and fresh. They come with two house salsas one warm and one cold, this was interesting as I have never had warm salsa. After powering down that I was in the mood for some heat and asked if they had anything spicier. He asked what level of spice I was looking for. A few minutes later the chef came out with a bowl of some serious heat! It came out and had a bright green color to it. It was a combo of 3 peppers, jalapeno, haberno, and tomatillo. On initial bite it did nothing for me, but after a few mintes you get hit hard. Still very good and I enjoyed the apps just alright.

Cantina Laredo on Urbanspoon


Kennesaw: Sidelines Grille

on Sunday, March 01, 2009 in , , , , , ,

Back home for the weekend and getting closer to March 12th when my friends come into town. I have been trying to scope out some places locally for us to chill and hang at. I have noticed that in the area there are 3 different establishments named "Sidelines Grill", and I've been wondering if they are a chain, but they look too different to be related to one another.

I did a little research on the web and found that only one of them really gets any attention online. Here is a link to the website:


Since its the only I managed to find any info on online, its the only one I am going to try out for now. It is located in a strip mall on Barret Parkway, a busy thoroughfare in Kennesaw, GA. When we walked in there were a couple of instant bursts to our senses. First it seems a lot of smokers come to this place - Georgia still allows smoking in its bars and some restaurants. Secondly, its definitely a sports bar as there are at least 40 flat screen TVs and one huge projection screen. I'm not a big fan of the smoking but luckily we were there for lunch so it wasn't too bad.

We were greeted promptly by our waitress, and started going through the menu. Here is a link to the menu:


The menu lists typical bar fare. There were some interesting items I was really curious about. The first one was the Black bean hummus. I am always skeptical of hummus at non-Middle Eastern places but for whatever reason I'm always compelled to order it, hoping for the best. When the dish came out it was served with veggies and warm pita. The verdict...REALLY GOOD!!! I was amazed that this dish was so good, not at all what I expected at a sports bar in Kennesaw. The black bean influence on the hummus was great, it also had a little kick with a hint of cayenne pepper. It was the perfect texture - creamy and smooth.

For entrees my wife ordered a French dip sandwich and I ordered the grouper sandwich. Both came out and were presented really well and looked delicious. I ordered the grouper blackened and asked for it to come with fresh home made chips. The fish was cooked well and on a nice size hoagie with lettuce, tomato, onions and tartar sauce. The chips were awesome! Freshly made, hot and crispy! I don't usually finish my entire entree but could not help it with this one! 30 minutes and that plate was clean! Wifey's sandwich looked great as well and she confirmed it as the beef was tender and seasoned well along with the au jus. Here is a picture of the grouper:

I wish there was no smoke in the place. That took away from the experience but for what it is worth, I was pleasantly surprised at the quality of food and not just "for a bar" - it was great food regardless of the type of establishment. You can tell the chef in the back really enjoys putting out a decent plate for the hungry bar goer.

I am looking forward to a return trip.
Sidelines Grille - Kennesaw on Urbanspoon