On November 19th, MsIndependent held a special dine around culinary crawl in the popular CityCentre. Included in the tour were stops at five fabulous places. MsIndependent was started in 2010 by Erin Creeks as way for women to bond together in a casual and social environment. Whether you are single, looking for a girl's night out, or wanting a little "me time", MsIndependent has got an event for you.
The first stop on the tour was Bowl and Barrel. This upscale bowling alley was the perfect spot to mix and mingle. Comfortable lounge seating is speckled throughout the venue if you need to just hang out and have a drink while waiting for a lane to open up. We were treated to mimosas, mini burgers, handcut fries, empanadas, and meatballs.
Stop number two was the quaint Olive and Vine. This is your one stop shop for the best infused olive oils, aged balsamic vinegars, and specialty products. In addition to oils and vinegars, we go to sample some delicious hummus made with chili pepper oil. Each participant was given their own mini bottle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar to take home.
The next stop was the fabulous Seasons 52. They pulled out all the stops and treated us like royalty! Seated in one their many gorgeous private rooms, we were served several courses of fresh, seasonal dishes along with cocktails and wine. The dishes that really stood out were the Carmelized Pear Burrata salad and the Duck Lollipops. It was the perfect mid tour stop to relax and nosh on some amazing bites.
The next stop was Straits, a popular eatery/nightclub that features shareable Pan Asian style small plates. Chef Sean wowed us with a trio of Beef Satay, Crispy Chicken, and Honey Walnut Prawns.
The last stop of the day was at Milano Bar. Located below Radio Milano, Milano Bar is home to some of the city's best bartenders. Their handcrafted cocktail menu changes seasonally and showcases the flavors of the season. Brandon, bartender extraordinaire, didn't flinch one bit when our group of 18 took over the bar. He quickly spun into action mixing up some fabulous vodka and whiskey based cocktails.
I'm so glad I got to be a part of this wonderful event. Everything was well planned and on scheudule. CityCentre is such a phenomenal place and this was the perfect way to get a taste of some their culinary delights. Thank you MsIndependent!
I was recently invited to visit The Cheesecake Factory for lunch. I have to admit it had been years since my last visit. It was a beautiful sunny day and although The Woodlands locations has such a great patio, I chose to sit inside. The menu was quite large just as I remembered it. They have over 250 items on their menu that are made fresh every day. My server informed that the prep area in the kitchen is HUGE and that all dishes are made to order.
I scanned over the list of appetizers and my eyes were instantly drawn to the Fried Macaroni and Cheese. The mac n cheese is crumb coated, fried crispy, and then served over a creamy marinara sauce. Fried mac has a tendency to be dry on the inside, but these were perfectly creamy and quite delicious.
Speaking of portions, the servings at The Cheesecake Factory are very generous, even the ones on the lunch menu. For just a second, I contemplated ordering from the Skinny Menu which features over 50 items with 590 calories or less.
For my entree, I decided on the lunch portion of the Crusted Chicken Romano with a side of Penne Alfredo. I also sampled the Almond Crusted Salmon Salad served over kale, shaved brussel sprouts, avocado, quinoa, cranberries, radishes, and tossed in a vinaigrette. Both dishes were fresh and flavorful. The lunch menu is available daily until 5 p.m. and is a great value.
Of course no trip to The Cheesecake Factory is complete without cheesecake. I couldn't decide between the Pumpkin Cheesecake and the Pumpkin Pecan Cheesecake so I got one of each. The Pumpkin Cheesecake was light and fluffy. The Pumpkin Pecan Cheesecake was rich and sweet and combined two of Fall's favorite desserts into one delightful bite. Both cheesecakes are available to purchase whole or by the slice. For every slice purchased, 25 cents goes to help feed America by supporting local food banks.
About the Author
I like eating, traveling, and enjoying liquid libations. I'm all about great wines, signature cocktails, and local brews.