Category: Dinner

BelAir Cantina, Oak Creek

More Miss Than Hit. Decided to go to the BelAir Cantina on Sunday after some shopping. The reviews looked good and it was close by. My daughter and I were seated by a server and told the brunch was available or we could order off the menu. When the server for our table came to get our drink order she took the menus and said we had been given the wrong ones. Ok, no big deal. We got the new menus and discovered that the items we had wanted were not offered during brunch. She dropped off chips and three dipping sauces/salsas – salsa Verde, Roasted salsa & spicy Arbol. Only the salsa Verde had flavor. The roasted salsa was made up of charred bits of tomato skin and tasted more burnt than roasted. The spicy Arbol looked like pale tomato soup and tasted like it. Please do not label something as “spicy” if it has no flavor. Disappointing. We each ordered three tacos (of varying ingredients) with rice, black beans & pinto beans. The food came out very quickly and, besides the skin on top of the beans, looked very appetizing. Sadly, the food was not. I don’t know how all the flavor can be sucked out of food but these folks have discovered the secret. The meats were dry & tasteless. The carnitas was chewy & and the only flavor was from the pico. The carne asada was dry and tasteless. The pollo verde suffered a similar fate as the carnitas – chewy, stringy bits of bland meat that we’re overpowered by the condiments they came with. The slaw that came with the shrimp tasted raw and did not seem to be dressed with any citrus. Finally, the gringo was an unseasoned pile of ground beef. The rice, even though it looked as though it had been cooked with, carrots, corn, peas and seasoning managed to taste exactly like white rice and nothing else. The best part (part that had flavor) of the meal were the beans. The black beans were pureed baby food but had a nice flavor while the pinto beans had flavor and chunks of beans. Painted on some tables and tagged on the menu is the tagline “I’LL go if you go” and I understand now that this is either a dare or the most lackluster endorsement for a restaurant. I would not recommend this place unless you have been placed on a bland diet by your doctor. They contact you and ask for more information but when you do the management does nothing. The managers customer service is terrible. Looks like they care but they don’t.

Bobanna’s Pizza

Just OK pizza.

I gave Bobannas a try based on another reviewer who claimed it is “a close second” to Maria’s in Oregon, WI (now closed). I was hoping to find a local pizza that could replace what had become my favorite over the last few years. I thought that this may have caused me to be harder on them because I might have been expecting too much. I thought about it for a few days and I kept coming back to one thing – the statement on their Facebook page.

The Bobanna’s Facebook page states “Bobanna’s is a family owned & operated business that takes pride in serving the best pizza pies. Here, every dish is created using the finest ingredients”.

That decided it for me so here goes.

Upon entering the building, that houses Bobanna’s, you will be met with the smell of mildew and a dim dining room that shows it’s age. It does not look like there has been any attempt to improve this. Not a good sign. I was almost happy that it was dimly lit. The only thing that kept me from turning around and leaving was the hope that this would be another Maria’s.

The person working on the night I visited was pleasant and friendly. My order was taken quickly and the pizza was done in about 25 minutes.

After that I can only say that I was left disappointed.

This is not “the best pizza pies”. It is a stretch to say that it was even a good pizza pie.

Most people would agree that the best pizza pies are made with fresh dough that is hand stretched and tossed.

The crust I had at Bobanno’s was a doughy, preformed, tasteless disc reminiscent of cardboard, but not as crisp. If you make the claim to serve “the best pizza pies” don’t opt out of making dough. These cracker-like, chalky, perfectly round, premade crusts, that have had all of the flavor sucked out of them, scream this is NOT great pizza.

The sauce was pulpy, dry, and laced with one of those Italian herb blends that have no place on a pizza. It can be overpowering and keeps the other ingredients from shining.

The toppings were plentiful but nothing special.

The cheese is laid on heavily and may be one of the things causing the doughy crust. The cheese is also sprinkled with the Italian blend of herbs.

The Italian sausage and pepperoni are run-of-the-mill, void of any defining flavor. As you eat the pizza they hint at the possibility of something better – maybe fennel or garlic in the sausage that will elevate it – but do not follow through.

The fresh vegetables seemed fresh (a plus) but are cut at a small dice and get lost in the abundance of cheese. The mushrooms looked fresh and were thinly sliced. I like fresh vegetables on my pizza and don’t mind larger chunks, but that is my personal taste.

As a whole though Bobanna’s Pizza is nothing to go out of your way for.
Even if you are in Albany I would not recommend it. The generic pizza crust and common ingredients make it nothing special. There are better frozen pizzas that you can purchase at the grocery store and will cost you less money.

Also, it does NOT reheat well.

If you want pizza that has character and flavor you are better off at Famous Yeti in Stoughton (if you like garlic) or La Rocca’s in Oregon. You will pay more, but you won’t be disappointed.

Campbell’s Sauces Oven Classic Roasted Chicken

I prepared this about one week ago, but wanted to wait and see if my opinion would change over time (and eating the leftovers). I wish that time had changed my mind. I really did.

The meal is relatively easy to prepare. Carrots and potatoes into a roasting pan. Add chicken, cover with the sauce, and bake.

Besides peeling the carrots this meal goes together quickly and could easily feed a family of four. If you are planning to have this for dinner, make sure you put the salt and pepper on the dining room table. This is one of the blandest sauces I have ever tasted. I found myself checking the package to see if there was any sodium in it. Despite the label stating there are 710mg of sodium per serving, there is very little flavor to this sauce.

I used chicken thighs because I like the flavor. I can not imagine how tasteless it would have been had I used chicken breasts.

Over the week that followed I ate the leftover chicken, carrots, and potatoes (the latter two items being the most flavorful things in the meal) and regretted buying this sauce every time I sat down with it.

The sauce is gelatinous and does not reheat well. I found myself adding water to it (wether microwaved or reheated in a pan) to try and achieve a gravy-like state. I did not succeed.

I almost purchased some other sauces and now am glad I didn’t.

Save your money. Roast the carrots, potatoes and chicken together with some salt, pepper, thyme, and sage. After the chicken is ready make a roux with the chicken fat and an equal amount of flour. Let the roux color slightly and add some chicken stock to make a gravy. It will be a hundred times better and you will have saved about $4.00. I can not recommend this to anyone.