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Impressive Intragalactic Intercourse

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Welcome one and all to another fantastic chapter in the food epic that is Mastication Monologues!  Today’s entry is going to be a short one, but that doesn’t mean a lack of quality.  If you haven’t been reading, I’ve been reviewing various restaurants I’ve visited throughout my vacation to Delray Beach, Florida.  So far I’ve come mouth to burger, dog, and even mushroom.  However, this post is a definite shift as I move away from foods that might be considered classic Americana to more exotic meals.  So lets start with Lemongrass Asian Bistro, an upper echelon Asian eatery which has branches in other Atlantic coast Floridian cities.

After a filling lunch at Doc’s All American and an afternoon of scuba training, I wanted to have a light dinner that wouldn’t leave me bloated like a beached whale.  So, I decided that sushi would be something that would be rich, filling, yet light.  Lemongrass fit the bill.  The establishment has both indoor and outdoor seating, but I went for the latter since the weather, per usual, was quite pleasant. IMG_2873 I also love outdoor seating because it gives one ample opportunity for people watching as they pass by on the avenue.  While I was enjoying the sights and sounds of Delray Beach, I wasn’t too satisfied with the service.  I had to wait ten minutes for someone to welcome me and ask if I wanted anything to drink.  I know it is hard for the servers and kitchen staff when a restaurant is slammed (“filled to capacity” in customer speak), but Lemongrass at that time would hardly fall into that category.  Eventually I got a menu, and it seemed that they had specialties from mainly Japan with an extensive sushi menu, Thailand with a few satays and curries, and Vietnam with a plethora of stir fried noodle dishes.IMG_2868  However, I was surprised that their drink menu didn’t even offer plain sake given the litany of sushi meals they offer.  After a long time of contemplating between choosing the Vietnamese grilled pork and sushi, I got the Sex on the Moon sushi roll ($13) simply based on the name and spicy pepper next to the moniker.  After another long period of anticipation, my food eventually came out, and it was well worth the wait.  The presentation was interesting to say the least, but I personally think they went a bit overboard with the tempura bits sprinkled about the sushi roll. IMG_3945 It made it look like my food was swimming in sawdust, tasty, scallion-laced sawdust nevertheless. IMG_2869 I’m not quite certain why they call it “Sex on the Moon”, but I was over the moon after tasting it.  On the outside, there was a light sprinkling of the aforementioned tempura flakes, a moderately thick slab of raw tuna, and masago (Capelin fish roe).  The real magic of the meal resided within the snowy white nest of sticky rice where I was quickly introduced to the cordial and spicy family of fried shrimp, asparagus, avocado, eel, and pepper seeds.IMG_2870  While I naturally tasted the buttery shrimp and fiery pepper seeds, the other elements were not as individually impressive.  This meal was more of a team effort as the scallions enhanced the smooth avocado, and the asparagus provided a much needed crunch to balance the more delicate seafood ingredients like the fish eggs.  I spiced it up even further with the hefty dollop of wasabi they provided on the side, and that took it to another flavor galaxy.  By the end of Sex on the Moon, I was proverbially lighting up a smoke and lying back on my pillow with a sigh of satisfaction as I looked up to the stars in the Florida sky.

So if you’re willing to put up with slower than average service to experience some out of this world sushi, moonwalk on over the Lemongrass Asian Bistro.
Lemongrass Asian Bistro on Urbanspoon

My March Madness of Mastication and Moreish Morsels

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So today’s review is of an establishment with whom I have a bit of a history since I used to work for them.  The place in question is Stir Crazy Fresh Asian Grill, or just Stir Crazy for short.  They have branches all over the United States, but the one I went to is located at Oakbrook Mall in Illinois in the western suburbs of Chicago.  My history with them derives from a brief period of time where I worked for them as a host, so I’m quite well versed in their menu and their franchise in general.

First, Stir Crazy is a pan-Asian restaurant that offers dishes that are not quite as authentic to the actual cuisine of the nations they claim to represent (Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, Thai), but they do have some creative entries like the plate I ordered.  Second, they are very  accommodating for any sort of dietary restrictions in terms of dieting customers, food allergies, and gluten-free sauces.  Finally, they have good service which my former fellow coworkers manage to bring to all of the customers who entered the doors even if they are being difficult.

Their menu contains many Asian restaurant classics like orange chicken, different kinds of fried rice, and even pho.  Plus, the name Stir Crazy comes from their signature “make-your-own” stir fry bar.  You can choose between this option or a classic sit-down meal, but with the former, you have the option of making your dish a bit healthier since you control everything that goes into your meal without any extra specifications.  It’s a very straight-forward process where you pick your meat or tofu and then rice, noodles, or no starch option.  After that, you go up to the vegetable and seasoning bar to fill up your bowl with various types of produce and sauces.  From there, it is fried up by the cooks in an open kitchen for all to watch, or you can sit down and have your food brought to you.  I forewent this option and instead ordered my favorite dish on the menu: Thai tacos ($15.25).  IMG_2503While tacos are normally synonymous with Mexican food, Stir Crazy has managed to combine a perfect fusion dish where they take the roti flatbread common to southern Asian cuisine and create tacos.  I ordered two beef and two chicken tacos, but there is also a tofu option for all those veggie heads out there.  It came with a side of fried rice that was rich but not too greasy.  I also enjoyed the broccoli pieces that pepped up an otherwise standard recipe.  I finished that off first before tucking into the tacos.  They came with a spoon of chili-infused mayo that I liberally showered upon the tacos, and I did not regret that decision at all.  These tacos had everything going for them with each bite.  From the sweet and savory sauce that enveloped the pieces of tender meat to the cool and crispy cucumber strings and crispy roti, I was loco for these tacos.  They were light but filling which checked all the boxes for this starving gourmand.

So if you’re looking for a good pan-Asian restaurant with some creative but slightly more expensive dishes, check out a Stir Crazy by you!

Stir Crazy Fresh Asian Grill on Urbanspoon

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