Our first night in town, we decided to eat at our hotel restaurant called Caffé Siena. When we checked in to the hotel, we were given a card for a free appetizer. We actually had a good dining experience. Urbanspoon reviews were not good at all, but it's possible the restaurant made some changes since those negative reviews. The menu had a lot of really great looking options, it was almost difficult to decide what to choose. For our appetizer, we ordered the calamari. It was breaded and perfectly deep fried. We were given a complimentary basket of really good dinner rolls. DH ordered the filet with lobster mac and cheese and grilled shrimp ($26). The filet was well seasoned and cooked perfectly, same with the shrimp. The lobster mac and cheese was fresh and creamy, although I couldn't taste any lobster flavor.
I ordered the special, filet with lobster mashed potatoes and a side of vegetables ($22). I ordered my steak medium, but it came out almost medium rare. It still tasted good and tender. The lobster mashed potatoes had good chunks of lobster, but I didn't taste the flavor of lobster. The side of vegetable medley was flavorful. It consisted of asparagus, squash, and carrots. They were all julienned and nicely seasoned. Our server was great. The restaurant was not busy at all, but it seemed to take a long time to get our entrees. Some of the Urbanspoon reviewers said the food was bland, maybe that's why I couldn't taste the lobster, but all in all, I think we had a better experience than the other reviewers did because we left there satisfied.
For lunch we walked over to the Pita Pit, right across the street from the hotel. We passed Fuel Pizza and a girl was standing there offering bypassers samples of their pizza. DH tried the pepperoni and I tried a slice with chicken, spinach, and garlic. The crust was thin and crisp and we both loved the flavors of the pizza. We were set on getting gyros from Pita Pit, but thought we would try Fuel Pizza for dinner. The Pita Pit was really interesting. Their menu looked really good and on the healthy side for a fast food joint. The pita bread was big and besides choosing the flavor of meats you want in it, you also choose the toppings, kind of like Subway. Then they roll it all up like a burrito, so it makes for a great on-the-go lunch. It was very filling and we both really enjoyed it, especially with the feta cheese.
After lunch at the Pita Pit, we walked to Bar Cocoa. It's at the Ritz Carlton, just a couple of blocks from our hotel. We were drawn to it because of all the pretty cakes they have displayed in the window. Plus they sell macarons, and I've been wanting to try those for quite a while. They seem to be really popular at the moment. I told the guy working there that we've never tried macarons before and he was generous enough to let us sample them first. Macarons are a sandwich type of pastry. The tops and bottoms are flaky in texture with a flavored cream filling. I tried the coffee and DH tried the pistachio. I wasn't quite sure what to think so we ordered 6 different flavors. They were $1.50 each and after tasting a few, I think we are not macaron people. They were either bland, or super sweet. The only one that had flavor and actually tasted good was the hazelnut. We also got to sample the gelato. I tried the chocolate hazelnut-Loved it!, tiramisu-not as good as chocolate hazelnut, coconut-Loved it!. The server said the chocolate hazelnut and coconut were both his favorite and he likes to mix them together. Sounds awesome to me. We ordered a couple of cappuccinos and while he let the milk steam, he went to scoop gelato for someone else and the milk started over-flowing.
It was a funny sight. The cappuccinos were still tasty and made with Peets coffee.
We thought we would go to Fuel Pizza for dinner, but our concierge deterred us from that choice and encouraged us to go to Brixx Wood Fired Pizza instead. According to Urbanspoon, Fuel Pizza doesn't have very good reviews. We were disappointed because the samples we had earlier in the day were really good. We went to Brixx and sat in their outdoor seating area. This was a mistake because we smelled garbage during most of our meal. Then there was a freaky bird incident where hundreds of birds flew in and were flying back and forth squalling. The tree near us got loaded with bird droppings and people walking on the sidewalk were getting pooped on. Apparently, this is not normal and the manager was just as surprised as we were. Our service was good and management was really nice, but our food was just so-so. DH ordered a pepperoni pizza with sausage. The crust was thin and crisp. He thought it was similar to the Fuel Pizza sample, but the sampler was a little bit better. It's kind of hard to decide until we actually try a full pizza order from Fuel. I ordered the Shrimp Carbonara with penne and sundried tomatoes in an alfredo sauce. At first bite, it was pretty good, but didn't blow me away. By the end of the dish, I thought it was just okay. DH did enjoy the arugula salad with pear and gorgonzola. The server was nice enough to offer the salad as a side dish to the entrée, we didn't know we could do that and it saved us some money.
This place is a meat lovers paradise. I hardly ate all day, just to have room in my stomach for all the food I was about to consume. It's expensive-$52 for the salad bar and feast of meats. It's all-you-can-eat, and I definitely wanted to get my money's worth. When we sat down, we were given 3 small dishes to start with. Brazilian cheese popovers (similar to these), some sort of meatball (which was dry), and a turkey salad (didn't try). We started with filling a plate with assorted items from the salad bar. The salad bar had a lot of options, but not the star of the dinner theme. I really didn't want to fill myself with the salad bar selections. You're given a token with one side saying you want meat and the other side saying you don't. Once you flip the token over for meat, it's like you get swarmed with gauchos serving meat on sticks. We started with bacon wrapped chicken, parmesan pork tenderloin, bacon wrapped filet, and filet mignon. These were all so delicious and flavorful. My husband doesn't eat pork chops or pork tenderloin, but he really liked the parmesan pork. Next we tried leg of lamb and lamb chops. I always wanted to try rack of lamb and this was a great way to see if I liked it. Well, I didn't like it very much. I did enjoy the leg of lamb, it was tender and not as gamey tasting as the lamb chops. There were two cuts of meat I really didn't like: flank and the cajun rib-eye. I usually love these cuts of meat, but the flank was way too chewy (probably because of how it was sliced-not against the grain) and the rib-eye was tough. You tell them the temperature of meat you want and they will slice off that part of the meat for you. I asked for the rib-eye to be medium to medium well, but my cut was more on the well done side and was very dry. Funny, because as a kid, there was no way you could get me to eat meat with any pink in it. Now, I never order it well done. Same goes for my husband, and our children have also learned to eat their meat with some pink in it. They realized early on that well done was too hard to chew.
We were also served some other small dishes including mashed potatoes (tasted good, but had a pasty texture like over-whipped), fried plantains or bananas (really good), fried polenta sticks (dry and bland). I didn't get to taste the salmon or ribs. I was getting super full and felt like my stomach would burst. However, there was one more cut of meat I wanted to try since it was their featured item. The picanha top sirloin. My taste buds were about to give up on me, but I managed a couple of bites. It was good, but not one of my favorites. By the end of the meal, I did not want to look at any more meat. We did enjoy our feast, for sure. I have been to Fogo de Chao many years ago and it was probably the same. We do have a brazilian steakhouse here in Seattle I haven't tried yet, but we would like to compare these two. Plus the one in Seattle costs less.