Saturday, December 27, 2014

The Capital Grille at UTC - Outstanding Meals

My wife and I have enjoyed three terrific dinners at The Capital Grille restaurant at the new University Town Center Mall near Lakewood Ranch, FL ( 

In addition to the excellent food, nice atmosphere, and good service, the tables were spaced farther apart than at most restaurants. This was particularly helpful in accommodating my wife's wheelchair, and in reducing the noise from nearby tables.

A. The First Dinner

My wife chose as her entrée the sliced filet mignon with cipollini onions and wild mushrooms for $45. Her side was the parmesan truffle fries for $11. The steak was perfectly cooked and tender. The fries were fantastic. When we took the leftover fries home and reheated them in the toaster oven the next evening, they were even better!

My entrée was the dry-aged steak au poivre with courvoisier sauce for $46, and my side was roasted wild mushrooms for $12. The steak was fantastic, and the mushrooms were good.

Our wine was a Spanish red - a 2012 La Vilella Alta Black Slate, a Priorat from Bodegas Mas Alta, for $55. It is a blend of 60% Grenache, 35% Carignan, and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. It is a creation of Michelle Tardieu, Philippe Cambie, and Eric Solomon. It was very nice. 

B. The Second Meal 

That meal involved trying their incredible hamburgers. They're expensive, but fantastic.

C. The Third Meal

The most recent meal was last night, when we celebrated a special occasion. My wife and I had the same entrée - seared tenderloin steak with butter-poached Maine lobster tails for $51. The tails were about from Maine and were about 3 oz. each. There were two modest-size pieces of tenderloin. Both the steak and the lobster were cooked to perfection and were delicious.

My wife chose the Parmesan truffle fries as a side for $11. This is a large dish and easily serves two. They also offer smaller servings. We've had them each time we were there, and love them.

I had a cup of lobster bisque mixed with sherry for $12. Unlike most lobster bisque, this one had very, very large chunks of lobster. It was fantastic.

For dessert, my wife had the flourless chocolate cake. It was a gift for our special occasion. I had the apple cobbler with caramel ice cream for $10. It was incredible.

Our wine was a bottle of Castello Banfi Toscana which was a mix of Brunello Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Syrah. It was wonderful and cost $83.

Our server, Patrick, was exceptional.

Interestingly, the wine list was on a tablet, and included a section of 90+ wines. The tablet allows the display of more information about individual wines. 

A nice service of Capital Grille is that they will let you email tasting notes to yourself.

When I mentioned my interest in wines to our server, he brought the sommelier to our table. We had a very nice chat with him. He mentioned that the Capital Grille chain's management allows him some freedom in wine selection. 

The restaurant offers private wine lockers to lease at $350 per year. When leasing the locker, you have to buy one case of any of the many wines on the Capital Grille wine list. The locker owner can then stock the locker with any wines, and the normal $25 corkage fees are waived. Locker owners are invited to special tastings and other events.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Super Easy & Delicious Glazed Carrot Recipe

I love this really easy maple and brown sugar glazed carrot recipe from (I only used 1/2 lb of carrots, but made no other changes.) 

- 3 Tbsp butter
- 3 Tbsp brown sugar, packed (dark or light)
- 1 Tbsp maple syrup
- 1 lb baby carrots (or whole carrots chopped into chunks)

In a medium skillet, heat the butter, sugar, and maple syrup over medium heat, stirring until smooth and the butter is melted.

Add the carrots and toss to coat.

Cover and reduce the heat to low.

Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the carrots are tender and glazed.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Grilled Zucchini - Tasty, Fast, & Easy

It doesn't get much easier than this to produce a fast and tasty side dish. I found this wonderful zucchini recipe at all ( It is also very easy to scale up or down.

- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 3 zucchini (or as many as you want), sliced 1/4" lengthwise. Cut off the ends first, but no need to peel.
- 1 tbsp of grill seasoning (or any seasoning you like - I used a French sea salt mixed with Herbes de Provence, Lavander, and Cornflower (Beluet) from Les Délices d'Ophelie)

1. Preheat grill for medium heat and lightly oil the grill.

2. Drizzle zucchini slices on both sides with olive oil & season with grill seasoning.

3. Grill zucchinis on preheated grill until tender - 3 to 4 minutes per side.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Eye of Round Roast - Incredibly Easy & Very Tasty

Motivated by a sale at Publix, I decided to try my hand at cooking an eye of round roast steak. I had no idea how easy this would be. With a very short Internet search, I found a terrific recipe at ( It had 1,615 reviews, of which 1,181 gave it 5 stars and 225 gave it four stars. I can see why. The recipe easily transforms a normally tough piece of meat into a very tasty dish, with very little effort.

It is important to allow a total of about 3 hours in the oven before serving.

1. A 3-pound eye of round roast. You can actually use any size roast, and adjust the roasting time - 7 minutes per pound. I used a 2 & 1/4 pound roast and cooked it for 17 minutes (+ the 2.5 hours resting time in the oven as described below). It turn out medium inside.
2. Salt, pepper, and spices to taste - I used Montreal steak seasoning.

1. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F. Season the roast with salt and pepper (and whatever other spices you'd like), and place in a roasting pan or baking dish. Do not cover or add water.

2. Place the roast in the preheated oven. Reduce the temperature to 475 degrees F. Roast for 21 minutes (7 minutes per pound). Then turn off the oven and let the roast sit in the hot oven for 2 and 1/2 hours. Turn off the cooking, but do not open the oven at all during this time.

3. Remove the roast from the oven. The internal temperature should have reached at least 145 degrees F. Carve into thin slices to serve.