Friday, March 29, 2013

What It Takes to Have the Best Fine Dining Experience?

Are you someone who's expecting a special occasion soon? Perhaps a wedding anniversary or it's the birthday of a special someone? Well nothing makes a perfect evening than sharing a wonderful dining experience with the people that matters to you. But for it to be a wonderful night of dining, having good food is not enough. Of course there is the need for atmosphere, the mood, the music, the excellent service and many more. Simply put, to have a truly wonderful dining experience, it has to be a fine dining experience. But not just any other dining experience, it has to be a real fine dining experience. But what exactly is it?

By definition, fine dining refers to the service and cuisine provided by dining establishments where everything is of the highest quality. That includes the food, drinks, services and both the atmosphere and setting are of the formal variety. In other words, everything feels and looks expensive and leisurely. In an establishment that offers this kind of experience, there are almost always a set of proper decorum where all of the guests are expected to follow. The staff of the establishment are highly trained and you will see that they dress formally as well. The meal courses that are offered in a fine dining restaurant are usually dedicated and somehow limited. Food portions are a lot smaller but they are garnished to the point of perfection.

It is a given that fine dining restaurants should offer foods that are not only visually pleasing but they should also taste amazing as well. In other words, the quality should be top notch. In most cases, mediocre service can be compensated if the foods that are served are excellent. But a fine dining establishment should always be exquisite and perfect, so everything should be of the highest level. No aspect of the dining experience should be mediocre or substandard. And since dining is meant to be a social experience, a restaurant should set up the dining area and atmosphere where it encourages conversation. This means that the table arrangement should not be too close to each other or the staff should not interrupt you every now and then.

For the perfect night, choose the best fine dining experience that's available to you. Just keep in mind the various criteria that were mentioned above and match it with your own personal preference. If you live in a major city, chances are there will be many options that are available so choosing the best one can be quite tricky. The best action to take is to conduct your research regarding all the fine dining restaurants in your area beforehand. That's right, if the occasion is indeed special, it won't hurt if you put a little more effort to it right?

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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Meat - The Tenderest Cuts of Steak

A steak should be juicy and tender. It is very unappetizing to try to eat a steak that has the consistency of a "rubber shoe" as my mother used to say. I have had this happen to me more than a few times and I know the factor that contributes to this the most is the cut of the steak.

Steak is cut from different areas of the cow and depending on what area it comes from, the steak will have certain characteristics that distinguish it from the other cuts of meat. Tenderness is one of these characteristics and you, of course, will find a difference in price between the tender cuts and the cuts that are generally tough. When it comes to steaks it is worth it to pay the higher price. Better yet try to get these high quality cuts on special at the supermarket. In order to take advantage of sales, you must know which cuts are considered to be the best in quality.

Tenderness depends on where the meat is cut from. The most tender regions are also the most expensive cuts. Just think Filet Mignon and you will know what I mean!

Filet Mignon is the most tender cut of all the steaks and it originates from the small end of the tenderloin.

Strip steak is also very tender and very flavourful. New York Strip is one of the highest quality of the steak cuts. It originates from the strip loin area and is a muscle which does little work so it is therefore quite tender.

Rib-eye is a large steak cut from the rib. The rib section contains more marbling than other parts of the cow and this makes it very tender and flavourful. Marbling is the white fatty part you see running through the red meat.

T-Bone is a large cut that is two steaks in one! It is cut from the short loin with one side being a juicy strip and the other a Filet Mignon. The bone adds more flavour and it has thick marbling that contributes to its tenderness.

The Porterhouse steak is a very large cut like the T-bone but with this cut the Filet Mignon section is always larger. This steak is for large appetites too!

As you can see the most tender steaks are cut from the loin and rib sections of the cow. The cuts listed above are the most tender. The tougher cuts, such as round, can be tenderized by marinating but the quality of the steak is still the deciding factor when it comes to juicy tenderness. Combine a top cut with a marinade and you will have a very tasty and tender steak every time!

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Saturday, March 23, 2013

What Makes a Fine Dining Experience So Special

When the phrase "fine dining" is used, sometimes it's a little hard to picture something specific. Sure we can all imagine a nice restaurant with good food, but if somebody asked you to describe fine dining to them, what would you say?

A Step Above the Rest

A fine dining restaurant aims to provide high quality food, first class service and a beautiful atmosphere blended together in attempt to create the perfect experience for the diner. For the higher price, you aren't just paying for the meal - you're paying to enjoy everything from your arrival till the end of the evening.

In every area of presentation, preparation and service, careful detail is paid to ensure that you have an unforgettable night. For a special occasion or anniversary, a meal at a top quality restaurant is the perfect way to celebrate and enjoy the company of friends, family or a loved one.


The first thing that you should notice upon arrival is the service. After being escorted to your table and seated, you may have up to two wait staff responsible for ensuring your contentedness. Your waiter/waitress will be able to answer any and all questions that you have about the food or wines, make recommendations if asked and serve you professionally, quickly and politely without being intrusive to your experience during the night.


Obviously the main focus of the evening is the food. Portions are generally smaller, better presented with extreme attention to detail. Many fine dining establishments have limited menus that change more frequently - this allows fresher and better prepared food with less ingredients being stored and more focus by the chefs going into perfecting each meal. Only the most premium quality ingredients are used to create each dish. Liquor and wine is another important aspect with only the top shelf being offered. Wait staff should be able to recommend something complementary to each meal.


Depending on the restaurant and style of food, the setting could be absolutely anything. Some fine dining restaurants have a strict dress code while others just require you look smart; dress code is something that you should make sure you are familiar with beforehand. Quiet music in the background is common as well as subtle lighting intended to be easy on the eyes to create a more relaxed environment for diners.

As one of the more enjoyable luxuries in life, everybody should enjoy a fine dining experience at least once. It's the perfect way to toast a new engagement, honor a friend or family member graduating or just to celebrate one of the special moments in life a little differently.

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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Sunday, March 17, 2013

First Date Tips - How to Enjoy a First Date

Everyone gets anxious about a first date: what to wear, what to talk about, should you offer to pay? Janis Spindel, a professional matchmaker who's arranged thousands of first dates, has tips to help you enjoy a first date.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

How to Dress for a 1st Date - Men

When dressing for a first date, a man should keep it simple but show a bit of personality. Add personality to a first date outfit by wearing a colorful shirt and a nice pair of jeans with the help of this free video from a clothing designer.

Fairfield-Suisun Chamber Mixer Is Tonite

Happy St. Patrick's Day Celebration Mixer
Fairfield-Suisun Chamber of Commerce at:
Integrity Auto Collision Center Inc.

March 14th, 5:30 - 7:00 pm

Appetizers by Azevedo's
Green Drinks
Have Fun! Wear Green!!

If you would like additional exposure for your business, please feel free to bring a raffle prize with your business card on it to the mixer. 

Monday, March 11, 2013

Ordering wine: How to Choose a Bottle of Wine in a Restaurant

When you're handed the wine list at a restaurant, are you seized with panic, afraid you'll order wine incorrectly? Ray Isle, Senior Wine Editor at Food and Wine magazine shares his tips for how to choose a bottle of wine from a wine list.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Get Out to Eat For Your Anniversary

When you're married, you've made a commitment that should last the rest of your life. Every year, it's great to honor and celebrate that commitment by doing something special with your spouse. While it would be wonderful to take a trip to a tropical location or plan a weekend getaway in the city, that can be an expensive proposition. And if you've got kids, a mortgage, and a car payment, dropping a lot of cash on a getaway might not be in the cards. Instead, you can spend a night out with someone in a chef coat, getting a meal that you and your loved one will remember. Many couples decide that going out to eat is a great thing to do on their anniversary, and with good reason. The combination of intimate conversation and great food is probably one of the things that led to you getting married in the first place!

One nice thing about this sort of tradition is you can either hit one of your favorite restaurants or try one of those places you've always wanted to go. If a restaurant is a little out of your normal price range, an anniversary is a great time to give it a shot. If your night out usually includes fast food (where they probably don't wear chef coats), then simply going anywhere that you place an order at the table would be a welcome change. For many, it's fun to go somewhere a little nicer so you can pull some more formal clothes out of the closet and dress up a bit.

Simply being able to sit down and focus all your attention on your spouse is probably the best thing about an anniversary dinner. Our lives are so hectic that even when we think we're spending time together in the same room, we're still probably doing separate things. When you're out to eat, you're only getting interrupted by your waiter or maybe someone in a chef jacket asking you how you like your meal. That gives you a chance to catch up a bit and remind yourself why you feel the way you do about your spouse. If it feels a little awkward at first, don't worry! You might be a little out of practice, but an anniversary dinner will get you back in the swing of things in no time.

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Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Grand Re-Opening Tonight!!

Please join us for Mankas Steakhouse's
Grand Reopening and Ribbon Cutting
  TONIGHT, March 5th at 6:00pm
We will be unveiling our NEW menus and will have
live music from the Beer Brothers!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Don't Forget Mankas Steakhouse's GRAND RE-OPENING this Tuesday!

Please join us for Mankas Steakhouse's
Grand Reopening and Ribbon Cutting
on Tuesday, March 5th at 6:00pm
We will be unveiling our NEW menus and will have
live music from the Beer Brothers!