Thursday, July 13, 2006

Mama Mia!

Since tonight is my 'Monday morning' at work, I planned on sticking around the house and getting things done, like laundry, housecleaning, etc. Unfortunately, we had a slight emergency--the old water heater decided to rust through, flooding the front room and hallway this morning. So, there was no hot water for awhile, plus about an half inch of water soaking through the carpet in the living room and hallway. The repairman came out to replace the thing, but in the meantime, with all of the water all over the place, we had to cut the electricity to about half of the house so nobody would get electrocuted.

Instead of getting things done, I got the hell out of Dodge.

I wanted to get the truck washed and to top off the gas tank since I had a few extra bucks in my pocket leftover from yesterday's adventures. I managed to improve my mileage to almost 15 mpg this time around, but only because I spent some time on the freeways going back and forth from North Las Vegas. Unfortunately, there was a line about a mile long to get into the car wash at the gas station, so I'm going to wait until about 4am tomorrow morning and do it on my way home from work.

I was originally planning on grilling up the last two Omaha Steak Burgers I had in my freezer, the sole remaining remnants of Operation Save Mikey last year, but the whole wet-carpet smell kind of made the idea dining at home just a bit unappetizing.

So, it was off to find a suitable and reasonably-priced spot for lunch. I may have mentioned it in the past, but never given a full-on review, but I went to one of my favorite lunch spots, Strings Italian Cafe on the corner of Trop and Eastern. I thought it was a one-off restaurant, but according to their website, they are found all over California. I've eaten there dozens of times, but never really gave it a proper write-up.

Anyhow, they have some great lunch specials going during the day, most of them for just seven bucks. I, however, splurged and spent $11 on some chicken scallopini that included a small side of fettuccini alfredo. It was quite tasty, covered in mushrooms and herbs with a light wine sauce. That was just the main course, but one of my favorite things is the salad that comes with each meal--greens, carrots, red cabbage, onions, raisins, sunflower seeds, garlic croutons, and a creamy Italian dressing--always excellent.

After the salad, I also ordered some crab cakes for an appetizer, which happily was more crab than cake. For nine bucks, I got three large cakes served with a cool dill and roasted red pepper sauce that gave them the perfect zip. Those with a heat-sensitive palate might even find it too spicy, but I really enjoyed the sauce.

Too full to order dessert, I skipped it altogether, although the three gals at the next table were raving about their desserts, one of them even saying that the desserts were the reason that they eat at Strings once a week. Maybe next time I'll have to try one, although I have no idea what they offer, having never even glanced at that portion of the menu. I'm guessing tiramisu is probably available, though.

Anyhow, for about $20 I got an excellent lunch--and I ordered too much. Next time I won't have an appetizer unless I'm sharing with a friend. Maybe that way I'll have room for dessert, too. Overall, I really like Strings--the food and service are excellent, along with being a good value. And they do the little things right, too--like taking the time to make presentation a priority, so the food looks good as well as tastes good. And also, if you're drinking iced tea, soft drinks, or lemonade, they'll bring a carafe to the table, eliminating the need to wait for a refill, which is important on these hot Vegas days.

So if you ever find yourself on the east side of town (just about 3 miles from the MGM Grand, a mile past Metro Pizza) looking for a good place for lunch, I can give this spot a hearty recommendation.


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