Monday, January 28, 2008

Cheap Manis and Pedis, Yay!

It was my birthday over the weekend and after a night of fun at Sine, my friends and I wanted to relax, be pampered and let someone else make us pretty. We decided to go for manicures and pedicures at Fusion Nail Spa in Carytown. I'd seen the sign for this spot plenty of times, but being a bit wary of walk-in nail salons, hadn't tried it yet.
We headed in on Saturday afternoon and were pleased to see that none of us had to wait. The three of us sat in cozy massaging chairs right in a row so we could chat as our feet soaked. Now, the chairs at Fusion Nail Spa are no ordinary massage chairs. Every other massaging chair I've sat in during a pedicure vibrates like the "massagers" at an amusement park, leaving me feeling numb and weird after about 15 minutes. This chair had a variety of massage settings and actually felt like it was doing something as it moved up and down my back.
The manicure and pedicure themselves were pretty standard, but everything was clean and the staff was super friendly. Plus, the mani-pedi combo was only $40!!! So far, this is the cheapest I've found around town, especially for a pedicure where you get a leg massage and foot scrub. At the price, I think I'll be having much prettier nails on a much more consistent basis from now on.

27: A hit

Okay, so yes I've hit two restaurants owned by Antonio Capece of La Grotta in three days. But both were so delicious it was worth it! I'd read a few negative reviews of 27 but wanted to check it out for myself. I found it hard to believe that anything Capece's involved with wouldn't be delicious. For my entree I ordered homemade fettuccine with a spicy tomato sauce and shrimp ($15). As I eagerly anticipated the arrival of my meal, I enjoyed fresh-baked bread with a tasty sundried tomato dip. The bread was the crusty, chewy sort that I absolutely adore. My meal was equally pleasing. It came with plenty of fresh shrimp that were cooked perfectly. They practically melted in my mouth. The fettuccine was also delicious, if slightly overcooked (it was a little tender for my taste, but tasted great). The only criticism I can must is that the dish lacked the advertised "spice." But the sauce tasted so fresh and tomato-y I didn't even miss it. For dessert I sampled the vanilla creme brulee (they were out of the delicious-sounding Italian cheesecake, a disappointment) and it was light, crunchy, custardy and amazing. It came in an oval-shaped dish that allowed for the perfect amount of crunch and custard. Overall, the meal was tasty and 27 will certainly be added into my meal rotation.

Amici: Always a Delicious Standard

On Saturday night we tried to hit Edo's but at 8:30 there was an hour-and-a-half wait, so we decided to head to Amici in Carytown. I only make it to Amici a few times a year, but every time my meal is delicious. The homemade bread sticks, the intimate atmosphere and the homemade pasta have never disappointed. On this visit I had a special made of roasted beets with chopped walnuts, crumbled creamy cheese and greens. The combination was divine. My second course consisted of homemade fettuccine with fresh pesto and pine nuts. The server warned me that the pesto was freshly made and mixed with the pasta, sometimes making for a dish that isn't quite piping hot. This was some of the best pest I've ever experienced. The dish was by far warm enough and the pesto was literally grease-free. I've ordered pesto in the past and it's come out greasy and heavy. This was light and delicious. Combined with the fresh flavor of the pasta, this dish was divine. My friend ordered the stuffed eggplant, which was also amazing. It tasted similar to freshly made eggplant Parmesan but without the breading that sometimes makes the dish too heavy. All in all, a great meal once again!

Moshi Moshi

Friday night it was time to try Moshi Moshi. I'd been surveying the modernistic sign and almost techno-looking exterior on various drives through Carytown. A friend was in town and we were craving sushi. We decided to stop by.
The interior is upscale and totally redone. Downstairs has a very dark, wood feel and holds a bar, tables and chairs and a cozy fireplace that calls for one to drop in for one of the unique beer selections and good conversation. Upstairs has a lighter dining room feel. The menu features an eclectic mix of sushi with modern twists, entrees, fancy Japanese appetizers and soups. While many of the entrees (priced at about $22 and up) looked intriguing, I was in the mood for sushi and not spending a ton of money. So, I went for ginger soup, a spicy tuna roll and a special roll made with shrimp tempura and eel sauce. The tempura avocado sounded interesting but I decided to save it for a future visit.
If you don't like cilantro mayonnaise or mango, I don't suggest going to Moshi Moshi for sushi. Practically every roll has one, the other, or a combination of the two. While this didn't bother me, one of my companions didn't like either and had to order her rolls with many alterations. The staff was very accommodating, however, and was happy to alter their rolls to meet her preferences.
I've heard Moshi Moshi is owned by the same people as Sumo San. I know many people love Sumo, but on the one occasion I tried it I wasn't too impressed and felt similarly about Moshi Moshi's sushi. My spicy tuna suffered from too much rice and too little tuna. The shrimp roll lacked the satisfying crunch that only well-prepared tempura batter can provide. My ginger soup was flavorful but contained shrimp with the tail on. This may be traditional, but a restaurant that has no problem putting upscale twists on traditional cuisine could at least cut the tails off my shrimp so I don't have the dilemma of how to delicately de-tail shrimp in soup. Also, the ginger flavor wasn't too strong for that to be the name of the soup. There were bits of shredded ginger in the bottom of my bowl, but they were light on that sweet bite ginger usually possesses.
As stated, the drink menu had a nice beer selection and a long list of sake ranging in price from the teens to the thirties. We tried the only organic one on the menu and it had a smooth fruity flavor with a pleasant aftertaste.
Overall, I would not go back for sushi, but would still like to try the entrees. The bar definitely merits a return as well.