Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Birthday Trip To Atria's

It's entirely possible we overdo this birthday business. SP had 3 birthday dinners. #1 was with his family at Il Pizzaiolo. #2 was actually on his birthday. And #3 was the Big Burrito Birthday Coupon dinner -- which cannot be redeemed on a Saturday. SP's actual birthday was Saturday. Of course we weren't going to stay in and cook and then have to clean the kitchen! So we decided to use his Atria's Birthday Coupon and dine there.

Plus, there's an Atria's in Peters Township, which meant we could dine there a little early and then get down to the Tanger Outlets for a couple hours of shopping.

The Atria's birthday coupon is buy one entree, get a second entree of equal or lesser value free. Here's the part of the blog post where I bemoan the closing of Atria's in Robinson. It is a chain, but it's a local chain, and we always seem to forget about them when we're trying to figure out where to dine. That's a shame, because we both really enjoy Atria's. We hadn't been there since SP's birthday last year!

We arrived around 5:30 pm on Saturday and were seated right away. Sometimes the McMurray Atria's is really crowded, sometimes it isn't (I recall one time when we were told there was a 2 hour wait!). I didn't take any photos of the restaurant decor. It's sort of nondescript. That's not in a bad way. I seem to recall some light yellow walls and white trim, white tablecloths, tables not too close together, a few booths. It's a soothing and relaxing interior if somewhat generic.

We both ordered iced tea (unsweetened and freshly brewed - yay). Our server brought us a bread basket.The bread is quite tasty. Not the best I've ever had, but it's certainly better than many breads I've had and the butter seemed to be slightly sweet, which was nice.

We decided to share an appetizer of Fried Zucchini.It was huge! I think there were 7 zucchini planks. Some marinara, lemon wedges, and some horseradish sauce for dipping. I dipped in the marinara and the horseradish and also squeezed lemon on my planks! The breading wasn't too overwhelming for these very thin zucchini planks. Yum!

Of course SP had to try the Sherry Crab Bisque:I just dipped my fork tines in and has a quick taste. It tasted good! He really enjoys this flavor soup and said Atria's version is quite tasty.

I ordered a House Salad:For me, this is a large side salad. I knew that SP would help me eat it. He likes soup and salad, so usually he orders the soup, I get the salad, and he gets to eat half my salad! Atria's house salad is greens, bacon, egg, tomato, croutons, onion, and cheese. I chose the light balsamic dressing, which came in a little pitcher. I like that touch because I like just a little bit of dressing on my salad. It was a tasty salad.

For his entree, SP chose the Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes:There was a bit of pico de gallo on the side of the crab cakes and a bowl of cucumber salad:There was a lot of onion on that cucumber salad and it was a strong onion. SP only ate a bit of the onion, but I could smell it all night long! Sorry SP! I had a bite of the crab cake and agreed that it was quite tasty and full of lots of crab and little filler.

It seems like these days I am frequently commenting on how the crab cakes we order are mostly all crab and little filler. Maybe this isn't such a noteworthy thing anymore, but I know that when I was younger and I would order crab cakes, they often had a lot of celery, onion, pepper mixed in, and sometimes that meant not much crab/crab flavor. I quit ordering crab cakes when I ate out because I was always so disappointed in the amount of crab in relation to the price of the crab cake. But nowadays, it seems restaurants have wised up or discovered that all those fillers just detract from the crab, which should be the star in a crab cake.

For my entree, I chose my usual Atria's meal, Tomato Vodka Florentine with Chicken:It was as tasty as I remember. I like eating penne as opposed to other shapes of pasta when I dine out because the penne can be speared on the fork tines. I don't like getting spaghetti/linguine/angel hair because I feel like I'm a total messy spectacle, trying to get those long strands twirled up nice & neat and then fit into my mouth with no stray strands flopping around and requiring additional slurping! I also like getting this dish because of the tomato vodka cream sauce, which is one of those things that isn't difficult to make and we always talk about making it but we never actually make it.

Since we were planning to go shopping, we took a peek at the dessert menu but decided we weren't really up for anything. We didn't want to eat too much and feel too full and sluggish.

Our server was quite friendly. She kept the iced teas filled. Our food was not served by our main server, but the food server was quite nice and polite as well, cautioning us about hot plates and asking if we needed anything else. I think our total bill (minus my entree, plus tax and tip) was $50-$55, which isn't too bad for everything we ate plus we each brought home some of our meal for a dinner during the week.

Another tasty trip to Atria's.

And then we went to the Tanger Outlets! We hadn't been there since fall 2008, which I think is right around when they opened. There are a lot more stores and there were a lot more people there than back in 2008. We were successful in our search for new boots for SP! The last time we were at Tanger Outlets, we bought him boots, too. So those boots lasted a good long while - but they were really, really looking beat up! We also bought me a little something at the Coach store.

A successful dinner & shopping trip -- and I hope a good birthday for SP.

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