Something New from Denny’s

Denny’s is a southern US institution, and like a lot of institutions, it has great pancakes, but everything else can be a gamble. In this case, that gamble paid off. After the cruise aboard the Carnival Breeze, I figured anything set before me might be a bit of a letdown. I was happily proven wrong.

I hadn’t been into a Denny’s for a while, and was very pleasantly surprised to find a new “skillet” on the menu: Smoky Gouda Chicken & Broccoli.

“Roasted seasoned chicken with caramelized onions, saut√©ed mushrooms and broccoli served atop whole grain rice. Topped with Italian cheeses and Gouda cheese sauce.”
– Denny’s Menu

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Smokey Gouda chicken & Broccoli Skillet

 

The dish you receive never looks quite like the advertising photos, but this one was tasty enough that I really didn’t care. the chicken was tender and not overcooked. the broccoli was firm, but not super crunchy. The mushrooms and onions were done to a turn rather than partially raw or blackened. The Gouda sauce, while supported by other cheeses, was well flavored and had just the right thickness to it.

I recommend this dish and it’s companion, the Smoky Gouda Prime Rib & Broccoli Skillet, to anyone who has a liking for cheese!

— Ann Cathey

The Cotton Patch Cafe – Round Rock, Texas

The Cotton Patch Cafe in Austin is just what it looks like when you first step in the door. It’s a family restaurant in the vein of Black-Eyed Pea or any of dozens of mom-and-pop places that serve “home cookin'” style foods.

The entire place was clean as a whistle, bathrooms and all.

The menu was well organized and easy to read. Between my self and my party, we were able to order a wide variety of foods to taste and share. No one went away disappointed.

Our appetiser, the Bacon Cheese Fries, are for the win! The potatoes had a good flavor, even after being fried. They were emplated with a smother of grated cheddar and real bacon crumbles. A small dish of Ranch dressing was served on the side. They also do a sweet potato fry that may be treated this way.

I was in the mood for chicken, so I ordered the Chicken Fried Chicken. The breading was nicely crunchy, and not overly salted for my palate. The meat inside was a pleasant surprise, being tender and juicy. The standard cream gravy with black pepper is normally served on top, though I asked for it on the side. The pepper was noticable in the flavor, but not overpowering.

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My first choice of side was Macaroni & Cheese. This is a menu staple across the South. In this case, it was rich and creamy with plenty of cheese coating aldente¬† elbow pasta. To say that the dish was also sticky, gooey, and yummy should go without saying. This is how I remember my grandmother’s mac and cheese from when I was a kid.

My other side was Broccoli Cheese Rice, which was also very heavy on the cheese. This is never a bad thing for me. It included long grain white rice and chunky, tender broccoli florets without a lot of stem. Another throwback to my grandmother’s cooking.

The sweet tea was light and refreshing, rather than being of the heavy Southern variety.

One of my fellow foodies ordered the Turkey Melt with Fries. This is a warm sandwich with smoked turkey on toasted rye, with Swiss cheese and slicedd tomatoes. While I did not get a great photo, I did get a bite. Tender, tasty, with good textures; it was an extremely friendly sandwich.

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The staff was so friendly that our waitress went out of her way to give me her heart!

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On the 1-5 scale, Cotton Patch gets:
Cleanliness – 4
Service – 5
Quality of food – 5
Flavor – 5
Pricing – Moderate
Overall experience – 4.5

-Ann Cathey