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Sunday, November 4, 2012

Great Galloping Groupon

Does everyone have Groupon? I doubt it's a local thing, but just in case here goes: it's an internet marketing site whereby businesses offer great deals to entice customers in. For me, it's led to some great eating adventures. Typically,  you can buy a certificate worth $20 of food for $10, or one worth $40 of food for $20. With myy dining buddy, Betty--we try to go out to dinner once a week--I've had some good meals and great adventures.
Maybe the place that stands out most as one I never would have found is Zambranos Wine Cellar, a downtown wine bar with a fenced in patio right on one of the main streets. Their menu fascinates me enough that I want to go back, but on our first visit I had escargot a la bourgignuinon, which I hadn't had in over thirty years. To my delight, I sitll liked them--well what I principally like is that good garlicky sauce. Next time I may try filet bruschetta with sauteed mushrooms and caramelized red onions, served with a horseradish cream sauce.
We've gone to some standbys--twice to Cat City Grill, where we both love the lobster bites (lightly battered) appetizer (enough for a meal) with the Cat Stack salad--iceberg with blue cheese dreessing but layers rather thn the usual wedge, which makes it easier to eat. Last time the waiter explained that we were losing money--we hadn't used our total $40. So what could we do? We split a piece of oreo cookie cheesecake.
Another favorite is Tres Joses where they serve one of the few spinach enchiladas in town--my favorite. No, just because they have spinach in them does not mean they are either low fat or good for you. But they're good, and $20 goes a long way there.
I had my first meal at Z's Cafe on a Groupon--and now it's one of my favorites. I think I had chicken piccata that time but now I love the sandwiches. If it's lasagne day though, I'm done for.
Once we went to a winery--I don't remember what I ate for dinner, except a chocolate dessert, so that probably says something but the idea of eating in a winery was fun and they had an interesing gift shop. If it weren't that it's semi-out-in-the-country, I'd do some Christmas shopping there.
Another favorite was a long-established Italian restaurant--Piccolo Mondo. Unimpressive from the outside and in a strip shopping center, inside this restaurant is Old-World elegant. I had carpaccio--the most elaborate presentation witha wonderful salad on top of the beef, the best carpaccio I've ever had.
Groupon specifies that alcoholic beverages are not part of the deal but we have only found that in one or two places. Mostly they are included, and we sometime have zero balance on our check. We are careful, however, to tip on the full amount that the check would have been.
Groupon also offers many other things, and I've turned down a lot of spa offers, dental work (thank you, I have a dentist), facials, and, most recently, boxing lessons.
A friend of my children says it's embarrassing to present a Groupon, sort of as though you were bargaining for your dinner. He described surreptitioiusly shoving the certificate (it comes on your computer and you print it off) and whispering to the waiter, "I have...uh, you know...uh, a Groupon." I feel no such embarrassment. Since I'm the official Groupon manager of our dining adventures, I just throw the certificate out there on the table.
Want some adventure? Try Groupon. Oh, yes, they also do travel Groupons.

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