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Lazy Dog Restaurant & Bar

March 30, 2016

Every few months, a small group of my high school friends and I try to get together to catch up with one another and find out what’s going on in each other’s lives.  When we finally find a day where we’re all in town, and we’re available, we like to try to meet up at a new restaurant each time, something fun and different where we can just hang out, have good food and enjoy each other’s company.  Even though we don’t all live in the same city any more, we still tend to find ourselves back in our old neighborhood when it comes to picking a place to gather together.  Last fall when I saw my friends, we agreed to meet at a newish restaurant that had opened up across the street from our local mall where we all used to hang out during our high school years.

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Lazy Dog Restaurant & Bar is part of a chain of restaurants with locations mostly in California, but also with a presence in Texas and Nevada.  Though I had previously been to a Lazy Dog location a few years ago, none of the three of us had ever been to this particular location where we met up with each other over lunch.  Lazy Dog represents a sense of warmth and homecoming after a long day away while on vacation for the proprietor Chris.  Each Lazy Dog Restaurant is decorated inside and outside to convey the rustic feeling of walking into a cozy lodge.  Chris Simms recounts the numerous vacations that his family took when he was young to Jackson Hole, Wyoming and staying at a lodge there that just felt like home to him.  That lodge represented his sense of joy and happiness in spending his vacations with his friends and family, of carefree times from his youth.  The name “lazy dog” comes from a time when he and his buddies returned to the lodge after a long day out and they came in to find a dog laying on the hearth in front of the fireplace, and Chris remarked to his friends that he wished that everyone could enjoy their days as much as that “lazy dog” by the fireplace.  Today, Lazy Dog Restaurants serve a fare of hearty American cuisine, classic favorites with a modern American flair.

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As Lazy Dog is not just a restaurant, but also has a full bar, my friends and I decided to order some drinks for our lunch.  I like that Lazy Dog actually has a nice selection of creative, non-alcoholic drink options, which always get me excited.  I order the strawberry citrus soda made from fresh-squeezed lemon, orange and lime juices, strawberry, mint leaves and soda.  The drink was so fun and beautifully presented with the strawberry puree actually being served in a little dropper that you had to squeeze into the drink itself and mix up.  The drink was tangy, and citrusy and incredibly refreshing.  It was quite a warm day when we got together, and this was the perfect, refreshing drink to cool me down.  The whimsy made it fun, but the flavors made it delicious.  I enjoyed my strawberry citrus soda while my friends enjoyed a mimosa and a Bloody Mary.

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I couldn’t resist ordering a bowl of sweet corn chowder to start my meal.  I’m a huge fan of corn chowder, and I feel like I rarely ever find it on a restaurant menu.  Funny thing is, while I like corn chowder, I don’t care for clam chowder at all, and that’s the dish you generally do find at restaurants that serve soup.  So, when I find corn chowder, I usually decide I need to order it to see what it’s like.  Served along side a piece of lavash, this corn chowder was hearty and rich and slightly sweet from the corn.  You could definitely taste the corn and the potato chunks in the chowder made the soup nice and hearty and filling.  The flavor of the chowder was pretty spot on

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For lunch I ordered the warm chicken focaccia.  Made with chicken breast, smoked gouda cheese, lettuce, tomato, red onion and mayo served on warm focaccia and drizzled with balsamic vinaigrette, it all sounded delicious, and I was interested in seeing what this sandwich would be like with smoked gouda as opposed some of the more traditional cheeses you find on sandwiches.  The sandwich also came with a side, which I chose mashed potatoes.  The sandwich itself was delicious and flavorful.  The balsamic vinaigrette added a nice tang of acidic flavor, kind of the flavor punch that the sandwich needed.  I liked that the sandwich was made with nice thick cuts of grilled chicken breast rather than thin-sliced deli-style chicken.  The tomato added tanginess and some moisture to the sandwich so it wasn’t so dry, and the red onions helped to give it a bit of a bite.  The focaccia itself was nice and crunchy and warm and well done, and it held up well with all of the ingredients inside of the sandwich.  The last thing you want when you have a full sandwich is for the bread to absorb all of the moisture and turn soggy so that everything inside the sandwich starts falling out.  While this sandwich wasn’t earth-shattering, it was very well done, and incredibly filling.

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My friends ordered a breakfast-style pizza and vegetarian tacos. The individual breakfast-style pizza turned out to be just a little too large for my friend and she wasn’t able to finish it, which is hard when you have sunny side up eggs on your pizza.  My other friend seemed to really enjoy the different flavors of her vegetarian tacos.  She’s not a vegetarian, by any means, but she really appreciated the different types of veggies they put in the taco which added to both a terrific flavor profile as well as the mixture of textures in the taco as well.

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I just couldn’t help myself, and since I knew we’d be sitting there just chatting and catching each other up on our lives for a while, I decided to order a dessert.  I chose the root beer float made with three scoops of vanilla ice cream scooped into a chilled mason jar  and served with a bottle of ice-cold IBC root beer.  I love the touch of using the mason jar.  Apparently, I’m easy to please.  This root beer float was quite creamy, which was good.  I liked the use of the extra scoop of ice cream, as most places only give you two scoops.  Cool, creamy and refreshing.  A great way to end the meal.

My friends and I were really happy we’d chosen Lazy Dog as our get together location.  The atmosphere was warm and comfortable and the food was delicious and filling.  This provided a great setting for us to sit down for a few hours and just chit chat the way girls tend to do.  We all agreed that we’d come back to Lazy Dog again in the future.

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