I Sense A Theme…

So in my last post, we talked about how The Wife and I went out on a limb and tried something new for us…Thai food at the Thai Cafe…and we loved it!

Well that was Saturday night. Fast forward a few hours, like Sunday afternoon, and we were all set to make a really nice Italian pasta dish. Then the phone rings…It was our friend Jen and she and her husband Chris were going to sign some papers on the house they are buying and wanted to know if we were busy afterwards because they wanted to meet us at a new place in town, HuHot Mongolian Grill.

Well let me tell you, it was almost a carbon copy of BD’s Mongolian Grill, also mentioned in the last post. What was really nice was that it was late afternoon and we were the only people in the restaurant for quite a while.

Like BD’s, at HuHot, it’s all-you-can-eat with a twist: You get soup or a salad with your dinner! I had the hot and sour soup and it was delicious. It was very tasty, with not much of a bite…that is, until I added some of the pepper sauce at the table.

The rest of the meal was awesome! They had great meat choices (beef, pork, chicken, and three or four different types of fish), great vegetable choices and sauce heaven!

There were 10 to 12 premade sauces and all the ingredient sauces to make your own. I like a good amount of spice (I want to sweat but not profusely) but even though I used a good amount of the more hot sauces, I found my first combination to be quite tame. On the second go, I added a few more ladles of the hotter sauces and got a better result. Moral of the story? Take the heat number as a guide and make sure your first plate is a small one so you can go back and experiment to find what combination you like.

Another small difference between HuHot and BD’s is that you have to ask for rice…and HuHot does not have the soft tortillas that makes BD’s more unique.

So yes, HuHot was good, great really, and it will make a great substitute for BD’s here in the Lou.

Here is this week’s Retro Review:

2002 Acura 3.2 TL

Putting Sport and Luxury Together Like No Other

by James E. Bryson

Luxury in cars means different things to different people. Some like their luxury to be American-esque, a la Cadillac and Lincoln. Some like the European stylings of Jaguar, Mercedes-Benz, et al. Still others are more prone to the offerings of the burgeoning Japanese luxury marques. Welcome to the 2002 Acura 3.2 TL and 3.2 TL Type-S.

Though luxury tastes take many forms, the most enticing from an enthusiast’s perspective is the teaming of luxury and sport cars. Acura has been putting more sport into the sport/luxury segment since its inception, over a decade ago, with vehicles like the NSX and Integra GS-R. For 2002, Acura ups the luxo-sport ante to better compete with the Europeans and Americans at the game they joined in mid-play.

The TL is the sedan counterpart to the CL coupe that was updated for 2001 and looks as good, if not better than the coupe (if that can actually happen!) and gives Acura a real player for the “mid-luxury” segment, in Acura’s own words. Changes to the TL include, but are not limited to, freshened front and rear fascias (with integrated fog lights on all models), more insulation in the doors and improved door seals to lessen noise, vibration and harshness levels, an in-dash six-disc CD changer and engine and transmission improvements.

As a real player in the sport/luxury segment, the Type-S model is motivated by a 3.2-liter SOHC 24-valve V6 that features Honda’s VTEC valve timing gadgetry, an all-new, dual-stage induction system and numerous other performance enhancements, which is good for 260 horsepower and 232 lb.-ft. of torque. The base model is packaged with a not-too-shabby 225 horsepower/216 lb-ft. motor. Both models meet Low Emission Vehicle standards, while California bound TLs are rated as Ultra Low Emission Vehicles

All that power goes through a five-speed automatic with Acura’s answer to the “manumatic” craze, Sequential SportShift, along with Grade Logic Control, which enhances shifting smoothness and reduces gear “hunting” when ascending or descending steep grades. The transmission was top-notch perfect; the shifts were Cadillac smooth and power delivery was instant-on in every situation.

The only gripe about the transmission was the manual shift mode. The gear changes were not in concert with the movement of the stick and the computer brain controlled the one-two shift no matter what input was received from the driver. We found that it was more satisfying to leave it in drive (D5, each gear had its own detent) and let the computer choose the gears while driving on tight, twisty roads. It just goes to show that transmissions like this are little solace for those of us that want a real manual in such a powerful, well-handling car.

To help get the vehicle around tight corners in a stately manner, Acura has outfitted the Type-S with a sport-tuned double wishbone suspension (with front and rear stabilizer bars), V-rated, all-season rubber on 17 inch alloy wheels and Acura’s Vehicle Stability Assist, all as standard equipment.

There’s a lengthy list of standard features that come with the 3.2 TL Type-S too. Some features of note include remote keyless entry; DVD navigation system; automatic climate control; an Acura/Bose six-disc in-dash CD player; heated seats with six-way power for the driver and four-way power for the passenger; Driver’s seat and outside mirror memory (the mirrors are also heated); automatic down and up for the driver’s window; automatic day/night rearview mirror; power moonroof; xenon high intensity discharge headlights; speed-sensing intermittent wipers and the Homelink system.

We had a lot of fun with the DVD navigation system in the short time we had the car. It was quite interesting punching in a destination and then letting the system guide you there. It has a computerized female voice to command you and a host of graphical representations to assist further. Even if you turn the wrong way, the system recalculates its route and helps you get to where you want to go.

Safety features include driver and front passenger dual stage airbags, driver and front passenger side airbags; four-wheel ABS; front seatbelt pre-tensioners; a theft deterrent system with electronic immoblizer; emergency trunk release; Acura’s Vehicle Stability Assist; front and rear crumple zones and side-impact door beams.

The total as-tested price, with no options to speak of, topped out at $33,710.00, including the obligatory destination charge, which is a great deal considering all the safety, comfort and convenience features this car offers. We loved driving this car. It handled well in all situations we threw at it and was more comfortable than we expected. The other luxury makes must be laying awake at night, trying to think up the next best thing that might compete with the new 2002 Acura 3.2 TL and 3.2 TL Type-S. These cars are already winners in the 2002 sport/luxury class.

The Car of the Day is keeping with the current and is the Acura HSC concept from the 2004 NAIAS. It was rumored that this was going to be the next NSX. Unfortunately that never happened…

Acura HSC

There’s a little bit of Ferrari in the nose and the rear.

Acura HSC 2

But the side view is all Acura, with maybe a little Lambo for added punch!

Acura HSC 3


Published by

James E. Bryson

Cars make the world go 'round!

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