Thursday, April 11, 2013

Bar-B-Que King - Charlotte, NC

Lunch 4/11/13

1/4 chicken dark with Onion Rings - Known for having some of the best BBQ chicken in Charlotte, I was surprised when my order arrived at my car. It was fried chicken that had been soaking in homemade BBQ sauce for a few minutes. After taking my first bite, I realized why it was so popular. The chicken was tender and moist, and the BBQ sauce was good enough to drink. The onion rings that I ordered with it were fresh and delicious also.

Bar-B-Q King on Urbanspoon

Price's Chicken Coop - Charlotte, NC

Lunch 4/11/13

Known for having the 2nd best fried chicken in the world, Price's left a little to be desired.

I love good fried chicken, and for the most part, places known for fried chicken don't disappoint (this place didn't disappoint based on this concept either).

What surprised me was that the fried chicken here was not much different than a few other places I'd been to...certainly not special enough to be considered one of the top in the world.

1/4 dark chicken - perfectly fried chicken with potato rounds and cole slaw. The potato rounds and chicken were very good.

If you are looking for a unique experience with good fried chicken, then this is a good place to go....but don't expect to have a life changing meal.

Price's Chicken Coop on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Junior's Pizzaria - Charlotte, NC

Dinner 4/9/13
Large Cheese Pizza - Delicious NY Style pie with flavorful mozzarella cheese and thin crust. One of the better NY style pizzas in the area!

*Owned by the same guy that own's Nana's Soul Food (next door).

Junior's Pizzeria on Urbanspoon

Monday, April 8, 2013

Nana's Soul Food Kitchen - Charlotte, NC

Dinner 4/8/13

THE BEST SOUL FOOD I've eaten at a restaurant!

Served buffet style, all of the entrees and sides I tried were fantastic!

Fried Chicken (Smothered) - Southern fried chicken swimming in homemade brown gravy...tender meat and flavorful skin.

BBQ Ribs - melt in your mouth pork ribs with a sweet sauce

Fried Okra - Fresh breaded, not frozen fried okra

Macaroni & Cheese - Homemade macaroni & cheese with a garlic flavor

Cornbread - sweet cornbread muffin

Extra sides/deserts:

Collard Greens - Delicious collard greens...from my previous posts, you know that I don't normally like these, but when done right, they are awesome. These had a nice pork flavored after-taste.

Cabbage - tender, but not overly cooked cabbage leaves

Green Beans - average tasting green beans

Candied Yams - good sweet flavor, nothing extraordinary

Curry Chicken Rice - I asked the owner what his inspiration was for serving curry at a soul food restaurant, and he said that his wife grew up on it and wanted to share it with everyone. Delicious!

Stuffing with gravy - moist cornbread stuffing with the homemade brown gravy.

Banana Pudding - Not instant pudding. This pudding is made right and laced with a little Cool Whip. Very good!

Red Velvet Cheesecake - great concept. Red Velvet Cake on the bottom with red velvet flavored cheesecake on top.

Sweet Potato Pie - Made using REAL sweet potatoes and mixed just enough to combine the ingredients, but leaves some texture to the pie.

Nana's Soul Food Kitchen on Urbanspoon

The Penguin Drive-in - Charlotte, NC

4/8/13 Lunch

Onion Rings with Penguin Sauce - The onions rings had great flavor and the sauce was a mix between hot sauce, BBQ sauce, and ketchup.
The Pittsburger - traditional burger topped with fries...and I added the Penguin Sauce. This was a good juicy burger and well seasoned fries.

The burger came with potato salad, which was very hearty and fresh.
On a side note, this restaurant has been featured on several Food Network episodes, but has since been bought by new owners. Everyone I talked to said that the stuff I tried was not nearly as good as it used to be.

Penguin on Urbanspoon

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Los Paisas - Charlotte, NC

4/7/13 Dinner

Typical Columbian Platter - red beans, grilled beef, crackling pork, rice, egg over easy, plantains, avocado and fresh corn tortilla

Blood Sausage - Morcilla - moist blend of sausage and rice.

The highlights of this meal were the grilled beef, crackling pork and the blood sausage. Typically the gilled beef at restaurants like this is dry and rubbery. Los Paisas cooked the thin steak perfectly. If you've never had pork crackling in a restaurant, it's something unique and delicious.

The morcilla sausage is something that most people don't know about and/or won't try, but if you do, you'll always look for it. This sausage is cooked in the blood of the animal it comes from and stuffed with rice.

Overall, this place offered good Columbian food.

Los Paisas on Urbanspoon

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Havana Cafe - Phoenix, AZ

Lunch 3/21/13

Mango Tea - Fresh brewed black tea steeped with fresh mangos and poured over ice. Very refreshing.

Calypso Chips - Plantains sliced thin and fried crispy. This comes with one of their dipping sauces, but I recommend trying at least one more. Their sauces are made on-site and are very flavorful.

Croquettas - You can try the traditional ham and potato version or try one of their unique chicken croquettas. There's nothing special about these other than being able to try them with some of the homemade sauces available.

BBQ Sandwich - This was a suprise. I ordered the Cuban sandwich and was really looking forward to this Cuban/American tradition. However, when my sandwich arrived, it was a BBQ sandwich. Who orders a BBQ sandwich at a local Cuban restaurant? Anyways, I asked the server about the mistake and she informed me that she thought I said BBQ sandwich, and that they didn't have the ingredients for the Cuban. The BBQ sandwich was good, but again, nothing special.

Overall the experience was nice, but if you have a good Cuban restaurant near you, don't expect to be "wowed" by this place.

Havana Cafe on Urbanspoon

Brunchies - Chandler, AZ

Breakfast - 3/21/13

Won't be back! I was looking for a decent breakfast spot near my first store audit and did a quick Google search. Brunchies was highly rated, so I figured I'd stop in and give it a try. I was seated immediately and began looking through the menu. The server told me of their daily special meal, "The Arizona Skillet". It had chicken, eggs, onions, avocado, peppers, and a few other ingredients. It sounded good, so I ordered it.

The watched as the server interacted with other patrons and found his attitude to be pretty cocky and immature. I don't normally blog about the staff unless the experience was over the top or surprisingly bad. In this case, I was not a fan of this guy.

I ordered a cinnamon roll with the skillet breakfast because it said it was freshly made. I'm glad I did...not because the roll was impressive, but because of how long I had to wait for my breakfast. After 45 minutes of waiting for the "special of the day", I left the money for the cinnamon roll and walked out. I couldn't wait any longer.

Cinnamon Roll - Tasted fresh, but it wasn't the best I've ever had. Just your average homemade cinnamon roll.

Brunchies on Urbanspoon

Saturday, March 2, 2013

The Jacobson - Kansas City, MO

Cocktails - 3/1/13

The Perfect Sailor - Sailor jerry, fresh lime, prickly pear puree, fresh mint & spice. This drink was a nice blend of fruity and spicy.

The Classic Sazerac - It all began for the Sazerac cocktail in the early 1800's when Antoine Amedee Peychaud mixed Cognac with his Peychaud bitters.  Ingredients include: Rye Whiskey, simple syrup, absinthe, and Peychaud bitters.

*No Pictures

The Jacobson on Urbanspoon

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Frankie, Johnnie & Luigi, Too - Dublin, CA

Lunch 2/21/13

Quattro Formaggio Pizza - Went here based on the recommendation from a store manager. Full of traditional Italian dishes and pizzas, I went with what some may consider a safe and boring option. However, I think you can tell alot about an Italian place by its cheese pizza. This one came loaded with mozzarella, provolone, gorgonzola, and fontina cheeses. The pizza crust was not too thick, which allowed the cheese to take center stage. It was delectable!

Frankie Johnnie & Luigi on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Yardhouse - Fresno, CA

Dinner 2/19/13

Old 43 Cocktail - woodford reserve bourbon, licor 43, house citrus agave blend, orange bitters

Pork belly Street Taco - Yum! This place has taken the joys of a street taco and incorporated it into a tapas type menu. There are several types of street tacos to choose from. This one has crisp, and tender pork belly along with some cabbage and black sesame seeds atop a fresh flour tortilla.

Pepperjack Burger - I love good burgers with pepperjack cheese, grilled onions, and avocado. This burger met all of my expectations. The burger was juicy and flavorful with and extra kick from the cheese. An added surprise was the onion rings. The O.R.'s had great flavor from the craft beer batter they were fried in.

Yard House - Fresno on Urbanspoon

Sunday, February 17, 2013

The Squeeze Inn - Sacramento, CA

Lunch 2/11/13

I saw this place on an episode of Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives, and had to try it out while I was in the area.

Squeeze Burger with Cheese - From the picture, you may not be able to tell if there is a burger hidden under there or not. I watched as the cook grilled two patties and then took at full cup of shredded cheddar cheese and topped them. He threw a few ice chips next to the patties and then "domed" the burger. After a few minutes, he took off the dome and what was left was something unique. The patties now had a blanket of melted cheese with plenty of crispy overflow. I enjoyed peeling off the crispy cheese as much as I did the burger itself.

Half of a small fry - What you see below is only a portion of a small order of fries. The fries were fresh, but nothing special. They lacked flavor.

Squeeze Inn on Urbanspoon

Hollywood Cafe - San Francisco, CA

Breakfast 2/17/13

Hollywood Rancheros - This was a special of the day. Two eggs over-medium with homemade tomato spicy sauce, lettuce, mozzarella cheese, avocado, homemade sour cream, and cilantro. This came with a hashbrown patty the size of an iPad Mini. What a fantastic dish! The eggs were amazing and full of southwestern flavor. The hashbrown side was perfectly cooked (crispy on the outside and tender on the inside).

Orangish French Toast - A permanent menu item, and I saw why. Who doesn't like French Toast? Well take your traditional french toast and throw it out the window. Fresh San Francisco Sourdough bread dipped in a Grand Marnier batter and topped with powdered sugar and maple butter. I thought I had died and gone to french toast heaven!

Hollywood Cafe on Urbanspoon

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Beer 39 - San Francisco, CA

Cocktail 2/16/13

Beer 39 Hefewiesen - Clean, crisp taste with a deep unfiltered flavor. If you like wheat beers, you will like this craft.

Prather Ranch Meat Co. - San Francisco, CA

Lunch 2/16/13

Chili Cheese Dog with Bacon - On Saturdays and Sundays in the Spring and Summer the Fisherman's Wharf Market opens up outdoors, and PRMC takes advantage and sets up a hot dog cart outside. This all beef hot dog came with zesty chuck wagon beef and pork chili, cheddar cheese, sour cream, scallions, and crisp bacon. It was one of the best hot dogs I've ever had.

American Eatery at Prather Ranch Meat Company on Urbanspoon

Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Liberty Tavern - Arlington, VA

Dinner 1/31/13

Bread & Butter - First, let me mention that this is not your run of the mill bread and butter. The bread is baked fresh on-site in the restaurant's bakery daily.  Pictured is a sweet dinner roll, a dark molasses bread, and an Italian feather loaf.  The scent of the bread permeates the nostrils! The butter is mixed with locally made Chevre cheese.

Pan Roasted Quail - The pan roasted quail was stuffed with a house blended sausage. It rested atop a bed of smoked collard greens and pomegranates. I don't like collard greens, but these were so good, I couldn't get enough!

DUCK FAT FRIED ONION RINGS - Rich and Tender, these onion rings were delicious.

SMOKED MEYER ALL NATURAL BEEF SHORT RIBS - heirloom carrots, goat milk polenta, porcini butter , red wine pomegranate jus. Tender, beefy goodness!

Cornbread-Crab Pudding -  This was a special request, as it only comes with one menu item and is usually not available a la carte. It's a cupcake made of cornbread and lump crab meat. Do I need to say anymore?

Gingerbread Shortcake - Gingerbread mini pancake puffs made into a whipped cream sandwich. All of it is resting in an apple caramel sauce with pomegranate jelly garnishing the plate.

Liberty Tavern on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Mon Ami Gabi - Reston, VA

Dinner 1/30/12

Escargot - Large snails simmering in garlic butter with a shredded spinach topping.  Very good!

Onion Soup Au Gratin - Flavorful onion broth with caramelized onions and herbs. Homemade bread croutons are soaking underneath the melted gruyere cheese.  Rich and flavorful, albeit a little too salty.

Chicken Grandmere - Half of a roasted chicken with sauteed bacon and mushrooms with a puree of potatoes.  The chicken was moist and had great buttery flavor. The bacon and mushroom medley was spot on, and paired well with the potatoes.

Bananas Foster Crepe - The winner of the night!  It was like eating spoonfuls of heaven! The crepe was enormous and then folded into a rectangle. The maple ice cream complimented the caramel rum sauce (fosters sauce). I recommend this dessert to anyone!

Mon Ami Gabi on Urbanspoon