Wednesday, July 28, 2010

City Barbeque

I finally had the chance to go to City Barbeque a couple weeks ago. A new location opened up on Glenway by the new Chipotle and Chick-fil-a and I couldn't wait to go try it. When we pulled up to the building, I noticed the HUGE smokers that they had lined up along the back of the building and my mouth started to water.

I went with my wife and she had already been there once and knew how big the sandwiches were so we decided to just split one pulled chicken sandwich (which is a half pound) and then get a bunch of sides. We decided on the hush puppies (which are my favorite), the bacon cheese fries and fried pickles. The total came to around $14 something which I think is a good deal.

We sat outside since it wasn't too hot out and since no one else was sitting out there yet. I grabbed the 6 pack of BBQ sauces and sat at our table. We both used one of the buns and dumped 1/4 of a pound of chicken on top and then started adding our BBQ sauce. I tried about five of them and had three favorites. The three were the Sweet City Sauce, Brush Fire Sauce and the Original Sauce. My favorite out of the three would have to be the Sweet City Sauce. No matter what sauce I put on the chicken, it was all delicious and didn't take me long to finish.

The hush puppies were so good and by far my favorite item of the meal. They were larger than any other puppy I had eaten before. There was just so much flavor in them that I could have eaten a dozen of them.

The bacon cheese fries were of course good. I don't know many things that include cheese and bacon that aren't good. The fries themselves reminded me of the fresh cut fries that Penn Station have and I know that they would have been good on their own.

The fried pickles were a good addition to the meal as well. They didn't taste as good the next morning however (since we had almost half our meal to take home with us), but not many fried things can hold up the next day. But I must say, I did end up finishing them none-the-less.

We were very pleased with our meal and our choices. I can't wait to go back to try more of their meat and different sides. I have a feeling we will be deciding between Chipotle and City Barbeque a lot in the future. If you haven't had it yet, what are you waiting for?!

City Barbeque on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Senate vs. Joe's Diner on Sycamore

I already know what you're thinking, these two restaurants are completely different. Yes I know, that is why I think it will be fun to compare them, especially because I went to them on back to back days. And if nothing else, I think it will really show you what type of eater I am.

(Joe's Diner on Sycamore)

I went to Joe's Diner on Sycamore two days ago for lunch and then I went to Senate today for lunch. Joe's Diner just opened up after being closed down since 2007 (even though their grand opening isn't till August 10th, so the menu might change by then). I think it use to just be called The Diner or something like that. When I walked into the Joe's I was greeted with a friendly smile and was told to sit wherever I wanted. When I walked into Senate I felt out of place right away and was greeted with a straight faced, pretend to be fancy waiter (who even tried saying the word Poutine fancy by mispronouncing it). I was sat right next to another table (seriously within a foot from them even though there were 4 more tables down the row we could have easily sat).


At Joe's I went with their normal burger which ended up being a double and served with a side of onion rings (or fries) all for $5.50. At Senate I ordered the Trailer Park which was a hot dog, a piece of bacon, American cheese and crushed Grippo chips (it sounds like something I would make at home) with no sides and was $9. The burger was a very good diner style burger. It wasn't too thick but was very juicy and filling. The onion rings were some of the best I had ever had and I even topped the burger with two of them.

The hot dog on the other hand was nothing more than a hot dog. I was hoping for $9 that the hot dog would taste better than any other hot dog I had eaten before, but that wasn't the case. It just tasted like a normal hot dog with thick skin. The bacon was very chewy and the American cheese was, well, American cheese. I wish I could have the rest of the Grippos chips that they had left over from my bag that they crumbled since that was the best part of the meal (I love me some BBQ Grippos).

At Joe's I was asked by multiple people how my meal was and was encouraged to not be a stranger when I was checking out. They did a great job at making me feel comfortable and welcome even though it was my first time there. At Senate I did not feel welcome and I don't think I saw anyone who worked there smile the entire time I was there. I even had to ask for ice because the water jug they bring out to the table was room temperature. Maybe that was part of the upscale restaurant vibe they were going for, but I like my water cold.

I just don't get why anyone would ever return to Senate, I would honestly like to hear from a frequent customer of Senate to tell me what I am missing. I just couldn't refer someone to go pay over $10 for a hot dog and a glass of water. This restaurant probably won't be going anywhere anytime soon though because they make a 1000% profit for every meal they make. Obviously it isn't my type of of a place and I get that, but what am I missing? I mean the Poutine was good, but for $10? It is fries, cheese, gravy and a little meat.

Obviously I am more of a diner type than a fancy restaurant, but Senate sells hot dogs, you can't be that nice when you sell hot dogs. So if you want my opinion since that is all this is, I would recommend checking out Joe's Diner on Sycamore and avoiding Senate all together. Let my expensive lunch be your warning.

Joe's Diner on Sycamore on Urbanspoon
Senate on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Willie's Sports Cafe

Willie's has become a second home for my parent's and brother. The fries and pizza are up to par for my little brother and having the small game area right by their special table helps them keep an eye on the kids while they play and run around. Another reason they like it so much, is because it never seems to be crowded. I have never been there when there was a wait and most of the time there are only about 5 other tables filled, so I always wondered how they stay in business.

The food isn't the best, but I usually get their wings, which are a bit on the dry side, but are one of the best things on their menu. Their fries are hit or miss depending on the day you go and who is making them in the back. The pizza is also hit or miss and I have seen all different types of their "plain cheese pizza" which is odd. I have seen it with a ton of cheese, I have seen it with no cheese (which was very strange) and I have seen it burnt and I have seen it cold.

They do have a very long happy hour which if I can remember runs from about 1pm to 7pm. During that you can get some good beer prices and half priced appetizers on certain items, which include the order of 12 wings.

I only go when I meet my family there, which is plenty enough for me. I would never choose to go on my own since there are a ton of places that I rather go to get wings, like right up the street at Buffalo Wild Wings or Hot wings or Wild Mike's. If you have never been there, you aren't missing out on much. But if you want to grab some beers and a burger or wings and you don't want to have to wait for a table or be in a loud place, then Willie's would be perfect for you.

Willie's Sports Cafe on Urbanspoon

Romeo's Pizza

Romeo's Pizza is a chain that recently has opened two locations in Cincinnati. They are mainly from Cleveland and Columbus, but I am glad they made their way down to Cincinnati. For some reason, they opened up their second location right next to my house on Delhi Pike. Don't get me wrong, I am very glad they did, but Delhi Pike has been struggling ever since I can remember. But that is neither here nor there, let's get to the food.

They opened up the restaurant on June 30th, we heard of them through an ad we got in the mail. We have already ordered from there twice in 3 weeks of them being open, which is a lot for us. The first time we just got a large traditional pepperoni pizza since we had a coupon for $9.99. The pizza was very good and FINALLY my wife and I agree on a pizza place. Before this, I always wanted Papa Johns and she always wanted Larosa's. Of course our picks were each others least favorite pizza places around. So now we have a go-to pizza place that we both can enjoy.

The pizza itself was good for all the pizza reasons. The crust was awesome, the sauce was delicious (a bit sweet, which you can really notice the next morning when you eat it cold) and the cheese was very good. If I had to compare it to any other chain around, I would have to compare it to the Pizza Hut, but it definitely is better than Pizza Hut and a lot less greasy. I don't know what it was that reminded me of Pizza Hut's pizza other than the overall taste, but deciding between Pizza Hut, Papa John's, Larosa's, Donato's, Domino's, etc ... it most resembles Pizza Hut. The final test was that Grace, my 3 year old, also enjoyed it and ate at least 2 pieces.

The second time we got Romeo's was just last night and we had a coupon for a Large 1 Topping pizza, Extreme Cheese Bread and a 2 Liter of Pepsi for $14.99. This time we went with the "thincredible" pizza crust and we got half pepperoni and half pineapple. Honestly, I liked the traditional crust more. The thin crust wasn't that much thinner, but it felt like there was less pizza and it was cut into small squares which I like the regular pizza slice better.

The Extreme Cheese Bread was very good and didn't even need to be dipped in anything, even though they serve it with marinara sauce. The bread was even good the next morning for breakfast, still soft and flavorful. Couldn't complain about anything either time we ordered there.

We will definitely become regulars at this pizza place (if we aren't already) and can't wait to try some of their award winning pizzas or subs. I also want to try out their wings, so obviously we have a lot of work ahead of us and I am sure I will be doing another blog about this place down the road. If you haven't checked it out yet and you are in the Delhi or West Chester area, I would highly recommend it.

Romeo's Pizza on Urbanspoon

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Aretha Frankensteins

I have been holding on to this restaurant review for awhile even though it is one that I talk about a lot. It was on our last day of our vacation on our last stop in Chattanooga. The place is called Aretha Frankensteins and the reason we went is because Urbanspoon had it ranked as the best place breakfast place to go to in Chattanooga. And after eating there, I can see why it is ranked number one.

While driving to try and find it, I was worried that our Garmin was lost again. We ended up in a little neighborhood with houses that reminded me of being in a college town, with older houses with great character. We had "reached our destination" and we were still on the same small street. But low and behold, we looked over and there it was, just another one of the small houses with character, but with a sign saying Aretha's and people relaxing on the front porch and down below on a concrete patio.

We parked on the street and walked over to the "house" with our two young kids and tried to figure out if we should seat ourselves or wait to be seated. Since no one was coming to our rescue, I asked a local and they told us we can sit where ever, the only problem was that there wasn't a 4 person table anywhere. There were bar stools around the bar inside and all along the wrap around front porch, but our baby would have had a hard time balancing himself on the stool, so we decided to wait. We got there at the worst time, there was no line, but there was just enough people there that we were the odd men out. Finally when people left, about 3 tables became available at the same time, so we chose our best option and sat down.

We had been looking over the menu already and knew what we wanted to get. I got the sausage, egg and cheese biscuit and home fries while Joanna and the kids got some french toast and bacon to share. I actually think Joanna got something else too, but I cannot remember what it was.

My biscuit sandwich was very good and very big. The biscuit itself was amazing and having them cover the entire thing with melted cheese just took it over the top. The home fries didn't really stand out in my mind, but they were still good.

But what makes me want to go back and visit Chattanooga was the French Toast. It was soooo good. I have never even been a fan of french toast because it is usually just really soggy and not that good, but that was not the case here. At Aretha's you could really taste the cinnamon and it was almost cake like. It was not mushy and stayed together even after dousing it with syrup even though you didn't need any. It is hard to explain it, you'll just have to make a trip down there to try it, you won't regret the 5 hour trip. While you're down there, head to The Terminal Brewhouse the night before and wake up for Aretha's the next morning, and request the bed at the Sheraton :D

I had already cut up the french toast for Grace, so I don't have a picture of it in full form.

The only downfalls of this place is the service, it was hard to find much since there seemed to only be about 2 or 3 people working. The wait they couldn't do much about, but it did take awhile to get our food, but it might have seemed even longer because we had two young, whiny kids that just wanted to get home. I would have not minded relaxing and waiting for my food if it was just Joanna and me. And that is exactly what a lot of the over night nurses were doing, some with beer in hand.

I would love to take a trip back down to Chattanooga with a small group of friends, I think it would be a blast. Let me know if you ever go down there and try this place out.

Aretha Frankensteins on Urbanspoon

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Mac's Pizza Pub

I can't believe that I had never heard or even seen Mac's Pizza Pub for how many times I have been to Clifton and especially in that area. It is right across the street from Penn Station on W McMillan Street (which could be the reason I have never seen it since I am always starring at Penn Station). After not being able to find any parking on the street, we found some parking in a metered parking lot for 12 minutes for every quarter we put into it up to 8 hours. The group I went with and myself didn't realize till after we were done eating that they actually have a parking lot designated for their restaurant and the King Wok right behind the building. So next time, because there will be a next time, we will know to just park in the back for free without trying to find anything on the street.

We headed inside to a pretty empty restaurant, I think I only saw one or two tables filled and then a few at the bar. We missed the big sign on the floor telling us to seat ourselves, but we eventually figured it out. I did notice before even coming in and then again all over the walls the amount of beer specials they had. Since we were at a work lunch, I decided not to take advantage of these specials, but it did make me want to come back and try some of the beers they had. They also had some food specials as well, including their 7 for $7 menu. This menu was a list of 7 choices that were all, you guessed it, $7. I don't remember them all, but I do remember one was a Sam Adams beer and 8 wings, another was a specialty burger, fries and a soda and another one was a meatball hoagie, any toppings and a soda. We didn't get any of these deals today.

Instead, we decided to split two medium pizzas and we also ordered some onion rings and loaded fries for some appetizers. It was way too much food for us to put down. We still have close to an entire medium pizza left. We got the Mac-Attack Pizza (with jalapenos and spicy beef) and their Meat Lovers Pizza (with pep, ham, sausage and bacon). I liked the Meat Lovers more, but the Mac-Attack was very good, just more spicy than I cared for.

The onion rings were some of the best I have ever had. The breading was perfect and the onion didn't all come out when you took your first bite into it. And the loaded fries were awesome. They have their "famous" waffle fries and they load them up with cheese and REAL bacon. The appetizers were my favorite part of the meal, but I love bar food like that. If I could have had a couple of beers with the appetizers, I think I would have been set and left a very happy man.

The reason we ended up going to Mac's today was because of a Groupon I got for $20 worth for food for $10 and I am glad we went. With or without a coupon, we will be back. The service was extraordinary (maybe because we were the only people in there) and our waiter treated us like regulars. They seemed very interested in what we thought of the food and wanted to make sure we had the best experience possible. I have definitely found my new favorite pizza and beer restaurant (and I actually can't wait to try out the burgers and sandwiches they also serve).

Mac's Pizza Pub on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Ludlow-Bromley Yacht Club

Over the weekend I took my wife to see a movie on the levee and then we headed to Ludlow-Bromley Yacht Club which is ON the River. When I think of a place on the river, I think of a place like the cabana bar or hooters, but neither of those places are LITERALLY on the river. It took some time getting use to sitting at our table while waves would take us up and down and up and down. I didn't know if I could handle the movement, but I soon got use to it. It was strange because I never get motion sick and I love being on a boat. I think it was because I didn't expect it and possibly because I was very hungry.

We ordered up an appetizer and a bucket of beers. We got Potato "Chips" instead of skins, loaded with cheese and bacon. They were so good and hit the spot. They were thinner cut than potato skins which I thought was better because it was less potato and more cheese and bacon. Next time I could probably just get some of those and their onions straws and drink some beers and call it a night.

I got a beer battered cod while my wife got the grilled grouper (which I should have gotten, I was even told by our waiter to order the grouper). Mine was good, pretty basic, but I couldn't complain. I got the chips that come with the sandwich and my wife got the onion straws knowing that we would share both. The chips were just your basic lays potato chips, nothing fancy, but the onion straws were delicious. I am yet to have bad onions straws though. These weren't as stringy as the boathouse's onion straws and they weren't as thick as white castle's onions pedals. They were more like french fries and they were very good.

We got there around 7PM and we sat ourselves pretty close to the river. Live music starts at 9PM and they are open till 2AM every night. I would love to go back with a group of friends to just sit out by the river and drink some beers and order up some appetizers. I don't know if I would ever really go there just for their food, but the whole experience is awesome. Can't get much better of a view and it is very calming (once you get use to the movement of course). We didn't stay for the music, so I am not sure what kind it would have been. I do know that you need to bring cash or you will be stuck with a $3 ATM fee to get some cash out. But even with the $3 fee and tip, we left with only spending $43 for the two of us.

I am excited to have a new place to go to that is outside with a view and I am glad the prices are a lot cheaper than the cabana bar. We will be sure to be back and next time it will be later in the evening so I'll let you know how the music is.

Ludlow-Bromley Yacht Club on Urbanspoon