Sunday, August 23, 2015

Clyde's- Washington, DC


Clyde's Restaurant group runs about fourteen places in the greater Capital Region, each one with a unique flair to match the setting. We went to the Clyde's of Gallery Place on 7th Street, near the Verizon Center. It has the pleasant feel of a private sporting club from a century ago with high ceilings, dark wood, and pictures of presidents. The kind of place that makes you feel like you should be wearing a jacket and tie, yet casual enough to wear shorts and a shirt. 

The service was excellent and after perusing the menus we decided on burgers. I went with a bacon and blue cheese with fries and Teresa ordered a cheeseburger with a cucumber salad as her side. The burgers were excellent. They were cooked just right and properly seasoned, well worth the fourteen bucks for each. Next time I think I will go with the shrimp and grits.   

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Positalia- Wilmington, NC


Positalia is a cool new, and locally owned, place in the Mayfaire Mall, near Five Guys. The concept is interesting, you choose from a wrap, a pasta bowl, or a salad and add your meat. Then choose a sauce and some toppings and they assemble it while you wait. Okay, this sounds a bit like an Italian version of Chipotle, but it is much better. 

I went with the piadini, a wrap, and added sausage, onions and peppers, marinara sauce, cheese, more peppers, and some other things for $7.35. It was quite good and everything tasted fresh. Teresa and Rachel went with pasta bowls in different combinations, and they were quite happy. For the baby we got a side of meatballs. 

I can see this restaurant doing well, and there is a huge potential for expansion as the concept is different and interesting. If you are in the area stop by sometime and see for yourself. 

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Front Street Brewery- Wilmington, NC

Front Street Brewery is the oldest brewery in town, close to twenty years old, and I have been there a few dozen times. The food is good, and cheap, and it is a fun place. This time I stopped by to take a closer look at the beer and see how they stack up against the newcomers in town.


I went with a flight and it had the Port City IPA at 6.1%, the Amberjack ESB at 4.5%, the Dram Tree Scottish Ale at 7.25%, and the Iron Horse Pale Ale at 5.1%. All were good, but my two favorites were the Port City IPA, which has a nice clean taste and just the right amount of hops, and the Dram Tree, perhaps the finest Scottish I have had. These two are what I usually have when I go there. My favorite memory of the Dram Tree is from a couple of years ago when I was doing a book signing down the street and walked down to Front Street in my kilt and had a quick pint. No one batted an eyelash.


So Front Street is the oldest, and in that time they have gotten it right. Stop by for a pint sometime.  

Ironclad Brewery- Wilmington, NC



Ironclad Brewery is a large place on North 2nd Street and you can tell they put some thought, and some money, behind the design. There are two large bars and a stage on the first floor and an upstairs. We stopped by on a Monday afternoon and practically had the place to ourselves, which was nice because the bartender spent the time talking with us about the beer. She made a few recommendations and we decided to order flights.


I went with the Fish Tale Pale Ale at 5.9%, the Coffee Porter at 7%, the White Squall Brown Ale at 6.2%, and the Roggenbier at 7.9%. All were excellent, but my favorite was the Fish Tale which had a nice clean taste and just the right amount of hops. My two son-in-laws were with me and they made similar choices, and comments.


Overall, a neat place with very god beer, nice ambiance, and friendly people. They don't serve food here though.    

Flytrap Brewing- Wilmington, NC

Flytrap Brewing is a small place on Walnut and when we stopped by they only had two of their own beers on tap, so there was no need for doing a flight. There was a Saison at 6.8 and the Rehder's Red at 5.4. I went with the Red as it was recommended and it was good. I'll stop by again sometime to see what else they offer. 

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Pho Vietnam- Danbury, Ct


I only recently discovered Vietnamese food, and it is becoming one of my favorite foods. Today I discovered the Pho Vietnam Restaurant in Danbury and it could easily become my new favorite restaurant.  The food is amazing, the service excellent, the prices reasonable, and the ambiance is nice.

It is small, and they get busy. We were there on a Thursday afternoon and after we were seated every table was full, with a couple of people waiting for seats. The decor is simple, a mix of French Colonial and Asian. 


We looked over the menus and decided to share a lemongrass roll at nine bucks. When it arrived I was surprised at the size. There were three large rolls and it could easily be enough for a meal. When I tasted it I was amazed. There were multiple flavor notes coming through, the predominate one being cilantro (my favorite herb) and a mix of mild heat and cooling crispness. Delightful. 


I decided on the Pho Shore, which had shrimp and calamari, at eleven bucks for the medium size. The large was two bucks more, but that would have been too much food. The noodles were perfect, the broth had a wonderfully light and refreshing taste, yet was hearty enough. The fish was just right, and this is difficult when making a fish soup as the shrimp and calamari can continue to cook from the time it is plated to when eaten. This fish was perfect. I was full after eating this, yet I felt great and not stuffed. 


Teresa went with the vegetable stir fry at twelve bucks and she liked it a lot. I tasted, and it was far better than any I have ever tried. It tasted fresh and was lighter than in a Chinese restaurant. 

I can see why they are so busy. They have a website for more information. Check them out sometime. 

Monday, July 27, 2015

Buddy's Burgers, Breasts, and Fries- Exton. Pa


Buddy's Burgers, Breasts, and Fries has four locations, West Chester, Media, Kennet Square, and the one in Exton that we went to. 

I ordered the 'Olive the way you move' burger at $6.75 which was a double patty burger on a Martin's bun. It had taziki sauce, cucumbers, lettuce, tomato, onions, and olives. The overall taste was burger meets gyro, and it worked quite well. My only complaint is the aluminum foil presentation. While this keeps in the heat and prevents a mess in the bag for take-away orders, it also allows the moisture to saturate the bun making for a messy burger even when eaten in. That said, it was a very good burger.

The hand cut fries were excellent, crispy on the outside and soft in the middle. They have malt vinegar, as well as about a dozen different hot sauces. 


I would try them again. They have a website for more information. 

Sunday, July 19, 2015

South Beach Grill- Wrightsville Beach


South Beach Grill sits in one of the busiest sections of Wrightsville Beach in a former bank building. They have been there for 17 years and their cuisine is Southern beach casual. We went after church and found a parking spot in their small private lot. There was a nice breeze, so we opted for dining on the patio. 

After looking through the menu I went with the Rueben at nine bucks, even though the shrimp and grits looked interesting. It was a darn good Rueben. There was just the right balance of lean meat, cheese, sauerkraut, and dressing on a wonderfully toasted (read that as having lots of butter on it) bread. 

Teresa got the Makers Mark salad at nine bucks. It was spinach, blue cheese, apples, and pecans. She was quite pleased with it. 


Nice place, friendly service, good food, and reasonable prices. I can see what they have been around for so long. Stop by sometime when you are on Wrightsville Beach. They have a website for more information. 

Friday, July 17, 2015

Wilmington Brewing Company


Next stop on the Wilmington Beer Trail was a visit to Wilmington Brewing Company on Kerr Ave. They started out as a small homebrew shop a few years ago and have grown to a 11,800 square foot facility. They still have a large homebrew supply section, and a nice bar area with a whole lot of beers on tap. 


They do not offer flights, but they are happy to let you sample any beer you want, so I tried three. First up was Blair's Breakfast Stout which weighed in at 7%. It was one of the finest Breakfast Stouts I have tasted and I took some home. Next up was the JalapeƱo IPA. Nice and clean with a touch of heat. Last I tried the Sneaky Goose, a double IPA weighing in at 9.6%. I stopped there because I was driving, even though the samples were small. They do offer a short glass for about three bucks and that would be the best way to sample a few as the small samples don't really reveal the full flavor of the beer. 


So I opted for a crowler (can/growler) of the Blair's Breakfast stout. Now the crowler is something new, and cool. It is a 32 ounce can that they fill from the tap and pop a top  on. Next it goes onto the machine shown below where it is spun (you can see that in the photo) and sealed. A quick wipe off and it is labeled. Since the crowler is two pints, they just charge you for two pints of beer, in this case twelve bucks. 


I don't know what the shelf life is, but that didn't matter in this case as I popped the top as soon as I got back to the house. It has a nice taste, a hint of smokiness, and holds up well. Again, one of the finest breakfast stouts this writer has sampled. Next time I am going with an IPA, and maybe a few others.


They have a website for more information. Check them out, I know I will be there a few more times.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Bento Box- Wilmington, NC


Bento Box is in the Forum on Military Cutoff. We stopped by on a Thursday evening and while the interior is nice and well appointed, we decided to sit outside. 

After perusing the menu I decided on the Vietnamese ginger beef at sixteen bucks. It was quite good with nice flavor notes. Teresa went with the Bun Vietnamese noodle salad at eleven bucks and it was also excellent. Our daughter and son-in-law had the vegetable tempura and Japanese fried chicken and they were pleased as well. 


I would go again. They have a website for more information. 

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Michael's Seafood Restaurant- Carolina Beach, NC


Coming back from Carolina Beach to run an errand I stopped off at Michael's Seafood restaurant for a quick bite. It is a nice place with friendly service and reasonable prices. I went with the fried oyster Po'Boy at nine bucks. It was quite good. My son-in-law had a tuna melt that he said was good as well. 

They have a website for information, menus, and directions. 

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

La Costa- Wilmington, NC


La Costa has a few location in the Wilmington area, we stopped by the one on Market Street in Porter's Neck. I was truly impressed as it was more authentic, and delicious, Mexican food at really good prices.

I had the shrimp tacos, under ten bucks, that came loaded with fresh shrimp. My wife had a combination platter, and my daughter got the fajita special. All three came to thirty bucks and all three were excellent. Service was good too. Stop by and see what I mean.


Monday, July 13, 2015

Good Hops Brewing- Carolina Beach, NC


There has been an explosion of micro-brewers in the Wilmington area over the past year or so and visiting them all looked like a nice little summer project. First stop on the beer trail was Good Hops Brewing on Dow Road in Carolina Beach with my son-in-law Allen. 

They have been around for about a year now, longer if you count their affiliation with Lookout Brewing in Western NC. When we stopped by on a Monday afternoon they had four of their own beers on tap, as well as three guest taps. 


We sampled all four of their brews and they were all quite good. The smoked ale had a nice taste that almost reminded me of a hint of bacon. I was assured that there was no bacon in it though. The Boardwalk Brown was one of the best brown ales I have tasted. The Pleasure Island Pilsner, and I am not a pilsner fan, was excellent and could make me a convert. It had a nice crisp taste. The Golden Ale was also good.  


After introducing myself, and telling them that I was going to write an article, we got a private tour of the facility. I was quite impressed. It was clean and had room for expansion, something they need to do as they are having trouble keeping up with the demand from local restaurants. 


The brewery does not sell food, so that allows them to be dog friendly and they are family friendly too. Don't worry, you can bring your own food with you and people have even had a pizza delivery come for them. No distracting televisions here, but they do have board games, a nice outdoor area, and friendly people. 


There are even plans to take the back area and turn it into a hall for parties and weddings. 


We decided to take home some beer and each bought a quart. I went with the Pilsner and Allen with the Smoked Ale. What they do is charge you for the two pints and add a buck for the mason jar. Cheap since the plisner was only three bucks a pint. 


Okay, first stop on the beer trail was a winner. Go there and see for yourself. They have a website for directions and information.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Fork n Cork- Wilmington, NC


Fork n Cork sits on Market Street, near the Dixie Grill. It is a small place and is well appointed with  plenty of wood and brick. We got there on a Saturday night and they were packed. The hostess took our name and phone number and said she would call us when a table became available. In less than fifteen minutes we got a call and headed back to be seated at the bar. 

I had heard that their burgers are quite good so I decided on the Hot Mess which had bacon, jalapeƱos, grilled onions, blue cheese, cheddar, lettuce and tomato on a brioche bun for eleven bucks. It came with house cut fries. I decided to pair it with a Dirty Bastard from Founders. The burger was excellent and all of the ingredients married perfectly.


Teresa went with the special burger, the MoRockStar, at fourteen bucks. It was a turkey burger with mint, cumin, coriander, paprika, cheddar, cherry-olive chutney, mustard green, and sweet potato fries. She switched out the regular fries for a side salad for an extra two bucks. I had a taste and it was amazingly good. 

Overall, a cute place with very good food and service. We'd go back and I suggest you try them sometime. They have a website for more information. 

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Halligan's Public House- Wilmington, NC


Halligan's has two locations. One is on the Masonboro Loop and the other, the one we went to, is in Lumina Station on the way to the beach. The main reason we decided to go was that my wife did some research for a cheap place to take a bunch of people. She found that they offer half-priced burgers on Monday. That was enough for me to make the decision. 

The restaurant is nice inside, big and open with a huge bar. It was a perfect day so we ate outside. The service was excellent. 

I decided on the black and blue, cajun seasoned and topped with blue cheese. It came out on a nice fresh kaiser roll with some of the best fries I have had in the area. At the regular price of ten bucks it was a darn fine burger. At the five bucks I paid it was an amazing burger.

The rest of our orders were equally good. It was the same price to get the kids a regular burger as it would have been for a kids meal. Five adults and two kids ate for under $45. 


We will defiantly be headed back, and you should try them. They have a website for more information.