Saturday, July 30, 2011

Gunk Haus, Highland, NY



I've been hearing about this place for a while, and from some reliable sources, so we decided to pay a visit on a clear summer day. Now the address is Highland, but it is closer to Clintondale. I'll give you the website and you can find directions and other stuff.

Gunk Haus bills themselves as a German Gastropub using local and organic food as much as possible. As a result the menu changes almost daily to reflect what is available and fresh. The beer menu changes as well to reflect pairings and seasonal offerings.



Inside it is fairly large and open with plenty of windows. Unfortunately they don't have shades so some of the tables are in severe sun. The staff is friendly and welcoming and we were seated right away. We did have to move over a table though because of that light.

We looked through the menu and quite a few offerings looked good. After careful deliberation we ordered a side of potato salad (pictured) for an appetizer that was very good with sliced pickles on it.

Teresa decided on the pork tenderloin sandwich, with salad on the side and she said it was good. I was pondering the array of sausage based meals and I finally went with the Haus burger, with smoked gouda on it and the Haus cole slaw instead of fries. I ordered it medium and paired it with a Mother's Milk, a fine Milk Stout from Keegan Ales in Kingston. The burger came on a fresh baked pretzel roll and it was a thick eight ounce burger. When I picked it up juice ran out onto the plate. I bit into it and it looked a bit overcooked. Further investigation found it to be much closer to well done and most of the juices were in my plate. I pointed it out to the waitress and she quickly offered to make another one. I said no, this wasn't bad, and it really wasn't, I only pointed it out so they would know and because this is getting to be an issue with me lately. Every time I order a burger it seems to come out cooked a step or two above what I ask for. Several other people came and apologized as well. The cole slaw was okay, but it needed something, it was a bit flat tasting.

Now we don't do this often, but the five desert offerings looked so good that we saved room for desert. The winner was the cherry and blueberry strudel shown here. It was good and finished off the meal perfectly. In retrospect we should have ordered coffee to go with it, but we inhaled it anyway.

Okay, the bottom line is this; good service, good prices and good food. Out of four dishes we ordered, three were perfect. If something isn't right they take care of it and you can usually customize parts of the meal, like leaving out an ingredient you don't want. The whole thing was forty buck plus tip for two entrees, an extra side, a beer and desert. We'll be back to try them again and that time I'll look into those sausages.

Update- We went back and found it to be as good as the first time, maybe even better. Click here for the review.

Gunk Haus on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Maggie McFly's, Brookfield, CT


We saw a billboard for this place while we were on Rt 84 and the logo looked interesting so we decided to pop in and give it a try today while we were headed to Stew Leonard's. It is just north of Stews, and above the Five Guys across from Costco.

It is big inside with lots of wood and big leather booths. In spite of that, it is bright enough to see and you can eat outside as well. We were seated fairly quickly and presented menus. After some deliberation Teresa chose the lunch Thai Salad, shown here. I debated between the local grass-fed beef burger and the Kobe Burger. I chose the Kobe after the waitress said it was the better choice. Since I didn't try the local grass fed I don't know that it was.




Teresa said the Thai salad was good and I found the burger good as well. I ordered it medium and it was close to somewhere between medium well and well. I have this problem almost everywhere though, there are darn few places that can do a proper medium burger. I also found that the burger was a bit dry, a problem with a lean beef like the Kobe, especially when overcooked. The fries were nice and crispy and the presentation was pretty. The service was a bit slow, especially considering the fact that the place wasn't that busy.

The prices were good though, and they had a good selection of food and beers available. One note, they require proper for gentlemen only, no tank tops, no half shirts and no sleeveless shirts. I guess the ladies can wear whatever they want. They have a website for more information.


Maggie McFly's on Urbanspoon

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Otto's Brauhaus, Horsham, PA


Here's another place we've been passing for quite some time now saying we should stop. The parking lot is always full and a German restaurant can be really good, or really mediocre. Well, today we stopped and answered that question.

The parking lot was crowded, there was a meeting going on in the big room, probably Rotary or Chamber of Commerce, and a few diners in the room we were in. We opted not to eat outdoors, it was too hot. The waitresses are dressed in German dresses and the decor is wood, lots of wood.

Teresa got a chicken wrap and I decided to get some German Soul food, bratwurst with potato pancakes and red cabbage. It was, well a bit bland. Yes, I know that German food is not all that spicy but the brats were veal brats and had little if any flavor. The potato pancakes were too firm and the red cabbage tasted like it came from a jar. It was a bit disappointing, especially when compared to Stoudt's in Lancaster and Chicago Brauhaus.

Overall, I think we'll keep going past Otto's. They have a website for more information.

Otto's Brauhaus on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Chester Springs Creamery


Here's a cool place in Chester Springs, PA, just north of Downingtown on Uwchlan Ave for fresh ice cream. They make it right there and it tastes like it. Good. I had the Joy's Peanut Butter Fudge with hot fudge on it and it was quite good. You can even walk around and see the cows that the cream comes from. They have a website for more information.


Chester Springs Creamery on Urbanspoon

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Fuzzy Peach, Wilmington, NC


The Fuzzy Peach has four locations and the one we visited was the one on Front Street. It's an interesting place. What you do is gab your cup, put in your frozen yogurt, add toppings and have it weighed. They the charge you forty cents an ounce. Be careful, you can add some serious weight if you aren't watching what you're doing.

They have several flavors including; peanut butter, vanilla, chocolate, ginger (my favorite), tart, cookies and cream and more. The topping include fresh fruit, candies, brownie bits, Luck Charms and more. I did find that Skittles isn't good as they freeze and are hard to eat, but the chocolate covered raisons are great frozen.

A fun place for a cool treat. They have a website for more information.


The Fuzzy Peach Frozen Yogurt Bar on Urbanspoon

Copper Penny, Wilmington, NC



See the sign? Kids eat free. Every Monday at the Copper Penny kids eat free after four o'clock. See the other part of the sign? Specialty burgers for $7.99. One of these would be enough to drag me in, but the combination of the two was irresistible. Add to that the fact that my daughter and son-in-law have eaten here and said it was good, and we were there.


The Copper Penny is much larger inside than it looks from the outside. It is long with a large bar and tables, and fairly wide. The walls are full of Phillies and Eagles stuff, as well as beer memorabilia.

I chose the bacon and blue cheese burger, one of my favorites, and I got it with fries even though there were a couple of options. It came cooked perfectly on a fresh roll with plenty of blue cheese. It also came with a small side of cole slaw that was very good. With it I had a Gaelic Ale on tap. They have a large selection of beers and everyday there is a drink special of some kind.

Teresa had a Southwestern burger that she said was good and the kids had their favorites, chicken tenders which they said were good. They even got a Gogurt package on each meal. Mike had a steak sandwich and Sarah got a specialty sandwich wrap.

The service was good and personable. Nice place with good food that is kid friendly and had reasonable prices. We'll be back again. They have a website for more info.


Copper Penny on Urbanspoon

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Old Books on Front Street, Sugar on Front Street, Wilmington, NC


I love book stores and they are fast disappearing and that's tragic. Not just the small local ones, but even the big chains are having trouble competing but that's not all that tragic since they put the squeeze on the independents. Part of the cause is the e-book revolution and while I am a fan of the Kindle, I still love the feel of a book in my hands and I love to browse in a book store.

In Wilmington, NC there is a cool place called Old Books on Front Street and it is run by the delightful Gwenyfar Rohler. They claim to have two miles of books on the shelves and I believe them. It is a used book store primarily (there isn't that musty smell of old books like some used book stores by the way), but they also carry some new books and Killer Cuisine is one of them.

What you may smell is coffee and baked goods because inside the book store there is an independent coffee/bake shop called Sugar on Front Street run by the equally delightful Sam. She makes a nice cup of expresso or regular coffee, and she loves to bake fresh sweets. Delicious sweets.

So what you have is a neat independent book store with an independent coffee shop inside that cares about you and the community. Stop in and browse for a bit and have a coffee and pastry while you're at it. You may become hooked.

They both have facebook pages. Old Books on Front Street and Sugar on Front Street.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Britt's Donuts, Carolina Beach, NC


I have a soft spot for donuts, especially the glazed variety, so when my daughter said the most amazing donuts were in Carolina Beach we had to check it out.

Britt's is on the boardwalk of Carolina Beach, the Redneck Riviera. We found it easy enough and I was looking for a display case or a listing of types of donuts. All there was is a sign with the prices. Eighty-five cents each and on. We liked the $4.25 a half dozen. A woman behind us asked her friend about kinds of donuts and the friend replied, "They don't have kinds, they have a donut." We figured out that there was only one kind and that was glazed, which is the best kind of donut anyway.

At any rate, we got six and ate three each before we even made it to the beach to walk around. Quite probably the best donuts anywhere. Check them out at their website.


Britts Donut Shop on Urbanspoon

Winnie's Tavern, Wilmington, NC


I've heard from some people that I trust, most especially Paul Stephen of Port City Foodies, that this is one of the best burgers in the area so it has been on my short list for quite some time. Today we finally got the opportunity to stop.

Winnie's Tavern is located just south of Wilmington in an industrial area and from the outside it looks like a dive bar. When you get inside you know it is a dive bar. The people are friendly and the bartender acted as if we were long lost friends who'd come over to visit. The people on either side of us were similar. The one fellow next to my wife was talking her ear off like she was a regular.

The menu is very limited, but I knew what I wanted. We both got cheeseburgers, I had bacon on mine. We added grilled onions, lettuce and tomato, all at no extra charge. Now one of the problems with hearing so much good about a place is that you can be in for a serious letdown when you do try it. Not the case here. The burgers came out in about fifteen minutes (this is not fast food) and they looked great. I picked mine up and looked it in the eye, well a burger doesn't have an eye but if it did I would have looked in it, and took a bite. I took a second one right away and I was in agreement with Paul. This is a darn fine burger, one of the best I've ever had and that's saying something. It would have gone real well with a couple of beers, but since I was driving I stuck to iced tea. The fries were okay.

Make sure you bring cash, because that's what they take. You don't have to bring a ton of it though. Two burgers, two iced teas, tax and tip was under sixteen dollars. The guy next to us said he gets a burger and fries along with three beers and with tip he's under twenty bucks. How can you beat that?

No website that I could find, but you can be a facebook friend. One word of caution, they've been getting some good press lately and they may be a bit busy. That's a good thing, we want them to do well. Also, this may not be a place to bring the kids so make it a date night. A cheap date night.

Update- I stopped back for a burger and it was every bit as good as the last one. I also had a nice chat with Dee and I peeked over her shoulder into the kitchen and I saw her secret for making a juicy burger. I won't tell you what it is though, you'll have to go have one there yourself. If you haven't been there yet, what are you waiting for?


Winnies Tavern on Urbanspoon

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Grand Union Pub, Wilmington, NC


Update- This restaurant recently closed to be reopened with a new look, theme and menu. I'll leave the review up anyway.

I'd heard about the Grand Union Pub in Wilmington and that they grind their own meat for the burgers. I figured that meant fresh burgers and that was worth a try so it made my short list of places to visit.

The Grand Union Pub reminds me a bit of a place in London by the same name. Dark wood, leather furniture and memorabilia (books, bottles, old sewing machines, etc). There are also quite a few TVs turned to sporting events. The main difference is that the one in London is bigger and has a dance club above it and another club below it.

We were seated right away at a table in the back. One thing is that it is a bit dark inside, especially with all of the dark wood, and the pictures of the burger isn't all that great. Sorry.



I got the Pittsburgh burger at 10.95 which came with bacon, blue cheese and horseradish sauce. I opted for the sweet potato fries instead of fries, but there were a few other options like tater tots, mac and cheese and cole slaw. The sweet potato fries were a good choice. The burger was good, not great, but good. I ordered it medium and it came a bit closer to medium-well. It was moist and had flavor . . . just not what I was expecting from a place that grinds their own meat.

My son-in-law got the same burger and he was happy with it, he likes his well-done. Teresa got nachos, an appetizer that she had for her meal and there was plenty, my daughter had a sandwich and the kids got two chicken fingers and the burger sliders. Now the kid's options are simple and they cost five bucks. Not bad. The only problem we had was that the chicken fingers were coated in a buffalo flavor before frying (not spicy, but the flavor was there) which for adults would be fine, but not for young children. We pointed this out to the waitress and she had the chef make two orders of regular chicken tenders for us at no charge. The kids inhaled them.

Another caution is that they charge 2.50 for a glass of seltzer water (club soda to some of you) and that's high for carbonated water. I also think we were charged for refills too. The beer selection is good though, I had a Gaelic Ale, so that shouldn't be a problem to many, just those with kids since they also don't have milk.

Service was good, food was good, prices also good, menu limited. It may be better for a couple instead of a family, or a place to have a few drinks and grab something to eat. They have a website for more information.


Grand Union Pub on Urbanspoon

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Indochine, Wilmington, NC


I'd heard quite a bit about Indochine, and it was all good. So when my daughter suggested we go there for a late dinner I readily agreed. Now I'm not a huge fan of Thai and I've never had Vietnamese food, but I like Indian and Chinese. After looking at the menu I saw there is something for everyone.

They have a good beer selection and I ordered a Bellhaven, a Scottish ale and the waitress aproved of my choice. Hearing her accent I could see whay and I placed her as being from somewhere in the British Isles.


I decided to go with three appetizers instead of a full meal as I wanted to try some different things. I had the calamari, shown to the left, and it was crunchy and properly cooked. I also got the dumpling sampler, six different dumplings all excellent, and the Galloping Horses, shrimp wrapped in chicken. All were amazing. Teresa ordered spring rolls and a Satay while Rachel got chicken with peanuts and AJ ordered a shrimp in curry sauce. Every dish was perfect.

The service was excellent, prices reasonable, the food amazing and great atmosphere. We'll be back. They have a website for more information.





















Indochine on Urbanspoon

Steak and Shake


Southbound again and time for food and fuel. We got off Interstate 95 at exit 126 in Virginia to get gas and a bite to eat and there it was glistening in the afternoon sun, the newly built Steak and Shake. Never having been to one we decided to stop in.

There was a crowd and the young man took our name and told us that people drive up two to hours to visit one of their restaurants. I can't think of anyplace I'd drive to hours to get to, but maybe it was that good. We were seated in about five minutes and ordered. Teresa got a cheeseburger and I got the chipotle burger in the picture above. It was five bucks and included some very good fries. I also got a chocolate shake (I know, not too imaginative) for three bucks.

The kitchen is open so you can watch them cook, I like that feature. They have a waiter take your order and deliver it and they give you a glass of water as well. Kind of a retro look, but they have been around since the '30's so maybe they aren't really retro but the styles have caught up to them again.

Bottom line is that the food was excellent and the service matched it. Far and away better than a Mac Shack or a Hardees. I don't think I'd drive two hours to get to one, but given a choice between a Steak and Shake and the other fast food places I'd opt for the Steak and Shake, unless there was a Five Guys nearby.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Station Taproom, Downingtown, PA


We've been meaning to go here for a bit, but they're always busy when we've tried. My son-in-law raves about the Lamb Burger and the Thai Curry. He also pointed out that they have a rather large beer offering as well.

They were offering Fuller's ESB on cask, but I was informed the cask kicked. I went with a double IPA from Great Lakes Brewing and it was quite nice. I followed that with an American Pale Ale from Weyerbacher that was okay. The food menu isn't that extensive, but it seems they do what they do right. I'd rather see a limited menu done well than an extensive menu done mediocre.

Teresa got the Greek salad at $6 and a small plate (rather large plate it turned out to be) of edamame for $5. My daughter had the Black Bean Burger, my son-in-law the Thai Curry and the bay chicken fingers.


I debated the lamb burger, the fish and chips, and the Cuban panini and decided on the duck salad at $13. It was duck cooked to perfection over mixed greens with brie, walnuts, apples, and dried cherries. Very good. Turned out to be a wise choice.

Overall the food was excellent. The restaurant is clean and well decorated with a brick arch separating the small kitchen area from the diners. I like a restaurant that has nothing to hide and allows you to view the chefs cooking. From what I saw it looked like the cooks were enjoying what they did.

They have a website for more information.


Station Taproom on Urbanspoon

Brick House Tavern and Tap, Willow Grove, PA

Kobe Burger

Here's a place we've been passing by for a few years now and always wanted to stop. Two things kept us from doing so though. The first is that we pass by often at night when the parking lot is packed and the second is that we are less than an hour from our destination when we pass by. Today we planned on stopping and at 12:30 on a Sunday afternoon (on July 3rd) the place was almost empty.

It has a sports bar feel inside (TVs all over tuned to sports gave that away) and there is quite a good beer selection, both draft and bottled. They even have a few cask beers and they have some cool sounding drinks mixing beer with other things. For example, the French Kiss which is Blue Moon with champagne.

I looked over the menu and decided on a burger, the question was which one. I decided against the black and blue burger at $9 and went with the Kobe Burger with wagyu beef, sauteed onions, brie, roasted tomato, spring mix, red pepper aioli and a brioche bun for $14. It came with a generous supply of good fries. The kobe beef was good and almost cooked at the medium I requested. The combinations of the other ingredients were very good and brought that lean flavor of the beef out nicely. Teresa had the regular cheeseburger for $8 and she said it was good.

I never knew it was a small chain of about seventeen locations. They have a website for more information, and locations.

Update- We went back a second time and I got the Kobe Burger again. It was just as good as the first time and it was perfectly cooked to the medium I'd ordered. 

Brick House Tavern and Tap on Urbanspoon