Monday, December 30, 2013

Nine Bakery and Lounge- Wilmington, NC

Lump Crab Benedict

9 Bakery and Lounge is located at 9 South Front Street in Wilmington, hence the catchy name. It has been on my short list since last summer and I finally had the chance to go there for brunch with two of my daughters, their husbands, my son and my mother-in-law. 

It was a warm day in late December and the restaurant was about half-full when we got there. It is well appointed inside with a spacious feel and there is a second floor loft with seating as well.  The seven of us were seated by a window and given menus. 


I pondered long and hard on my choice. The lump crab Benedict, the shrimp and grits, and the burger were my top choices. I decided on the burger and had them add gorgonzola in place of the goat cheese. It was cooked to the proper medium which I'd ordered and it was well-seasoned with salt, pepper and onion. Overall a nice flavored burger with excellent crispy fries.

My son-in-law got the lump crab Benedict with grits as his side and I tasted it. I found it to be quite good, both the Benedict and the grits. The rest of my party had a sampling of omelets and my daughter had the black bean burger which she said was excellent.

Overall, a nice dining experience, a bit slow on the service but not overly so. The food was good and the prices reasonable. I'll be going back for dinner the next time we're down.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Fuddruckers- Myrtle Beach

I like Fuddruckers and we've been to a couple in Jersey so when we passed one in Myrtle Beach we decided to pop in. It was similar to the others with an open seating area.

I got the Southwestern burger with guacamole, Swiss and bacon in the one-third pound size and I added fries. I ordered it medium and they cooked it a nice medium. It was fresh tasting meat cooked just right on a fresh roll. The fix in's bar allows for tomato, peppers and pickles, as well as melted cheese for the fries. In Jersey they give free refills on the fries, but not here. 

Overall, a nice burger and consistent with other visits. 

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Izumi Fusion- Fishkill, NY

Sushi Regular
Izumi Fusion is in the Westgate Center in Fishkill, right near Sam's Club and we've passed by it for quite some time. We stopped by today for lunch and it was okay. 

I got the Sushi Regular, shown above, which consisted of seven pieces of sushi and a California Roll for seventeen bucks. The fish was good, but nothing special and even with the miso soup and salad it was a tad overpriced. Teresa had the vegetable hibachi at thirteen bucks which was quite good and included a clear soup and a salad. 

The service was good and the ambiance was that neo-asian look with blue lighting. I would go again.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Carbonella's Coal Fired Pizza- Middletown, NY

My neighbor Sam went here and his whole family was raving about how good it was, so when we passed by today we decided to stop and see for ourselves. To make a long story short, Sam was right and now I'm raving about it. 

We were trying to decide what to get and debated between two personal pizzas, a main dish, or a pizza and a calzone. The Capricciosa Pizza with prosciutto, artichoke hearts, mozzarella,  plum tomatoes, basil and kalamata olives along with a cheese calzone won out. The calzone was good, the pizza was amazing. The coal fired oven gave a crispy crust and the combination of ingredients gave a nice salty flavor. 

Capricciosa Pizza
Overall, very good food at reasonable prices and good service. Stop by sometime and see for yourself. We'll definitely be going back to try some more pizzas.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Liberty Public House- Rhinebeck, NY

Rhinebeck NY is a cute town that I haven't been to in years so today we decided to take a drive up after furniture shopping in Poughkeepsie. It was interesting to see that the small village has become gentrified, or perhaps yuppified and that there is a plethora of restaurants. Instead of doing prior research we freestyled a bit (okay, I stole that term from American Pickers) by walking up the main drag and looking at the menus posted in some of the restaurants, I love it when restaurants do that. Well, the one that peaked my interest was the Liberty Public House and I was going to either get the burger or the fish and chips. 

Cheese and corn bread with jalapeño butter.
We went in and were asked if we wanted to eat in the pub or the dining room. Looking at both we decided on the pub side as it seemed quainter and more eclectic with all of the artifacts (some real and some replicas) from the turn of a few centuries. It looked like some of the places I've seen in Alexandria, Va. with a warm colonial feel. The main dining room was brighter and decorated in early Americana. I think the building dates back to around 1860.

They brought us some cool cheese bread with a jalapeño butter and a bottle of cold water for the Mason jars on the table. We looked over the menus, listened to the specials, and made our decisions. 

Cornbread oysters
I started with the cornbread oysters at ten bucks. There were four perfectly cooked Blue Point oysters, creamy on the inside with a crispy cornmeal coating and fresh tasting. My only comment is that they were sitting on the remoulade sauce, a good sauce mind you, and as a result the sauce was a bit overpowering. I would have preferred the sauce on the side to dip.

Shrimp and Grits
For my entree I chose the garlic and spicy shrimp with hominy grits at eighteen bucks. Now you who are regular readers will know that I spent some time in Charleston (the best was at Magnolia's) and Wilmington (the best was at The RX) this summer sampling shrimp and grits, and that I've been reasonably successful in creating my own interpretation. As a result, I think I have a pretty good feel for what a good shrimp and grits is. This dish was an interesting, and amazing, interpretation of shrimp and grits, especially this far north of the Mason-Dixon Line.

The grits were perfectly cooked with just the right balance of creaminess and grittiness, al dente as Joe Pesci would say in My Cousin Vinnie. The shrimp were fresh, large, and plentiful with no fishy taste at all. I just wish they, and all other restaurants for that matter, would remove the tails before cooking as it makes them messy to eat. The sauce was amazing with sliced garlic, some heat and some sweet to it. I could taste some onions and it seemed to have a pimento base. Overall it was great and I wish I had some now as I write this.

Teresa ordered one of the specials, a ravioli dish. When it came she commented that it was very oily and that it had no taste. Now what happened next is what separates a good restaurant from the great. Our waitress, and I am sorry that I forget her name as she was awesome, noticed that something was wrong and she immediately offered to replace the dish with anything Teresa wanted. She said she wanted her to be happy. After looking over the menu again Teresa ordered a stir-fried vegetable dish over brown rice which was very quickly brought out. It was very good and piping hot and she was pleased with it. 

So overall, the bill was forty-five bucks for two entrees and an appetizer, tax included. The food was excellent, the ambiance charming and the service impeccable. Go there sometime and see for yourself.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Smashburger- Ramsey, NJ

New Jersey Burger
This has been on the short list for some time now and today was the day to try Smashburger. Now at first glance one might think "Five Guys rip-off," but after trying them I found that they are different, and perhaps better. They are definitely competing against Five Guys, as well as Jake's Wayback, In-and-out, Steak and Shake, and more and doing a good job of it.  The Smashburger chain has over five hundred locations, was started in Denver Colorado by Tom Ryan. 

The Ramsey staff was friendly and helpful, and the restaurant was clean and bright. I ordered the New Jersey Burger, they have a regional burger in every market, which had bacon, blue cheese, grilled onions and onion straws on an onion roll. I got the regular which weighed in at 1/3 of a pound instead of the 1/2 pound large. The regular was a perfect size for an amazing burger. The meat was very good and the combination of ingredients went well together. Teresa ordered a regular cheeseburger which came with onions and she was quite pleased. 

We shared an order of sweet potato fries, some of the best I've tasted, and we also shared a shake. Actually we didn't have to share as they split the shake into two glasses for us which was a nice touch. 

Overall, we spent twenty bucks for two burgers, some sweet potato fires and a milk shake and we left full. The service was excellent and the restaurant clean. We'll be back a few times and so should you. 

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Sushi Village- Poughkeepsie, NY

Sushi with a fish-eye lens

My brother-in-law has been raving about Sushi Village for some time now so we decided to stop by and try them.  It's a small, unassuming restaurant that serves all-you-can-eat sushi for twenty-one bucks. I wasn't all that hungry so I ordered the sushi and sashimi lunch at thirteen dollars. It came with four sushi, four sashimi and a spicy tuna roll with a small salad and miso soup. It was very good indeed, some of the best I've had anywhere. 

Teresa doesn't like sushi so she went with noodles and chicken. It was okay, but nothing special and she said she should have had the hibachi. Next time.

Overall, excellent sushi at good prices. The service is a bit odd, the sushi came out to me a good ten minutes before the cooked food arrived, but they were friendly enough. We'll be headed back sometime soon, but this time I'm going with a few people who like sushi and getting the all-you-can-eat special. 

Monday, October 14, 2013

Poughkeepsie Ice House Revisited

Fish and Chips

We first hit the Poughkeepsie Ice House in February of this year, you can check out the original review here, and we really liked it. So today was a beautiful October day and we decided we wanted to eat outside on the river and the Ice House immediately sprung to mind. It turned out to be an excellent choice as they were as good as the last visit and the view of the river was amazing. 

Chicken Caprese Panini

My original thought was to have the Bridge Music Burger again, but as I was reading the menu a plate of fish and chips passed by on the way to a neighboring table and that made my decision. I was not disappointed as the fish was nice and moist with a crispy crust (they were battered with Mother's Milk Stout) and the fires were really good. Teresa went with the Chicken Caprese Panini and she said it was good. Both meals totaled out at $25, plus tax and tip. 

It's nice to see that they have maintained the quality they started with and we will definitely be going back. 

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Olive Garden- Middletown, NY

Endless salad bowl
I don't usually do chain restaurants, and I haven't been to one in a very long time. It's been even longer since I've been to an Olive Garden. What brought us in this time was the special wherein one orders and entree for $12.99 and gets a second entree to take home. You also get either an unending salad bowl or soup with breadsticks. Add to that the fact that we used to really like Olive Garden and went there often with the kids when they were younger. 

On entering we were seated immediately, there were plenty of empty tables, and given menus. I looked around and observed that the decor looked a bit stale and dated. It was clean, except for the silverware which we asked to be replaced, but tired looking. Our waitress was friendly, and efficient. We looked over the menus and decided to go with the specials. 

Five-cheese ziti al forno

I ordered the five-cheese ziti al forno for my entree and the smoked chicken with roasted peppers over pasta to take with me. The Ziti was a bit undercooked for me, I do like al dente but this was a tad underdone to even call it that. The cheese and sauce was clumpy and bland. It actually tasted as if someone had opened a frozen dinner, plopped it on a plate, and popped it in a microwave. The chicken dish was my lunch the next day and it was marginally better, but still like a frozen dish. Just a frozen dish from a better manufacturer. 

Mezzaluna ravioli

Teresa got the mezzaluna ravioli, one to eat there and one to take home. I tasted it and it was better than my ziti, but not by much. 

My overall impressions? The service was good and the prices of the specials dirt cheap. The ambiance was faded and tired, yet reasonably clean. The food, however, was lacking. I would call it pedestrian, but that would be pretentious. Perhaps it could be better described as a sanitized and Americanized version of Italian food created to be non-offensive and safe for the weak of palate. Or perhaps simply what many Americans consider to be Italian food, not bad, but not really good either. You will leave full, but not satisfied.

Now I remember why we avoid chain restaurants. 

Monday, September 30, 2013

Camaje Bistro and Lounge- Greenwich Village

I like French cuisine and I'm a sucker for restaurants with the name bistro or brasserie in them, especially ones with atmosphere. That said, Teresa, our friend Lisa, and I were headed down to Greenwich Village to attend a play written by a friend and of course I got to decide where to eat. Now that is a rather daunting task given the number of restaurants on MacDougal Street alone so I narrowed it down to three and looked at the menus online, finally deciding on The Camaje Bistro. We made reservations at noon, their opening time, and arrived about twenty minutes early as traffic was light.

We were greeted by a woman who was getting the restaurant ready, she turned out to be Abigail Hitchcock, the chef-owner, who allowed us to wait on the couch in the front of the restaurant until she was ready to open. The restaurant is small, seating maybe fifty or so, and rustic, with a tile floor. Plenty of simple European charm and atmosphere. The tables are close in the style of a French bistro.   
Eggs Benedict

Since it was a Sunday they were serving brunch so I had to miss on the Kobe burger, but after a few minutes I decided on the eggs benedict with Atlantic Char, as did Lisa. Teresa ordered the crepe with wild mushrooms and gruyere. We also ordered two sides, the pommes frites and the smoked mac and cheese. Teresa said the crepe was good and Lisa and I both enjoyed the eggs. The mac and cheese was indeed smokey, perhaps some smoked gouda in it, and the pommes frites were quite nice as well.
Banofee Pie
When it came time for desert we decided to splurge a bit and ordered two to share between the three of us. The one shown above is a banofee pie and the one below a pear dish. Both were quite excellent. 

Our server, Ernest I believe was his name, was amazing. He was attentive, yet gave us space and he had a good sense of humor. All told, three entrees, two sides and two deserts were seventy bucks with tax. Not bad considering we were in NYC. The portions were French sized, read that as a bit small for American tastes, but we did leave full and happy. I would definitely go back again for a visit.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Tavern 483- Brookfield, CT

Fried Oysters

A while back we stopped at a food tasting in Brookfield and discovered a few places we wanted to try. Tavern 483 was one of them and we finally got there on a Saturday afternoon just as the shy opened up and the rain fell. As we went in we saw that inside it is small, seating about sixty or so, and nicely appointed. As the place was nearly empty we were told to choose our own table. After doing so we were given water and menus.

After perusing the menu I ordered the fried oysters appetizer at ten bucks. When they came I looked at them and figured they were hand made at the restaurant as the shapes weren't quite perfect, which was a good sign. Biting into one I saw that the outside was golden brown and crispy while the inside was creamy and cool, the way fried oysters should be. Unfortunately I think the oysters themselves were frozen as there was a slight oily aftertaste. Not terribly bad, but it was a bit of a letdown. The high points were that the remoulade sauce had a very nice smoky chipotle taste and  there was also a very good corn salsa with it. Both were obviously homemade and I saved the remaining remoulade for my upcoming fries.   


Looking over the menu I saw that the burger was char-broiled and I decided to take a pass on it. I don't like meat cooked on a broiler as the fat burns and sits on the meat leaving burnt fat, the direct opposite of grilling where the drippings fall into the fire. I decided on the Rueben at ten bucks (I've been on a Rueben kick of late) and Teresa got the Cobb salad at twelve bucks. Her's looked good and there was plenty of chicken on it, but she did have to add salt and pepper. 

The Rueben was good with a nice, reasonably lean, corned beef. The waitress informed me that they were out of Swiss cheese so I had them use American (Cheddar, the other option, wouldn't have melted well) and it was an okay substitution. The fries were of the frozen variety but they were deep fried to perfection with a crispy, golden exterior and a soft interior. Dipped in the remoulade they were even better.

Overall, not bad, but not great either. The food was good, service good, but the food was very slow coming out, especially since there was only one other table and they were nearly done. Prices seemed a bit high for the portions. Now they've only been open a few months so it is possible there are a few kinks in the system they're working on so I'll stop back again sometime to give them another try. 

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Mediterranean Deli & Grill- Middletown, NY

Regular readers of this blog will notice the conspicuous absence of a photo on this post, and for that I apologize. We sere coming home from a wake when we stopped and I simply did not bring my camera as we weren't planning to eat out. I will certainly return and get a picture as this is a really nice place to eat. 

The restaurant is small, they do a lot of take-out and deliveries, but there are a few tables to eat. The place is decorated with greek pictures, flags and items and Greek music is playing on the stereo. The people are friendly and the prices are cheap. 

They have 20 different Gyro options. I chose the Cretan which had plenty of good gyro meat, lettuce, cabbage, bacon, cucumbers and an interesting onion sauce. With fries it came to $7.25 and it was very good. Teresa got the Achilles sandwich which had eggplant, roasted peppers, fresh mozzarella and mixed greens on a foot-long sub for $6.75. She said it was quite good and fresh tasting.

Stop by sometime and see what I mean. I'm going back to try a few more gyros and maybe a burger, they have about 8 different combos of burgers. 

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Home Town Diner- Breinigsville, PA

I like diners and when we travel we do try to hit new ones, but a diner can be a crap shoot. There are good ones and there are bad ones. Before we go further, Home Town Diner is a good one.

Our server, a lovely young lady whose name I think I remember as Jordan, was excellent with a very friendly attitude. Teresa decided on one of the specials, a chicken and cilantro on a ciabatta roll with fries which she said was quite good. I went with the rueben, shown above, and it was a good choice. Well executed with plenty of flavor.

As we ate I noticed that the hostess was sitting at the counter when she wasn't seating people and she was cleaning the menus with a disinfectant. Kudos to her and the diner for that as menus can be a nasty breading ground for germs and if they are that fastidious with menus, the rest of the place must be clean too (the bathrooms were clean).

Overall, nice clean atmosphere, excellent service, good food and good prices. I'd stop by again if we head that way.  

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Kling House- Intercourse, PA


The Kling House Restaurant sits in the Kitchen Kettle Village in Intercourse, Pennsylvania, in the heart of Amish country. Now being in a touristy shopping area a restaurant can be anything from really good to just plain awful. We found it to be okay. The prices were good, the service was good and the food was about average.

I had the Rueben sandwich and it was good, but there was something a bit different. Instead of sauerkraut they used a sweet tasting cabbage salad which was an interesting twist. The sour bite to a traditional Rueben was replaced with a sweet taste. 

Monday, August 26, 2013

The Barnside- Conklin Catering Grill- Walden, NY

Basic Burger

The Barnside Restaurant, owned by the Conklin family (Eddie's Deli in Montgomery), sits next to The New York School of Music in Walden, a space previously occupied by a bagel shop and later the Quarter Note Cafe. The new owners have redecorated and the restaurant has a nice atmosphere. They also added a hood over the grill, something that was lacking by the previous incarnation, and the air was nice and clear. 

Currently they are only open for breakfast and lunch, Monday to Friday, but they will be expanding the hours, as well as the menu, after Labor Day.

I ordered a cheeseburger with bacon and blue cheese at six bucks. It was quite good and well seasoned. This restaurant has potential to become an excellent addition to Walden, and a nice place to eat. I'll be stopping by again and update the post. In the meantime, stop by and see for yourself.

Hobo Sandwich

Update- I've had food from there twice since I wrote this, once was takeout (the chicken caprese) and the other dine-in (the Hobo shown above). Both times were very good. It's nice that Walden has a good restaurant that isn't a bar, Chinese, or a pizza joint and they are now open on the weekends. This could easily become a favorite.

California Burger

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Nikki's @ Racine- Wilmington, NC

Nikki's on Racine has half-priced sushi from four to six everyday. That was enough to get me to stop in, that and the fact that I'd heard it was good from some reliable sources. 

It's a cute place inside and we looked over the menus. They have sushi of course, and a whole lot more. Things like burgers, gyros, crab cakes, sandwiches and more. I was there for the sushi but they had a few appetizer specials so I started with the Calamari Tempura. Rachel had the Vegetable Gyoza and Mark the Seaweed Salad. 

The calamari was excellent, cooked perfectly with a delicate, but sufficient flavor.

I had (Counterclockwise from bottom) the Red Snapper, the Tuna, Salmon Avocado Roll and Spicy Scallop Sushi. All were good, but I think I'd pass on the scallops next time and get something else.

Teresa got the Kitchen special, fish tacos with tempura onion rings, and A.J. got the Gyro with the beer battered fries. Everyone said their meals were good.

Service was good, Whitney took good care of us. The prices really good, especially at half-price and for five people the bill came to $52.00. The food was quite good. 

Friday, August 9, 2013

Terrazzo Trattoria, still the best Italian food in Wilmington

Pasta Alla Norma
I may have mentioned a time or two that Terrazzo Trattoria in Wilmington is one of my favorite Italian places anywhere, and the best in Wilmington, but it can't hurt to reiterate. Sometimes you just can't iterate something enough.

They are friendly, the service is great and the prices reasonable. They are accommodating as well and they can alter your dish with no problem to suit your tastes. Want less garlic? No problem. They also have the best pizza in town and even Pete at Wilmington Pizza, a tough pizza critic, agrees (caveat, he uses some adult language in his reviews).

Tortellini Carbonara
If you haven't been there yet, get there and see what I mean.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Islands Fresh Mex Grill- Wilmington, NC

Dollar tacos, got your attention? Well, it got mine when my daughter suggested we join her and her husband, and a few friends, at Islands for dinner. 

The deal is this. From five to nine, Monday to Friday, you can get tacos for a buck each. You do have to get a beverage with the order and you need one beverage per four tacos. There's also an up-charge for extra toppings and such so be careful. Teresa and I got eight tacos a soda and a Corona for thirteen bucks. 

Now the tacos aren't all that pretty. They lay down the shells and very quickly assemble them which means they miss the shell with some of the fixin's, but that's okay because you can use the chips that come with them to scoop up the stuff in the foil. They have a few salsas you can get at the salsa bar to add at no extra charge.

The tacos were good, quite good in fact. They also have burritos and enchiladas available, as well as a full bar. Check them out sometime.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

P.T.'s Olde Fashioned Grill- Wilmington, NC

P.T.'s Olde Fashioned Grill is a small chain, six locations in Wilmington and one coming up in Greensboro. As we were headed to a Wilmington Sharks game, the one we ate at was the one on 17th Street.

Everyone there was friendly, and helpful. They have a unique method of ordering. There's a pad on which you circle what you want, and the toppings and the counter processes the order. They bring the food to the table, along with the order sheet. This probably cuts down on mistakes on both ends.

I got the half-pounder at $8.39 with pepper jack, pickles, jalapeños, ketchup and mustard. I added bacon for another half a buck. The burger was very good with a nice char on the outside and some moistness inside.  What I liked was that they seasoned it with salt, pepper, lemon pepper and garlic as it cooked, giving the burger some flavor. One of the best burgers in Wilmington. Oh, and the fries were good too, nice and crispy with some seasoning on them. 

The rest of our party enjoyed their meals as well. My grandson had a black bean burger and he loved it. My wife got chicken strips and she liked them. Overall, good service, clean restaurant, very good food and reasonable prices. I'll be headed back.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Chive Blossom- Pawleys Island, SC

She Crab Soup

The Chive Blossom Restaurant in Pawleys Island is where I had the absolute best Fried Green Tomato BLT ever. It's a small, cute place with a large crowd. 

We started with the She Crab Soup. This is a Southern delicacy and if you're not familiar with it it's a crab bisque with sherry in it and it is quite tasty. Definitely try it sometime if you have the opportunity. 


Teresa had the burger which came out cooked to her medium-well on a ciabatta roll with Fontina cheese, mushrooms, onions and fries for twelve bucks. Quite nice. My Mother and Step Father both had the chicken salad sandwich at eleven bucks which came with a small salad and they said it was good. 

Fried green tomato BLT

And that magnificent creation pictured above is the Fried Green Tomato BLT, one of the best things I've ever eaten and definitely the best fried green tomato BLT I've ever had. What made it so perfect the combinations of ingredients, each one done to perfection. 

The first thing was fresh multi-grain bread that was toasted on the grill using plenty of butter to get a nice golden brown crunch with a soft inside. Next up was avocado and lettuce with some fried green tomatoes on top. Add in some crisp bacon and the magic ingredient, house-made pimento cheese. This combination of ingredients covered the taste spectrum with sweet, sour, salty, crunchy and soft to create a heavenly, perhaps life-changing, experience for twelve bucks.

Ambiance is nice. Service is excellent, Cornella took very good care of us and accommodated my parents well. Prices, at lunch anyway, are reasonable. Food is amazing. Stop by and see what I mean.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Hominy Grill- Charleston, SC

Fried Green Tomato BLT

Another restaurant on the short list for our Charleston trip was the Hominy Grill on Rutlege. One nice thing is that they have a small parking lot for customers. One rough thing is that they are popular, so be prepared to wait a few minutes if you arrive at peak times.

I had the Fried Green Tomato BLT, shown above. That dish on the side is tomato pudding and the best way to describe it is a fancied-up stewed tomato. It was quite good. The sandwich was also good, but the bread was a bit stale and dry which detracted a bit. Teresa ordered four different vegetable sides. I tasted the mac and cheese and it was amazing. We finished off with a slice of delightful pecan pie. 

Overall, a cute Southern restaurant with fair prices and good food. Our server was excellent. I'd pop in the next time we're in town.

A.W. Shucks- Charleston, SC

A.W Shucks is a large place on the corner of State Street and Market in Charleston and they've been around for a while. Inside it's well appointed giving a modern seafood ambiance. Outside, where we chose to eat, is comfortable and casual. Bear in mind this is a reasonably inexpensive seafood restaurant in a tourist city so it does get crowded and don't raise the expectations all that high.

That said, my food was quite good, and quite reasonable. I got the steamer pot, shown above, which consisted of crabs, clams, shrimp, mussels, oysters, corn, potatoes and sausage swimming in a broth with some Old Bay for $23.00. It was very good.

Teresa ordered the 'award winning' stuffed shrimp, but I don't know who gave it the award. I tasted it and it was pretty good.

So overall, nice ambiance, reasonable prices, good food and good service. I'd go again.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Tommy Condon's- Charleston, SC

Fish and Chips

Tommy Condon's in Charleston, SC is what I'd call a southern Irish bar. It has traditional Irish fare, and some traditional Southern fare. Having gone through traditional Southern fare for a couple of days I decided to go with the fish and chips. As the Irish would say, it was a proper fish and chips, nothing amazing, nothing disappointing. The fish was crispy on the outside and moist on the inside. The chips were crispy and hot. It was even better than a few fish and chip meals I had in Ireland. Of course, I had to have a pint or two of Guinness to wash it down.

Guinness, as if I have to tell you that
Now here's where a restaurant shines or fails. Teresa got the Shrimp Po Boy and it was disappointing. The roll was stale and the remoulade mediocre. She pointed this out to our waiter and he comped her meal, even though she ate most of it. That was a nice touch.

I'd say to stop by and try them, and I'd recommend the fish and chips. Just don't go expecting a five-star meal. It's an Irish bar in a tourist town, so expect decent Irish pub food.

Magnolias- Charleston, SC

Seafood and Grits
Another place I put on the short list for the Charleston trip was Magnolias on East Bay Street. Magnolias is a bit pricey for dinner, but the lunch prices were reasonable. In retrospect, it was probably the best dining experience I had in Charleston.

I had the seafood and grits at $16.00. It consisted of grits, really good buttery tasting grits, some fresh tasting shrimp, a scallop and a small piece of lobster. The portion was just right for the middle of a hot summer day. My best seafood and grits so far.

Teresa had a vegetable wrap which she said was a bit bland for her taste, but not bad. She did comment that the collard greens she ordered as a side were amazing.

Wonderful ambiance and excellent service. Our server, Eric, did a great job. I will definitely go back again. 

Monday, July 29, 2013

Poogan's Porch- Charleston, SC

When were planning to take a trip down to Charleston, I did some culinary research. I was looking mostly for Southern Style and Low Country food in a variety of price ranges and settings. One place that interested me was Poogan's Porch, and that was mainly because they offer an alligator salad as well as shrimp and grits. 

Alligator Salad
We were seated in the front dining room, it's an old house, and given menus. There was the alligator as an appetizer so I ordered it. Well, the alligator was delicious. It was fried to a golden crispness with a moist inside and served on a bed of salad greens with an amazing dressing. It was my first time eating alligator and if you haven't tried it, you should. The taste is difficult to describe, but the consistency is similar to chicken. Something that needs to be experienced to appreciate.

Teresa ordered the scallops which were delightful. There were four large ones with a mound of greens and a risotto cake in a nice sauce. I tasted one, and some of the risotto, and I would have been quite happy with that as my meal. 

Shrimp and Grits
Instead, I had the shrimp and grits and I was quite happy with that. The shrimp tasted fresh and were cooked perfectly. There were three colors of peppers to give some color and sweetness, taso ham and a nice sauce covering perfectly cooked grits. 

Nice ambiance, reasonable prices and excellent service. A lovely dining experience.