Thursday, August 28, 2014

Brookside Grille- Exton, PA

Blackened chicken tacos

The Brickside Grille in Exton is run by the same people who have The Drafting Room, one of my favorites, so we decided to stop by and see what it was all about. That and the fact that they run some nice specials. 

The restaurant is very large, and well appointed. I would say that it is on the slightly upper end of casual to the lower end of fine dining, which is a nice niche. They bill themselves as "upscale casual". The entrees ranged from the mid-teens to the high twenties and there were some good offerings. In my case I had a big lunch so I decided on six Blue Point oysters at a buck each, and the fried frog legs (mainly because they are rare to find on a menu) at nine bucks. The oysters were good, but this is not the best time for oysters. The frog legs were excellent, moist inside and crispy on the outside. I also had a Guinness pint, or two, at three bucks. 

Fried Frog Legs

Three of us got the blackened chicken taco special at six bucks and they said it was very good, and that there was plenty. The kids shared a small pizza. 

Blue Point Oysters

Overall, quite good and I would like to go back and try some of the more serious entrees. The service was excellent, the food was good, and the ambiance quite nice. 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Five Guys vs Jakes vs Shake Shake vs Smashburger

With the increase of higher-end burger restaurants (burgers between five and ten bucks) the question arises as to who has the best burger. I took a closer look at, and some serious tasting of, four burgers restaurants over the summer and here are my opinions and rankings of them. Bear in mind that these are simply the opinions of one man and may be arbitrary and capricious, so read with caution and if you work for one of these places don't get all that overworked over it.

Smashburger

1. Smashburger- Fast becoming a favorite. The burgers are great and they have a regional specialty in each location. Shakes are good and they have the best fries. 

Jake's Wayback Burgers

2. Jake's Wayback- Running a very close second is Jake's. The burgers are good, try the burger of the month, and I like the shakes as well. Fries are quite good.

Shake Shack

3. Shake Shack- The burger is good, but a bit bland. Perhaps some simple seasoning would help, or maybe I need to add some toppings. The fries are okay, but I usually find them a bit undercooked. 

Five Guys

4. Five Guys- Once a favorite, Five Guys now holds last place in my order of preference. They haven't changed, but others are simply doing it better. The presentation is messy and while there is flavor, they taste a bit greasy compared to the others. The fries are plentiful, but not as good as they are at Smashburger. 

Update- Since writing this, I tried Habit Burger and that changes the equation a bit. I have to go again to check consistency, but I would put them about second place.



Wyebrook Farm Market and Cafe- Honey Brook, PA


Wyebrook Farm Cafe is a farm to table restaurant with good food, neat ambiance, and sometimes even live music. We stopped by with the grandkids to check out the farm and decided to eat. I got the burger with bacon ground into it at $14 with a side of parmesan fries. It was good, but a bit past the medium I'd ordered. Teresa ordered the egg salad sandwich and she said it was good. The kids shared a corn-dog. 


Here's a look at the menu, or at least most of it, to give you an idea of what they have. Stop by sometime when you are in the Lancaster area and try them yourself. 




Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Chicken Rico- Waldorf, MD


We have driven past this place a few times when we were bypassing I-95 by using 301 and said, "Hey, that looks interesting. We should stop sometime." Well, today we were passing and we did stop. Turned out to be a great decision.

Teresa got the Pollo Parrillero at $8.50 and it was a huge portion of some delicious chicken with her choice of two sides. The mixed veggies were good, and the fried sweet plantains were amazing. 

I went with the steak sandwich at seven bucks which was great and came with some fries which were okay. Overall, we were quite happy and will make it a point to get there again. 



Sunday, August 24, 2014

Chops Deli and Grill- Wilmington, NC


Chops Deli has three locations. One is downtown, the second on Carolina Beach Road, and the newest on Wrightsville, near the beach. The Wrightsville location is also a grill and that's the one we went to today after having heard some good things about it.

Since we were there for breakfast, I ordered the Croque Monsieur special shown above. Now a purist will say that it was technically a Croque Madam as there was an egg on it, but this was a rather loose, yet very delicious, interpretation of the classic. 

Teresa got a cheese omelet which was amazingly fluffy and quite good as well. All told, the bill was just over fourteen bucks, tax included. Good food, friendly service, good prices, and nice atmosphere. We'll be back after we try the other two locations.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Casey's Buffet and BBQ- Wilmington, NC


I don't usually eat at buffets, but when I do, I prefer Casey's. Seriously, this place is amazing. Good down home Southern comfort food served up with super friendly service at reasonable prices. This is a locals favorite and it is now one of my favorites.

On the plate above there is fried chicken, on the bone catfish, fried clam strips, fried shrimp, mac and cheese, cole slaw, potato salad, and pork back strips. My next plate had pulled pork, fried okra, fries, and a few more delightful things. 

Everything was quite good and Judy was amazing as our waitress. Go here quickly and see what I mean.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Ruth's Kitchen- Wilmington, NC


Step into Ruth's Kitchen on Market Street and it feels like you're stepping back into 1972, in a good way. Ruth's Kitchen is a classic place to get simple fare and there is nothing fancy about it. The place is full of locals, and I got the impression that they were regulars. 

We went for breakfast and I ordered the meat lover's omelet at seven bucks and coffee. Teresa got two eggs and potatoes. Both were good, but since it was breakfast, neither were stellar. It was good, solid, home-cooked, breakfast food. Perhaps better than Goody-Goody Omelet House. The lunch menu looked interesting and I would go back to try a few things. I liked 1972.


Saturday, August 9, 2014

Blu Mango- Walden, NY


The Blu Mango is the latest addition to our sleepy little village, and a welcome one at that. It is an eclectic Asian place specializing in sushi. We walked down today, yes it is that close, and gave them a try. 

I ordered three sushi rolls for fifteen dollars. In the photo above they are clockwise from top; shrimp tempura, Philly roll, spicy tuna roll. All three rolls were excellent with nice flavor. 

Teresa ordered the chicken satay for eighteen dollars and she said it was very good. I tasted the satay sauce and it was just right. 

The service was very good, the decor interesting, the food good. Stop by sometime. 

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Another Fork in the Road- Milan, NY


I've had this place on the short list for some time now, it is a bit out of our way somewhere near the middle of nowhere in Northern Dutchess County. It is about two miles off of the Taconic and about a mile from the famous fork in the road (literally, there is a giant fork in a patch of land at a fork in the road) and would be easy to miss as it is a simple blue building. Inside it is small, but well appointed with a sort of an upscale/rustic look. 

We looked over the menus (it was dinner) and we decided we weren't in the mood for duck or rabbit or any of the other interesting entrees so we both ordered burgers. Teresa got a plain one at twelve bucks, with a salad on the side, and I got mine with bacon and cheddar cheese and fries on the side for fifteen bucks. The burgers were very good, just a tad overcooked from the medium I ordered, and juicy. They were served up on a toasted bagel with a roasted tomato and some greens. The fries were excellent. 

Service was good, food was very good, quaint ambiance, a bit out of the way, but worth it. Stop by sometime.


Friday, August 1, 2014

Royal Fish and Chips- Bethel, CT


In a word, brilliant. In five words, bloody proper fish and chips. Seriously, fish and chips is one of my five favorite foods and I've eaten them all over, including the UK and Ireland, and these may just be the best I've had. 

The two large pieces of noble cod were fresh and were battered immediately prior to their final swim in oil giving them a lovely golden, and crispy, exterior with a soft and perfectly cooked interior. The chips, we'd call them steak fries, were also perfectly cooked and plentiful. The tartar sauce was fine and there was malt vinegar on the table. The only thing that would have improved them would have been a pint of Guinness, but they don't serve alcohol. 


Teresa ordered a spicy chicken shish kabob with rice and salad and she was quite happy with it. For eight bucks it was a rather large portion.

They also have gyros, another of my five favorite foods, but with the fish and chips being as good as they are I may never get to try them.


The restaurant is unassuming and you might miss it if you're not careful, and that would be a shame. The food was amazing, the service was friendly and helpful, the ambiance was simple but nice, the prices were reasonable (seventeen bucks total). We will be headed back and I'd recommend you try them sometime soon and see what I mean.

Oh, and since I listed two of my favorite foods you may be curious about the other three. Burgers, Ruebens, and shrimp and grits complete the list.