Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Red Robin- Wilmington, NC



I like Red Robin, yes I know it is a chain and I normally stay away from chains but I do like them. I find them generally consistent and a good value, plus when they screw up something they make up for it and are genuinely concerned. We stopped by the Wilmington location with a large group for a celebration and were not disappointed.

I had their new premium smoke and pepper burger at $13.50 and substituted the bottomless fries for an unlimited side salad (I am cutting back on what I eat and while I like fries, I find them to be unfulfilling calories). I ordered the burger medium, and it came out a perfect medium which is a feat that many high-end restaurants are incapable of. The ciabatta bun was fresh, the peppered bacon tasty and properly cooked, the cheddar cheese plentiful and perfectly melted. It was a very good burger worthy of the price and as good as any high-end burger I've ever had. 

We had six adults and three children, plus a baby who didn't eat, and the tab was just over eighty bucks including tip. Not bad at all. The service was excellent, Kayla was very attentive and efficient. There was one mixup on a burger and they apologized, replaced it, and comped it. That's why I like them, they really care about getting it right and pleasing the customer. 

Overall, Red Robin may be a large chain, but they are one of the few that get it right and I will continue to patronize them for a reasonable meal.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Tower 7- Wrightsville Beach, NC



Tower 7 on Wrightsville Beach is part of a small chain of four restaurants, well five restaurants counting the coffee bar in the Tower location. I'd been to three of them, both of the K38's and Las Olas at Mayfaire and liked them, so today we stopped by Tower for lunch with two of our children to complete the set. It was a good choice. 

I ordered the fish bowl which had some perfectly fried tilapia in a taco bowl with lettuce, cheese, cabbage, avocado, and a neat dressing for ten bucks. It was filling, but not heavy in taste. Teresa got the vegi bowl at ten bucks and it was good as well. Rachel had the burrito, a huge one, and Mark got the poor surfer's plate. All told it was just under forty bucks with tax.

The service was good and friendly, the food was good, and the ambiance nice. Tower has the feel of a nice surf themed beach bar serving good food. My favorite of the chain is Las Olas, but this is a real close second. Stop by and see what I mean.



Friday, December 26, 2014

Carytown Burgers and Fries- Richmond, Va.


We stopped by Carytown Burgers and Fries on our way down the behated Interstate 95. It's a bit off the main road in a shopping mall in a confusing maze of one way streets. The restaurant a bit eclectic, bordering on eccentric. You order and pay downstairs and tell them if it is takeout or dine in. If it is dine in they bring it to you at the table. It took less than fifteen minutes from order to delivery, and they were fairly busy at the time.

I got the blue cheese burger with the "works", lettuce, tomato, onions, ketchup, mustard and mayo. It had plenty of blue cheese on it and the burger was pretty good. The bun was a bit stale. Teresa went with the regular burger with the "works" and she said it was okay. The total bill was under fifteen bucks, not bad. 

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Caleb's American Kitchen- Lahaska, Pa.


We've passed by Caleb's many times and I often wondered what it was like. Well, today we decided to stop in and see. On the outside it looks small and simple, on the inside it seems bigger and the decor is somewhere between casual, trendy, and sophisticated. You know, the kind of place where you could go in jeans and a t-shirt or a suit and tie. 

I ordered the tilapia fish tacos at sixteen bucks. There were three of them with a side salad and they were quite good. Teresa went with the burger at fourteen bucks and substituted a side salad for the fries. I tasted it and it was a good quality of meat cooked and seasoned perfectly. 

Overall, Caleb's is a nice place with good food. Stop by and see what I mean.


Sunday, December 21, 2014

Ship Lantern Inn- Milton, NY


In a word, amazing. The building which houses the Ship Lantern Inn predates the Revolutionary War and it has been a restaurant since 1925. A restaurant that has stood the test of time for 89 years must be doing something right. We were last there years ago, and I remembered it as having been excellent. Well, when we went for lunch today with my mother-in-law it was a wonderful experience, even exceeding my memories.


The dining room we sat in had a slate floor, wood walls, plenty of glass and a wooden beamed ceiling giving that slightly rustic colonial feel amplified by the roaring fire in the large fireplace. The waiters, men who have been there for many years, were dressed in tuxedos. On the walls hung nautical themed images and model ships reflecting the seafaring past of the Poughkeepsie area, there is even a ship's wheel in the entryway. I would call it a sort of rustic elegance wherein all of the elements worked well together and were not at all incongruous.


We were given three menus, the regular one, the specials, and the prix fixe menu. There were far too many dishes that interested me, but we all chose to go with the four course prix fixe menu at $24.50 each. We each had the soup du jour, a crab bisque, which was hearty and delicious. This was followed by a nice salad. Oh, and there was a delightful bread on the table as well. 


For the main course Mom and I went with the petit filet mignon with a béarnaise sauce, potatoes, spinach, green beans, and a mushroom quiche. Mine came out a perfect medium-rare and melted in my mouth, Mom's was a perfect medium-well just the way she likes it. Teresa went with the gnocchi dish and it was also delightful. 

Desert was included, so Teresa and I both had the chocolate pecan torte and Mom ordered the profiteroles. All were perfect. The prix fixe was an amazing value and we all left full, and satisfied. 



So overall; excellent food, charming atmosphere and impeccable service. The dishes came out perfectly spaced to allow for maximum enjoyment. The Ship Lantern Inn is the way a top level Continental restaurant used to be years ago without being stuffy or pretentious in the least. It is the epitome of class.

If you have not yet been there I suggest you do so, and soon. The Ship Lantern Inn is now on my list of favorites and we shall be returning soon, and often. There are so many items on that menu I want to try.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Derby Restaurant- Poughkeepsie, NY


The derby Restaurant in Poughkeepsie has been around since 1934, the first saloon to open in the city after prohibition. As such it has tons of character with a long bar, tons of wood, and plenty of room. The current owners have been there for about six years or so and they have improved the menu to make it more bistro. 

We stopped early on a Saturday afternoon and they had just opened so we had the place to ourselves. After quickly looking over the menus, I decided on the basic burger for nine bucks with cheddar cheese and added a house salad instead of the fries for an extra buck and a pint of Guinness. Teresa went with a rueben with a house salad for twelve bucks. We went for salads instead of fries as we are watching what we eat lately and didn't want to load up on calories from fries. 

The salads were quite large and fresh with a nice tangy balsamic vinaigrette. Teresa said her rueben was good and not greasy in the least bit. 

My burger was quite delightful. It was quality meat cooked to the medium that I ordered, perhaps even a bit below that medium, which is becoming a rarity of late. Sorry, no bad pun intended. The brioche bun was fresh, and the bacon was nice and crispy. Delicious and even though the juices were flowing from the meat, there was no greasy taste at all. It was a darn good burger.

Service was great too. Beth was friendly and attentive and after she commented on my camera we talked and I found that she is quite an accomplished photographer. 

Overall, a nice dining experience and we'd go back again. 

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