Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Cookout, Wilmington, NC, Revisited.

About this time last year I posted a review of the Cookout Restaurant in Wilmington, NC and it has become one of the most popular reviews I've done. I'm a bit surprised since the review panned the ordering system and talked more about a mistake in the order. After some careful thought I decided that maybe they deserved a second look so I hit them the other day to see how it was.

The menu hasn't changed, it's still hard to read (lots of pretty colors and fonts are used) but this time I knew ahead of time what to order. I got two small cheeseburgers with ketchup, mustard, and pickles. I tried to get jalapenos so it would be the same burger I get at Five Guys for a comparison, but they don't have them. The burgers were cheap, real cheap. I paid about $2.70 for both of them. There were good too, in a fast food sense. I'd rank them as better than MacDonalds and Burger King, on a par with Checkers and Andy's, and nowhere near a Five Guys.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Olympia Restaurant, Wilmington, NC

I like Greek food, and my favorite dish is the Gyro, so when my daughter Rachel made the suggestion that we try the Olympia Restaurant on Oleander Dr in Wilmington, NC, I quickly agreed. It turned out to be a very nice Greek restaurant. Not too big and not too small, but they have a small party room and outdoor dining. Not that I’d eat outdoors when the heat index was well over a hundred degrees mind you.

We looked over the menu and I was leaning toward one of the seafood dishes or a pasta dish, but changed my mind. I wanted what I consider traditional Greek food. We shared the hummus with pita for $6.95 (it was a very large portion) and I had the Gyro Pita at $7.95 (please note the picture above), in fact we had three more of them at the table plus another one with chicken. The tzatziki sauce was excellent, creamy and garlicky and the pita was fresh too. The kids had chicken fingers with fries off the children’s menu and Teresa had the Greek salad and a side of Greek potatoes. Everything was great and all told it was just over ninety dollars, less tip, for six adults and three kids, including two bottles of Mythos. I had the Mythos, the kids had seltzer water. The lunch menu is a bit cheaper.

It’s a nice place to eat, and the bathrooms are clean too. That’s important when you take the family out for dinner. They have a website for more information.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Flaming Amy's Burrito Barn, Wilmington, NC

Hot, Fast, Cheap and Easy, that’s the motto of Flaming Amy’s Burrito Barn on Oleander in Wilmington, NC. They have other comments too, like; if your food doesn’t arrive in five minutes, it probably will in another five or ten minutes, if it’s too loud you may be too old, lighten up, just because we call this a barn doesn’t mean you have to act like you were raised in one. The sign on the door says, no smoking, no idiots. I like that last one, but I wasn’t sure if I could go in. I did anyway and I was glad I did.
You enter and stand in line for the counter. The line can get long; in fact the line went out the door as we were finishing our meals. The line does move fast though and you have time to look at the menu on the wall to decide what to order. When you get to the counter you order and they give you a number for the table, the tattooed waitress brings you the food. The place has an interesting rough and kitschy feel to it, but good for a family.
I got the Big Fat Greek Burrito, black olives, banana peppers, spinach, red onions, lettuce, tomatoes, feta cheese and your choice of meat. I got the chicken. Teresa had the Big Jerk, roasted red peppers, pineapple jalapeno salsa, sour cream, cheese, rice, beans and chicken. They each cost $6.95 and came with nachos on the side. Add a soda and it all came to $17.12 tax included. They have several specialty burritos, and you can custom order whatever you like. There are also quesadillas and nachos.
One of the neatest things is the salsa bar for the nachos. They have nine different kinds and my favorites were the chipotle tomatillo and the wasabi avocado.
Overall it’s a fun place to have some good food for a reasonable price. Check out their website for more information.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Country Griddle, Flemington, NJ

This is another place we've driven past countless times and wondered what it was like. The parking lot is always full, and there are some cheap specials listed outside. Well, today we decided to stop and try it. It's an older restaurant, styled after the homestyle family dining concept of the 70's and it's probably been around that long.

We looked over the menu and they had some nice specials. What caught my eye were two things; Country Fried Steak and eggs, and French Toast with eggs, bacon and sausage. The latter won out and we both ordered it. The portion was huge. Two filling meals for $16.00, plus tip.

They are located on Rt 202, just south of the traffic circle (or roundabout as my GPS calls it) in Flemington, NJ. Give them a try.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

le Steak frites, Montreal

We wandered around Old Montreal a few times trying to decide what to eat when we saw le Steak frites on Rue Saint Paul. It looked interesting and I knew that frites means fries, and that steak means steak, so we stopped in.

I got the steak frites at $18.00 (Canadian) which was a nice cut of shoulder meat cooked medium rare, just as I asked, with green beans, a small salad, and fries. They give you a couple of good rolls too. Very good rolls. I also ordered escargot for an appetizer, good as well. Teresa just had French Onion Soup and some green beans, but I did get her to try a snail.

It is a BYOB restaurant, but they have soft drinks available. I'm a big fan of tap water myself. Food was good, service good, overall a nice experience. They have a website where they show you what some of the entrees look like.

Creme de la Creme Cafe, Montreal

Montreal is a very European city, and is probably as close to being in France as one can get without leaving the continent, this continent that is. The city is small and easy to get around in, and full of places to eat. Many of them are excellent and full of old world charm. Situated at 21 Rue De La Commune is a neat example of this called Creme de La Creme Cafe.

At first glance one sees a stone building with outdoor table service. We stopped to look at the menu and it was interesting, but we were still shopping for lunch and started moving on. What changed my mind was when I saw the waitress deliver two delightful looking melted sandwiches to a table. I got as close as I could to get a better look, and smell, without being blatantly rude of course, and decided this was our place. We decided to eat inside as the sky was getting dark and threatening.

Inside was stone and wood with a long bar. On entering we heard French music playing, a female vocalist. We chose a table near the door so that we could watch the passersby, and the impending storm. Our waitress came over and said, "Bonjour!" When we replied "Hello," she immediately switched to English with a lovely accent, more French than Canadian, and presented us with menus. We asked for ice water and I got a local micro-brewed stout. I forget the name, but that's probably because the beer was unremarkable.

What was remarkable was the food. I got baked pepperoni, ham and cheese with a spicy mustard. I came with a salad. Teresa had an open faced turkey melt with salad and coffee. The bread tasted fresh, as did the rest of the ingredients. Also remarkable was the service. Very polite, quick, and amenable. Très agréable, as the French say. Our waitress even saw me reading the local newspaper, I was looking at the horoscopes, and she asked if I wanted her to read and translate them for me.

It turned out to be a stroke of genius, or more like a stroke of pure dumb luck that we chose Creme De La Creme as it started to pour the minute we sat down and continued until we finished our meal. This did give a nice cool breeze and even more entertainment as we watched the pedestrians running down the street.

Good food, good service, and tons of atmosphere. Like most European restaurants, there is more than meets the eye. There is an upstairs as well which seats many more. If you are ever in Montreal, stop by.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Alaska Pete's Road House Grill, Stroudsburgh, PA

We've passed by Alaska Pete's a few times when we travelled through the Poconos to avoid interstates on holiday weekends and it looked interesting, but the timing was never right to eat. This time we'd spent two hours in traffic and were hungry so I pulled in. Inside it's a bit like Northern Exposure meets Outback. It is large, and they have a large parking lot so I assume they must get busy here at times, but it was fairly empty when we stopped in.

The menu is typical roadhouse with the usual steaks and sandwiches, plus a couple of burgers. I was a bit burgered out so I decided to try the Alaska Pete's Cheesesteak at $9.49 and Teresa had the Chicken Cheesesteak for the same price. They turned out to be good choices. The rolls seemed fresh-baked and the insides were flavorful. The fries were hot and crispy too.

We'll stop by again. Check out their website for more info.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Lancaster Brewing Company, Lancaster, PA

Pennsylvania is full of brewpubs, one better than the other. One nice find is Lancaster Brewing Company in Lancaster. It sits in an old building on North Plum Street, a few minutes away from the shopping outlets, and they kept the rustic charm. Lots of wood and beams with the brewing kettles exposed.

It took a few minutes to look through the menu, it isn't huge but I like a limited menu sometimes because when a restaurant limits the menu, they do things right. Brian said this and I agree with him. I decided on the Angus Burger, pictured above, with bacon, cheddar cheese and fries. A plate of deliciousness for nine bucks. Teresa had the Brewer's Chicken at eight bucks, Nicole had the Black Bean Burger at eight bucks and Brian had the Turkey Dagwood for eight-fifty, with a delicious bowl of white chile for five bucks. All told, four meals and four beers for under sixty bucks plus tip. Good bargain for good food.

My favorite beer is the Milk Stout, it has a good flavor without being heavy, a good summer stout. Pictured with the burger is the Hop Hog IPA, a nice hoppy IPA. I had one of each. Ashley did a nice job waiting on us, and apologized profusely that the chile came out with the meal, instead of before and said they'd take it off if we didn't want it. That was fine with us though as the chile was worth waiting for.

Overall, a great dining experience and I recommend them. Check out their website for more info and stop by to eat if you happen to be in Lancaster.