Thursday, July 30, 2015

Pho Vietnam- Danbury, Ct

I only recently discovered Vietnamese food, and it is becoming one of my favorite foods. Today I discovered the Pho Vietnam Restaurant in Danbury and it could easily become my new favorite restaurant.  The food is amazing, the service excellent, the prices reasonable, and the ambiance is nice.

It is small, and they get busy. We were there on a Thursday afternoon and after we were seated every table was full, with a couple of people waiting for seats. The decor is simple, a mix of French Colonial and Asian. 

We looked over the menus and decided to share a lemongrass roll at nine bucks. When it arrived I was surprised at the size. There were three large rolls and it could easily be enough for a meal. When I tasted it I was amazed. There were multiple flavor notes coming through, the predominate one being cilantro (my favorite herb) and a mix of mild heat and cooling crispness. Delightful. 

I decided on the Pho Shore, which had shrimp and calamari, at eleven bucks for the medium size. The large was two bucks more, but that would have been too much food. The noodles were perfect, the broth had a wonderfully light and refreshing taste, yet was hearty enough. The fish was just right, and this is difficult when making a fish soup as the shrimp and calamari can continue to cook from the time it is plated to when eaten. This fish was perfect. I was full after eating this, yet I felt great and not stuffed. 

Teresa went with the vegetable stir fry at twelve bucks and she liked it a lot. I tasted, and it was far better than any I have ever tried. It tasted fresh and was lighter than in a Chinese restaurant. 

I can see why they are so busy. They have a website for more information. Check them out sometime. 

Monday, July 27, 2015

Buddy's Burgers, Breasts, and Fries- Exton. Pa

Buddy's Burgers, Breasts, and Fries has four locations, West Chester, Media, Kennet Square, and the one in Exton that we went to. 

I ordered the 'Olive the way you move' burger at $6.75 which was a double patty burger on a Martin's bun. It had taziki sauce, cucumbers, lettuce, tomato, onions, and olives. The overall taste was burger meets gyro, and it worked quite well. My only complaint is the aluminum foil presentation. While this keeps in the heat and prevents a mess in the bag for take-away orders, it also allows the moisture to saturate the bun making for a messy burger even when eaten in. That said, it was a very good burger.

The hand cut fries were excellent, crispy on the outside and soft in the middle. They have malt vinegar, as well as about a dozen different hot sauces. 

I would try them again. They have a website for more information. 

Sunday, July 19, 2015

South Beach Grill- Wrightsville Beach

South Beach Grill sits in one of the busiest sections of Wrightsville Beach in a former bank building. They have been there for 17 years and their cuisine is Southern beach casual. We went after church and found a parking spot in their small private lot. There was a nice breeze, so we opted for dining on the patio. 

After looking through the menu I went with the Rueben at nine bucks, even though the shrimp and grits looked interesting. It was a darn good Rueben. There was just the right balance of lean meat, cheese, sauerkraut, and dressing on a wonderfully toasted (read that as having lots of butter on it) bread. 

Teresa got the Makers Mark salad at nine bucks. It was spinach, blue cheese, apples, and pecans. She was quite pleased with it. 

Nice place, friendly service, good food, and reasonable prices. I can see what they have been around for so long. Stop by sometime when you are on Wrightsville Beach. They have a website for more information. 

Friday, July 17, 2015

Wilmington Brewing Company

Next stop on the Wilmington Beer Trail was a visit to Wilmington Brewing Company on Kerr Ave. They started out as a small homebrew shop a few years ago and have grown to a 11,800 square foot facility. They still have a large homebrew supply section, and a nice bar area with a whole lot of beers on tap. 

They do not offer flights, but they are happy to let you sample any beer you want, so I tried three. First up was Blair's Breakfast Stout which weighed in at 7%. It was one of the finest Breakfast Stouts I have tasted and I took some home. Next up was the JalapeƱo IPA. Nice and clean with a touch of heat. Last I tried the Sneaky Goose, a double IPA weighing in at 9.6%. I stopped there because I was driving, even though the samples were small. They do offer a short glass for about three bucks and that would be the best way to sample a few as the small samples don't really reveal the full flavor of the beer. 

So I opted for a crowler (can/growler) of the Blair's Breakfast stout. Now the crowler is something new, and cool. It is a 32 ounce can that they fill from the tap and pop a top  on. Next it goes onto the machine shown below where it is spun (you can see that in the photo) and sealed. A quick wipe off and it is labeled. Since the crowler is two pints, they just charge you for two pints of beer, in this case twelve bucks. 

I don't know what the shelf life is, but that didn't matter in this case as I popped the top as soon as I got back to the house. It has a nice taste, a hint of smokiness, and holds up well. Again, one of the finest breakfast stouts this writer has sampled. Next time I am going with an IPA, and maybe a few others.

They have a website for more information. Check them out, I know I will be there a few more times.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Bento Box- Wilmington, NC

Bento Box is in the Forum on Military Cutoff. We stopped by on a Thursday evening and while the interior is nice and well appointed, we decided to sit outside. 

After perusing the menu I decided on the Vietnamese ginger beef at sixteen bucks. It was quite good with nice flavor notes. Teresa went with the Bun Vietnamese noodle salad at eleven bucks and it was also excellent. Our daughter and son-in-law had the vegetable tempura and Japanese fried chicken and they were pleased as well. 

I would go again. They have a website for more information. 

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Michael's Seafood Restaurant- Carolina Beach, NC

Coming back from Carolina Beach to run an errand I stopped off at Michael's Seafood restaurant for a quick bite. It is a nice place with friendly service and reasonable prices. I went with the fried oyster Po'Boy at nine bucks. It was quite good. My son-in-law had a tuna melt that he said was good as well. 

They have a website for information, menus, and directions. 

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

La Costa- Wilmington, NC

La Costa has a few location in the Wilmington area, we stopped by the one on Market Street in Porter's Neck. I was truly impressed as it was more authentic, and delicious, Mexican food at really good prices.

I had the shrimp tacos, under ten bucks, that came loaded with fresh shrimp. My wife had a combination platter, and my daughter got the fajita special. All three came to thirty bucks and all three were excellent. Service was good too. Stop by and see what I mean.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Good Hops Brewing- Carolina Beach, NC

There has been an explosion of micro-brewers in the Wilmington area over the past year or so and visiting them all looked like a nice little summer project. First stop on the beer trail was Good Hops Brewing on Dow Road in Carolina Beach with my son-in-law Allen. 

They have been around for about a year now, longer if you count their affiliation with Lookout Brewing in Western NC. When we stopped by on a Monday afternoon they had four of their own beers on tap, as well as three guest taps. 

We sampled all four of their brews and they were all quite good. The smoked ale had a nice taste that almost reminded me of a hint of bacon. I was assured that there was no bacon in it though. The Boardwalk Brown was one of the best brown ales I have tasted. The Pleasure Island Pilsner, and I am not a pilsner fan, was excellent and could make me a convert. It had a nice crisp taste. The Golden Ale was also good.  

After introducing myself, and telling them that I was going to write an article, we got a private tour of the facility. I was quite impressed. It was clean and had room for expansion, something they need to do as they are having trouble keeping up with the demand from local restaurants. 

The brewery does not sell food, so that allows them to be dog friendly and they are family friendly too. Don't worry, you can bring your own food with you and people have even had a pizza delivery come for them. No distracting televisions here, but they do have board games, a nice outdoor area, and friendly people. 

There are even plans to take the back area and turn it into a hall for parties and weddings. 

We decided to take home some beer and each bought a quart. I went with the Pilsner and Allen with the Smoked Ale. What they do is charge you for the two pints and add a buck for the mason jar. Cheap since the plisner was only three bucks a pint. 

Okay, first stop on the beer trail was a winner. Go there and see for yourself. They have a website for directions and information.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Fork n Cork- Wilmington, NC

Fork n Cork sits on Market Street, near the Dixie Grill. It is a small place and is well appointed with  plenty of wood and brick. We got there on a Saturday night and they were packed. The hostess took our name and phone number and said she would call us when a table became available. In less than fifteen minutes we got a call and headed back to be seated at the bar. 

I had heard that their burgers are quite good so I decided on the Hot Mess which had bacon, jalapeƱos, grilled onions, blue cheese, cheddar, lettuce and tomato on a brioche bun for eleven bucks. It came with house cut fries. I decided to pair it with a Dirty Bastard from Founders. The burger was excellent and all of the ingredients married perfectly.

Teresa went with the special burger, the MoRockStar, at fourteen bucks. It was a turkey burger with mint, cumin, coriander, paprika, cheddar, cherry-olive chutney, mustard green, and sweet potato fries. She switched out the regular fries for a side salad for an extra two bucks. I had a taste and it was amazingly good. 

Overall, a cute place with very good food and service. We'd go back and I suggest you try them sometime. They have a website for more information.