Monday, June 28, 2010
Thursday, June 24, 2010
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Monday, June 21, 2010
In short, I really liked this place for the owner and wanted to see him succeed. He seems like a really nice guy and seems to have a wonderful family.
Tomato Pie offers "southern Italian food". I am no expert on Italian regions, so I'm not sure if they're true to this promise or not. The pizza are thin crust, with simple toppings. That is exactly how it was in Italy, and it was fantastic there.
Well, it had been a while since I'd been to Tomato Pie. But, with this blog, I really wanted to try and feature them. In fact, I've been 2x in just a few weeks. Once we took some friends on a Saturday evening. During that visit, I noticed they had a lunch buffet, so I met up with a friend there last Friday.
It was close to closing the time we went at dinner time with friends. The pizza seemed a bit rushed, and the crust didn't seem fully cooked. But, I was willing to overlook that. On the second visit, I knew any review was subject to the skewed view that can come from a buffet, but... again, the pizza was underwhelming. And, there was usually no more than 2 varieties on the counter. The salad was very basic. There was also one pasta, which was very tasty with some onions and spinach in with a nice sauce with penne. The sauce was pretty heavy from what I experienced over in Italy, but maybe that is somewhat of a concession to American tastes.
Ultimately, the visits were underwhelming. And, that left me sad. Again, I really like the owner from the very brief interactions I've had with him. But, while that adds to the overall feeling you have about a place, it can't override the truth on the plate. It gets me to wonder if my memory was off, or is it accommodations to keeping the doors open and changes that had to be made to do so? Anyhow, there is potential here. But, right now, it isn't realized.
So, I'll hope for improvement, and I also need to make it to Napolese to try their version of pizza.
The verdict: 1.5 belly rubs (out of 5). Underwhelming, but my memory tells me there is potential here.
[no pictures this time - the interior is incredibly low lighting, and I got over-zealous in deleting pictures off my phone]
Sunday, June 20, 2010
Thursday, June 17, 2010
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Monday, June 14, 2010
Thursday, June 10, 2010
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
Oh, I know, I have no idea what happens to my food behind the kitchen doors, but.... while I get that there is something nice about hand selecting what goes into a stir fry, why is it up to me to determine exactly how much sauce and oil will be part of my food? Yes, even if there are flavor recipe cards available. And, how much flavor transfer happens through those metal yard sticks that act as the frying utensils? Did I really want some peanut sauce and shell fish in with my teriyaki beef? No. No, I did not.
So, out with the sales person I was travelling with, and he wants to go to the Mongolian BBQ that was right next to our hotel. Blah. Is there volume? Sure. Can I scrap a bowl if I don't enjoy it? Definitely. It is good grub? No, definitely not.
Monday, June 7, 2010
Zingerman's has tons of breads, baked goods, cheeses, and deli items.... But, I've struggled with this place for a bit. I mean, the sandwiches, they're great. The breads are great, the meats and cheeses are fantastic. But, man, they're expensive. I thought a reuben at Shapiro's at $10.50 or whatever was bad.
I liked the Rock & Rye, though I didn't find it a must have flavor. Just really enjoyed seeing the retro designed bottle.
And, it made me think of this video, below. All I know is that I'd love to go visit this guy's shop in Los Angeles. But... cucumber soda? Not into that one......
Friday, June 4, 2010
Detroit surely needs no sympathy from me. It is sad, though, how much the city continues to shrink and suffer economically. This is just a small thing, but... this city must have been something just after WW2.... so many great older buildings. This was from my hotel. Hope things can turn around up there before long.
A reader commented on the side-by-side coney island restaurants. Happens that they're around the corner from our office. So, even though one time while in Philly I did eat at both Pat's and Geno's back to back on a cheesesteak comparison, I did wait a day between trying out Lafayette Coney Island and American Coney Island. You can learn about them in this truncated youtube video.
It is pretty odd to have such similar businesses set up shop right next to one another. I mean, you'd never see a Walgreens near a CVS.... uh.... scratch that.....
Anyhow, I've now had like 5 hot dogs in the span of 3 days. I really need a good long bike ride.
First, on Thursday, I went to Lafayette. Tasty. I was really looking forward to the lunch, and it didn't disappoint. I'd have liked some hot sauce, but the dogs had a good snap when you bit them, the chili sauce was tasty, there were plenty of onions, and the mustard give a bit of punch to the taste. Overall, it was $6 for the two dogs and a coke. Pretty solid value, and I was full enough. I coulda likely fit in some fries, but I surely didn't need to.
On Friday, I zipped over to American for the taste test. I also added some fries this time, apparently feeling my system needed to be tested by more than just the nitrates and saturated fat from the dogs (fries were very pedestrian, from a bay variety). Again, tasty, good snap, woulda liked some hot sauce (there was some at the counter, guess I shoulda asked for some).
So, the comparison? I don't know. They're hot dogs and chili sauce with mustard and onions. I enjoyed Lafayette more, but mostly cause I was just looking forward to it. I likely will disappoint native Detroiters, but I felt they were incredibly similar. American serves Pepsi, Lafayette serves Coke, for what that matters (and, I know it does to some). Oddly, the thing that puts Lafayette on top for me is that they are... more dilapidated.... American has actually tried to decorate more, and to have a noticeable theme. Lafayette kind of charms me by being unadorned.
Luckily the folks I travelled with were not feeling very ambitious or interested in heading over to Greek Town, so we just ate at the hotel, and I did get a salad. But... um.... I don't think I should do the 5 dogs in 3 days thing again any time soon.
The verdict: 4 belly rubs (out of 5). Tasty cheap eats, keep the breath mints and defibrillator close by.
Recommendation: For the drive home, I listened to several installments of the podcast A History of the World in 100 objects. Fantastic. Really interesting stuff.
Thursday, June 3, 2010
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
Thai Orchid is an attractive restaurant, though it shares a wall with a fireworks shop. So, I assume it could get explosive over there. The wait staff is attentive and they all help out regardless of table assignment. To get a gauge of the place, the better half and I tried a curry and also the pad thai. Pretty standard fare, but I am a curry fanatic, so I have to give that a try at any new Thai place.
You start with a small dish of salad/slaw. It is in a perky rice vinegar dressing with crushed peanuts. Very tasty.
We got the red curry with chicken at medium-hot, and the pad thai also at medium hot. They offer 3 other levels higher than medium hot, and I found this heat level was barely registering. With the red curry, it was a very tasty broth, good balance of flavors, nice amount of chicken, and a good serving size. A very good curry, but not quite to the richness level that I most admire from Siam Square.
For the pad thai, it seemed overly sweet, and it also seemed like the amount of fish sauce was out of proportion with the dish. I don't rate noodle dishes exceptionally highly in general, but this was lower on the quality scale compared to most pad thai offerings in town. I also did not notice egg on this pad thai dish. I find that neither distressing nor pleasing, but... just noticeable. For Pad Thai, while not my favorite, I find the favorite offering to be from Jasmine on 96th.
The verdict: 3.5 belly rubs (out of 5). Good value and service, plenty of food, nice curry, a bit off on the pad thai.
While on this topic, I'll note my overall favorite Thai restaurants.
1. Siam Square
4. tied: Thai Orchid and Jasmine Thai
I just feel like Siam Square is so much better than the others, I need to build a buffer there and hope for more competition.
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
I usually trend towards burritos, but since I wanted to write something about El Meson, I did try something different this time. I had the Arroz con Pollo ($6.49), and it was really good. The grilled chicken had a ladle of the white cheese sauce poured over it. I asked for some tortillas ($0.49) and for a just under $7 (water to drink) I was stuffed. The cheese sauce is really rich and very tasty, and the chicken was quite moist, which sometimes can be hard to find if they've cooked it too long. The chips and salsa are good, though nothing remarkable. The only problem I had with this meal is that I thought the cheese sauce was just a bit too salty, and so I felt thirsty for most of the afternoon.