Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Adventure Dining: Portland Oregon

Pok Pok in Portland Oregon, voted 2007 restaurant of the year (in Oregon? Portland? the US? Western Hemisphere? Don't know, it doesn't say). Cheers to Linda, the only Oregonian I know.


Sunday, January 27, 2008

Restaurant for Dogs. Seriously.

Food selections include homemade ostrich liver biscuits and cakes with mashed potato icing. I can't wait for the first customer reviews from this restaurant.

I am not finding any videos of cat restaurants and this seems like blatant discrimination to me.

Note: You may want to turn the volumn way down for this video.

La Costa Chattanooga

La Costa
Chattanooga Tennessee

Typical mexican food, served on huge platters, and with a free side of bean dip. The ambience is less than thrilling, with Pepto Bismal pink walls, no music (unless you count the radio in the kitchen), and florescent lighting. The location is at near the foot of Signal Mountain in what was once a successful Italian restaurant (that moved to a larger location and then quickly went out of business). But the service at La Costa was fast and friendly, and the food adequate.


Sunday, January 20, 2008

Mojo Burrito

Mojo Burrito
Chattanooga Tennessee

Mojo Burrito is Chattanooga's answer to those chain make your own burrito places, although perhaps a little bit fresher. One of the best things about Mojo is the unique interior (see attached photos). If you are in the Chattanooga area and in the mood for a burrito, skip the chains and go to Mojo.
dine-o-meter rating: 70%

Chattanooga Fresh

The Big Table
Chattanooga TN

Excellent food, crappy location. This is not a place that you are likely to notice on your way to somewhere else. It is located on a side street behind a bar and next to a florist. Perhaps that is just as well. During dinner hours on our most recent Friday night visit, most tables were taken in this converted house turned restaurant. Fresh herbs were used in our entrees and all items were homemade. The salad had just the right amount of dressing-a raspberry vinaigrette- to enhance but not overwhelm. I would recommend the roasted or baked entrees over anything fried, not just for health reasons, but because the fried entrees (such as my Pane' Chicken) seem to have much less flavor than the others. The freshly made soups and homemade deserts are highly recommended and the fresh from the oven chocolate chess pie is to die for.

Dineometer rating: 80%


Friday, January 18, 2008

New York meets Chattanooga

It is clear that the owner/chef of Riverstreet Deli loves food and loves to cook. He can often be seen mingle with the customers, most of whose names he seems to know, giving the restaurant a friendly feel. The New York style deli sandwiches and freshly made salads all have robust flavors (do these guys have special ingredients flown in from New York each day or what?) A huge bonus is the Friday night theme dinners that occur in two seatings (6ish and 9ish--reservations required) and feature a different cuisine type each week. Themes have included Low Country Boil, Northern Italian, and Argentinian. I have been to about 5 and all have been exceptional. Bring your own wine.


Thursday, January 17, 2008

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Adventure Dining: Chattanooga: Middle Eastern

University Pizza and Deli,
Chattanooga Tennessee

This is one of the few restaurants in the Chattanooga area where Middle Eastern food is served. Since there is a picture on the wall of Palestine, I am going to make the logical leap that the owners are of that ethnicity. I am a fan of the Baba Ghannouge and I think this may be one of the only (if not THE only) place in town to get that (Baba Ghannouge is a roasted eggplant puree with olive oil, garlic, and lemon that is eaten with pita bread). I also love the grilled kebabs served with basmati rice. That said, this restaurant has a few issues. I for one would prefer less grease on the food (such as the rice dishes and eggplant parmesan) even if it is olive oil. The gyro is not the real gyro that is cut from a rotating skewer--which I can almost understand and perhaps even forgive--due to the small order volume. The deserts, while tempting, are not homemade (I am being picky, aren't I). Being near the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, the pizza is quite popular although I have not yet tried it.


Monday, January 14, 2008

Undersea Restaurant

To make up for the last video, here is something a little more appealing. This is going to top my Adventure Dining "To Do" list.

Notice that actual food is never shown in this commercial, thus proving the point that Adventure Dining is not necessarily about the food. In fact, I think it would be great if they just went ahead and got rid of all the tables, the menu, and the waiters and just put some nice, comfy futon mats on the floor so that patrons could skip the formalities and pay to lay on the ground and stare up at the glass walls and ceiling, watching the fish swim.

Adventure Dining: Advanced

Warning: This video is not only NOT appetizing it might cause involuntary flinching by those of you who are more sensitive. Or male.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Do you Niedlov?

Niedlov's Breadworks, Chattanooga TN

Niedlov's is an excellent lunch option for those working or visiting in the downtown Chattanooga area. The sandwiches are made with freshly baked Niedlov's bread, good quality luncheon meats, and fresh vegetables, and are served with a side of colorful chips. Niedlov's only recently opened for lunch so as of this writing (9/07) the menu is somewhat limited as are the seating options in the cafe. They also sell loaves of fresh baked bread, scones, muffins, and cookies. I highly recommend the ginger scones. Bottled drinks are also available. http://www.dineometer.com/browse_reviews.php

Adventure Dining: Houston: Thai

Tony Thai,
Houston Texas

Tony Thai has a trendy, pleasant look, with a giant scrolling menu at the front of the restaurant. The menu is heavy on seafood with traditional thai dishes and some americanized dishes such as our Tony Wings. All in all the food was good.

Dineometer Rating: 80%

Adventure Dining: Asheville: Latin

Asheville North Carlina

I actually can't remember the name of what I had but it was a beef dish and somehow the word "coconut" was involved (I really need to start taking better notes). The portion size was HUGE for a dinner item, let alone a lunch option. The over-sized slab of meat came with lots of extras such as plantains, corn cake, and beans. The ingredients were fresh and the menu items were definitely not your run-of-the mill choices, with dishes from countries such as Uruguay and Argentina, such as empanadas. We all thought the prices were reasonable, and everyone seemed to enjoy their meal.

Candidate for World's Smallest Restaurant

Tacos to Go
Dalton Georgia

Excellent tacos, served in what may be the smallest restaurant anywhere. The name Tacos to Go was probably chosen because there really isn't much room to eat in. Four seats to be exact, lined up at the counter provide an excellent opportunity to watch your food being prepared. I sought this restaurant out after reading other reviews provide enthusiastic support for this place. I would agree. The tacos are great, and probably the best in this area.

Dineometer rating: 80%

Adventure Dining: Chattanooga: Thai

Sweet Basil
Chattanooga TN

Good Thai food although slightly more expensive than need be. We really like the rice noodle dishes and the curries, especially the green curry.
Dineometer rating: 80%

Friday, January 11, 2008

Adventure Dining: Chattanooga: Japanese

Typhoon of Tokyo,
Red Bank Tennessee

Typhoon of Tokyo is one of those pretend Japanese restaurants that serve poor quality food but with mustard sauce that is so addicting it is like crack.

Dine-o-meter rating: 40%

Read more here:

A better use for Vegemite than actually having to eat it

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Our new favorite time waster

How to donate free rice to the hungry with very little effort (and no money!)

We didn't believe this was real either until reading the BBC and Snopes articles.

“Web game provides rice for hungry . . . FreeRice went online in early October and has now raised 1 billion grains of rice [by November 9].”
- BBC News

and a link to the BBC article about the website:

and the snopes article:

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Adventure Dining: Asheville North Carolina

Doc Chey's, Asheville North Carolina

Doc Chey's is a chain, albeit a chain limited to a few southern locations, but one that I suspect is likely to expand, at least to larger urban areas and college towns. The menu consists primarily of diverse asian noodle bowls such as Japanese udon, pad thai, and Vietnamese rice noodles. They also have salads and appetizer options such as edamame and spring rolls. The food was good but in general, not as flavorful as what you could get in a restaurant specializing in the cuisine of one particular country.

Route 66 Road Food, Berwyn Illinois

Novi's Beef, Berwyn Illinois

Located on what used to be the begining of Route 66, Novi's Beef has long been a staple for residents of the Berwyn area. As the area changes, Novi's continues to survive and has even expanded over the years. As far as I can tell, it remains an independent restaurant and has not gone the route of so many others by franchising, and if this is so, they deserve credit. Menu items are the typical Chicago Hot dog stand items of Italian beef, hot dogs, polish sausage, and burgers. The Italian beef, while good, tends towards the dry side at times, probably because the roll tends to be heaped with a little bit too much meat. Ask for a side of giardiniera, which is a pepper type relish packed in olive oil that goes great on both sandwiches and pizza.


Unique Fast Food

Lee's Sandwiches, Houston TX and elsewhere

Lee's Sandwiches is a chain of Vietnamese fast food restaurants limited to the southwestern United States. Their website boasts that at 10,000 square feet, this Houston location is the largest. Their is a lively, neon ambience with large groups of people from the asian community gathered on the outdoor, misted patio, playing chess or just chatting while they sip an iced coffee. The sandwiches at Lee's are good but nothing special. The menu is lengthy and offers sandwiches ranging from the combination (which includes headcheese and pate)to a sardine sandwich, to a turkey club on croissant. The bread is made on site in the "baguette factory." Our sandwiches had an abundance of cilantro, onion, pickled vegetables and a few slices of jalapeno for good measure. We tried the sticky rice which had chinese sausage and small pieces of meat, and a tasty desert rice presented on a styrofoam tray with a fragrant coconut sauce on the side. Lee's also has a number of prepared carry out items, the most interesting of which was the whole coconut, the insides of which have been mixed with gelatin and sugar. This is on my list of things to try on my next visit as are the delicious looking meat filled puff pastries, freshly baked deli manjoo cake, and fruit smoothies that come in about 30 different flavors including the infamous durian. Lee's has a convenient drivethrough and is open 24 hours. Bottom Line: Good for a quick lunch or late night snack.