Thursday, February 28, 2008

Guess burnt popcorn smell isn't the worst thing in the lunchroom afterall

The Travel Channel has a few new commercials out for bug eatin', innard lovin' Andrew Zimmern's show Bizarre Foods that are hilarious. Love the reactions from his coworkers.

Apparently there is a new season of shows starting soon, which does make one wonder how many underutilized animal parts, different types of larvae, and stomach churning cooking methods could possibly be left?

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Appologizing in Advance to the Black Crow Restaurant, Beatrice Nebraska

Black Crow Restaurant,
Beatrice Nebraska

I was thrilled to learn that, thanks to Maxim magazine, the bar has been lowered to a manageable level for all of us overworked reviewers who really don't have the time to actually sample all the products we are reviewing. (If you aren't sure to what I am referring, read this article for a nice summary.)

Eager to try out this new concept, I chose, in honor of Maxim's review system, the Black Crow restaurant in Beatrice Nebraska. I've never been there, and except for a brief drive-thru on my way to Colorado, haven't spent much time in any part of Nebraska, let alone Beatrice and it's dining establishments. Now, I'm not even sure if this restaurant is still open. I feel it would cheating to do any type of research such as looking in the online phone directory, although I did find some guy's blog that provides a picture of the place, that for the life of me I can't seem to find again. So based on my recollection of that guy's photo I am going to make an educated guess and say that service is very good except for one person that works on Wednesdays who is sort of slow and usually has to cheat by looking at the board for the daily specials rather than memorize them. I will also guess that the eggs are good there. Get the eggs. The bathrooms are usually very clean but they need a better quality of hand soap that moisturizes as well as kills germs.

This is harder than it looks and I think that Maxim guy deserves credit. It's much easier to just go to the damn place and then write about it than making an educated guess. I am just going to have to cheat and look at someone else's review. Bill and Lori Schenk write on the Chef Moz site that it reminded them of being in Paris. I have never been to Paris either, so I will probably be reviewing that next. I see that pretty much everyone on that site is giving the restaurant four to five stars. I would also give it five stars, but I feel the need to take off points for the poor quality hand soap in the bathroom.

Dineometer rating: 70%

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Eiffel Tower restaurant

The Jules Verne
Eiffel Tower
Paris, France

From Yahoo News:

"Though only 410 feet up, there's no gas cooking because of safety concerns. All the decor had to be light so as not to weigh on the 118-year-old iron structure. And because space is tight, food is washed and prepared in an underground kitchen."

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Dinner in the Sky

Which do you think would be the biggest potential problem with this concept?

1) Dropping your fork could result in felony manslauter charges after you impail a passerby

2) The inability to abrupty storm off after having a fight with your significant other

3) Failure to properly secure the tip under a heavy object could result in an angry waiter but a very happy homeless person two blocks down

4) paper napkins, birds, and what about the ladies room???

Bam Automat

Friday, February 22, 2008

Bohemia's Last Breath in Cicero Illinois

Cicero Illinois

A tradition in the western suburbs of Chicago, in what was once a large community of east European immigrants, where other Bohemian restaurants have long since closed and been replaced by restaurants owned by the newest wave of immigrants, this time from Mexico. Klas is one of the few that remains. Fitting therefore that the restaurant, now somewhat of a novelty, features a gift shop that sells Czech jewlery, cookbooks, and their own homemade breads. The food at Klas will bring back memories for anyone who remembers a time when almost all restaurants in the Berwyn and Cicero area offered a side of saurkraut and dumplings with each meal. The food may taste somewhat bland to many but that is what East European food is supposed to taste like and if you want jalapenos, there are many Mexican restaurants in the area that will satisfy. Klas offers good , homecooked food such as potato pancakes, pork tenderloin, roast chicken smoked sausage, and the perenial Czech favorite desert, the kolachy. I am intrigued by the Cicero Cut Sirloin Steak and will continue to ponder what "Cicero cut" could possibly mean. Klas was once (say 25-30 years ago) considered to be the "fancy" restaurant in town but is now rather attainable to most.

Dineometer rating: 90%

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Damansara Village Steamboat Restaurant

Someone gave this video only one star! Come on! The entertainment value alone is worth at least three stars.

"The food is damn good" --owner

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Adventure Dining: Anthony Bourdain

"Hospital Chic"

Taco Roc: The New Black

Taco Roc is the new La Altena of Chattanooga and I mean that in a "Is the new black sort of way." It's trendy and lots of business types in suite and/or high-heels/ties, go there as do actual authentic, non-English speaking taco aficionados. This is probably due to the owners advertising on both NPR and Spanish language radio. I see this as an excellent business move and feel that it shows a strong awareness of potential customer bases. As for the food, they offer the best tacos in Chattanooga. If I said that any other taqueria offers the best tacos in Chattanooga, I have changed my mind.

I found the pollo tinga tacos to be very flavorful and not dry, like chicken tends to be at other Mexican restaurants. The tacos al pastor were almost (sorry) as good as what I get in Houston or Mexico. They also provide a selection of aguas frescas ("waters") such as pineapple, watermelon, tamarind (not my favorite), and horchata (which is described as a rice water but tastes like sweet milk) that are an excellent change from the usual soft drink. You will also have the opportunity to add your own onions, cilantro, and salsa to your food as you like you it.

The seating is ridiculously cramped at lunch due to the current Taco Roc craze in Chattanooga but on the bright side, you may get to share a table with a stranger and end up making a taco lovin' friend. We were seated at the table next to the door, and everytime it opened, we instinctively grabbed our napkins and covered our tacos from the cold gust of air that would blow past. We ate with our coats on. Eavesdropping on conversations (not hard to do since I was practically sitting in the lap of the people at the next table) it seems that everyone expects Taco Roc to expand to a larger location. Excellent idea. Lets just hope they don't trendy themselves towards crappiness.

Dineometer rating 90%

Monday, February 18, 2008

This train really, really takes you to the market

And you thought your place of employment was cramped for space.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Not Very Adventurous

Sticky Fingers,

Chattanooga, Memphis, and elsewhere

I am clearly slipping in the adventure dining department. Todays reviews are two chains that, good or not, will probably be expanding to your town soon. The first is Sticky Fingers Rib House, a barbecue restaurant in the Southern sense, that is limited at present to the, well, the south. Despite myself and my dislike of all things chain, I loved the ribs and sides at Sticky Fingers. The corn bread muffins are more like cake than actual bread. Still good, just a bit more desert-like than you may want pre-meal. The green beans were also much better than expected. I recommend the rib sampler for two. You will get a discount on the second portion and it gives you an opportunity to try four different rib flavors.

Dineometer rating: 70%

Mc Alister's Deli, Chattanooga, etc.

The Grilled Chicken Breast served on ciabatta was actually better than most sandwiches I have gotten here that were gaggingly dry. Be frightened of anything they serve with gravy and don't bother with the underachieving Muffulleta (if you really want one in Chattanooga go here ). They still get a "good" rating for having sandwiches that are better than most fast food chains. But there is much room for improvement.

dineometer rating 50%

For these and more reviews, go to .

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Amazing Coffee Art

This makes me sort of bummed about always drinking green tea.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Cat Lover's Restaurant

Amazing what you can do in the absence of a health department. I think this is in Hong Kong and although it is not actually a restaurant for the cats, it will do for now (see Restaurant for Dogs below).

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Aretha Frankenstein's

Aretha Frankensteins
Chattaooga Tennessee

A cute name and a visit from Rachael Ray do not a great restaurant make. Aretha Frankenstein's is popular with college students, who survive mostly on Ramen Noodles and grilled cheese sandwiches made with their irons, and thus can not necessarily be considered the most descerning of palates when it comes to food quality and taste. I have only payed one visit to Aretha's, pre-fire, with a group of above college age women. We all pretty much had the same reaction then, as do many of the people I have pressed for opinions lately: "Eh. "

Not "Ewww", just, "Eh. "

I haven't been back, not that I don't want to, just that there are a few other restaurants with food above "Eh" that I would like to try. Now, Rachael Ray had an orgasmic reaction during her visit when filming an episode of $40 a Day, but then she often seems to have this reaction to food and so her opinion cannot be trusted either.

So imagine my suprise when I found that Aretha seems to be branching out into prepared pancake mixes. Who wouldn't want to buy a pancake mix with a catchy name and threats on the back that you are not to use fake eggs or real milk (something like that--I didn't actually buy a box) or bad things will happen to you.

I plan to keep an open-ish mind and venture a visit to Aretha's in the near future, in the name of thorough research. Maybe I will even buy a box of pancake mix but I am going to use fake eggs dammit! Try and stop me Aretha!

Stay tuned.