Archive for the ‘ Restaurant ’ Category

Restraunt Review: Five Guys Burgers and Fries

So, from several different sources now, I have heard about the supposed marvel that is Five Guys Burgers and Fries. Friends at work have told me that I’ve got to try it, and whenever I drive by one with someone in the car, they always seem to do the “ooh, five guys”. Well, I recently managed to go their with some friends, and try the place out.

Walking in, I was greeted by a bustling restaurant that reminded me of a cross between a Burger King, and  a county fair food stand. Still there were free peanuts offered in line while you waited to order, so I couldn’t complain too much. Walking up, I made my order of a bacon cheeseburger with BBQ sauce, and onions, and an order of regular fries. So, this ran me about $10, so I was a little put off to start because I didn’t even order a drink, and I was tipping what I like to spend on a fast food lunch.

Well, the turnaround on the meal was slightly longer than your average fast food place, but better then a sit down.  I got my order, and we retreated to an open table outside. The first thing I noticed was the fries. They really were delicious, and they weren’t skimpy with them either.  A regular order could have easily been split between two people to help with the cost. They were delicious too, done in the style of skin on fresh fries. Definitely one of my favorite incarnations of potato.

Moving on to the burger. It was a sloppy griddle double pattied burger. It tasted decent, but was at the same time, nothing special. It fell in between a fast food offering, and a chain restaurant. Not bad, but for what I payed, I was a little disappointed. About half way into the burger I realized something was wrong, something was missing. Where was my bacon!? I looked on the receipt, and yup, there it was. Looking back at my burger, it was clear it was forgotten. I was bummed. It had cost extra, but it was too late, and too busy for me to try and remedy the situation. Still, I finished the burger, and was satisfied.

So, overall, I’m not a big fan of five guys. If I want a burger, I’d rather have a real burger. I usually order things like  Tendercrisp at fast food places anyways, reserving my red meat to be eaten in a slightly higher caliber. Still, I wouldn’t turn down some five guys fries if they were offered. That, to me, was the best this place had to offer. So, I give Five Guys Burgers and Fries a “Meh, not too bad”.

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Tis the Season: Pumpkin Donuts

It’s that time of year again everyone. The summer temperatures start to dip. The leaves start to change color (at least here in NH). People with out of state licenses spontaneously pull over at the peril of other motorists to snap pictures of the foliage. Oh, and oh yeah, restaurants and stores start to roll out the fall themes food and beverages. Specifically, we get some tasty treats over at Dunkin Donuts like their Pumpkin muffins, donuts, and lattes.

Yeah, I’m the kind of guy that looks forward to these things. At the same time, I survive the year on what is, in my humble opinion, one of the better donuts available: the blueberry cake doughnut. Still, even I like to mix it up, and this time of year gives me the spicy and satisfying pumpkin doughnut. It’s your standard cake doughnut with a nice glaze, but Dunks really captured that deep pumpkin-y flavor in the pastry. Give me two of these, and a small Coolatta, and i am in a very happy place on a  blustery autumn day. Here’s to my favorite season folks!

Restaurant Review: Famous Dave’s

So, in with all of the other festivities of this past weekend, we tried to slip in an early, mini birthday party for my friend Kyle since his is kind of getting swallowed by wedding-zilla this coming weekend. As such, I tried to get creative, and bought him the ingredients to a drink named after his favorite superhero: Green Lantern. We also decided to see where he wanted to go for dinner. To our surprise, the answer was Famous Dave’s.

Now, Kyle and his fiance (no next weekend isn’t their wedding) have raved about Famous Dave’s for some time. Needless to say, with that amount of praise, I thought I was in for a treat. Boy was I wrong.

Famous Dave’s is like the Applebees of BBQ. It’s a chain, so I took my excitement for good BBQ with a grain of salt.  Going in, I ordered a fairly standard combo. I got their chopped pork, and “rib tips” with sides of coleslaw, beans, corn, and a cornbread muffin. Lets tear into this meal, and I don’t mean by eating it.

First up is the chopped pork. This was actually one of the highlights of the meal. It is your standard dry pulled pork that had most likely been smoked, or cooked in the usual way. It came served on top of a thick piece of toast which was a nice twist. What was not so nice was the mountain of BBQ sauce that was dumped on top, completely obscuring any pork flavor that might have been had. If you’re going to go through the trouble of serving a dry-style chopped pork, and offer BBQ sauce on the table, why not let the diner sauce it to their own liking? WHY?

Next up are what Dave’s calls rib tips. These were what I was most excited for going in, and what ended up ruining my meal in the end. They’re described as “tips, slathered with Rich & Sassy® BBQ sauce, fire-grilled, then chopped into tender, bite-sized piece.” Where was that on my plate? What I got were chunked ribs with huge sections of cartilage, and bone to work around for scraps of rib meat that was so coated, and smothered, oh wait, slathered in BBQ sauce that I think I might have had more fun drinking straight BBQ sauce. These were just a bad time. I like meat off the bone, but heaping chunks of nasty cartilage through the entire thing killed it for me. If I pay for meat, I want meat.

Whew, okay moving on from that rant. What was left were the sides. The slaw, and beans were average restaurant fair, leaving the corn and cornbread as the highlights. The corn had a good smoky taste, and the cornbread muffin was sweet and warm. Yes, I’m saying that the best part of a $15 BBQ meal was a muffin and half ear of corn.

So what does all this mean? I don’t care who’s birthday it is, I’m not wasting my time and money at Famous Dave’s again when there’s a much better institution, from what I’ve heard, down the road. Next time I’ll try KC’s Rib Shack.

Midnight Food Runs: Fear the Burrito

You know it’s the sign of a good weekend when you find yourself at a Taco Bell drive up, closer to midnight than not, and toting two inebriated friends in the car. Oh yeah, it just makes for a nice change of pace, and makes you feel young and rebellious again.

That’s how my friends and I ended our Saturday last weekend. I needed a chicken burrito, and ended up with that, and a re-fried bean one, while my cohort Kyle ended up with a 5-layer, and a volcano burrito to top of his SoCo filled stomach. Oh the shenanigans we twenty-somethings can get into.

Well, besides the craziness of the situation, it still doesn’t top when another friend of mine ordered everything under the word burrito…yeah, you heard me right. Still, this is about the food. I’m a big fan of the chicken burrito at Taco Bell. It’s simple, and tasty. That said, I still wanted to try the re-fried bean burrito as, well, I like re-fried beans. Aaaaaaand that’s what I got. It was re-fried beans wrapped in a tortilla. That’s it. It was a bean log. And if that doesn’t conjure a nasty image, then you’re not trying hard enough. It was…well, I won’t get it again.

There you go, three crazy guys and a bad burrito (and three tastier burritos). Yeah, weekends are fun.

Because it’s Tuesday: Meat Child of KFC

Oh KFC, what have you wrought with your Double Down madness? WAIT! Lets not go down that road right now, filled with sodium, and follow-ups involving burgers between grilled cheese sandwiches.

What is to be pointed out here is that KFC has announced the meaty child of the Double Down, coming to their menus July 5th. I give you the Doublicious!!!… Yeah…

Well, it looks like a chicken sandwich. Yes, KFC totes the presence of bacon, cheese, and that “special sauce” from the Double Down, but there’s not a whole lot that jumps out as unique about just another chicken sandwich on a fast food menu…or that much that’s double about it as it’s name suggests.

I might give it a try KFC, but you lost your grove with this one. Kudos for not even reinventing the wheel, but just for re-branding it…again. Thanks to the folks over at Slash/Food for pointing this one out.

Take-out Review: House Special Mei Fun

Back in college, I was introduced to a dish from a Chinese restaurant that I probably never would have gotten around to trying on my own: Singapore Rice Noodles.

Now, the first time I tried these, they were a friend’s leftovers on a late night shift at work. They were awesome! The next time I got takeout, I was determined to have them again…and they stunk. I had them three more times at college, and each time they were never as good. In fact, they tasted different each time. Still I wanted something as tasty as those first leftovers.

Fast forward to present day, and to the Jade Garden in Hooksett, NH. I’ve talked about this place before, and since it really has turned into my go-to place for Chinese in the area. Looking at their menu, I felt like trying something other than my standard Sweet and Sour Chicken dinner combination. After scanning the menu, the word Singapore caught my eye under a type of food called “Mei Fun”. With a touch of hope, I Googled Mei Fun to find out that they were the type of rice noodles that I had been looking for!

Now back in college I had found out that Singapore rice noodles were supposed to be spicy, but the leftovers I had tried were special ordered not to be. Seeing other rice noodle dishes under Mei Fun, I decided to try the House Special.

I apologize for the cell phone photography up top, but it was the best I could do at the moment. Still, it does a good job of showing the delicious contents of the dish. The house special has the base of rice noodles cooked in a wok with light oil, but also chicken, pork, shrimp, egg, mushroom, onion, and even some carrot. Even with the oil base, the Mei Fun was a light dish, with all of the flavors cooking together. I feel bad because the picture makes this tasty dish look like some cheap ramen, but it is so much better. If you’re ever in the area, definitely give the Jade Garden, and more specifically, the Mei Fun a try.

Restuarant Review: Jade Garden of Hooksett, NH

I have one rule about living somewhere: you need to find “that” Chinese restaurant. Everyone has one. It’s your go to place when the craving strikes, and you know they have what you want.

I’ve lived in Manchester now since the end of December 2009, and have been looking for “my” place.

When I first moved in, I tried a local place that had gotten some pretty solid reviews on Yelp.com. It was the Aloha restaurant, and I only felt it to be…so so. The problem I really had is that it did not have dinner specials available on Sunday night. Well this started a trend.

Over the next couple months, I got several menus in the mail for other local places. What did they all have in common? No one serves dinner specials on Sunday nights. Sadly for me, that’s usually when I get the hankering for Chinese. Well at long last, on a Sunday night, I found myself with a flier for the Jade Garden in Hooksett.

Well, I ended up ordering my standard from there: Sweet and Sour Chicken. Even better, they offer your choice of an additional appetizer. Without a doubt, had to get crab rangoons.

Now to what it actually was like. IT WAS AWESOME. Food was tasty. The service was fast and friendly. The portion size was great. The only interesting bit is that an hour later I was hungry, but that’s generally the rule with Chinese. The best way to describe it was that everything was fresh. That goes a long way in takeout. Besides that, the food was the standard. I’ll have to try some other dishes now that I know the place is “safe” as far as a takeout restaurant goes.