The Diary Project

A Year In Restaurants

With No Repeats

There are over a half million restaurants in the grand old US of A, so it should not be that hard to find a new one every time I want to eat out.

2018 Edition

egg rolls, crab stuffed deep fried appetizers, and sweet and hot sauce, tasty enough to drink like tea

Spoonful of Thai

The Mediocre Lunch Special

Eh, originally, I was planning on listing out the names. But, let's face it. With every compliment I dole out, there will be a slight of some sort or another, as that is my nature. And I'd feel bad about knocking a place, if I named it. So, I won't. And rather, I'll leave the establishments un-known and un-named... a bit of a mystery.

The crab egg roll thingies that I got as part of my lunch special were delightful. I drank that dipping sauce like soup. But the pepper steak was as bland and mediocre as anything I could have cooked for myself. I would have expected more from a place just around the corner from the Consulate.

On the other hand, the place was warm, I got a seat right quick, and other than a mediocre main dish, it was a delightful experience.

Notes (what I wrote on the receipt... more or less): $11.50, good, not awesome, not even solid, frozen food quality, I won't regret not coming back for a year.

The Pub

Crappy Photos
(thus, none posted)
But Wonderful Food

Well, maybe I will have to keep a side spreadsheet going, listing out the actual restaurant names.

This was a local bar... turned lunch time institution (or so I would have you believe).

The bread was novel, fun. The coleslaw, awesome. It was by far the best part of the meal. And the ribs delightful. They were real baby backs, so I should have ordered a double rack. But live and learn. I wonder if I'll remember that detail when I return in a year. And yes, this place is on the return in a year list... another reason to get that spreadsheet going.

Oh, I also had hash browns with the meal, which were highly mediocre.

Others enjoyed their chicken, blue cheese, pecan salad, but it was not so remarkable as to be remembered as of this writing (two whole weeks) later. On the other hand, the high-ceilinged, open, welcoming ambiance was.

Notes: $55.50 for two, small ribs, chewy browns, good slaw, need 1½ rack ribs, dry meal, good, premium ribs, interesting rolls

standard plate lunch, fried rice on right, two types of chicken on left, tasty, a good meal, fried beef, not shown

Chinese Plate Lunch

A Garbage Meal

I love eating here. The food is great. But then, it's a chain. And it's no longer special. And that is one of the reasons I'm doing this project and avoiding repeats in the first place.

Most telling, perhaps, is how long into the year I got before going here. This was supposed to be a safety reserve, you know, a place I could go if I ever needed to eat, but couldn't find any place better. Well, now we know why I was eating here so much before: I like it.

Oh, yeah. I very much enjoyed this meal.

Notes: $10 odd, no need to keep notes, as I know this place forward and backwards, having eaten here 20+ times in years past.

Cheese Crust Pizza

Totally Worth It

The idea is simple enough. Take a pizza and replace the top part of the crust with a half inch spline of cheese. And then (because that's not enough), press extra cheese into the outside of the crust so the lot crisps to a nice golden brown.

This is the way to eat pizza.

And in the end, the only type of crust I want to eat... except for maybe that sausage crust pizza I've been hearing about, as of late.

A booth in a side town diner, nice and cozy, perfect place to stop in and take the chill off, booth shown, menu board above, wonder if you can read it

Dynamite Cafe

Serving Up Comfort Food

Steak is what is for lunch, steak and hash browns, much better than the ones I had had a few days before, sort of small bit of steak, will always wonder if I should have gotten the steak and eggs, basically, the one came with onions, and the other eggs, still, good hash browns

It was an Eggs & Bacon, Hamburger & Fries type place with a nice selection of all the other favorites your mother might have made for you in your youth... if your mother was a short order cook at a greasy spoon.

I enjoyed myself immensely. Though, I am thankful we did not go on the weekend or during lunch rush.

And I'd say more, but it's been awhile. And the cash only policy means I did not take any notes (on the back of the receipt like I normally do) to guide these future musings.

One thing I do know, if it weren't for this once a year game I'm playing, I'd double up on this place... whenever the weather was getting me down.

It has been awhile, so the taste of the blue cheese in my mouth is sort of fading, the crust was delightful, olive oil based, nice and crunchy, thin, a good pizza Salad, what to say, it was green, not mine, and looked fine enough The soup was actually a chili, and I remember being quite pleased with it, being better than I had expected, more of a gourmet chicken chili than anything standard with sour cream and cilantro

Monk Hill

Never Again

Monk Hill was a nickname I gave to one of my apartments from years gone past. Along the same lines, I nicknamed one of the Saturn's I owned (I've owned two) the Silver Leopard (the other was the Green ION, so not as romantic). Of course, this restaurant had little to nothing to do with either.

I would not bother going back. There was nothing wrong. But nothing special, either. So, why bother?

Though, I'll underline that nothing wrong part once again. The place is a safe bet. But I want more out of life than safe bets.

Anyhow, the food got three photographs, because originally I was going to just show the salad and say something snotty. But any snottiness would be undeserved... as would my repeat business.

Notes: great blue cheese, interesting chili, a franchise waiting to happen, interior design reminiscent of <that other place>, maybe an old one, blah salad dressing, cavernous ceilings, cave like, not too spicy, with a fast talking waiter

Beef stew, boiled vegetables, and mashed potatoes, served cafeteria style, as if cooked in a cafeteria, with old style cafeteria prizing, expected little, got more

Department Store Cafeteria

Getting Better Every Day

If you're going to overcook your food, you might as well pick a food that likes to be overcooked. Thus, I give you Beef Stew ala The Twenty First Century.

The meat was good. The vegetables, mediocre. And the mashed potatoes... er, um, mashed. What more do you want?

And in answer to that last, I will advise that the meal was priced very reasonably.

This would be another one of those stops that would get doubled-up on for sure before the year was out if I was not trying to avoid repeats. I wonder where we will go next time, instead.

Or in other words, trying some place new is the entire point of this exercise.

Ambience is what this restaurant was all about, fifty bucks for ribs and a burger, tasty, but it was about the experience, dim lighting, very bar like, the bartender doubled as a side show magician, doing table to talbe card tricks, red industrial piping shown Me taking a drink, fingers extended, oh, so elegant, a bit of ambiance in the background, hawaiian shirt over dark skin tight long sleeved tee-shirt The bar with weapon replicas as decoraion, lots of fun decorations in this place

Just a Simple Import Export Business

Or So, I Am Told

This was a theme restaurant that served up very tasty burgers at only a small premium to what said burgers would have cost down the road at a regular Burger Bar.

The up charge was well worth it.

Though, to be fair, when I ask a waiter about the size of the baby back ribs, it is in the restaurant's best interest to answer truthfully. If I'm only going to get the small size (as in, true baby back ribs), which is what they were serving, I'll be wanting the full rack. So, that's another six (or was it eight) bucks they left sitting on the table.

All in all, a delightful experience. Once again, a place to go back to. On the other hand, a regular burger place is just down the street (one is always just down the street) and most definitely where we would have gone during the open season (if we weren't playing this once a year game).
'For the change, Nikolai was the tourist. And Natasha, let us just say, what she was doing there was none of your beeswax.'
Alas, I forgot the secret PASSWORD.

Notes: waiter described ribs incorrectly, good sauce, nice fries, everything I want in a coleslaw (thin cut, creamy, with a light touch of horseradish), delicious smash burgers, crispy sweet moist mushrooms, but all in all, go for the ambiance.

Deep fried pork in a sweet and spicy sauce, I really like this dish, looks like more than it is, though, half bones and fat, still, well worth it The three main dishes, curry chicken, I think, some kind of stir fry, probably beef, and deep fried pork, it was good, not great, just another Chinese restaurant They overcharged us, or were lack in their statement of prices, it did not matter, usually it would, but a day of celebration, and though written elsewhere, I already, a month later, forget the fortune

Chinese New Year

We went to the parade, so we, also, went out to eat.

I really like this deep fried pork dish. I don't know what it is called. But I'm sure it's just pork fried up in some oil, maybe just like french fries.

The most prominent aspect about the experience was the unforeseen increase in price. I mean, in retrospect, they had warned us (if we could read Cantonese) on the menu... but then (because we can't and they knew it), they did not. I was in a good mood, having a good day, so I did not care. But I doubt I would have ordered the third dish if I'd known the price going in... which sounds awfully cheap of me at this remove (look at that food, look at that price). Still, a person (meaning, I) tends to make purchase decisions with the price in mind. So, a change in price is liable to have a change on the purchase decision.

The chicken broth soup with cabbage and seaweed was very tasty. But outside of the pork (and even likely the pork), I'd try something different next time. And of course, next time it will be at a different restaurant, so I will.

Or as the fortune went, 'Do not rush through life, pause and enjoy it.'

So, perhaps, order another dish... or something to go? Even after the unexpected upcharge, it was well worth the price of admission.

Notes: Glorious parade food, with special price increase just for you!

Take your standard stir fry beef fajita plate with peppers, tomatoes, and onions, and add cheese, rice and beans on the side, fine enough, but I would not search out, its just melted cheese, after all, I think I would rather have a healthy dose of sour cream and gaucamole, I mean, there are other ways to trick out a fajita plate

South of the Border

Time & Time Again

Sometimes, you're just doing time. There was nothing wrong with the dish... just not my first choice.

It's a fajita style stir fry: meat, onions, and peppers covered in cheese with salsa and chips served on the side... just like one gets at a million other Mexican Restaurants across the country.

So, nothing special.

Just another day.

Just doing time.

The bread plate, very nice, light foccassia, well, heavy, olive oily, tasty, olives on top, very nicely presented, have no idea if this was included or a side, you are probably looking at ten dollars worth of bread there Lamb shank, white beans, pomegranate seeds, sprouts, salt crystals, like the black color on the lamb, but it was probably cooked sue vide or slow cooked, very nice, delicate even, but not worth a repeat Crumbling remains of the dessert, three people at the table and they got two orders wrong, one main, just wrong, double up on what I had instead of fish, and the wrong dessert, shown, and then the other, they let us keep the dessert, not the main, fifty dollars in champagne, so, not worth it to me

Museum Food

Elegant Sufficiency

You know you've hit a certain level of decadence in your life when a meal like this is sort of ho-hum.

They did nothing wrong. But at this level of splendour, I expect more... not that I can put my finger quite on that something more that I expect.

That said, the bread board was inspired. I like the sprout dazzled smear of butter. And yes, I would care for a smattering of olives spread over the top of my bread... you know, since they offered.

But I've had this lamb shank before, which means, at this point, I'm eating an echo... a shadow... of that which should be served at a place like this. It should, somehow, be better... new... never seen before.

On the other hand, it is in the picture that I noticed the salt crystals. Ah, so that's why the beans were so salty. And I did eat every last morsel.

Including the dessert, which over the years, has become less important to me.

Of course, who am I kidding, it's an odds on bet I'll be back in a year.

So, shall we say, same place, same day, next year?

I am not very good at taking close in shots, or my camera, my phone is not, still, it is a salad, nothing special, lettuce, with two hamburger size crab cakes, tasty, I enjoyed, with lots of freshly fried tortilla strips, avocado, slight area of spoilage, yeah, I notice that sort of thing, but at the price, see how it is all linked to the price, well worth it, at a fancy restaurant, this would have been crap, but it was a third the cost of the lamb shank, so lower standards

That Pancake Place

Good Wholesome Food

Perhaps, I exaggerate by calling it a pancake place. But, yeah. Half of the menu items were pancakes, omelets, and skillet plates. And the other half was soup, salad, and sandwiches, with hamburgers being a house speciality.

Actually, it's amazing to me how many places say they are known for their gourmet hamburgers.

Anyway, I opted for the crab cake salad (shown) and a bowl of chicken tortilla soup (not shown). Both were delicious.

Oh (and worth mentioning), when I ate here last year (and why I ate here this year), the fruit salad (as offered in lieu of the french fries with the hamburger) was among the best fruit salads I have ever had... maybe, even, the very best.


Thumbs up!

The Frantic Sparrow

Fine dining at it's finest.

Pictures could not do it justice.

So, this overpriced venue was probably (yes, probably) worth it. Too bad the pictures did not come out.

Buy me a camera. Buy me a meal. And I will post the exchange somewhere on this website.

Or, I could just go on about this meal.

The appetizer was a brusell sprout salad. I mean, in the end, it was basically a fancy coleslaw with cherries and such, but it was fun.

My main was a steak with mushroom risotto (I still don't exactly know what that means, some kind of cream of mushroom, rice pasta thing, I'm guessing) and onion rings. Truthfully, I do not care for onion rings. But these were light and it was easy to give the gigantic stack I had away to my fellow diners.



I normally don't indulge. But this night, I did.

And a dessert consisting of berry cobbler (nice and plentiful) and this cream custard stuff (super smooth and unlike anything I've had before).

And really, that last is key... unlike anything I've ever had before... not a repeat, but new.

Of course, the dull roar of the other patrons (something I shall never get used to, I would guess), I could most definitely do without.

Would do again. And next year, I do, indeed, expect to be a hundred bucks poorer doing the same.

Lots of food, lots of choices, lots of currys and wet meat stews, the fish was amazingly tender, cooked forever and a day, dont you know, bread, top notch, the lemon chicken, delightful, lots of little extras like that, a sizzling plate of chicken brought to your table with the buffet, all you want, along with freshly baked, pita like bread, soups, salads, and all the rest Not sure how you spell his name, of course, it is probably the kind of name that trancends time, so saying it, much less spelling it, probably aint the accurate statement yes, I live a life of decadence and ease, as do many of us in the western world, it is so ridiculously plentiful, it is almost hard to call a meal like this a feast, it comes so often, but delightful, time well spent, a joyous sunday afternoon, eating till one cant eat, well, just one more trip, no more

Indian Buffet

Ga'nesh Rocks

So, like, I'm probably not an expert on the Elephant Dude. But on the other hand, I probably am.

Anyhow, he was like the patron saint of this here establishment... and he was doing a good job of looking out for them... and us while we were there.

Good eating and lots of it.


At the dessert table, a Sweet Old Lady was custom mixing sweet honeyed nuts... or however you want to describe it: trail mix with nuts and crackers and such with sweet sauces ladled over the top.

Also, mango flossy ice cream!

I mean, that pretty much says it all.

This is one of those places you can go to week after week... month after month... or as in my particular case, year after year.

These are the ceiling lights from the restaurant. I like lights, like this.  I do not think I ever really noticed them until I started taking pictures, but now that I have, here they are.  None of the images of the food turned out... or were worth posting

Mexican Food in the Mall

Complete with Spanish language sit-coms, looping in the background.

The food was, actually, quite tasty. There just wasn't enough of it... not nearly.

Anyway, the pablanos (yeah, just checked the menu, again, so that's what they were) were nice and unique in a creamy sauce. And the mole was very smooth and tasty, but not accompanied by enough meat... or maybe there was enough meat, but a scoop of rice and/or a spoonful of beans would have gone a long way to fill out the plate. As it was, half the plate was nothing but gravy.

So in other words, very tasty food, but not nearly enough of it. I doubt I'll ever go back.

A pork sandwich, the picture here is taken on the train on the way back, being the second sandwich, it is a hamburger, basically, with a fried pork patty, loaded with lettuce, tomatoes, mayonnaise and pickles, maybe other stuff probably in the donut shop, halfway through the first one, but who knows, very tasty, very wet, at four bucks a bargain And here we are, almost gone, so sad, will not be having another one of these for a year

Donuts Done Right

No Fries! Donuts!

I've been to this place before (late last year). In theory, it is a donut shop, but since I'm not a big fan of donuts, I got the pork sandwich... with a cinnamon donut as an appetizer.

Let's just say this sandwich is awesome and leave it at that. At four bucks, it is truly a bargain. So much so, I bought two, since I knew I wouldn't be back for a year (or nine months and counting, at this point).

Tender, juicy, made with all the trimmings, the sandwich is a delight. One day (maybe next year), I'll try their chicken sandwich. But maybe not. I'm a cheapskate, after all. And it costs two bucks more.

In the end, this is a local chain that knocks the snot out of the national ones.
Donuts! Donuts! Get your donuts!
Oh, and I don't really know why the first image looks like a hamburger. All three pictures are of the same sandwich... only in different lighting. So, go figure?

Lots of times the best picture image has nothing to do with the food, I think I forgot to snap a picture this time, and this was close by, pretty good image, considering how late into twilight it was, a painted fire hydrant

Me & She

A European style pub just around the corner.

At this point, we know we are not going to repeat restaurants. And in anticipation of this, we keep our eyes open.

As seen, riding by, a rib special, so...
'We'll go next week!'
The ribs were delightful in my mind, the special of the night. I could see breaking the once a year rule for a place like this and extend it (or modify it) to allow different menu items or weekly specials.

Anyhow, ribs... it's what's in the oven as we speak. I eat a lot of ribs.

Notes: Open Pit style barbecue sauce on tender baby back ribs, tasty fries, big & fat, lemon broccoli al dente, a fun family corner pub, topped with friendly service

Do you know your way around a fish counter, I do not, but this was fun, I was confused, very confused, but the owner came to the rescue and helped me navigate my way around the menu, the fish, and wind up ordering a hellishly expensive piece of chum, rather than the default sandwich, tasty, an experience, on the list to do again, some year, which, in the end, might as well be the tag line for this post

Fish Counter

Seattle's got nothing on this place.

It was order as much as you want to buy with vegetables costing almost again as much as a meal, still, very tasty, almost could have had white tablecloths on the table, I think there was a bar in back It was grill fried, or so I believe, over an open flame, crispy skin, tender meat, fishy, but not too fish, so like, you know you are eating fish, but we came for fish, so a good taste, not a bad one, I would do Garramundi again, most definitely

Okay. One thing is for sure. I need to start taking photographs with my iPhone again. The Android shots just aren't working out, too many are fuzzy. But then, maybe I'll be reversing my preference in a month or two after countless iPhone fails. Who knows?

The place looked like a deli or something from the outside. We almost didn't go in. And the counter wasn't that impressive... or not to me.

Actually, I was thinking about getting the bisque and calling it a day. But everyone else was going whole hog, so I enlisted the owner's help. And he suggested Barramundi: a solid fish, hard grilled, over a bed of mixed vegetables (that went with the fish surprisingly well) accompanied by a nice spicy sauce.

It was a good meal.


It was a great meal.

And I got exactly the type of help I want selecting an entree. Seriously, it may not seem like it, what, with a webpage like this. But I don't like reading menus. I want to go with what is great, the house speciality, sample the best of what the restaurant has to offer and move on.

I do believe the Barramundi was just that.

I am not big on games anymore, I was at one time, but not anymore, I do not want to be that competitive with the folks around me, I have practices, I have honed my skill, I do not need to challenge my family and friends, it is not worth the confrontation, however brief

Chess Cream

I scream!
You scream!
We all scream...


After the fish, we headed on down the road for a little dessert. A chocolate malt is what was on the agenda for me, very nice.

I wonder how many ice cream shops this town has?

Sort of a shame to waste the place on a malt... that banana split was looking pretty tasty.

Oddly, the fajitas are not shownm, this is a half finished plate, chicken spicy, salad, salsa, sour cream, two types of soup, and cranberry juice, a nice topping on the mexican fajita plate

South of the Border Cafe

It was actually a little bit to the North... and more like a buffet than a cafe.

All you can eat steak fajitas for the price of a steak fajita plate, I think that sums the idea up, nicely.

A wonderful place, actually.

Bottomless steak fajitas with all the salsa, chips, sour cream, and guacamole a person could want, along with soup, juice, a little flan, bit of salad, and I don't even know what you call this stuff... tamales if you're into that sort of thing.

We under-dressed for the weather, so we over-stayed.

And I got a new pair of boots before the day was over. The train, on the other hand, was like riding a mellow roller coaster, which is far more of a roller coaster than I care for.

A definite repeat.

Already has been.

Will be again.

I mean, I did mention the bottomless steak fajitas, right?

Buffet ala Ga'nesh

Another Indian buffet, underscoring that diversity is key.

The food was hot and tasty, but I suffered the runs throughout the night.

So, how do they say?

Too much information.

We will not be repeating... even if other things did.

Ha! Ha!

Unfortunate consequences (and silly jokes) aside, I very much enjoyed the rose milk. And the selection was very nice (wide, meaty, and diverse). I, also, loaded up on too much food; and feeling guilty (about leaving uneaten food on my plate), gave them a nice hefty (five bucks more than I would have otherwise) tip.

But like I said, I do not plan on returning, as I did not sleep well that night.

A Bacon burger with cheddar cheese and lots of onion rings, the onion rings where crisp and fine enough to work as a fine bacon extender and did not even notice they were not bacon at the time, so good job on their part, fries flavoured with herbs, served in a basket with lots of ketchup and a hint of mustard, this was a satisfying meal

Smash that Burger

Yeah, that's right! Smash it!

Burger, shake, and fries... actually, two different burgers, the good stuff, top row, premium menu.

One of the things I've noticed (or certainly noticed while ordering here) is that if I am not returning in a year, it is easier to splurge. This one meal may be all I ever eat here. So, I might as well and enjoy... and try that shake and those herbed french fries (large, if you please), along with a speciality burger... or two.

Happy to come back in a year.

But in the end, you know, it's just a burger bar. I certainly would not choose it as my last meal.

Looking into the depths of a box of fried chicken, flaky battered skin

Golden Fried Chicken

With Bourbon BBQ Sauce

It was a chain. Though, I do not know its size or where it stands in the rankings. Which means, it was not one of the big ones.

Out and about, it was time to eat... or could be. And since, I'd never been to the place, I decided why not?

I wanted all thighs, which they didn't have ready. And I should have waited the twenty minutes it would have taken, as the chicken in the bin was, clearly (if I had thought about it) not freshly made.

Still, tasty.

But nothing to write home about.

Decent coleslaw.

Interesting option of pasta with spaghetti sauce as a side dish.

But I think I enjoyed the bourbon (flavoured or instilled) barbecue sauce the best.

One thing is for sure, I need to describe my quest to the counter-help better.
"I'm probably never coming back here. How should I order, so that I remember this meal ten years from now?"
Sadly, this meal, I will not.

A half pound of pastrami on ordinary rye bread, sliced thick, with potato chips, nothing special, lots of meat, could have bought the meat and added mustard, the pickles were fun in that they were sliced in half, interesting touch, but made the pickles seem cheap Tile pattern on the wall, which seems like a good of picture as any about the place, I enjoyed sitting there, and it was a solid sandwhich, but not inspired, this is an image of red orange, yellow, and green tiles, with the reflection from some overhead lights shining through

Bro's Deli

A Sandwich: Nothing More, Nothing Less

I get hungry. Well, OK. That tells you nothing. I tend not to eat regularly, especially when out and about. So by the time I eat, I'm tired and it's hard to make decisions... like where to eat... or should I spend my money on this or on that.

Anyhow, I walked into this place to 'check it out'. But I was pretty sure I was going to eat there. And so, I wandered about, looked at the salad bar, and talked to the guy at the cash register. He was very helpful. But I didn't order optimally. I'm going to have to get this ordering thing down. Back in the day (say, twenty years ago), I'd go to the same circle of fast food restaurants. And I knew their menus inside and out, knew the deals. Now, I know nothing about these restaurants, having never eaten in most of them before.

I got a pastrami sandwich, loaded with meat, a full half pound. But it was mediocre. It was meat. I probably should have gotten the half sandwich with salad bar... maybe added a bowl of soup to that... or gotten a bowl of soup with the salad bar, alone.

Oh, well. Live and learn.

I mean, that half pound of meat hit the spot. But I really could have just gone into a grocery store and bought it straight, grabbing a few mustard packets to squeeze on the side.

Still, I was tired. This was there. And I did very much enjoy myself. But this sandwich was nowhere near best of class.

Chips, not of the style I prefer, crab guacamole, with not enough crab, bean dip with cheese, interesing, but not salsa Awesome Fajita stir fry, a bit greasy, but delightful, meaty, and the onions and peppers were tasty enough to make fajitas out of without any meat, it really was tasty the assembled crew on corn tortillas, which usually I do not care for, but which worked for this dish, which is another way of saying how wonderful the stir fry fajitas were, very good, and the guacamole base, sans crab, was very smooth, touch of lime, if my tastebuds do not deceive me

Mexican Bar Food

Trending the Trends

I think the highlight of this meal was the fact that instead of ripped holes in the knees of her black jeans, the waitress had worn (or professionally torn) holes in her jeans at the base of her derriere. It turned out to be quite the topic of conversation.

The crab guacamole was missing that all important ingredient: crab.

And though the chips were (apparently) made in house, they were too flat and greasy for me. Um, that whole too flat thing might be hard to describe, but I want the chips to have substance to them, to have a crust and an inside, not be too thick, nor too thin, plenty salty, freshly made, and drained well. These were not. They were average.

The fajita plate was quite the surprise when it came, the expectations being so low after the crab dip. A wondrous portion, what more is there to say.

Final note, the place wanted to charge extra for salsa. Um, no. Chips and salsa are to be included at no charge at any and all Mexican restaurants. It's the law. We got a bean dip (for free and with the chips) instead, which wasn't bad. Actually, interesting. But it was not salsa.

The place had it's points. But I can't see ever bothering to walk through the doors again, as I can get burritos with just as much flavor at half the price right down the street.

Executive Decision

Drinks Don't Count

So, this is the first time that it came up. But I bought a coconut water drink the other day. I usually just find a water fountain, but none was to be had. Anyway, drinks such as this will not be covered as we move into the summer months.

I will not be writing a post for every beverage I drink out.

Beef Brisket, pulled pork, barbeque sauce, french fries, cole slaw, all on a traditional steel platter, salt for the fries, water to drink, it would be nice to be a drinker in many ways, beer, wine, whiskey, whatever, but I am not, so the endless options in this regard are lost on me nothing remains but the empty platter, a good solid meal, but in the end, nothing more, I liked my time here, I mean, that may be unfair, what do I want, after all, well, for it to be memorable, for it to be in the running as the best barbeque all year, and it was not disappointing, but I have had bigger platters, more varied platters, and as such, this was just another platter, keep half the beef and pork, and add a chicken thigh and a sausage, double up on the coleslaw, or add a few types, and maybe we are on to something, but that is not what this was, also, i would have expected to pay a few more bucks for that, and so, would have expected even more, eh, it is what it is

Rail Stop Tavern

BBQ & Beer

Wandering along, following the overhead tracks, I came to this place... and it caught my eye long enough, that I went in.

A full scale bar, drinking establishment vibe, with a solid BBQ mixed plate... a little light on the coleslaw and French fries, maybe. But overall, very delicious and filling... though, nothing overly special. It's the same barbecue as to be had at countless other places.

Still, I enjoyed my time and will call it a good stop.

Notes: Disappointing presentation, glorious pulled pork, worthy of savouring every bite, beef was tough for my liking, 2-3pm, nice pick of seats, oldies mix on the sound system, news on the TV, train in background, nice ambiance; staff was helpful, courteous, I never did get around to taking a photograph of my greasy water glass, instead I got a clean glass to go with my clean hands, happy at 2x the normal price of a meal out, if only I drank; I indulged myself in a different kind of tired as I walked out, the good kind, the satisfied kind.

Orange abstract art, wall covering, ambience painting, which at a distance came out sort of flame like, but close up like this, is just a detail of color

Heavy Metal Burger Bar

Harder than Hard

The burger sucked. Eh, maybe sucked is the wrong word. But it cost twice as much as it should have, so it should have been twice as good... or one and a half times... or just as good... not half as good. I mean, they tried... or the management did, when they created the menu. But quality control did not show up for work the day I went, so my premium burger was made out of old components and served up with cold fries... well, not cold, but certainly not freshly made just for me.

The ketchup was nice with some kind of spice (horseradish or wasabi) and a bit of pickle relish mixed in. It was a fun touch. The pretzel roll was quite tasty. Maybe I am behind the times, but pretzel rolls seem new to me (are new to me); and so, I am enjoying.

And although they tried when it came to the ambiance, they could have tried harder. Yeah, they really could have. There were plenty of business lunches going on around us, which is fine. But Safe for Business Lunches is not exactly what I think of when I think Heavy Metal Madness.
'Rock on, dude!'
We will not be going back. Not this year. Not next year.

My speciality burger consisted of waffles strips (old), chicken tenders (soggy), maple syrup (interesting), raspberry aoli (not enough), cheddar cheese (the good stuff), bacon (the non-crispy stuff), half pound plus burger 'cooked pink, please' (nope, it was gray, well done, and not as I had ordered), on a pretzel roll (delightful).

Of course, in all fairness, I did not really feel like a burger that day. But on the other hand, I don't think I would have ever been pleased with that burger.

Oh, and the fries were cold... or not hot. That first fry should be hot... and not somewhere in between. I should know these fries were made special, just for me.

In short, in retrospect, I begrudge the place my money. So, like, not a positive review. And no, this was not the Hard Rock Cafe. It was likely a place you've never heard of... maybe with good reason. Or, maybe, I should have vetoed a burger bar and opted for a pizza place, instead. Because, let's face it, sometimes any mealtime disappointment is the customer's own fault, something they brought with them... but I don't feel that was the case, today.

Raw (or mostly raw) Notes: cold fries, soggy tenders, waffles old, the burger parts should not be old, maple syrup, cheese, bacon, wonderful pretzel bun, meat, meh, raspberry aoli, mostly disappeared, ate deconstructed (item by item), old materials, which should not be, soybean endemane (instead of fries on my plate) were good (garlic flavoured, a high-point of the meal), nice option, tasty, nice ambiance, nice place to take out-of-towners to lunch, such as business connections, but food was second rate, others said, 'Surprisingly safe', it was located in a strip mall, standard interior furnishings, heavy metal wall posters, grafitti bathroom, very well done flamed walls, 'not edgy, comfortable, plentiful burgers, lively crowd,' business folks, white middle class, 'would probably come again,' but not me. No. No. No.

Pizza on a plate with bread and butter in the background, this is good pizza, corn meal thin crust, very good, loaded with cheese and pepperoni, all for the unbelievable price of ten bucks, with purchase of drink And this is the same pizza plate a half hour later, covered in red pepper flakes to give that pizza an extra kick, a pizza so big, I took a quarter of it home... not for lack of trying

More Pizza, Please!


Oh, yeah!

This is pizza!

The daily special bought me a huge 16" thin crust pepperoni pizza (the kind with corn meal on the bottom) for $10, as long as I spent an extra $3 for a bottle of cream soda.

What a deal!

This is the pizza of my youth!

Notes: Fantastic thin crust, hot spicy with red pepper, good, good, good, cream soda topper, classic pizza, I'd come back, others said, 'Good. It was very... good. Typical. Rich. Good. Filling.' Such praise. Should have gone with the pizza!

Goat stew, was dissapointing at first, but then came the bowl of cilantro, onion, and limes, the dish was complete, at home, I would have added sour cream good taco place, thought it came with guacamole, asked about it, got a small serving of guacamole in a dixie cup, was charged a buck, would have been annoyed if not already quite pleased, ot was good guacamole, not worth a buck for for two tablespoons, but close add cilantro, onions, and a freshly squeezed lime to the goat stew, spoon up heaping helping of meat, let juice drain out of flour tortilla, eat, say ah, repeat, say ah, repeat again, OK, I'm  just going to lick the bowl, now

Max Mex

Authentic Goat

It was a nice place, down home. It was the type of place I remember from cross country trips of years gone by. When off the highway, taking the back roads, I'd run into some small town diner. This was the Mexican equivalent of that.

I got the Goat Stew. And let me tell you, I was very disappointed when it first arrived. But then, came the condiments platter with cilantro, onions, and limes, and the dish was suddenly complete.

They served three types of salsa with their chips (for free, take that pretentious Mexican upstart from a few weeks ago). Though, once again, the chips were of mediocre quality. But not so the Goat Stew, which was very delicious, very.

And the service was impeccable. Two or three of the wait staff (and/or proprietors) came by to inquire how things were. But I didn't feel like they were going through the paces. They seemed to care.

Eh, they also had home-made corn tortillas, which were interesting... thick and meaty. But not really my thing. The flour tortillas, however, with the meat from the soup, made a divine sort of sandwich.

All in all, it was a good sort of restaurant... the kind you go up and down the menu over the years, looking for hidden gems.

It looked just like a bakery should, complete with a pleasingly larage array of baked goods, all at an affordable price With homemade caramel sauce, the bread pudding was delightful, but then, one should not have to make their own caramel sauce This jam filled pastry, black current ganesh, I think it was called, was very delightful, a good bake, nice and crispy on the bottom, airy in the middle, very well done

Box o' Baked Goods

Take Out is the new Eat In

Someone (not saying who) wanted a cupcake for dessert. Gads! But do cupcakes suck!

Anyhow, there was a bakery around the corner, so we loaded up... and I do mean, loaded up.

We bought and ate (in order, over the next few days):
Fun to shop, but the baked goods were astonishingly disappointing. I mean, is it asking for too much for everything to be better than what mom used to make?

Adam's Rib

Lip Smacking Good

Please, read the notes below for a stream of consciousness review.

Very well done!

Bravo, sir! Bravo!

Notes: Adam's Rib, a sexually disorienting and/or ambiguous rib joint, if you take my meaning, ribs were a little dry, a little chewy, but as the fries came right out of the fryer, piping hot, I was willing to give them the benefit of the doubt and say the ribs were exactly as the chef intended, Oh, those fries were Hot! Hot! Hot! Could use a little more salt after the popcorn, pickle trumps coleslaw any day of the week, good oldies mix on the radio, gave me an appreciation for some songs from the 60's, 70's, and today that I hadn't heard in a while, mellow crowd, a pair of wives or grandmas, a younger couple, three boys out on the town, TV sports cast, draft picks, who would have known it was that time of the year, good deal, good tip, +++, open pit style sauce

Foil, so, like, modern art, the foil that the sandwhich came it, filling, fit the bill, food now, I bought twenty bucks in deli meat today, and at twice the price it was way more than twice the bargain, this food was medocre

Sandwich Magic

Hey! You could pack your own lunch, but wouldn't that be a hassle?

So, there was not much point in photographing the food, not that I did not try, anyway, this was the table, it looks sort of interesting to me

Frozen food meatballs, as from your local big box grocery store.

Or in other words, places like this are why folks start packing their own lunch.

Still, I was filled... and I've got some cool pictures of aluminum foil. So, there is always that.

Medium rarish lamb, sort of, close enough, thin sliced, big pot vegetables, mass produced potatoes, served in sauce So much wine, it was hard to take seriously, walls of the stuff, literally, walls, on the other hand, it did look very cool, much like that pyramid of beer cans on the coffee table is cool, but it does not mean the food you are about to eat is any good Duck was good enough, I liked it, deep fried, as expected, same vegetables and potatoes as the lamb, so nothing special there, but they did thaw a different sauce, so there is that

Almost Fine Dining

Almost! Seriously, almost!

We split the half rack of lamb and the half duck. It was good, not great, maybe good is a bit of an exaggeration. It was like the meatloaf of lamb and the spaghetti of duck, something like that... purely mediocre... not sucky, not bad, not pathetic, just a little less... or I've had a little better so many other times.

Still, fun decor. And I ate my meal. But for fine dining, I would never go back. On the other hand, it was a good 25-50% cheaper than fine dining.

In the end, instead of steak at a diner (what do you expect), it was duck and lamb at an ale house... gone over to wine.

All in all, I could see going back.

Thus, it has its place.

Notes: sort of like the Denny's of fine dining, hit or miss medium rare, tasty though, better than a burger, wine bottle decor, screams of cheap wine, delightful, not fine, but fun, affordable, approachable, good waiter, I'm sure I am difficult, but he handled me well, others have said (at my prompting, don't you know), it has a "comfortable, European feel, OK, good lamb, [I'm] afraid of [the] duck," carrot green bean vegetables going through the motions, so not fine, but better than...

Pizza in a box, thin crust, so good, so tasty, up there with the sun dried tomato combo I used to get while on island, pitty that place closed, though, they wanted an extra buck for a take out box, so they did do things strange, out of the ordinary, like make fantastically wonderful pizza, just like this one, pizza, what more do you need to know, so greasy, it glistens in the light

Pizza in a Box

Take Home Take Out

Oh, this ----- guy makes great pizza, gooey, drippy, with extra cheese and sauce, garlic, onions, and sausage.

I almost don't know whether to include this type of meal or not... take home pizzas or not. But this one is getting included, whether others are or not. It was that good.

Here's to you, dad!

You would have liked this pizza!

A real mans hamburger, with a juice patty, large bun, generous portion of bacon, an egg, and who knows what else, very delicious, hit the spot

Rail Stop Burger

Food! Finally!

Let's see, I went to two separate food courts, before finding this hole in the wall. And by then, I was hungry. Oh, I would have eaten in the second food court (the first one didn't really strike me), but the lady behind the counter and myself failed to communicate adequately with one another. I wanted the best meal I was going to eat that week. And she wanted to get on to the next customer.

Anyhow, that was there; this was here.

I can't say the egg on the burger craze has ever sounded good to me, but I am slowly being converted... if for no other reason, I want the extra food.

An $8 burger... with all the trimmings but without any fries or anything to drink.

I probably should have rounded out the meal with a $2.65 dog, but I'd had enough.

Crispy bacon, wet egg (sounds disgusting, but it was good), all drippy wet, I had to wash my silk shirt when I got home: 70% silk, 30% linen, a fine specimen, as was this burger.

Trains rolling by overhead to set the tune. I easily could make this a regular watering hole. Heck! If I go back again, soon enough, it won't take me a half hour to figure out the menu.
'What's the soup of the day?'
'Nothing, today. Burger or hot dog?'
'Skillet any good.'
'We stopped serving that at noon. Burger or hot dog?'
'How about a chocolate shake?'
'How about you get with the program, mack, and order a burger or a hot dog?'
Actually, it went nothing like that. They were... um, friendly, as I perused their menu for a ridiculously long period of time.
'Burger! Hot dog! Or you get the special with both.'
Alas, I lie through my teeth.

Still, I should have gotten that hot dog for dessert, as the burger was that good... and/or I was that hungry.

Chewy squid, tasty sauce, bread under cover, lemons, and parmesian cheese Sausage and Red Peppers in a delightful sauce


It's Italian for Italian

My basket of bread came with a bowl of parmesan cheese, which was nice.

The calamari was chewy. Calamari is supposed to be tender, like butter. And these guys should know that. So, the squid was disappointing. But the rest of the dish was divine. Here, let's put it in perspective. The piece of bread that they had soaking in the sauce, which they covered in extra tomatoes (off to the left), was better than the calamari.

For the second course, I got sausage and peppers. I think I would have preferred the chicken wings, but as far as the waiter and I could communicate, he seemed to indicate (or agree... or 'Sure, whatever, I don't understand you') that they were 'Buffalo Style Wings', which I don't like (I don't like that type of hot sauce), so I opted against the wings and went for the sausages, instead. The sausages were really good. I mean, nothing special, maybe even the same brand as I cook at home. But the presentation was wonderful. And the accompanying peppers were marvellous.

The atmosphere was fun.

The air conditioning was on.

And outside of that whole unable to get meaningful information from the waiter ('I am here to serve, not advise, Monsieur'), it was white table cloth service with no complaints on that front.

I'd go again, but I'm not really sure what I would order... so maybe I would not. Eh, I have a year to decide... which means I won't go again. There are other options. But then, the price, the service, and the sausages were spot on. So, maybe I would go again.

Notes: unlimited parmesan cheese with bread, nice; chewy calamari, not so nice, disappointing; sausage with peppers, the redeemer; excellent service, if almost no understanding of my words; backroom, shaded caboose, nice music, cool on a warm spring day, trumpet from bar, clashing, I'd come again, stick to basics, pizza, but I was convinced crust would suck

Ah, the petals were falling, so nice, hope none fall in my food, image is of my cargo pants, two petals landing on me A plate of mixed whatever, meat, that dip stuff, garbonzo salad, cabbage, pickles, this, that, the other thing, a few sliced olives, and a yogurt dressing on top A sea of petals, the tail end of that first dash of spring


The Latest in Another Chain of Falafel Shops

Notes: more or less...

Pointless pickles.

The peppers didn't go.

I ate the meat first, but the flavours got better as I went along, when only a hint of meat was left to mix with the salad.

The meal was nothing special.

Clueless Counter Help is the norm, but they were quite pleasant and as helpful as one could expect for one such as I... being an extremely slow orderer.

Eating in the park, the pigeons raising a flurry of petals, as they came in for a landing... not quite hovering in the air, hoping for a bit of that free food.

They were unsuccessful.

A lamb sandwich on toasted bread that was pretty meh, not tasty at all, but the crispy thin potato chips were quite nice Wine, it is what is for lunch, and or, I had a few sips, it was wine, red glass, I like the reflection of the floor tile in the left of the glass, which is why I chose this image over several other that did not include the reflection cherry popover, one a criss cross caramel glazed plate, they were quite tasty, though, the crusts maybe a little burnt

Tin Bucket Bistro

Hit or Miss

It was a hundred dollar meal. So, let's just say, expectations were high. All my notes at the time were positive, but as I looked at the photos on my phone (focusing on dishes I no longer cared about), my mood began to change. Call it Buyer's Remorse.

So at this point (the beginning of the review), I doubt we'll be going back... the world is too large.

The Bread: solid.
Wine: Expensive!
Mussels in Cream Sauce: Simply Divine! Perhaps the best I have ever had!
Quiche: Didn't eat my share
Salad: Uneventful...
Sandwich: Dry, likely not what we had intended to order
Potato Chip Fries: Very nice, but a might bit too greasy.
Cherry Pop-Over: Worth going for alone.

So, maybe I should rethink that never going here again part. Without any wine and only ordering the mussels and dessert, one could put together a nice sixty dollar snack for two, which sounds sort of outrageous, when de-constructed like that. But those two items were among the best of class... book-ending mediocre food that I could care less about.

It wasn't a delicious sandwich. It was meat on bread. It was food and nothing more. The corner shop diner could do better... or equivalent.

Still, we'll see in a year how we feel about those mussels.

Notes: Heavenly potato chips, divine/magical mussels, quiche was blah, sandwich was meh, white cloth turn down, smiles around, cheery pop-over was inspired, on the list to go back, 'Did you say how wonderful it was and especially the cream sauce' over the mussels, airy decor, and a truly shotty pen with which to sign the check to round it all out.

A plate of pizza, all piled up, looking  nice and goey, the pizza box forming the background, I was not happy with the first bite, but it grew on me, during the leftover phase, which lasted quite a while for this one, so either more restraint, or easier to restrain

Don Juan's Pizza Place

Don Juan Pizza Place by any other name... would probably not be Don Juan's Pizza Place (or in other words, not its real name).

The crust was chewy.

The sauce was tomato-y, so less cooked (or less like meat sauce, which I like better than marinara).

I do believe the goto pizza order from now on will be:

Largest Size

Thin Crust
Extra Sauce
Extra Cheese


The sad truth is that this pizza was better the next day (soggy crust and all), mainly because one does not have as high as expectations for day old pizza.

A bland waste of money pizza, black and white tile work shown, I had some nice images of the pizzas, with big old condiment shakers, but in the end, I decided there were too many logos in site, also, grease pencil markings on the service paper does not a quality institution make

Inferno's Pizza

The Devil is in the details.

It's a chain place... or soon will be. They make the single serving pizza in front of you. 'Oh, a little more of that would be nice.' And it's a good idea, but it just wasn't that much better than frozen pizza, which ironically enough, was on sale for a quarter the price on the way home when we stopped by the grocery store.

The crust was soggy. And the sauce was pretty much straight tomatoes. Or at least, that's my synopsis of the Meat Lover's Special... or whatever they called it.

And for the BBQ Chicken Special (that was probably called something wittier), the crust was nice and crunchy. But there was not nearly enough blue cheese.

I doubt they will ever get a second chance, you know, unless I am stuck in an airport or something.

A standard fajita plate, it was all well and good, but it was the hand fried or fired tortillas that made the meal, this is just a plate of fried meat, onions,peppers, rice, beans, sprinkle of cheese, a standard sort of thing The scraped clean cast iron fajita plate being dragged over by a fork, getting that last little bit of crispy rice

Seniora Sisters

A Cactus Club Restaurant

A solid Beef Fajitas Plate was enjoyed by all. But it was the fire fried flour tortillas that made the meal.


Take 1: Came from behind. What? No chips? But, yes. Chips were crispy, fantastic with extra salt. Fire roasted flour tortillas were wonderful. Fajitas, nice, as was the ambient music.

Take 2: Very nice. Came from behind, as the chips were so long in coming, low expectations had settled in. The fajitas were just fajitas. But the tortilla and chips were top notch. Mexican Music. A booth. Happy! Happy! The place even had a Tight Squeeze Maze for a bathroom.

The meatballs were first class... or close enough, breaded, so not a meat lovers dream, but tasty enough that I could see going back for them, if not across town, image shows two meatballs and buttered bread wedged between them in the background Buffalo wings, minus the hot sauce, with crappy blue chees dressing, and bonus carrot and celery sticks, the wings were cooked... well, properly, deep fried with no embellishments, which is how chicken should be fried, I do not care for breading that much, I want naked crispy skin, tasty, a nice top to the meal

Arnold's Drive In Pizzeria & Hot Dog Stand

Now Serving Burgers!

Just another one of those middle of the road Italian Pizza Places. There's nothing much to say, here. Please feel free to move along.

Notes: meatballs were good, not a meat lover's delight, but good, very doable. The chicken wings were solid; the carrot garnish was a definite plus, but the blue cheese dressing that came out of a gallon jug brought the rest of the dish down. I never noticed the music until just now, as I was writing this down. (I tend to write these notes on the receipt.) There was a nice crowd that made for good eavesdropping.

Others said, 'moderately priced, Italian, traditional faire with some modernization.'

Meaning, it was classic, upwardly trending, but not threateningly so. The midday ambience was fantastic. Wide open.

A burrito bowl, salad, meat, corn relish, cheese, sour cream, tomatoes, and that sort of thing, all tossed together, it is tasty enough, was tasty enough, but nothing special, it was a mere mixing of ingredients, nothing more

Bikini Bowl

A Completely Disposable Burrito Bowl

Yep, I think that says it all.

This looked good, I swiped the empty plate with a piece of buttered bread and got all sorts of herb accents, so, good, its an image of steak and roasted vegetables, solid stuff Pot Roast Sandwich, Cream of Butternut Squash Soup, Salad du Juor, os something and a bowl of broth, a very delightful meal, very

Le Artiste

Food Artists from Argentina

This place was a winner, through and through; though, I think I would have felt ripped off had I gone for either the personal pizza, which looked good enough, or the presumed house speciality of empanadas, which nobody seemed inclined to order.
'Yeah, so I thought I'd open an empanada place. Turns out Americans don't eat empanadas.'
And if they do, they call them perogies.

We will be going back next year. And in that, we may have the start of next years project: start the year by going to this years Grand Slam Winners; and then, branching off, looking for more winners.

Notes: good lunch place, noisy, crowded, crappy seating; restroom seating, waiter had his quirks; salad was solid, as in, solid; meat sandwich, good, plentiful, tender, delightful, a winner; soup, best butter squash soup I can remember having, like pureed baked squash with butter and brown sugar; white walls, paper cloth napkins, packaged butter; others said, 'Fabulous, flavorful, grilled steak, vegies, tender, scrumptious, reasonable,' and that's all the words they get.

Perhaps the best burger I have ever had, dripping with extras, so rich, I could barely eat the second half, crispy outside on the patty, but still medium rare on the inside, cooked to perfection, so good


Maybe the Best Burger I have Ever Eaten!

It was so rich, I almost didn't want to finish it. And in fact, I picked the second half of the burger apart (they gave me a knife, so I felt compelled to cut the burger when it arrived) and ate it piecemeal.

Anyway, going from memory, working my way from the bottom up, the burger had a bun, which I could care less about, a layer of foie gras infused (not important to me) caramelized shallots, which were more tender than typical (less greasy), the burger (a thing of beauty, the inside being medium rare red, the outside a crispy almost-black, OMG Good! This being one of the few times OMG Good! actually is appropriate on the web), then came dual slices of some exotic cheese (sharp, no hole swiss), a thick (¼") slice of pate (meh, when eaten separately), and finally, baby spinach greens in a homemade ranch sauce.

This thing was divine!


Listen, you, it was divine!

Truffle fries rounded the plate out, as did bread and butter, a candle table-side, white tablecloth service and a waiter who was smart enough to suggest the burger.
Monsignor, it is the only item surrounded by a bold box on the menu, so maybe the chef is quite proud of it. But, yes. We sell other things, as well... to those who do not know better.
It was a greasy thing.

And to say it was Finger Licking Good only highlights how messy it was.

Eh, if you don't want me to eat like a pig, don't serve such tasty fare.

Notes: pure decadence, an incredible burger, almost too rich, with truffle fries, a dressing-less salad that still hit the spot, "Oh, my! This is the life!" Twice the price of a chain burger at 1000x the delight, complete with candles and foreign language conversations as ambiance.

A nice little sign with incandescent bulbs that reads pizza, with an exit sign in upper right, the real question is what the faded paint in the background is supposed to mean or indicate or merely what was there before


That's What We Want

I would come back.

I would not avoid.

It was solid... but not remarkable.

Notes: Eh, pizza. Good sauce, very good. Crust, just not it. I want corn flour dust on the bottom. The garlic is really working. We are ordering each pizza (from different restaurants) with the same ingredients, these days. Others, when asked to comment, at first said, 'No!' But then, could not resist the temptation to add, 'Classic... Pizza!' And then, I started adding words to their words like, 'It's not my site.' 'It's not my write up.' And, 'It's not my project.' So, you know, come up with your own words, which I do believe I just did, so there.

It would have been boring to play billiards by myself, the image being a pool table bar scene, but for a few days after, I could not help myself but to daydream about running the table

Billiards & Beer

The Nursery Rhyme Sports Bar


Soggy corn on the cob
Fast food slaw
Fries, not bad
Good, solid ribs
Wonderful Sauce
Chicken... hit the spot

Water in a plastic cup

So, there was the bartender and two others at the bar, fifty television screens, a pool table, and yours truly, sitting alone at a back table.

The bartender/waiter said 'Hello!' and 'Goodbye!' and nothing in between, which earned him the largest (percentage wise) tip of the year.

I had the place to myself and the food was still good.


Here is the reflection of the overhead light on the table, I am finding ambient images to be just as interesting as the food, maybe next time, if I do this again, I will limit myself to ambient images, in the end, it is the more interesting image... and as I think about this a bit more, I am considering, planning at this point, on splitting out the write up from the first half of the year from the second, so maybe the second will concentrate on ambiance Braised marinated pork chops with cucumbers hot sour soup and spring roll, a nicely elegant lunch special, that tastes great

Ye Olde Standby

Almost Forgettable

Actually, this place is pretty good. I just forgot to write it up (like I usually write things up) in a reasonable amount of time after the episode. And the only (yes, the only) reason I am getting to it, now, is because I am sorting photographs.

Stupendously (yep, it's a real word; or at least, spell check recognizes it as a description for) good pork chops that really hit the spot: marinated to perfection.

Notes: Worth Repeating, Again!

Lamb plate lunch, with pita bread, water, and two kinds of sauce, not to mention all those vegetables, it looked good, but I got sick later, I am pretty sure it was the tomato salad here is the same dish after the meat is gone, lots of rice, tomato salad, and, um, I keep on forgetting what that garbonzo bean salad is called... I still have the pita in the freezer, it was a plentiful helping

Diamond in the Ruff

A Tasty Little Oasis

As I neared the end of the meal, I was thinking that if I got sick, it would be from the tomato salad.

Um, I got sick.

Odd, how I wish I had included that observation in my notes at the time.


Surprisingly busy for a hole in the wall place, tucked so far into a brightly lit corner.

First bite, Heavenly grilled lamb. Upwards of a half pound perfectly cooked.

There was not as much variety as I'd like in a Plate Lunch like this. But at least, there was way more food than I felt like eating.

It hit the spot, relieved hunger, but was a bit unsettling on the stomach. Of course, one never knows which came first, the stomach upset or this meal, which was cause and which was effect.

In the end, this place has all the markers of becoming a hipster hangout... good thing I got here first.

Executive Decision

Fast Food Snacks Don't Count

True, a major thrust of this project has been avoiding fast food joints (or to hit each franchise only the once in any given year), but I have decided to make an exception for snack food. Of course, one person's snack is another person's meal, but that is neither here nor there.

Anyhow, as a separate project, I think I shall track how many burgers (or whatever) I buy. And I think (it is entirely possible that) I will limit myself to the one restaurant at the one locale. But one never knows.

Anyhow, if during my travels, I had packed a bag of beef jerky (which I don't want to carry) or had ducked into a drug store for a bag of chips (which contain way too many carbs), I would not count either of those as having eaten out. So, I'm not going to consider any fast food snacks that I may purchase (even from the same establishment) to be meals.

Though, I will tally them, perhaps, on the bottom of this or on some other web page.

And, yes. Maybe it was the fast food that did me in (in the previous listing above). But I don't think it was...

A drop of water on a cloth striped cloth napkin, yeah, I think this image captures the meal best, the picture of the lobster blt was ok, showed a very generous layer of lobster, call it three quarters of an inch, but a drop of water on a napkin captures the experience better

Broadside Tavern

A Full Scale Attack

Truthfully, for this particular eating experience, the content of the conversation was far more important than anything else. Thus, it was hard to care about the food.

The Lobster BLT was tasty enough with plenty of meat falling out the sides. And the sweet potato fries were as trendy as everywhere else.

In the end, though, it was just another meal.

A styrofoam box lunch container, could contain anything, contained Thai food in this case, I do believe I will concentrate more on ambiance from now on, and this was the ambiance of this meal

Try Thai

Throwaway Thai Food!

A typical Plate Lunch place, in which one can get one, two, or three choices, along with a starch. But when I got a second helping of the same thing (Panang Curry, in this case), it was not nearly as big as the first, so I was more than a little disappointed. And though the dish was tasty enough (Hot & Spicy) it was not good enough to overcome the smaller second helping. Something like that is likely server specific; but in the end, all I really care about is my experience, so an F- for them.

Standard three meat -- or is it to meats and one cheese -- deli sandwich A table set for two complete with two sandwiches, plastic bowl of can opened chili, styrofoam cups for water, and delightfully convect plastic trays Italian Sausage sandwich drizzled with red sauce, lettuce, and tomatoes

Pizza & Subs

Solid Deli Sandwiches

The price was spot on and the sandwiches were quite tasty.

On the other hand, I got the Soup & Sandwich Combo with chili... and the chili came out of a can. I mean, I could tell that the chili came out of a can. So, no thanks. I can open a can at home.

Still, the sandwiches were good (not great) and I can see hunting this place out again when in the neighborhood.

Or you know, why bother? It wasn't that great. Have I mentioned the chili?

A table leg, nice and weathered, wire frame chair leg to the side, with water stained wood floor in background, runners up for the image on this outing included an image of their butterfly bird bath and before and after images of the banana split, but that is sort of boring, so a table leg, it is

Ye Olde Ice Cream Shop

I tip my hat to ye, Mr Ice Cream Man.

The classic Banana Split was the way to go, getting three scoops, three sauces, and a banana (plus whipped cream and a cherry) for the price of two one scoop sundaes.

As to the ice cream itself, it was perfect. Maybe it was due to the heat of the day, but I don't really care the reason why. All I know is that the ice cream was on the edge of melting, so it was at that perfect temperature where it just flows over your tongue.

The chocolate ice cream was decadently rich, topped by a raspberry sauce. The strawberries and cream (ice cream) had generous slices of strawberries swimming in a sea of vanilla ice cream, topped with a jelly like strawberry sauce, so delicious. While the butter pecan ice cream topped with caramel was sheer sugary delight.

Surprisingly good ice cream!

Surprisingly short menu (no brownies)!

Keeping it simple, doing only what they do right!

Well done, Mr Ice Cream Man!

Well done!

Now, here is an image that has nothing to do with the food, images of food have grown old, I am loosing interest, and I have better images to post, so here is one of dirt on pavement, yes, see, much better than an image of food, it looks like an image of interstellar space to me

Many Year Long Food

Authentic Chinese American Cuisine

A solid no frills Chinese Plate Lunch eating experience in which one gets what they pay for... and only what they pay for.

A real egg roll with whole shrimp, which was easily the highlight of the meal was a mere $2.50

A delightful hot and sour soup was another $2.50

A good pound of meat and onions cost $7.50, providing good value for the money.

While the cookie (costing an extra 20¢) was foregone.

All in all, a good value for the working class, which in this neighbourhood wears a coat and tie.

Sidewalk cracks back filled wiht tar and other assorted gum droppings, a nice image to me, soothing, found art, with any luck, I am done with the food images, this feels better

Compulsive Pizzaria

Just One More Bite

This was good stuff. The cheese was a bit stiff (tough, thin, non-stretchy). Oh, and the garlic was a bit... um, ripe. But other than that, I could not think of a single thing wrong with this pizza, as I shoved piece after piece into my gaping mouth... er, waiting pizza hole.

It's on the short list for Best Pizza of the Year. I mean, it won't win. Doesn't stand a chance. It's simply not the best. But definitely on the short list of runner-ups. We might just have a three-way tie for that.

Notes: Awesome Sauce, Real Hunks of Sausage, A Winner!

distorted lights, I think from the ceiling, but I can't remember now, we have fuzzy circles in the image, abstract art at best


Trendy Pasta

Well, at the next table over, the man they were talking about only got 'Fifteen to Life', so there's that.

Otherwise, pasta really isn't my thing. And I should learn to stay away.

Notes: 'Lovely', a nice roll basket (as they came around with buns hot out of the oven and if desired, provided hand selected dinner rolls, very nice, elegant), solid chicken, worth the price, 'Light, Summery', a restful ambiance after a long day of walking.

Self portrait as shot in reflective glass bricks

Five Star Chinese Food

Changing Direction

I've made note of my desire to replace Food Photos with Art Photos. {Have I made note of this?} The straw that broke the camel's back in this regard was from reading an Interior Design Trade Magazine article in which restaurant designers were encouraged to make their offerings picture friendly, due to the thousands of amateur food photographers out there. Well, I don't need to be of the thousands (or hundreds of millions), so it's time to switch course.

And along with a change in photographic focus, I'm changing my writing style as well, making it more... well, crisp for the moment... though, that isn't exactly what I mean. Basically, I'd like the write-ups to be shorter and less food oriented. We'll see how that goes.

Maybe the ideal is to have these entries only tangentially related to food: a restaurant outing being the excuse for an update, but not what the update should be about.

Five Stars... er, Bullet Points, that is:
Eh, the post is still too long...

I do not know what swamp this is or forest preserve, it is the area right outside the restauraunt, a nice view of reed grass and the like, a egrets nest, maybe, in view clouds, I really like those lens flares

Clay Tavern Cantina

Mildly Flavourful Tandori Style Goop

In keeping with the Five Star theme... and the fact that Restaurant Reviews seem less and less relevant:

A glorious day, the blue sky as seen from betwixt skyscrapers, looking straight up

Castle, Cork, & Crown

Ye Olde Time British Pub & Sports Bar

Still, too long.

But we're getting closer.

Debriefing The First Half

A New Season
A New Philosophy

The year continues on the next page. The write-up was getting too long, so I split it up into two pages. On the next page, I write less and less about the food. Don't get me wrong. Food is still an important part of my life. But if this write-up was about food. Slowly, the project morphs into one about life. After all, that's why this page isn't tucked away in the Brett Food area of my website. But is lodged away in a new minor spur labelled The Diary Project.

In other news, somewhere in the above, I mentioned Fast Food Snacks. From that point until the end of the year (so next page inclusive), I ate:
34 Cheeseburgers
24 Egg Sandwiches
 1 Chicken Sandwich
 1 Large French Fry
It's close to $100 in food. But then, I spent that much on some of the meals on this page... even more on some of the outings to come.

Next Diary Project

Diary Project Index

Happy Trails

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