WTGW 6/22/16: The Twisted Olive, Green

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Wait, what’s this? A new post? Don’t lie, I know you missed us. And trust me, we’ve missed you. But unfortunately work commitments, travel, and some unexpected health complications kept us from our usual Wednesday night shenanigans these past – wait, WTF, has it really been three straight months now? Holy crap. OK, we’re officially slackers. 

Honestly, we have gotten together on a few Wednesdays these past months – because, you know, we like to eat and drink, and that’s a long time to not leave our houses. But for whatever reason we ended up forsaking new places for the comfort and ease of old favorites like Panini’s or Moe’s. Because sometimes you just need to go someplace close to home where you know you can get cold drinks and good food, and not drive an hour out of your way to take chances.

So basically we just spent three months completely negating the entire premise of this blog. Our bad.

That also means that the wheel has been stuck on Ted’s pick this entire time. And he’s had it in his head that he wanted to choose The Twisted Olive in Green as his next pick. Which is like 30 minutes from our house. And some of those Wednesdays that was just too far to drive after part of the group got out of work late, or weren’t feeling the greatest. As it was we had to go just as a threesome tonight – no Amanda or Jared – because, well, basically in the forseeable future unless the place is close to Amanda’s workplace of Hudson, she probably won’t make it out to meet us with the way her new work schedule is. Boo.

Being an adult is crap, kids. Don’t let anyone tell you different.

So anyway, back to tonight, as the three of us were contemplating driving over to Kent to visit a former pick with a nice patio, I commented that if we were going to go all the way over there, why not drive the same distance and get back to our original plan of trying new places – especially when one of the reasons Ted wanted to visit this one was for the patio?

Point taken.

So that’s the long-winded story of how Shane, Ted and I ended up here tonight. And I have to be honest, the patio was definitely worth the wait.

Although waiting was exactly what we had to do for a patio seat once we got there – but judging from the number of cars we saw in the parking lot on our way in, we actually weren’t overly surprised. I think we were more surprised that the wait was only like 15 minutes. So we sat in the lobby for a few minutes, which gave us time to look around and notice that the place is really huge. And everything decorating it is huge. Huge fireplace. Huge lighting fixtures in the main dining room. Huge patio outside the doors. It’s like the place was decorated by the design firm Giants ‘R Us.

And when we got bored sitting in the lobby (which, let’s be honest, took all of about 2.5 seconds), we followed the huge “BAR” sign with an arrow down the huge curved staircase to get a few drinks to pass the time. Side note, the bar area really could’ve been included on that whole “huge” memo, as it’s a little crowded and difficult to order from when there’s people sitting at most of the seats. Also, the bartender didn’t seem especially helpful or friendly, which is always super fun. But whatevs.

Impressed with the various Bloody Marys on the menu, Shane decided to try the Citrus version. I went with a Mojito – which Ted ordered for me because he just thought the word was fun – and Ted got a beer called Siberian Night, which – surprise, surprise – was the color of, well, complete darkness.

Ted: Yep, I can’t see through it, that’s a good thing.

At least we haven’t changed much these past three months.

We were still working on those drinks when we got a text a few minutes later that our table was ready. And also to close out our bar tabs before returning to the hostess stand. Nice touch.

(And on a side note, thank you to this place for doing away with the annoying buzz-and-light-contraptions that most restaurants use. They always reminded me of that stupid Simon Says light-up memory game from the 80s.)

Anyway, we headed to our table on the patio – which, as I already mentioned, was spectacular. It’s a great atmosphere, and the view is amazing. According to the little story on the menu, the restaurant is situated on a 10-acre nature preserve, and is actually affiliated with Gervasi Vineyards in Canton.

See, I pay attention sometimes.

So, being that we’re predictable folks and haven’t changed our ways in the last three months, care to take a guess at what Shane ordered off the appetizer menu?

If you guessed calamari, you’re correct! Ding, ding, ding!

Perhaps because there were no mussels on the app menu, Ted went way off the predictable path and ordered the Italian flatbread. He requested no olives on it, and the server mentioned that everyone seemed to be requesting it that way this evening.

Ted: Seems odd at a place called The Twisted Olive, no?

Touche.

The calamari was OK. The sauce that came with it – which I’m going to guess from the color involved some portioning of wasabi – had a nice little kick to it. But other than that there was really nothing special or different about the dish to distinguish it from any other place we’ve had it before. And it certainly didn’t appear to be a very generous helping when the plate arrived at the table. I think this was Shane’s first reminder that we were at one of the “fancier” WTGW picks on our list, and presentation would trump portion sizes.

That's like an appetizer for Shane's usual appetizer

That’s like an appetizer for Shane’s usual appetizer

The flatbread was really crispy and really good. I said it was like eating one layer of a mexican pizza. Ted made a comment about the sausage on it that I won’t repeat, nor will I repeat Shane’s comment back – but I’m sure if you’ve read any of our reviews before you can figure out where that’s all headed. Yes, we’re still 15.

This isn't Taco Bell

This isn’t Taco Bell

Perhaps that’s why for the next round of drinks Shane and Ted decided to switch things up and both ordered the “Manly Mary” Bloody Mary – which involved horseradish, tobasco and a bunch of other ingredients that only hinted at how hot it probably was. They were surprised to see it also included a slice of bacon as a garnish as well. Not upset, just surprised. And since Shane was still hungry following the tiny portion of calamari, I can assume he was probably also grateful.

Ted and I both flipped on our original dinner orders and got the Ahi tuna steak that was on special that night. We were both wavering on our decision – we were both intrigued when the server mentioned she had tried it and it was delicious – but Ted’s turning point came when he gave the server his original order of the crab cake sliders, and the server mentioned that you only get two sliders and they were kind of small. You could see Ted’s face fall at that statement. And he quickly changed his mind and went with the Ahi tuna.

Now I had the opposite problem, as I was going to get a pizza, but saw one delivered to the table next to us and that then basically three people ended up sharing it … and realized that would be way too much food for me.

We’re like the Goldilocks of food ordering.

I will say, though, that neither one of us was disappointed in the Ahi tuna. It was tasty, as were the potatoes and bok choi/carrots that came with it. The server had mentioned that it’s always prepared rare, which was delicious. And while it didn’t look like a lot of food on the plate, I was definitely full. Ted said he wasn’t completely full, but he definitely wasn’t hungry either. I’ll leave that for you to figure out.

WTGW gets fancy

WTGW gets fancy

Shane, on the other hand … well, let’s just say that out of any of us at the table, he should’ve ordered the pizza. He actually had thought about it, but then talked himself out of it, as he’d already eaten pizza for dinner two of the last three nights. But if you’ve kept up on this blog you’ll know that really shouldn’t have stopped him, as pizza is one of his favorite foods. I mean, anyone recall the half sheet pizza incident? Right.

But he also loves scallops, and since we don’t often go out on WTGW to places that serve those, he opted for that as his meal. And then was instantly disappointed as soon as his plate was set in front of him. His comment after the server left was that he was waiting for someone else to walk up and bring him his main course instead of the appetizer portion.

We obviously don’t go to fancy places much, folks. Grease and heart attacks on plates are more our style.

Now, he did say that the scallops were good. But just not at all filling. Because you only get like five. He also said they went a little crazy with all the “stuff” on top of the scallops – I don’t know what that “stuff” was, that’s just what he called it. “Stuff.” So basically overall everything was very good, there just wasn’t enough of it. I have to believe he would’ve traded all the “fancy” in exchange for just more basic scallops.

Why is there so much white space on this plate?

Why is there so much white space on this plate?

So I guess the tip is, someone order the pizza. Chances are someone at the table will still be hungry enough to finish it if you can’t. If I would’ve then I probably could’ve given my leftovers to Shane. And he would’ve been happier.

Although the server did mention that if you come for lunch the pizza is cheaper and more sized for one person, so that’s also something to keep in mind. Same pizza, just more manageable for one person (whose name isn’t Shane anyway). Not sure what exactly cheaper means, but the dinner portions are $14-$17, just to give you an idea.

Another tip, eat the bread and butter they bring to the table. Delicious.

Little pockets of heaven

Little pockets of heaven

This was definitely one of our pricier WTGW adventures – but then again this was far from a dive bar with food that comes from a fryer. They do have reasonably priced sandwiches on the menu ($11-$14) and also bottled domestic beers for $3-$5 each – but of course we went all out with mixed drinks, apps, and actual meal choices. I mean, it has been three months, y’all. Come on.

But by comparison, for the price of one of our meals at The Twisted Olive we could’ve gone to The Windsor Pub and gotten three giant burgers, fries and pretty much an entire bottle of rum contained within three mixed drinks. But we also would’ve been sitting in a booth with ripped plastic seats and no windows to look out of. Not that there’s necessarily anything wrong with that. Just giving it some perspective.

Anyway, I could definitely see us coming back here for a bottle of wine and apps on the patio, as it’s a great atmosphere for that and we definitely had a wonderful summer night to be out there. Service was great, the food was delicious (if only there was more of it) and the patio is most certainly a huge selling point. We’re definitely glad to be back to WTGW adventures, though, and this was a great way to start … even if we did miss our two other partners in crime …

Ted

Ted

Shane

Shane

Steph

Steph

CAPSULE

Picked by:  Ted

Drinks: Mixed drinks were good, and the guys were of course wowed by the various Bloody Mary options. Saw several folks with martinis but I opted not to go down that road.
Food: This is a “fancy” food place – so be prepared for smaller portions that are more about presentation than volume.
Service: Personable, funny and quick – three of our favorite things.
Overall: This is one of those places I could see us going back to for a special occasion dinner, or just to have a glass of wine on the patio on a summer night. As long as we feed Shane elsewhere beforehand.

Next Pick: Shane

The Twisted Olive Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

 

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WTGW 9/2/15: Jerzees Sports Grille, Green

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Did you miss us?

So, yeah, basically we celebrated our two-year WTGW anniversary by taking most of the month of August off. I wish I could say it was some big food-and-drink-holiday collectively sponsored by all of the restaurants we’ve given favorable reviews to (*ahem* hint, hint) – but, alas, no, it was just bad timing of everything in our lives seeming to fall on Wednesday nights for a few weeks. Stupid jobs and responsibilities.

Especially since while we were away it seems summer ended. But, wait, you say … it’s only September, how is that possible? Well, let me tell you: you know summer is over when the fall beers come out on tap at area restaurants. Yep, we’re not even to Labor Day yet, and already the Summer Shandy has stopped flowing.

Let’s take a brief moment of silence for the death of all things citrus and lemony for another year. **sigh**

OK.

The irony here is that while we couldn’t order a summer drink to save our lives, we actually had to sit inside on our visit to Jerzees because it was about 85 degrees with 1397% humidity outside. So, yeah, glad to see all those fall beers on tap now, thanks. We all agreed that the patio looked nice from afar, though. There were lots of TVs over the full bar out there, which of course means it would likely be a great place to check out a game. Or several at once. Whatever.

Wednesdays are steak nights at Jerzees, which equates to spending $8.99 for a steak, side and salad. So needless to say the place was pretty busy. We ended up sitting at a high top just on the other side of the bar area.

Due to the lack of summer beers, Amanda went with the next closest thing, a Blue Moon. I decided to embrace fall (because apparently early September in Ohio now means PUMPKIN EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE ALL THE TIME) and go with the Southern Tier Pumking. Ted – the man who can pretty much find anything on a beer list that he likes regardless of season – went with the 2x IPA. And last but not least, Shane went for the illusive title of “least manly drink possible” with something called the Jerzee cooler.

Real men drink from straws and large punch bowl glasses

Real men drink from straws and large punch bowl glasses

Shane tried to defend himself by claiming that he “had to be the one different thing at our table.” Ted was just glad that title didn’t belong to him this time around. Although then he went and ruined it a few rounds later by trading in his beer for something similar to what Shane was drinking … after Shane spilled his nearly full drink and had to order another one. So either he was just trying to make Shane feel better, or he’d actually been insanely jealous the entire time. 

Ted didn't get a fancy glass. Or anyone to stir up his drink, apparently.

Ted didn’t get a fancy glass. Or anyone to stir up his drink, apparently.

Another sign that summer is over: mine and Ted’s beers were actually about the same color. And potency … a fact that crept up on me somewhere into the second tall glass. And I think hit Amanda when she tried to chug a beer like Ted did on his last beer round, and failed miserably.

Maybe the orange got in the way of the chug?

Maybe the orange got in the way of the chug?

So long 4.2% alcohol content beers. It’s been a fun summer.

Anyway.

We must’ve been delirious from either the humidity outside or the higher potency beers – or both – because we actually didn’t order an appetizer this week. What? Who are we? Those weeks off have changed us. For shame.

Ted and Shane both right down to business with the steak special, and also split the 25 wing platter. I think Shane’s exact words to the server were “we’ll want to START with the 25 wing platter.” She laughed. And then realized he was serious.

As Shane and Ted decided on flavors for their wing feast, I have to admit to slight flashbacks to a place called Cleats that we used to be regulars at back in Howland, where Shane and I lived long before WTGW was even a glimmer in our eyes. They also had a 25-wing platter, which Shane was well known for ordering and finishing all on his own. Shocker, I know. And surprising that he’ll now share it with Ted, but whatevs. In any case, they had an Erie Island dry rub seasoning that was to die for, and pretty much all Shane would eat there. And rave about whenever we went anywhere else. And dream about once we moved away. You get the idea.

So when we saw it on the menu again here, I thought for sure it would be hand’s down Shane’s favorite once again. They did order it as one of the five selections, along with the hot garlic parm, pineapple habenero, six pepper and Kentucky bourbon. Ironically, it didn’t win out. That title went to the Kentucky bourbon, although not overwhelmingly. In fact, Shane proclaimed the wings in general to be “just average.”

He rated the steak a bit higher, saying it was good and actually cooked exactly as asked. Which if you follow this blog you know he practically pulls out a rare-vs-medium-rare cooking chart every time he orders any type of meat, so that’s a compliment. His only complaint was that the steak was small, even for a special.

There's a steak under there somewhere

There’s a steak under there somewhere

Ted said wings good, steak good. That may be an exact quote.

If you just looked at that plate, it would seem so healthy

If you just looked at that plate, it would seem so healthy

But instead there's this

But instead there’s this

Amanda and I both went the burger route for this visit. I had the Chophouse burger with sweet potato fries, while she ordered the MVP burger with waffle fries and a side of cheese – another throwback to our old days at Cleats back in Warren. One that made me instantly jealous when her food arrived that I hadn’t thought to order the same thing. Seriously, why don’t more places offer a good cheese sauce for waffle fries? It’s just a natural fit, people. And if you’ve never tried it before, well, do yourself a favor and look for it on every menu until you can finally order it. Trust me.

Oh fake cheese, how we love you

Oh fake cheese, how we love you

Sweet potatoes are kind of vegetables, right?

Sweet potatoes are kind of vegetables, right?

We ended our evening with another thing you should always, always eat when it’s on the menu – our new favorite thing, and pretty much the only reason we actually even look at the dessert portion of the menu at all, funnel cake fries. Because now we just have to try them everywhere on principle. I say that like it’s a bad thing.

Oh hello there, lover

Oh hello there, lover

When the fries arrived, Amanda and Shane tried them first, and immediately tried to save Ted and I from the trouble by proclaiming them no good. They’re so kind. Unfortunately for them Ted and I aren’t so gullible. Let’s just say that I think those fries disappeared from the table in less time than it took Ted and Shane to decide on what wing flavors to order.

All in all Jerzees was a win in our book – service was good, food was decent and lots of TVs for games and other sports. It’s pretty much your typical cookie cutter sports bar/grill, where families and kid’s sports teams come for dinner after games but serious football watchers also get plenty of space for yelling and beer guzzling. If it were closer to us I could see it being more of a regular hangout for us, but there wasn’t much on the menu that made us say we really had to make the 25 minute drive again.

Amanda

Amanda

Steph

Steph

Shane

Shane

Ted gives it two saucy thumbs up

Ted gives it two saucy thumbs up

 

CAPSULE

Picked by:  Amanda

Drinks:  Not a huge draft selection. Or maybe it just seemed that way now that all of the lighter summer beers have been replaced by porters and pumpkin ales. The “girly” drinks were a tasty alternative for some of the group. 
Food:
Typical sports bar menu – burgers, sandwiches, salads, etc. The steak night deal is a decent price, but if you’re anything like the guys in this group you’ll need an appetizer (or 25-wing platter, whatever) to supplement the meal.
Service: Good. Our drinks were full, she gave good recommendations and was quick to bring extra napkins when Shane’s drink took a turn toward the floor.
Overall: Nothing bad, but nothing overly impressive either. A good neighborhood bar – if you live in the neighborhood, that is. Which we don’t. But we can always visit if we happen to be in the area.

Next Pick:  Ted

 

Jerzee's Sports Grille Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

WTGW 6/4/14: Legend’s Sports Bar, Green

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Our WTGW crew was a man down this week, as Ted was off in the Big Apple for work. Nevertheless, Shane, Amanda and I were still up for the challenge. Full disclosure, Legends lured us in with the pictures of the patio on their website. Because, as we’ve mentioned already, a good patio is high on the list of WTGW priorities this time of year. And this one looked looked particularly enticing, with an abundance of tables, fake palm trees, an outdoor bar and very tiki-bar-esque feel.

However, it looks like we’ll have to come back another time to visit this mystical land of patio awesomeness. Because, unfortunately for us, Wednesday evening was a complete downpour. Yay summer!

(By the way, if any of you questioned my name calling of Mother Nature in the last post, I think you’re getting the idea why I feel that way.)

In any case, we were already there, so we figured we may as well see if the food and drinks were worth making the trip back just to enjoy again in an outdoor setting. The verdict? Maybe.

WAIT FOR IT ...

Let’s start off with the pros:

Legend’s is a sports bar, so their beer list was pretty decent. They had Summer Shandy, so you know Amanda and I were happy. Shane went with the Wednesday $2.99 Long Island special – but only had one since he said it was a little too sweet for his tastes. He then switched to Miller Lite instead. Which I’m sure tasted exactly as it was supposed to.

I'm a little confused on the marketing genius at work here.

I’m a little confused on the marketing genius at work here.

We ordered pretzel bites as an appetizer. Maybe it was just because they were so good we didn’t want to see them end, but it seemed like you didn’t really get a lot of them in the order. Bummer. For our meals, Amanda has the French Dip and I had the Italian Hoagie, both of which were tasty. They were also huge, so we both ended up taking half our sandwiches home with us. Not such a bad deal. I particularly liked the bread my sandwich was served on – I’m fairly certain they don’t bake it fresh there (I mean, it’s not Subway after all. Ha), but it tasted like they did.

There's a salad under all that cheese in the background.

There’s a salad under all that cheese in the background.

Is that ketchup to go?

Is that ketchup to go?

Shane ordered 10 wings, split into five each of the Spicy Bleu Cheese and the Buttery Garlic. Amanda and I were in awe that the guy who usually orders two full meals at these types of places actually expected to be full after 10 wings … but then we discovered it was really  just strategy on his part to basically taste test the two flavors and decide which one he wanted more of. Because asking for a sample is apparently too complicated, but whatevs.

There are wings under that sauce. But no spice.

There are wings under that sauce. But no spice.

In any case, the Buttery Garlic won hands down, and he ordered another 10 just of those. His main complaint about the Spicy Bleu Cheese ones was that while he could clearly pick out the bleu cheese flavor, they seemed to forget the “spice” that makes up the rest of the name. Kind of an important detail. Now I tried one of his Buttery Garlic wings and they didn’t seem to have much taste to me – but Shane thought they were the bomb diggity, so take that as you will.

The servers at Legends are great. The place is one of those where no one seems to have complete ownership over any of the tables, and while one person in particular takes your initial order, other waitresses will refill your drinks if they see you’re low or ask if you need anything else, etc.

Now for the cons:

Let’s just say that this place didn’t have quite the crowd we were expecting for the area and the type of bar the photos seemed to promise online. Maybe it was due to the weather, but the crowd inside the bar that evening seemed more “can’t wait for the annual tractor pull” than “let’s go hang out at the tiki bar.” We were easily some of the youngest people in the bar (other than the servers of course), and we were definitely on the opposite end of the redneck scale, if you know what I mean. Among our favorites in the people watching fun for the evening was the guy with a mullet who also believed that nothing says classy like sporting a Spiderman leather coat, and the long haired, tie-dyed t-shirt wearing guy who we were fairly certain wasn’t aware that his (male) co-worker didn’t share his opinion on “going out for drinks after work” being classified as a date.

Deep thoughts by Legends Bar ...

Deep thoughts by Legends Bar …

I think the concensus was that we need to come back on a weekend evening, when the weather is good, and see if not only this magical patio oasis exists, but also if the crowd is different beyond those open doors. Not that we don’t enjoy some good people watching, but this was a little much for even our tastes. We really, really wanted to like this place – and the food was good, they had decent drink specials, etc – but at least on this visit anyway the atmosphere was more than a little blah.

I think he's in pain

I think he’s in pain

Look less at pirate eye, and more at the mullet guy eating a burger in the background

Look less at pirate eye, and more at the mullet guy eating a burger in the background

I seriously don't know what's wrong with him,

I seriously don’t know what’s wrong with him,

CAPSULE

Picked by:  Amanda
Drinks: Decent list of regular and craft beers, as well as other drinks. Shane was not a fan of the long islands that were on special, though.
Food:
Keeping in mind this was a sports bar, the menu was pretty diverse. Other than the ommission of the spice on the spicy bleu cheese wings, we didn’t have any complaints.
Service: Excellent. More than once we had multiple inquieres about whether or not we needed refills or if the table could be cleared around us.
Overall: While the people watching was pretty good and the food decent, I think the prospect of this hidden fabulous patio is what will bring us back.

Next Pick: Ted