WTGW 9/17/14: Nuevo Acapulco, Tallmadge

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No, your calendars aren’t fooling you – we did skip a week of WTGW. With Ted out of town for work the week of his pick and a crazy tornado outbreak in our area, we decided it might be best to hunker down at home instead of venturing out. Call us rational, I guess.

(PS – for the record, tornadoes are pretty much the exact opposite of patio weather, Mother Nature. Stop effing with us on Wednesdays. Seriously.)

So, fast forward to this week, when I get a text from Ted debating between two destinations for this week’s pick. When I clicked on the link he sent me for Nuevo Acapulco via my phone, it took me to a landing page touting that “the tower of beer or margaritas is back!” I immediately told him that’s not a nice thing to send to someone at 5:30 pm on a Tuesday. And that I didn’t care what the other option was because this place wins, hands down.

So here we are.

Only it turns out he didn’t send me a link to the right website. The waiter’s blank stare when we asked about it gave that away pretty quickly. And honestly, I’d like to link to the page here … but we still aren’t really sure what the correct website is for this location. Google it, you’ll see what I mean.

On another note, Amanda also thought from the name of the place that we were going to some new Mexican restaurant downtown with a rooftop patio. So clearly we were all confused.

In any case, this place is just off the circle in Tallmadge, in the former Erie Station Grille – and still has the old sign on the side of the building and the train cars on the former tracks outside. Because nothing says “Mexican restaurant” like a portion of a railroad train positioned just off the patio.

Hey, if it's already on the property, why move it right?

Hey, if it’s already on the property, why move it right?

Oddest Mexican restaurant patio ever.

Oddest Mexican restaurant patio ever.

The place is pretty large inside, and it wasn’t by any means full or overly busy. But we still had to wait a hot minute for a table to be bused for us. Hmm. We’ll call that strike #1.

Our waiter was clearly new. Shane thought he recognized him from another Mexican place in town – which if that was the case then we’ll probably be seeing him at another one in the near future because based on our experience I’m not guessing he left the last place by choice. Because we’ll call him strikes #2 – approximately 57. And really our biggest complaint about the place.

Let’s start with drinks. We all ordered margaritas – well, except Shane, who was trying to be “healthier” and went with a Miller Lite. For real? I mean, who a) does that at a Mexican place, and b) really touts Miller Lite for exceptional health benefits? Seriously. At least margaritas are fruit flavored. Anyway, our lovely waiter didn’t ask us what size margaritas we wanted, so we ended up with what I think must’ve been the largest ones on the menu. I mean, I know we asked about the Tower of Margaritas and all, but just because you didn’t have it didn’t mean we all wanted our own individual one.

Peach and mango flavored margaritas

Peach and mango flavored margaritas … well kind of anyway

Tequila flavored margarita

Tequila flavored margarita

One of these things is not like the other. And for once Ted isn't the one holding it.

One of these things is not like the other. And for once Ted isn’t the one holding it.

And another fun trick: when we got the bill at the end of the night, the price for said huge drinks didn’t match anything on the menu. Huh? We finally kind of put the pieces together and deduced that  the Tower of Margaritas conversation had kind of led to talk about the different kinds of margaritas they DO offer, then Ted had asked the server about top shelf tequila in drinks … then the server just pretty much assumed top shelf was the kind we wanted. Um, no. First of all, we shouldn’t have to be CSI detectives to figure out our bills. And second of all, the joke was kind of on him, since the margaritas were so strong that we only ended up ordering one each. And barely finishing them. I had mango (which probably would’ve been good if made with less tequile), Amanda had peach (which she said just tasted like tequila) and Ted had original (which I guess is supposed to taste like tequila, so score for him?).

But don't pay attention to the prices, because they won't match anything you see on your final bill.

But don’t pay attention to the prices, because they won’t match anything you see on your final bill.

So there’s that. Let’s move on to appetizers.

We asked for the tableside-prepared guac as our appetizer, since we had seen others rave about it on reviews for the place. And then we never got it. And never even saw our server to ask about it. It wasn’t until we were getting our meals that we finally were able to remind him about the guac – which clearly he just forgot about – and to which he replied “Well, do you still want it?” Um. no, I thought I’d ask about it just for fun. Actually, it’s a little game we play where we order an appetizer and then take bets about whether or not we think it will really get delivered to us, or if we’ll starve waiting for it! Super fun, right? Tell your friends!

Ugh.

Sidenote – the guac actually is really good. Although we all agreed we were glad it was mixed tableside, because if he had to make it fresh in the backroom I’m sure we all would’ve probably been a little nervous about what extra “flavor” he might’ve added to it in the process.

I know, it looks disgusting. But it tastes delicious, trust us.

I know, it looks disgusting. But it tastes delicious, trust us.

Ted and his new friend

Ted and his new friend

At least the bowl was entertainment for us. It was like our new pet.

I think what it kind of boiled down to was that we clearly weren’t as interesting as the table of two single ladies near us, who our server kept stopping to chat with. And then had the staff come sing happy birthday to – after we overheard the conversation where one of them admitted to an upcoming birthday, and he asked “Well don’t you want today to be your birthday, since you’re here?”

(Just for the record, when you’re in a Mexican restaurant, the answer to that question is always NO. Always.)

Just after this he also told the couple at the table behind us that he “wasn’t that busy tonight, was kind of bored” – but throughout the evening he barely stopped to check on us, forgot our guac, forgot the water Shane asked for at the beginning of the meal (and when he finally was reminded and brought it later, he brought two glasses and tried to give it to another table).

And so it goes …

Other than the service things were good. We all got some sort of burrito – I had chicken chipotle (spicier than I thought it would be but still very good), Amanda and Shane both had the steak burrito, and Ted had the macha burrito. Everything was delicious, and of course we ate way more than we should’ve. Chips and salsa were replenished several times (not by our waiter, of course, but another server – thankfully, or else we’d probably still be scraping up crumbs to fight over while waiting on a second basket) and were very good.

Spicy burrito and not so spicy burrito

Spicy burrito and not so spicy burrito

And of course, there’s this:

Creepy shadowy engineer Ted

Creepy shadowy engineer Ted

I may have nightmares about this photo

I may have nightmares about this photo

CAPSULE

Picked by:  Ted
Drinks: They lose a few points for reeling us in with the Tower of Margaritas, then not actually having it. But they clearly have tequila – or at least they did, before they made our drinks. I think most of what they had ended up in there. 
Food:
 Typical Mexican, and as usual good portions for a good price.
Service: Hopefully the guy we had will be on to the next local Mexican place by the time you visit, because he was the big thumbs down of the evening.
Overall: Good food, not good service.

Next Pick: Shane

WTGW 4/9/14: Sammie’s Bar & Grille, Tallmadge

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So basically this week Shane got kind of an easy pass – I mean, how can you screw up following the absolute worst place we’ve ever visited? He could’ve taken us to an Arby’s … or even a former Arby’s transformed into a bar, complete with a stack of booster seats in the corner … and we would’ve been far happier than we were last week.

P.S. – we’ve actually been to the booster seat bar. Seriously.

In other words, I’m hoping it wasn’t just the leftover taste of tartar toast in our mouths from last week that made us think Sammie’s Bar & Grille was more toward the top of our favorites list than the bottom.

If anything, maybe it was the $1.00 beers.

Yeah, you read that right. In another “do they know we come out on Wednesdays and make these specials just for us” moment, we thought we were in our own form of alcoholic heaven when we read that on the specials board. We even asked the server, just to be certain that $1.00 truly was the price for bottled beers, and it wasn’t “take $1.00 OFF.” Because that would be a mean trick when the bill came at the end of the night.

And, yes, it was true – Sammie’s has $1.00 bottled domestic beers on Wednesday nights. If you take away nothing else from this post, at least remember that. I know we will.

Best way to spend $1.00

Best way to spend $1.00

(Although, sidenote, we kind of had to question the limitations on “domestic” beer. How can that list include Labatt – which is brewed in Canada – but not Yuelingling, which is brewed one state away in PA? Interesting.)

Anyway.

Sammie’s is a relatively new restaurant, in a building that has seen various name and food changes over the years. Amanda said she thought it was last a Mexican restaurant, which I have to admit I could still kind of make out the decor from. We sat in the bar area (on some of the tallest chairs I’ve ever seen – maybe not the best plan on $1 beer night) and the atmosphere was great. It was quiet enough that the four of us could have conversations easily, but yet not so quiet that when we got to our embarrassing topics (because you know that’s how we roll) we had to feel like we were on display to the rest of the establishment.

Shane ordered the pretzel sticks as an appetizer – because you know he gravitates to those on any menu – and they were delicious. There were five in the order and they were huge (that’s what she said – ba dum bum). Although we agreed that there needed to be some other sort of dipping sauce than just the melted Velveeta with some chives in it.

Although looking over the menu it seems that Velveeta is a staple on many of the dishes – I feel like this is some sort of inside joke with the owners that we aren’t privy to. Hmmm.

Because there’s apparently no fun in variety, both Shane and Ted got twelve of the Sammie’s Sweet Pepper Supreme wings. And they both agreed that the wings could use a bit more flavor. Maybe Velveeta would’ve helped that one. No, honestly they said that just judging on the name, they expected the wings to be spicier, and were somewhat disappointed about that. So the moral of the story there is don’t judge based on name alone. Or ask the waitress first. Something like that.

The boys also decided to order a whole second meal for themselves – because, well, they’re boys, and I guess want to tempt death by heart attack at a young age. Whatever. So Ted got the Pizza Supreme burger, and Shane ordered the Quarter Pound Hot Dog. I guess since the beer was so cheap, we can’t just have a bill less than $50 for two people. Good call, honey. In any case, I think they both enjoyed these more than the wings, so I guess it was worth it. Even though it seemed the amount of grease that dripped off Ted’s burger was sufficient enough to actual fry his wings in – but, hey, that’s where the flavor is, right?

There's a hot dog under all that

There’s a hot dog under all that

Because double fisting the food wasn't good enough

Because double fisting the food wasn’t good enough

On the opposite end of the eating spectrum, Amanda ordered the Build Your Own Burger, and while she said it was delicious, she couldn’t finish all of it. And she even had the smaller of the two options – the 9oz. They also offer a 12oz size … but hey, come on, we’re not trying to be champions here. Well, at least us girls aren’t.

Giant burger on a pretzel bun

Giant burger on a pretzel bun

I had six of the garlic parmesean wings (which also could’ve used more flavor, just like the boys’ wings) and a side order of the “small potatoes,” which are mini potatoes baked in olive oil, rosemary and sea salt. That was a nice alternative to French fries, and much appreciated for those of us who have to wear a bathing suit in public in just a few short months.

Wings in a newspaper.

Wings in a newspaper. Fancy.

By far one of the best things about our visit – other than the $1 beers, but that’s just implied – was our server. She was fantastic, despite it being a pretty busy dinner crowd and what seemed to be only her and one other person manning the entire floor. Her attitude was great, she joked around despite being I’m sure just ready to sit for five minutes, and we never felt rushed. She reminded us of the 9PM cutoff for the $1 beers in case we wanted to get another round in – which I’m sure she already knew the answer to just based on how we’d been pacing throughout the hours leading up to that time (smart girl). She also didn’t blink an eye when we saw that she was a bit overwhelmed and just doubled up our doubled up our rounds instead of having to wait for her to bring more. Thanks for not wagging a finger at our blatant alcoholism, Ms. Server – you’re awesome.

The one deterrent I can see to Sammie’s is that despite the hours on the door saying they’re open well past midnight, we were literally the last people in the place … at 9:30 PM. And it looked like the staff was cleaning up to go home as soon as the door closed behind us. Like not only the wiping down the bar and shutting down the dining room side of the place kind of cleaning … but also the busy work kind of cleaning that screams “we can’t send you home yet but there’s really absolutely nothing left for you to do.” I scared one teenage boy out of the women’s restroom who was on a ladder cleaning lightbulbs. Because that’s essential? Come on, I don’t even do that in my own house before company comes over.

(Which, sidenote on the restrooms, you have to go in there and look at the ratio of the door sizes to a normal human being. It’s like Alice in Wonderland up in that place. For real. And I know you’re intrigued now.)

In any case, not sure how the weekend crowd is, but just be forewarned that it definitely dies out after the dinner rush during the week. Or at least after the $1 beer special ends.

It's dark and we're the last ones in the place. That's how we roll.

It’s dark and we’re the last ones in the place. That’s how we roll.

Peace out

Peace out

CAPSULE

Picked by:  Shane
Drinks: If I haven’t driven home the point about $1 beers yet, then you obviously didn’t read this post. 
Food: 
Good portions, just could use a bit more flavor on everything overall. And seriously, what is it with the Velveeta?
Service: Excellent. Even the guy I scared out of the ladies restroom was at least pleasant about it.
Overall: Oh, I’m sure we’ll be back. Especially on Wednesdays. Do I not sound like enough of an alcoholic yet, or what?

Next Pick: Steph

WTGW 2/19/14: Delanie’s Grille, Tallmadge

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Move over Musketeers, I think we have a new top spot on the list.

Located in the Tallmadge area (which BTW is apparently Ted’s own personal Bermuda Triangle of undiscovered dining establishments, so chances are you’ll see us back in that area in the near future), Delanie’s Grille is definitely a hidden gem. It’s a true neighborhood bar, one of those places where you half expect the place to erupt in a chorus of “Norm!” whenever one of the regulars walks in … but yet they don’t all stare you down from over the tops of their beer mugs and let the jukebox screech to a halt as soon as someone new walks in.

Our waitress was actually the owner’s wife – a fact she didn’t tell us, but we deduced from her name and several mentions within the menu, because, well, we’re pretty smart like that – and mentioned after she overheard us say we were newbies that she thought we “didn’t look familiar.” For someone who took our whole not-exactly-easy order without writing anything down and didn’t mess anything up, I don’t doubt she really does remember faces and names of frequent flyers to the establishment.

So, Wednesday nights are half off “grogs” – which, when we asked what those were, all we heard was basically “contains so many liquors that we can only serve you two of them max.” So of course we all had to try them. Especially for $4.00 each. I’m still not sure exactly what was in them, but it was a large mug of very sweet deliciousness that didn’t taste like alcohol at all, so really I don’t see how that can be bad, ever. Shane was the only one of the group to hit the two drink limit – which, you know, is good since he was our driver. But honestly I don’t think any of us felt the effects any more than we would after a few regular mixed drinks. I’m not really sure what that says about our tolerance levels.

A round of grogs. That's just fun to say.

A round of grogs. That’s just fun to say.

And truthfully I might’ve ordered another smaller drink, or a beer or something like that, but if I have one complaint about Delanie’s it’s the lack of any sort of a drink menu to choose something like that from. I mean, while our sever did a wonderful job of explaining to us what a grog was, when we asked about what beers were available the best she could do was point us in the direction of the bar and let us know that the 100+ varieties of bottles were in the cooler behind the bar if we wanted to look. Which Ted did … and we lost him for about 20 minutes as he got sucked into a conversation at the bar with two of the regulars. I guess he was fresh meat.

Speaking of meat, our table was full of it when our dinners arrived. I ordered the cheeseburger wrap – something I’m fond of in pretty much any restaurant, but once I saw the “National Hamburger Festival Award Winning” distinction next to it then I knew I had to try it. I was not disappointed. Although the rest of the table might have been upset that I stole all the napkins, since my dish definitely required a few in order to keep me from wearing any of it home.

Amanda had the steak sandwich, and was impressed to find that it was made of chunks of actual steak, not shaved slices or imitation Steak’ums like what you’ d find at some places. It was so filling that she ended up taking half of it home. Shane had the Delanie burger and of course a 6-er of wings, because, well, why wouldn’t he.

Ted is apparently on some sort of strike from bar food, and had the orange roughy. I’m noticing a pattern over these past few weeks. Either a fryer has wronged him in some way recently or he’s just trying to make a name for himself as the one person in the group who orders off the “entree” side of the menu. Whatever the reason, at least he was happy with his decision.

Another thing that really impressed me about Delanie’s is that everything came out to the table steaming hot. From appetizers to entrees – everything was at the “so warm you need to wait a minute before eating it” level. And as someone who puts soup in the microwave until it’s practically a boiling volcano, I appreciate that. I’d rather things be too hot and I have to decide between practically drooling as I stare at it waiting to eat or risk losing a layer of skin on the roof of my mouth by jumping the gun.

I chose the latter option with the homemade chips and dip that we ordered as an appetizer, and even though my mouth is a bit unforgiving of that at the moment, I can’t say I regret it. I had never had a hot potato chip before, and it was amazing. I would go back to Delanie’s for the chips alone. Seriously. Although we all agreed that we would’ve preferred some sort of french onion dip to go with the chips, instead of the two options of ranch and, well, something- that-wasn’t-ranch-or-french-onion-but-was-still-tasty-even-though-we-weren’t-really-sure-what-it-was that came with the order. I just ate them plain, but I’m kind of weird like that.

So, yes, all in all, this place is definitely at the top of our favorites list. From the atmosphere, to the food, to the prices – everything was amazing, and we’re already talking about how soon would be too soon for us to plan a return visit. And don’t think we didn’t take notice of the what-looks-to-be-amazing-when-not-covered-in-snow-and-its-20-degrees-out patio outside the bar area. I’m already predicting we’ll spend many an evening there once the weather changes and we can actually be outside without the air hurting our skin. Thumbs up.

OMG are his eyes actually open? Must've been the two grog limit.

OMG are his eyes actually open? Must’ve been the two grog limit.

Who is Shane laughing at?

Who is Shane laughing at?

(ps – we would’ve taken more pictures, but it was really, really dark in there. Like hold the menu to your face to read it dark. Which is fine overall, but not when you’re trying to be awesome reviewers. Ha. And it also probably doesn’t help that the phone on my camera kind of sucks. But whateves.)

CAPSULE

Picked by: Steph
Drinks: While a menu or actual printed list of some kind would’ve been helpful, at least the staff doesn’t get put out at having to rattle names or descriptions off at you. And you can meet friendly people at the bar when going to look at the beer cooler.
Food:
Delicious. Great selection of bar food, specialty dishes, apps and salads. Get the chips. For real.
Service: Fabulous. And I’m not sure saying that because we had the privilege of being waited on by one of the owners.
Overall: I think our previous top placeholder has been dethroned. Especially once patio season hits.

Next Pick: Amanda

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