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

 

WTGW 2/3/16: Caddyshack Inn, Hinckley

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This week’s WTGW takes us into the previously unchartered territory of Hinckley. Which Shane then proclaimed on the drive over as “his” town, and said we better not pick any other place we see around. Which, just judging from the outside of this place as we drove up – and also the bar/grille/neon-signs-must’ve-been-on-sale building on the corner nearby (which ironically, will probably be Shane’s next pick, as he saw the name of it and claimed it was in close competition with his pick for this week) – we didn’t think we’d have to worry.

Now, after actually tasting the food at Caddyshack Inn, as well as talking to a few of the people there … well, I think we all agreed that he may actually be on to something here.

I’ll be honest, though, as we pulled up to Caddyshack I’m sure I wasn’t the only one to think that things felt just a tad bit on the side of sketch. First of all, the place looks like a house. Because apparently it’s Shane’s life goal to eat at every house-turned-bar establishment in NE Ohio. Lest we forget the place in Aurora that we walked into for ten minutes, couldn’t get served at, and left clouded in the smell of burger grease that to this day is probably still ingrained in our clothing. And the place in Portage Lakes that, while actually pretty awesome, was so far embedded in an actual neighborhood that we thought we were just going to a new friend’s house for dinner.

Seriously, one of these times we are going to end up walking into someone’s real house and sitting down at their kitchen table for dinner – because Shane “heard somewhere” that it was a great hometown dive bar.

Fortunately for us, this time around we still ended up at an actual establishment, and not sharing plates with someone’s Aunt Millie before reading bedtime stories to their children.

Anyway.

So for drinks, it was Miller Lites and Kentucky Bourbun Ales all around. Amanda actually started out drinking Miller Lite and then traded it in for a Bourbon Ale after the first round.

Wait, that beer isn't light enough to be a Miller Lite?!?

Wait, that beer isn’t light enough to be a Miller Lite?!?

Ted was quite proud, as he is anytime anyone chooses anything other than a light domestic beer.

Shane and I got the sampler platter for an appetizer. Because we like fried things. And we weren’t disappointed, because it turns out the sampler is really basically just a bunch of random fried things like cheese sticks, onion rings, chicken tenders, fried mushrooms and jalepeno poppers on one plate together. Come to think of it, maybe they should actually change the name on the menu to “plate of random fried things.” It has a nice ring to it.

Plate of random fried stuff

Plate of random fried stuff

Whatever, it was $7, and kind of a meal all in itself.

Speaking of $7, that was also the price of a dozen wings. Yay frugality!

Shane was the first to order his meal, but by the time we worked around the table and he heard everything else that was being ordered he changed his mind. Because servers love that, right? His original order was just 18 wings … but then after he heard the other guys ordering burgers he realized he would have major food envy if he didn’t get a chance to try one himself. So he scaled back his wing order to 12, and then also got the Dawg Burger … which is a double patty, full pound burger with bacon on it. Because heart health is apparently extremely overrated.

And so that’s how this arrived at the table.

Did you order a heart attack? Because it's here on this plate

Did you order a heart attack? Because it’s here on this plate

I’ll just go ahead and say it, because I know you all are thinking it: W. T. F.

Jerrid ordered the other double burger on the menu, the name of which eludes me now … but just know it was the other full pound burger, with different toppings. But still just as huge.

It looks so unassuming from this angle

It looks so unassuming from this angle

That’s what she said.

We should also point out that there was a huge discussion at our table about just how in the living holy hell they were going to attack those burgers … because, well, this clearly isn’t a job for the faint-hearted. Or anyone who thinks they are going to not be messy about it. Jerrid just went right in, didn’t cut his in half or anything, just picked up the burger whole and started eating his way through it. Shane meanwhile daintily cut his into quarters. But remember this is also the guy who eats his pizza with a knife and fork, so take that as you will I guess.

In any case, that’s the massive burger side of the table.

Oh, and PS: those giant burgers were only like $8.95 each. Just let that sink in for a bit – as I put this picture here yet again.

I think that burger will eat you if you're not careful with it

I think that burger will eat you if you’re not careful with it

OK, moving on.

Jerrid and Amanda also shared 12 wings – six garlic parm and six Kentucky bourbon – as an app. Amanda ordered the black & blue steak wrap for her meal. Which I don’t think had quite a full pound of steak inside of it, but was probably close. 

It's like a whole steak in a little blanket

It’s like a whole steak in a little blanket

Oh good, chunks of garlic. Vampires be gone

Oh good, chunks of garlic. Vampires be gone

Ted got a pound of mussels as an app, then 12 wings (Kentucky bourbon and “just plain hot,” as he called them). And also one of the single patty, half pound burgers.

This is the most healthy thing on our table

This is the most healthy thing on our table

The single actually looks smaller than the bun. Weird

The single actually looks smaller than the bun. Weird

I think this might’ve been the point in the ordering process where our server openly laughed at the insane amount of food five people thought they might possibly be able to eat. And suggested pulling over another table to help hold it.

I got the cheeseburger wrap, mainly because it came with chips and a french onion dip. I think we were all waiting to see if it arrived in a plastic container from the gas station down the road, ala the Lockview.

This is like the healthy version of that other burger. Which isn't saying a whole lot.

This is like the healthy version of that other burger. Which isn’t saying a whole lot.

But alas, no, it was actually homemade. And actually really good. Amanda also got the chips and dip with her meal, and commented that it was the closest to our “gold standard” in house-made chip dips, the stuff we used to get at our old hangout Slim & Jumbo’s in Garrettsville. Yes, we have a rating system on chip dips. Just like our group has a top five on pretty much everything else in this world. These things really shouldn’t surprise you at this point.

So, yeah, if you put all of those photos above together … you can see that our server had more than enough reason to laugh at us when we ordered all of it. Because clearly she knew what was in store for us. It must be like initiation for her when new people come in and think that they are “hungry enough” to finish all of that. Lesson learned.

Well, maybe. Shane eventually surrendered his draft beer and switched to rum and diet because he was getting so full on his burger that he figured that would help to “save stomach space.” Of course I benefited from that by taking the rest of his beer when the first mixed drink came. Thanks honey.

Although I think he regretted his choice as soon as he took the first sip of said drink … and realized it was pretty much just all rum. I joked that they knew he was saving space so they were trying to help by taking out the carbonation.

Ted meanwhile was still giggling about the ridiculousness of specifying diet pop in a drink when we had about four million calories of food sitting in front of us.

Touche.

Ted finished his burger, although his single burger was tiny in comparison to Jerrid’s and Shane’s doubles. Jerrid also got the clean plate award. Shane meanwhile left just under a very-neatly-cut quarter of his on his plate. Who is this guy? Please tell me moderately healthy Shane is not making a return.

Everyone said the wings were really good. And they were big, too – for the insanely low price of $7/dozen, you’d expect them to be smaller, but they were actually decent sized. Amanda and Jerrid were big fans of the Kentucky bourbon ones, but Ted rated the hot sauce better in his book. Although he really only somewhat sampled the hot wings, and then ended up taking most of them home. Since, well, let’s be honest, he already had about three full meals before he got to that item on his personal menu.

One third of Ted's meal

One third of Ted’s meal

Shane also took his wings home. Because, well, giant burger. It was strange to see the guys leaving with doggy bags and not the girls this time around.

So, after all was said and done in this evening, I feel it’s necessary to mention that mine and Shane’s final tab, for the two of us, was $47. Total. To recap, that’s for a huge appetizer, a giant double burger with chips, a wrap with chips, a dozen wings, five miller lite drafts and three tall rum and diets – which were potent enough that Shane had to use the elementary school method of “carrying the one” on the paper when doing math on the final tab before we left.

I’m not sure what kind of alternate cheap dive bar universe we stumbled into here, but we may just never leave. For real.

Especially when we discovered that the Caddyshack Inn also hosts karaoke on Friday and Saturday nights – and that there was a small possibility that the bartenders working those evenings might let “Shane Newton” stand actually ON the bar while drunkenly belting out Toby Keith’s “I Love This Bar.” In fact, our server/bartender – who we absolutely loved, and who was fantastic at both her job and keeping up with our high level of sarcastic requests and comments – actually recommended that we come back in two weeks for karaoke.

Us (since she had already told us she doesn’t work weekends): Why, will you be here that night?
Her: Well, if THAT’S happening then I definitely will be

Yes.

How many more visits until we can become regulars? Because I think we may have just found our new life’s goal. Just sayin.

Shane (aka Popeye)

Shane (aka Popeye)

Bromance

Bromance

Jerrid

Jerrid

Amanda

Amanda

Ted

Ted

Steph

Steph

CAPSULE

Picked by:  Shane

Drinks:  I think the Windsor Pub may have a rival for amount of rum that can fit in one tall glass while still calling it a mixed drink. 
Food:
We definitely learned our lesson about ordering appetizers and meals here. Pick one or the other. But regardless you won’t be disappointed.
Service: You know how much we enjoy servers with a sense of humor, and this was no exception. And for manning both the bar and the floor tables, she was exceptional.
Overall: It may be a good thing this place isn’t closer to us, because WTGW may just turn into Caddyshack Everynight. And we would then either be 400 lbs, or die of heart attacks within a month. But it may be worth it.

Next Pick: Steph

WTGW 1/13/16: BJ’s Brewhouse, Fairlawn

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You know we’ve hit a lot of restaurants in the area when we see one being built and in the back of our minds we’re all kind of thinking about whose pick is going to line up with the week of the opening. BJ’s Brewhouse is a fairly recent addition to the Fairlawn food landscape, located in the southeastern corner of the Summit Mall parking lot. Construction began around the middle of the summer, I think, and then all of a sudden, bam, it was open. I know Shane and I were invited to meet another couple there a few months back, which must’ve been right after the opening because the wait was like, two hours, on a Saturday night. Um, no thanks. I mean, you’d think there were absolutely no other places to eat within a 10 mile radius or something. Please.

So anyway, fast forward to this week, when we think the hype may have died down a little, and Amanda announces this is her WTGW pick. When I texted Ted to tell him the news, his response was “well, dammit. that was going to be my next pick.” So I’m thinking we can all assume that at least some of Ted’s Google searches for the next week will involve area restaurants. Just some. *wink, wink*

And either the good word of mouth is spreading about BJ’s (can we all just talk for a minute about how places need to stop choosing this horrible name for their establishments?) or there are still a number of people in the Summit County area who haven’t tried it yet and were, like us, waiting for the first wave of patrons to cycle through (overachievers) … because even with going on a Wednesday late evening there was still a wait for a table. Only about 20 minutes, but still. Impressive. Amanda and Jerrid were the first to arrive, so they got to be the lucky ones to wait – but, hey, with a place that has the word “brewhouse” in the title it’s not hard to find a way to occupy that amount of time, right?

Anyway.

So we’re seated, and the first thing we notice is that the menus weigh about six pounds each. And, just like last week, flipping through them is similar to reading a short story. While I appreciate the variety, sometimes maybe you can find the few things you want to specialize in and just stick to that, no? Or at least a certain nationality of food? I mean, it’s like you kind of have to just narrow it down to the basic type of food you think you might want and then just stare at those 2-3 pages until you decide on the actual item to order. Because one more flip, and before you know it you’re back on the winding road of delicious sounding food options.

At least the drinks were a tad bit easier for us. BJ’s (seriously, I giggle every time I type that) brews their own beers, but they do also offer a pretty impressive selection of other domestic and craft beers as well.

So, you know, it makes perfect sense that Shane and Amanda both chose Miller Lite.

Ted, Jerrid and I were a bit more adventurous. I got the Hefeweizen (which I’ve found to be my “go to” pretty much any place that offers it), Ted got the house made IPA, and while Jerrid didn’t go with one the house made beers he still went with a craft, the Magic Hat #9.

And I think this is the first time in months we’ve all ordered beer. WTF?

Ted ordered the wings for an appetizer, while Shane pretended to not know what he wanted until I mentioned they had calamari. Surprise!

Because we never order this

Because we never order this

Or this

Or this

Both apps were good. We all agreed that we really liked the aioli sauce that came with the calamari. And Ted called the calamari “tender.” Which he later clarified as “not over cooked.” Just in case we were confused that it may have been emotionally fragile or something like that instead. The wings were a siracha dry rub. They were kind of sweet and kind of spicy, with enough flavor to give them a kick without being so hot that you need a bucket of water to wash down every bite.

And good thing, too, because asking for water with our server was somewhat like asking a cat to, well, do whatever it is you want a cat to do. Shane asked three times for a glass of water – and despite taking our alcohol orders, bringing those drinks, bringing the apps … and asking each time what else we needed (to which Shane responded “a glass of water would be great”) – she still didn’t bring it.

Then Jerrid casually mentions “hey, can we get a couple of waters here?” … and suddenly like seven glasses appear at our table.

Is anyone thirsty? I'm parched.

Is anyone thirsty? I’m parched.

Clearly this time Jerrid was the magic name in our group, not Shane. Payback for the Rush Hour Grille incident maybe?

For meals, Amanda and I ordered off the “light menu” – she got the seared ahi salad and I had the blackened barbacoa chicken. Amanda said the salad was so tasty, she would almost order another one to take home. She particularly mentioned the dressing as being really good, and although the tuna could’ve used a bit more seasoning on it, it it was overall a really delicious meal. And it was enough to be filling – something that doesn’t always happen with those tricky “light” menu items  (I mean, really, just because we’re trying to eat healthier and lose weight doesn’t mean we want to starve, am I right?) – but she didn’t feel stuffed.

Healthy eating can be pretty

Healthy eating can be pretty

Mine was also really good, and filling as well. It was a bit on the spicy side … but thankfully we had a crap ton of water if I’d needed it, so crisis averted there.

It's strange to not see fries on this plate

It’s strange to not see fries on this plate

Ted got the ribeye steak with asparagus and rice pilaf. He said, and I quote ” the asparagus was good, rice was good, steak was … good.” Hmm, seems like there’s some hesitation there perhaps? But he said if he had to rate it, all in all he would give it a solid 7 out of 10. He said he had actually been deciding between like three different things on the menu (and, I mean, with that menu that’s totally understandable) – so he would definitely come back to try something else. Particularly the crispy jaelepeno burger, that’s the next thing on his list.

That's a nutritious looking meal. And a sharp looking knife.

That’s a nutritious looking meal. And a sharp looking knife.

In case we weren’t all sick of their continuing antics yet, Shane and Jerrid kept the bromance alive and actually split a dinner. Really guys? People are going to talk. In any case, they shared probably one of the most typically non-shared foods, a full rack of ribs, paired with a very easily shared food, the medium BJ’s special pizza (and again, see what I mean about the name? That just isn’t good marketing). Jerrid said his food was good, although Shane likened the pizza to that which you get at Pizza Hut. They also weren’t a huge fan of the ribs, which they said were just average.

Hi, Pizza Hut? We found one of your pizzas here.

Hi, Pizza Hut? We found one of your pizzas here.

There's a rack of ribs under those fries somwhere

There’s a rack of ribs under those fries somewhere

Although maybe Shane just was too watered down at that point to taste anything, what with the 18 glasses of water and all?

I have to say, our server was definitely not the most personable. Or loud. And that’s a bit of a problem, since the place is actually pretty loud inside, thanks to the openness and the high ceilings and all. So half the time I wasn’t sure if she was actually talking to us or just mumbling under her breath about something. Maybe about the high cost of tap water and how wasteful patrons like us insist on asking for it? Who knows.

Ted

Ted

Jerrid

Jerrid

Amanda

Amanda

Steph

Steph

Shane (he must be water-drunk?)

Shane (he must be water-drunk?)

CAPSULE

Picked by:  Amanda

Drinks:  The house brewed beers are good, with an impressive variety. I’d be willing to try a few more on the list just to see what else they have to offer. But I guess being a “brewhouse” means the water tap is selectively broken. This is one WTGW where it didn’t pay to be named Shane for once. 
Food:
Not a bad selection – they offer anything from pizza to sandwiches to salads and lighter fare. And you’ll be extra hungry after you get done reading the short novel that is the menu.
Service: As long as you aren’t craving water – or a personality of some kind – it’s not bad.
Overall: This place was pretty much middle of the road for the entire group. It wasn’t horrible by any means, and I think we would go again if we happened to be in the area. But if we get the same server again I think Shane may sneak in his own flask of water.

Next Pick: Ted

WTGW 12/16/15: Lemongrass Grill Thai Restaurant and Bar, Monroe Falls

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Here goes Ted, trying to make us more ethnic again.

Apparently this place used to be a cupcake place. Ted came in one day trying to buy cupcakes a few months back, and was immediately disappointed because clearly there were no cupcakes anymore. But then he was happy because he realized they had food and a bar and so it could become a WTGW pick. We’re a simple group to please.

Speaking of the bar – it’s kind of the first thing you see when you walk into Lemongrass. It’s where Amanda and Jerrid were waiting for us when we first walked in. And where Ted got handed a beer from the owner (I think? Or maybe just some random guy from the back room? We don’t ask or judge) just for stopping and looking at the beer list on the wall on his way to the table. So score for him, I guess.

And while we’re on the subject – because, well, let’s be honest, how many of these reviews actually don’t start out talking about alcohol, right? – be warned that the drinks at Lemongrass are poured rather generously. And that the server could likely be your bartender, as we experienced. Shane and I both went for the “girly drink” section of the menu, but what we were treated with was something more suited to sailors. The menu is basically like 15 variations on a Long Island, but with prettier names. They should all just be called “a mix of 10 liquors” and you just point to the one that sounds least offensive to your tastes. I mean, the server actually told us that someone passed out in the bathroom after drinking one of the kind of drink that Shane ordered (the Scorpion). I’m not sure if that’s something to be proud of or something that maybe should make you send your bartender off for some additional training.

It looks so innocent

It looks so innocent

Amanda smartly stuck to a rum and coke – or, more appropriately, rum with a bit of coke flavor. Jerrid had something called the Man-Hat-San (bourbon and some sort of cherry drink). Ted stuck to a myriad of beers whose names I can’t even begin to recall, but I know one of them had the work “sucks” in it. That’s a different marketing tactic.

As usual, we filled the table with appetizers – because, well, us. Shane and I got the Thai spring rolls and crab rangoon. Ted got the meat skewers – reminiscent of the time he ordered meat lollipops from The Merchant, but different. Amanda and Jerrid got the Lemongrass Bundle – which is basically the fancy Thai way of saying “sampler platter.” It included meat skewers, shrimp, crab rangoon, and something that they thought (and then later asked the server and it was confirmed) had a peanut butter sauce on it. That’s, well, weird. Even by our tastes.

Peanut butter does not belong on chicken. Just saying.

Peanut butter does not belong on chicken. Just saying.

There were two when this plate arrived. Someone got grabby.

There were two when this plate arrived. Someone got grabby.

Oh wait, there's the other egg roll. In front of Shane. Weird.

Oh wait, there’s the other egg roll. In front of Shane. Weird.

As you can probably already anticipate, the meat skewers were a big hit. The guys all agreed those were very tasty.

There’s a joke in there somewhere. I’ll let you all find it.

Everyone loved the meat. Hee hee

Everyone loved the meat. Hee hee

The crab rangoon was good, but the cheese sauce inside was different from any other time I’ve had that particular food anywhere else. It was almost a sweeter, creamier version. I mean, I’m not kicking these ones to the curb or anything, but they were definitely different.

Jerrid got the Pad See Ew with shrimp. Which judging from the picture on the website is kind of like Moo Goo Gai Pan at a Chinese place. And honestly, isn’t it all really just some combination of rice, meat and veggies? Exactly. Regardless, he didn’t seem to complain. He ate all of it, so if it sucked that’s a new way of dealing with it, I guess.

That plate would kill Shane

That plate would kill Shane

Ted got the monsoon chicken with jasmine rice. Yummy noises and clean plate award on this side of the table, too.

That rice didn't come with the big chunk taken out of the top of it, honest.

That rice didn’t come with the big chunk taken out of the top of it, honest.

I got the Drunken stir fry with chicken and brown rice. Now, we all know the little chili pepper icon next to any dish on the menu means “watch out, it’s spicy.” Well this entree had two, which I took to mean “beware, this is stuff only crazy people eat.” Not really. In fact, I’m glad the waitress brought out the additional plastic cup of “hot oil” that she said we could add to make the dishes spicier.

Drunken = spicy. There's a joke in there somewhere.

Drunken = spicy. There’s a joke in there somewhere.

Although, fair warning – that hot oil stuff should have like 100 chili pepper icons next to it. Because, damn. Let’s just say a little bit goes a long way. And when I say little I mean like microscopic. And it sneaks up on you. Ask Amanda, who drizzled a tiny bit on her meal and claimed it wasn’t bad … until a few minutes later when it finally kicked in and nearly took her breath away. I’m somewhat surprised trying to douse it with the amount of alcohol in our drinks didn’t just set the entire table on fire.

So there’s that.

Amanda got the Pad Thai. She was looking at a few other options but decided to play it safe. And she was not disappointed. We should also note that both she and I took half of our meals home. As with most Asian restaurants, they serve very large portions here. Clearly, they don’t mess around.

No peanut allergies here

No peanut allergies in this group

Shane had the pineapple chicken fried rice, along with the meat skewers. Yes, that was his third appetizer order of the evening.He joked about just ordering his entire meal directly from the appetizer menu – which, honestly, if some of them hadn’t included shrimp he very well may have done.

Vegetables, fruit and protein. That's a well balanced meal.

Vegetables, fruit and protein. That’s a well balanced meal.

So, back to alcohol – because, really, doesn’t it always come back to that with this group? – when I went to order my second drink I wasn’t sure what I wanted. Because, well, I wasn’t sure what the lesser was of all the liver killers I was facing on the drink menu. Sensing my conflict, the server asked if I wanted her to surprise me. Because that’s never dangerous, especially in a place that already seems to just throw an entire bottle of liquor in a glass and call it a drink, right? She asked if I liked cherry, I haltingly said yes …. and I’m happy to report that the drink I got was definitely that. Although what exactly gave it that flavor remains to be determined. I’m not sure if it was stronger than my first drink or not, but when I asked what was in it, she would only say it was “like five different vodkas … and then some other stuff.” Like what, roofies? That’s a dangerous game to play with the customers, lady. I almost felt like her goal was to get everyone smashed before they left. Again, playing with fire, no? Do we like calling cabs and cleaning out restroom stalls for our guests? I’m not sure I understand what the end goal is here.

All in all a good place, and it was definitely nice to change things up a bit by getting away from the burgers and fries places we’ve been visiting lately and branch out to something different. Although I think all of our livers might disagree.

Ted

Ted

Shane

Shane

Amanda

Amanda

Jerrid

Jerrid

Steph

Steph

CAPSULE

Picked by:  Ted

Drinks:  Don’t be fooled by the paper umbrellas and fruit on skewers. These boat drinks will sink your battleship if you try to drink them too fast. 
Food:
As with most Asian places, beware of huge portions. And misrepresented chili pepper icons. But it was definitely all tasty.
Service: It was a little cumbersome having the server also mix our drinks – and when the meals came out it was one at a time, not a big tray with everyone’s orders. But she was attentive and pleasant. Or maybe she was just in a running bet with the guys in the back as to which of us would fall over first from the strong drinks.
Overall: There’s not really a ton of Thai places in the area, so I don’t have much to compare this one to – but we would likely go back if we were in the mood for that type of food again.

Next Pick: Shane

WTGW 4/22/15: Chugger’s Bar & Grille, Streetsboro

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I discovered this place during the same high-tech internet search that brought us to the Happy Moose a few months back. So I guess by proxy I’m the official Streetsboro faction these days. Back off everyone, I got this area. Well at least for this pick anyway. Then we might be tapped out. Because, well, Streetsboro.

So, as if the name weren’t enough to imply it, Chuggers definitely has a bit of a sketchy vibe from the outside. First off, it’s located in an old strip plaza tucked away from the main road that has certainly seen better days – and hopefully more tenants at one point in time. Apparently when half the place moved out they took the maintenance service along with them, because the parking lot is rougher than the surface of the moon. And the sign is literally a vinyl banner pinned to the front of the building.

But there’s a kid’s jump palace next door, so that always bodes well for a really good dive bar, no?

However, we were pleasantly surprised when we walked inside, as it was actually really nice. I mean, for a bar. In a strip plaza. But in all honesty, the setup actually reminded us a lot of the Blue Willow over in Macedonia that we visited a while back. Except far bigger. Much bigger than I think any of us truly expected when we walked inside. It’s like the clown car of strip plaza bar & grilles.

At least that made it easy to find an open table, so score for us. It took a hot second for the waitress to come check on us after we sat down, but we was at least personable and admitted she was practically brand new, so we went a little easier on her. Shane ordered his usual rum and diet, and Ted settled on a Guinness – since that was about the fanciest they offered, not a lot of craft variety available there. I wouldn’t know, as Amanda and I stopped listening to the beer list after “Summer Shandy” – which lo and behold they really had on tap, not just a “we’ll write it on the sheet and trick you into thinking we have it but really we don’t” false alarm. Done.

I'm not sure you could get more opposite than this

I’m not sure you could get more opposite than this

Although I have to admit, just judging from the clientele that came in after us, I’m not surprised that most of their crowd is of the Miller/Bud/Coors variety. And not that there’s anything wrong with that – in fact, I would probably be more surprised to hear they had a plethora of ales, lagers and IPAs just chilling out on the tap system. Let’s just say that I felt out of place not wearing a hoodie. Again, not judging – just wishing I’d had time after work to leave the heels at home for this one.

Anyway.

The menu had a ton of options, but – unlike last week – at least this time they all seemed to fall into one of two categories: Bar Food or Italian. No random Greek appetizers or Mexican pizzas. Those only confuse people.

Options of deliciousness

Options of deliciousness

As usual, we ordered a crapload of appetizers, because, well, us. We ordered fried green tomatoes – because few things make Shane’s eyes light up like seeing the words “calamari” or “fried green tomatoes” on an app menu; mozzarella sticks – because I’m a sucker for fried cheese; and something called “monkey balls” – because that just sounds like something you need to order lest you be disappointed you never tried them. And because we’re 15.

Everything was good. Shane raved about the tomatoes, so much so that I decided (against my better judgement) to give them a try – only to realize that, yes, my aversion to the mushy texture of cooked tomatoes is still in full effect. Yay me. But the breading was good, I’ll give it that. Shane and Ted thought they were insanely good, which is really the review you want to remember on this particular item. The mozzarella sticks were basically no different than the kind you pull out of the freezer and throw into the fryer, but – hey – it’s fried cheese all the same so we weren’t complaining. The monkey balls – a mixture of Italian sausage, peppers, cheese and spices rolled up and deep fried – weren’t quite what we were expecting, but Shane and I still thought they were delicious.

There were a few more when they arrived. Fried cheese doesn't last long with us.

There were a few more when they arrived. Fried cheese doesn’t last long with us.

More fried food. Surprise!

More fried food. Surprise!

Ted didn’t quite share our joy, however, as apparently he missed the fact that the monkey balls (hee hee) had cheese in them until his first bite. There’s a fun surprise for the cheese hater at the table. Ironically the rest of us tasted no cheese whatsoever, so either he got the only ball that actually had any in it, or we’re just immune to the almighty power of fried cheese at this point. Especially in balls.

OK, I’m done being 12 now.

Balls. Enough said.

Balls. Enough said.

So our best takeaway from Chuggers – and really, the last few places we’ve gone lately – is that if the appetizers are really good, we should just stop while we’re ahead, order more of those, and not try anything on the main dinner menu. Because for the past few weeks we seem to be stuck in some sort of vortex that sucks us in with delicious apps … then drops us hard on our asses with disappointing dinners.

I’m not sure what that’s all about or what food god we need to pray to in order to reverse this curse, but it really needs to change.

Amanda ordered the BBQ beef brisket sandwich. In all honesty, she went out on a limb trying something new – but she was tired of ordering the same few familiar items on the menu, and we all agreed that sandwich sounded particularly delicious. But in the end it was a bad move, as she was disappointed. She just didn’t like the taste of it, and ended up leaving most of it behind. Even the fries weren’t especially good. Boo.

Lesson learned, stick to what you know.

Lesson learned, stick to what you know.

I had the beef & Swiss sandwich. I was thinking of ordering a panini or a stromboli, as they all sounded equally delicious – but once again I was led astray by the choice of bread, in this case seasoned sourdough. Damn carbs anyway. The bread was good, but I think there was more seasoning there then on the actual roast beef, as it was rather bland. The onion rings were fresh battered – a nice surprise after the freezer-to-fryer mozzarella sticks – but they also didn’t have much taste to them. I ended up taking half my sandwich and a few rings home.

Once again, carbs led me astray

Once again, carbs led me astray

Shane had ordered the monkey balboa panini – along with a side of six wings, because, well, his metabolism is un-human – but after hearing Ted quiz the waitress about the size of the stromboli, decided to cancel his original idea and go that route instead. So once again the boys ended up with the exact same meal – well, except that Shane did keep the side of six wings. Because of course he did.

And he was happy about that, as those wings were the best part of the meal for him. He said they were the best dry rub ranch wings he’s ever had. So there’s that.

The best part of Shane's evening

The best part of Shane’s evening

The stromboli, however, was disappointing – to both Shane and Ted. First of all, let’s just say that the waitress should not be trusted to give sizing approximations. The knowledge of which of course opened up the pathway to many jokes about certain other things for which size can be misconstrued – because, as we’ve already established, we’re 12 – but that’s a whole other conversation. Let’s just say that these definitely were not as big as she made them out to be in her description, and leave it at that.

Aside from the size, Ted’s biggest problem was the amount of cheese in the stromboli. Which, really, we shouldn’t be surprised about, because, well, first of all, it’s Ted … and second, after he was the one person at the table to detect the presence of cheese in the monkey balls, it shocked the hell out of us that he would even order a stromboli in the first place.  But I guess it falls under the same category of pizza, and something about how the mixture of it all makes it bearable. OK, whatever. Conversely, Shane said that he thought there was too much dough.

So maybe Ted should’ve donated his cheese to Shane, and Shane could’ve broken off some of the extra unfilled dough and given it to Ted, and they could’ve created their own perfect stromboli and both been happy?

Just an idea.

The underwhelming stromboli

The underwhelming stromboli

In any case, let’s just say that our opinion of Chugger’s tended to decline as the night went on. Just like our service. Many times we were left with empty glasses, and our waitress was nowhere in sight. Or she would come out onto the floor and wait on one table at a time, without so much as a glance around to see how the other tables were doing. Again, I know she admitted to being new – and she seemed to be one person taking care of a large area of tables – but the place also wasn’t jam packed either.

Now, a word of honest warning: Wednesdays are karaoke nights at Chuggers. Which excited us for a brief moment – you might be aware by now that “Shane Newton” is a sucker for karaoke, at least when it comes to one song in particular that can’t be sung when there are children in the establishment. But then we realized that the group running the karaoke business clearly has their own following of people/friends that accompany them to their gigs. And none of them can actually sing. None. Not a one. Which is weird, because I always thought there was some sort of audition process to buy one of those karaoke outfits, since that seems like it would be a prerequisite part of the business. You know, like how tax people really should be good with numbers. Or painters really should know how to color in the lines. That sort of thing.

But not this group. It’s like you could picture them all having parties together in someone’s basement, with some cheap tabletop karaoke system they bought from Wal-Mart, and all telling each other they sounded totally awesome … and then probably pooled together to buy some rig that someone was selling on Craigslist for cheap after the whole “hire us for karaoke at your wedding” idea didn’t exactly pan out.  Maybe they’re tone deaf. Who knows. The point is, there wasn’t enough alcohol in that establishment to make us want to stay once those people kept taking over the stage. No thanks.

So overall it was kind of a mixed review for our group. Had we just come in, stayed for a few apps and some drinks, never had actual meals – or our eardrums assaulted with horrible singers – this review probably would’ve been a little different. We definitely didn’t think the place was awful. And they do have a strong Browns Backers presence (as evidenced by the no less than 10 different items hanging on the walls adorned with the name and logo of the Browns Backers club), so I think we all agreed it might be fun to check out a game there. We’ll just stick to apps. And hope no one gets hold of a microphone.

Steph

Steph

Amanda

Amanda

Ted

Ted

Shane

Shane

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CAPSULE

Picked by:  Steph
Drinks:  Amanda and I stopped listening after Summer Shandy, but Ted said he thought the draft beer list was severely lacking. Definitely seems to be a bottle/domestic kind of bar.
Food:
We’d have been better off to stick to a table full of shareable appetizers. This seems to be our luck as of late.
Service: OK at first, slower as the night went on. Our server admitted she was new, but it still seemed to take quite some time just to get draft beers from the bar.
Overall: Not as horrible as we all feared it could be when we first pulled up, but also probably not at the top of the must return list.

Next Pick: Amanda

WTGW 4/15/15: Papous Tap & Grille, Aurora

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So the theme of this week’s WTGW adventure really should be 20 Questions. And really not enough answers.

The burning question, of course, is a basic one … how the heck do you pronounce the name of this place?? Papaya? Papa’s? Papoose? Platypus? WHERE ARE WE?

And once you get past that question, the second one should be, literally, where the heck are we? Located at the end of a somewhat interestingly placed strip plaza, Papous Tap & Grille isn’t the easiest establishment to spot. If you don’t know it’s there, you probably won’t find it, because it’s not one of those places you just “happen” past.

To that end, I’m not sure how Shane discovered it. I want to say maybe it was a recommendation from someone at work? Because that worked out so well for Ted in the case of the infamous Gus’s referral. Clearly we haven’t learned from our mistakes.

Upon arrival at Papous the questions continued. Before we even walked inside we were intrigued by the neon orange sign on the door touting their “HOT” corned beef. Um, OK. What does that mean? Why the quotation marks? Is it maybe warmed up, and maybe served cold? Is it kind of spicy? Or do you just simply not know how to use quotation marks properly? WHAT???

The mystery remains unsolved to this day.

We walked in and immediately declared ourselves as first time patrons when we loitered around awkwardly trying to decide if we should just seat ourselves or wait for someone to seat us. Again, a question: is it really that hard to put up a sign?

We finally threw caution to the wind and just seated ourselves in the bar area. The place has king of a strange layout, with the bar area immediately to the left as you walk in, and then a whole other are to the back that maybe looked like it could’ve been more like a less bar-y dining room? But we didn’t actually venture back there, so it’s hard to say for sure. We just gravitated close to the bar. You know, in typical us style.

The decor is kind of like a Quaker Steak and Lube knockoff. Only far less cool. The sides of the bar were covered in a checkered pattern, items like car parts and race memorabilia adorned the walls and hung from the ceiling, and a really cool front half of a classic car was mounted over the far wall. OK then. But why stop there? I mean, why have one motif when you can mix in a little bit of a sports theme (framed jerseys, neon sports signs, photos), a splash of typical bar theme (more neon signs, this time with beer names) and – just for fun – some random antique items like croquet sets and old bicycles? Sure.

But at least the menu matched the motif – I mean, if you’re going for the confused, 25-personality, just throw everything at the wall and hope something sticks theme, may as well go all out, no? There were just a lot of options. Not 17 pages of menu options, just a lot of different kinds of food in one place kinds of options. Which made it really difficult to tell what they really specialize in. Is it greek? They have gyros, Mediterranean dips, pitas, and chicken souvlaki. OK. Or is it Italian? There’s a whole page for pizza. Or typical bar foods? You know, burgers, sandwiches, salads, wraps – check. Or maybe higher end American restaurant? Because there’s also steaks, duck, and a variety of seafood dishes. Hmmm.

My personal favorite, though, was the Wednesday special, which included a whole half chicken, rice and a vegetable, for the bargain price of … wait for it … $4.99. I’m sorry, what? How is that possible? I’m not even sure you can get a McChicken Meal for $4.99 these days.

Which immediately screams to me less “special” and more “take your chance on chicken we’re about to throw out anyway.” But that’s just me.

BTW, are you counting the questions so far? I think we’re well over 20 at this point. And we haven’t even ordered yet.

Speaking of ordering, our waitress wasn’t much help when it came to deciphering the specialties or making recommendations, either. If you ask her – and we did – what she recommended, everything there is “good.” Because that’s helpful. We asked what they’re known for, and she responded that everything they made there was good. OK. Shane asked about the pizza … “it’s really good.” Ted asked about the corned beef, and we all heard her tell him that it’s thin sliced and “good” … but when Ted mentioned he’s picky about his corned beef, and that he likes it thick sliced and flavorful, her response was “oh you’ll really like the corned beef here then, it always has really good flavor and comes thick sliced.” Um, OK. You do know that thick and thin are complete opposites of one another, right? And that you just used both of them to describe the same dish? Right.

So there’s that.

Add to that a paper beer list classily taped to the wall (that’s a new one) that wasn’t completely accurate (super helpful). Amanda and I thought we might score Summer Shandy – and not just leftover ones from last season, as has happened to us a few times already this year – because we saw it on the list. Yeah, no. The waitress informed us they were out of that. Because printing a new paper list and re-taping it to the wall would be too much trouble, I guess?

So for my second choice I decided to try for a Not Your Father’s Root Beer – which was also on the list … and was told she would check, because she wasn’t sure if those were in stock or not. OK, great. I’ll cross my fingers. It’s like a game show – spin the wheel of alcohol and hope you come up with a winner. Yay!

In this case, I did luck out with the NYFRB, so score for me. And, really, the rest of our group, because after the first round they all followed my lead and ordered the same thing. Yes, it’s just that good. And surprisingly we didn’t manage to drink the bar out of it, so I guess it really was our lucky night. In that respect anyway.

The preferred drink of this week's WTGW

The preferred drink of this week’s WTGW

Although it is worth mentioning that Ted’s first round was perhaps the lightest beer I’ve ever seen him drink willingly and without wincing. It’s no wonder he switched.

Shane's mixed drink and Ted's beer haven't been the same color since the Windsor Pub

Shane’s mixed drink and Ted’s beer haven’t been the same color since the Windsor Pub

So, anyway, back to food. Shane shocked us all and for once didn’t immediately stop reading the appetizer list at the word calamari – instead he wanted to get the Mediterranean dip. Which turned out to be an excellent choice. It was like a spinach artichoke dip with extra spices, cheeses and olives, and served with crispy pita chips. Delicious.

On a side note, we tried to get Ted to try it by telling him that you really couldn’t pick out the cheese taste in it, although it only took one bite for him to immediately disagree with us. Oops.

But we didn’t feel bad for him for too long, because he had his own delicious appetizer on his side of the table, the almond crusted duck. The breading was amazing, and the sauce that came with it was really, really good. It was almost like a teryaki, but with a ginger-y flair. And we all remember how much Shane loves ginger.

Delicious apps

Delicious apps

The dip was so good Shane literally licked the bowl clean. Classy.

The dip was so good Shane literally licked the bowl clean. Classy.

For my meal, I went with the Kobe burger. Which looked great when it arrived, but unfortunately didn’t taste as good as I’d hoped. It was very salty, and the mozzerella cheese had a weird seasoning on it that I couldn’t quite decipher. I guess we’re keeping with the guessing game theme in this regard, too. Awesome. At least the fries were good, even though they were pretty much no different than the frozen steak fries you get at the grocery store. So there’s that.

The burger that almost turned me into a cheese-hater like Ted

The burger that almost turned me into a cheese-hater like Ted

Amanda had the roast beef french dip. She said it was good, although she did point our that usually that’s a really difficult sandwich to truly mess up. So take that as you will, I guess.

The other "beef" on the table

The other “beef” on the table

Whether it was to truly fact-check the waitress or because he just had a taste for it, Ted went ahead and ordered the corned beef. He likes to live on the edge. Aside from nearly burning a layer of skin off of his mouth and fingers with the first bite of his fries, he thought the meal was just OK. And we still don’t know if the corned beef was technically thick or thin cut, but he did say it was a little salty. That must be the only seasoning they have in the back. Well, that and whatever it was that they put on the slice of cheese on my burger.

Are the fries thicker than the corned beef?

Are the fries thicker than the corned beef?

Shane decided to go with an old standby, the build-your-own pizza. He chose pepperoni, sausage, mushrooms and extra cheese. The waitress had told him when he ordered that the sauce was “kind of sweet”  and … wait for it … “good.” But according to Shane, it was neither of those things. Hmmm. He said it was more like canned spaghetti sauce than anything else. And definitely not sweet. But also not salty, so I just they missed his meal with the seasoning de jour somehow.

We also joked when he got the pizza that the “extra cheese” looked strangely like a random few pieces of shaved Parmesan thrown on the top of the pie. As Ted put it, “that’s the only extra cheese pizza I’d actually eat!”

Look at all that "extra" cheese!

Look at all that “extra” cheese!

But despite not really liking it, Shane still ate the entire large by himself. Way to muster on, soldier.

All in all, we weren’t that impressed with Papous/Papyas/Poppyseeds/Pocketbooks/Papas/whatever-the-heck-the-actual-name-is. Even if it was closer to us, I don’t think we’d be running to make a return visit. The atmosphere was nothing special (despite trying to be a whole lot of different things at once), our waitress didn’t really seem like she wanted to be there (even if everything was supposed to be so “good”) and the food was just OK. Plus pondering so many questions is just exhausting.

Shane

Shane

Steph

Steph

Amanda

Amanda

Ted

Ted

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CAPSULE

Picked by:  Shane
Drinks:   It’s like Russian Roulette with the drink list. Don’t get your heart set on anything until it actually arrives at your table. 
Food:
Chances are you’ll see something on the menu that you want to order, since they have a very wide variety of options. But will you like it? That’s another gamble.
Service: It’s not as “good” as she claims everything on the menu to be. Ironic, no?
Overall: I’m going to wager a guess that we won’t see the inside of Papous again. Which is probably good, considering we still don’t know how to pronounce it. “Where are you?” “We have no idea.”

Next Pick: Steph

Papous Tap & Grille on Urbanspoon

WTGW 7/9/14: One Red Door, Hudson

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Hey, did you miss us? Yes, it’s been a month since the last WTGW adventure. We’ve been busy, yo. And by busy, I really mean we’ve been on trips to Vegas, Chicago and a Jimmy Buffett concert … but whatevs. Don’t hate. Hello, summer!

Anyway.

So we’re back – and back in style, apparently, as this week’s adventure takes us to One Red Door in Hudson.

Honestly, full disclosure here, ORD was a second choice for us, after yet another failed attempt to visit it’s neighboring restaurant, FlipSide. Because Ted really, really wants to go there – you might remember we tried this before, a few months back, and ended up at the pizza place across the street – and is bound and determined that one of these days we will find the magical less-than-one-hour wait time at that establishment.

However, sadly this was not that day. Boooo.

So here we are.

One Red Door is a bit more upscale than we usually do for WTGW. And it’s definitely a far cry from our last adventure at Legends. I mean, not only were there no drink specials, but the place was suspiciously free of mullets and tie dyed clothing as well. What the hell happened in our month away? Ridiculous.

Also the prices were a bit more than we usually look for on a WTGW place – $17 or $19 for a burger? Granted it’s gourmet, but still. I mean, we couldn’t help but notice that they share part of the service area with the coveted FlipSide staff next door – and those burgers are considerably cheaper. Can’t they just pass some of the supplies over? I mean, really.

Speaking of prices, the beer list was a bit of a shocker as well. We’re talking Summer Shandy in a bottle for $5. What, are we back in Vegas? But of course you know we ordered it anyway. Because, well, we’re suckers I guess.

Shane got a hard cider that was served in a can, and was very dry. He only had one, but I think it was $8 so I guess that’s really a blessing in disguise. Ted had the Kentucky Bourbon Ale, which he tried to get all of us to taste and we promptly refused. I’m not sure how much that was, but with something as fancy as “Bourbon” in the title – plus the fact that they actually had to pour it and not just open the can/bottle – I’m going to to out on a limb and guess we’re talking double digits.

Probably because we messed up our usual 3:1 ratio with drinks, we (unintentionally, I swear) ended up keeping that tradition with our food orders instead. Ted had the salmon, while the rest of the table ordered the pizza. I decided to take the Wild Mushroom Pizza and add Italian Sausage to it – and the idea caught on like wildfire, as the rest of the table followed suit. And I have to admit it was pretty tasty. The waitress even complimented my idea to add the sausage – which I was kind of surprised she hadn’t had anyone do before – or maybe she had and was just trying to bump up her tip with the compliment – but whatever. I ate about half my pizza (3 slices), then donated the rest to Shane, who you know was not full after an entire 6-slice pie.

It's like looking into a mirror

It’s like looking into a mirror

Someone was too hungry to wait for pictures

Someone was too hungry to wait for pictures

Ted devoured his salmon in half the time it took me to eat half my pizza, but that was probably partially because this was one of those places that cares more about arrangement of the food on the plate and less about actual quantity of said food. Ted’s comment on his meal was something to the effect of  “there’s a lot of things together on this plate that I wouldn’t normally think would go together, but it seems to work.” So, score.

Overall, One Red Door has a nice atmosphere and our food was definitely tasty – although I think we all agreed it was a bit pricey and more for a nice evening out than a WTGW pick. The service was good, we didn’t feel like the loudest people in the place – which is good, considering the wide array of topics we tend to cover during our dinner discussions. We were seated on the restaurant side – back near the kitchen, so I guess we already had that look of “problem table” about us maybe? – so not sure if the atmosphere would’ve been a bit different on the bar side or not.

Being a “fancier” WTGW pick, we didn’t think we’d get anything to take our weekly funny picture of … until Ted noticed the frame o’ skeleton keys on the wall on the way out. Nice call. I’d have given him more props if he’d actually taken one of the keys with him after we took the picture – but I’m guessing he might actually want to return to that establishment again at some point, and the disapproving look the hostess gave us from across the way while we were taking the picture was probably warning enough that we were already taking things a step too far. Oh well.

Ted chooses the keys to Door #4

Ted chooses the keys to Door #4

So, since it was all of 8:15 when we left, we decided to head around the block for a repeat visit to Kepner’s Tavern for drinks. This is another place we last visited on the first failed FlipSide trip – and, as Ted joked on the drive over, it was difficult to find this time around without the caravan with the open side door parked out front like last time. Guess in the summer they button things back down a little. Anyway, our visit to Kepner’s was much better this time around than the last – maybe due to the younger crowd (probably attributed to summer vacation and kids being back in town from all the expensive colleges far away), and maybe due to the more pleasant bartender that actually spoke to us instead of watching TV the whole time. It’s the little things that impress us, apparently.

We each had a couple beers and the guys tried the wings (because, surprise, a few beers and a few hours later, they were hungry again). If we can take away one thing from the evening, it’s that the biggest difference between a regular Cajun seasoning and a Louisiana Cajun seasoning is … well … a whole hell of a lot of spice. I hope the bartender wrote down that note, because when the guys asked her she wasn’t sure. And I think they regretted ordering the “Louisiana” the moment the first wing touched their lips. I mean, Shane only had three out of the order of 12, if that tells you anything (I know, right?!?) Let that be our public service announcement. You’re welcome.

 

CAPSULE

Picked by:  Ted. And he’s been told Flipside is officially off the list.
Drinks: Extensive wine list, decent beer list. Not impressed by the prices. 
Food: 
The pizza was very tasty, and one of the most economical things on the menu at $12.50. I think we got both of our pizzas for the price of Ted’s salmon, but his meal was devoured in half the time.
Service: Good. Nothing special, but our drinks were kept full and the meals arrived promptly, so there’s that.
Overall: OK. Again, probably better for a special occasion or night out than a WTGW visit, but I would definitely go back if nothing else for the pizza.

Next Pick: Shane

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