WTGW 1/31/18: Menches Brothers, Green

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When I first heard about Menches Brothers and their claim of being the ones to have invented the hamburger, I was like

I mean, OK, suuuurrrre you did. If that’s the case then I’m going to start calling my witty remarks the first insurgence of sarcasm.

But then I googled “who invented the hamburger” … and sure enough, there are their names. Color me surprised. Well, I mean, it’s not cut and dried, there’s some dispute … but at least their story is listed. And we all know that if something is on the internet it must be true, right?

As if all this fame business wasn’t enough to make us curious about the place, let’s add another marketing ploy to the list: Wednesday is burger day, which means $3 off all burgers. Perfection. Also $4 Long Islands. Which normally Shane would be all over, but he’s being all healthy these days and five different alcohols in one glass just screams calories.

I know, I’m not sure how to take that either.

Anyway,

So back to the burgers. They have 50 different kinds on their menu. Fifty. Who knew there were so many possibilities for two pieces of bread and some grilled meat? But I guess when you invent the dish, you can also take some liberties at the creativity.

Shane: I wonder how the pizza is here?

I have to be honest, though, fifty burgers with descriptions makes the menu a tad overwhelming. Not Cheesecake Factory short novel overwhelming … more like “I’ve been asked to read through my 10-year-old niece’s book report on a book I don’t know or care a thing about” kind of overwhelming. Exactly. It was enough that I was so engrossed with the burger descriptions that I completely forgot to look at the drink menu and draft beer list before the first time the server came over to take our drink orders. Fail.

Healthy Shane passed on the Long Island special, and instead ordered a tequila and soda. This is new.

He then proceeded to order breaded mushrooms as an app. Seriously, who is this guy?

Meanwhile, Cassi got pretzels. In the rock/paper/scissors game of app choices, she’s the perpetual winner of our group, as this is what appeared in front of us:

Appetizer win

And failure

Once again we chose poorly. Our mushrooms – normally little bombs of oil that take off the roof of your mouth with the first bite – were lukewarm with very little flavor. They also came out with cocktail sauce, leading the server to believe that maybe the cook got confused and thought they were actually sourkraut balls. Because that’s a logical mistake.

Meanwhile the pretzels were cooked perfectly with a slightly spicy cheese sauce for dipping.

I give up.

Ted ordered six Cajun hot wings, and told the server that he didn’t care if they came out with his meal or with the other apps. She brought them halfway in between. That works.

Wings: the perfect in-between meal

After actually asking about the pizza and getting a nonchalant response from the server, Shane opted for the Babbalouie burger. It was the biggest one on the menu, with double patties, bacon, two kinds of cheese, onions and mushrooms.

There’s a lot going on there

Good thing he’s drinking that low cal mixed drink.

He thought it was good. And as it should be – they tout it as the winner of awards at the National Hamburger Festival. The only fault he could really find was that it could’ve used more of the signature Menches sauce on it.

Ted, who at one point stated that it seemed like perhaps getting two burgers with wings might be too much, opted for the Pepper Spice burger.

Things just look lonelier without cheese

He said it was very spicy. Like he knew the name implied that and all, but so often that doesn’t really account for much so he was pretty shocked that it was actually true. Plus Ted’s taste buds are somewhat more inclined to taste fires than normal people’s, so when Ted says things are “very spicy” the rest of us might want to read that as “order only if you want to have an inferno in your mouth for about the next three days.”

Although that doesn’t really explain why he seemed to need a nipple on his beer. Props to our server for stopping over repeatedly to harass him about that after Shane made a comment when Ted passed on the second round. We always enjoy a server who doesn’t mind jumping onto our sarcasm bandwagons.

Speaking of the server, I deferred to her opinion for my meal, as I was torn between the Bacon Mushroom burger, the Chili Cheese burger and the Chipotle Ranch burger. I suck at decision making, I know. But our server offered no hesitation before choosing the Chipotle Ranch. Perfect. Sounds trustworthy.

Chip seasoning for the win

I’m happy to report that she wasn’t wrong. The chipotle ranch sauce was tasty and the toppings weren’t overpowering. Also I was glad I went with the chips as a side, because the seasoning on them – a sort of mix between a bbq and Lowry’s seasoned salt – was delicious.

Cassi also asked for the server’s option, between the Bacon Egg and Cheese burger and the Pizza burger. That one stumped the server, though, so Cassi was somewhat on her own there. She must’ve used up all of her decision-making skills with mine and Shane’s indecisiveness. Sorry about that one. In any case, Cassi went with the Bacon Egg and Cheese.

The bun with the olive looks like a little hat

And she wasn’t disappointed. She said that even though it was more well done than what she usually prefers for a burger, it wasn’t dry. And the toppings, again, were just enough to add to the burger without taking over.

Menches definitely earned thumbs up all around from us. While it’s a little bit bright inside – it definitely can’t be mistaken for a dive bar with drinking regulars who hate the light of day – the drinks were well made, the food was very tasty, and the service was top notch. I feel like it’s the type of place you could go back to several times just to try different burgers – I mean, there are 50 total, even with four of us at least 12 visits just to try all of the different options on the menu (hey, I can do math). Not to mention they also have other items, as well as specials on other nights of the week – $3 off pizzas on Tuesdays, and an Italian night on Saturdays with a choice of pasta entrees for $9.99, and 50 cent wing night on Thursdays … which is also the same night as the “kids eat for $1” special, which seems like it could make for quite the adverse crowd. I think we’ll skip that one, thanks. We knew we picked Wednesdays for a reason.

Picked by: Cassi

Cassi

Ted

Shane

Steph

 
Menches Brothers Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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WTGW 1/17/18: Mantua Corners Bar & Grille

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Alternate title: that time Shane dragged us out to a could-be house in the middle of nowhere and then tried to show off his carpentry skills.

Or: that time we couldn’t find the door to the place and had to semi-stalk a couple of potential regulars who pulled into the parking lot after us on the off chance that they might know how to get in.

Both sound like a super fun night, right? Let’s dig in.

BTW, the door is actually very well lit, and marked with this sign:

Thank you, incredibly obvious sign, for your help this evening

You can see how we were confused.

The place is seat yourself, which seems fairly obvious for some odd reason even though there’s no sign or anything saying as much. Although it should be mentioned that seating ourselves would be easier to do if any of the tables were actually clean, but whatever. Particularly those further away from the entrance door when it’s 10 degrees outside and that air tends to follow people inside every. single. time. the door opens. But, again, whatever.

We asked the server if there was a draft list (beer, that is, not a count on the number of times we might feel a draft from the open door – although that could’ve been useful, too), and she pointed out that it’s written on a giant chalkboard over by the far wall. OK. Ted immediately bolts over to check it out, and was so engrossed in it that he had no idea I was standing right next to him until he turned to walk back. I’m stealthy like that.

We both settled on a salted caramel ale – which for once actually tasted like the name implies. Trust me, I was shocked, too. I’m typically prepared for craft beers with names or descriptions like that to actually end up tasting like battery acid. Mmmm.

Citing his new “healthy” game plan, Shane went with a rum and diet. When you see what he ordered for dinner later you’ll better understand why I imply sarcasm at the use of healthy as an adjective. Cassi, also on a healthy diet plan, ordered an iced tea. As in, non-alcoholic. As in, I think we may have to remind her of the unspoken oath you take when you officially become part of the WTGW crew: your liver suffers for the good of the group. I mean, really.

While we were all deciding on our dinners, Shane decided to take it upon himself to try to fix the incredibly annoyingly wobbly table we were seated at. With coins. Handy guy, that one. Except that it didn’t work, and really just succeeded in making us talk about the obscene things it looked like he was doing under the table.

Thankfully he eventually gave up and went back to studying the menu. But every time one of us moved and the table jerked back in the opposite direction I have to believe it took every ounce of concentration in his brain not to try again.

By now I think you have a good feeling of the ambiance of the place, so let’s move on to food, shall we?

Shane of course gave the server the third degree about what was good on the menu, and the first words out of her mouth were Reuben rolls. Guess what we ordered?

Just give me seven plates of these, please

Fortunately we weren’t disappointed. Just as the server implied, they were were excellent. They were crispy on the outside, and I still have all of the skin on the roof of my mouth after biting into one for the first time, so score.

Everyone else might’ve tried them, too, had Shane not announced with his first bite that he would be double dipping in the sauce. Courteous, I guess? I mean, at least he gave fair warning. Now, that didn’t scare me off from eating them … but then again I am married to the guy, I think that might be part of our vows by this point.

Ted ordered fried pickles, which he was a fan of. We all tried them (no double dipping on that side of the table) and agreed they were very good. I mean, they weren’t 3 Brothers Tavern quality, but then again I don’t think we’ll replicate that anywhere else. Ever. Is it too soon for a revisit just for appetizers there?

We’re ruined on these forever.

Cassi got the veggie quesadilla, which she didn’t say much about, but it looked good from where I was sitting.

If it has vegetables in it, it’s healthy, right?

After a somewhat lengthy internal debate between a burger, the fish dinner and the Italian sub – #thestruggleisreal – I landed on the Upper Deck burger for my meal. It’s a half pound burger smothered in onions, mushrooms and cheese – also known as my burger of choice. It was just OK. As usual I ended up surrendering the bun so I could focus on the meat and toppings … but even then it wasn’t overly impressive. It definitely screamed of frozen patty and not fresh. Booo.

I also opted for the tater tots, which were also just OK. Bummer.

Can I just smother every meal in cheese, please?

Shane got the Corner burger. When he ordered it the server issued the warning that “it’s huge.” Which is like music to Shane’s ears when it comes to food portions.

And this is what arrived:

I’m not sure how that knife is even helpful here

Remember that “healthy” thing? Right.

That sandwich is two half pound patties triple-deckered between three slices of Texas toast. That meal is as much the equivalent of healthy as using a lit tanning bed to get your 8-hours of beauty sleep.

I should also mention that when his food was delivered the girl who set this monstrosity in front of Shane casually mentioned to him something called the Grilled Cheese burger – which she said was literally two grilled cheese sandwiches used as buns for a burger. Oh good Lord. Something more unhealthy than what he had sitting in front of him.

Needless to say he was slightly disappointed he hadn’t been told of that one to begin with.

Although we may be safe on Shane picking this as a revisit just to try that other burger, since he said there wasn’t much flavor to the one he had. He was particularly disappointed in the Texas toast – which I should mention was one of the main deciding factors in ordering that specific sandwich (well, other than the obvious fact that it seemed like the most food on the menu) – as it wasn’t buttered. Come again? How do you not butter Texas toast? I mean, can you even really call it Texas toast without an obscene amount of butter? Otherwise its really just thick bread. And that’s no fun to eat, especially in triplicate.

Meanwhile on the actual healthy side of the table, Cassi went with a Garden salad and six boneless wings.

What the eff is this?

Shane was seriously about to revoke her WTGW card when she ordered the salad … but said that the wings saved her. Barely.

She was happy with the salad. I mean, as happy as you can be with a plate of vegetables while everyone around you consumes something that touched a deep fryer – but whatevs.

In the time-honored battle between steak and AYCE fish (which they apparently offer as a menu item every day here?) Ted decided on steak. Specifically the steak special, which is a 6 oz steak plus choice of potato and a salad for $6. And of course a side of six wings, because, well, there wasn’t enough food at our table already.

It was well worth the $6 just to see Ted painstakingly picking the thinly shredded cheese off his side salad piece by piece.

It looks so dainty

And Shane picking it up after him to eat it.

Beware of the cheese stealer

There is definitely not a picture of Shane under the word “discrete” in the dictionary

The steak, however, was definitely not enough to share.

Is it wrong when the mashed potatoes are bigger than the meat?

Shane: that looks like a maxi pad.
Ted: there’s our quote of the evening.

Now Ted did say the steak was pretty good, despite the thinness. And, I mean, what do you really want for $6 anyway?

He wasn’t as much of a fan of the wings, though, saying they tasted overdone. Cassi agreed. She took most of those home. Sorry, Jason.

Those wings may also be bigger than that steak.

Overall the place isn’t awful, but maybe not at the top of the revisit list. It’s strangely laid out – the room we ate in was this big open room with little house-sized light/fan combos as the only lighting … helpful … then there was a bar past that … and maybe another room? – but none of us ventured that far. In discussion about what the building might’ve been before it became a dining establishment, it seemed it could possibly have been a house? Which wouldn’t be surprising, considering Shane’s track record. And which also of course brought up a recap of other “houses” we’ve eaten in, most of which leaned toward the sketch side. Maybe we need a sketch house tour? We could probably sell tickets to that event.

Also, we nearly forgot to do our photos before we left, so we improvised and did them in the vestibule, much to the entertainment of the folks seated just inside the window. You’re welcome.

Picked by: Shane

Ted

Cassi

Steph

Shane

 

WTGW 1/3/18: Town Tavern, Fairlawn

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When a place changes names and redecorates, is it a new pick or a revisit?

These are the tough arguments we hash out in this group, folks.

So the Town Tavern is the old David B’s, a place we visited about four years ago – and that I almost didn’t make it to thanks to Mother Nature and her lovely need to throw snow storms at me at totally inopportune times. Always a pleasure. And even when I did finally arrive, I nearly missed happy hour because of that little stunt.

This is just one of the many reasons why we are (still) not friends.

Anyway.

So back then the menu was a bit small and unimpressive – you know, the usual bar food like burgers and sandwiches, fried appetizers, that sort of thing. We liked it not because it tasted especially good, but mainly because it was cheap. I mean, give us $5 burgers and some $2 bottled beers, and we’re pretty much best friends for life.

See also: Windsor Pub, Caddyshack Inn, and a host of other dive bars we’ve been known to frequent over the years.

But I digress.

It seemed back then that what David B’s lacked in fine dining, it certainly more than made up for in the categories of people watching and conversation eavesdropping. And before you ask – yes, those are very much important factors in a dining experience, thank you very much. I mean, come on, how many times has awful service and mediocre tasting food been totally forgotten thanks to the overheard life story of a gaggle of wine-laden women at a nearby table, or the snippets of conversation garnered from a couple who may or may not be struggling through an awkward first date?

Be honest here.

Yeah, thought so.

In any case, when I saw that David B’s had changed names, and likely ownership, to become the Town Tavern, I figured it was time for a (re?)visit.

We definitely noticed a difference in the decor as soon as we arrived. Well, I mean, except for the the sign above the front door that still says “David B’s.” Must’ve missed that one in the transition. But I guess they make up for it a bit with this.

In case you get lost

They definitely put some thought and money into the new tables and lighting. The old bar tables and chairs that screamed “welcome to any 90’s bar” have been replaced with giant wood tables, and chairs that don’t look like they’ve been sat on by the same regulars for 30 years. And while the giant chandeliers don’t give off a ton of light, at least it’s not of the neon variety that I seem to remember from before.

The place seemed pretty crowded for a Wednesday night, too. Or maybe they just took away some space with all the bigger tables. Whatever works.

But the award for biggest change definitely goes to the menu. Although be warned: it’s still pretty small and non-diverse. I mean, hey, we all don’t have to be Cheesecake Factory with a menu that resembles a short story book … but when the majority of your foods are specialty hot dogs then I have to admit you aren’t really getting my attention. It’s like they’re trying to be the Melt of hot dog restaurants.

They did have some burgers, a few sandwiches and some apps like pretzels, loaded fries/tots and mozzarella sticks. So some of the bar foods prevailed. I mean, you can’t just throw out the deep fryers, kids. There are standards here.

This week the part of Ted will be played by Jason, as Ted got invited to some swanky event at the Football Hall of Fame and ditched us for that. I’m not sure who told him it was OK to have play dates with other friends on Wednesdays, but whatevs. We’ll forgive him this time.

For appetizers, Cassi and Jason got the loaded tots,while Shane and I opted for the mozzarella sticks. Here’s what arrived:

It barely fits in the basket

Oh look, we apparently ordered the “basket of disappointment.”

Shane: I think we got shorted.

Seriously, are we even in the same restaurant?

That’s like a pound of tater tots loaded with beer cheese and bacon. Meanwhile, we get five mozzerella sticks that seemed to be poured directly out of a freezer bag into the deep fryer. Seems fair.

Obviously, we chose poorly. Learn from our mistake.

Apparently when you eat out as two couples, you’re unspokenly obligated to order the exact same meals, as somehow Shane and I ordered the exact same burger, while Cassi and Jason also played twinsies with their burgers. It’s so cute, it’s sickening. I know. I threw up in my mouth a little just typing this.

Or maybe it was the memory of the burger I ordered that somewhat prompted that response. Mine and Shane’s burger of choice was called the Ring of Fire … and let me assure you, it’s aptly named. Jalepenos + spicy ketchup = holy crap I think my tongue has shriveled up and died an angry death in my mouth because I sure as hell can’t feel it any more after eating that.

Alternate title: the “you didn’t need those taste buds anyway” burger

Most of this ended up in the basket instead of in my mouth

Good thing we had a great server who paid attention to our drink levels and always made sure we had liquids in front of us … is what I would’ve said if it had been true for that evening. Nope. He was nowhere to be found. Thanks for nothing, server guy.

Good thing I had a nice full drink to help with that heat. Oh, wait. Never mind

I should mention that while I was suffering through the anguish of seven suns burning in my mouth, Shane was eating the exact same burger as if nothing was wrong. He ate his entire burger, then jabbed a fork into the pile of toppings I had scraped off of my burger and sarcastically offered up to him.

I guess this is why we work.

He also later said that he put the burger in his Top 7. I mean, I’m not sure who’s keeping track of his Top (pick a random number) list at this point, but if that means something to you then there you go.

Meanwhile, once again Cassi and Jason won the “smart order of the night” award, as they both got the Tavern Burger. It’s one of those burgers that combines breakfast and dinner, with bacon and a fried egg as toppings. I swear, whoever was the first to attempt this must be pretty damn proud of themselves, because that burger is always a winner no matter where you order it.

This picture is making me hungry all over again

Take two. You know, in case you didn’t see it well enough in the first picture.

Cassi also got mac and cheese as a side, which I was instantly jealous of as soon as it arrived.

They both thought their burgers were very good. In particular they said that the toasted buns were a nice touch.

That’s what she said.

Sorry, I couldn’t help it.

As if I need to further demonstrate our server’s horrible lack of interest in our table, picture this little scenerio: we’ve finished or boxed up our meals, our drinks are all quite obviously almost empty, the server stops over to pick up some plates and asks if we’re OK. And we don’t order more drinks. Usually that’s like the universal clue to bring over the checks, right? I mean, I’ve never worked as more than a hostess in the restaurant world, but natural assumption would be that if the drinks are obviously low, the meals are over, and no one needs anything, then maybe our time together is almost over, and I should help things along by letting these people know how much this evening is going to cost before they can leave?

Yeah, not here. It was another 25 minutes before the server came back and even inquired if we were interested in getting the checks. Um, no, we’d like to sleep here. Thanks.

Although in all that time that we were sitting around waiting on the checks, we still forgot to take our thumbs up/down pics at the end of the night. So I guess you’ll have to live without seeing our smiling face for this week. It’ll be rough, I know.

Picked by: Steph

WTGW 12/20/17: George’s Lounge, Canton

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You know you’re officially part of the WTGW group when you get an official pick. Welcome aboard, Cassi!

The first one is always the most intimidating, because, well, us. I mean, I think there might be a photo of us next to the word ruthless in the dictionary. We get it.

But I have to say Cassi did well with her first pick. I personally was impressed straight off with the fact that she found a place I had never even heard of before. Like hadn’t even crossed my radar. And I keep a damn LIST of places for future reference. Yeah, I’m THAT guy. I know.

Although maybe this one fell to the side because the name had “Lounge” in the title. That’s right up there with “Chalet” on the list of names that probably are frequented by an age group a few demographic rungs above ours.

Fortunately for us, though, George and Gus don’t seem to have the same clientele. I mean, yes, there were older people in attendance. But also much younger than us as well. And businessmen, and guys who could’ve been bikers, and groups of millenials, and date nights … pretty much any group of people you can think of were cycled in and out of this place in the time that we were there. It was quite the interesting group of people under one roof, to say the least.

I think we probably fell under the title of “newbies” to anyone (else) looking to label people that evening, since we walked in and were obviously clueless about how things worked at George’s. Now, to our credit, it’s more than a tad confusing. Let’s do a re-enactment, shall we?

So you walk in the door and basically smack directly into the person unlucky enough to be seated at the bar with their back to the door. Hi, random stranger, nice to meet you. But while their seating location might be unfortunate, the fact that they even have a seat at all is pure luck. Because – as we found out after some awkward loitering and finally the pity of a server who noticed our huddling uncomfortably in a corner at the back and gave us the lowdown – the place is seat yourself, although no sign or person will tell you that right off. The bar is also about the size of my living room, so “seating yourself” becomes a bit of an Olympic sport when you have about 25 barstools and a handful of tables to choose from. There was a strange little back room, too, that Cassi peeked into … but it appeared to be consumed with large groups and someone I believe might’ve been squatting on all of the remaining tables for his friends who were supposedly showing up eventually. Helpful.

I think you could seriously sell “seat at George’s Tavern” online via Facebook Marketplace and make a boatload of money.

Luck smiled on us, though, as we spotted two open seats at the back of the bar … and just as we were about to at least grab those while we scoped out access to a booth (read: stared awkwardly at anyone who looked like they may leave soon), the guys to the right of those two bar seats offered up that they were about to leave and we were welcome to steal their two seats as well. Score.

Obviously they hadn’t thought about that Facebook Marketplace thing yet. You can thank me later, previously kind gentlemen.

The first thing we noticed was that the beer list was rather impressive. Like where are you keeping all of these beers when the place barely holds seating for as many people as there are names on this list?

It’s also divided into sections – $2, $3, $4 and $5 options. Beautiful. Thank you for making this easy.

Well, for us anyway. Cassi and I each chose a Ciderboys cider that we’d both had before and liked. Shane continued his Hamm’s kick (hey, $2!). Ted tried to order something that – according to the bartender – the computer said there should’ve been five left of, but then when she checked the cooler they weren’t there. Whoops. Maybe they found an open booth and were holding it down for future drinkers of their kind.

Undeterred, Ted discovered some milk stout from North High Brewery that looked appetizing, so he went with that. And then changed up to something else completely different for the next round, so I guess that tells you what he thought of that first one.

This week’s food theme seems to be “great minds think alike,” as we all ordered some variation of the same thing it seemed. Starting with apps: Shane and I got the jalapeno cheese poppers, while Cassi got the pepperoni ones.

Ted got pretzel bites, because, well, they don’t contain cheese. Although in a nasty twist of fate, they did come with a cheese dip … which Ted didn’t discover until he dipped a pretzel bite into it and smelled it, then determined it was his nemesis, cheese.

Shane was nice enough to take that one off his hands. What a friend. Of course with this group it’s probably less about friendship and more about not wasting food, especially if it tastes good.

I was a little skeptical of the poppers when they arrived, since they more resembled a Stromboli than the typical jalapenos or bread filled with cream cheese or regular cheese and pepperoni. If they hadn’t said “poppers” when they set them down in front of us I might’ve thought they got the wrong seats.

Dear poppers: you’ve changed since our last meeting

I think someone needs to get the menu writers a dictionary

Although after tasting them I don’t care if they had made them look like a plate of spaghetti, I would eat them without question.  They were that good. Ours came with ranch to dip in, and it was also some of the best ranch I’ve ever tried. I mean, I know that’s not saying much considering I don’t typically eat ranch dip in the first place so the competition isn’t fierce in that category. Whatevs. Maybe the fact that I was eating it at all was the bigger compliment.

Close-call-cheese-incident aside, Ted liked his pretzels. He was also a bit worried when they arrived, since in the “appetizer costume contest” that seemed to be going on here they chose “little deep fried balls of grease” as their cover. Interesting. But they turned out to be really good.

Do they bread the pretzels before they cook them? Do they not realize pretzels are … um … bread??

For dinner it was burgers all around. Fingers crossed I get these picutres in the right order.

Ted got the Spicy Jorge – minus the pepper jack cheese, of course. So maybe it should be renamed the “semi-spicy Jorge” then? Because that really just left some salsa and jalapenos for toppings. Although by his account the jalapenos more than made up for the lack of spicy cheese, since they were definitely of the extra-kick variety. Maybe they used the extra special “we hate cheese so don’t put it on my burger” jar for him.

That’s a lot of toppings in one little boat

Cassi got the Wednesday special burger, which I have no idea now what toppings that included, but do remember that when the server mentioned it to us it sounded pretty good. So there’s that.

No, that’s not mold on Cassi’s bun. It’s the glow from the cooler light behind us. Honestly.

She said it was good. The jalapeno jam that came with it as a spread was super hot, but also super tasty.

Side note: I think this may be the most I’ve used the word “jalapeno” in one post. Hmm.

I made my own burger, using the grass fed beef, ciabatta bread, mozzerella, bacon and mushrooms, with a garlic aioli as a spread. No jalapenos, sorry. But I just felt the need to type the word one more time.

Evil little cup of delicious-sounding condiments. And ditto from Cassi’s burger on the green hue

It was OK. For “medium” it was very, very pink on the inside. Like if I get sick before this post goes up, someone may want to pay George a little visit. Just saying. But the burger itself was still good.

Now the garlic aioli that I thought would be delicious and that I slathered my bun with … well that pretty much made it inedible. I eventually just picked out the burger and ate that – which made me sad because it meant I had to abandon the ciabatta (i.e. my favorite bread and my main reason for making my own burger, as the pre-made options that I liked didn’t come on ciabatta) virtually untouched save for a few bites.

Insert sad face here.

Shane got the Gorgeous George, which is two patties on a regular bun with a fried egg, bacon, sautéed mushrooms and onions.

I know this one is Shane’s because of the Hamm’s in the background

Now, prior to his meal being set down in front of him we were discussing the George’s Challenge, which is three of those sandwiches, along with a full basket of fries and a milkshake. And you have to eat it in 60 minutes.

Shane, inspecting his one sandwich when it arrived: “Those patties are thin, I could add one more.”
Me, not wanting to burst his bubble but knowing he was wrong: “Uh, it’s not three of those patties, it’s three of this same full sandwich. Like six patties, six buns, and all the toppings three times.”

Thus followed a somewhat lengthy discussion of both me and the bartender trying to convince him I was right. Because, well, I was.

Needless to say he didn’t try it. All of us and our health insurance provider appreciate that decision.

Instead we were treated to the show that was Shane trying to eat that giant burger without any utensils of any kind. Namely a knife. Now all of us rational people get that obviously he could’ve asked for one (I mean, I asked for a fork, and lo and behold it arrived) but I guess that was too difficult. More difficult than trying to pick the burger up and eat it on its own? Seems that way. Because he instead basically ate the one patty with the top bun and the other with the bottom bun like two different sandwiches.

He said it was OK, but the burger patties themselves didn’t have much taste. Maybe you have to eat them together to get the full effect? Just a thought.

Our group had mixed feelings on – of all things – the fries. I know they usually don’t get much play in our postings – typical side dish choice, and really, how often does a place really screw up fries?

Well, for Cassi, they didn’t. She got the regular fries “old fashioned sea salt” fries. They were large cut, seasoned well with salt, and tasty. She choose wisely.

The rest of us got the “fancy fries” and chose the “Italian festival” style, which were topped with balsalmic vinegar, garlic and parm cheese. Sounds good, right?

“Sounds” is the operative word there. Well, the guys will tell you they tasted that way as well, but I was less than thrilled. I thought the balsalmic was overwhelming. Like let’s go easy here, I don’t need an entire bottle on my order. Plus I don’t particularly enjoy soggy things, which is what toasted potatoes basically become after a few minutes of any sort of liquid sits on them. See also: why those tiny ketchup containers were invented.

(BTW, if you’re confused by any of our burgers or what these strange things called “fancy fries” really are, there are handy little illustrations on their website you might want to check out. Why don’t all places have picture menus?)

Because Ted apparently felt the need to try all the alcohol this week, he ended the night ordering one of the alcoholic milkshakes – the strawberry, which he didn’t remember what the menu said was in it after he ordered, but it sounded good. And hey, it’s alcohol, so who really cares about the specifics, right?

The server who brought it out was incredibly surprised when he came to drop it off and Ted was the one to claim it. He immediately looked to us girls, and Ted raises his hand and says “it’s mine!” That alone was worth the price.

Overall, George’s is a cute little place, with emphasis on little. The setup reminded me of kind of a step back in time to when places were just bars and didn’t serve food – so you really only needed enough seats for the town alcoholics. The whole no windows thing kind of lends to that effect also, but whatever. We noticed there’s a space up front presumably for live bands, although I can’t even imagine that noise level in this little space. You can tell this place has probably been a neighborhood bar for about forever, and at some point they had to add food in order to keep the doors open. And then once the secret got out that they had decent burgers it became a pretty hot little spot in the downtown Canton area. Now we all admitted that we’re a little ruined on burgers after the Akron adventure of a few weeks ago, so we may not be able to properly rate any others for a bit … but these would definitely rate a revisit if we ever found ourselves back in downtown Canton and needed some good bar food.

Picked by: Cassi

Cassi

Steph

Shane

Ted

George's Lounge Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

 

WTGW 12/13/17: REVISIT – Pat Dee’s, Northfield

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In tonight’s episode of “let’s face intense weather conditions just to go out to a dive bar and enjoy food and drinks,” Mother Nature throws a giant snowstorm in our faces. So obviously we still are not friends.

For the record, I have to believe there are more subtle ways to remind us of this, but whatever.

In light of that, Shane was supposed to be choosing someplace close to home Which totally explains how we ended up in Northfield. Good call.

The last time we went to Pat Dees, Shane was working late so Ted and I drove separate and met him there, along with Amanda and Jerrid. That night there was a driving downpour rainstorm. So I guess the moral is that we can apparently only visit this place when some sort of precipitation is falling from the sky.

Which is also fun because each visit seems to bring a giant debate about how exactly we get inside the building. Because loitering around outside in rain and snow is a super fun way to start an evening. There’s a door at the very front of the building, and another hidden behind the covered patio that is hardly visible from the parking lot. Guess which was the right one?

I mean, why make it obvious.

The place also sort of resembles a house from the outside. What is it with Shane and these places?

Cassi, as we’re entering:  “Are we going to my Grandma’s house?”

And once we’re in, there’s everything from groups of people younger than us, to hard core drinking regulars, to families. OK then. The marketing slogan must be “something for everyone.”

Shane orders a rum and coke, Ted gets a Christmas Ale (after his usual dark beer inquisition) and Cassi and I get tequila and sodas. Hers arrived with the extra bonus of a dead fruit fly floating in the glass. Thanks for the extra free protein, but maybe ask next time before just assuming it’s what we wanted, k?

For apps it was breaded mushrooms for Ted and for Shane and me, with Cassi choosing tater tots.

Fried potato goodness

It’s still a vegetable, right?

The mushrooms were apparently cooked directly on the surface of the sun. I picked one up and promptly lost a layer of skin on my fingers. I then tried to caution Shane – since he usually needs his food of any kind to be chilled to almost ice cream level – but he was in the middle of a story and ignored my sign language warnings … so he ate one anyway.

I wish I had a picture of his face as that happened.

But regardless, no longer having taste buds didn’t deter us from ordering and eating enough food for us and our 15 imaginary friends.

I got the battered fish dinner, after debating between that and the corned beef. Truth be told I probably should’ve gone the other way. The fish was just OK. And I probably would’ve preferred real tarter sauce to the packets they provided me with. Because after the fruit fly incident, who knows how long those have been lying around.

Almost everything on that plate is the same color

I also remembered quickly what I didn’t like about our last visit to Pat Dees … the battered French fries. Because we need to make them more unhealthy?

Ted got 12 of the Cajun wings and a hamburger. The burger was average, according to Ted. I have to be honest that it looked a little less so from my side of the table – also especially considering what we ate on our last WTGW evening out. But he seemed happy enough with it.

Mmm, charcoal briquettes on a bun

The wings were another story, though, as he had ordered them “wet,” and they arrived actually as dry wings but covered in some sort of grease. Or maybe motor oil?

Thick, gelatinous liquid at the bottom of the basket is always a good sign, no?

Cassi got a pizza with pepperoni and mushrooms. She really liked it, and said that she thought the crust in particular was really good. Her only complaint was that the sauce was a bit too sweet, and there seemed to be too much of it on the pizza. How come there’s never too much of something we really like on pizza? Like cheese? I mean, just sayin.

Looks tasty

Shane also opted for pizza with pepperoni and mushrooms – and also added Italian sausage. He disagreed with Cassi’s observation that the sauce was too sweet, but agreed that it was pretty good overall.

The bigger one must be Shane’s

Side note – we later heard a new table behind us try to order a pizza and they were told the place ran out of pepperoni. I think we may need to take responsibility for that one.

Shane also got six garlic parm wings, a decision he regretted later not only because he was too full after eating only half of the pizza to even touch the wings … but, well, he realized there was some sort of science experiment happening with his wing basket about halfway through our meal.

I can feel my arteries hardening just looking at this

Seriously, what the hell is that?

It’s escaped, and it’s coming for us

Oh good, it hardened. That’s helpful.

By the time the server came over to see if we needed any boxes, Shane’s wings were pretty much glued to the table. She was slightly disapproving and judgemental about the grease slick when Shane pointed to it saying he needed a box.

Shane – it leaked
Server – Mmm hmm

Something tells me this isn’t the first time she’s seen this, so maybe she sould redirect that burning judgement to ownership in purchasing some heavier duty wing baskets.

So basically the moral here is that if you choose wings, you either get them in motor oil (Ted) or Crisco (Shane). Interesting flavor choices. I can see why they didn’t list them on the menu.

Ted, regarding the grease imprisionment of Shanes wings: Well, of all the places we’ve been we can say weve never seen THAT before.

True story.

So basically the consensus is that Pat Dee’s wasn’t our favorite place the first time around, and it’s still holding court at that spot now after a revisit. I’m not exactly sure what Shane was remembering that made him want to return. Maybe he found another door somewhere to a better place?

Picked by: Shane

Rockstar Shane

Ted

Cassi

Steph

 

 

WTGW 11/29/17: Akron City / Stray Dog Tavern

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Shane got all excited this week when I announced that I was picking a place in North Hill. Because, well, potentially slightly scary places are intriguing to him. Even when they aren’t bars run out of houses.

There’s also this:

Nothing like testing your willpower by attending the AA meeting across the street from a bar

Because that seems wise.

Anyway.

History lesson time: I guess this place is the old The Office – which moved to Cuyahoga Falls a while back. We visited that location a few years ago, and were underwhelmed. I believe this original location just reopened with a new name and menu about a year ago.

Spoiler alert: we were far more impressed with this new place than the original-in-a-new-building.

Although – and here’s where my magical marketing hat of common sense comes into play … there seems to be some discrepancy with the name of this new place, as it can be found under either Akron City Tavern, or Stray Dog Tavern. Meanwhile, the website title shows up in the bar as The Office City Tavern. I’ll take the identity crisis special with a side of you might want to just choose one brand new name and stick with it, please. It seriously took me about 20 minutes of googling to make sure that all of these names were, in fact, leading me to the exact same place.

I feel like I should get some sort of prize for completing that scavenger hunt.

In reality what they should name the place is the Tiny Little Two-Topped Tavern, because the place is super small inside. And has very few table options for parties larger than two or four. Which bodes well for our party of five, no? We ended up at the only table big enough to accommodate us, right at the front in the window. But at least the bartender came over and turned on the overhead light fixture just for us. Point one for hospitality.

Now is probably also a good time to mention that the place wasn’t busy at all. Like it was just two other people and the bartender inside when we walked in – so our group of five essentially more than doubled the population of the place. I think the other two people were also friends of the bartender’s, not actual paying customers. So there’s that.

It should be no surprise that the first thing Jason and Shane noticed was that they had Hamm’s. Cheap beer connoiseurs, these ones.

Shane: Ah, it tastes like a dive bar in Chicago.

MMMMMMM.

For apps, Ted went with mussels, Shane and I went with the veggie spring rolls, and Cassi and Jason decided on the chips and dip.

The chips and dip ended up being the big winner. The dip was excellent. We think it may have been Lawson’s chip dip, but without the plastic container actually on the table in front of us it’s hard to say for sure.

This looks more impressive than last week’s Pound of Chips debacle

The mussels also ended up being very good. They had just enough garlic without being overwhelming. When we raved about them, the bartender told us that the key is that the cook starts the sauce with garlic and beer ahead of time, then throws the mussels in later. I’m no chef, but I can say for certain that whatever he’s doing is certainly working. Also, I’m not sure the chef appreciates you giving out his secrets, but thanks?

I’ll take the Keep The Vampires Away special, please

Shane wasn’t thrilled with the veggie spring rolls. I thought they were OK – but nothing I needed to order again.

At first you’re disappointed there are only three. Until you try them.

I’d read that no matter what name you call this place, burgers are a big speciality here. So of course that’s what we all ordered. Hey, how else are we supposed to confirm that if we don’t try them? I mean, seriously.

Food twins Jason and Shane both got the Danny Boy’s – which includes a fried egg and corned beef on top of the burger. I guess this particular one also won the top award at the National Hamburger Festival in downtown Akron this past summer. So, you know, no big pressure to be amazing or anything.

Breakfast for dinner

Shane debated over adding a second 7oz patty to his sandwich, but the bartender talked him out of it. Apparently he doesn’t read this blog. And of course Shane said later he could’ve actually used it. Not only because it tasted pretty damn good, but also because 7oz of meat is really not a lot for someone who eats like he does.

**insert 15 year old humor here**

Good thing he got that sidecar of fries

Ted got the Caprese burger.  As in, essentially a Caprese salad on top of a burger. My guess is that this was less an attempt to be healthy and more an effort – as in all of Ted’s endeavors – to avoid cheese.

The only burger on the table without anything fried or melted on top of it

The chef came over to the table as the food was delivered, and apologized for not having enough shaved mozzerella cheese on it. Little did he know that he hit the right person with that sentence. I think Ted about fell off of his chair trying to stop him when the chef said he would go back and get more for him, since he had already actually donated what was there to Shane. Such a good friend.

#friendshipgoals

Cassi got the bacon cheeseburger. I’m going to guess you’re intelligent enough to guess what was on that one. She said it was delicious. And that this was probably the best food she’s had in all the weeks she’s been out with us. #winning

The cheese seems to have overthrown the bacon for seniority here

I got the Akron Burger, which was a burger topped with grilled chip-chopped ham, chips and Lawson’s French onion dip. Because nothing says Akron like chip-chopped ham and Lawson’s chip dip, I take it? I clearly haven’t lived here long enough to learn these connections.

That’s one way to get chips AND fries with your meal

Everyone agreed that the burgers were amazing. They’re all freshly cooked, no frozen patties here. And cooked to order, so you know that won Shane over. All the various toppings added to the burger instead of taking over and overpowering the meat itself. And even the buns were good.

So. Many. Jokes. in those last two sentences. Must restrain.

But in all seriousness, Shane put the burgers in his Top Two. And then later said they may actually be his favorite. That’s high praise, folks.

I mean, we all know those famous Shane numerical order lists are written in stone … for at least like a week.

The fries were the only slight disappointment, at least in my opinion. They weren’t horrible, but after I had the chips and dip I wished I had gotten the chips as my side instead. I will say that the portion was still good – what looked like a small amount when they arrived turned out to be just enough to be filling … without being like hey, I just ate about 15 fried potatoes so please roll me out the door.

But to kind of balance that out, there were homemade pickles with the burgers. Right? Homemade. Like not out of a jar butter chips. Clearly Lawson’s trumps Vlassic in Akron.

The place also has great service. I mean, granted, we were the only ones there – but still the bartender/server was very attentive, and instead of just yelling over the bar at us (because let’s face it, we weren’t that far away) he would actually walk around and come check on us, ask us if we needed refills, etc. He also encouraged us to just yell at him if we needed anything at all. Just like home.

Another plus: when Cassi and I ran out the keg of cider we were both drinking, he gave me the last half glass that was poured (since he had no other ciders on tap or bottle) at no charge. And seemingly felt really bad about not having any other selection. Now, if we go back down the road and there’s more than one cider selection on the menu then I’ll really be impressed. Even more so if they wanted to name it after us. Just a thought.

Although, had I seen this sign, maybe I would’ve gone with this special:

Liningoogles? That’s new

Must be a new competitor to the more well known Leinenkugel’s. We’ll see how that fares.

We also noticed a special for $5 classic burger and a 16oz can of Hamm’s during all Cleveland sports games. Shane said he would be in for like three of those. Somehow I think he just means three of the burgers, and far more of the Hamm’s.

I have to admit, while we weren’t sure what to expect when we walked in – it’s small, it was practically empty, and it’s in a somewhat sketch neighborhood – Akron City/Stray Dog/The Bar Formerly Known As The Office Tavern turned out to be a really good pick. Cassi said it may be the best since she’s started coming out with us – although to be fair, it is up against places that smelled like Grandmas house and only have two items on the menu. But we all agreed this place is a hidden gem. Really good food, great service, and decent prices. I mean, what more can you ask for, right? Don’t let the location scare you, because it’s definitely worth the trip. I for one would love to see this one thrive, and not have a party of five be the biggest thing to show up on a Wednesday night. That being said, if we show up in a few months and there’s a line for our window table I might be a little bit irritated. Just sayin.

Picked by: Steph

Ted

Jason

Cassi

Shane and his new BFF

Steph


Akron City Tavern Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

 

WTGW 11/22/17: REVISIT – Mike’s Place, Kent

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This year’s Night Before Thanksgiving visit comes to us courtesy of the motto “safety first,” lest we try a new place and have another Shane food poisoning incident like the Thanksgiving of 2014. *shudder*

And what better safe bet to go with than Mike’s Place in Kent. Good call, Ted. I mean, they do quite literally have a litte bit of everything. Breakfast all day? Sure – do you want pancakes, waffles, eggs, or bacon? In the mood for sandwiches? They have about 75. Dinners? Yep, pick anything from Italian to Chinese to Southern BBQ. Really craving something you once had at Applebee’s? It’s probably the dish labeled “I Stole This Item From a Chain Restaurant.” I mean, I can’t say 100%, but that’s how I read that one anyway.

It’s also one of those places we could probably come to every night for an entire year and still not order every single item on the menu. I mean, take a look online. It’s like a short novel. I think I’ve read Cliff’s Notes booklets with fewer words. I honestly don’t think I’ve even read the whole thing yet. It’s like at some point you have to just kind of find something you like and stick with it, or else three hours later you’ll still be reading. And hungrier.

Although we did notice that they changed the menu since our last visit in the summer of 2015. Well, I mean, they changed the layout anyway. If they added or deleted anything we’d never know. Because rest assured it still has just as many words. You know there’s a lot to choose from when we all go silent for about 15 minutes just trying to figure out what we want to order.

To that point, our server comes back over like 10 minutes after we sit down and asks if we need more time before we order. Um, that’s a giant hell yes. Who doesn’t? Come on. I was barely past the appetizers.

At least the drink menus were easy to decipher. Ciders all around except for Ted, who had to quiz the server on nitro taps and other fancy sounding things before he could determine which beer he wanted to order.

He was very confident about his appetizer choice, though, announcing to the table that he’s ordering the “pound of chips.” Hmm, any guesses on what that entails, exactly? I mean, way to beat around the bush on that title.

But then they arrived.

Do they count the basket and sauce cup in the weight?

Is it just us, or did that name lead to a far more impressive picture in your head than this? Me thinks the scale might be broken at your place, Mike. But kudos on the marketing genius in your naming. Sold us.

We all ended up with side salads, either as a side option to our meal, or because we were trying to keep up at least a facade of somewhat healthy eating on the eve of the biggest food holiday of the year. Well, everyone except Ted, who shunned the salad in favor of enjoying a lovely cup of applesauce instead. Mmmmm.

It’s so dainty

Also note that in the background of my salad photo you can clearly see Shane slathering his healthy salad in completely unhealthy blue cheese dressing. Because, Shane.

Which of these would you rather eat?

While I’d like to blame our ordering of enough food for an army on our indecision over the novel of a menu … but who am I kidding. You all know by now that this is just something we do. Well, I mean, as long as there’s more than two items on the menu to choose from anyway.

Sorry Shane, that still hasn’t gotten old.

Anyway, my point is that when the server arrived with our meals of course there wasn’t enough room on the table for all of the plates, so Ted tried to be helpful by removing the tiny cup that had held his applesauce. Because that was what was holding things up for sure. Especially when he was then was given a similar sized cup of cole slaw. Fail.

Ted and his collection of tiny cups

Ted’s main meal was the ribs and chicken dinner – which is a half rack of ribs and a few pieces of chicken. He ate it all, and said he was “very full” by the time we left. Must’ve been all that applesauce and cole slaw.

Shane’s favorite part of Ted’s meal was his moist towelettes, which he insisted he had to have a photo with.

Shane would like to remind everyone about the importance of having MOIST towelettes at the table

Did we mention MOIST?

Anyway.

Shane ordered six of the Italian parm wings and the blue bomber burger. And of course that side salad.

That’s a knife in the top of the burger, in case you’re wondering

He said the burger wasn’t so great. It was OK, but a little well done for his taste – and he had specified medium rare. Apparently whoever cooks the burgers also measures the chips?

But at least the other half of his meal – the wings – were excellent. I tried one of them, too, and agreed that they were delicious. The sauce was like Italian dressing with parm cheese – which I guess makes sense given the that they are Italian parm wings – but, you know, we’ve been burned on names already so given the chip debacle these could’ve come out slathered in BBQ sauce for all we knew. But it was a nice change from the usual garlic parm sauce that most every win place offers.

These might’ve been some of the most flavorful wings I’ve ever tasted

Cassi ordered the pierogis and an 8-slice pizza, proclaiminig that if she didn’t finish it all then she would take it home to Jason.

Shane, upon hearing her order: Huh, I don’t think I’ve ever tried the pizza here. That’s odd.
The rest of the table, all of our readers, and pretty much anyone who knows Shane: Huh, yeah, I agree, that is odd.

Turns out he must’ve somehow known to stay away, since Cassi proclaimed the crust to be “doughy.” Which is pretty much the only kind of pizza crust that Shane doesn’t enjoy. Shane’s psychic powers are strong when it comes to food sometimes.

Looks better than it tastes apparently

She did say that the pierogis were good, though. Guess what Jason isn’t getting in his leftover package.

Little pillows of happiness

I got the Mucho Meat Melt sandwich – which of course made everyone laugh when I ordered it, because we’re 12. It was just OK. There was almost too much going on there – between the pepperoni, salami, and actual cut links of Italian sausage. Unlike the pound of chips, the name of this sandwich was about as true as you could get. It was more than enough food to make me full, and I didn’t even finish all of it.

I know, there’s a joke in there. I’m not missing it, I’m just choosing to ignore it.

My knife is a little less strategically placed

Overall we’ll all agree that Mike’s is a great place. It’s a great place to take guests or large groups, since there will always be something for everyone on the menu. Can’t decide between sandwiches, wings, BBQ, Italian or Chinese? Yeah, its all here. We joked that we could start a whole other evening out just going there once a week and trying something new. Mike’s Place Mondays? Maybe I should register the website now just in case.

Picked by Ted

Ted

Shane

Cassi

Steph