WTGW 10/21/15: Tim Owen’s Travelers Tavern, Akron

Standard

Well that’s a mouthful.

If this place looks familiar, it’s because we were actually here once before. Almost two years to the date, actually. Back when the place was known as Ripper’s Rock House. But then this little TV show called Bar Rescue came along and did a makeover, so we figured it qualified for a revisit. Especially since that specific Bar Rescue episode airs in just a few weeks, we agreed this would be the perfect time.

Ted actually called an audible on his original pick for tonight, which was some Italian place in Canton. But then we got stuck in traffic trying to get there, which gave us plenty of time to exemplify our worries that this place could be another Gus’s Chalet (a concern I had voiced to Ted in text earlier in the day, after being rather unimpressed with their website) and before we knew it we were hopping across four lanes of standstill traffic (in true “pardon-me-excuse-me-I-have-my-blinker-on-can-I-just-squeeze-my-small-vehicle-through-here” style) to get off at a random exit and Google Map our way through the non-highway and somewhat ghetto streets to Traveler’s.

But seriously, can we just for a minute about this new name? WTF. I mean, John Taffer may be a genius at firing key staff members, increasing productivity and making a place look and feel desirable again … but let’s go back to Marketing 101 here – if they can’t remember the name, they won’t come back. I mean, really. Tim Owen’s Traveler’s Tavern. It’s a tongue twister. May as well call the place “Simon Sells Seashells By the Seashore.” It sounds about the same rolling off the tongue.

I mean, I’ve been talking about this place for all of about four paragraphs now, and I already managed to shorten the name to just “Traveler’s.” I get why Tim’s name is there (former front man of Judas Priest, Akron boy, part owner of the place, etc) – but it’s just not catchy. How about “Traveler’s Tavern … by Tim Owens”? Or “Tim’s Travels?” Or “Owen’s World Tour”? I mean, really.

Hey Taffer, want to join forces? I’m only half joking.

Anyway.

All that being said, we were a bit disappointed to discover that the place really hasn’t changed much since the last time we were there. It’s a tad bit brighter (maybe?) and the DJ booth was moved closer to the bar (we think?), but there’s still a stage, they still do karaoke on Wednesdays (which means Shane still had to represent and once again sing his signature Adam Sandler song), and they still specialize in wings with exotic flavors from around the world.

It's a tad bit overwhelming

The wing list. It’s still a tad bit overwhelming

So really, we just changed the name. Because that was the worst of our worries? Hmmm.

One thing we did notice was that they got rid of the chalkboard walls that held the names of the draft beers. The only beer list is “right up here, ” said our server, while pointing to her head. Mental note, that’s not really helpful when you aren’t a mind reader. Just sayin’.

In any case, we conjured up our secret mind powers, and ended up with Harvest Patch Shandy for me and Amanda (well, until they ran out in the 4th round, and we had to switch to the hard root beer. #notsurprised). Ted went with a Pumking, and then later a Guiness. Shane, meanwhile, was still on his “girly drink” kick … although I have to give him credit that at least he managed to pick the most manly sounding one on the list. Something containing habanero-infused pineapple juice, some type of vodka or gin, a cayenne pepper garnish on the rim, and an actual habanero pepper in the glass. So, yeah.

Although it was still served in a martini glass, so you know he caught some flack for that.

Fancy

Fancy

The drink definitely had some kick to it.  I mean, I took one sip and – while it was tasty – ten minutes later my tongue still burned. Although I’m not as crazy as Ted, who took Shane’s dare to eat one of the actual habanero peppers submersed in the drink. His first reaction was “not bad.”

"It's not hot ... yet."

“It’s not hot … yet.”

Then about ten minutes later we realized his eyes were watering and half his beer was gone.

Ted: I think that pepper is making my mouth hotter, and it’s not even there anymore.

So needless to say, after one round Shane traded in his martini glass his old favorite, Long Islands. Which he made the mistake of telling the server he wanted “something with more shots” when he ordered, so what he got was pretty much all alcohol.

Sidebar: three rounds later he certainly didn’t seem to complain about that as much. So I guess they served their purpose.

Shane, three Long Islands later

Shane, three Long Islands after “fancy.”

So the guys each went with their own 30-wing-and-fries platter … although Ted tried to rationalize the amount of food and say that us girls could really just eat part of their orders and we could split two 30-wing platters for the table. But that seemed like a lot of math, so we just did our own thing. Thanks anyway, smarty pants.

Each platter could do up to five sauces, so Shane went with the Wild Wasabi, Golden Garlic Bridge, Kentucky Bourbon, Mango Habanero and Little Italy (which is basically a garlic parm).

Ted had the Mango Habanero, Bloody Mary, Kentucky Bourbon, Garlic Express and El Diablo.

Amanda and I each got plates of 12; she had six of the Bloody Mary and six Little Italy, and I had six of the Kentucky Bourbon and six Wild Wasabi.

So … basically we all got various amounts of the same flavors, and the guys did take some of their huge portions home … which means that, yes, technically Ted was correct in thinking we could’ve just split the larger orders. But at the time he presented the idea, it just seemed too much like one of those  “if a train leaves the station going 75 mph and another train leaves a totally different station 1800 miles away when the sun it at a 65 degree angle, how long is the shadow on person sitting in the second car of another train we haven’t even told you about yet” math word problems, and let’s face it, no one enjoys those. We enjoy beer. And the two definitely don’t go together.

Plus we like to freak people out with the insane and quite frankly gluttonous portions of food we continuously manage to cram at one table for our small group. You’re welcome.

One plate of 30 ...

One plate of 30 …

Two plates of 30 ...

Two plates of 30 …

That makes 104 wings on our table. 104.

That makes 104 wings on our table. 104.

Did I mention 104?

DID I MENTION 104?!?!?

Enough said.

The wings were various degrees of OK. The Little Italy were voted least liked out of all of them, as both Amanda and Shane said they had no flavor. Never in my life have I seen my husband put down a partially eaten wing and not go back to it … until he tried those. Yeah. That should tell you something. He took that batch home to “doctor up” when he reheats the left overs. Amanda got through hers only with the help of a side of blue cheese.

Shane raved about the Wasabi right off, but the first one I tried I wasn’t too thrilled with – I later realized that was because it barely had any of the sauce on it. Once I actually got one that the sauce touched, they were pretty tasty.

The Kentucky bourbon was also a favorite. The pieces of bacon on the top totally made the whole thing worth it.

Amanda said the Bloody Mary was spicy, but Ted tried his and didn’t think so. Of course he had just eaten a habanero pepper that had been immersed in habanero-infused alcohol, so he may not have had any taste buds left in his mouth at that point. Take that as you will.

The presentation is nice

At least the presentation is nice

All in all, Traveler’s was a fun atmosphere – and definitely and not as scary as our last visit, when some random girl tried to get Amanda to split fries with her and the started talking about her bra. I wish I was kidding. The place this time around was an interesting mix of people, everything from the hard core heavy metals group to post-work-office crowd, to the obvious barflys, to the family who looked more dressed for church than a dive-ish bar that serves wings.

And we’re happy to report that the karaoke proved to be as interesting as last time, with a whole new range of singers to scratch our heads over. I mean, really, where else will you see an 80-year-old doing Sinatra, followed by a lady completely overdoing Alanis Morissette in a nasily voice, followed by a leather jacket clad guy singing Billy Idol (see also: cliche), and topped off by a guy who looked like John Malkovich but whose voice sounded like Kermit the Frog and who kept singing Weird Al songs. All in a bar owned by a former lead singer of a heavy metal band.

Exactly.

Ted

Ted

Amanda

Amanda

Steph

Steph

Shane, take one

Shane, take one

Shane, take two

Shane, take two

I have a feeling I use this look a lot

I have a feeling I use this look a lot when “three martini Shane” makes an appearance. 

If you ever wondered what it's like to sit across from us on WTGW, this is probably a pretty good representation

If you ever wondered what it’s like to sit across from us on WTGW, this is probably a pretty good representation

CAPSULE

Picked by:  Ted

Drinks:   If you’re telepathic, they have a huge beer selection. If you’re not, well, just throw a few names out there and see if something sticks. Beware of the strong pour on mixed drinks, though. Apparently John Taffer didn’t teach them well enough.
Food:
If you like wings, you’re in the right place, as there’s bound to be something on the menu that pleases you. While we didn’t try anything else, the burgers and sandwiches we saw coming out to other tables looked to be on the delicious side.
Service: Gotta give props to a server who can roll with the drunk guy at the table who just finished singing an explicit Adam Sandler song to the bar. I mean, really.
Overall: Well, drunk Shane proclaimed we have to go back EVERY WEDNESDAY so he can sing. So there’s that. But even so, while the wings weren’t the best we’ve ever had (and I think that was the consensus the last time we were there as well), the change in atmosphere and clientele may just be enough to keep this place in the running for a return (or would it be return-return?) visit.

Next Pick: Shane

Rippers Rock House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Advertisements

WTGW 5/27/15: Otani, Hudson

Standard

So I was kind of limited for my pick this week, since Shane was working late in Hudson and I – being the nice wife that I am – wanted to stay close by so he could still join us out sometime before 9PM. My initial thought was to once again try Flip Side, but then again I didn’t want to break Ted’s illustrious streak of never eating there. I mean, really. At this point it’s too impressive.

I had heard about Otani a few times in recent months, as they seemed to be pushing their new “pub” side – which, lets be clear, is really just the space adjacent to the original Otani in the strip plaza that they apparently bought out. This side is very small, but definitely much more our style than the restaurant side. I mean, there are hibachi tables on the other side, and it’s brighter. And further from the bar, which we’ve established many times is never a good idea for this group.

Being the trendsetters that we are, we were the first ones to grab a table on the pub side of the place this night, although it did start to fill up pretty nicely afterwards. Like I said, trendsetters. Or all the good tables were taken on the other side. Whatevs.

Amanda and I went with Smith & Forge Hard ciders. Ted started with a Guinness mix (black and gold – so Guinness mixed with Great Lakes Dortmunder), and then moved onto something I can’t pronounce let alone remember how to spell … and then I think eventually a Jack and coke to finish out the night. Because that all seems logical.

It's like a mirror image

It’s like a mirror image

One thing to note, if you sit on the pub side, the bartender also doubles as the server and food distributor for that side of the place. So naturally that meant that as it got busier, our service slacked considerably. Don’t get me wrong, he was very nice and definitely personable … when we saw him over the sea of other patrons, that is. And by sea I really mean like three other tables and 10 or so seats at the bar. But still.

Since we had no idea what time Shane would make an appearance, the three of us went ahead with ordering without him. Because, well, we’re hungry. And we all know how well that works out for us. I started with the crab rangoon as an app.  Which really just Amanda and I ate, because of Ted’s aversion to all things made of or containing the word cheese. Oops. It was good, but the filling wasn’t as sweet as the usual takeout orders, so it wasn’t outstanding. We actually left some for Shane, which considering how hungry we were really should tell you something.

Fried goodness, Japanese style

Fried goodness, Japanese style

I bet this will come as a shock to you, but we all ended up ordering sushi for our main meals. What, what? I know, please contain your surprise. I mean, I’m sure after our visit to Twiisted and the, like, 200 pieces of sushi that graced our table of four people, I’m sure you had no idea that we actually liked that stuff.

I’ll give you a minute to pick yourself up from the floor and continue reading.

Ready? OK.

I got the Hudson roll, which our waiter/bartender said was one of the favorites at Otani, and an order of the spicy tuna. I have to say, the Hudson roll was excellent. So I guess there’s validity to that whole favorite thing. Ted tried a piece of it and agreed, it was very tasty. Because apparently when Shane isn’t there yet I’m the next best person for him to share food with. Makes sense.

Is that sushi, or meatloaf?

Is that sushi, or meatloaf?

Amanda got the Morgan roll, which had been deemed another of the faves, and of course a Philadelphia roll. She liked them both, but the Morgan roll was eight large pieces – which she wasn’t expecting – so it was a lot of food. And she couldn’t even offer it to the boys since Ted over-ordered and was stuffed, and Shane is allergic to shrimp. Backfire!

You can always spot the Philly rolls

You can always spot the Philly rolls

Ted, whose eyes were once again bigger than his stomach when it comes to sushi, ordered the Volcano, Typhoon and uni maki, which I guess is eel – BTW, anyone else think of the “unagi” Friends episode every time they order sushi?

tumblr_lx6x357cgq1qzydh2o1_250

tumblr_ljrnx511Zi1qhzaruo1_400

Maybe it’s just me.

Anyway.

Back to Ted, he said the Volcano had a kind of sauce that was almost mayo based, and he didn’t like it as well as the others. I had ordered a Volcano roll at Twiisted and wasn’t crazy about it, although it didn’t really look like Ted’s Volcano roll from this place. So clearly we just put whatever names we want on things then? That’s cool. He said the Typhoon was the best one, although it had a shrimp-y flavor that he wasn’t really expecting. I tried that one and it was OK – but definitely not as good as the Hudson. I’m sticking to my favorite.

At least the presentation is nice

At least the presentation is nice

Since our sushi seemed to take forever to come out – I mean, really, how long should that take, it’s freshly rolled food? – we put Shane’s order in for him when he let us know that he was leaving work down the road. Of course he got the Philly rolls (again, the king of variation) – four orders, which, if we’re trying for continuity and going by Twiisted’s terminology is also called a “buttload.” He said they were OK, comparable to pretty much any place else. Although, I mean, he did eat all of them … but don’t let that be the judge of quality because he was also really, really hungry, too. So there’s that.

Shane, the master of variation

Hey Shane, what kind of sushi is that again?

So Wednesdays are karaoke nights in the pub at Otani … which if you’ve been following us you know that it seems no matter where we go, “karaoke” is really just code for “interesting entertainment.” And this was no exception. It was a highly interesting crowd. From the young couple who was alternately fighting and making out, to two girls who ruined certain country songs for us forever, to a guy who sang nothing but obscure Sinatra. Because that’s always a crowd pleaser.

Me: Um, so, what year is it?
Ted: Judging by this song, it’s 1966.
Me: Sweet, I’m not even born yet.

But perhaps the icing on the cake was the family letting their teenagers get drunk with them to celebrate one’s high school graduation. Tip: Maybe don’t announce that that’s the cause for celebration as the kid has a glass of Guinness in his hand. And also after you made it loudly obvious to the entire bar that he may have just been vomiting in the bathroom a few moments prior. But whateves. It was seriously the weirdest Partridge-meets-Duggar family we’ve ever encountered. The mom kept dancing around as a stranger was singing karaoke, doing something that could only be described as “The Elaine” from Seinfeld.e67e74a33743448bf9b4715b02e7c543

And the inebriated son was joining her, doing a dance which I had last seen my drunk uncle perform at a family wedding back in about 1998. Um, OK. I bet that will be a hit with all the college ladies. Good luck to you, kid.

Eventually I think their entertainment factor morphed into genuine embarrassment for them as the evening wore on – I know I, for one, completely lost the ability to keep the look of complete “OMG” horror off my face right in front of them, especially when the drunken mother was practically molesting the younger, non-drunk son – and we just had to get out of there. We didn’t even take the time to do our thumbs up/down pics, that’s how much we just wanted to get away from this circus.  just proof, my friends, that sometimes there is not enough alcohol in all of the bar to help make certain shenanigans acceptable.

CAPSULE

Picked by:  Steph

Drinks:  Full bar on the pub side, and some craft beers on tap as well as some Japanese alcohols. No Summer Shandy, though, so boo. 
Food:
 Typical Japanese fare – sushi, hibachi, fried rice dishes, etc. Well at least I think that’s what they have. We honestly didn’t get past sushi at our table, but you’ll have that I guess.
Service: Started out OK when we were the only ones in the place, but then dropped off as, well, anyone else showed up. 
Overall: Eh. The drive to Twiisted is only maybe 10 minutes more in the opposite direction, I think we’re more likely to return there.

Next Pick:  Amanda

Click to add a blog post for Otani Japanese on Zomato

WTGW 4/29/15: The Basement at Waterloo, Akron

Standard

If you take anything away from this review, it should be these three words: Funnel. Cake. Fries.

For reals. If you go to The Basement for no other reason than to order those, you won’t be disappointed. Unless, of course, you hate funnel cakes. And if that’s the case then you should just stop reading now, because I’m pretty sure there’s no reason we could ever agree on anything.

Anyway.

So full disclosure, we were a bit nervous to venture into this part of town again, as our last outing to Waterloo Road wasn’t exactly a shining star. We actually drove past that restaurant on our way to The Basement, and noted that there were no cars in the parking lot. Zero. Like we actually wondered if the place was even still open.

It is, BTW. So at least we don’t have another Gus’s Chalet on our hands. Whew.

Conversely, the parking lot for The Basement was packed. Well, OK, it’s about the size of my living room, so “packed” is really kind of a relative term … and we didn’t notice the auxiliary lot across the side street until we were leaving later (color us observant, I know), so we all kind of did a little happy dance when we saw a car leaving and were able to snag what we thought was the last spot available. Good thing we didn’t consider ourselves super lucky and go throw money away on lotto tickets, I guess.

The place was much bigger on the inside than it appeared to be from the front. Seems to be a trend with us lately. I’m not sure what that says about us exactly, other than maybe go get our depth perception checked? Hmmm.

Anyway, we grabbed a booth in the bar area, and it didn’t take long at all for a server to greet us. It appears that the group is back on an all beer kick: Summer Shandys for all of us except Ted, who of course had to abide by the “one of us has to be different” rule, and went with a Rebel IPA. Welcome to summer.

One of these things is not like the other

One of these things is not like the other

Although, word of warning, the glass sizes can be tricky. At the end of the night Amanda and I decided to downsize to smaller beers (thank you, full stomach) … but when the server brought them over the glasses really weren’t that much different in size from what we were already drinking. In fact, when I poured my new beer into my old glass, it still nearly filled it up – despite a supposed 24 – t0 – 16 – oz ratio. Just something to keep in mind. Numbers are hard.

"Short" and "tall" are really relative terms here

“Short” and “tall” are really relative terms here

For appetizers, we ordered the pretzel bites, and the aforementioned funnel cake fries. The pretzel bites were good, although I have to admit I don’t really remember them that well because the funnel cake fries truly pushed them off the stage and stole the show.  It really wasn’t even a fair fight.

I'm sorry we ordered you along with the funnel cake fries, that wasn't really fair

I’m sorry we ordered you along with the funnel cake fries, that wasn’t really fair

So the lesson here is that if you’re going to order these – and you damn well should – just don’t order any other appetizer at the same time. Because it’s just not a fair comparison. I mean, that other app is just going to feel bad that no one is fighting over the last one (or, really, even the first one) in the basket once they taste those fries. Ted called them “brilliant.” That’s pretty high praise, my friends.

Pure brilliance in a basket

Pure brilliance in a basket

Not to mention that considering our luck with lackluster meals following up exemplary (*ahem* excuse me, “brilliant”) appetizers such as this – it’s no surprise that we all honestly thought about cancelling our dinners and just ordering about 18 more orders of the funnel cake fries. With caramel sauce.

Yes, I know that’s not healthy. Because clearly we’re the poster children for clean eating.

Right.

So anyway, despite the fries being a tough act to follow – I’m happy to report that the streak is broken … for once the stars aligned, and all four of us were actually very satisfied with our meals this time around. Hallelujah!

I got the turkey club melt, and opted for a side of chips with the spicy dry rub wing sauce on them (at the suggestion of the waitress, who said they were like a spicy BBQ chip). I was not disappointed. The chips definitely lived up to their advertisement as spicy, but in a good way. And my sandwich was on a thick sliced Italian bread, so you know right away I’m in carb heaven. Delish.

The lighting in this place was weird. My meal wasn't really pink. Trust me.

The lighting in this place was weird. My meal wasn’t really pink. Trust me.

Our server had noted that the Phillies were one of the things that the place is known for, and they have a good number of options on the menu. Amanda went with the Classic one, which she said was very good, with lots of cheese (sorry Ted) and real steak, not steak ums. She also got a side of the non-spicy-dry-rubbed chips. She said the one thing that was missing was a dip for the chips. While the side of ranch dressing was OK, she really thought (and I agree) that they could’ve been much better served with a french onion dip like some of the other places we’ve been to. I mean, maybe they could take a cue from The Lockview and just bring us a plastic container of dip from the convenience mart down the street? (stop laughing – that was pre-blog, but a true story nonetheless)

Non-steak-um steak philly

Non-steak-um steak philly

(Hey – did I mention the funnel cake fries? I feel like a few minutes have gone by without me doing so. I just wanted to throw those in there again for good measure.)

In other news, Shane is back on a wing kick lately, following a successful eat-off competition with one of his co-workers a few weeks ago. Now I don’t know about you, but eating 31 wings in one sitting would probably sour me from eating them, well, ever again … but for Shane it’s only seemed to fuel the fire. So it was really no surprise when he half-jokingly said he should go big and get the 50-piece order at The Basement.

Amanda: You know if you do that, you can only still get two sauce flavors, right?

Ted: Yes, because Shane is the captain of variety.

Ha.

He ended up with almost half that amount – 24 – and then I think just to spite us and our snarky comments, did split it into two different flavors (garlic butter and sweet heat dry rub), even though it meant having to pay for two separate orders of 12 in order to do so. In all honesty I think it was only about $1.00 more than ordering a straight basket of 24. Slow down, big spender.

A boy and his 24 wings, all for himself

A boy and his 24 wings, all for himself

Ted also got the sweet heat dry rub wings – but only a six pack, as he also got a meatball Philly as well. Because, why not?

I think if you look up the word “overindulgence” in the dictionary there is just a picture of the four of us out on a random Wednesday.

In any case, the boys loved the sweet heat wings. They both said they ranked up there at the top of the list for them – and as you know, they’re both pretty well schooled in the art of wing eating, so that’s some pretty high praise. Shane said his garlic butter wings were OK – but, much like the poor pretzel bites, were upstaged by the better option on the table.

As for the meatball Philly, Ted said it was good, but – and take this with a grain of salt – it had too much cheese. Hmm, where have we heard this before? Surprise, Ted, most of the known universe enjoys a meatball sub (or, stromboli, or pizza, or, really, any Italian food) slathered in melted cheese. Shocking, I know.

I can see the cheese from here

I can see the cheese from here

Really, he’s not human.

I wonder what would’ve happened if we had put cheese on the funnel cake fries? No, strike that, even I’m grossed out by that. Ick.

Overall, The Basement was a fun place, and actually earned the elusive TWO thumbs up from the entire group.  The service was good, there were lots of TVs with various sporting events on to keep our attention, the music was good – I mean, anyplace where we can end the night in a debate over the lyrics to Ice Ice Baby is good in my book. (Right?) The only thing I found annoying was the lighting. Did you notice at all how most pictures in this post are tinted either red, green or blue? Apparently there was a sale somewhere on mini tri-colored strobe light strips, because they’ve bought about 100 of them, and adhered them to the ceiling all the way around the perimeter of the restaurant. And before you think I’m just being picky … trust me, it’s more than a bit unnerving to eat your dinner while a mini-rave rages across the tabletop. Yeah. It’s 7:30 PM. Let’s save Dance Party USA for at least after the sun goes down.

Amanda

Amanda

Ted

Ted

 

Shane

Shane

Steph

Steph

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CAPSULE

Picked by:  Amanda

Drinks:  The beer was cold, and the selection was probably decent, although once again most of the table stopped listening after Summer Shandy. Sorry. 
Food:
If you don’t know yet what item off the menu you need to be ordering, you clearly need to pay better attention.  
Service: Good. We sat in the bar area but it seemed like everyone around the large dining area was well taken care of, and our server was very personable.  
Overall: I think we’ll be back. If nothing else for the funnel cake fries alone.

Next Pick: Ted

The Basement on Urbanspoon

WTGW 11/13/13: Ripper’s Rock House, Akron

Standard

When we heard that one of the former members of the band Judas Priest owns a restaurant in Akron, naturally we were intrigued … as much by the restaurant as the band, because we’ll be the first to admit we could name, um, zero songs that Judas Priest is famous for. OK, maybe Ted might’ve known a few. He’s kind of a wild card like that. Honestly, reading the Wikipedia page just now gave me a “huh” moment when I realized that I think I might actually recognize two songs. Or three. From like 1982.  But apparently the owner of this restaurant wasn’t with the band when they were recorded. Look at that – I learned something today.

Anyway.

Ripper’s Rock House is apparently in a new(er) location, having moved from the building that housed last week’s WTGW adventure, The Grille on Waterloo. And ironically we didn’t realize that until after both choices had been made. It’s like a game of Six Degrees Of Where To Go Wednesdays. When that becomes popular, you can say you heard it here first, kids.

So right away one of the first things I noticed was that I was insanely overdressed for this establishment. “Business casual” are probably two words never uttered by 85% of the regulars in this place. And none of us remembered to wear our chains connecting our wallets to our belt loops. Or anything leather. Dammit!

That’s OK, the place was so dimly lit that maybe no one saw us anyway. Oh, wait, no – scratch that – there was a time when we wished we could hide but couldn’t. More on that in a minute.

So remember last week when we said we were going to stop ordering appetizers because we got so full we couldn’t finish our dinners? Clearly we stuck to that rule.

What, there's only three appetizers there. For four people.

What, there’s only three appetizers there. For four people.

But we justified it by only ordering wings afterwards. Well, and onion rings. Stop laughing.

The boys had to openly discuss their wing choices, as they needed to make sure they both ordered three different flavors each so that they could trade between them. Or try to pawn off the ones they didn’t like in favor of ones that the other seemed to be enjoying. I wasn’t sure at times if they were talking about fantasy football or their meals.

The fine art of wing trading in action

The fine art of wing trading in action

So here’s the deal with the wings – I guess Ole “Rip,” having traveled the world, wanted to bring the best flavors from his adventures back home and into his restaurant – and therefore named each of the wings after a place and type of dish there. Interesting concept. I have to say I wasn’t particularly impressed with mine, which were of the “taco” variety. I know, sounds intriguing, right? Eh. They were edible, but just *meh*. Shane ordered the ones that were about 4th from the top in terms of heat factor, but said they didn’t compare to wings of the same name/spiciness at chain places like BW3. Hmm.

Another interesting thing: the menu. More specifically, the prices. They were all something weird, like a grilled chicken sandwich for $8.16. Or BLT for $8.27. Or 12 wings for $9.36. Huh? Did he just feel like prices that end in the number 5 or 9 get way too much play in menus and wanted to spread the love to 4’s and 2’s and 6’s? Do those numbers actually mean something? If you’re going to take an inside joke outside, you might want to provide some explanation. Just sayin’.

We even asked the waitress, and got this answer: “Yeah, I thought that was weird too. But it’s only my second day, so I haven’t had a chance to ask about it yet.” BTW, this news about it being her second day on the job came after she told Ted that the type of wings he ordered were he absolute favorite and she orders them all the time. Kind of lost some credibility there, honey. Oh, and speaking of lost … we actually lost the waitress later on in the night – as in, she just disappeared, and some other girl started waiting on us instead. So, um, guess your shift is over, have a nice night then? OK.

Regardless, by far the best part of our evening at the Rock House was when we realized Wednesdays are …

KARAOKE NIGHTS.

Because you have not lived until you hear a grown woman with a voice like Lisa Simpson sing heavy metal. It’s like the listening to “Let the Bodies Hit the Floor” as performed by Alvin and the Chipmunks. I will never be able to un-hear that. Oh – and sidebar for a moment on that one person: when she wasn’t singing, she was pacing. And headbanging. Or asking random tables of strangers if they want to share an order of fries. Or using our table’s accidental eye contact as a reason to come over and tell a 15 minute story none of us could really hear but we think had something to do with a cheating boyfriend and her current underwear – complete with visual aids. Remember that part I mentioned earlier about wanting to hide from certain people in the dim lighting? Yeah.

Of course she wasn’t the only singer – there was a table of people who were clearly regulars / friends of the DJ, and they covered the karaoke standards like Bon Jovi and “Paradise by the Dashboard Light.” Although props to the guy who stole MeatLoaf’s look and voice, and performed some eerily similar renditions of his songs. Like close your eyes and think it’s the same thing on the stage similar. Wow. And of course our own table made a contribution, as “Shane Newton” came out of his almost-year-long hiatus to serenade me as always with his ever popular “At a Medium Pace” by Adam Sandler. Yes, I’m serious. Props to my husband for pointing me out before he started singing. I would’ve taken pictures if I hadn’t been so busy intercepting quizzical glances from just about every patron in the bar. Good thing I’m used to that, having heard him sing this well over 50 times in the past five years. It’s hard being married to a celebrity.

This was as close as Amanda was getting to karaoke. Love the action shot of the singer behind her though.

This was as close as Amanda was getting to karaoke. Love the action shot of the singer behind her though.

CAPSULE
Picked by: Amanda
Drink options: Interesting variety of craft beers, although we struck out with more than one that we Ted asked for that they didn’t have in stock. 20 oz Miller Lites were the drink of choice for 3/4 of the table.
Food:  The appetizers definitely upstaged the wings.
Service: Good. Even though our waitress left without telling us, at least she told someone – so we weren’t forgotten entirely.
Overall: The appetizers, idea of trying something on the menu other than wings, and of course the entertainment value of karaoke night may just get us back there again.

Next Pick: The WTGW crew will be on hiatus next week, as Shane and I celebrate our anniversary that evening. However, if we end up out somewhere new, it may just make it to a review here. We’ll return to regularly scheduled programming on 11/27 with Ted’s pick.

Rippers Rock House on Urbanspoon