WTGW 6/7/17: REVISIT – J. Dublin’s Pour House, Akron

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Well, aren’t we lucky – Game Three of the NBA Finals falls on a Wednesday! Now if only we knew of a decent sports bar to go watch the game …

You think I’m kidding.

I mean, part of the reason we started this blog was for this very scenerio – so that when we need to pick a location on the fly we can easily catalog all the great places we’ve been dying to go back to. But in reality all it seems to do is remind us that all of those great places are nowhere close to our neighborhood. Seriously, people? TD’s Tailgate Grille? Too far. Muskateers? Too far and probably already crowded in the bar at 4PM. Delanie’s? Howie’s? See above. Windsor Pub? We were just there not long ago. Can someone please open something less than a 20 minute drive away that resembles one of these amazing places? For the love.

In any case, welcome to the long-winded explanation as to how we ended up at J. Dublin’s Pour House this week.

And not to say we hate this place … just more so that none of us were overly impressed with it the last time around … or the time before that, when it was Johnny Malloy’s.

So is this a revisit-revisit? I’m confused.

The reason we finally picked this place was two-fold. 1) it’s huge, so we knew we wouldn’t have a hard time getting a table. And 2) they also have about one TV per square inch of the property, so we wouldn’t have to worry about not being in the sight line of the game, either.

Priorities, people. These games only come around once a year.

As soon as Shane and I arrived (about 90 minutes prior to game time) it was obvious we could’ve waited a bit, as we were practically the only people there. I guess not everyone was as prepared as we were for crowd control. But I will say that it only took about an hour for the place to fill up – although if the crowd when we first arrived was any indication of what a normal non-championship-game night is like at J. Dub’s, let’s just say it’s a sure bet for that category of “we’re super hungry and want to make sure we don’t have to wait for a table.”

Which worked out well for Ted, who arrived about ten minutes after us and immediately declared his hunger to be like that of needing the food truck competition again to quench it. We had already ordered drinks (game specials were 5 for $10 buckets of tall Coors or Labatts cans) but as soon as the server re-appeared we went ahead and threw together a food order, too. Because nobody likes a hangry Ted.

Thanks to the pretty picture in the top corner of the menu, Shane gravitated toward the crispy bacon wrapped sausage as an app.

The picture on the menu was more convincing than this one.

And when it arrived, this bromance moment happened:

Ted: I don’t normally dig into your apps, but that looks delicious.
Shane: Are you saying you want my sausage?
Ted: Yes, I can’t wait to put your sasuage in my mouth

I asked if they wanted me to leave the table so they could be alone.

All 15-year old boy jokes aside, the sausage was really good. (That’s what she said. Boom!) It wasn’t spicy at all, but had a lot of flavor. As Ted put it, “it’s kielbasa wrapped in bacon and served with a side of stadium mustard. How can you go wrong?”

For meals, super-hungry-Ted got the Big J Burger – which when it arrived I realized was basically not one, but two burgers under one bun. Clearly he wasn’t messing around, nor was he lying about that whole hunger thing.

He also of course ordered it with no cheese, which caused the server to literally stop writing, put down her pen and stare at him to ask “Did you just say no cheese? That’s the best part.”

See, Ted, we aren’t the only ones who think you’re strange.

But I will give our server credit, because for all of her harassment about Ted’s hatred of cheese, she still told us later – when mine and Shane’s food came out, but yet Ted’s was somehow missing (because that always happens to the hungriest one, right?) – that she had sent the burger back before bringing it out to us because they had – take a guess? – put cheese on it by mistake. Nice catch.

Lots of meat, no cheese

In addition to solving cheese catastrophes before they occur, our server was also a mastermind at up-selling. Shane ordered a pizza for his meal, and was only going to get a medium … but when he asked about how big it was she just said “it’s actually a better deal to get the large.” No size comparison, no wishy-washy “well how hungry are you / are you splitting it with someone / do you want leftovers” schpeels … nope, just straight to the point, BAM, you look like you should order a full large pizza, sir, because you’re hungry AND frugal, and this is the better deal.

And of course Shane was sold, because clearly you need to twist his arm to get MORE food. Does she read this blog?

To make it even better, as he’s adding 8 billion toppings to his now large pizza, she tells him “You know, at this point you’re better off just to get the deluxe instead of paying for all these extra toppings.”

I like her.

It’s almost too pretty to eat. Almost.

For my meal, I got the chicken quesadilla and a large order of mixed vegetables. Which may possibly be the strangest combination of food I’ve ever ordered at a restaurant, but whatevs. I wasn’t super hungry, and I needed my vegetables. Done.

And the server didn’t have anything to say about MY order, so it couldn’t have been so bad.

Ted said his burger was just OK. He said it really didn’t have much flavor. Now maybe that verdict was reached just because he was so hungry that he shoveled it into his mouth without even touching his taste buds … OR maybe, just maybe, that’s where the cheese comes in, Ted. But in any case, I noticed he pretty much kept one hand on the pepper shaker so he could season every bite, so I asked him about there not being any seasoning on the burger.

His response? “It’s not that, it’s just a lot of meat, so that’s all I taste.”

We’re on fire tonight, folks. I don’t even have to write the jokes. They just fall out of our mouths. Ba-dum-bum.

My veggies were good – although, I mean, how can you really screw up freezer vegetables that were dumped from a bag and heated up, the same way I do at home? Don’t answer that. I’m just glad they were all cooked, there were no still-frozen pieces, and they didn’t season them with anything so I didn’t have to worry about them being overly salted or soaked in butter.

WHO ORDERS HEALTHY FOOD ON WTGW? I’m not sure this is allowed.

The quesadilla was very good. It had parm cheese baked on the top, which was unexpected in a pleasant way. And it was huge – 8 pieces total – which I didn’t mean to eat all of necessarily, but since we were there for like five hours watching the game I kept nibbling as the night wore on. It came with sour cream and guacamole on the side, but no salsa. What now? Who serves Mexican food of any kind without salsa? For real, people. And the containers holding the sour cream and salsa were like Barbie-doll sized bowls to boot. Sure, here’s your tablespoon of sour cream, to go with your eight pieces of tortilla and cheese … yeah, that makes total sense. I mean, my waistline definitely thanks you for the rationing, but maybe next time we can spare a tiny bit more? 

Is there a guac shortage I’m unaware of?

Meanwhile, it’s a good thing we were there for the better portion of the evening, because it was approximately 30 minutes between the time Shane’s pizza hit the table and his first actual bite. Ted finished his burger, I made my way through my veggies and half of my quesadilla, and yet here’s Shane’s full large pizza, still taking up 3/4 of the table. He has a thing about protecting his mouth from heat. Or maybe he just prefers congealed, rock hard cheese to the gooeyness you see on all the Domino’s commercials. Whatever floats your boat, I guess.

But once he did eat it, he said it was good. And while the large was definitely more food than what he needed – he was glad to be able to take some home for leftovers. He had contemplated getting the steak special – which he got the last time we were there and he enjoyed – but he was glad to have opted for the pizza when it was all said and done.

Overall, J. Dub’s is a good place to watch a game. The drink specials were good – well, if you like Coors or Labatt’s, I guess, otherwise you were kind of screwed … but hey, sometimes beer is beer, and something is better than nothing. There were more than enough TVs to watch, and the crowd was really into cheering on the hometown team (much to the dismay of Shane, who was decked out in gear supporting the opposing team … but he lived to tell about it at least) Although we all agreed that they could take the volume down a notch since the place is pretty cavernous and the echos just made it all just sound like gibberish anyway. The biggest negative was that our server seemed to forget about checking on us about halfway through the game – after we’d eaten, but were clearly still hanging out to see the rest of the game. That move didn’t much affect the guys and their buckets of beer, but this girl and her mixed drinks were stranded with a downed soldier on more than one occasion. Maybe she knew I was driving home and was just looking out for me? Yeah, let’s go with that.

**we aren’t really counting this as anyone’s pick since we just needed a good, close place to watch the game … but we’ll resume with Ted’s choice next week”

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WTGW 3/29/17: Hooley House, Fairlawn – REVISIT

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Oh, Hooley House. I remember when we first met, two years ago (almost to the day, ironically – what does it say about our timing when we continuously pick an Irish place in the weeks following St Patrick’s Day?) – we were so excited to finally get there, so filled with promise for what you could be for us … and then we left disappointed.

In remembering that first visit, or main contention was … well … pretty much everything. The service was extremely slow, our glasses were left empty for 20+ minutes at a time – even when we were seated essentially right next to the auxillary bar, the burgers weren’t cooked to our individual specifications, and my chicken sandwich may or may not have been trying to kill me.

But the apps were good, so score one for them there, I guess.

At the time, we chalked it up to the fact that they hadn’t been open long, so they were probably still working out some kinks. Plus we also chose poorly on our seating for the evening, not realizing that there was another full bar and dining area with far more seating – and that was consistently beating us in the loudness and “sounds like fun is happening over there” departments – opposite from where we were sitting.

But even with all those negatives, we still always talked about going back to give it another chance. Because we’re fair like that.

This time around we knew right off the bat not to make the same mistakes in the seating department, and requested to head for the opposite site – otherwise known as the “East Eden” to our last visit’s quieter side. And while it was definitely an improvement, we also weren’t instantly in heaven.

Maybe it was because we also happened to be there on trivia that night. And I think we’re learning that’s a whole different crowd on those nights … who don’t particularly care for people talking loudly when they’re trying to be all smart and stuff, and who shoot us looks of death when we have our cell phones on the table. Hey, listen, we’re taking pictures of food for important research, not googling your answers. Well, OK, maybe we’re doing that, too … but don’t worry, we heard the rules, and we’re not playing your little game anyway. We just like to pretend to be smart, too.

Also, the girl hosting the trivia on this particular night had an amazingly monotone, still-not-loud-enough-even-with-a-microphone voice that was putting me to sleep. Because that’s good for bar business.

So clearly we’re off to an amazing start already.

But nevertheless, we ordered beer, because, well, that always seems like a good place to change the tides for the better. Ted started off with a Guinness. I asked which Leininkugel’s seasonal was on tap, since their “winter specials” table tents said Cranberry Ginger, but it’s after St. Patrick’s Day so that technically means spring in Ohio, and usually the Summer Shandy is out by now.

The server’s answer pretty much ambiguously implied it could be either. Oh, OK. Well luckily I like either one, so whatever, I guess, just give me what pours out of that tap, please.

Meanwhile, Shane ordered something from the same “winter specials” flyer that involved Guinness mixed with the seasonal Cranberry Leininkugel’s.

Me: You know, if they don’t have that cranberry beer anymore, they won’t be able to make that drink.
Shane: Oh, good point, you’re probably right.

Sure enough, about two minutes later our server appeared with mine and Ted’s beers, and that exact message for Shane.

Just call me Miss Cleo.

So Shane ended up with a Michelob Ultra. Probably tasted exactly the same.

Speedy Ted wasted no time and tried jumping right to appetizers as we were putting in the drink order, so Shane and I scrambled and just came up with our usual of late – pretzel sticks.

Because really, if you mess those up we should probably just leave.

My addiction to bread continues

Fortunately we didn’t have to chug our drinks and bolt for the door, as these pretzels were delicious. They were done just right so they were slightly crispy on the outside but still doughy inside. And straight from the oven just like last week at R Shea’s – only this week it was Shane who lost a few layers of skin just trying to eat them. He tried about four times to pick one up, each time about 30 seconds from the last, and continued to declare them “still hot.”

Catches on quick, that one.

Meanwhile Speedy Gonzalez over there had been so impatient to order because he had his eye on the Maple Glazed Bacon app – which he had spotted on another menu somewhere not WTGW related but never got to order then, so he was all about ordering it now. The app is really just what the name suggests – bacon strips cooked and coated in candied maple syrup. So basically kind of like your entire breakfast served in one cute little bar glass, and without the carbs of pancakes.

The perfect breakfast in a glass

And he wasn’t disappointed. To quote Ted, “It’s like you soaked your bacon in maple syrup. And come on, it’s maple and bacon, what’s not to like.”

We don’t ask for much, people. Really.

As I mentioned already, we were once again coming off the corned beef fest that is an Irish holiday, so we may have been just a tad burnt out to order anything remotely Irish on the menu. Shane and I actually ended up with a bit of a southwestern theme between us – he ordered the beef quesadilla, which I made fun of him for ordering at an Irish place … and then I promptly turned around and ordered a spicy black bean burger.

Don’t judge.

On the other side of the table, Ted ordered the BBQ bacon burger, thus proving that apparently his theme for the night was just “whatever has bacon on it.”

And just like our last visit to HH, the apps were better than the actual meals. We all thought our food was just OK. Ted thought his burger was alright, but that the tater tots were too salty. I also was not a fan of the tots – and that’s not a sentence I say many times. But I also just had really good tots at a restaurant in Chicago a few weeks ago, so that memory may have infringed on my opinion here.

Look at those tots. Just look, though, because eating them isn’t recommended.

My burger was OK, I liked that it had lots of avacado, and my bread loving self was of course a fan of the soft bun (that’s what she said …). But I could’ve done without the overload of onions that seemed to not want to be evicted from the sandwich.

Ignore my half eaten pretzel stick, that didn’t come with the entree

Shane said his quesadilla was also just OK, nothing special.

Mex-Irish

Our server was good, very talkative and sweet, although she did disappear a few times when glasses were empty and not reappear until we were about ready to go up to the bar and order for ourselves. Do they teach that tick to all of the servers here? I seem to remember that disappearing act happening a lot on our last visit. But she also tried to give Ted an extra Guinness at the end of the night, so maybe that was her way of making up for it? I’d like to say we’ll return to find out, but that’s probably pretty doubtful at this point. The way things have been going with this place so far, the third time is either the charm … or one of us ends up with food poisoning. That’s a game of Russian roulette I’m not sure any of us are willing to play.

Re-picked by: Shane
Original pick by: Amanda
Next pick: Steph

Steph

Ted

Shane

WTGW 10/12/16: Tacos Mexicanos, Macedonia

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Alternate title to this post: always judge a Mexican place on their ability to make margaritas.

More on that in a minute.

So, since Ted was enjoying a week in Florida and didn’t even consider the option of flying back just to participate in WTGW (boo, hiss), I took advantage of his absence to choose one of the lesser chosen WTGW ethnic foods – Mexican. You know, because they usually slather everything in cheese, and we all know by now that’s like Ted’s version of hell.

I was told about Tacos Mexicanos by a coworker, who said she drives past it every night on her way home and that it was always packed – particularly on $1.00 “Taco Tuesdays.”

Needless to say, since tonight was not a Tuesday, nor were the tacos $1.00, it was a little less packed this evening. Just keep that in mind as you read on.

I noticed on the specials board as we entered that they were featuring a pumpkin margarita. My initial reaction was that that sounded kind of interestingly gross … but then I thought what the hell, it is fall after all, and if they can pumpkin out everything from cream cheese to potato chips, I may as well give it a shot.

Let’s just day I should’ve trusted my first instinct.

The best way I can possibly describe this drink is that is looks like butternut squash soup, but tastes like tequila with a bit of a spice aftertaste.

Sounds delightful, no?

Margaritas should not be this color. Ever.

Margaritas should not be this color. Ever.

Shane and Jerrid both opted for the mango strawberry margaritas. And I was extremely jealous … until Shane eventually took pity on me sitting there sullenly stirring my margarita and traded his mango strawberry for my pumpkin. Not because he thought mine was good, mind you, but more because he was worried I would waste alcohol. Priorities.

Yeah, well, the mango strawberry isn’t much better. It was basically a crapload of tequila, with a little bit of some fruit flavor that tasted neither like strawberries or mangoes.

Better color, not better flavor.

Better color, not better flavor.

So that begs the question, how can you trust a Mexican place that can’t make a good margarita? It’s like sacriligious.

It was about this time that Amanda realized she and Jerrid had actually been to Tacos Mexicanos once before, back when the place first opened … and they didn’t have their liquor license yet so they couldn’t serve alcohol.

I might suggest they go back to that idea until they hire a bartender that knows more about mixing drinks. Until then it seems they’re just wasting cheap tequila.

Anyway.

So onto food. Since all the pictures kind of look alike (as you’ll have at a Mexican place), I’ll try to keep these straight.

Amanda got the burrito Mexicano.

Mexican stuff in a shell with sauce and cheese, take one

Mexican stuff in a shell with sauce and cheese, take one

Jerrid got the beef chimichangas.

Mexican stuff in shells with sauce and cheese, take two

Mexican stuff in shells with sauce and cheese, take two

I got the fire burrito.

Mexican stuff in a shell with sauce and cheese, take three. No wonder they only have like three things photographed on the menus

Mexican stuff in a shell with sauce and cheese, take three. No wonder they only have like three things photographed on the menus

Shane got the quesadilla skillet – after much debate since they didn’t have his usual fajita quesadilla.

Shane's looks like a pizza

Shane’s looks like a pizza

 

All of the above was just OK. None of us really had anything much specific to say about it – I mean, it was typical Mexican food. Put lots of meat, sauce and cheese into or on top of a tortilla shell, then serve with rice, beans, more sauce and more cheese. Repeat.

Shane did mention that his quesadilla could’ve used more filling. And I will say that I agree with that. Mine in particular was pretty much just shredded chicken inside the shell, no veggies or sauce or anything. Because that screams flavorful.

Although somehow that did make it super hot. Must’ve been the sauce on the top – and maybe I should be glad there was none inside, because wherever this heat was coming from, it was most certainly enough. And before all you smartasses point it out, yes, I know that I ordered the “fire burrito.” Clearly they got one thing right in this place with that title. Just one.

Also, the irony of the lack of a good margarita to wash this down was not lost on me.

So already we have two strikes … let’s just add one more with the service. For starters, part of the reason we – and I assume about half of America – go to Mexican restaurants is for the promise of never-ending free basket of chips and salsa that just seems to regenerate at your table nonstop all night long.

Am I wrong?

Well, let’s just say don’t arrive here hungry.

As usual, Amanda and Jerrid had been there for a little bit before Shane and I arrived, and were almost through the first basket of chips and bowl of salsa when we sat down. So you’d think when the server noticed two new people joined the table they would bring more, right? Yeah, no. We waited. And waited. And ordered our drinks. And waited. And ordered our meals. And got our crappy drinks. And then FINALLY someone asked if we wanted more chips and salsa. Um, yes. Was it that fact that we were pretty much fighting over the tiny scraps and crumbs at that point that tipped you off?

And then one our food arrived, Shane was waiting on his side of guac for almost as long as the refreshment of chips – and keep in mind he won’t start eating his food until he has it, so you’d think the fact that one plate was untouched at our table would be cause for a server to stop and ask how we were doing. But once again, you’d be wrong.

I guess the moral here is to stop thinking.

So by about 7:30PM, the place was pretty empty, only us and about two other tables. And yet the service didn’t get any better, considering they had fewer tables to check on. Did they send the servers home with the guests? Were there bartending lessons going on somewhere? (that I might be able to forgive, just sayin) Do they keep the actual good margaritas in the back and the servers go back and get sloshed on them after 7:00?

It’s a mystery, folks. And one I’m not interested in going back to find out the answer to.

Amanda

Amanda

Jerrid

Jerrid

Shane

Shane

Steph

Steph

Picked by: Steph
Next pick: Amanda
Tacos Mexicanos Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato