WTGW 6/22/16: The Twisted Olive, Green

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Wait, what’s this? A new post? Don’t lie, I know you missed us. And trust me, we’ve missed you. But unfortunately work commitments, travel, and some unexpected health complications kept us from our usual Wednesday night shenanigans these past – wait, WTF, has it really been three straight months now? Holy crap. OK, we’re officially slackers. 

Honestly, we have gotten together on a few Wednesdays these past months – because, you know, we like to eat and drink, and that’s a long time to not leave our houses. But for whatever reason we ended up forsaking new places for the comfort and ease of old favorites like Panini’s or Moe’s. Because sometimes you just need to go someplace close to home where you know you can get cold drinks and good food, and not drive an hour out of your way to take chances.

So basically we just spent three months completely negating the entire premise of this blog. Our bad.

That also means that the wheel has been stuck on Ted’s pick this entire time. And he’s had it in his head that he wanted to choose The Twisted Olive in Green as his next pick. Which is like 30 minutes from our house. And some of those Wednesdays that was just too far to drive after part of the group got out of work late, or weren’t feeling the greatest. As it was we had to go just as a threesome tonight – no Amanda or Jared – because, well, basically in the forseeable future unless the place is close to Amanda’s workplace of Hudson, she probably won’t make it out to meet us with the way her new work schedule is. Boo.

Being an adult is crap, kids. Don’t let anyone tell you different.

So anyway, back to tonight, as the three of us were contemplating driving over to Kent to visit a former pick with a nice patio, I commented that if we were going to go all the way over there, why not drive the same distance and get back to our original plan of trying new places – especially when one of the reasons Ted wanted to visit this one was for the patio?

Point taken.

So that’s the long-winded story of how Shane, Ted and I ended up here tonight. And I have to be honest, the patio was definitely worth the wait.

Although waiting was exactly what we had to do for a patio seat once we got there – but judging from the number of cars we saw in the parking lot on our way in, we actually weren’t overly surprised. I think we were more surprised that the wait was only like 15 minutes. So we sat in the lobby for a few minutes, which gave us time to look around and notice that the place is really huge. And everything decorating it is huge. Huge fireplace. Huge lighting fixtures in the main dining room. Huge patio outside the doors. It’s like the place was decorated by the design firm Giants ‘R Us.

And when we got bored sitting in the lobby (which, let’s be honest, took all of about 2.5 seconds), we followed the huge “BAR” sign with an arrow down the huge curved staircase to get a few drinks to pass the time. Side note, the bar area really could’ve been included on that whole “huge” memo, as it’s a little crowded and difficult to order from when there’s people sitting at most of the seats. Also, the bartender didn’t seem especially helpful or friendly, which is always super fun. But whatevs.

Impressed with the various Bloody Marys on the menu, Shane decided to try the Citrus version. I went with a Mojito – which Ted ordered for me because he just thought the word was fun – and Ted got a beer called Siberian Night, which – surprise, surprise – was the color of, well, complete darkness.

Ted: Yep, I can’t see through it, that’s a good thing.

At least we haven’t changed much these past three months.

We were still working on those drinks when we got a text a few minutes later that our table was ready. And also to close out our bar tabs before returning to the hostess stand. Nice touch.

(And on a side note, thank you to this place for doing away with the annoying buzz-and-light-contraptions that most restaurants use. They always reminded me of that stupid Simon Says light-up memory game from the 80s.)

Anyway, we headed to our table on the patio – which, as I already mentioned, was spectacular. It’s a great atmosphere, and the view is amazing. According to the little story on the menu, the restaurant is situated on a 10-acre nature preserve, and is actually affiliated with Gervasi Vineyards in Canton.

See, I pay attention sometimes.

So, being that we’re predictable folks and haven’t changed our ways in the last three months, care to take a guess at what Shane ordered off the appetizer menu?

If you guessed calamari, you’re correct! Ding, ding, ding!

Perhaps because there were no mussels on the app menu, Ted went way off the predictable path and ordered the Italian flatbread. He requested no olives on it, and the server mentioned that everyone seemed to be requesting it that way this evening.

Ted: Seems odd at a place called The Twisted Olive, no?

Touche.

The calamari was OK. The sauce that came with it – which I’m going to guess from the color involved some portioning of wasabi – had a nice little kick to it. But other than that there was really nothing special or different about the dish to distinguish it from any other place we’ve had it before. And it certainly didn’t appear to be a very generous helping when the plate arrived at the table. I think this was Shane’s first reminder that we were at one of the “fancier” WTGW picks on our list, and presentation would trump portion sizes.

That's like an appetizer for Shane's usual appetizer

That’s like an appetizer for Shane’s usual appetizer

The flatbread was really crispy and really good. I said it was like eating one layer of a mexican pizza. Ted made a comment about the sausage on it that I won’t repeat, nor will I repeat Shane’s comment back – but I’m sure if you’ve read any of our reviews before you can figure out where that’s all headed. Yes, we’re still 15.

This isn't Taco Bell

This isn’t Taco Bell

Perhaps that’s why for the next round of drinks Shane and Ted decided to switch things up and both ordered the “Manly Mary” Bloody Mary – which involved horseradish, tobasco and a bunch of other ingredients that only hinted at how hot it probably was. They were surprised to see it also included a slice of bacon as a garnish as well. Not upset, just surprised. And since Shane was still hungry following the tiny portion of calamari, I can assume he was probably also grateful.

Ted and I both flipped on our original dinner orders and got the Ahi tuna steak that was on special that night. We were both wavering on our decision – we were both intrigued when the server mentioned she had tried it and it was delicious – but Ted’s turning point came when he gave the server his original order of the crab cake sliders, and the server mentioned that you only get two sliders and they were kind of small. You could see Ted’s face fall at that statement. And he quickly changed his mind and went with the Ahi tuna.

Now I had the opposite problem, as I was going to get a pizza, but saw one delivered to the table next to us and that then basically three people ended up sharing it … and realized that would be way too much food for me.

We’re like the Goldilocks of food ordering.

I will say, though, that neither one of us was disappointed in the Ahi tuna. It was tasty, as were the potatoes and bok choi/carrots that came with it. The server had mentioned that it’s always prepared rare, which was delicious. And while it didn’t look like a lot of food on the plate, I was definitely full. Ted said he wasn’t completely full, but he definitely wasn’t hungry either. I’ll leave that for you to figure out.

WTGW gets fancy

WTGW gets fancy

Shane, on the other hand … well, let’s just say that out of any of us at the table, he should’ve ordered the pizza. He actually had thought about it, but then talked himself out of it, as he’d already eaten pizza for dinner two of the last three nights. But if you’ve kept up on this blog you’ll know that really shouldn’t have stopped him, as pizza is one of his favorite foods. I mean, anyone recall the half sheet pizza incident? Right.

But he also loves scallops, and since we don’t often go out on WTGW to places that serve those, he opted for that as his meal. And then was instantly disappointed as soon as his plate was set in front of him. His comment after the server left was that he was waiting for someone else to walk up and bring him his main course instead of the appetizer portion.

We obviously don’t go to fancy places much, folks. Grease and heart attacks on plates are more our style.

Now, he did say that the scallops were good. But just not at all filling. Because you only get like five. He also said they went a little crazy with all the “stuff” on top of the scallops – I don’t know what that “stuff” was, that’s just what he called it. “Stuff.” So basically overall everything was very good, there just wasn’t enough of it. I have to believe he would’ve traded all the “fancy” in exchange for just more basic scallops.

Why is there so much white space on this plate?

Why is there so much white space on this plate?

So I guess the tip is, someone order the pizza. Chances are someone at the table will still be hungry enough to finish it if you can’t. If I would’ve then I probably could’ve given my leftovers to Shane. And he would’ve been happier.

Although the server did mention that if you come for lunch the pizza is cheaper and more sized for one person, so that’s also something to keep in mind. Same pizza, just more manageable for one person (whose name isn’t Shane anyway). Not sure what exactly cheaper means, but the dinner portions are $14-$17, just to give you an idea.

Another tip, eat the bread and butter they bring to the table. Delicious.

Little pockets of heaven

Little pockets of heaven

This was definitely one of our pricier WTGW adventures – but then again this was far from a dive bar with food that comes from a fryer. They do have reasonably priced sandwiches on the menu ($11-$14) and also bottled domestic beers for $3-$5 each – but of course we went all out with mixed drinks, apps, and actual meal choices. I mean, it has been three months, y’all. Come on.

But by comparison, for the price of one of our meals at The Twisted Olive we could’ve gone to The Windsor Pub and gotten three giant burgers, fries and pretty much an entire bottle of rum contained within three mixed drinks. But we also would’ve been sitting in a booth with ripped plastic seats and no windows to look out of. Not that there’s necessarily anything wrong with that. Just giving it some perspective.

Anyway, I could definitely see us coming back here for a bottle of wine and apps on the patio, as it’s a great atmosphere for that and we definitely had a wonderful summer night to be out there. Service was great, the food was delicious (if only there was more of it) and the patio is most certainly a huge selling point. We’re definitely glad to be back to WTGW adventures, though, and this was a great way to start … even if we did miss our two other partners in crime …

Ted

Ted

Shane

Shane

Steph

Steph

CAPSULE

Picked by:  Ted

Drinks: Mixed drinks were good, and the guys were of course wowed by the various Bloody Mary options. Saw several folks with martinis but I opted not to go down that road.
Food: This is a “fancy” food place – so be prepared for smaller portions that are more about presentation than volume.
Service: Personable, funny and quick – three of our favorite things.
Overall: This is one of those places I could see us going back to for a special occasion dinner, or just to have a glass of wine on the patio on a summer night. As long as we feed Shane elsewhere beforehand.

Next Pick: Shane

The Twisted Olive Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

 

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WTGW 12/2/15: Rush Hour Grille, Twinsburg

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Thank you, Google Maps, for alerting us that this week’s pick sits pretty much directly across a plaza entrance from another recent WTGW Twinsburg pick, Sassy’s. Although thankfully this place is not just a different shade of neon on the inside. So at least that’s not an ongoing theme in this area.

Although I will admit that – while I don’t advocate neon – Rush Hour Grille could use a bit of some kind of an update on the interior. The inside kind of looks like someone just took an empty warehouse space or garage, stuck a bar in the center and then scattered some tables around the perimeter. Because, why not? Especially considering the neighboring spaces include a public safety firearms space, daycare center and Jehovah’s witness church. All of which scream to have a bar within walking distance, no?

Anyway.

As usual – and since, I mean, there’s a bar in the middle of the space, just begging for our attention – we started with drinks. Ted was happy to hear that the “Beer of the Month” was large Christmas Ales for $5.00 … which is either a lucky find or glutton for punishment, depending on how you look at it. Speaking of lucky finds, Amanda and I discovered that they still had Pumpkin Shandy on draft, so score for us. Or not, depending on how long those kegs have actually been sitting around, but whatever. The important part is that for once we found they still had a beer we liked and it didn’t run out after one round. That honor instead belonged to Jerrid this time, who was happily enjoying Oktoberfest until he was told that, alas, there was no more.

Welcome to our group, buddy. It’s like Russian Roulette of beer taps with us.

So after his drink of choice ran out he switched to Jack & cokes – partially because Shane was enjoying rum & diets out of a mason jar, and Jerrid decided he liked that glass. He even asked the server if the drink would, in fact, come served in that same type of glass.

Server: I can put in in whatever cup you want. Coffee cup. Martini glass. Large draft glass. Doesn’t matter to me.
Shane: I like her.

Sidenote: I think that likability was mutual, because after a little issue with food orders later in the evening, the server brought Shave over his next drink and told him it was on the house – even though it was actually my entire order that got messed up, and only part of his. But thanks for that. I mean, even though we said we were together in the check doesn’t technically mean he should get a free drink by proxy. But whatevs.

Anyway, speaking of food, we of course ordered enough to feed a small country and still have leftovers. I seriously think if you look up gluttony in the dictionary there’s a picture of us at one of our WTGW outings.

Ted ordered the mussels – which he knew I would share some of with him – and then six wings, AND the Italian sandwich. The last additon was just because the server said it was one of her favorite things there. And you know we’re about as easily swayed as a flower basket in the wind.

This sandwich was server approved and recommended

This sandwich was server approved and recommended

Not to be outdone, Shane ordered six of the dry dusted ranch boneless wings and a burger with chips. Because, again, boys order two meals at our table I guess. I got 12 of the garlic parm boneless wings, Amanda got the nacho burger and fries, and Jerrid got the catfish po’boy sandwich with onion rings. Upon hearing the discussion about onion rings, Shane and I then had to order them ourselves, because for one they sounded delicious, and also because I felt inadequate that I was the only one at the table to not technically order more than one food item.

Sandwiches and wings. Our staples of life.

Sandwiches and wings. Our staples of life.

As usual, Shane performed his “burger doneness and pinkness level interrogation” on the server before everyone ordered – to which she replied that all burgers are cooked to order. Ok, cool. So then like 30 seconds later Shane places his order, and the server asks him what temperature he wants his burger … Shane’s answer is “what do you mean?” Hmmm. Way to pay attention there, honey.

And then after all that, Amanda’s burger came out pinker than Shane’s, even though he ordered medium rare, and she ordered medium. So I guess there it was the server’s turn to pay attention.

Even more so when she ended up mixing up mine and Shane’s wing orders, so he got 12 of the ranch wings (he only ordered six) and I only got six of the garlic parm (I ordered 12). When we finally flagged down the server and pointed that out, she took away both of our wing orders and said she would bring out fresh. Interesting. Wouldn’t you just leave what was there, and just bring out six more of mine? What happened to that extra six of Shane’s? And why did you have to make new, when really there were just some missing – the actual flavors were right? I’ve never seen that happen before.

Shane's original 12

Shane’s original 12

Thank god for the onion rings, or else I’d had nothing to at least pick at while everyone else nearly finished their dinners.

And then – because apparently it just wasn’t my night all around – I ended up really regretting those first six wings disappeared, because at least I would’ve had something decent to call my meal. The replacement wings she brought out for me were all garlic, no parm. And by all garlic, I think they were dipped in garlic juice, breaded in garlic bread crumbs, fried in garlic oil and then showered with whole cloves of garlic. Not only could I smell the garlic as soon as the wings hit the table, what I thought might be parmesan on the wings turned out to actually be cloves of garlic. Overkill much? If there were any vampires within 100 miles of this place I think they all perished as soon as those wings came out of the fryer.

I even tried picking the breading off half of them just to make them edible – since I think my taste buds were completely dead by that point and I was still really hungry – but even that couldn’t mask the taste. *sigh*

It's never a good sign when you can see the garlic as much as you can smell it

It’s never a good sign when you can see the garlic as much as you can smell it

Meanwhile, Shane’s new wings were perfect. As was his free drink. And his burger. But that’s cool.

And you know, honestly, I really liked our server at first – she has charisma, sarcasm, character – you know, all the qualities I usually praise in someone who can put up with our somewhat crazy group. But right about the point that she basically threw me to the curb in favor of Shane, I kind of changed my tune.

But other than that, though, everything else about the place and our meals was good. The mussels were really tasty. And while I thought the onion rings were a bit too crispy and not doughy enough for my liking, everyone else really liked them. Even though Shane’s burger wasn’t cooked exactly to his liking, he rated it very high on his list of good burgers. Amanda could barely finish her burger because she was so stuffed – but she tried since it was so good. The fries didn’t get the same love, just because there was no room left at the inn.

Hope those fries reheat well

Hope those fries reheat well

Rush Hour Grille, Twinsburg

Once again on our scale of how much we like a place, if we end up sticking around for drinks after the actual meals are boxed up and taken away, it has to be at least somewhat OK in our book. So, Shane returns from the restrooms and notices the sign in the lobby that Salted Caramel Mocha Martinis are on special … so of course we had to finish out the evening with those. Because, well, us. Shane said the bartender looked scared when he went up and ordered them, like she had no idea how to make them. And it did take her a hot minute to get five of them done … but upon tasting them she apparently figured out that at least one ingredient in them is, well, any and all liquors available behind the bar, because they were strong as could be.

Well at least it looks pretty

Well at least it looks pretty

Shane: Wow, I guess I should’ve tipped her more.

Maybe it was the final round of martinis, or the lingering smell of garlic from my wings making everyone a bit delirious, but somehow we ended up in a spirited debate about something called the Rice & Beans Gang that Shane swore was real. Like a real, actual gang that you should be scared of. Like one that could rival the Bloods or Crips. Um? Seriously? Even Google and Siri thought we were insane when we tried to validate that one. But this is what we call entertainment when we start drinking, folks.

Cheers!

Cheers!

Although we realized after we got home that this was the first time in about the last 8,000 outings that we didn’t manage to tease Ted about his infamous pick, Gus’ Chalet. And just like that, the streak is broken. It definitely must’ve been the martinis. Or maybe the Rice & Beans Gang secretly infiltrated the bar and drugged us. Whatever.

Shane

Shane

Ted

Ted

Jerrid

Jerrid

Amanda

Amanda

Steph

Steph

CAPSULE

Picked by:  Amanda

Drinks:  For once us girls found a beer we liked and it didn’t run out after one round, so score for us. Jerrid was not so lucky. Welcome to our group, buddy. 
Food:
I think I was the only one to not really care for my food – and that’s only because I don’t moonlight as a vampire killer, so really the over-abundance of garlic was a bit unnecessary.
Service: If your name was Shane, it was awesome. For the rest of us at the table, it was just OK.
Overall: Eh. I would pick this place over the counterpart on the other side of the plaza (Sassy’s), but that’s not saying it’s really worth our trek back to Twinsburg. Unless of course we’re being chased by vampires, in which case this is exactly where I’m headed.

Next Pick: Ted

WTGW 12/17/14: Craft Beer Bar, Cuyahoga Falls

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I’m still amazed when we find places in our tiny town of Cuyahoga Falls that we haven’t been to yet. Although Craft Beer Bar kind of gets a pass, since it just opened a few months ago. That’s the idea people. Keep opening new restaurants so we have new places to try without driving far. I like your style.

Craft is located near downtown, over by The Office. I have to admit that this winter excursion was better than our trip to the latter in the snow last year, but the parking situation was eerily similar. Seriously, do we not believe in surface lots in this part of the city? Let’s just open a restaurant and they’ll figure out where to park later. Good plan.

Craft is a relatively small-ish space, but didn’t feel as cramped as some of those we’ve visited recently. To put it in perspective, I think both Frank’s and Larry’s could fit inside this place. (That it not a sentence to be taken out of context, btw.) Loved the exposed brick and the lighting elements, they really made the place feel homey in a trendy sort of way. I think the word for that these days is “hipster,” am I correct? As in, there were also lots of beards, scarves and glasses seated at other tables around us. Also, at one point the Lumineers song “Hey Ho” came on the background music, and Shane commented that he could “totally see this place having this song on a consecutive loop all night long.” For what it’s worth.

Exposed brick will get me every time

Exposed brick will get me every time

Beer lists on chalkboards are way cool

Beer lists on chalkboards are way cool

Anyway.

The purpose of the place is – you guessed it – craft beers. Shocker, I know. And also keeping with the hipster theme. So obviously they have a pretty impressive – and ever changing – beer list. Although they do also have cans of Bud, Bud Light and Yuelingling for those completely opposed to trying something new. I’m happy to report that we actually were not one of those tables this time around. Another shocker.

Amanda and Shane had the cider (Shane diverted in one round to the Bells Winter White but then went back to his original choice – because, well, he was not a fan). I went with the Bells Winter White at first, later trying the Ommegang Witte. And Ted was all over the board with the things we thought sounded great on the menu but he knew that we wouldn’t want to drink (Obsidian, anyone?). Because, well, Ted. This was kind of his own person mecca in some ways.

Seriously, though, can we just talk for a minute about the person who writes these beer descriptions? Some of these sounded deliciously refreshing on paper … and then when they arrive it’s like a meal in a glass. “Warm and nutty with a hint of caramel and nutmeg” sounds fantastic until it arrives and has a color darker than strong coffee and the consistency of oatmeal.

Props to our server, who was patient with us when we weren’t sure what we wanted, and tried his best to suggest what “I-typically-stick-to-Miller-Lite” Shane might like, as well as bring samples of things we thought sounded good but then were glad we didn’t have to finish an entire glass of afterwards (see above paragraph). To be honest, though, Craft really needs a bigger staff to accommodate for other tables like ours – it’s not a “take your order and bring it over” kind of place, you need more time for questions and dialog, and unfortunately that means other tables get left alone for a bit longer than one would like at times.

Now let’s talk food.

Craft doesn’t have a huge menu, but definitely enough for all different pallets. Shane and I started with the Bacon Queso Dip as an app, which was very tasty. I mean, because bacon. And cheese. How can you go wrong?

The dish was a lot fuller when it arrived. Bacon and cheese don't last long with us.

The dish was a lot fuller when it arrived. Bacon and cheese don’t last long with us.

Well, unless you’re Ted, who of course hates cheese. He went a different route, and started with the salmon cakes – which he dubbed “like crab cakes but a cheap knock off.” He liked the pineapple tarter sauce, saying it was very unique.

"Cheap Crab Cakes"

“Cheap Crab Cakes”

For his meal Ted had the meatball sub that all of us eyed up on the menu at one point or another. He said the sauce was too sweet for him … which meant it actually would’ve been perfect for Shane, ironically. Ted said it was good but just not really his style, he wanted a spicier sauce.

Yes, I believe he did pick all of that cheese off

Yes, I believe he did pick all of that cheese off

In keeping with their identical drink orders, Shane and Amanda both had the brisket sandwich. It’s huge. Like size of your head huge. So huge that Shane – while he finished the chips that came with it – didn’t finish the side order of parmesan garlic fries he also ordered. Trust me, we were all as shocked as you are.

She should've put her head next to it for a true comparison

She should’ve put her head next to it for a true comparison

Uneaten fries. A rarity for sure.

Uneaten fries. A rarity for sure.

It should also be noted that sandwiches come with a pickle – but “it can’t compare to Moe’s pickle.” Cue “that’s what she said” jokes.

I had the Barbacoa Tacos, which were very good. The sauce was spicy but not overwhelmingly so (you know right now you’re envisioning that AT&T commerical with the “I like it spicy but not errrrr spicy” guy, am I right? Go ahead, google it, we’ll wait.). I could have done without the Spanish rice that comes with it, though, as that didn’t really add anything to the dish. I mean, I still ate it – but it wasn’t really the best part of the meal or anything.

Fancy tacos

Fancy tacos

It should be noted that, for about the 85th consecutive week, we found some way to reference Gus’ Chalet at some point in the meal. It’s just a matter of principle now. That place may be closed, but we definitely keep the memory alive, yo.

Overall Craft is a good place, although the beer prices make it a bit pricier than our last few WTGW stops. But it’s well worth it in my opinion, and would be a great new place to meet up with friends or even just stop for a beer or two. Shane was a little more on the fence, but I think he was just being picky. Maybe if we dress him in full out hipster garb next time he’ll feel change his opinion.

Ted

Ted

 

 

Amanda

Amanda

Steph

Steph

Shane

Shane

 

 

 

CAPSULE

Picked by:  Steph
Drinks:  If you don’t like craft beers you’re kind of out of luck. But then again you probably already know that. See also: obvious restaurant titles.
Food:
Good. The menu is small but mighty.
Service: A little slow, but that might’ve been more the fault of the scheduling than the actual staff. At least our server was patient with us when it came to our beer ignorances.
Overall: Since Ted is a) a craft beer junkie and b) almost in walking distance of the place, I think he’ll be back for sure … but I could see the rest of us stopping back in as well.

Next Pick: Amanda (although we’ll be on hiatus until 2015 – as much as we love you WTGW, Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve are not the best nights for outings)

Craft Beer Bar on Urbanspoon

 

WTGW 4/2/14: Gus’ Chalet, Akron

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Once upon a time, when we were very first starting out on on WTGW adventures and long before we ever started this little blog (so last summer, to be exact), we paid a visit to a little place in Akron called the Ido Lounge. That place has lived in infamy all these months later, not because it was the best place we’d ever been to … but because it was hands down the very worst of our WTGW adventures. Aside from paying $5 for a had-to-be-less-than-12-oz mug of beer (and not realizing this until we got the bills at the end of the night, because apparently our invisible ink decoder rings didn’t work on these menus), the service was sketchy at best and the atmosphere was more “night at the senior center” than “fun Wednesday.”

Now, I mention this only because … ladies and gentlemen … as of this week’s WTGW, the Ido Lounge has been overthrown from its last place slot.

To be fair, we probably should have considered the name of the place somewhat of a warning sign that we were getting into dangerous territory. And it should be known that from here on out, any place with the name “Chalet” in the title is hereby considered exempt from consideration.

This was Ted’s pick, and he actually called an audible since his initial pick was Beef O’Brady’s in Stow – which Amanda, Shane and myself had already been to at one point in time or another, but we were grandfathering in simply because we all know its a rarity that Ted is the one person out of the group who actually hasn’t been somewhere. But since none of us were really all that impressed with that place, he decided to go ahead with this pick instead.

Let’s just say I think we all would’ve eaten at Beef O’Brady’s for a week straight before we’d ever set foot in Gus’ again.

This place is straight out of 1956. Which probably was when it was built, and when all of the current staff started working there. And therein lies the problem: nothing, and I mean NOTHING, has changed since that time. I should’ve taken some pictures so we would have evidence of this … but I was afraid that the time warp vacuum we were in might just cause my iPhone camera to self destruct.

And not to say that the staff wasn’t pleasant. They were very nice … in that same way that stopping by your grandma’s and having her serve you up a dinner made from the canned goods she’s been saving up in her basement in case of the apocalypse is nice. It’s that kind of comfortable.

I think we all knew we were in trouble when we walked in and realized within seconds that we were clearly the youngest people in the place. You could comfortably fit at least a generation or two between our group and who we thought to be the youngest people in the place – and, despite our love of weeknight beers and occasional over indulgences, we have to admit that we aren’t exactly spring chickens ourselves. So that should give you a pretty good idea of what we’re dealing with here. Shane later referred to the Gus’ as “the place where Cocoon was filmed.” Again, just trying to give you a good visual reference.

Even the hostess kind of looked us up and down when we first walked in, like she knew we couldn’t possibly be in the right place. And then when she realized we were the ones with reservations, I think that was a dead giveaway that we were first-and-likely-only timers. PS – while I give Gus’ kudos for having a website, they may want to update it to let people know that reservations are really, really not necessary. Really. At all.

Anyway.

So where do I even begin here when it comes to our orders? I guess alcohol – always start with alcohol, right? I think that was especially our group’s thought when we realized we were past the “too late to bail out now” portion of the evening and were going to have to suffer through this one.

I think Ted knew he was in trouble when the server got all the way through the beer list and it was primarily things ending in the word “lite.” Turns out the only dark beer available was Guinness. In a bottle. OK. The rest of us went with the standard Miller Lite. And I have to think none of use would’ve really been that surprised if the server had come back with beers in packaging resembling the “throwback” cans they’re touting now … except they would really be from that era. That didn’t happen – but I have to there’s a strong possibility those cans do exist somewhere in that establishment.

As far as our entrees, Ted ordered the filet with mashed potatoes, Amanda had the chicken parm, Shane had eggplant parm and I had salmon with baked potato. I don’t really have much of anything to say about any of those things. They were edible, but nothing special.

Now the appetizers, however …

Let me preface this by saying that we didn’t actually order the appetizers. And when the server brought them over I can’t even imagine the confused looks on our faces. I think Amanda was the first one to whisper “did we order these? did she get the wrong table?” as the server walked away – but we were all thinking it. Turns out that Gus’ offers these free “house appetizers” with every meal. Let this just be a lesson to you that the words “free isn’t always better” have never rang truer than at this place.

So what was this exactly?

1.) Raw carrots and celery. OK, this was edible. Can’t really screw that up.

2.) Sauerkraut balls. Again, not horrible. Deep frying anything pretty much always makes it at least tolerable.

 

3.) Some sort of “bean salad.” You know, like potato salad. Except with beans. And straight mayo. Together. As the only ingredients. Also, word to the wise, the bean salad is NOT sweet. Just ask Shane, whose pondering aloud as the spoon was on its way to his mouth, “is it sweet?” nearly choked all of us as he quickly answered himself with a resounding “nope” as soon as it hit his tongue.

4.) (and here’s where it really gets good … and by good I mean downright strange …) Something we can only describe as “tarter toast.” Seriously. It was triangles of  toast with tarter sauce on them. And then baked. Which, jokes on us, because presenting it like this made it look deceptively like melted cheese. So we assumed it was cheesy garlic bread. But definitely wasn’t. At all. Again, head our warning here. We suffer so you don’t have to.

And I can already tell this particular item will be the punchline of many jokes within our group for a very long time.

So basically, to summarize, the “house appetizers” are in essence foods assembled by a drunk person with the munchies and very little food in their house. You could probably get the same items by rolling a few miles to the east and hitting a frat house on the KSU campus. Just sayin.

So, yeah, that pretty much sums up our night at Gus’. We didn’t even stay for another round of drinks after dinner – well, a) because they were probably ready to close the place down, considering it was all of 8PM and I’m sure their dinner rush happens at about 4:30, and b) because we were all bursting by this point with jokes about the place, but couldn’t say anything at the table because it was so quiet in there and we already felt like we were being watched since we were super young newbies. Kind of like being at the kids table at your grandparent’s house. Although one side note, we observed – through the silence – that the background music in the dining room was a blend of country and Top 40. I guess the elders love them some Taylor Swift.

Because it was only 8PM when we left – and because we had to redeem the evening somehow – we ended the evening with drinks at our old faithful, Johnny J’s in the Valley. Summer shandy is back on tap kids. Bring on the patio weather.

CAPSULE

Picked by:  Ted
Drinks: What did they serve at bars in 1956? Because that’s pretty much what they probably still have here.
Food:
Two words: tartar toast. Knowing that comes free with every meal kind of shapes the way you think about the place as a whole.
Service: Everyone was pleasant, and things were served in a timely fashion. By someone who could’ve been my grandmother.
Overall: The next time any of us see the inside of this place, we better be on the other side of the 70 year mark. And even then it’s debatable.

Next Pick: Shane

Gus's Chalet on Urbanspoon

 

WTGW 11/27/13: ‘Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving

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We’re back!

Sorry for the week off, but it was kind of necessary seeing as Shane and I were celebrating our anniversary last Wednesday. And while we love Amanda and Ted, it seemed a little awkward to invite them along and share a bottle of wine with them for that particular occasion. We actually did go to a couple of new places that evening, and maybe eventually I’ll post about them – although I’m ashamed to admit that we didn’t take one photo throughout the evening, not even of the two of us (I know, us, of all people, right?!) so it might be rather boring. Because that’s a big change from the other posts, I know.

Anyway, let’s move on to this week, which was Ted’s choice. And lucky him to get the night before Thanksgiving, which most of you probably know carries the notorious title of “biggest bar night of the year.” No pressure or anything, Ted.

We may not have visited the busiest places, but we set a new record for the WTGW crew that night : most places visited in one evening. It was kind of like our own little Cuyahoga Falls bar hop … showcasing the least busiest places on the most busy night of the year. Yay us!

Stop #1: The Boulevard
OK, I’ll be honest, I had never even heard of this place before. As we were walking in Ted mentioned that he had been there once before, just for drinks, and in conjunction with a visit to a bar “next door” – a place with no windows or noticeable sign, the name of which still isn’t clear and the entrance to which I still can’t locate, and, after hearing Ted talk about it, seemed to just get shadier as the stories wore on. Thankfully he didn’t suggest we eat there instead.

The Boulevard 11/27/13

Guess which one of these drinks is Ted’s

The Boulevard is one of those places that is just OK. Not a lot as far a beer selection (no Miller Lite on draft? But yet they had Christmas Ale, so Ted was happy), the menu didn’t have an overwhelming amount of options, the service was fine but nothing special. We probably should’ve been tipped off when we googled it and didn’t find an actual website for the place. Really? Hi, 1998 called, they’d like their marketing plan back please.

Three of the four of us ended up with the Fish Special, which was tasty – and during the meal led to a lengthy discussion about what the “secret ingredient” was for the breading. When asked, the waitress obviously couldn’t give up the secret, but could confirm it was NOT Ritz Crackers, nor a breakfast cereal of any kind. That did not help our discussion.

So basically this was one of those places we probably won’t see the inside of again. Unless of course we end up at previously mentioned “bar” next door and need some food to soak up the alcohol with. Or an escape route.

The Boulevard 11/27/13

Shane wishes his burger was a tad bit taller

The Boulevard 11/27/13

The fish dinner with the conversation starting breading

Stop #2: The Red Fox
So after discovering The Boulevard wasn’t exactly the type of place that keeps the party going past the dinner hour, we decided to “see where the night took us” and just start hitting up places on the path from there to (somewhat close to) our house. Being that it was still Ted’s night to pick the place, it was only fitting that he seemed to be the only one throwing out suggestions of places to stop. Well, that, and he had already visited most of them at one point or another (we warned you he would be the most difficult one to keep to that “never been there before” rule, just thanks to being the longest resident of the area).

I don’t expect much from bars located in strip plazas. Especially strip plazas whose other tenants include a Goodwill, dollar store, comedy club and some sort of video or game store (those still exist?). But The Red Fox was surprisingly, um, different inside than what I expected. I can’t really say if that’s different good, or different bad … just different.  The place is huge inside, with two really large bars in the center of the space. On one side there’s a dance floor and DJ area … and then on the other side there’s a whole area of couches, leather chairs, tables and TV screens displaying fake fireplaces. It’s kind of like South Beach meets ski lodge, albeit with a clientele more of the West Virginia persuasion. See why different is the best way I can describe this?

We only stayed for one drink, during which time Ted explained to Amanda and I some of his shenanigans as a former “regular” of the place, while my husband was chatted up by some random woman at the bar – who he later swore we encountered a few months back during a pre-WTGW adventure to a much shadier bar, The Melody Inn.  Yeah, we get around. At some point I heard the works “breast milk” within the context of their conversation, and decided it was best to just stay the hell out of that one. Besides, I think by then we’d discovered the lone guy who was enjoying using every inch of the available dance floor space for his own episode of DancePartyUSA, and that was far more entertaining.

Stop #3: Jimmy Bigg’s
Also known to Shane as: the bar inside the former Arby’s. Ted swears it was an Arthur Treachers, but Shane wasn’t having any part of that discussion. The name of this place will forever be “Old Arby’s” to him. Regardless, let me just

You don’t dare Ted to do something unless you actually want it done.

go on record saying that making a bar out of a former fast-food restaurant location – especially when you do very little to change or otherwise disguise the former interior – is not good. Case in point, we found a stack of booster seats in the corner of the former dining area. You don’t leave props lying around for drunk people to play with. That has to be in a “guide to owning a bar” handbook somewhere.

Another big “don’t” on the list? An open discussion about how the establishment next door was robbed less than an hour prior. And the probability of said robber returning to the area to knock off this place. Hmmm. I think we were all silently willing each other to drink our beers faster.

But Ted swears they have really good burgers there. Although if he picks that place on his next WTGW round we will all certainly veto it. Unless it’s take out. During daylight hours. And he also steals a booster seat.

Stop #4: Domenic’s
Domenic’s was actually the second official WTGW stop when we started this whole crazy journey – long before the blog – as a pick by Shane back in in July because he googled “Wednesday wing nights” and they were, well, somewhere on the list. Unfortunately for him this place became better known as the only place in history where Shane hasn’t finished an order of wings – primarily because we discovered that they heavily batter their wings before frying them, therefore making nice little grease envelopes between the seasoning and the actual meat. I know, how does that not sound tasty, right?

So since that left a bit of a bad taste in our mouths (see what I did there?) we just never quite made it back. Maybe it was because it was nearing closing time and we were quite a few beers in at this point, or maybe because we just had low standards by this point and were charmed by any place where no one spoke of robberies or served us from behind what still obviously looked like a fast food counter, but I think as long as we avoided the wings we would give this place another shot – even if it’s just a drinking establishment.

The Boulevard 11/27/13

Being goofy

The Boulevard 11/27/13

Sometimes we turn out OK

Next Pick: Shane

WTGW 10/9/13: Fisher’s Cafe and Pub, Penninsula

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So after a couple of weeks of “classy” establishments, we decided we needed to try something that was more along the lines of a burger & beer joint. Which I guess is kind of just a nicer way to say “dive bar,” but whatever. At first glance Fisher’s Cafe and Pub seemed to fit the bill – notice Exhibit A:

Keepin it classy

Keepin it classy

And also Exhibit B, which shows how us resourceful people used the wine and martini list to fix a table more crooked than Lily and Marshall’s apartment in season three of How I Met Your Mother.

This was really all the wine and mixed drink list was good for

This was really all the wine and mixed drink list was good for

One of the waitresses was also sporting a look that included a combination of New Jersey bump-it and about a gallon of hair gel. I would post the grainy, out-of-focus photo that we tried to take inconspicuously (which I’m sure four people who have been drinking for a few hours TOTALLY pulled off), but I don’t want to incriminate myself lest I end up in that area again. I mean, she was talking to what is probably the one-and-only cop in that tiny village (who was bellied up to the bar drinking what I hope was a milkshake for part of our stay), so clearly she knows people.

Anyway.

Wednesdays at Fisher’s are LobsterFest, which the guys took part in – and clearly Ted enjoyed himself.

WTGW10913 003 WTGW10913 004

The Claw! The Claw!

Shane was less than thrilled, and I think would’ve made a stop at Sheetz on the way home if there had been a way to route us that way without being obvious. As for me, I’m just going to go on the record and say that if you like your chicken sandwiches of the “fresh from the freezer and probably made from the same processed pieces parts as chicken McNuggets” variety, then this is definitely the place for you. But at least the fries were good.

I will say that I’m glad we were seated in the back bar area and not the front “cafe” portion of the establishment – mainly because I don’t think any of us remembered to bring the fake IDs that get us Golden Buckeye discounts so we would fit in with the rest of that crowd. Ousted. And if it had been just a smidge warmer the outdoor bar/patio area looks like it would’ve been a fun spot. We made a note to put it on the list of places for patio drinks next summer … just as long as we remember to leave before any of us get hungry.

You can always tell when we’re more in this for the alcohol than the food, because we end up just taking pictures of ourselves.

Shane thinks he's Barney Stinson

Shane thinks he’s Barney Stinson

We're not as good at posing

We’re not as good at posing

My only wish is that the bump-it waitress would've been walking behind us during this photo shoot

My only wish is that the bump-it waitress would’ve been walking behind us during this photo shoot

Don't let Shane's hand gesture give you the wrong idea about our general impression of this place

Don’t let Shane’s hand gesture give you the wrong idea about our general impression of this place

CAPSULE
Picked by: Steph
Drink selection:
 The basics
Food: No thank you. Not impressed.
Service: Once again, not impressed. Although the entertainment value was better than the actual service.
Overall: I doubt we’ll see the inside of this place again.

Next pick – Amanda