Thursday, August 14, 2014

Flappin' Handle

Another Wednesday night out on the town. Woo.
Tap and Handle is conveniently on the 'outskirts' of Old Town, so a bit easier for all you "parking is hard" people.
This place goes deep, like to the back of the building deep. There is actually quite a lot of room, especially if you include the partially-enclosed patio. The upstairs has a pool table and some loungey couches that I shudder to think about on a Saturday at 1:30 AM, but seem friendly enough by the light of day.

They have no soda gun, so if you want a club soda you have to buy a bottle of Pellegrino. My beer menu had a lot of beers (like 50%?) scratched off. I couldn't decide if this was someone tracking their achievement for the day or an indication of what was "out." I ordered off the chalk board instead.

The food menu is a delight to read. Just kidding. It was fairly standard 'pub' food for Fort Collins. Asparagus fried though! That is awesome.

WTF is with "Irish nachos?" IF it was potatoes covered in traditional nacho toppings, I would 'get it.' But it is more liked loaded baked potato fries. OH. Maybe the could call it "Loaded French Fries!"

The green chili burger is like green chili with beef in it over a bun, not a burger covered in green chili. The Reuben was a little off and blah, the corned beef was cut really thick. The sweet potato fries were tasty, though.

We sat way in the back and table service was normal but not super. The bartender was nice. Live music started at some point but was not so loud where we were sitting.


Friday, August 8, 2014

ISO Tall, dark, and mystical.

When I read William Oliver's website I envision a lovely, dark, low-ceiling bar under a train stop, perhaps with a grey wizard in the corner waiting to take you on an adventure as soon as you finish sipping the smoky amber manna from heaven in the teeny glass in front of you next to your trencher of hearty beef stew...
YEAH I GOT A LITTLE ROMANTIC.

But they are all talk and no fiddler in the corner. This is literally in strip mall by a grocery store. Luckily, the patio is nicely shaded and kind of blocked from the insanely busy parking lot by some substantial brick pillars. The food menu is limited where the whisky menu is not.

The pretzel and the hummus plate were good. unlimited chips and salsa-- um how can you go wrong?
The pulled pork seemed a little commercial - I don't know if they make it there, but I am guessing not. I actually liked the feta coleslaw, miraculously.

The Boylan's soda is great, and the specialty cocktails are delicious.

Service was a little perfunctory, but normal.
Next time I might sit inside and see if enough whiskeys can summon the mysterious stranger I long for.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

WDYJE Coast to Coast Part 3: North Carolina is the South

If you are a native westerner like me -- please, go to the museum. It is free because it is a part of the Smithsonian, so use those fucking tax dollars. It is an insane illustration of what the Civil War did to the Eastern Seaboard and the Mason-Dixon line is a LOT further north than I thought it was. Also did you know there were NUMEROUS GERMAN SUBMARINES SUNK OFF THE COAST OF NORTH CAROLINA? 20th Century history is not my strong suit but I feel like I would remember some mention of THAT.
Anyway, on to what you came for...


NoFo's Cafe (NoFO @ The Pig)

Pimento Cheese is not a thing in the west, but it should be. It is like our spinach-artichoke dip. Ubiquitous and, I discovered, practically irresistible. NoFo Cafe version comes with a generous portion of vegetables and BACON to dip into the hot, melty cheese.

The shrimp and grits is amazing. This kicks the ass of any shrimp and grits I have had. Understated and perfect.
It was very busy even on a weeknight.


Ba Da Wings

Wings, duh. LOTS of flavors. I went for the normal "BaDaBing" hotness and got a couple of sides of other sauce because I am obsessed with Carolina BBQ sauce.
I loved the sauces, but I would ask for the wings cooked a little longer to get a more crispy outside. (They were cooked through though.)
These guys were super nice.

The China Queen
This is a Chinese buffet. It was PACKED at lunch time. But really, one of the better cheap Chinese buffets I have been to. Busy equals quick food turnover so everything was really fresh. Also it helps being near a coast -- you don't have to be so squeamish about the fish selections. I think it was like 8.00 with a drink.

Red Monkey Tavern

This is why you don't take food recommendations from peasants. Seriously if someone says they like Olive Garden you can NEVER EVER EVER listen to what they think is good food again.
One of my fellow trainees claimed that the food was great here. They recommended the lobster BLT.
This was bullshit. I mean it was basically like I went out and got a shitton of lobster and then went back to my house and toasted some cheap, stale wheat bread and put the lobster on there. It had a lot of lobster. Unseasoned lobster. Just sitting with the B, L, and T on the dry-ass bread. It was really an insane waste of lobster.


What I missed:  apparently every day there are a bunch of food trucks on the North Carolina State University campus, so if that is your thing it is probably worth a look here.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

WDYJE Coast to Coast Part 2: Back inside the Beltway

Another short and dirty trip to our nation's capitol.

Day 1:
McDonald's at DIA. What? It is insanely expensive, and the menu is limited. That equals fine dining. Next they will have a prix fixe. Remember this, it become relevant later.

I arrive at my hotel behind a huge pack of midwestern red-hats and I am so tired I want to cry. Until some lovely person comes around with a tray of hot, fresh appetizers. Cheese sticks, tiny crab cakes, and little spanikopita. She was an angel in a Hilton vest. This place knows how to make people not care about waiting for Sarah from Omaha to ask about every amenity they might possible have, including Day Care even though her daughter is obviously in high school.

Day 2:
I am a cheapskate, so I ate every day at the FREE BUFFET in the hotel. It was awesome, like most breakfast buffets.

Lunch is at the cafeteria in the office building where I am training. This is a new experience for me and I also ate shit on the ice right before I got to the building so i do not feel like traveling anywhere. Surprisingly good made-to-order food.

Bolt Burgers
Much like Five Guys, only a little fancier. When I was waiting for my food some dude was actually grilling the poor girl at the counter about how they were different from Five Guys. Well, you can choose your seasoning for one. I think they have more "gourmet" toppings as well. Plus they have shakes and smoothies and shit. Very good food and they sell their seasoning or you can just steal one off the table. Just kidding, don't steal. SERIOUSLY DON'T

Day 3:
Ben's Chili Bowl

How could I not visit? Well -- I didn't have time the first trip, that's how. So I am very lucky I got to come back. Half-smoke, split and grilled, times two. And chili-cheese fries. The line was not too long at 5pm on a weekday.


Day 4:
McDonald's at Regan. What. The. Fuck. A: cheaper than DIA. B: THEY STILL HAVE THE CHICKEN BISCUIT SANDWICHES C: I was more excited about this than I should have been and ate more than I should have before a long flight.


What I missed: Apparently they have a really good restaurant in the National Museum of the American Indian.

Friday, January 31, 2014

WDYJE Coast to Coast Part 1: A Very DC Christmas

I have been busy eating my way across the US which is why no updates have come for a long time. Also some shit went down over the last year that was way more important than snarking about food. Anyway, I am back and here we go!

For Christmas I went to Washington D.C.
My memory of this is vague so here is the quick and dirty run down:

Day 1: Christmas Day
Stoney's
Hot Wings, Burger, Crab Cake sandwich
Crab cake sandwich was the star. Open on Christmas Day!! Burger was good, wings were great. Nice little place.

Day 2: 
GBD Chicken and Donuts
Tenders and donuts
Um, chicken...and donuts. Please go here. The sauces are great and the sides are great and the donuts are great. I wish I had one of these here. Frankenbutter sauce is the obvious choice for hot wing lovers.

Woodley Cafe
Some egg something?
Not a memorable experience. Completely boring food you can get anywhere. Skip it.

Day 3:
Austin Grill
Fajitas, burritos, something?
Also not memorable. Chain-like food of dubious "Mexican" type. Skip it unless you are starving after 300000 museum exhibits and need something easy with booths and booze and bathrooms.

Julia's Empanadas
Savory and sweet empanadas. We don't get empanadas around here very much, so having a selection of like a dozen different flavors was a bit overwhelming, but completely worth it. Unique spices and large portions, it is a really good value. The Saltenas was not my favorite but I liked the others - a curry, a strawberry cream cheese, and a peach.
Great to haul back to the hotel when you really can't remain upright for any longer.

Day 4:
Good Stuff Eatery
Burgers, duh. I am full from lunch but my mouth is watering just thinking about it. Nice little place and affordable, unlike a lot of "famous" chef's restaurants.

And why not stop next door at Spike's other place
We the Pizza
Mushroom pizza
This pizza has more mushrooms on it than I have eaten in the last year. Holy crap it is amazing. Long wait but the egg cream is so good and so is the ginger soda, I was close to ordering another of each when my food finally arrived. I don't know where DC gets their mushrooms but they taste like nothing I eat around here. So flavorful.

GBD late night -
We had to stop for a couple more donuts on our way to the hotel, because they were open and we deserve a treat for carrying a giant pizza halfway across the city on the metro. Awesome even late at night.
Get Maple-Bacon Bourbon (house-cured bacon, yup) and Chocolate Pudding (best filled donut ever.)

Day 5:
Old Ebbitt
I am not telling the secret of Old Ebbitt, you have to figure this one out on your own. I do recommend the Orca platter though, for two or three or four. There was one oyster on the Orca Platter we hated, but the rest were divine. Just to top off the decadence, a creme brulee of the finest quality.

Day 6:
Krispy Kreme when they first opened at the butt-crack of dawn.
Honestly it is a glazed-raised donut. I am not head over heels for these. It was nice because it was so fresh.

District Taco
Breakfast tacos
Yes. The creamer was spoiled but the food was amazing. Good deals. I need this here as well.

Nando's Peri Peri
Last stop before the flight. People flip their shit over this chicken. I thought it was pretty good. I may need to go back 3 or 4 dozen times to make sure. Yeah, it is good.


Okay, there you have it. As usual, I try not to eat anywhere I can eat in my own town, because why would you?





Friday, January 3, 2014

Casa No More, Lupita's is the Score

I am not sure when this happened, but Casa is closed. I shed a quiet tear for them.
Never fear, my friends! Lupita's is here to fill that cheesy void in your soul.

Lupita's is over by City Park in what was a donut shop about 20 years ago. I can't recall everything that has occupied that spot since the donut shop closed, but I hope Lupita's is here to stay.

Lupitas is everything you want in a Mexican restaurant: cafeteria ambiance but table service, giant plates of food covered in green chile, and cheap ass prices. Crispy chile rellenos smothered in hot, medium, or mild green chile. Cheap ass breakfast burritos made to order (sorry, Consuelo's.) The perfect cheese enchilada, swimming in red sauce, with fresh diced onions. Sopapillas stuffed with shredded beef. I can't even write this without my mouth watering - seriously, I might go there for lunch today.

Anyway, check it out and tip well. Keep our real Mexican food around and give the finger to the stupid fake, overpriced bullshit.

<a href="http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/145/1568896/restaurant/Northern-Colorado/Lupitas-Mexican-Restaurant-Fort-Collins"><img alt="Lupita&#x27;s Mexican Restaurant on Urbanspoon" src="http://www.urbanspoon.com/b/logo/1568896/minilogo.gif" style="border:none;width:104px;height:15px" /></a>


Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Underground (Social)

It was a cold and crowded night out, but after leaving another bar at midnight we noticed there was no line at Social. Whee!
It really is what TV and movies tell you a speakeasy was like. It is crowded and noisy with the usual bar chatter. There are Edison bulbs and screens and cosy alcoves. They give you tiny cups of hot cider while you wait for your table. There are loud pretentious people over-pronouncing the names of meats.
Get a fancy cocktail. Yeah, they are pricey but you are not here to save money I assume. Go to Surfside for your beer/shot special. Come here for a date or to treat yo' self! Actually the drinks are very reasonably priced.
Charcuterie. It is all the rage right now. People love ultra thin slices of super expensive pork product. Skinny people. Adding some deviled eggs and some meatballs to a board made a good dinner for two people. Or me alone. Deviled eggs are replacing the pickled egg of old as a common bar snack, so keep your eye out for this. The meatballs are big and tender and rich.

You get more than just meat; the seasonal fruits, nuts, and pickled veggies are awesome. Consider adding a cheese flight to your meat board to get the full experience. Then order another cocktail. Then go lurk around the big window into the kitchen and watch a big bald guy work the incredible slicer. Also look around and see how many of your favorite staff from other bars around town are now working here.
Which brings me to another cool thing about Social: this is not a bar born from the excess and boredom of some trust-fundy from out of state. This is a enterprise created and executed by industry folks from all the favorite Fort Collins bars, from Elliot's to Surfside. It is owned, operated, and staffed by all our friends. So be nice, tip well, and mind the stairs. They are fucking steep.