Saturday, October 25, 2014

Hoe Down

If you decide that eating at buffets is how you are going to live your life, I am not one to judge you. If you HAVE to eat at a buffet, why not pizza instead of gross salad bar and cold meat with congealed white gravy?
"BUT," I hear you cry, "What if there was a place I could get all those things?!"
Welcome to Pizza Ranch.

This is a Christian business. I am sure I patronize a lot of businesses owned by Christians who go to church and read the bible and so on. However, Pizza Ranch has a big sign about how Christian they are. For me this tows a lot of tin cans and old shoes behind it -- it may as well say "JUST STRAIGHT MARRIED TO THE TEA PARTY."

As if to confirm this stereotype, I saw nothing but a sea of white-skinned, white-haired males clad in American flags and cowboy boots. I saw a Joe Dirt costume but quickly realized this guy was wearing a mullet un-ironically and his sleeves may have torn off at a tractor pull. He grazed my chair with his giant Blackberry in its belt holster and did not apologize.

I made my way to the food islands and immediately loaded up on pizza of course. They had at least seven pizzas out, fairly well labeled. There were bread sticks (read: pizza crust) with and without cheese. These were stale at the moment of my arrival. I managed to snag a good selection of slices and my drink and sit down without any Donald-Sutherland-esque point-and-shriek at my unconventional appearance.

The people across from me, a family of four, were all chewing with their mouths open. The mother summoned a very anxious attendant (Ranch hand?) and asked for a specific pizza to be put out. Some minutes later the girl helpfully delivered the requested pizza to their table before putting it on the island, to make sure they got some of it. A nice touch.

It's no Woody's to be sure, but the Tuscan Roma pizza on thin crust was the best of what I tried. The pepperoni was good as well. Most of the pizza tasted only a little better than you might have expected from a buffet. But I paid my 12.00 and I was going to consume until I could no longer.

Standing between me and my second trip to the buffet was a herd of mixed age and sex humans who appear to have never been at a buffet. Joe Dirt is there with one hard protectively on his wife's back, just under the knot in her bedazzled T-shirt. I wish I were exaggerating. The open-mouthed stares, the empty-plate-drooping-with-indecision, the half step into your path as soon as you decide to pass them since they are IN THE FUCKING WAY. Tharn, every last one of them.

Until the fresh fried chicken came out. Then WHOA, DOGGIES. It is the "Country's Best Chicken®" in "Crispy Ranch Chicken®" flavor! I saw two silver-heads with tongs flipping chicken pieces left and right, each trying to dig for some mythical chicken part that was neither wing nor breast, thigh nor drumstick, and get it before the opponent did.  Eventually it was mutually decided there was not a secret stash of "Country Ranch Backs with attached Tails" in the bottom and they each took a conciliatory thigh and skulked away.
I picked a likely looking breast and skipped the thick white gravy. No tan or brown gravy to be had for the potatoes and chicken. They did have a really good Frank's analog sauce, plus BBQ and sesame sauces. The chicken was very greasy but pretty good KFC-style chicken. Extra good with hot sauce.

Salad bar island -- pretty sad and limited. Accidentally got stuck on the side with premixed "TexMex Ceasar" or some shit instead of regular iceberg. No broccoli, cauliflower, or mushrooms. I think the dressing choices were Ranch and Pizza Ranch®.
Potato wedges were fine. There was some corn I didn't try. The biscuits were shit. Dessert bar is pizza topped with canned fruit and icing, and a soft serve machine.

I won't go back.* It was such a truck-stop, People Of Walmart, midwest stereotype.
Children touching food with their hands and putting it back on the island. People spilling on the floor and wandering away looking at the ceiling. People running into other people without acknowledgement or apology. Get Er Done hats. Tucked-in, long-sleeved polo shirts. CHAOS.

They do have a drive-up window if you must help them "glorify God."

*Without a very good coupon, and it better be for lunch.

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Friday, October 3, 2014

MoJeaux JeauxJeaux

Did I stutter? The most annoying thing about this place is certainly the spelling of the name.

The chips and queso were kind of cold when they got to the table.

The BOGO burger night is a good deal. Skimpy on the fries but it is a nice, cheap meal. I got the black and blue which was certainly blackened. Every burger was served on the rare side of medium rare though, but we didn't send any back.The beer selection is very limited (which I mention bc it is pretty weird for this town), but they have a full bar.

Good BBQ in what looked like ample portions, not sure about the other cajun options.
The wait staff was fine and they didn't seem to mind us hanging out and being a pain.

<a href=""><img alt="Mo Jeaux&#x27;s on Urbanspoon" src="" style="border:none;width:104px;height:15px" /></a>

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Back to the numbers.

Some places you just get tired of, or they get shitty, or both.
Avo's is one of those places. As a Fort Collins institution you really can't avoid it forever.
Unfortunately they have live music like every single night, but lucky you if you enjoy watching that kind of thing.

Order at the counter. Most people flip out over some moldy grains patty called tempeh. I like it as much as I like live music, so I get anything else.

In days past when sandwiches were having their Renaissance and people thought burgers were dumb, I usually ordered something with turkey and cream cheese and sprouts. (Oh yeah, sprouts also used to be a thing.)
On a recent visit they had a special up for a "Red pepper basalmic burger" and that sounded great so i ordered it. It was really fucking good. mixed salad greens, lettuce, tomato, onion, basalmic grilled red peppers. The burger was huge and cooked well and tasted really good. 9.00 with fries. I upgraded to the fired zucchini for a paltry .25, but their fries are so good I kind of regretted it.

I went back the next week and got a burger again, but this time the special was a burger topped with a shitton of andouille sausage, with lettuce, tomato, onion too.

Some things here are hit or miss, but their specials are out of control (two for one tempeh burgers, two for one pizzas,) they have breakfast, the cheese fries are deadly...

So if you forgot about Avo's maybe it is time to go back and endure some Phish cover band for a few minutes.

<a href=""><img alt="Avogadro&#x27;s Number on Urbanspoon" src="" style="border:none;width:104px;height:15px" /></a>

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Lucky fin

After many years of senseless and stubborn refusal that I won't get into, I finally broke down and had sushi at Nimo's. Lo and behold, in a true "Green Eggs and Ham" moment, I found it to be delicious.

We arrived around 7 on a Saturday night after we had to cancel a reservation downtown because some shitshow called New West Fest had the place swarmed with idiots.

We ordered a sushi dinner for two and added quail eggs and some more eel. This was really delicious, and every single piece of fish tasted different. It was the right temperature and the everything I wanted out of a giant plate of raw fish.

Since my last experience at Mt. Fuji was so sad, and I really can't justify strip-club sushi, I just might have to admit that Nimo's is great.


<a href=""><img alt="Nimo&#x27;s Sushi Bar &amp; Japanese on Urbanspoon" src="" style="border:none;width:104px;height:34px" /></a>

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.

<a href=""><img alt="Tap n&#x27; handle on Urbanspoon" src="" style="border:none;width:104px;height:34px" /></a>

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...

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.

<a href=""><img alt="William Oliver&#x27;s Publick House on Urbanspoon" src="" style="border:none;width:104px;height:15px" /></a>

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)
Fuck yeah dilly beans in my Bloody

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.

Oh god I wish I had this every day

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.

Look at this beauty

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.