Wednesday, April 28, 2010

99 problems, and this post ain't one

In this, my 100th post, I would like to sincerely thank all of you loyal eaters/readers (reaters?) for helping Food vs. Face take off. If you'll recall from the very first post, I only started this blog out of obligation because I'd gotten a camera with a food setting. For a blog that was only born in January, I think clocking well over 1,000 hits per week is something to crow about.

You all could be spending your webbernet time looking at p0rn, logging on to Facebook making fun of Orca-sized exes, cruising Craigslist for your old Earth Science teacher who has a thing for watersports, or warming your heart with the many LOLcat pictures to be had - but instead, you keep coming back to this old place and letting me fill your head with bad ideas and your arteries with disease.

Thanks to everyone who has linked to me, especially DaytonMostMetro. Big ups to ManBQue for teaming up with me, even though I don't have the proper equipment to be in their treehouse. Thanks to everyone who lets me know they're reading and anxiously await each update, and bless their hearts, even recognize me in public. I assumed when I started this page that only my mother and Mr. FvF would be reading (one of them silently judging me about the swearing), but my sitemeter tells me otherwise. Thanks to ALL of my family and friends for being encouraging, but most of all, my dear Mr. FvF, who patiently waits for me to take pictures of the food every night while it's getting cold.

For now, I'll leave you with the best nugget of wisdom I can impart:
Always stop to smell the bacon.

Late Nite with FvF

Normally, I'm pretty good at exercising restraint. Then there are some nights where I'm craving something - say, French toast. If, on one of those nights, I happen to be watching tv and someone actually mentions French toast, I consider that a divine intervention that means I need to have some. Immediately.

Now, I could go two blocks and get French toast at Bob Evans, and pay over $5 plus tip. Or, considering I have milk and eggs getting ready to expire, I could go out and pick up some decent bread and make as much as I want for under $2.

If you don't already know how to make it, I feel kind of sorry for you and assume you were deprived as a child. But, I'll tell you anyway, because you just can't go through life carrying your belonging around in a handkerchief tied to a stick and not knowing what goes into French toast.

1 Cup milk or cream
2 eggs
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp vanilla
lots of cinnamon
1 tbsp of Amaretto, if you happen to have it lying around
1 tsp sugar

Mix all of your ingredients up. Don't worry - the cinnamon will naturally rise to the top every time. This why I say LOTS of cinnamon. Each time you dunk both sides of a piece of bread in, all of the noticeable cinnamon will be soaked up by that one piece. So, just keep adding as you go. You can also sprinkle more cinnamon on as you're frying them up. Toss them into a buttered pan over medium heat, careful not to crowd the pan. Cook about 2 minutes on each side, or until they're lightly browned and a crust of formed. Lather'em up with butter, powdered sugar, syrup, and in some cases - peanut butter.

If you bought "normal" sized bread, especially pre-sliced, you can wait until they cool and freeze these puppies until you want more. Then, just pop them in your toaster on dark/high and enjoy them again!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Holy Stromboli!

Sunday meals are a thing of decadence and gluttony in my family, and this didn't change once I built my own little nest. There's none of that popcorn for dinner or eat-whatever's-around mess. It's a big to do - even if you go out for a meal on a Sunday, it has to measure up. Yesterday we celebrated our anniversary, yet again, with food. I picked up some great looking pepperoni and whole wheat pizza dough at Trader Joe's (more to come on that tip later) and already had the rest of the set-up. Here's what you'll need for making two strombolis the size of your arm, or four reasonably-sized portions.

Pizza Dough*
2 cups mozzarella cheese
1 pkg pepperoni, about a cup
2-3 Italian sausage links, cooked and cut into coins
1/2 C fresh baby spinach
2 cloves minced garlic
olive oil
red pepper flakes

*Trader Joe's pizza dough is a hell of a deal for 99 cents per bag, and it freezes well, too.

Preheat the oven to 350 and get all of your fillings ready to go before you start with the dough. Also, make sure you let the dough sit at room temp for about 20 minutes first. This makes it a lot easier to work with.
Once it's closer to room temp, flour either a cutting board or a clean counter top very well. Stretch the dough first with your hands by using a method I call the steering wheel, where you work the dough with both hands on a circular motion like you're making a sharp turn. You don't have to literally stretch it, it will just start to stretch itself. Once you have it thinned out a bit, use a floured rolling pin and roll it out on the cutting board to get it as thin as you'd like. Once you're there, cut it into as many rectangles as you'll need for the size you're making.

I found it's best to start with smaller ingredients, then go bigger towards the top. So, first put down a little olive oil, red pepper flakes and garlic, then pile on the spinach, pepperoni, Italian sausage and cheese - all close to one side. Take the blank side of dough and fold it over the stuffing, making a seam on the other side. If you're not convinced it won't fall apart, press the edges with a fork like you would a turnover or pocket pie to seal it. Cut a 1" slit in the top of the dough about every 2" so it doesn't essplode in the oven. Brush the top with a little olive oil (or egg wash, if you're going more for looks than flavor) and season it with some garlic powder and rosemary. If you've got cornmeal on hand, you can also dust the bottom of the stromboli with that to add texture - a lot of pizza joints do that.

Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes or until the crust doesn't give when you tap it. I felt it was missing something, so I made some herbed garlic butter to drizzle over the tops before serving.
Needless to say, this was the kind of meal that reassured Mr. FvF that he's marrying up.

My stromboli wants to show you his "O" face.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Man-B-Que: Black Cherry Cola Ribs

I almost shat last week when I read an article regarding how baffling it is that the average American family receiving food stamps gets around $70 per week for a family of four. According to MSNBC, that's a very paltry amount. According to yours truly, it's perfectly reasonable, at least living in a mid-sized market like the Dayton-Cincinnati area. Granted, I'm only feeding myself and one other person, but we spend that amount about every two weeks - and we eat well.
On our last bi-weekly grocery excursion, I spent $20 at the butcher and $50 at the market. This produces about 10 meals, about half yielding leftovers, and items for lunch. While I certainly don't frown on coupon clipping, that's not the only way to save a buck. The trick, sometimes, is taking stuff you always have on hand and combining it with a cut of meat that's on a crazy special at your local butcher. This past week, my butcher had country ribs for a song - $1.69 per pound. I picked up a few pounds and decided to wing it.

Everyone knows currant flavors go great with pork - cherries, pomegranates, any dark berry, really. If root beer and Coca-Cola can be used in pork and poultry recipes, why not the black cherry soda I found a hell of a deal on?

Head on over to Man-B-Que for photos and the recipe!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

It's import beer day at Chez FvF!

Okay, they may not technically be imports, but they're imported to Ohio! We stopped by Belmont Party Supply to pick up some drank and I decided since we're having ribs tonight, we should have beer, too. I'm not a big beer drinker myself, but sometimes I like to experiment. I know, I know - you're supposed to do all of that in college, but I dropped out, so cut me some slack.

Tonight I'll be sampling Sea Dog Raspberry Wheat Ale, Wheach (wheat peach ale, go figure), Samuel Smith's Organic Hard Cider, and Mr. FvF will be having a go at Lagunitas Brewing Co Belgian Triple Ale, graced with two different Frank Zappa album covers, as well as Shiner Bock Bohemian Black Lager.

Now you wanna know about those black cherry cola ribs I'm cooking up, right? Well, check back in tomorrow when I once again team up with Man-B-Que and blow your effing mind.

Christopher's Restaurant, The Redux

Mr. FvF and I went to Christopher's today to celebrate our anniversary since we had our first date there. More importantly, we had big hongries and hadn't eaten a meal there since December. I had no idea the place so was packed on an early Saturday afternoon. We didn't wait long for a table, though. We ordered the mozzarella wedges as an appetizer, Mr. FvF ordered the Manhattan with roast beef (aka Kentucky Hot Brown or Hot Shot, depending on your geographical vernacular) because he wanted to see what all the fuss was about, and I stuck with my old stand-by, the chicken salad-stuffed tomato plate.

I'll cut them a little slack on service since they were busy, but it was probably some of the worst I've ever had there. Granted, it was still better than some places, but I expect more out of them. Just very rushed and not terribly friendly. No one told us about the specials, and our server slipped in and delivered our drinks without asking if we had any questions. No "how are you two today?" or any of the usual pleasantries. Luckily, the food was amazing, as always.

The Mister looooved his Manhattan. I tried a bite and may still contest that the Hot Shots at Tank's are better, this this was pretty delicious. My stuffed tomato plate was super tasty and refreshing - I always hate eating really heavy food when it's as humid as it was this morning. It also took me twice as long to clean my plate compared to Mr. FvF. But, we've determined that most of his life from here on out will be spent waiting on me to do something, whether it's pick out my clothes, change them five times, decide on a lipstick, or finish my food. The mozz wedges were tops, too. Somehow much better than your standard mozzarella stick appetizers. The breading held up better, and they're served with Christopher's house-made marinara, which is good enough to bathe in.

4.5 out of 5 sporks!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Breakfast for Dinner (BFD), part II

Now that I've been making BFMFDMF on the regular, Mr. FvF asks for it every week. Considering it's an easy, cheap meal - I surely don't mind. I normally do eggs, potatoes, biscuits, breakfast meat, and sometimes gravy. I almost always make scrambled eggs, but I figured tonight I'd switch it up (Flip Mode is the greatest!) and use my ramekins to make mini egg souffles. No more difficult (actually, a bit easier) than scrambled eggs.

4 eggs
1/2 C milk or cream
1 tsp calt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 dash of cayenne
1/4 C ham, diced
1/4 C shredded sharp cheddar

Butter or spray the ramekins and preheat your oven to 350. Line the bottom of them evenly with the chopped ham and cheese. Mix together your eggs, milk and seasonings and pour them into the ramekins. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until the center is no longer jiggly.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Table Scraps 4/20/10 - Dayton Restaurant News

  • Barbie's Bistro on West Dorothy Lane will be closing its doors as of May 3. Owner Barbie Marks cited slow business as the the primary reason for her closing. I hate to see any local independent close, but I will say the reason I never made it there is because I thought it was a bit pricey considering the menu.
  • The Cafe @ Sidebar opened up shop yesterday in to the old Pacchia digs on 5th Street. Sidebar will eventually launch a full dining service in the space, but for now they're renovating and serving most sandwiches, including some vegan and vegetarian options. The Cafe is open 11a-4p Monday through Saturday, so I think I'll have top check it out and see just how they're working this. I can't seem to make sense of, if the bar and dining area are closed for renovation, exactly where they're serving the food. For those of you not in the know, Sidebar already operates a cocktail lounge on West 2nd Street downtown and serves amazing cocktails, several with house-made bitters and juices. I recommend the Moscow Mule!
  • TGI Friday's on 725 near the Dayton Mall will be closed for a few days to clear up the damage from a fire that occurred in the wee hours of this morning. Fire officials said they're not sure when the place will be able to reopen, and are unsure what sparked the blaze near the cooktop area.
  • 5th Street Wine & Deli has started doing their beer & wine tastings on the patio again. I knew it had to be about time, since Mr. FvF and I stopped there for a tasting on our first date, and our anniversary is coming up this Sunday. Every Saturday from 6-9pm, weather permitting.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Mr. FvF's pork-tacular birthday, the second coming

Because our family is so awesome, you get to request pretty much anything you want for your birthday dinner. It's like getting your death row meal without the unfortunate outcome.
Everyone has very different tastes, so we've had a little bit of everything over the years - steaks, lasagna, BFD, fried chicken, cakes and pies. Basically, the FvF family has me to thank for bringing pies into the rotation. Though Ele, where we order our cakes from, does an excellent job, I think they're a bit overpriced and I don't even like cake that well. So, I started asking that Ma FvF make her absolutely mind-blowing banana cream pie w/chocolate chip cookie crust.

Mr. FvF got to have his family birthday dinner yesterday, and he asked that dad make smoked pork, and really didn't care about much else. The dinner was fantastic - pulled pork, potato salad, and baked beans.

In all honesty, though, it had a hell of a time standing up to the monster pies that mom had "whipped up" for dessert. For those of you not familiar with Southern vocabulary, when a woman says she "whipped something up," there's a good chance it took several hours and a lot of patience.
Mile-High Coconut Cream Pie
White Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Old Hickory BBQ - Dayton Ohio

Let me first dispel the myth that Hickory BBQ on Brown Street near UD and Old Hickory on North Main are related. They're not. I'm sure Hickory BBQ has delicious food, based on the line that frequently goes out their door, but I've never set foot in the place. Old Hickory BBQ on Main, however, is our special occasion dining preference. Mr. FvF had a birthday on Thursday, so I took him there to get his fill of ribs, along with my sister and her fella, and our friends Josh & Carla.

The service was top-notch from the moment we got inside. We were seated at a nice, roomy table, and our waitress, Stacy, took our drink order and went over the specials with everyone. She quickly brought out our drinks and some bread baskets with butter and asked if anyone had questions about the menu. I inquired about the difference between the steak fries and broasted potatoes, because I couldn't remember. Stacy explained it to me, then said they started ordering the broasted potatoes pre-cut since we'd last been in, but that they were actually crispier, and much better - and if I didn't like them, she'd bring me something else. Half the table ordered ribs, the other half ordered steak.

EJ's half slab & steak fries

My 10 oz sirloin with broasted potato wedges

Most everyone also ordered salads, as well. The salad itself isn't that impressive, but I really order it just for the house dressing (a sweet vinaigrette), which I would bathe in. I had went on & on about the steaks, and how they were like "meat butter," because they're so well seasoned and any fat to be found would just melt in your mouth. Needless to say, everyone agreed and was very impressed. For the first time ever, my steak wasn't cooked an absolutely perfect mid-rare, but I dare not send it back. Two reasons - a.) it was still magically delicious even on the heavier side of medium and b.) sending food back at Old Hickory would feel like telling your dad he overcooked your steak after he'd slaved over the grill all day. In fact, I still enjoyed the steak SO much that they won't even lose a half spork for this. To boot, this minor snag was the only problem amongst the six dinners that came to the table. Everyone raved about their food, even the meat snobs and picky eaters.

I was very happy that Stacy had steered me toward the new broasted taters, because they were to DIE for. The closest comparison I can conjure would be the Space Spuds from Woody's (RIP) - but the breading was much crunchier.

Just as I thought we couldn't handle so much as looking at more food, our very perceptive server overheard us mention that it was Mr. FvF's birthday and brought him a piece of turtle cheesecake, on the house. She was also smart enough to know that I'd want some too, and brought two forks. Score!

I'll argue with anyone that these are the best steaks in town. The mister loves their ribs, but I haven't eaten enough ribs in Dayton to dare say they're the best - but they ARE super tasty. Say what you will about fancy joints like Flemings, or equally old Dayton haunts like the Pine Club - but if I want a perfect steak (and don't want to take out a second mortgage to get it), I'll go for Ol' Hick every time.

5 out of 5 sporks!

Old Hickory Bar-b-que on Urbanspoon

Sausage Stroganoff

I'd been on a serious kick of not really cooking lately. Going to cookouts, dining out for birthday dinners, and crock-potting pork shoulder, which doesn't seem much like cooking as far as effort and labor. After all these days of laziness, I wanted something super easy, and also wanted to make use of the bulk sage sausage Pa FvF had brought me (what? I'm the baby! There doesn't have to be a reason for gifts). I had some staples in the pantry, like egg noodles, mushrooms and beef broth. A bright light appeared and the gods of food appeared and said unto me, "Flip mode! Flip mode is the greatest!" So, I decided to switch it up and make stroganoff with sausage. And the gods of laziness and deliciousness, they did weep.

Sausage Stroganoff
1 lb bulk sausage (you could use about any kind, but I don't advise a breakfast blend)
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 small can sliced mushrooms (or 1/2 cup fresh mushrooms, cleaned and sliced)
1 C beef broth
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
3/4 C sour cream
1/2 big bag or 8 oz egg noodles

Cook and crumble the sausage over medium, then blot with paper towels to drain. If you have a good quality bulk sausage, it should be relatively lean. Stir in your beef broth, mushrooms, soup and Worcestershire sauce and bring to a boil, then reduce to low and simmer for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat & stir in the sour cream. Serve over hot noodles, maybe garnish with some green onion if you have it on-hand.

Root Beer BBQ Pulled Pork

Michael "Tripod" Palm from the Chicago Western Burbs Man B Que Chapter submitted this recipe to the Man B Que blog late last month and I'd been dying to try it out.
Conclusion: So full of win that I ate it until I made myself sick.

So, mosey on over to Man B Que and check out this ridiculously easy recipe. Food vs. Face only changed one tiny thing. I switched the loin out for pork shoulder (Boston Butt), just because that what I like to cook with. Also, Sweet Baby Ray's is the only molasses-based sauce allowed in Chez FvF, so I highly recommend sticking with it for the recipe, unless you make your own and genuinely think it's better. Although I love mustard-based sauces, it's out of place here. The pork gets a killer sweetness from cooking all day in the root beer, and it just ruins things.
And a word to the wise (which hopefully, you already know if you're reading FvF), never, EVER use Open Pit BBQ sauce unless you love the taste of rancid ketchup.

Hasty Tasty Pancake House - Dayton, Ohio

Ah, the Hasty Tasty - a true Gem City landmark. Whether it's a hungover, no-eye-contact breakfast or an early bird dinner, the Hasty has been satisfying Dayton's craving for home cookin' for over 58 years. Serving homemade everything (including pies) and all-day breakfast, you really can't lose. I've been coming here for years since I started moving further East into Dayton, and Denny's became a cess pool and Nick's Diner (also dba Linden Grill) closed.

After a year together, Mr. FvF had never made it to Hasty with me for a meal other than breakfast. Sure, the breakfast is monster delicious and a hell of a value ($3.50 breakfast specials daily), but they have some great dinners and sandwiches. Last weekend after a long day of doing yard work with the fam, Ma and Pa FvF, Mr. FvF and I piled into the Tahoe and drove one whole block down to the Hasty for some dinner, as we were all too worn out to cook.

Everything was outstanding, and the mister and I were the only ones to clean our plates (shocking, I know).

Ma's turkey w/dressing, green beans &whipped potatoes

Dad's steak hoagie w/fries
Mr. FvF's deep fried fish & fries (all you can eat on Fridays!)
My pork tenderloin in mushroom gravy
(sides of slaw and cottage cheese w/pineapple not pictured)

As every other experience with the Hasty Tasty, 5 out of 5 sporks! The service was great, the food was stellar, and we all got out of there under $40.

Hasty Tasty Pancake House on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Doubleday's Grill & Tavern - Centerville, Ohio

I wanted to treat my mom to lunch today, at someplace other than the gastrointestinal delight that is Bob Evans. Only problem is, she works right at 48 and Alex-Bell, which leaves surprisingly few options besides Bob's and Schlotzky's. We tried to hit Doubleday's the last time we had lunch, but there was not a single parking space left by 11:30 a.m. We tried it again today and snagged the last spot. I expected it to be packed inside, but just over half the tables were full. Even stranger, they sat just the two of us in one of their largest booths.

For what is essentially a sports bar, I've always thought Doubleday's was a bit on the pricey side. Like, $9 salad pricey. But, they have a few lunch and daily specials that aren't too shabby, all well under $10. Their menu is incredibly extensive - between lunch, dinner, appetizers and Sunday brunch, I think it comes to eight pages total. Entire sections are devoted to baked pastas and quesadillas.

Ma FvF ordered the small chicken strip salad and I opted for the soup & salad combo, with a house salad and black bean & sausage soup. The food came out quickly and was much larger than we expected for lunch portions. The salads both came on large, plate-like pasta bowls. Ma's came with a garlic bread stick and mine with pumpernickel oat. I'll go as far as saying the salad was boss. When you order a side salad in a restaurant, you usually end up with some iceberg, a slice of unripened tomato and a clump of cheese. This baby came equipped with mixed greens, julienned carrots, cucumbers, diced ripe tomatoes, red onion, cheese and both dark and light croutons. The soup was great, too, but didn't have nearly as much sausage as I recall. In fact, I couldn't find any actual pieces of sausage, just sausage flavor. Ma said her salad was also tops, and was so big she couldn't even finish it.

In a not at all surprising turn of events, I forgot all about photos until I'd plowed through my entire meal. As far as service, it's fine. Not stellar, not memorable, but fine. They have a lot of daily specials, like soups and whatnot, that are on the board when you first walk in, but I have yet to have any of the servers tell em about the specials once I'm seated. That said, there was no lack of refills, we didn't feel rushed (although they were packing in by the time we left), and she made the effort to ask if we needed one or two checks.

4 out of 5 sporks!

Doubleday's Grill & Tavern on Urbanspoon

Table Scraps 4/13/10

I haven't updated in a spell, and it appears some of the natives are getting restless. Speaking of natives, they're also selling blankets and oranges near the freeway.
Don't worry, kittens. When I'm not posting it simply means either I've been too lazy to cook anything you'd be interested in reading about, and/or the budget isn't allowing for dinners out, hence no reviews.

Lucky for you, I just got paid, son. The end of the quarter has been better to me than usual (can I get a what-what for union contracts?) and I'm taking my mom out for lunch today, and Mr. FvF out for his birthday Thursday night. Plus, I'll be testing out some new recipes that may or may not be delicious.

The only real scrap of news today is that it's Chick-fil-A's Customer Appreciation Day. This means whatever you buy there today, you can take your receipt back next month and get the same order again for FREE.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Bleu Cheese & Steak Pizza

Everyone likes steak, and everyone likes pizza. Unless you're a communist, then you probably only like food that's of someone else's labor, and free for the taking. In fact, you're probably a dumpster diver, which means you never get steak or pizza, because only a retard would throw those out.
these to delightful food groups encompass the two most-craved items in my house, so I figured, why not get them together and see what kind of hot action ensues?

For the recipe, more photos and info on communism, follow your nose to Man-B-Que.

Norton's - Kettering, Ohio

Yesterday was a hell of a day in the land of Food vs. Face. I won't get into it, but let's just say the "system" is completely backwards and loves to give ol' Vizz the shaft.

I'm lucky enough to have awesome friends like Tim, who took me out for a drink or two to make me feel better. We hit up Partners first, and as it got later, big hongries developed and we moved over to the new location of Norton's, which formerly housed Lincoln Park Grille. I hadn't been to Norton's in a good 12 years and was anxious to see what it looked like when a dive moved into such a classy joint. Having spent so much time in LPG as a yute, I didn't think the sports bar decor really jived with the location, but it was...interesting.

Tim and his wife Amie both ordered burgers, along with an appetizer of fried pickles, and Mr. FvF and I ordered a bacon cheeseburger and a pork tenderloin to split, and an order of cheese sticks. I apologize in advance for lack of photos, it was too dark for my camera phone to get a good shot. I should have taken Amie up on her offer to use her Blackberry phone, which has a flash.

All of the food arrived pretty quickly. The starters came and while the fried pickles were aces (they had a spicier batter that amplified the garlic in the pickles), the mozzarella stick were just so-so.
Our entrees came out just as we finished and looked great, though all of the sandwiches were sadly devoid of tomato. It was late in the evening, and I assume they ran out. So, they don't lose any points, but no explanation was made for their absence. The pork tenderloin was good, but just good. It was no SubHouse Big T. The burgers were all pretty fantastic, though. Well seasoned, cooked precisely to order, and the beef was super tender and juicy. My biggest problem with our burger is that they used the Oscar-Meyer variety microwaveable bacon that cooks up all limp and flacid. It takes such little time and effort to cook up perfect bacon to compliment a burger, why take this kind of short cut? I know the LPG kitchen isn't exactly set up for short-order cooking, so this is an inexcusable failure.

Everyone got fries with their burger, which I sampled. Run of the mill frozen variety, and definitely not enough salt. I ordered cole slaw, which the server said she wasn't certain they made in-house (I always ask). Well, I can tell you without a doubt they definitely don't, and it was pretty terrible. I've been on a hardcore, uncensored cole slaw kick lately, but this rained on my slaw parade. Very finely minced, soggy with zero crunch, and a very strange taste. Again, it was dark - but I either spotted some jalapenos or some relish in there, maybe both - neither of which have a place in cole slaw. I'm always smart enough to end on a high note, so I didn't finish it and saved my burger for the last bite.

Service was perfectly friendly, but not stellar once we moved out to the patio. Granted, we were the only people out there, but it was like pulling teeth to get another beer or our checks once we moved. I also could have lived without the dude singing Hootie and Bryan Adams covers throughout the night. I was pretty shocked to hear one of the servers tell another table that because of the live "music," they charge a cover on Friday and Saturday nights. I find this pretty absurd, because it's still more of a restaurant than a bar - and no one in their right mind would pay to hear that crap.

Overall, meh. The burgers and fried pickles won me over, but it wasn't enough to save their hide and get them an above-average rating. And truthfully, if I want a killer burger, I'm going to Tank's.

3 out of 5 sporks

Norton's on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Table Scraps 4/6/10

  • Cousin Vinny's Pizza is expanding yet AGAIN. Co-owner Rick Allen will open his sixth location in the York Commons area of Vandalia. He also claims he's looking to open two more stores in 2010, including one South of town - maybe Miamisburg. He's also eyeballing Englewood, Beavercreek, West Carrollton, Springifled and Springboro. At their rate they're picking up speed, I'd say all of those burbs will be begging for the own Vin's soon enough. The new North location will also be the first to showcase the "new" CV concept, which will focus more heavily on in-house dining and seat about 60 people. Did you know that Allen also earned the title "World's Fastest Pizza Maker" at the 2009 World Pizza Games in Vegas? Take that, Dayton haters. "Whaaaaaa!!! We don't have anything! There's nothing cool here!" Well, we have a dude that can make pizzas in 22 seconds, so choke on that, nay-sayers.
  • Speaking of pizza, there's a new joint opening in Kettering - Mama Mimis' Take & Bake Pizza. Same concept as Papa Murphy's, but on the fancier side. They're menu also sports salads, desserts, and something called "Spa pizzas," which are half the fat, calories and carbs of their regular pies. It's located in Castle Hills, which is at the corner of 48 and Stroop Rd.
  • Taste of Greene County is coming up in the next couple of weeks. Tickets are $18 in advance ($22 the day of) and the event will be held at the Nutter Center. If you're not familiar with this kind of things, you pay $18 at the door, and you walk around and eat food all day. So, for a paltry $5, you get to munch your way through offerings from:
Abuelo's Mexican Embassy
Beef O'Brady's
BD's Mongolian Grill
Brio Tuscan Grill
City BBQ
Ele Cake Co.
Young's Jersey Dairy
and about a dozen more.

  • La Tortilla Factory's "Smart & Delicious" high fiber/low carb tortillas in garlic & herb are the most kick-ass things that have ever happened to my lunch box. They're about 50 calories, 6 grams of fiber, 2 grams of fat and 4 net carbs. If you're doing Weight Watchers, this is probably close to zero points. Fill it with ham, turkey, tomatoes, Laughing Cow cheese and something with crunch (pine nuts, romaine, whatever), and you have an amazingly tasty, filling lunch (or dinner).