Saturday, April 30, 2011

Char Bar - Columbus, Ohio

Plans of rummaging all over the Cap City for the greatest food were marred by the late March snow we got both days I was in Columbus for work.  At least I was prepared for it, though I can't say as much for my Texan co-worker.  The first day of the convention it wasn't too terribly cold, but started snowing just as we left for lunch.  I hadn't brought a hat, so I opted for the closest place open for lunch - Char Bar.  I really wanted to go to Martini, which was equally close - but not open for lunch.  What the hell, Columbus.  Arena District eateries - you could have made a stone-cold fortune during this convention, but hardly any of you were open for lunch.

The menu had a fair amount of choices as far as salads, burgers, sandwiches and wraps, and even some fork & knife options.  One thing I wasn't expecting was the handful of Hungarian menu items, and I made a snap decision to order the Chicken Paprikash.  The food took a little longer than I'd have liked to come out, but it gave us time to get our shop talk out of the way. 

The menu didn't note what my dish came with, aside from Texas toast - so I just hoped and prayed that the little dumplings served with the chicken were gnocchi and not wheat pasta dumplings.  Either way, I was eating them, because the chicken was gnarly.  It had a consistency somewhere between chicken thighs and the overly-processed, mechanically-separated stuff that comprises the "grilled chicken breasts with rib meat" that you find in the freezer section.  The sauce was decent, but not on par with other similar Hungarian sauces I've had.  I'd love to show you a photo, but blogger is STILL being a dick and only the top third of the photo will upload. 

Service was decent enough, but price points were a little out of range for the food you're getting - mostly due in part to the area you're in and your lack of options.  Next year, I'll just eat at one of the 20 places *inside* the Columbus Convention Center. 

2.5 out of 5 sporks!

Char Bar on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

First Watch - Fairborn, Ohio

Before a day of people-watching at Gem City Comic Con, my sister and I decided to grab some brunch and take in some retail therapy to make sure we had enough regular people smell on us that the nerds didn't think we were one of them.  I love eggs, so brunch and BFD are basically just excuses for me to order omelettes at non-agreed upon times of day. 

First Watch has perturbed me on a few occasions - from their $2/ea a la carte eggs, to their unexplained removal of chorizo items from certain area restaurants, to their comination of chicken into omelettes (one life stage at a time there, folks).  Luckily for me, they did offer the mexican sausage-laden options at the Fairborn location.  Unlucky for them, they did a shit job of them. 

I ordered the Acapulco Express omelette, and Skillz ordered the Grilled Turkey Sandwich.   She remarked that her sandwich was damn tasty, but she didn't care a ton for the marinated side salad, due to all of the cucumbers (one of her mortal enemies).  But, that's alright, I took care of that for her.


As for my sides - fruit is fruit and if you're seen one English muffin, you've seen them all. I can't say that my omelette was bad - it had a sufficient amount of veggies and cheese, but even upon opening it up like a cadaver, I could only find about a dime's worth of chorizo. 

If I wanted a vegetarian omelette, that's what I would've ordered, assfaces. 

Price points here are almost in proportion with the menu, which is great if you get what you ordered.  But, when you pay almost $9 for a meatless omelette it seems pretty skewed.  Service was good, but not outstanding. The wait (even for 1pm on a Sunday) was a bit much, especially considering there is no place for hungry diners to wait, no pagers and no loudspeaker.  You just have to meander around in the cold (or heat, depending on time of year) close to the door and hope you hear when your name is called.  

Not that I was counting on First Watch to make the cut, but I'm still on the hunt for good, reasonably-priced brunch spots around D-town.

2.5 out of 5 sporks!

First Watch on Urbanspoon

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Los Reyes - Kettering, Ohio

Mr. Fvf and I have been going out for dinner much more often than we should lately. My longer hours and more grueling days at work make for a lousy housewife, but also mean finances are fast and loose, and we can basically dine out whenever we please. So - more reviews for you, but bigger front-butts for us. Can't win'em all. One of the many Fridays that I could barely keep my eyes open long enough to look at and dismiss anything in our cupboards, we decided to check out Los Reyes. It's always been hard for us to make it to a meal there. We either completely forget about it, or get pulled in by the tractor beam of Christopher's Restaurant a few doors down. I'd heard quite a few good things and not a single bad thing about Los Reyes, so I figured it was high time to get around to it.

The hostesses were very friendly, but also very in violation of child labor laws. I would be shocked if they were a day over 13. Regardless, we were seated quickly and had our drink orders taken right away. The place was nearly packed, just as much as any other place would be on Friday evening during dinner rush. I obviously wasn't the only one that had either discovered or was hoping for a diamond in the rough.

Their menu did lack a little bit in the "entrees not involving flour tortilla" department, so I stuck with my usual suspects, the flautas (two beef, two chicken).

Mr. FvF went straight for the entree containing the most of his favorite sausage, Pollo con Chorizo.

You'll have to excuse blogger for being a total dickweed today and not letting me align or justify much of anything at all.  Due to that, I'm really tired of monkeying with this entry and I'll just give you a very forward opinion.  Wasn't impressed. My flautas didn't even come with beans or rice.  Almost everything needed more salt, or more seasoning. Must have been the blandest chorizo I've ever tasted, and I'm almost certain that they used flour tortillas for my flautas regardless of what the menu stated.  The price was right and the service was good, but the food just wasn't impressive.  It wasn't bad, but it certainly wasn't great.  We'll probably stick with our old favorites next time when it comes to Mexican food. 

3 out of 5 sporks!

Los Reyes on Urbanspoon

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Bunkers Bar & Grill - Vandalia, OH

I'm shamefully behind on posts right now.  So behind, in fact, that I made Hamburger Helper for dinner just so I'd have time to hammer a few out.  Don't weep for me, you guys.  And don't front like you never show some 'Helper who's boss.  Over the last couple of weeks, I've eaten my way through at least three different cities.  But, before that, I tried out plenty of places in Dayton that I haven't gotten around to telling you about.  After the boys fell in love with some wing sauce from a local restaurant that they bought at Dot's Market, we decided we had to go right to the source and check out Bunker's Bar & Grill for ourselves.

It was dark outside when we arrived, but not much brighter inside the place.  We looked around waiting for someone to seat us, but everyone mostly just stared, so we seated ourselves.  Our very put-out waitress got three of our drink orders, and just walked away and left the fourth person hanging.  Seriously.  We had finished our huge tumblers of soda before she ever came back around for our food orders.

Despite the under $10 shrimp dinner, Mr. FvF decided for boneless wings in their Firecracker sauce, which is a pretty damn spicy Thai chili flavor.  I went with boneless wings as well, but in the much sissier spicy garlic sauce. We also ordered the Po'Anna and JalapeƱo Bottlecaps to share for apps.  It took forever to get out food, and our drinks were never refilled while we waited on the grub.
This was the Po'Anna - shredded potatoes, deep fried and covered in melted cheddar, bacon bits, ranch dressing and chives.  Much like Tanya Harding's teen years, this was a white trash party in your mouth.  The fried shredded spuds were less like a big mess of hash browns and more like those Tater Sticks that come in a can.

The photo of the chicken chunks is just obligatory - you've seen one, you've seen'em all.  I do wish I'd gotten a pic of the real wings, because they were pretty massive in size.  The Firecracker sauce was still right up the boys' alley, but still way too spicy for this ol' gal.  My "spicy garlic" sauce was slightly above par for the salty disaster that usually awaits me when I order anything garlic.  It wasn't spicy, but it was fairly garlicky.  Not too shabby.  The Sweet & Mild sauce, however, was really interesting.  It was very, VERY sweet - like the Cinnabon of wing sauces.  I can't say it wasn't damn tasty, though.   I always have a soft spot for house-made sauces, but they have a little work to do if their customers want more of a variety than sweet, salty, and balls-out hot.

The price points were so right on, I almost felt like I was stealing...then I realized the service had not only not improved, but slowly gotten more and more non-existent.  I considered chalking this up to us being newbs  - this looking like the kind of place where they have a lot of regulars.  But, then we overheard a table of regulars bemoaning the same server.  Overall - decent food, decent beer menu, good prices.  But, you all know that a bad service experience will sour me on a place in a hurry.  As far of a hike as this was (clear out on 40 in Vandalia), I think I'll just keep buying their Firecracker sauce at Dot's for Mr. FvF and selectively forgetting that Bunker's is a place you can visit.

2.5 out of 5 sporks!

Bunkers Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon

Sunday, April 3, 2011

DoubleDay's Bar & Grill - Centerville, Ohio

I've reviewed Doubleday's before, so I'll keep this short & sweet.  I take my mom here for lunch about once a month or so, and we both always get soup & salad.  Their house salads are huge with a big, colorful veggie variety, and served with great pumpernickel oat bread.  All of their soups are made in-house, and they never have fewer than 4-5 per day.  I'm a major sucker for the black bean sausage soup, so I get that every time. Could stand a bit more sausage, but it's so filling and it hits the spot every time.  Probably not a good choice for a date night, considering you can lift yourself off to space within about 30 minutes of eating it.    
Ma FvF switches it up each time, though. This past time she got the Chicken & Pasta soup, which we both thought would be a broth-based soup on the low-cal side.  Not so much.  
An amazing, velvety cream base with small shell pasta, spinach, chicken and some other goodies.  It was fantastic.  The more I go there, the more it makes sense why you always have to wait for a table there.  It's not in my top five of all time or anything, but they're almost always a top lunch pick, especially if I'm in the Centerville area.  

5 out of 5 sporks