Monday, November 17, 2014

FvF on the Road: Atlanta

The A is one of my favorite places to visit for great company and food. Chronologically, here's a detail of how I ate my way through town.

Killer Grindhouse Burgers - Tarantino-themed burgers (that IS a tasty burger!), fried things, snooty cocktails and boozy shakes. Tell'em Large Marge sent ya! Kitschy decor, friendly service, a nice patio and great food. Perfect way to forget about how much I hate airports. 
 Terrible photo, awesome grub & drank.

Jeni’s Ice Cream - I know, I know. I live an hour from the original. But I can never get there! Hit up the Westside provisions district for a walk and tried the sweet cream biscuits and peach jam flavor. Only in the south, limited edition. 

Sobban - Southern-Asian fusion joint. We drooled over pics of the Korean fried chicken wings with sweet chili ginger sauce that not only lived up to the pics - but outdid themselves. The sauce was the perfect marriage of sticky, sweet and a little heat. I'm usually not one to eat messy foods in public, but I would eat these until downright ashamed of myself. You know, given the opportunity. I had the enormous Pork Chop Donkatsu, which was so delicious that I forgot about everything else that was on my plate. I remember some kind of fruity hot mustard sauce, but that pork chop tho! 

Eleanor’s - A speakeasy! Well, kind of. I'm sure the law knows they're operational, but you have to enter through an accompanying restaurant (Muss & Turner's) and walk through what appears to be the door to their walk-in cooler, keep winding down a dimly-lit hall into a not-much-brighter small bar area. The offerings are simple - wines, a few well-chosen craft beers and a couple of really outstanding cocktails. I ordered the Bad Apple - Bourbon, apple, lemon, maple and cinnamon. Perfection. I really appreciated that while it was crowded, and probably attracts its share of regulars - service was still top notch. 

Chicken Salad Chick - almost 20 kinds of chicken salad. Really! Not for all, but surely for me and my bestie, who've both been known to extol the merits of a well-made chicken salad on the regular. I had the classic, friend had the Sassy Scotty (bacon!).  Skip the soup. Make sure you get the pickles and cookies though. I doubt this concept would fly North of the Mason-Dixon, but I'd love to find some offerings this good in Dayton (besides DLM, and with more variety). 
The Butcher and Baker - Nestled in the cute, trendy area of Marietta Square - we dropped in here for a drink while waiting on our table at Kiosko. Again, a crowded weekend night, but we were still seated quickly at the bar and still enjoyed some good back and forth with the bar staff. Nice tap selection, and the menu looked outstanding. Definitely want to go back here for solids the next time I'm in town. 

Kiosko - Again, Marietta Square. Perfectly sized Colombian restaurant - about 8 tables plus two on the sidewalk. Service was tops and food was some of the best I've ever had. Ever. In any state, city or country. Everything was daydream-inducing good, but I still can't get over how great the beans were. Daytonians, if you think Nelly's is good - you have to go here if in or near the A. 

Marlow’s Tavern (Boozy brunch) - Bottomless mimosas?  sign me up! Probably one of the most well-done brunch buffets at which I've had the pleasure of eating until I hate myself. The mimosas aren't strong, but I definitely got my money's worth at the $15 bottomless price tag. the brunch offerings were vast and impressive. Fried chicken, honey chicken, deviled eggs, creamed spinach, shrimp & cheddar grits, so many different salads and a nice offering of petite desserts. Definitely packs a crowd on a Sunday, and a smidge on the loud side - but totally worth a trip. This will be on my "must" list every time I visit. Plus, the surroundings encourage drunken shopping, which is a favorite pastime. 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Dewey's Pizza @ Austin Landing

Mr. FvF and I were lucky enough to be invited to the pre-opening friends & family event at the new Dewey's Pizza at Austin Landing. For you suburbanites that tend not to venture too close to downtown Dayton - I can sum Dewey's up pretty easily by just telling you it's killer pizza. Perfectly chewy crust from a Hades-hot brick oven, high quality (and several locally sourced) toppings, a few calzones and a handful of good salads. They keep the focus where it should be - on the pies. With some quirky names (like the Dr. Dre) and nicely profiled flavor combination, even the pickiest eaters would be hard pressed not to find something they love. While Dewey's pies appeal to people like me who would order something way of the pizza map like their seasonal Porky Fig (fig jam sauce, prosciutto and gorgonzola) - you can also pacify the less adventurous 'za eaters with the X-Pepperoni or just build your own.

I can get pretty wonky when it comes to pizza toppings, but the mister likes to keep it basic. Their special was The Don - all of the good Italian meats and plenty of cheese. We did that one half, and on the other half, the Meatball (pretty self-explanatory).

One of the things I love is that they're not dicks about doing half & half pies, as long as the sauce base is the same. So, if you have wildly different taste than your dining partner, no sweat. Both sides tasted amazing, but I stopped just short of hating myself...or so I thought. Did you guys even know Dewey's had dessert? I'm betting a lot of people don't, because who can suffer dessert after eating their pizza?

Well, when I joked with our server (who was rad, by the way - knew the menu AND the beers) that I hadn't eaten enough to be ashamed of myself, he mentioned that they had a pumpkin cake from Ele in West Carrollton. In chatting with their regional manager Eric and getting a tour of the kitchen, turns out Dewey's locally sources desserts in every market. Here are a bunch of other things I didn't know...

  • Can't recall the name of the maker, but Dewey's sausage is made by a Cincy-area purveyor and can only be found on their pies.
  • While the dough is fresh, it's aged 2-3 days, which gives it the chewiness that their customers love.
  • Their current stores are in the major Ohio markets, and St. Louis. Never would have guessed, but apparently Dewey has family there.
  • Dewey is a real guy! 
  • In all of their markets, beers are also locally sourced and some are exclusive to their restaurants.
  • An eatery after my own heart - they love wine so much, they made their own. I didn't get to try this because I was busy sampling beers and turning into Violet Beauregarde, but it's on my to-do list. 
  • There's a good chance they're working on a gluten-free pizza dough. According to the head honchos, they won't put anything on their menu that they don't love themselves, so I'm guessing it will be more than passable.
  • Those dudes in the kitchen can spin some serious dough. 

If you like pizza and you haven't been there, stop making excuses and go fill your gullets with Dewey's. I feel like I've given you more than enough reasons. Go, already! 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

I NOMinate you!

As I mentioned last week, Frisch's Big Boy has a clever promo going where you can nominate deserving folks to receive one of their award-winning pumpkin pies for free. When you're a really-big-deal internet personality like me, the brass at Frisch's give you one guaranteed nomination*. In other words - play your cards right and I'll make sure that you, dear eater, get that free pie.
I know some of you are thinking, "How do I win, Vizz?!" and the rest of you are wondering, "We're playing cards?"

I hate coming up with legitimate contests, so here's how you enter:
Tell me why you deserve a pumpkin pie in the comments section (here, not FB) before midnight on Sunday October 19, and I will choose a winner at random based on email addresses linked in the comment. Each email address only gets one entry, unless you up your chances by liking FvF on Facebook. If that seems unfair because you already like FvF on Facebook, send a friend to like our Facebook page and I'll enter the sender's name/email (again) along with the new fan. And while you're on Facebook, why not give Frisch's a like, too?

*They also give you a free pie and $25 gift card to help promote other aforementioned free pies. 

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Nom, Nom, Nominate

Not only does this contest have a great title, it's sweet, sincere and relevant to the Thanksgiving season that will be upon us before we know it. If you're living right, you've probably had a good handful of moments in your life that someone did something so nice for you that it floored you. Or maybe there's someone in your life everyday that's so supportive of you that they just deserve a special treat for putting up with what a giant pain in the ass you can be sometimes. I mean, hypothetically.

Well, here's your chance. No catch, no purchase required. All you have to do is think of someone who is awesome and deserves a free pumpkin pie, and (nom, nom) nominate them on Frisch's Facebook page or here.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Are you ready for some cheesesteaks?!! Also, football.

Chances are, you're going to eat a sub between now and the end of November anyway, so why not get one from Penn Station and up your chances of winning some free stuff?  I don't mean an oversized t-shirt you'll only end up cleaning the house in (or with) or a free beverage with purchase - the lowest prize on the totem pole here is a sammich party for 20. Twenty! Or you could just invite ten people and really get Brando-fat. Every PS receipt between 10/1 and 11/30 will have a code on the bottom that you can enter via text message.

To win one of three amazing Big Game Getaway packages, simply enter the code printed on your Penn Station East Coast Subs receipt. Winners could win:

Grand Prize will receive a three (3) night stay at the Holiday Inn Express Scottsdale North, two (2) tickets to the Big Game, access to PrimeSport’s VIP Pre-Game Experience featuring an open bar, great local cuisine, live entertainment and celebrity guests, round-trip transportation to the University of Phoenix Stadium, official Big Game souvenirs, Pepsi suitcases, professional event staff to assist you for the Big Game and more!

Big Game Viewing Party: Winner will receive 70” TV and Blue-Ray player, team jerseys to wear for the Big Game, a Pepsi bean bag toss set, Penn Station East Coast Subs party for 20, Pepsi cooler and Oakley sunglasses.

Big Game Digital Prize Pack: Winner will receive Samsung Galaxy Note 8, Penn Station East Coast Subs party for 20, NFL jerseys and hat to wear for the Big Game and a Pepsi Mini Fridge.

If you like sandwiches and free stuff, I don't really see where you can go wrong here. If you have some horrible affliction and can't eat sandwiches or cookies, there's always lemonade and fries. 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

MikeSell's - New Flavor Alert!

Like any good Daytonian, I usually go A-1 ape when Mikesell's comes out with a new flavor. In fact, they have yet to do something I don't like. Tuscan spice, new kettle chips flavors, cinnamon puffcorns - they can do no wrong. If you ask around Dayton, usually the only complaint is that they might make a wonderful flavor that's limited edition and haven't brought it back yet (ahem, Habanero Lime). 

This weekend, the Dayton-born and bred company is releasing a Southwestern Queso cheese curl and a Beer Can Chicken groovy chip. I was unreasonably excited when I got a text Tuesday night with an offer to try the new flavors, just cooked and packaged earlier that day. 

Beer Can Chicken: 

Kudos, as usual forgetting even flavor distribution on each chip. This is an area that I feel like a lot of potato chip makers are lacking in. I was half-expecting an artificial smoke flavor, but that's not what I got. What I did get was a wonderful savory flavor that had hints of well-seasoned chicken skin. Frankly, I haven't eaten enough actual beer can chicken to tell you if they got the flavor spot on. Regardless, they're delicious and I will absolutely buy them again. 

SW queso curls: They really did get the flavor spot on here, but the jalapeno flavor is a bit much for me. I've never been a fan of that particular flavor, but Mr. FvF had no problem inhaling two bags of these. They aren't spicy by any means, but there is a strong pepper flavor. To my knowledge, there are no puffs/curls available in a flavor like this. 

Even though the queso curls weren't my personal favorite, sandwiching one between two of the beer can chicken chips was one of the better snack ideas I've had recently. 

Monday, July 14, 2014

FGAtFT: Zombie Dogs

I finally got to eat a Zombie Dog. A lot of them, to be precise. I couldn't decide on one and was feeling less gluttonous than usual, so my family of 2.5 got three dogs and split them. From front to back, you're looking at Blood Graffiti, Juan of the Dead and Dead Dixie. 

It's hard to give an incredibly descriptive review of franks, but they were all kick ass.  I thought I would like Dead Dixie the best, but I actually liked it the least. It was good, but not nearly as stand-out as Juan. Blood graffiti was basically a pizza dog, something someone should have thought of a long time ago. Can't wait to catch them close to home or work again, hopefully without a painfully long line!  And thanks to my friend Jason Laveck to giving me the heads on their location frequently. 

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Finally getting around to food trucks: Harvest

People are always so surprised that up until a couple of months ago, I had never really tried any of the local food trucks. I tried to go to one of the food truck rallies downtown, but I made the mistake of going to the first one that was held and it was a hot mess. My job has me in a different city every day, and when I check the food truck schedule-no food trucks are in that city on that day. 

However, I live close to Eudora Brewing and have a friend that alerts me anytime Zombie Dogs is close to my office or home. Eudora's parking lot has started hosting several different food trucks on the weekends, as has my friends' workplace - Community Tissue on Research. 

I popped into CTS to have lunch with my friends and try Harvest. The menu that day didn't really blow my mind, but I decided to go with the local wrap. After seeing my pal's fries, I immediately regretted my decision to go with Sun chips. The wrap, I thought, would be so amazing I wouldn't care. 

The wrap looks really good on paper(or dry erase board), but lost a little something in execution. The photo above shows a beautiful cross-section, which is how it was displayed in the box that it was neatly packed up in. Only the first bite of either side looked and tasted like that cross-section.  
Let me preface this by saying that I know chicken is expensive. The wrap was mostly greens, a little sauce, some asparagus, a sliced strawberry and maybe a teaspoon of goat cheese. Very little chicken to speak of. It pains me to say this, but it was bland. What I'm really looking for here is for someone to tell me that it was an off day, or that I simply ordered the wrong thing. While I don't mind paying $10 for lunch to support a local business, it had better taste like a $10 lunch. You dig? 

Monday, June 9, 2014

FvF on the Road: Las Vegas

Let's be serious: I drank a lot more than I ate in Las Vegas. This is comical in and of itself, considering drinks run about $11-20 a piece. But hey, when in rome - get loaded on expensive craft cocktails, right?

Rx Boiler Room - Mandalay Bay

Food portions are on the smaller side, but the citrus braised veal cheeks were excellent. If you're my co-worker, they may throw a hot plate of pastrami sliders at you and then only offer to replace that spilled plate for free after ruining your shirt.
The basic rundown is this: all of the servers are outfitted in steampunk regalia. If you don't know what that means, imagine if Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Bauhaus had a kid, and it got picked on at school all the time (why wouldn't it?). More importantly, the female servers and hostesses are wearing little more than a corset and some tulle. Which is great when they're pouring you one of these right out of the skull-shaped, smoke filled bottle:
Doesn't look like much, but check out this video for the full experience (and no, that lightweight is NOT me). It really was tremendous. It smelled like someone was boiling maple syrup over a campfire, and the blend of cola syrup was just right. I enjoyed the hell out of this. Service here was meh. They made a big misstep in how they attempted to correct the food spillage on my work buddy. 3.5/5

Carmine's - Shoppes at Caesar's Palace
I'll admit, this photo of Chicken Saltimbocca looks gnarly, but it was delicious. I can't find this dish on a menu in Dayton to save my life. Even more amazing, but not pictured, was the veal. Holy hell, it was out of this world. For those unfamiliar, Carmine's is a family style Italian joint with its original location in NYC. This is their Las Vegas second coming, which I hear happens a lot there. By family style (now it's your turn to get your minds out of the gutter), the dishes serve about 3-4 people a piece, so don't be alarmed at the $30+ per entree pricing. Service was outstanding, mostly because our server really knew the menu and wine list.

I had another great cocktail somewhere at the Mirage, but all I can remember is bourbon, peaches, mint and ginger. It was delicious. I obviously liked them enough to order a subsequent one, and forget where I was or what it was called.

Non-food-related notes - the pools and conference facilities at Mandalay Bay were fantastic. Rooms were fine. Not particularly earth-shattering, but the bathrooms were really nice. Views are a little limited because MB is on the ass-end of the strip. 

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

FvF on the Road: Toledo Eats

It thrills me that even when I'm not updating, over 100 people a day still come check out FvF.  However, it also makes me feel like a dick for neglecting it - considering I used to top 500 readers a day.

So, dear eaters, I give you a brief food tour of Toledo. Between my work travels and a real vacation, I've had a lot of outstanding food lately (and some I could have lived without) - so it doesn't seem fair to withhold all of these perfectly good recommendations...should you ever find yourself in the city by the lake. In chronological order:

Biaggi's - Levis Commons
Reminded me a LOT of Brio or Bravo.

The major difference was the combination of letters after the B. It was good, but I wouldn't say remarkable. I also didn't order a remarkable dish because it was lunchtime and I'm not an animal. I got some kind of panini that claimed to have gouda, which I couldn't taste - but the tomato bisque was nice. Would I choose Piada over it about any day? Probably.  4/5

Byblos - Holland
Hooooooooooooly falafel, Batman. This salad should be served at all times, at any and all loosely Mediterranean joints. Also, best pickles of my life. Ever. I wanted to fill my purse with them and fill my hotel mini-fridge with them, as to enjoy them my entire stay. If you've never been to Toledo (I can't say I recommend it for a lengthy stay), probably 50% of the eateries put fresh, warm pita bread on the table where you'd normally find a boring loaf of bread. This is another thing most restaurants should start adopting. Right away. Anyhow, the salad was comprised of some kick-ass falafel, fresh cukes, tomatoes and radishes - and as you can see, covered in parsley. It was so good, I didn't even miss the meat. They also have a few Turkish/Greek wines on their list that I may have enjoyed one or a handful of.      6/5

Empire Restaurant - Oregon
Just don't eat here. Really. Just don't. You're welcome.

Tony Packo's - Original Location
A Toledo institution (of the food variety, not mental).

 It was explained very basically to me, and delivered on what was promised - coneys with a split sausage instead of a hot dog. The side of paprikash I got left a lot to be desired, but the dog and sauce were great.     3.5/5

Poco Piatti
Super legit tapas. Meat lollies!!!

The great sangria, beer selection and chorizo tacos didn't hurt, either. Nifty little place, with nifty little plates.
And again, with the fresh pita on the table. 4.5/5

Friday, April 18, 2014

Free fries at Penn Station - ANY day!

Most sandwich lovers know that every Sunday in April denotes FREE fresh cut fries with the purchase of any sub. Wouldn't it be nice to get free fries on a Tuesday in June, though?

You lucky dogs, I can make that happen for you!

I have three free fry passes, good until 2015 - any ol' day of the week. The first person to send me three new fans, or the first three people to send me a new fan on the Facey Pages, are winning these suckers.  Make sure your friends that "like" FvF on Facebook shoot me a message to let me know who sent them.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

We you missed us, we're baaaaaaaack!

Stay tuned for the first giveaway in over a year, eaters.  We missed you, too!