Monday, October 27, 2008

Walkabout 2008: Day 10

Today's travels took me from Scranton where I had I lovely lunch at the local Chili's to Pittsburgh. As part of my trip, I took the Hershey Highway to the Chocolate Factory where the proprietor dismissed me with a "Good Day!!!"

Walkabout 2008: Day 9

Sorry for the gap in posting -- lots of driving.

Day 9 took me from Waterbury VT to a bed-n-breakfast just outside of Scranton PA. I've never been to a beet farm, so I thought I would give it a try.

These are the only pix I took:

Dallas' Most Useful Webpage


Yes I Know I Need To Update My Blog

But I've had some serious laying around doing nothing time. So I've obviously had little time to post about my Pittsburgh grub crawl or my trip down the Hershey Highway.

But I had an odd dream that I wanted to share in the interim.

So I spent much of this weekend watching the Saw movies. Don't ask me why. Well, OK, you can ask me why, but I probably won't have a good answer. However, they were a lot better than I thought they would be.

And, as one would expect, my dreams were effected. Indeed I had what I would consider a nightmare. It felt so real I was relieved when I awoke this morning to find that it was only a dream.

In this dream/nightmare I had hired some people to replace the wood (OK laminate) floors in my living room with some cheap Berber carpet. I'm not sure why I did this, but I do know that I was very upset that I did it. I don't own a vacuum cleaner and with Alex shedding constantly I was going to have to buy one.

So you can imagine how relieved I was when I woke up and had wood. Floors that is.

Sorry. Went for the cheap joke.
Please feel free to analyze my dream. And try to work in Jung.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Walkabout 2008: Home

I got home early yesterday morning -- driving straight through from the 'burgh to Dallas. I hope to have the Pittsburgh grub crawl stuff up by the soonish.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Walkabout 2008: Day 8



More hanging out with the fam in Waterbury. The highlight of which was a 4-0 victory in final JV game of the season for the U32 High School soccer team. Yeah, I would have thought there would have been some Revolutionary War hero they could have named the school after.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Walkabout 2008: Day 7

Dang. One week has flown by.

Oh, and a tip to everyone. Don't ever have dinner at 5pm. It makes the rest of the night seem much later than it really is.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Walkabout 2008: Day 6

Today I traveled from Freeport Maine to Waterbury Vermont. The plan had been to have one of Maine's signature Lobster rolls. But the lobster roll shacks are closed for the season. Slackers.

Instead I had some of the worst French Toast I've ever had at Becky's Diner in downtown Portland.

Sorry there weren't more pictures. It rained most of the day, limiting optimal picture taking opportunities.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Walkabout 2008: Day 5

Day 5 took me from beautiful crime-free Hackensack New Jersey to slightly more beautiful Freeport Maine -- stopping briefly in New Haven for a burger. There was lots of driving and only a few opportunities to take pictures of the amazing fall foliage.

Enjoy.







I should have lots of pix tomorrow.

Eating New Haven: Louis' Lunch

I loves me some teevee shows about food. Whenever there's a show about the best hamburgers or donuts or steaks or sangwiches I'm tuned in. And one place that shows up time and time again is Louis' Lunch.

This is a place that has been around since the 1800s and claims to have invented the hamburger. Their cooking apparatus was built in the early 1900s. They are these unique vertical grills where the meat is placed vertically in a cage and cooked on both sides at the same time. The bread is then toasted on a toaster from the 1920s. Cheese, onion and tomato are then placed on the medium rare burger.

And here's what you get for $5:


To which I say "eh".

This burger is ok at best. Mushy from under cooking with only a modicum of flavor. Here's what I don't get. It took a good 10 minutes in a nearly empty restaurant to cook my burger. 10 minutes for medium rare????

If this burger were in Dallas, it would not come close to making my Top 10 Burgers List. And that includes Whataburger and my out of town favorite In-n-Out Burger.

Sorry. This is one over hyped burger.

C

261-263 Crown Street New Haven, CT 06510

Walkabout 2008: Day 4

Sorry. Not much happened today. It was largely a hang out with the fam type day.

We did get served by a young Paulie Walnuts at Benzie's and were treated to the loud telephone conversation of a waitress at the Arena Diner. Her husband was either in the hospital or jail and her daughter kept hanging up on her.

I figured you would want to know.

Heading up to Portland Maine today mostly so I can say I've been to both Portlands and to check Maine and New Hampshire off my list of states I've never been to.

Oh, and if you're ever in the Bergen County area and someone asks if you want to get a quick bite at Jersey Boys. SAY "NO!!". It was terrible, America.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Walkabout 2008: Day 3 -- Pictures

Eating Rehoboth: Dogfish Head Brew Pub

Welcome to Mecca, have a beer.

And so I did. I had never seen the Shelter Pale Ale, and wanting to try something new, that's what I had.

Excellent. I hope this shows up in Dallas soon, because this will be my go-to beer. At least until I find my next go-to beer.

As for food, I ordered their crab and corn chowder for starters. Good christ was that good. Everything was fresh with a slight hint of bacon. I could have eaten a 55 gallon drum of this stuff.

For my main course I got a crab cake (of course) sandwich with onion rings. I gotta say, the onion rings were very disappointing. They were gigantic with what appeared to be some kinds of herbs in the breading. But they were saddly lacking in flavor. The sandwich was much better. The bun was toasted on a wood fire for a slight smokey flavor and the crab cake was much more deserving of an award that what I had the night before. But it still didn't rise to the level of crab cakes at III Forks.

This is a really cool place and I need to figure out how to get back to Rehoboth sometime before I die.


A-

320 Rehoboth Avenue, Rehoboth Beach, DE, 19971

Walkabout 2008: Day 2 -- Virginia is for Fuckheads

One of the things I've learned in my travels the past two years is that each state has a unique driving culture. Some states are better drivers than others.

Virginia has the worst drivers in America.

What makes it so bad. Their unique driving rule in which the slowest traffic must drive in the center lane so that passing my be done on the left and right. In fact if you dare to go only 10 mph over the limit in the right (traditional slow lane) you will get run up on. At 6am in the morning after not sleeping, this was very frazzling.

But eventually I survived and made it to Washington DC. And while this is a much prettier city than I had expected, it is THE WORST CITY IN AMERICA.

Well, I guess Detroit and Cleveland have something to say about it. And much of my opinion is tainted with lack of sleep. But this place is crazy.

First you have all the Virgina drivers. Add to that very poor street signage and stop lights that are placed in such a manner that they kinda blend in with the background. So a few times I was right up on a red light when I realized, "Oh, I should probably stop."

I had intended to hang out in DC and see all the things I've never seen that any good American should see. But after getting stuck on the parkway and then confused and frustrated by the mall area, I decided "Fuck it, let's just go to Delaware."

And after just one day in Delaware, I have declared it "King Wally's First Runnerup for East Coast States." -- Vermont is #1 and I've not yet been to Maine or New Hampshire. So the standing may change in the next few days.


Cool foggy pix on the DC Parkway.





Hallowed Ground: The Dogfish Head Brewery in Milton, DE.

Eating Rehoboth: Jake's Seafood House

I really need to start going with my instincts. I knew the market was going to crash a few months ago and did nothing. And I got the vibe that this place was a played out tourist restaurant, but went anyway.

It all had to do with the crab cakes. Once again I was seduced by the painted lips and perfumed inner thigh of crab cakes. And these were supposed to be "award winning". Well, they will not be receiving the King Wally Hops Cluster of Excellence.

But let's begin at the beginning.

The menu implored me to ask my waitperson about the beers they have on tap. And this is the hometown of the Dogfish Head Brew Pub. So good beer should be in the offing. So, here is their list of draft beer:



But they do have bottled beer. And all of it was crappy American Yellow beer.

For starters I got a cup of their seafood bisque. While, to me, this was more of a chowder that's been hit with a stick blender more than a bisque, it was still very tasty. So far so good. Next came my grilled seafood sampler with their signature crab cake.

Many places proudly proclaim that there is only crab in their crab cake. Some how by avoiding other flavoring agents like aromatics and herbs you get a purer cake. And to that I say "Good day!" These were almost exclusively crab and almost exclusively bland -- not bad, just semi-flavorless.

The rest of the meal was little better. This was a meal from a restaurant that has lost their passion for seafood. The shrimp was rubbery and the scallops were only slightly better. The flounder was good (not great) light and flaky.

Another high note were their mashed potatoes. These were excellent.

So I was a little sad by this so I headed over to the Kohr Brothers for a frozen custard to drown my sorrows. That at least was fantastic.



C+
29 Baltimore Avenue Rehoboth Beach, DE 19971



Kohr Brothers

A+
Multiple Locations Along the Atlantic Coast

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Walkabout 2008: Day 1

Walkabout plans are often nebulous. It's the nature of the Walkabout. The Walkabout tells you where to go and how to get there. You don't tell the Walkabout how to go about it's bidness.

So, as you may have guessed, my plans went out the window right here on day 1. Originally I had planned to take a leisurely drive from Dallas to Nashville. If time permitted, maybe try to make it to Knoxville. And, in fact, the first couple of hours resembled first half of day 1 last year.

I had to bring my Aunt in New Jersey a case of Ranch Style Beans. And what better place to purchase said case than at a Piggly Wiggly in Sulphur Spings?




Sulphur Springs is also a county seat, so that requires a picture.


There you go, Margaret. This is easily the tiniest County Courthouse I've ever seen.

After seeing and photoging my requisite courthouse I journeyed on the side roads to Texarkana. But the problem is that there was nothing interesting. No more courthouse or quaint downtown areas.

After Texarkana, my plan was to stop by Hope and take some pix of the Clinton birthplace. It seemed like the thing to do. Except that 1) Hope is crazy congested with equally crazy constructed and 2) the signage for the Clinton stuff was so poor I gave up looking for it and headed on to Memphis where I took these pix.



I40 Bridge over the Mississippi.

A Duck.

Again I had a plan. I was supposed to have Memphis BBQ at Leonard's. But I got there at 3pm and the dinner buffet doesn't start until 4:30. I didn't want to wait and my laptop battery was inexplicably dead. So I couldn't find an alternative.

It was then I decided to go all-in and try to get to Roanoke by the end of night 1 instead of night 2. I figured with only the necessary stops, I could get there by 2am (1am by my body clock).

But what I didn't consider was that once I got there ALL of the hotels would be full up with VTech alums or somesuch. There was no place to stay and I had few options at this time of night to find a place.

So I drove straight through the night to Washington DC.

But that's for Day 2.

Drinking Victory: The Boardroom

Ugh.

The Jester recommended this place. He must have been drunk before he got here. First, it was way too expensive and high-toned for him. And second, there seemed little here to recommend.

But it did look like a place I might like.

Might.

Things went badly from the start when we had to wait a good bit of time on a mostly deserted patio before having our drink order taken. This was before a Stars home opener and OU/tu peprally at AT&T Plaza. So you think it would have been busier or at least better staffed. When my drink finally arrived there was something conspicuously missing from my Bombay Sapphire martini.

Please direct your attention to the Boardroom logo above. Do you see the olives in the logo? Well, they apparently only have olives in their logo, and not their drinks - or, at least, my drink. I asked our waitress for some olives and she came back with a glass of olives -- three, no toothpicks. A few minutes later she returned and seeing only one olive left, took the glass and asked "Are you done with this??" I yelped "NO!" and took the glass from her.

For a quick pre-game appetizer we ordered their Corn Dog surf and turf. It was a "gourmet" corned dog and a tempura battered lobster. Kind of a cute idea. Too bad neither item had much flavor. I found it strange that this dish was served with two sauces in ramekins about the same size as the food items. But upon eating them, you needed a like-sized portion of sauce just to get some flavor.


I - Admittedly, not enough to make a true judgment. But they will have to ace the final to get a passing grade.

2990 Olive St Dallas, TX 75219

Walkabout 2008: Day 0

I took the day off from work to prepare for my trip. Of course I did virtually nothing to prepare until I got back from the disappointing Stars opener.

Notes:
  • Final meal in Texas - Chicken Fried Steak at Dixie House Lakewood
  • How does the Ross Discount tire make money?? It cost me $8 to fix my flat from a few weeks ago (Yes, I know I'm a procrastinator. Get off my back) and it took 30 minutes to fix it.
  • Thank you to the two lesbians making the Stars' opener extra special.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Funniest Office Scene Ever??



Maybe I relate too much to Jim's trying to draw Dwight offsides about Battlestar Galactica.

Sorry JT.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Cuquita's to close its Henderson location

While this will delay my inevitable queso flameado induced heart attack by several years. This is the worst news I've read since, well ever.

From the EatsBlog story:

This is truly awful news.


Cuquita's, one of the DMN's recent "Best in DFW" choices for best Mexican food, is closing its mother-ship location on Henderson Avenue after this weekend. DMN
photog Randy Eli Grothe, who did a lovely photo essay on Cuquita's a couple of years ago, ate there last night and reports that they've already stopped serving liquor. He also says a manager told him that they are looking for another Dallas location, with Oak Cliff as a likely possibility.

We made a quick phone call and confirmed the dreaded news. Probably should have expected this, since that formerly funky part of Henderson has been turning into a trendy, high-rent district. (Thanks, Tristan!) We're going to talk to a Cuquita's manager ourselves, ASAP, and hope to have more info for you this afternoon. But if you want your Cuquita's gordita fix at the original site, better hurry on down.
Fortunately, while we await their hoped-for renaissance in the O.C., there are other Cuquita's locations around the area, including one on Josey Lane in Farmers Branch, one in Dallas on Buckner at Lake June, and another in Dallas at Spring Valley and Coit.

Mmmmmmmmmm Democracy



Show your support for the only candidates for real hope and real change here.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

I Could Photog for Wiki

While planning my Walkabout 2008 I began reminissing about Walkabout 2007 and headed over to Wiki to read up on Yosemite. It was there that I saw this:





which reminded of this picture I took.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Socialist Propaganda du Jour


Yes, it's slow at work today.

Food Porn du Jour


You ever want a scrumptious cinnamon roll AND some bacon. Well, here you go.

Eating Dallas: Fish City Grill

Fish City Grill.

Let’s look at that name.

Fish. One would expect an abundance of fish on a menu from a restaurant with fish in the name, yes? Not so much here. Most of the items on the menu were shrimp, oysters, crawfish or crabs – none of which is a fish. If I may go back to my pre-med days, fish are chordates (I use chordates rather than vertebrates to include sharks – look it up). So there is little fish at Fish City Grill

City. One would expect a huge bustling environment, like, oh, I don’t know, maybe new york CITY. Not so much here. When we walked in there were only two tables occupied.

Grill. On would expect that most of the items on the menu were grilled. I’ll even allow for griddling as opposed to open fire grilling. Hey, I’m a generous kind of guy. Nope, not here. Most of the items on the menu were fried.

So the place should be called Invertebrate Shellfish Village Fryer.

Now to be fair, there were a half dozen or so actual fish items on their menu chalkboard. One of the more “interesting” offerings was a Lighly Blackened silver bass in a beurre blanc sauce. Huh!??!?! You take a piece of fish and subject it to the intense spicy flavors of a blackening and then top it with a light subtle sauce like a beurre blanc. That's like dipping buffalo wings in cream gravy. Oh, actually that sounds good. Everything is good dipped in cream gravy.

So how was the food? Well, this place’s menu was so uniquely devoid of anything worth trying I came very close to just paying for my beer and walking out. But, really, the only places worth reviewing on this blog are the truly great and abjectly putrid. Thus I stayed and ordered two appetizers – the always dependable crab cake and chipotle fried shrimp. In addition, a sample of the signature dish, oyster nachos was offered and accepted.

Admittedly, this review has been overly harsh. Therefore I will say the oyster nacho was very good. The pico de gallo that topped it was fresh and vibrant (how’s that for flowery review language???). But, to be honest, the dish could have been oyster nacho with doo doo as the oyster and it would have tasted much the same. A fried oyster drowned in a yummy chipotle mayonnaise tastes little different if it had been a turd.

The chipotle fried shrimp were ok. The shrimp themselves were a bit rubbery and fishy. But the always deliciousness of all things chipotle balanced out this dish to score of adequate.

But it was the crab cake that was the biggest disappointment. It looked like a giant potato pancake and tasted about the same. To their credit, it was filled almost exclusively with actual crab. And when the crab has very little flavor and you add nothing to add flavor, all you taste is the pan and the oil used to cook the crab cake.

So ignore this Dallas Observer Best of recommendation and ignore Fish City Grill.


Oh, and by the way Fish City Grill folks, there's a swordfish right on your logo. How's about you have some swordfish on the menu. AND DON'T FUCKING FRY IT!!!

D

2323 N. Henderson Ave., Ste. 109 Dallas, TX

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Homer for Obama



I'm sure the folks over at Fixed News (KO reference) will use this as an example of leftist Hollywood. And not that they would be wrong, but, from the music sting at the begining, this is clearly from the upcoming Treehouse of Horrors episode.

Enjoy it until it's taken down.

Hamburger with Grilled Cheese Sandwich as the Bun


Today's odd food item of today. It is certainly a step up from hamburger with doo-doo as the meat.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Happy October!!!

Well, we finally made it -- October, the best month of the year.

What's not to love?? The weather cools down. The leaves change. The football season is in high gear. The Rangers are mercifully put to sleep. The hockey season STARtS! (get it??). The State Fair is going on for most of the month with all its delicious fried abominations. And then we finish off the month with normally modest women dressing up as horny teachers or nurses or bumblebees for halloween.

Why can't all months be as loving and giving as October?