Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Pink Pony Bar & Grill Review

This is the second in a series of posts for Michigan 2013.
Other posts in this series include: Lumber Jack

Located within the Chippewa Hotel at the far end of Main Street, 
the Pink Pony Bar offers indoor seating and a bar. 

But the star of the show? Their outside patio seating, which offers great views of Lake Huron.

They've got an outdoor bar as well so feel free to grab a cocktail!

And in the afternoon, you'll often find someone singing coffee shop tunes. But beware, I realized that the GF was staring daggers at me for being so entranced!

But let's get back to the food!

Smoked Whitefish Dip ($12.95)
Smoked Mackinac Island whitefish, cream cheese, garlic, seasoned pita chips

Whitefish is definitely one of the more highlighted ingredients on Mackinac Island so we had to start off with some smoked whitefish dip. The tortilla chips were freshly fried and were the perfect vessel for the smoky, creamy dip. The horseradish provided a nice kick to balance the smokiness.

White Fish Tacos ($12.95)
Pan-seared whitefish, cilantro cabbage, lime chipotle vinaigrette, avocado aioli, tortilla chips, fresh salsa

Going along with the whitefish theme, I had to get the whitefish tacos. The fish was meaty, yet flaky. The lime-chipotle was more of an aioli and provided some brightness along with the spicy salsa. I was expecting tortilla chips, but actually got freshly fried potato chips, 
which I appreciated more!

Sante Fe Wrap ($11.95)
Grilled chicken, fire roasted corn and black beans, tomatoes, lettuce, tortilla strips, pepper jack cheese, chipotle mayo, sun-dried tomato tortilla

The GF went with the Santa Fe wrap which was hearty and filled with roasted corn, black beans, and juicy grilled chicken. The chipotle mayo and the pepper jack added a nice piquancy to the dish.The crispy tortilla chips helped to heighten the textures as well.

Overall, if you're looking for a quick bite and someone dishes that highlight whitefish, look no further than Pink Pony Bar & Grill. And be sure to get a seat on the patio to enjoy 
the nice breeze and some tunes.

Pink Pony on Urbanspoon

Monday, July 29, 2013

Lumber Jack Review

This is the first in a series of posts for Michigan 2013.
A few months back, the GF and I returned to Michigan to visit her family and simply enjoy the end of spring by the lake. A big part of our trip involved going to Mackinac Island, which is one of the premier spots to vacation in Michigan. 

So on the way to Mackinac Island, we stopped for breakfast at Lumber Jack, which is attached to a Quality Inn chain. So while the latter means that if you actually stay at the motel, you'll smell the 80's cigarette smoke in the dry wall, Lumber Jack itself gets it done in terms of the food. It's homemade, plentiful, and most importantly, tasty.

When you enter Lumber Jack, you immediately notice the life-size bear that's stuffed to your left.

Of course, you've got the requisite shop that sells all sorts of knick knacks. 

Lumber Jack offers two seating areas, including one that is by a bar. 

The other is more expansive and open - completely decorated in the 'Lumberjack' theme.

They have a variety of standard options for breakfast at affordable prices.

Drinks are served in cute mason jars - always a plus in the GF's book.

The Lumberjack ($7.99)
3 eggs any style, 2 strips of bacon, 2 sausage links, toast, hashed browns

Of course, I went with the eponymous item on the menu. The Lumberjack was a typical hodgepodge of everything from the kitchen. Lumber Jack offers a great variety of bread on offer - marble rye, wheat, white, amongst others. Thick-cut, these slices of toast were clearly homemade and well-buttered.

The home fries were a shredded potato style and were not well seasoned. But that was fine because there was plenty of S/P at the table. The meaty sausages were plump and juicy. The bacon was thick, meaty, and smoky. The eggs were over easy, allowing the yolk to run all over the plate - perfect. The orange slice may not have been the most elegant way to round out the plate, but it was a bright bite to end my meal.

Western Omelet ($6.99)
Ham, peppers, onions, American cheese, toast, hashed browns

The GF went with the western omelet which had a fresh assortment of ham, peppers, and onions interspersed with gooey American cheese. The innards were fresh and had bite to it, with the cheese creating a perfectly creamy blanket. 

The Lumber Jack offers a great option for breakfast at affordable prices. You won't leave hungry and your wallet won't be too light. I could easily see myself coming here regularly for breakfast on the weekends.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Cinco de Mayo Review

While stopping by my folks' workplace on Bell Blvd. in Bayside, NY, I got some takeout from a variety of places for lunch. My mom was in the mood for a little Mexican cuisine so we ordered a lunch special from Cinco de Mayo

Chimichanga Lunch Special ($6.95)
Golden crispy flour tortilla, chicken

The chimichanga was well fried, crisp, and not greasy. The pulled chicken was moist. 
Nothing special here, but nothing more was really expected.

All lunch specials come with well-seasoned rice, creamy black beans, a pittance of guacamole, 
lettuce, and sour cream.

As an added bonus, they usually provide freshly fried tortilla chips with a mildly spicy salsa on the side. Nothing fancy, but appreciated considering the affordable price point.

Cinco de Mayo is the epitome of casual Mexican cuisine, which is to say that they provide affordable Mexican food with a variety of options that lean towards burritos and tacos. Don't expect Rosa Mexicano or Dos Caminos in NYC or El Vez in Philly and you'll be fine. But don't worry - 
you won't be paying those respective price points either.

Cinco de Mayo on Urbanspoon

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Hatville Deli Review

This is for a series of posts for Reading Terminal Market including: The Rib Stand, Hatville Deli, By George! Pizza, Pasta & Cheesesteaks, Olympic Gyro, Iovine Brothers Produce, DiNic's Pork and Beef, Meltkraft, and Wursthaus Schmitz.    

Other than Iovine Brothers Produce, there is no place in Reading Terminal Market I go to on more of a consistent basis than Hatville Deli. Sourced from Lancaster, the quality meats produced by the Esh family are affordable and convenient.

Just take a gander at those delicious slabs of bacon - hickory smoked, pepper, or maple glazed. And of course, it wouldn't be Pennsylvania without some country pork scrapple!

Or you might opt for their bevy of freshly sliced ham, turkey, and chicken.

But that's not all! You've got homemade cheeses, which includes a slew of cheddar (try their maple bacon cheddar!) and mozzarella, among others.

They've even got a gamut of unique and creative cream cheeses!

On a recent trip, I picked up half a pound of country ham ...

Some of the aforementioned maple bacon cheddar ...

A little horseradish cheddar ...

And a half pound of that nicely marbled hickory smoked bacon ...

Also - it never hurts when a shop takes Level Up, while offering a $1 credit. And if you use this link - you'll get an additional $5 off! Be sure to check out Hatville Deli if you're looking for an affordable deli that offers quality meat and cheese.

Hatville Farms Deli on Urbanspoon

Monday, July 22, 2013

Sarcone's Deli Review

Philly is home to many great delis which offer exceptional hoagies, including Carmen's and Primo. Sarcone's Deli has been on my radar for some time now, and thanks to Dining In, which is currently offering free delivery for Sarcone's Deli, I had the chance to try a few of their hoagies.

Chicken Sicilian ($9.75)
Chicken, abruzzi cheese spread, roasted peppers, fresh mozzarella, asparagus, oil, vinegar.

The chicken sicilian is definitely one of my favorites. The deliciously crusty sesame rolls are fresh and baked in house. The breaded chicken is juicy and moist. The fresh mozzarella and the roasted peppers brighten up the hoagie. 

The abruzzi cheese spread is what brings it together, with a bit of spice on the tip of your tongue. The crisp asparagus helps to add a textural element to the sandwich.

Junkyard Special ($8.50)
Sliced turkey, prosciutto, sauteed spinach, roasted red pepper, sharp provolone, fresh mozzarella cheeses, red wine vinegar, oil, dry herbs

The special is a great melange of fresh deli meat and veggies. The turkey is juicy and the prosciutto is sliced gossamer thin. The fresh mozzarella melds well with the funky sharp provolone. The sauteed spinach adds additional heft to the sandwich. 
Exotic Veggie ($8.50)
Breaded eggplant, roasted peppers, broccoli rabe, abruzzi spread, mozzarella cheese.

This veggie hoagie combined several fresh ingredients, but I felt a bit let down since I was expecting breaded eggplant. Still, the roasted eggplant was fresh, despite being slick. Unfortunately, there was no textural contrast here.

Sarcone's did not disappoint and certainly holds its own as one of the premier delis in Philly. The fact that they make one of the best rolls in Philly? An added bonus.

Friday, July 19, 2013

By George! Pizza, Pasta, & Cheesesteaks Review

Located across the way from Iovine Bothers Produce in Reading Terminal Market, By George Pizza, Pasta, & Cheesesteaks may have a generic, overproduced name, but the grub on offer is homemade and for the most part, on point.

Their pizza is pretty good and they've got quite the variety of specialty pies.

The Italian antipasti, salads, and apps are fresh, if not a bit pricey. 

To accommodate the lunchtime rush, they've also got a bevy of specialty sandwiches.

  Homemade marinara anyone?

Or some freshly made pasta?

Heck, they even make croutons! 

But let's get on with the food! When I saw an offer for a cheese steak combo, I knew I had to give them a try.

Cheese Steak Combo ($12)
Cheese Steak, Small Fries

The cheese steak was pretty decent here. There was plenty of chopped steak in this sandwich, though it was a bit dry from being on the flattop too long. Regardless, the meat was well seasoned and filled with fried onions. The Carangi roll was fresh and the sharp provolone provided some necessary funk to the cheese steak. However, keep in mind - there's a dollar add-on if you're going down the provolone route, though it's not advertised nor was I informed. Slightly annoying.

The fries are cooked in peanut oil. However, by the time I brought them home (and perhaps some fault lies in this), they were damp and slightly soggy - not exactly crisp.

White Slice ($3.75)

The pizza at By George is pretty damn delicious though. The white slices in particular are a favorite of mine, with a chewy crust.. Garlic is nicely highlighted amidst all of the cheese.

If you're looking for Italian eats or decent pizza and are near RTM, be sure to check out By George. If you need some antipasti, this is the place to get a wide variety of them as well.

By George on Urbanspoon