Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Laredo has better burrito, but it isn't on menu

If you really want a really good burrito, order one that isn't even on the menu at Laredo Mexican Grill in Bainbridge. The California burrito comes with steak, peppers, onions, sour cream and guacamole in a enormous tortilla covered in queso. But, it isn't on the menu - it's a special-order item. The steak was very flavorful and the peppers and onions were just off the grill. The guacamole was also very good as well. If you ask for the hot sauce to go with it, you'll get what my server called the "sauce for big muscular Mexican men." It is definitely hot, but it was also flavorful. The cashier said it was a mixture of habanero peppers and celery, and I was literally sweating when I was done.

The chips and salsa were good, but I'd rather have fried sliced tortillas than the chips that come in a box and are just dropped in. When they come free with your meal you can't really complain that much. The salsa it comes with is pretty hot, but you can ask for the "hot" sauce if you dare. You'll get the same kind I had with my burrito that will definitely have you think twice next time.

Their queso that comes with the chips is good, but it isn't anything special. Since it costs extra to get it, I'd just stick with the chips and salsa.

The service at Laredo is outstanding, as always. You are greeted when you enter and the servers continually check on you and your meal. They are always friendly and try to get to know every customer that enters.

If you want a good meal with a good atmosphere, you should go to Laredo. If you're looking for a good time, you should go to Laredo after 9 p.m. for the bar and pool room.

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Monday, February 23, 2009

Beef O'Brady's cares about good service

A buffalo chicken wrap is always a good choice, so it's what I ordered at Beef O'Brady's at the Port City Shopping Center. I didn't know the wrap was toasted, but it was, and it was ten times better than it would've been without being toasted. The chicken was dripping with sauce and the tomato and lettuce were fresh as well. There was some kind of weird cheese flavor, which I guess would've been the Parmesan, because I asked for no blue cheese, but the wrap was still good. Even better if you like Parmesan cheese with your buffalo sauce.

Even though the wrap was good, I think the curly fries were better. It's not like they are hard to make since I'm sure they come pre-packaged and you just drop them in the grease, but they are delicious. When you dunk them in the Beef O' Brady's ranch dressing they are even better. I ordered Diet Coke to drink and our waitress, as well as another waitress who noticed I was low, kept our drinks filled.

My lunch date said his lunch was good. I say lunch date instead of compadre because in the past week 90 percent of our servers have asked if our meal was together or separate. He had the Waterson which is a roast beef sandwich with Swiss cheese on toasted rye bread. He had the curly fries as well, which cost a buck extra, but they're worth it.

The televisions at every booth are nice. Even though I'm not much for TV, I was glad to get caught up on Sportscenter while I was there. I couldn't help but think of all the buffalo sauce covered fingers that have to be wiped from the screens daily. They were clean.

A shocking experience also occurred during my lunch. The manager came to see how our food was. That doesn't happen often, but every time I've eaten at Beef's the manager has came to see about our service.

The meal was right at $10, but the portions were heaping and the service was excellent. It didn't take too long to get our food, and it was made steaming, fresh to order.

Needless to say, I'll probably go back. But I think I'll have a PB&J tomorrow since my lunch partner forgot his wallet and I caught his tab too.

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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Port City Deli is pricey, not spicy

Oh great, another sandwich shop in Bainbridge. Anyone can make a sandwich at their own house for a fraction of the cost of one from any deli in town. But, at least at Port City Deli, in the Inland Port Shopping Center, your $8 sandwich-chips-and-drink meal will be good. They serve Coke products, which I guess is a Southern thing, Pepsi really tastes better, but that's just me.

The place was packed when we arrived at 12:15 and every table in the joint was full. Fortunately for us, some folks knew we were important and evacuated their seats before we had to kick them out. More patrons continued to flow in even after we sat down and the place kept rocking until around 1:15 when it looked like a ghost town.

I had the El Diablo sandwich, because it sounded cool and because I like spicy food. It was rather small for an $8 combo, but it did fill me up, so I can't complain too much. It consisted of a freshly baked hoagie bun topped with grilled chicken, jalepenos, picante sauce, mayo and jack cheese. It was far from the Diablo, not being very spicy at all, I'd give it an El Diablito - maybe. Either way it was tasty, just not as menacingly spicy as I had hoped for.

My lunch compadre (I call him compadre because we're already in Mexican mode with El Diablo) had the Godfather sandwich combo. It consisted of the same hoagie bun with roasted turkey, ham, salami and pepperoni, melted provolone cheese, the garden and Italian dressing. He said the sandwich was tasty, but for a name like Godfather it didn't amount to much. He suggested they name it Santino, for the Godfather's hot-headed son.

It took a while to get our food, but it was made to order and our server was friendly. They do serve Miss Vickie's potato chips which are premium chips with a premium taste. If you've never experienced them, you'll have to try them next time. You can also choose potato or pasta salad as your side. I didn't get to taste them, but I was kind of upset my dill pickle spear didn't come with my sandwich like listed on the menu.

They do offer free delivery for orders for four or more people, which is good for all you drug reps trying to get the doctors full before you give em' the spiel.

I was pleased overall with my experience but couldn't help but notice most of the picture frames in the front of the store were crooked. I guess when you spend so much time making sandwiches, you don't sweat the little things.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Cinda's serves good Mexican, who would've thought?

I hate that I haven't written a bad review in a while, but I haven't had anything bad lately. Which is good since a few years ago I could've written a bad review everyday in Bainbridge.

But, we had Cinda's on the Square yesterday and the special was a $6 taco salad and drink combo. I figured since it was only $6 it'd probably be an itty-bitty taco salad, but it wasn't. It was an overflowing taco salad full of so much chili and cheese you couldn't see the lettuce and tomatoes, and the taco shell itself was freshly fried, not one of those pre-ordered shells that are stale and chewy. It didn't come with a salad dressing so I requested ranch, but then I didn't need it after all because there was so much flavor already on the salad.

Being the only people in the restaurant at one time made me wonder if we were going to pay for trying out something nobody else was eating. But, it was delicious. Our waitress, Jennifer, was very nice and came and checked on us very often. She kept my Diet Coke filled, with an extra sitting next to it in case I was especially parched that day.

My food review cohort ordered the Willis Park Burger with bacon and no cheese, well-done. He described it as good, but not great, (I think he just ordered it overcooked, it needs to be bloody to be good) but the fries were very good. It came topped with fresh lettuce and thinly sliced tomato. The bacon was also cooked to order and added a mouth-watering flavor to the burger.

You might have to wait 10 or 15 minutes on your food, but it's because it's cooked to order, not before you get there. If you don't want to wait that long, you can always call it in.

Probably the most memorable thing that happened was a patron that entered and asked what time the bar opened. Is there really nothing to do on your off day that you've got to start drinking at 11:30 a.m?

Overall, the food was good and our server was great. I'll be going back as an off-duty reviewer to enjoy more of what they have to offer soon.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Riverbend Seafood, they might have to go catch it first

If you're looking for a speedy meal, it isn't going to happen at Riverbend Seafood in the K-Mart shopping center. A nice man sitting behind me probably described it best when he asked me, "You think they've got to catch them before they cook them?"

Despite the long wait, over 30 minutes, our food was fresh, hot and delicious, minus the coleslaw which tasted like rotten cabbage and mayonnaise all mixed together. But, fortunately I waited to try it last, or I might not have been able to stomach the rest of it.

Only two people were working the day of my visit, which were a server/cashier and a cook who apparently wasn't very happy about another customer complaining that she didn't receive enough food. Although we couldn't see the argument, I could hear it from our booth - it ended with the cook remaking the order.

With only one cook making food that requires individual battering and dropping in grease (I.E. fish, onion rings, shrimp and such), it only makes sense that our order took 30 minutes. If one were to try to drop it all in at once, it would get stuck together and not cook well. Making good fried food is tedious, especially with one person cooking. The tedious work was well worth it, the onion rings were freshly battered and among the crunchiest, best-tasting I've ever had.

I also had a catfish fillet sandwich which was only $3 and the onion rings were $1. But, of course they get you on the drink which totaled my meal right at $6. Which is still a good price for the food, but you can expect slow service, from the kitchen, not the waitress, who kept my tea filled during my hour-long stay.

There wasn't a drink fountain so don't expect free refills, unless you get sweet tea, and it's certainly sweet. Our waitress was friendly for the most part, even though she had a very obvious problem with the cook. I'd probably go back if I had a lot of time to waste, but I'd definitely take my fishing rod to help catch the fish and speed things up. It might take all day to catch a grouper in that holding pond.

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Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Boyd's BBQ rubs a good butt

Russell Boyd tried his hand at donuts for a few years, and they were top-notch donuts. But, he really found his Forté when he started Boyd's BBQ. I've visited Boyd's numerous times during the day and night, and never had a meal that wasn't excellent.

You would think that the BBQ sandwich would be the best at a BBQ joint, but my personal favorite isn't the BBQ.

Boyd's BBQ has a sandwich named the "Indiana Breaded Tenderloin" or the "IBT." A deep-fried slice of pork tenderloin between two toasted buns topped with lettuce and tomato is amazing. It's always cooked to order and when you bite into it you can feel the juices over-flowing in your mouth.

Of course, you could always go with a BBQ sandwich. It is cheaper, and it's still delicious. As a side you could have many things including Butt-Rub fries, sweet potato fries or Brunswick stew. All of the choices are good, but if I have a sweet sandwich, I prefer the salty fries. If I have a salty sandwich, I prefer the sweet potato fries. Then, the Brunswick stew goes well with anything.

The sweet tea is made like Mama makes it. It is what Southern sweet tea is supposed to taste like - epecially when our waitress never let my tea get below half-glass even during the lunch rush.

You might smell like grill smoke when you leave, but you'll never be dissatisfied with the taste or service at Boyd's.

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