Monday, June 10, 2013

Amarillo Roadhouse - Schererville

I had lunch with some contractor friends last week at Amarillo Roadhouse in Schererville. Decent appetizer platter variety, quart mason jars of drinks with refills (like I need one after a quart size beverage). Had a chicken breast sandwich with jack cheese and mushrooms. (I had to save room for Friday night pizza.) Possibly the blandest sammie I've ever been presented. Limp and lifeless and tasteless.  Pretty dull grub overall. I would say the chef is unimaginative. 0.5/5

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Sticky Lips BBQ in Henrietta, NY

Sticky Lips BBQ Juke Joint ( ) in Henrietta, NY is, hands down, the tastiest BBQ I have ever eaten.  I know, a pretty bold statement, especially after my previous exclamations about Dinosaur BBQ in the same town.  The Juke Joint has a fun and frivolous atmosphere when you enter and the focus is all about the food.  There is even a substantial band stand that features local talent on select nights.  So it's not just a juke joint in name only!  Fast service, friendly smiles, knowledgeable staff and a huge menu are the order of the day. 

Starting with an order of Fried Green Tomatoes, they were perfectly browned and the accompanying tiger sauce gently spiced up the tomatoes.  This is the one dish where I give Dinosaur BBQ the edge due to their use of panko bread crumbs for a bit more tooth.  But the advantage is ever so slight.

Main course was the Billie Holiday as listed under the All American BBQ Combo section of the menu. This is the big combo so be ready to share and enjoy leftovers.  A heaping plate full of brisket, pulled pork, 1/4 slab of ribs and 1/4 chicken arrives with a heady, smokey aroma.  BBQ sauces are on the side so you can slather to taste.  Honey glazed corn bread is the standard accompaniment, along with a choice of two sides.  Make your choice and enjoy. 

The brisket was melt in your mouth beefy heaven while the pulled pork was tender, lean and smoky pink.  I'm still trying to figure our how the ribs stayed together since they were so tender.  And the chicken had a delightful smokiness.  Each meat was able to carry it's smokiness through slathering and sides without being overpowering.  Quite a feat considering how subtle and consistent it remained.

Sticky Lips BBQ is a serious 5/5 and well worth the stop if you at all close by.  Even better, get some BBQ from both Dinosaur and Sticky Lips and do your own comparison.  Just be ready to loosen your belt!!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Weber Grill, Chicago, IL

Located just two blocks west of the Magnificent Mile on State Street (between Chicago and Grand) lies the Weber Grill.  Brought to you by the same folks who manufacture the incomparable Weber line of outdoor grills, the restaurant features an open kitchen that allows you to see the fire that will soon be preparing your meal.  Being open, the adjacent seating is a bit on the busy side, so if you're there for a more intimate occasion, request to be seated in the dining room proper. 

If it can be grilled, then the Weber Grill will indeed put the fire to it.  Most dishes feature "fire roasted", "wood fired", "seared" or plain old "grilled" in their monickers.  So far, after multiple visits, I have found you just cannot go wrong with anything on the menu.  A particular favorite is the beer can chicken.  As is the brisket, and the ribs and get the idea.  I can suggest the Starter Sampler to help your decision making.  Vegetarians are not left out either with plenty of  salad, starter, black bean burger or wood fired pizza offerings.  Just don't expect them to drool along with you over the sizzle of roasting meat. 

The last visit was at the lunch hour, and since strolling around the loop was the order of the day, something lighter was in order.  As tempting as the Beer Can chicken sandwich was, I decided to try something different.  So lighter that day meant the Farm Burger.  Kind of an odd name, but what's in a name?  In this case, it is a half pound, freshly ground, beef and lamb burger.  (Lamb - I told you it was a light meal.)  Topped with apple wood smoked bacon, oven roasted tomatoes and goat cheese.  As recommended by the waiter, I ordered it one level more rare and I suggest you do the same.  Trust me on this, and skip the condiments until after your first couple of bites.  You surely will not miss them.  And also opt for the house made potato chips.  They have just the right amount of crunch to accompany the burger. 

For taste and value in Chicago, definitely a 4.5 out of  5.

Bon Femme Cafe, Valparaiso, IN

Located on the north side of Valparaiso's downtown square, Bon Femme Cafe offers an exciting mix of menu items that can please a palate looking for a break from the usual.  Small yet thorough, the selections will satisfy the most discriminating.  Al fresco dining is a summer option as well and brings a bit of Euro flavor to the that side of the square.  Also, please dress appropriately for a fine cafe.  The quality of the food and decor demands it. 

Since we had already been to Redamak's earlier and sampled a variety of wine at the Lake Michigan Shore Wine Festival, a light dinner was in order.  Skipping appetizers, we ordered the Granny Smith Apple Salad topped with filet mignon.  This features bibb lettuce, walnuts, Gorgonzola cheese, the aforementioned apples dressed with a white balsamic vinaigrette.  The sliced filet on top turned the salad into a full meal.  Accompanied by the house Reisling it was quite satisfying and refreshing.  I ordered the Spicy Curry Chicken.  Sauteed with dried cherries and apricots and served over basmati rice, it offered a subtle heat and outstanding curry flavor.  There's is plenty enough to share with this entree.  The accompanying pinot noir was robust enough to hold it's own against the curry.  Again, very glad we did not order an appetizer since we left feeling quite satisfied.  Desserts such as Bananas Foster were tempting, but there was still birthday cake waiting at home.

Easily a 5/5 for the food alone.  Look them up at

Monday, June 25, 2012

Redamak's in New Buffalo Michigan

Wandering up along the western shore of Lake Michigan's mitten runs you right past the pleasant beachfront town of New Buffalo. A sandy landscape and vintage attractions great visitors, and when you need a summer meal, Redamak's is waiting. But only from March to October.
Established in 1975 if I recall correctly, it features a fine, simple hamburger. Order a single, double or triple as your appetite commands and dress it up. There were other options on the menu, but I honestly cannot recall what they were. Stick with their "legendary" hamburger and you will not be disappointed. Properly cooked crinkle cut french fries in a serving big enough for two are a fine accompaniment. House made fries would really put everything over the top. And steer clear of the dull curly fries.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Nicholson's Pub - Cincinnati, OH

Billing itself as Cincinnati's "first and finest gastropub", Nicholson's Pub was a great find in a fine city.  Located across the Street from the Aronoff Theater, Nicholson's specializes in the theater crowd.  They even offer preorder of intermission cocktails that will be at the ready at the show's breaks.  Especially notable are custom cocktail selections for each production.  The Addams Family happened to by playing and the choices were intriguing to say the least.

Drink decisions were made from the extensive selection of cocktails.  Multiple beer options from the other side of the pond accompanied a vast array of Scotch and Whiskey.  A thorough selection of wine is also presented.

We decided to skip appetizers and head straight into the mains.  A well presented arugula salad with apple, candied walnuts, herbed goat cheese, pickled red onion with bee pollen vinaigrette for the dancer.  Black pearly pork chop with bean cassoulet and pan jus for the soccer player.  Fish and chips for the parents. 

The salad was well received although maybe not exactly to taste.  The vinaigrette was not too sweet to counter the candied walnuts.  There was also a very generous portion of cheese included, enough to share!  Unfortunately they either forgot or ran out of apples.

The pork chop was greeted with some apprehension but promptly assaulted and devoured with barely a sample offered.  This goes for the bean cassoulet as well.  Ah, another convert to funny food names.

The fish and chips were a lightly breaded haddock perfectly fried.  House-made cole slaw accompanied and presented itself with a balanced acidity.  The highlight of this dish though is the duck-fat fries.  Also available as a bar snack they are a golden delight.  Served with house-made ketchup, I think they are at their best with malt vinegar.  Certainly not to be missed!

A good thing we skipped appetizers because dessert sounded to good to pass up. A good solid cup of coffee, which is getting harder to find.  The other selections were; Sticky Toffee Pudding with toffees sauce, cardamom and vanilla custard,  Warm Apple Cobbler with vanilla bean ice cream and Dark Chocolate Pot de Creme with seasonal fruit and olive oil whipped cream.  Each selection was superb.

Easily a 4.8 out of 5 and only 4 hours away.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Skyline Chili - Cincinnati, OH

A legend in the Cincinnati area, Skyline ( ) has multiple offerings that make full use of their unique style of chili.  Not a Chicago chili, meat chili, nor Texas hot chili, I detect cinnamon and chocolate flavors.   The two classic ways to indulge are either with spaghetti as a 5-way, 4-way or 3-way and as Coney dogs.

The 5-way spaghetti has a generous portion of spaghetti covered in the famous chili, diced onions, red beans and mounded with shredded mild cheddar.  The 3 or 4 way deletes items at your discretion.

My favorite is the Cheese Coney.  A short hot dog on a steamed bun is the carrier for mustard, diced onion, chili and a heap of shredded mild cheddar.  Why it's called a Coney is beyond me, but it is damn tasty!!

If anyone knows of a location closer than Indianapolis, please tell me!