Categories
Dining

Vietnamese Pho Restaurant

OK, I admit it…my first effort to try out this restaurant led me to the “safer” Mexican food place down the street…only because I feared making a fool of myself attempting to eat Pho. But I cowboyed-up on my second attempt and, boy, I’m glad I did!

Full disclosure — I did my homework. I read online how one should attempt to eat Pho. When the garnish of bean sprouts and basil arrived at the table, I placed the bean sprouts beneath the pho noodles in the piping-hot broth. (Seriously, the broth was about 10,000 degrees!). I also pinched off a few basil leaves and added them to the broth, then I finished my customization with a good squeeze of lemon.

I was looking like a pro at that point. But then, I found out you can’t eat Pho with a fork. First of all, rice noodles are a little “stiffer” than spaghetti….so you can’t really cut them on the side of the bowl.

So, when you twirl ’em up Italian style on the fork, you end up with a massive ball of 10,000-degree noodles — no WAY you’re going to attempt to eat it.So I finally got up enough nerve to ask the staff to show me how to use chopsticks. TRUST ME ON THIS ONE — it’s MUCH easier to eat pho with chopsticks than a fork! Granted, you end up with noodles hanging down into the bowl…but the staff assured me it was perfectly acceptable to slurp up the noodles.

Well, I made it through the meal….and only spattered one shirt, one table, and perhaps a patron or two. But the experience was well worth it.

And, as luck would have it, there’s several items on the menu that would be familiar to the Chinese-food fans out there, so don’t turn down an invitation to try Vietnamese Pho. And, PUT DOWN THAT FORK, ok?

Categories
Dining

Mama’s Restaurant

Took the family of five to Mama’s Restaurant for our last ‘lunchtime with Daddy’ before school starts. Chips and salsa to start, then came the Chicken Strips for my daughter, a pair of Burger Club Sandwiches for the boys, Quesadillas with rice and refried beans for my bride, and Grilled Chicken with fried okra and green beans for me. By the time our food was distributed around the table, you’d think another five family members were on their way! Huge portions and the side dishes were especially big … unusual for most restaurants these days.

My grilled chicken was delicious! It was prepared with fajita-like seasonings and would’ve easily covered not one, but two buns if ordered as a sandwich. The boys had no trouble polishing off their Burger Club sandwiches (basically, hamburgers on wheat bread with lettuce and tomato, cut into club sandwich wedges). My daughter couldn’t even finish her chicken strips and my wife ooo’ed and aaah’ed through her quesadillas.

$51 with tip….but the prices are reasonable, actually. I probably could’ve gone with waters all around and passed on the chips & salsa to save about $8. But I’m a chip-and-salsa-aholic, so that’s hard to pass up.

But we’ll be stopping by to visit Mama more often! I may even take MY Mama there!

Categories
Dining

El Mejicano Mexican Restaurant

Mexican food along the lines of a tacqueria…but with some TexMex and American favorites that gives El Mejicano broad appeal. At $8.99, that’s a little more than I’d generally want to spend for lunch…but that’s a competitive price for a buffet. Overall, you’ll not see this much variety in a buffet outside of a Chinese food restaurant. And be sure to save room for the dessert bar!

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Dining

Doc’s Pizza

Pizza shouldn’t be complicated….and Doc’s keeps it simple. Great assortment of traditional pizzas. I’m a thin-crust guy (unless I can get my hands on a good Chicago-style pizza) and Doc’s pizzas have a nice, almost cracker-like crust. Toppings are generous and evenly distributed over the entire pie.

Our first visit to Doc’s was after church one Sunday and they’d apparently just opened because the (very tiny!) seating area was cold. We ordered salads while we waited and they were nothing more than a few leaves of lettuce and a dollop of salad dressing in a styrofoam bowl. Overall, the “dine-in” experience wasn’t worth the overall investment.

But if you want some pretty good takeout, Doc’s is a great option…..especially if you can get your hands on a coupon from their website.

Categories
Dining

Salsarita’s

This is a Freebird’s/Chipotle-like “build-’em-as-you-order-’em” kind of place. Southwestern-style Mexican food (meaning black beans and white cheese) with a wide assortment of selections. I went with a Taco Salad and my wife went with the Nachos. Since you’re the one who decides what goes into your meal, it’s pretty much up to you to mix-and-match your favorites. And if you’re looking for lighter fare, say, for lunch then this is a good option.

With drinks and a side of chips and queso, the total bill was about $18. This is a tiny bit pricier than I would prefer for this type of dining option, but I will definitely visit Salsarita’s again.