Tuesday, May 22, 2012


100 North Sycamore Street

 Petersburg, VA 23803

        A while ago I was in downtown Petersburg around lunch time and I decided to try out Spike’s. I had wanted to check it out for quite some time but every time I drove past was either not hungry or it was closed. This time I finally hit the jackpot I was hungry and it was open. Spike’s is a few blocks up Sycamore Street away from the “downtown” area of Petersburg that I usually frequent. Even though it is literally just three blocks away it seems like a different world with a completely different atmosphere and clientele. Undaunted I parked and went inside.

Inside it is your typical diner, tables scattered about a walk up counter with a short order kitchen right out in the open. I’m not going to lie; I was a bit surprised when I saw an Asian couple behind the counter making orders and cooking up orders. When I think of a Spike I typically do not think of an Asian person but once again stereotypes are proven wrong. Spike’s serves both breakfast and lunch. Both are your usual diner menus. For lunch there were burgers, hot dogs, chicken sandwiches, and teriyaki dishes. I decided to try their fish sub, fries and a drink for about $8.00.

In a little less than 10 minutes I had my sub and fries. I must say I was a little upset when I saw my sub because in place of the large pieces of freshly fried I expected were 4 fish sticks topped with lettuce, tomatoes, and tartar sauce on a sub roll. The fish was freshly fried but it was obvious that they were premade, frozen fish sticks. It was not terribly bad but it was also nothing special. Two pieces of fried fish fillets would have been just as easy and tasted twice as good. I’m not positive but I worry that short cuts like these may be prevalent throughout the menu which would make the whole place subpar at best.

With such awesome restaurants within walking distance Spike’s needs to step its game up or else it will be left in the dust. The food was served A LOT faster than it is at Longstreet’s but it lacked the flavor and creativity. The food at Spike’s was simple, which if done well can be the best, but mediocre. More than likely, I will not be going back to Spike’s not because it was horrible but because I can easily walk down the street to five different restaurants and get a better meal.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Big Daddy’s Dogs and BBQ

8461 Midlothian Tpke.,
Richmond, VA
            Driving to Total Wine on Tuesday I passed a new drive thru hot dog and BBQ joint in a tiny little building on Midlothian Turnpike next to the Goodwill store, called Big Daddy’s Dogs and BBQ. Being a self proclaimed BBQ connoisseur, I had to stop and check the place out.  The place is nothing to look at and if it did not have a huge banner outside I would have never even seen it.  Being barely 200 square feet the place operates only as a drive thru.
            The menu is eclectic and different than other hot dog and BBQ places.  It has a wide variety of different types of hog dogs with toppings ranging from fried onions and peppers to BBQ and cole slaw.  The dogs ranged from $3.00 with nothing on it to $4.50 being covered with just about everything on the menu. While not 99 cents, they are not your typical hot dogs and I felt that the prices were reasonable. Big Daddy’s real uniqueness came out with its BBQ sandwiches.  They had your typical BBQ sandwich and of course you could add cole slaw but it also had a BBQ sandwich with cheddar cheese sauce and one covered in fried onions and peppers and cole slaw called the “Mixed Up BBQ sandwich”. That is what I ordered and at$4.50 I felt that it was a fair price.  
            The main issue with Big Daddy’s is its drive thru efficiency or lack thereof.  The service was slow and the staff inside seemed a little confused but very nice. It took me a while to order and even longer to pay, by the time I paid I had five cars lined up behind me. Once I paid I then drove around to the other side to pick up my sandwich, that took no time.  While the drive thru was very slow and the staff were discombobulated I will chalk that up to the place just opening and them trying to figure out a stream lined process; so I forgive them… this time.
            I tore into my BBQ sandwich as soon as I drove out of the parking lot. Just as promised the was loaded with fried onion, bell peppers and cole slaw. None of which were spectacular but it was interesting to have on a BBQ sandwich.  The BBQ itself did not seem like it was recently made but was more like the type that comes premade in a tub with sauce already mixed throughout. I cannot swear that this was the case but it did taste and look much like lloyd’s BBQ or something similar. That being said I was not the best I’ve ever had but it was definitely edible and together with the onions, peppers, and cole slaw it made for a pretty good sandwich.   A picky BBQ person could have picked it apart for a linty of reasons but I’m not a purist and think that if something tastes good than that is all that really matters.  I probably will not get the sandwich again but that only because I want to try some of the other exciting offerings on the menu.
            While the food is not out of this world, it is the creative menu at Big Daddy’s that will keep customers interested and coming back to try something different.  I actually tip my hat to the owners for opening the place in such a dinking building in a kind of no man’s land area of Midlothian Turnpike.  All in all I would never drive out of my way to eat at Big Daddy’s Dogs and BBQ but if you are up that way and in the mood for a dog or some BBQ it is definitely better than some of the other BBQ and hot dog joints on Midlothian turnpike.  I hope that they do and I wish them the best.

Farmer’s Kitchen

11601 John Tyler Memorial Hwy
Charles City, VA 23030

         Last weekend I traveled to Newport News to hang out with the guys for the night.  I left home without eating dinner, planning on grabbing something quick and easy on the road. I knew exactly where I wanted to tryout, if it was open, Farmer’s Kitchen.

Farmer’s Kitchen is a food trailer set up off of Rt. 5 in Charles City selling BBQ, Ribs and sandwiches. I pulled up at it around 6:00pm and was surprised at the line. I got very excited; thinking that this means that the food must be awesome. I was VERY wrong. The service was EXTREMELY slow. Walking up the first person in line just finished ordering and the person behind him had actually already ordered so I was the only person in line but for some unimaginable reason I still had to wait 10 minutes to even order. When he finally asked me what I wanted, I ordered a BBQ sandwich with slaw and red BBQ sauce and 4 chicken wings. He warned me that the wings would take 15 to 20 minutes so I decided to against them and ordered onion rings instead. Together it cost me $8:50, not too bad for BBQ and homemade onion rings.
This is where it got really crazy. Being a food trailer I figured that I would be served rather quickly but instead I waited and I waited and I waited and I waited, for twenty minutes I waited until I was finally called. At a restaurant twenty minutes is not a bad wait at all but standing outside of a food trailer it is an eternity.  Once he finally said my order was ready I quickly snatched my food and jumped into my car and hit the road having wasted more than enough time waiting on my food and to order.
The sandwich was rather large and the onion rings were definitely homemade and fresh. As I drove down the road I figured that while I had waited a long time the delicious food beside me was worth the wait, WRONG. The onion rings while freshly made and still warm were extremely bland and tasted like flour and onions no seasonings, no flavor.  I was upset but like I always say, BBQ can never be bad. I no longer say that because this sandwich while big was nasty. The slaw was alright, not great but not disgusting.  The pork was juicy but did not have any flavor of smoke whatsoever.  That could be forgiven but was made the sandwich almost inedible was the BBQ sauce. It had a spoiled tartness to it and tasted like regurgitated BBQ sauce. I do not know if the sauce was bad or if it always tastes that way but no matter what I was NASTY!  
That whole night I was worried that I was going to suffer from food poisoning from that spoiled tasting sandwich.  Luckily I drank enough alcohol to kill any type of nasty food poisoning.  I will never be stopping at Farmer’s Kitchen again. That horrible BBQ sandwich now ranks above Hawke’s for the worst BBQ I’ve ever eaten. I never thought that I would say this but I would have rather eaten a salad.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Sunshine Florist and Gifts

4902 Prince George Drive  
Prince George, VA 23875
(804) 452-1255


            Prince George does not have many restaurants and most of the ones we do have are not very good so when Sunshine Florist and Gifts opened a Café I was very excited to try it out but because of its hours I had to wait until I took off the Friday before my birthday to try it out.  Amanda and I walked in without knowing what to expect and were very pleasantly surprised. The tables were filled will police officers and other county residents except for one next to the window. Within a minute of sitting down our waitress was giving us menus and taking our drink orders.  The menu consisted of very reasonable priced sandwiches and salads ranging from build your own burgers with an impressive selection of toppings to choose from to their meatball sub. There are also daily specials and Friday’s is meatloaf which must be awesome because they were all sold out by the time we got there.

            Amanda ordered their club sandwich with macaroni salad and I ordered their Southwest burger which came wrapped in a tortilla with sour cream, salsa, Monterey Jack cheese and jalapenos with fries.  While we waited for our food we walked around to see what types of gifts they sell. They ranged from candles and cards to NASCAR memorabilia and a wide assortment of other knick-knacks.  All I know is that they have to make all of their money from flowers and food because the “gifts” were a little underwhelming but exactly what one would expect to find.  After about ten minutes of looking around our food was ready.

I was extremely impressed by my burger. It was cooked to a perfect medium and was loaded with salsa, sour cream and jalapenos.  The only disappointing part was that the shredded Monterey Jack cheese was not melted and the tortilla was a little too stiff.  The flavors of the burger were awesome. Everything went together well and I was extremely impressed by their creativity.  This is something that I will be trying at home. The fries were thick cut, which I usual hate because they are not crunchy but these ones were cooked exceptionally well and we nice and crunchy without being burnt.

Overall, Sunshine Florist and Café offered an excellent dining experience. The food was delicious and the hometown atmosphere was lovely. I just wish they stayed open later on weekdays so I can eat there more often. If you get the chance I strongly recommend stopping by Sunshine florist for a bite to eat. You will not be disappointed by the food, the prices, or the friendly staff. Hey, but your mom some flowers and a card while you’re at it, Mother’s Day is coming up fast!