Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Gastrological Gentleman's Bacon Spangled Fourth of July Special

             With the 4th of July less than a week away I felt that it was my patriotic duty to review America’s latest assertion of its world dominance (not that it needs to), Burger King’s new bacon sundae.  Yes, you read that correctly a bacon sundae! With so much doom and gloom going on in Washington and the rest of country Burger King has provided us with a beacon of hope that will remind everyone around the world that American is still and will always be the shining city upon a hill. These geniuses of American resilience and innovation have taken a small sundae with vanilla soft serve ice cream, smothered it in chocolate and caramel sauce and spangled with bits of bacon and crowned it with half a slice of bacon rising like the U.S. flag over Iwo Jima.  At the very inexpensive price of $2.50 it is just the sweet and salty breakfast of champions that we Americans deserve.
                The combination of salty and sweet blends harmoniously; perfectly symbolizing our great melting pot of a nation. While it is an amazing feat of American ingenuity and creativity, I honestly have to say that it could use a little more bacon, but that could be said for any food. With that being said, I really enjoyed this sundae and it was ever better and more American that you can get it for breakfast. This sundae sums up everything great about America, our can do spirit, our never give up mentality, our diversity, our we can do whatever the hell we want to do and don’t give a damn what you think attitude while at the same time giving the finger to every other country around the world because they are too chicken to even contemplate a breakfast of this magnitude. God Bless the U.S.A!

Burger King’s Memphis BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich and Sweet Potato Fries

Recently I was asked to review Burger King’s new Memphis BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich and Sweet potato fries. It costs $6.80 for a small combo with an upgrade to sweet potato fries. Burger King describes its sandwich as “pulled pork with the hickory-smoked and sweet flavor of Memphis BBQ Sauce, topped with sliced onions, and a sweet southern sauce, all on a warm, toasted artisan-style bun”. The description sounds very tasty and in theory it was true. The sandwich did have store bought style pulled pork that was smothered in a sweet BBQ sauce and it may have been smoked but I could not taste it. The pork was stringy and mushy. It was topped with sliced onions. The sandwich was soft and mushy but the raw onions were not, this made biting into them extremely hard so usually they came off of the sandwich whole with each bite. The sweet southern sauce was pretty good but I could not place the taste. It tasted good by itself but one the sandwich it was lost in the blend with the sauce already on the pork. The artisan bun was lukewarm but it was a bite fancier than their regular buns. It was very soft and fluffy but did not have much taste to it. My main complaint about the sandwich is that it is very soft, mushy and a little soggy. It was also very sweet. It tasted good enough but is a far cry from a freshly smoked BBQ sandwich.

The sweet potato fries were skinny and almost the size of shoe string fries. They were salted and nice and crunchy on the outside but soft on the inside. But they tasted funny. I love sweet potatoes and sweet potato fries but these ones had an odd taste to them. It was not horrible but I definitely did not love them. Honestly, I prefer sweet sweet potatoes fries sprinkled with cinnamon sugar instead of salt. I don’t think that the sweetness of the potatoes pair well with salt but that’s just me.

To sum it up, for a BBQ sandwich from a fast food restaurant I guess that it is alright. It certainly is BBQy but it lacks the smokiness that I love in pulled pork and even though I love sweet BBQ it was actually almost too sweet. Consistency was its major downfall. It basically fell apart and was just too mushy. The sweet potato fries might be healthier than regular fries but these ones certainly did not taste any better.  If you’re dying for BBQ this will work in a pinch but I suggest saving your money and going to a real BBQ restaurant.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Halligan Bar and Grill

2451 Old Brick Rd
Glen Allen, VA

            This will be a short review because it is not in my regular reviewing area.  Halligan Bar and Grill is a Firefighter themed restaurant located in both Richmond and Glen Allen. Inside it is decorated with all sorts of fire fighter paraphernalia including a huge fire truck in the middle of the restaurant. In fact even the name is a play on firefighting words because the halligan bar is a tool that firemen regularly use; a sort of ax/crow bar. The restaurant’s claim to fame is its BBQ. It proudly boasts that it was named one of the top 10 BBQ restaurants in Richmond, which is not really hard to do since there are like 12 to 15 in the city. But even with that being said I had to try it out.

            Inside it was EXTREMELY loud, my good buddy Ross and I, neither of us quite fellows, could barely hear ourselves.  We started off with BBQ nachos as an appetizer costing $8.95. Out came a huge plate of nachos covered in BBQ, cheese, BBQ sauce, lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream and salsa. It was a hearty portion and tasted pretty good but not amazing.

            As my entrée I ordered the Halligan Bar-B-Q Platter for $10.99.  It came with my choice of Memphis chicken, Carolina pulled pork BBQ or Texas brisket. I chose the brisket and pulled pork. It came with 2 sides; I chose mac and cheese and baked bean, cornbread and a pickle.  The food came pretty quickly and it was decent BBQ. The pork was pulled and had a slight smoky taste and the brisket was tender and not too fatty but like the nachos it was good but far from great. The sides were a little small but tasted fine. The cornbread unfortunately was a bit dry.

Overall, Halligan Bar and Grill was good. I agree with other assessments, probably top 10 BBQ joints in Richmond. It was not the best I’ve had and was not the worst I’ve had. With that being said I cannot tell you to go eat there, you can and it will be alright, but I suggest that you save your money and go somewhere with great BBQ maybe the Hogshead Café or Alexander’s right down the road.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Cookout Milkshakes

It’s getting hot outside and one of the best ways to cool down is to drink an ice cold drink and one of the most delicious and diverse of these cold drinks is the milkshake. You can grab a milkshake from just about any fast food restaurant. Most of these are nothing but soft serve ice cream in a cup. They offer a couple of flavors, chocolate, vanilla, and maybe strawberry. Cookout breaks this mold. Cookout in Colonial Heights offers around thirty different milkshake flavors all of which are incredibly delicious.  They have everything from your most basic vanillas and chocolates to watermelon, peach cobbler and strawberry cheesecake and everything in between and all for $2.49.
The milkshakes at Cookout are very well blended with chunks of deliciousness spread throughout from the first sip to the last.  The blueberry cheesecake has actual blue berries and pieces of cheese cake in it. The blackberry cobbler is loaded with blackberries, filling and cobbler crust. These things are really out of this world. The food at Cookout is ok but the milkshakes are great. I strongly suggest driving down the Boulevard and grabbing one on a hot summer day.

Pizza Hut’s P’zolo


     Stupid name, smart concept. Pizza Hut is taking on Subway and trying to move up the cheap lunch pecking order with its new P’zolo. Basically a small stromboli, p’zolos are a new inexpensive lunch option at $3 for one and $5 for two. They come in three different flavors; buffalo chicken, Italian steak and meat trio each served with your choice of either ranch or marinara sauce for dipping.
                For lunch I tried an Italian steak and a buffalo chicken p’zolo.  It takes approximately 14 minutes to make and cook. I was told this by the person working at Pizza Hut. They came out hot and fresh. They were about 7 to 8 inches long and topped with a little bit of melted cheese. The dough was crispy on the outside and nice and fluffy on the inside.  The p’zolos were not a stuffed with fillings as I would have hoped but what was inside tasted very good. The Italian steak was thin slices of cheese steak style steak inside along with green peppers and onions and of course mozzarella cheese. The buffalo chick had chunks of chicken inside covered in a very mild buffalo sauce and cheese.
                Over all both of them were quite tasty, freshly prepared and at the perfect price point. I think that the p’zolo will do a decent job and picking up lunch sales for Pizza Hut the only thing that may limit their success is that there are only 3 flavors compared to Subway’s numerous different options. While not as “healthy” as some of Subway’s subs, it defiantly tasted healthier than a $5 cheeseburger combo.  The p’zolo falls into the same category as most other 5 dollar lunches; it is filling and tastes pretty good. It was by no means amazing nor was it inedible. It does not knock out its competitors but it does add a new option for people trying to grab a fast, cheap bite for lunch.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Prince George Family Barbecue

4605 County Dr. Disputanta, VA

As many of you probably know I am a BBQ fanatic. I like it, I love it, I can’t get enough of it. In my BBQ extravaganza I did a very brief review of PG BBQ. Last weekend after going to the dump I had the opportunity to check it out ago so that I could give it a proper review. My opinion of the place may have changed since last time.
Last weekend Amanda’s parents came over to help us clean out the basement and the garage. After loading the trailer with junk and hauling it to the dump we stopped at Prince George Family Barbecue to grab lunch. It is a quaint little place on 460 in the heart of New Bohemia (if you don’t know, you ain’t from Prince George). Inside it is a little tacky with a lot of different signs on the walls, pigs everywhere, and a bunch of locally drawn painting for sell; so your typical BBQ joint.  The menu is simple, BBQ, Ribs, chicken, burgers and a few random mostly southern items.
I chose the pork BBQ griddle melt sandwich combo.  It is a grilled sandwich with minced pork BBQ with bacon, jack cheese and grilled onions served with fries and a drink for $7.99. The menu said no substitutions and it meant NO substitutions. This put me off a little because I wanted onion rings not fries but by the time I got my sandwich I had stopped being upset.  I ordered sweet tea as my drink and good lord I got some super sweet tea. This stuff gave McDonald’s tea a run for its money but unlike McDonalds it still tasted like tea not sugar water.
It was not too long until we received our food. My sandwich looked awesome. Perfectly grilled and loaded with meat, cheese and onions and it actually tasted as good as it looked.   If the BBQ would have been a little better it might would have been the best BBQ sandwich I’ve ever eaten.  The flavors all melded together perfectly. Topped with some BBQ, also not my favorite it was a little more vinegary than I like, it was great.  The fries were a real non-event I could have lived without them, they seemed to be more of a filler than anything else.  But goodness, the BBQ griddle melt, while separately its parts would have been lackluster but put together, was awesome.  The sandwich is not very big but it packs a huge delicious punch. I highly recommend checking it out.
I tried Amanda’s hush puppies and they were also out of this world.  Hang made and fried they had bits of onions and green peppers inside them and tasted great.  The trip was not without its downside though. Amanda’s father, don, ordered a burger and had to return it and get a BBQ sandwich because it tasted so odd. I tried a bite and it tasted like it was mixed with breakfast sausage meat. It was not terrible just weird.
I defiantely recommend checking out Prince George Family BBQ. Its minced pork may not be the greatest but its BBQ griddle melt is amazing and for under $15 I bet its Wednesday night all you can eat ribs is also a great deal, but I can't swear by that because I haven’t tried it out, YET.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Fish Fry

3815 Jefferson Park Rd
Prince George, VA 23875


       Working in Hopewell, I met Amanda for lunch and decided to try Fish Fry. I have wanted to try Fish fry for the longest time but have never had the opportunity to do so. Fish Fry is housed where Mamasita’s used to be right off of Jefferson Park near Hopewell. Walking in the place was sparsely decorated and what decorations were there seemed thrown about as an afterthought. There were only two other customers in the place and the radio was blasting some god awful rap music cranked up to presumably 11.

As we walked up to the counter we realized that only one person was there and he was making the other customers’food. We looked over the menu wish consisted of fish sandwiches, wings, fried shrimp, oysters, crab cakes and a few other random things. Everything was very reasonably priced and many of the items sounded very tasty. So we waited for about 10 minutes which actually seems like an eternity when you are standing at a counter trying to order food. After he was done making their food and serving them he came back to take our order. At first I ordered their coconut shrimp, they were out of coconut, I then ordered the shrimp and grits, they were out of grits, finally I just ordered a fish sandwich combo which they thankfully had. The fish sandwich combo served with fries and drink is $6; I substituted mac and cheese for the fries which costs an extra dollar, very reasonable in my opinion.

Amanda and I took our seats and chatted as the man made our food. After about 15 minutes or so our food was ready. It came out obviously freshly prepared because it was piping hot. My fish sandwich consisted of two pieces of a fish fillet on white bread with a side of homemade tartar sauce which is exactly how I like it. While not the largest piece of fish in the world it partially hung off both sides. The fish was fried in a very nice batter that was perfectly seasoned. The mac and cheese came in a little dish and was homemade and loaded with cheese. Both the sandwich and the mac and cheese were very good.

I am looking forward to the next time that I will get a chance to eat at Fish Fry. I really want to try the coconut shrimp and shrimp and grits. The food at Fish Fry is very good and is fresh and made to order. I do think that they need to have more than one person working at lunch though because I had to wait quite a while for my food. It could also stand to step up its décor A LOT! But overall it was pretty dang good and I recommend trying it out yourself.

Tuesday, June 5, 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 you 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.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Three Frogs Grill

10020 C Chester Road
Chester, VA 23831

       To be totally honest I did not expect much from Three Frogs Grill. It has a silly name and is located in a weird location on Chester Road. But even with all of these pre-conceived notions I still really wanted to check it out because it is close to my office and who knows it might be a diamond in the rough. I finally got my opportunity on Thursday; I just got paid and I forgot to bring lunch. It was a perfect storm forcing me to eat out, which I try not to do very often. 

Three Frogs Grill is right off of 288, in a fairly new strip mall that has already seen a few places try and fail. I walk inside and the place is obviously brand spanking new. So new that there are workers inside still decorating the walls; a little tackily I might add but oh well.  Three Frogs seems to have a little bit of an identity crisis; it is decorated like a kid friendly family restaurant with Frogs everywhere but it also has a decent little bar with a nice selection of beers on tap and a sweet happy hour; $2 drafts from 4-7 Monday-Friday. For some reason it looked and felt like it belonged at the beach not in the middle of Chesterfield County.
As soon as I walked in I was greeted by my waiter telling me I could sit wherever I pleased. As soon as I sat down he was there taking my drink order and giving me a menu.  The menu was small but in a good way; sandwiches, burgers, hot dogs, a few entrees, and a couple daily specials. It looked like it was a place that knew what they could do and did them very well.  I decided to try The Yard Bird House Special, a Pulled Roasted Chicken sandwich topped with their Homemade Sauce and Cole Slaw for $7.95 I also upgraded my chips to onion straws for $1.95 (best choice ever).
  Within 10 minutes my food was sitting in front of me, a good sized sandwich loaded with pulled chicken topped with cole slaw and a huge heaping pile of onion straws. At first I thought that the sandwich was missing its homemade sauce but I soon found out that this was not the case. The homemade sauce I came to find out, while delicious, is very watery and had soaked through the chicken and the bottom bun. This resulted in the sandwich literally falling apart in my hands. Undeterred, I scooped up the now open face sandwich with my fork and delved into the chickeny goodness. The chicken was expertly cooked which left it very flavorful and extremely juicy.  The sauce was a honey mustard-BBQ hybrid which was excellent except for the fact that it was watery. If it was a little bit thicker it would’ve been out of this world. The cole slaw on the other hand got lost in the other flavors. While not really a BBQ chicken sandwich because it was roasted not smoked it was a darn good pulled chicken sandwich.  The onion straws were also delicious, nice and crispy and full of flavor well worth the extra two bucks.
            All in all Three Frogs Grill was a very good neighborhood restaurant. It offers a nice selection of foods and has a decent beer selection for a place of its size. I was impressed by it offering two Virginia beers, Legends and Devil’s Backbone.  It was extremely clean and had a very friendly staff. While it looked a little tacky and generic its food was anything but.   I will gladly go back to three Frogs grill and see what else they have hopping off the menu.