Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Glory Days’ Pittsburgher Sandwich

6151 Harbourside Drive
Midlothian, VA 23112


Pittsburgher Sandwich-

Glory Days Restaurant-

            I know Glory Days is sort of a chain; but I’m pretty sure that it is only in Virginia, D.C, and Maryland so I feel it is still small enough to review. Plus they have the greatest sandwich I have ever eaten.  The Sandwich is speak of is the Pittsburgher.  If it were not for this sandwich I would most likely never go back to Glory Days. It’s ok, but it is really just like any other sports bar and since I’m not really into sports I couldn’t care less about the place if it were not for the Pittsburgher. 

            Glory Days stole the idea for this sandwich from the iconic Primanti sandwich in Pittsburg, PA which you can see on just about any food show on food Network or the Travel Channel. It is lucky for us that they did because even though the sandwich is one of the best sandwiches I have ever eaten it’s still probably not worth an eight hour drive to Pennsylvania.  Glory Days’ Pittsburgher is piled high with tender corned beef and pastrami that are grilled and then topped with melted Swiss cheese, seasoned fries and their signature creamy coleslaw. To say that this sandwich is good, great or even fantastic is an understatement. It is honest the best, most delicious sandwich I have ever eaten.

            They start off with a hefty sesame seed roll. They then pile on a huge portion of perfectly grilled corned beef and pastrami cover with Swiss cheese. Next they load it up with a heaping handful their fresh cut exquisitely seasoned French fries fried to crispy perfection. Finally they top it off with their creamy and crunchy thick cut cole slaw and served with a pickle your choice of side and creamy Thousand Island dressing.  All of these salty, sweet and savory flavors play perfectly off of each other and make for one outrageously awesome sandwich that is definitely not for the faint of heart.  I can only imagine how many calories; fat and sodium are in this thing but My God is it delicious. I would not change a single thing about this sandwich even the price $10.29 is a pretty good deal for such a monstrous sandwich.   

            There are not enough accolades I can bestow upon this heavenly sandwich. I recommend that you go to Glory Days and get this sandwich. I really don’t care for the atmosphere of the place but their food, especially the Pittsburgher is extremely good. I’d sit on a bed of nails while getting bit by fire ants to eat this sandwich, it is literally that good, so I can take hanging out in an extremely tacky sports bar for a little while.



Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Little Pig

3329 West Washington Street  
Petersburg, VA 23803

            Since 1932, there has been a dumpy little shack of a building sitting on the outskirts of the City of Petersburg churning out some of the best BBQ in the Tri-Cities on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays only. The Little Pig as it’s called is an old school walkup food stand with 4 picnic tables sitting out front. They serve the type of food that you would expect from such a place, hamburgers, hot dogs, corn dogs, ect. but what has kept the place open for 80 years is its BBQ.

            Honestly, the type of BBQ the Little Pig serves is my least favorite type of BBQ, finely minced almost to the point of being mush topped with equally finely minced mushy and watery cole slaw. Theoretically I should hate this place but for some reason I absolutely love it. Honestly, I don’t know how they take two things I truly dislike, put them together adding just the smallest amount of mustard based BBQ sauce (which I love) and make one of my favorite BBQ sandwiches.  It’s not because I grew up going there, my family didn’t discover it until I was in college. It’s not the atmosphere because it’s practically in the “hood”.  The workers are very nice but that’s not enough for me to love a place. The sauce is also extremely good but even so great sauce does not make crappy BBQ good. I really don’t know what it is but I absolutely love Little Pig’s BBQ sandwich. 

            They don’t do ribs, chicken, brisket or sausage just minced BBQ and a few other throw away items. I don’t even know if they smoke it themselves. The sandwich consists of a plain white hamburger bun slightly toasted on the inside, a scoop of mushy mined BBQ, topped with finely chopped watery cole slaw and just the slightest amount of mustard based BBQ sauce and hot sauce if you want. A small sandwich is $2.40 and a large is $3.65. I usually get the small with a small order of onion rings for $1.50 (which are great). What I think makes the sandwich so good is the proportions. The BBQ to slaw ratio is the best I’ve ever found just enough slaw to complement and sweeten the BBQ but not enough to overpower it. The sauce has strong mustard flavor but it is used very sparingly so it adds the perfect amount of zing.

I’ve had better BBQ at other places be it because it is smoked better, pulled not minced or has better cole slaw. But the beauty of the Little Pig BBQ sandwich is its simplicity. That and its perfection meat, slaw, sauce ratio. It does not try to be something that it’s not nor does it try to do anything that it’s not capable of doing. But by knowing it’s limitations and sticking to a tried and true recipe the Little Pig serves up a great BBQ sandwich and a side of nostalgia for life’s simplest and sometimes best pleasures.  

Monday, July 23, 2012

Bigs BBQ

6515 Centralia Road
Chesterfield, VA 23832

                Opening my door in the parking lot in front of Bigs BBQ I am greeted the tantalizing aroma of smoked meats.  Hidden in the Chesterfield Meadows Shopping Center next to subway and El Patron, Bigs BBQ is Chesterfield’s latest BBQ offering opening just two weeks ago.  Inside the place does not disappoint. You are greeted with a large beautiful bar directly in front of you and to your right is a chalkboard wall covered in all of the smoked goodness that Bigs has to offer. Unlike most places in the area which do mainly pulled pork and maybe a couple of things Bigs smokes it all and then some. They offer pulled pork, smoked brisket, pork and beef ribs, chicken, sausage (my favorite) and even hot dogs. This is all accompanied by down home sides ranging from cole slaw and potato salad to collard greens and their own smoked chicken stew.
                The prices are all fairly reasonable for a BBQ restaurant. Making BBQ is a labor of love that takes a lot of time and effort but which pays you back tenfold with its deliciousness.  Sandwiches start at $5.50 and the three meat platter comes in at $14.00 not too bad for something that takes upwards of 8 hours to cook.  Since I don’t typically go out to eat too often and if I do I try to go somewhere different each time I ordered the three meat platter with sausage, brisket and ribs (it costs an extra $2 for ribs).  It came with two sides I chose cole slaw and onion rings. 
                In less than 10 minutes my order was up. I have to admit for a place called Bigs I was not very impressed by its size.  It came with 2 ribs, 6 slices of sausage and 2 or 3 pieces of brisket around 10 onion rings and a cup full of cole slaw.  Bigs offers two homemade BBQ sauces one is a vinegar NC style sauce and the other is a sweet and tangy tomato based sauce.  My disappointment in size quickly vanished once I tasted the meat. Everything was smoked to perfection. The brisket was literally melt in your mouth tender. The homemade sausage rivaled any I’ve ever had in Texas, It was extremely juicy and flavorful. The ribs were perfectly seasoned with rub and slightly wet (saucy) and felt off of the bone.  Their tomato based BBQ sauce complemented everything perfectly. The onion rings were crispy and fresh. In my opinion the real sign of a great BBQ restaurant who really cares about the craft is strangely enough, its cole slaw. Every Southern person knows that you can’t have BBQ without cole slaw so it needs to be done right and boy does Bigs BBQ do it right. It consisted of nice thick, crisp pieces of cabbage and carrots mixed with the perfect amount of mayo and vinegar with just the right amount of sweetness. There is nothing I hate more than finely chopped mushy and watery cole slaw.  Bigs blew the cole slaw out of the water.  Although I lamented about the serving size I was only able to eat half although I wanted to eat it all because it was so delicious but I controlled myself and managed not to totally ruin my diet.
                Not only does Bigs BBQ have excellent food they also sell excellent bourbon. They offer about 12 different types of bourbon ranging from the run of the mill to the really good stuff. They even go as far as to make adult milkshakes with bourbon in them. Bigs is the real deal. The only thing that they might could do better is offer a wider selection of craft or specialty beer like they do with bourbon. They have quite a few different types but they are mostly your typical domestics like Bud Light and Coors. If Bigs stepped up its beer game to its bourbon level it would not only beat every other BBQ restaurant around but even most of bars.
                By know you should know that I am now in love with Bigs BBQ so stop reading this, jump in your car and drive to Bigs BBQ and grab yourself something to eat. You will thank me and them. Sibley’s and Brock’s better watch out there’s a new BIG dog on the prowl and he’s fixing to be the best BBQ spot south of Richmond.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Vincenzo's Italian Restaurant and Pizzeria

609 Boulevard
 Colonial Heights, VA 23834

                In the Tri-cities, there are more locally owned Italian restaurants than any other type. So far I’ve reviewed three or four of them with mixed results. Some are outstanding and some not worth wasting your money at. A couple of weeks ago, Amanda and I took a day off to celebrate our engagement (thank you for your kind words and congratulations). We were cruising around Colonial Heights looking for a place to eat and decided to try Vincenzo’s Italian Restaurant and Pizzeria. I had been here a couple of time a few years back and remembered really enjoying their lunch buffet.

                The restaurant is currently undergoing and addition so while there is limited parking it is still open and cranking out some delicious Italian food. Inside the place is dark and decorated like every other Italian restaurant I’ve ever been in. Pictures of Italy and pizzas on the walls, a giant chef statue greeting you as you walk in.  A little tacky but hey they all are. We take a seat and our waitress in right there taking our order. We both order the lunch buffet, Amanda gets a coke and I get a water. If you go soon, before they finish their addition, you will notice that the buffet area is a little cramped to put in nicely.  There is plenty of food and options but it’s stacked up on a couple of moveable carts.

                On one side of the restaurant there is a large salad bar loaded with all sorts of vegetables, toppings and desserts. It is certainly one of the nicer salad bars around. On the other side is where all of the “good” stuff is at. There is just about anything that you want. Italian and meatball subs, different types of pizzas, lasagna, breadsticks and a wide assortment of pastas with different types of sauces and toppings. It is all absolutely amazing. Unlike most buffets the food here is not lower quality than what you will find on the menu, it is the exact same. Everything is fresh and warm and new items are being constantly added to take place of the empty dishes. With some many different delicious dishes I can’t write about them all but just to say that everything I ate was very tasty.

                While other Italian restaurants in the area may have better dishes or better pizza, Vincenzo’s Italian Restaurant and Pizzeria has the best lunch buffet. You can find just about anything that you want on it and it will be delectable and for $7.95 you really can’t beat the price. Next time you find yourself with a hankering for Italian around lunch time on a weekday, go to Vincenzo’s and have a little bit of everything.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Sideline Bar and Café

10348 Iron Bridge Road  
Chester, VA 23831

                I had been to Sideline Bar and Café a couple of times to sing karaoke but I had never eaten there until I bought a Groupon for half off. I knew that the place of a dive but it is really close to my office so I decided to check it out.
                I met my uncle, Corey, there for dinner one night. Going in it is your typical sports bar; tacky memorabilia strewn across the walls a couple of TVs showing different sports games. Admittedly this one is a little trashier than most. We took a seat at a booth off to the side so we could hear each other talk. We had $20 to spend so I figured that we would just get a couple of appetizers. Our waitress was very sweet although somewhat tired she actually sat next to Corey when taking our order. He didn’t seem to mind; it was probably the most action he’s gotten in a while. We ordered wings, fried pickles, and fried mushrooms and a couple of beers, the perfect bar food.

                We chatted and we drank our beers waiting for our food and watched and people piled in for their mid-week drink. Before too long we had our food sitting in front of us; a huge pile of fried deliciousness. We got half of our wings BBQ and half teriyaki. The BBQ wings had a little too much sauce but the tasted good and the teriyaki wings were perfect. The wings were perfectly fried, with a crispy skin on the outside and tender juicy meat inside. The fried mushrooms were not as good. They were mostly fried breading with a tiny little mushroom in the middle. They seemed like they could have easily come out of a bag and just thrown in the fryer.  The pickles were actually very good but not as described. The menu states that they are spears but when they came out they were slices. With that being said they were pretty good.
                I admit that all I tried at Sideline Bar and Café were appetizers and some may say that you can’t make a real assessment of a place based solely on that but I think I can and I am.  Sideline Bar and Café is a dive. It is your typical bar with typical bar food. The food I ate was not bad it was actually pretty good although very likely pre-made and frozen but it was no different from what you will find at any other bar throughout the area. If you’re in the mood for a drink and some bar food go ahead and check out Sideline Bar and Café just don’t go out of your way to do so.