Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Burger King’s Rodeo Burger


      My all time favorite value menu food is finally back; the Rodeo Cheeseburger.  It consists of a burger patty, American cheese, onion rings, and barbecue sauce served on a sesame-seed bun.
            It is so simple and cheap but for some reason I’ve always been in love with it.  I had it a week ago for $1.29.   The only thing special about it is that it is topped with the world’s crappiest onion rings and a little bit of BBQ sauce. 
            There’s really nothing to say about it. The burger is small, the size used for value menus, the onion rings are the frozen type that you can buy at your grocery store and it has a sweet and tangy tasting BBQ sauce on it.  I know I shouldn’t like it and I definitely shouldn’t review it but I do and I am and that’s all there is to it.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Lost Dog Café's Redskin Sandwich

 Lost Dog Café is a chain of delis in Northern Virginia. I typically would not review it but the sandwich I had was so delicious I felt like I just had to do one.  It is also pretty sweet to note that a percentage of its profit go to help dogs and cats.

 Lost Dog Café really offers up three things; Sandwiches, Pizza and beer and it has an extensive menu for each.   It would have been impossible for me to decide but luckily the three guys I went with all suggested the Redskin sandwich. It is homemade beef bbq, crispy bacon and creamy cole slaw on a toasted sub roll.  I also ordered a side of dog collars, what they call their onion rings.

 The dog collars were totally disgusting; limp and soggy they may have been the worst onion rings I have ever eaten. But luckily the Redskin made up for it 10 fold.   On an 8 inch toasted sub roll was an amazing BBQ bacon mixture covered in deliciously sweet and creamy cole slaw.  Everything about this sandwich was perfect from the smoky beef bbq to the thick chunks of bacon hidden throughout to the creamy cole slaw and the sweet and tangy bbq sauce slathered over all of it.  It was one of the best sandwiches I’ve ever had. What set this sandwich apart was the bacon mixed in with the bbq. It was perfection!

I don’t say this often… “Thank you Beans. You were right, this sandwich was amazing!”

BBQ Post 401

1917 Plank Road
Fredericksburg, VA 22401

                Nestled in a trashy strip mall, in one of the seedier areas of Rt. 3 in Fredericksburg, hides BBQ Post 401. Inside the place is a lot nicer, very clean and decorated in vein of a Deep South BBQ joint.  The menu is simple but perfect for a bbq place; pulled pork, beef brisket, ribs, chicken, french fries, cole slaw and a few other sides.  Since I was just trying to grab a quick bite I ordered a pulled pork sandwich topped with cole slaw for around $5.  Within a couple minutes I had my sandwich, which was a beauty, stuffed with thick chunks of smoked pork with perfect pink smoke rings and topped with  nice thick cut yet still creamy cole slaw. I covered it in a mixture of two of their three BBQ sauces, white and tangy sweet tomato.  The other was a vinegar based sauce.  I was so pleasantly surprised to see a white bbq sauce, it is truly the first time I have ever seen it in a restaurant.  This sandwich was awesome, everything that you’d expect to find at a great bbq place. I was honestly blown away. The meat was tender and juicy while being perfectly smoked, the cole slaw was homemade and just how I like it and the mixture of the two sauces made the whole thing just downright AMAZING.

                If in Fredericksburg or just passing through stop by the BBQ Post 401 just a couple miles off of 95 and get a pulled pork sandwich. I promise that you’ll be glad that you did!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Narita Japanese Sushi Restaurant

13115 Rivers Bend Boulevard
Chester, VA 23836

            I love sushi; and not just plain ol’ California rolls but extreme rolls covered with all sorts of crazy goodness. But unfortunately those super delicious extreme specialty rolls can cost an arm and a leg at sushi restaurants so I don’t eat sushi as much as I would like. Luckily all of that has changed now that I have found Narita Japanese Sushi Restaurant.

            Located in the River’s Bend Shopping Center Nartita’s looks like nothing more than a hole in the wall where only a fool would get raw fish from. Well thankfully I’m a fool and decided to try it out. Inside the place is not much better, it is clean but it looks like what I imagine a Japanese restaurant might have looked like in the 1970’s. While the décor was uninspiring I will gladly overlook that if the sushi is good and reasonably priced; oh ya and if it won’t kill me.

            When Amanda and I walked in we were warmly greeted by a hostess and told to sit wherever  we like. In no time our waitress was at our table taking our drink orders; two waters and fried goyza as an appetizer for $4.50.

            After a couple of minutes looking at our menus we had decided on the two rolls we wanted, the River’s Bend Roll for $7.00 and the Golden Monkey for $8.50.  A couple minutes after we order our fried goyza was brought out along with miso soup and salad, which I guess comes with the sushi. The miso soup was nice and hot but I just personally don’t really care for it but Japanese salad on the other hand I love, mainly because of the extremely awesome ginger salad dressing which was as good at Narita’s as it is anywhere. The goyza was good, straight from the fryer, filled with moist tender meat on the inside and crisp and crunchy on the outside.

            In no time at all our sushi rolls where brought out, two large 8 piece rolls covered in a variety of tasty goodness. The River’s Bend Roll is cooked shrimp wrapped in seaweed and sticky rice topped with avocado, scallions, mayo, eel sauce, and roe. It was absolutely awesome. The rice was perfect, the shrimp tender and the mayo and eel sauce gave it some extra flavor that really set it off. The golden monkey was very unusual but delicious. The roll was stuffed with tempura asparagus, avocado, kani and cream cheese and then topped with smoked salmon, scallion, and seeds. The taste of this roll was hard to describe but the flavors went extremely well together. I did not like it quite as much as the River’s Bend Roll, but the River’s Bend Roll is one of my favorite rolls ever.  Next time I might try the Bermuda Banana which is tuna and avocado topped with Banana and Coconut flakes!

            Both rolls were awesome and exactly like you expect at other sushi restaurants for  twice the price. They were fresh with a variety of complementary flavors that danced across my taste buds as if performing Swan Lake. There may be places that have a larger selection of rolls or more extreme combinations but I don’t believe that you will be able to find that has sushi rolls that are as good as Narita’s for the price that they offer them for because we got all of that food; soup, salad, fried goyza, and two delicious 8 piece sushi rolls for $20.00. Now that is a DEAL!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

McDonald’s Grilled Onion Cheddar Burger

        As you may all know I did actually enjoy McDonald’s New Cheddar Bacon Onion Burger but I buck at paying more than a dollar for anything at McDonald’s so when I saw their new Grilled Onion Cheddar Burger for a dollar I thought that it would be my new cheap, unhealthy, fast food fix… I was wrong!

        Unlike the CBO, all that was on the Grilled Onion Cheddar Burger was a slice of cheap white cheddar cheese and a couple of slimy onions that had the taste and texture of worms (at least what I assume they would be like).   It was pretty plain and the flavors that were there were dull.  I don’t know go to McDonald’s often but the next time I do go I will not be getting the Grilled Onion Cheddar Burger; I will be sticking to the ol’ reliable McDouble which is still the best sandwhich you can get for the change under your seat.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Chen’s Chinese Restaurant

13104 Kingston Avenue  
Chester, VA 23836

            In the past I’ve said, with the exception of a few, most Chinese Restaurants are the same so just go to the one closest to your home. Well Chen’s is one of those exceptions and is honestly the only Chinese Restaurant in the Tri-City area that it would be acceptable to bring a date to. 

It is located near the River’s Bend Subdivision entrance next to Jalapeño’s right off of Rt. 10.  From the outside it is really nothing special to look at but you can definitely tell that it’s not your typical Chinese Restaurant.  It is inside that you really know that this place is much better than the Chinese Restaurant in the strip mall near your home.  It's not just a walk up counter with pictures of food on the walls and a paper menu but an actual sit down restaurant with table clothes, soothing oriental music and tasteful yet slightly crooked pictures and décor. 

We were greeted by a host who took us to our booth where we were quickly met by our waiter taking our drink orders and dropping off a plate of crispy fried wonton strips and a bowl of duck sauce for dipping.  I know that it is probably the least nutritious thing in the world to eat but they are strangely addictive.  As we looked over our menus we quickly realized the best thing about Chen’s; yes it is 10x nicer looking than other Chinese Restaurants, yes they serve addictive “appetizers”, and yes there food is good but the best thing is that they give you all of this for the same price as you would pay at your corner Chinese Restaurant, at least for lunch.  Amanda ordered Crispy Sesame chicken for $6.25 which came with fried rice and soup. I ordered the Kung Pao Shrimp for $6.95 which also came with fried rice and soup.

Our egg drop soup came out immediately. I’m not really a big soup guy but it was good egg drop soup and really warmed me up on that cold winter’s day. After about 10 minutes of talking, eating soup and munching on fried wonton strips our food was served. Both were nice large serving, more than we could eat at one sitting.  Amanda’s looked much like Gen. Tso’s chicken but covered with sesame seeds.  Mine was different than I expected instead of being like Amanda’s the shrimp were not fried and were mixed with a wide assortment of vegetables and nuts covered in a brownish sauce with fiery red peppers hidden throughout, which I immediately took out.  While not what I was anticipating it was actually very good; a lot lighter and more refreshing than a Gen. Tso’s type dish would have been. What I really loved with the crunchiness and texture of the nuts and some of the vegetables mixed with the soft tenderness of the shrimp and rice. Amanda also gave me a bite of her chicken which was very good, sweet and crispy.

          I would not drive out of my way to eat at Chen’s, unless I had a date that was craving Chinese food, but it is very good and a lot more comfortable and nicer than 99% of the other Chinese Restaurants out there. While the food was very good it was honestly not all that much better than your typical Chinese place but it is the atmosphere that really sets Chen’s apart. If you’re in the area, around lunch time and craving Chinese I recommend grabbing a bite a Chen’s; you’ll be a lot more comfortable than if you eat at Top’s China.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Cul’s Courthouse Grille

10801 Courthouse Road
Charles City, VA 23030

            Hidden on Rt. 5 in Charles City County in front of the Charles City Courthouse is Cul’s Courthouse Grille. Yes, there is a small sign on the road with an arrow pointing to the restaurant but it is hidden in plain sight behind trees and shrubs on a small frontage road off the byway and unless you’re looking for it you would never see it. For years there have only been three places to eat on Rt.5 in Charles City; Indian Fields Tavern now called the Charles City Tavern, Haupt’s Country Store, and SS Subs (I actually think that SS Subs is more of a drug front than an actual restaurant but that’s neither here nor there) so it’s nice to see a new place open for business on this beautiful country road.

            Cul’s Courthouse Grille is located in the old Cul’s Country Store. Saying that it has been renovated is a bit of stretch but that’s part of what makes the place so awesome.  It really feels like you’re walking into an old timey country store minus the old men and lazy hound dog out front. I take that back; a hunting dog did actually walk up to the front door while we were there but he left once he figured out that it was as cold inside the store as it was outside and with the nice deck they have out front I’d venture to say that in warm weather there probably are old men that sit out there and talk about the weather.

            Inside the place the temperature is cold but everything else is very warm and welcoming especially the owner.  We were seated at the front window at a three sided bench booth that overlooked the courthouse area and our waitress was there immediately to take our drink order.  The menu was not huge but it had a nice selection of tasty sounding southern dishes and sandwiches. I decided on Edna’s Chicken Sandwich: a grilled chicken breast topped with homemade pimento cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, onions and pickles on a Kaiser bun served with green tomato chow chow and seasoned fries for $8.99. Amanda ordered the Chicken Salad Sandwich: diced chicken salad with pecans and cranberries served on Viv’s homemade bread with lettuce, tomato and homemade chips.

            While we waited for our meals we snacked on an order of fried calamari. To be fair, the calamari tasted good but it was a pretty small serving for $9.  Before long we had our food in front of us. My sandwich had a large juicy chicken breast smothered in melted pimento cheese on a nicely toasted Kaiser roll topped with fresh crisp lettuce and onions and a juicy slice of tomato and a side of chow chow. I topped the beautiful sandwich with the chow chow and took a bite.  It was an awesome southern treat; a mouthful of flavors that melded perfectly together. The juicy chicken, pimento cheese and chow chow made for a great although very messy sandwich.  Even the fries were delicious, slightly seasoned with a nice crunch.  This was probably the best sandwich I’ve had since I ate the prime rib sandwich at Sullivan’s Tavern. Amanda let me have a bite of her chicken salad sandwich on fresh made bread and it was just as good as my sandwich and probably was some of the best chicken salad I’ve ever had and with the freshly baked bread it was out of this world. Served with thick sliced homemade chips it made for a great meal.

            If you can find Cul’s Courthouse Grille, please stop by and grab a bite to eat. Their food if fresh and delicious and is served by a very friendly staff.  I haven’t eaten at the Charles City Tavern yet but it will have to be very good to beat Cul’s Courthouse Grille as the best restaurant in Charles City.  Just one thing though, if you go in the winter make sure you bring a heavy coat.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Bub’s Burgers and Fries

7102 Hull St Rd
Richmond, VA 23235


            Located on the sketchy side but not totally desolate side of Hull Street Bub’s Burgers  and Fries grabbed my attention and make me stop for two reasons;
One- I love burgers
Two- the front windows were covered with goofy Christmas themed cartoons.

            Inside the place is a good deal more mellow with the main decor being not painting of cartoons (which I would have loved) but instead a whole bunch or tin signs that were new but made to look old ( a little corny).  But honestly when it comes to a burger and fry joint I couldn’t care less about the decor because I’m there for one reason and one reason only Cheese Burgers!

            When I walked in the owner/chef was eating lunch with what I assume was his wife and young daughter. He quickly jumped up and took my order. I ordered a single cheese burger which came with lettuce, tomatoes, and onions, a slice of cheese and their special sauce, onion rings and a drink for just over $7.00 and to my surprise they took cards.   In just a couple of minutes my burger and onion rings were ready. The burger was not huge nor did it have crazy topping except for the special sauce (much like the Big Mac sauce) but for some reason it was absolutely awesome.  Everything was extremely fresh they burger was hand formed and ridiculously juicy and flavorful. The lettuce, tomatoes, and onions tasted like they were just picked when I ordered my burger. The lettuce was crisp and the tomatoes were juicy. It was really just a plain old simple burger but it was done right, the ol’ school way.

            The onion rings also just came out of the fryer two second for I bit into them. They were crisp and crunchy on the outside but soft and sweet inside and boy did I get a lot of them, probably a dozen.  They were served with a side of their special sauce (this guy obviously know his stuff). 

            Overall the whole meal was awesome; very simple but done perfectly.  Ya, you can go to a bunch of other places and get bigger burgers, burgers with more toppings and cheaper burgers but you will be hard pressed to find one with better flavor done the ol’ school way.