Thursday, February 28, 2013

Rinky Dink Café

2550 S Crater Rd,
Petersburg, Virginia

            Rinky Dink Café is a tiny little “soul food” restaurant located on S. Crater Road in Petersburg. The building is black with blacked out windows and every now and again life size statues of the Blues Brothers out front. Inside the place has an old school jazz lounge feel to it, small intimate and dark.  There are just a couple tables and booths a small bar with a couple of seats.

            While I may have been the first white person to ever eat at Rinky Dink Café, my waitress was very sweet and very attentive.  The menu on the other hand was lacking in my mind especially for a soul food restaurant. The menu contained mostly regular American or bar food more than actual Soul Food; burgers, bbq, fried chicken and ribs. The craziest part was that there was no sweet tea, no sweat tea at a “soul food’ place is blasphemy! I ordered a can of coke (the only had cans) and a bbq sandwich with fries for about six bucks.  

            It was not long before I had my sandwich and fries. Both of which were ok at best. The bbq had no smokiness and their sauce was pretty plain.  The sandwich did not have much flavor to it.  The fries were the crinkle cut kind that can be bought in the freezer section at any grocery store.  I knew that I should have ordered the ribs but such is life.

            Needless to say, I was not very impressed with the food at Rinky Dink Café. It was edible but nothing more than just ok at best. If you’re craving soul food I suggest that you get your fix somewhere else because Rinky Dink will not satisfy urge.

PS: FYI: if you do decide to go to Rinky Dink Café, they only take cash!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Doumar’s Cones and Barbecue

1919 Monticello Ave  
Norfolk, VA 23517

            Last Saturday I was in Norfolk for work and the location of the event was a half mile from Doumar’s Cones and Shakes, a place that I have seen on the Food Network and the Travel Channel a couple of times. Over 100 years ago Mr. Doumar invited the ice cream cone and the ice cream cone machine and at one time he had restaurants up and down the whole east coast. 

            Doumar’s is an old school dinner with carports outside for people who want to eat in their cars a huge sit down bar and about a dozen tables. Everything in Doumar’s is old school and original. The menu is just as ordinal and old school as the rest of the place; barbecue, burgers, hot dogs, fries, shakes and ice cream. I ordered a barbecue sandwich with slaw fries and a diet coke.  Within five minutes I had my sandwich, fries and drink in front of me. The sandwich was a small little thing wrapped in plastic with a toothpick stuck in it. The fries were the thick cut kind and came in a little cardboard tub. This stuff was barebones. The barbecue was finely chopped topped with a little bit of finely chopped cole slaw. I put their NC style vinegar barbecue sauce on it. The barbecue was not very smoky and I could barely taste the cole slaw and the sauce had a spicy vinegar flavor.  I was not very impressed by the barbecue at all. The fries were also nothing to talk about; I’ve had better fries from the frozen food section in the grocery store.

            After eating at Doumar’s I’ve learned two things; not every restaurant that is featured on TV is great and just because a place has been around for 100 years does not mean that it deserves to be around for 100 more. I can only assume that Doumar’s has the world’s greatest ice cream cones because if not I don’t know why anyone would go there other than to just say that they’ve been there. I have once again been tricked by Guy Fieri and Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Alexander’s BBQ

1126 Westbriar Dr  
Richmond, VA 23238

- Alexander's BBQ

- Hanging out with Ross

            This last Friday I met a good friend of mine, Ross, in Short Pump for some BBQ for dinner. Ross has been going to Alexander’s BBQ for years and it was a Short Pump staple before Short Pump blew up like it has in recent years.

            Hidden off the beaten path in small little shopping center off of Patterson Avenue, you can easily miss Alexander’s BBQ even if you’re looking for it.  Inside, it is bare bones; a walk up counter with a menu behind it, a tiny bar hidden off in a corner is an adjoining room, about half a dozen tables and chairs and a couple of BBQ awards won in the 90’s and early 2000’s on the walls.  It was very down homey but in a good way.

            The menu was simple with chopped bbq, ribs, bbq chicken and a few different sides like cole slaw, fries, onion rings and potato salad.  On Ross’ advice, I ordered the Super Q; a sandwich topped with 1/3lb hand chopped BBQ pork baked in their own special sauce and topped with cole slaw for $3.65 and an order of beer battered onion rings for $2.29.  In about 5 minutes our food was ready. The Super Q was super huge with finely chopped pork and cole slaw.  I topped it with some more BBQ sauce which was a sweet and tangy tomato based sauce that had a slight vinegary taste.

            Like I said the pork was finely chopped and did not have much smokiness to it but it was still very moist and flavorful. The cole slaw was nice and sweet which went well with the juicy pork and tangy bbq sauce.  The whole sandwich was placed on a sandwich press that gave the bun a warmth and crunch that you don’t find with many BBQ sandwiches.  Overall the sandwich was very big and tasty; a great value for $3.65.   The onion rings were prefect crispy and crunchy with a sweet soft onion inside. They were some of the best onion rings I’ve had in a while.

            Overall I really enjoyed Alexander’s BBQ and especially how it was a nice home town hidden gem right next to the crowed consumerism that is Short Pump.  I prefer a smokier, pulled pork style BBQ and a thicker cut cole slaw but Alexander’s was still very good and an amazing deal for the price.   So if you’re in the Short Pump area and you want to get away from the crowds and traffic and still enjoy a delicious meal check out Alexander’s BBQ.