Monday, November 29, 2010

Cattlemens Steak House

Cattlemen’s Steak House is by the very frame work of the word a landmark. Having been in business for over 100 years operating both as a steak house and butcher shop their knowledge of steak is legendary.

The sign in front looks as though it belongs to a strip club and frankly the exterior décor would not lead you to believe much different. It is dank and darkly lit and sits in a part of Oklahoma City known as ‘Stock Yard Town.” As is customary to my experience I am alone and walking into the unknown; this time a steak house known best (recently) for serving our last president his favorite steak in Oklahoma. You could say that I was a touch out of my element.

Striking my eyes in this barrage of old world “cowboydom” was the bright red booths worn carpet and diner feel that embodies most every Denny’s I have ever frequented. It is at best a rundown family restaurant by the look of it, and I am already dreading what may come.

I was greeted by a creature who looks as if Barbara Streisand and Mothra mated and lead to the diner bar for my meal. I was then greeted by the second largest person I have ever laid eyes on… Clearly Oklahoma is not focused on fitness as both of the ladies I encountered outweighed my wife’s Hummer, AND by themselves AND handily.

As ambience is now clear lets focus on the food and drink.

Wine List: Extensive…I was impressed……
Merlot California
Shiraz Australia
White Zinfandel (Yes its on there)
Cabernet California


I was feeling like a connoisseur of all things bizarre having watched Andrew Zimmer for a bit in a slumber; I ordered the “Lamb Fries.” Sheep testicles are apparently a delicacy in Ok City and I was proud to join the ranks of those who had devoured them… They taste like chicken with the consistency of shrimp…They taste like nothing…and I mean NOTHING.

The steak hailed by our former president as one of his favorite on earth was in short over rated, and over cooked. It had the consistency of a IHOP breakfast steak. I have eaten better meals at Outback Steak House on a bad day. This unidentifiable cut of meat was possibly the most boring flavorless thing I have ever put in my mouth… The only thing that gave it any flavor was the Au Jous smothering it.

For the sake of time let me summarize. The waitresses should be consultants as to how one might get “marbling” into their cattle, as they are clearly subject matter experts. The food was boring and made no impression at all. The red wine (served chilled) was hilariously sad. The ambience was that of a truck stop in Nowheresville. The only redeeming qualities were the landmark status and the pleasant service. Do not bother.

Given Adam Richman of Man Vs. Food said this place was great as well makes me think that he is a mediocre hack who ought to hang out with Anthony Bourdain for as to learn about good food. I suppose it’s no wonder this man eats 1100 pound burgers for a living…

Something Scale:
This place is a joke I give it a 2.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Ray's PeGe

I am here in the heart of Cajun Country, literally sitting diagonal to a swamp, anticipating what is touted as the best sandwich between Monroe and New Orleans.... Having ordered from the short order cook (a person I have come to recognize in most circles as a culinary master) I am literally giddy.

The red ripped booths, and stained tile floor set the stage for what is clearly a beloved establishment in the hearts of all who inhabit Monroe, LA.

The delivery of this gravy laden, 2000 calorie, meatwich brings tears to my eye... Misty and emotional I take the first bite.

Until today I was unaware that roast beef could suck the moisture out of ones soul, especially when covered in gravy.... The bread a slighlty more stale rendition of dick clarks libido. I could liken the gravy to milk of magnesia, as it had the same flavor and identical texture. I was impressed that the fries, the roastbeef, nor the gravy had a disernable flavor of anykind (Minus Milk of Magnesia.)

Clearly the people of Monroe, LA have either lost way or they are completely delusional.. Subway makes a better sandwich and it is closer to my hotel... Perhaps I should have reviewed my 5 dollar footlong from yesterday.

Essentailly I would rather devour rancid dolphin flesh at a PETA rally than ever eat here again.

On the something scale they score a 1...But only because they had the appearance of a worn local haunt that should serve amazing food....

Lets see what this evening brings...

Monday, September 20, 2010

Day One Chapter One

Deplaning today caught me a bit off guard. The palpable anxiety was nothing short of terrifying. This place holds some of my best memories, as well as my single worst.

For the next 2 days I will do battle with my psyche, scratching at every moment to hang on to that which is truly good. To say that my heart is anxious, or to articulate my love and hate in this place would be in a word “Impossible.”

Hopefully a cold beer will calm my nerves enough to reconcile the demons in my mind, and allow that most sought after quality. Peace.


Something Different

The next 2 days will be a bit more touchy feely and dive a little deeper in to my heart than the blog has seen in the past. My feelings in this place (Charlotte) are vast and incredibly diverse and I feel that its best to vent them to those you who want read it.

I may at times talk food, but this week will be mostly dedicated to heart.


Sunday, September 5, 2010

Casa Bonita (Lakewood, CO)

This place is difficult to miss… The GIANT pink tower bearing its name stands as a beacon of Colorado Pride to those have spent their formative years in the Greater Denver Area. An institution if you will, one of the places in this world that locals know and keep hidden until you have lived here long enough to call Colorado home.

Ambiance: To say that Casa Bonita is an assault on the senses would be a bit of an understatement. Cliff divers, caves to explore, and poorly acted stage shows every 15 minutes, all back dropped by a cascading indoor waterfall, are just a few of the entertainment choices available in this pantheon of child hood playthings. It seems around every corner there is somewhere new to go, and something else to see.

Of all the attractions my favorite was Black Bart’s Cave. This is just "one of those things." Even as an adult Black Bart's Cave gets your imagination moving and gives you just a hint of excitement. Dark corners, tight turns and little bits of poor special effects give you the feeling of being a kid once again. I can only wonder what this was like for my brave little Kai. He would go through the cave only once, citing “that’s spooky daddy, I don’t think it’s a good idea.”

Kai (our two year old) was thrilled and amazed with the stage shows. As he ate, Gorillas, Pirates, and Cliff Divers all came into view and preformed for his amusement. He clapped, smiled and paid little attention to the meal before him. He was in a word bewildered by the amazing spectacles in front of his young eyes. .

Food: Let’s talk price then quality.

Food price: The first thing one might notice is to gain entrance to Casa Bonita you MUST buy and entrée. The pricing is VICIOUS. For a KIDS plate of “Chicken” strips, a Taco/Enchilada Plate and a Pitcher of Margaritas we paid $44.99. To put that price in perspective, I have dined at 4 star restaurants for less per person.

Food Quality: I should also tell you that indigestion is on the menu as a side item.

The quality of food is nothing less than atrocious.
Enchilada = Flour tortilla covered in melted cheese wiz
Taco = Old El Paso taco seasoning, grade D beef, and a hint of salmonella

I am reasonably certain the beans and rice are made with remaindered food supplies from taco bell.

If you have the mature palate of a two year old you will enjoy yourself tremendously. The “chicken” tenders and French fries were hailed as “good dinner” and given an enthusiastic thumb up.

Service: Expect NOTHING. Upon entry we were greeted by a Troll whose job it was to force me into buying a meal. My wife has Celiac Disease, which for lack of a better term is a wheat allergy. When I explained that she could not have the items on the menu, the troll began to enlighten us. Apparently my wife could have FLOUR tortillas, and the BREADED fried chicken. When I retorted that those items are made with flour and not suitable for this special diet, the troll retorted saying “I thought flour was made of just flour, I will check with my manager.” 5 minutes later we were allowed to pass without a meal purchase.

Our “server” was nice, and delivered the items in his charge quickly. Those items were the pitcher of margaritas, and sopa pillas. I was a little surprised that the ticket requested a tip.

Overall: I don’t know that I could rate this establishment on the “Something” scale, as it stands as a landmark and local treasure. I have never heard anything good about the food, and for good reason. I believe that eating Casa Bonita fare stands as a rite of passage in the Denver area, and having now done so I feel one step closer to being a native Coloradan. If you're planning a trip to Casa Bonita I will give only 2 pieces of advice.

1. Eat before you go and consider the meal your admission price
2. Let go and give your inner child a tour of Black Bart’s Cave

Consider this the worlds first Mexican Chucky Cheese, and have a blast. Totally worth the trip.

Happy Eating

Nick Pollard

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Tavern on the Water, Boston, MA (Charlestown Navy Yard)

Rarely do I take time to review a restaurant twice, but hey the food was good so I went back. The format will be a touch different given 2 dishes being reviewed.

Atmosphere: the Tavern on the Water has what is possibly the single best view of Boston I could have imagined. At dusk as the sun sets, and the buildings glow as if the whole city is located on the sun. As darkness falls the city lights reveal a city alive with people at work and at play. Boston is a beautiful city, and for the purpose of gazing into its heart and vibrancy there is no better location than Tavern on the Water.

Night One Table Service: My waitress for the evening was less than enthusiastic about her role in the world. I would imagine she would a better match as a DMV Clerk. Emotionless, and unexciting in every way. When I asked “what is the best thing on the menu?” She answered with “Dunno, I don’t eat here…” Not a resounding endorsement especially coming from the only waitress in the place. I did not reveal her destiny as a public servant at the time, as I thought the calling was best discovered in her own way.

Night 2 Bar Service: The bartender was very pleasant and helpful. Not the best service I have ever had, but certainly not the public servant I encountered the evening before.


Appetizer: Calamari is pretty much calamari where ever you go. It was good but a little chewier than I enjoy.

Fish and Chips: Jesus might work in the kitchen as a fry cook. I kid you not the fish were celestial… Flakey, with a STRONG crunch on the outside, I am seriously salivating thinking about it now… What was most impressive was the whole made tartar sauce. The flavor was unlike any I had tasted before, salty, but sweet, I am in a way perplexed as I am unable to connect the flavors in a discernable sentence. If you find yourself in the Charlestown Navy Yard, and you're hungry…Go eat this. I Dub the meal “The Fish and Chips Holy Grail” on this side of the pond…

Eric Pratt Concerning Fish and Chips: Jesus did not make the fish and chips but the meal “met expectations.”

Drunken Lobster and Shrimp with Red Sauce: Good, but mostly pasta. I will say that will a touch of Tabasco and a lot of salt this is not a bad meal, but I certainly would not spent the $16.95 again. Somehow they missed the mark on this, but nailed the fish and chips…

Overall: Great place to go. Sit at the bar unless you enjoy the service you receive while renewing your driver’s license. Order the fish and chips and you maybe securing your place in heaven. On the “something scale” I would give this one a 6, points mostly for celestial fish and incredible views.
Happy Eating!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Black Beard's (Corpus Christi-North Beach)

Walking into an establishment called Black Beards was probably my first mistake. I suppose I should not have expected a lot especially give its proximity to the Quality Inn “On the Beach,” a roach infested, stinking, whore hotel that I THOUGHT was the best option for my accommodations in Corpus Christi…

As you approach Black Beards, nothing seems out of line…But upon entering the front door things change immediately for the worst… The greeting I received (after 12 minutes standing at the counter) was in a word…worrisome, “you eating or just gonna look?” It asked. “Do you have a bar” I asked innocently? “It’s a beach what do you think? “ (IT) replied in turn. I stress (IT) as I am still uncertain as to the gender and/ or preference of the person assisting me at that time.

Upon sitting at the bar, I was greeted promptly by Dave the bartender who remains the Hero of this ordeal. He had good taste in music, made sure my drinks were cold and on time, and overall made the best of a whole new chapter of culinary suckery .

Food: I am not sure how to even begin describing the food in this place. I fear that Black Beards never got the memo not to buy Seafood from Louisiana. The oyster and shrimp dinner was as palatable as a plate full of deep fried road kill marinated in mixture of rotten cheese and dog vomit. The first oyster made me wretch in my mouth, and the shrimp had the texture of a truck tire. I could literally taste the smell (yes TASTE the SMELL) of this rancid meal as it rounded the kitchen door 400 yards away. The only part of the meal that was digestible by a human being was the house salad with ranch dressing… of course…how does one screw that up?
Redeeming this meal was impossible, but I have to say…The Margaritas made my head spin, and did a fine job of healing my palate from the treachery that was the Oyster and Shrimp Platter.

Overall: Stay the hell away from this place, unless of course you enjoy throwing up in your mouth, and the very real threat of infection by a flesh eating virus from the sanitary conditions in this place. I am not even going to rate this on the “Something Scale.” I can’t stomach the thought of tarnishing the system.

Happy Eating!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Woodshed (Hopkinsville, KY)

Ambiance: So it’s in a double wide trailer in the middle of nowhere, and directly across the street from a mining facility. This is not the Ritz Carlton on their best day. I was not certain as to whether the waitresses were going to bring my food, or if they were going to attach the plate to the ENORMUS flies and allow them to deliver it. The “you ain’t from around here” look as I walked through the door was much like a scene from deliverance, though there was no banjo or sodomy…. This was a plus. Retrospectively I would bought a pair of overalls and a “chaw” to fit in with the crowd. If you eliminate the prehistoric flies, the “hill billery,” and the silver toothed coughing and cussing grill master there would a larger degree of comfort; however, I think it would destroy the essence of this down home country experience.

Service: The waitresses are very nice and very helpful, and seemed to have worked there for quite a long time. There were terms of affection lobbed in my direction such as, hun, darling, sweetie, etc. Of course this seemed to be a par performance as all others within my earshot had the same names. My food was delivered within 12 seconds of my ordering it, which either speaks volumes to their efficiency, or the age of the dinner I ate.

Food: The Pork BBQ was a delightful treat, smothered in a vinegar BBQ sauce with three sides. I was especially impressed with the flavor, and the texture of the meat. While the meat its self melted away there was crispy outer skin to allow the taste buds to wrangle a new sensation. Juicy, and perfect the pork stole the show…at first.

Burgoo: I have no idea what the hell this, but if they deliver truck of it to my home I will gladly and eagerly devour every drop. This side is best described as soup? The ingredients of vegetables, black eyed peas, and pork, somehow meld to deliver a punch in the throat. The tantalizing sweet sour and salty flavor is truly something one must experience to believe… It was breathtaking.

Drinks: “We aint got liquor…don’t believe in it.” Yes actual quote….

Overall: The kind nature of the ownership and their staff combined with incredible prices and the magnificent “burgoo” makes this one a must if you are ever in Hopkinsville, KY. The meal you see before you was 6 bucks…. The food and the service make all the difference, even faced with flies, strange looks, and a tuberculosis ridden toothless chef. I give the Woodshed the highest rating so far of a 5 on the something scale.

Happy Eating My Friends!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Fox and The Hound (Lone Tree, CO)

I know, I know....I am not on the road, and I am talking about a national chain...If you dont like it shut up, I will beat you like a narc at a biker rally....

The medium heat wings at Fox N the Hound are truley a marvel of pub grub... Juicy, spicy and sweet, these delectitble morsels slid down my throat like a roller coaster of taste sensation. I dont want to say that the wings "hurt my feelings," but I will say that I grossly underestimated the gorgeousness of a good wing sauce combined with ranch... Whomever the Head Chef is at Fox n The Hound..Bravo.

Service: I am still convinced that no one in the United Stated recognizes the fact that tips = commission..Otherwise my drinks would have shown up with greater regularity....and without any prodding.

drinks: its a bar.. you do the math.

Overall: I give the F-N-H a 3 on the something scale..The beer is cold the wings are tangy and delicious.... the service kinda blows...

Bottoms Up Friends.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Beach House (Laguna Beach, CA)

Speaking from strictly on the grounds of aesthetics, the view is breath taking. You can literally see for miles out to sea, and hear the waves crashing on the shoreline. The laughter of family’s on the beach enjoying the sunlight, and the sounds of birds chirping make this one off the most scenic places, and lovley places I have eaten at in a very long time..

Service: Well…. I would say the young lady charged with our service was less than attentive. It seemed almost as if I was a stranger sitting in her living room saying, "get me a beer and a sandwich and make it snappy woman!" She carried a demeanor that was about as exciting as Ben Stien in a calculus contest, and payed as close attention to our needs as Mr. Magoo would have. I am not saying I need a TGI Fridays experience everytime I eat, but a simple hello would you like a drink would have done nicely.

Food: The Jamaican Jerk Mahi Tacos are essentially, three pieces of fish salted braised, and put in a flour tortilla, not the most impressive of presentations. I will say that whatever sauce is used to season this meal is a tangy taste adventure, but overall...Eh.

Side of poison: Since my trip to the beach house I have been experiencing some “gastronomical anomalies,” that are less than enjoyable. I can imagine that if I wished to repeat said “anomalies,” that I should make a habit of drinking Tijuana tap water mixed with Turpentine and a shot of Antifreeze. Perhaps this is the sauce mixture?

Drinks: The corona was cold, and that is very good.

Overall: I was pleased in general to have an opportunity to spend time with my sister Laura, and enjoy the California coastline for an hour. The company was the best part of the meal. I would rate the “Culinary” experience a 1 on the something scale, as I the service was less than fair, and I may have to have my entire intestinal tract removed.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Earl Campbells Sports Bar and Grill (Austin Texas)

Ran into the gem at the Austin Bergstrom Airport.

Service: Rarely have I seen an organization that treated me so poorly... The young lady at counter could well be described as Mrs. Lovett from the Movie Sweeny Todd... Not because she is attractive as Helen Bonham Carter, but because her demeanor was such that I felt she would rather "serve human," than serve humans... Rude would not adequatley describe this pit viper of a person.... That said see food.

Food: The BBQ Brisket Tacos are the perfect cure for a MIND BOGGLING hang over. Greasy, salty, and covered in a light dew of texas bbq sauce. Ad the flavor of mayonaise cole slaw on top of the fresh tortillas and you have a combination yielding some of the best pub grub I have ever had.

Alchohol: Decent selection of beer and a full bar...Nothing to write home about.

Overall: If you have time to spare, and enjoy good beer, good food, and being served by people who would rather chop you up into a salad stop here...

If I was to give this a rating, I would say it is a 2 "something." Rating system to come....


I have often wished that i could be an Anthony Bourdain, and write like a shakespear inspired food critic, but....Well I cant. This blog will be wraught with grammer problems, spelling errors and some faul language,. Take or leave it; its my blog.

I hope that everyone will participate and review thier favorites from home and the road.

Consider this blog a service to the business travler with a love of food and new experiences.