Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Marvelous Muggs

We ate here unintentionally. We were headed for 81 North, headed for Uno's in Dickson City, saw the heavy traffic from the overpass, and decided to give Marvelous Muggs a try instead. This place is ok. Just ok. It's something I can't quite put my finger on, but we most likely won't be going back. They didn't do anything wrong; the service was acceptable, the food ok, the prices ok. It's clean, but I have to say, the ambiance is a little strange. They were going for an old fashioned look when they built it, and it is nice enough...wood and brass kind of thing. And wallpaper. But there are photos of random people all over the place. Nobody famous - just ordinary people. I found it a little off-putting, like I'm in somebody's house and I wasn't really invited there.
Is this why they call the place Marvelous Muggs? Maybe, or maybe it is because they serve the soup and drinks in mugs. Or both.
Danelle had the filet mignon, which she said was ok. I had a steak ciabatta and baked potato soup, which was also ok. Since it was Danelle's birthday, we also had dessert. She had pumpkin pie, and I had Mississippi mud pie. It was, you know, "ok".

We were seated near two geeky guys who clearly had no concept of inside voice vs. outside voice. We were privy to their whole conversation, unfortunately. But it did provide entertainment for us. We tried to guess what brought them together. I surmised that there was perhaps a comic book convention in town, while Danelle thought it was a Star Trek event. Dungeons and Dragons festival was also brought up, but they actually weren't cool enough for that.
I don't want to either recommend or discourage you from going here. Maybe you should go and decide for yourself; I think in this case, it may just be a matter of taste. Ok? Ok!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Revello's Cafe Pizza

We went here expecting great things. Really, we wanted it to be great. After all, this place has a legion of rabid, loyal fans. Here is the account of our experience from the beginning. Cool building, great sign. From there it's all downhill.
Once you get inside, the decor is a mish mash of the worst of every decade. Like for example, the paneling was done in the 60's, maybe, and the carpet from the seventies, while the bar stools are definitely from the 80's. Drop ceiling, flourescent lighting, the whole bit. You know what I mean.
We weren't greeted at the door; after a couple of minutes the waitress just kind of shouted, "sit wherever you want". So we did. That's when we noticed the filthy table. It had been wiped, but only with water, apparently for years. There was an accumulation of grime that you could lift off with a fingernail. Gross. There was only one other party in the restaurant when we got there. The waitress was chatting with them for a long time. A really long time. So we're seated, without menus, and after about 10 or 15 minutes of being ignored, we talked about leaving. Just as we were about to, the waitress came over with menus. Damn. So we ordered our drinks, which took another 10 minutes to get, despite being two of only four diners in the whole place! So the crappy, flat RC and DietRite cola finally arrive, and we order a tray of red pizza. Meanwhile, about 10 minutes after that, another party of three comes in and sits in the booth behind us. After 20 minutes, the party seated behind us, who came in AFTER us, gets their pizza first. Ok, so now we feel like maybe, just maybe, we're being discriminated against, for some reason. So we're getting irate, still discussing leaving, but not having cash to leave on the table for our drinks. So we stay and wait another 10 minutes for our pizza.
Wow, finally our patience is about to be rewarded! Our mouths are watering. And the pizza is cold. Ice cold. So we have two choices. Complain and have her take it back to the kitchen and wait another hour for a pizza that may or may not be spit upon, or just eat it and get the hell out of there and never go back. We chose the latter. Oh yeah, and she didn't bring plates, either. She dropped the pizza off and said "I'll be right back with the plates." We never saw her again until we demanded the check.
It's hard to judge a fresh cold pizza. But I can tell you the crust was undercooked and too thin. It sucked. Sucked, sucked, sucked. You suck, Revello's! We'll never get back the seven hours we spent in that miserable place. I'm bitter.
I guess the experience we had is so shocking because the competition is tough when it comes to Old Forge Pizza. Arcaro and Genell's is just across the street, and what a stark contrast it is compared to this place! (You can find our review of A&G here
Honestly, I can't believe they're still in business. Is it because people are so blindly loyal to their pizza that they are willing to overlook unacceptable service or a decline in the quality of the pizza? Or is it because they've never tried anybody else's Old Forge Pizza? I believe it may have been great back in the day, but this is simply not the case now. Maybe they think the pizza nazi routine is charming, but we don't.
Do yourself a favor - go across the street to Arcaro and Genell's. It's cheaper, better, friendlier and easier on the eyes.
Revello's, we are so sorry we inconvenienced you by coming into your establishment to spend our money. It will never happen again.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

City Cafe Meditteranean Market

The City Cafe is on 116 N. Washington Avenue in downtown Scranton. If you go here (and you should), don't be like us. Bring quarters for the parking meter. We constantly forget this while downtown, and really, in this day and age, who carries any kind of cash, especially change? I almost forget what it looks like.
The City Cafe is owned by Dominic Saadi. He was also our server. He's a very, very nice man.
The place is welcoming and cute.
The menu is simple, with descriptions of how everything is prepared. I like that.

We started with the hummous, which came with warm na'an. Danelle liked it, but I though it was a little tangy. Too much lemon for my taste. But this would be my only critique about the food.
Danelle had the falafel.....

and I had the chicken panini.

The food is good. It's not decadent or rich, but it is tasty. And you feel like you're eating healthy. Because you are! It's a nice change of pace from places that fry everything and cover it with cheese. And then fry it again. And give you a 20 lb portion. Then you feel like you have to eat it all to get your money's worth. Then you go home immediately regretting your decision to eat an entire water buffalo deep fried with extra cheese. Then you hate yourself for the rest of the week. Sure, you think about starting an exercise program, but it's too cold, and you're too tired from work. Or you have nothing to wear. Or you'll do it after your hangnail heals. But I digress.
Anyway, we can confidently recommend this restaurant. Good service, good food, reasonably priced.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

TGI Friday's

Yeah, it's a chain restaurant. But we like it. We like it a lot. We used to go to the one in Dickson City, which is ok, but now we go to the one in Wilkes Barre. The service here is exceptional. We got a free appetizer just for being a first time customer at that TGI Friday's. The servers actually act like they like their job. They are very pleasant, but not in a fake condescending way. Nothing is more annoying than some douchebag waiter kneeling down next to your table in order to make direct eye contact with you just to say "Hi, I'm Brad. I'll be taking care of you tonight, mm k?" But don't worry, you won't find that here.
We have the same thing every time - the 3 courses for $12.99 deal. You can choose from a host of appetizers, entrees and  a couple of desserts. Danelle gets the potstickers, (they give you 6), and the bacon cheeseburger without the bacon. Once she tried the chicken strips, and was so disappointed. They were totally flavorless. I always get the potstickers for the appetizer and the parmesan crusted chicken for the entree. This is surprisingly good. It's a good portion of baked parmesan encrusted tender chicken, served with spinach ravioli, and a lovely tomato mozzarella salad. And then, as if that weren't enough, you get either peanut butter pie or vanilla bean cheesecake for dessert.
Now, obviously, no human being can eat this amount of food in one sitting. I doubt that even a bear would eat this much food at one time. So we usually take half of it home and eat it for lunch the next day, making it an especially good value.
There you have it - two snaps up for TGI Friday's. Make that two snaps up in a circle!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Taco Bandito

This review will be short and not so sweet. Maybe I'm spoiled from having lived in California for the last 10 years. California, where there are 4 Mexican restaurants on every corner. Real Mexican food. But, with this cross country move, we also made the decision to sacrifice Mexican for Italian food, and here we are. We were craving tacos, and tried to find a Taco Bell. But the closest one is in Clarks Summit, which is a little further than we wanted to go for tacos and burritos. Then I remembered Taco Bandito. It's on Main Street in West Side.
So we get there, and we are the only customers in the place. At dinner time. This should have been a clue for us, but we persisted, eager for a taste of Mexican food. The tacos arrive. In one bite our eager anticipation turned to horror. What kind of "meat" is this? Is it meat? It has a weird texture and just a bad, bad taste. Now, I'm not one to throw away food. I'm actually bulimic. I just keep forgetting to purge. Anyway, this went right into the trash. Just thinking about it now makes me a wee bit nauseous.
The positives: it's cheap, and the ambiance isn't bad for fast food. However, we have to give Taco Bandito two thumbs down.  Better to make your own tacos at home. We would if we could. My camera is still broken, and there are no images of Taco Bandito available online, so here instead is a picture of the Frito Bandito. This brings me right back to a happy place.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

The Glider Diner

A Scranton institution and the best diner in town. I hadn't been here since 1987 or so, and this visit triggered a ton of fond memories. Like eating fries with gravy after a football game across the street at Memorial Stadium. This place hasn't changed much, if at all. It's a REAL diner, not a wannabe. I love everything about the decor: the red vinyl booth seats with white piping, the chrome and red vinyl stools at the counter, and the adorable coffee cup clock (my camera broke, so I couldn't take pics). It's been here since 1945, and the fact that they can still fill the place to capacity for breakfast on any given day is testimony to it's charm.
It's clean, the waitresses are nice, (we sat at the counter and got to hear them bitch and gossip) and the food is good. And it seems like the prices haven't changed since 1987 either, at least not on the breakfast menu. Danelle had the egg sandwich on a hard roll, and I had eggs, toast and home fries. Then we took one of their famous giant cinnamon rolls to go. These are actually made on the premises, and are absolutely delicious.
If you're from Scranton, you've been here hundreds of times. If you're not, you need to go. Now.

Hi How Are Yas? What Can I Get Yas?

Sometimes I think if I have to hear this one more time I'll scream. It's not that we object to the Scrantonese lingo, it's just really getting old (and expensive) going out almost every night. We need a kitchen badly. The electric is done, and after some plumbing we will be ready to start hanging insulation and drywall. We bought the appliances yesterday which will be delivered in a couple of weeks.
I'm most excited about the convection oven.
Anyway, yesterday we went out for breakfast and dinner. Breakfast at the Glider Diner, and dinner at TGI Friday's. Postings to follow.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Dino & Francesco's

Looks like I'll be having leftover pizza tonight, as Danelle is working and I'm dining solo. We got a "tray" of pizza from Dino and Francesco's in Birney Plaza today. Sometimes we dine there, but most of the time we take it home since we're only a few blocks away.
This place is situated in the most depressing strip mall on earth. It's run down and ugly. The building that houses this restaurant also has a gym, a laundromat, a beauty school, and a Big Lots. When you walk in the door to the building, you are immediately aromatically assaulted by the smell of pee. Yep, you'd think you were in a NYC subway. And the building owners haven't painted or tiled the floor since 1974 or so. So you might actually be smelling pee from 1974. Maybe they should put a historical marker up in this place.

But once you get into the actual restaurant (through a second set of doors), it's much more pleasant smelling. Otherwise, they'd probably never get any business. However, it is always busy when we go there. The pizza is pretty good, and not greasy (although I have no objection at all to a big floppy pizza with a nice pool of grease in the center). We get the regular crust round pizza.
We have had the pasta there as well. Their marinara sauce is really great. They give you enough food for three people when you order any type of pasta. And as everybody knows, leftover pasta is even better than fresh. My brother loves the French onion soup. I haven't had it, but he's a pretty picky eater, so if he likes it, it's probably good.
Here's the menu:
The hoagies are tasty too, and very reasonably priced.

To sum it up, if you go, hold your breath when you walk through the first set of doors. If you can do this, you'll be fine. The food is good, and the servers are pleasant and friendly. What more could you want?