Friday, March 13, 2015

You Win Some, You Lose Some

This will be a double review. We tried two new places within one week!

First: Big Earls

Big Earls used to be the Moosic Diner. Big Earls sounds like a place that might serve squirrel or possum, so naturally, we were a little apprehensive.

The first thing you see when you arrive all the white girls are saying this season, "I can't even." Just this.

I gotta tell you, we're not big fans of diner food (it all starts to taste the same after a while), but we are definitely fans of this sign. I mean Jesus, look at it. LOOK AT IT! YOU CAN'T LOOK AWAY, CAN YOU?

It's a real diner, the inside is nice; it looks like they recently had the booths and counter seats reupholstered, and it's nice and clean. The servers are pleasant.

Danelle ordered the French dip, and I had the chicken cheese steak.

We are sorry to report that these were unsatisfying. Danelle said that the meat on the French dip was dry, and there were a few times she had to spit out some gristle. She was discreet about it, though. I don't want you to think we're barbarians.

My chicken cheesesteak was also a little on the dry side, and they skimped on the cheese. The waffle sweet potato fries were excellent, though.

I want to give this place another chance, perhaps for breakfast. Danelle's ambivalent, though. It may be that we just chose the wrong things, or the cook was having an off night.
Anyway, Danelle gives this place a thumbs down and I give it a thumb somewhere between up and down.

Next: Winner's Circle

Winner's Circle is an interesting place on Main St. in Taylor.

When we heard it was NASCAR themed, I knocked out a couple of the old lady's teeth in the parking lot so we'd fit in. Then we grew mullets, and went in.

The Winner's Circle is actually the name of the restaurant, and the bar is called the Johnny Vegas Lounge.   Now this sign is very cool.

We ate at the bar, as we almost always do wherever we go, to avoid the screaming baby factor. It works.

So yeah, it's NASCAR themed.

I don't know what's going on here.

The place is actually pretty neat; the bar is like a garage. One wall opens up like a garage door, and in the summer it's like an open air kind of thing where the bar melds with the patio. The owner, Brent (who is a very nice guy) tells us they have a smoker set up in the summer. They have music in the bar a few nights a week. There is also a pool table.

The coasters are fun.

The menu is standard bar fare: Wings, burgers, sandwiches, salads and a few interesting specials like pierogis. We ordered hot dogs. Don't judge. You know you want a gourmet hot dog right now. And besides, everyone knows that lips and assholes are the tastiest part of the animal. Whatever animal hot dogs are made of.

Danelle's dog was called the  Mister Excitement. For some reason, she was sheepish to ask for it by name, so she said "I'll have the hot dog wrapped in bacon with cheese sauce."

I had "The Mayor". This is a dog with sautéed onions and peppers and home fries.

As hot dogs go, these were the best hot dogs we've ever had. Ever. Anywhere. The food is very inexpensive, and so is the beer.

Overall, we were pleasantly surprised by this establishment. We will be back.

It's getting to be the busy season at work for me, dear readers (look at me, assuming I have readers) and so these reviews will be less frequent. Thanks for reading!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Ale Mary's

Ale Mary's after work on a Friday night is like a frat house party. Wall-to-wall people, loud music, lots of drinking, guys in togas - well, ok, there were no guys in togas, but it was kind of crazy. We come here a lot, but never on weekend evenings, so this was a bit of culture shock for us.

It's located in beautiful downtown Scranton on Franklin Street, in the Bittenbender building. It's a cool old building with lots of personality and ambiance. The crowd was diverse; young and old, hipsters, nerds, and even a guy in a wheelchair pounding beers like nobody's business.

There are TVs all around the place, like most bars in Scranton, which I never understood. And they're always on sports channels. And nobody is ever paying attention to them (unless it's the Superbowl, World Series, or playoff games). Why not put on shows that people actually watch at home? Like reality shows about midgets, or zombie shows or shows about people trying to sell other people's crap that they bought in a nasty storage locker? I prefer no TV at all where I eat, but maybe I'm in the minority.

It's one of those places that has a million kinds of beers, so by the time you're done perusing the list, it's actually too late to have a beer. Or if you're like us, you get so overwhelmed by the selection that you can't decide, and end up ordering a Blue Moon.

Onto the most important part of any restaurant, the food. Last week, I was able to access the menu online; this week it's gone. But I can tell you that they have some very creative items on the menu - combinations you would never think of putting together, like Reuben wontons - corned beef, sauerkraut, swiss, and thousand islands dressing, or the duck and gouda cheesesteak.

The last time we went, Danelle had the sliders (without a doubt the single least adventurous thing on the menu) and I had something called the Couch Potato. This is homemade gnocchi sautéed with butter and bacon and onions.

I can't even begin to describe to you how good this is. It's so good I want to fuck it. From behind. Like a dude.

We've had the mac and cheese in the past. It's pretty good, but it has a really spicy kick to it.

Public service announcement: Don't order the pulled pork barbequed nachos. This is the only thing we've had here that we didn't like. The bbq sauce is way too sweet. How sweet? I lost four teeth and Danelle went into a diabetic coma, and she doesn't even have diabetes. And it just doesn't work over salty nachos.

The service is good; a bit slow when it's busy, but this is something that never bothers us, as we're just relaxing and having a drink while we wait for our food. The servers are pleasant and friendly.

Our recommendation: Go. Eat. Drink. Watch TV if you must. Try something exotic. And report back.