Thursday, December 17, 2015


My brother in law took us here once..may he be forgiven.

Restaurant:  Pho Binh Minh

Location:  6709 Strawberry Ln, Louisville, KY 40214

What I had: Some kind of rice dish I never learned the name of, another rice dish that is basically a chicken fried rice, Bahn mi, and salty lemonade.

What I liked: Every last bit of food we shared..even the salty lemonade.

Why I liked it:  According to my brother in law, who has actually been to Vietnam, and enjoyed the food he had there, he said this place was the closest flavor wise to what he had over there.  I believe it. att the food was prepared by a husband and wife team. They spoke just a little bit more English, than I can speak Vietnamese, and their menu was very difficult to read. (You're probably wondering why this is in the "Why I liked it" category...hang in there, I'm getting to it!)

All I could make out were some of the ingredients in the different menu items, so this kid of forced us into an adventure in Vietnamese cuisine..I basically picked a number and prayed it would taste good (based on ingredients I recognized).  My wife ended up with some kind of noodle dish, I ended up with some kind of rice dish that was similar to an Indian biryani, but with definite southeast Asian flavor.

The Bahn Mi (a sandwich of meat and vegetables on crusty french bread) were outstanding.  I had one with beef and one with pork. Both were spicy, but not too spicy to eat, and that crisp french bread made the whole sandwich one of my all time favorites.

The salty lemonade is exactly what it sounds like.  Made from salt cured lemons, it is a most savory drink.  It was so horrible I couldn't stop drinking it. My wife liked it so much we even went as far as curing our own lemons to make this drink at home.

What I didn't like:  The place the restaurant is in.  There are only 3 tables in the place, and one is taken over by the husband's laptop where you as a customer are interrupting his MMORPG game.  Since his wife did all the cooking, everyone's dishes arrived at different times, so you had to watch others eat while you waited for your own meal. I will say that the food quality and flavors overcame the atmosphere and mediocre service.

I will say that the food quality and flavors overcame the atmosphere and mediocre service.

What the kids liked:  Danielle liked most of the things she tried. Aidan kind of liked the chicken fried rice..a little (we got him Mcdonalds later).

Budget:  Pretty inexpensive compared to the quality of the food.

Another pizza place review already??

Restaurant: Fetta Specialty Pizza and Spirits

Location: 118 St Ann St, Owensboro, KY 42303

What I had:  the Smothers Park Special, Mashed Potato Bacon and Scallion, Sausage and Vidalia Onion (mushrooms added), Garlic Knots, and a Brownie/Chess bar (for dessert).

What I liked:  The Smothers Park Special.  Quite possibly the best meat loaded slice I've ever had.  The Mashed Potato Bacon and Scallion pizza...I'll explain. The Sausage and Vidalia, The garlic knots, and the dessert.

Why I liked it:The fact you can buy gourmet specialty pizza by the slice. The friendly and helpful staff and the level of service they provided consistently over 3 different visits. They have Coke Zero on the fountain. Most of all, the pizza(s)!

The Smothers Park Special! If I like anything on a pizza, I like meat the most. This thing comes loaded with salami, pepperoni, sweet Italian sausage, and olives.  The thing is, I'm not a fan of olives on pizza.  I won't pick them off if they're on there, but they're not my favorite.  The olives they use (kalamata) just add to the overall meatiness that this pie offers.

Mashed Potatoes on a pizza?? Think that sounds weird?? I thought so too until I tried it. Tasty, tasty carbs.  Not my favorite, but a true winner.  If I hadn't tried the Smothers Park Special, it would have been my favorite.

The Sausage and Vidalia was delicious and the garlic knots were sublime.  The knots themselves had the texture of a soft pretzel like you'd get at a ballgame, but covered in garlic butter and parmesan.  With nacho cheese and marinara to dip them into, they made a great appetizer.

What I didn't like:  It is in Ownsboro.  Not that I don't like Owensboro, I do.  It is just not a direction my family goes often (although we did go 3 times in one month, and all 3 times we ate here).

What the kids liked: The garlic knots. I think they each got their own order of them the last time we were there.  Aidan particularly liked their cheese pizza.

Budget:  If we lived closer to Owensboro, we would go there quite often. The by the slice option is economical, and handy for a lunchtime meal. Dinner too for that matter.

I've been told of other places to try in Owensboro, but I'm going to have a hard time passing this place up if I'm in the area.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Fast Casual Greek??

Restaurant: Little Greek

Location: Louisville (Shelbyville Rd. area)

What I had:  Gyro, Chicken Skewer, Cheesecake.

What I liked: The gyro. It was better than I expected with this being a "fast casual" eatery. The seasoning in the lamb-beef mixture ubiquitous in all gyros was spot on, the tzatziki cool and creamy. Not the best I've ever had, but much better than most.  The chicken skewer. Again, this was another example of near perfect seasoning, and the fact that it was char-grilled gave it a wonderful smoky flavor.  The cheesecake was serviceable. Again not the best I've ever had, but better than some.

Why I liked it:  It's kind of a Greek version of Qdoba/Chipotle where you walk up to the counter to order. If you want, you can watch them prepare your food.  Their service was extremely friendly, and they went out of their way to accommodate my son who after pointing this place out, suddenly become totally against eating here. The owners made him what they called an off menu "Aidan Special" which was noodles in a marinara with some cheese and some grilled chicken.

What I didn't like about it:  I'm not sure if there was anything I didn't like, except maybe being still hungry enough after eating the gyro to need to order a chicken skewer (which, like the cheesecake, I shared with the kiddos).

What the kids liked:  Danielle had a gyro like I did, seemed to like it.  Aidan's "Aidan Special" was a hit with all of us.

Budget:  This is a place that could fast become one of our regular stops.  We spent less here than we typically spend at Chipotle (initially, before the extra skewer and dessert). The flavors were fresh and good, and overall I feel there was good value for the money spent.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

If you find yourself in Brown County and are looking for pizza, might I suggest the following:

Restaurant:  Brozinni's Pizza

Location: Nashville, Indiana

What I had:  A slice of 34th street, Madison Ave, a bite or two of Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, Broadway, & Garden State Parkway. Oh, and some "Garlic Knuckles" too. Here's a link to their menu to fully understand what the names mean.  Also, Check out their Facebook page for ther occasional special offers.

What I liked:  The garlic knuckles, Madison Ave, Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, and the Garden State Parkway.

Why I liked it:  The garlic knuckles. If I hadn't had anything else, the garlic knuckles alone are worth the visit to this place. Basically these things are breadsticks that have been tied in a knot, and served swimming in a rich garlicky buttery, parmesan cheesy artery clogging mass of tastiness.  During certain times of the day, they serve their pizza by the slice which comes in handy for a guy like me.  What I didn't know is that, to them, a slice consists of about 1/4 of a 16 inch pie.  I ordered for myself a slice of the 34th street, and a slice of the Madison Avenue. Both were excellent. I'm not usually a fan of ricotta cheese (34th St.) on a pizza, but it looked tasty.  I was won over by the subtle smokiness and sweet barbecue flavor of the Madison Avenue..I'd never thought of pineapple as a topping for a BBQ pizza (I usually save pineapple for Hawaiian style pizzas, personally).  My wife had ordered slices of the Broadway, and the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (of course she shared a bite or two).  I almost wish I had ordered a slice of the Brooklyn one for myself as I am truly in food love with a chicken-bacon-ranch style pizza.  My friends had ordered the Garden State Parkway. They got it with  "grandma's pie" style crust. While not quite deep dish, this extra thick crust paired well with the Margherita style toppings.

What I didn't like:  The fact my stomach and dietary needs have limits that this place exceeds in abundance.

What my kids liked: My son had a slice of the cheese pizza. My daughter had the Meat Lover's Calzone.  Both of them scarfed down the garlic knuckles.

Budget: It's available by the slice during the time we went, but the whole pies were reasonable considering the quality.  If it weren't so far away, they would be, at minimum, a once a month dine out.

Thanksgiving Lunch.

Restaurant: Brazieros Brazilian Steakhouse

Location: Downtown Louisville

What I Had: A little bit of everything they brought out.

What I liked: Filet Mignon, Garlic sirloin, lamb chops, leg of lamb, pork ribs, bacon wrapped chicken breast, their salad bar, and their New York High Rise cheesecake.

Why I liked it:  The service.  From the moment you walk in and are seated, you are treated like royalty.  Your waiter takes your drink order, you go up to the salad bar and load a plate with the finest of salad bar trappings: several different kinds of lettuce/greens olives, sun dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, several types of mixed salads, smoked salmon, salami, cheeses, etc.  After you've eaten your salad, you turn your card over from red to green (Red means "no thank you" and Green means "yes please")  and all these nice gentlemen come around with skewers of meats in varying levels of doneness.  It is like being at a buffet of the choicest meats, but they bring the buffet to you ! Every so often they would come around with a skewer of garlic bread.  They would also, from time to time, bring out side dishes.  My favorite of these, by far, were the fried bananas.  If your side dishes looked empty, they would not hesitate to ask if you would like more.  I don't think the level of my beverage ever lowered more than a quarter inch in the glass the whole time, and the best part about that is that they were not obtrusive about it!  For dessert, the cheesecake was phenomenal.  Served with strawberry and white chocolate sauce, and a single strawberry embedded in fresh whipped cream... the strawberry alone tasted as if it came straight out of someone's June garden!

What I didn't like: I don't remember anything about the experience that I didn't like.

What the kids liked:  Danielle liked everything but the lamb leg, and Aidan went nuts over the pork ribs.

Budget: This place is a once a year event to plan for and save up as it took the better part of a full day's wage (or more) to take my family here, but we all came away from this meal feeling that the experience was worth every penny.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

For my first review, my daughter suggested this one:

Restaurant Name: Taste of India

Fare: Indian

Location: Bloomington, IN

What I had:  The lunch buffet.

What I liked: The naan,  palak paneer, butter chicken, vegetable biryani,  chicken curry ,  vegetable pakora.

Why i liked it:  Okay, so if you've never had naan, it is a smoky, chewy flat bread that is baked against the walls of a tandoor (basically a charcoal fired cooking vessel). The Palak Paneer is a smooth almost creamy mixture of spinach and spices with  little cubes of paneer (an Indian cheese).  Butter Chicken: chunks of chicken in a velvety tomato based sauce that I could eat 3 meals a day and I still might not get tired of it after a few years.  The Vegetable Biryani, while not my favorite item at this particular Indian place was a nice compliment to the butter chicken and chicken curry. I'm not usually a fan of curries, but their chicken curry has won me over, its level of heat is just high enough to keep me interested and the gentle sweetness of this savory dish had me making multiple trips back to the buffet. The Vegetable Pakora, usually an appetizer, make a nice finish to the meal, not to mention all the little chutneys and salads, and pickled items they had for condiments.

What I didn't like:  Only one restroom.

Why I didn't like it:  Only. One.  Restroom.  For a place with a busy lunch buffet, lines for the single restroom can get pretty long.

What the kids liked:   My son, who generally only likes food that is vaguely nugget shaped, loved  the butter chicken, and the tandoori chicken leg, and the fresh orange slices.  My daughter pretty much loved everything on the buffet.

Budget: This is place to go on semi-special occasions.  Think quarterly, maybe monthly if you're blessed with a larger dining out budget.

They give a discount if you pay cash, and once in a while if your younger or more picky eater doesn't eat much, they don't charge for that kid.


I am Grumbly.

I am a forty-something year old father of two, who really likes to try new things in the food world.  My whole family does, except maybe my 8 year old (he is pretty picky, and even then he's usually willing to try something at least once!).

When my family and I go out to eat at a restaurant, there are a few criteria that must be met in order for the experience to have been worthwhile.

First, the food must be good.  Really good, or we simply never go back.

Second, the cost of the meal needs to fit within certain budgetary constraints. Feeding a family of four shouldn't cost half a paycheck.

Third, the service should be more than adequate.  I am not as demanding in this area as I used to be.  We're all human, we all have a bad day once in a while.

I will try to keep my reviews brief, I will try to keep superlatives to a minimum, and I will try to stick to the following format:

Restaurant name:
What I had:
What I liked and why:
What I didn't like and why:
What my kids liked/or didn't like and why:
Where it fits in my food budget: (could it be a staple go to, or is this a special occasion kind of place.)

Occasionally I will try to do a head to head comparison between similar eateries where the fare is basically the same.  Once in a while, I will let you know what my wife thinks of her meal, and of my review.

Whether it is a national chain, or a mom and pop shop I will give you the best and worst of it, and give you a reason to try something different (because we do so enjoy a diverse array of foods from all kinds of ethnicities).

My hope is that my (and my family's) experiences will help you find some truly wonderful food in our region that doesn't break the bank.

Feedback is not only welcome, but encouragged!