Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Welcome Jacob Andrew!

My sister finally popped. After about two days of labor, Jacob Andrew was born. 10 lbs 14 oz and 21 and 1/2 inches. Yikes. I guess he spent his extra week eating. His big brother Charles was only 10 lbs 4 oz or so when he was born. Everyone is doing fine and my sister is very much relieved.

Monday, February 25, 2008

not-Ben update

Well, my poor sister is now a week past her due date. On the plus side, I just got an email from my mother and she's being admitted tonight, so hopefully by tomorrow, I'll have a new nephew.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Review: Humble Pie - Scottsdale

Last week we had dinner with our Chowhound friends Seth and Winedubar. Originally we were going to try an Uzbekistan cuisine restaurant called Samarkand suggested by Winedubar, but it was closed on President's Day when we went. Instead, we went to our backup choice, Shish Kebab House, who has our favorite hummus. During this meal, both Seth and Winedubar gave a big thumbs up to Humble Pie, a new pizza restaurant open for a couple months in Scottsdale. There has been a recent CH thread on it and I've been curious to try it. With the dual recommendation of our buddies, I decided to try it sooner. Last night Tara and I jumped into her car and headed down.

Since it was a Friday evening in Scottsdale at a possibly popular new place, we had Osha on our backup list. Luckily, despite having to park a long distance away, the restaurant wasn't quite full and we were seated immediately. Also immediately, I wished we'd brushed up on our sign language, as it was oppressively loud. The music was at a too-high level and with the noise from the conversations going on, it was almost painful. We were seated at a smallish two-top. The tables were very close together and it almost felt like we were eating at a huge communal table. The interior is very nice. A long winding bar with seats is along two walls, with a large wine room visible through a large window along the south side.

We were given menus and looked over the pizzas. Several looked very much like pies availabe at Pizzeria Bianco. A waiter came by and took our order for two Cokes and we debated what we wanted. Eventually Tara opted for the pizza with wild mushrooms, pancetta, il'oti onion, and fresh mozzarella. The shrimp, Burrata, basil, and lemon zest sounds good to me. We ordered and settled in with our own thoughts, as any attempt at conversation devolved into "what? huh?" shouting matches.

The pizzas are about 10" or 11" in size, basically enough for a single person. Ours arrived in a few minutes and looked really good. Tara's was loaded with dark toppings and mine was very white, with the shrimp and cheese and green from the basil. We let them cool a bit and each put a piece for the other on the small plates and traded. The immediate problem that arose was that the extremely thin bottom crust was too soggy on Tara's pizza to hold all the toppings. Any attempt to pick it up created a topping slide. Mine fared a bit better, but I had to be careful. We both managed to find ways to eat them eventually.

Both pizzas tasted excellent. Mine had a strong lemon flavor, but I could still taste the shrimp and basil. It was really good and the outside crust was perfectly cooked. It was crunchy outside, but with a tasty, chewy interior. It's some of the best pizza crust I've had in a long time. Tara's pie, outside of the bottom crust, had nice flavors as well. She ended up preferring mine, as did I, but we agreed that both crusts were outstanding. Both pizzas were gone in short order.

The one problem we found was that having ordered no appetizers, we were still hungry after we finished. Our bill came to about $31 before tax. It's not a huge deal, as we both really enjoyed the pizzas and will definitely go back, but next time we'll probably get a salad or fries to supplement the pizzas. Or maybe just a third pizza.

As we were leaving, I mentioned to the hostess that the music was too loud. She said that they turn it up when they get busy. I'm not sure what kind of sense that makes, as it would just seem to exacerbate the situation. Once it warms up a bit and the outside tables are viable, it might not be too bad. Since our only complaint about the food was the overloaded and soggy thin bottom on Tara's pizza, I'm sure we can make due. While it might not be quite as good as PB, we did enjoy it more than Cibo.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Countdown to not-Ben

One of the downsides to living 3,000 miles from my family in Maine is that I only see them once or twice a year. This wasn't a huge deal until my little sister started having kids. I see Charles and Noah in time-lapse like intervals. One visit they can barely speak, the next they can recite facts about dinosaurs all night. Charles is now almost 7 1/2 and Noah is approaching 6. Even more rapidly approaching is their player-to-be-named-later little brother, who's official due date is tomorrow. Much to Jen's discomfort, he seems to be a bit reluctant to leave a nice warm studio apartment and start experience the delightfully harsh Maine winter they are having this year. Jen's boys have been notoriously large. Charles was over 10 lbs and I think Noah was on the high side of 9 lbs. When I told my mother that one of friends here in Phoenix had a 5 lb 14 oz girl last week, her comment was "That's not even a keeper for Jen." As usual, this baby is about two weeks or so ahead of the average, so Jen's afraid to sneeze at this point.

I'm hoping to make it up this spring for my 20th high school reunion or at the very least some other time so I can meet my new nephew. With any luck, he'll have a name by then. :)

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Valentine's Day at Tarbell's

This Valentine's Day, Tara and I decided to try Tarbell's. We'd heard many good things about it and had watched the Iron Chef America where Mark Tarbell slaughtered Cat Cora in Battle Apples. We'd asked our friends who'd been there what they thought, and were told it was very good, but not Oh-My-God! great. After dining there, we tend to agree.

It started out the typical Valentine's Day dining experience. We got there at 6:30pm on the dot for our 6:30pm reservations, and were told they were running about 15 minutes behind schedule. We expected this and given the fact that the whole bar area was packed like lemmings in an elevator, we decided to wait outside on the patio. Within a few minutes, nearly every table outside was full with people waiting. Fifteen came and went. We snagged a menu and looked it over while we waited. It was pretty much the menu online at their web site. Tara was in a fishy mood, trying to decide between the salmon or fish-of-the-day, striped bass. I was leaning towards the pan-seared ahi. This was all barring any can't-pass-up nightly specials. At one point, a car pulled up out front and an elderly gentleman got out. I was sitting right next to the door, and he asked me how long the wait was. I told him we'd been waiting for 20 minutes for our 6:30 reservation. Apparently his party of four didn't have reservations. He got back into the car and they left. After a half hour, I went in just to check on the status and our table was being cleared. Luckily, it was in the main dining room. The tables in the bar area have tall chairs and since Tara's legs wouldn't reach the floor, they would have been very uncomfortable for her. I went outside and before the door closed, one of the hosts called us and we were seated at our table.

The dining room was full except for a single table that was seated about a minute after us. Water glasses were brought out and we waited for a few minutes for a waiter to come by. We scoped out what meals we could see on the tables around us. Lots of pomme frites were in evidence. We saw one table get a nice-sized chocolate cake with ice cream on top. Lots of pizzas too. Eventually our server stopped by took our drink order. I had iced tea and Tara stuck with water. The only special was a beef tenderloin dish that didn't tempt either of us. Tara started with a wedge salad with blue cheese dressing and I got the seafood chowder. For main dishes, she stuck with the striped bass and I got the seared ahi. Our waiter, a very friendly guy who reminded me of Sam Elliott, asked how I wanted my tuna. I asked for medium-rare. He wrote it down and headed off. Some bread with a dipping oil was dropped off to keep us busy while we waited. The oil really had no flavor and the bread tasted exactly like the loaf you get at Mimi's Cafe. We both wished that they served Queen Creek Olive Mill's Olive Oil like Pizzeria Bianco does.

After a little wait, our appetizers appeared. Tara's wedge was indeed a simple wedge of lettuce with lots of blue cheese. She liked it, but said it needed bacon to give it some sort of contrast and to cut the blue cheese a bit. My seafood chowder was excellent. As our waiter described it, it's a New England clam chowder with some fish and mussels added, and that's exactly what it was. It was very rich and nicely seasoned. With the exception of the three mussels-in-shells, I cleaned up the bowl. Being VERY familiar with clam chowders for obvious reasons, this was about as good as any I've had. I had no complaints.

After we finished, our plates and silverware were removed and new ones brought. Our waiter stopped by and said he checked and our meal was about three minutes away. He no sooner said this when he turned around and nearly ran into the servers bringing our food. Tara's plate held a piece of striped bass on top of fingerling potatoes, beets, and a lemon caper sauce. She really liked it. My ahi was served on top of a slaw, with fried green beans and a ginger sesame sauce along the edges. I ate a bean and loved it. It was battered in what tasted like a really good tempura batter and was very crunchy. I then took a bite of the tuna and tasted salt. A LOT of salt. I tried another bite, and same thing. I dipped a piece in the sauce and still salt. Tara took a bit and even she, who loves salt, said it seemed to be overly salty. It seemed like something was wrong, so I stopped eating and tried to get our waiter's attention. Of course, he was busy and would look everywhere but in my direction. After five or ten minutes, I was able to snag him. I asked if the tuna was usually really salty and he said they did sprinkle it with salt. I told him it tasted really salty and he offered to have the kitchen make me another one. I said that would be great. He took it away and headed to the kitchen.

By this point, Tara had finished with her meal. Our waiter came by and brought me new silverware. A few minutes later, the busboy, seeing Tara done and me with no plate, started to clear our table. I stopped him when he started taking my fork and knife. He apologized. My replacement ahi was brought out by the floor manager or someone higher up I guess. This time there was definitely no salt. The piece was also about 30-50% larger than the original piece and cooked to a rare level. Not a huge deal, as I love sushi and eat tuna that way all the time. Unfortunately, the tuna was a bit bland without salt and the ginger sesame sauce was more savory and I like my ahi with a sweeter sauce. Still, it was good and I almost finished it but felt like I was about to burst. As a bonus, I got more of those great beans on the second dish too.

Our waiter brought the dessert menu and Tara and I looked it over. We'd seen several of the warm chocolate cakes with pistachio gelato and chocolate sauce be absolutely devoured. They also had some profiteroles with vanilla bean gelato that tempted us. In the end, we got the chocolate cake with a substitution of vanilla bean gelato. It was incredibly rich, definitely needed the gelato to cut the richness. Ground pistachios ringed the cake on the plate, which Tara made short work of. The chocolate sauce seemed to have an extra flavor component to me. I asked the waiter and he wasn't sure, so he said he'd ask in the kitchen. A few minutes later, someone came out and said the sauce was just chocolate, cream, and sugar. I thanked him and he went back into the kitchen. We enjoyed the cake, but there are other better ones to be had around town.

Service was outstanding for the most part. During the first half of the meal, our water and iced tea were filled frequently. Once Tara's plate was cleared, though, we never saw the water boys again. I had to ask our waiter for a refill before anything was done after that. Our waiter himself was great.

We waited for the check and finally our waiter returned. He said the whole meal was on the house since we essentially dined separately. We said that wasn't necessary, but he was adamant and left. Tara and I looked at each other, trying to figure out how to tip, as I only had $10 and her purse was in the car. I went out and grabbed $30 while she waited at the table. I put that down and we left. We both felt that the waiter didn't deserve to lose his tip, as he'd been stellar all night. Our bill would have been around $110 or so before tip, so we still made out well ahead of the game. It's hard to find customer service like that, especially on Valentine's Day. I thought maybe they'd comp my ahi or dessert for the inconvenience, but the whole meal?

All in all, the meal was good. Nothing stellar, but we certainly wouldn't have been upset if we'd actually paid for it. Would we go back? Hard to say. For a little extra money, there is some truly great food to be had in the same area. I guess time will tell.

Saturday Morning Road Trip (w/photos!)

Tara had to go to a work meeting this morning, so I decided to take a drive to McDowell Mountain Regional Park northeast of Phoenix to take some pictures of my new car. I was hoping for slightly better weather, but at least it wasn't actually raining. The hills are very green from all the rain we've had so far this year. I think they are about the greenest I can remember.

I started my trip with a stop at DJ's Bagel Cafe in Fountain Hills. It was right on my route, as it's at 13693 N Fountain Hills Blvd. I grabbed a pumpernickel bagel with egg and sausage sandwich and a half dozen pumpernickel bagels, as they aren't readily available. The sandwich was really good. They have a huge selection of bagels. We may have to take a trip out there some weekend so I can show Tara.

The park is a bit under five miles north of DJ's on the same road. After paying the $6 entry fee, I drove along the road until I came to the Visitor's Center. I took this picture from the parking lot. I really like how the clouds obscure the top of the mountain. The white rectangles in the distance are camper trailers. Despite the cold, wet weather, there were tons of folks camping.

Inside the Visitor's Center, they have the usual assortment of tshirt, maps, drinks, and other stuff gift shops are populated with. They also had some of the local fauna on display in terrariums. This diamondback rattler named Huey was a very feisty character. He got in strike position and was rattling something fierce.

After I finished annoying Huey, I bought an orange soda and asked the volunteer behind the counter where would be a good place for picts. She gave me a map and pointed out some likely spots. I thanked her and headed further into the park.

I drove through a few campgrounds and took various pictures. These were taken at the Ironwood picnic area. I wanted to get some saguaros in the picts for that Arizona feeling.

Once we get some sunny weather, I'll probably head back up to see if I can get any better ones. Still, it made for a fun morning. I have an informal tradition of taking my new cars on excursions to christen them. While shorter than most of the ones I've done, it was still fun. I'm really enjoying the Sirius satellite radio. No losing signals in the mountains and I got to drive with Alternative Nation and Punk channels. Stuff Tara wouldn't let me listen to with her in the car in a million years. :)

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Los Reyes de la Torta

I traded in my beloved Audi A3 2.0 Sport over the weekend on a new VW Passat Komfort sedan. While I dearly loved my Audi, I hardly drove it now that I work from home and it's sport suspension was very rough on my delicate girlfriend. So I spent Saturday afternoon at the dealer and came away with a Candy White 2008 Passat. I even managed to lower my monthly payments a bit. It's got the same engine as my A3, but amazingly it's actually slightly lighter. Go figure. I lost my dual-zone automatic climate control and heated seats, but I gained Sirius satellite radio, an AUX port for my iPod (more on that later), a sunroof, trip computer, a much larger gas tank, and a lot more room inside.

As I was sitting at my desk last night, I realized I hadn't seen my iPod Nano in a while. That's when I remembered it was probably in the armrest of my Audi. I called the dealer and the lady I spoke to said she'd make a note to have someone check it this morning. Well, by noon I hadn't heard anything, so I drove down. One of the salesmen (apparently the one I dealt with on Saturday quit yesterday) drove me to the lot it was secured in while the paperwork is done. Alas, my iPod wasn't there. We talked to the lady I spoke with last night, but she said she hadn't looked for it yet. So either it's here in the house and I just can't find it (doubtful) or whoever processed my car helped themselves to a free 2GB Nano (most likely). I have faint hope that it'll turn up after a more thorough search. In the meantime, I've got a couple older iPods that'll work just fine in the car. I mostly use the Nano at the gym. No moving parts in case it falls off the treadmill or crosstrainer. The new iPod Touch looks to be a viable replacement... :)

One my way home, I decided to stop by Tortas La Presa, a Mexican sandwich shop I'd read about on for a torta, a type of Mexican sandwich. I didn't have the exact address, but knew the general location on 7th Street just south of the mountain pass. I also remembered it was in the 9000-block. As I searched, I saw a place called Los Reyes de la Torta in roughly the right spot. I assumed I probably had two places mixed up, so I pulled a u-turn and went to Los Reyes.

Since I was somewhat pressed for time, I decided to get takeout. I grabbed a menu and looked through it quickly. I decided to get a cubana (ham, cheese, pork sirloin). I ordered and paid at the counter and waited. I looked over a takeout menu and decided there are a lot of items I'd like to try. They serve a lot more than just tortas. After about 5 or 10 minutes, they brought me a bag with my sandwich in a styrofoam container and a couple of small containers of red and green salsa. I got in my car and headed home.

After a 15 or 20 minute ride, I got home. The container seemed pretty heavy, so I wondered if I had some sort of sides too. Nope. Opening it revealed a large sandwich cut in half. Layers of thinly sliced meats were topped with avocado and cheese. I took a bite and realized it was also topped with jalapenos. I removed the slightly soggy top (due to the long ride, no fault of the sandwich) and scraped off the chiles and avocado. The sandwich was very flavorful and I really enjoyed it. Next time I'll plan better and eat it there. There are quite a few tortas on the menu that look really good.

I looked online and found that I was indeed at Tortas La Presa. Sometime around late August/early September the owner changed the name when he expanded the location to add a few more dining rooms.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Prime Chinese Restaurant - Phoenix

Friday night Tara was in the mood for Chinese food. I'd had a craving for it as well since last weekend. We decided to try someplace new for us, and I suggested Prime Chinese Restaurant at Central and Camelback in Phoenix. We'd heard predominantly positive things about it on both Chowhound and local foodie sites. We hopped into the car and headed down the 51. Prime is located just west of the C&C intersection, tucked into a small strip mall. We'd seen it driving by many times, so we had no trouble finding it.

We arrived and found a spot right out front. From the things I'd seen, I got the impression that Prime had been around the area for a while and expected a the typical Chinese restaurant look (think Super Dragon, for those who have been there). Instead, it was a modern-looking rectangular space, with a concrete floors, two or three huge 8-12 person round tables in the center, a line of booths along the east wall, and two and four top tables lining the remaining walls. A large number of paintings hung on the walls, all of which appeared to be for sale. All the tables were empty, but most of the booths were taken. We were shown to an end booth.

The menu is very expansive. We took several minutes to look over the choices. We'd seen mentioned that the appetizers aren't anything special and to generally skip them and get a third entree instead. The soups looked fairly substantial, with a large number of ingredients listed for each one. Tara wanted to try the egg flower soup ($3.75) and I wanted some hot and sour (4.75). For the main course, we stuck with two we'd read rave reviews for, the pecan chicken for Tara and sesame chicken for me. I also ordered a pot of tea ($1.00).

There seemed to be only two people waiting tables, an older lady and a younger guy. They didn't have assigned tables and each waited on any table.

After a short wait, our soups arrived. We both expected much larger portions for the price. The bowls might have been eight or ten ounces, if that. They were both overflowing with meat and veggies. Tara initially said her soup was a bit bland, but after she added some salt, she said that made all the difference. She said it was a great soup, even better than the version at Super Dragon, primarily because they used fresh vegetables at Prime. My hot and sour was good, but not great. The ingredients were all top notch and I even had a whole shrimp. However, the hot/sour ratio was not quite like how I prefer it. It was light years ahead of the horrible soup at Gourmet House of Hong Kong, but not as good as Super Dragon. I have a feeling that hot and sour soup is a somewhat personal preference, so I'm sure others will love this version. Our biggest quibble was the quantity. At Super Dragon, their egg flower is $1.25 and hot and sour $1.50 for portions not much smaller than we received here. It didn't help that at lunch I had a huge bowl of pho at Da Vang for the same $4.75.

Our entrees arrived a bit later. The Pecan Chicken held white pieces of chicken with broccoli and candied pecans. I tried a piece and tasted... nothing. It had no flavor whatsoever. I tried another piece. Same thing. Tara tried it and had the same impression. I tried a pecan and it was incredibly sticky and mushy. I'm not sure how they got it mushy, but they managed. The sticky was the Acme Super Glue sticky where you felt you'd lose a filling if you weren't careful. I tried a piece of the broccoli, and finally got some sort of flavor they had from the sauce. I didn't like it at all. It almost tasted like it was a wine or sherry flavor, but whatever it was, it wasn't to my tastes. We both wondered if this was somehow prepared different from the version that got a rave review from a friend of ours.

My Sesame Chicken fared much better, albeit not quite what I was expecting. A dish of nicely golden fried pieces of chicken was under a nice orange sauce with a liberal sprinkling of black and while sesame seeds over it all. It was very well prepared, but was a much more savory dish than I was expecting. I was hoping for something with a lot more sweetness. Tara really enjoyed it, as her tastes run on the savory side, while mine tend towards the sweeter side. If you like savory dishes, this would probably be perfect for you. There was absolutely nothing wrong with it; it just wasn't my cup of tea. There was nothing left on the plate when we left, as Tara also ate some.

My tea came in a very small pot and was a bagged jasmine green tea. It was good but I tend to drink a lot of tea and like the large pots you usually get at restaurants, like Super Dragon and Golden Buddha use.

Service was hit or miss. At one point late in the meal the waitress vanished and only the waiter worked the room. Despite us being obviously finished, he never brought the check and we had to ask for it. We noticed several other tables get their checks and he never went to pick them up once they put their card on them. I did see tables earlier when he grabbed it. We waited to see how long my card would sit on the edge of the table and eventually we just gave up and paid at the counter.

That provided the capper of the night. After I paid him, the waiter said "Have a good night, miss" to Tara as we left. Nothing for me, though. I was sorely tempted to knock the tip down a bit.

Will we go back? There were a lot of items on the menu that we would like to try, so we will probably give them one more chance. We ended up going to Super Dragon last night because our Prime visit didn't satisfy our craving. SD hit the spot, with really good crab puffs, great soups, and addictive orange chicken.

Thursday, February 7, 2008


It's always fun being the on-call person at my job. I support BlackBerry servers for a couple big companies and one of them has BES boxes around the world. This week was from hell, as I've already posted about. The capper came on Tuesday morning at 1:30am. With 8.5 hours to go in my on-call week, I get paged for an outage in Europe. From 2am until 8am, I was on a conference call to get it restored. The worst part is that it was nothing wrong with our server. A fiber card in a switch had died but sent out no error. So we were waiting for hours for them to try to trace the problem. Annoying, but it comes with the territory. Hopefully I'll be able to get my review of Trent-Cinq 35 up in the near future. I've been so exhausted I haven't had the energy.

On thing we are looking forward to is our dinner at Tarbell's on Valentine's Day. They aren't having a special menu (I emailed them yesterday asking) but they said they will have some special dishes. This Saturday we're planning on trying Ranch House Grill for breakfast. We've heard great things about it and after the Pinky's experience, we want something good.

Sunday, February 3, 2008


Boy, I wish the real New England Patriots had come to Phoenix for the Super Bowl. I'm not sure who was wearing their uniforms, but they didn't strike me as a team that could go undefeated all season. The Giants seemed to completely have their number today. Luckily, as a life-long New England fan, I've gotten used to it. After all, I'm also a Red Sox fan. :) Out of the two teams that played today, the Giants definitely deserved the trophy.
As a fan of most New England teams, we've got the necessary mantra.

There's always next year.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Pinky's Cafe - Phoenix

This week has been hell for me. Tuesday morning at 10am it was my turn to go on-call for my work. At 11am, I was paged for an outage on one of our servers in Minnesota. From 11am Tuesday until 5:30am Wednesday, I was on a conference call to restore service almost non-stop. I had a few breaks, but nothing longer than an hour. So Wednesday, I crashed for most of the normal working day. Thursday I got paged at 3am for a server in Europe. I worked most of Thursday on that. Friday at 3:30am I got paged on it again. I worked on that non-stop until about 4:30. Sleep was a mere hazy memory at this point. But we'd finally gotten a solution from our vendor about what was causing the issue and I crashed once we got it in place. After getting up briefly for something to eat around 10pm and helping Tara order herself a new laptop, I went back to sleep.

Around 10:45am Tara came into where I was sleeping (I stay in our spare bedroom when I'm on-call so I won't bother her when I get pages) and said she was hungry. She suggested Harlow's. I suggested trying out Pinky's Cafe at 7th St and Thunderbird. I noticed it when we were at Basis and had seen a few positive comments about it. She gave it an approval and we headed down once we'd gotten ready. It felt good to be out of the house for literally the first time in almost five days.

We arrived around noon. The place was fairly packed, with two or three free two-tops. We waited by the register for someone to seat us. We noticed a girl bussing tables and she looked at us a few times. She wiped down one table, looked at us, and then wiped down the edge of an occupied table. She then started to head to us and then changed course and went to sit next to a guy at the counter. Tara and I exchanged puzzled looks at this. Maybe she didn't work here. After a few more minutes, one of the two waitresses told us to grab any empty table we wanted. So we grabbed a couple menus from the bin at the register and took a free table right next to the register.

At this point, I noticed the couple in the booth right next to the door get up and leave. This was odd, since we heard them trying to decide what to order while we stood there for minutes. Apparently, no one ever came to take their order and they left. They were barely out the door when a single woman came in and took their booth. Their menus were still on the table.

We looked at the menu for quite a while and no one came to our table. We did notice that the bus girl also doubled as the cashier when she could be bothered to get off her ass. She had a blank look the whole time and I'm fairly certain she was still hung-over from whatever she did last night. This made her ignoring of us all the more insulting since she did work there. It was pretty inexcusable behavior towards customers in my opinion.

Eventually one of the waitresses came by and took our drink order (two Cokes). We needed more time, as the menu is pretty extensive. This entailed another very lengthy wait. The place as starting to clear out at this point. She finally came back with our drinks and took our order. Tara got a mushroom and swiss omelet with hash browns and wheat toast. I got a corned beef omelet with home fries and wheat toast. She went and put our order in. This was maybe 12:10/15. I was thirsty and drained my glass of coke in short order. It stayed that way for a very long time. By the time Tara finished her drink, the waitress finally grabbed them and refilled them. I happened to glance over and the lady who'd come in after us was already eating her meal. This was odd, as we ordered before her. After another lengthy wait, during which I apologized for even suggesting this place over Harlow's, ensued. Again our drinks sat empty forever. I noticed maybe one or two other new groups come in and many more leaving. The wait for two simple omelets with toast was getting excessive.

At 12:40 or so, our meal finally arrived. The waitress even commented "Gee, didn't that seem to take a long time? Did you two grow old waiting for your food?" Not exactly the right thing to say to two hungry, pretty pissed-off customers.

The food did LOOK promising. The omelets were nicely browned and the potato sides looked good as well. I gook a bite of my home fries and they were lukewarm. Another bite into the center produced a hot bite. After such a long wait, we should have gotten everything burning hot in my mind. The omelet itself was quite hot. However, not much flavor was there. The eggs didn't taste like they had any seasoning other then the salty flavor from the plentiful slices of corned beef. The home fries themselves were also very bland.

Tara's reported the same thing. Her swiss cheese had no flavor and the hash browns were "straight out of the freezer". It looked like everything was cooked very well but it just had no flavor at all.

Sadly, the best part of the meal was the wheat toast. Four smallish slices of bread were cut into triangles and stacked all on the same plate. They were buttered (an option asked when ordering) and four small containers of grape jelly were on the side. While bordering on cold, the bread was actually pretty good, especially with the jelly. This comes pretty close to damning with faint praise, though.

Overall we were very disappointed. Service was very much lacking, despite the friendliness of the waitresses (everyone was "darling"). The less said about the horrific bus girl the better. The food seemed to be prepared fine, but it just lacked flavor and seasoning. We won't be back.

A few odd things we witnessed. Our waitress would take shots of maple syrup when she was behind the counter. I saw her take at least two. I'm pretty sure the health department would frown on this. When I was done, I went to the bathroom. While I was in there, Tara saw the other waitress stop by a table behind my seat with a couple youngish kids. The waitress was holding an order of biscuits and gravy. She asked if they'd ever had biscuits and gravy. She asked if they'd like to try some. They said no. She then went to the table behind them and set the dish down in front of the people who'd actually ordered them. What the hell? Would she have actually given those people's order to the kids if they had wanted to try them? We certainly don't want to know the answer enough to go back.