Showing posts with label dive. Show all posts
Showing posts with label dive. Show all posts

El Tapatio - Sticky but Spicy

On Friday night, since the weather was so wonderful, we ventured over to El Tapatio for some good mexican eats and 2 for 1 margaritas on their spacious outdoor deck. We've eaten at El Tapatio before and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, so we were looking forward to another good meal.

The table we were ushered to was particularly sticky, so that was kind of a turn-off. But again, I could look beyond that for some delicious chow. I mean, who needs to put their elbows or forearms on the table to eat? Not me!

We were quickly given some chips and salsa to gnaw on while we pondered the menu. The salsa had a refreshing kick to it, but wasn't nearly as spicy and tongue-blazing as the salsa at Los Amigos. And besides, sometimes you just need an excuse to take a long swig of your margarita, right guys and girls?

Now, don't let the picture fool you - these margaritas weren't watered down, they were the real deal. After the first one (a small, by the way), both me and hubby were a little tipsy. At one point, he made fun of me, and I replied with a slurred, "Your suck." Nope, that's not a typo. I literally said, "Your suck." Ahhhh, margaritas, I love how you work your magic.

For our main entrees, we both decided to pick things that we've never had before (cause I know you guys don't want to see yet another chicken fajita review!). So, hubby picked the Shrimp Quesadilla and I picked the Mole Poblano. Just like every other mexican restaurant in town, this place gives you a ridiculous amount of food. Literally, you could have fed a small army with either of our meals that night.

I wasn't quite sure what to expect from the mole poblano (pictured above), which was billed as chicken marinated in a special chocolate sauce, but it was extremely tasty. It ends up looking like a pulled pork dish, and has the same smoky flavor, but without the tang of the bbq sauce. After adding some refried beans and cheese and mexican rice, it was a scrumptious little wrap.

Hubby also enjoyed his shrimp quesadilla, which was made of shrimp, cheese and tomatoes. I had a bite and it was richly cheesy, with tiny little shrimpies that were the perfect mouthful portions. Hubby was a little freaked out that the shrimp were red in color, but I told him it was just the spicy seasoning and he seemed to accept that.

All in all, it was a great meal. And because neither of us fully tackled our dishes, I would recommend splitting something on the next go-round. But not the margaritas. Never the margaritas.

Tally Foodie Rating:
Atmosphere - C+ (tables were sticky, chairs are plastic and the floor was a bit dirty)
Taste - B+
Presentation - B
Service - A
Price - $

Restaurant Info:
El Tapatio
1002 N Monroe St
Tallahassee FL 32303
*I couldn't find a website for these guys, if you know it, please post in the comments!*

Wells Brothers - Burgers Well Done

As we headed over to Wells Brothers (aka: Monk's), we weren't quite sure what to expect. I've lived in Tallahassee for a year and a half and I've never heard boo about this place. However, I received a suggestion through email recently and so hubby and I thought we'd check it out (see...if you email me, I will listen!)

It's a small little dive on a side of town that we rarely venture, but as we pulled into the parking lot, snagged the last empty spot in the back and saw people playing Cornhole outside, we thought it had to be a pretty fun place. And we know that sometimes the best burger joints are those little hole in the wall places that are off the beaten path, so our mouths were watering as we walked inside. But I do have to warn you - if you're coming here for the service, you will be extremely disappointed.

When we walked in, one of the servers barked out that there were open tables in the front, the back and outside. But he didn't make any move to try to seat us, so we just wandered into the back and sat ourselves. Inside, there's definitely a ruckus - a loud din that permeates the echoing room. And there were at least 9 TV's in the room we were seated in alone - which, as all you ladies know, makes it mighty hard for your man to concentrate on you and not whatever game or bright shiny visual is playing on the TV.

A female server approached us a minute later and the first words out of her mouth were not "Hello" or "How are you tonight?" or "What can I get you to drink?" they were - no joke - the following: "The kitchen is running slow tonight, so you're gonna have to wait about 30 minutes for your food." Well, okay, then, so that was how it was going to be. Now, we didn't have anywhere to be, so it wasn't a huge deal for us, but I did think it was a little rude to start out with that. She could have at least eased into it a bit, right?

Although their menu boasts various sandwiches, salads, pizzas and wraps, the place is best known for burgers, so we ordered up 2 of our own creations. And with over 60 toppings to choose from - including unique things like peanut butter, green apple slices, pickle chips and sour cream - it was a bit hard to choose! Mine was a BBQ, Bacon and Blue Cheese Burger, and hubby ordered a Cheeseburger with Lettuce, Tomato and Ketchup (a true All-American classic!). And indeed we did not have to wait 30 minutes for our burgers like Miss Badnews Betty predicted, but only about 15, so we were pleasantly surprised. And where the service was lacking, the burgers were not. They were both moist and juicy, made with fresh ingredients and served on slightly toasted buns. The bbq sauce on my burger was tangy and mixed well with the sharpness of the blue cheese and the crispy bacon. Hubby must have been equally satisfied too, as his mouth stayed full until his burger was completely demolished. The fries were also very good - crunchy on the outside, warm on the inside and nicely seasoned with salt and pepper (to me, the seasoning makes all the difference).

But if I could revisit the service for just one more moment. One of my biggest pet peeves is when my drink doesn't get refilled promptly. Not only did my glass sit empty for quite some time, when my server took it away to refill it she didn't return for about 10 minutes. And when she did, she claimed that another server took my Coke and served it to someone else. So - did that mean that some other poor patron was at that very moment sucking on a straw that had my cooties all over it? I shivered at the thought.

So, if you're looking for a pretty outstanding burger, give Wells Brothers a whirl. But if you're looking for great service, don't say I didn't warn you!

Tally Foodie Rating:
Atmosphere - C (it's pretty much a bar scene, so it's very loud inside)
Taste - A
Presentation - B
Service - C
Price - $

Restaurant Info:
Wells Brothers Bar and Grill
1710 W. Tharpe Street
Tallahassee FL 32303

Wells Brothers

New Orleans Day 2 - Mother's

For lunch we headed over to Mother's to have an authentic New Orleans po' boy. And once again, we were forced to wait in line. Either we picked all the hot spots or New Orleans was crowded that weekend! And again, the Seating Nazi's were out in full force. Stand in line outside, go inside, stand by the elevator, scoot up, SCOOT UP!

We decided to split the Famous Ferdi Special, a mixture of Mother's Best Baked Ham, roast beef, debris and gravy. Hubby has gotten into the habit of ordering whatever is "most popular" at restaurants lately. If he can't ask a server the question, he generally goes by menu items that are placed in a featured box or that have the word "famous" in front of them. It's a pretty good system, and works most of the time. We also got 2 sides - french fries and seafood gumbo.

I have to say, this was my least favorite meal in New Orleans. While the meat on the sandwich was high quality, it just wasn't that flavorful. Besides the meat, the only thing on the sandwich was a little bit of coleslaw in a mustard sauce. But the mustard had no zip or tang to it, and the amount of coleslaw put on the sandwich was downright puny. To me, it was just bland and boring. The french fries also weren't anything to write home about. They were cold, not particularly flavorful and had no seasoning on them whatsoever. I'd actually take McDonald's or Wendy's french fries over Mother's fries any day of the week. The seafood gumbo was actually the most flavorful of the dishes, although not by much. At least it was nicely seasoned and the chunks of seafood were fairly substantial.

Would I go to Mother's again? Probably not. I know a lot of people rave about this place, but to me it was all hype. The food was blah, they corral you in like cattle and the tables and chairs were pretty flimsy and dirty. I just wasn't impressed.

Tally Foodie Rating:
Atmosphere - C
Taste - C
Presentation - C
Service - B
Price - $

Restaurant Info:
Mother's Restaurant
401 Poydras Street
New Orleans LA 70130
Hours: Mon - Sat 6:30am -10pm, Sunday 7am-10pm

Mother's on Urbanspoon

New Orleans Day 1 - Acme Oyster House

Ahhhh....New Orleans. Such a diverse, cosmopolitan city with more restaurants than anyone could probably ever eat at in a lifetime! Well, for our long Labor Day weekend, hubby and I tried to take in as much as possible. And I when I say "take in", I don't mean sights and sounds, I mean food. Delicious, wonderful, flavorful, savory, succulent FOOD. So, for any of you Tallahasseeians who desire to brave the 6 hour trek across I-10 to New Orleans, I'm writing these blog posts for you.

By the time we arrived in The Big Easy on Friday night, we were absolutely starving! We dropped our bags at our Warehouse district hotel and hoofed it over to the French Quarter to eat at the renowned Acme Oyster House. If any of you are big fans of Man vs. Food on the Travel Channel, you will have seen Adam Richman try to take down 15 dozen oysters at this chow hole. Now, while I don't like oysters that much, I definitely wanted to try their signature dish. But, when we got there, we were confronted with a long line.

I definitely have a love/hate relationship with waiting lines at restaurants. On the one hand, it means the restaurant is sooooo good that everybody and their brother wants to eat there. But on the other hand - I have to wait for my food!!!!!! Luckily, we were only left standing for about 20 minutes. But we quickly learned how it was going to be in New Orleans. The restaurants there are real Seating Nazi's (you know, like the Soup Nazi from Seinfeld?). Each place has their own rules you have to follow or ELSE! At Acme, you had to stand in the line - don't approach the hostess - she'll come down to you to get your name and how many people are in your party. Once inside, there is no saving seats and you cannot add on any more people to your table once you've been seated. And if you want to sit at the bar - you still have to wait in the line!

Sheesh! Well, once we finally got a table, everything went smoothly from there. We quickly ordered a half dozen, raw, hand-shucked Louisiana oysters and they were brought swiftly out to our table. They were absolutely scrumptious! And so fresh. My biggest peeve about eating oysters is when they aren't thoroughly cleaned so you get that gritty, grimy sand feeling in your mouth. There was none of that here! And their horseradish sauce was so spicy and tangy that it finds its way right into your sinuses and completely clears them out! There were a few times where I had to pinch the bridge of my nose and say "yeow!" because the sauce was so potent. As we left the restaurant, we also saw some of the chargrilled oysters topped with butter and romano cheese, and I must say, I was tempted to sit back down and order a half dozen of those as well!

For our main courses, I ordered the Fried Shrimp Platter and hubby ordered the Crawfish Etouffee with a side of Fried Crawfish Tails. The back of their menu claims they have the best fried seafood, so I thought I'd put that claim to the test. Well, trust me, that is no fabrication. The breading was light, but crunchy and slightly spicy - the perfect trinity of fried food batter! And the cocktail sauce again had such a spicy kick, it was all I could do to keep my eyes from watering (but I loved it!).

Hubby also thoroughly enjoyed his Etouffee, which was a robust soup-like concoction made with plump crawfish tails and topped with some white rice. My husband did make a point of saying that the addition of the fried crawfish tails on top significantly added to the dish. I glanced around the room and noticed that everyone else who ordered the etouffee was also topping theirs with the fried tails. It must be that crunchily wonderful fried batter. You just gotta have it!

Needless to say, Acme Oyster House was the perfect start to our perfect weekend of culinary adventures! And the good news is - there's also an Acme Oyster House location in Sandestin, FL at the Village of Baytown Wharf if you don't want to drive all the way to New Orleans to check it out - pretty cool, huh?

Tally Foodie Rating:
Atmosphere - B (vinyl tablecloths and wall-to-wall tables make the place a bit cramped)
Taste - A+
Presentation - B
Service - A
Price - $

Restaurant Info:
Acme Oyster House
724 Iberville Street
New Orleans LA 70130
Hours: Sun-Thurs. 11am-10pm, Fri-Sat 11am-11pm

Acme Oyster House on Urbanspoon

Barnacle Bill's - Where's the Beach?

Friday after work, hubby and I headed over to Barnacle Bill's to satisfy our itch for seafood. While you'd think Tallahassee would have a bunch of wonderful seafood restaurants being so close to the beach and all, that's actually not the case. It's hard to find a good seafood place in town that doesn't drench everything in batter and fry the heck out of it (my stomach flinches just thinking about it!). In my book, Barnacle Bill's seems like it's been imported straight from the shores of the Gulf and transported into the landlocked town of Tallahassee. It's a dive, to be sure, but aren't most good seafood joints? When it comes to seafood, I say, just dump everything on the table and give me a roll of paper towels and I'm good to go!

We decided to sit outside since it wasn't scorching out, and lucky for us, it was still happy hour. So we ordered up a couple of $2 margaritas and sucked 'em down. Yep, that's right, from 4-7pm, margaritas are just 2 bucks. And they're not that skimpy little dixie cup size either, they're a full mug's worth. And they're pretty darn good, too.

So after ordering the 2nd round of 'ritas, we took a look at the menu. Check out their slogan at the bottom right hand side of the red section. Brag much?

After pondering all of our options, we decided to make it an appetizer dinner. Does that ever happen to you? Sometimes you look at the whole menu, but all you really want is just like 3 of the appetizers? Yeah, me too. So we ordered the 1/2 pound of Peel 'n Eat Shrimp, a 1/2 pound of Snow Crab Legs and some Fried Pickle Chips.

And as we began to peel and crack away, I could almost smell the salt water and hear the roar of the ocean breaking against the shore. It's a shame Barnacle Bill's doesn't have a better view than the busy traffic of Monroe St., because at that moment, I really couldn't imagine anything better. The seafood was cooked just right, not overcooked and dried out like at some amateur places, and the fried pickles had just the right amount of spicy batter coating. Actually, I had a hard time keeping my hands out of the fried pickle basket, I must confess. But I justified it by telling myself that I had to get my vegetable servings in for the day. Right? Right.

Tally Foodie Rating:
Atmosphere - C+ (tables were a bit dirty outside)
Taste - A
Service - B+ (if you sit outside, the service is a little slow)
Presentation - C (again, it's supposed to be messy, so no biggie)
Price - $$

Restaurant Info:
Barnacle Bill's Seafood Restaurant
1830 N. Monroe St
Tallahassee FL 32303
Hours: Mon-Thurs & Sun - 11am - 11pm, Fri & Sat - 11am - 12am

Barnacle Bill's Seafood INC on Urbanspoon

About this blog

This blog is dedicated to giving you honest reviews of local restaurants in Tallahassee and the surrounding area. I won't hold any punches, you'll hear about it all - the good, the bad and the (hopefully infrequent) inedible!

This blog was written from July 2009 - August 2010 and is now retired. I currently live in Sarasota, FL...stay tuned for more on my adventures there!