Helpful ReplyDining on the Dark Side

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JRPfeff
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2016/12/19 07:55:40 (permalink)

Dining on the Dark Side

(or Adventures in Mundane Eating)

Last night we attended a celebration of a friend's birthday at TGIFridays. It wasn't our choice (it wasn't even his first choice), but we joined our friends in celebration. I was reluctant to go, but Pie Diva made sure we went and our friend appreciated our presence.
 
How bad could it be, anyway?
 
This also gave us a chance to see if we are missing something that millions of Americans enjoy (that food looks really good in the ads) or if our Roadfood Snob-dom is earned.
 
That's the tease. More to come.
post edited by JRPfeff - 2016/12/19 10:42:59
#1
ann peeples
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Re: Dining on the Dark Side 2016/12/19 09:26:41 (permalink)
I have family that insists we eat at Red Lobster every time we visit( and they live in N.C. where I have had decent seafood) However, If someone picks a restaurant because its their birthday, etc., I would prefer Fridays than Applebees or Chilis.
#2
JRPfeff
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Re: Dining on the Dark Side 2016/12/19 10:52:13 (permalink)
Ann,
 
I noticed that the Fridays' menu seemed to have something for everyone. They must get that Jack Daniel's Sauce by the tanker load.
 
I can vaguely remember my last visit to Friday's, but not the year. It was likely pre-Roadfood for me or shortly after joining.
 
We used to love Chili's, but haven't been there for years. The last time was between flights at an airport during a delay. 🍎🐝's is walking distance from our NC house, so I will confess to a handful of visits in the last couple years. The food is underwhelming, but there's usually a special to drag us in.
 
Jim
post edited by JRPfeff - 2016/12/19 17:26:00
#3
JRPfeff
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Re: Dining on the Dark Side 2016/12/19 11:01:14 (permalink)
Pie Diva and I decided to split several items from the menu as a means of minimizing the danger of having to eat too much of any one thing.
 
We chose the Tortilla Soup to begin, but they had run out so we settled on the White Cheddar Broccoli Cheese Soup.

Maybe it was the thought of the Tortilla Soup on my taste buds that left the broccoli cheese soup lacking to me. It seemed well prepared, but nothing we couldn't prepare ourselves at home. Pie Diva called this the likely highlight of the meal.
 
#4
JRPfeff
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Re: Dining on the Dark Side 2016/12/19 11:08:23 (permalink)
We also shared an appetizer and we each decided on the Pan-Seared Pot Stickers simultaneously.

These were a letdown for me. I sometimes fry Trader Joe's pot stickers for myself at home. I think the TJ's version is more flavorful and the Veri Veri Teriyaki Sauce I use is far superior, too.
 
Strike two.
 
#5
ChiTownDiner
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Re: Dining on the Dark Side 2016/12/19 11:52:10 (permalink)
The garnish looks very good...fresh!  
 
#6
1bbqboy
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Re: Dining on the Dark Side 2016/12/19 12:21:13 (permalink)
Are pot stickers pot stickers if they're not pan seared? I love menu listings.
Happy hour at Applebee's is acceptable because of the drinks!
post edited by 1bbqboy - 2016/12/19 12:22:40
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lleechef
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Re: Dining on the Dark Side 2016/12/19 12:50:25 (permalink)
When I lived in Boston, my friend and I used to like to go shopping/walking down Boston's chic Newbury St.  We often would have lunch at Friday's only because they had outdoor seating.  Probably each of us had a salad and a glass of white wine (proper etiquette for two well-dressed women on Newbury St.!)  They were always jammed.  The salads must have been fine because we went there several times.
#8
JRPfeff
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Re: Dining on the Dark Side 2016/12/19 13:25:55 (permalink)
Our dinner companions last night were Pie Diva's movie buff herd*. As much as they can tear apart Rogue One or La La Land, they are not very critical of the food they eat. They ordered everything from ribs to pasta and I did not hear one word, positive or negative, about their meals. The only critical mention of food was the experience one man had previously with overcooked steaks at Blackfinn Ameripub, a growing national chain (15 locations currently listed). This is not The Contingent by any means.
 
Pie Diva and I shared the Truffle Stacked Burger.
A blend of four cheeses with truffle oil, onion-bacon jam and Asiago between two fresh burgers with truffle aioli and applewood-smoked bacon.
Reading that description today, I don't recall tasting any of those toppings except for the bacon. The bun and burger were tasty enough, though.

 
*Buff Herd - do you see what I did there?
#9
lleechef
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Re: Dining on the Dark Side 2016/12/19 14:39:05 (permalink)
Wow.  They got all fancy schmancy since I went there in the 90s!  Back then they probably only had American cheese and plain 'ol bacon!  As a condiment I bet there was only mayo, mustard and ketchup!  Being in Boston they probably had some kind of fish 'n chips too.  That burger looks decent as do the fries!  You mean to tell me The Contingent is not going there for Truffle Stacked Burgers??!! 
#10
Wintahaba
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Re: Dining on the Dark Side 2016/12/19 15:00:10 (permalink)
That's funny you mentioned Fish and Chips....the last time I went to Friday's years ago I had F & C. I asked for Malt Vinegar, they looked at me like I was insane, although they had the faux newspaper basket liner. 
#11
joerogo
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Re: Dining on the Dark Side 2016/12/19 17:46:20 (permalink)
Um, shouldn't this be in "Trip Reports"? 
#12
Michael Hoffman
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Re: Dining on the Dark Side 2016/12/19 18:36:54 (permalink)
I was thinking "Pizza"
#13
lleechef
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Re: Dining on the Dark Side 2016/12/19 18:41:45 (permalink)
Couple of troublemakers.  Banning again for both of you is NOT out of the question.
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Greymo
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Re: Dining on the Dark Side 2016/12/19 21:41:38 (permalink)
JRPfeff
(or Adventures in Mundane Eating)

Last night we attended a celebration of a friend's birthday at TGIFridays. It wasn't our choice (it wasn't even his first choice), but we joined our friends in celebration. I was reluctant to go, but Pie Diva made sure we went and our friend appreciated our presence.
 
How bad could it be, anyway?
 
This also gave us a chance to see if we are missing something that millions of Americans enjoy (that food looks really good in the ads) or if our Roadfood Snob-dom is earned.
 
That's the tease. More to come.



#15
JRPfeff
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Re: Dining on the Dark Side 2016/12/19 23:06:01 (permalink)
Monday is movie night, preceded by happy hour...

at...

Be patient. A report will be out on Tuesday.
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ChiTownDiner
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Re: Dining on the Dark Side 2016/12/20 08:00:59 (permalink)
I enjoy PF Chang's and dine there perhaps twice per year.  Salt n Pepper Shrimp are a must.  Not as excited about Friday's.  To me, they are a perfect example of bean counter mentality reducing every penny while watching food quality and attitude decline. 
#17
JRPfeff
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Re: Dining on the Dark Side 2016/12/20 12:54:30 (permalink)
We're not trying to make chain dining a habit, but Pie Diva scored movie passes to last night's screening of Passengers (good movie, go see it) and there's a P.F.Chang's China Bistro at the mall. Chang's has an exceptional happy hour; cocktails for $6 and appetizers for $5 or $6.
 
We started with the Spicy Tuna Roll which was decent enough sushi (8 pieces served, photo after we ate 2).

We had them bring Chang's Lettuce Wraps at the same time. The wraps are one of our favorite choice's there, we had the chicken version.
 
There's a lot of food there for $6 and we were pretty full after downing several wraps apiece. The chicken has an excellent wok-char flavor and is nicely spicy.

If we keep this up, I may have to change my screen name to FastCasualJim.
post edited by JRPfeff - 2016/12/20 12:58:03
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JRPfeff
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Re: Dining on the Dark Side 2016/12/20 13:23:15 (permalink)
Next we had their House Made Pork Egg Rolls. They were served with a "sour mustard sauce" that wasn't too good. A traditional plum sauce would have been preferred.

Celcilia's Pan-Fried Shrimp Dumplings were a big improvement over the previous night's pot stickers. The garnish was an upgrade, too. The dumpling skins and the shrimp filling were both very tender.

For $40 we had 3 drinks and 4 appetizers. Not bad and for the most part it was a very enjoyable meal.
post edited by JRPfeff - 2016/12/20 13:24:51
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Greymo
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Re: Dining on the Dark Side 2016/12/20 15:00:32 (permalink)
I had the lettuce wraps at PF Changs  twice and loved them.  My family loves this restaurant but have only been there two or three times.  It is because we live within 4 miles of two excellent Chinese restaurants that are privately owned.  We do want to support them.  In fact, we will be going to one of them on Christmas day, as a newly started tradition, started by an impending snow storm  five ago!
post edited by Greymo - 2016/12/20 15:02:09
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TJ Jackson
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Re: Dining on the Dark Side 2016/12/20 16:21:44 (permalink)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xTq20prt0K8
 
post edited by TJ Jackson - 2016/12/20 17:09:15
#21
JRPfeff
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Re: Dining on the Dark Side 2016/12/21 14:39:15 (permalink)
Greymo
I had the lettuce wraps at PF Changs  twice and loved them.  My family loves this restaurant but have only been there two or three times.  It is because we live within 4 miles of two excellent Chinese restaurants that are privately owned.  We do want to support them.  In fact, we will be going to one of them on Christmas day, as a newly started tradition, started by an impending snow storm  five ago!


Greymo,
 
We seldom go to Chang's ourselves, we really don't consider it a "Chinese Restaurant." It's more a fusion of several cultures and probably not authentic to any of them. We do enjoy the food there though.
 
We are going to make the plunge and go out for Chinese on Christmas Day at a good authentic place in Milwaukee. Thank you for bringing that up.
 
Jim
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leethebard
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Re: Dining on the Dark Side 2016/12/21 16:48:41 (permalink)
JRPfeff
Greymo
I had the lettuce wraps at PF Changs  twice and loved them.  My family loves this restaurant but have only been there two or three times.  It is because we live within 4 miles of two excellent Chinese restaurants that are privately owned.  We do want to support them.  In fact, we will be going to one of them on Christmas day, as a newly started tradition, started by an impending snow storm  five ago!


Greymo,
 
We seldom go to Chang's ourselves, we really don't consider it a "Chinese Restaurant." It's more a fusion of several cultures and probably not authentic to any of them. We do enjoy the food there though.
 
We are going to make the plunge and go out for Chinese on Christmas Day at a good authentic place in Milwaukee. Thank you for bringing that up.
 
Jim


I agree,not a fan...it's chain fusion, and for the most part, not well done. We have a great fusion restaurant 2 minutes from our home that is superb!!
#23
leethebard
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Re: Dining on the Dark Side 2016/12/21 16:50:44 (permalink)
http://www.koiasianlounge.com/menu
 
Here it is. This is great food...and the prices are often better than the chain!!
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ScreamingChicken
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Re: Dining on the Dark Side 2016/12/21 18:43:09 (permalink) ☄ Helpfulby nagle 2016/12/31 00:42:51
JRPfeff
We are going to make the plunge and go out for Chinese on Christmas Day at a good authentic place in Milwaukee.

On Christmas Day the best Chinese food is served in Hohman, Indiana.
#25
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