Monday, August 31, 2009

Space McDonald's

On August 28, 2009, the Space Shuttle Discovery was making it's third attempt to launch on mission STS-128. Although I can see the shuttle just fine from where I live, I decided to go out to Titusville, FL to get a closer look. I arrived about an hour before the launch and some sort of dessert seemed appropriate to pass the time.

I initially thought of going to this Ice Cream Truck. I've noticed that most ice cream trucks in Florida are pretty sad. They normally involve a guy in a van selling prepackaged ice cream bars out of a freezer. These are the same ice cream bars that you can buy a box of in the supermarket, probably for about the same price as one pop. Up north, they have soft serve ice cream trucks like Mr. Softee where they do more than pull a frost covered ice pop out of the freezer with a big markup. When I saw this particular ice cream truck parked on the side of the road in Titusville, I got excited. It looked like it was a soft serve truck. Unfortunately, when I walked over, it seemed the truck and another car got in a fender bender and ice cream was no longer being sold.
ice cream truck
ice cream truck
The next dessert choice within walking distance was this Mcdonald's with appropriately decorated windows. I had a strawberry milkshake, which was okay for what it was and where it was from. It really couldn't compare to milkshakes from a soft serve ice cream truck though!
McDonald's on Urbanspoon

At 11:59 pm, the Discovery finally launched. I love night launches, especially when you can hear the roar of the engines! It's a shame the shuttle program is coming to an end pretty soon. I really hope NASA gets it's act together and goes through with completing the Orion Project, but somehow I have my doubts that we will see it happen any time soon.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Olive Garden in Westbury, NY

I ate at the Olive Garden in Westbury, NY. It was your standard Olive Garden eating experience with half-decent Italian food. Olive Garden isn't my favorite of the big Italian chains, but it is what it is.

The meal started out with salad and breadsticks:olive garden  salad
I had Eggplant Parmesan for the main course. It was good, but a little too much sauce for my liking.
olive garden eggplant
Olive Garden on Urbanspoon

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Yesterday's Diner in New Hyde Park, NY

Yesterday's Diner 8-9-09 sign
Yesterday's Diner isn't the best name for a restaurant in my opinion. It makes me imagine that all of the food is leftovers from the previous day. It doesn't help that the menu titles each section with yesterday, for example, you could order "Yesterday's Sandwiches." It just doesn't sound right to me, but I ended up eating a late breakfast at Yesterday's Diner regardless of the name.
Yesterday's Diner 8-9-09 front
I ordered a Spinach Florentine Omelet. I'm not normally an egg person, especially in restaurants, unless there's enough additional ingredients mixed in to add extra flavor. I was hesitant to get my omelet, but I decided to give it a try. Luckily for me, I enjoyed the Spinach Florentine. The omelet was filled with fresh spinach and plenty of feta cheese and didn't really taste egg-like at all. I liked it! The omelet was served with a side of homefries and two slices of whole wheat toast.
Yesterday's Diner 8-9-09 Omelet

Yesterday's Diner on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Trinity in Floral Park, NY

The original plan was to eat dinner at a diner, but after discussing how expensive most diners on Long Island became, we decided to try something new and go to a nicer restaurant (hopefully in the same price range). We ended up at a good Irish Pub in Floral Park, NY called Trinity.

The meal started out with a basket of Irish Soda Bread, crackers, and really good scones. Someone at the table ordered a beer, and somehow they put this clover design in the beer head. I've never seen anything like this in beer and have no idea how it's made.
trinity beer clover
I ordered Fish & Chips for my meal. I normally don't go for the fried fish, but this was pretty good. Drenching everything on the plate with lemon juice and malt vinegar makes it so much better though!
trinity fish and chips
Someone else at the table ordered a Chicken Pot Pie. I traded a piece of fish for half of the pie and really liked it. It was one of the best chicken pot pies that I have eaten in a long time.
trinity chicken pot pie
Another person at the table ordered Bangers and Mash. They didn't finish, so I tried one of the leftover sausages. It had a somewhat unique taste that I couldn't quite place, but was still good. Not as good as the Chicken Pot Pie though.
bangers and mash
I really enjoyed Trinity and I'm glad I found it. It was way better than a diner!

Trinity Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

P.F. Chang's in Westbury, NY

P.F. Changs
I ate at the P.F. Chang's in The Source Mall in Westbury, NY. I ordered the Singapore Street Noodles. It consisted of chicken and shrimp with assorted vegetables, all served over noodles. I liked it! Interestingly, this dish was not marked as spicy on the menu, but it ended up having a nice kick to it. Someone else at the table ordered something that was supposed to be spicy, and it had a really sweet sauce. I could see people sending their food back over an issue like that, but I liked my noodles the way they were!
Singapore Street Noodles
This stone warrior was looking over our table. I decided he was worthy of having his photo taken...
P.F. Changs Dessert Guard

P.F. Chang's China Bistro on Urbanspoon

Monday, August 24, 2009

A&S Bagels in Franklin Square, NY

A&S Bagels
I bought an everything bagel with lox cream cheese from A&S Bagels in Franklin Square, NY. The bagel was really good and the cream cheese had plenty of salmon in it.
A&S Bagels everything
A&S Bagels is a pretty cool place. They are open 24 hours and seem to always have a line, no matter when you ride by. If you look through the door going into the back rooms, you get to see all of the bagels being made. Those machines that press the dough into a bagel shape are really interesting to watch. Only problem is that some of the help in A&S seem to be really grumpy and aren't very good at customer service...
A & S Bagels on Urbanspoon

Sunday, August 23, 2009

OLV Café Grand Opening

I was sent some information on a new restaurant called OLV Cafe that opens tomorrow in SoDo. I thought I'd share in case anyone is interested. I'll need to give them a try soon!

ORLANDO, Fla. (Aug. 21, 2009) – OLV Café announced today it will celebrate its grand opening on Monday (Aug. 24). This contemporary, swanky and fun café/bistro is designed to be Southeast Orlando’s newest restaurant and social gathering place.

“We are excited to announce the beginning of a brand new kind of restaurant experience in Orlando. OLV Café is more than just a restaurant -- it is Sodo’s new hip destination,” said Michael Buell, a partner on the project. “As Sodo’s newest addition, OLV Café is positioned to be a premiere social gathering place, offering great food and good times--morning, noon and night.”

The café/bistro will be open for lunch and dinner, offering coffee all day with a great selection of beer and wine in the evening. Its eclectic menu will bring a unique blend of tastes from around the world.

“From our she-crab bisque or smoked duck confit for lunch to tuna ceviche with avocado-tomato salsa and crispy tortilla for dinner, OLV Café’s dishes are unlike anything being offered in the area,” said Humberto Perez, owner of OLV Café.

OLV Café wants to create the perfect place to meet friends for coffee, conduct business meetings or meet collegues for a drink after work. Its will feature free WiFi and high-tech multi-screen entertainment to help people stay connected during the day and night.

OLV Café will open from 11 a.m. - 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to Midnight Friday and Saturday and 11 a.m. – 8 p.m. on Sunday. The new bistro/café is located at 25 W. Crystal Lake Drive Suite 175, Orlando, Florida 32806 in the Sodo shopping plaza.

For more information on OLV Cafe, call (407) 722-5060 or visit

Friday, August 21, 2009

More King Umberto's in Elmont, NY

I've written about them before, but here once again is King Umberto's in Elmont, NY. They still hold my place as the best pizza I've tried. I don't have much else to say except to point out how nice looking their pizza is compared to most other pizzas. Look at the pictures and drool...King Umbertos
King Umbertos
King Umbertos
King Umbertos

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Dixie Bones BBQ in Woodbridge, VA

Midway through another day of driving on I-95 with far too much traffic, it was time for lunch. Dixie Bones Barbecue is located in Woodbridge, VA about a mile or so off of I-95. I ate here once several years ago and decided to give them another try. While walking into the restaurant, truckloads of ribs were being packed for the huge catering business that it looks like Dixie Bones does. Once seated, I looked over the menu and choose a pulled pork sandwich. While waiting for the food, I observed the antiques and paper mache animals all over the restaurant.
Soon enough, my sandwich was served. It came with coleslaw, and was really tasty. The pork was a little dry, but that was solved by sampling the various sauces on the table. I liked the vinegar based sauce the best, but this was also the first time I tried the white Alabama style barbecue sauce! It tasted a lot like ranch dressing and didn't seem to go with meat, but I guess some people like it.

Dixie Bones on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Mariachis Mexican Restaurant in Manning, SC

After a day of driving north along I-95 from Florida, everyone started getting hungry. Rather than stopping at the normal travel restaurants like Waffle House, Cracker Barrel, Denny's, or some sort of fast food, we decided to try a Mexican restaurant called Mariachis that was advertised on a billboard.

It was located right off of the exit in Manning, SC and was really busy. The hostess' question of "Smoking or non?" caught me off guard at first since it's been so long since I've heard that in most places I eat. After sitting, tortilla chips and salsa were served.
mariachi's chips
After reading over the large menu, I changed my mind at the last minute and ordered the Enchiladas Supreme. It came with four enchiladas, each one stuffed with something different. There was refried beans, beef, cheese, and chicken. I liked my enchiladas and sitting in the restaurant was a nice break from driving in the car all day!
mariachi's enchiladas supreme

Mariachi's Mexican Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Monday, August 17, 2009

The Smokehouse

The Smokehouse
I ate at the relatively new Smokehouse Restaurant at the Route 46 Exchange in Sanford, FL. I had a coupon for a free appetizer or dessert for any of the restaurants in the complex, so I decided to check out my options besides deciding exactly where to eat. I looked at their other restaurants like Monroe's and The Saloon, but they were expensive and completely empty at dinner time. That left the Smokehouse. Everyone that I know that had eaten there didn't like it, but I decided to give them a try anyway.
The Smokehouse follows the same semi-fast food format as Bubbalou's Bodacious Barbecue where you order your food at a counter and it is brought out to you. For the free appetizer, I had a pulled pork quesadilla. It had way too much really dry meat in the tortilla. Barbecue sauce was definitely required to help swallow all of the dry pork.
Pulled Pork Quesadilla
I also had a Smoked Salmon wrap with sweet potato fries. The wrap had the same smokey flavor as the pork in the quesadilla. I might as well have been eating all of the same menu item because it all tasted the same to me. This leads me to believe that they use artificial smoked flavoring rather than actually smoking the meat. I could be wrong, but that's what I'm assuming based on how the flavor was so overpowering and was in all of the food.

The sweet potato fries were really good though!
Smoked Salmon Wrap
The employees here were also kind of strange. There were far too many workers in the dining room and none of them seemed to be assigned to any specific section. This caused them to constantly come over and repeatedly ask the same question that someone else asked only minutes before. You know they need to come up with some sort of system when someone comes and asks if you need to-go boxes about thirty seconds after the food is brought to the table by another employee.

On a side note, what's the proper way to tip in a situation like this? It's basically a fast food restaurant, but then employees bring out the food and constantly offer to do stuff for you?
The Smokehouse at Route 46 on Urbanspoon

Friday, August 14, 2009

Cedar Seared Salmon Pasta from T.G.I. Friday's

Cedar Plank Salmon Pasta
Due to a large buildup of coupons to the restaurant, I ended up at the T.G.I. Friday's in Lake Mary, FL. I ordered the Cedar Seared Salmon off of the Right Portion, Right Price section of the menu, basically meaning the dish was under $10. The pasta tasted really good. The presentation, not so much. The salmon was placed on top of the lopsided pile of pasta with the ugly skin side up. Since the pasta was all piled on one side of the plate, the cheese that was sprinkled on top melted to the plate instead of the food. In a big chain like Friday's, you would think they would make a big deal about their food always looking and tasting the same from visit to visit and from restaurant to restaurant. I guess this isn't the case.
TGI Fridays on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Jimmy John's in the UCF Arena

jimmy john's
I have heard good things about Jimmy John's sandwiches. I finally had the opportunity to try Jimmy John's at the location inside of the UCF area, and I can't say I was very impressed. The bread was mushy, white, squished, and soggy all at once. The tuna in the sandwich tasted okay, but there wasn't too much of it on the sandwich and the amount of lettuce and sprouts was just sad. After eating this sandwich, I now know the reason why the nearby Subway is always busy and Jimmy John's is always empty.
Jimmy John's (UCF Arena) on Urbanspoon

Monday, August 10, 2009

Lazy Moon Pizza

I've always heard good things about Lazy Moon Pizza in Orlando near UCF, so I went to give them a try. When I first walked in, I was kind of surprized how crowded Lazy Moon was on a weeknight. There wasn't a seat in the place, but I was I luckily already had plans to get my slice to-go. There were some issues with the girl behind the counter not understanding what I meant by ordering a "slice of plain." It seemed common sense to me in a restaurant that almost only serves pizza. Once my order was placed, I took a seat at the counter and watched the pizzas being made while I waited for my food. Lazy Moon was making the biggest pizzas I have ever seen, probably at least a meter in diameter. Lazy Moon was using an interesting cooking technique as well. The dough was tossed and covered with sauce, then put in the oven. After being half baked, the pie was removed and placed on a rack of cheeseless pizzas. From here, pies/slices were taken as needed, covered with cheese and toppings, and put in the oven again. I've never seen pizzas made like this, but soon my slice came out and I focused on my food.
Lazy Moon
For a judge of the scale of how huge this slice is, that paper plate is the standard 12 inch diameter plate. I've had whole pies smaller than this one slice! Probably due to the way the pizza was cooked, the cheese on my slice didn't seem to be melted enough. You could still see the individual shreds of cheese which kind of gave it a frozen pizza look. After seeing the cheese like this, I wasn't expecting much, but it actually tasted pretty good. The crust was nice and thin, I liked the sauce, and there was definitely the factor of getting plenty of food for your money. My only issue really was with the cheese, and it was a pretty big issue for me. The pizza lost a lot of points in my book for having barely melted cheese, but apparently this is the way Lazy Moon makes their pizza. Judging by the crowds they had, it didn't bother many other people either.

Lazy Moon
Lazy Moon Pizza on Urbanspoon


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