Thursday, December 29, 2011

Jake's (North Chili) Review

My parents like to rave about Jake's in North Chili.  First they said that the steak was good, but it wasn't.  Fancy and I weren't terribly surprise since this is clearly a bar/grill.  My dad wanted to go to Jake's for his birthday dinner, so Fancy and I decided to try some pub grub.  I had their version of a hamburger "plate."  It only comes with a single burger, but it's a 1/2 pounder, so no complaints.  The macaroni salad uses tiny shell macaroni and some odd spices.  It was certainly...different.  The hot sauce was good.  The homefries were deep fried and delicious.

My dad had the fried seafood platter which consisted of a bunch of deep fried fishy favorites.  He liked it.

mom had the fried shrimp dinner which looked way better than my dad's seafood platter.  She said that everything was very tasty.

Fancy ordered the turkey club, but received a turkey melt.  She was fine with it, though.  The turkey was a step above deli meat and the sandwich was nicely toasted.  All in all, the food was at the absolute best, average.  Nothing really stood out, and I wouldn't go out of my way for it.  This okapi gives it two stars, so if you're already at the bar drinking, it wouldn't hurt to order some grub.

Jake's Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Famous Dave's Review

As many of you know, this okapi just had a birthday.  Okapis love deals, so I always join e-mail birthday clubs.  Normally places just send a free dessert coupon which frankly kind of sucks: if you're in a restaurant on your birthday you almost always get a free dessert if you tell your server.  A few places give a free appetizer which is a small improvement, because those places usually also sing you "Happy Birthday" and give a free dessert (except for Joe's Crab Shack).  But, the BEST places (such as Famous Dave's) give a free meal.  

So, Fancy and I headed to Famous Dave's and had us some fine BBQ.  Fancy was happy to learn that we were within the 4-6pm happy hour and draft beers (including Sam Adams Winter Brew) were only $2.  A Sam Adams drinking Fancy is a happy Fancy, and a happy fancy makes me a very happy okapi.  We decided to grab the Nachos for Two (not available at all locations), pictured above.  The menu describes the nacho toppings well: Wilbur Beans, Famous Chili, jalapeƱos, Rich & Sassy® and your choice of Texas Beef Brisket, Georgia Chopped Pork or Barbeque Pulled Chicken.  We picked the chopped pork and the they were goddamn awesome!

The free meal is up to a $15 value, so I could score one of their fine combo platters.  I grabbed the rib tips and chicken tenders with garlic mashed potatoes, macaroni & cheese, corn, and a corn muffin ($14.99).  The chicken tenders were some of the best I've ever had.  I do not give that compliment loosely.  I've had chicken tenders at dozens of places, and these are spectacular.  The rib tips weren't too bad, and everything else was delicious.  I thought it was a little odd that they didn't offer gravy for the mashed potatoes, but they really didn't need any.  The corn muffin was sweet and fresh.  I would recommend this meal to anyone.

Fancy had a combo as well with a half chicken, beef brisket, country green beans, mac & cheese, corn, and a corn muffin.  She said everything was delicious, especially the beef brisket.  They accidentally gave her mashed potatoes instead of mac & cheese which they corrected immediately, but they let us keep both.  This folks, is an example of great customer service.  If every restaurant did these small things, they would have a lot of happy customers.

They didn't sing "Happy Birthday" or give a free dessert, but that's just fine.  I'd rather have a free plate of BBQ than a free sundae any day.  Anyway, everything was just about perfect:  the food was hot, fresh, and delicious; the waitress was efficient and friendly; and the birthday freebie was perfect.  This experience was such an improvement over my last one at this place that I told the manager how awesome it was.  Okapis are equal opportunity: if the place is particularly bad, I let someone know-I do the same if the place is particularly good.  Famous Dave's gets a full 5 stars for this visit, so if you're in Greece, get to Famous Dave's and get your BBQ!

Famous Dave's on Urbanspoon

Monday, December 19, 2011

Birthday Restaurant Battle: Monte Alban vs. Joe's Crab Shack

This okapi just celebrated a birthday and okapis goddamn LOVE birthday week.  Maybe it's because the birthday is so close to x-mas and I historically tended to get screwed on presents (which my mom still says is untrue, and when it comes to her giving me presents she is right).  Or, maybe it's because okapis like being the center of attention.  Who knows? But, the important thing is that Fancy (who gives exactly zero shits about her own birthday) plays along with my childlike birthday excitement.  This year I got to have two birthday dinners: one on my birthday with family and friends at Monte Alban, and one the day after with more family and Ewok, because she is like family and also enjoys delicious food two days in a row.  And so the battle of awesome birthday celebrations began!  

I go to Monte Alban (Irondequoit) every year because their birthday celebration is the best I've seen.  This okapi loves it when the staff comes over singing, clapping, and giving me free dessert.  At Monte Alban they do these things, but also put a (real, and damn heavy) sombrero on my head and place whipped cream from the complimentary fried ice cream on my nose.  Last year they also put it on my cheeks, but this year they spoon fed me my first bite of ice cream after only putting some on my nose.  Hey, I'll take either one, because they are both goddamn AWESOME ways to celebrate my birthday!  I ended up giving the fried ice cream to my dad because I really wanted the Xango: cheesecake filling inside a flour tortilla deep fried and served with ice cream (pictured at the top of this post).  And you know what?  They made mine into a smiley face because Monte Alban rocks at making okapis feel special on their birthdays!

And then the next day we went to Joe's Crab Shack.  As you may recall, I gave it 4 stars back in September mainly because of the atmosphere.  So, when I got an email for a free birthday appetizer, I thought it would be amazing.  Unfortunately, it was anything but.  They no longer scream "I've got crabs!!" when they come out of the kitchen or open your steampot for you saying: "Get ready for your face shot!!"  They now "warn" people two minutes before the music comes on for the waitstaff to start dancing.  This takes away the flash mob vibe and leaves the whole thing a little empty and sad.  The waitress asked if we wanted any desserts and when we said "no," she said "just the singing, huh?"  I thought that this was odd.  It was even worse when they showed up with maracas and little hats for us to wear.  Mexican themed?  Oh, goddamn it.  There is no way they can beat Monte Alban.  So it was that they had us (there were two birthdays at our table) stand up and shake the maracas while they sang.  They didn't give us dessert.  Not a sundae or a shot of pudding or even a goddamn crab shaped cookie.  Nothing.  

Now, I know some of you are saying "But, they gave you a free appetizer!" and you're right.  However, Red Robin gives a free birthday burger WITH endless fries (which I am totally getting this week) and still gives a free ice cream when they sing Happy Birthday.  Just saying.  Joe's Crab Shack let me way down, and Monte Alban is the clear winner.  Also, now you know where to take a poor unsuspecting friend or loved one for the maximum in birthday excitement!  For birthday celebrations Monte Alban gets 5 stars.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Agnes the Tiger Puppy on a Treadmill

So, Agnes was our foster puppy, but now is our forever puppy.  She was too awesome to give up.  Anyway, we were visiting friends last week and gave her a whirl on their treadmill.  She goddamn loved it, so now we are getting her one for xmas.  See how happy she is?  I wish I liked running that much...

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

My Name is Killer Okapi and I am a Buffalo Bills Fan.

Sigh.  Lately by beloved Buffalo Bills have been on a losing streak.  Some of you reading this rolled your eyes and made a snide comment because in your world the Bills always have been and always will be losers.  I know this because some of you can't help but tell me how you feel about the Bills every time that you see me wearing something with the charging buffalo on it.

This happens to me a lot since I am almost always wearing Bills stuff, because Western NY is split neatly into two piles: 1) I goddamn LOVE the Bills!! and 2) I goddamn wish the Bills and everyone who likes them would go die.  The second group of people consists of: fans of other teams (so their hatred for me and my team is completely understandable), past fans of the Bills who have given up (Buffalo has not experienced success in so long that all of the fence sitters and bandwagon fans have jumped ship), and people who do not like, understand, or watch football (they really piss this okapi off because they ALWAYS talk shit about the Bills (even when we win) in this condescending voice that makes me want to tear out their throat and beat them to death with it.)

Okay, so back to my original point: we are on a losing streak.  I mean, it's really bad.  You see that awesome guy up there?  Yeah, that's Fred Jackson, my favorite player, and "the heart of the team."  He got injured and everything went to hell.  To be fair, it was on its way down, but Fred was our miracle maker.  

As a fan I still get excited for every game, I still read my favorite Bills blog daily,  and every Monday I still wear my Stevie Johnson jersey.  When we win people like to chat with me excitedly about the game, but when we lose it can get pretty ugly.  I have been asked countless times how I can still wear my jersey after we lose (repeatedly) and I always say "I'm a fan whether we win or lose."  This is true, so I have it rough enough right now between our depleted roster, six game losing streak, and the way that our quarterback, Fitz, looks like a man getting ready to die in the gladiator pit even BEFORE he starts playing on game day; so if you "hate" the Bills only because it's fun or you think it's some kind of badge of honor to hate your local NFL team, stop telling me about it.  I don't care.  I'm not going to agree with you, I'm not going to give up on our team, and I'm sure as shit not going to stop wearing my jersey after game day.