Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Schoop's Hammond, In Review (Chicago Vacation Series)

Whenever Fancy and I visit my sister in Chicago we head to the Horseshoe Casino in nearby Indiana.  That gives us an opportunity to have some delicious, old fashioned Schoop's burgers.

These burgers are fairly thin and browned around the edges.  Most of the ones featured are actually a double burger, but we all ordered a single.  They offered the typical burger toppings including full leaf lettuce and other fresh ingredients.

As you can see, they didn't skimp on the toppings.  Also, they offered your typical burger place shakes.

The burgers don't come accompanied by fries, but a single order serves two people.  They were thin, crispy, and delicious.

Our vegetarian had the egg salad sandwich, which she reported as being fine.  I don't know much about egg salad as this okapi hates eggs, but there appeared to be a generous portion, and the bread was nicely toasted.

The onion rings were perfectly fried with a nice breading.  Everyone enjoyed the Schoop's experience, and it's something you should definitely try if you're ever in the Indiana area.  Just keep in mind as a burger specialty joint, you're looking at around $10 for your burger, fries, and drink.  As a western new yorker, I know good burgers, and Schoop's ranks among the best.  This okapi gives them 4.5 stars.

Schoop's Hamburgers on Urbanspoon

Monday, July 16, 2012

Salvatore's Latta Review

We haven't been to a Salvatore's for quite a while (for reasons explained below), but we're glad we gave them another try.  That up there is a pizza ordered thin, which might seen odd considering their regular crust is on the thin side.  However, I like my pizza about 1.5-2 times the thickness of NY style pizza, so ordering Salvatore's thin gets me right where I like to be.  On a side note, if you like it NY thin, they do that too, but call it "thin-thin."  Anyway, one of the things I really like about it is the sauce/cheese balance.  I love sauce and Fancy loves cheese, so if a place is too heavy (or light) handed on either, one of us is unhappy.  They go with a sweeter sauce and a hint of garlic, which is just how we like it.

The bottom is perfectly brown, not too oily, and firm with a light garlicy flavor.  Also, the cheese is nicely browned at the edges for an extra crunch. Last up we have the wings.  They give a nice pooling of sauce at the bottom, so you can have them as wet as you like.  We get the Buffalo hot, well done, and they performed perfectly.  These aren't tiny wings, and they are plenty flavorful.

Fancy and I used to eat Salvatore's pizza a lot, but got away from it due to some less than stellar performances by their Lake Avenue location and a refusal to deliver to us from another location a mile further away.  Admittedly we have a slightly complicated order (including a square cut on a medium pizza), but most places can handle it just fine.  Also, Salvatore's is a bit higher priced than some other local places, so the mess ups (mostly on the thickness of the crust or just plain cold food) was unacceptable.

Now they've opened a Latta Road location, which will deliver to us, so we decided to give them another shot.  The meal was perfect, and the online ordering system was extremely user friendly.  They let you customize even weird stuff like my square cut, which is nice.  Also, they offer to send text messages to keep you up to speed on where your order is, and a one click option to save your favorite meals (including specials from their "coupon" page).  My only real complaint is the delivery charge of $2.50 is a bit steep.  All in all this okapi gives Salvatore's 4.5 stars.

Salvatore's Old Fashioned Pizza  on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Creek Creatures

So, as y'all know one of my favorite things to do is go creek walking down at Warsaw Falls.  Usually, we tend to miss the local wildlife, however this trip was taken with Mr. Fix-It and Spider Lady.  They love the wildlife, so it gave me an opportunity to slow down and check it out.

It was nice to see living things hanging out and made me wonder if I accidentally have crushed some in the past.  This handsome frog was startled from his hiding place by ye olde Tiger Pup.

Lastly, we have Mr. Salamander.  I've never seen one of these in the wild before, so it made me happy.  So there you have it, some cool stuff living the local creeks.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Venus Greek and Mediterranean (Buffalo) Review

I was in Buffalo hanging with Paradox this past week, and a friend of mine, J.R., suggested we hit Venus for some Greek/Mediterranean food.  This is a walk up and order place, so you have a good shot at it being really good.  Paradox had the chicken souvlaki, which he reports as being really rather good.

J.R. and I each had a mix plate.  It comes with gyro meat, souvlaki, and some other kind of marinated chicken served over rice and/or french fries.  This is all covered with a garlic sauce.  It was sort of like a Greek garbage plate, so I really liked it.  It's rare that you find something really different, but this place pulls it off nicely.  I would be remiss if I didn't point out that the garlic sauce is really good.  J.R. even pushed Paradox to order an extra side for his french fries, so yeah, try the damn garlic sauce.  

They have a several beverage options and even deliver to the immediate area.  My only complaint is that the girl who brought us our food gave a fork and napkin to my two companions, but I had to get my own.  I'm not sure if this is a gender thing or what, but I didn't appreciate it.  (UPDATE: J.R. told me they usually do not bring your utensils to the table, so they may have done it for him because he's a regular.  Still, it doesn't explain why only 2/3 of the people at our table got this special courtesy.) However, this bad staff experience was balanced by an extremely friendly male employee who seemed to want to make sure we were very happy.  So, this okapi gives Venus 4.5 stars.  If you're near Buffalo it's worth a detour to eat at this place.

Venus Greek and Mediterranean Restaurant on Urbanspoon