Search
Advertisement
View my food journey on Zomato!
US Food Safety Recalls and Tips
Tabelog Reviewer burgerdogboy

Big Boy Breakfast Buffet Review – Hamilton, OH

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail
https://t.co/pkcTH6HVoY

Burbank, CA Location

Neither you nor I have enough time to go into the history of Big Boy restaurants. Suffice to say, started in California in the 30s, oldest one still standing is Burbank, CA (pictured below),  chain went thru several owners and now is a “chain of chains,” in that while they share menu, decor, and marketing, most Big Boy’s across the country have a “different first name,” by regional owners,   like Frisch’s, Marc’s, Shoney’s, Bob’s, Elia’s, and so on. In the “good to know” category, in 1936, Bob came up with the double-decker burger with bun in the middle, (pictured below) which most people today call a “Big Mac.”  It’s still on the Big Boy menu, too. As the “Big Boy.”

I used to pop into one in New Orleans on occasion for their breakfast buffet, that one was torn down to widen the freeway in front of it. They promised to rebuild, but alas, no luck. There’s just one left in New Orleans now.

Driving thru Hamilton, OH, a distant suburb of Cincinnati, I noticed a Frisch’s Big Boy (they are one of the largest Big Boy operators) so as I was spending the night, I decided I’d take in their breakfast buffet the next AM.

And I did. Alone. I was the only customer. The restaurant and bar were immaculate and the warming trays kept tidy. They had the usual breakfast buffet items, with several types of meats, eggs, breads, fruits, cereals, pancakes and more.

I helped myself.  I always like to see how many types of breakfast meats I can gather up at one time, I think here it was four. Bacon, ham, link sausage, patty sausage. Wait, there were two kinds of patties, so five!

It was all hot and tasty and around $8. Service people were helpful and friendly and coffee was topped off regularly.  Many Big Boy’s around the country (but not all) offer the breakfast buffet, and some have nightly buffets that vary by day of the week (seafood, southern style, ribs, etc).

The food is better than almost all the fast-casual chains, and a much better value. Stop by one.

 Frisch’s Big Boy locations.  If you’re not in Frisch territory, you’ll have to Google to find a Big Boy operator near you!

https://t.co/pkcTH6HVoY

Breakfast Buffet

 

https://t.co/pkcTH6HVoY

Mascot Statue

The Big Boy Double Decker Burger

The Big Boy Double Decker Burger

 

 
Frisch's Big Boy Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
Big Boy Breakfast Buffet Review

Big Boy Breakfast Buffet Review

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Capri Pizza Review, Merrillville, IN

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Capri Pizza ReviewI have driven through Merrillville, Indiana countless times and never stopped’ it just happens to be perched at the intersection of a number of highways leaving (or entering) the greater Chicago area(I-65, 90,80, 94, and US 30).  So if I ever have stopped and simply don’t remember it, the stop was either for gas, or to pee, or to grab a Slim Jim or something.

Seems I was stuck here recently due to snow, tho, and found myself holed up in a motel that had no services nor anything around it, so I fired up the Grubhub.com screen on my phone and perused my choices.

Having narrowed them down (no sushi or Mexican, thanks),  I have to cross reference them on Yelp, then go back to GrubHub to order.  So I spot Capri Pizza and note they have been making pies in the Chicago area for decades, and I saw one line somewhere in their puffery that “they grind their own meat daily.”  Me too!

I’m a sucker for great sausage on pizza, so I took the plunge and ordered a sausage (only) pie and hoped that while I was too wimpy to drive that night, that the pizza driver would not be.  I know he would be well rewarded for the effort.

The pie came. Still hot. Take in the aroma.  Ahhhhhh.  It’s thin crust, “tavern cut,” as they say around Chicago (squares, not slices), so l lift one out, it’s got heft, from a lot of cheese, which is seriously melty, and I note the chunks of sausage are ample size and hand pulled.

And yes, it was great. Crispy but chewy crust, gobs o cheese, light sauce, and TERRIFIC SAUSAGE.  Ground daily and hand pulled!  So satisfying!

Here’s their dope and menu.  I’d go again, hell yes.  Menu, locations.

Capri Pizza Review
Capri's Pizza Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
Capri Pizza Review

Capri Pizza Review

 

 

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Queen City Smoked Sausage Review

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Queen City Smoked Sausage ReviewWhen I made my initial foray to America’s foodie wonderland, Jungle Jims in Cincinnati last week, one item I picked up was a local product, Queen City Smoke Sausage.

(The official sausage of the Reds, apparently). Sausage is a big deal in Cincinnati, as is German food in general.  So popular, the city celebrates its sausage heritage with a weekend fest in July, with two to three dozen purveyors offering their sausage and related wares.

A skinless, smoked sausage of pork and beef, mildly seasoned, is called a “Mettwurst” or simply a “Mett” in this part of the country.

A traditional Mett in Germany is usually pork only, cured and smoked, and strongly seasoned with spices and garlic.  Although even in Germany, you’ll find different versions of the “Mett.”

Two states away, in Wisconsin or Illinois, this exact flavor and texture of skinless sausage would be called a Polish, or kielbasa.  Queen City brand is one of the more popular local processors, around since 1965, and in addition to smoked sausage, they offer a Mett in a natural casing, fresh Chorizo and fresh Italian, bratwurst,  cooked bockwurst, bierwurst and smoked andouille. Different sizes of wieners and dinner franks, sliced deli meats, ham, roast beef, and a few other items.

I did mine in a cast iron skillet and put a little char on them.  I do that to emulate a natural casing, as I prefer casings to skinless.  That’s just me. They go on a plain bun with yellow mustard and/or kraut.  Ingredients are beef and pork and seasonings (first one listed is mustard), but also corn syrup solids, and that’s not a personal preference of mine at all. Sweet and savory clash, in my mind. Overall, I liked it, and I’d buy it again and like to try some of their other products.

If you can’t find Queen City’s products at a store near you,  they are also available online. I purchased the 14 oz package which contains six sausages. Larger sizes are available.

The bottom picture below is Queen City’s factory, located in the part of the city that used to be known as “Porkopolis,” due to the large number of slaughter and packing houses in the ‘hood.

Queen City Smoked Sausage Review

Packaged

Queen City Smoked Sausage Review

In the skillet

Queen City Smoked Sausage Review

Queen City Factory

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Winstons Irish Bacon Review

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Winstons Irish Bacon ReviewWhen you request bacon in the US, you know what you are going to get. Smoked/cured thin slices of pork belly, with streaks of fat parallel to streaks of delicious meat.

Unless you request “Canadian Bacon” which is neither Canadian nor bacon, but very lean sliced pork loin,  cured and smoked. Outside of the US, “American style” bacon is often referred to as “streaky bacon.”

Not so in other parts of the world, where you can be faced with a number of choices.  In the UK and other remnants of the Empire, where you will most often be served what is referred to in the US and Canada as “back bacon,” thin slices of smoked (or not) pork cut from both the loin and a small bit from the belly.  It is cut from the same part of the hog as pork chops.

Order a “full breakfast” in England, and it will come with a couple slices of back bacon, sausage, eggs, baked beans, mushrooms, and toast. Maybe a grilled tomato. Depends on what part of the country you are in.

All this to say, in my recent visit to the mecca of foodie groceries, Jungle Jims, there are many choices of bacon to put in your cart, including a number of selections not made from pork. (My father was a habitual beef bacon consumer. It’s very lean, pretty chewy, but very tasty).

I picked up a pack of “Winston’s Irish Bacon,” which, to my surprise, is made here in Chicago. I’ve never seen it before, but apparently, Winston’s is a fairly old company specializing in Irish foods, they are wholesale processors, but also have a couple of markets and a restaurant.

Anyhow, Winstons bacon is delish.  I’m eager to track down some of their sausages and whatever else they got. Their factory/store is on the far south side of Chicago, but probably worth a drive. I’m a sucker for new sausage suppliers!

In the end, quality bacon at my house nearly always leads to a gooey fried egg sammich. Today was no exception!

Winstons Irish Bacon Review

In the pan, fried for 2 minutes a side

 

Winstons Irish Bacon Review

My fried egg sammich

 

Winstons Irish Bacon Review

Chicago factory and retail outlet

 

Winstons Irish Bacon Review

Winstons Irish Bacon Review

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Jungle Jims Dry Salami Review

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Jungle Jims Dry Salami ReviewWhen I did my post last week about my first visit to the magical food kingdom of Jungle Jims, I didn’t talk about specific products, wanting to give them their own space and time.

Like their packaged (house brand) dry salami. Now if you love salami of all types as much as I do, Jungle Jims is the place for you with dozens and dozens of varieties from producers all over the world.

I picked up this one as an afterthought, an impulse item, stock stuffer, what have you.  I’ve written so much about processed meats over the past ten years that I’ve committed to memory (mostly) an awful lot of the USDA plant numbers you will see on processed meats in the US.  And I recognized this one – Jungle Jims is no slouch in who they dole out their in-house product manufacturing to, this salami is made by Busseto in California, one quality operation (Link leads to their Facebook page, their website is a little wonky today).

You can’t find many salumis (the word means Italian cold cuts in general) purer than this product, which contains pork and salt and traces of flavors and cures. Nothing alarming at all. And the true measure of any processed meats for me these days, and you know this if you’ve read any of my posts, is DOES IT TASTE LIKE THE ANIMAL?  So many processed foods have been over processed as to not really resemble the original muscle meat anymore.

Not so with Jungle Jims. Bite after bite, it tastes like pork off the farm, before one even gets the sense of the seasoning.  And that’s important to me.

Their dry salami is very mild, great ‘bite’ (texture), and is great for snacking, or appetizers, even a sandwich, depending on how thin you slice it. I’m having some tonight as an accompaniment to fondue, both perfect for a chilly winter night.  Wish I’d picked up multiples.  Next time.

A pic of one of Busseto’s ultra-modern processing plants is below.

Jungle Jims Dry Salami Review

Jungle Jims Dry Salami Chub

Jungle Jims Dry Salami Review

Busseto’s California Processing Plant

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Rays Drive In Review – Kokomo Indiana

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Rays Drive In ReviewA pork tenderloin, or simply “tenderloin” was not on my food radar for most of my life.

Oh, I’d see them on menus, people around me would order them, but for some reason, even up close they didn’t merit a look-see from my side of the table.

That’s changed.  For the uninitiated, a pork tenderloin is a sandwich, wherein a boneless pork chop is placed on a counter and hammer until very thin, breaded, deep fried, placed on a burger bun, often served with lettuce, tomato, and mayo.

I’m willing to be persuaded otherwise, but in my mind, this is a distinctly Midwestern thing, and narrower than that, Iowa and Indiana seem to be the champions.

Of course, restaurant proprietors want their tenderloins to be tasty, so they concoct different formulations of breading and seasonings; but another factor among some operators is SIZE.  Some satisfaction is derived by chefs and diners alike if the loin on the plate is as big as their plate.

Iowa even has a “Tenderloin Trail” you can attempt to conquer, a dozen or so of the best offerings as determined by the Iowa Pork Producers Council.  I set out to hit a few of the stops a couple months ago, and weird, just noticed I hadn’t written them up.  I will.

But Indiana, they excel in “big” tenderloins.  First one I had was last year at the Oasis Diner on US 40, the “National Highway.”  Read all about it here.

But on this trip, I set out to hit the iconic Ray’s Drive In, in beautiful Kokomo, IN.  A small eatery, with perhaps a dozen tables in the dining room, and carhop service to diners in the parking lot,  Kokomonians (?) will tell you Ray’s is a must stop. And I agree.

I ordered the “King” Tenderloin, and my table mate went for the regular ‘loin.”  There is a distinct difference.  If you love pork, and you’re looking for excellence in flavor and texture, you’ll be happier with the King than the regular.  Even if you can’t finish it (I couldn’t).  They even have different breadings.

Ray’s King Tenderloin rates in the top three sandwiches I’ve had anywhere in the world, at any time. It’s worth a side trip.

I had every intention of ordering onion rings but “tots” came out of my mouth, and compared to the fries (they are priced the same), the tots order seemed a little skimpy.  Didn’t matter, I helped myself to the fries (another dish not finished), and if I would have skipped the taters all together, I could have made more of a dent in the ‘loin.

Did I say I loved this sammich?  I did.  Pix below and portions of the menu. I’m sure the other entrees and daily specials are home-cookin’ quality. And BTW? It’s pretty cheap to eat at Ray’s.

 

Rays Drive In Review

Tenderloin, tots, and fries

 

Rays Drive In Review

 

Rays Drive In Review

 

Rays Drive In Review

 

 

 

Oasis Diner Review, Plainfield, IN


Ray's Drive In Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
Rays Drive In Review

Rays Drive In Review

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Jungle Jims Grocery Review – Cincinnati, OH Area

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail
Jungle Jims Grocery Review

Entrance

Another place that’s been on my bucket list for years, Jungle Jims opened in 1971 and has been described as a “theme park of foods.”  That’s an understatement, in my opinion.  Clocking in with square footage about two times a WalMart, Jungle Jims specializes in a great depth of product choices, and foods from all over the world, separated in separate “country aisles.”  Of course, they have a service deli, carrying only the top US brands as well as many imports. Full-service butcher, live seafood, bakery, wine section.

Things you wouldn’t see anywhere else or would have to make many stops to fill out your shopping list.

I got off easy, only spent an hour and $150 there, could have easily been an all day thing, and I will be back, but with a car full of coolers and dry ice.

As it was, I came away with some unique things I hadn’t seen before and certainly will use, like “prosciutto bones” (to flavor white beans, or soup!), a pig’s head (for the crock pot) and many other tasty beautiful things.

I can’t wait to go back.

 

Jungle Jims Grocery Review

About 1/4 of their olive bar!

 

Jungle Jims Grocery Review

Say cheese, please!

 

Jungle Jims Grocery Review

Looking for some hot stuff baby..

 

 

 

 

Locations, hours.

Jungle Jims Grocery Review

Jungle Jims Grocery Review

@JungleJimsMrkt

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Primanti Brothers Sandwich Review

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Primanti Brothers Sandwich ReviewThere is a raft of places in the world where enterprising folks have created what I call a “one-handed meal.” Designed originally for the working class, shift workers, these foodstuffs were especially well adapted to heavy industry factory workers, miners and the like. In Cornwall, England, it was the “pasty,” a baked meat and vegetable pie.

This goody made it’s way to America and show up in miner lunchboxes in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and the Iron Range of Minnesota. They are still popular today, and you can order them online from UP shops.

Louisiana’s version is the “Muffaletta,” Italian deli meats, topped with cheese and olive “salad” (minced olives and pickled vegetables) and served on a unique 9″ round loaf of bread. They originated at Central Grocery (review) in New Orleans, and absolutely delicious.  One sandwich can easily serve two persons if not more. And yes, you can buy them online too from Cajun Grocer.

Chicago? The genuine Chicago style hot dog. Available everywhere in the Windy City, or you can make your own by watching this short video.

But today’s “one-handed meal” is all about the famous sandwich created by Primanti Brothers, in Pittsburgh, in the 1930s. Consisting of a stack of grilled (your choice) meats, topped with cheese, French fries, cole slaw, a thick tomato slice and nestled between two pieces of hearty Italian bread, this sandwich is not only delicious but a piece of culinary art in my opinion.

I waited a long time to get to one of their locations, fortunately now they are expanding rapidly. Primanti Brothers will put any sandwich chains offerings to shame.

I went with the “Al Capone” – grilled split Italian sausage, topped with capicola and salami, melted cheese, followed by the fries, slaw and ‘mato. Spectacular. Couldn’t finish it, no surprise there. Wanted to. Bought another to take home.

Should be on everybody’s sandwich bucket list. Download their app and get your first sandwich free!

The chain offers other foods, pizza, wings, and the like. I’ll probably never get to try them as I will be working my way thru the sandwich portion of the menu posted below.

 

Primanti Brothers Sandwich Review

Al Capone Whole

Primanti Brothers Sandwich Review

Primanti Brothers Sandwich Review

Sandwich portion menu

 

Primanti Bros. Indianapolis Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Primanti Brothers Sandwich Review
Primanti Brothers Sandwich Review

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Village Pizza & Pub Review – Elgin, IL

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Village Pizza & Pub has two locations in the NW suburbs of Chicago, one in Elgin, and one in Carpentersville, not terribly far from each other. Both feature extensive menus (below) for dine in, carry out, catering, and delivery, and the Elgin location has an all you can eat buffet at midday, Monday through Friday. The buffet includes a variety of kinds of pizza, an extensive salad bar, fried chicken, wings, and soup. Each day of the week has an additional special, like fish, ribs, or pasta.

We paid around $10, which includes a soft drink, and I was quite surprised at a few things about the buffet. First was the depth of the offerings, second was the freshness of the food, and finally the fact that they are very diligent about keeping the supply replenished. You’re not going to be standing around waiting for another pizza or be staring at a tray of dried out pasta.

I’m happy with it, and I’ll do it again. We went on Thursday, which is “rib day,” and I’m not a rib eater, but my dining mate said they were just fine.  The Carpentersville location does not have the buffet, offering daily lunch specials, instead.

Village Pizza & Pub Review

Plates from the buffet

Village Pizza & Pub Review

Village Pizza & Pub Review

Village Pizza & Pub Review

Village Pizza & Pub Review

 

 

 

 

Village Pizza & Pub Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Village Pizza & Pub Review
Village Pizza & Pub Review

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Corkys BBQ Heat and Eat Meals Review

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Corkys BBQ Heat and Eat Meal ReviewWhile there are a multitude of styles of “BBQ” in the US, it’s generally thought that the top three are Texas, Memphis, and Carolina.

As a result, many BBQ restaurant chains have  spawned in those areas, including the mini chain of Corky’s, born in Memphis, five minutes from Elvis’s house.

Corky’s opened the doors in the 1980s, and has spread throughout the metropolitan area and a few neighboring states.

Fairly standard grub on the menu, brisket, pork, ribs, chicken, and a few local preferences, catfish, spaghetti and more.

You can buy Corky’s grub online by the pound, and have it shipped to you, or bump into it, like I did, at WalMart. So add Corky’s to the list of restaurant branded foods that will eventually occupy every grocery shelf and freezer. That’s what the experts predict, anyway.

The 12 ounce sliced pork dinner comes with beans and applesauce. Prep is a couple minutes in the microwave, or 30 minutes in the oven. I chose the latter. Given the choice, I always choose the latter. (I have this quirk, with no scientific evidence, I think microwaves tend to break down the muscle in meat, and I don’t like the resulting texture).

So thirty minutes later, out of the oven, and I tackled the beans first. They’re good. I was expecting more brown sugar taste, it wasn’t there, and for me, that’s a good thing. The have a slightly smokey flavor with is an added ingredient, not part of the process. There’s no obvious evidence of the other ingredients, meaning, you don’t see chucks of bacon and such.

On to the meat. I like pulled pork, I make it myself at home, so easy in the crock pot, throw it in before leaving for the factory, ready when I get home. This is shoulder meat, which is the right choice for pulled pork, at least most ‘experts’ say so. There’s a modest amount of sauce in the meat tray.

And the meat is restaurant perfect. Irregular sized bits of pork, nice smoke, great texture, (which I don’t think I would have got in the microwave), mild sauce. More than an adequate amount to satisfy more appetites. I wish they sold it on its own in the grocery, by the tub, I’d be a customer. Well, maybe they do, and I’m just not aware. (You can buy it all by its lonesome online, in 3 or 6 pound tubs). It’s a little too spendy for me but at least shipping is included.

I even liked the applesauce, which isn’t really sauce, but chunks of apple “sauced.” Does include high fructose corn syrup as an ingredient in that, not sure that’s necessary.

Dinner clocked out at four bucks. Worth it, I think. I’d do it again. I will do it again.

Other varieties are available as well.

The company is obviously serious about cracking the grocery segment, as they didn’t sub the product out to some other manufacturer, but have their own USDA inspected plant in Memphis. (pictured below).

Dine in / Carryout menu. Locations.

 

Ingredients: Bar-B-Q Pork Shoulder, Apple Filling (Prepared With Sodium Sulfite And Calcium Chloride), High Fructose Corn Syrup, Water, Sugar, Modified Corn Starch, Contains 2% Or Less of The Following: Lemon Juice, Apple Juice Concentrate, Potassium Sorbate (As A Preservative), Cinnamon, Salt, Citric Acid, Nutmeg. Baked Beans (Prepared Navy Beans, Water, Sugar, Brown Sugar, Corn Syrup, Salt, Food Starch-Modified, Bacon, Dextrose, Spice, Caramel Coloring, Onion Powder, Hydrolyzed Corn Protein, Natural Smoke Flavor, Garlic Powder, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Natural Flavorings, Seasoning (Brown Sugar, Mustard, Dehydrated Onion, Green Bell Pepper, Spice)) Bar-B-Q Sauce (Water, Tomato Paste, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Molasses, Distilled Vinegar, Brown Sugar, Salt, Worcestershire Sauce (Distilled Vinegar, Molasses, Corn Syrup, Water, Salt, Caramel Color, Garlic Powder, Sugar, Spices, Tamarind, Natural Flavors), Cayenne Peppers, Natural Smoke Flavor, Dehydrated Onions, Soybean Oil, Dextrose, Dehydrated Garlic, Spice And Spice Extractives, Xanthan Gum, Sodium Benzoate, (Preservatives), Guar Gum, Ascorbic Acid.

Corkys BBQ Heat and Heat Meal Review

Prior to heating

Corkys BBQ Heat and Heat Meal Review

Out of the oven

Corkys BBQ Heat and Eat Meal Review

Memphis Factory

 

 

 

 

Corkys BBQ Heat and Eat Meals Review

Corkys BBQ Heat and Eat Meals Review

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail
Select a Topic
Restaurant Delivery!
The Food You Love, Delivered - Order Now!
Tweet! Tweet! Tweet!
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisment
Advertisement