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Applebees Review – Nationwide Chain


Applebees ReviewStarting as a single restaurant called T.J. Applebee’s Rx for Edibles & Elixirs in Decatur, GA, 1980, Applebees has grown to a franchised chain of over 2000 units in 15 countries.

Applebee’s is in the casual dining segment, with basic American dishes including salads, shrimp, chicken, pasta, burgers, and “riblets” an Applebee’s signature dish. Most of the units feature a bar area with numerous TVs for viewing sporting events and full alcohol service.

The company frequently runs cost promotions, like “two can eat for twenty” – one appetizer and two entrees from a short list, for $20. Is it a good value or does it get you to spend more than you intended. No idea.

It wouldn’t be a regular stop of mine, but I happened into one in Sikeston, MO, when passing through. Most interstate travelers exiting here might look for a heavily advertised joint, “Lamberts – Home of Throwed Rolls” – but if you’ve done that once, like I have, that’s probably enough.

I had rings for an appetizer and a cheeseburger and fries.  It was ok.  Living in an era of (pick one) (organic, wagyu, grass fed, free range, hand pattied, special blend, ground daily) burgers, it wasn’t a standout. Nice bun. Lots of fresh vegetables for toppings and OK fries.

So it’s a good value. The restaurant, ambiance? Too noisy. The bar and tvs dominate the room, but pretty sure that’s where most of the revenue comes from too.  Service was perfunctory.

It was a highway stop.  That’s all.  Haven’t been in one in decades. Unlikely I’d stop again unless the parking lot was empty.

Applebees Review




 Full menu is online.
Applebee's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Applebees Review

Applebees Review



New Orleans Seafood and Hamburger Co Review – Multiple Locations New Orleans, LA


New Orleans Seafood and Hamburger Co ReviewI’ve been coming to this place for almost 20 years. It used to be for the hamburgers, and it was the hamburger because the location I used to frequent had a very large “fixin’s bar,” which was quite nice.

That feature seems to have vanished.  Now I come for the thin sliced fried catfish, cause I think this is the only place in the city you can get it, unless you’re in the mood for a Sunday drive and want to go about 40 miles north to Middendorfs, an old timey place which is really great as well.

What they mean by “thin-sliced” is the filet is sliced length-wise, resulting in a paper thin piece of fish.  It’s then flash fried in their unique breading, resulting in an extra crispy filet.

New Orleans Seafood and Hamburger’s menu has all the usual suspects of local dishes. Fried and grilled seafood, oysters, gumbo, and throw in the burgers for good measure.

They have great fries, extruded potato fry shape drenched in garlic butter and sprinkled with herbs. They’re kind of addictive.

This time around, I had the thin filet cat poboy, it was good, good bread, fully dressed, too large to eat at a sitting.  (If you’re a first time visitor to the city, servers will ask if you want your sandwiches “dressed” which means lettuce, tomato and mayo. Most people say yes.

This location (uptown, on the St Charles streetcar line) has a couple large rooms, so it’d be ok to bring your family thing or a tour bus here, I imagine. Full bar and a number of draft beers, and the sign said video slots, but I didn’t see them.

I think I’ll revisit the burger next time.  Good grub. Good value. Sparkling clean facility. Efficent service.

A bunch of locations in the New Orleans metropolitan area.

Full menu. (also below).   Kid choices, too.


New Orleans Seafood and Hamburger Co Review

Fried Catfish Poboy


New Orleans Seafood and Hamburger Co Review

Click to Enlarge

New Orleans Hamburger & Seafood Company Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
New Orleans Seafood and Hamburger Co Review

New Orleans Seafood and Hamburger Co Review



DC Cobbs Review – Woodstock, IL


DC Cobbs ReviewYou may not have heard of the town of Woodstock, Illinois, but you’d probably recognize if if you were plopped down in the town square.

Is the picture at the left a good enough clue?  Or how about this quote:  “Ned?  Ned Ryerson?”  If it hasn’t come to you, Woodstock is a quaint little town about an hours train ride from downtown Chicago. It’s where most of the outdoor scenes in the movie “Groundhog Day” were shot.

Well, just off the bustling square (full of cute little shops and eateries) is DC Cobbs, a bar and burger place that has won all of the local favorite awards for the past few years.  Usually that’s a red light to me, and I ain’t going. But I was intrigued by some of their menu combinations and the choices one has for assembling a custom burger, so off I went on a Saturday afternoon.

Got there around 2 ish and it wasn’t so busy, so I was able to snare a table next to the window and people watch while waiting for the grub.

Although they have some interesting appetizers, I skipped them to get right to the meat.  Choose your protein: corn or grass fed beef, chicken, bison, ground turkey, or veggie bean.  Chose your bread: brioche, pretzel roll, rye bread (a think in Chicago), grilled cheese or gluten free.  Then there are a whole raft of topping choices, more proteins as toppers, cheeses, vegetables, sauces.

They have about 20 combinations on the menu, if you’re lazy about picking your own, including the “Ned Ryerson.” (Like how all that came full circle?  Kind of like the writing in Pulp Fiction, right? LOL).

I went with the “Blue Streak” a half pound ground beef topped with fried chicken tenders, buffalo sauce and chunky blue cheese dressing. (The chunks were YUGE, I tell you!).  Added rings as a side.  (Fries are standard, but there are about a dozen other items you can choose from).

Tablemate ordered the “Woodstock” topped with fresh mozz, boursin spread and roasted red peppers.

It was all great, came out of the kitchen surprisingly quick, and were cooked precisely as ordered.  The beef itself had wonderful flavor and was a nice grind.

Personal opinion that with all those toppings, they could find a roll a little more substantial than a brioche. It’s not going to survive the meal if you have “wet” toppings.  Pretzel would be firmer, but I’ve been ignoring them for awhile.  It’s a personal thing.

They have different specials that last a whole month.  This month, it’s an Hawaiian theme. for burgers, apps, and hand-helds.

Also on the menu, sandwiches, salads, and assorted other goodies. They’ve just opened a second location in McHenry, IL, another town you probably haven’t heard of, also an hour from downtown Chicago, but more north, not west, like Woodstock.

Server Angelica was top-notch.  She “gets it.”

I will return.  Click for the full menu.

DC Cobbs Review

Mozz, Boursin, Peppers


DC Cobbs Review

Tenders, Buffalo Sauce, Blue Cheese

DC Cobb's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
DC Cobbs Review

DC Cobbs Review


Hot Dog-aghetti Recipe


Hot Dog-aghetti Recipe

Today’s recipe from the “New Hotdog Cookbook” (McFadden Publishing, 1968) (Recipe their property)  is “Hot Dog-aghetti!”

  • 8 small onions – about 1 inch diameter
  • 1 1/2 c water
  • 1 8 ounce can tomato sauce
  • 2 cups tomatoes
  • 1 cup macaroni noodles
  • 1 package garlic flavored salad dressing mix
  • 1/2 cup sweet pickle relish
  • 8 hot dogs cut in thirds

Cut onions in quarters, boil in  water. drain. reserve water. Place onion water in sauce pan with tomato sauce and tomatoes, bring to boil. Reduce heat, add pasta, simmer for 24 minutes. Add dressing mix, relish, onions and hot dog pieces, simmer for another ten minutes. Serves 6.
place onion water in sauce ba n with tamoto sauce and tomatoes. bring to bil, add spachetti.

Hot Dog-aghetti Recipe

Pic not representative of recipe



Hot Dog-aghetti Recipe

Hot Dog-aghetti Recipe


Palms Grill Cafe Review – On Route 66, Atlanta, IL


Palms Grill Cafe Review One of the original U.S. highways, Route 66 (US Highway 66), was established on November 11, 1926.

A few years later, the Palms Grill Cafe opened on the “Mother Road” in Atlanta, IL, about equidistant between St. Louis and Chicago (now just off I-55).

Not much has changed since then, in Atlanta, or at the Palms. The restaurant still whips up most everything from scratch on a daily basis (closed Tuesday, tho), serves breakfast all day, and offers an ever changing menu of daily specials.  This is the epitome of American home cooking.

Taking advantage of that “breakfast all day thing” meant a fried pork chop and eggs for my navigator, and for me? A central Illinois specialty, served nowhere else that I know of.  It’s called the “Horseshoe” and was created in/around Springfield, IL.

This beauty starts with two pieces of toast on the plate, your choice of protein (burger, ham, bacon, pork chop, sausage, chicken), then topped with fries, and your choice of sausage gravy or cheese sauce….or both! And sure, they’ll throw a fried egg or two on top if you want.  That makes it a “breakfast shoe.”

I went with country ham. Delish.  As were the fresh cut, twice fried fries. Not many places do that anymore.

Didn’t have room for dessert, wish I did, each day they have a selection of house made pies and cakes. This lemon cake pictured was right in front of me during lunch. Torture.

There’s a big room for events or tour buses, and the walls are chock-a-block with old time area photos.  Some vintage machines (pinball, cash register, payphone, refrigerator) dot the main room and are all in excellent working condition.

Here’s the menuAnd the daily specials.

Palms Grill Cafe Review

Fried Ham Horseshoe


Palms Grill Cafe Review

Pork Chop and Eggs


Palms Grill Cafe Review

Lemon Cake

Palms Grill Cafe Review

And directly across the street? Lookee who’s looking at you!

Palms Grill & Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
Palms Grill Cafe Review

Palms Grill Cafe Review



Bread Soup with Hot Dogs Recipe


My favorite niece found this old cookbook, the “New Hotdog Cookbook,”  McFadden Press, 1968. Thought I’d put up some of their recipes, a lot of them are pretty funky!

Bread Soup with Hotdogs


  • 6 C hot beef stock
  • 6 slices enriched white bread, lightly toasted
  • 6 eggs, poached until just firm
  • 6 hot dogs, cut in 1/4″ slices

Place a slice of toast at the bottom of each soup bowl. Place a poached egg on top and distribute the hot dog slices around the toast.  Pour in 1 cup of the boiling hot stock over the toast, egg, and hot dogs. Serve at once.

Bread Soup with Hot Dogs Recipe

Random internet pic of soup, not representative of recipe

(Recipe remains copyright of publisher)






Bread Soup with Hot Dogs Recipe

Bread Soup with Hot Dogs Recipe



Crocketts 1875 Breakfast Camp Review – Gatlinburg, TN


Crocketts 1875 Breakfast Camp

Crocketts 1875 Breakfast Camp ReviewI’m big about avoiding tourist traps or “voted best XXX 10 years in a row.”

Unless I specifically head out for one, of course, and Crocketts 1875 Breakfast Camp was just one such destination.

I was going to be passing near Gatlinburg, and I thought the least I could do to help boost their local economy after their devastating fires would be to stop and have breakfast.

It’s a tourism mecca, so there is no shortage of themed restaurants, but I liked the menu at Crocketts (it’s only open from 7A-1P BTW), and especially had my eye on their country fried ham, because as I am sure you know, I am a fiend for ham.

It’s a long menu, offering you a choice of egg breakfasts, omelets, skillets, “griddle cakes” and accompaniments.

For some reason, my eyes alit on the most expensive thing on the menu, the Black Bear Camp Skillet, which pretty much assured you one of everything else on the menu:  two eggs, ham, sausage, bacon, taters, biscuit, gravy, pone, cheese grits and a monster “griddle cake.”

I did a respectible job at polishing it off, breakfast potatoes are not my thing, they take up capacity needed for more pork products, and the giant pancake suffered the same fate. Oh, passed on pone, too.

All of it was great. One small ordering glitch (that I have run into a few times lately).  I like my eggs “basted.”  Pretty standard method of cooking.  No can do here. Know why? There isn’t a button for it on the computer.  Scrambled, Up, Over Easy, Over Hard.  That’s it.  Odd.

But otherwise.

Breakfast for two with beverages is going to run your near or north of $40.  Nice kids menu. Be prepared to wait for a table at peak hours. Lots of wall decor that will fascinate the kiddies; no separate menu that I saw, but ordering off the ala carte menu you’ll do ok.

Didn’t get your fill?  They’ll sell you giant cinnamon rolls to go, as well as other souvenirs.

Fun stop. Good grub. Onward.  Spoiler alert.  Nothing to do with “Davy Crockett” if that’s what you were thinking, as I was.

I think I was in Gatlinburg once before, but just a zip through. Reminds me of Wisconsin Dells, if you’ve ever traveled that way.  For that matter, the restaurant is somewhat reminiscent of the Paul Bunyan Cook Shanty Restaurant in the Dells, only difference being breakfast there is served family style and you’ll receive a complementary starter of freshly fried donuts!

Here’s the entire menu.

Crocketts 1875 Breakfast Camp Review

Black Bear Camp Skillet


Crocketts 1875 Breakfast Camp Review

Griddle Cake – Yes, it is as big as it appears! 

Crockett's Breakfast Camp Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
Crocketts 1875 Breakfast Camp Review

Crocketts 1875 Breakfast Camp Review



Quijote Brand Chorizo Review


Quijote Brand Chorizo

Quijote Brand Chorizo ReviewThere are many varieties of chorizo sausage in the world.  I prefer the Spanish version, which is an ‘eating’ sausage, fermented, dried, smoked, ready for slicing.

It’s made from pork, fat, and a heavy dose of smoky paprika, along with a few other spices. It’s much milder than “Mexican chorizo” which incorporates chili peppers and is removed from the casing before frying in a skillet, being mashed, and taking on the appearance of finely ground beef.

I don’t see the Spanish variety in stores very often, so when I do, I pick it up. Driving across the Deep South last week, I stumbled onto a display of product in a grocery store, made by Elore Enterprises Inc., a Miami company located near MIA and five miles west of Biscayne Bay (pic below).

It’s very smoky and has the requisite firmness.  These particular sausages are about three inches long and 3/4 inch in diameter.  “Fun size” my daughter would say.

If you want a change of pace in a nice, firm, slightly spicy, slicing “salami” – you should give this style a try.

Quijote Brand Chorizo Review


Quijote Brand Chorizo Review

Miami Plant Location



Quijote Brand Chorizo Review

Quijote Brand Chorizo Review



Sal and Mookies Pizza Review – Biloxi, MS


Sal and Mookies Pizza Review“John and Mitchy were getting kind of itchy…”   wait….. “Sal and Mookie were feeling kinda ooky..”  Sorry. Really obscure and I’m dating myself.

So apparently these two guys were in the restaurant business in Jackson, MS (a hotbed of dining lately, really) and they decided they wanted to go into the NY style pizza biz.

According to their own information, they worked on different recipes til they felt they had it down and THEN went to NY to see how their pies compared.  They were satisfied.

Restaurant opens. Success. Pizza, ice cream parlor, sports bar, adult area, all in one.

Met people who wanted to take the concept to the Gulf Coast. Made a deal. Opened. Successful.  Just off the coast highway, across from the Hard Rock in Biloxi.  Spitting distance from the Gulf.

So I wandered in about 7:30 or so on a weeknight, and there were perhaps six couples dining and a gaggle of uncleared tables, must have been kinda busy earlier.

Hostess is awol.  Chef in kitchen behind big glass window overlooking the hostess stand. Nada. Blank stares.

Seems like finally a light bulb goes off and he goes to look for someone.  In the meantime, I’ve located the bartender and he shows me to one of the few “clean” tables.  Cleaned as in “cleared,” when the server did show up, she felt compelled to give it a wipe down.

Drinks ordered, delivered after a little delay. (Was there an employee poker game going on in the back or something?)

Pizza ordered, 14″ “Classic New York” with sausage, mozzarella, and provolone.

Pizza delivered fairly quickly. (By this time, I was the only customer).  Sal and Mookie’s brochure states that they use the finest ingredients:  King Arthur Flour,  Kosher Salt, Filtered Water, Fleishman’s Yeast, EVOO, whole milk mozzarella and imported Italian plum tomatoes.  Admirable, but I doubt the average pizza eater can tell the difference. I mean, hell, Pizza Hut, Little Caesars,  and Dominos are the largest chains in the world, and people seem to be satisfied with the crap they put out.

So do I tell you my opinion about this as a pizza in general, or as a “New York style” pizza?

If I lived here, it wouldn’t be my ‘go to’ pizza, tho this isn’t a part of the country that lends itself to great pizza.  I lived in New Orleans for eight years and pizza there was mostly meh.  I understand they’re working on it.

On Sal and Mookie’s desire to make a New York style.  Crust is too thick, puffy doughy edges, reminiscent of one of the grocery store self-rising things. Sausage is sliced pieces of links, that’s very New York-ish. But the sausage selection isn’t very flavorful.  (There’s a small producer down the road in Chalmette, Marciante, you should go sample theirs).  I didn’t look close, but there was a lot of garlic on the pie, so I can’t say whether it’s in the sauce or was diced bits on top.  I’m ok with that, some people might now be.

I’d personally prefer more cheese, but then real NY pizza tends to be skimpy on cheese. Distribution was a little lop-sided for some reason.

If you’re an occasional reader, you know the true test (for me) is how tasty the pie is the following morning, after sitting out all night. This one passes that test.

Would I go again?  Don’t think so.  In addition to the reasons above, it’s a little spendy, but then it’s sitting right in tourism central.  Total time invested, 75 minutes, surrounding tables still weren’t cleared or cleaned.

I think it’d be a fun place if you’ve dragged your entire family and in-laws to the beach, and wanted a pizza and ice-cream party, with lots of room to spread out.  They also have salads and sandwiches, a few pasta dishes and a kid’s menu.  Full menu is right over here. Non-smoking.  They cater.

Sal and Mookies Pizza Review

Sal & Mookie's New York Style Pizza & Ice Cream Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sal and Mookies Pizza Review
Sal and Mookies Pizza Review


Crab Shack Review – Tybee Island, Savannah, GA


Crab Shack ReviewTybee Island is the easternmost point of the U.S. state of Georgia, and is one of the barrier islands off the east coast of the U.S.

The Crab Shack therefore is the easternmost restaurant in the state of Georgia, 18 miles from downtown Savannah, and worth the drive.

Built from the ground up by an enterprising returnee couple, from the remnants of a local marina and bait shop, the restaurant, bar, and gift shop features a menu that offers  fresh seafood, local and otherwise, as well as Georgia style barbecue.

This unique attraction is the perfect place to sit in the sun (or not) and have a great meal, mosey your way through an afternoon of tropical cocktails, or  ……. wait for it. ………….. show the kids the pond with SEVENTY EIGHT (yes, 78, count them!) live baby alligators!  No,  I’m not kidding!

I went for the “low country boil” – something you’ll see on a lot of area menus, which is concocted via  a massive pot of boiling seasoned water, into which is dumped sausage, corn cobbettes, smoked sausage and shrimp. A lot of peel and eat shrimp.  It’s a very generous serving, dumped out onto your plate and serve with condiments of your choice.

(BTW, if your kids get antsy waiting for the food – there’s a giant bin of saltines at each table, but the food comes quickly).

I dug the boil plate big time. Pretty much like a New Orleans crawfish boil, except substituting shrimp, of course.

Also on tap, local favorite Brunswick stew, a flavorful tomato based thick broth with pulled chicken, sausage, pork and vegetables. Simply marvelous.  Brunswick, Georgia, claims to have originated the dish in 1898. Earlier versions were made with rabbit and/or squirrel.  No such luck these days!  here’s a traditional recipe if you want to try it at home.

If you’re visiting Savannah, don’t confine yourself to the tourist areas downtown and along the river. Get out of town, feed the gators, then feed yourself at the Crab Shack.  Highly recommended.

Can’t get there?   They’ll ship you their seafood, stew, ‘cue and condiments.  No kidding!  Brochure below, or order here.  Ask your server about the local atomic bomb!

Crab Shack Review

Low Country Boil


Crab Shack Review

Baby gators! They’re alive!

Crab Shack Review

Have Crab Shack Food Shipped

The Crab Shack Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
Crab Shack Review

Crab Shack Review

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