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Archive for the ‘Seafood’ Category

Culvers Walleye Sandwich Review


Culvers Walleye ReviewI try and say something positive in every review I post. Even if something went wrong, or I don’t like something, I still try and remember to say “while this isn’t to my preference, you may enjoy it.”

Such is the case at Culver’s today, “Home of the Butterburger,” a Wisconsin-based regional burger and custard franchise. In addition to the standard burger type menu,they also have sandwiches, daily soups, and plate dinners.

I’ve had plenty of good grub there in the past, no denying that. I adore the crinkle fries, and the burgers are top-notch for fast food. Culver’s prepares your food to order, so there’s always a bit of a wait, but if you’re dining in, they’ll tote your tray to the table when it’s ready.

Once a year, for a limited time, they feature a popular fish in the Midwest, walleye pike, on a sandwich or plate. The walleye isn’t really in the pike family, it’s more closely related to perch, but Minnesotans at least, some Wisconsinites, other Midwesterners and Canadians consider walleye to be the filet mignon of freshwater eating fish. The filets are ample-sized, generally boneless, and the meat is light and flakey. It’s good sauteed in a cast iron pan over a campfire, pan fried with breading, or broiled. You can even find walleye bites in some restaurants.

Walleye is the state fish of Minnesota, Vermont and South Dakota. They grow up to 20 pounds, and anglers enjoy their ‘fight.’

So my sister, who lives in a Culver’s city 500 miles away from me, looks forward to walleye season with a great deal of anticipation. I admit, I was looking forward to it as well. During Lent, there’s a plethora of fish options in fast food and fast casual restaurants, and some of them are very good, Culvers Walleye Reviewand a good value.

Oh how I wish I could say the same about Culver’s walleye. I emailed my sister a few days ago and asked if she had partaken yet this year. She said she had, the previous week, but it was a horrible experience, everything was so greasy, the bun didn’t even survive half the meal. And I thought, “well, that’s too bad, probably a new guy on the fry basket or something.”

So I stopped at one today, ordered the sandwich and crinkle cut fries to go, the sandwich alone is $5.49, but walleye is expensive, and it’s not farm raised like catsfish or tilapia. Most restaurant walleye in the US comes from lakes in northern Canada. (I hope they don’t get any ideas and build a wall)!

But alas, my sandwich and bun was very greasy as well. While the fish flesh tasted good, the breading had no seasoning and was falling off the filet in chunks, not a good sign. I set the bun aside (it comes with shredded lettuce and mayo), and ate the fish with my hands.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ll go back to Culver’s, but if I want fast food fish in the future, I’ll get it elsewhere. Here’s the I recommend the pot roast.










Culvers Walleye Sandwich

Culvers Walleye Sandwich Review


Rural New Orleans Seafood Buffets


(This is from our archives, check on whether they are open before making the drive).

I am in buffet heaven, if there is such a thing.   I’ve previously written about a couple; I hit the other two “main attractions” in the past few weeks.

Number one, in all manners of speaking, was the House of Seafood Buffet, at 81790 Highway 21, in Bush, Louisiana.  Like most restaurants in these parts, they are open on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights, and they live up to their name.  There used to be a restaurant in my hometown whose slogan was “If It Swims, We Have It,” and I think the same could be said for the House of Seafood.  In addition to the usual fried entrees you will find at any indigenous restaurant, locally, the HOS has  boiling pots a brewing, and you will find ample boiled seafood selections to go along with your other choices.  They also have very respectable beef dishes, delectable fried chicken,  and a whole host of salads and sides, as well as the traditional desserts in the area.

The second stop was the Ole South Seafood and Buffet, at 15273 Highway 21 South, in .  Boasting similar opening days and hours as the HOS (but I believe Ole South is open on Sundays, call first), and a cavernous three room dining hall, the Ole South runs a distant second to HOS in my opinion – for selection, at least, but not for quality.  Both restaurants prepare their food fresh, and Ole South also has a carving station with ham and beef, which HOS did not.  Ole South has probably half the serving table size as HOS, but has accompanying prices which are less.

I’ve never been much of a buffet person, but I like these places, and there should be some of these in the city.  We seem to have dozens of Asian buffets in (the best, by far, is Oki Naga in Metairie, IMHO), but none of these “local dish” places.  I’m curious as to why.  It may well be the cost of rent, because these places in the hinterlands are huge.

I didn’t ask the prices before I went in, and since waitresses at both restaurants asked if we wanted the “buffet” I assume menu items are available as well. Seems like if you deduct the price of your beverage (HOS has pitchers of tea on the table, Ole South has waitresses pouring, but they get busy), I would guess that HOS runs about $15 per person, and Ole South about $12.  Both are good values, but I would return to HOS, and probably not to Ole South. Just personal preference.

Sidebar:  Another recent stop was in Angie, Louisiana, at Stuart’s Café, which is open from 5:30AM til 9PM daily.  I don’t know when they get to rest with those hours, and we could certainly use a place with similar hours in Mayberry, where most restaurants aren’t open early in the week.   I had the “double meat cheeseburger” at $4.00, and for one of the very few times in my life, I couldn’t finish it – it was huge.

But I was intrigued by another menu item, which I’ll have to check out next time:  “meat on toast.”

Doesn’t that just set your mouth a’waterin’?

New Orleans Seafood


Musso and Frank Review, Hollywood, CA



Musso and Frank Hollywood ReviewI have written about the joys of going to an establishment where they remember you – your likes, your dislikes; or are willing to prepare something “off the menu” to your liking.  But I find a certain comfort, as well, in being a regular at a place where just the opposite is true – they savor and protect your anonymity, and everyone is treated the same.

Such has been my experience with my favorite restaurant in Los Angeles – the venerable “Musso and Frank” Grill, in Hollywood, which purports to be Hollywood’s oldest restaurant (1919) and certainly can count itself as the sole survivor of the former plethora of “old Hollywood” celeb hangouts like The Derby, Ciro’s and Chasens.  In a city where nothing remains the same, and a historical site draws real estate speculators instead of preservationists, Musso and Frank is always there, always the same.  I’ve been dining at M&F for 30 years, and I’m still a stranger and family at the same time, each and every time I visit.

M&F’s has always been a Hollywood favorite – from as far back as the days of F. Scott Fitzgerald, Raymond Chandler, Dorothy Parker, Dashiell Hammett – and continues this day with frequent visits from the likes of Woody Allen, Al Pacino, a virtual who’s who list in Hollywood.  The dark wood paneled walls, crowded booths, and geriatric waiters have all survived the decades – as has the menu.  Where else can you find Welsh Rarebit, Jellied Consommé, or stuffed celery on a menu – with not sign of penne, pesto or anything remotely classified as noveau or fusion in sight?

You’ll start your dining experience as all customers do, with your linen-tablecloth adorned table being graced with a pitcher of water, ample real butter, and a plate of their ‘signature’ rye bread – tho the regular can be heard to ask for a “basket of butts” signifying to the waiter that 1) they have been here before, and 2) they prefer the ends of the loaf to the thick sliced slabs from the middle of the loaf.

The menu is lengthy.  Entrees are separated into “ready to eat” and “cooked to order” categories.  It’s noted that some entrees may take up to 40 minutes to prepare.

But you won’t care – you’ll just slam back another martini or perhaps a mint julep (William Faulkner used to get behind the bar and mix his own), while you are waiting; or perhaps you’ll doodle the outline of your next screenplay on a scrap of paper while you munch on a butt.

M&F is an assured “celebrity-spotting site” for tourists (I say tourists, because a native Los Angelean would never ‘bother’ a celebrity in public).  The last time I dined there, I had Fred Willard and a lady friend on one side of me, Rip Torn and a friend/colleague on another. Willard was very gracious; Torn was very drunk.

And me?  I emulated Willard and Torn both, and got graciously drunk….

M&F is open from 11-11 Tuesdays thru Saturdays at the corner of Hollywood and Cherokee.

If you’re a “regular” or a “regular wannabe,” you’ll enter thru the back door…

Musso and Frank Review







Musso and Frank Review


Berrys Seafood and Catfish Buffet, Florence, MS


I’m not ashamed to say I like AYCE buffets.  Especially at breakfast, where I often find my plate full of a half dozen different processed pork breakfast meats and little else.  But I also like seafood buffets, and I stumbled into a doozy in Southern Mississippi, 12 miles south of the State Capital on Highway 49.

I suspect Berry’s Seafood and Catfish House has been around forever, but in Florence (they have one other location), they are in obviously new and massive digs.

There are “hot bars” and “cold bars,” with fried and boiled shrimp, fried and broiled or blackened catfish, and everything in between, including beautiful salads and desserts.  Fried chicken, too.  More detail on the lunchtime menu can be found right here’ya.  Lunch and dinner are slightly different prices, but count on around $30 for two persons.

Special nights add crab legs to the buffet, and an ala carte menu, which includes steaks and sandwiches, is available for lighter eaters.

There’s no alcohol available, and the dozen or so large screen TVs are generally blaring religious music and messages – just sayin’, if that kind of thing is not your cup of tea.

As for me?  Did somebody say all you can eat catfish?  I’d put up with karaoke for that!

Berrys Seafood and Catfish Review


Berry's Seafood & Catfish House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Berrys Seafood and Catfish Buffet


Galatoires Revillion Fail – New Orleans

Galatoire's Review

                 Shrimp Scampi

One of the oldest operating restaurants in New Orleans, and generally regarded as one of the finest restaurants in the country, Galatoire’s is emblematic of fine cuisine in the Big Easy. I’ve had dozens of spectacular meals there. Unfortunately, our Revillion dinner, on Christmas eve, was not one of them. Revillion menus are set price, multi-course holiday dinners. Galatoire’s offering pays tribute to local ingredients.

As you might expect, the restaurant is extremely popular for these meals, and at this time of year, but with advance reservations, we were seated prior to our actual reservation time. All good so far.

My personal menu selections included starters of a Shrimp Scampi dish, followed by Lobster Bisque, a Beef filet with red wine reduction and creamed spinach, and a flan-like dessert.

The “Scampi” was an interesting approach to the traditional prep, with a number of hot, seasoned, shrimp perched atop a piece of crispy bread that had been marinated in shrimp and butter liquids. Very nice.

The soup arrived, and the four of us at the table received a wide range of temperatures for the soup – unfortunately, the range started at tepid and went all the way down to cold. Any attempts to get the server’s attention to get new, hot servings, fell on deaf ears. She made a major server faux pas at this point, and said she was busy with a “very large table.” Tsk. Tsk.

The entrees arrived prior to the return of the soup, and they too, were room temperature. They were probably plated beautifully in the kitchen, but the server had apparently jiggled them enough en route that the wine reduction had splashed all over the plates.

By that point, we had given up trying to convince the server to rectify matters, and (reluctantly) said a word to the manager, “Billy,” who offered to “make things right,” to our satisfaction.

Two soups reappeared, and oddly, they kitchen had just nuked the partially eaten soups instead of sending a new serving. Soup has splashed and dried along the inside of the bowl, and wasn’t very appetizing in appearance.

Billy reappeared, and his solution to the experience was to shower us with as many cocktails and desserts as we cared to consume. We indulged, but didn’t take advantage, of course.

He also sent around a “prepared table side” special flaming coffee for the whole party. Nice effort, but too little too late.

He did step up with the bill tho, and whacked about 25% off the tab, which was unexpected. So the Revillion dinner for four with cocktails, desserts, after dinner drinks, came out to about $240. A good value for Galatoire’s and for the season.

Will I return? Absolutely – as I said at the top, I’ve had dozens of great meals here. Most diners at the restaurant are used to being waited on by servers that have worked their for decades, and maybe our person (who was young) was new, and to her, it was just a job.

Galatoires Review

                                     Beef filet with spinach

Full Menu

Galatoire's Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Galatoires Revillion Fail

Galatoire’s Review


Johnsonville Andouille Review


Johnsonville Andouille ReviewIt’s not real easy to find true Andouille sausage up here in the winter wasteland. The Louisiana version is a pork, coarse-grained smoked sausage made using pork, garlic, pepper, onions, wine, and seasonings. It’s stuffed in a natural casing and smoked again.  There are hundreds of sausage makers in Louisiana, and so there is a lot of variation in taste and texture, but most can be described as flavorful to the extreme.  The French version (pictured below) is more coarse; when I lived in Paris, I ordered it at a local bistro, and the offal bits were clearly identifiable, which was a little bit of a put off for me. Most Americans are used to their sausages being made from a smooth slurry.

As is with the Johnsonville Andouille, a smoked pork/beef sausage made for the masses.  Ingredients are Pork, beef, and less than 2% of blah blah blah including corn syrup, in a collagen casing.

I think Johnsonville’s New Orleans Spicy Smoked Sausage might be a closer match.

Anyway, I had a hankering to make gumbo today, and grabbed the Johnsonville Andouille.  It didn’t add anything to my recipe, nor detract.  Most people will find it to be an ordinary smoked sausage, and that’s OK under a lot of circumstances.

Johnsonville Andouille Review

                               Fine grind in collagen


Johnsonville Andouille Review

                              And into the gumbo!


Johnsonville Andouille

                    French Andouille






Johnsonville Andouille Review







More Pix from Puerto Vallarta


El Palomar de Los Gonzalez Restaurant features the best American and Mexican cuisine with outstanding picturesque views of the city and ocean. Open for dinner nightly at 6PM.

The full menu features a lengthy selection of local fresh fish, beef, salads and soups.

They love to prepare your requests tableside, when ordered, like Caesar Salad, and Bananas Foster.  A half dozen creative shrimp and lobster dishes delight diners.

El Palomar de los Gonzalez

El Palomar de los Gonzalez


El Palomar de los Gonzalez

El Palomar de los Gonzalez

El Palomar de los Gonzalez

El Palomar de los Gonzalez

El Palomar de Los Gonzalez


IONutrition Meal Home Delivery Review


Ionutrition Meal SubscriptionUsed to be if you wanted to take advantage of a “home meal delivery” service, the companies that were available in the genre were focused on weight loss; or you could try and put together your own plan with a company like Schwans.

But lately we been presented with  a gaggle of choices from different companies, catering to all types of diets and tastes, as well as subscriptions that send portion control ingredients for you to cook at home, or fully prepared fresh “heat and eat” meals from companies like IONutrition. These guys are focused on fresh, organic, wholesome meals, and you can subscribe to a pure vegetable diet or one that includes animal protein.

They comped me some samples, and first off I went for the Butternut Portobello French Lentils with Salmon, which is ready to go after only two minutes in the microwave.

The ingredients are so straightforward it’s a breath of fresh air: Salmon, lentils, onion, carrots, mushroom, sweet potato, squash, eggplant
almond, tumeric, cumin, parsley, garlic, sea salt, filtered water.  What, seriously? None of those ingredients you can’t pronounce or have no idea what they are? Wow. Outstanding, folks.

Another significant difference with IoNutrition is they don’t have freezers chock-a-block full of frozen meals; they prepare your order right when you place it, and ship it out in a gently refrigerated box.

Watching calories, carbs or fats?  You’ll dig this nutritional information.   15 ounce serving = 537 calories, fat 2, carbs 55, fiber 16, protein 46. Meals are gluten and dairy free,organically sources elements. Eat them at home or amp up your daily office lunch.

The big question?  How was it?  Fantastic.  Seriously.  As good or better than anything I could fix at home, and possibly the best salmon I’ve  had in years. Additionally, the creative blending of spices and flavors in the sides is a real nice change.

If I haven’t given you enough reasons to try them out, know that IONutrition is a ’caused-based’ business and supports several charity partners.

One more reason?  How about a discount just for readers of Burgers, Dogs, Pizza, Oh My! For a limited time, get 15% off any meal plan by using the code “BURGERS.”  Get the full 411 on the company here.



IoNutrition Review

                       Salmon, Lentils, Portobello




Ionutrition Meal Home Delivery Review


Schaumburg, IL – Pilot Petes Restaurant Review 10/2015 Update


I was flying home from FCO, stopped at ORD and taxied out to a suburban airport to hook up with a friend, and bum a ride on his plane back to Santa Barbara. He was held up with a ground stop at TEB, so I was gonna have a couple of hours to kill.  Luckily, there was a bar and restaurant at the airstrip.  I didn’t even know the airport was there, despite the fact I used to live nearby. Seems more like it’s for personal aircraft, I didn’t see many corporate-sized planes on the tie downs.  There’s a flight school and heliport, as well.

The restaurant overlooks the runway, and it’s called Pilot Pete’s.   It has an aviation theme (surprise!) with large scale model airplanes hanging from the ceiling, airline seats in the waiting area, and other general air knick-knacks as decorations.

I admire the owner/manager, this place has a very long menu, seemingly no pre-prepared dishes, as well as daily specials. It has to be a chore to keep everything running smoothly. The waitstaff is clad in shirts that say “Flight Crew,” and the couple I talked to said they’d worked there for years and wouldn’t work anyplace else.

Although this place is apparently known for its version of the hundred dollar hamburger, I was in the mood for something a little different, and surprise, I over ordered.  Started with an amazing “Fall Salad”, which crisp greens, blueberry, chicken and damn near a half pound of feta.  Salad came with soup, and I opted for French Onion, piping hot, flavorful, with the traditional baked cheese/crouton cap.

Launched into the restaurant’s version of a Cuban, which the menu says is an homage to the one prepared by Treasure Island in Tampa.  Pete’s strayed a little bit by adding mayo, tomato, and lettuce, which didn’t take away from the quality meats and cheese, which were amply packed between  pressed  halves of a garlic Cuban baguette.

The only downside to the meal were the accompanying fries, which were the extruded type, good flavoring and seasoning, just not a personal favorite. Overall, it was a terrific meal with portion sizes that could easily have served three.   Sandwich, soup, salad, cocktail, $40 including tip.

Here’s the menu.   (Update, October 2015).  Had their “hundred dollar burger” and onion blossom.  I added Asiago and onion straws to the 10 oz medium rare patty. Excellent. Pics down below.

PIlot Pete's Review

Fall Salad


Pilot Pete's Review

Cuban Sandwich and Fries


Pilot Pete's Review

Aviation Decor


Pilot Pete's Review


Pilot Pete's Review











Pilot Pete's on Urbanspoon

Pilot Petes Restaurant Review


Best Steak House Review – St. Paul, MN


Best Steak House Review St PaulBest Steak Houses used to be all over the Twin Cities, or at least places like this with the same name.  This one has been around for 40 years. When I started going to them, you could get a complete steak dinner, meaning steak, baked potato, salad and texas toast, for between $2 – $4.  Today the range is more like $6- $12 on average, with some up charges and add-ons available. I was in the mood for “chopped steak,” simply because you don’t see it on menus very often. (And after all, the name of the site isn’t “Steak, Dogs, & Pizza!”)

You wait in a line up front and tell the grill man your order, there is no discussion of “doneness” or anything.  Move on down the cafeteria style line, pick up your tray, silver, and make a salad from the selection of fixins, which are not in abundance or up market. (Genuine face bacos!)  But hey, this is value dining!

While the menu says each dinner comes with a potato, it means “baked potato” and there is a 99 cent up charge for fries, but why the hell not?  They are fresh cut, cooked to order for each diner, and plopped on the plenty in quantity. Perhaps a pound?

I made my salad, paid, and you’re told to wait at the register for your order, it will be right up, and it is.  One mystery to me was that some people got two slices of Texas toast, and others got one.  Didn’t seem to coincide with any menu selection or price.  I think I figured out it had to do with your politeness in line (I’m not kidding, some of the people are just damned nasty to grill guy).  So anyway, I got two pieces, and if you’ve read this blog at all, you know I’m all about the Texas toast!

The meat was great, flavoful, and a host of condiments, steak sauces are on the table.  I couldn’t finish the fries, but I’d be damned if I was leaving them behind! Seriously, some of the best fries I’ve had in a long time!

Best Steak House is kind of north and east of downtown St. Paul, open for lunch and dinner seven days, and you can get the whole dinner at lunch time for less than $6.00.

You should check them out.  They also have fried shrimp, gyros, and burgers for the kids.  Daily specials as well.  Menu.

Best Steak House Review St Paul

Chopped Steak & Fries

Ari's Best Steak House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Best Steak House Review

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