Another day, another blog

What's my problem? I mean, seriously, why another blog? Well, it's not because I'm organized and need to have my life compartmentalized. No, it's because whenever I think about writing about something that's on my mind, it never seems to fit the theme of any of my blogs. So here I am again...

The folks closest to me know that I am passionate about several things: Woodworking, Woodworking Tools, Pipe Smoking, Cooking and for some odd reason three-wheeled cars. One of my favorite shows is Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives, and because of my travel schedule with work I often find myself in the same towns that the host Guy Fieri has already visited. When this happens I try to hit at least one of the spots where he seemed to have the most fun.

This blog will be my little spot to record my visits as I follow Guy to some great food joints, and I invite you to come along. Scott

www.foodnetwork.com/diners-drive-ins-and-dives

Well, this is ironic

I'm a little behind. I've visited several resturaunts in recent months that have been featured on DD&D, but I just haven't taken the time to write about my experiences. Oddly enough that's not what I'm writing about today.

For the second time in as many years I've decided to give Twitter a shot. I have to admit that I just don't get it. But at any rate I was looking at some of the folks that Twitter suggested that I should follow, and one of them was Guy Fieri! That made me laugh, knowing how the name of this blog bothers my wife a little as it is! So if you are reading this, Guy, it is true that I am now following you.

More soon.

The Blog Post that Almost Never Was: Grandps's Bakery

It's been a little over a year since I visited Grampa's Bakery in Dania Beach, FL.  What's taken me so long to write this post?  Well, it's because I've been debating if an honest post about my visit would break my mother's rule that if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all".  I've finally come to terms with this and have modified Mom's advice and will now subscribe to "If you can't say something nice, at least be accurate".

That said, my visit was a bust.  I was in Fort Lauderdale for a week of training.  I was excited because there were three places that Guy visited within a short distance of my hotel, and between seafood, cheese steaks and baked goods I would be in heaven.

As I've already shared with you the other places were very good: The Blue Marlin and Sonny's Famous Steak Hoagies.  I stopped by Grandpa's after having lunch at the Blue Marlin, and with a few hours to kill before returning my rental car and flying home.  My plan was to find something light to munch on and to milk a cup of coffee as long as I could.

The entry was a traditional bakery with a dining room attached to the left.  For whatever reason I didn't expect to see the bakery counter.  What should have been the first warning sign was that they had a HUGE flat screen TV mounted above the front counter playing a continuous loop of Guy's visit.  Not to sound like a Guy basher, but if that's their only claim to fame, there's not much hope.  But I digress... 

I told the hostess that I was dining in, and she lead me to a booth along the front window at the middle of the restaurant.  It was 2pm on a Friday and I expected that the lunch croud would be long gone, but I didn't expect that they'd be this slow.  There weren't three other occupied tables in the entire place.

We had passed a glass display with rotating glass shelves piled high with pies and cakes, and a chocolate cake was calling my name, so i ordered a slice and a cup of coffee.  They had those silly 1940's 6oz coffee mugs which always fit my hand like a child's tea cup.  My mug was a little dirty, but I wiped the rim with my napkin and decided to let it slide.  (This is a big step for me, and this goes against my OCD in a big way.)

After several minutes my slice of cake finally arrived and I took my fork and dug-in.   And just about puked.

Apparently the slice I received was the slice that was adjacent to the previous cut, and apparently that slice had been take from the cake at some point in 1977!  The exposed side of the cake was so stale that it was dry and, well, there's no other word for it; "Stale".   I was so disgusted by that first bite that I coudn't take another.  OK, where is my waitress?   Nowhere to be found for the next 5 minutes.

My cup was empty and my plate was full.  You think the waitress would notice?  Nope.  She walked past on the far side of the room (less than 20 feet) and never once glanced my way.

I pulled out my smart phone and checked them out on Yelp.com.  Why didn't I do that first?  If I had I would never had wasted my time.  But how could Guy be so wrong?

Back int he car I pulled-up the DD&D episode below and watched it again.  It was then that I learned an important lesson that has served me well ever since.  Notice how much time they spent watching them make pancake batter.  How many items does Guy taste?  How many times is he drawn back to the plate?

I'm now much more adept at reading between the lines when watching Guy and I've chalked this visit up as a lesson.  Now, learn from my mistake.

Offal Tee Shirt for the "Foodie" in your life

Offal. Think of it as a
Offal. Think of it as a "Foodie Call" by PatentPlaceUSA
Start making t-shirts on zazzle
Ask any Foodie, Chef or cook and they'll tell you that Offal are the delicious parts of an animal that most folks think of as trash.  Bone marrow, internal organs, and as Wikipedia continues: scrotum, brain, chitterlings (pig's small intestine), trotters (feet), heart, head (of pigs, calves, sheep and lamb), kidney, liver, "lights" (lung), sweetbreads (thymus or pancreas), fries (testicles), tongue, snout (nose), tripe (reticulum) and maws (stomach) from various mammals are common menu items.  When properly cleaned and prepared, offal can be very yummy!  

This shirt will be the best gift the food lover in your life will receive this year, so it might as well come from you! 

PAT'S VS GENO'S This time I'm one step ahead of Guy

I know that Guy hasn't made it to Geno's and Pat's in Philly yet, but I don't have anywhere else to post my experence, and heck, what's the point in writing a blog if I can't allow myself some leeway.

I've been to both Geno's Steaks and Pat's King of Steaks several times, and each time had a great experience.  Though the locals have started to shun the corner of East Passyunk Avenue and South 9th Street due to the recent cult-like attraction, there's still nothing like the original(s).

On a recent business trip I learned that a few of my bro-workers hadn't been to eight P's or G's, so one evening we decided to remedy that situation. 



Geno's Steaks
1219 South 9th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19147-5005
(215) 389-0659www.genosteaks.com


Pat's King of Steaks
1237 East Passyunk Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19147-5060
(215) 468-1547www.patskingofsteaks.com


Sonny's Famous Steak Hoagies,

I was in such a hurry to get in, grab lunch, and get out that I didn't bother to snap a pic of Sonny's.  The video below tells most of the story, but what it doesn't say is how tiny this Dive is.  That aside, the sub, or hoagie, or cheese steak, or whatever you call it was a strong 7.5 on my cheese steak scale.  The servers were polite and despite a line that went out the door and a dining room that was packed, they were thoughtful enough to hand me my Coke as I waited for my order, and then remembered to offer to top it off before I left.  Sonny's is in the middle of a residential area in a small strip mall that runs down a side street along side a larger strip mall.  I don;t know how many in the joint were there due to DD&D, but the local Seminole Indian population was well represented.  A very good find indeed.

Sonny's Famous Steak Hoagies
1857 NW 66TH Ave
Hollywood, FL 33024
http://www.sonnysfamoussteakhogies.com

The Blue Marlin in Miami FL. Wassup with Garmin?

I don't know what was up with my GPS, but Garman has never gotten me so lost before.  Fortunatly I had my "Dingleberry" with me, so after a quick Googlin' I found a better address and with 20 minutes more drive time I was parked at the Blue Marlin Fish House.

The location really took me by surprise.  If I had paid better attention to the episode of DD&D I would have noticed that the restaurant is basically a finished garage.  Not that I'm passing judgment on this dive for it's location, it's just that there was a NASTY storm brewing, and it looked like it was going to blow this shack right into the adjacent river!  The folks at the counter couldn't have been more helpful.  I decided that what I wanted was a fish taco, but I had no idea which fish to choose, so they handed me a sample of the smoked blue marlin and the smoked mahi mahi.  While the marlin was very good, the mahi was fantastic, so that's what I chose.

As I waited for my lunch down fell the sky in what felt like one huge raindrop!  I don't believe that my cell phone pic at right does this justice, but if you click on it to Biggie-Size it, you'll see how the water covered the entire floor of the dining area.  The paper napkins and paper covered straws on the counter were instantly ruined, and the 1/2 full tip jar went flying across the room and out the back overhead door!     

As you can imagine this got the attention of the staff, and one of the guys jumped the counter and then the wooden railing that lines the deck out back that overlooks the river in order to retrieve what he counted as $18 in ones!

The river was a neat touch, and to my delight I actually saw a manatee!  

The tacos were great, and I figured I still had tome to gram some coffee and desert at  Grandpa's Bakery & Restaurant if I rushed off, so that's about all I have to say about that.

The Blue Marlin is on my list of "do-over" spots, and if you are in the area I suggest you check it out, but make sure you print a current Google map to guide you in and check the weather channel!