Monday, February 28, 2005

yet another restaurant review

I think this is number six. I've probably got another 20 to go. Then it will be onto another topic - maybe local bars.
Uncle Pete's is an establishment in North Wheeling. It boasts the distinction of having the most dangerous parking lot in town. I'm willing to bet it's the reason you rarely see older people frequent the place. A 3 pt. or sometimes 5 pt. turn is always required to get out of the main lot. Then, you must proceed up this steep incline and cut through oncoming traffic. Not to mention, there's a fire station right next to the place which could further heighten the anxiety.
The food is slightly overpriced but generally good. One exception is the wings - they suck. What's really strange is that they're served with celery and carrot strips. I've always been a big fan of celery, but carrots? What the hell is that about? The biggest problem I have is the name of one of the sandwiches - yeah, you guessed it. It's the Turkey Jerky. The sandwich is pretty good, but unfortunately, if you point to it on the menu and say, "I'll have this one," - you'll get a cheery response from the 14 yr. old waitress. "OH, AWESOME. I LOVE the Turkey Jerky!" That's the best sandwich we've got. MMMmmmmmmmm, Turkey Jerky! YUMMY COOL!" This is not an isolated occurrence. It has happened numerous times.
Most of the other things on the menu are pretty decent. I like the fact that the bar side is non-smoking. You also get a scenic view of the Ohio River and Wheeling Island. The outside deck is nice but they seem to have a bee problem. I was eating on the deck one time and our table was swarmed with about 15 bees. This is only a problem if you're sitting by the upstairs dumpster (unfortunately, we were in very close proximity to the aformentioned trash bin). There was also the slight stench of garbage. Not too bad though - could have been much worse).
I eat there about once or twice a year. On a scale of 1-10, I'd say it's about a 5.3.

Friday, February 25, 2005

another restaurant review

Although I know very little about lent, I thought it might be wise to incorporate Coleman's Fish Market into this blog thing. Friday is always a big day for this place in Center Wheeling. The place really picks up when it's lent. My favorite time of year is lent - I like watching men and women in professional attire with ashes on their forehead. One of my favorite pasttimes is yelling at people, "Hey dirtbag, wipe that crud off your forehead. This ain't no Shawshank prison, bitch." You might get the impression that I'm not a big fan of lent. Nothing could be further from the truth. I like it slightly more than Ramadan. I think they both last a month or so. One question, why do people consider that abstaining from meat is a big sacrifice? What's the deal anyway - does that include chicken? It's just red meat, right?
Anyway, Coleman's used to be a pigeon infested open-air colusseum-like establishment. They enclosed the place around the time Reagan got shot and it's much better. I doubt the 2 events were related.
First off, if you're from out of town, this place can be very confusing. The have two separate ordering lines. In one of the lines, you can order Canadian Whitefish instead of the regular pollock. This really makes for a special fish consumption experience - hence, it's called the special line. Out of towners have no clue and they often get in the wrong line.
Also, there seems to be some sort of verbally abbreviated ordering process only apparent to the indigenous folks of Benwood. For example, a person from, let's say Zanesville, would say, "I'll have one fish Sandwich , a clam chowder and one cole slaw." An old guy from Wheeling will bark, "Gimme 1 fish-bread separate, 8 tartar, 1 chowder and a slaw. Yeah, 8 tarter should do it."
The food - avoid the egg rolls, they used to be good. Nowadays, they suck. The fried shrimp are decent and the fish sandwiches are almost always good. Unfortunately, they have to raise the price of a fish sandwich by 3 cents every year or so. This sends the locals into a frenzied tailspin. Thus, they have to justify it in writing by posting notes about the never-ending fish shortage or the Wonderbread embargo. Trust me, these old-timers will bitch for weeks about how they live on a fixed income and it just ain't fair. Then, it's off to church bingo where they lose a hundred bucks.
All in all, Coleman's is a legendary Wheeling establishment. Probably one of the most financially successful restaurants in the area. It's not really a restaurant though, more like a bazaar. I go there about once a month.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

4th restaurant review

All things considered, Ernie's Esquire is the absolute worst restaurant in Wheeling, WV. The building is fascinating - tons of obscure rooms and loads of character, but the food is excruciatingly atrocious. And of course, it's way overpriced. The only people that seem to dine there are little old ladies or people who "just plain don't know any better". I've been to a few wedding recpetions there and the food seemed to be much better. The only reasonable explanation I can offer is that these events weren't catered by Ernie's.
What's even funnier is that they have valet parking. This is borderline embarrasing. There simply should not be valet parking anywhere in Wheeling. I guess there are a few Wheeling bigwigs who think this is appropriate. They can pull up and toss their keys to some homely kid named Ethan and quickly get to their table (thus avoiding the hectic parking lot). First of all, the parking lot is always empty. Secodnly, the restaurant is always empty. Therefore, this comes down to an issue of prestige, not convenience. How sad. What's even worse is that poor Ethan probably doesn't get an hourly wage - probably just works for tips. So every time someone decides to park their own vehicle, they might get a glance of contempt or even worse, a look of utter despair.
As far as the service goes, I have no idea because I refuse eat there. I wouldn't even go there for happy hour, although I do kind of like the bar setup.
Anyway, if you want a better dining experience, I'd suggest Sudan - possibly something in the Darfur region.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

3rd restaurant review - Salsa Cafe

Alright, time to get Salsafied. The Salsa Cafe has been around about a year or two. Smack dab in the middle of Woodsdale - probably the hippest section of Wheeling (if you're willing to make the assumption that anything in Wheeling is hip, other than Christian Karaoke night at the Church of God).
When you enter the Salsa Cafe, the first thing you might notice is a ton of religious crap. Paintings of the Virgin Mary, numerous angels, Passion of the Christ, some kind of tribute to Ezekial; hell, I think there's even a visual representation of the immacualte conception. Anyway, if you can get beyond the artistry and born-again pamphlets, you'll discover that they also serve food. The food is decent but often overpriced. The burritos are unusually strong, but it may take them up to 10 minutes to make one, even if nobody is in the place. I attribute this to the meticulous handcrafting burrito making process.
One of the workers has some highly unusual sideburns. My friend Eric and I refer to this man as "MuttonChops". If you see him outside the workplace, I encourage you to yell, "Hey, MC"! He may, or may not respond.
Everyone who works there is quite friendly. The place is very informal. I don't think there's a dress code. In fact, the pseudo grunge neo-alternative hippie youth are often seen frequenting the place.
One thing to defintiely avoid is the lobster bisque. Why on earth a burrito place would try to sell lobster bisque or any kind of seafood is beyong me. Trust me, it's really gross. However, their tomato florentine is very good. They also have plenty of overpriced salsa, chips, tacos, etc. Their spinach salad isn't bad either although it did get a horrific condemnation from a friend of mine. Ironically, she never ate a bite.
Anyway, the precious rating.... All things considered, Salsa Cafe gets a 6.7. The food is good yet overpriced and the service is somewhat slow although I'm sure some would call the service "methodical".

Monday, February 21, 2005

2nd restaurant review

Golden Chopsticks is a Chinese restaurant located in the heart of Wheeling Island. The building is spectacular. Kind of ironic because the rest of Wheeling Island is an absolute dump. The Island has about 400 houses. 11 of them belong to actual homeoweners. 40 of them are condemned and the rest are rented out by some old guy who lives in Steubenville. I used to live on the Island - smack dead center on Virginia Street in roach infested Gruber Apartments. I lived there in 1991. Mine was a ground floor apartment. A woman lived above me with some really heavy makeup - I used to call her the "hepatitis hooker". Actually, she wasn't that bad but her 12 yr. old daughter Tina was obnoxious. She would sit on the steps directly outside my window. When a car pulled up to the stop sign she would stare at them and yell, "What the fuck you lookin' at bitch. You god damn cunt." Stuff like that - she was merciless and I'm talking about screaming profanity at little old ladies whose only crime was stopping at the sign. I would open the window when I had visitors. We used to call it the floor show - like clockwork from 3:00-4:00pm right after her school let out.
Anyway, I digress.
Chopsticks, aka Choppy Chop, is decent. Very reasonably priced and good quality food considering the fact that Wheeling doesn't really have much of an Asian population. Come to think of it, most Asians don't really eat the American version of Chinese food. These people probably have no idea who the fuck General Tso is. By the way, that General Tso's Chicken is the absolute worst thing you can eat in a Chinese restaurant (from a health perspective).
Anyway, I highly recommend going there. There is a discernable difference between the egg rolls you get at lunch and those at dinner. The lunch ones are about 1/4 the size of Pee Wee Herman's cock; whereas, the dinner egg rolls are decent. I personally recommend the Kung Pao Shrimp. I spoke with this guy Jimmy over the weekend and he would always recommend the Hong Kong Steak Hew thing. It's not bad either.
I did get yelled at once by the owner's father. I accidentally spilled my drink at the bar and he yelled, "What's wrong with you". Other than that, the waiters/waitresses are very friendly. This place is highly recommended. I'd give it 8.8 on a scale of 1-10. Trust me, that's high praise.

Friday, February 18, 2005

first posting - local restaurant reviews

Since the beginning of time, man has consumed food. I think we can all agree that eating food is a pretty important aspect of our lives. What is truly worrisome is that some people just don't know where to go. There are a variety of local restaurants from which to choose. Some good, most poor, a few atrocious. These reviews will help serve as a guide or primitive template. Let's start with the places that totally suck. I feel that it's far more important to be aware of the restaurants one should avoid rather than the so called "great" places to eat.

The Swing Club - This place is now called Generations and it should be avoided at all costs. The only upside is that at night, it's frequented by a lot of attractive women. But this about where to eat, not who to eat. The service is absolutely miserable. There are enormous "timing gaps" during the meal. You could be quickly escorted to your table and then wait 20 minutes for a glass of water to arrive. Then, my favorite part is how all the food comes at once. The word "appetizer" doesn't make any sense here. Isn't the concept of an appetizer designed to be a "pre-meal" thing? Let's refer to them as just "tizers". All the tizers have dumb names - in fact, I get embarrased just thinking about them. Why can't nachos, just be nachos. Why does it suddenly have to be "nacho grando fiesta" or "superlicious chicken fajitas".
I'm not sure of the exact number of waiters/waitresses, but be aware - they're all bad. Except for one - there is this one brunette waitress. She could possibly be the best waitress in the entire area. In fact, this could be one of the biggest service anomolies in the entire restaurant biz nationwide.
Anyway, the food here SUCKS. Every salad is strictly and rigidly iceberg enforced. The dressings are all beyond crapulence. What's really ironic is that the place is usually packed. This is consistent with the fact that the majority of people who reside in Wheeling are unbelievably ignorant as to what good food is. They eat a steady diet of burgers and fries. Most are actually afraid of seafood (unless of course, it's deep fried shrimp).
So here's the recap...
Service - Unbelievably poor (except for that one anomolous waitress, she is a beacon of hope in a sea of vomit).
Food - beyond that which sucks. Entering a new era of shit.
Cost - somewhat reasonable
Decor - they remodeled the place and it looks spectacular. Sometimes it gets really cold.
Ambience - Fair
One last thought... Every time I go in there I see one of my neighbors. The next time I see her, I will ask her why she frequents the establishment with such Metamucil-like regularity. I will post her response in a future blog. I might even ask her out - though I probably won't post her response.