I’ll be the first to admit that long ago I wrote off Kona Grill as a generic bar and grill kind of spot with reheated food for yuppy types. Yet, when my coworkers and I ventured out for lunch one day and found ourselves at Kona Grill in Chandler, I didn’t protest because it still deserved a fair shot and who would I be to not give it one?
There is no denying that much of my heart belongs in the state of Wisconsin, where I spent many summers of my life. So when Michigan loses a football game to Wisconsin, I may hate it, but I’m also weirdly more okay with it than I am with losing to just about any other team. But what does this have to do with food? Well, Wisconsin produced a fast food place called Culver’s, which is actually in Phoenix. So afters years of not being in Wisconsin, I revisited the Scottsdale location of Culver’s to see if it could bring me back to my days in Wisconsin.
Brio may be a chain, but it’s the kind of chain I can get behind. After all, steaks are a central component of the menu at the place. Of course, with an Tuscan theme it’s possible to get some light pasta or something else crazy, but I am a man who doesn’t generally turn down the opportunity for a steak.
While Phoenix has Pizzeria Bianco, it isn’t exactly a city known for its pizza. This may be because pizza isn’t exactly what you crave on a super-hot day, yet Phoenix has managed to import Chicago-style deep dish through Oregano’s and New York style pizza with Grimaldi’s. Grimaldi’s does coal brick oven pizza and actually started out in New York so I was expecting it to be pretty good.
The Original Pancake House may not be a Western New York native, but it sure is a local favorite. We had it in Michigan and I always liked it, but I never exactly found it groundbreaking, aside from the smiley face pancakes they used to make. Yet, I figured it was time to revisit the old place (which, by the way, has a fish fry on Fridays) and see what it was like.
When you think of Dave & Buster’s you probably don’t think of food. And that’s with a good reason. The place is made for arcade games and drinking, with food as a sort of afterthought. Nonetheless, some genius friends of mine decided to head over to the Waterfront to both EAT and PLAY at Dave & Buster’s. It seemed like a mistake, and as our waiter told us that we could only order a tower of beer for more than three drinkers, this fear seemed confirmed. But we pressed on.
The moment I heard Taco Bell was testing markets for breakfast, I began counting down the days until I could have some for myself. Of course, at the time, there was no date to count down to because of the whole test market thing. Nonetheless, a date came: March 27, 2014. And when I arrived at Taco Bell at 11:01 am I was promptly turn sent packing for being one minute past the breakfast deadline. Somewhat deterred, I returned a week later, but this time before the clock could run out on me.
Casual dining chains are a weird thing. Applebee’s gets a bad rap, but somehow Chili’s seems to be immune from negativity. Then there are places like Olive Garden and Red Robin that people sincerely love. It’s a strange world. But after a few people in my life talked about the goodness of Red Robin’s burgers (myself having not eaten there since the age of 10), I found myself at one of those restaurants and in need of a burger (as always).
I can probably be said that any visit to Atlanta without a stop at Waffle House is a failure. This breakfasty 24 hour diner is a staple in the Atlanta area. Furthermore, any trip to Waffle House without has browns is also a failure. Before going any further, I have to admit that I failed at the latter. Be that as it may, take this review with a grain of salt. It won’t be a bad review, but likely won’t be as good as it could have been. Also, I didn’t eat any waffles.
When the Culver City outpost of Famima!! shuttered, I lamented the loss. It was one of those places that I didn’t get to very often, but always felt comfortable knowing it was there. Then I found out that it was to be replaced by Smashburger, a fast-casual burger chain out of Denver that specializes in smashing balls of beef into burgers as they cook, instead of getting them patty-ized beforehand. The premise isn’t entirely novel, but that did not mean I wasn’t excited.