Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Grand Traverse Pie Company

Look out Panera and McAlister's, you've met your match...and they have pie!!! The Grand Traverse Pie Company just opened yesterday and the steady stream of customers tells the high anticipation story. FLO has seen the "coming soon" sign for weeks and has been waiting with bated breath for the "open" sign to glow. Finally, it's pie time!

We were happy to see that not only do they have the most devilishly delightful selection of irresistible pies, but a nice looking deli selection as well. As Fred and Libby are trying to take it easy on the waist line for a bit, there was a lot of holding back involved in the dinner choices.

For Fred, the Mexican potato...yes, it doesn't sound nutritious, but the chili on top actually is decent in calories compared to any of the other carbilicious choices. And there wasn't enough cheese on top to get too worked up about either. Overall, Fred found the potato not bad, but a maybe a little too healthy. It was cooked well, but tasted like a diet meal.

Libby, being extra disciplined, went for the Strawberry Fields Salad (hold the red onion) and a bowl of the chicken noodle soup. Fairly impressive healthy-ish fair for a lard lounge...not skimpy on the fruit(strawberries, mandarin oranges, apples), pecans, and a pre-packaged raspberry vinaigrette that went quite nicely. The chicken soup was very good. At 150 calories for the whole bowl, it was very tasty, nicely seasoned and was a perfect salt companion for the very sweet salad.

To make this a worthwhile bakery experience, the FLO had to try at least one slice o'heaven. As they were out of the Rhubarb pie, it would be the Lakeshore Berry Crumb Pie. We believe there were strawberries, blackberries, raspberries and possibly apples in this lovely tart/sweet and oh-so-crumbly topped masterpiece. It has now become a goal for the FLO to leave enough calories to sample a couple of different pies a week. Not to mention some of those yummy sounding sandwiches they offer...Mozzarella Tomato Capresse, Persian Ham & Havarti and the long list of grilled goodies. Oh, did we forget to mention the pot pies and quiche...yeah, not a good idea on your first week of dieting, but what the hell, right?


Wrap Up
Price-$$, on par with Panera or McAlister's prices...a piece of pie and coffee will run you about $5
Atmosphere-**, the decor was a bit too country and a little boring, but the best part is the median age...this place is definitely drawing in some of the Cracker Barrel and Ryan's crowd. Including the FLO, the median age in this place was 60.
Service-***, considering the ridiculous line, it went rather quickly. There is a vibrator system like Panera and table service similar to McAlister's.

Fred -B+, While I definitely suffered by ordering the wrong item, this place could be dangerous!
Libby -B+, Really impressed with the lighter fair I went with, but I think going here is really about the fat and sugar. If you make the trip, don't think about what you're doing to your body...just let it happen and it won't disappoint.
Ozzy -B+, What's a carboholic not to like about pie a la mode? He did gobble up an apple muffin with nary a word. We think he digs it.

The Grand Traverse Pie Company on Urbanspoon

Saturday, April 11, 2009

La Piedad

After another brisk, yet chilly stroll on the Monon, FLO went for another conveniently located Broadripple appetite quencher...La Piedad! Even though, it was a cold weekday evening with few pedestrians braving the chill, we were surprised to see a decent crowd dining in the open, cantina-esque atmosphere.

We were seated immediately. Chips were placed before us with a very pleasing, smooth salsa, more like picante, and a large menu with the forethought to start out with basic Mexican food definitions for the less cultured. The menu stated the establishment was family owned, the Rodriguez family, and the service reflected that pride. The chips were fresh, the salsa one of our more favorite house salsas in town, and the Modelo Fred chose was the perfect pairing for any of the dishes.

Being as it was our first visit, and they don't have a mole, Fred and Libby decided they would each sample a dish with one rojo sauce and one verde. Ozzy would have more chips.

Specifically, Fred chose the Chile Rojo with refried beans and rice, and Libby the Enchiladas Verdes with rice. Ozzy chose the kids chicken nachos, which turned out to be quite tasty, but he wouldn't have anything to do with the cheesy nachos and tender chicken. What's up with this kid?

Fred saw lots of promise with his Chile Rojo. The meat was very well cooked and the beans and rice were prepared perfectly...this is saying a lot for someone who doesn't like Spanish rice. He found the rojo sauce acceptable, but not extraordinary.

Libby's verde, on the other hand, was outstanding. The enchiladas were a trio of cheese, chicken and beef smothered in verde...just delish! We started putting the verde on the nachos just to make sure none of it went to waste. A real show stealer...we will be back for more.

Wrap Up
Price-$-$$, Cheap. 2 beers, 2 drinks, 3 entrees, under $37 for dinner...not too shabby for a "winner dinner"
Atmosphere-***, laid back, cantina with two flat screens, a take out counter, and an attentive, yet relaxed group of servers to whom English is a second language.
Service-***, Fast, almost too fast.

Fred -B+, While I found the rojo a little bland, everything else was fantastic! Possibly the best Mexican I've had in town.
Libby -B+, Awesome verde, yummy chicken, great chips and salsa.
Ozzy - C+, Kid friendly, actual kids menu. He liked the chips...a lot. But typical to Ozzy, not enough plain carbs to choose from otherwise.

La Piedad on Urbanspoon

Monday, April 6, 2009

bd's mongolian barbeque

Not being able to decide on what we wanted for dinner, the FLO came up with the brilliant idea of bd's mongolian barbeque. A little something for everyone! So we packed up the car and headed up to 82nd street. We immediately found ourselves part of a sudden influx of tables.

If you haven't been to a Mongolian bbq before, the layout is always the same. There is no menu, just a large bar full of ingredients. Everyone takes a bowl and fills it with whatever protein, veggies and yummy tidbits they want. They then fill a smaller bowl with spices and sauce(s). FLO usually finds that just one sauce is never enough and must mix 2-4 different ones for a new taste sensation each time. After you've chosen all your ingredients, the show begins. You take your bowls up to a large circular flat-top griddle (perhaps 5 feet in diameter) where the chefs use long sword-like utensils to cook your meal for you. You then take the stir-fry concoction back to your table where white or brown rice and tortillas await you.

For our first trips, Fred picked ribeye, squid, some rice noodles, carrots, spinach and various other veggies to go with a soy, ginger and chili concoction. Libby opted for the New York Strip, bean sprouts, mushrooms, peanuts and pea pods with a pad-thai, teriyaki and chipotle sauce. Ozzy decided on simply some penne with peanut sauce. We found the ribeye to be far superior to the NY strip. The strip just had too much gristle and even some bone fragments.

We quickly learned that there is no need for any carb in your bowl as there is a plentiful amount of it that comes to the table. We also noticed that the more experienced patrons would opt out of the all-you-can-eat and only get one trip. They would simply fill their bowl past the point of overflowing! That would have knocked off $3-4 per person... Look around, you'll see some amazing piles!

On our second, gluttonous trip, we both spotted lamb on the bar and immediately decided that it was the hands-down winner, especially when an egg was thrown into the concoction. Good stuff!

Ozzy didn't really touch his food other than some plain rice. He was pretty cranky due to just waking up from his nap. But the atmosphere was definitely child-friendly.

A really fun website too...

Wrap Up
Price-$$$, A little stiff, we thought. But it was all you can eat...
Atmosphere-***, 80's music and a chaotic atmosphere lead to an upbeat meal. We hadn't heard Billy Idol in FAR too long!
Service-***, No complaints here. Fast and efficient.

Fred -B, I really enjoyed the quality of ingredients they offered. And a wider variety of sauces than I've seen at other Mongolian BBQ joints.
Libby -B, Although NY strip was disappointing. It was all about the lamb and egg with some tofu. The curry-ginger was the perfect sauce to go with it! Beware of large crowds. At my first trip to the grill it was obvious there was no real order of succession and all spots were taken.
Ozzy - C+, While the white rice was a hit, the pasta just wasn't up to the Oz's high standards. But the atmosphere was certainly kid friendly.

Bd's Mongolian Barbecue on Urbanspoon