Tuesday, October 19, 2010

An American Diner

The Depot American Diner

My husband and I went to check out The Depot with one of our friends (who also is a foodie). We set out early for lunch as we have heard that they do run out of things during the course of a day. There was no way I was going to be happy if I went there for the Open Face Turkey Sandwich they featured on DDD and was not able to try it!    www.depotamericandiner.com

This really took  me back to my childhood. I am a mashed potato fiend! When ever we went out to a diner type place like Colonial Cafe or Denny's I would always get an Open Faced Turkey Sandwich. The turkey was very tender and the gravy was awesome! The mashed potatoes were good, they had lumps in them (I know some people like that, so you know they are homemade) but I am very mashed potato picky and firmly believe my husband and Mother-in-Law make the best ever. I will keep looking though, just in case they're out there somewhere. By the way, did I mention the gravy, it was outstanding!

My husband and friend had the Pot roast Sandwich: Pot roast covered in gravy topped with homemade fried onions on a great soft bun. The bun held up to the gravy perfectly. The sandwich came with fries covered in gravy. That gravy was also delicious!

We all had an Egg Cream to drink. The definition an egg cream is: "a beverage consisting of chocolate syrup, milk, and soda water, probably dating from the late 19th century, and is especially associated with Brooklyn, home of its alleged inventor, candy store owner Louis Auster. It contains neither eggs nor cream". Though this is the definition The Depot says their egg creams are made with heavy cream. It was very interesting, similar to a chocolate soda.

For dessert we shared an order of Donuts Mocha, that were on the house. They are actually donut holes covered in cinnamon, sugar  served with a mocha dipping sauce topped with whipped cream. They are are excellent! I do not care for coffee flavored things and this was not overwhelmingly coffee, but very, very good.

This trip was to a very small diner serving very good American Diner food, how fun is that?!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

In the Mood for a Good Wiener?

Then check out The Wiener and Still Champion, in Evanston. www.wienerandstillchampion.com
 We met one of my husband's old school chums and son for lunch in this very small dive that is home of the Triple Undisputed, a full 3 lb burger. We did not attempt that challenge but instead went the fried food route.

We started with the Giardinara Cheese fries and Deep Fried Pickle Chips.
Giardinara Cheese Fries
Deep Fried Pickle Chips

 The Giardinara Cheese Fries were very good, spicy but not to hot (for me any way,and I am not that tolerant in the heat department). The fries are very good and and fresh cut. They also have the option of Merkt's Cheddar Cheese Sauce. They also have several unique dipping sauces they make fresh daily and a sauce of the week. The Pickle Chips were great.  Our friend's son had the Chicken Nuggets. He said they were very good, they looked very crispy. 
But the star of the lunch was the Country Fried Bacon- bacon that is breaded and deep fried! My husband said it was outstanding.

 For entrees my husband had the Dippin Dog Deluxe- 2 dippin dogs (a dippin dog is an all beef hot dog hand dipped in cornmeal batter) smothered in homemade chili, which has a very unique and good flavor, topped with Merkt's Cheddar Cheese.
His friend had the Chili Cheese Dog and thought the chili was really interesting, there is cinnamon and cumin in it. A very distinct flavor.

I had the turkey burger, it was good, not great. They use a frozen turkey patty, and I had grilled onions and tomato with garlic ailoi. The sauces are very good.

This was another unique DDD place but has not aired yet. If your in their area grab a dog!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

The Shanty in Wadsworth

The food train went way up north last weekend to Wadsworth, IL, where we had dinner at The Shanty. 
The Shanty another DDD restaurant is owned and operated by Dimitri Kallianis and his family. It is a quaint restaurant with a bit of a lodge feel, made completely of local old barn wood.

We had a group of 6 this time, but my husband and I arrived early as we heard there is sometimes a long wait and they don't take reservations before 8pm on the weekends. We got there at 5:30 ish and put our name in for our group for 6 pm. The hostess said to let her know when all our party was here. We then had a drink and waited in a waiting area just beyond the door. When the rest of our party arrived just before 6, I let the hostess know we were all there and ready. After the new arrivals got their drinks and we chatted a bit our table was ready (only about 20-25min.).

We were seated in the north dining room. They have two right now and are currently adding another and a new kitchen, so they are going through the renovations as they stay open.

Whiskey Shrimp
For appetizers we had the Whiskey Shrimp, Alligator tail (both featured on DDD)and Calamari. The Whiskey Shrimp is four "jumbo shrimp flamed in Jack Daniels cream sauce and served on toast points" They were very good with a fantastic flavor but just not a whiskey flavor. I did not get a hint of Jack Daniels from the dish, even so it was very tasty and we would definitely order them again.

Both the Whiskey Shrimp and the Alligator Tail were served with grilled veggies.
Even though the Alligator Tail is described in the menu as being "Louisiana-style Cajun" I did not notice any Cajun flavor going on. The Alligator Tail was deep-fried and very tender and had excellent flavor, just no Cajun spices.

 The Calamari

Our friends entrees included: Rum Soaked Pork Chops- "two 6 oz center cut pork chops marinated in pineapple, rum and soy sauce and served with  tropical fruit salsa.

This dish is one of the favorites of the regulars. The pork chops were tender and juicy and had a good flavor from the marinade. From my personal experience I can say that the tropical fruit salsa was the bomb!

Her husband ordered the Crab Stuffed Shrimp: "Four Jumbo Shrimp stuffed with crab meat & lightly breaded. When they say Jumbo shrimp they are not kidding with this one, these shrimp are very large and stuffed till they are about ready to burst.

Shrimp and Sea- Scallop Saute

Another entree was Shrimp and Sea-Scallop Saute: Jumbo Shrimp & chopped sea-scallops sauteed in European spices, garden vegetables and olive-oil and served over a bed of rice. The menu also says available Cajun style, which is what she ordered. She said it was a little spicy and delicious.

My husband and the other significant other that was in our group ordered the New Orleans Blackened Conch Filet: an "8 oz filet mignon rubbed in Cajun spices and flamed with fresh Conch meat, cilantro, tomato and red onion".
New Orleans Blackened Conch Filet

Both guys enjoyed their steak very much saying how tender it was and cooked to order. The grilled vegetables were very good also, I can't stand when places cook vegetables to the point of mushiness! I guess some people must like them like that (or why would places do it?) but I for one don't and these veggies were cooked perfect.
Texas style Orange Roughy

 I had the Texas style Orange Roughy. It was broiled with pico de gallo and covered with tortilla strips. It was very good, if not the prettiest dish. It is served on a bed of rice.          

All but one of us had desert. The Cherry pie was tasty, and had a good crust.  The Raspberry pie that two of us ordered was very flavorful and fresh tasting and also had a good crust. The Cheese cake is in bar form, and if you are a cheese cake enthusiast skip the cheese cake here.
Raspberry Pie
Cheese Cake
Cherry Pie
Raspberry Pie à la mode

Dimitri one of the owners came to our table and showed us an article in Lake County Magazine.
 Dimitri was very nice and friendly and came over to our table a couple of times.

All in all we had a very fun time, and the food was very good. Nice atmosphere and good people.