March 07, 2010

New food

We went to not one but two new restaurants this weekend. Well, technically one of them wasn't new for Dovie but it was new to me. They were both quite good, and we'll be back.

Granite City

On Friday night we headed over to Granite City, which is a chain brewpub. It opened several years ago, but I've always been kind of leery of the place, mainly due to the fact that it's attached to the mall. I didn't know for sure if it was a chain but kind of had that feeling. But, I wanted to hit up Best Buy and Barnes and Noble and they were over there, so we figured we'd check it out. Eating there definitely overcame my prejudices

Our food was great. I ordered their schmancy bacon cheeseburger, which was quite good albeit a little too big. The rest was my lunch today though, so I'm not complaining. It came with some waffle fries, which are always delicious. Dovie ordered a burrito, which she said was good but not particularly memorable. She was super jealous of my burger and will probably order it next time. We also got cups of clam chowder with our meals, which were the real stars of the show. Both of us declared it to be Alien Abduction* clam chowder after our first bite. It came with some decent bread too - nice and chewy in the way I like.

*Alien Abduction X is what we call things that, if Aliens came to Earth and told us that the fate of the entire planet hinged on how good generic thing X is, we would offer them this version of it. The soup was that awesome.

The beer was pretty good too. The only real complaint was when the waitress screwed up our order. I ordered their wheat beer, and Dovie ordered a Mountain Dew. Somehow Mountain Dew was mistranslated into 'Bock', but it wasn't that big a deal since that was the next beer on the list I was going to try anyway. I also finished off dinner with their Stout, which was good but not as much as the first two beers (though to be fair, I wasn't in as much of a Stout-y mood, I just wanted to try theirs). They were a little more beer-snobby than I would like. I enjoy beer, but don't really care that much about things like beer-dish pairing or any description longer than 10 words or so. Maybe I'm just a Philistine. A to Z's review complained that the place was tooting its own horn at every turn, but we didn't feel that way. It could just be that they visited the place not long after it opened. We did get an ad for their weekend brunch on the takeaway box afterwords.

All in all, it was pretty good. The menu and the general ambiance of the place reminded me of Blue Ridge Grill back in VA, which is a mini-chain that my parents are big fans of. I actually like GC better since it's cheaper and has a great beer selection. We'll definitely be back (prob on a friday night again for the chowder).

Post-script to this meal - after I finished off that last beer and was a little tipsy, we headed over to Barnes and Noble, where I basically ignored this post of mine and bought the rest of the Wheel of Tedium books that I don't own.

Manna Cafe

Manna Cafe is a coffee shop/restaurant/bakery in a extremely unassuming strip mall the north side of town. Dovie had lunch there with her on-maternity-leave boss a few weeks ago and loved the place. We headed there for brunch this morning and it was pretty good. I figured it would be a hole-in-the-wall place based on the exterior, but it was quite nice inside and waaay larger than it looked. I think it was recently renovated.

I ordered the french toast with bacon, because I'm a sucker for french toast and their variety was made from cinnamon sticky buns. But as usual I was kind of underwhelmed by it. The strawberries on top were probably the best part. A few years ago the platonic ideal of french toast in my brain must have changed, because since then it has seemed that every time I make/order it I've been disappointed. It was still good, don't get me wrong, but it still felt like kind of a letdown. I thought their bacon was a little too crispy too, so I might get something else on the side next time (i.e. potatoes). Dovie ordered the Wisconsin Omelet, which had Chevre (PURE WIN), caramelized onions (yet more win), basil. tomato, and other things that I'm forgetting, and a side of potatoes. I tried some of both and they were incredible.

I'd love to go back here for lunch. Jennie got their turkey club last time and declared it an Alien Abduction sandwich. The rest of their menu looks pretty intriguing to me too...


nichole said...

I *love* the Alien Abduction metric. And thanks for the link!