Seafood Pik Pow @ Thai Bistro

Last night I went to Thai Bistro for dinner. Again I couldn’t decide what I wanted, so I pulled up a random number generator on my phone and let it pick. It chose the most expensive of the entrees I was considering… gee, thanks. Actually, though, it was a good thing. I went with the Seafood Pik Pow, marked as a spicy dish on the menu. I wondered what exactly made the dish spicy, and the menu helpfully described it as “Shrimp, scallops, and mussels stir fried with baby corn, mushrooms, onions,and Bell peppers in a spicy pik pow sauce.” Oh, OK, pik pow sauce, of course, now it all makes sense.

My server remembered me from Sunday. After I ordered, he walked off to put in my order, then came back because he remembered I said I like my food spicy. “What level do you want? The dish is naturally a little spicy, but we can make it mild, medium, spicy, or fire.” I went with spicy.

It was darn near perfect. The seafood interacted beautifully with the sauce, as did the veggies, making for a meal I thoroughly enjoyed. It definitely had spice but was well within my tolerance level, so much so that I think I’m going to step up to “fire” next time. The server smiled when I told him of my future plans. “We use fresh chiles for the ‘fire’ sauce,” he informed me. “One of the people who works here grows chiles in her back yard. She just dropped off four Ziploc baggies of really good ones.” So, if you like extremely hot spicy food, get in there now and get some of those home-grown chiles.

By the way, if you’re wondering what Pik Pow sauce is, here’s what I found on “Pik Pow Sauce is a mixture of dried red chili, onion, garlic sugar and fish sauce blended in to a smooth paste.”

They told me they will likely have their liquor license by Sunday, and if so, they will see me for dollar mimosas. A very satisfying second experience at Thai Bistro. Absolutely an A+ meal in my book.

Gang Ka Ree with beef @ Thai Bistro

I owe my readers a huge apology. All last week I was crowing about the $1 mimosas all day Sunday at Thai Bistro. I mentioned it over and over on the blog, on Facebook, on Twitter. What I didn’t know is that they don’t have their liquor license yet… so, no mimosas. It’s BYOB, BYOL until they get it. So sorry to those who went by there yesterday expecting mimosas.

If you went by, though, I hope you made the decision to stay and eat, because the food is really good. I went with the Gang Ka Ree, a medium yellow curry with coconut milk, kaffir lime leaf, potatoes, carrots and onion. It was very good, although I wish I’d remembered that like most Thai restaurants, you can tell them to turn up the spiciness. I love a good spicy curry.

I started off my dinner with edamame:

We actually hit upon a really good Sunday Fun Day lineup yesterday: Majestic Grille, Flying Saucer, Thai Bistro and Brass Door. We’re reaching the point Downtown where there are too many good places to go to spend the entire day at one bar, as we’ve done at the Saucer for several years. Once Thai Bistro gets their liquor license, I imagine the brunch crew will be back for some mimosas.

In other news: Neil’s in Midtown was heavily damaged by a fire this morning. I hate to hear that; when I lived in Midtown I was right around the corner from Neil’s and enjoyed many a good meal there. Luckily, no one got hurt, and Neil says he will rebuild.

Off to work. Vacation, hurry up and get here.

Sliders of the Day @ The Brass Door

Today I went back to the Brass Door for my second visit. I wanted lunch, and thanks to Facebook I’d already picked out what I wanted. Every day they have a Slider of the Day, and this morning they posted today’s slider: Chorizo burger with spicy cucumber pickle and roasted red pepper mayo. They came with a side of the bar’s hand-cut chips.  I likedd the flavor of the chorizo, and the spiciness of the mayo gave it just the right amount of kick. I absolutely love their chips and could eat them all day long.

They also have a Sandwich of the Day, and a Hot Pot of the day. “Like” them on Facebook to keep up with their specials.

Although only my second visit at the Brass Door, the bartender remembered that I drink PBR, and that last Saturday I’d had a couple of them in a martini glass (the PBRtini, a classic Downtown beverage). That’s really cool that she remembered, considering how crowded the bar was on opening day. This time I went with the PBR in a regular glass. I love that $2.50 price.

Now that the opening-week buzz is over and things are becoming pretty normal at the Brass Door, I was able to sit back and really get a feel for the place. The feeling I got was similar to the feeling I get when I’m at Bardog, or the Flying Saucer, or Max’s Sports Bar: A feeling of, “This is very comfortable. This feels like a home to me.” Seamus came over and said hello, and the chef came out of the kitchen to ask how I liked the sliders. They take good care of you.

I had a seat near the main TV, where soccer was on. (I don’t mind calling the fries “chips” but I draw the line at calling soccer “football.” This is America dammit.) I suspect that since I plan on spending a lot of time at the Brass Door, I’m going to become a soccer fan.

Also really cool that I knew all the people dining at the tables on the side. Two of my friends brought their baby with them, which they can do since the Brass Door is non-smoking.

I heard the bartender say that the downstairs still isn’t open yet. They’re still working on the stage and on getting a PA in there. She mentioned next week as a possible ETA for the downstairs being open.

If you tried to go last week and were turned away because the Brass Door closed early, PLEASE give it another chance. They’re doing regular hours now. This is a great little Irish pub and I hope it’s here for a long, long time.

Beetle Burger and key lime cake @ Green Beetle

Back with the third Paul’s Food Find post in the past 12 hours. No, I didn’t eat all this food today… just got behind on my posting.

Tonight I went to the Green Beetle for dinner. I decided to order the Beetle Burger.

Half pound of beef, cooked as you like it, with all the trimmings. You can add cheese for 50 cents extra. I asked what kind of cheese they had. They said they had American, provolone, and blue cheese. I went with provolone, kicked the tomato to the curb, added some mustard, and boy was it yummy. Steak fries on the side were good too.

Mark told me I had to leave room for dessert. “Would you prefer banana pudding cupcakes, or key lime cake?” Anything with key lime is an instant classic in my book, so I went with the key lime cake, also known as Beetle Cake because of the color.

Extremely rich and very… well, limey. Definitely a dessert I would recommend.

I talked to them about this past weekend. They were so busy for Trolley Night that there was a wait. No surprise there, because that’s typical of a South Main restaurant. However, they were also busy Saturday, and this is the cool part… they were so busy Sunday night that they were still serving their home-cooked lasagna and chicken fried steak at 12:30 AM. Very good to hear that people are getting out and enjoying the Beetle that late on what is traditionally an off-night.

Chef Jonathon Plumley will be in a new episode of Hell’s Kitchen on FOX tomorrow night at 7. I hear it is going to be a good episode, so tune in.

Build your own slice @ Flying Saucer

Last week the Flying Saucer released its new menu. Bar patrons now have the ability to create their own slice of pizza for $5.99. They have a pretty extensive list of toppings, including:

  • Veggies: Artichoke hearts, avocado, capers, diced tomatoes, green onions, Kalamata olives, mushrooms, red onions, roasted garlic, roasted red peppers, basil, cilantro, jalapenos
  • Meats: Applewood smoked bacon, chicken, prosciutto, finocchiona (salami), pepperoni, bratwurst

I ordered the slice above, with proscuitto, bacon and Kalamata olives. The bartender told me that they’re using a new, improved crust, and I found that to be true. Crust a little thicker than it was before, and overall quality of the pizza seemed to have improved. You won’t mistake it for Ferraro’s or Camy’s pizza by any means, but as a bar snack it is more than adequate. I appreciate being able to build exactly the pizza I want. You get a choice of up to three toppings.

With the Saucer’s new menu, and entire new menus to try at Brass Door and Green Beetle this month, there will be a lot of Paul’s Food Find posts coming up, so check back frequently.

Mojo wings @ Flying Saucer

Thursday night I decided to try one of the three new varieties of wings on the Flying Saucer’s menu. In addition to traditional Buffalo sauce, they now have

  • Mojo wings with Cajun spices
  • Asian wings with peanut, plum and cayenne
  • Atomic wings (super hot)

Unable to decide which I wanted, I decided to be a computer nerd and pulled up the random number generator at on my iPhone. I had it generate a random number between 1 and 3, and it picked 1, which meant the Mojo wings would be my order.

The Mojo wings had a spicy kick to them. On the traditional wing heat levels of mild – medium – hot – extra hot – suicide, I’d estimate the spiciness was between medium and hot, although the taste was different because of the way they are prepared. They rub them in Cajun spices, then apply a light sauce.

I noticed that the number of wings you get has decreased from 10 to 8, while the price went up 30 cents to $8.29. On a positive note, though, they’re being a lot more generous with the veggies. Huge pieces of celery and carrots accompanied my order, as opposed to the widdle bitty ones they used to serve. I’m a big fan of dipping veggies in blue cheese, so that’s a plus.

As I finished up, the bartender said, “Would you get them again?” and my answer was yes, definitely. Flavorful, yet spicy enough to keep my attention.

I’ll try the Asian and Atomic wings soon and type up a report.

Sausage and pepper sandwich @ Green Beetle

Last night about 8 I wandered south to Max’s Sports Bar. Josh and Mark were sitting out front of the Green Beetle. They invited me in. I told them I couldn’t stop right then, because I told people I’d be at Max’s, but I’d catch them on the way back. “Well, come on by,” they told me. “We’ll have the kitchen open late and cold beer.”

A couple of hours later, I stopped by. I ordered the sandwich I’d been wanting to try since I first saw the menu: The sandwich pictured above, with sausage covered in onions and red and green peppers. It came with a huge bowl of marinara for dipping, and my choice of fries and potato salad. I went with potato salad, and let me tell you, it’s right up there with Bardog’s as the best potato salad Downtown. Sandwich was tasty too. At $7, a very good value.

Fun day yesterday. Did a little afternoon beer drinking with friends at the Saucer, then returned at 6:30 for a double plate party. My friend Bicycle Bobby completed his 10th time around the Ring of Honor. In addition to the plate party, the Saucer will send him and a friend to the Great American Beer Festival in Denver, and for future plate parties the amount he gets to spend goes up to $200. Meanwhile, Cap’n Sparkles got his third plate, earning him a “3PEAT” T-shirt, and when he gets his 4th plate done, his plate party amount will go up to $125. Congrats to both, and thanks for letting me be a part of your combined party. Prospective members: Even if you never drink any beers toward the plate, joining the UFO Club is a good deal because it lets you beat the $3 cover for bands. Do that six times and you’ve recovered the cost of membership. Just tell your server or bartender that you want to join, and they’ll make it happen.

After the Saucer I went to Max’s, where I resisted the temptation to get a blue crack box and play poker, and actually TALKED TO PEOPLE instead. Proud of myself for that. Lately I’ve had tunnel vision for poker there, since I can’t play online anymore.

Plans for today: Well, it’s almost 11, and I haven’t even showered yet, so brunch at the Majestic is looking like a no-go this week. However, I will be at the Saucer for Sunday Fun Day at noon. Later in the afternoon I’ll have to make a trip to Bardog… it’s Brooke’s last shift before she moves to the Slider Inn. Time to get this party started. Sending “put something good on fire sale” positive vibes the Saucer’s direction…

Voodoo chicken nachos @ Johnny G’s Creole Cafe

I’m a huge fan of nachos, and after a recent trip to Johnny G’s Creole Cafe on Beale Street, we may have a new contender for best nachos Downtown.

These nachos have their Voodoo Chicken, the same dish served as an entree over rice, atop nacho chips with melted white cheese and fresh jalapenos. I love that. FRESH jalapenos. Not ones that have been sitting in a jar for six months.

The price? $6.95. Same as the entree. Can’t beat it. The Drunken Chicken is available as nachos as well. Next time I’ll give that a try.

Build-your-own snack tray @ Flying Saucer

I checked our trivia team’s winnings before leaving the apartment tonight, and discovered we had a $25 gift certificate expiring tonight at the Saucer. So I “bought” the certificate from the team, spending it and pledging $25 cash toward the next party. With only two hours to spend $25 before Silly Goose trivia started down the street, I decided I’d have to have dinner.

I got the build-your-own snack tray, pictured above. On the left: Crackers, toast and German mustard. On the right, from top to bottom: Apple slices, brie, salmon, cotswold, black pepper salami, olive tapenade and almonds. Cotswold is a mild cheese with chives; I’m assuming I don’t have to expain brie. The brie went well with the apples, crackers and the olive tapenade. The salami went well with the mustard. The cotswold went well with the almonds. The salmon went well with the salmon. For a snack tray this was a lot of food, and reasonably priced at $13.99. Plus you can enjoy your food without the offensive odor of cigarette smoke.

We lost at Silly Goose trivia, but what a great turn-out for our team. Eight people total and all people I was delighted to have there. Despite being packed around a 6-top table, there seemed to be more room than usual for the 8 of us. We’re still first in the three-month cumulative standings.

Was going to hang out afterward, but both Saucer and Bardog were packed due to some convention in town. Decided in favor of a full night’s sleep. Maybe tomorrow I’ll be out.

Green Beetle opening night

After some Pint Nite beers at the Saucer, I wandered down to the Green Beetle for their (re)opening night. In case you missed it, I posted several pics yesterday in a sneak preview post. Here are some more.

When I took a pic of the menu Saturday, I didn’t realize it was two-sided. Here’s the entree side.
Just so you have it all in one place, here’s a repost of the app/salad sandwich side of the menu.
When I was in there Saturday I didn’t get a photo of this awesome door.
View of the TV from my mid-bar seat. Not zoomed in at all. At the Beetle you don’t have to crane your neck. As for why it’s on the Joy Behar show, I don’t know. And guys, you know you own the TV now, you can remove the plastic packing tape around the edges.

Two other major improvements from the old Beetle that I want to mention. 1) They actually bothered to air condition the place a little. It’s no longer 5 degrees hotter inside than outside; and 2) clearly they brought in an exterminator. I loved the old-school Beetle but am glad I don’t have to watch Mr. and Mrs. Roach and Baby Roach race around the counter as I drink my beer. Nice and clean and sanitized now.

A very impressive first night. I’ll be back.