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Monday, August 30, 2010

One Restaurant to Skip

Usually I'm all for supporting the local restaurants and shops...however after this past Friday there is a new restaurant in Oshkosh that I suggest skipping. I don't want to list names but I will tell you it is a "southwest grill and bar" located at the outlet mall. Sadly this location has been lacking for a good restaurant...even more sadly it is still lacking a good restaurant. We possibly had the worst dining experience in recent memory, so bad in fact it will not get the 2nd Chance Special to bring me back as a loyal customer.

We'll stick with the facts.....this isn't a super-new restaurant it has been open for a few months, so by now you should have SOME of the kinks worked out (God save the people that ate here in the meantime.) We walked in and everyone had that deer-in-the-headlights look. The service was very slow and it was not busy at all. They ran out of milk, of all things. No paper towels in the bathroom (ok, so this can happen.) One guest I was dining with had the corner of a plastic bag in her cup of soup (I'm guessing their soup is of the heat and eat variety and Campbells would have been a better choice.) All meals were cold, except mine (I had the chicken fajitas and I saw them sizzle there way to me.) All meals had little to no flavor, including my sizzling fajitas. IMO, the meals were overpriced even if the food was good, so bad food that isn't even cheap is even worse. They had a gimick item of a $27 burger (5 pattys I think)that if you can eat in 30 minutes or less, it is free. There was even a $26 clams and mussles entree to which I thought "are you kidding, who would pay that kind of money for something like that HERE.

My initial thought was Gordon Ramsey was doing Restaurant Nightmares episode and that was the reason for the horrible even...saddly Gordon never showed up, so the evening was a bust!

From the name of the restaurant (I'm sure everyone knows what it is by now) one would think they would have a drink menu (I never saw one)...or at the very least fresh margaritas....I believe ours may have been from a bottle or pre-mixed bucket of sorts. Truly, with the name of the restaurant and the name of an entree such as Cabo-Wabo T-Bone Ranchero, you really would think trendy with great food....not so much.

So take it from me...leave this one to the passers-by that are going through Oshkosh b/c unless their road traffic carries them this one will be long gone by next spring. To those that own and manage this restaurant "you really need to bring in some 'secret eaters' or something b/c you are missing the boat on this one!"

Wild Truffle

5120 W Michaels Dr
Appleton, WI 54913

Wild Truffle Wood-Fired Pizzeria and Italian Bistro on Urbanspoon

If you are looking for a unique dining experience that provides great food, great atmosphere, and excellent service the Wild Truffle in Appleton is THE place to go. Hidden between the mall and the airport is some of the best food in the valley (and I'd said some of the best food I have ever eaten...period.)

If you get the chance during warmer weather I recommend dining al fresco (outside.) Don't worry, however, their dining room is beautiful and cozy so when the snow flies there will still be a place for all the Wild Truffle-lovers out there.

Usually I would recommend one item or another however I don't think you can go wrong here. Their anti pasti (appetizers), insalate (salad), pizzas, sandwiches, and entrees are all begging to be eaten (and I aim to try the majority of them!) They also have a great selection of beer, wine, and even a few bellinis (which happen to be my favorite.)

Welcome Wild's hoping you become a mainstay of the Fox Valley area!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Dublin's Irish Pub

2070 W. 9th Ave.
Oshkosh, WI 54904

Dublin's Irish Pub on Urbanspoon

Looking for a quick getaway to get your fill of Irish blarney? Step inside Dublin's Irish Pub and you'd never believe you were in a stripmall! A beautiful wood bar and well-appointed booths are well-removed from what you'd expect from the location. Once inside you'll get a cozy, warm feeling before you even sample their fare.

Being that today happens to be a Friday during Lent, I was looking for a place that had enough "non-meat" choices to keep me happy...and I seemed to have found it. Their menu is large enough that anyone should find something to enjoy...and enjoy they will.

On my non-meat menu today was their Stuffed Portabella Panini which came with either soup or fries...I chose the fries over their soup, although a tempting choice of White Chicken Chili, it did not meet the non-meat criteria. A companion of mine had the Shephard's Pie which he stated was excellent!

I'll be back in short order to try one of their other tempting items!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Kodiak Jack's Steak and Seafood Restaurant

2059 Witzel Ave
Oshkosh, WI 54904

Kodiak Jack's Steak and Seafood Restaurant on Urbanspoon

If you are looking one of the largest menus in Oshkosh with something for everyone, then Kodiak Jack's is a great restaurant to visit. Known for good steaks and seafood, nightly specials, and a free birthday dinner; it is hard to find a better landing point for a good meal.

Reservations are almost always a must-have, even during the week as large restaurants such as this that serve a good steak are difficult to find in the area. If you like your seafood, a personal recommendation is to try the coconut shrimp and or grouper. If you have never had group, it is a delicate fish without the fishy flavor of snapper or perch. Kodiak Jack's also offers a large salad bar sure to have your favorite salad fixings!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Jansen's Bar & Restaurant

Jansen's Bar & Restaurant on Urbanspoon
Location: 344 Bowen St, Oshkosh WI 54901
Phone: 920-231-0690

Last evening I had the opportunity to visit one of Oshkosh's neighborhood restaurants Jansen's Bar & Restaurant. If you are looking for a taste of local atmosphere and great food and drinks, this should be on your list. One should not expect a gourmet meal, but an extensive menu with very good food that is typical of many neighborhood restaurants. The menu has everything from burgers and fries, sandwiches, grilled seafood, and the most amazing-smelling ribs! After dinner enjoy one of their many "ice cream drinks" such as a Grasshopper or Brandy Alexander...word has it they are the best in Oshkosh since Hesser's!

Like many smaller local restaurants on a Friday or Saturday night, it is important to get there early. Many patrons come every week, so you'll need to beat them to the door so your wait isn't too long.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Festival Foods - A Great Community Store!

How often do you see Festival Foods as a sponsor or supporter of a community event? My guess is pretty often. During a time where the economy might suggest otherwise, Festival Foods has been a constant supporter of the local community to which they belong. Of course it makes good sense...keep your name out there and hope to bring in new customers, while keeping your loyal ones as well. I would like to commend Festival Foods team for the immediate impact they have had on the local communities from Day 1. I have been part of non-profit organizations and have always appreciated their support. Too often (the annual Oshkosh 4th of July Fireworks delay debacle of a few years ago) those sponsors are blamed for the events which they sponsor...with too little thought to the fact that #1 they do not control the event and #2 without their sponsorship that even may not even occur. So again, kudos to Festival Foods!

My love for Festival Foods doesn't begin and end with their community partnership...I also admit I love their store! From their convenient 24hrs service to the cleanliness of their store, Festival Foods seems to have it all. When is the last time you have gone to a deli and seen so many choice of salads, beans, pre-made foods, meats, cheeses! Speaking of salads...hats off to the genius that came up with "Festival's Own" Potato Salad! I've yet to find another deli-salad that tops it! Which brings up another love of mine for those cookouts that seem all too far away this summer...their baked beans are out of this world as well!

Convenience is key at Festival Foods. They have many of their very own products to help busy families keep up with their day's agenda. Mom's Meatloaf, displays of marinated chicken breasts and fresh meats, Take & Bake Cookie Dough, rows and rows of bakery items including cookies, cakes, and pies!

Over the years we all have probably seen many local grocery stores leave our area, so it is great to see one that is not only successful with their current stores, but one that readily finds areas that are a good fit for a new store. If you don't have a Festival Foods near you, cross your fingers and hope to see one soon!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

When Is The Last Time You Went Bowling?

Its many quite a few years since I last went real, you cannot count Wii Bowling as real bowling although it does provide some decent practice. Over the weekend for a local political fundraiser in Oshkosh I had the chance to do it again and it has awakened an inner-bowler in me.

For a fair price you can bowl a few games and wear those ultra-fabulous bowling shoes. Now unfortunately the bowling alley I was at did not have food for purchase unless you count a couple snack machines, which I don't. Somewhat boggles my mind there wouldn't be food there as I would guess a couple games of bowling would be cause for some french fries or a bowling standard of cheese nuggets!  My next game will definitely be at a more full-service bowling alley.

I also found it interesting, now that I have a child of my own, there are such things as "racks" that allow a little one to place a ball on it, that guides it into the alley. And don't forget the bumpers that you can add, too to avoid those nasty gutter balls!  Speaking on behalf of my 2 1/2 year old daughter nothing could top a game of bowling, unless we are taking her to Wisconsin Dells waterparks, of course.

So if you haven't played a game lately, go ahead and visit your nearest bowling alley. Looks like most prices during Open Bowling are around $7-8 per person, for 2 games and some even include the shoe rental.

Now the only thing I wish I could find is a non-smoking bowling alley...perhaps there are some out there (and I'd love to hear what ones are.)  Even if you have no one smoking near you, the scent is everywhere. I would assume with the Wisconsin Smoking Ban likely beginning in July of this year, that many no longer be an issue.

If you have any recommendations for a great local bowling alley, I'd love to hear them!