Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Dolci Gelato Crepes

 We got visit our Daughter and her family in Georgia recently and tried a few of their local haunts.  One majorly yummy place that we tried was Paolo's Gelato Italiano at 1025 Virginia Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30306. The owner Paolo Dalla Zorza was there the day we went and he was full of fun and happy banter.  He talked me into a homemade "cup cone" that looks like a cup but you can eat it like a cone and it was quite yummy with a scoop of stracciatella. The little girls had Rose gelato (Ooooo, piiiink mommy! I want PINK!) in Paolo's special "flower cones" which he makes just for such flavors which the girls were ecstatic about.  Andrew had a crepe Sunday, which he ate without sharing. 

 I forgot what the little guy ate but he loved it, as attested to by his messy face and shirt.

 I have had gelato in Spain and France, as well as places as far off as India and the Philippines, but mostly, of course, right here in the USA in good old Phoenix, AZ.  I must admit that Paolo's is not the "best" gelato I have ever had, but it is very good! Eating out isn't only about the quality of food (though that is very important) and the label "best" is subjective to each person's taste. Nor is it about location, nor atmosphere, nor service, nor price (Paolo's is not cheep by the way).  It is about "consistency".  One does not need to be the "best" but one must consistently be good to very good in food, atmosphere and service ( and not too outrageous in price).  Paolo's has the right mix of good food, cute atmosphere, nice walking location and, when Paolo's there, friendly service, to keep it open as a "go-to place" for as long as Paolo wants sell gelato instead of being a Vet or Magician (you can read his story at http://www.paolosgelato.com/the_story.html).  

All in all a fun place to go and a nice stop while walking around Virginia Highlands 

9 out of 9 spoons*!

*This time my daughter provided the extra persons since only three of us Millers were in GA visiting.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Ted's Hot Dogs Review

Has it been nearly a year since I wrote on this blog (or since anyone in general has updated it)? Well, that’s a crime and I’m aiming to fix that.  

For my second review we visit Ted’s Charcoal broiled hot dogs, a fantastic hot dog shop in Tempe.


Aesthetics: The inside of Teds is covered in pictures and pennants that herald of New York, where the franchise originated.  Indeed, the interior gives off the feel of a New York dine-and-go restaurant.  The sudo-wood benches and brick interior, while pleasant enough, encourage one to eat quickly rather than to stay and idle about.  Which is a good thing, as during peak hours the line for food can go out the door, so space at times can be at a premium.  Still, the atmosphere is pleasant enough and if the line is long you can read from the many sports magazines and New York newspapers they keep stocked.

Service: The staff working the grill are friendly and understanding, but you had better know what you are ordering when you get in line.  They rapidly take orders from those in the ‘q’ so as to keep the line moving and the dogs sizzling, so don’t be surprised if someone hollers for your order when you aren’t expecting it.  The staff won’t give you are hard time, but your fellow diners might get tweaked if you take too long to decide when asked.

Price: Ted’s Hot Dogs are incredibly well priced for their flavor. A regular hot dog runs less than $2:40 while a footlong costs just $3:65.  The sausages all cost $3:45 and are money well spent. Kids meals are $3:50 and comes with the choice of dog, burger or corndog, and a side, drink and diner-style hat.  Fries and onion rings are affordable as are the drinks, with refills for only a quarter.  And because their Loganberry is fantastic, you might just want to save your change for a refill when you leave.

Taste:  If you like hot dogs then you have to eat at Teds.  Heck, even if you think hot dogs are just okay, you should eat at Teds, they’re that good.  Every dog is grilled before your eyes and each is feast for the senses.  I personally enjoy the White Hot, a sausage made with pork and veal, loaded all the way (pictured above).  The White Hot is savory with a hint of spice, the skin cracking slightly over the tender meat within.  Covering it with every condiment at the stand, including hot cheese n’ chili and stewed peppers and onions, is the way a hot is supposed to be eaten and Teds does it perfectly.  Fries and onion rings make perfect sides; just make sure to ask for some celery salt to sprinkle on your side of choice.  But skip the soda.  Not because it’s bad, it’s just that the Loganberry is so fantastic that it would be criminal to get anything else. 

One sentence sum up: One hunk of heaven, grilled to perfection, with everything on top.

Forks Up: 9 out of 9

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Nate's Special Post

On our vacation to Chicago we went to the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry. At the science museum we saw the world’s biggest pinball machine called “The Swiss Jolly Ball”. The pinball machine was based on things in Switzerland and was made by a Jeweler, Charles Morgan, out of discarded materials he collected over the years. It had a metal ball about the size of a golf ball. The metal ball starts in a small hotel and also ends in that same hotel after going through a series of things including: a watch shop, a cruise liner, a wrecking ball (which it hit twice) a whole lot of cheese, a Ferris Wheel, and a chairlift leading back to the hotel. I think it was pretty cool and if you are ever at the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry you should definitely check it out!

At the science museum we also saw the science storms exhibit which was all about the weather and I think it was pretty cool. It had a gigantic tornado made from swirling steam which you could control with several levers. It also had a tank partially filled with water in which you make tidal waves using a computer pad to control the wave making machine. There were a few small versions of the big steam tornado as well that you could touch.

On the far side of the museum was a BIG German submarine. The only one found on American soil and was captured by the navy during World War II. Though the submarine was big on the outside it was small on the inside and there were not a lot of places to sleep and the beds were shared in shifts and stuck anywhere they could find room even in the torpedo room. There also were only two toilets for 100 plus men to share (I thought we had it bad at my house with nine people and three toilets).

The museum also had a very authentic looking coal mine in the center of the main hall. In the coal mine we rode down a long elevator shaft into the mine. There we got in to a metal cage connected to a cart and it was very loud and it didn’t help that teddy started to cry loudly due to the noise. We then went into a testing room and the tour guide told us about methane gas and how it killed miners. All in all, it was a great experience.

Six out of six tickets since three of us were not there (five for the coal mine since Teddy cried a lot).

Thursday, October 13, 2011

"Is Dad Out of His mind?"

"Is Dad Out of His mind?" These six words, echoed in the minds of three children and their Mother as their father forced the innocent children (Rem, Alec, and Abbie) out of the safety of their car and into a cruel and dangerous realm known as Custer State Park. They knew that faster then you could say "Let me in the car!" a monstrous bison could trample them into a fine powder, as their callous Father watched from behind the safety of his steering wheel in the car. First, Dad snapped one picture after another until he got just the right photo (while his children said silent tearful prayers) then suddenly Dad shouted "Look out! They're charging!" At that, the three children screamed and jumped into the car, panting and crying on the floor as Dad laughed like someone had just told him the funniest joke. This is the story I have heard for the last 14 years from my oldest brother and sister as they explain the photo of them and the bison on the refrigerator and a sample of a paper my older brother Rem wrote for his creative writing class on the same subject (emphasis on creative.)

This year my Dad took me and my three little brothers on the same fateful trip he had taken my four older siblings 15 years earlier. Once we got to South Dakota (where Custer State Park is located) Dad was determined to set the record strait and took us to that supposedly terror filled spot that my brother and sister have so often described. Though it was not the thrill ride they had made it seem (but then again I am 14 and not 10 or 7 as they were at the time, my brother Alec was only 4 and doesn't remember much of it and Anna was a baby who stayed in the car with mom) it was still amazing none the less. We saw prairie dogs and wild turkeys, deer and goats, but nothing compared to the bison and donkeys.

The donkeys walked right up to our car and stuck their heads in and demanded food or what ever they chewed on first. Then a little farther up the road there were the bison! They were big, hairy and smelled like fur drenched in unspeakable horror, but they were still cool. Of coarse my Dad wanted to get a picture, so I got out of the car and let dad take his photo then I got back in the car. No biggie. The bison aren't that threatening just big and smelly. Also the entire park was great just to look at. Over all if your ever in South Dakota I would recommend seeing it.

7 out of 9 tickets (since it's not food and because Abbie and Rem still tell the story their way)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Indian Garden Oak Creek Market Review

Greetings all you happy people out on the Internets! This is Remington Miller (eldest of the Miller boys) writing the first restaurant review for our little blog. Because our family has such widely different styles of writing and reviewing, I thought I'd give you all a little explanation of how I conduct my reviews. I will be dividing this and all reviews that I do into sections based on aesthetics, service, price, and taste. If time is of the essence (for all you "TL;DR" folks [that's 'too long; Didn't read for everyone not familiar with interweb speak]), you can skip to the end for my "one sentence sum up" (trademark pending). There is also a "Forks Up" (also trademark pending) which lets you know how many of the Millers liked said establishment, not how much the reviewer liked it.

The first establishment to be so honored is the Indian Gardens Oak Creek Market, which will be referred to as the OCM from now on.

Aesthetics: The OCM is a quaint little deli and market near Sedona. It is settled in the scenic Oak Creek Canyon and is a beauty to behold. Nestled amongst the trees on the mountainside, the OCM looks completely picturesque on approach. The inside of the OCM is sparsely decorated and half of it is a sort of Kwik-E-Mart (Thank you, come again!). But the shelves and counter are made of wood and the interior decorating can be forgiven because you aren't there to eat inside. No. You order your food and either go out the front to enjoy the vista of the creek and canyon or you head out back into a private patio to enjoy the beauty of nature. And really, you can't beat nature's splendor when it comes to decorating.

Service: There's not much to say here. The counter is maned by fairly friendly staff who simply take your order and ring up your purchase. The OCM is essentially a convenience store that sells sandwiches and the staff is like the kind you'd find at such a location. They are cheerful and polite and you can strike up a conversation if your the outgoing type (unlike myself).

Price: The sandwiches at the OCM are fairly affordable. Most cost near six dollars but are reasonably sized for the price and are made with quality ingredients, so it's money well spent. The apple cider is expensive (ten dollars for a half gallon, two fifty a glass) but it's supposed to be killer (they were sold out by the time we ate there, so that should say something). The items in the market half of the store aren't cheap but not overpriced either, so you can pick up some candy, snacks, soda or beer (for those of you who are of age) at a reasonable price if you wish to add them to your meal.

Taste: The sandwiches are delicious. I ordered the Godfather, a classic Italian sandwich with red peppers and balsamic vinegar on a baguette. The Boar's Head (not actual boar but the company) meat and cheese was thickly packed and the peppers and Balsamic sauce perfectly complimented them. I ate half of a sandwich and was content. I also tried a few bites from the 'Dan the Man' (a Bacon-Havarti-Avocado on Sourdough) and the Reubenski (just what it sounds like). Both were great, the Dan being pleasantly melty and stuffed with juicy bacon and the Reubenski tasting just like a Reuben should. I was unable to get any Apple cider this trip (as I said before, they were sold out) but I've had it before and if you like cider (I refuse to call it 'apple juice') this is some quality stuff.

One sentence sum up: An idealistic getaway that I recommend for a casual day-trip or relaxing date (even if I have yet to have one).

Forks Up: 9 out of 9

Monday, October 10, 2011

Fall Leaves

There is nothing I like better than Fall! Something in my heart just longs for it and its something you don't see much of in Phoenix. So we drove up to Oak Creek yesterday in the hopes of to seeing a few Fall leaves. It was a little early though for Arizona's Fall to start so everything was still green. Yet, there was a crispness in the air that made it feel like Fall was coming and allowed us to sit with our jackets on and sip hot coffee and chai by the river. The locals told us if we would come back in three weeks we would more than likely see the colors starting...OK! We did, however, find a great little place to eat and enjoy the weather (that Rem will review for you in the next post) and that, along with the beauty of God's "art of nature," made the trip very nice even without Fall leaves.
On the other hand, as you can see in the photos we took in Telluride two weeks ago (all the photos in this post are from Telluride) Fall has already started in Colorado! I love Fall leaves and our nine year old loves piggy back rides (he's getting a little heavy but I need the exercise), so we took a 3/4 mile hike to the gondola in Telluride and saw lots of color starting! Which made the piggyback ride well worth it for the both of us:)
The enclosed gondola in Telluride is free and well worth the hike (which runs alongside a river) from the public parking lot to get to it. You get a beautiful view of the town and the surrounding mountains as well as a cozy glassed-in compartment to safely view it all from. The gondolas also connect you to the other half of Telluride, called Mountain Village, that is on the other side of the mountain. There are lots of overpriced shops and eateries there so you might want to bring a sandwich or two. But we did find a little place that serves soups, salads and sandwiches at not too bad a price and the shops are nice to look at even if you're not Mr. Moneybags. But we didn't go to shop, we went to take the gondolas and fill our weary urban eyes and souls with a foretaste of the beauty they long for which sometimes is only found in rocks and trees and rivers and grass...I wounder if heaven will have four seasons...or more?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Dr. Watson vs. Professor Moriarty

As I mentioned, in the last post, we were recently in Denver CO visiting my Aunt and Uncle from whom I got that wonderful zucchini recipe. Well, while we were there, we went to the Denver Museum of Nature & Science for one main reason...Dinosaurs! In this case a particular T.Rex named Sue (whether Sue is a she or a he is evidently still up for debate). Since we had just read about her/him a day earlier at the Black Hills Institute (I highly recommend you stop and see BHI if you find yourself in Hill City SD, but more about that in another post) we thought it might be neat for the kids to see the whole skeleton (replica, that is, since the real thing is at the Field Museum in Chicago which we found out is impossible to get to if there is a college football game at Soldier Field, more about that later too) and as many other dinos they might have.

Well, it turned out that they didn't have that many dino bones there but they did have a large interactive robotic dino display. As part of the display they had a live stage play in which "Sherlock Bones" asked a member of the audience to play Dr. Watson and one of our boys volunteered and was picked (for our son's sake I won't tell you which boy, but I'll give you a hint: his name rhymes with "Late"). "Late" did a great job assisting Sherlock...maybe too good a job, for when the show was just about over, Professor Moriarty (played by an older female museum worker in a black hat and cape) snuck up and stole one of Bone's dino bones, at which point Bones yelled "Watson! Stop him!" and "Late" ran after him/her and took a flying leap and tackled Professor Moriarty/older lady to the ground. The museum security guard (evidently unaware of the play)came running over and said "Hey kid! What do you think your doing!" I just shook my head and started to slowly walk away hoping no one would know that the kid in the matching green shirt was one of ours.

Of course when we were in the car I asked "Late" what was his favorite thing about the Museum, he said "Tackling the old lady." And when I asked his younger brother what he liked best he said "Late" tackling the old lady!" The most disturbing thing is that they said "the old lady" and not "Professor Moriarty"...Humm.