Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Culverized - The New Eau Claire Culvers

Very nice - They took the old Pie Place and converted it, but made it far nicer than any other Culvers I have been in. They have multiple seating areas, 46' flat screens - one CNN, one ESPN, one infomercials in front, and the same Culvers food (which is far better and far more diverse than any other FF place

I had the pork tenderloin (breaded) for the first time - very nice. They have also added real tea and real "sweet tea".

If they had wi fi it would be perfect, but they probably want to flip tables.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Hipster Coffee in Downtown Eau Claire (Campus side)

Racy's a little hidden - on the river side of water street (go south on 4th then turn west, you will see it) with a great location on the Chippewa River for sipping you coffee on the bike path along the river

Good coffee - not sure where they get it from (likely Fair Trade if I remember correctly). Free Wi-Fi. You can get food from the attached restaurant. Not the best coffee in the valley (try the 4:30 in Chippewa Falls), but good, and free wifi (take that starbucks!)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Coffee Grounds Eau Claire - local roaster, but....

still not my favorite coffee in the valley (which would have to be the 4:30 in Chippewa Falls.

While roasted on site, the roaster likes it either lite roast or burnt roast - nothing choclately brown, all nice and oily. As such, most of the roasts are best drunk without half and half (my fav) or you have to pony up for the shot of espresso to give it enough heft to hold up to the cream.

Food is ok - sandwiches fair, soups good, muffins and scones good.

WiFi is a pain - three people here online and it is so slow I have to downgrade to Gmail dial up option.

For a coffee shop - just average. However, they do have the areas best selection of wine and beer, and a decent selection of cigars.

Friday, July 17, 2009

A & W - Neilsville, WI - America's Root Beer Stand

Minus the stand part.

Older A&W, without the drive in, just the drive through, like most fast food restaurants these days. Clean, but old. Skate Park Next Door. Still serves that fine AW Rootbeer. Ordered a single papa burger combo, they charged me for the double.

A decent place for a meal, but clearly the owners are not interested in bringing their store into the 21st century, and neither is YUM brands, owner of the franchise.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Cancun Mexican Restaurant - Chippewa Falls and Eau Claire

The Short Story - Mexican Food For Americans - edible, but not that much up from Taco Johns.

Located in both Eau Claire and in Chippewa Falls, Cancun is a decent American Mexican restaurant. Nothing too special, nothing too spicy, with generic sauces. The staff is attentive, food served fast (straight from the heating table, into a tortilla, onto to your plate), it is a good place for a business lunch - in and out in 30 minutes, but it doesn't feel like they are pushing you out the door (even though they are in working hard to flip tables).

The ubiquitous chips come with a decent, although mild (err, american style) salsa and this odd ranch dip, that has this gluey nasty consistency and odd taste (although surprising ok on top of the generic burrito you ordered)

Ok if you need a decent looking place (think a smaller chi chi's) with generic american mexican food (think chi chi's)

If you want real mexican food - go to where the staff at cancun eats - Tacqueria Sandoval, 2824 London Rd. - Now that is great mexican food -- real mexican food.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Texas Roadhouse - Eau Claire Edition

Texas Roadhouse is largely a steak place that has a gimmick - it is "modeled" after a roadhouse - hot waitresses, line dancing, peanuts (toss the shells on the floor) and beer. Well, the wait staff are not dressed like Hooters girls, the beer special was Sam Adams (what roadhouse would serve a beer from Boston?), and the only dancing is the wait staff doing line dancing every once in a while (but not always loving it).

For a chain, the food is good, the staff friendly, and lots of country music played loud. While sam adams boston lager might of been the special ($2.25 for a 12 oz tap), you can order Shiner Bock in bottles for that true road house draught. Sides are decent (I love the sweet potatoes). Steaks tend to be a little over seasoned (too much salt), but good quality, and cooked correctly (i.e. rare is rare). I tend to get the 12 oz Ribeye, which is plenty of food. The baby blossom onion is 3.99 - a good value, and tasty, if you like deep fried onions, that is

But don't think this is a real roadhouse - no drunks throwing bottles at the band. For that, see this Roadhouse

Overall - good steakhouse - for a chain.

Best Breakfast Burrito? The Eau Claire Showdown

Taco John's advertises it's breakfast burrito as the "best in town". Well, is it?

Up against the Tex - Mex Fast Food Chain - McDonald's and Sonic

The Verdict? Yes, they are the best.

The Why?

Worst first - McD BB is an abomination, with the nastiest chipolte sauce splashed on it. Per their website, composed of sausage, potatoes, eggs, peppers and onions, cheese and fire roasted salsa. For something approaching edible, order it no sauce, then get two hot sauce packets and put them on instead.

Next..... the SuperSonic BB - an ok item, with the advantage of being available all day. Sausage, Scrambled Egg, Cheese, Tater Tots, Onions, Tomatoes and Jalapenos. Needs salsa (they serve a nasty generic salsa on the side), but it does have Jalapenos.

And the Winner - and even good - the Taco John Sausage Scrambler BB. Sausage, eggs, cheese, seasoned hash pellets (better than the tots at Sonic), onions, tomatoes, green peppers, nacho cheese sauce. Actually tastes good, but what puts it over the top is the salsa bar - add your own - my choice, pico de galo and jalapeno's. Love that salsa bar.

So yes, TJ's does have the best breakfast burrito in town.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Smokey Jon's - Excellent Ribs

Excellent for Wisconsin, that is. Excellent Ribs, when they are not overdone, great brisket, but they put too much sauce on the orders - I like their sauce, but does everything have to swim in it?.

Sides are ok - good fries, beans good, but no meat in them, corn doesn't taste much like corn, but decent spice.

Careful on the to go menu - if it says serves 4-8, it serves closer to 4 than 8

Smokey Jon's - East Side of Madison, WI