The Hungry Wanderers

Eating and exploring our way through the world

Posts Tagged ‘mac&cheese’

A Return to Southend Brewery

Posted by Amanda @ The Hungry Wanderers on May 26, 2010

This past weekend, the Husband and I headed back east to one of our favorite southern cities, Charleston, for our friends’ wedding.  It was a wedding filled weekend which left us just Saturday afternoon to explore the city again and to have a quick meal.  We spent the morning and early afternoon exploring the downtown area, venturing into areas we hadn’t visited last time (post coming soon!) and as the heat and humidity wore us down, we decided to stop for something to drink and potentially lunch.

As we made our way back to Bay Street (where a good number of restaurants are), we thought back to our last visit and the many restaurants we visited.  We decided to head back to Southend Brewery since we recalled enjoying our dinner there the last time.

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We were given the option to sit outside, but since we stopped in specifically to get out from the heat and humidity, we welcomed the air conditioned restaurant.  Once our waitress arrived, we ordered a Sweet Tea (for me), an Arnold Palmer (iced tea/lemonade for the Husband), and two waters.  I don’t think I’ve ever consumed my water as quickly as I did that day! It’s funny how quickly we’ve adjusted to living in the desert and how much the humidity affects us now 🙂IMG_9749 The Husband and I were both in the mood for salads and decided to each get one and then also order a favorite side.  The Husband ordered the “The Brutus” Caesar Salad – a caesar salad topped with pico de gallo and spicy caesar dressing.  He asked for a recommendation on what meat or seafood to add to it and he went with the grilled chicken.  The salad hit the spot for him.

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I ordered the House Baby Mixed Greens with asiago, spiced pecans, and a white balsamic vinaigrette on the side.  This salad was perfect, except that it had a ridiculous amount of cheese (and that’s saying a lot coming from me!).  With nearly every bite, I was shaking cheese off of my fork.  Once I got around a majority of it, though, I really did like it.  IMG_9754 

IMG_9755 The last time we visited, the Husband and I each ordered a side of the Smoked Gouda Mac n Cheese.  I remembered not enjoying it as much as the Husband but I decided to give it another shot.  I’m glad I did.  It was creamy and a great splurge next to the salad.  We forgot how large the sides were and probably would have done just fine sharing one (especially because the salads were bigger than expected).

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Overall, we’re glad we got a chance to have a quick meal in downtown Charleston (the rest of the meals we had were included at our hotel or were wedding events).  The salad and mac n cheese hit the spot, as did the sweet tea, and we enjoyed chatting with our waitress who just recently moved to Charleston from Chicago (a location we’re visiting in just a few weeks!).

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Big Texan

Posted by Amanda @ The Hungry Wanderers on April 30, 2010

On our long drive from Oklahoma City to Albuquerque, we noted that Amarillo, Texas was pretty much right in the middle of our drive.  Our friend Bec recommended that we check out the Big Texan, located right on I-40.  This restaurant is quintessential Texan (at least silly, cheesy Texas) and is famous for its “free” 72 ounce steak.  Neither the Husband nor I were interested in trying to win it, but we definitely wanted to check this place out on our drive.  We planned the drive so that we would arrive right around lunch time.  It was not hard to find at all!

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IMG_2814 See what I mean?!?!

Inside the restaurant, everything appeared to be made out of cows (or wood in areas that couldn’t be cow-made such as the chairs).  The place was huge, with I believe two levels of restaurant, all looking out over the stage that those trying the 72oz steak (and sides!) contest get to eat on (and are timed from – one hour to eat it all or it’s $72).

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IMG_2817 We were seated at a booth along the center back wall and were able to enjoy a good view of the entire restaurant portion.  The beer menu served as your placemat.

IMG_2818 The food menu could be saved as a souvenir 🙂 We looked through the regular menu and found the lunch specials on one side of it. IMG_2821 Each lunch special came with two sides, of which there were many to choose from.

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The Husband ordered the only Texan beer on the menu, the Ziegenbock.  It was dark in color but light in flavor and refreshing.

IMG_2826 From the lunch specials, the Husband chose to go with the Chicken Fried Steak – he claims it’s the best one he ever had.  His side items were Beef Steak Tomatoes and Red Onions and the Mac N Cheese.  Both the main dish and tomatoes came with a jalapeno on the side.  The Husband ate his and his mouth was quite on fire for a bit 🙂

IMG_2825 IMG_2830 The lunch special I chose was the Smoke Spare Ribs and BBQ Brisket.  On the side I chose the fried okra and mac n cheese.  The meat was tender (especially the ribs), but too much for me for lunch.  I enjoyed the mac n cheese and the fried okra was fine.  Nothing to write home about. IMG_2832

The lunch special also came with soft, warm rolls.  Yum!

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Our waitress was sweet and attentive.  We asked her how often customers try to tackle the 72 ounce steak and her answer surprised us.  Apparently it happens at least once a day, some times up to 25 people a day.  If she had to estimate, she thought that one in eight actually finish it!!! That surprised us as well.  If we understood correctly, to finish it, you have to eat the whole steak and some sides, which didn’t look small themselves, all in less than an hour.  As you walk into the restaurant, the food is on display on your right.  Look how big it is!!! IMG_2834

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Definitely not something we’d like to try, but it might be fun to watch someone else do it.

The overall Big Texan building itself is huge.  Aside from the very large restaurant, there’s a pretty big bar area, complete with a carnival type shooting gallery 🙂  There’s also a gift shop if I remember correctly.

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The Big Texan was a fun stopover on our way to New Mexico.  If you find yourself in Amarillo, either overnight or driving by, stop by and at least see what it looks like (even if you don’t have time to eat).  You won’t regret it!

As a side note, I see that, at the time of this posting, this restaurant gets a 49% on Urbanspoon.  I just want to be clear that this place is FUN and definitely a touristy spot.  We enjoyed our food, but we had it as a lunch special so we can’t speak to the value of dinner.  There are nice steakhouses everywhere truthfully, but when can you go to one that looks like this? We recommend it as a fun place to check out 🙂





The Big Texan Steak Ranch on Urbanspoon

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Caney Fork Fish Camp

Posted by Amanda @ The Hungry Wanderers on April 26, 2010

After checking in to our hotel at Aloft Nashville Cool Springs, the Husband and I contemplated what to do with our evening and what to see in Nashville.  We decided on heading north to Opryland to check out the outside of the newer Grand Ole Opry House and to find a restaurant in that local area.  After looking at our options on Urbanspoon, I decided on Caney Fork Fish Camp.  There weren’t many reviews available and the Citysearch ones were very mixed (half one-stars and half five stars – the reviews for the one stars didn’t seem justified in their one star rating so we decided to ignore those reviews and give it a shot).

Caney Fork Fish Camp is located a very short drive north of Opry Mills, the giant mall at which the new Grand Ole Opry is located.

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I did a poor job of outdoor photography but the restaurant looks like a big cabin.  IMG_2641 When we arrived, we were concerned there would be a long wait (it was Saturday night after all) as there were was a huge group waiting out on the porch.  When we got inside though, we were immediately seated.  The hostess explained that those outside were waiting for a shuttle (we assume back to a hotel?).  We were immediately impressed with the decor (which we knew would be campy and somewhat cheesy from the reviews).

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As we wound our way through the restaurant to our table, we noted all of the cabin atmosphere, making it seem that we were seated inside and outside of multiple cabins.

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We were seated next to a fish pond with actual fish 🙂

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IMG_2645 As we looked over the menu, we saw that we had lots to choose from.  Across the board on the reviews, including the one-star reviews, everyone seemed to enjoy the Fried Dill Pickle Chips so we knew we had to order some.  They came with a Chipotle Ranch dipping sauce.  While we didn’t love them, we were glad we tried them.  I’m generally not a pickle fan and have only recently begun trying fried pickles.  What made these different than the others is that they actually tasted like pickles – the breading didn’t take their flavor away.  So, if you like pickles, you’ll probably like these 😉 I enjoyed the chipotle ranch sauce, though.

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Another love, across the board of reviews, was the complimentary Corn Fritters.  Those reviews were right on.  They were sweet, crispy yet doughy, and just heavenly.  I saved one for dessert later and was glad I did. IMG_2650

Our waitress, Kelsey, was phenomenal.  She was very friendly and attentive! The Husband asked for beer recommendations, specifically if they had any Tennessee beers on tap, and she recommended Yazoo Pale.  The Husband enjoyed it and thought it was an excellent example of a Pale Ale.  It had the appropriate color, flavor, hop aroma, and mouth feel.

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For my entree, I went with another review recommendation – the catfish.  I chose to go with the Fried Catfish Sandwich which came with lettuce, tomato, tartar sauce, and hot sauce on the side.  I had a selection of sides to choose from and chose to go with the Mac n Cheese made with Velveeta Cheese 🙂 While I enjoyed the sandwich, I particularly enjoyed the hot sauce.  While not particularly hot, it had a bit of kick and vineagar to it and I learned they make it at the restaurant.  The mac n cheese was awesome! Definitely glad I got it.       IMG_2658 The Husband ordered the Vegetable Plate for his entree which was a selection of three side items.  He also chose the Mac N Cheese, the Hushpuppies, and the Fried Okra.  He also added a side salad with blue cheese dressing.  He enjoyed both the mac n cheese and fried okra but didn’t love the hushpuppies.  Something about them were just off for him.  He was glad to get some fresh veggies in his salad.

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We decided to not get any dessert (I had my last corn fritter to enjoy!) as we were full and tired from a day full of travel.  Overall, we though this was a fun restaurant to go to.  We enjoyed most of our dishes and though the service was great.  The negative reviews we read we don’t feel were justified and our feelings toward the restaurant and the experience more closely match the positive reviews on the internet.  If you find yourself in Opryland and you’re looking for reasonably priced southern food, give this place a shot.




Caney Fork Restauraunt on Urbanspoon

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Birthday Party at Big Daddy’s Burger Bar

Posted by Amanda @ The Hungry Wanderers on February 27, 2010

Last night, our group of friends all met up to celebrate Emily’s birthday at the Big Daddy’s Burger Bar in Ballantyne.  After tasting the awesome burgers at their location in Dilworth a few weeks back, we were excited to try out their second location as well as hang out with so many of our good friends before we head off on our big trip to Las Vegas, San Francisco, and Australia! (Be sure to check back over the next few weeks to see what we’re up to!)

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The group planned to meet at 6:30, but because of awful traffic, the Husband and I didn’t arrive until 7! 😦 When we arrived, there was a table for 10 and it was full 😦 But, thanks to Kath arriving early and the awesome staff, we were able to join the group and wait about 10 minutes until the table next to us emptied and we could join it up with the rest of the group.  My only group shot and it wasn’t a very good one…

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Joining the part was Caitlin & Jason, Kate & Nate, Casey & Emily, Kath & Matt, and Michelle & Ben.  The only ones missing were Diana & Dan and Kelsey & Eric.  We feel to blessed to have found such a great group of friends here! We’re going to miss them quite a bit when we move to Las Vegas but hopefully they will all come to visit!

So, as I mentioned before, not too long after we arrived the party next to us left and we were all able to sit at one big table 🙂 At that time, the Husband ordered a beer sampler and the table began ordering appetizers.

First to the beer… The Husband ordered (from left to right) Flying Dog Tire Bite Golden Ale, Brooklyn Brown Ale, Bell’s Two-hearted, and Sweetwater 420. I don’t know about you, but I love samplers – beer samplers and wine flights.  Being able to try a little bit of a few instead of a lot of one is just the greatest!

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Around the table, appetizer-wise, the group had fried pickles, chips and pimento cheese dip, and mac n cheese.  Can you guess who got the mac n cheese?!?! 🙂

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There were three options of mac n cheese to choose from in the appetizer/starter section – Plain, Bacon Cheeseburger, and Pimento Cheese.  We went with the Bacon Cheeseburger and it was heavenly 🙂 It reminded me of my visit to S’MAC in New York City. Yum!

The burger menus are slightly different between the two locations and I had a lot of difficulty trying to decide what to have.  I knew right off the bat, though, what my side would be: tater tots!

IMG_2026 Yum! Just like elementary/middle/high school 🙂 It came with this spicy, smoky, dip which was delish!

As for my burger, I debated for a long time.  I thought about getting a salad with a burger on top, but for some reason was overwhelmed by the menu and never actually focused on the salads.  Most of my friends did and they looked delish (check out Kath and Emily’s blogs for pics of theirs!).  I ended up going with the Western Burger.  It was a buffalo burger topped with Monterrey Jack cheese, fried onions, and bbq sauce.  It was good.

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The Husband ordered Buffalo Chicken Sandwich and added a fried egg to the top.  He assumed the chicken would be fried and would have been happy with that, but was pleasantly surprised that it was grilled chicken.  He really enjoyed this.  On the side, he ordered their homemade chips (since he enjoyed them so much at the Dilworth location) but they were just okay this time.

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Knowing we would all be heading to Tasty-Yo for dessert, we all skipped ordering any dessert at Big Daddy’s but as I noted in our post for the Dilworth location, I highly recommend the banana pudding.  And, for readers new and old, we highly recommend Tasty Yo.  Check out our posts for our tasty reviews 🙂 (pun intended)

Oh, and I can’t forget to compliment our server, Matt! He was so very on top of things and I was impressed at his service to the group of 12 of us.  Thanks Matt for a great night!

Big Daddy’s Burger Bar – Ballantyne
15105-A John J. Delaney Drive
Charlotte, NC 28277
704-919-2700

Big Daddy's Burger Bar on Urbanspoon</a>

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