I’m on vacation this week. Some friends went to the shore with me and we went to dinner at The Island Grille in Ocean City. I controlled myself enough to not moon the Tabernacle assholes as we drove by (if you are unfamiliar: Ocean City is a dry town. The restaurants are hurting in this economy by not doing any sort of liquor and a lot of people will go to nearby Somers Point so they can imbibe. The restaurant guys came up with a plan to offer BYOB only between Memorial Day and Labor Day, but as usual, the rich douchebags don’t care about the working guys out there and lobbied enough to scare people into voting it down (by saying “The Town will turn into Wildwood” which I find to be elitist and douchey). The funny part about the whole thing is that they were saying that it would ruin the “family vibe” of OC if they let in liquor. Meanwhile, check out the recycling bins on trash day or the long lines at the 2 liquor stores conveniently located at the bottom of both bridges leading into town.) and we circled around long enough to park within walking distance of The Island Grille.
I found this place because my Mom had a magnet from there on her fridge, no kidding. The website looked nice and the prices seemed ok. They have nice outside seating as well as arctic ac inside if that’s your thing. They offer lots of seafood and pump in a lot of Jimmy Buffet music. I hate Jimmy Buffett but that’s just me. I guess it goes with the decor? Whatever. Anywho, as Julie, Cecilia and I sat down, we saw “Crabby Nachos” and ordered them immediately.
It said they came with crab and “cheese sauce”. I didn’t think much of it, I thought it would be cheese whiz, which I am a big fan of (keep your hate mail to yourselves). I could have done without the giant salad on top, but I suppose it was for color. For some reason, they used bagged tortilla chips. You might not know this but it’s cheaper to MAKE YOUR OWN CHIPS. Please take note, everyone in the food industry who insists on using these shitty chips. But, I am flexible. Perhaps they are busy and don’t have the time to do prep. Who knows.
I have to say they are not skimpy with the crap. These things have tons of crab on them. Do you like crab? I know I do (insert Will Ferrell doing Harry Carrey here). The crab doesn’t disappoint. What does disappoint? I hope you are sitting down.
Let’s start with the jalapenos, of which came out of a can. Seriously. Seriously? How about the salsa? Of which is also from a can (or, a plastic bottle). Seriously. Do you have any idea how cheap it is to make salsa? And the longer it sits, the better it gets, so it’s not like you have to throw it away every nite! You could make one big thing of it once a week and be done with it! Jalapenos that come from a can…I have no words for that. No words. Actually, I do have words: you suck.
Let’s sit a spell and chat about this “cheese sauce”. Now, I love cheese whiz. I am a Philadelphian, and it is in my DNA to enjoy a few things: Tastykakes, cream cheese, water that tastes like a pipe, and cheese whiz. I could put it on anything. I have put it on lots of stuff. I don’t want to say I have licked plates or wrappers that it might be on, because my Mom reads this and will yell at me…but I’ll let your imagination work it out.
This is not cheese whiz. This is straight up cheap ass, 7-11 nacho cheese. When I worked at the Sev, it came in a bag, and the pump attached to it. They might have it on a Bain-Marie, which is like a water bath type of thing, like you see on a buffet line. It would probably be in one like you’d see soups in. Do you know how cheap it is to buy shredded cheese in bulk? Super, crazy cheap. And that cheese is used everywhere and for something like nachos, it’s great! To say “cheese sauce”, you’d think it was something like the melted cheese sauce they use at Chickie and Pete’s for the Crab Fries. But no, no, you’d be wrong.
If this place was run by some idiot wahoos who decided it would be fun to have a restaurant without any training and they pulled this sort of thing, I’d understand. They wouldn’t know any better. But according to the website: “Andy is the chef and runs the back of the restaurant. Wife Allison manages the front of the restaurant. Andy is a graduate of Johnson & Wales University with a BS in Food Service Management and an Assoc. in Culinary Arts.”. Johnson and Wales is right behind the CIA in pumping out trained culinary people. There is no excuse for this.
So let’s see how this went:
Chips. Eh. Jalapenos. Bleh. Cheese. Ugh. Salsa. Nasty. Crab. Tasty. I don’t get it. I don’t understand. The crab is awesome, but the rest of it could be fixed so easily. Please, Island Grille, FIX IT.
If you are familiar with me, or this blog, at all, you might know that I love nachos. I do a lot of standup so I spend a lot of time in bars, and I tend to order the nachos at almost everywhere I end up. I have had good ones, bad ones, interesting twists on them and scary twists on them. I can’t eat jalapeno seeds anymore, which sucks (they tend to turn my body into what can only be described as a Festival Of Terror), but I am game for any other kind of ingredients. So, when I heard about Loco Pez and their ridiculous nachos, I had to try them.
Loco Pez used to be a bar in Fishtown called The Crazy Fish. Get it? Now it’s a bar with some amazing Mexican food. There is a big bar in the front and a few booths in the back. This, my friends, is where the magic happens.
My friend Jess and I popped in on a weeknight to check it out. The beer selection is pretty great, and we ordered the 21st Amendment Hell or High Watermelon (It was on special! Yay!).
It’s a wheat beer and usually only available in the summer, so we were both pretty excited it’s back out. It’s a nice summertime beer that has a really cool watermelon aftertaste. Specifically, it tastes like a watermelon Jolly Rancher. Check it out if you can, it’s very unique and delicious.
21st Amendment is a craft brewery from San Francisco and they do something a little different: all of their beers are in cans. Cans help beer stay fresher and they are better for the environment. I am a huge fan of their “Brew Free or Die” IPA as well. Check them out, you’ll be glad ya did!
So, as we perused the menu and drank our beers, we come to the conclusion that we needed to get the “Nachos De Kenzo”. These nachos come with carne asada, pulled chicken and spicy chorizo. Three meats on nachos can’t be bad, right? I was almost sold, until I remembered I had read about ordering them “K&A Style”. This means instead of chips, the nachos are made with…waffle fries. What waffle fries and K&A have to do with each other is beyond me. (for those of you not from Philly, K&A is a stop on the Frankford El and a general section of the city that used to be a place to go shopping, eat and be seen. Now it’s a place to pick up a hooker and 15 percocets on your way back from the metadone center).
But even if they have nothing in common, I could not care less, because these things are amazing. Did I mention they also have Cheddar, Monterey Jack, Oaxaca & Cotija cheeses and Crema on them? Or that they have a giant pile of homemade guac on top that is knockout delicious? Or that the waffle fries themselves are thick enough to hold this crazy monstrosity of nacho goodness?
These are easily the best nachos I have eaten in the history of time. I actually kind of want to try them with chips (which I am hoping they make in house). The meats and cheeses blend so well together: the meats are warm and super tender & the cheeses are gooey and it all dances around some pico de gallo to pull it all together. Someone asked me if the waffle fries get soggy and, surprisingly, they do not. I am not sure how the chef pulls that of, but I am glad he does. I recommend clicking on these images to see a closeup view of these nachos. Words do not do them justice.
Get to Loco Pez and don’t waste any time doing it. Order some nachos, get a 21st Amendment Hell or High Watermelon and run with it!
So I realized I had a bunch of stray pictures hanging around. I am the asshole you see snapping pictures of food at inappropriate times (“I know you are having that cookie because of your low blood sugar but it looks cool”…Snap!) but not all of my pics can be a whole blog post unto itself. So, here is a roundup of assorted pics that I thought would be cool.
First up! In a previous post, I drooled all over the internet about a Prime Rib that my cousin-in-law, Bob, the firefighter chef, had made. Well, what I did not mention was that his wife Chrissy cut me a giant piece to take home. So, later on, home alone on New Years Day, I wanted to eat it. But how? I cut it up, threw it in a cast iron skillet and started to just heat it up.
In a little bowl I mixed some ketchup, A1, sriracha, worcheshire sauce and water and threw it in so it wouldn’t get dried out. Then I thought, what should I eat with it? Duh.
It was a thing of beauty. The sauce had cooked down and caramelized on the meat and the eggs were cooked but the yolks were still kinda dippy. I sat in the green leather armchair in the living room with this plate on my lap and welcomed the first day of 2012 (yeah, I had to check) with reckless abandon. And lots of meat!
I was in North Jersey doing some comedy awhile back with my friend Latice. It was a long drive and I was super crazy hungry. I ordered a burger (an aside: please don’t advertise a big giant burger and then give me a big giant…jetro frozen burger. It takes 20 minutes to make like 45 fresh burgers for the week. Salt. Pepper. Maybe something else if you wanna get crazy. It’s cheaper to buy a chubb (haha, yeah that’s what they call it) of meat from wherever you get your meat and make them yourself then to lie to me and make me angry.) and wanted nachos. I love nachos.
And what they served me made me so angry I wanted to burn the building down.
What we have here are the Worst Nachos In The History Of The World. They were over salted regular and blue corn tortilla chips with the bagged shredded cheese and old chili on them. Oh. And olives. Where are the other ingredients? They were on another plate (that I didn’t take a picture of due to being angry) in little cups. There was not enough for the both of us, which irritates the crap out of me, because nachos should be big enough to be shared by at least 3 people. THAT IS WHY THEY EXIST. Some idiot in the kitchen decides to make deconstructed nachos and then doesn’t even mention it in the menu. And then tries to pass off a frozen burger as homemade. For shame. FOR SHAME.
This is what nachos should look like:
There is everything you need there. They don’t make their own chips either, even tho it is simple, but there is height, heft and yes, DELICIOUSNESS.
(And the maraschino cherries for dessert? You really get me internet, you really do…)
My little cousin Matt turned 7 earlier this past year and he wanted a monster themed party (fitting for Matt, but you don’t know him, so this must seem very inside baseball. You’d be right. But, trust me.). So his mom Lorrie made a very cool cake and gave out these monster cake pops!
Lorrie makes such awesome baked goods that sometimes I daydream about keeping her in my basement to just make me baked goods all day long. But then I remember how silly that would be…my cellar isn’t big enough for that kind of operation. A girl can dream tho.
Anyway, aren’t they cool? The hair is oreo crumbs and the cake is a light and airy chocolate. Did I almost get into a fight with another 7 year old over one sitting on a table?
One may never know…(I sure as hell ain’t tellin’….)
I found myself out of my area of cheesesteaks and tastykakes and into another area called Brooklyn. It looks a lot like Philly but with much more annoying Yankee/Giants/Mets crap plastered to all the cards. So instead of making an afternoon out of keying cars, I ended up eating this…a red velvet donut.
I didn’t eat it when first given to me. It sat in the bag for a bit. While I do tend to write about baked goods, I really very rarely eat them because too much carby stuff turns me into a parade float. Ahem. Anywho, this beauty is from the Peter Pan Bakery on Manhattan Ave in the Greenpoint section of Brooklyn. This thing was freakin’ amazing. Could it have been better with cream cheese frosting? Perhaps. But it was like eating a cupcake, a cake and a dance on a ballroom floor and I’ll take that any day.
I’ll end this hodgepodge post with a cupcake. A plain vanilla cupcake. I don’t remember exactly where I had this thing (it might have been another one of Bob’s creations), but I remember the icing. I hate cupcakes that have skimpy sugar-ball icing. They have no flavor. No panache. No…soul.
This was a perfect cupcake. Cream cheese icing. Tiny sugar crystals. It took me awhile to get down to the cupcake but ya know what?
It was a holiday cupcake and I was in love with it. And that was just fine with me.