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Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Caribbean Jack's - Ormond Beach, FL

My first question: Is this Jack person REALLY Caribbean?  Question two:  what's the criteria?   The real Jack that this place is named for was apparently a famous rum runner during prohibition, but that hardly qualifies him for citizenship with a Caribbean nation, now does it?

Is this the turtle that Jack used to run rum?

At CB's you can sit in these weird rocking back and forth swing things that are supposed to simulate the nausea you get from a rough sea.  Perfect for eating.

This place is a serious tourist schmaltz-fest.  The (bad) band was playing all the rotten "beach" songs, the prices were sky-high, the staff was Applebees-meets-Chili's-meets-Bennigan's (is that still a place?), and the customers were all REALLY ugly American types. I was ready to totally write the place off, but then this happened:
Editor's note: The pina colada in this photo was not Gibby's.  Gibby was just holding it for someone else.

Totally unexpected!  We call these "Arkies" where we live, but I think they could be classified as potato wedges everywhere else.

Crisp and hot.

And fluffy on the inside.

$2.99 is fair for this kind of joint I think.

Atmosphere/schmaltz factor: 0 out of 10.
Fries: 8 out of 10.

Monday, April 28, 2014

The Grunion vs. Grandpa

On a recent dinner trip.

GRUNION:  Psst!  Hey Gramps!  Can you spot me a Jackson? 
GRANDPA:  For what?

GRUNION:  I think the fat man is gonna make me chip in for dinner and I'm tapped.
GRANDPA:  Okay, let's play a game.  I'll put the money in a hand and you guess which hand it's in.

GRUNION:  Are you sure this place is cool?  This is kinda like gambling right?

GRUNION:  I'll say it's THIS HAND!
GRANDPA:  Wrong.

GRANDPA:  I'll shuffle my hands behind my back....and....try again.

GRUNION:  This is too hard.  How about I sell you this eraser shaped like a train for 50 bucks?
GRANDPA:  50 bucks?  That's more than I paid for my entire wardrobe when I bought it in 1980.



GIBBY:  Settle down, you two.  I'm rating fries over here.

GRUNION:  Dang it.  Busted.

Victory: Gibby?

Friday, April 25, 2014

DJ's Deck - Daytona Beach, FL

We tried to get into one of our favorite restaurants recently but this was the line to get in.

We said forget it and remembered that DJ's was 50 yards away.  Can we get in?

Wow.  This place needs some advertising.

Tiki-style thing going on outside, but it was kinda rainy so we sat at the bar.

Whoa!  Bar stools from the 60s/70s!

Still not a bad view.

Got fries?  Yuppers.

Very nice.

Better than I expected.  Lightly battered, and extra-hot from the fryer for $1.99.

Eating them there in the marina reminded me of my days as a Gloucesterman, fighting the frigid temperatures of the ruthless Atlantic ocean.  Battling with the ravages of nature in an age-old struggle to reap the sea's bounty for profitable gain.  Arrrgh.   The things these old eyes have seen upon the waves....

The seafood was also extra good cause the boats bring the stuff straight in and sell it to the seafood store that's part of DJ's.  I actually saw the cooks going over to the store to get stuff periodically.  We had some blackened scallops.  They were tasty.

8.5 out of 10

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Crabby Joe's Revisited

So a few years ago I reviewed Crabby Joe's in Daytona Beach.  They didn't fare too well and even though I go there at least 3 or 4 times a year I haven't been paying much attention to the fries since that first time.  Wouldn't you know it?  We were there a couple of weeks ago and there were some surprises.

First things first.  The Grunion saw this on the menu:

AND DEMANDED THAT WE TAKE THE CHALLENGE.  We've taken on some big burgers in the past, so I was not excited about it, but I didn't want to look like a wimp so we went for it.  In the meantime, I ordered some fries just in case the burger wasn't big enough.

And this is what came to the table.  Wha???

Lightly battered, hot, fresh, cripsy/fluffy.


And look!  You know they are made from real potatoes cause there is this green stuff on one of them.  Sweet!  They changed the fries and now they are really good.  $2.99 is still a little steep for this amount, but you have to consider the real estate so I gave the price a pass.

While I was basking in the afterglow of the new, better fries, the "Whale Sized Surf and Turf Burger" was delivered.

It's mildly impressive, but also really weird.  It has 3 regular burger patties, 4 or 5 fried fish filets, 8-10 (crappy) pre-cooked pieces of bacon, about a pound of lettuce, tomatos, pickles, and onions, a couple of pieces of what they call "Texas Toast" (which was regular sized), and a MASSIVE burger bun.

The Grunion and I destroyed this thing with no problems.

We shared a little bit with Amy, but really the only tough parts were the giant leftover salad items:

And the MASSIVE bottom bun, which was basically a bread bowl.

Now here's the weirdest part.  See the fries on the side of the burger plate?  Take a closer look.  WTH?  Those fries are COMPLETELY DIFFERENT/CRAPPIER than the fries I had like 5 minutes earlier.

Boo.  It appears that the fries are a crapshoot at Crabby's.  I really don't know how to give a rating to a place without a consistent product.  Weird.  I guess I will just suggest that if you ever go there, ask for the "good" fries.  ? out of 10.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Ore-Ida Easy Fries

Strolling through the market recently (what? you don't "stroll"?) I noticed these things.  Normally I wouldn't go anywhere near a product that claimed to create anything even remotely resembling good fries in a microwave, but the fact that they were only $1.00 piqued my interest.  Also, the package claimed that the fries would be "crispy" and "easy" and "extra".

The instructions seem simple enough.

Did you know that the Ore and Ida in Ore-Ida means Oregon and Idaho?  Also, the company was founded by two brothers named NEPHI and GOLDEN Grigg.  Fascinating.  Anyhoo, the thinking-cap folks at Ore-Ida might be on to something here cause this package has that silvery (surely non-carcinogenic) stuff on both the top and bottom of the package.

The idea is that you take the top silvery part and smash it down on the fries so that when the microwave starts nuclear bombing them the tops and bottoms of your fries get crisped.

In they go for 3 and 1/2 minutes.

While I waited, I prayed to Maneki-Neko that the ghosts of Nephi and Golden would deliver on their promise of crispy, easy goodness.


Let's see...

Fairly.....crispy!  I'm impressed.  For $1.00 and the easiness, this is a total bargain.

The Grunion approved.

These are a great fry-emergency staple to keep around the house.  8 out of 10.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Tomoka Brewery - Ormond Beach, FL

Most of the time small craft breweries have great food (if they choose to serve food).  I'm guessing the reason for this is because if someone is into "crafting" complex beers, they're probably into "crafty" foods as well.  Thus was the case with the Tomoka Brewery in Ormond Beach, FL.

The place is tiny, and on the day we went (Thursday@5pm) there were only two people there.  I hope that is not the norm, cause it turned out to be great.

House-made-to-order klondike rose waffle potato chips topped with your choice of four different cheeses?  YES PLEASE.




These things were "chips" in name only.  They were slightly pliable, not crunchy.  Which makes them more like waffle fries in my book.  We chose nacho cheese so the Grunion wouldn't freak out.  He loved them.

In fact, he loved the waffle "fries" so much he totally ignored the fried mac and cheese we got him.  It was meh anyway.

Tomoka Brewery: DO IT.  10 out of 10.  And also they have beers that they make.  And a "beer garden" out back.