Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Blue Monkey

Blue Monkey
2012 Madison Ave
Memphis, TN 38104
(901) 272-2583

Blue Monkey is a great bar in midtown.  I rarely think about it for some reason.  Every time I go there, I vow to go more regularly.  The wait staff is always friendly.  It seems there is always a drink special going on.  And they have good food.

On this particular visit, I happened to be there at lunch time.  They have plate lunches.  I had the hamburger steak, which comes with a drink, bread and two sides.  The bread was good.  The hamburger steak was typical and covered in gravy.  The highlights were the veggies.  I had the spinach which was great.  It came with plenty of cheese, which I love.  The greens were also great.  The hamburger steak is available every day.  The price for the plate lunch is 9.95, a bargain, I think.

I didn't get a soft drink (which comes with it); I went with a ghost river beer (a Memphis made beer).  

I have been here multiple times.  They also have a great steak with blue cheese.  The only problem with this bar is that they do allow smoking, and I'm not a smoker.  

The Blue Monkey on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The Sugar House

The Sugar House
2130 Michigan Ave
Detroit, MI 48216
(313) 962-0123

The Sugar House is a bar that focuses on old fashioned drinks.  They have an extensive drink list.  G ordered a Maker's Mark on the rocks with a twist.  The server convinced him to try a different whiskey.  However, I can't remember what it was.

Anyway, I chose the same with water.  He brought mine with a small vial of water to add to it as desired, which I actually appreciated.

For food, we had an order of truffle popcorn, which was $2.  It was fine.  The menu says that it has truffle oil and is lightly salted.  We also had an order of peanuts for $1, which are from Detroit's Germack Company.  Then for $15 we had the charcuterie and cheese plate.  It came with three types of cheese.  All of which were hard parmesan types.  It would have been nice to have a soft cheese.  Then it came with two types of meat (a ham and a salami).  There were crackers and toast points with a stone ground mustard, some pickled onions, and some jam.

I have visited this place several times and I have always enjoyed the drinks.  The food is good, too.
The decor also has some heads from various animals.

The Sugar House on Urbanspoon

Monday, April 28, 2014

All Bar One, England

All Bar One
44-46 Ludgate Hill
London EC4M 7DE

Their slogan is "Food always tastes better with friends."  On that, I must agree.  Fortunately, I was with G, so I was in good company.  

With practically every meal, I had a beer, and this time I went with a Guinness.  

This restaurant seemed very chic and a bit classy.  They had a full bar with several beers on draught.  

The goal of this meal was to get my fish and chips fix.  This meal did not disappoint.  It actually was a "nice" or fancy fish and chips.  It was one large piece of fish with a lemon garnish  Of course, it came with fries.  I was expecting peas, but they were mushy peas.  They had been mashed.  

This is a good place to go.  This was definitely not a pub.  It had a nice restaurant vibe.  The food and the service were impeccable.  

Saturday, April 26, 2014

The Monarch, London

The Monarch
40-42 Chalk Farm Rd
Camden, London NW1 8BG
United Kingdom
+44 20 7482 2054

One of my favorite areas in London is called Camden.  One bar we visited is The Monarch.  The decor features monarchs, not surprisingly.

Although, we didn't eat any food here, we did notice that they have typical bar food.  We just enjoyed beer on tap.  

They have a bar, as well as tables, and even a couch.  We sat at the couch, where some girls joined us.  They were locals, who wanted to chat with the tourists.  The people were friendly, and the beer was good.  

Friday, April 25, 2014

Waxy Little Sister, England

Waxy Little Sister
20 Wardour Street
London W1D 6QG

When we were in London, it was cold outside.  One way to fight the cold was to enter a pub for a beer.  

This place is near Chinatown, so we wandered in.  This pub had the luxury of a fire place.  We were able to get warm.  

This place also had like a mini elevator for drinks.  The bar was on the first floor and we sat on the second floor.  The bartender would send the drinks up the elevator rather than make us walk down to pick them up or rather than make him walk up to give them to us.  The prices weren't cheap, but they were London average.  It's a great place to have a drink and to get warm.  

Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Village, London

The Village
81 Wardour Street
London, W1D 6QD

Another gay bar that we enjoyed in London was called The Village.  We weren't there for karaoke, but apparently, if you sing on certain days between certain times, you get a free drink.  Well, that's motivation to sing.  

On their menu, the only food listed is "spicy chicken wings."  I don't know if they have it or not, but it's interesting that it is the ONLY food listed on the menu.  

It was busy when we were there.  However, we did manage to find a table and sit and talk.  It was a good ambiance.  It was less packed than some places.  There were some places in Soho that we didn't even try to get in because they were so full. 

This place was nice and enjoyable.  The drinks were reasonable as well.  

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The Sussex, England

The Sussex
20 Upper St Martin's Ln
London WC2H 9JZ
United Kingdom
+44 20 7836 1834

I chose this restaurant because I wanted an English pie.  The one that I ordered was a steak and ale pie.  It's a flaky pastry, filled with steak and gravy.  It came with a side of peas and carrots.  It was supposed to come with mashed potatoes, but they were out, so they substituted fries.  It also came with a small carafe of gravy.  

I really enjoyed the meal.  It's like a pot pie, but much better.  

With my meal, I had a cask ale.  They have quite a few different types of beer.  

I would go here again, and I recommend it.  It's in the middle of London.  

The Queen Arms, England

The Queen Arms
Old Bath Road

The first pub I visited this trip to England was this one.  It is located in Slough, closer to the airport, so if you stay near the airport, this is a great pub to visit.

The best part about this pub besides the beer is the fireplace, and it has free wifi.  

We didn't try the food, but they do have pizza.  Pizza and beer sounds like a good combination.  It is also kid friendly.  There were kids in the pub, and the adults were playing pool.  

Monday, April 21, 2014

Evelyn and Olive

Evelyn and Olive
630 Madison Ave
Memphis, TN 38103
(901) 748-5422

Evelyn and Olive is a restaurant on Madison serving "Jamaican and Southern Cuisine."  Recently, G and I wanted to try somewhere we hadn't been, so we ended up at this restaurant.  We went to the Bahamas this summer and were looking forward to having some more Caribbean food.

The restaurant is a nice size and has a full bar.  The clientele was fairly diverse.  

We started with the delicious fish cake fritters.  They were good.  In the Bahamas, we had something similar except they were made out of conch.  These were made of cod.  

G ordered the special which were oxtail.  I had never had them before, and they were quite good.  

I ordered the stew fish which was tilapia, which came with peas and rice.  It was also really good.  Peas and rice was a dish that we frequently had in the Bahamas, too.  

This restaurant is really good, and easily affordable.  It also reminded me of food that I had in the Caribbean.  The most expensive thing is only $12.  They also have vegetarian options.  This is a must try.  If you're in the mood for Jamaican food, go there.  I haven't been to Jamaica, but I have been to the Caribbean, and to me it tasted authentic.  

Evelyn and Olive on Urbanspoon

Saturday, April 19, 2014

The Admiral Duncan, England

The Admiral Duncan
54 Old Compton St
London W1D 4UB,
United Kingdom
+44 20 7437 5300

The Admiral Duncan is a gay bar in the Soho area of London.  It was a site to a bombing in 1999, an attack against gays.  There is a chandelier that is a memorial to those who were killed.

This was actually the bar that had the cheapest drinks that I noticed in London.  They had a drink special of only 2 pounds for a list of mixed drinks.  Most beers were 4 pounds throughout our time in England.  

The people here were also friendly.  They asked if we were Canadian or American.  I found this place to have some of the friendliest people.  The people who we met were actually transplants from South Africa.  

This place has a historical significance, and the drink prices are less expensive than other places.  It's a fairly small bar, but many places we visited were not too large.  

Friday, April 18, 2014

Africa In April

Africa in April
Robert R. Church Park
Historic Beale Street District
Downtown Memphis

Every year, there is a festival in downtown Memphis, entitled Africa in April.  Each year, a different country is celebrated, and this year the focus is on Burkina Faso.

From Friday to Sunday, tons of booths are set up with a variety of vendors.  Some sell shirts; some sell traditional African clothing; some sell cell phone cases, etc, etc.  

My focus is on the food.  They have traditional fair/festival food, like funnel cakes.  They also have other food.  The booth I chose was called Motherland Cafe.  I tried to research it online, but couldn't find much.  The phone numbers on the sign indicated an Atlanta restaurant.  This booth proclaimed West African and Caribbean food.  

They advertised curry goat, but were out of it.  I was able to sample the curry chicken, which was very tasty.  However, I had a taste for something else.  

I ended up having a grilled lamb.  It was grilled in some type of sauce, and then laid on a bed of yellowish rice.  It also came with a side of vegetables (broccoli and carrots).  The portions were huge and were only $10.  I ate the meat and veggies, but I couldn't finish the rice.  Everything was good and tasty, and I'm glad that I didn't succumb to the funnel cake and corn dog.  

The admission was free.  There is also live music.  Go there!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Mela, England

152 - 156 Shaftesbury Avenue

Their slogan is "The Joy of Indian Dining."  There are tons of Indian restaurants in the London area.

This one has an upscale type of vibe.  

We had some chai tea.  

Then we ordered the Saag Paneer, which is cheese cooked with fresh spinach.  It was good, but very spicy.  I enjoyed it, but it was too spicy for G.  It was 7.95 pounds.  

We also split an order of Kulcha naan stuffed with lamb.  It was good, but unfortunately, the lamb came out on first bite.  

I enjoyed the meal, but it is spicy.  The service is also really good.  They also gave us a 1/2 coupon for our next visit.  However, we didn't want to duplicate restaurants since we were only there for a week.  

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Coffee and Chocolate

Coffee and Chocolate
327 Union Ave.
Knoxville, Tennessee 37902

This is a cute coffee shop in the market square.  G had the espresso and he liked it.  I saw these bacon chocolate chip cookies and I had to have them.

Unfortunately, they were disappointing.  All I could taste was regular chocolate chips cookies with an occasional chewy bit.  

I'm sure the rest of their food and their drinks are fine.  However, do not order these cookies.  

Coffee & Chocolate on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

North Forty Truck Stop

North Forty Truck Stop
15060 U.S. 641
Holladay, TN 38341

While driving to Knoxville, I needed some breakfast.  What did I crave a breakfast biscuit from a gas station.

I found exactly what I needed for $2.99.  It was a steak and egg biscuit.  The steak was a chicken fried steak.

It was exactly what I expected, and it hit the craving perfectly.  I may not always want gas station food, but when I do, this is the one to beat.  The coffee was good, too.  I spent less than $5 for this meal.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Shalimar Restaurant

Shalimar Restaurant
307 S. Main
Ann Arbor, MI 48104

I have only been to Ann Arbor once, and the only meal I have ever eaten there was at Shalimar Restaurant at lunch time.

I ended up ordering a combination lunch plate.

It came with a vegetable samosa. I am not sure what the sauce was that accompanied it, but I know it's typical at most Indian restaurants that I have eaten at.

Unfortunately, I cannot remember everything that came with my meal.  I know it had naan bread with a cucumber sauce and basmati rice.  The dessert was a rice pudding.  I don't care for it, so I gave it to G.  It has a salad which was fine.  Then there was a choice between saag paneer which is spinach with and Indian cheese or a paneer tikka masala which is Indian cheese in a tomato sauce.  I got the saag and G got the paneer tikka masala.  Both were delicious.  I will say it is on the better side of saag paneers that I have had.  Then there were two other things.  I know one was a vegetable korma, which was also scrumptious.  However, the other thing I am not 100% on what it was.  After looking at the menu online, I am thinking that it is channa pindi, which is chickpeas cooked in a tomato broth.  It was also good.  

For lunch the combination platter was around $10, and it has left me stuffed.  If I'm ever in that area again, I would go here again.  I also recommend it.  We also had good service.  

Shalimar on Urbanspoon

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Star and Garter, England

Star and Garter
Slough SL3 0JF

This pub is near the airport, so if you stay near the airport, this is a must visit pub.  There is a fireplace inside, so you can keep warm, if it's winter.

The staff is friendly and helpful.  This is one of the first pubs we visited on our trip and one of the last.

My favorite beer for this trip was twickenham winter cheer.  It was a full bodied beer.

This place is a can't miss.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Calceylone Cafe, England

Calceylone Cafe

13  The Observatory
High Street

When G and I were in England, we actually stayed at a small city near London called Slough.  They have a nice shopping area called the Observatory.  Part of it is indoors and part of the shopping is outdoors.  

While shopping, we stopped and had a break at this coffee shop in the mall.  We each had a coffee and Garrett had a croissant.  

To be honest, it was fairly typical coffee shop to me.  However, it was cold that day, and the coffee hit the spot, especially since the coffee I had at breakfast earlier was instant coffee.  

I can't recommend or not recommend this place.  If you're in the mall and need some coffee, try it.  However, it is far from London, and it is not worth going out of the way for.