Thursday, September 17, 2015

Trying to be different and avoid Mcdonald's led me to take a skip off of the beaten path and try out the Einstein Bros Bagel Company this past week. They have a few new intriguing items on their menu which include the vast array of fall Pumpkin flavors and the French Toast Bagel Sandwich which I had to try.

This sandwich is made up of a French Toast Bagel, an egg circle, bacon, and a Maple Cream Cheese beschamel sauce as well as cheese. It reminds me a lot of a Pancake Lasagna that I make on occasion. The bagel itself was excellent, chewy on the inside, not too crunchy or hard on the outside. The Bacon could have been slightly more crispy, I know they all use the prepackaged kind but some places get it more right than others, this could have been a little better. The Egg was fluffy, but a little weird, I think it's because the texture is more like regular scrambled eggs but it was patty formed. The star that makes it stand out is Maple cream cheese sauce which is a good mix of the flavors, it's not more than one or the other flavors and it works really good to balance out the entire sandwich.

Einstein Brothers Bagels are pretty hard to find for a lot of people but if you happen past one and you like french toast I'd suggest you give this a try. The one thing I don't recommend is their coffee but if you have to have it then go for it. The sandwich though is a worthwhile taste.

Rating: 4/5

Monday, September 14, 2015

In the search for a good lunch spot, I ventured into the Moe's Southwest Grill at the Laurel Town Center recently instead of Panera Bread. Tex-Mex was once the hottest things but the growth has slowed down a bit. I have heard of this particular restaurant before but this was my first chance to really go to one.

Now the menu is a little weird to me, I mean it's not small or limited more than other places but nothing seemed to really pop out saying buy me. Maybe it's the way the board and colors are set up but it didn't sell me the way some places do. So it's obvious they are ready to promote the nachos and queso, because i was asked several times about it. I ordered the fish tacos and i must say I was underwhelmed.

The Fish was fine, could have used some more flavor but it wasn't too bad. The taco shells were supposed to be soft but they were heated too much and ended up being crispy soft tacos which I didn't care for. The fish was also topped with cole slaw which just wasn't good, it was all vinegar and the lime squeezed on top wasn't really my favorite, but I'm not a fan of that flavor. I ended up getting some queso after being asked several times and it was alright, but it wasn't so great as to have it kind of thrust upon me as it was although it did make the nachos better and was better than the tacos themselves.

Service wise, maybe I came at a bad time it was around 1130 or so but people were already in the restaurant although the staff didn't seem quite ready. the Fish wasn't prepared and then it was simply reheated, it wasn't fresh grilled like at Baja Fresh. I did read reviews of the chain itself and they were right to say that the greeting "welcome to Moe's" which is yelled out every time someone walks through the door gets really old if you're sitting and waiting for any period of time. I feel like not enough care is taken on the food and it is a place people settle for when they just want something different or the lines are too long at some other places. Maybe a chicken taco would be better for me but I'm not sure I will try them again.

Rating: 1.5/5

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

School in session and lunches can get really boring if you don't find a way to spice things up and one way is to grab one of these little somewhat new products. Jif to Go Dippers are small cups that come with pretzels and either chocolate silk or peanut butter. These little snacks are really handy and a bit of a delight.

The chocolate silk is really good with a not too sweet, or too dark and bitter style of chocolate that goes good with the flat crispy pretzels which have a little bit of salt on them which brings out the sweetness even better. These were so good my son even took one and he isn't a huge chocolate fan. Now the Peanut butter, is different. The peanut butter is a plain flavor, not sweetened in any way and seemed extra dry. Maybe I haven't had Jif in a while but it wasn't very good to me. So if you like chocolate I think this works, but the peanut butter needs some work.


Monday, September 7, 2015

Sorry I have been away but I'm back right now with the newest local sensation in the hot segment of on-demand artisan pizzas. I really don't know how Domino's and their kind will keep up as the urban millennial has so many new and unique choices when it comes to something that is as simple as a pizza. This local place, Bagby Pizza, I saw while heading home and I thought it was some sort of national chain based upon the sign until I got there and actually looked the place up as I waited in line.

So just like most of these places, if you're familiar with the ordering style for one you know them all. There are a limited selection of specialties that the staff is trained to make quickly and good for beginners. Then there is the custom option where you can pick your particular toppings and get it made to order in the brick fired oven. Now Bagby also offers a custom salad selection and their toppings bar is very generous and has a lot of variety. And let me not forget, they also have two limited specials as well. Now the toppings bar like I said is pretty big with radishes, capers, edamame, bacon crumbles, meatballs, and several cheeses and greens to choose from in both your salad and on your pizza.

When it comes to the pizza itself, my daughter got the Honey BBQ Chicken, my son got the plain cheese and I made my own with pepperoni and bacon crumbles and the basic red sauce. The Honey BBQ chicken also came adorned with plenty of fresh peppers and the default does not include red onions like so many chains are doing. The sauce is definitely fresh made and the cheese was fine, nothing standout there. The chicken on the BBQ pizza was outstanding and very well seasoned. The pepperoni on my pizza was fresh and new but thats kind of the opposite of what you want because as it sits and ages the tastes become bolder and fit together well. I wouldn't go for bacon and pepperoni together the same way because the salt kind of blends together. The final aspect, the crust is very good, much better than Blaze pizza which is very similar.

The final aspect of this visit was the service, while the staff was nice especially the young lady who took my initial order, the time was somewhat slow. I understand the nature of this model means the pizzas take some time to cook since they go into an oven and someone has to physically turn them and watch them, but this location, much like Blaze pizza has the oven in the worst possible position for the work flow although it is good for customers to watch but there isn't enough space between the counter and the oven and the pick up area to not walk all over one another and it made the employees also seem cramped on the other side. for long term success, fixing this has to be a priority at all restaurants of this type.

Rating: 4/5