Tuesday, October 2, 2012

4 of 5 DeliciScore™ (Great) Awarded to Wilde Rover for their Turkey Dip Sandwich in Kirkland, WA on this 2nd day of October, 2012 - Turkey Dipper

I was meeting my friend Rob for lunch at the Wilde Rover today.  I decided to enjoy a beer while I was waiting for him to show him.  I had a Newcastle Brown Ale which is good, but it's no Mac & Jack's African Amber, which Rob had when he showed up.  Oh well, a beer's a beer.

They have a lunch menu.  That's nice.

I had thought about Fish and Chips but then I saw the "Weekday Lunch Trio" option, which was pretty nice.  And one of the options was the Turkey Dipper.  I have to have the dipper.  So I asked the waiter what was on or with the dipper and he said that it had cheese and mushrooms on it and a poultry broth that you dipped it into and that it was popular so I was interested in getting it.  I got that and a cup of the Northwest Seafood Chowder.

Here's my Newcastle Brown Ale in a Guinness mug.  I don't really like Guinness (too thick) but I did have it once with Blackcurrant syrup at Fado in Seattle and it was quite good.  (FYI)

This picture might not do it justice but overall I was pretty impressed when this was served.  It was on a shiny, clean, nice plate.  It came with soda bread and my soup looked pretty good.  The sandwich looks kind of small from this angle but it was actually pretty good-sized for being a half size.  The jus impressed me as well.  This may be the first non-beef jus I've even had!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  The meat looked fine and the mushrooms were good, too (mushrooms not overly fancy but good, especially for a mushroom lover like me).

The bread they served it on was very nice; it seemed home made.  It was perfectly absorbent.  The meat was not overly dry like turkey can be, nor was it overly salty or deli-like.  The bread was finished with a dusting of flour, which made it seem fancy and substantial.

The color and flavor of the semi-thick jus was quite good.  It was very fun to be dipping and dunking my sandwich into a non-standard juice.  

The cup of Northwest Seafood Chowder was also quite good.  The cute little baby potatoes in it were excellent and the flavor was very good as well.  It may have been just slightly too salty but I was very pleased with it overall.

You can see that the bread soaked up the jus well and has a nice texture.  The mushrooms were pretty good but could possibly have been made to look better.  The turkey was fine and mild, a good break from beef, beef, beef.


4 of 5.  This was very good.  It wasn't a 5 because it was just not quite gourmet enough but it was a very excellent, fine sandwich.

Points for: mushrooms, great bread, a healthy serving size for a half, good turkey, non-beef jus, that they went out on a limb with a non-standard dip option that people apparently like, nice lunch options, serving it alongside good soda bread and soft butter.

Negative points for: the mushrooms could have been prettier, thicker, meatier; the turkey could have been more thick or robust; the jus should have been a little hotter but I could have just been talking for too long before I dove into it; the cheese if it was there wasn't really noticeable but it was fine.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

5 of 5 DeliciScore™ (From Heaven) Awarded to Mr. Beef for their Wet French Dip Sandwich in Chicago, IL on this 14th day of July, 2012 - Mr. Beef in Chicago!

I'd heard about Mr. Beef through Rich Albrecht, a former boss and all around great guy.  I found myself passing through Chicago while on vacation this summer and knew that I had to go to Mr. Beef.  My co-travelers (Jessica and her parents) were good sports and didn't mind having a sandwich.

It was a hot and sunny day and we were on our way to the airport.  Here goes!

Here it is from the outside.  Nothing special but Chicago's a  really cool city.  It was about 90 degrees in the city that day and we were impressed by all of the available and usable waterfront.  (not in front of Mr. Beef but in general).  It's in the heart of Chicago downtown.

A view of the city from in front of Mr. Beef.

The fine guy making my sandwich.  Their menu is impressive yet simple and the place is pretty funny and classic.

Sarcasm gets points for me.  The place is not impressive,  very humble but very famous.

Here's their "Elegant Dining Room" which is really just a long shared table with the Blues Brothers at the far end.  They have video games behind me in the same room.  It makes it feel very fun.  It wasn't very busy there that day but we didn't mind.  The place still felt clean enough and nice.

Here's the video games looking the other way.  It's a really long table.

By default, they make their sandwiches "wet", which means pre-dipped.  I didn't mind.  They also have the option for Sweet, Spicy, or both.  This refers to the peppers that they add to the top of it.  I went with Sweet & Hot because I'm just like that.

Here's what you're working with.  It has really good beef.  The bread is not so sloppy that it's a problem and the peppers are really good.  Overall, it's a great sandwich.

Here it is in its raw form.  You see the green peppers.  It also has celery and carrots on it, which makes it fun.  The size is pretty good.

They have a ton of signed celebrity art on the wall and the place is clearly famous.  Note Andrew Dice Clay.  (I don't mean this sarcastically, but he's the only one I recognize from this smaller pic.)

Sign of Mr. Beef.

The Review

  • Bread.  4 of 5.  The bread's good.  Nothing wrong with it.  It absorbs the juice well and didn't get overly sloppy since it was pre-dipped.
  • Meat.  4 of 5.  Nothing wrong here.  Good meat.
  • Non-Meat Toppings.  5 of 5.  The sweet and hot peppers were really good.  They made the sandwich.  I especially enjoyed the celery and carrot in there!
  • Juice.  4 of 5.  Nothing wrong here.  I liked this as a 'wet' sandwich.  It was good.
  • Overall sandwich.  5 of 5.  Best wet dip I've had so far.  The peppers made it fun.  It's not gourmet, it's just good!
  • Overall Location and Experience.  5 of 5.  This was a really neat place.  A very classic French dip.  

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

4 of 5 DeliciScore™ (Great) Awarded to Pink Pony for their Prime Rib Dip Sandwich in Mackinac Island, MI on this 11th day of July, 2012 - A delight in a far off land.

Earlier this summer, I visited Michigan where a large portion of Jessica's family resides.  Jessica's parents and I traveled north  to the Upper Penninsula for a few days and took a ferry to Mackinac Island, where motorized vehicles are not allowed, one day.  We had a great time one the island: we rode bikes, we went on a horse-drawn buggy tour, and I even got to enjoy a Prime Rib dip at a restaurant called Pink Pony.  Why not?

Here's the nicely done stained glass sign above the main entrance.  My mom does stained glass for those of you who don't know.

Here's their logo on the menu.  Pink Pony is a nice little place on the waterfront in a hotel.  Here's a little more info on Pink Pony and the hotel containing it.  

I hadn't planned on getting a French dip but there it was on the menu and I'm basically famous for eating French dips by now so there was a little pressure from Jessica and her parents to enjoy one.  Eating French dips now is almost like having a miniature birthday party for myself: I take pictures, I eat, people celebrate.  It's fun.  Provolone and Swiss.  Bonus point for two cheeses.

Here's our view from our table.  It was kind of a blustery day but nice, too.

Here's the sandwich, served.  You can see that there's lots of cheese on it, which was fine and that it comes with home made potato chips rather than fries.  Also note that the level of the jus is fairly low, which is obviously something to really worry about. 

A very large and good pickle and the good, thick, homemade potato chips.  They're using a standard Hoagie-style roll here which was reasonably toasted.  Good pickle.

From this angle the jus looks like a bowl but it wasn't a sufficient amount as you'll later see.  It's a pretty standard dip.

More shots of cheesy goodness.

There it is.  Soft bread, the Prime Rib is done "medium".

I do love this sight of the dregs of the jus and the last bits of the soggy French bread.  It's such a great sandwich!

Yes, I had to go through two cups of jus but cleaned my plate neatly.

They have nice drinks there and a good atmosphere.  Mackinac Island and the Upper Peninsula really were night.  I really enjoyed my trip to Michigan and will definitely go back.


Total 4 of 5 because the dip wasn't all that fancy or to die for but was very good.

Points for: great ambiance, a fun environment, two types of cheeses, the name Pink Pony, a great pickle, home made potato chips, and good company.

Negative points for: too little jus, the bread could have been fancier, there's nothing that's really striking or rare about the dip.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

French dip review: Palmer's in downtown Redmond WA

11 AM last Saturday after I got up at 5 AM and water-skied in the rain (thanks, Pete, that was a blast, and Ryan, you are my water-ski hero) I was aching for Mexican food from El Toreador (had never been there but had heard that they have very thick, homemade tortilla chips that I wanted to try) but after parking and getting out of the car in the rain and all that, I realized that El T didn't open until 11:30 AM.  Panicked, I walked next door to a dive bar called Palmer's to use their restroom and enjoy a drink while I waited for El T to get its act together.

Yet lo and behold, part-way into my beer as I perused their menu and studied the gentleman next to me who was eating a French dip, I realized I had to eat.  They have a Turkey dip with Pepper Jack option on the menu, so I figured I'd be stupid not to get it.  I knew while ordering that it would come with beef juice and not turkey juice but oh well.  Palmer's also offers classic roast beef with Swiss and burger dip choices.

My apologies but I wasn't in the mood to take pictures of the location or dip so you'll have to go off of my wonderful, descriptive prose.

A quick rant about juice pairing: it makes me absolutely livid (kidding) that restaurants haven't figured out that they need to make a jus that pairs with the meat.  For example, Palmer's serves regular beef jus with their turkey dip.  Really?  Why?  And even Philippe's, the original, uses beef jus on their lamb and turkey sandwiches.  Shame on you, people!!!

Okay, back to it.  So I got my Turkey dip with Pepper Jack and a side salad with bleu cheese served.  The style of the sandwich was very classic, bar-style: simple French bread roll from the likes of a Franz Bakery (store bought, nothing fancy) and a very mediocre salad on the side.  The meat and cheese were fine, no big whoop there.  The Pepper Jack may have even been processed cheese, which would be a failure if I took the time to study it.  The jus was way too watery and extremely disappointing but I didn't complain since I had enough.  The salad was quite poor, definitely nothing special there: boring iceberg-style lettuce and no interesting toppings to write about.

*After I'd eaten my plate* (I could complain about this if I wanted but I won't) the bartender gal asked me if I liked it.  I paused for a while and asked her if she wanted to know its score.  She said, "What?" and I explained to her that I reviewed French dips and this was about a 2 of 5.  I told her that the jus was very watery.  She apologized and immediately went back to the cook to tell him to remedy that.  I saw several dips go out after mine with a much darker, richer juice.  So kudos to the waitress for jumping on that.

Palmer's appears to move a lot of French dips (I saw four of them before 11:30 am on a Saturday so that says something), so apparently some people order it, and possibly enjoy it.  And with three dips on the menu, I guess the odds are good.

Overall, this dip and Palmer's were not my style.  That said, I'll still have to review their burger dip and regular French dip to see if they're any better.  Also, I need to test their more robust jus to see where it lands.  Perhaps, with a bolder, more reasonable juice, they'll be fine and score a 3 of 5 instead of a 2.

Bread: 2
Meat (turkey): 3
Cheese (Pepper Jack): 3
Jus: 1 (maybe even a zero?)
Waitress: 4 (very nice, helpful, apologetic, friendly, promised to change and improve things)
Overall dip: 2
Bloody Mary: 3 (it was quite good and spicy yet they had pathetically small green olives in it)
Dip selection: 4 (nice to have three options, I want 300 options...: ) )

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

5 of 5 DeliciScore™ (From Heaven) Awarded to Ruth's Chris Steak House for their Prime Rib Dip Sandwich in Bellevue, WA on this 22nd day of May, 2012 - What a fun and delicious treat on my 35th birthday!

The menu at Ruth's Chris Stakehouse in downtown Bellevue, WA on May 17, 2012.  My birthday!  I was there with my friend Chris Wirkkala on business matters: eating a French dip (one of my favorite things) for my birthday.  I had been looking forward to enjoying this expensive French dip for some time.

There it is: the Prime French Dip: Toasted French bread with au jus and creamy horseradish sauce.  $15.  This was for lunch.  They also gave me REAL horseradish, which made the experience even more enjoyable.

I told them that it was my birthday, so the very kind waitress, NY, brought cute little table-confetti for me.  Awwwwwwww.  How nice of them....

This is what I look like as a blurry version of myself on my 35th birthday.  Wow.  35.  I don't look too old and wrinkly, I don't believe.  : )

Here is the dip served, au jus and a side Caesar salad.  As you can see from the picture, the portion is quite nice.  The beef is thinly sliced; I was able to select medium-rare, which is my preference.  The salad was pretty good.  I had a Heineken with it.  The bun is nicely toasted and they do nearly give you a bowl of au jus (see Adam's recommendation) with it, which is nice.

A close-up of the jus.  It was steaming and has its very own doily.  Chris and I joked about how we should mark points off for it being made of paper rather than hand-knit or something absurd like that...

Here's the horseradish a plenty...On the left is the real-deal, which I (toward the end of my meal) added to my au jus, based on the recommendation of our very kind waiter, Erich.  Erich and I got to talk about our names being similar and he said that he was getting "the last laugh" having a more unique name than mine although growing up with that strange spelling was hard, he said.  The creamy horseradish was good and very light tasting.  I like the *punch* of the real thing although it is nice to have both as options.

The salad close-up.  Grape tomatoes, okay croutons, light Caesar dressing, pretty good lettuce, totally fair portion, nicely thin-sliced Parmesan cheese.  I don't recall being offered pepper.

A close-up of the meat and bread.  You can see that it's pretty rare but don't let that scare you: it was good.  Nicely toasted, quality bread.

Thin-sliced yet plentiful meat.  It was a good, big portion, firing on all cylinders.

Awwwwwwwwwwww.  Thanks, people.  That was really nice of you....and delicious.

This was a great meal and dining experience.  We had great service.  The music and ambiance were nice.  It was a nice sunny day out.  The French dip was good and exactly what I wanted on my birthday.  After the dinner and dessert I enjoyed a good coffee with plentiful refills.

  • Dip :  5 of 5
  • Au jus :   4 of 5
  • Meat :   4 of 5
  • Bread :   5 of 5
This dip is not as good as the Jak's dip and is not as fancy as The Keg dip but the service was really great and the overall dining experience and quality of food is quite high.  The portion is very large as well.


  • Salad 4 of 5
  • Not being offered pepper -1 
  • Horseradish options +1
  • Real horseradish +1
  • Salad options +1
  • *Bowl* of jus +1
  • Big size +1
  • Great birthday treatment and friendly staff +2

Sunday, April 15, 2012

5 of 5 DeliciScore™ (From Heaven) Awarded to Gilbert's Main Street Bagel Deli for their French Dip Sandwich in Bellevue, WA on this 15th day of April, 2012 - Really great and I hear they have varieties, too.

Here's Gilbert's.  It's a nice, expensive little place in old Bellevue on Main.  My aunt and uncle (hey, we're got to get together soon!) live close by.  They serve bagels and sandwiches and have live jazz on the weekends.

It was a very nice, sunny, early Spring day.  I ordered from the line inside but then sat in the great outdoors with  my shades on.  It was glorious.

My seat outside.  Very nice.  Sunny.  Water with orange slices = bonus!!  I took the menu outside to study it and took lots of pictures of it but I won't bore you with it.  Overall, you should go to Gilbert's if you can stomach (no pun) the high prices.

Alright!  Here's my meal served.  You can see the the jus is actually French Onion soup.  And I got a side salad with spinach, a fine cheddar, pears, and almonds!  The bread looks very good and fresh-baked.

Close-up of my salad, which was really great and fresh.  And a bird's-eye view of the jus.

Here's the toasted bread and another close-up of the jus.  It's really good looking.  I added Swiss cheese to my sandwich for free.  It doesn't come by default but I do like Swiss on it: especially if it's free!!!  The jus is delicious and presently making my mouth water!

There's the sandwich (fancy toothpick) and pickle.  I only got a half of a sandwich and it was more than enough with the salad.  It was $14.99, so pricey!!!

The sandwich has caramelized onions on it (which was a surprise) but they were good.  The final bite is taken by loading up a bunch of really great-tasting French onion soup onions on their really good bread!

The good pickle is ridiculously big.  (Note size in comparison to fork.)

Other notes:

The price was high but worth it.  It's quality food!
I only got a half and that was enough.
They have a lot of really good looking soups on their menu:

It was a slow, sunny Friday for lunch.  And it wasn't very crowded but the service was pretty slow.  The food was really good.

Orange slices in water gets bonus points!

They have a very broad, fresh-looking menu

Their sandwiches (I saw several others delivered while I was waiting for mine) are really great looking!

The French dip sandwich, sans jus, was very juicy and delicious with medium rare roast beef and perfect bread.

The sandwich is an easy 5 of 0 to 5.

The jus was thickish and almost even gravy-like but tangy and great.

The spinach side salad was a 4: fresh, simple.  Good cheese almonds, pears.