Saturday, July 14, 2012

Capone's Pub & Grill Review

Capone's Pub & Grill


Date Visited: 07/14/2012

Overall Rating: 9/10

Service: 7/10

Prices: 7/10

Environment: 10/10

Food: 10/10

Beer: 10/10

We've been to the Capone's in Post Falls, ID quite a few times and have never been unimpressed. We decided to try the original Capone's this week and once again left pleased. I want to talk about two different things here, the Pizza and the Garlic Fries. First the fries...

 Garlic Fries ($6):
Garlic fries are just one of those things that I love ordering. While not always amazing, rarely are they "bad". When I first saw the $6 price-tag on these I almost didn't order them but I'm SO glad I did. There has not been one time when we've gone to Capone's and not ordered these. Fried to crispy perfection and coated generously with garlic, parmesan cheese and black pepper. Not to mention the 6 different dipping sauces to choose from.

Summer Delight Pizza ($9):
My wife and I usually split a 9" Pizza and a side-order of the aforementioned Garlic Fries. Out favorite pie on thier menu is the Roasted Garlic Chicken (red sauce, mozzarella, artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes, kalamata olives, roasted garlic and seasoned chicken) but today we decided to go with the Pizza of the Month (ranch, mozzarella, white onions, honey bourbon ham and feta. Finished with fresh spinach and honey mustard). While we do prefer the RGC pizza, this was really good. The bite from the fresh mozzarella with the sweet pop provided by the honey mustard on Capone's amazing crust was a great combo. I highly recommend trying it for something new.

As a side note, my sister-in-law ordered the Thai Chicken Pizza and it was OK. The peanut sauce was a little to much like peanut butter and slightly to sweet. It wasn't bad by any means, it was just not as good as it could have been...

A quick shout out to whoever chose the decorum in this restaurant. It's definitely a pub by design with the baseball mitts, beer taps, classic pinups and other sports memorabilia hung about. The place really couldn't have a better classic feel. Oh and speaking of beer taps, Capone's has one of the best beer selections I've ever seen (41 revolving taps!!!)

In conclusion, if you want beer, fries and/or pizza then go to Capone's. It's about as good as you can get in the area.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Sidebar & Grill Restaurant Review

My blog started out as a place to post my thoughts on my recipes and beers I've tried but I've had a couple of people say that I should start posting reviews on restaurants I visit as well. Who am I to argue with what others want me to do with my blog? :) To be honest, this is really going to be similar to the reviews I was posting onto Facebook before but with pictures and more structure. So without further ado (whatever the heck an "ado" is), here is my first restaurant review blog post:


The Sidebar & Grill Restaurant Review

Date Visited: 07/11/2012
Overall Rating: 7/10
Service: 4/10
Prices: 8/10
Environment: 7/10
Food: 9/10
Beer: 7/10
When we first walked up to and into the Sidebar & Grill, I honestly wasn't that impressed. There was one guy at the bar and one table with a few patrons but other than that the place was dead. The guy behind the bar didn't greet us (or even look that happy to see us) and we had to wander around and find a place to sit. I know what you're thinking, "let's never go to this place" but don't let the beginning of my review keep you from visiting the Sidebar... keep reading. 

The first thing I look at when going to a new restaurant or bar is the beer list. While not extensive, there was a pretty decent range of beers from breweries in the Northwest as well as a couple imports (I went with a Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA).

After ordering our brews, we cracked open the (very nice looking) food menus. A lot of places I've been to have ridiculously long menus (the biggest one I saw was 9 pages, front and back...of just food!) but the owner of Sidebar knew what he was doing when he made this short and sweet list of choices. Not only that but there wasn't one thing on the menu over $10! I was drawn immediately to the Thai Chicken Wrap and the Double Jeopardy Ruben Sandwich. We quickly place our orders for the BBQ Chicken Quesadilla starter and the two aforementioned entrees. We also requested the beer battered fries with the Ruben and sweet-potato fries with the wrap.

In order of appearance, here are my thoughts on each food item:

BBQ Chicken Quesadilla ($7.50): Without a doubt, the best quesadilla I have ever eaten in my entire life...anywhere. Roasted chicken, mozzarella, grilled onions, BBQ sauce and a side of chipotle dipping sauce. I would honestly return to the Sidebar for this alone.

Thai Chicken Wrap ($9): First of all, this thing was monstrous and beautiful. I wish I had taken a picture because my descriptions are not going to be able to do it justice. Grilled chicken, romaine lettuce, stir-fry veggies and cashews grilled in a Thai peanut sauce; all wrapped in a flour tortilla. Other than the quesadilla, this was my favorite item tonight (although the others I was with were not as impressed as I was).

Double Jeopardy Ruben Sandwich ($9): Corned beef & pastrami, fresh sauerkraut, Ruben sauce, Swiss & provolone cheeses all piled on marbled rye bread. I don't think that I am able to give this a totally fair review because I didn't eat it as soon as it hit the table so the bread was a bit soggy (equaling less enjoyable). Besides the bread (which is normally my favorite part of a Ruben) the sandwich was good. It didn't need the pastrami or provolone, I think that it would have stood it's own without adulterating the perfection of the rube. The sauerkraut was amazing though; I think he grilled it before putting it on the sandwich.

The Fries: The beer battered fries were good but not great. They had perfect crunch but had a fishy taste from the oil they were cooked in. But, that's ok because when I come here again I'm ordering double sweet potato fries. These fries were also cooked to the perfect crispiness and had a touch of maple syrup drizzled on them. I've tried a lot of sweet potato fries from a lot of places and most of them are not so much about the fries themselves but about the sauce served with them. The Sidebar's required no dipping sauce, extra salt or any other additions as they were a close to perfect as a pub can get.

In Conclusion:

Service: 4/10 - The service was lacking overall personality and we had to wave the waitress down to order a second drink (no offer of water either).
Prices: 8/10 - I would have given the prices a 9 (there's always room for improvement) but to be honest I think that for the amount of food we received, we were undercharged. The serving sizes were a bit to large.
Environment: 7/10 - Much nicer looking on the inside than the out. Also very clean, especially for a bar. And sadly, there was only 1 bathroom (no stalls). 
Food: 9/10 Besides the ridiculously large portions, the food was stellar. So good in fact, as we were leaving I mentioned to my wife, "who needs good service when the food is that good?!"
Beer: 7/10 - The beer wasn't as cold as it should have been even though they had a good selection.
Overall Average: 7/10 - I'll have to go again to make sure that any of these scores weren't a fluke but if they aren't, the Sidebar & Grill just slid it's way into my top 5 favorite eateries in Spokane. Let me know if you wanna go sometime!


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Peanut Butter White Chocolate "Life" of the Party Cookies

Peanut Butter White Chocolate "Life" of the Party Cookies

I just opened a bottle of wine and my wife just left for her Weight Watchers meeting (she hit 100lbs lost tonight; gratz Babe!). I haven't had anything to eat in 6 hours and I'm browsing Pinterest while listening to The Distillers. If you didn't know already, Empty Stomach + Wine + Pinterest + Good Music = I MUST MAKE SOMETHING IN THE KITCHEN time for me. I've been toying with the idea of Blue Moon Cupcakes with an Orange Cream Cheese frosting but sadly I am missing most of the ingredients for that experiment (I'll make them later, I promise). After rummaging around my pantry for a few minutes, I decide on cookies. I like finding a random component and building everything around it; today's idea is Life cereal. There were two directions I could have gone with these cookies: Whole Life cereal pieces OR Crushed/Blended Life cereal pieces. I may try the crushed version next time with some oatmeal and semi-sweet chocolate but this time I decided to go with the whole pieces. Because the cereal is so bulky, I needed something to hold it together so I grabbed the peanut butter. And that is how this recipe was born. It still has room for tweaks but I think it's a good start. Enjoy!


P.S. The cookie dough turned out a little thick. Next time I think I'll add 1/8th of a cup of beer (Hefeweizen or an IPA) and maybe a touch more flour to keep the consistency. 


1/2 Cup Butter (1 Stick)
1 Egg
2/3 Cup Granulated Sugar
1/3 Cup Brown Sugar
1 Tablespoon Pure Maple Syrup
1/2 Teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract
1/3 Cup Peanut Butter
1 1/4 Cup All Purpose Flour
1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1 1/2 Cup Life Cereal
1 Cup (4-6 oz) chopped White Baking Chocolate or White Chocolate Chips


1.) Preheat  the oven to 350ยบ.

If you decide to refrigerate your dough prior to baking, skip this step!

2.) Cream butter with sugars and peanut butter. (Don't know what it means to cream butter? Fear not! The folks over at Serious Eats have got us covered with an awesome slideshow tutorial.

Experienced bakers will notice that I did not cream the butter enough before moving on to step 3. Make sure that you mix it for at least 3 full minutes (4-5 would probably be better). My cookies weren't nearly as airy as I would have liked.

3.) Next we'll mix in the maple syrup, vanilla extract and the egg.

Normally I'd say to beat the mix it until it pales but the peanut butter is going to prevent that from happening. Just run the mixer on medium for like 2 minutes.

4.) In a separate bowl, mix together the flour and baking soda. Start your mixer on low and slowly add the dry mix to the dough a little bit at a time until smooth.

5.) Next we'll be adding the "goodies". Go ahead and pour in the Life cereal and White Chocolate. I used white baking chocolate, which made the cookies a little creamier but less sweet. Next time I make these I may try tweaking the recipe a bit and adding a little more flour, white chocolate chips and some beer for that extra "hop".

6.) Once your dough is all mixed, cover it with plastic wrap and stick it in the fridge for 1-3 hours. This will firm it up a bit and help the cookies not to spread out when baked. ...As a side note, I didn't do that with this batch as I was pressed for time but I only baked half of the cookies so far.

7.) Scoop the dough into balls and place them on a lightly greased cookie sheet (I used parchment paper on a cookie sheet). Press the dough down slightly to give the cookies an oblong shape.

8.) Bake for 8-14 minutes, depending on how soft you like the cookies. For some reason, the cookies never "browned" so you can't really use that as a guide on how long to leave them in.

9.) Remove the cookies from the oven and allow to cool on the sheet for 1 minute, then move them to a wire rack.

That's it! Let them finish cooling and enjoy :) As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions for future adaptations.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Beer and What You Should Know

Beer and What You Should Know

The Basics:
 So I figured that since I'm reviewing beers, I should write something up that explains some of their key differences. I know that when you go to the grocer, it can be hard to pick something between all the different types. I mean what is the difference between a Lager, Porter, Ale, IPA, Stout, Pilsner, etc...? Lets start out with breaking all beers into two categories. All beer is either a Lager or an Ale (The exception is Lambics which are brewed in Belgium and fermented spontaneously by being exposed to wild yeasts and and bacteria  native to the Senna Valley). The differences between the two are the temps that the yeast is fermented and the type of yeast used. For the most part, Lagers are brewed colder than Ales.

These are a few example of the different types of Lagers and Ales, not anywhere near all the types but a good spread of the ones you're most likely to recognize.

The term "Ale" was initially used to describe a drink brewed without hops, unlike "beer." Now hops are used to bitter and temper the natural sweetness found in the high malt content of Ale.

Brown Ale: New Castle
Dark Ales (Porters and Stouts): Guinness; Black Butte
Pale Ale: IPA[India Pale Ale], APA[America Pale Ale]
Wheats: Blue Moon; Hefeweizen;

The first Lager that Americans usually think of is the mass produced, pale yellow and watery Budweiser and Coors. While these are part of the family (like that distant 3rd cousin that everyone hates but still invites to family functions) they are a poor representation of the Lager name.

Lagers get their name from the German word lagern, which means “to store”. Fermented colder than ales and then stored, sometimes for months, at temperatures near freezing, these beers have a crisp and clean flavor that leave you refreshed afterwards.

Bock: Sam Adams Chocolate Bock; Michelob Amber Bock; Sam Adams Winter Lager
Pale Lager: Pilsner; Budweiser/Bud Lite

Lets Dig Deeper:

There are quite a few differences in the individual beer styles. Most people, when looking at a beer, see a couple of things right away. The color and the ABV% (Alcohol By Volume). We'll get to the ABV in a moment, the first thing I want to say about color is...

... ignore it! A lot of people get scared when they see a "dark" beer because they automatically think it's going to taste like Guinness (I want to take a second to point out that I have nothing against Guinness. I actually really like the beer, it's just so popular and so strong that a lot of people get turned off to dark beers because it was their first go at it). I've had plenty of beers that I could see through (looking at you IPA) and were WAY stronger flavored and had a WAY stronger finish (after-taste) than most "darks". Ok... maybe don't ignore the color but at least keep an open mind.

Lets talk real quick about ABV. Normally beer ranges anywhere from 2.9% - 12% but can get much higher. As with flavor, it's a common misconception that all dark beers have a higher alcohol content. For instance, Guinness is only a 4.4% ABV vs Sierra Nevada's Pale Ale is a 5.3% abv.

So... that's the beer basics as I see em. Hopefully I've given you a little more knowledge than you had before you started reading. Lemme know if you have anymore questions :)


Sunday, April 29, 2012

Easy, Lite Banana Cream Pie Parfait

Easy, Lite Banana Cream Pie (Parfait)

I was at the grocer picking up food for the week when I ran across some banana cream pie yogurt so I decided to try it. It wasn't bad but I found myself really just wanting actual pie. While pie is super delicious, it's not really on my diet (Weight Watchers) and it's not very quick. So I started poking around my kitchen and put this together. The whole thing is only 3-4 Weight Watchers Points Plus (depending on what cereal you use). Enjoy!



1 - Banana, Sliced
1 - 6 oz container of Banana Cream Pie Yogurt (Fat Free)
1/2 Cup - Dry Cereal
4 Tablespoons - Fat Free Reddi Wip

      Prep Time: 5 Minutes
      Cost for all ingredients: $9.00
      Cost Per Serving: $2.25

 1.) We're going to start by putting the cereal in a bowl. I used Fiber One's 80 Calorie Honey Squares that we got on special at Costco ( I've also used Golden Grahams but they're a little more expensive and are another Weight Watchers Points Plus point per serving.
Note: I've thought about trying to make an actual crust by crushing the cereal and adding some butter (or butter spray?) but haven't experimented yet.

2.) Next We're going to add about half of the sliced banana. When you slice it up, make sure you make sure the pieces are about 1/4 of an inch thick. We want them pretty small so that we have enough for two layers, one now and one later. Spread the pieces evenly over the cereal.
3.) Spoon the yogurt on top of the banana layer. I used Banana Cream Pie, fat free yogurt since it was my inspiration but you could probably use vanilla too

4.) Add the remaining banana slices in another layer on top of the yogurt. If you can remember where the spaces were between the previous pieces, try to put them there. We want to make sure we get banana in every bite!
5.) Finally, lets add the Reddi Wip. I love this stuff...  5 calories and zero WW Points+ per serving (2 tablespoons) and still zero points for 2 servings so of course we're using 2 servings right? Right. 

 Voila! Our finished product. I hope it didn't take you to much longer than 5 minutes to make as it is supposed to be a "quick and easy" breakfast or dessert. I've not tried refrigerating this and serving it later, if you do please let me know! The banana layer should protect the cereal from getting soggy. and you can add the Reddi Wip at the last moment.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

MGD 64

Miller Genuine Draft, 64 Calories

Brewer: Miller
ABV: %2.8
Type: Light Lager
My Rating (1-10): 5


I've drank a lot of light beers. A lot; lol. Being on Weight Watchers, we had this beer in the house quite a bit since it's only 2 Points+ for 1 and 5 Points+ for two. Really, when you drink this beer you're drinking it because you want a beer to go with your dinner. You're not not drinking it to get drunk (unless it was on super sale and/or you're drinking it through a beer-bong) or for the taste. I prefer the flavor over Bud-Light but for the flavor/ABV/Price, I'd rather pick up a thing of Coors-Light or a good pale ale.

64 pours a super crisp golden color with about a half an inch of head. The colder you can get it, the better it tastes. First wiff is a bit mild and the taste isn't much better but not awful.

My Suggested Pairings: Meh, light beer goes with about anything except chocolate and steak.

Elysian - The Men's Room

The Men's Room Original Red

Brewer: Elysian Brewing Company
ABV: %5.6
Type: Red
My Rating (1-10): 5


First of all let me say that I heart a good red beer. Killian's Irish Red is one of my long time "go-to" beers. You know, it's one of those beers that when you're at the grocer and can't find anything else that strikes you as perfect
for the night you just grab a sixer of it because you know that you will be pleased at the end of the night... That all being said, The Men's Room Original Red from Elysian is just "OK".

Men's Room pours gorgeous. It comes out the perfect coppery amber with about a half an inch of head. Sadly, the flavor just isn't there. You get hints of caramel with a touch of citrus and a LOT of bitter grains. The first scent that hit me was a tangy malt but when I took the first quaff all I got was bitter, burnt hops :(

My last thoughts on this beer is that for the $6 I paid for it, I wish I woulda grabbed the Killian's.

My Suggested Pairings: Like most ambers/reds, this beer goes well with a good tender meat. To be honest, I'd probably order a Killians if the place I was at had it but if the only red on tap was Men's Room it would go well with corned beef (if you don't do stouts) or prime rib.