Tag Archives: Tallahassee

Tijuana Flats

Warning: interior design may cause seizures.

Not many Tex-Mex chain restaurants in Tallahassee are worthy of recognition. Tijuana Flats on Mahan is the exception. Knowing there are only so many ways to spin tortillas, cheese, beans, and meat, they put their energy into other areas that keep people coming back for more.

Hot sauce, compliments of the house.

We went to Tijuana Flats on a recent Tuesday with our newest food allies: Ashley, Mindy and Susan. Talk about VIPs. Not only did the whole wait staff know them by name but knew exactly what food to bring them at our table! It seemed as though everyone was a regular there. The waitresses scurry around like worker bees in a hive. Our waitress didn’t let two minutes pass before she would ask if we needed anything. As first time guests, we got a free basket of chips and two salsas. The manager stopped by to check on us. Upon hearing the salsa bar didn’t have Mindy’s favorite hot sauce, he ran to the back and got her a complimentary bottle. The staff and management get a ton of credit for making this place work so well.

Two tacos on Taco Tuesday

The highlight of the trip for me was definitely the hot sauce bar. They probably had just under 20 hot sauces available, some so incendiary that they carried a warning! The sauces’ heat range from “sissy sauces” to “death wish”. The hottest sauce I could find on the bar that night was one called Green Ghost, which was made from the renowned Naga Bhut Jolokia hot pepper. For you hot sauce aficionados,  it clocked in at an impressive 1.2 million scoville units (jalapeno pepper=5000 scoville units). Heat is definitely my thing, but for those of you with more sensitive palettes, they have some wonderfully sweet, tangy, tingly sauces. Though not all are available at the hot sauce bar, here is a list of the hot sauces they sell.

Tijuana Flats also does two theme nights a week: Taco Tuesday and Throwback Thursday. You can get two tacos, chips and a drink for $4.99 every Tuesday. For $5.99 you get a burrito, chips and a drink on Thursday. A word of caution: both the restaurant and website share a form of avant-garde comic book decor that is very un-Tex-Mex. Just go with it!

-Abe

Tijuana Flats on Urbanspoon

Dog Et Al

Never have I been so happy to miss breakfast than this afternoon. A co-worker suggested going to Dog Et Al for lunch. I got excited. This place had been hyped to me like Chuck E Cheese’s to a three year old. As my friend Phil says, I’ve only got so many meat points in a week. I was about to cash mine in, big time.

Don’t judge a book by its cover.

The place looks like an old fashion diner, which is a credit to the designers because it was supposedly a gas station in a former life. If you’re a vegetarian, you’ve got no business going to Dog Et Al.  “All Beef Franks” in bold letters are the first thing you see on the overhead menu. Friendly food prep/order takers greet you when you step up. I asked for the Footlong Dog with chili and coleslaw. “Anything else?” the kindly dog slinger asked. I looked at the menu: sauerkraut, mustard, ketchup, sauteed onion, relish, mayo and peppers were the other options. Nope. “If you decide you want anything else, just bring it back up and we’ll add it”.  Service – check.

Ironically, the hotdog was the healthiest thing in the tray.

I combo’d it up with chips (fries are the other option), a drink, and fried apple pie. For those of you old enough to remember, think of the McDonald’s apple pie before they started baking them. Why more restaurants don’t fry their pies, I have no idea. If I was a business trying to make money, I’d sell fried apple pies. That’s me. The chips were the old fashioned kind, presumably cooked in peanut oil that morning.

The fried apple pie wasn’t even the best part of the meal, the chili was. I come from Ohio where Skyline chili is king. This chili made Skyline taste like cafeteria slop. I took my first bite and it…was…bliss. That’s when I looked around and noticed EVERYONE had chili on their dogs. Dog Et Al is actually a chili joint posing as a hot dog stand. The hot dog is just a carrier, like the bun. It’s there for texture. Next time out, I’m getting a chili and coleslaw dog, hold the hot dog. No kidding. At the end, we were all smiles. Yeah it was wrong, but we had all had hard weeks. We DESERVED this!

The defendants

We had the good fortune to get there before noon. The restaurant was pretty much dead to that point. Then all hell broke loose. It filled quickly. Keep in mind this is on south Monroe. If you’re eating there, you almost have to go out of your way. If you’re not a hot dog person, no problem: they have polish sausages, turkey dogs, bratwursts, and smoked sausages (menu here).

“Is there anywhere we can grab a nap around here?”

Make sure to pick up a plastic fork and knife at the counter when you order because you’ll need them. The food is beyond satisfying and affordable: $10 for a combo with drink. I’m already looking forward to my next visit.

-Abe

Dog Et Al on Urbanspoon

Sage

This is embarrassing. I’d assumed we’d written on all of our favorite eateries in Tallahassee. How could we have missed Sage, a restaurant that’s easily in the top three? This is the same Sage that someone reportedly broke into and set ablaze, closed for nearly a year, and re-opened better than ever. Though I liked the french diner setup they had before the fire, their new digs are tre’ cool.

Sara and Alison, getting ready to throw back some snails for breakfast.

We had an opportunity to go for Sunday brunch with some friends this past week after our tubing trip got rained out. It doesn’t open until 11am on Sunday, and by the time we got there a sizable crowd had gathered. I pushed a couple older individuals to the ground and got to the front of the line. As we were being seated, the waitress apologized: they were still printing the menus for that day. Cool.

Sunny side up egg over slow cooked pork belly with sweet potato and bacon hash, side of fried whole okra. Forgetaboutit!

Sage’s menu is predominantly french cuisine: crepes, croque monsieur, duck terrine and escargot are all regulars. Besides the extensive menu, our waitress rattled off at least three specials. I was pining for bacon and boy did I get it: braised pork belly with sweet potato-bacon hash and fried whole okra.*

Eggs benedict with seasonal vegetables.

Sara got the eggs benedict equivalent and Allison got my second choice: brined, roasted turkey breast  with brie cheese and a fruit preserve on a croissant. We took a passing interest in the dessert menu but the bay leaf ice cream with orange biscotti caught my attention. If you’ve not had bay leaf ice cream, it’s really, really good.

Chuck begging for food.

Everyone else seemed to like their food as well. I should mention Sara and I have eaten at Sage once before together and several times on our own with friends. The food there is really on par with the best in the city. They have a creative menu, are very reasonably priced, and never disappoint.

*Special thanks to Mike Bonfanti for use of the word pining. The man’s vocabulary knows no bounds.

-Abe

Sage, A Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Parlay Sports Bar and Grill: Engineered for You! A ThirdWheel Review

Sometimes when it gets crazy at work and the ducks are quacking at the door, I like to hide out in area coffee shops to get work done.  One of my caffeinated hidey-holes is the Bruegger’s on North Monroe Street.  If you have been in their parking lot at any time in the last 6 months you noticed a prodigious amount of construction mayhem going on in the building they share.  Well, it appears that a bar has risen from the mayhem.  A sports bar called Parlay Sports Bar and Grill.  I had been tracking the development of the space for quite some time now – and I finally found their facebook page recently and discovered that they had a “soft open” on May 21st. A soft open apparently means that one day they just unlocked the doors to see who wanders in. Well, I wandered in last Friday to check the place out.

Stadium Seats for clear views of the big screen TV’s

As a new Person who Blogs, I am learning as I go.  And I learned that if you walk around a place with a large professional camera taking pictures, the people who own the place want to know what the hell you are doing. Apparently this is not a natural behavior seen in your standard bar-goer.  But it did give me the opportunity to meet Doug – one of the new owners of Parlay.  Doug was an engineer in a previous life, and he’s added some great features to Parlay.  First feature is the “stadium seating”.  This will allow people to watch the big screen TV’s at the same time without having an obstructed view of the screens.  I mean hey– it works at the Tallahassee AMC theater – why shouldn’t it work here? Brilliant.

Another nice touch comes with the booths for sit-down eating.  There are TV’s on the wall over each booth – with the speakers at the booth broadcasting the sound for the TV on the opposite wall.  This makes complete sense.  You would never watch the TV that’s directly overhead – you would watch the TV that is across from you.  And they are high up enough so it doesn’t look like you are staring at the people in the other booth.  Unless you are actually staring at them.  Then no amount of engineering (short of a duck blind) is going to help you.

View from the throne

But the pièce de résistance is in the bathrooms (bear with me here).  As you walk into the restrooms there is a TV monitor over the sink.  Now, this is not the first men’s room I have been in that has a TV monitor.  But this is the first men’s room I’ve been in that has strategically placed the monitor so its viewable from the stall.  That’s right folks.  If the call arises, you can watch your game from the throne. Only the mind of an engineer can think this stuff up.

So how’s the beer you ask?  Parlay currently has between 10 to 12 taps dedicated to craft beer (and only 2 or 3 for the macrobrews!) and a good selection of craft beers in bottles.  On my visit I had a Southern Tier 2X IPA and a Brooklyn Dry Irish Stout on draft and both were excellent.  I also tried the Jalapeño Roll.  It was a like a Chinese roll (deep fried) with jalapeños and cream cheese inside.  It was served with a raspberry jam and it was delicious!  If you like craft beer, sports, and the ability to watch TV from every angle in a bar, you need to check this place out.

Check out the taps!

Parlay Sports Bar and Grill on Urbanspoon