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Meals with the masters

It was absolutely great Friday night, only the lightning which closed down the tented area put a damper on it. Food was really good, chefs took the time to talk if you were interested, never saw anyone "hurried" other then to move from table to table and gobbling their food as they walked :)

Plenty of beer, wine and specialty drinks offered from multiple regions.

http://mealsonwheelsde.org/evening-wi...

Didn't make Sunday, but my wife (volunteer) said it was awesome to see the chefs from all over North America interact and offer a taste of their best

http://mealsonwheelsde.org/celebrity-...

Keep an eye out for this and other food events to support Meals on Wheels. As soon as they publish next years dates, I'm marking it on my calendar.

Apr 27, 2013
Irishmafia in Mid-Atlantic

Bear, DE Recomendations

The St. Georges Country Store in North St. Georges, Cantwell's Tavern in Odessa, Nora Lee's in Old New Castle.

Two Stones, Firebirds and The Rail are not that bad.

Dec 23, 2012
Irishmafia in Mid-Atlantic

Boomer's Tropical Bar & Grille, New Castle, DE

Just a head's up.

The former Rascal's BBQ & Crab House, the restaurant that was trashed, before and after, by it's appearance on Restaurant: Impossible, has been re-opened by new owners.

Soft opening, food and non-alcoholic beverages only, was this evening with just a couple of Facebook friends. Entrees, sandwiches, appetizers and desserts. Some beef, pork and chicken, but though there is not crabs on the menu, there is more than enough seafood from crab to lobster, tuna to salmon on the menu.

Meals, $10-$19. Decent portions, informal atmosphere. Liquor license is pending yet approval expected shortly.

Restaurant is a descendent of Dreamer's Cafe in Holly Oak and Crazy Bones on Naamans Rd though Boomer's offers a more rounded menu than the sandwich-emphasis of the other two

Aug 16, 2012
Irishmafia in Mid-Atlantic

Blue Parrot Bar & Grille in Wilmington

Even a better question. If this is a given on every bill, does that mean there is no longer a gratuity involved? If there is no gratuity to be earned, could that not void the employer's minimum wage exemption?

It doesn't matter, I've been in there the last time until it is sold and this practice is discontinued.

May 13, 2012
Irishmafia in Mid-Atlantic

Blue Parrot Bar & Grille in Wilmington

If it is there, it is buried and the owner made no attempt to inform me it was on the menu, just stating that they "underline" it on the check. He state he has been doing this for months, though I have never noticed before.

Checked with a friend that frequents and blogs about the restaurant scene in Wilmington and surrounding areas, and she was surprised. She did note that the owner was moving to sell the business, so I'm not sure if that had a part in this, but I will not be back until that does happen and/or the policy changes.

As noted, I like the place, but I will be the one to determine gratuity, not the restaurant.

Mar 18, 2012
Irishmafia in Mid-Atlantic

Blue Parrot Bar & Grille in Wilmington

BEWARE! Be careful to check you bill and receipt.

Here is a place on Union St. in Wilmington that is a cheap imitation of NOLA, but has some great food & good music. Please understand, I like this place.

However, after enjoying a good meal tonight (3/17/12), my wife dutifully checked the tab and noticed that a tip had already been included in the bill.

I'm talking about a party of three occupying a high-top for dinner. I'm not talking about a recommended tip, but an amount included in the bottom line.

They added, without notice of any type, 18% to the tab. When questioned about this added "fee", the manager's response was, "but it is underlined" and "we've been doing this for months".

I may be old school, but I'm still of the opinion that I will determine a gratuity for services rendered, not the restaurant's management.

The party of three, including my wife, a friend and myself, has an accrued experience span of more the 45 years in the bar/restaurant business. By arbitrarily adding a predetermined gratuity, the management probably cost that server at least another 5%-7%.

But my major concern is the fee, this is not a tip, that is fraudulently taken with no consideration to the customer.

Even moreso, without notice, I'm curious as to how many people don't realize there has been a tacked-on fee. And on top of that assumed gratuity, if they are unknowling including the amount in the total upon which they may be determining their voluntary gratuity.

Mar 17, 2012
Irishmafia in Mid-Atlantic

Is there ANY restaurant at all worth going to in Wilmington, DE?

I'm a native, also. I have also lived different places from Ontario CN to Florida and I think you need to actually step outside and try different restautants.

Mar 17, 2012
Irishmafia in Mid-Atlantic

Is there ANY restaurant at all worth going to in Wilmington, DE?

Really?

Jan 21, 2012
Irishmafia in Mid-Atlantic

Irish Coffee

Been to Buena Vista at the end of the Hyde Street line (@ Beach St).

They pre-heat their glass coffee "mugs" with hot water. They would then dump the water and muddle a cube of sugar in the bottom before adding coffee and whiskey. Heavy cream is hand-whipped and laid on top. No Creme de Menthe or sprinkles, just some good lightly sweetened spiked coffee.

Dec 31, 2011
Irishmafia in Recipes

Nora Lee's

Nora Lee's recently opened in Old New Castle with a New Orlean's-style menu.

We tried the blackened chicken, crawfish bisgue and blackened salmon Food was good, only complaint was tomato in the Caesar Salad (just not a tomato person). We are usually hesitant ordering blackened items in this area since too many think of it more as a color, not a manner of seasoning.

The only issue was that the small restaurant in the historic town was that there were 5 tables and 4 parties at the bar and there was, but one employee to handle the duties of hostess, waitress, bartender and cashier.

Even with that, wait time was minimal in a very warm and cozy restaurant. We will be visiting again.

Dec 30, 2011
Irishmafia in Mid-Atlantic

Farm to Table Restaurant in Odessa, DE [Cantwell's Tavern]

New farm to table restaurant opened this week in Odessa in the Historic Brick Hotel. The proprietor also owns and operates the three McGlynns Pubs in DE and the historic Deer Park in Newark, DE

Stopped by for a late bunch on my way to cut down our Christmas tree. Location has a small bar with some seating on the first floor. All other parts of the dining are original rooms with one to eight tables in each.

Configuration may be an issue. Kitchen on the first floor to the rear of the original building. All food and drink is carried up the main stairway which can place the server and customer in a precarious situation.

For the brunch, there was a Bloody Mary fixin's and syrup bar in the tavern area. Second configuration problem. Food and drink is served to the table upstairs, but customer needs to take their drink/food back down to the tavern to complete your Bloddy Mary or apply syrup to the pancakes or french toast. I like the idea, but it can be more trouble than it is worth for those not on the first floor.

Special Sunday Brunch menu and a nice, but not overbearing menu the rest of the week. Loads of domestic, craft and foreign beers and wines available.

Entrees for party of 8 next to us came out in three definitive shifts. First time at a place, we take it easy, so I just went with a simple burger, my wife and granddaughter went with a Big Breakfast which consisted of two pancakes, two eggs, sausage, bacon and potatoes. It came out in two shifts and without the potatoes. There seemed to be a lot of staff on hand, so there shouldn't be a shortage of someone to check and expedite food coming out. They need to work on it.

Waitstaff varied. Our waitress was attentive and on the ball, yet spent more time apologizing to all her tables for little things that were beyond her control. Another waitress did not seem up on her product. Brought a table a couple "samples" of local draft, but wasn't sure what she had actually brought when asked by the customer what it was.

Delivered product was good, but just warm. With the time and distance the food needs to travel, it would probably be a plus if they incorporated dish covers in the service.

And last, but not least, the bathrooms are in the basement with a handicapped facility on the first floor. The open restrooms accommodate two persons. The building is ADA compliant with a ramped entrance off the side street and a small elevator.

As noted, new restaurant with new staff. It takes a while for kitchen, waitstaff and management to mesh, they'll get there. First Saturday evening they accommodated 120 reservations, so the people know they are there.

Prices are, IMO, reasonable.

www.cantwells-tavern.com

Dec 18, 2011
Irishmafia in Mid-Atlantic

Rascal's, New Castle DE

Update: It seems this location is closed and available for purchase.

Dec 04, 2011
Irishmafia in Mid-Atlantic

U.S. MILITARY

Yeah, I thought your original post was strange as I have never seen a Navy mess not provide a huge turkey dinner on Thanksgiving.

Dec 04, 2011
Irishmafia in Mid-Atlantic

Dinner with Executive Boss and Clients [Wilmington, DE]

Then there is Walter's Steak. Food is always good, atmosphere quiet. If you want to conduct a little business, they can usualy accommodate a table away from any crowds.

Domaine Hudson is good and will remain good as long as they don't try to get to fancy.

Sullivan's has a good piece of meat, but for me, that is where it ends. Overpriced for what you get and the staff is good, but managed like a local sports bar.

If in a more festive mood, Catherine Rooney's can be enjoyable to some.

Harry's Seafood is great for seafood. IMO, that is where it ends. Bar, and some menu items, are overpriced. If you have a non-seafood member of your party, menu is mediocre. They do not duplicate the meats at their parent location, Harry's Savoy Grill.

Dec 04, 2011
Irishmafia in Mid-Atlantic

What is the hot dog place's name in Wilmington or thereabouts?

Are you referring to the Dog House on US 13 just South of I-295?

Dec 04, 2011
Irishmafia in Mid-Atlantic

Rascal's, New Castle DE

Jun 27, 2011
Irishmafia in Mid-Atlantic

Rascal's, New Castle DE

Rascal's is gone. Owner put on a new coat of paint and new sign, "Beach Bum BBQ & Crabs"

Jun 26, 2011
Irishmafia in Mid-Atlantic

Sambo's -- best place for crabs in Delaware

Never seen an issue with anyone at Sambo's involving drivers. Most are very accommodating.. If anything, the some of the NASCAR teams (particularly freshman and sophomore Nationwide) can act like real idiots. More than once I have seen entire teams which took up three tables in the front room walk out because they weren't served within five minutes of being seated. I've sat with drivers and teams and marketing reps and most have always been great.

It should be known, unless things have changed, crabs are only served at tables, not the bar. Nice place, crabs come right off the boat, so fresh isn't an issue.

Just don't speed in and out of Leipsic, you will be ticketed. :)

Jun 26, 2011
Irishmafia in Mid-Atlantic

Rascal's, New Castle DE

F.Y.I.

Rascal's has reopened for the "season". Not crowded, so don't know how they will do moving into th summer.

May 23, 2011
Irishmafia in Mid-Atlantic

French Quarter Fest 2011

Nope, got that from John Ed conversation at the 2009 Jazz Fest after an interview (where he made a similar comment) at the cooking demonstration stage under the Fairgrounds Grandstand.

He is very friendly and seems to love to talk to you about his business. The interviews and demonstrations is a great part of the NOJHF. That is where I learned how to deep fry a turkey. Since then, that is the only way I prepare turkey.

Apr 17, 2011
Irishmafia in New Orleans

Best food in New Orleans??

Never had a problem at the Old Coffee Pot, but it was always for dinner, never breakfast.

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Coffee Pot Restaurant
714 Saint Peter St, New Orleans, LA 70116

Apr 16, 2011
Irishmafia in New Orleans

Captain Sid's in Metarie

A friend of mine introduced me to Sid about 20 years ago. Sid told me he put his seasoning on everything, meat to eggs to cereal. I thought it a little extreme, but Sid gave me (he had not yet began selling it commercially yet) about 5 lbs.

I now use this in my eggs, on noodles, any type of meat and it works quite well for blackening, just remember the blackening is a method, not a color.

I don't visit NOLA without picking up some seasoning. Had cabbie stop there on the way from the airport last week just to pick up 15 lbs, which I shipped home.

However, this is the first time the salt was not pulverized, but that isn't a problem

Apr 16, 2011
Irishmafia in New Orleans

French Quarter Fest 2011

Crawfish trivia - There are three major sources of crawfish, US, Spain & China.

China's species is supposedly almost not recognizable compared to that of the bayou. The US crop is barely enough to accommodate the demand for fresh supply in US. And though the local crawfish bread uses LA crawfish, a fair portion of crawfish consumed in the US come from Spain. Source - Contracted crawfish bread provider for JazzFest..

http://countryroadsmagazine.com/Cuisi...

Apr 16, 2011
Irishmafia in New Orleans

French Quarter Fest 2011

What lines there were moved fast, so no real issue.

The vendor with the deep fried crawfish bread was between the Abita Stage and aquarium. My wife wants to say it was the Audubon Catering that had that. I guess that is one way to serve it, after all, fried food should not be a surprise in LA.

The Abita Stage on Saturday was the showcase with Kermit, LFK, WWW & Trombone Shorty. That was the only place where I found any trouble getting a decent location to see the stage, but I don't need to see to hear the music, so all was good.

Apr 15, 2011
Irishmafia in New Orleans

Casual Restaurants/Bars

I tend to like the Old Coffee Pot. Always good food and service

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Coffee Pot Restaurant
714 Saint Peter St, New Orleans, LA 70116

Apr 13, 2011
Irishmafia in New Orleans

French Quarter Fest 2011

Don't disagree with the "smooth" especially considering they were not expecting such a crowd.

Just noting the challenge as many folks do not get the opportunity to enjoy these events and to appreciate NOLA, you have to experience it.

Apr 12, 2011
Irishmafia in New Orleans

French Quarter Fest 2011

FQF was actually overcrowded! Every day was packed, all venues and the quarter were wall-to-wall people. Vendors and merchants all stated this crowd was not anticipated. Great music, great weather, edible food (btw, someone needs to tell these boys that crawfish bread isn't supposed to be deep-fried) and disappointingly limited beverages. How can you have a festival in NOLA without Strawberry Lemonade?!?! Key was this was a FQF and limited to food from the sponsoring restaurants, soft drinks and beer vendors (Coke and Abita).

Convention folks are estimating a potential of a flux in revenue from this festival to be $350mm over the 4 days. Good for them.

Cafe du Monde - first time in over 20 years I have had an issue being served. I'm not talking immediate, but waiting over 20 min. each time before the 3rd attempt on Sunday. Wife noted that the beignets seem to be getting a little smaller. Still the best bet in town for a snack any time of the day/night.

Pier 424 (Bourbon) - Stood there for over 10 minutes. Had more than 7 employees walk by, see us and keep going. Don't mind not being seated, but they should at least acknowledge your existence.

Enjoyed Oceana, Deanies (Iberville), Yo Mama's (great burgers, be careful how they are dressed), P&G for breakfast.

Regardless, NOLA is big enough with so many options that if you cannot find a place to eat, you ain't looking :)

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Deanie's Restaurant
1016 Annunciation St, New Orleans, LA 70130

Apr 10, 2011
Irishmafia in New Orleans

Rascal's, New Castle DE

Not a crab person, but they are open and provide good customer service at a decent price. That's at least two things that Rascal's isn't.

Mar 06, 2011
Irishmafia in Mid-Atlantic

Rascal's, New Castle DE

Driven past here the past few nights including about 30 minutes ago and there were zero cars and only the reflection of a neon light.

Mar 05, 2011
Irishmafia in Mid-Atlantic

Best Burger in DE?

Well, got a surprise today. Wife and I caught a late lunch at the Blue Parrot in Wilmington. Though this place concentrates on the seafood side of the menu, I had an unbelievably good burger.

Much more than 1/4 lb of beef, done to order, extremely juicy and above all, tasty. Not suggesting this is the new Burger Heaven, but for a place that doesn't emphasize read meat, it was a damn good burger.

Now I have two burger places in Wilmington

Feb 19, 2011
Irishmafia in Mid-Atlantic