Food Post

Outback Steakhouse: A Steaklover’s Dream

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

By Sarah DeBruhl

A steak-lover’s wildest dreams are finally possible with a meal from this conveniently-located steakhouse. Indulging in a meal from Outback Steakhouse over the weekend left me highly satisfied. I visited the Outback in Greensboro, North Carolina on Wendover Ave. The satisfaction of my experience began well before I digested the steak. As I entered the restaurant, I was met with a live, cheerful, but not overbearing atmosphere. I was immediately greeted by a hostess who was able to accommodate and get me seated right away, something you generally wouldn’t expect on a Saturday evening at restaurants of a similar caliber. Within five minutes of being seated, I was greeted by my server who swiftly brought complimentary bread and my drink order to the table. She provided recommendations, answered questions and was very attentive to my specific requests. 

Beyond the service, the variety and options of food choice on the menu was endless. I began the evening with the Three Cheese Steak Dip. This appetizer was delightfully creamy and savory, with a mix of steak, gouda, parmesan and peppers. The dip was served hot with fresh homemade tortilla chips that I continued to enjoy even once the dip was gone. For my main dish, I was met with an endless amount of options. A select few that stuck out to me the most were Grilled Chicken on the Barbie, Perfectly Grilled Salmon, and Queensland Chicken and Shrimp Pasta. I ultimately decided to go with the specialty Outback Center-Cut Sirloin, which also included two sides for an affordable price of under $15. After careful consideration, I chose the Homestyle Mashed Potatoes and Steakhouse Mac and Cheese. After ordering, I was able to consume the basketball game playing that night as I was seated in great proximity vision-wise to the television. 

One factor that led to my slight disappointment was the timeframe in which it took from when I ordered my meal to when I actually received it. I found myself growing impatient as I had already received and finished my appetizer along with multiple rounds of bread and drink refills without any sign of my main dish. Like many, I did not come to the restaurant on an empty stomach and had trouble waiting over 35 minutes for my meal. If you’re someone that is capable of being patient and understands that all good things take time, then you’d be in for a treat. Once I did receive it, the execution of the meal was the most rewarding part of my experience. The steak was cooked to perfection just as I had asked for and envisioned. It was very tender, juicy and easy to digest. The Steakhouse Mac and Cheese was served fresh from the skillet and was creamy and made with a heavenly amount of cheese. I believe that the mashed potatoes could have used additional ingredients to enhance the flavor such as cream gravy, brown gravy, or even cheese. I then concluded with a slice of the Triple-Layer Carrot Cake. This slice was unlike your traditional slice of carrot cake you can find at any bakery or grocery store. It was very rich, sweet and moist, topped with coconut, pecans and vanilla cream cheese icing. The size was also commendable, as it covered the entirety of the plate. The slice was a great end to an already delicious and satisfying meal. 

Overall, the combination of customer service, options, and taste proved to be a worthwhile dinner experience. Although I chose steak, you do not have to be exclusively a steak-lover to enjoy a meal at this restaurant. The vibe provides a perfect location for a night out with the girls, date-night, or even an individual dinner. The price point for your night out is reasonable, especially considering the well-sized portions you receive. In rating my experience at this restaurant all factors combined, I would award a 4.6/5 and highly recommend it as a restaurant that can provide a valuable experience. 

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Feature Image: Outback Steakhouse by Postmates
Food Post

Chuck’s Fish: Bringing the Beach to Athens

Rating: 4 out of 5.

By Jamie Miller

Athens, Georgia is not a beach town, which might explain why there are only a handful of seafood restaurants in the city actually worth going to. Chuck’s Fish is one of these. 

The dinner-only menu is a mix of Gulf seafood classics, like Gulf seafood gumbo and grilled oysters, and asian fusion, like spring rolls, kimchi brussels and a wide selection of sushi. They also have a large selection of wines and house cocktails.

The restaurant is chic, with dark wooden tables, blue accents and a charming outdoor patio twinkling with string lights. There is a welcoming, upscale beach atmosphere, but perhaps that is unique to the southern college town of Athens, where it is typical to be seated next to sorority girls wearing long dresses on one side with a couple wearing t-shirts on the other side. 

As a sushi-lover, I was thrilled about their extensive selection and had a difficult time deciding which to order. Luckily, my well-informed waiter pointed me in the right direction and our table ordered a variety to share: the uptown chicken appetizer, sesame-seared tuna, back-down roll, TNT and the BFF roll, the special of the day. I was really looking forward to the red snapper special, but unfortunately it sold out before we could order it.

The freshness of the fish might trick your tastebuds into thinking you are at a restaurant on the Gulf. The ingredients come straight from Harbor Docks seafood market in Destin, Florida three times a week – and you can tell. The sushi was not only stunning in presentation, but tightly rolled with no shortage of filling. I especially enjoyed the heaping pile of crab salad on top of the back-down roll.

The uptown chicken was comparable to sesame chicken but with more of a tang. But surprisingly, the seared tuna was the first clean plate on the table. It was exceptionally tender and well cooked. 

I also ordered the greyhound cocktail, which is a combination of vodka, grapefruit and lime served with a dried grapefruit garnish. I find that cocktails with quality ice cubes are much more satisfying than those that do not, and this one passed the test with large, square, clear cubes of ice. But beware…this cocktail is so crisp that you will be tempted to order a pitcher after the first sip! 

The price point is the biggest flaw of Chuck’s, with the average price of a sushi roll hovering around $16 and entrees around $30. It certainly does not cater to the large community of Athens college students. It is possible that shipping costs from Athens to Destin are to blame for the hiked up prices, since Harbour Docks, it’s sister restaurant in Destin, carries a very similar menu for cheaper. Perhaps Chuck’s will expand and begin providing lunch deals, like in the Tallahassee location, to make the restaurant more affordable and accessible to lower income groups. 

It is also important to note that this restaurant does not take reservations, which I personally find irritating, especially in a college town where there are parents’ weekends, graduation and other events that require advanced planning.

Overall, I found Chuck’s to be a great place for college students to go for special occasions, but I do not think it is a practical restaurant to attend on a weekly basis. Although the price can be justified by the excellent quality of the food and cocktails, it is simply too expensive for your average college student budget. Despite this, I think the Athens seafood scene desperately needed another contender and Chuck’s is certainly giving other restaurants a run for their money.

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Article feature image obtained from WordPress Pexels Photo Gallery.

Food Post

Latin American Brings Spice to Athens Food Scene

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

By Bennett Vest

Cali-n-Titos brings energy to the restaurant experience. Since it opened in 2006, people can expect exceptional quality each time that they eat there. They are known for their Latin American cuisine. They are located on Lumpkin Street and Cedar Shoals in Athens, Georgia. According to a Red and Black article, the owner, Rubio, wanted the restaurant to feel like a bodega. In short, dining at Cali-n-Titos is more of an experience rather than just going and sitting at a restaurant. Both restaurants achieve this. The one on Lumpkin achieves this through the all-around atmosphere. There is a wrecked boat on the outside of the restaurant that invites people to come in and party. Along with this structure, they also have an area for children to play on the playground. While the parents are up at the front ordering the food, the children can play outside. Once people are done admiring the outdoor decorations, the inside is even more impressive. The lights in the building are made up of aluminum cans. It feels like you have been transported across the border to another country. 

The Lumpkin Street location is impressive, but the real party is at the location on Cedar Shoals. The outside looks like a regular cantina, but it is far from that on the inside. On the inside, a dance floor and screen can be found showing old Hispanic movies. Along with this, a plane is positioned inside the restaurant. The line up to the bar is similar to a line you would see at a grocery store or bodega. An additional commonality at either location is beating the crowds to the restaurant. If you do not get there early, you could be waiting a while along with many other customers. However, the staff  will assist you in any way once you reach the register. The unique experience continues with seat yourself dining as the staff provides all food and drinks to your table. The one beverage you retrieve independently is water. The water adds to the experience as it comes out of a hose that drains into a garbage can. This additional detail continues to enrich the experience as it compares to retrieving water from a reservoir that has been collecting fresh rainwater in the Latin American heat. 

To feel this energy I went to the restaurant on Cedar Shoals. From the moment I entered, I felt the passion that Rubio wanted in opening the restaurant. I was blown away by all of the decor lining up the central and south American countries. Each country is represented by its respective flag. I also noticed that it is more than just an entree restaurant since it offers an assortment of drinks and desserts. When I arrived, the line took about twenty minutes to order from. The menus were hung from a hanger on bungee cords in a fashion similar to a clothesline outside of a house. This caught my eye as I was waiting to order. To start I wanted to try the chips and queso. It had an interesting flavor profile in the way they utilized garlic and salt on top of the chips compared to regular salt. The queso had the same flavor combination. The tang of the queso left me wanting more. Shortly after finishing the appetizer, the main course arrived at the table. I ordered a chicken quesadilla. The quesadilla was cut into fourths with an impressive garnish of parsley adorned on top, but this was only the beginning. The inside of the quesadilla has not only cheese and chicken but beans as well. To me, it added a different flavor profile and a texture that made the quesadilla something that I would order again. The quesadilla is a staple of the restaurant and its unique craftsmanship alone would bring people back. In addition to the food, the staff motivates me to come back because of their charisma and excitement for the business. The restaurant is best described as a great place to go to with a young family or to hang out with your friends. There are aspects of the restaurant that encompasses all generations, and it is a staple of the Athens community.

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Article feature image obtained from WordPress Pexels Photo Gallery.

Food Post

Sub Zero Nitro Ice Cream: A Scientific Subpar Treat

Rating: 3 out of 5.

By Megan Fitzgerald

When customers order a cup of ice cream at Sub Zero Nitro Ice Cream shop, they might be surprised to find a cloud of nitrogen gas flowing out of their sweet treat. Before their very eyes, the ice cream ingredients are flash-frozen using a blast of liquid nitrogen in this science lab-style ice cream shop. While the experience is exciting to witness, customers might be hesitant to come back after tasting the subpar, frozen treat. 

A picture of a bowl of Sub Zero brownie flavored ice cream. Freshly made, the ice cream has nitrogen gas flowing out of it.

This science-based shop offers a wide range of ice cream options on their menu, from their signature “sensations” to a build your own combination option. I first tried the Birthday Cake Capacitor ice cream which was packed full of a variety of flavors and treats including cake batter, fudge, cookie dough, and sprinkles. With all these ingredients combined into only two scoops of ice cream, I found the flavors to be rich but the consistency to be very dense and sticky. This contradicts the smooth ice cream the shop promotes that is said to be creamier than traditionally-made ice cream. It was a challenge to get a good scoop of ice cream due to the crumble-like texture. This coarse consistency continues once you place the scoop into your mouth. Instead of melting smoothly onto your tongue, the ice cream stays pretty dense and takes a while to dissolve. Even though I am not an ice cream scientist, a possible hypothesis for this type of texture may be due to the large number of ingredients that hindered the liquid nitrogen’s ability to create smooth ice cream. 

For my second serving of ice cream, I decided to create my own special combination that included brownie flavoring and chunks of cookie dough. I chose only one flavor and one treat to test if my scientific ice cream hypothesis was correct. While the ice cream was still very dense, the texture was smoother and did a better job at melting in my mouth. Unfortunately, I didn’t enjoy the flavor of this ice cream combination. The brownie flavor of the ice cream tasted strange and didn’t have the rich chocolate taste that I was expecting. Also, I could barely taste the flavor of the cookie dough bites even though there was only a mild brownie flavor. After eating a few spoon fulls, I determined that I preferred the first cup of crumbly-textured ice cream over my dull, chocolate creation because it had a richer flavor. 

The ice cream at Sub Zero Nitro Ice Cream shop is freshly made using liquid nitrogen that flash freezes the ingredients in a metal bowl.

The main selling point of Sub Zero is the overall atmosphere of the shop and the customer’s ability to watch the ice cream being made behind the counter. When people step into the ice cream shop, they feel as though they are walking into a science lab when they see the large liquid nitrogen tank at the front door. They can watch as the “Cool Chemist” workers mix up the ice cream ingredients while a pump shoots liquid nitrogen into the bowl. Once the liquid nitrogen hits the air, it creates a cloud of gas that flows across the ice cream counter and adds to the effect that a science experiment is occurring. Many people would find this type of ice cream creation to be interesting to watch, especially families with small children. It is unfortunate, however, that the ice cream doesn’t add to the exciting experience the shop is trying to create. 

I am almost certain that my visit to Sub Zero Nitro Ice Cream was my first and last. While I did enjoy the science-based environment and the friendly workers, I know that I can find better ice cream for the same price at other places such as Brewster’s or Cold Stone. Neither of the two ice cream combinations that I tried were tasty enough that I would want to visit the shop again. I would advise that Sub Zero improve their formula and use higher quality ingredients to create better, more delectable ice cream that will leave customers eager to return. 

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Images: Sub Zero Nitrogen Ice Cream by ExploreGeorgia