Milwaukee: Butch's Old Casino Steak and Seafood

on Sunday, July 18, 2010 in , ,
I recently visited the wonderful state of Wisconsin, home of the cheese heads and home of my beloved employer. Our head office is based in a city just 8 Miles outside of Milwaukee. I get here every once in a while and have had a chance to dabble at a few eateries, nothing earth shattering but this small little city has some nice pockets of urban renewal that give it as a close an experience to big city life. Obviously those who are looking for that will venture down interstate 94 to Chicago!

Upon checking into my hotel I asked the front desk staff where I could go that was in walking distance. There were two option each providing similar menus; The Chophouse and then Butch's. I was in the mood for something casual and frankly not too pricey as it was late and wanted a quick bite. My colleague was joining me as well who had already eaten and was going to just hang out and provide table side company while I chowed down. Butch's was the favored venue offering a laid back environment without the stuffiness of some of the more conventional old school steak houses and at bargain prices.


Walking up to the place you start to reconsider your selection! It appears run down and worn out with cheesy big writing on the outside of the building proclaiming it's world famous steaks and seafood. At this point I am committed. We get in and it definitely has character, rich wood bar, tables, and staff that look like they have been working here since the place was founded greet you. The bar is loaded with blue collar patrons that argue about the Brewers and Packers and know the staff well.

The waitress looks mean but is very sweet and walk you through the simple menu. The appetizer of choice is the cheese with marinara. They make their own cheese and roll it in house. The marinara is also made from scratch and is a house specialty.

The entree recommended by the staff is their steer filet. I did not know the difference between a filet and steer filet. It was defined to me by the waitress as corn fed, dry aged, organic beef. Well sure I guess is my first response, for the extra 10 bucks why not go all out! I ordered the 6 oz steer filet that came out topped with sauteed mushrooms and a baked potato with the fixings. The meat is pretty good, steak is tender and cooked to order.

Understanding that this is not a fancy joint and on the blue collar side it may not be for everyone. But if you want to mingle with locals, and have decent meal for a relatively cheap price, this is the place!

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Roanoke VA: Awful Arthur's Seafood Company

on Wednesday, July 07, 2010 in , ,
I always like to travel to unsuspecting little college towns. Despite being in the States now for many years I am still learning about the fascination of college sports and life here in the South East. Growing up in Canada we didn't have frats, or college sports so it is interesting traveling into the college towns.

When I got to Roanoke, I discovered that Virginia Tech is located in the neighboring Montgomery County. It has opened a higher education center in downtown Roanoke in cooperation with other colleges and universities, and the Virginia Tech Foundation owns the Hotel Roanoke. Virginia Tech is also opening a new medical school in South Roanoke in cooperation with Carilion Clinic, the regional non-profit health care organization based in Roanoke.

What does is all mean? A lot of cheap eats that are pretty darn cool! The downtown area of this city is very nice and lined with restaurants and bars. Everything is within walking distance and I was able to easily cruise the scene to find a place to eat that met my needs for the night. Many of the places offer live music as well, so there is sure to be something to meet everyone's taste.

My needs were casual, seafood, and an environment with some televisions to catch the game. The stand out was Awful Arthurs Seafood Company.

There seems to be a special every night of the week. I chose the 2 for 1 on Bayside Oysters. They were okay, but do not expect the big, beautiful Gulf Oysters. These were smaller but still pretty good. I don't think I would order them again, rather I'd opt for the crab cakes next time. I think I was a little jaded having been in New Orleans the week before (good oysters there, despite what's on the news courtesy of BP).

Following the appetizer, I reviewed the dinner menu. Don't be afraid to look - this blog entry and their pictures are calorie free. Tell me the menu does not sound just delicious?!

It was such a tough choice - everything on that menu sounds amazing. In the end I settled for the Chicken Arturo –Claw crabmeat and brie cheese stuffed in a baked chicken breast, topped with a mushroom and sherry cream sauce.

It was pretty good. The hush puppies are fried to perfection and moist inside making them a nice little side to the meal. The seasoned snap peas tasted good but were a little soggy. They lack the crispness that I would have enjoyed a little more. The main event? Chicken or crab? It was a tough choice and I think I would have enjoyed a little more crab with the dish but nevertheless it was decent. The only other issue was the amount of mashed potatoes, very nice but too much relative to the portions of the other items on the dish.

I think I would go back. A cheap eat in a cool town where you can grab a beer and decent meal while watching the game. No white table cloth or sommelier here folks!


Richmond VA: Anokha Indian Cuisine

on Tuesday, July 06, 2010 in ,
I have been meaning to write this one for some time. Given my background, Indian food is near and dear to my heart and my stomach. I have eaten a lot of great stuff but in the end it is the equivalent of comfort food for me, especially if it's from my mom! This being said let me tell you about the best Indian restaurant on the east coast. Call it destiny but across the street from my hotel was the sign for Anokha (means unique in Hindi). I did not bother reading reviews or looking up info on the restaurant, I was at a starbucks close by and said I have to go there when I am done my day.

I headed over and to my surprise was in one of the coolest and posh looking Indian restaurants I have seen. Most of the time these places are pretty low key, in low rent strip malls with names like india palace or my all time favorite name the Taj or some thing like that. This place boasts white table cloth, deep pastel colors you would see at an Indian wedding, married by hip urban style that you see in the decor and art in the establishment, not to mention the cool lounge music in the background. I was greeted by whom I found out later was the owner of the place along side his wife and the chef his brother and law. The menu is diverse and has cuisines representing the various parts of india. This means a lot of meats and tandoori dishes, but your typical veggie dishes.

Whenever I dine with people new to this cuisine I like to ask them some simple questions to help choose our dishes. What are your favorite vegetables and meats? From there I am able to rattle off some dishes that I think would fit everyones needs. In this instance cauliflower was on that list along with chicken. To get our palates ready we ordered some appetizers that were just simply fantastic.

We started with lightly fried cauliflower in spicy glaze with potatoes.

Next to sample the meats we tried their tandoori appetizers on a platter. It featured different marinades of chicken that had been grilled in the tandoor or clay oven. Most people seem to think that tandoori is a recipe. Like many of the world's great dishes this is actually a cooking method that has become synonymous with the food that is prepared. Put simply tandoori is a marinated meat cooked over an intense fire in a tandoor. A tandoor is a clay oven in which a hot fire is build. Marinated meats are lowered into the oven on long metal skewers and cooked in this smoky and extremely hot environment until done.

Onward to our main entrees where we went off one of the chefs recommendations which was the chicken tikka masala. Normally not something I would order as it is very touristy if you will, but the chef said this was the real deal and that it would not be like any other eaten before. How do you say no to that! I tell you what, it blew me away, what ever notion of this dish I had in the past went out the window. The sauce is what makes the dish, normally it is too creamy or yougurty, but this has just the right infusion on the above with spices and flavor to tie all the ingredients together. I could eat this stuff with a straw!

Next on the list traditional that is one of my favorites, the vindaloo. Traditional vindaloo's are from the south specifically Goa. It usually is one of the hottest dishes spice wise on the menu and typically served with chicken and or lamb. In this instance since we had one more lamb dish coming we opted to make those a veggie dish. The mixed array seen below was a great accompaniment with our naan bread from the tandoori oven as well.

Lastly we opted for another southern speciality called biryani. The spices and condiments used in biryani may include but are not limited to: ghee, peas, beans, cumin, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, bay leaves, coriander, mint leaves, ginger, onions, and garlic. So as you can imagine this is not your uncle bens rice. The flavors are kicking!

Hands down the best Indian restaurant I have eaten at across the eastern sea board. If you have something better let me know, I would love to try it out! On the other hand, if you are ever in the Richmond area this is the place to be for authentic Indian food with the look and feel of an upscale hip eatery!

Anokha Unique Cuisine of India on Urbanspoon- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


New York: Schnippers Quality Kitchen

on Tuesday, July 06, 2010 in ,
I have some catching up to do here on the last few weeks of travel. I did a multi city tour recently and started the week off in the big apple. There has been a place I have been wanting to try since seeing them on Throw down with Bobby Flay. Schnippers quality kitchen was featured in a sloppy Joe challenge against Bobby where the maestro of the kitchen Mr. Flay took the crown for his sloppy joes. For those of you who do not know what a sloppy joe is. Here is a definition for you. A sloppy joe is an American dish of ground beef, onions, sweetened tomato sauce or ketchup and other seasonings, served on a hamburger bun

Well I wanted to check it out as the backlog associated to their restaurant sounded pretty interesting focusing on quality ingredients and good old home style cooking made to order at reasonable prices. I got there kind of late but had a chance to cruise their menu ahead of time. Here is a link:


What I thought was interesting about the menu is that there was no sloppy Joe sandwich. There were some sides such as Mac and cheese and fries that can be accompanied by their famous sloppy stuff but no sandwich itself as they made in the show. I was a little pissed! Regardless a diverse menu, cool setting and friendly staff brought me back to ensuring that I fulfill my need for food! I asked the waitress her recommendations and fav dishes. She rattled it off and it became obvious she knew what she liked. Her choices included the grilled chicken sandwich on Italian bread and a side of the Mac and cheese with sloppy Joe, featured below.

I have to say, it was really good, the lady had some good taste, for my first time there I got a great sense as to what this place could offer. Bottom line for a quick meal and under 10 bucks, this is a great option to get good food fast! Check it out the next time you are in the city!

Schnipper's on Urbanspoon
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