Monday, December 22, 2008

Restaurant Review - T-Rex restaurant, Downtown Disney, 1676 East Buena Vista Drive, Lake Buena Vista, FL

T-Rex restaurantRising up from what was once a parking lot at Downtown Disney is the new towering T-Rex restaurant, brought to you by Landry's, the same folks who brought you Rainforest Cafe. And, in a way, it is like a Rainforest Cafe, loud, colorful, and excitinThe Fern Forestg, except with animatronic dinosaurs instead of rainforest pals. No need to worry if your kids are usually loud as no one will notice. But do take care with very young children as they might be frightened by the noise, large, moving dinosaurs, and the lights darkening for the meteor showers, which happen every 15 minutes.

If you go on an off time, like we did on our two visits (between 3 - 4:30 pm), you can generally walk right in with little wait. However, during the lunch or dinner hours, you will probably have to wait for your name to be called (the "Smith Expedition of four is now ready!") and then wait in line to be seated. This can take over an hour during very busy tourist times.

There are several different seating areas: The Ice Cave that is Ice Cave while bluecovered with "ice" and "snow" and changes colors during the meteor showers but mostly stays blue. The Kitchen of Fire area features woolly mammoths and pterodactyls, and the namesake rotisserie oIce Cave while pinkver fire. The Fern Forest, which is towards the back of the restaurant and is a little quieter (compared to the rest of the restaurant), has most of the herbivore dinosaurs and lots of greenery. And, the Coral Reef area is topped by a huge octopus flailing its tentacles over the bar with enormous “floating” prehistoric sea creatures, and a few real sea creatures in an aquarium.

I found that the only thing really unique about most of the food items on the menu was the Asteroid French Onion Soupname. So, you had Brachiosaurus Bruschetta which is really just bruschetta, and Asteroid French Onion Soup which is really just French onion soup. And frankly, I found the prices to be about twice what I would have normally paid for well, everything. For example, my pot of (Asteroid) French Onion Soup was very good but I would have preferred to pay $3.50 or so for it, not the $6.99 that I did pay. So, I have to conclude that it is like a dinner show... besides the food, you are also paying for the "entertainment" and atmosphere. If you go into it thinking that, you should be okay.

Discovery Blast - a raspberry and cherry slushieWhat with the roaring dinosaurs and meteor showers, it can be hard to hear your server depending on what area you are seated in. The menu is large with fun alcoholic (some with cotton candy no less) and non-alcoholic drinks in souvenir glasses, like the Discovery Blast slushie ($4.99), served in a large bone-shaped cup. The kid’s menu has a lot of activities, if they are bored by the multitude of things moving and roaring around them.

One of my friends got the Colosso Nachos for $13.99. It was a humongous heap of tri-color chips with beef, beans, pico de gallo, sour cream, and a Fire-Roasted Rotisserie Chickenvelveeta-like cheese sauce. She liked it, but couldn't finish it and took the rest home. Her husband got the Fire-Roasted Rotisserie Chicken ($19.99), a half-chicken with two sides. He thought it was “fine” but was expecting more for the price. I got the Tribal Tacos ($16.99), fried fish tacos with black beans and Tribal (Fish) Tacoswild rice. The taste of the fish was good, not too overly fishy, and the avocado cream sauce added a lot of flavor. I would have preferred the corn tortillas to be heated up a bit as they were a bit stiff. Plus, I could have done without so much red cabbage filler. My mother had the tacos on our second trip and she thought the pico de gallo was a bit too spicy for her tastes and agreed about the tortillas. My father ordered the Mega-Mes-O-Mes-O-BonesBones half-rack ribs ($21.99) with waffle fries and cinnamon apples. He really liked the ribs but wasn’t that impressed with the side dishes. On our second trip, I Triassic Tunastarted with the Asteroid French Onion Soup ($6.99) which is served in a cute metal bucket with a very savory slice of garlic toast. The soup was served hot, and was very cheesy with lots of onions and I really enjoyed it. My entrĂ©e was the Triassic Tuna appetizer ($11.99) consisting of three crispy squares of fried wonton topped with small chunks of ahi tuna, mango, and avocado, and topped with a wasabi aioli. The tuna was nice and fresh and the wasabi sauce added a nice kick without being too spicy. It was very good, but very pricey for what I got.

The kid’s menu runs from $6.99 - $7.99 with drinks $1.99 extra. Pasta and pizza items come with a cheese toast slice while the mini-corn dogs, quarter chicken, mini-cheeseburger, popcorn shrimp, and dinosaur chicken nuggets come with a choice of side dish – either carroMac-n-Cheeset sticks, Mini-cheeseburgerchips, baked beans, cinnamon apples, Jell-o, mashed potatoes, or a whole, unpeeled banana. My older son ordered Cosmo’s Cheesy Macaroni and ate the whole thing, including the cheese toast. My younger son got Sly’s Slider – the mini-cheeseburger -- with a banana. He ate about half of both. Both boys loved the atmosphere and we had to walk around the entire restaurant with them while waiting for the food so they could see all of the dinosaurs and take pictures.

We didn't have room for dessert (plus my wallet was cringing) either time we went but they do have the signature Chocolate Extinction ($14.99) that looked huge and could probably feed a whole tableful of people. In the several that we saw carried past our table, it looked like four large pieces of chocolate cake, with vanilla ice cream, caramel sauce, and a sweeping fog covering the plate (courtesy of dry ice in a sealed container) to give it some prehistoric atmosphere.

Part of the experience of T-Rex is the gift shop, dino dig site (that's free!), and the Build-a-Dino store where kids can make dinosaur friends just like at their sister Build-a-Bear stores. I probably won't go back unless we have guests in town and they are big dinosaur fans.

Find out more here: T-Rex Cafe

T-Rex Cafe on Urbanspoon

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Quick Bites - Lobsters meet The Claw

Play for your dinner

If you thought the life of a captive lobster was bad before, check out this "game" at High Tide Harry's seafood restaurant. For just $2 per try, you can try to capture your own (captive) dinner! If you are good at those claw games, you could probably end up with a cheap lobster dinner. Kind of tricky though, because these "prizes" move.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Restaurant Review - Elephant Bar Restaurant, 4054 Conroy Road, Orlando, FL

Elephant Bar RestaurantIn the stores surrounding the Mall of Millenia is the Elephant Bar Restaurant. Yes, there is a large circular bar inside but the Elephant charging!!majority of the space is for the "Restaurant" part of the name. Upon walking through the front door, the first thing I noticed was the huge elephant relief sculpture staring at me along the left side of the waiting area. The kids immediately wanted to have their picture taken in front of it, so it was a big hit. The rest of the decor inside is like an elegant safari -- think subtle animal prints such as tiger stripe carpets, zebra mugs, and cheetah glass lights, as well as dark woods and bamboo.

The menu is large with appetizers, soups, salads, and chicken, fish, pork and beef dishes, most with a tropical or Asian influence. The kids menu also has a lot of choices including Chicken Crispers, Hamburger, Cheeseburger, Corn Dog, Tropical Citrus Salad with ChickeViet Shrimp Spring rollsn, Chicken and Vegetable Stir-Fry, Chicken Quesadilla, and Macaroni & Cheese. The kids prices run from $3.95 to $4.50 and includes a drink and a Jr. Explorer Hot Fudge Sundae.

For an appetizer we tried the Vietnamese Shrimp Spring rolls ($6.95). It was four small rolls served with an Asian slaw on the side. These were very fresh rolls, served in raw rice paper with mint leaves and noodles inside and accompanied with a spicy peanut Thai sauce and Tamarind Macadamia Nut sauce (with tamarind paste, macadamia nuts, cashews, parsley, and cilantro). The rolls themselves were rather bland but the sauces picked up the flavors and the slaw was excellent. However, very skimpy on the shrimp - each roll had a tiny half piece of shrimp so only two small shrimp for the whole dish.

Grandma started off with the Jungle Colada ($5.95), a frou-frou drink that looked good, tastJungle Coladaed Crispy Chicken Teriyakigood, but was not very potent. But then, that's why we order drinks like these, right? For her meal, she chose the Crunchy chicken teriyaki, which was a very savory chicken dish similar to General Tso's chicken with a thick soy/ginger/garlic sauce coated on the chicken. It was served with plain white rice -- Grandma wished it was a Jasmine rice or fried rice or something more interesting.

JamaicaMojo SaladGrandpa had the JamaicaMojo salad ($3.95) as an appetizer. The Ribssalad was served with a wonton crisp and was very unassuming-looking but with a nice sweet taste. You could definitely taste the nuts and dried berries and traces of cinnamon in the dressing on top of the field greens. We all tried it and finished it off very quickly. Grandpa's main dish was the ribs ($13.95), which was also served with the sticky sauce and plain white rice.

I ordered the Tempura Salmon Roll and Pan Asian Soup with Teriyaki Chicken Skewer ($9.75). Essentially, it was like a combination plate, which I liked so I could try several items on the menu. All items are available separately, the salmon roll as an appetizer and the others as main disheTempura Salmon Roll and soup with chicken skewers. The skewer of chicken teriyaki is served sticking out of the soup, which made for a very attractive plate. The soup was absolutely loaded with noodles, bean sprouts and other Asian veggies and had a nice mild flavor - the menu said it was chicken and shrimp broth. I didn't even use the slice of lime that came with it. The chicken teriyaki was also very good and was fun to eat off of the skewer. The tempura salmon rolls were just outstanding. Six large slices of rolls are presented with soy sauce, wasabi and pickled gingered. The rolls already have a sweet sauce on top and I found I did not need anything else with them. The salmon was very tender and the seaweed of the roll was coated lightly with tempera breading. It was such an incredible taste that it actually made everything else on the dish seem bland. I might even get the rolls next time as my main dish.
LB ordered the cheeseburger ($4.30), although you couldn't see Kid's Tropical chicken saladthe burger underneath the large bun. I Where's the beef?guess they don't have kid sized buns? It was served with seasoned fries that both kids polished off. BB ordered the Tropical citrus salad ($4.50) which was chunks of grilled chicken on lettuce with pieces of oranges, dried berries and other fruits. I was surprised that BB didn't like it. He said he found out he doesn't like fruits on his salad - only vegetables. Well, now we know for the future. We asked for another small bowl and I gave him some of my soup since my bowl was really a very large portion.

Kid's sundaeThe kids meal dessert was an ice cream sundae consisting of a single scoop of vanilla ice cream topped with chocolate, strawberry, or caramel sauce, whipped cream, and a cherry. It was served in a wonton crisp bowl. The boys did a good job but I ended up polishing off LB's sundae, as the wonton crisp tasted great with the melting ice cream and caramel sauce. Hmm, I wonder if they would make an adult size one if I asked?

The rest of us were not in agreement on the dessert. I wanted to try the berry and apple cobblerMud pie ($4.95) served with a la mode but my parents decided on, and we ordered, the mud pie ($4.95). It was a huge slab of mocha ice cream on a cookie crust and topped with fudge and whipped cream. My parents said that it was really nothing special but I didn't think it would be since the photo in the menu showed exactly as it was - mostly just a slab of mocha ice cream. However, everyone dug in and it really was a reasonable dessert for the price. The Giant Cookie Ice Cream Sandwich ($7.75) looked humongous as the neighboring table got it. Seriously, I would think you need at least six people to finish it.
Macadamia Nut Crusted Fish & ChipsDuring our second visit, Grandma got the Macadamia Nut Crusted Fish & Chips ($8.95) which I thought was the winner. It was firm pieces of Mahi Mahi in a macadamia nut crust that gave it a sweet taste. It was Kid's chicken stir fryaccompanied by the Tamarind Macadamia Nut sauce and a hot tomato-based sauce for dipping the fish and the chips. Grandpa had the "small" Braised Lamb Shank ($7.95), which was one shank instead of two. It was lamby tasting but was very good and tender. BB ordered the Chicken stir fry ($4.50) this time which was a large bowl with chicken, stir fry veggies, and a teriyaki sauce all over a large mound of sticky rice. I got the Chicken Pad Thai ($10.75), which was also a large serving and came with noodles, peanuts, veggies, bamboo shoots, tofu, and leaves of cilantro.

Find out more at:

Elephant Bar Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Central Florida Foodies Rejoice! It is Epcot Food & Wine Festival and Orlando Magical Dining Month time again!

It's coming up on Foodie paradise time in Central Florida. First, the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival (paid) dining and tasting experiences go on sale at 7 am, Monday, August 25th. Get ready with your choices and call 407-WDW-FEST. It can take a while to get through so have some back-ups if you don't get your first choices. The best listing of available offerings that I usually find is at AllEarsNet here. The official Disney website is here. The theme is Foodie Cities of the World and they are offering a real premium experience in the Bocuse d'Or Grand Gala. It's also really pricey at $425 per person but it would probably be a once-in-your-lifetime experience. And, if you can't get the paid dining experiences of your choice, there are always the food and drink samples you can pick up at the many Festival marketplaces surrounding World Showcase during the event. This year, the Food & Wine Festival is Sept 26 - Nov 9, 2008.

Also, it is Orlando Magical Dining Month all through September. What is that, you may ask? It's a program that the Orlando Convention and Visitors Bureau puts together with various restaurants around town to offer $29 and $19 prix fixe 3-course meals from September 1 - 30, 2008. The official Orlando Magical Dining Month website is here. There are some good restaurants on there such as Fleming's and Roy's and Ran-Getsu. Most of the higher-end restaurants offer the $29 meal with the others at the $19 price point but some, like Emeril's restaurants, offer $29 for dinner and $19 for lunch. I tried some new restaurants last year and it was a good way to try a restaurant for not so much cash. A lot of the restaurants are in the tourist corridors such as I-Drive and Universal but there are a few in Winter Park and other places. Make sure to check out what is offered on the lower priced prix fixe menu before making a reservation and heading out, though. The special dining menus typically only offer 2-3 choices for appetizer, entree, and dessert, with no substitutions. Still, it's a great bargain and makes a fun night out.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Ice Cream Review - Bruster's Real Ice Cream, 971 North S.R. 434, Altamonte Springs, FL

Bruster's of AltamonteWhen you arrive at Bruster's Real Ice Cream parlor in Altamonte Springs, you get the feeling that the circus just came to town. Maybe it is the bright red and white building, or maybe it is the bright balloons placed around the building, or maybe it is the bubble machine spewing hundreds of bubbles from the roof. Yeah, maybe that's it.

The building was relatively big so I thought for sure theFree ice cream for toddlers and babies!re was an inside order counter and seating. But when we stepped up, I realized that the inside was just for the order takers and it was filled with row upon row upon row of waist-high ice cream freezers. So, we perused the outside menu board. It listed out all the flavors of ice cream they had for the day along with all the products such as cones, cups, sundaes, cakes, shakes, ices, etc. For those of you with really young kids, have them stand next to the height chart by the front order counter. If they are less than 40 inches tall (most likely for 3 and unders) then they get a free infant ice cream cone. Bonus!

There are two types of kids sundaes: the Dino Sundae which is vanilla ice cream with chocolate sauce and sprinkles topped with a ginormous green, colored-sugar topped dinosaur cookie; aKid's Dino Sundaend the Dirt Sundae which is vanilla ice cream with chocolate sauce and topped with oreo cookie pieces and gummy worms (each $2.19). Peanut Butter Cup sundaeBoth boys ordered the Dino Sundae. I was checking out the sundaes as well. They have quite the unusual assortment including a traditional banana split served with cut-up banana pieces and a pretzel rod (?). I decided to go with the Peanut Butter Cup sundae ($4.43). Our order taker got to work and I handed the sundaes to the boys as soon as they were done and told them to sit at one of the outdoor shaded tables. The boys dug in eagerly, taking bites of the giant cookie along the way. My sundae wasn't that big but made up for that in pure richness. It was vanilla ice cream loaded with huge pieces of peanut butter cups, chocolate sauce,Scoops tattoo a thick peanut butter sauce, and topped with whipped cream and a cherry. BB finished first and had eaten most of his ice cream and two-thirds of his cookie. He decided to go up and ask what happened to the bubbles as they had stopped coming off the roof by now. I saw him go up to the counter and then came back with a handful of Fun ice cream cakessomething. He had been given about 20 temporary tattoos of "Scoops" the Bruster's mascot. BB was very happy about this as he loves temporary tattoos and promptly forgot about the bubbles (and maybe that was the point). I was also able to only finish about two-thirds of my sundae as I was afraid I would go into sugar shock -- it was delicious but super rich. LB only finished about one-third which is typical for him. I would love to try some of the other sundae variations next time we are in the area again. There is also some really fun looking ice cream cakes that would be great for a kid's birthday party.

Check out their website:

Monday, June 23, 2008

Restaurant Review - Azteca d'Oro, 12403 South Blossom Trail, Orlando, FL

Azteca d'OroOn Orange Blossom Trail, in Hunter's Creek, north of the 417, is Azteca d'Oro Mexican restaurant. Azteca is part of a Northwest chain in Oregon and Washington. This is the first location in Central Florida although they also have a location in South Florida as well. Azteca d'Oro is very bright and cheerful inside with red, green, and yellow painted walls, and festively painted wooden fan decorations above each booth. Large framed black & white photographs adorn the walls. We were seated by the half-Guacamole, mole, salsa, oh my!moon bar midway through the restaurant, which has two flat-screen TVs playing sports television. As soon as we sat down, we were served fresh chips and salsa. The salsa was very tasty, mild with strong tomato and cilantro flavors. Grandpa asked for a hotter sauce and got a very hot sauce indeed. He ended up having to cool it down with the mild salsa mixed in. Grandma asked for a sample of the mole sauce and our server brought that, along with a generous sample of guacamole. The mole was thick with the characteristic chocolate and cinnamon flavor. The guacamole was outstanding with big chunks of avocado and lots of flavor. It was our server's first time being a server (he is normally a host) so I'm not sure if he was supposed to bring us a free sample of guacamole but we certainly benefited.

LB got chocolate milk to drink and the rest of us had either sweet tea or unsweet tea. Unfortunately, there were lots of mix-ups of whether the tea was sweet or not so we all ended up with sweet tea somehow.

The dinner menu is has lots of selections and I like how many of the dishes have full-color photos to accompany them. There are appetizers, soups, salads, sandwiches, vegetarian versions of Mexican foods (!), carne (meat) dishes, fajitas, pollo (chicken) dishes, burritos, mariscos (seafood) dishes, and then the combinations. Whew! Oh, and all of the "stuffed" menu items such as enchiladas had a choice of filling: cheese, ground beef, chicken, picadillo (shredded pork and beef), spinach or seafood. Burritos also have a choice of Chile Colorado or Chile Verde as a filling, and the enchiladas have a choice of sauce from original, ranchera, verde, crema, mole, or mazatlan. Needless to say, I sent the waiter away several times in order to read through the whole menu and make my choices.There are even dishes with lamb and some of the Grande Platos were very interesting combinations of items from all parts of the menu. Grandpa got one of the Grande Platos -- the Tres Amigos ($14.50) with Chile Colorado, a Chile Relleno, aCombo #1 with enchilada and tamalend Chile Verde. Grandma ordered a Grande Combo #1 ($9.95) with a tamale and an enTres Amigos - check out the huge relleno in the middle of the plate!chilada with mole sauce. I ordered a Grande Combo #2 ($10.95) with a picadillo tamale (the meat was shredded beef and pork) and a ground beef burrito. Almost all dinners come with rice and beans. I asked for the refried beans and the white rice but our server highly recommended the Mexican rice instead so I went with his suggestion. I also asked for it to be made "Deluxe" which, for $1.99, meant that I would get a scoop of guacamole and sour cream on the side.

The Little Amigo Menu offers Mexican kid's meals such as taco, mini-burrito, enchilada, cheese crispy (not really sure what that is!), mini-quesadilla or mini-Mexican pizza. But that's not all! There are also non-Mexican offerings for kids like the Mexi-Hot Doggie which is a hot dog in a flour tortilla topped with cheese, Cheesy Mex-andwich (Grilled Cheese), Chicken Tenders, Macaroni and Cheese, and Mexi-Bites. The Mexican meals come with rice and beans and the non-Mexican ones come with fries. All kids meals are $4.95 and come with a drink and dessert. LB ordered the grilled cheese and BB ordered the Mini Mexi-Bites which was like an appetizer combination. It came with two chicken tenders, one fried cheese stick, and one mini-quesadilla. Mexi-bites Kids meals

The kids had coloring menus to occupy them but it still took awhile fGrilled cheese kids mealor the food to come, maybe 20-25 minutes. During that time, we had to hit the potty. I was very surprised that there was only a single bathroom for the women's and a single bathroom for the men's room. I was expecting a full bathroom with several stalls in it. Especially for a restaurant that touts Happy Hour (2 for 1 margaritas and other drinks) all day long, I was shocked, actually, that there weren't more bathrooms. Geez, I'd hate to be here during a margarita party!

The food came and we were all pleasantly surprised with the sizes of the adult meals. TheGrande #2 with burrito and tamaley filled the large plates. My food was outstanding. The burrito was a long tube of ground beef stuffed into a baked tortilla and covered with cheese. The tamale was just how I like it with lots of the shredded meat and a thick layer of corn meal surrounding it. Grandpa's Chile Colorado was very tasty in a meaty and hearty red sauce. We all tried it and agreed it was excellent. Unfortunately, the Chile Verde just couldn't compare next to the red sauce of the Chile Colorado. His Chile Relleno was humongous -- I didn't know that a chili could get that big! He said the relleno was a bit spicy, which he liked. None of us could finish our meals and we all had to take half home.

Kids dessertThe boys did pretty good, each finishing about half of their meals too. I asked about dessert for the kids' meals and was told the boys get a choice of ice cream for dessert. I asked about the chocolate mousse because it mentioned that as well and the server said he could get chocolate mousse if they wanted it. BB ordered the mousse and LB finally ordered vanilla ice cream with chocolate sauce after being pretty undecided. As expected, as soon as the desserts arrived, LB insisted he wanted chocolate mousse as well. Sigh. Luckily, BB just wanted to eat the whipped cream and cherry off of his and then gave the rest of the chocolate mousse to LB. I ended up eating a bit of the vanilla ice cream and then "helped" LB finish the mousse. It was really good - I am a sucker for light chocolate mousse.

Azteca d'Oro also has Little Amigo Nights on Monday and Tuesday nights where kids eat for 95 cents a piece. You can find out more info and the menu at Azteca d'Oro's website.

Azteca D'Oro on Urbanspoon

Monday, June 16, 2008

Restaurant Review - Texas Roadhouse, 1150 Blackwood Ave, Ocoee, FL

Texas RoadhouseWell, pardner, there's a new steakhouse chain in town and it's called Texas Roadhouse. There are locations popping up all over Central Florida. And, of course, the home base for this here restaurant is in... Indiana. Yeah, not Texas. So don't get the chili on the menu expecting good ole' homemade Texas chili with all meat and no beans. Because there are plenty of beans here.

And plenty of peanuts as well. Just like the other "Roadhouse" restaurants in town, Texas Roadhouse has roasted peanuts in the shell everywhere -- barrels of them while you are waiting for your table and then bucketsful on each table while you are waiting for your food. LB was particularly pleased about this part of the restaurant and now refers to Texas Roadhouse as "the peanut place".

I did like the different way Texas Roadhouse sets up the waiting area, which is huge, by the way, all covered, with inside spaces and outside spaces, benches, and the barrels of roasted peanuts, shells on the floor please. There is also a box of toys for the kids to play with. The most unusual thing is that you are not handed a beeper like in other restaurants; you are handed a card with a number on it. Then, you wait for your number to be displayed on the electronic boards throughout the waiting area - kind of like waiting in line at the deli. You can also call ahead and be placed on the "virtual waiting list", which is nice. We usually call when we are leaving the house and only have a few more minutes waiting time when we arrive.

Inside, the decor is all light wood, cacti and armadillos. In one part of the restaurant is "Willie's Corner" with Willie Nelson memorabillia - turns out Willie Nelson is part owner of the chain. Didn't know he hung out in Indiana.

As soon as we sat down, our servers produced a baskets of rolls, and took our drink orders. The rolls were wonderful, hot and fresh and yeasty served with cinnamon butter. By the time she came back with our drinks, we had to ask for another basket of rolls.

The menu is much like you would expect with salads, steaks, ribs, chicken, some seafood, and Country Dinners such as Pulled Pork and Country Fried Sirloin. There is also a coloring children's menu. One thing I really liked about the children's menu was that there are two sizes of kid's meals - Andy the Armadillo size for younger kids and then Ranger size for heartier House Saladappetites. Andy kid entrees are $2.99 - $4.79 and offer a hot dog, mac-n-cheese, mini-cheeseburgers, chicken strips, or sirloin bites. Ranger kid entrees are $5.99 - $6.99 and offer a larger size chicken strips, a 6 oz sirloin steak, or ribs. All kids meals come with a drink and a choice of a side: apple sauce, green beans, veggies, fries, mashed potatoes or baked beans. LB got the mac-n-cheese off the Andy part of the menu ($3.29) with green beans on the side, and BB chose the Ranger Ribs ($6.99) with fries. Another nice thing about the kids' menu was that the offerings wereKid's Ribs with Fries also listed on the adult menu, with prices. I don't know how many times I've had to pry the kids' menu from my little one just so I can read the menu while he is trying to color something. This way was much easier. I ordered the 6 ounce Dallas Filet ($14.99) with a house salad and loaded baked potato on the side (extra 99 cents for the loaded -- comes with sour cream, cheese and bacon bits). Apparently, there is not much vegetarian on the menu, including the sides. The house salad comes with hard-boiled egg, the green Kid's Mac-n-Cheese with bacony Green Beansbeans have bacon pieces (as I found out later) and, get this, the sweet potato jackets are cooked in bacon fat. Really! I originally wanted the sweet potato loaded instead of the baked but I found out that a loaded sweet potato at Texas Roadhouse is not brown sugar and cinnamon butter. Here, a loaded sweet potato means marshmallows and caramel. Bleech - I hate marshmallows and I thought the caramel would totSirloin Beef Tipsally drown out the sweet potato (of course this is my own opinion, you may hear marshmallows and caramel and think "Oh yeah, baby!"). Grandma got the Country Fried Sirloin with fries ($9.99) and Grandpa ordered the Sirloin Beef Tips on mashed potatoes ($9.99).

One strange (annoying?) thing is that every half hour or so, the whole staff will line dance to a country song in the aisles. I hate when Johnny Rockets does it, I hate when Joe's Crab Shack does it and now I hate when Texas Roadhouse does it. To me, it just clogs the restaurant and makes it hard to find a server if you need something.

When the food came out, EVERYTHING was huge. The plate of mac-n-cheese (Kraft) was large. LB tasted one bite of the green beans with bacon and declared that they tasted nothing like green beans and didn't eat anymore. I was worried about that. Grandma's sirloin was covered with a slightly spicy country gravy and the steak filled her whole plate. She also got anoCountry Fried Sirlointher plate with the large order of fries. She said the steak was excellent and was just like chicken-fried steak. Grandpa liked the Sirloin Tips and that was a big serving as well. BB's ribs were fantastic. Lots of meat, smoky-tasting, and literally falling off the bone. BB exclaimed, "Mom, these are the best ribs I've ever tasted," and we Dallas 6 oz Filet with Loaded Baked Potatohad to agree. Grandpa decided he would get the ribs next time. My food was good as well. The house salad was so generous that I passed the rest onto BB as I didn't want to get too full. The loaded potato was cheesy and bacony and oh-so-good. The filet looked absolutely tiny especially sitting next to the baked potato but it was done perfectly and actually filled me up. It was pretty thick so that must have been why.

Texas Roadhouse is family-friendly and a good value for the money. We will definitely come back (ya'll).

Texas Roadhouse on Urbanspoon

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