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Blazing New Pizza Trails

Written by David DiCrescenzo on . Posted in Dining Out

In case you missed it, Thursday, Feb. 9, 2017 was National Pizza Day and I was invited to celebrate this momentous occasion with several friends at the Blaze Pizza location up in Palm Beach Gardens, FL.  Being that pizza has always been one of my favorite foods, I didn’t even hesitate to go. 

Mind you, I had never heard of Blaze Pizza before this event, and I was really just looking forward to hanging out and relaxing for a few minutes.  While we were socializing I took a few glances at the menu and watched how they build the pizzas “smorgasbord” style.  What that means to you is simple really.  It is set up very similar to Chipotle Restaurants where you start by ordering one of several basic, good sized personal pizzas and choose between red or white sauce, and from there, you proceed along the toppings area picking and choosing whichever of the fresh cut toppings you want to add or swap out on yours.  And there are lots of them to choose from.  I have to say, I was impressed that a chain restaurant uses all fresh veggies, including the mushrooms and sauces.  If there was a can on premises, I didn’t see it.

Moving along from the “pizza building area,” one proceeds to the check-out area where the order is finalized and then the pizza is placed in, so I was told, a 750 degree oven so that it bakes very fast, which is a key for this company.  Key because from the moment you walk in to the moment your fresh, custom made pizza is in front of you is less than fifteen minutes.

They called my name when my order was ready.  It looked fabulous, and the savory aroma hit my taste buds and senses before I even got a chance to take a bite.  I have to say, this was the biggest culinary surprise I’ve had in a long time.  It wasn’t just good, it was over the top fantastic; and I mean this is a really stop the presses, call all of your family and friends to get some of this delicious pizza before you wake up from this dream and find out that it wasn’t real after all.

Now I don’t suggest you stop patronizing your favorite local mom and pop spot, however I am suggesting that when you’re not on your home turf, you visit the website and check for a location near you.  I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.  In a market place that sees some chains stepping up their game all the time, Blaze Pizza has raised the bar and the rest have some ‘splaining to do.

For service, quality, and over-all experience, not to mention great value, The Patriots Press wishes we had more than five “slices” to give them, but they get them all hands down.

You’ll find the location I visited in Palm Beach Gardens at 4665 PGA Blvd.; Phone 561-619-2782 and you can find a local spot by visiting the website.

 

 

 

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Great Steak "Down Undah" in Royal Palm Beach

Written by David DiCrescenzo on . Posted in Dining Out

What a great "sammie" I had for lunch on Wednesday of last week.  Thinly sliced Ribeye steak on a Ciabatta roll with just a little “schmear” of mayo; if I had been thinking, I would have taken home some of the insanely tasty dipping sauce they serve with the "Bloomin’ Onions" at Outback Steakhouses.  I was fortunate to enjoy such a lunch due to the story and review below.

I got together with a sizable group of friends on Tuesday at the Outback Steakhouse in Royal Palm Beach.  Normally this group of guys meets at my church; however we decided to do something a little different.

Anyway, we made arrangements to meet at the Outback and they had a big chunk of the restaurant ready for us.

I haven’t been to an Outback Restaurant in a long time, and with few exceptions I’m not usually one for chain restaurants to start with; however I have to admit I was pleasantly surprised.  We had a special abbreviated menu from which to choose; either a Porterhouse or a bone-in Ribeye.  At the urging of one of the guys at my table, I opted for the Ribeye and I must say it was a great cut of beef; seasoned perfectly with just the right amount of marbling which made for a very juicy and tasty steak.  I gotta tell ya, I have probably had better steaks, but as I’m sitting here writing this, I really can’t remember when.  And of course it was huge and there was more than enough left over for the sandwich I described above.

I also had the house salad with the house dressing; crisp, fresh, and delish.  The side of real mashed potatoes was equally good.  Make no mistake, I’ve looked up the recipe for the dipping sauce as well, because that stuff would pair with just about anything worthy of dipping, be it fried or not.

As far as the service was concerned, both Cassandra and Chelsea were over the top; and one could tell that this was the normal level of service they provide, which is probably why the house assigned them to us.  Simply put, they know their stuff and were great.  Every one of us was pleased, our glasses were always kept filled, and no request for extra anything went unanswered.  To be honest, both of these young ladies would do very well at any high end restaurant if they ever choose to up their game.

I don’t know about the rest of their locations; however I would definitely recommend this one for a nice casual dinner with family and friends or even for that quick local business meeting.

For over-all good food and service, and comfortable atmosphere, the Outback Steakhouse earned all five of The Patriots Press stars.

You will find them at 11101 Southern Blvd. in Royal Palm Beach, FL.  They are open Sunday to Thursday from 11:00 am – 10:00 pm and until 11:00 pm on Fridays and Saturdays.  You can call ahead for seating or takeout at (561) 795-6663. 

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Texas Roadhouse

Written by David DiCrescenzo on . Posted in Dining Out

I haven’t had a steak outside the house in a while, and I owed a friend dinner in payment of a favor; and so, since I’d been wanting to try the relatively new “Texas Roadhouse” on Southern Blvd., that is where we dined.

The first thing that hit me upon entering was the peanut shells all over the floor.  I haven’t seen that since a place from up north called “The Ground Round;” it got my OCD going in overdrive then, and it did again tonight.  I just don’t get that.

Putting that aside, the staff were all more than pleasant and helpful, and my stated wait time of 15-20 minutes was less than five minutes, which was a surprise given how busy they were.  

It didn’t take long for us to decide what to have, and our server Tom was on his game.  Assured that the Prime Rib was medium to rare, (which is how I like it) we both ordered that.  For side dishes, I ordered the Caesar Salad and Mashed Potatoes.  The salad was crisp and cool, however the dressing was flavorless and I can only refer to it as “white stuff.”  The spuds were acceptable.

Anyway, on to the “meat” of the story.  When my PR arrived, it was way too well done for my taste and as much as I hate to, I had to send it back.  Naturally, Tom apologized profusely, and a manager stopped by to fix the situation.  Since all of the PR was cooked this way, I was offered a comped Rib Eye which I accepted.  The RE was seasoned well and cooked to my liking, and my friend liked his PR.  I might add, the rolls are very tasty.

Would I return…?  Maybe.  Would I bring a date there…?  Not a chance. 

Overall, while this is certainly not a fine dining establishment; with the combination of relatively low prices and the occasional random “floor show” of servers breaking into a restaurant wide line dance, I understand why this place is popular with families, and I give them 3.5 of my five stars.

You will find them at 8865 Southern Blvd. in West Palm Beach, FL 33411.  To call ahead for seating, the number is (561) 651-0400, and you can visit their website by clicking here.

 

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Dreadful at Damon's...

Written by David DiCrescenzo on . Posted in Dining Out

I decided to take a run up to the Tea Party Convention in SC and found myself once again in Myrtle Beach.  I remembered when I was here early last spring that the options for food were few due to the off season.   

Apparently, it is just as bad in January.  

Let me explain.  When here the last time, several friends of mine and I visited Damon’s Grille which is within walking distance if it isn’t too cold; we didn’t walk but we could have.  Anyway, during that trip, the service left a lot to be desired, mostly due to the kitchen, and we almost left.  The manager, who was very cool, apologized profusely and before we even asked, cut us a 50% discount.  When the food finally arrived, it wasn’t bad.  So, no harm, no foul.

Fast forward to last evening.  Many of the same group with a whole lot more added decided to give it another try.  In total, there were about 100 of us gathered to hear a great speaker and watch a clip of a movie that is in the beginning stages of being produced.

The house did not have nearly enough staff for the gathering, so none of us blamed them.  However, the manager made an early decision not to stagger the orders, but instead to do them all at once.  Big mistake!  Outrageously long wait and almost everyone was getting rightfully irritated given we all wanted to get back to the convention center.

We were able to get a manager, (not the same guy from last year) to our table.  Just a very rude guy who shrugged his shoulders and rolled his eyes with an attitude that suggested it was too bad if we didn’t like it.

In the end, everyone at my table, including me, had waited well over an hour to get their food.  Except for me, (more on mine in a second) I don’t think any of them got what they ordered.  Fries were cold, there was cheese where there shouldn’t have been, etc.  I took one look at my order, a photo of which is at the top left, and tried one small piece; that was enough of that mess.  

What was supposed to basically be their answer to a “bloomin’ onion” closely resembled a brick made out of onion strips.  I was literally able to pick this monstrosity up in one piece.  In a word, it was NASTY! And don’t even get me started that they brought the wrong dipping sauce.

I asked my server, Krista, for my check and while she hadn’t had time to remove the brick, I mean the onion from it; she did not make me pay.

As we were leaving, there was some sort of massive leak pouring into the foyer from the bar area under the electric fireplace and the staff was in a real tizzy trying to douse that ‘fire.’

Suffice it to say, if I return for next year’s convention, and I likely will; I will opt for cold cuts or something microwavable from the nearby Piggly Wiggly, and I recommend others do the same. Whatever I decide, it won’t be Damon’s again.

That’s all I have to say about that.

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"Melt" Yummy in Boynton Beach...

Written by The Patriots Press on . Posted in Dining Out

Hungry?  Craving outrageously yummy?!  

I have to say, I had the lunch of lunches today in Boynton Beach, FL. 

Now mind you, this place will never be on the prescription pad of your Cardiologist…cause mountains of yummy melted cheese, savory barbequed pulled pork, and Cole Slaw, all grilled up between two thick slices of buttered bread and called a 'grilled cheese’ is not going to please a dietician.  But for real, who cares what some health nut quack has to say?  I’ve tried healthy eating…didn’t make my taste buds dance.

Howevuh...I love me some good old fashioned yummy food, and I found it today.  Oh yes I did!  

All one has to do is take a drive to the intersection of Gateway Blvd. and Congress Ave. in Boynton Beach, Fl. and you will find a little place on the SE side called 'Melt.’  By the way, if you don’t live in So. Florida, no problema.  All you need to do is buy a plane ticket to Palm Beach International Airport, rent a car or take a cab, and find this place.  IMHO, it is worth the plane fare just to have lunch.  Really…I think prisoners on death row will start requesting last meals from this place before long.  

I’m even going to suggest that "The Donald” should probably stop by some weekend while his plane is being prepped up the street at PBI.

Okay, enough fluff, (I don’t get free meals for doing this)….but I think by now you get that I liked this place a lot.  I had the "pulled pork” sandwich off the regular menu, my friends had the BCT, (a bacon and cheese something or other that didn’t stand a chance with either Hamida, Neil, or Carmine) and we all shared the "Disco Fries.”  I really have no idea why they don’t just call them "insanely yummy, get your own/these are my gravy and cheese soaked fries,” but whatevuh.  Anyway, don’t leave without having them.

My friends, there are a whole lot of dining choices at that intersection and in that area of Boynton Beach.  But I’m here to say that while 'Melt’ just recently opened and this is the only location for right now, they need to start opening locations all over the place.  This first spot is going to have lines out the door every day once people try it even once.

I give them all five of my Stars for qualify, price, and service.  Don’t even think of eating lunch elsewhere in Boynton Beach.

You’ll find them at 1880 N. Congress Ave. in Boynton Beach.  Their phone is 561-806-6635, and you can visit their website here.  

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