Acadia House Provisions, Stonington, ME., 8/29/21

front door

Acadia House Provisions is on one floor of a house overlooking the bay in Stonington, Maine.  Ryan McCaskey from Chicago opened it in 2019 as a spin off of a Michelin starred restaurant there.  It opened in the site formerly occupied by Aragosta, which moved to Goose Cove.  Outside there is a large deck overlooking the active fishing area.  Lots of windows inside also take advantage of the view.   Inside there is much painted light wood on the walls, floors and ceiling.  Art is on the walls and music is in the background to make up a very pleasant room.  They have an a la carte menu and a full bar.  Food and service are both quite good. Continue reading

Aragosta, Deer Isle, ME., 8/29/21

exterior

Aragosta is Devin Finigan’s fine dining restaurant on Goose Cove in Deer Isle, Maine. They opened in 2012 in Stonington but bought a 22 acre waterfront resort in January 2019 to be able to offer lodging as well as dining. A team of craftsmen transformed the property and now the dining room is a large open space with painted wood walls and ceiling. They also have outdoor seating overlooking the water but it gets pretty cool in the evening for that. Lighting is lowered and music is in the background. The place is noisy with so many hard surfaces but it was made worse as we were given a large table right next to the swinging doors to the kitchen. Up one step were more tables and a lounge area near the bar, in front of the fire place. Plenty of parking is close by but the walk to the restaurant is poorly lit. They offer only a tasting menu and also offer wine pairings if you don’t want to order your own bottle. Pacing was eratic, service was an issue for us and the food was mixed so I can’t give a solid recommendation for the place.  Continue reading

Pentagoet Inn & Wine Bar, Castine, ME., 8/26/21

exterior of Inn

The Baron Pub and Wine Bar is in the Pentagoet Inn in Castine, Maine.   The place dates back to the 1800’s and is an old house with lots of rooms set up with tables.  On the wraparound porch are more tables.  Lots of art is on the walls as well as memorabilia, rugs are on the old wood floors, music is playing softly in the background, lighting is lowered and lots of windows let in light and/or view.   Fans were running because it was warm outside and there is no air conditioning.  It’s full of character and the food is good, although portions are on the small side.  The really friendly staff are helpful and friendly. Continue reading

F Street Station (update), Anchorage, AK., 8/1/21

exterior, 325 F Street, Anchorage, AK., 99501 / 907-272-5196

Frankie visited F Street Station almost 3 years ago and it hasn’t changed much. We saw the same chef in the kitchen and the place is very popular.  They have a number of beers, cocktails and wines by the glass and bottle.  The cheese hunk was back after having disappeared during the height of Covid, but it still wasn’t getting much action.  They offer lots of seafood and had our favorite fried halibut during our last trip and I’m here to tell you it is still excellent. Continue reading

Altura Bistro, Anchorage, 7/31/21

exterior

Altura Bistro opened in 2019 and serves New American cuisine in a less casual atmosphere.  Located in a strip shopping center outside of the downtown area they were still very much practicing Covid separation of guests.  Along one side of the room was bench seating for 2-top tables and opposite were booths.  A couple tables were in the middle of the room.  The tables were bare wood and set with black cloth napkins.  Windows to the outside were partially shaded but the sun streamed in for a good part of the evening, defeating the low light chandeliers.   The other room had the bar and a few stools facing the bar and a couple small tables along the wall.  It was not clear if these tables were for walk-ins.  Music was in the background.  Service was so-so, with timing issues, not clearing or wiping between courses and less than good advice on ordering. Continue reading

Denali Brewpub, Talkeetna AK., 7/31/21

exterior

Denali Brewpub is in the center of the small town of Talkeetna, nestled at the base of Denali. It is a large place with guests being those arriving by train, outdoor enthusiasts and families.  Dogs are welcome on the large outdoor patio.  Inside there is a log cabin feel with wood ceiling, walls and floor along with a large fireplace.  A bar dominates one of the several rooms and the kitchen is in back.  Lots of decorations adorn the walls, including some of the things for sale.  There is free wi-fi and music is in the background.  A large number of beers are from their brewery that is close by.  Service was good and very friendly but lunch does start at 11:00 not at 10:00 which was on the website. Continue reading

Club Paris (update), Anchorage, 7/29/21

Club Paris was visited by Frankie in 2018 for lunch so this visit we decided to have dinner.  It is an old school place but the interior has been changed quite a bit to deal with the Covid pandemic.  Tables are now separated by dividers and so room shots are difficult.  The building dates back 100 years and the current restaurant to the 1950s when I understand the owner married a French woman and he decorated the place with lots of Paris images to make her feel at home. The Selman family bought it in the 1970s with many of the staff having worked there for more than 25 years.  They are known for their steaks and seafood as well as their pink neon sign out front featuring an Eiffel Tower.  It is a long space with a curved bar taking up most of the front room.  Music is in the background, the lights are low and they did have one nightly special to add to the menu.  Their wine selection was not as appealing as their cocktails so we enjoyed martinis with dinner. Continue reading

E Bar Tex Mex (update), Dallas, 5/27/21

 

building

Our last visit to E Bar Tex Mex was in 2018 and I wanted to update it as I was not wowed by the food on that visit but speculated that you had to find the items that spoke to you.  They continue to get crowds and now I know why cause I’ve found my item – Jorge’s Tacos.  The place is physically about the same except they’ve added a non-enclosed tent next to the enclosed one and their name is on a nearby parking lot to provide additional parking. Service is good, helpful and friendly. Continue reading

Cleavers, Philadelphia, 5/21/21

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Cleavers opened in March 2016 near Rittenhouse Park (108 S. 18th St., Philadelphia).  They use 100% domestic ribeye meat in the Philly Cheesesteak sandwich creations and freshly baked bread.  The menu has a chicken version made from fresh chicken breasts or a vegetarian option from Portobello mushrooms.  Also they have salads, sides and a full bar. They are open 7 days a week, do take-out and have dine in and out seating.  We chose to sit inside near the bar to enjoy their wonderful air-conditioning on a warm day in Philadelphia.  The bar has multiple cocktails and an amazing number of tap beers.  We tried one of the latter. Continue reading

Keens Steakhouse, New York City, 5/11&12/21

front door

We last visited Keens Steakhouse in May of 2018 and this trip we made a visit to the pub for a late snack and had a full lunch with friends in the main dining room the next day.  It is dark wherever you sit so photos are harder but it is worth the visit.  The dark woods, white table clothes, tile floor in the bar and pipes on every square inch of ceiling, give it the feel of a classic.  For the pandemic they have erected individual pods outside that are still there even though NYC is now allowing indoor dining.  Inside the tables and bar stools are all separated by plexiglass barriers and seating is spaced.  The nice thing about that is that it made conversation very easy as did the relaxed pace our server gave us both  days.  The food was all very good and nicely prepared in generous portions.  They are famous for their mutton chop and this time we were smart and split one. Continue reading

El Zarco Restaurant and Cantina, Grand View, WI., 6/4/21

front

El Zarco is on US Highway 63 in Grand View, WI.  It offers “homestyle fresh Mexican Cuisine and hand crafted margaritas. “  They have been open 4 months in a building with 2 rooms, one of which is dominated by a pool table and bar and the other having a combination of tables and booths. The website said they open at 11:00 but the sign out front said noon however, the owner was kind enough to let us come in and start early. On weekends they open earlier and have brunch options. Inside are tile floors, wood ceiling, AC, music in the background and walls decorated with photos and memorabilia. Two TVs were in the bar area but both just streamed scenery visuals and they have free Wi-Fi. Talking with the owner he asked if it was our first visit and when we said yes he pulled out 3 flavors of tequila and said we were due a complimentary shot to welcome us. He was so nice and friendly it felt like we had been coming for years. I know I’ll be back. Continue reading

Buskey Bay Resort, Iron River, 4/30/21

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Buskey Bay Resort was previously Hyde’s and before that the Hermitage.  Deciding to make a change from their city lifestyle Chris and Brenda Diesing and Valerie and Kevin Zimmerman purchased it the first part of 2021.  Next to the restaurant/bar building are cabin rentals and across the highway is an available dock for your boat or pontoon rental.  Covid-19 has made it a challenging time to open but they are gradually being able to open back up with in house dining Wed. thru Sunday and specials most night.  Inside now you will find 2 rooms decorated with numerous animal head mounts shot by the owners and muted TVs.  The entrance room is surrounded by windows and the more interior room houses the large bar that does have stools available for drinking and/or dining.  Fun instrumental music was in the background and Chris was at the bar making cocktails.  Tables were well spaced and staff wore masks.  We went on a Friday which is fish fry and had good martinis to go with it.  The server was slow in getting our order but once it was in, service progressed rapidly. Continue reading

The Patterson House, Nashville, 4/15/21

entrance

The Patterson House is a dark, cozy seated cocktail bar in Nashville.  Classic and modern cocktails are supplemented by a small food menu.  In fact it was Nashville’s first craft cocktail bar.  Opening in 2009 it pioneered fresh-squeezed juices and twice filtered ice.  A real speak-easy vibe.  We had evening reservations for the Catbird Seat which is next door and knew there was a bar in the building but this looked more like someone’s home.  It most assuredly is not.  Tons of people were in and out with most not going to the adjacent restaurant.  You enter into a waiting area that is curtained off from the bar.  A huge 30 foot bar sits in the center of the bar room with booths and tables lining the walls.  Lots of old fashioned chandeliers provide the low lighting.  They also serve beer, wine and snacks.  Service was friendly but not too fast.  They did coordinate with the restaurant to call you when they were ready to seat you.   I would easily go again. Continue reading

Cosmo’s Bar and Restaurant, Dallas, 9/29/20 and 10/10/20

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Cosmo’s Restaurant and Bar (1212 Skillman St., Dallas, 75206, <cosomosbar.net>) is a medium sized neighborhood lounge that has been in business for years.  My understanding is that it started as a bar with a small pizza kitchen and several years ago the manager/chef Jackson Tran (now part owner) wanted to expand the menu with Vietnamese specialties from his family, to see how that would impact business.  It was a terrific idea that has really caught on with more than just the locals.  It’s a small kitchen so food may take a bit of time but while you wait there is a full bar with well made drinks.   The interior has lots of vintage furniture and decorations.  They were ready for Halloween the evening we went.  The heavily tinted windows to the street along one wall keep it dark inside even before sunset.  Tables are well spaced and there is hanging plexiglass between seating areas.  A large u-shaped bar has spaced stools for eating and/or drinking.  Music was in the background and there was a patio.  Besides the tasty Vietnamese items the menu features pizzas.  Unfortunately the night we were there they were out of the Beef Pho, but I will definitely go back to try it and some of the other things on the menu.  Service was friendly, helpful and well masked. Continue reading

Million Dollar Cowboy Bar, Jackson, WY., 9/11/20

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The Million Dollar Cowboy Bar opened in 1937 and is a landmark in Jackson, WY.  Everything I read about the place suggested you just have a drink and see the interior.  It is famous for the seats at the bar which are real horse saddles, complete with under blanket.  Our server said they were cute but she couldn’t sit and drink on them.  There are no reservations and often a line, but we went off hour and there was still a wait to get a saddle stool but you could have a table right away.  We opted for a table.  The place has lots of live music which thankfully wasn’t playing when we were there but recorded music filled the room.  There are Western decorations everywhere including stuffed animals, a huge round moving scene light, horns, and pictures.  The tables are divided by large wood pieces and tables are distanced now as well as some saddles are covered.  The pool tables were covered.  It is a place to see if you’re in town but not a peaceful place to drink and talk. Continue reading

Silver Dollar Showroom, Jackson, WY., 9/10/20

entance awning

We went to the Silver Dollar Showroom following our dinner for an after dinner drink.  It is part of the historic Wort Hotel.  As you enter you go to the left for the bar and to the right if you want to eat.  The bar is a large place with a curved bar covered with laminated silver dollars and well spaced tables.  They have live music on weekends but not while we were there.  We sat at the bar and after our first round the server told us it was Whiskey Wednesday so we tried some of those.  It’s a stretch to include in this blog but this way you’ll have the menu and an idea of what it looks like if you get the chance to go. Continue reading

La Botillería Granada, Granada, 1/23/20

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La Botilleria was a larger place with a long counter, tables and tables outside.  They obviously serve lots of wine as there were corks everywhere – in tables, in old register – but they also served beer and mixed drinks.  It was a much more laid back atmosphere with out the bustle.  We only had one drink here and with it got a chicken on cous cous dish.  It was covered with a lovely curry sauce.  The chicken was not dry and the fish filled with flavor.  A good experience and nice atmosphere.  With the chicken they also brought a dish of olives.

Continue reading

Tschebull Restaurant, Hamburg, 9/21/19

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Entrance

Tschebull spans several rooms and is upstairs in a building of small shops.  It has a large bar area with bare wood tables where you can eat.  The main restaurant in in one of the rooms and has white tablecloths and monogrammed red tone cloth napkins.  Lots of antlers, animal heads and horse pictures serve as decorations and there are windows overlooking the busy street below.  The dining room has bench seating around the edges and facing them are padded armless chairs.  Some faint music was in the background and the wood floor was made from narrow short pieces of wood.   They offered a menu of mostly traditional Austrian food.   Continue reading

Cafe Tortoni, Buenos Aires, 5/25/19

line to get in
line to get in

Cafe Tortoni dates back to 1858 and moved to its present location in 1880 but has long been a part of Buenos Aires history.  A French style place where artists and scholars visited in the early 1920s it now hosts regular tango shows as well as serving up coffee, alcohol and a good variety of fresh pastries and snacks.  But this did not seem to be a place to have a meal, more just a drink and snack and people watch or to absorb some of the atmosphere.   It is typical to find a line to get in but the line moved quickly and we were in soon.  I read about a large basement room but didn’t get to see it.  There was a room more like a library filled with books and mementos.  The whole place was filled with stuff – photos, trophies, books, stained glass lamps, art and small marble tables.  There is a Tiffany glass ceiling and a collection of Tiffany lamps on top of the service area.  If you need to take some of the place with you there is a large number of souvenirs for sale. Continue reading

Bar Plaza Dorrego, Buenos Aires, 5/24/19

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building

Bar Plaza Dorrego is good sized and right across from the plaza where tango dancers perform and vendors sell trinkets.  It has been around a long time – I found one photograph dated 1904 – and the walls and furnishings look like they have not been replaced in a long while.  It is full of character.  The large u-shaped bar is the centerpiece of the room and the tables wrap around the walls.  Windows are on a couple sides as the building as it’s on a corner.  Photos line the wall and the bar is stocked with liquors and coffee.  The staff were friendly and welcoming.  We only stopped for coffee but it came with a little bowl of delicious amaretto cookies to snack on.  They do offer sandwiches, steaks and pastires, but most people were just drinking.  It felt like history surrounded us and was a wonderful place to pass a few restful moments. Continue reading

F Street Station Bar and Grill, Anchorage, 8/4/18

exterior
exterior

F Street Station Bar and Grill opened the bar an hour before the grill.  It was established in 1944 as the Mur-Mac Lounge and is the “oldest downtown Anchorage bar still in its original location.”  Apparently it was a favorite of aviators serving the bush community as well as workers in the federal building across the street.  After the 1964 earthquake the building it was in had to be replaced with the F Building.  The current owners bought it in 1983 and renamed it the F Street Station and added the grill.   It was still a favorite with pilots, of which there are many in Anchorage.  There are 2 bar areas and several high top tables all appointed with padded stools that swiveled.  The walls were filled with patches and other airline things.   They feature a number of locally brewed beers on tap as well as a full bar.  The people were very friendly.   Continue reading

The Mitchell, Dallas, 3/3/18

exterior
exterior

The Mitchell is located in downtown Dallas.  It has the feel of a bar with tables rather than the reverse.  I had read another person’s glowing write up of this more casual French place that would be a good option to the more formal ones newly ‘opened’ and recently written up here.  Unfortunately when we got there the chef in the write up was gone and another had assumed his duties and changes had been made to the menu.  Not sure these were good changes.  The place has elegant chandeliers and a silent TV boxed in by the giant bar.  They are short on wine selections but have about any liquor you’re looking for.  Tables are small dark wood and seating is upholstered black chairs and a curving black banquette.  There are also a number of seats at the bar.  Service was friendly and efficient but I might have preferred if they’d spaced the serving of the dishes due to the size of the tables.   Continue reading

Cervecería Pittu, Madrid, 1/21/18

entrance
entrance

Cervecería Pittu has about 8 small tables inside along the bench seat walls.  A half dozen bar stools also are inside and there is a lot of patio seating.  The place has lots of brown wood, mementos on the walls and several televisions playing sports.  Paper napkins and mats set up the tables.  Service was friendly but with limited English.  The menu is large and most seemed to be eating rather than just there to drink.  There is a different price for things served on the terrace (higher) than inside and several items come in half and whole size.   Continue reading

La Taberna Del Rey, Seville, 1/20/18

exterior
exterior

La Taberna Del Rey was close to our hotel down one of the countless winding streets in Seville.  It is a really tiny place that had only been open 9 months but it belongs to a family with another place in town that has been around 9 years.  It was very neat with a few small tables and several stools at a counter.  They serve enough food to get a reasonable snack and have a huge array of beverages.  The owner was behind the counter and he couldn’t have been friendlier.   It is an incredibly cozy place with classical music in the background, low lights where all feel welcome.   Continue reading

Dos D Mayo, Seville, 1/19/18

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entry

Dos D Mayo is a large tapas bar with plenty of both indoor (high top and regular height tables) and outdoor seating.  It is an old school kind of place, no waiters – you order at the counter and they will bring it out if it’s not too busy.  A beautiful tile floor and dispensers of paper napkins are the room set up.  Two sides of the interior are windows to the crowded streets outside.  It has a large menu and one also available in English with pictures.  We stopped for just a quick snack.  Maybe it was the un-inviting atmosphere that made the food here seem to have no soul. Continue reading

En La Espero Te Esquina, Seville, 1/18/18

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exterior

En La Espero Te Esquina is a deceptively large place, but you wouldn’t guess it by the windows to the street.  It is on one of the little tangled streets we walked through and stopped in for a snack and a glass of wine.  It was pretty empty late in the evening but they do have a kitchen that cooks food to order and a fair selection of beverages.  The menu was on a chalkboard and included many options we saw at other places.  You placed your order at the counter and he brought it out to you.  The guy working there did not speak much English and less than friendly, but in his defense he seemed to do much better with those that spoke fluent Spanish.   Continue reading

Alvaro Peregil – La Goleta, Seville, 1/17/18

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exterior

Alvaro Peregil – Tavern La Goleta, was started as a wine store by the great- grandfather of Alvaro, whose father was a flamenco singer.  It is a very small tavern with an old mahogany bar and several standing counters in and outside.  The popular beverage here is orange wine or Vinos de Manzanilla  from the little town of Huelva.  This drink was introduced by Alvaro’s uncle who owned the tavern for 60 years.  Now orange wine is sold in many taverns but this is the original.  They have a small selection of tapas and memories covering all the walls.  The folks working there are very friendly as are the other guests in the establishment.  Even if you don’t want to make a meal here do stop by and try this unique wine.  It is not orange or sweet but does have an unusual flavor that is fun to try.   The family owns some other places in town but this one opens every afternoon and stays open till 30 minutes after midnight.   Continue reading

The Parlor on Commerce, Dallas, 1/2/18

exterior
exterior

The Parlor on Commerce is a good sized bar in the Deep Ellum area of Dallas with food as well as drinks.  They’ve been open 13 months and the wine list is limited but they have a good supply of beers and hard liquors.  The kitchen also turns out some pretty tasty food to go for or to snack on while drinking.  The folks at the bar, bartender and guests, are super friendly and the place does have lots of counter seats as well as a number of tables.  The finish out of the interior has lots of interesting objects around as well as art.  The owner, Seth Byars, is a Star Wars buff so watch for some articles from that theme.  Also check out the boxcar flooring that was made into the bar counter and the basketball flooring that is now the bar’s flooring.   Continue reading

Here, Dallas, 11/4/17

neon sign
neon sign

Here is a good sized, very stylish bar and restaurant.  The small, closely set tables are in the middle of the lowly lit room.  Around the edges are cozy round booths that match the elegant large arc shaped bar.  Comfy chairs and bar seats finish out this amazing looking space that is located in a very non-descript strip shopping center.  The menu offers a range of small plates and larger ones but the beverage service is mostly liquor.  Portions run on the large side, so be prepared to split even the small plates.  A good selection of beers is available but the wine list is very small (one thing that would really improve this place). Continue reading

Liguria Bar, Santiago, 6/24/17

exterior
exterior

Liguria Bar is a huge place where drinks are the main part of the huge menu.  Upon entering there is a long bar with stools and a selection of cozy tables surrounded by walls covered with pictures and divided by some partitions.  As you venture back, you pass the kitchen and then it opens up to a lovely airy back room with a high ceiling but again the walls are covered with art.  There are stairs leading up to another level from there.  They offer not only full cocktail service but a wonderful selection of wines, by the glass, bottle, 175cc or 430 cc. Their delicious food choices are fairly heavy, designed to soak up a fair amount of alcohol.  They have some snacks and sandwiches that are offered all the time but also have a list of daily plates.   Continue reading

Kounty Quarthouse, South Range, WI, 2/16/17

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Kounty Quarthouse is a large bar/restaurant just outside of Superior, Wisconsin.  They were featured on the Diners, Drive-ins and Dives TV show and got quite a bit of notice from that, however they sold a little over a year ago.  The sale did include all the recipes and information that got them the original notice, but maybe some soul is missing because the inventors are no longer running the show?  Even though the sign indicates otherwise, they only take cash and checks right now. Continue reading

The Other Place, Iron River, Wisconsin, 1/5/17 & 2/18/17

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Building

The Other Place, or as it’s commonly known the O-P, is right next to the grocery store on the main road in Iron River.  It’s been through a number of owners but for as long as I’ve known it, it offers an array of burgers, sandwiches and fried snacks.  The large room has been re-done in past years to cover it with light wood and add better TVs.  There are lots of tables, hi-tops and regular, as well as counter seating at the large bar.  Right on the ‘corridor’ it gets lots on snowmobile and ATV traffic. It is cash only.  The staff are friendly and the manager Morgan Kalk is often in the open kitchen cooking.   Continue reading

Lakewood Landing, An Upscale Dive, Dallas, 1/1/17

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building

Lakewood Landing has been around a long time – I can’t seem to find out how long – but a while to be sure. The exterior is non-descript with a newish wooden patio facing the street that was added when the smoking ban happened and an iconic sign advertising their contradictory status of  being both “upscale” and a “dive”.  Inside is a long bar separated from the tables by a wooden railing, a separate room with couch and pool table, and the dining room with a few well used booths and standing tables.   Continue reading

L’avant Comptoir De La Mer, Paris, 12/1/16

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exterior
L’avant Comptoir De La Mer is a small stand room only place next to Relais Saint-Germain. It is the newest addition to the series of restaurants that he has opened and this one serves only seafood snacks. Always full of friendly people, nice staff and tasty food it is a perfect place to pass a little time and enjoy good wine and snacks. We were there to try their oysters and the manager fixed us a tray of many different varieties.   All very fresh there were different textures but a similar brininess to all. If you want meatier snacks just pop next door. Continue reading