The Honeymoon Can’t Last Forever

I went to Wolf Rd today to run some errands. I’ve been under the weather. AKA Dying of a cold that will probably last another week due to my really crappy immune system. But I haven’t been sick since, what, April, March? So really, I’m past due for an illness.
Sorry, ya’ll know how I get sidetracked. Especially when my brain gets all fuzzy and such… NO, STAY ON TARGET> FOOD BLOG.
This is the only time I ever really crave soup – when I’m sick. And when I’m sick I want my soup in mass quantities and overloaded with salt, since I can’t taste anything else. I mean, I love salt normally, but I may as well go and buy a salt lick when I get sick.

So, I’m on Wolf Rd and figured I’d check out Maurice’s for a huge, cheap vat of soup. Unfortunately all of the options sounded kind of gross to me. I won’t say what they are, as I’m picky and I’m sure a normal person would have liked them. As I was driving back to the highway, it dawned on me that Emperor’s served soup at cheaper prices at lunch. And oh, boy don’t we know asian people know how to load things up with salt. And the soups are huge, so I ordered a Duck Fun soup (those are with the flat white noodles) to go. Unfortunately, they overcharged me by about 75 cents, but I was still in my NEED-SOUP-DON’T-CARE mode.
I get my soup within 10 minutes, and chow down shortly after. It’s in a quart container, and all the noodles are smooshed down and the bottom, with the duck pieces on top. And a thick layer of grease. Ew. As in, stick a napkin on top of the soup to absorb all the grease, greasy. Soup is not supposed to be this greasy, and I’m pretty sure broth soups aren’t supposed to be greasy at all!
The skin is sinfully delicious, but overall the meat is still really tough. So I let it sit for a while, and it softened a little, but nothing much. The noodles are okay, but I suspect emperors has some pre-cooked noodles and they really lacked any flavor. They’d taste great if they cooked them in the duck broth the soup is based with. The broth is very good and has a nice amount of duck enhancing spices. I prefer the flavor to Ocean Palace’s since theirs is primarly just duck flavored water and not that great. But the grease really bothered me. There are 2 strands of gai lan (chinese broccoli) in it that are cooked to a nice tender, consistency, but they still have a good bite to them. I’d really like a soup of primarily gai lan and broth next time.

Emperor’s is starting to lose favor with me – fast. The last time it was overcooked duck and inexcusably dry rice; the time before, all the shrimp in the dim sum dishes were too finely ground; this time I get overcharged and greasy soup with duck that’s still really tough. I think this might be one of the last times I’m going to be going to Emperor’s for a while.


I need a place that will restore my hope. A place that won’t be great and then either shut down in two months, or go downhill. Hell, I’m not sure if I even need that, I just need a place that serves a good anything right about now to fix this streak of unlucky eating experiences. Anyone?

Miyako

I went to give Miyako another shot for lunch today, since after looking at their web site, I saw they boasted a Japanese trained sushi chef. No wait at all, and I ordered pretty quickly too. Miyako has a nice calm tea house decor, with minimal decorations. It’s also very clear by their lighting that the sushi bar is the center of attention.

This time I figured I’d try a lunch box. They range from $6.95-$8.95 and have a daily special box that you can see to the right of the podium when you first walk in at a little table. I ordered a salmon teriyaki box and a Spicy Key West Clam roll($4.95). The boxes also come with fried chicken, 4 pieces of california roll, soup and salad. The soup comes out as soon as they get your order in.

The teriyaki salmon box($7.95) is in a cute bento with four squares and a dip in the center for soy sauce. There’s salmon over bean sprouts with teriyaki sauce in one corner, the salad with neon-orange dressing in a second, 4 pieces of california roll in the another, and some veggies and 2 teeny pieces of fried chicken in the last corner. And then my six piece Key West roll on a huge wooden geta.

The salmon was overcooked. I really like my salmon close to raw, and at the very least, moist and not cooked to the point of shredding. Thankfully the beansprouts and teriyaki sauce it was bathed in kind of helped saved it. Its also not a very large piece, probably about 4 ounces of salmon total. So salmon, not so good. The veggies were bland, but not overcooked and fresh. I thought they could have used some sesame-teriyaki type sauce on them to bring out some flavor. The chicken pieces were really tough, the breading was soft (probably from sitting on top of wet veggies) and really lacked any flavor. The salad was average, but good. It’s always amazing what that miso dressing can do for anything. The california roll was surprisingly decent, but still not great.
The Key West roll was surf clam (the pinkish one), spicy mayo and avocado. They were a little heavy handed with the mayo on this roll. As in, overpoweringly heavy handed. And I really only like mayo as a garnish or an enhancer, not a major component in anything. But the avocado and spicy mayo were a pretty good combination to match the sweetness of the surf clam, which can be pretty cloying.

A big complaint is that there was a kid doing sushi rolls. They were alright, but I’d really like to try the Japanese trained one. I’m really trying to like Miyako, but the quality just isn’t cutting it, especially on their non-sushi meals. Their rolls are alright, but still… there’s just something missing with them. It’s okay for a lunch, but I keep spending $15+ dollars each time I go there, and I think I’m going to have to cut them out of my choices to go, since it just never seems worth it to me.

Maurice’s Central Deli

Maurice’s is a deli on Wolf Rd in the Shopper’s Plaza. The one with Guitar Center in it, next to the Arby’s.

While I do enjoy a good Arby’s every now and then (a theoretic one, I can’t ever seem to eat it) I was in the mood for a sammich. Not just a sandwich. A plain ol’ sammich with a decent amount of filling on a hard roll. So I looked everywhere and… there aren’t too many non-chain places on Wolf Rd, and Maurice’s is at least a local chain(they have 4 locations). First off, I don’t know if it’s because it’s lunch rush, the students being back, or what, but DEAR GOODNESS, the traffic has SUCKED around here.

Anyway, I walked in and there was a line, but it goes quickly. Maurice’s says they have the best roast beef sandwiches, but… I haven’t been much of a beef person lately. I was left with either a BLT or salami and cheese. I chose the BLT($4.25) on a hard roll. With mayo, since I’ve discovered I don’t hate mayo recently. They’ve got a little sub-making line going and I also noticed one of their daily soups was Seafood Crab Bisque. Uh, hello, did I hear seafood and creamy soup? So I got a small, which is 8 oz to them. It’s a steal at $1.75. I’ve never seen 8 oz of soup that cheap anywhere else (besides a grocery store, in a can). My grand total was a whopping $6.48 with tax, making pretty thankful a lunch can be found for well under $10 somewhere.

As you all should know I love my carbs, so the bread is a huge factor. The roll was chewey, but still a little of the tough exterior from “hard” part of the hard roll. This made for a tasty chewy exterior, with average microwaved bacon inside. The sandwich isn’t bad, but it’s not amazing either. The best BLT I’ve had to date was from Muddy’s out in Watervliet. Yes, THAT Muddy’s. And it’s huge… but that’s neither here nor there. Average BLT, but it’s really cheap for the area and amount of bacon you get. It isn’t just a thin layer o’bacon across the bottom. It’s several layers, which is where I think the value come from.

The bisque… eh, not so much. I should have gotten something else. It had imitation crab meat. I’m sorry, but you really need to specify that it’s IMITATION! Like ‘Seafood IMITATION Crab Bisque’. But then again I was wondering how a seafood bisque could go for $1.75 a cup. Now I know. Imitation crab. I still ate most of it, it was just really sweet with that, you know, imitation flavor.

Anyway, if you know of any other mom and pop type places in the area, let me know. I’ll go check it out.

Curry House

Albany John and I went out to the Madison Theater last night to see Talladega Nights: The Ricky Bobby Story. (It was really great, and the Madison only charges $7.50 a person) But that’s neither here nor there. Unless you count the medium sized popcorn I got for $5 with butter… and I swear to you, never have I ever had movie theater butter on seemingly every piece of popcorn. And I LOVE butter. But it was the fakey kind and too much of it is a little nauseating.

So after the movie I was kind of hungry/wanted food to sop up the grease I just ate. Albany John took me out to Curry House! Which was awesome because I’d been craving some tasty Indian foods all week. Mmm. My mouth was watering at the thought of chewy naan. We walked up the street and placed orders for cheese($2.95) and regular naan($1.50), Channa Saag ($6.75) and Chicken Tikka ($7.95). We waited around and then were told there was no naan available. Wtf? How do you not have naan? Okay, so we got some roti instead, which is the same, only it’s whole wheat naan.

So we get home and I’m pretty sure I got the wrong order. I know I said channa saag, but I got saag paneer instead. Channa saag is spinach and chickpeas and it’s just delightfully creamy and light. I had it on their buffet once over the summer, and it tasted good then. Saag paneer is spinach and paneer, an indian cheese. This is a good meal too, but I have no clue in hell as to how they screwed that one up. It was way too spicy for me to eat alone. Usually the vegetarian dishes aren’t spiced up to an insane level. My tounge was burning while I ate this. I had to mix it with rice (oh, it doesn’t say anywhere on any menu that you get rice with meals, but you do) AND roll it up in naan to have it not taste spicy. Okay, so not too good there.

The cheese naan tasted overcooked and… just not that good. It didn’t have the doughy chewyness typical of naan and the cheese was kind of crunchy. Also, the cheese naan tasted a little wheaty. The roti was alright, but some regular (ie, LIGHTER tasting) naan would have been ideal.

Chicken Tikka is usually too spicy for me (I know, I know…) but I still had a bite… For comparison’s sake. It was okay, nothing to write home about. Just your basic chicken, spices, onions, cooked in the tandoor oven.

The plus side is we had enough mediocre food to feed 3 people, with leftovers. However, if you live close by to Curry House (It’s on 1112 Madison Ave. Ph #: 438-2265) it’s an interesting place to people watch. One guy staggered in and was asking if we’d been there before as he was scooping spoonfuls of those seasonings they leave out for you
…uh…yes…buffet?…summer…please don’t stab me, crazy looking guy…
He then went on to say he was kidding and really loved eating here… and did the same thing to the next couple that walked in.

Their buffet is really good though. I don’t recommend the food off the menu as being stellar. If you can’t get the naan right, what can you? I’m going to stick with Shalimar on Central