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We got a mailer promoting the new Buffalo Wild Wings (near the Wegman’s on 248) that opened just this past Monday. I love to indulge in some wings on occasion and wanted to check the place out while it’s still new and clean. The mailer mentioned something about “Wing Tuesdays,” and I wasn’t in the mood to cook so we figured the timing was right.

Well, the line was out out the door at 5:30. As I made my way to the host’s podium, I was already questioning if I was in the mood to wait for a table. It was a madhouse – tons of little kids, noise and chaos. I chalk a lot of it up to the newness of the staff and the novelty of a new restaurant. From an atmosphere standpoint, my first thought was that it was more like a cafeteria than a sports bar. Bright lighting and a high ceiling – with hints of yellow being the big interior design “idea.” I really wanted it to be cool. Too bad.

It turned out they had a table for two available near the bar so I didn’t get a chance to reconsider. Overall it was nothing too special. The wings were good but my wife’s meal was just OK. It was happy hour (weekdays 5-7) so the draft beers were half price. And “Wing Tuesday” means 45 cent wings. The basic rundown:

  • Lots of draft beers
  • Maybe 15 wing flavors (along with other typical sports bar food)
  • Video trivia you can play remotely from your table in the bar area
  • Lots of TVs

It’s probably a wild scene during big games in the fall – if that’s your thing. I doubt we’ll go back unless it’s on off-hours when the chaos is at a minimum. The beer selection is a plus, but there’s more satisfying food and atmosphere next door at Five Guys.

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Stopped by Diner 248 out on rt. 248 (duh) in Palmer last week. We were on our way to look at dishwashers at Sears cuz our old workhorse just crapped out on us and we needed a place for a quick bite. Diner 248 used to be the mediocre Jack Creek Steakhouse. We ate there once and there was nothing remarkable about the menu or décor, yet the place always looked packed on weekends. Not sure why they went out of business.

From what we remembered, the layout was pretty much unchanged. Apart from the dessert case just inside the door, there’s very little about the place that seems very diner-ish. There’s a large barroom on one side of the building and a fairly standard large dining room on the other side. The table spacing, lighting and lack of noise stands in contrast to the more hectic, informal vibe that we find so appealing in diners. The menu did have the range of options we love about places like Key City diner on rt. 22 in P-burg. (How can a kitchen offer 100 options including gyros, eggplant parm, roasted chicken and 6 kinds of soup? And prepare them equally well? Mindboggling.) Diner 248’s menu wasn’t quite that extensive but there was enough to fit any mood. One thing we noted was that they didn’t serve breakfast all day – so no late night short stacks with a side of sausage i guess. Bummer.

The liquor license was definitely a plus though. My wife ordered a Dark ‘n Stormy (they shoulda made it with Gosling’s) and I got a Sam Adams Belgian ale. We were in a bit of a hurry so we went straight to entrées. I went with the pork chops and filling smothered in cranberry chutney. I subbed a bowl of French onion soup for the side salad. My wife got the crab cakes and a salad. Overall, the food was good, the portions and prices were fine, but they could use a bit of plating finesse. Hell, most diners will at least throw down a sprig of parsley.

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  • bakery-style butter cookies + the new book is here!
    Today my second cookbook, five years in the making, Smitten Kitchen Every Day: Triumphant & Unfussy New Favorites, at last leaves my noisy, messy kitchen and, perhaps, makes its way into yours. I am, as ever, a nervous wreck. I hope you love it. I hope you find a new favorite recipe (or 5) in it. I hope you make the granola biscotti and have them on hand […]

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