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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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We got together with a couple friends to attend the Jim Gaffigan show at Easton’s State Theater on Saturday night. It was a 9:30 show which gave us plenty of time to gorge ourselves at Ocean. Neither of our guests had ever eaten at Ocean so we thought it would be fun to start with an assortment of tapas. We ordered 5 of our faves starting with the filo wrapped goat cheese with pumpkin seeds and honey plus 2 plates of “hot wings.” The chicken bone handles have been replaced by skewers for some reason – not as unique but maybe aesthetically more appealing to some customers. Or maybe  bones were just a pain in the ass for the chefs to deal with.

The we rocked a seafood triumvirate: calamari, tuna tartare, and lobster mac ‘n cheese. All great.

Our friends were still craving a bit more so we advised they split the burger and fries. One of the best burgers you’ll ever have. And I love their fresh cut fries.

Even after all the food and many beers (mostly Delirium Tremens), dessert was still beckoning to us. Crème brulée, cheesecake springrolls, and pear/cranberry cobbler with sweet cream ice cream. It was one course too many, really.

And the Gaffigan show was fantastic if you were curious. His set was maybe an hour and a half – 98% new material plus an encore of his infamous assault on Hot Pockets. Definitely check him out. But don’t let his tight jeans distract you from his continued paleness.

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Another busy week at the office so we weren’t in the mood to make a meal, but also didn’t want to shell out 100 bucks. My wife wanted Asian so we opted for Thai food at Phenom on Northampton St in Easton. We’ve eaten there 3 or 4 times – the last being about a year ago. The food is adequate – some things are very tasty and the portions are good – but the overall experience always leaves me a bit disappointed. The service could be more professional. For example, my wife ordered a mojito and the waitress returned with what looked like a shirley temple. She said they didn’t have any mint but that there was mint flavoring in the rum. Huh? And how do the crushed maraschino cherries make it taste more like a mojito?

The menu is way too extensive. Like one of those Chinese restaurant menus with 200 items. “I’ll have the L72 with a side of R12.” And the menu is physically cheap-looking with yellowing paper inside flimsy plastic sleeves. I could understand not spending dough on menus if they changed frequently, but I honestly don’t think anything has changed since they opened several years ago.

All that being said, it’s a relaxing place to grab a bite which is just what we wanted on Friday. We really needed it after circling downtown Easton for 15 minutes looking for a parking space – a topic for a separate post. That we couldn’t find a space upped our anxiety level cuz that meant all the restaurants were likely packed, and we were not in the mood to wait for a table. That fear subsided when we arrived to find a nearly empty Phenom. Not a good sign, but i just wanted food and a drink asap.

I usually get a bottle or two of Singha (a Thai lager). We started with a plate of crispy chicken wings with a sweet plum glaze. Very good. For our entrées, my wife got a curry dish and I had the pad thai with pork. I haven’t eaten enough Thai to judge how well Phenom’s preparations stack up, but everything tasted fine to us. We saved room for dessert as we were both in the mood for ice cream – ginger, coconut, maybe red bean? Nope. They only had vanilla. Check, please.

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Just as we were finishing up, the jazz band, which had been taking a break, started a set. We’d noticed the instruments when we arrived but didn’t think to ask if there would be live music – too hungry to care i guess. I think they have music every Friday which is fun. Too bad there were only 10 people in the room to hear them. I really don’t get the lack of interest considering how packed the other restaurants probably were. You’d think there would be more than a little spillover? If Phenom could class up its act a bit and get the word out, they could easily be packed nightly. I see way worse restaurants with lines out the door. Yeah, I’m looking at you, Texas Roadhouse.

We do have to check out this other Thai place over on 2nd street. Saw some rave reviews online, but the place looks like it’s in a what used to be a residence. Sometimes it feels like your eating in a stranger’s living room. Low ceilings and paneling. Uck.

Took our friends Ami and Chris to Ocean last night and had a great time. I was much more conscious of the details considering it was my first visit since starting the blog. Much darker than I remembered which didn’t bode well for my goal of taking impressive photos. (I really don’t want to use the flash – they annoy us so I’m gonna assume the feeling is universal.) The manager alerted us that a booth would be open soon and we could have it if we waited a couple extra minutes. The heads up was appreciated. Grabbed a couple drinks – fruity drinks for the girls and a Hoegarden for me (with an orange slice so i fit in).

We got the booth and ordered a bunch of tapas to start. I cranked up the levels but this is as good as the pic would get.

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Clockwise from the top: Hot Wings; Arugula Salad with Figs, Feta and Prosciutto; Lamb Tenderloin with Peas and Pancetta; and the Lobster Mac ‘n Cheese. It was a good array. Everyone tried a bit of each. For the main course Ami and Chris shared the Filet Mignon and the Potato Leek Soup. Janet had the crab cake from the tapas menu and I went with the special – Veal Cheeks with Black-Eye Peas. We all started eating and i forgot to take a pic. And food just doesn’t look appetizing when it’s half-eaten.

Our server had earlier taunted us with the promise of an interesting dessert special so we inquired. White chocolate risotto with gooseberry chutney. I was sold.

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That’s it on the right, followed clockwise by the Apple Dumpling with Honey Gelato, Chocolate Mousse Tart, and the Peanut Butter Trio.

The risotto was good, a bit al dente. The gooseberries were surprising. My in-laws have a gooseberry bush and the look and taste differs greatly from what Ocean served me. They were almost like tiny apricots really. Not better or worse, just different from what i expected.

We left very satisfied and pretty much passed out in front of the TV before hittin the hay. We got up and figured we’d grab breakfast before they had to split so we walked over to Tracy’s Cafe on Cattell St on College Hill. Another place i think i’m gonna add to my Easton’s Best list at some point. We haven’t found a tastier omelet and homefries anywhere.

More friends may be in town next weekend, so i’ll try to get another review up. Maybe Valenca? (Yikes. Their website is cheesy. That’s a flaming chorizo in case you were wondering.)

Seriously. I once again ate a big lunch and decided to go with just a grapefruit for dinner. Now it’s 10pm, and my stomach is grumblin. But I will resist. Damn I wish I didn’t know about the stash of Girl Scout cookies in the cabinet.
Got the word earlier that I should make Friday reservations for Ocean down on Ferry Street. We’ve had luck as walk-ins but it’s getting tougher for sure. Last time (a Friday), we were fortunate to get there before the rush and the manager found us a spot at the end of the long center table. Their menu offers a large selection of appetizers which you can treat as tapas (that’s generally how i roll) and maybe 8-10 official entrées. I try to pick 3 apps, making one my appetizer and the other two for my meal. Last time i started with the “hot wings” and then had the calamari and yellowfin tuna tartare. The wings are a surprise on the menu and an even bigger surprise when you see the dish. Cooked chicken is puréed and placed within a wonton shell. A delicate wing bone is placed into the chicken and held in place by the edges of the dough creating a sort of chicken lollipop once it’s fried. You receive about 5 of them on a long platter, painted with a triptych of colored sauces: bleu cheese, buffalo and herb (basil if i remember right). There’s a great contrast between the crunchy shell and the tender, savory chicken. Combine that with the classic wing flavor experience without the messy fingers and you get one of my favorite dishes ever.

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