Friday, November 8, 2013

Woody's River Roo - Pub and Grill in Ellenton , short review about lunch on the river

Woody’s River Roo Pub & Grill
5717 18th St E
Ellenton, FL 34222
(941) 722-2391

Living for 4 years here in Bradenton I have to admit , we did not go out to check out places enough to know a lot of them. Now this one we drove by literally dozens of times. Maybe even hundreds. Not sure. Sitting close to Ellenton Outlet Mall where we go often and right along the freeway bridge, which we cross going South or North, we saw the outside seating area many times and pretty much every single time we said “ Let’s go there”.

Today finally it was the day. After doing some work in the area we decided to stop for a quick lunch and see how it is.

We came from the East and I was not sure where to turn, so I took a left one street before getting to the freeway ramp. Once you are going towards the river it is easy. Just take a right and drive a couple hundred yards.

There is a good size parking lot. It was not very busy, but you could see that the place was well liked. We walked right into the beer garden, which looked OK. Plastic tables. A nice bar ( which I thought looked good), a stage for live music. You have a view on the river from pretty much every corner.

We walked through and decided to sit on the river side of the building where there were a few tables with a nice view. Photo below.


Seating on river side of building.          View from Tiki Bar towards the pub.

It was a nice spot and we had the following view today.


View towards the I 75 bridge and river.         View towards Tiki Bar and boat docks

You can not see it too good on the photos, but the view was nice.

It took only 1 minute for our server ( Chris) to show up and ask what we would like to drink. We went for the coke and also told her that we were ready to order.

I ordered the Angus Hot Dog. Asked if I can have Kraut with it, she said sure. I also ordered the onions and fries as a side. Christiane opted for the Tilapia sandwich and chose the apple sauce as a side.

We read in the menu, that you only get 2 refills of coke or pop. Strange I found, considering how much ice was in this little cup. See below.

At the most, you have a couple sips in this cup. Considering you are supposed to get two refills ( from a pitcher which had more ice cubes in it) and then need to pay extra, this was a turn off. 2.50 $ for this coke. Pretty bad.

Well the food did not take long. Which was a good thing, since we had places to go after this lunch.

Find the photos of what we got below.

Actual Angus Hot Dog with Sauerkraut and Onions and bacon , fries as a side

Tilapia Sandwich with Apple Sauce and no other side

Angus Hot Dog

The bun was pretty good. Good size and it was toasted. I liked the fact that it was not falling apart just touching it. The hot dog was good as well. Seemed grilled and had good taste. There was a little bacon below the hot dog, but you could not taste it. The Sauerkraut tasted good but was totally dry. I am German and I know Sauerkraut. Not much effort here. There was a few onions on the hot dog. But 50 cent? Amazing. The fries were almost cold, full of fat and the portion seemed like a leftover stack. Pretty small. I operated a kiosk with authentic gourmet hot dogs. Same size. Between 2.50 $ and 4.00 $ and what I saw today was not worth the 7.99 plus 1.50 for onions and kraut. 9.49 $ for what you see there.

Tilapia Sandwich

The bun was a joke. Straight out of a package or bag. No taste to it. Soft. The fish was of good size with good seasoning. A little fishy, but over all good. Some plastic bottle tartar sauce and a little bit of applesauce. 11.99 $ for what you see.

When she brought the food I asked her if I could get Tabasco. She never brought it and walked by 7 times! ( not talking to me one time)

I was not asked how I liked it but if I would like to dessert. We negated and asked for the check. That one came very fast.

The entire lunch came to 28.00 $ and something plus a tip. Way too much for what was offered.

We have no problem to pay more, but expect that we get value for the price, which clearly here was not the case. Service was pretty low, food eatable but nothing to write home about. The coke story is a little irritating.

If I would make my next visit depending on this experience, I would never come back and would not recommend anyone to try it.

However, I am not sure how it would work out if I just come to drink beer and enjoy the view. The location is great and the place looks good. The Tiki Bar looks promising. If you want to eat on the water, there is clearly better choices for the same, lower or slightly higher price available.

We might give it another chance at some point, but I am now certain, that in 4 years I have not missed much.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Distillery Tavern now Loaded Barrel in Bradenton, FL - Is that a good place, do they have food? - short review about our first visit

450  Old Main Street, Bradenton, FL  34205              Phone 941.745.TheD (8433)

(more photos at bottom of article)

We live close to downtown Bradenton and we actually picked our house for a good reason.
The fact that we can walk to restaurants and bars as well as the river, park and even across the river to Palmetto.

But because of lots of work and other obligations we really did not explore the new places and downtown in general lately.

So last week we figured we need to pick one place and check it out.
This time we visited:

The Distillery Tavern  on Bradenton Mainstreet.

I drove by there many times and it always looked nice and inviting. Not to big. Nice interior.
When we got there it was about 10 pm. Since it was a weekday we did not expect this place to be so full that we did not find a good seat on the bar.

When we entered we were greeted from a young lady who was helping customers on the other end of the bar. The bar is of good size and looks nice. The entire place is not huge. Just the bar and then some tables along the wall across from the bar. There is a couple games and a jukebox ( digital).  Also there were at least 3 large TV screens where they showed sports. It is nice to know that this place offers NFL, MLB and more.

We found a great spot right by the entrance. This side of the bar seats up to 4 people. A bonus from our point of view was the gaming machine, which Christiane loves to play. Card games and so on.

Couple minutes into our visit the bartender asked us what we like to drink after greeting us friendly. I opted for a Fat Tire ( a beer I always liked) , Christiane for the Angry Orchard Cider. Both were there in no time. Both were fresh, cold and good tasting. No doubt in my mind, they keep their pipes clean. We started playing on the machine and had a good time.

There was a constant flow of customers coming in and going out. Some stayed for longer. The patrons we saw when coming in were there for the most part of our visit. I saw people eating and then realized that there was a sign that this place serves pizza.

Not really hungry , but curious, I asked for the menu, which we did not need to order our drinks.

I was pleasantly surprised that they offered different pizzas, different sizes freshly made and you could pick toppings if you like. Best of all, they offered slices. Something I was excited about. A fresh slice is always good and rare in taverns, at least here.

The bartender checked frequently if we were OK and we ordered a second round.
When she came back again, she asked if we like some food and that the pizza of the day is a Polish Pizza with Kielbasa and Sauerkraut. I did not have to think twice for that one. We are German and I spend time in Poland and on top have polish friends.

Only about 7 minute later we got our slices. It looked great and was of good size. For 5 $ I thought it was great. We are very selective with pizza. Getting a pizza with a good dough here in the US is very , very seldom. Only few places actually know how to do it.

The great news: The Distillery in Bradenton knows!

This was the closest we came in a while to a good original Italian pizza dough. It tasted great. It was hot and the ingredients tasted fresh and not dry. Good tomato sauce and the cheese was perfect. Needless to say that the slice was gone fast.

If not on a diet at this point, I would have ordered a whole pizza, but I had to stop myself from doing that. Time was flying by and we needed to go home. We asked for the check and it took 1 minute to get. We spent about 25 $ which I thought was totally fair for the product and service. 

When we left we received a friendly farewell and it was done.


The Distillery Tavern on Bradenton Main Street is a nice and comfortable place where you can sit and enjoy a good beer or drink, play games, listen to music and have a very good pizza or pizza snack. They have friendly service, good prices for what they offer and the place is clean and organized.

So if you like to have a drink, a beer or actually enjoy a nice pizza dinner without missing a tavern atmosphere, The Distillery Tavern in Bradenton on Main Street is a good place to go.

We will certainly be back. If you go there, share your experience or write a comment.

This view is from the inside of the Distillery towards the main entrance. We were sitting at the end of the bar by the gaming machine which is in the middle of this photo right by the door. 

They have a very good selection of liquor. We did not try any this time, but will and find out if they also can mix good drinks.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Yummy House in Sarasota, FL - Short review about Chinese restaurant Yummy House

Yummy House - 3232 N Tamiami Trl, Sarasota · (941) 351-1688

We like to explore new place. The problem is , here is too many of them. Also , there is not always time and sometimes we can not go because of special food plans or diets. That is exactly what happened in the past 6 weeks. But luckily we took some time off and went out a few times.

I begin with last Sunday.  We love Chinese food. Friends of us heard that and told us that the Yummy House in Sarasota is a very good place to go.

So we decided to go there and check it out. Getting there was pretty easy. The Yummy House in Sarasota is located on Tamiami Trail. So you can not miss it when going South ( on the left ) or going North ( on the right).

Arriving there the parking lot was full, which I liked. A good indication that  people like the food and service. It did not look so special from the outside, so my expectations were not set very high.

Stepping inside that all changed. We were greeted by a hostess and asked where we want to sit. There was a table close to the entrance with a good view . We asked for it and got it.

The place is nicely furnished and for the first time I realized it is not a buffet. I liked it. Nice table decoration, nice flooring and lighting. Also a good looking bar. The open concept was very appealing and inviting. I felt comfortable. As a matter of fact, for a Chinese place here in the US in an not upscale area, it was very nice indeed.

Here are two photos from the inside:


Bar area of the Yummy House                View from area by the bathroom towards front

Took only a minute and the server introduced herself to us. We ordered water at first and they brought us the menu and what a large menu it was. Tons of items on there. But well organized I must say.

Since we have never been there we needed some advice. We asked one of the servers passing by. I guess the new girl figured she can not give us all the help we need and so we asked this gentleman for the signature dishes and what he recommends.

The answer was long but informative.

We selected two appetizers. Egg Rolls and Pan Fried Dumplings. While waiting for those the server came back and asked if I would like anything else to drink. I asked about Chinese beer and got a selection of which I picked one which I did not know. ( forgot the name , but starts with A…). The beer and the appetizer came almost at the same time.

Took a sip of the beer and very much liked it. The Egg Rolls were not that great. Small with hardly anything in them and not exactly crispy. Even with the hot oil I asked for they did not improve much.

The dumplings were excellent. Nice taste and the dipping sauce was just right. Good stuff there.

When we were done we ordered the main dishes. We decided to go with the Hongkong Noodles and the Mongolian Beef ( both were suggested by the server).

Honkong Noodles

Mongolian Beef

It did not take long and  we got our food. I saw we did not get rice so I asked for it and  after  deciding between cup and bowl, server brought it out.

Mongolian beef was very good. The beef was of good quality and  there was plenty of it . Good taste and great seasoning. I liked the Hongkong Noodles, however the sauce was a little thick and did not have much taste to it. Both dishes were hot.

The server came by two more times to ask if all is OK and if I needed more beer. We took out time eating and finished pretty much all of it. No box needed.

Asked for the check and got it after a couple minutes. I liked the price as well. about 38 $ for all of it. This was really not bad I must say and we both good plenty of food. Also I should mention that the quality of the meat compared to the buffet style places was much better.

Over all I liked the Yummy House. The food was very good. The service was good and friendly. Prices were reasonable. You will get some good value for the $ you spend.

There is only one thing I did not like. The toilets. The bathroom was not super clean, not well stocked, not well decorated and simply not big enough for a place like that. Not very good. The ladies bathroom was locked and Christiane had to use the men’s bathroom because nobody was able to open it. I found that strange.

We will go back to the Yummy House for sure and have dinner there. Next time we try something else. One more worthy note: I did not have any stomach problems at all after this dinner. That was different than after different buffet places we go to. Although the food there also tastes great, I have problems right after almost every time. I think that also speaks for the quality of the products which are used to cook. 

Have you eaten at the Yummy House in Sarasota or at any of the other locations they have?
Feel free to comment or write.

Friday, August 30, 2013

McDonald's restaurant at 699 10th St E, Palmetto, FL 34221 - lunch review - How good is the Big Mac?

McDonalds restaurant at 699 10th St E, Palmetto, FL 34221-4072

I was out and about today for golf practice. After one game has been cancelled and driving for miles and miles a little hunger came along.

Many years ago I worked for McDonald's and learned to love the food. Yes I know, it is not the healthiest, but still I like it. Thinking about that while getting an appetite I remembered that I will pass by this McDonald’s. So I decided to go there.

Even before I went in I knew that I want a classic, which also is my favorite meal, the Big Mac Value Meal.

I have not been at this location for over a year. It was very busy. There were plenty of cars and trucks on the parking lot and a medium line at the drive through which  also looked very inviting.

McDonald’s 699 10th St E, Palmetto, FL 34221-4072

But I do not like to do drive through and so I found myself a parking spot and walked in. While heading towards the door I glanced at the lot and outside seating. All of it was clean and no garbage around, which I like.

Inside it was pretty busy. 3 cash registers were open and each one of them had 2 customers in a short line. I picked the one to my left.

Took only 1 minute and the girl behind the counter asked if she can help me. I responded with my order. She asked if I want large which I did not. After asking me if I want anything else, I was told the price. I paid cash this time.

My receipt went on the counter and she asked if I want my drink cup right now. Sure I did :). She was friendly but had few words and no smile at any time. Before I left to the drink and condiment station I checked out the people behind the counter and so on. All clean, organized, busy and it seemed to me they were keeping on top of things.

I went to get my drink, napkins and sauce. The station was clean. Everything was stocked. Only the ketchup was empty, but they did put out some to go ketchup so people could take some and they put a sign up. Both was positive. What I have never seen was that they also offered Sweet and Sour Sauce and BBQ Sauce from a dispenser. When I came back to the cash register my food was ready. I took it and went back to the station to get some of the sauce to try it.

As it was so busy I went outside. Tables were clean and no garbage floating around.
This is how my tray looked like.

Not exactly organized. But I have to credit them that I put the sauce and stuff on it. When I got the tray the burger and the fries were in the correct order and the fries were put in last.

The fries looked good, they were hot , had the right amount of salt and tasted as I was expecting it. The size of the portion was fair. I would say it was according to standard and we could have discussions about that all day long. I felt they were OK and fair.

Next I inspected the Big Mach. Remember, I personally made hundreds of them and was a teacher to many employees doing it right as a team leader and shift manager.

On this photo you see as it was in the box. The good news was that it was all together. Some time you get it all shifted.

I felt the bun and it was warm. So was the burger. But it did look like it was missing salad. So I opened it.

This is what I found on the top beef burger. Not much salad and the couple pieces I found were actually brown and should not have been on there. The pickles were out of place.
I liked that the bun was nicely toasted though.

Next I checked under the first beef patty.

Looking at it was pretty sad. Although everything seemed to be on it it was thrown on without any system and care. Might sound funny. But I tell you, I was able to make Big Macs two handed, 12 at a time and they all looked the same and in order.

I am sure the only thing being in the right amount was the sauce. Big deal. With the tools you have in the kitchen, there is no way you can do it wrong. It is all portioned and set so that every single push dispenses the same amount.

So I moved on to the next layer.

There we go. The second burger was warm, looked OK but again the salad was not enough. Cheese looked OK.

It was most definitely not the Big Mac I was expecting and McDonald’s wants to be sold. However, I saw much worse and this one was at least fresh. You can see how the cheese was not melted to the beef yet.

So I went on to eat it before it would be totally cold. It was good. The taste was what I was looking for other then there was not enough salad on there.

Together with my hot fries and a soft drink which actually had syrup in it I was satisfied. It would be nice to find a burger again which was made to McDonald’s standard. But it is seldom.

The cost was a little higher then I remembered it being not too long ago. But then again, it has been a while and I know not all have the same pricing.

Overall this visit at McDonald’s at 699 10th St E, Palmetto, FL 34221 was a good experience.
The building looked very new and as far as I could see things , all was clean and organized.  Employees were busy and all seemed smooth.

The food tasted OJ although the Big Mac was not really up to standard. But all was fresh and hot.

I for sure will stop by there again. If I do, I will add a comment or even write an update depending on how it went. But I think, you can safely stop by there and have lunch.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Old Hamburg Schnitzelhaus in Holmes Beach, Florida

Thank you for visiting this blog. This is a simple blog. We go out, we eat and/or drink and we write about what we think. When we go back, we might add a comment or report about changes of the reviewed location. That simple. All of our reviews are posted within 48 hours of our visit. Meaning the date of the post is no later then 48 hours after our actually visit.

The first place is a very interesting one. Maybe not for every person, but surely for people who like to try something new and learn about food from European countries.

Last Friday I had after a while dinner again at the Old Hamburg Schnitzelhaus in Holmes Beach, Florida. After moving from Germany to Florida I sometimes  we like to eat German food which we do not cook at home. But finding a good German restaurant is not an easy task.
The Old Hamburg Schnitzelhaus offers a cozy German style bar with about 10 seats. This is the place within the restaurant where in Germany the social life is happening. Not only does it look good, feels cozy, but also gives you the opportunity to speak with the German owners while having a cold original German beer.  The German style decorated restaurant area with about 12 tables is also nicely decorated, giving you a little bit of a sense of being in a German Gasthaus. What is really interesting is, that the tables are all different and they have all kinds of chairs to go with it. Seating 2 or up to 12 guests.

They play German music. Sitting there and having dinner with a good cold beer always gives me the feeling of the homeland.
It is a higher priced restaurant, but you get what you pay for. They offer authentic German food, i. e. different kind of Schnitzel (Pork, Chicken or Veal), Sauerbraten, Roast pork, Potato Pancakes, Rouladen, Gulasch, German brats and more.
My all time favorite is the pork knuckle. It has a great crust and taste absolutely fabulous. I ate a lot of pork knuckles in Germany, but Brigitte and Wolfgang, the owners of the Old Hamburg Schnitzelhaus, make the best I ever had. They offer it only on weekends and you have to order it in advance because they cook it fresh. You have to go try it! It comes with dumplings and Sauerkraut and is as original as can be.
Everything I tried so far was delicious and fresh. The food comes always nicely arranged on the plates. Even though the portions at times do not look huge, they are plenty enough to fill you up.
They do not offer liqueur. But, they have a great variety of German draft beer and Bocksbeutel wine from an area in Northern Bavaria. I love the Octoberfest beer and the Köstrittzer Schwarzbier, which compliments the the food best .

The Old Hamburg Schnitzelhaus to me is the perfect place  for authentic cooked German food and atmosphere. I love to go there. Because of it is in a  higher price range I sometimes go there only for a good German beer or two. The German owners and their employees are always friendly, it does not matter how much you order. This is very positive. So you have the opportunity to try something on the bar when you are in the area.
They are very busy. You better make a reservation to make sure you get a table, at least on  weekends that is a good idea. Even in off season weekends might be so busy, that you do not get a table easily. So better safe than sorry.

There hours are 5pm - 9 pm Tuesday through Saturday and closed on Sunday and Monday. In season they are also open on Mondays. Parking is free and always available in front of the restaurant.

I can recommend this place if you love to eat German food or if you would like to try it for the first time and are looking for a restaurant with nice and friendly atmosphere.

It is a simple place which earned its reputation not for fantastic furniture, marble in bathrooms or whatever, but for authentic, great tasting food, original cold beer and friendly German style service. The Old Hamburg Schnitzlehaus in Holmes Beach, a good place to go.


Anna Maria Island Centre, 3246 East Bay Drive (Manatee Avenue), Holmes Beach, Anna Maria Island, FL 34217
Phone 941-778-1320

After you went there one time , you might have an appetite for German food more often. 
Visit our recipe blog to learn how to cook what you tried there. 

How to cook German food