Pages Menu
TwitterFacebooklogin
Categories Menu

Posted by on Oct 14, 2012 in Restaurant Reviews, Travel, Uncategorized | 6 comments

Sunday Night in Chicago — Still Starving After Two Terrible Dinners

Nolan Dalla Blog

 

How do you go out to two seperate dinners at two different restaurants and still end up starving at night’s end?

Well, it happened to me tonight in the industrial garden spot of Hammond, Indiana — which is right cross the Illinois-Indiana border, outside of Chicago.

First, a few words about Chicago — the city I’m visiting over the next nine days.  It’s basically a city of trains, truckers, tolls, and traffic.  Ranks right up there with Philadelphia, Cleveland, and Detroit, only with more people, and apparently far worse food.  What would you expect from a city made up mostly of Eastern Europeans?  World class cuisine?  What’s the only thing worse than spending nine days in Chicago.  Answer — spending ten days in Chicago.  Not a fan.

But I’m here.

Here’s the story.  Last time I was in Chicago, I stayed here two weeks.  During that entire time, I don’t remember having one memorable meal, unless one considered shocking disappointment to be a virtue.  I’m sure there are some great restaurants in this city.  There has to be.  I just haven’t experienced one yet.  I’m zero for 20.  I’m the Chicago Cubs of snob diners.  In all fairness, most of the restauants I’ve tried have been either around O’Hare Airport or over in Gary-Hammond — which is kinda’ like saying you hate New York’s food because you spent most of your time in Flushing or Newark.  I realize Hammond is not the charming neighborhood of the northside.

I do remember one thing.  Last time I was here, I had a horrible meal at some Italian place on Calumet Road.  So, where did I chose to go for dinner tonight?

You guessed it — the same Italian restaurant.  The place couldn’t be that bad twice, could it?

Read More

Posted by on Sep 14, 2012 in Blog, Restaurant Reviews, Travel | 3 comments

B-52s and Banana Cream Pie — My Visit to Bossier City

 

 

Writer’s Note:  The World Series of Poker Circuit is currently taking place at Horseshoe Bossier City.  So, I’m staying in Shreveport, Louisiana during the next two weeks.  Today, I’ll share with you two things that have impressed me most so far about my visit.

 

It sounded like a screech.  A deafening, high-pitched screech.  Almost like the scream in a horror movie.

I looked up into the sky.  There it was.

A giant B-52 bomber.

If you’ve never seen the breathtaking sight of a B-52 in flight, I must say — even from the ground — the visual is awe-inspiring.  Conjoined with its high-pitched eardrum-shattering 120 decibels, the image of the B-52 plowing overhead with it’s beastly eight engines barreling out thick black smoke is a momentous assault on the senses.

Barksdale Air Force Base is located on Bossier City’s east side.  Years ago, I remember well the sight and sound of B-52s regularly hoovering over the Louisiana Downs Racetrack off in the distance, which I frequently visited.  It’s been a long, long time since I saw this aircraft up close.  I had forgotten how intimidating the sight is.  Earlier today looking up into the sky, I rekindled that double-edged love affair with darker forces and was once again reminded of mankind’s inherent aptitude for creating marvels of self-destruction.

It was horribly beautiful.

The B-52 is an astonishing image of national power.  The fleet carries payloads of nuclear weapons.  These are B-52s on high alert — always ready to strike.  Prepared for its target like wolves catching the scent of a bunny, B-52s are always swilring around up in the air somewhere, defending the nation.  This is intentionally so, as a sort of Orwellian flip-flop of logic manifested by explaining the madness as a “deterrent.”

Never mind that their constant presence was one of the things which triggered an arms race and ignited the fuse for a lot of bad guys in the world who came to accelerate their own ambitions for nuclear weapons.  Even with the Cold War long over, B-52 missions continue around the clock, every day and night of the year.  I had just witnessed the conclusion of one of these missions, landing at Barksdale AFB.

But what’s really most impressive about the B-52 is longevity.  This year marks the aircraft’s 60-year anniversary.  That’s right.  America’s nuclear arsenal is hauled around in a fleet of planes that were designed when Eisenhower was President and most the country was tuned into “I Love Lucy.”  I’m not sure if that’s more astonishing, or horrifying.

That’s how incredible these planes are.  That they have stood the test of time for six long decades and remain just as frighteningly effective as the day they first rolled off the Boeing assembly line as the most powerful fighting machine perhaps that’s ever been designed.  Think of all the advances in technology and changes in aircraft design since that time.  And yet, the most destructive instruments in the history of mankind are hauled around in the equivalent of a 1952 Chevy.

Read More

Posted by on Aug 10, 2012 in Blog, Rants and Raves, Restaurant Reviews | 15 comments

Nolan Dalla Rant: A Guide to Restaurant Tipping

 

nolan-dalla-photo

Bon Appetiti!

 

NOLAN’S GUIDE TO RESTAURANT TIPPING

1.     Food Service

Start with 20 percent of full bill (tax included) and work way either up or down, based on the following events.

If server approaches my table within the first two minutes, maintain 20 percent tip.  Then, deduct one percent for every minute the server is tardy.  If server shows up 2 to 3 minutes late and then profusely apologizes, reset meter to 20 percent.  Moreover, if server stops by and asks for more time, allow one reset.  But no more than one reset permitted.

If no waiter shows up within five minutes, bolt for the door.  No questions asked.

If I am alone or dining with Marieta, we ALWAYS order everything IMMEDIATELY.  I do not want to fuck around and have multiple visits from some college kid asking what I want on each course — drinks, appetizers, and main course.  Let’s get to the point, I am here to E-A-T.  Not listen to someone’s life story.

Furthermore, I DO NOT WANT TO KNOW THE WAITER’S NAME!  I am ordering a meal from you, not buying a fucking house.

Read More

Posted by on Jul 28, 2012 in Blog, Las Vegas, Restaurant Reviews | 1 comment

Restaurant Review: The Flame Steakhouse (El Cortez Las Vegas)

 

Photos of Flame Steakhouse, Las Vegas

Writer’s Note:  The Flame Steakhouse closed its doors for the final time in 2014.  The replacement restaurant at the El Cortez is not recommended.

 

Finding a delicious “trout almondine” is next to impossible outside of New Orleans.

Or — so I thought.

Then, I dined at The Flame Steakhouse which is the gourmet restaurant inside the time-warped El Cortez Casino in downtown Las Vegas.  I ordered and then devoured a Creole delicacy that was every bit as tasty as the world-class fare served at Antione’s, Galatoire’s, or Arnaud’s in the famous French Quarter.

In a city that has become dominated by flash-in-the-pan “celebrity” chefs and ridiculously-overpriced Haute cuisine, it’s refreshing to a experience throwback to a time and place when all that really mattered was great tasting food served at a reasonable cost in a comfortable atmosphere with reliable service.  Sadly, those fundamentals are lost in what has become a sea of snooty waiters and obscene South Strip prices, which so often meet their well deserved demise.

Perhaps that’s what makes The Flame Steakhouse so enduring and consistent.  Very little changes.  It’s good – all the time.  And since that first visit many years ago, I’ve dined here perhaps 50 to 60 times – always leaving both satisfied and with the feeling I got a bargain.

Read More
css.php