Mellow Mushroom

Great ***

Pretty Good

OK

No Thanks

 

If there is one constant in this ever changing world it is that pretty much everyone likes pizza in some form or fashion. This is evident by the giant frozen pizza section in your local grocery store or by the fact that you cant hardly drive down a commercial street without seeing at least one pizza place. While I enjoy making my own pizza at home I also enjoy going out to a restaurant and getting a really great pizza from time to time. I discovered a great little place that makes excellent pizza a while back on a trip up to Austin TX and then found it again while on a trip to Fl. I was happy to see that it was a small franchise and doing well but was disappointed that they did not have a location in San Antonio. Well I found out recently that is no longer the case and a new location has in fact opened up here in SA. This of course made me very happy and got me out to the north side of the city near Stone Oak just off of 1604 to check out the latest location of the Mellow Mushroom.

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Walking in the door I saw that this newest location was a little bit nicer than the two I had been in before, not that those were bad by any means but you could definitely tell that this was a brand new restaraunt. It still has the same quirkiness of the older locations and even has a statue of the Mellow Mushroom mascot out front (a giant mushroom holding a slice of pizza). The inside is set up nicely with booths along the outer walls and plenty of tables in the middle that are nicely spaced and not crammed together. They also have an outside patio area for those that like to eat outside during the warmer months of the year and for those of you that love beer, you will not be disappointed with the selections at the bar. Throughout the restaurant are flat screen TV’s showing the latest games going on and they have music playing in the background to keep the mood upbeat.

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Now when it comes down to the food they have a nice selection of “munchies”, calzones, hoagies and even salads but the real draw for me is the pizza. They have a number of playfully named pizzas such as the Kosmic Karma, Mighty Meaty, Magical Mystery Tour, or Bayou Bleu to name a few.  You can also choose to build your own if you have kids that don’t like a lot of toppings with you.

This trip I opted to start out with the bruschetta which is pretty amazing. They take a great garlic toast and top it with fresh tomatoes and basil and the drizzle it with olive oil and a balsamic glaze. The combination of these ingredients comes together wonderfully and will hold you over until your pizza gets to the table.

I only mention this because it does take a little time to get your pizza. It is called “Mellow” Mushroom after all. So don’t expect to run in for a quick bite. Sit back and relax and enjoy yourself. The pizza is well worth the wait.

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This brings me to the pizza. I ordered the Mighty Meaty. As you can guess this is a pizza loaded with meat and not just any meat but the best of the best. It has Pepperoni, Sausage, Beef, Ham and Applewood smoked bacon. Mmmm… Bacon… The crust on this pizza is one of my favorites and is one of the few crusts I actually eat at the end of a slice. Usually crust is too doughy and flavorless and ends up pushed to the side when the cheese and toppings are all gone but this one is nice and crunchy and is coated with a little Parmesan cheese sprinkle. The sauce is very flavorful but not overpowering and does not taste liked a generic canned sauce like a lot of pizza places tend to taste. All in all it is one of the best pizzas I have ever eaten and without a doubt plan to eat again.

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Overall I really enjoyed the Mellow Mushroom and will be going back in the near future. It is a quirky little pizza joint with a great atmosphere and great food. So the next time you are in the mood for pizza and want to get out for a nice dining experience go and check them out. You wont be disappointed. They are starting to pop up more and more with quite a few locations in the south east.

Thanks for reading,

JMW

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Youz Guyz South Philly Cheese steaks

Great ***

Pretty Good

OK

No Thanks

It has been a while since I’ve done a review, so what better place to review than Youz Guyz in Universal City on Pat Booker Road.

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Looking back over my reviews I was surprised to see that I had not done a review for Youz Guyz yet, especially seeing as how I have been a pretty frequent customer over the last few years. When it comes to subs or sandwiches I have always loved a good Philly Cheese steak. There is just something about the combination of the grilled steak, onions, and cheese on that long hoagie roll that screams perfection when you bite into it. I have had many different varieties over the years, some good and some bad. If I can give one piece of advice that you take to heart it is that you need to go to a local shop for the best food. Those guys are the ones that put love into every bite and specialize in making a couple of things really good instead of a bunch of stuff just ok. You aren’t going to find a truly great cheese steak at one of those sub chains. Go somewhere that makes it their specialty and if you are in the San Antonio area and over on the north east side near Universal City, Youz Guyz is the place that does just that.

Youz Guyz is the real deal folks. Owners Kathy and Jimmy are from South Philly and know how these sandwiches are supposed to taste and do them right with just the right combination of cheese and onions to compliment the steak. When you bite into one of their cheese steaks it melts in your mouth. You can add mushrooms or peppers and either have provolone cheese (the right way) or add cheese whiz if you want.

Now if you aren’t in the mood for a cheese steak you can get hoagies, Italian hot sausage, hot dogs or chicken fingers too but if you try the cheese steak first you probably wont ever look at the rest of the menu. You also have your choice of a variety of sides to choose from including Onion rings, fries, pizza fries, mozzarella sticks and home made potato chips. I tend to switch between the onion rings and the fries depending on my mood.

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You can’t go wrong with any of it but I urge you to try the cheese steak first. You wont be disappointed. When you walk in look for the sign that tells you how to order your sandwich the right way and make sure you let them know if you want it “wit”. You will know what I am talking about once you get there.

Also if you are in a hurry you can do what I did this trip and get it to go. Since I live about 5 minutes away it was just a fresh and tasty as it would be if I were sitting there at the restaurant.

I can’t speak highly enough about this place. They have great food and are some of the nicest people you will ever meet. So go and give it a try. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Thanks for reading

JMW

Grumpy’s Mexican Cafe

Great ***

Pretty Good

OK

No Thanks

Every now and then I get a taste for good ole home cooked food like I grew up on. I remember standing in my Grandma’s kitchen as she would cook breakfast and the smell of the bacon and eggs frying and the biscuits baking was almost too much to have to wait for but of course she would always slip me a piece of bacon when no one was looking. Every now and then I run across a place that brings those memories back and I am happy to say I can add another to my list. Grumpy’s Mexican Cafe is just that place. Located just outside of 1604 on Nacodoches near Garden Ridge this little place is just far enough off the radar to have almost escaped my site but not quite. I don’t know if you like more traditional San Antonio breakfast dishes like breakfast tacos and huevos rancheros or a more southern style like biscuits and gravy or chicken and waffles, but whatever your pleasure is you can be sure to find it at Grumpy’s. I have tried several different dishes over a few visits to Grumpy’s but kept forgetting to take pictures until I was about half way through the meal. Yes it is that good. But I was able to set my excitement aside on one trip and get a couple of pics of the biscuits and sausage gravy I finally decided to give a try. I only say finally because biscuits and sausage gravy are one of those dishes that I doubt I will ever find as good as Grandma used to make but do get brave enough to try every now and then just to see.

I will say that the gravy was great even though it was pretty different from Grandmas. I’m pretty sure they didn’t use a cast iron skillet to cook it in but it was tasty non the less. The biscuits on the other hand were just like she was back in the kitchen mixing them up herself. They were moist and flaky and not dry and crumbly like a lot of restaurants make them.  You can order a half order or a whole order. Half an order is one biscuit split in half and a whole order is two biscuits both split in half. I ordered a whole order and now know that next time I will get the half order. This is a lot of food.  The gravy has a nice texture and flavor that compliments the biscuits but needed a little more black pepper to get up to my standards. You can get the gravy with or without sausage, but whats the point of biscuits and gravy if you don’t have sausage in the gravy? This meal also comes with a side of hash browns that are pretty tasty with a hint of a butter flavor and two eggs however you want them cooked. I had mine over medium because I like the yellow runny but not the white.

Like I said earlier I have been back several times and tried multiple things on the menu but did not take pictures. I guess I will have to go back and try them all over again. It’s hard being me.

A couple of note worthy dishes to mention and ones I know I will be getting again is the chicken and waffles and the country fried steak. Great tasting fluffy waffle and had breaded chicken coated with powdered sugar and syrup and a large side of potato twisters which are kind of like a giant twisted potato chip that covers half the plate. This is one to try. And the country fried steak will take up most of your plate and can be cut with a fork it is so tender. Don’t forget to get a side of biscuits instead of toast. They just compliment everything.

Grumpy’s isn’t just a breakfast spot but also has a lunch menu that has quite a few great looking selections that I will have to try some day.

So you can guess that after reading this I will without a doubt be back for more. I hear they have a pretty incredible steak and eggs breakfast that is now on my list of dishes to try.

Thanks for reading

JMW

Auden’s Kitchen

Great

Pretty Good

OK

No Thanks ***

Every now and then you hear about a place that is supposed to be a good place to eat so you decide to go try it out, but when you do you think to yourself (or if you are like me out loud) “what were they thinking”? This is the feeling I got when I tried Auden’s Kitchen in San Antonio off of East Sonterra BLVD.

When you walk in the door it has an odd feeling right off the bat. Is it a pub? Is it a bistro? Is it an eatery? Is it a wine bar? Its kind of all over the place. Behind the front desk was a black board with the daily specials written in chalk like  lot of kitschy little places do but just passed that were shelves full of wine bottles like a wine bar and to the right was a little lounge area with leather couches and a TV. The front dining room was laid out with a decent amount of space between the tables and had an open feel to it while the back dinning room seemed to be delegated for prep work in the down hours because one of the waiters was ripping paper for table coverings almost the entire time I was there.

When it comes to food Auden’s kitchen has a wide variety on the menu and some really nice sounding dishes. Unfortunately if you go in on a Sunday the menu is cut down to a handful of selections for brunch only which I found a little disappointing. After looking through what they did have available I decided on the Fish and Chips, since the menu is an Americanized English pub style food I thought that this would be a great choice. My dining partner for that day went with the selection on the menu labeled simply as Burger.

When the food arrived it was hand delivered by one of the Chef’s who had the overall personality of a lump of wet clay and did not even look at us when setting the food down and waking away. That being said both dishes looked pretty good. The fries had a good texture and were seasoned nicely. The fish had a decent flavor but I was disappointed to see that the three little pieces they put on the plate were all about 75% batter and 25% fish.  I would have thought if they were going to be so selective on the size of the fish they would have at least tossed a couple more on the plate instead of trying to hide it in an enormous amount of batter.
I did try the burger and it was pretty good and made me wish I had put more thought into my choice.

I don’t usually focus on the condiments but have to say something about the “House Made Catsup” at Auden’s. This is something that they make sure to point out on the menu and seem to be proud of.  For starters go ahead and be prepared to ask for regular ketchup unless you like dipping your fries in something that tastes like a combination of apple sauce and cinnamon with a little tomato sauce mixed. I did not find it pleasing at all and it actually took a bit to get the awful taste out of my mouth before I could try to enjoy the rest of my meal. This is one of those cases where the person that came up with this concoction is obviously out of touch with their customer base.

I hate writing bad reviews almost as much as I hate the bad experience that leads to them but sometimes it is just unavoidable. So with all that being said I can assure you I will not be making a return trip to Auden’s any time in the future. The food is OK but the price you pay for what you actually get is not worth the trip.

Thanks for reading,

JMW

Clear Springs Restaurant

Great

Pretty Good ***

OK

No Thanks

I have not done a review in a bit so here we go.

I heard about this little seafood place called Clear Springs Restaurant from a friend on Facebook and immediately went online to check out the menu. Well on the home page was this picture of a giant stack of home-made onion rings, so that made me decide to go and try it all by itself. For those of you that read my blog you know I am a sucker for a good onion ring. I checked to see where they were located and was happy to see that there are several locations and one was not to far from me out 1604 near the Stone Oak area in a little place called Afton Oaks. There is also one in the New Braunfels area but this one was closer to me and I was feeling a little to lazy to do any extra driving (it was Sunday after all).

When you walk in the door you can tell that these people are all about their fish. The inside is a neat mix of fishing cabin and antique store. They have old antique toys, fishing polls, and mounted fish scattered around the rafters and old west movie and TV posters hanging on the walls. The floors, tables and chairs are all wood to give it that rustic feel and it is a relatively spacious place inside.

The menu of course has many seafood items from catfish to fried oysters but also has a few steak selections for the non fish eaters of the world. To start out I of course ordered the onion rings to sample. The waitress was nice enough to suggest a small order so I wouldn’t fill up on them, but to my surprise a small order was huge. I have had some great onion rings in my time and I would count these among them. I would have to rank them in the top five best onion rings I have ever tried. The breading was flaky and crunchy and the onions themselves were easy to bite through and melted in your mouth. They were perfectly seasoned and to be honest I probably could have made a meal off just them but I did come here for fish after all so I placed my order for the main course. I ordered a 3 combo platter where you can choose between several different entree’s. I chose catfish, fried oysters, and fried crawfish.  The platter also came with borracho beans, hush puppies, french fries and cole slaw which to my surprise actually tasted like cole slaw and not that typical bland cabbage with a little vinegar tossed on it that you usually find in Texas. This was creamy and actually pretty tasty. The fries were your standard french fries, nothing special but not bad overall. I guess after those onion rings I would have a hard time judging anyone’s fries. The beans were good and tasted like every other borracho bean you can get in San Antonio, so nothing special. I cant really comment on the hush puppies as my dining companion stole those from me but they looked good. When it came to the three entrees I tried the crawfish first. While I have had better these were pretty good. My only complaint was that they were a tad on the chewy side but it is pretty hard to avoid that. Next I moved on to the oysters and was pleasantly surprised. The breading was crunchy and the oysters were flavorful and melted in your mouth. Now on to the main event, the catfish. Being a southern boy from Florida I have to tell you that I am kind of a fried catfish snob. I have had it cooked many different ways and even cook it myself so it is hard to impress me with catfish. Well I will say that this catfish is pretty good. It has a nice flavor and is seasoned good. It also has a crunchy breading while leaving the fish nice a flaky on the inside. I would not say it is the best I have ever had but it was far from the worst too. I would rate it around a 7 on a scale of 1 to 10 and would definitely go back again. Overall it was a pretty good meal but the onion rings are the clear winner this round. If nothing else I recommend going just to try them.


So if you are in the mood for good seafood in a down home type of settings this is the place to go.

Thanks for reading

JMW

CBQ Eatery

Great ***

Pretty Good

OK

No Thanks

Today I put my reviewer hat back on to bring to you a little (or not so little) bite of heaven. I don’t have a hard time saying when something is good or bad but it is a little harder for me to say something is truly great or dare I say incredible. Well to today my friends I can tell you for certain that I have had the best burger I have ever eaten. Looking through urban spoon to find a new place to try, I came across the CBQ Eatery and since it already had quite a few positive things being said about it I decided it was the place to try for this trip. I saw that it is only a few mile away up north 35 in Schertz on the north east side of San Antonio, so I hopped in my truck and headed out.

When you walk in the building you get a sense of the atmosphere right off the bat. The walls are filled with posters of many of my favorite rock groups and it has great rock and roll playing throughout the building. The staff is very friendly and the dining area is wide open and not cramped in the least. Looking over the menu you see a few familiar items and a lot of unique items that start to catch your eye.

The first of which is the starter I decided to go with. Blue Cheese BBQ chips. They start with house BBQ potato chips and cover them in chopped BBQ then cover that in blue cheese sauce and crumbles. It is a very impressive and unique flavor and you will be surprised at how much you get for your money. It is a heaping plate full that shocked me when they set it down. The combo of sweet BBQ and tangy blue cheese sitting on top of those crispy chips is absolutely amazing and something I will not soon forget and something I look forward to tasting again.

After looking over the menu for quite a while trying to figure out which of the many unique sounding dishes CBQ has I decided to try one of their many burgers. This one is called the Selma Speed Trap and is an 8 ounce Angus beef patty served on a toasted sourdough bun, it comes topped with cheddar cheese, a fried egg and chicken fried bacon. Yes you read that correctly, they take thick strips of bacon and then batter them and drop them in the deep fryer (it is amazing as it sounds). You can also add from a wide array of different toppings. I chose to add lettuce, tomato, red onion, and mayo but I will tell you that no matter what you put on yours it will be just as great. I can’t imagine a topping combination that wouldn’t taste good on these burgers. They serve the burgers on these aluminum baking trays and when it is sat down in front of you may be shocked. This is a pretty big burger and even I ended up having to bring half of it home with me, although it didn’t last long once I did get home as I couldn’t fathom the idea of reheating it. The flavor of the meat was one the most impressive flavors I have ever had. I won’t even try to describe it because I know I won’t be able to do it justice but take my word for it that you will be amazed.

My dining companion this trip tried the Darrel’s Macho burger which is the same patty served on the same type of sourdough bun as mine but is topped with cheddar, provolone and pepper jack cheese and is covered in a grilled poblano and jalapeno sauce. I tried a bite of this one as well and have to say that it was equally as impressive as mine and will be one try in the future. The sauce on it was pretty fantastic and had the right amount of flavor and heat that compliments the meat perfectly.

Normally I would get a side dish such as fries or onion rings which they serve both, and If you have read my past reviews you know I have a great love of onion rings and I was dying to try the ones at CBQ but after the giant appetizer and seeing the size of the burgers I had to leave them for my next visit. I just couldn’t imagine trying to find room for anything else. Now don’t go thinking that this is just a burger joint because they also serve BBQ and a variety of sandwiches (or sang’whichs as they call them) that all sound great. CBQ also has a full bar that has quite a variety of drinks and beers. All in all this place is a hidden gem that I am surprised was able to fly under my radar for as long as it did. I am looking forward to trying it again and highly recommend it to anyone that is looking for great food and a fun atmosphere.

Thanks for reading

JMW

The Salt lick BBQ

Great ***
Pretty Good
OK
No Thanks

Who’s ready for BBQ? Because for this weeks review SA Dining went on a road trip and came up with a winner. Right outside of Austin in Round Rock is a BBQ joint called The Salt Lick. They are known for their unique open pit smokers and delicious food all over Texas, so while I was in Austin I decided to head on over and give them a try.
As soon as I stepped out of my truck I could smell the smoke and it made my mouth start watering. I don’t know if this was just due to the anticipation of the meal to come or if it was because it just smelled so good. Either way I was ready to get inside and see what awaited me. When you walk in the door to The Salt Lick you see kitchen off to the right and everyone buzzing around chopping and cutting some of the best looking BBQ I have seen outside of my own smoker. At the corner of the counter they have a few of their homemade pies sitting on display and I knew I would have to try one, but more about that later. The seating is picnic style with long tables and benches for everyone to sit together and enjoy. I can imagine that when it is busy this can be a little bit annoying as I don’t really care for sharing my table with complete strangers but luckily I did not have to worry about it since they were not very busy when I got there.
After looking over the menu and having a very hard time deciding on just one thing I thought it would be a good idea to go with the all you can eat BBQ family style dinner. This means they bring you a little bit of everything including beef brisket, sausage and pork ribs for the meats and potato salad, Cole slaw, beans, bread and pickles and onions for sides.
I’m going to go ahead and get the sides out of the way before moving on to the meat. Most of these are just standard sides that you get at almost any BBQ place in Texas. The beans are just regular barracho beans which Texas is know for serving with everything BBQ related. While I am from the east coast originally and prefer BBQ baked beans these actually had a pretty nice flavor. The Cole slaw was a little bit better than most places but was still not the Cole slaw I grew up on. Most Texas restaurants make Cole slaw by shredding cabbage and dousing it in vinegar, where I am used to it having a little more creaminess to it with a little mayo and sugar added. Basically I like Cole slaw to have flavor and most of the restaurants out here do not make it that way. Now we move on to the potato salad which they take a different approach to making. This is a non mayo based potato salad that has more of a mustard flavoring to it. While it came off a little bland to me it was still pretty good, and when you added some of the signature BBQ sauce to it it was fantastic. Those are the big guns for the sides and while they were OK I am sure that they are not the reason that most people visit The Salt Lick.

The reason everyone visits The Salt Lick is because of the BBQ and I can say that I now know why. When they set the plate with all of the meat down in front of me I knew that I was in for a treat but I had no idea it would be as good as it was. The first thing I tried was the brisket and it was pretty good. It had a nice smokey flavor and those black crisp edges known as bark that everyone loves. The flavor is good enough that you don’t need sauce but it is even better with it added. My next taste came from the smoked sausage. I have eaten a lot of smoked sausage in my time and had many different flavors and variations but none of them were quite as good as this smoked sausage. I’m not sure if it was the flavor of the sausage or the the flavor that the smoke gave it but either way it was pretty incredible and when you added the BBQ sauce to it you have a flavor combo that cant be beat. I didn’t think that it could get any better than that and was perfectly happy with continuing on until there was no sausage left but I had these port ribs sitting there calling out to me to be tried. So I pushed past the sausage, picked up a rib and bit in to it. First let me tell you that there wasn’t much biting involved because it pretty much fell apart and started melting in your mouth it was so tender. Like the sausage the flavor was incredible and even better with a little sauce. The ribs were perfectly cooked and some of the best tasting I have ever had which says a lot because I grew up eating stuff like this. I’m not sure about you but when in comes to BBQ there are some things that need BBQ sauce and some that don’t, but there are also some that don’t but taste that much better if the sauce is good. The latter applies in the case of just about everything at The Salt Lick. The sauce is a unique blend that uses no tomatoes and has a slightly sweet but mustard flavor to it. It is not a very thick sauce but is thick enough to stick to your food and it is great on everything.
Now after that you would not think that I would have had room to try anything else but when I saw the list of deserts on the menu I had to give it a try anyway. You can choose between a slice of their homemade pecan pie or a bowl of their peach or blackberry cobbler and have a scoop of Blue Bell vanilla ice cream added on top of any of them. I opted for the pecan pie with a scoop of ice cream. The pie it self was pretty good but not the best I have ever had. I think the consistency was a little off for me. Instead of being gooey like a pecan pie should be it had more of a pumpkin pie consistency to it which I wasn’t really expecting. But the flavor was spot on and when you add the ice cream nothing else seemed to matter.
After all of that you can count it a sure thing that the next time I happen to be up in Austin I will be making time for a trip back to The Salt Lick and maybe a spot for a nice long nap afterward.

Thanks for reading,
JMW