‘Flamingo Row’ Restaurant, Paducah, KY


A couple of days ago, I went down to Paducah, KY to see a movie with some friends. We decided to get something to eat before the show, so as soon as we got to Paducah we started looking for a place. We had originally intended to go to a place called ‘Backwoods BBQ’ that my friend Hannah had recommended us, however, they were not open yet when we got there, so everyone got on their phones and did a search for some local restaurants. I think we were all looking for some American style, or southern style cuisine, and we decided on a place called ‘Flamingo Row’. As we drove up to the place, it looked like some kind of seedy strip club or casino, with faded turquoise paint and trashy looking flamingos on the side of the building.

When we went inside however, it seemed less trashy. They were definitely going for a “tropical” vibe, or “cabana” vibe, with beach stuff everywhere, and palm trees painted on the walls.  It had a sort of charm to it though, you could tell someone was at least trying to make the place look good. When the server led us to our table, she put us in a super dark part of the restaurant, which put me off at first, but I was pretty hungover, and I began to appreciate it after a while.


Anyway, on to the food. I ordered something called a ‘Voodoo Burger’, which was seasoned with jerk seasoning, and came with fries and something called ‘Lizard Sauce’. I also ordered a ‘Mamba Mai Tai’. The burger costed $10.00, and the drink costed $6.00. The Mai Tai came first, and I will say that it was pretty good. The juice in it seemed fresh, and helped my hangover, and there was an appropriate amount of rum in it. A little while later our food came, and the burgers looked good. Although, I had ordered mine medium-well, and it was a little bit overcooked. Everyone else that ordered a burger also said theirs was a little overcooked. Not a big deal though, because they still tasted really good. The jerk seasoning was a little light, I could have done with more of that. The ‘Lizard Sauce’ was like some kind of tangy red sauce, which tasted alright, but didn’t blow me away or anything. My friend Hannah ordered a Tuna steak with some vegetables, and I tried a piece of the Tuna, which was also seasoned with jerk seasoning, and it tasted great, and was cooked properly.


Overall, this place was worth checking out. The tropical decor was a nice break from the monotony of other restaurants, and most importantly the food seemed like good quality.

‘Flamingo Row’ Restaurant, Paducah, KY-  7/10 stars

Kettle ‘Pepperoncini’ Potato Chips


Kettle Chips are based out of Salem, Oregon, and are available in many grocery stores, often sold alongside organic chips, although I’m pretty sure they are not ‘certified organic.’ The chips are “Gluten Free” and “GMO-Free.” And I notice that Kettle often comes out with “one-time runs” of certain flavors, which is pretty cool, and this new “Pepperoncini” flavor piqued my interest. I bought these at my local Kroger’s for $3.50.

The chips themselves are pretty good. They have a nice tangy/spicy flavor to them, and I will say that they do taste like pepperoncini’s. I think they were going for a pickled pepperoncini taste. The back of the bag says, “These Pepperoncini chips have bold flavor and hearty crunch.” And I would agree with this; it certainly lives up to the description.

That being said, I looked a bit closer on the ingredients list, and noticed that it doesn’t actually list pepperoncini peppers as an ingredient, but does list, “green bell pepper powder, vinegar, jalepeno powder, and citric acid” as some of the ingredients. I find that a bit odd. Is there no real pepperoncini’s in this? Well either way, it does actually taste like them……

Overall, this is a pretty good product, although, I think I’m kind of not that big on pepperoncini’s themselves, they just remind me too much of ordering from Papa John’s Pizza and getting those weird little pickled pepperoncini’s with the pizza that really taste pretty awful. But I would definitely recommend these chips if you are interested in trying some chip flavors you’ve probably never had before.

Kettle ‘Pepperoncini’ Potato Chips-  6/10 stars

Earth Balance ‘Creamy’ Peanut Butter


Word on the street is that Earth Balance has some of the best peanut butter around. So I went to the store and bought some with my LINK card. I’ve enjoyed the convenience of eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches lately, and I’ve been curious about what some of the higher priced peanut butters taste like. Earth Balance’s ‘Creamy’ peanut butter retails for about $6.00. The ingredients are: “Peanuts, Flaxseed, Agave Syrup, Peanut Oil, Palm Fruit Oil, and Salt.” It is also labeled Non-GMO, and Vegan.

……This is some pretty dank peanut butter……When they say “creamy” they really mean creamy. This is the creamiest peanut butter I’ve ever had. Not only that, but the taste is definitely there too. It has a great peanut butter taste, very rich flavor, and not too sweet or sugary. I’m already going back for a second helping….

There’s a lot of things to like about this product. It also spreads really easily, which I like, as I usually put my peanut butter on toasted bread (because it’s easier to digest), which can fall apart while spreading if the peanut butter is too stiff. And I don’t really know about the “eco-friendliness” of having the fruit palm oil as an ingredient, but at least it’s being used in a really good product…..

Earth Balance ‘Creamy’ Peanut Butter-  9/10 stars

Bob’s Burger Shack- Cobden, IL


A friend of mine requested that I review this place in Cobden, IL, so I thought I would give it a try. Bob’s serves everything from hamburgers, to fish and chips, and even fried pickles, as well as something called “taco in a bag.” When I went, the stand was being ran by one woman, who seemed friendly. I ordered a cheeseburger with some of their homemade curly fries. If it’s one thing I love, it’s a good burger and fries. This cost me $6.00. Most things on the menu were pretty cheap. And she was fairly fast with cooking it. I didn’t have to wait a long time at all.

But on to what really matters- the food. The burger, honestly, looked kind of dinky. I almost felt like I was eating a kids burger or something. The patty itself was pretty small too. The taste of the burger was pretty unexciting, no seasoning, very bland. The curly fries, however, were really good. I felt like the portions were right, and they just tasted good. But you can’t win me over on just curly fries alone…


Overall the food wasn’t bad, I’m guessing they have some other items on the menu that are fairly decent. But I think they need to up the portion sizes, and maybe liven up the flavors a little. It’s too mediocre, like it’s a concession stand at a baseball game. However, it seems like they have their niche down there in Cobden, there’s no other burger joint down there that I know of. There is, however, Taqueria Pequenia and Palace Pizzeria down the street, two of the best restaurants in the area, and with that kind of competition I’m surprised they don’t up the ante a little bit. The food isn’t bad, but I think they could make this place way better.

Bob’s Burger Shack, Cobden, IL-  5/10 stars

Paqui’s ‘Haunted Ghost Pepper’ Tortilla Chips


I saw these chips at the store the other day and I couldn’t resist giving them a try. The ghost pepper is one of the hottest peppers in the world and the thought of chips flavored with it sounded tantalizing, but I was also curious how hot they really are. Paqui is a company based out of Austin, Texas. They use non-gmo corn, the product is gluten and MSG free, and has no artificial flavors. A description on the back of the bag states, “Paqui is not responsible for any injuries that may result from ingesting this delicious terror. The use of gloves and safety goggles is encouraged. Common side effects include addiction to burning pain, blurred vision, and unquenchable thirst. Enjoy with caution and consider yourself warned.”

The chips themselves are actually really hot, and I mean really hot. They definitely used some real ghost pepper powder on this. I’ve had ghost pepper before, and I recognize the intense heat from it. I guess they also have a little bit of Cayenne powder in there too. I am impressed by the amount of heat on these chips, but to be honest, it really makes them unpleasant to eat. It really kind of leaves your tongue in pain, and makes you just want to go drink something. To me these chips are just a novelty item, they’re not something I can sit and munch on while watching a movie. So it kind of lacks some usefulness to me….

With that being said, I am impressed with how they keep everything organic in the process of making the chips. I look forward to maybe trying some of their other flavors. And it’s kind of a fun product, I thought the description on the back was funny. But these chips just seem like something you would bring to a party just to get people to eat it so you can laugh at them when you see the look on their face when they realize they just ate something that’s hot as fuck. I don’t even want the rest of these chips, I think I’m just going to leave them at the bar down the street from me….

Paqui’s ‘Haunted Ghost Pepper’ Tortilla Chips-  5/10 stars

Shipyard Brewing Company’s ‘Smashed Pumpkin’ Ale- Trick or Treat?


I think if it’s one thing most beer drinkers agree on, it is that pumpkin beers are very much hit or miss, some taste like crap, others are quite nice. So I thought I would put Shipyard Brewing Company’s ‘Smashed Pumpkin’ ale to the test. The beer is part of Shipyard’s ‘Pugsley’s Signature Series’ of beers, who I presume is some kind super beer nerd at the company. I have had Shipyard beers before, and the ones I have tried are really good. I think Shipyard, who are based out of Portland, Maine, is one of the better brewers on the mainstream market, hands down. And therefore, I have high expectations for this beer. ‘Smashed Pumpkin’ ale uses, Pale Ale, Wheat, and Munich Malts, Williamete and Hallertau hops, and it has a 9.0% alcohol content (nice!). This one large bottle cost me $8.50 at my local Schnucks grocery store, pretty expensive.

The beer itself is very much as described in the description on the back of the bottle, it has a “coppery orange color” and a “pleasing aroma of pumpkin and nutmeg.” Its all in the taste though…….and the taste is really nice. You taste the pumpkin, more in the aftertaste, when you take a drink, and you also taste some spices, which I guess is primarily nutmeg. It is nice and crisp too, it’s not all thick and syrupy like a lot of the thicker mainstream beers, and pumpkin beers. Although, it is kind of syrupy, its not off-putting, however. I think that is just probably how pumpkin comes through in beer- a little syrupy.

If you can get over your prejudices of pumpkin beers, all I can say is- this is a pretty nice one. Probably better than most other ones you will find. I’m not gonna say that it’s totally blowing me away or anything, but it is nice. I feel like I am drinking something very seasonal, but in a good way. I don’t know if it’s quite worth $8.50 to me, in fact, I think it is definitely not, but then again, I also don’t regret buying it……

Shipyard Brewing Company’s ‘Smashed Pumpkin’ Ale-  8/10 stars

Manzela’s “Japanese Peanuts”- …..Not really feelin’ em’…..


I went to a local Mexican grocery store/ restaurant today called “El Paisano’s” to get some Al Pastor meat to make tacos with for lunch. After I picked up the meat from the deli, I went up to the counter to pay for it, and as the cashier was ringing me up, I noticed a small stand on the counter with little bags of peanuts attached to it called “Manzela’s Japanese Peanuts”. I grabbed myself a couple of bags because I wanted to see what Japanese peanuts are like, not to mention they were only 60 cents for a bag.

I opened up one of the bags on my way home and gave them a try. I really didn’t like them. They are kind of like peanuts that are dipped in a thin candy shell, but the shell isn’t sweet, it just tastes kind of salty. It makes the peanut really hard to chew. I felt like I was going to break my teeth or something. Very crunchy.

Also as I was eating the peanuts, I got the distinct feeling that this really isn’t how people in Japan eat peanuts. Don’t ask me why, but I just get that feeling. Perhaps it’s due to the fact that this product is made in Mexico, and I bought it at a Mexican grocery store. I’m gonna take a wild guess and say this is more so the way Mexicans like to eat peanuts.

I did a Google search trying to find more information about the product and the company, and there wasn’t much except some picture of some pretty sexy Mexican chicks endorsing the product.



If only the product tasted as good as this model looks.....

If only the product tasted as good as she looks…..

These peanuts are clearly a sub-par product, perhaps meant to be some kind of “novelty food”. They are way too crunchy, and the “candy-coating” shell just really doesn’t do anything for me. I would have rather just had a regular ol’ bag of salted peanuts. It’s fun to try new things at an international grocery store, but I’m just not feelin’ these peanuts….

Manzela’s “Japanese Peanuts”-  3/10 stars

Can Mrs. Leeper’s Organic ‘Beef Stroganoff’ Bring the Flavor?….


When I was a kid I used to really like eating Hamburger Helper, it was kind of gross in it’s leftover form, but fresh it was pretty good. But as the years went by, it seemed like more and more, Hamburger Helper would give me stomach pains after I ate it, so I simply stopped. And ever since then I’ve been patiently waiting for someone to come out with an Organic version of it, because let’s face it, it was most likely some terrible ingredient in the Hamburger Helper flavor packet like Trisodiom Glutenate 5, or whatever, that was causing the problem.

So the other day I was at my local Schnucks grocery store, in the organic foods section, and to my delight I noticed this “Mrs. Leeper’s Beef Stoganoff.” They had a couple of other flavors too, like “Cheese Mac”, and something else. They didn’t actually have one that seemed too similar to the beef flavored Hamburger Helper, but the Beef Stroganoff flavor seemed close enough. It is “gluten free” and “wheat free”, the pasta in it is rice pasta. I think one box cost like $4.50, kind of expensive…

So I cooked myself some of this, and I followed the instructions very close, except that I added some fresh jalapenos, broccoli, as well as salt and pepper. And I did not add butter or margarine. I also used turkey meat instead of beef. And you pretty much make it the same way as Hamburger Helper, adding the milk, water, and pasta, after you cook the meat and what not.


After trying some, all I can say is that this stuff really lacks flavor. There almost isn’t any at all! It seems like this is a recurring problem with some organic products…..and it looks like I got bit again. The texture of the stroganoff is actually quite nice. It has a good creaminess to it. But where is the flavor? Granted, if I had added a bunch of my own ingredients like garlic powder, onion powder, and Italian seasoning, I could have made this taste better, but those are my spices! If I’m paying you to make me a pre-packaged meal- I shouldn’t have to use any of my own spices to make it taste good…

The back of the box describes “Mrs. Leeper’s Beef Stroganoff” as, “The kind of dinner that tastes great, is fast and easy to prepare and pleases everyone. A wholesome and heart warming blend of rice pasta engulfed in a delicious sauce…” What a fucking joke….This product has some good things going for it, but ya’ll need to quit skimping me in that flavor packet….

Mrs. Leeper’s Organic “Beef Stroganoff”-  4/10 stars

Lee’s Famous Recipe Chicken, St. Louis


So I ended up in St. Louis again this weekend. I hung out and drank some beers with a friend for a little while at the Silverball Room in South City and then I decided to head back on my way to Carbondale. Before we parted ways, I mentioned to my friend that I was hungry, and she recommended I go to a place called “The Stella Blue” on Morgansford st. for some chicken wings. I decided to entertain this idea, and I drove down the street a ways and found it. I went inside and was surprised to find what seemed like Halloween decorations hanging everywhere. The whole ceiling was strewn with fake spiderwebs and all kinds of skeletons everywhere. I got the weird feeling that this wasn’t “just for Halloween” though… The decorations were complimented with overly-bright lighting, and after listening to about five seconds of the dance pop they had blasting on the stereo, I turned around and walked out the door. I swear to god the place was killing my buzz….

I got back in my car and started to drive down Gravois Ave. thinking to myself, “…here we go again”, it was just like the last time I went to St. Louis- struggling to find a good place to eat after most of the good restaurants have already closed down. Feeling a little desperate as I was about to hit the interstate, I pulled into the drive-through of a place called “Lee’s Famous Recipe Chicken.” It looked kind of like a chain restaurant, but I had never seen it before. Pretty much everything on the menu was chicken, and I decided to order a 5-piece chicken tenders meal with 2 sides, which I chose biscuits and mashed potatoes for. And it came with a large drink. This cost me $9.50.

I pulled around to the window, a large black woman, who I guess was some sort of manager told me that they only had a couple chicken tenders left, and that they could give me something called “chicken dippers” to supplement. Which I guess was like little “chicken balls” with sauce or something. But that sounded gross, so I just told them to give me some chicken legs and a chicken breast. They asked if I wanted “regular” breading, or “spicy” breading, and I chose “spicy.” They also forgot to give me my large ice water when they gave me my order, so I had to put my truck into reverse and go back to the window to retrieve it. Didn’t seem like they had very good service.

As I drove along back home feeling quite hungry, I started to dig in to the food. The fried chicken was disgusting. The meat was really slimy, and completely unappealing. I’m guessing this is the kind of crap they give you at KFC. And the breading was not spicy at all. The tiny little bit of mashed potatoes they gave me, were smothered in a brown gravy sauce that tasted as though the fat black woman who had taken my order had been ripping gnarly McDonald’s farts into it all day. And the biscuits, which were sadly the best part of the meal, were flavorless, and looked like they had been sat on…..and they probably were. Overall the meal was about as satisfying as going to the doctor and being told that you have a bad case of Hepatitus B….

I would like to thank “Lee’s Famous Recipe Chicken” for reminding me that life is often disapointing, and that I’m mostly likely destined to die alone and cold, with no one by my side. But at least I’ll always have the memory of eating what is probably the worst chicken in St. Louis.

……As I drove home back to C’dale through the dark night, full of bad chicken, and feeling like I had an alien baby growing in my stomach, I wished I had just simply stopped somewhere else…

Lee’s Famous Recipe Chicken-  1/10 stars

Pointer’s Pizza, St. Louis

pointer's 1


So I ended up in St. Louis yesterday, and after taking care of some business there, I decided to hit the town. I met up with a friend of mine who lives in St. Louis and we hung out in South City for a while getting lost and drinking a few beers. At about 11pm though, it was time for me to take her back home near the Delmar Loop, and make my own way back home too. Not having eaten dinner, I was pretty hungry though, and I quickly walked around Delmar street, a “foodie hub”, trying to find some sort of hipster eatery that was still open. But all the hipsters were at home watching Hulu, and planning their next low-key fashion statement. So I got in my car and drove down the street for a minute looking for that open Chinese, or Thai food place that was tucked back in some nook or cranny, but none were found. And as I left the lighted streets of Delmar, and drove onto Big Bend Blvd., I felt dismayed. Would I have to stop at McDonalds? Me, Bart, eating at McDonalds? Would I become one of those people? What if I liked it, and started eating there all the time? What would become of me?

As the thought of bowing down before an evil corporate behemoth, and swallowing down a couple of smashed, plastic burgers, made me uncomfortably twitch in my seat, I saw something out of the corner of my eye. It was a little storefront with neon signs that said “Open”, and “Pizza & Pasta”, sticking out like some last bastion of hope, before entering the dark corporate, food-chain seas of the interstate. While it occurred to me to stop, I just thought, “Yeah right, and have a knife pulled out on me as soon as I get out of the car?…”, I quickly got over this City Fear though, and turned the car around to give the place a try. “I mean how bad could it be? It’s pizza…”

The place was called ‘Pointer’s Pizza’, and as I walked inside, I immediately felt nervous- it smelled exactly like the pizza place I used to work at, Gumby’s. Where I spent my days making and delivering disgusting pizzas, that could pretty much make gas station pizza look amazing. Anyway, eager to get back out on the road, I made an order for a little 8 inch pepperoni and sausage pizza. Which cost me about $8.00.

As I waited for the pizza, I kept thinking to myself, “It’s gotta be better than McDonalds….It’s gotta be better than McDonalds…” I observed the workers there, waiting for one of them to use my little 8″ pizza as a Kleenex. It was just a younger guy, and an older guy, who was his boss, who were running the place. But they actually seemed like they were being pretty attentive to the pizzas, and were fairly neat and orderly in their work. The older guy was looking over one of the younger guy’s shoulders as he pulled the pizzas out to make sure they looked alright, and this made me feel more comfortable.

I got my pizza and left to go back on my way. As I drove along, I gave the pizza a try. And I will say, it really wasn’t that bad. In fact, it was kind of good. Especially for a “late night” pizza place- they always seem to be so gross. But the crust was nice, and not rubbery and weird. And the sausage they used on it was actually quite delicious, it had a really nice taste. It wasn’t the best pizza ever, but overall, I really had no complaints. So if you ever find yourself in St. Louis, on Big Bend Blvd., after 11pm, and can’t find anywhere humane to eat, I would give these guys a try.


Pointer’s Pizza, St. Louis-  6/10 stars