Eat It, Damn It!

Reviews, raves, slams, and damns.

Melt Sandwich Shop

It took me a long time to make it over to Melt. For a long time I confused it with Melt Shop. I figured that it was a place for grilled cheese and various grilled cheese-like items. It turns out, I was very wrong. Though the name is similar, the two are not affiliated.

Melt has a really cool concept. First, pick the casing that will provide the outer layer of your sandwich. There is flatbread, roll, or hero. Second, pick a meat (there is a veggie option of some kind as well). Finally, pick a sauce, cheese, topping combo.

Wrapped Flatbread
I went with flatbread ($7.95). They make their own in house. It was fluffy and tasty, just airy enough to not be tough, but with enough resistance and heft to not be a wrap. It was like a pliable focaccia. Since they make grilled pizza, this is probably taken from the same mold. Very well executed.

Second, I went with the grilled chicken. Though it was chopped up, which is usually a sure-fire path to drying it out, the meat stayed moist and delicious. Absolutely great. From other reviews I read elsewhere, it appears that people really enjoy the pork and beef offering, but I would have a very hard time going with something else. Grilled chicken appears to be a mystery to many places, but Melt get’s it just right.

For the topping, I went with the Cheddar Bacon option. It wasn’t very heavy on the bacon. Don’t order it and expect thick slices of bacon. It may have been pre-made and put together with the cheese. Perhaps is was made earlier and chopped up to sprinkle on. There was enough there to add to the taste of the sandwich. The option also comes with tomato and chipotle sauce. This chipotle sauce has the right amount of creaminess and kick. It’s not going to burn off anyone’s taste buds, but one might feel a little tingle on the lips.

Bacon Cheddar Chicken Flatbread
Check out how filled that bad boy is with chicken. Even though I took a little while to start digging in (I was playing with my phone), it was still piping hot once I got around to eating.

Though the flatbread was delicious, and I think a great choice, the toppings are very juicy. This is not something you want to eat on the run. You will wear a good portion of your lunch. There is a reason that the proprietors gave me a fork along with my sandwich.

The portion is very sizable. You will not need chips or a side salad.

The folks at Melt are very friendly. They remembered me on repeat visits. I got to talking with one of the staff. Though they do not currently have a gluten-free option, they are working on a recipe. “We’re playing with the mixture.” Accordingly, most people that are gluten intolerant just order the meat, sauce, and cheese options and then get it over a salad.

Melt does not have much seating. Unless you get there early or go late, getting a seat is a crap shoot. Nevertheless, they are a destination spot. The staff is clearly concerned with putting out a quality product and satisfying their customers. Furthermore, their prices are very reasonable for the quality and quantity of the meal.

Melt Sandwich Shop
277 Mamaroneck Avenue
White Plains, NY 10605
914-358-1364
(Google Map)

East Side Pockets

MFG (My Former Girlfriend) wanted to see WaterFire. Basically, it’s a bunch of urns with wood set aflame inside along the water in the middle of Providence, Rhode Island. After traipsing up and down, we needed a bite to eat.

Nearby the downtown area is Brown University. Near Brown University are a bunch of bars (as is usually the norm in any college town). Nearby the bars are places to eat, in particular, cheap food that can be served up quickly to inebriated college students. One of these places is East Side Pockets.

East Side Pockets Door
They bill themselves as “The Home of Middle Eastern & Vegetarian Food”. Perfect for a college audience. There isn’t a huge waiting area, but the folks at East Side have staffed themselves very well for quick turnaround. A couple people are available to take your order. They also do some assembly. There are one or two guys working the grill and then one or two more preparing the bags to go and working the register. Even though there was a decent line when MFG and I arrived, it moved very quickly.

Falafel Appetizer
We started off with their Falafel appetizer ($4.17). Though listed in the appetizer section, these Falafel are huge! Six enormous Falafel with “yogurt cucumber sauce” and hummus. I would call the stuff under the Falafel “pita”, but the menu says “Syrian bread”. They can call it whatever they like, it was fresh, hot, and delicious. This appetizer is a meal unto itself. Order to share, or just have it with a soup. It is plenty.

The Falafel is tasty, but not exemplary. The flavor is not bad, but it is just a little dull. They are very well prepared with a crunchy exterior and a meaty but tender inside. As I said before, the portion is more than generous. The cucumber sauce helps. The hummus was the standout of this dish. It was very creamy and bright. There was a little zing from some lemon. It was not a bad dish, but don’t order it if you are looking for a flavor explosion.

Middle Eastern Salad
MFG got a Middle Eastern Salad. Take a salad, add some Grape Leaves, Falafel, Hummus on the side, and you’ve got the Middle Eastern Salad. The Grape Leaves were very tasty, a little vinegar bite and a tasty interior. MFG gave the salad a thumbs up.

Chicken Soup
Since it was an especially cold out, Chicken Soup ($3.93) was in order. This is a fair dish. Nothing special, but it was hot and fresh.

Gyro Pocket
Not knowing that the Falafel appetizer would be so huge, I also got a Gyro Pocket ($6.71). Once again, a good offering, but the gyro meat was not the flavor bomb I was hoping to experience.

My review of East Side Pockets may seem underwhelming, but it is not a thumbs-down. The food is fresh, quickly prepared, and very reasonably priced. On the other hand, it is not someplace that is going to haunt my dreams. I have come to expect more bold tastes from Middle Eastern food. While this restaurant was tasty, it was not exciting.

East Side Pockets
278 Thayer Street
Providence, RI 02906
401-453-1100
(Google Map)

The Wooden Shoe

Wooden Shoe Sign
A lobster in a shoe? Yep, that’s right. A lobster in a shoe. I thought it was a lobster shoe of some kind, but MG corrected me. It is, in fact, a lobster in a shoe. Why a lobster in a shoe? I dunno. I guess sometimes, you just need to have a lobster in your shoe.

Wooden Shoe Menu
Wanna’ see the menu? There it is. No surprises.

Clam Chowder
I asked the waitress if I should have the lobster bisque or the clam chowder. She recommended the chowder. I am very, very glad that she did. I now have a new favorite chowder on Cape Cod. Next time, I’ll see if I can get them to just bring out the vat. Chunky, slightly briny, creamy, but not too think, it was great.

Steak Tips
Sadly, steak tips do not seem to be the forte of any place on Cape Cod. Once again, MG was disappointed. She loved the rice, but found the tips once again, well cooked, but bland.

Corn in Husk
The corn comes in a husk. Notice the nice little container of melted butter adjoining it on the plate. It was well cooked and very nice.

Lobster Roll
The Lobster Roll was great. It is filled with plenty of well cooked, but not overcooked, fresh lobster. The Lays potato chips that accompany it aren’t bad, but shouldn’t a place on Cape Cod use Cape Cod Chips? Ahhh… whatever.

The Wooden Shoe is supposed to be a popular spot with locals. I can understand why. The menu is simple, and the small number of things that they do, they do well. The restaurant has a very “no frills” feel. It’s the kind of place that a food makeover show would love. They would gut the interior and leave the menu. Don’t let that deter you. Drop in wearing your casual clothes and enjoy a drink and good meal.

The Wooden Shoe
419 Lower County Road
Dennis Port, MA 02639
508-394-6431
(Google Map)

Spanky’s Clam Shack and Seaside Saloon

Spankys Sign
Spanky’s is a pretty popular place. Granted, I was there on a day and during the hours that they were not too busy, cause that’s just how I roll, but I could tell. They have their own custom T-shirts, a huge stack of paging devices to tell you when your table is ready, two hostesses ready to seat you, and plenty of waitstaff for the indoor dining, outdoor dining, and bar. Furthermore, Spanky’s is located in a harbor.

I’ve never been a proponent of boats. I’m not saying that I disapprove of them as a means of transport, but it has never been my desire to own a schooner, yacht, ship, or any other sort of maritime vessel. However, many people love to be anywhere that they can gaze upon ships. Some enjoy the activity more when at a bar. Come to think of it, maybe the bar is where the ship owners, and ship desirers meet. Oh well, enough speculation. Onto the food.

Onion Rings
The Onion Rings are amazing. They are crisp. They are meaty. The shell is gluten free (made with cornstarch). The onion tastes fresh. There is no excess oil. They are the zenith of onion rings. Ok… maybe I am going a little overboard, but they are really, really good.

Steak Tips Salad
Sadly, the Steak Tip Salad did not fare quite as well. MG pronounced the lettuce “tinny”. While the steak was well cooked, it left something to be desired in the way of seasoning. MG ended up eating the steak with a healthy dose of salt, pepper, and steak sauce. She ate it mostly without the lettuce, but with the cucumbers, peperoncini, and other salad accoutrement.

Our waitress was Gina. She was great. She took MG’s order first, which is a great quality. I’m a big believer in ladies ordering first. When MG told her about the tinny lettuce, Gina was mortified. She tried her best to make it right, from offering us drinks to dessert, but we were OK at that point. However, her efforts should not go unmentioned. Ask to be seated in her section. She will treat you right.

Lobster Roll
The Lobster Roll, as you can see, is absolutely bursting and overstuffed with lobster. The lobster was not anything amazing, but that is the beauty of lobster. It just needs a little salt, and maybe a touch of lemon, and it tastes wonderful. The accompanying french fries were pretty good. The pickle slices were especially nice.

Stop in a for a drink. Have the onion rings. Watch the boats. Who doesn’t like the restaurant that sports a happy clam?

Spanky’s Clam Shack and Seaside Saloon
138 Ocean St #115,
Hyannis Port, MA 02601
508-771-2770
(Google Map)

Rendez Vous Cafe

Rendez Vous Door
Ahhh…. the joy of a good crepe. They can be used as receptacles for many different ingredients, but I tend to stay with items that go well with pancakes and waffles. That’s why I decided to get the Peanut Butter and Jelly crepe.

PBJ Crepe
What you see is not exceptionally large, nor is it small. It’s a pleasant proportion, and the price ($7.95) isn’t bad for a high traffic, high tourist area like Main Street in Hyannis on Cape Cod. The crepe is nice. It is not the magical crepe of a certain Ybor City creperie, but they were not the throwaway tasteless trash of many a street fair. The powdered sugar is a nice touch, and the folks at the shop are good enough to ask if you would like it before making the addition.

PBJ Crepe Innards
As you can see, the innards of the crepe are sufficient without bursting. The peanut butter is standard supermarket fare. The jelly was grape and good, but nothing amazing. Overall, a nice crepe, but nothing to run for at top speed.

Gluten Free Crepe
MG was overjoyed that they offer Gluten Free Crepes. At least, she was overjoyed until she tried a bite. It was horrible. It has the texture and taste of a stale corn tortilla. If you need a crepe sans gluten look elsewhere. Lack of gluten is not worth the horror that this crepe will impart to your palate.

Now, I am not writing this to be unkind. MG has been gluten free for nearly a year. It can be tough finding accommodations and alternates, and I am always very appreciative of the businesses that offer options. These options can run the gamut from exceptional to awful. Few are the exceptional, occasional are the awful, but very often, they are fair. This time, sadly, it was just bad.

Gluten Free Crepe Innards
The innards were very nice and very plentiful. MG got blueberries, strawberries, and if my memory serves correctly, honey. She loved the fillings, but she said, “I should have just cheated,” (meaning gotten the crepe filled with gluten).

The Rendez Vous Cafe is a nice spot. They have a juice bar, plenty of coffees, and the main dining area is big and open. There are plenty of tables and a few couches, and it appears to be a popular spot for the brunch crowd. If you are in the mood for a crepe, definitely stop in, but avoid the GF option.

Rendez Vous Cafe – Creperie Meeting Place
394 Main Street
Hyannis, MA, 02601
508-827-4449
(Google Map)