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This blog is about 3 things. First, eating out and telling you about it. Writing food reviews is fun and enjoyable. Second, making my own meals and sharing recipes. I'm all about simple, easy, and tasty. Third, tackling some challenges in my cookbooks. This way I learn techniques and flavors that I can add to my own cooking. And it all adds up to lots of talk about lots of food. I'm getting hungry just thinking about it.
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Deck On Food Seattle restaurants

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Deck on 33rd Ave. Sports Bar & Grill – Iowa Restaurant Review

Thanks to a work presentation, I get to spend tonight in Cedar Rapids, IA of all places. Now, Iowa probably wouldn’t be my first choice of destinations for food reviews, but this is one of the joys of the new blog…an opportunity to try new places that I would never otherwise get to. So, after a quick workout, I headed out on foot to find some place that looked interesting to eat. An hour later, after walking through a neighborhood, and passing by a school, church, funeral home, industrial complex, and every chain fast food restaurant out there, I wound up right back where I started, and sauntered into the 33rd Ave. Bar & Grill in the neighboring hotel. I was a little bummed because I had seen the place on my way out, and decided not to go there, fearing a typical sports bar, and hoping to find something different and interesting.

Walking into the 33rd Ave. B & G, I was figuring on dim lighting, old TVs and hard wooden chairs, so I was pleasantly surprised when this was far from the case. It was brightly lit, with the music at an appropriate volume, comfortable chairs, and nice televisions all tuned to something different (Baseball Tonight to my left, Rangers/White Sox ahead, ESPNews on the right). I was greeted by a friendly waitress, Alicia, who quickly took my drink order, and provided me a menu. Not one minute later she was back with my drink and asked if I was ready to order. Since I wasn’t really, I asked her for a recommendation. She said the French Dip and Reuben were most popular, or if I liked spice the buffalo chicken sandwich. I decided on some spice, and added onion rings to the order.

When the food arrived, I was again surprised. I was fully expecting a breaded piece of chicken in some sauce, like those you get at the grocery store. Instead, I received a grilled chicken breast on a cibatta role with Swiss cheese on top. Biting into the sandwich, I was pleased with the flavor. The sauce was definitely more than some simple Frank’s Red Hot Sauce (though I think it was in there), and it was not thick and syrupy. There was also a hint of Italian seasoning on the chicken breast, similar to a preparation that I’ve done before. My only complaint would be that the chicken was just a tad overcooked and a little dry; maybe just a minute too long on each side. As for the onion rings, they were ok. They didn’t seem to be homemade, but they were cooked well enough that the onions could be bitten through without pulling them completely out of the breading.

Overall, I would have to say I was surprised. I was hoping to find a diamond in the rough tonight, and while the 33rd Ave. B&G was not that diamond, it was not as rough and as typical as I was expecting. Tonight I would say that I learned two lessons. The first is to pay attention to the hotel you are staying at if you are interested in food. There were a couple different options that I had, and I didn’t take a moment to look on a map and see where they were located. But, the second is when you screw up the first thing, keep an open mind because you might find something better than you expected.

Final Verdict – 3.5 Stars (for exceeding expectations)

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