Review: Sweet Clove Sunshine Cafe

Sweet Clove Sunshine Cafe Exterior in Columbus OhioWhen my father-in-law said he wanted to take us for breakfast at the Honeybaked Ham Store when we were visiting Columbus earlier this fall, I thought to myself, “Really? The Honeybaked Ham Store?”

One of my faults about food is coming to a decision much too quickly — even before getting to the final destination. This was just one of those times.

Now, I love me some Honeybaked Ham at the holidays. I’ll be hovering over that pork carcass peeling off the sugary coating and licking my fingers of its savory juices. The leftovers are perfect for omelettes and sandwiches in the following days.

The Honeybaked Ham Store runs Sweet Clove Sunshine Cafe in Columbus, Ohio. This sit-down restaurant churns out hearty breakfast sandwiches, towering pancakes and mouth-watering good eggs benedicts.

So, let’s take a closer look at this breakfast mindblow…

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Sunshine Seasons Food Fair at The Land Pavilion

Sunshine Seasons logo at EpcotLet’s take a trip back in time to the The Land Pavilion at Epcot circa 1993. Even then, I thought Sunshine Seasons delivered one of Walt Disney World Resort’s best varieties for quick dining choices for its guests.

I still recall one of my favorite meals ever at WDW – a slab of veggie lasagna (the version here started my obsession with the pasta dish), filled with hearty chunks of broccoli and zucchini in a flavorful red sauce. On the side, a strawberry and cream slushy with gummi bears mixed in. The swirls of frothy red with silky white cream and little gelatinous bears are an image that I still wish I could get when I’m down at Disney.

Flash forward to 2012, the updated Sunshine Seasons is now more of a food court, where you can grab just about anything to make even the pickiest of eaters happy. That’s why I think it’s always busy here, no matter the time of day. (It probably also helps that Soarin’ is always jam-packed next door, too…)

So, let’s take a look at one of the best eating spots in all of Walt Disney World…

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Review: Tony’s Town Square at Magic Kingdom

Lady and the Tramp at Tony's Town SquareEditor’s Note: This post is featured on the Disney Blog Carnival #39. Read more great posts about all things Disney! The next carnival will be Feb. 6. Submissions are due on Feb. 4!

Who doesn’t love the classic movie of Disney’s “Lady and the Tramp,” a love story of an elitist cocker spaniel who falls for a mutt from the other side of the tracks?

The movie’s classic romantic scene behind an Italian restaurant is recreated on Main Street USA at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom. Tony’s Town Square Restaurant pays homage to the era of the movie, the cuisine and even those playful puppies who are so in love.

Let’s take a closer look inside one of the Disney parks’ sit-down spots that is fun for the whole family…

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Review: Disney’s Sci-Fi Dine-in Theater

Exterior neon sign at Disney's Sci-Fi Dine-in TheaterEditor’s Note: This post is featured on the Disney Blog Carnival #38. Read more great posts about all things Disney!

It’s been more than a decade since I’ve had a meal at the Sci-Fi Dine-in Theater at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Back during my awkward teen years, I reveled in the chance to watch old, science fiction and horror B-movies thanks to Comedy Central’s “MST 3000.” At the Sci-Fi Dine-in Theater, movie buffs and science fiction geeks will enjoy the opportunity to see clips from vintage classics like “Attack of the 50-Foot Woman” or “The Giant Gila Monster.” Today’s teens will probably find the restaurant out-of-date, nerdy and totally not cool.

Since I don’t fit in that latter category and I still enjoy my science fiction every now and again (yes, I did go to a Star Trek convention in eighth grade), I still find this restaurant to be a fun draw even with its short reel of movie clips and vintage news stories, small tables and minimal menu.

Let’s take a look at what has changed in the more than 10 years since I’ve been back to Sci-Fi (and what hasn’t):

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Polcari’s Has An App For That

Brett and I went out for date night last night at Polcari’s/Pizzeria Regina on Route 1 in Saugus. At the end of our meal, our server Sheena came out with this little gadget:

iPhone at Polcari's Pizzeria Regina in SaugusAn iPhone (attached to a wooden board) with a preloaded program for guests to input their thoughts about the meal they just had. It’s a simple step-by-step process asking you about your meal, server, cleanliness and how likely you are to recommend the restaurant to friends. The program uses a slider scale from thumbs up to thumbs down for your rating.

It was very easy to understand and input my suggestions and comments. However, at the end when I wanted to submit my thoughts, there was a connection issue that couldn’t be resolved. (I had been checking into Foursquare and Facebook throughout the night in the restaurant so I know my iPhone was working properly.)

Overall, I think it’s a great idea for businesses to make that leap into the 21st Century, using technology to learn more about the people who are sitting at their tables and booths, and creating better experiences based on customer-provided information.

Review: Kelly’s Roast Beef

Kelly's in MedfordSince 1951, Kelly’s Roast Beef has been slicing up tender pieces of beef and piling it high on soft buns from their original Revere Beach location to their five other suburban Boston locations. Each year, about 1 million roast beef sandwiches are sold and that’s why they say they’re the “Creator of the Original Roast Beef Sandwich.”

Of course you can get that famous roast beef sandwich, but they also serve up fish and chips, lobster rolls and even soups and salads.

A few weeks ago, we stopped at the Medford, Mass. location that is at Station Landing near the T’s Orange Line. Just after noon, the restaurant was packed with families, couples and individuals. A line snaked around the building for the drive-thru.

But, it was well worth it for that sandwich.

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Review: Sake

Tekka Don at SakeA few weeks ago we got part of the Emerson J-School Mafia back together for a little reunion. Enter: Me, Brett, our friends Jake and Stacey (see our review of The Barking Crab for our other outing with them), as well as Jamie and Jon (Jon’s the only non-Emersonian from the group.)

Stacey and Jamie were doing a little baking. (I hope Stacey will bring her baking expertise to the blog one day soon) So, after we indulged in some really great liquor-ladened sweets we were starting to get the munchies for some more substantial eats. We headed up Route 1 in Saugus, Mass., to a little sushi shack called Sake.

Now, I must apologize in advance that I don’t have more pictures of our dining experience. My camera takes really poor pictures in low lighting so it was acting a little wiggy on me this night. But, please take my word that the food was really good!

The ambience of the restaurant transports you to Japan. Think lots of wood, bamboo and the waitstaff wearing traditional kimonos. I felt like Mr. Miyagi was going to jump out from behind the sushi chefs. However, I felt it was kinda weird that they had a fish tank (full of live fish – not the kind you would eat – more goldfish and guppies) right next to the sushi chefs artistically hacking up their cousins.

While the restaurant had plenty of western-style tables (the standard height table and chairs), we opted to sit on the lower tables with no chairs and on pillows. For me, leaving our shoes and coats near the door was a bit strange. We all thought we had to sit with our legs crossed like pretzels but, surprisingly, there was room under the table where you could comfortably hang your legs down to sit normally. Still, it was hard to get up and down from the table in a graceful manner.

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