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Friday, December 31, 2010

Bob Evans - Big Farm Burgers (The Farmstand)

  Recently I got to visit Bob Evans and try out one of the new Big Farm Burgers.  I should stipulate that I wasn't visiting Bob Evans himself, since he died a couple of years back, and the only time I met him in person was at the Ohio State Fair back around 1986. (I have a photo of him and myself somewhere)

  Anyway, we had a few of those "kids eat free" coupons they give out sometimes at Carriage Hill Metropark, and decided to visit.  Along with the regular menu, they had a new "burger" one accompanied by the usual photos of almost impossibly huge (airbrushed?) and perfect looking burgers.  Burgers seem a little out of place at Bob Evans, you say?  Well, it turns out that they have a history at the company.  Not only was one of the first restaurants run by Bob Evans a steakhouse (offering his hamburgers), but the more modern company has also offered them in the past as well.

  I was trying to make up my mind between my normal favorite and trying something new, mostly because the Big Farm burgers are advertised with fries and cole slaw as sides, if you want it as a platter.  The platter costs about $9.30.  I like my Mom's and Grandma's cole slaw, but I'm disappointed with it most places.  I decided to ask if I could substitute, and they told me yes, which made up my mind.  I ended up getting "The Farmstand", which is advertised as a half pound of Angus beef on a "brioche" (egg bread, for the non French speaking like myself) bun.  It also comes with portabella mushrooms, Swiss cheese and baby spinach leaves.  For my sides, I got green beans with bacon and a side salad.

  Was the meal filling?  Yes.  Often I'll get burgers off the value menu at various places, such as the cheeseburger deluxe at Wendy's, for about $1.10.  That has a nice tomato slice, onion and lettuce, but it takes 2-3 to fill me up.  The side salad had some nicely ripe cherry tomatoes.  After eating that, I tackled the green beans, which were tasty.  The burger itself was the highlight, of course.  I already mentioned that I felt full after this meal, but was it the best tasting burger I've ever had?  That was a tough question.  I can't really say it was the very best I've ever had, but it was definitely right up there.  I can certainly say it was one of the best I've ever had.  I don't think it was quite able to overcome my memories of the mushroom burger sold by the chain "Burger Chef" back in the 70's and 80's, though.

  Considering that I could buy all of this at a retail grocer for about $3.50, though, I'm sure that Bob Evans is able to get it for about $2.25 by buying in bulk.  Selling a burger based meal up near $10, even with a really tasty burger, still seems a bit overpriced.  I think a fair price for the meal, including the sides, would be about $7.

  Big Farm hamburger, cheeseburger, bacon cheeseburger, smokehouse burger and 3 cheese burger also available.

Further reading:

Copyright 2010 Dayton Dining

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Coupon Roundup #2

  It's the Christmas season, and what do folks think of around this time of year?  Coupons, of course!  Well, at least you do when there is an amazing pile of them in your mailbox.  I'm sharing a few of the better ones that don't expire for a bit, have decent savings, and don't say anything about no copies or duplicates.

  But first, I thought I'd share that it's a "Love Boat" Christmas.  That's right, I have been enjoying the first half of the very first season - 1977 - thanks to a DVD from the Dayton Metro Library.  Surprisingly, the show holds up really well, and is funny!  It ran for 10 full seasons.  The library had several copies of the first half of the first season, but not the second half of the first season. (which includes the very first TV movie that launched the show)  Dayton Dining has gone ahead and donated 4 copies of 'Season One Volume Two' to the library, on behalf of the people of Dayton.  It typically takes several months to add videos to the catalog, so in the meantime, you can find the first half here:

Love Boat DVD @ Dayton Metro Library

  Now , on to the coupons!
(my apologies for any ghost images, I think I've figured out how to solve that problem with my scanner next time)

I like the 1/4 off 2 sandwiches

      That 25% off 2 meals is pretty decent
(I suggest trying the nachos if you visit)

  Can't complain about saving $5

Not a lot off as a percentage, but for a place with a
lot of selection, this already one of the most
reasonably priced buffets in the area

This place specializes in Eastern European foods
lunch is very reasonable, and $2.50 off makes
it even better

For 250 items, $6.29 seems like a good deal for a lunch buffet.  Add the $1 off coupon, and you're paying just over 5 bucks.

A couple of 20% off coupons
Sunday brunch buffet for $7.95

Fantastic deal on Mondays, buy 1 get 1 free
the coupons are roughly 30% off

I've heard the lobster bites are good
but I'm most interested in the "2 can
dine for $9.99" deal

Even without the coupons, this place is a good deal.  I'm glad to see one back in the area.  They have great dessert pizzas, and if you ask they'll make 1 to order for no extra charge.

Lots of ~ 20% off deals
haven't tried this place yet, but the
pulled pork sure looks good

 Oh, here's another coupon deal if you like the idea of free french fries at Wendy's:
Wendy's French Fries  note that this requires installation of the coupon printer
 (if link isn't working, the Wendy's website also features a link - limit 2 coupons)

 Burger King is also running a promotion through Jan. 16 for buy 1 get 1 free original chicken sandwich.
No coupon is required.

Copyright 2010 Dayton Dining

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Mel-O-Dee Restaurant, New Carlisle

  You can tell this place has been around a while at first glance due to the sign out front.  The sign itself reminds me a bit of the one in front of the Melody 49 drive-in, or perhaps another in front of the "Route 40 motel" in Columbus.  Plus, the message is cute: "Our food will put a Mel-O-Dee in your Heart!"  Mel-O-Dee Restaurant has been around since 1965 - just a bit over 45 years old at this point.  Back then, many of the visitors may have eaten supper here, then gone across the road to watch a movie at the Park Layne Drive-In, which opened in 1962. (and closed just a few years ago - I have fond memories of watching some movies during the summer there)  Few restaurants around these parts ever make it anywhere near the half century mark, so they must be doing something right.

  When we went in, we were seated by our waitress Arlene, who was very attentive, and reminded me of my Mother.  50's and 60's music was playing very low in the background.  Booth was clean.  We ended up getting both a 16 ounce T-bone steak and a Sirloin Steak, though I was tempted by the seafood choices.  Our order was placed at 1:33, with the food eventually arriving at 1:52.  While we waited, I browsed the menu some more.  I was amused to see that this is the only place I've ever eaten where you can order "Mel-O-Dee Broaster Chicken by the box", and one of those boxes evidently holds 5,000 pieces for $4,999!  That's not a typo on the menu, because they also have 500 and 1,000 pieces listed.  I'm guessing the larger amounts must be for huge parties, but I was envisioning how much of the restaurant would be filled up with a 5,000 piece order.  Sandwich platters are about $6-$7, while most Dinners are $10-$12.  On Mondays they have an all you can eat Broaster Fish deal for $8.69.

  Before the food arrived, they brought us salad and some rye bread.  I always enjoy it when places have more than just basic white bread to offer, and the rye bread was excellent.

  Sweet corn was extra sweet and juicy.  Salad was basic, but sliced tomato was ripe.  Steamed cabbage was very tender and good with some butter and salt on it.  Hash brown casserole was tasty and actually browned, like the name implies it should be.

  Now, on to the meat.  I'm not sure I would qualify the cut I received as a "choice" t-bone steak, it seemed a little more like select to me, but then again, I wasn't exactly expecting USDA prime.  It was overall quite good, with a few gristly areas next to the bone, and not over or underdone.

  Special thanks to Arlene, who was a fantastic waitress.  When our youngest got rather energetic, she even took him off our hands and showed him off to the other waitresses for a few minutes, to give us a little quiet time to finish our meal.

address: 2350 South Dayton-Lakeview Rd. (235) New Carlisle, east side of street
telephone: 849-1378
hours: 6am to 10pm every day

Copyright 2010 Dayton Dining