Friday, May 27, 2011

Louie M's Burger Lust Cafe

Louie M's Burger Lust on Urbanspoon

1718 Vinton Street
Omaha, NE 68108
(402) 449-9112
Breakfast and lunch everyday 'til 3 or 4

Just a Few of the Condiments Available

I'm gonna go ahead and put this one on the Must Eat List, if not for the food then for the novelty. Located within the Vinton Street Commercial Historic District--an area on the National Register of Historic Places as of 2006--Louie M's opened in the 80's, when there was that fascination with the 50's, and it shows. Our table was next to the wall of dead celebrity headshots and the bar with the quintessential old-fashioned shiny barstools. This is real life retro shit here. I can't be completely sure, but I would bet the menu hasn't been updated since the 80's either, with your standard breakfast and burger fare. Inspired by the impressive selection of hot sauces on the table, we chose the Taco Burger and the Cajun Burger. Not gonna nitpick here (if you like your burger rarer than medium well, better say so). The toppings were fresh, the cheese was melty, the buns were hot and toasty. Judging by the clientele, perfect for hangovers and lunch breaks alike. Also good for out-of-towners who want to see where real Omahans go.
Taco Burger: Lettuce, Tomato, Shredded Cheddar and Side of Salsa
Cajun Burger: Chopped Onion, Green Pepper, Swiss Cheese and Cajun Spices

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Tacos el Peligro

5133 S. 25th St. (Just north of 25th and Q)
Omaha, NE 68107
Open 'til 10 most nights, and I hear 'til 4am on weekends (!)

Homemade Chips with Salsa Fresca, and Chipotle and Green Avocado Salsas with Fresh Limes and Radishes
After the "trying out a new Mexican place" disaster a few weeks ago, we hoped Danger Tacos wouldn't be as dangerous of a choice. We knew as soon as the chips were promptly and politely placed in front of us that we were in the right place. The green avocado salsa is absolutely amazing, with a nice spice that keeps your mouth slightly burning throughout the whole meal. No canned stuff here. Notice the pineapple on the al pastor taco; isn't that how it's supposed to be? Where lots of other places skimp, Tacos Peligro comes through. My chicken sope had tons of juicy tomatoes, even with the price of this fruit at an all-time high. I can't really say enough about how pleased I was with the whole experience, and it's worth noting that I did not feel like a fat pig afterwards. So brush up on your Spanish--the staff will appreciate it--and head on in. 

BTW, here's a handy South O restaurant map.

Taco al Pastor
Dos Tacos Carne Asada
Sope con Pollo

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Ozark Smoked Meat Company

11302 Wright Circle (Basically 114th and W. Center Road)
Omaha, NE 68144-4739
(402) 333-1744
The large "B-B-Q" sign beckoned from the busy road. Like a hungry Texan trucker on I-35, I busted a U and entered through the wooden porch. Grandma greeted me at the counter and delivered my pork sandwich as I sat down in the homey booth. The sandwich--shredded meat covered in lots of super sweet sauce and sans slaw--was definitely good for what it was, but not my personal favorite style. One dude came in and ordered a pound of brisket, so that must be good, and apparently they're known for their jerky. And that's all I have to say about that. 
Pork Sandwich Cut in Half
Pork Sandwich Detail

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Dixie Quicks

157 W Broadway, Council Bluffs, IA 51503
(712) 256-4140

1915 Leavenworth Street
Omaha, NE 68102

(402) 346-3549
Weird hours, check website and make a reservation

Making reservations for brunch is soooo Brooklyn. Make that a brunch place that is also an art gallery and you might think you have to take the L train to get there. Add the chalkboard-only menu, alternative looking servers, squished together tables and quirky decor and you've got something that is utterly unique for Omaha. (Bummer this place is moving to Council Bluffs soon.)

Let's talk about the food. The Dixie Scramble is a delightfully spongy English muffin topped with either meat or tomato, and a creamy tomato basil sauce. And eggs of course. For someone who usually douses her eggs in ketchup this was a nice departure. Maybe I don't know squat about grits but I thought these were pretty devoid of taste. The meat in the Italian sausage, pepper and mozzarella omelette was nice and spicy. The wheat toast was more akin to cardboard, and the cubed red potatoes were under-seasoned and also a little undercooked. So, they definitely know how to do eggs but are maybe ignoring the sides a little. Also, what's up with the drinks? There's no menu.

I'll try to sample the dinner--which looks really, really good--before this place moves across the Missouri, cause I prefer to hang out on this side of the river (like in Brooklyn). 

Dixie Scramble with Ham and Grits
Italian Sausage, Peppers and Mozzarella Omelette with Wheat Toast and Home Fries
Dixie Quicks on Urbanspoon

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Dunn Deal Cafe

2310 North 16th Street (Just south of Lake Street)
Omaha, NE 68110-2236
(402) 341-3600
Breakfast, lunch and dinner 
Cash only

Half eatery and half convenience store, the building that houses the Dunn Deal Cafe was bustling by noon. The specials board boasted Featherbones and Ham Hocks and Pinto Beans, among other things, but we ordered from the menu. The fried okra and crinkle cut french fries were both a little on the soggy side; maybe ask for them extra crispy. The mashed was definitely mediocre, but the brown gravy made up for it. The fried catfish came on two slices of standard wheat bread with a heaping handful of pickles. Add some mayo and you've got one helluva homecooked sandwich. The chicken fried steak was rich as hell, but what else would you expect from such a dish.

I wouldn't really call it a hidden gem or anything, but if you're looking for a comfy kitchen with soul food staples this is a your place. The breakfast looked awesome (served until 11am), and the folks were friendly. Try it. 

Fried Catfish Sandwich with Fries
Chicken Fried Steak with Mashed Potatoes and Fried Okra--Dig the plate

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Amsterdam Falafel

620 North 50th Street (Just south of Underwood Avenue)
Omaha, NE 68132

(402) 504-3223
Open every day for lunch and dinner, extra late on weekends

I sometimes feel left out when ordering at Amsterdam, like I'm not cool enough, in the incestuous heart of Dundee where everyone knows each other anyway. I guess it depends on who's working, but on my most recent visit I was subjected to loud indie crap music and my order was messed up. But alas, the food is pretty good, and fast, and cheap, and it's open late, and this is why I will go back again and again. The döner--yes they call them döners--and the falafel sandwiches are both served on pressed Turkish style bread just as they are in... Amsterdam. The sauces are pretty legit (spicy, herby, garlicky). I do think the meat has a bit of a spongy quality, and they really do put too much on the sandwich. (Bigger isn't always better.) Also, I think it's odd to add chickpeas to the döner, and I don't fancy tabbouleh in the mix either, but this is NOT Amsterdam OR Turkey and I get that they're doing it their own way. Here's to more independently owned, quality street food places in Omaha, snotty counter dudes and all. 

Döner Sandwich
Döner close-up--Meat, Red Cabbage, and Tabbouleh Salad with Tomatoes

Hummus plate:
Warm pressed bread, side of tabbouleh salad, carrot sticks, and a HUGE serving of hummus

Monday, May 16, 2011

El Dorado

5134 South 24th Street (just north of Q)
Omaha, NE 68107
(402) 734-4947
Open lunch and dinner everyday

Chips and Salsa
Pork Tostada and Carne Asada Taco
Carne Asada Quesadilla with Rice and Beans
It all started with the chips. Store bought and heat-lamped with boring El Pato-based salsa. Feeling a little overwhelmed by the large menu of seafood and other concoctions, we ordered our fav stand-by items. Maybe that's where we went wrong. The pork tostada wins the prize for Greasiest I've Had So Far. The little pellets of carne asada in my taco resembled poop. It's been hours and the quesadilla is still chillin' in my stomach--evidence that the ingredients were not fresh. The beans were ok but not enough to get me to go back, ever.
Fish Fork
Fish Knife
The piscine-inspired cutlery won't even do the trick. Some other reviewers say the seafood is good, but since here in Omaha we couldn't be farther from an ocean, I think I'll stay away. They're serving poop beef in our country's great steak mecca, for Christ's sake.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Ethnic Sandwich Shop

1438 South 13th Street (Just north of the Bohemian Cafe)
Omaha, NE 68108-3504
(402) 422-1040

Open 10:30 to 6 Monday thru Friday, and Saturdays too according to the banner I saw today as I was driving past

What IS Miracle Whip anyway? I can't find the ingredients on the Kraft website. All I know is I don't like it, it is NOT mayonnaise, and someone should tell the folks at Ethnic Sandwich shop this, because it says mayo on their menu and the stuff tastes like Miracle Whip. An unwelcome surprise as I was biting into my Turkey Hoagie. Other than that the bread was pretty deece and the meat was so-so, and I dig that they call it a Hoagie, being from Philly and all. The real star here is the Fatty, a French Dip with swiss on a toasted garlic bun. Hell. Yes. Tender beef, salty jus, obnoxious name. The menu also features sandwiches with Irish Corned Beef, Polish Sausage, and Italian Sausage, which, along with the "French" Dip, make it the "Ethnic" Sandwich Shop. Cute. 

We'll be back to get fatter in Omaha with a Fatty and maybe a coupla King Daddy Dogs. 

Turkey Hoagie, top view
Turkey Hoagie, side view
The Fatty

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Harkert's BBQ

4865 Center St
Omaha, NE 68106
(402) 554-0102
Open every day for lunch and dinner

Just poppin' in to tell you that Harkert's Carolina Pork Sandwich is pretty bad ass. Get the large version, as it comes on a kaiser roll. (The "regular" roll is crap.) The cole slaw is tangy and walnut-y, the meat is o so flavorful. The Chicken Parm Sand ain't bad either. Enjoy on the outdoor bench overlooking a classy Center Street strip mall, or indoors with the news blasting and your own paper towel roll at your disposal.

Large Carolina Pork Sandwich (You can't get this at Hartland.)
Chicken Parmesan Sandwich

California Tacos & More

3235 California Street
Omaha, NE 68131-2036
(402) 342-0212

11am-9pm Monday thru Saturday, closed Sunday

Nachos Supreme with Steak
Look familiar? The gray meat, the pile of "cheese," the fried flour chips? This isn't just any plate of cholesterol, this is the Cali Taco Nachos Supreme with Steak. This, my friends, is a Fat Snack. But although it lacks any actual quality and taste, there's something about it you just can't deny. So get comfy in a booth with a friend or two and a pitcher of Dos Equis. Go ahead and engage in mindless conversation with the famed episode of Food Network's "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives"--featuring this very eatery--blaring in the background. As all good Omahans know, the 4-5pm Happy Hour is a must. I will be back next time I feel like having an utterly slothful and gluttonous drunken afternoon.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Mother India

3572 Leavenworth Street
Omaha, NE 68105-1908
(402) 763-2880
Open most days for lunch and dinner (closed in between), Sundays just for dinner, Mondays closed

I love Indian food. I think I could eat it everyday. I think I did eat it everyday at one point. And so I've noticed the lack of Indian cuisine in Omaha. Only a handful of places, and they seem overpriced and kinda out of your way.  Located in a chic little shack way too close to the street, I guess Mother India did remind me a little of a curry house in London, but minus the charm. We went on your average Tuesday and it took 40 minutes from the time we sat down to the time we got our food. So as the clock ticked along we got more skeptical of the food, thinking it would obviously be crap. Well, it wasn't. The Vegetable Samosas were expertly fried, and the mint chutney was delicious. The Vegetable Curry had just the right amount of heat and spice, and the rice was soft and flavorful, and not dry like some Indian-style basmati can be. So this place gets a D in ambiance and service and an A in flavor... though I do wish they'd beef up their choice of vegetarian dishes and chill out on the beef. Guess we are in Nebraska huh.

Vegetable Samosas Filled with Potato, Mint Chutney on the Side
Samosa Interior View
Vegetable Curry

Jonesy's Taco House

1502 South 60th Street
Omaha, NE 68106-2102
(402) 551-6088
Open Monday thru Saturday, 11am-9pm

Feeling very wary of Omaha TexMex after our unfortunate visit to Romeo's a few weeks ago, we decided to pop in to Jonesy's on a whim. The decor is pretty bare-bones and 70s, and the wait staff obviously wanted us to know that they are avid Wal-Mart shoppers and Taco Bell (?) eaters, judging from the volume of their convo. The beef and bean tostada came topped with grated cheese, cubed tomatoes and shredded lettuce that was actually... fresh! The ground beef could have used some more seasoning, and the hefty scoop of it was sort of overkill, but that's ok. The beans were all right, too, even with the absence of lard, which we all know makes a better bean. All these ingredients rested on a somewhat chewy--not crispy--fried flour tortilla. I kinda wished for some sour cream, and the "hot" sauce provided, though apparently house-made, was not hot in the least. The beef taco was pretty much the same as the tostada, just a tad smaller. Also, everything came out room-temp, kinda like when we make tacos at home and go back for seconds.

Junk food? Yes. Better than Romeo's? Hell yes. Will we go back to try a cheese and sauce covered Sancho? Probably...

Beef and Bean Tostada
Beef Taco with Hot Sauce