Friday, September 14, 2012

Stella's Bar & Grill

106 Galvin Road South, Bellevue, NE
Mon - Sat 11a.m. - 9p.m.
Stella's Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon

Double Hamburger ($6.50):
Thick, nicely seasoned beef patties, but drier than July in Omaha. Har har har.

I don't know why this place continues to be voted as having one of the best burgers in Omaha. I really don't get it. It's in Bellevue!

But really, people. While I did enjoy the irregular shape of the patty, which is supporting evidence for their claim that they hand-press them out of fresh beef, I did not enjoy the standard temperature of well done. I reckon since they serve them on napkins they have to grill most of the juice out, or else it'd be too messy. The bun did fall apart a little at the end -- I've heard this is a standard Stella's qualm -- but the toppings were fresh and delicious. Something tells me they've been at this for a while. Plus, how often do you eat more than a couple of onion rings at a time? Well, we nearly licked the wax paper clean of any buttery crumb residue. The fries left something to be desired, but fans of Bronco's fresh-cut grease carriers will like these.

I don't understand how, in this pre-apocalyptic world of deforestation and drought with grain prices out the wazoo, they're able to offer a 6.5 ounce burger for $4, but you better get 'em while you can!

My single Cheeseburger ($4.75) had Swiss, jalapeƱos and grilled onions,
as well as the standard lettuce, tomato, raw onion, pickle and mayo. 

From top left:
French fries ($2), ranch dressing, onion rings ($3)

They invented plates in 1937.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Pana 88

3201 Farnam Street
Mon - Sat 11a.m. - 9p.m., Sun noon - 9p.m.
Pana88 on Urbanspoon

Sweet & Sour Chicken ($7.50) --
I hear they love this stuff over there in Asia.
Pineapple, green bell pepper, onion and carrot freshened things up.

I present to you Omaha's newest pan-Asian eatery, which is one of my least favorite labels. Combining and mastering a bunch of distinct culinary styles hardly ever works out. But add a dose of American (Peanut Butter Chicken, sweet potato fries), attention to detail, and low prices, and you have my favorite place for pan-Asian in Midtown Crossing.

One thing is for sure: I will be in for the Scallion Pancakes ($4) again -- maybe tomorrow. The thick, chewy, and slightly greasy dough transported me to the streets of Chinatown USA. Of the three dipping sauces, the chili was my favorite since it provided a real kick in the mouth.

Scallion Pancake ($4):
Soy sauce, garlic chili sauce, and I'll be darned if that's not ranch dressing.

I liked the entrees the way you like that girl you met at the bar that laughs at all of your jokes but doesn't really have any of her own. I appreciated the meticulously cut veggies and the absurdly reasonable portion sizes. The beef was tender and the batter on the chicken was thin and light. The sauces were balanced and there was just the right amount. In the world of fast casual, this is the cream of the crop.

The music, combined with the Shazam app on my phone, provided some hearty laughs. And the three big-screen televisions seemed completely unnecessary. It looked like there were only soft drinks and juices available, so be sure to have your aperitif before you arrive. With a relatively non-adventurous range of flavors, spices, music, and decor, Pana 88 didn't blow my socks off, but it's much more than Midtown's PF Changs, and definitely worth a visit soon.

Mongolian Beef ($7.25):
This might not really be the post-independence National Dish of Mongolia,
but mushrooms, onions, and cellophane noodles combine to form a super pan-Asian treat. 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Someone Spilled Beer on the Computer, and Zombie Burger Des Moines

It wasn't me. I don't even like beer. At any rate, that's the explanation for the lack of blogging going on lately.

In the meantime, here's a photo of some gnarly food (gnarly in a bad way) I ate at the Des Moines East Village hotspot Zombie Burger that was every bit as gross as it was gimmicky. Something as bad for you as a "Mac Dog" should taste good. I was overcome with disappointment when I found that I could do better at home with a box of Kraft and a package of Nathan's. I was served cold, bland macaroni and cheese, deep-fried bacon bits with and an off-putting fake taste, and a dog that seemed high-school cafeteria boiled. You might be attracted to the B-side gaudiness and glitz, but you should still pass over this place next time you're in the metropolis that is Dez Moynez.

Mac Dog ($5.49) and the highlight of the fat fest, a side of fries ($1.79)