Category Archives: Food

Food, drinks, and where to find them

Hot Dog Days of Summer — Final Visit

Tonight, on the last day of Joe’s Farm Grill Hot Dog Days of Summer, I ate yet another pair of wacky hot dog combinations. We figured there were at least 2 more that I was willing to try before the promotion disappeared.

Having already tried 4, the only choices I was interested were easy to choose.

The Reuben had the standard encased wiener topped with sauerkraut, melted swiss cheese, and cucumber slices drizzled with 1000 island dressing. Unfortunately the first bite revealed that this particular hot dog had been one of the end wieners in the links of sausage, with a bit of twine still attached to the casing. That first bite included the charred twine along with burnt casing bits which I promptly spit out. Not a great first impression. This was followed by a sheer inability to bite through the dog, bun, and cucumber slices. The slices slid off and dressing dripped everywhere. Had there just been kraut and swiss cheese this option would have been much better. This one was also just about as messy as the Cordon Bleu.

The 3-B was the final choice that I had hoped would end the promotion nicely. The recipe sounded pretty good with it’s three B’s: bacon, BBQ sauce, and blue cheese. However this was not the case. First off the sandwich-style bun was extra toasted and almost burnt making it rough to even bite through. Secondly, the extra chopped tomatoes mixed with crumbled cheese and sauce simply slid out of the bun. By the end of the dog, a full half of the toppings had fallen onto both the basket and table. The bacon was a bit overdone, and the toasted bun had roughed up the top of my mouth like dry bread. My hands were a mess, and the BBQ sauce was definitely a better combination on the Carolina.

With these two final hot dog combos, Joe’s Hot Dog Days of Summer came to a sad conclusion. These last two were definitely duds, but I still feel some of the other choices worked out well. In the end, I’d rank the dogs accordingly:

  1. The Carolina
  2. The Asian
  3. The Swedish
  4. The 3-B
  5. The Reuben
  6. The Cordon Bleu

I hope this wacky menu returns next year in some fashion so that I can give my tastebuds yet another wacky experience at the grill.

Hot Dog Days of Summer – Visit #2

Last Saturday Jessica and I visited Joe’s Farm Grill again for another dose of Hot Dog Days of Summer. This time Jessica chose to join in on the hot dog insanity.

My first choice of two had already been picked out on the prior visit, and I chose the other on a whim.

The Carolina was a simple concoction that used something that Joe’s is well-known for: pulled pork. On top of the wiener was a helping of pulled pork smothered in BBQ sauce, then topped with cole slaw and chopped scallions. Of the four I’ve tried so far, this one is by far the best. The trio of sausage, pulled pork, and creamy cole slaw makes this option easy to recommend.

The Swedish is definitely out of left field with its garlic mashed potatoes and lingonberry sauce. I don’t even know what a lingonberry is, but it didn’t taste half bad on the dog. The mashed potatoes on the other hand, while good on their own, did not blend well with the crisp casing of the dog. The mashes kind of oozed out of the ends of the bun. I’d still recommend it over the Cordon Bleu however.

The Trailer Park was Jessica’s choice with its crumbled rippled potato chips and standard liquid cheez whiz. I did not partake of this option, but she actually liked it and did end up finishing. I still think she far prefers the garlic french fries however.

With there being 10 specialty dogs on the menu, I think I am still up for at least 2 more choices before the month-long promotion ends.

Hot Dog Days of Summer at Joe’s Farm Grill

This evening we decided to visit a local restaurant that has been featured on several television shows: Joe’s Farm Grill. We had eaten there almost immediately after it opened, before all the national attention, and this was the first time we’ve been back in a long time.

What brought us back was the re-introduction of their “Hot Dog Days of Summer” promotion, where they have a selection of 10 different hot dogs available for the month of September. Jessica had shared the menu with me and almost instantly I knew we’d have to try some of them at least once.

This special menu is as follows:

  • The Hawaiian (with ham, mozzarella, bacon and pineapple-serrano sauce)
  • The Asian (shredded carrot, bean sprouts, scallions, wasabi mayo and teriyaki glaze)
  • The Carolina (pulled pork and cole slaw)
  • The 3-B (bacon, blue cheese and Joe’s Real BBQ sauce)
  • The Sonoran (bacon, farm beans, melted cheese, jalapeños and sour cream)
  • The Cordon Bleu (smoked ham, Swiss cheese, fried egg and Dijon aioli)
  • The Swedish (garlic mashed potatoes and lingonberry sauce)
  • The Trailer Park (Cheez Whiz and crumbled potato chips)
  • The Rueben (sauerkraut, Swiss cheese and Thousand Island dressing)
  • The Buffalo (carrots, celery, buffalo hot sauce and blue cheese dressing)

Asian Dog and Cordon Bleu Hot Dogs

My choices for today’s visit were the Asian and Cordon Bleu (seen to the right). The dogs come in the old school folded bread style of hot dog buns. The hot dogs had natural casings and a clean flavor that were above the standard. The side was some double fried french fries.

The Asian had a nice crisp taste with the sprouts mixing well with teriyaki sauce. It also finished nicely with the wasabi mayo tucked underneath the wiener that added a bit of heat every other bite. No one flavor overpowered the other. I would highly recommend.

The Cordon Bleu on the other hand was a bit of a mess. I removed the sliced pickles from the top to see the fried egg drenched in the dijon aioli. I ran through about 5 napkins trying to clean up as I ate, my face and hands were a mess. The egg and swiss cheese were nice, but the ham was an afterthought and not noticeable. This particular dog also disintegrated as I ate.

With at least one of the hot dogs being great, and with other menu items still in my tastebud queue, I think we’ll be heading back at least once this month. Jessica had gotten a kid’s grilled cheese and garlic fries, but had initially pondered getting the Trailer Park and its cheez whiz and crumbled potato chips. Maybe she’ll venture out and try it next time we head over to Joe’s grill.

5th Soda of Thanksgiving: Turkey and Gravy

Jones Turkey and Gravy Soda First off, Happy Thanksgiving!

Secondly, today was the day when I drank the final bottle of soda from the Jones Holiday Pack of 2005: Turkey and Gravy Soda. I assumed it was appropriate to save the oddest and most memorable drink of the bunch for turkey day.

Following standard procedure, I first took a few sniffs of the orange hued carbonated liquid. As was the case with the others, this one didn’t smell like I had expected. The scent was something along the lines of boiled carrots or some other musky vegetable.

The first taste was also somewhat surprising in that it actually tasted like turkey and gravy! It really did! Strangely enough, that flavor is what this drink most closely resembles. In addition, it didn’t seem to have that sugar free taste that the others had. Had I not been full from dinner earlier, I would have finished the full bottle. The soda was easily the best tasting of the group.

So to rank the beverages, I would say they would fall into this order:

To be honest, I’m glad that the 2005 pack is done. There must be something to the expiration dates on soda, and especially on specialty ones like these. Hopefully the upcoming Jones Soda Holiday 2006 and Dessert packs I’m going to be drinking (and blogging) will fare better that these out-of-code beverages.

4th Soda of Thanksgiving: Pumpkin Pie

Jones Pumpkin Pie Soda Just two bottles away from finishing off the Jones Holiday Pack from 2005. With just the two left, the final pre-turkey day beverage was the Jones Pumpkin Pie Soda.

I had higher hopes for this one over the Brussels Sprout and Wild Herb Stuffing drinks. I assumed that with it being dessert themed, it would actually be pleasant tasting and be more along the lines of the cranberry flavored one.

As I had done with the others, I first partook of the beverage’s aroma. The scent definitely smelled like what manufactured pumpkin pie would smell like. Almost like a scented candle from this time of year.

The first sip led to the standard, “Ugh, sugar free” reaction. Nothing like trying to make something taste good by leaving out the sugar.

The flavor was bland and about as strong as I had expected. It was “pumpkiny”, but nothing to really say this was made from pumpkins.

I’ve kind of come to the conclusion that for the majority of these holiday themed drinks; they simply carbonate the water, add some food coloring, and then add the essence of said flavor so at least your nose helps with the illusion. I’d imagine that if you couldn’t smell or had a stuffy nose, these drinks would pretty much taste like diet seltzer.

3rd Soda of Thanksgiving: Wild Herb Stuffing

Jones Wild Herb Stuffing Soda We’re just a few days out of Thanksgiving, and I still have 3 more Jones sodas to drink. Today’s drink of choice, Wild Herb Stuffing.

I must admit that the bottle looked quite pretty. The pale yellow hue of the liquid inside looked like it might taste somewhat decent.

Upon cracking the bottle cap, I was surprised to find that the aroma was shockingly sweet. I would have expected this scent from something that would be much more fruity. It almost smelled like a fruit punch of sorts, which was very odd.

“Maybe this one won’t be as bad as I think it will…”

The first swig didn’t taste like anything. Like it literally tasted like nothing other than seltzer water. No fruit taste or other taste to speak of. I took two more sips.

Then the after-taste hit.

What followed the first swallow was a taste far worse than the brussels sprout soda. Coating my entire tongue was a bitter taste of rotten and putrid herbs. It felt like someone had painted my entire tongue with crushed weeds. I instantly winced when the flavor appeared and ran to grab another drink. I quickly washed the bitterness away with some watered down Sprite.

All in all, it didn’t take more than 3 sips of this particular soda to call it a day. It has be delegated to sit next to the previous bottles, where it is destined not to be finished.

2nd Soda of Thanksgiving: Cranberry

Jones Cranberry Soda Tonight’s drink of choice was the cranberry flavored Jones Soda, the second soda I’ve tried from the Jones Holiday Pack.

Jessica was kind enough to grant me a respite from the previous disgusting soda by grabbing the red hued bottle from the fridge.

The initial scent of the freshly opened drink wasn’t appealing at first. It didn’t smell anything like cranberries, and it most certainly didn’t smell “fresh”. The first taste also wasn’t anything I’d consider good. Maybe I had waited too long to drink these.

As it turned out, it did start tasting like cranberries about a quarter into the bottle. The problem that I found was that like most recent Jones sodas, it was sugar free. The missing sugar taste is what I was missing.

So unlike the Brussels Sprout soda, I did finish this one. Not much of a challenge I must admit, but those other flavors will have to wait for another day.

1st Soda of Thanksgiving: Brussels Sprout

Jones Brussels Sprout Soda Well my self-pledge to drink each soda to the last drop didn’t last long. At least not with this Brussels Sprout Soda.

I let Jessica pick out which one to drink first, and much to my dread she picked the Brussels Sprout Soda from the fridge. I guess it is better to get it out of the way first, because I assumed it is going to be the worst.

Upon cracking the seal upon the bottle cap, the odd putrid aroma snuck into my nostrils. A smell that I assume is just like the sweaty feet of a dead man, I winced the first two times I tried to take a sniff.

The taste itself wasn’t as bad as the smell, it was almost buttery in flavor, but the dark green liquid did not go down all that well. It did not taste in anyway like a vegetable either.

I had planned to down it all eventually, sip by sip, but Jessica made me see the error of my ways. She stopped me from drinking it and in such prevented myself from getting sick.

So I still assume it’ll be the worst of the bunch (and they are over a year old), and the half filled bottle still sits upon our kitchen countertop.

5 Sodas of Thanksgiving

Jones Holiday Pack 2005

So last year around Christmas-time, we picked up one of those Jones Holiday Packs. The packs are sold at places like Target and some grocery stores, and consist of rather odd flavored beverages. In the pack were 5 different holiday themed flavors, a serving spoon (spork), a moistened towelette, and a wine list. Definitely odd stuff.

So I meant to try them last year, but I guess I never got around to it. So for the past 12 months they have been sitting in our pantry collecting dust.

I think it’s about time I drank them.

So that is what I’m going to do, drink one of the five beverages per every two days starting with this evening. I vow to finish every drop of every bottle even if they are beyond putrid up until Thanksgiving. It should be a hoot.

Joe’s Farm Grill

Joe's Farm Grill Jessica, my mother, and I went to a new restaurant that recently opened near our house in Gilbert: Joe’s Farm Grill.

The namesake of said grill is the well known owner and operator of the eastern Arizona restaurant: Joe’s Real BBQ. Joe’s really does have the best BBQ that you can find in Arizona, it’s just amazing. We even like their food so much we’ve had them cater our yearly casino parties.

Maybe Joe was getting a bit bored with just the BBQ, maybe wanted to try something new, maybe he wanted to do something in his old neighborhood. That something new is the grill.

Located at, in, and around his childhood home at Ray and Higley roads, is this new post-modern eatery. Built using portions of the original brick farmhouse nestled amonst some very old trees, is the grill.

The restaurant is partially open-air with a breezeway and patio tables, but they also have a dining room that once was the family’s living room. The building is also situated within Agritopia: a housing development with urban houses, farmland, and farmer’s markets.

We got there at around dusk, so I couldn’t really take any pictures, but Joe’s is a sight to see. I’ll be sure to take more shots on our next visit.

So of course you are probably asking, “How’s the food?”

Well I got an Ahi Tuna Sandwich with a side of sweet potato fries, which I thought was quite good. It was much better than I was expecting.

Jessica got a chicken tenders meal that didn’t quite suit her tastes, but my mother got a BBQ pork sandwich that she thought was quite good.

Overall, I would say that the available options are great (salads, pizzas, burgers, sandwiches, BBQ, etc) and the flavors were above average.

So if you get a chance to come out to Gilbert, be sure to stop by Joe’s Farm Grill and see what all the fuss is about.