Sunday, May 19, 2013

Texas Roadhouse in Duluth, Mn

This was our first time going here, so we weren't sure what to expect. We did go on a Saturday night, and it was Duluth's UMD graduation. They do not accept reservations, but they do call ahead seating. Now, as a tip, call ahead seating does not mean that you are seated at the time you called ahead for. It is not a reservation, which it seemed liked on the phone. It just may cut your wait time, but, in the end, it is worth the call ahead. A family arrived shortly after us and did not call ahead, and they were seated 45 minutes after us.

When you call ahead, they suggest to call ahead an hour before coming to the restaurant, but to arrive 15 minutes  before the time you given. The call ahead system starts out automated, where there are different options to choose from. Then, when you get to a live person, you may have to give more details for what you need. Then, you give them the time you want to eat, and they will give you a confirmation number. When you go in at the time you said and give them that confirmation number, they give you a pager that will vibrate when they have your seat ready. It was nice that the staff came out and gave a sample of their Deep Fried Pickles while we waited outside.

The outside waiting area could have been  better. It was cold and rainy, and there was no shelter. A lot of families with young children and babies had to wait outside as well, it was too packed inside to wait. 

As for handicapped accessibility, parking was good, and the doors have a pole in the middle. A standard wheelchair would fit through. Once inside, let's just say it's the customers that you have to worry about, some of them would not move out of the way to let me through. The table they sat us at was way in the back. On the phone, they made it sound that the tables for wheelchairs were right inside the restaurant. Luckily, Texas Roadhouse has an awesome staff that were very helpful to stop traffic and help navigate to our table. 

It is very loud in the restaurant, with loud country music playing and people talking. At times, it was hard to hear our family talk, and even hearing our waitress talk about the different cuts of steak and menu items was difficult. Our waitress was very helpful, knowledgable on the menu items, and answered any questions we had. She checked on us often and brought refills when our drinks were low. 

Now, the food, through all the wait, plowing through customers, the navigation to the table, and the loud noise: Texas Roadhouse is the place to go for steaks! They give you a basket of bread with a cinnamon flavored butter that they bake fresh every five minutes, and they will bring more. And, I can't forget to mention the bucket of peanuts on the table, where you can throw the shells onto the floor. 

Jodi had a 10oz Sirloin that was done medium well, mashed potatoes, and corn. She liked all that she ate. Nothing really negative about the food, but she would like to see the little individual bowls be gone. The little bowls made it feel that you were getting small portions on your plate for the money you were paying. We would have rather seen a better presentation or the sides portioned out on a platter.
Sirloin Tips
KayMarie had Sirloin Tips that were done medium well with mushrooms, onions, and brown gravy, over mashed potatoes. She also had a cup of chili with shredded cheese and sour cream. She liked everything she ate and had no negative things to say about the food. 
Kids Meal Hot Dog
Christopher had a hot dog, because he thought Texas Roadhouse might offer different hot dogs than other places. He also had a bowl of applesauce that came with the kids meal, but I think he took more advantage of the peanuts and bread. 

Jonathan had a chili cheese dog, and a bowl of applesauce off the kids menu, as well. He liked everything he ate and left really full. His favorite part was putting the peanut shells on the floor.

Ribeye with Fixings
Fall-Off-The-Bone Ribs
I had the 16oz Ribeye cooked medium rare, a house salad, broccoli and carrots. I also added a half order of ribs for $6.99 to my meal. The ribeye was done perfectly how I like my steak. It had a nice char on the outside and pink on the inside, it was very tender and just melted in your mouth. The ribs were cooked very well, with a nice char on the outside, but the meat was so tender it fell off the bone. Jodi tried the ribs and liked them as well, but she thought the BBQ sauce was too sweet. The sauce was on the sweeter side, but I thought it tasted good and would order them again.

So, don't let the wait, the crowds, or even the noise keep you from enjoying a great steak and the other tasty menu items they provide. Our family gives Texas Roadhouse in Duluth an A- with the couple of issues the food. But, the service was outstanding.

Check out their website:

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Red Cabin Custard in Ely, Mn

Looking for a cool treat on a hot summer day? Then try Red Cabin Custard, where they make their custard fresh daily.

You order at the side window, and can choose to eat at the picnic tables, the sheltered picnic area across the parking lot, or just eat it right there in your car.

Their Menu
They offer chocolate, vanilla, as well as the "flavor of the day" in a cup or a cone, which comes with a Nilla wafer for an added touch. If you like more of a variety, you can order a shake, malt, or frozen custard, which comes in pint or quart sizes, all of which come in more flavor choices.

Plan about spending at least $3-5 a person. They accept cash and checks, but not credit or debit cards.

Their Doggie Dish

Jodi, Christopher, and Jonathan like the grape flavor. I like the coffee flavor. So, when you're in the mood for some old-fashioned custard, stop in to Red Cabin Custard, you will not be disappointed.

Like them on their Facebook page: Red Cabin Custard 

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Pickwick in Duluth, Mn

This was our first time trying this restaurant, and, wow! We were impressed. Finding a place to park was good: they had extra space for handicapped parking. Getting in with a wheelchair went fine. My big chair was able to get through the first set of doors, but I had to pivot through the second set. But, a 32" wheelchair would be able to get through just fine. The staff was very accommodating, moving chairs and seating us where I wouldn't be in the way.

A Rainbow over the Lake
A Ship in the Distance
Where we sat, the view of Lake Superior was amazing. We saw a rainbow over Lake Superior and a ship coming in. The decor was nice, a lot of glass, so we were nervous that Christopher and Jonathan would break something. If your kids are careful with glass and a candle in the middle of the table, then you should be fine. But, if nervous, I would ask if they would accommodate for kids.

The dining area was tight for others around us, and it was loud from people talking. I can see this could be a problem if you had a table right next to you that was very loud or rude. The waitress even came over to our table and told us that we were being to quiet. That was a first for us.

Grilled Cheese
Bison Burger

As for the food overall: it was really good. The portion sizes were perfect, and, as part of the meal, they bring you bread. 
KayMarie had the Bison burger with fries. This was her first time having bison and she liked it, but she said the fries were little too done.

Christopher had grilled cheese and a bowl of fruit, he liked the fruit the most because it had four kinds of berries, and not just melon and grapes.

Prime Rib
Mini Corn Dogs
Jonathan had mini corn dogs and fruit as well. He said the mini corn dogs were overdone, which they were. He liked the fruit as well, better than other places that just offer melon and grapes.
As a tip on the kids' menu, drinks are included except for the 1919 Root Beer: that is extra. Also, the kids' menu was not fully explained. We had to ask a couple of times to see what came with the kids' dishes.

Jodi had the 10oz Prime Rib with garlic mashed potatoes and broccoli. Jodi says this was the best prime rib she has ever had, and the garlic mashed potatoes were also very good. She had hers cooked medium well, and it was tender, juicy, and melted in your mouth. As a tip, the little container that comes with the prime rib: it's horseradish. Jodi tried it, and made the sour face, then asked the waitress what it was.

My Prime Rib
I had the 20oz Prime Rib with wild rice and broccoli. I agree with Jodi that this was the best prime rib I had. It was juicy, tender, and just melted in your mouth. I had mine medium rare, and it was exactly how I liked it cooked.

The prime rib is offered on Fridays and Saturdays, so stop in on these nights for the best prime rib.
Overall, we give Pickwick an A- and a must STOP IN. Maybe we'll see you there on a Saturday night.

You can see their info at

Friday, May 3, 2013

Pizza Ranch in Le Mars, Iowa

On our trip to Nebraska, we needed to stop for some dinner. We looked up to see what was available where we were, and Pizza Ranch sounded yummy. We pulled up to the restaurant and, not sure of the area, couldn't find a parking lot. So, we unloaded the wheelchair in the entrance of an alley and parked on the street. The handicapped entrance into the restaurant was a long incline. It would be best if someone was helping you. I'm sure glad I did. Going down was too steep, and, luckily, there was no snow or ice.

Cream Cheese Dessert Pizza
Once inside, there's a small dining area and STAIRS!!! There was no way I could go up to where the buffet was to choose my own food. Make sure you have some help, because, yet again, I'm glad I did. But, my hope is that, if they read this, they will consider fixing these problems and making this location more accessible. I'm very glad that Jodi knows my taste, but it still would have been nice to see what was offered.

Another issue we had with the stairs was kids would run and jump off the stairs. After traveling for 8 hours, this got annoying real quick. Yes, the parents should have parented, but, if you have steps, you have kids jumping off.

As for the food, it was good pizza just as any other Pizza Ranches. As for stopping in? If you can handle the loud country music, kids jumping off stairs, and if your in a wheelchair and don't mind not looking at the food choices, then stop in. But, as for us, we suggest to drive on by to the next one.

See what they offer at

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Valentino's Grand Italian Buffet in Lincoln, Nebraska

We stopped in while we were visiting Jodi's family in Lincoln. When we pulled up, we tried to find a handicapped spot. They were full, and there were very limited spots. Even though we parked quite aways away from the restaurant, there weren't adequate wheelchair ramps on the sidewalks, so it took us awhile to find one. There needs to be more sidewalk ramps available than just the one. There was a small wait but not bad. We would advise calling ahead, just in case.

The seating was ok being in a wheelchair. We were seated in a main aisle, so I can get up to the table. The only complaint on this is people's chairs are pushed out in the aisles or people sitting out in the aisle, but they were quick to move so I could get by. The choices of food were endless. It was interesting to find they had everything from Mexican to American fare, and of course Italian. I have never been to a restaurant where I can have all you can eat ravioli with heavy meat sauce. Jodi liked everything but the corndogs she said there was too much corn not enough dog, but hey its Nebraska. Christopher had his favorite obsession...MEATBALLS, and Jonathan liked the ice cream where you can choose your flavor. If you cannot find something here that has your taste, then you need to keep looking at all the choices.

The staff was very kind and helpful, they were quick to move a candy machine that was in the way exiting. So, if you're in the mood for Italian or some decent comfort food, then we recommend stopping in to Valentino's Grand Italian Buffet.

For their website, go to Valentino's!