Blogs > Eating It Up Locally!

Who wants to cook? Let’s go out to eat. See where News-Herald staff members dined and where they go to unwind in our area. You might just find a new treasure in your own neighborhood.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Grab some Pizzazz with half-off deal

Looking forward to this deal I just bought on LivingSocial. I snagged $20 worth of food and non-alcoholic drinks at Pizzazz in Mayfield Village for $10. The deal can be found here and is on for two more days.

Pizzazz has been pumping out delicious Italian fare since 1975. LivingSocial highlights the "overflowing salads topped with meat, cheese, and its signature house Italian dressing," homemade linguine, asiago-stuffed gnocchi, and "piping hot pizzas, cheesy calzones, and mouthwatering sandwiches."

A quick perusal of the menu shows offerings that are making my mouth water just thinking of them. And 25-plus toppings make the pizza combinations seem unending.

View Pizzazz in Mayfield Village in a larger map

-- Nicole Franz | | @FranzOrFoe

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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Deals for J B Milano's, Luchita's Mexican Restaurant and John Palmer's Bistro 44

Local food deal is up now on Groupon for J B Milano’s in Richmond Heights spend $15 and get $30 worth of Italian food and non-alcoholic drinks. You may need to click on All Deals up at the top of the page, because Groupon updates its deals frequently to find the deal. You have until Friday morning at 4 a.m. to buy the deal.

There’s also a deal for Luchita’s Mexican Restaurant on West 117th Street in Cleveland. This deal, which doesn’t expire until the clock strikes 12 on Friday night, is your pick between $29 for a prix fixe Mexican dinner for two ($58.35 total value) or $58 for a prix fixe Mexican dinner for four ($116.70 total value).
The prix fixe menu includes for each pair of diners:
  • One guacamole or empanada flight
  • Two soups or salads
  • One appetizer, such as nachos or flautas
  • Two entrees, such as chiles rellenos or pork tacos
LivingSocial also has a deal for John Palmer’s Bistro 44 in Concord Township. Spend $25 and get $50 to spend on food and non-alcoholic drinks. Looks like this deal should be available until sometime Friday.

Happy eating!

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Monday, May 14, 2012

Wendy's new signature sides lack distinct handwriting

Wendy’s recently introduced three new signature sides: Mac ’n cheese, chili cheese fries and a baked sweet potato. They look pretty awesome in the advertising so over the course of the last two weeks I managed to try all three.

Chili cheese fries

This was the one everyone I heard from was the most excited to try. It sounds and looks super delicious on Wendy’s website. I used to love their chili, chips and cheese back when my siblings worked at Wendy’s when I was in middle school and kind of figured it would be the same thing subbing out tortilla chips for french fries.

Maybe I was misled by the appetizing photo Wendy’s shows of this dish on its website, but while the basic mechanics are identical, I think I prefer the discontinued chili, chips and cheese. The chips at least made scooping up all the yummy chili-cheese mixture easy.

The cheese-to-chili ratio seems way off; there’s too much cheese and not enough chili. The fries ended up a tad soggy. The container this side is packaged in (same one used for the baked potatos) has a ridged bottom, and that made it difficult to scoop up the bits of chili.

Bottom line: The chili was the draw for me. It's one of what I consider Wendy's marquis items. No other fast food restaurant ladles out good chili as consistently as Wendy's does, and I thought they skimped on that aspect of the dish. Also, the amount of fries (I’m guessing less than the Value fries) you’re getting for the price ($2.49 a la carte, or $1 more when subbed into a combo) seems low.

Nutrition: 570 calories, 30 grams of fat.

Mac ’n cheese

This was my favorite of the three side options.

Wendy’s version of this classic comfort food has a good creamy texture with thick, fat noodles. It’s very cheesy, and a little stringy, but not in a bad way. There is a a lot of sauce, making it kind of soupy, but again not in a bad way. I spooned up every last bit of it.

Bottom line: It’s a satisfying dish. I’m not sure if it’s $2.49 satisfying, but it’s probably a dollar-extra-if-you’re-already-getting-a-combo satisfying.

Nutrition: 370 calories, 19 grams of fat. Only a little more indulgent than small fries (320 calories, 16 grams of fat).

Baked sweet potato

I was unimpressed with this one. It probably didn’t help that the Wendy’s I went to neglected to give me the “all-natural buttery cinnamon spread.”

Without the spread, it was just a baked sweet potato: Nice and soft and yummy, but nothing special. In fact, I probably could have done a better job myself baking a sweet potato at home because the skin on my sweet potato appeared burnt and very unappetizing. I usually eat the skin on sweet potato, which adds nutrition to the dish, but barely nibbled on it.

Bottom line: I can’t really judge this dish, because I didn’t get the item as intended. The version I got was well-cooked but lacked any defining characteristic to make it memorable.

Nutrition: 380 calories, 9 grams of fat. If you cut out the cinnamon butter spread — as I did unintentionally — it’s down to 260 calories and 0 grams of fat.

I'm not sure what made these side dishes "signature" to Wendy's. Yes, they are the only fast food joint I know of to offer these dishes. But they don't really stand out to me. There's no distinct handwriting here that says "this is from Wendy's" to me.

— Nicole Franz | | @FranzOrFoe

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