Spitzit’s House

Where serious topics come to relax

2010 Texas State Fair Tour of Fried Foods

This years tour of fried foods at the Texas State Fair was fun, filling, and at times painful.  Its always an experience and this years did not disappoint.  So here it is, a review of this years new foods as well as re-dos on some of our faves from years past.

The chicken fried bacon has been a favorite for the last two years.  But, this year they changed it again and it was awful.  It was like eating fried raw bacon.  The bacon literally was like biting into a thick raw piece of bacon fat.  It was nasty, and we coudn’t eat it.  Very disappointing after two years of greatness.  If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
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October 3, 2010 Posted by | Everything Else, Restaurants & Dining | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Restaurant Review – Cru Wine Bar – Plano

dsc03798Cru Wine Bar actually has three locations in the Dallas area that include the West Village on McKinney Ave., On Legacy in Plano, and on Market Street in Allen.

My first experience was at the West Village location in Dallas with a group of friends which we really enjoyed, and therefore I was looking forward to visiting the Legacy location in Plano with the same group. I had been planning on writing a review and the recent visit on Friday November 7th was just the reminder I needed. Brace yourself, because this will be a very mixed review ranging from one extreme to the other.

So what do you want first…the good news or the bad news?

Bad news it is…picture-020

I will be perfectly blunt…this recent experience was hands down, the very worst service I have ever had in any restaurant, bar, or hotel I have ever been in. To be clear, bad service can come in a few different categories of bad ranging from an absentee or slow server, to screwed up orders, etc. But this one was the worst kind…RUDE. The service we received on this evening was apalling, pretentious, and just plain disgusting. Every visit she made to our table left the whole table discussing her attitude for the next several minutes.

At the end of our evening, she refused to break the bill up citing some lame excuse, and left 9 peoplcru-14-fondue_1752e puttering over a receipt to only find out later that the receipt was wrong because an errant flight of wine had been added to our tab that no one ordered. The order did get removed, but not before stating that this was her only table and somehow implying that the mistake must be ours, like we would be trying to steal a $15 flight of wine on a $350 tab. Then there was the case of her inserting herself into the middle of a private conversation that two of the ladies from our party were having with two gentlemen of interest at the bar. In guy-speak we call this “…blocking”. In the middle of these specific situations was just the consistently overwhelming attitude of inconvenience and condescension that she shared very generously with our group.

To be fair, our party thoroughly enjoyed all of the cheese flights, several of the wine flights, and my wife and I had the Kobe steak which was OK but not great. In fact, I will go so far as to say that the wine selection and cheese flights are well above average, but can be slightly pricey which is not a problem at all…if your are receiving the service that is commensurate. cru-18-kobebeef_1751

We really consider Cru to be one of our favorite places to meet with friends. However, the service in general at the West Village is not what I would categorize as spectacular. It is average at best…which is fine. However, our first visit to the Legacy location proved to be a memorable one and one for the record books.

If you have a taste for good wine and good cheese with friends and you enjoy it all being served to you by a world-class pretentious bitch who does everything but outright tell you she would rather be doing anything but being your server, then the Cru Wine Bar at Legacy in Plano may be the place for you. Hopefully, our experience was an isolated one.

That is my sober opinion…and all the wine and cheese in Cru couldn’t change it.

November 9, 2008 Posted by | Restaurants & Dining | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Movie Review – Rendition

This movie, Rendition, evidently came out about a year ago. Problem is I have never heard of it until now and just recently caught it on cable. How a movie this good gets by me without having ever heard of it, I will never figure out. At first, I figured I must be some idiot living under a rock or something, but after telling a few people about the movie, I realized I was not the only idiot. I actually had mutual company under this rock.

Released in 2007, Rendition has an all-star cast including Jake Gyllenhaal (Brokeback Mountain), Reese Witherspoon (Legally Blonde), Meryl Streep (Devil Wears Prada), and Alan Arkin (Little Miss Sunshine). The compelling storyline consists of the very separate but intertwined lives of the characters. I know, not a really original idea, but in this movie, the “separate but intertwined lives” are not a bunch of trendy pretentious couples roaming around Manhattan. This is actually an intelligent thought provoking movie.

In a nutshell, the movie is about an Egyptian man, Anwar, who has been living in the US, is married with child to a hot and pregnant American lady, and ends up getting abducted by the CIA through a process known as Rendition because he is suspected to have ties to known terrorists. His pregnant wife is worried sick and so pissed off she is kicking down government doors to find her man. Anwar on the other hand has been swept off on a little involuntary all-inclusive vacation to “Rendition” (country unknown and clothing not included), where he is able to catch a few volts and do a little water-boarding all at the generous hospitality of his pleasant and calm-natured host, a stern family man of unknown middle-eastern descent who is of the strict belief that the right level of pain and torture will get even the Pope himself to confess to terrorist associations. If you have heard all about water-boarding on the news and wondered what it was…well you will catch a glimpse of it in this movie.

Jake Gyllenhaal plays Douglas Freeman, the straight CIA analyst with a conscience, who through an explosive chain of events ends up in a position he is not accustomed to and evidently does not have the constitution for, but must stand by and witness the “interrogations” without interfering. He struggles, does a few shots of whiskey and decides to grow some “cahones” after being somewhat of a puss for much of the movie. Good old Meryl Streep plays the part of Condaleeza Rice…oops, I mean Corinne Whitman, the hard as nails high authority government biatch who can order renditions like ordering a Starbucks and not even blink an eye when denying that the US engages in such activities.

What is rendition you ask? It is defined pretty accurately by Wikipedia as the apprehension and extrajudicial transfer of a person from one state to another, particularly with regard to the alleged transfer of suspected terrorists to countries known to torture prisoners or to employ harsh interrogation techniques that may rise to the level of torture. Therefore, when we say that the US does not engage in torture in this country because it is illegal and/or unethical, immoral or whatever, we can believe it with full confidence. We simply kidnap them and accidentally drop them off at secret detention centers in other countries where they have no real qualms about using the human body as an electrical conductor.

What is interesting about this particular movie as opposed to say Babel or Syriana is that it is fairly easy to follow and has very human and convincing characters. Each of the characters in this film from the terrorist, to the torturer, to the CIA agent, the wife, girlfriend, and even Corinne all expend and display common human emotions that we can all identify with. Suicide-bombing terrorists can fall in love too, you know, and cold hearted torturers can have a family that they love and protect, and deceitful politicians have children and grand children they love, single not-gay CIA agents like to get action from hot exotic CIA mistresses, and pregnant American women can play soccer with their kids. No one character in this movie is really demonized anymore than any other. In fact, every single one of them, with maybe the exception of the pregnant wife, has some pretty significant flaws and struggles they are contending with. Even the hubby who is taking nipples full of electricity is not completely exonerated in this movie if you really pay attention. That is the thought provoking part of the movie….

You want to believe that torture like this is never the right thing to do, but how many lives has it really saved? How many lives has it cost? How many more terrorists has it spawned? Does the US really engage in this activity? Does Douglas really do the right thing? Is Anwar really innocent or is he really guilty? I’m not convinced either way, but it makes you think and that is one sign of a good movie.

I highly recommend it if you haven’t seen it.

September 17, 2008 Posted by | Movie Reviews | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Islamorada Fish Company

Dined at the Islamorada Fish Company located in the Bass Pro Shop off I-30 in Garland Texas on Friday.  It was a birthday dinner for my father in-law so we wanted to try something new and nice.   I know, I know, Bass Pro Shop isn’t what the sophisticated “foodie” would consider a place for a nice dining experience.   However, this is Garland, TX and folks around here think Red Lobster is a “high falootin fancy” restaurant for rich folks.   For Garland, Islamorada Fish Company is the Ritz.

The experience overall was mediocre at best.  Atmosphere was decent.  The massive salt water fish tank behind the bar is very cool and the tons of saltwater species mounted on the walls and ceiling throughout the restaurant are also very cool.  The food is another story.  Its not bad, but its not great.

Appetizers:  The fried alligator was overcooked and not as tender as it should have been.  The venison stuffed mushrooms were small and you simply could not taste the venison over the mushroom, which was really disappointing because I was really looking forward to these. The Wahoo dip was so creamed up with mayo or whatever it was, you could not taste the fish.  It could have been tuna out of a can and I would never have known.  The calamari was pretty decent, and the coconut fried shrimp was the typical frozen stuff that I buy myself at Sam’s Club.  The best thing about the appetizers was the sauce from the stuffed mushroom that we all ended up dipping our bread into and trying to sop up every last drop of it like a bunch os starved wolves.

Oh, did I mention we found a hair baked into the top of one of the homemade loaves of bread?  Not just any hair…this was one hell of a long black nasty hair.  Our waiter apologized and tried to explain no one in the kitchen had long hair and it must have come off of one of the brushes they use to brush butter on the loaves.  Whatever, dude!  I suggest then you stop using your girlfriends hair brush to put butter on the bread loaves.  

For an entree I had a dish called the Fisherman, which included a filet of catfish, some Whitefish, and some other kind of fish I can’t remember laid out on a bed of regular french fries.  It wasn’t bad, but it definitely wasn’t great.  Sorry, I didn’t try the desserts this time around.  I wasn’t in the mood to blow anymore cash on the over priced and over rated food at this place.  

Our waiter was average, but I would expect the service to be a bit more sophisticated for this place.

I have had much worse, and the Fish Company wasn’t terrible, but I guess I expected more from this place that has a pretty significant history dating back to the 40’s in Key West.   As a comparison, I would say that the menu at Pappadeaux is very similar to the Fish Company.  The big distinction between the restaurants is that Pappadeaux’s menu is more extensive, their food is way better in every way, they have fantastic service, a great atmosphere, larger food portions, and the prices are only slightly higher.

I give the Fish Company a 2.5 out of 5 stars. Very forgettable.  In fact, they can forget about me coming back, because I will be going to Pappadeaux the next time I want this kind of food.

September 6, 2008 Posted by | Restaurants & Dining | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Movie Review – Star Wars – The Clone Wars

Went and saw The Clone Wars movie last weekend. Let me preface this by stating that I am a huge Star Wars fan. I have seen every one of the Star Wars Movie episodes multiple times; and I own them all on DVD, so that I may continue to add to the insane number of times I have seen each of them.

I love them all…some better than others, but I have truly enjoyed every single one of them. It is important to note, though, that I am a Star Wars fan and NOT a Star Wars nerd. Therefore, I do not study or speak any of the alien languages in the movies; I do not dress up like my favorite SW character on Halloween; I do not own a Star Wars T-shirt, pajamas, or underwear; I do not have a collectible Light Saber; I do not have a shrine in my home to George Lucas, nor do I know where he lives; and I do not belong to any clubs or associations related to Star Wars…oh, and I have not read any of the books. Bottom line is I have watched the movies since I was a kid, loved them all and have introduced my own children to them.

Enter the most recent addition “The Clone Wars” which is set sometime between the 2nd and 3rd Episodes which was “The Attack of the Clones” and “Revenge of the Sith“. I am going to be very honest here…The first thing I noticed as this movie began is that the animation was not the rich vibrant animation that I expected and am accustomed to seeing in major motion pictures that I pay $8.00 or more per person to see. What I saw in this film was the stiff unnatural human movement that I am accustomed to seeing in made for TV animation.

The movie does start with some decent action sequences, and moves into what is a pretty mundane plot. the characters are pretty boring and the Hutt kid is reminiscent of some big mutant booger or grotesque Pokemon creature or something. Truth is, about 30 minutes into the movie…I fell asleep. Honest to God, I passed smooth out and for the rest of the movie, I only caught occasional sections of the movie as one of my kids would nudge me awake to catch another 5 to 10 minutes before the boredom would lull me back into a more compelling world of sleep. I have not walked out of or fallen asleep in a movie theater since the movie Dune in 1984.

Therefore, I can not truly give a full and accurate review of the movie due to the fact that I was not conscious for the majority of the movie, which should tell you something. In retrospect, I wish that I had waited for this one to come to DVD or cable, because my limited perception now is that this was a made for TV animation that was mistakenly thrown on a big screen. It was an animated film that I had high hopes for, so I took the chance, rolled the dice on the Lucas magic…and got let down. While it was a sleepy disappointment for me, my kids did watch the whole movie and thoroughly enjoyed it, which is really all that matters in the end anyway. They thoroughly enjoyed Zoom as well, which is another story.

That is just my opinion, and I am sticking with it.

August 28, 2008 Posted by | Movie Reviews | , , , , | Leave a comment

The Birth of Spitzit, Reviewing The World as I See It

This is only the beginning, so in this first post let me take a moment to lay down a few ground rules and facts. First, I am not a professional critic. I am Me, an Everyman like yourself who has an opinion on just about anything and everything that I am tired of keeping to myself.

Therefore, I have selected this blog as the venue to vent my unconventional reviews on all that I see and experience and to all that care to listen. I am not educated in every topic, I am by no means an expert in every category, but that doesn’t mean I’m not entitled to sound off on it either. My intent will never be to sway the readers opinion, but rather just to state my own. The reality is…

  • I know an entertaining movie when I see one, regardless of how impossible or ridiculous the storyline may be. I take movies in the context of which I believe the movie is intended to be taken. No more and no less.
  • I love to read , but if a book doesn’t grab me in the 1st 10 to 20 pages chances are I will put it down and never finish it. I will still offer a review on it though to the extent that the book was so boring I put it down forever. Maybe the last 350 pages were great, I will never know.
  • Love all genres of music and I will review music based on how it makes me feel. Music should evoke some kind of emotion in a person and I will try to be as descriptive as possible. Very opinionated topic, looking forward to feedback in this area.
  • When it comes to food, I will try just about anything once. It either taste good or it doesn’t. Presentation is for “foodies”, but flavor is what I consider most important. I have eaten a lot of expensive food that look pretty on the plate and taste like bland crap on the palate. I’ll let you know, but keep in mind most of my food experiences will be in the Dallas area where I do most of my dining.

I will also let you in on reviews in the areas of service I experience in various places. One very important note is that my reviews will coincide with my experience. For example, not every book I read is a new release. In fact, it may be ten or more years old before I read it. Not every movie I watch is a new release either. I may wait for it to come out on DVD or even cable before I watch it. Therefore, my reviews may sometimes be associated with dated material. That doesn’t mean it isn’t compelling though. If there is something you really think I need to review immediately, then let me know and if I get enough requests, I will check it out.

Enough said for now, so let the reviews begin!

August 26, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment