This blog is now retired. My new site is at: Predictably Irrational.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Great UnExpectations

Thursday after the girls' gymnastics, we decided to head over to Blinco's Sports Bar, off of Glenwood Blvd.

I wasn't expecting much. We had dined there years ago, way before kids, when it was located at Quail Commons, off Falls of Neuse. I don't remember much except that there were no fried mushrooms on the menu, the one item I recall wanting when we went there. But I don't remember it being bad...but we never did go back.

A year or so ago? Blinco's moved to the empty spot off Glenwood, near the intersection of Glenwood and Duraleigh. In the back of my mind, I had thought about giving it a try. Maybe the menu was expanded, different?

So Thursday we did just that. I was skeptical because I wondered if there was a reason why I had not been back. And then there were the folks we saw walking in, which were, you know, the stereotypical Sports Bar types.

It was seat yourself, which we did. Well, the girls did and we followed. We picked up some Dinner menus and there were like, six items on there -- all big meal items: steak, fish, etc. Uh-oh. We are going to have to leave. Where are the sports bar items?

Then our waitress came by with menus and explained those were the dinner _entrees_ on the menu we were looking at. Much better. The menu, menu, had typical bar fare: nachos, wings, mozzarella sticks. And then there were burgers, sandwiches and other dishes. She explained the specials, which sounded great...and Thursday apparently is their Italian night.

I opted for the sausage, peppers and onions with tomato sauce over spaghetti. I prefer a different noodle but the waitress explained that the sausage is made in-house and that this dish was one of her favorites. Tim opted for nachos while CJ had wings and Mi-Mi had mozzarella sticks.

My meal came with a salad. Very nice presentation with actual greens and no iceburg (plus shredded carrots and red onions). Wow. A sports bar knows how to serve a real salad! "I was impressed" number 1.

We were going to have a glass of wine each. She recommended a great table wine that was a blend. Two glasses we say and she asks if we want a bottle (good waitress). We can take it home if we can't finish it. What? Are you being sneaky...? And she explains that as long as it's corked, it is legit to take it home. So we get the bottle.

"I was impressed" number 2, 3 and 4. Number 2: waitress recommends a good wine; Number 3: we can take the bottle home; Number 4: waitress is good, pleasant, and cute.

Our dishes arrive. Presentation is nice. I take a bite of sausage, tomato sauce and pasta. YOWSA! A sports bar made this? It was delightfully good. I am not a huge outside-of-my-spaghetti sauce kind of person. Actually, I only like my homemade sauce or my mom's. Everyone else makes sweet sauce and I can't stand sweet tomato sauce. Blinco's actually had a non-sweet, warm tomatoey sauce. "I was impressed" number 5.

The sausage was amazing. Very good and the thought that it was made in-house brought on "I was impressed" number 6.

I tried the nachos and a cheesestick - both were good too. Mine, though, was the best at the table. Tim ate the rest the next day.

So, give Blinco's a try. I was so not expecting anything this good. I'll have to go a few more times to decide if it's as good as our first try, since we weren't expecting much and yet, we were surprised at how great everything was.

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