Posts Tagged ‘Omaha’

La Mesa, Omaha, NE (Northwest)

25 August 2016

La Mesa Mexican Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tonight I met a work friend here for dinner, as it was roughly between our hotels. And like the rest of the La Mesa outlets, it was outstanding.

As usual, I had mixed chicken and beef fajitas with no bell peppers. Except it showed at the table with bell peppers, and got taken back and replaced very quickly. I dumped my beans, a lot of the excellent salsa, and lettuce on the meat, and squeezed the lemons from my iced tea over the resulting mess, then ate it! It was, simply, perfect. All cooked nice and tender, and with tremendous flavor.

The iced tea was wonderful, the conversation great. Service was perfect. Our check for two was $35.85.

Just a great meal. La Mesa is one of the best Mexican restaurants I have been to, anywhere.

Garden Cafe, Omaha, NE

24 August 2016

Garden Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

After I got my hair cut this evening, I did a Google search, and was surprised to see a listing for the Garden Cafe nearby.

There used to be about 10 of the Garden Cafe outlets around the Omaha and Council Bluffs area, and there was even at least one in Kansas City I really liked them, in particular their potato casserole dishes. Regrettably, over time more and more closed.

So I headed over there. It seemed to be the same as the chainlet I thought it to be. I ordered an Omaha Potato Casserole. When it got to the table there was at least a quarter of a chopped red onion, and some pickles. I did a little configuration change by getting rid of the onions and chopping up the pickles over the meal.

It was excellent. The amount of ground beef was prefect, the potatoes were cooked all the way through, there was copious cheese, it was great!

Service was fast and friendly. The iced tea was great. The meal came with a blueberry muffin (pretty decent) that I had as a snack an hour ago. My check was $13.35. Overall, a very good meal that I will be happy to repeat.

Blimpie’s, Omaha, NE (Eppley)

21 November 2014

Blimpie on Urbanspoon

Yesterday, I got to Eppley for my 1100 flight about 0930, to discover the flight had been pushed back and back to 1450 (a maintenance issue with the flight from DFW had caused AA to switch airplanes; we eventually left at 1430). So I needed lunch. I decided to try the Blimpie’s in terminal, outside the security area.

I had a small wheat ham, bacon, turkey and cheddar, with provolone substituted for the cheddar. In a nice touch, the meat and cheese was welder together (er, heated up) in a toaster over, then put on the bread and lettuce, mayo, and ranch dressing added. I declined having the whole thing toasted.

It was very good! I liked the warmed-up guys of the sammich. I enjoyed the lunch a lot. Service was pretty fast, and very friendly. My check was $9.14, and included a bag of chips and a medium drink.

While I had never tried a Blimpie’s prior to this, it was a good experience, and I would be happy to have another.

Spaghetti Works, Omaha, NE

20 May 2014

Spaghetti Works on Urbanspoon

I had dinner here last night with a number of friends. I have been to Spaghetti Works a number of times over the years, but it’s probably been 10 years since my last visit.

We had worked a full day and then some, so we got there around 1930 and were seated immediately. The meal came with some decent garlic toast and a salad bar that was OK.

I got chicken parm; it was pretty good. The chicken was plump and not overcooked. The spaghetti was al dente, and the marinara wasn’t too bad at all, not too sweet like a lot of them are. It was a bit on the runny side, and the cook was a little frugal on the serving. All in all, not a bad meal, and not too huge. I had a piece of Brads pepperoni pizza as well, and liked it.

Service was OK, the iced tea was pretty good (and in LARGE glasses!). My check was $15.66. Not the best Italian I’ve had, but also far from the worst.

Milio’s Sandwiches, Omaha, NE

1 July 2013

Milios Sandwiches on Urbanspoon

I had never heard of this chainlet before, but noted that we would be near it while doing some errands in the Omaha area.

Raegan and I split a #17 (ham and turkey) on the famous Milio’s french bread. It was pretty good. One note: I increasing dispike long pickles in my sandwiches. Some places will put chopped pickles on instead, or relish (OK, but not as good as relish is usually too sweet). Erin got a ham and cheese. We all got “Mighty Tasty Meal” packages that include chips and a drink, and we all got a chocolate chip cookie (very good).

They are a Pepsi shop, so I got DP, Raegan got Mountain Dew, and Erin just got water. They only have the vile and disgusting Brisk tea, about which the less said, the better. Our check was $22.87. It was a decent sandwich (which is what their motto is), and the service was friendly and fast. I would go again, but not out of my way. Subway has more variety, and makes a better sandwich, as does Which Wich (which also uses chopped pickles).

B&G Tasty Foods, Omaha, NE

30 June 2013

B & G Tasty Foods on Urbanspoon

Permit me a slight diversion. I like good local food. A while back, I read an article in USA Today that talked about “loose meat” burgers. The descriptions left me slavering for some. The article referenced a chainlet called “Maid Rite” that was in Iowa mainly, but had an outpost in Arlington, TX. I literally grabbed a Post-It and wrote the names and cities of the Arlington location and the location nearest to Omaha, then stuck it on the wall next to my computer at work, in anticipation of trying one or the other. So this style of burger is on my mind.

So as we drove along Dodge this afternoon, the B&G sign caught my eye. Rather, the part of the sign that said “Loose Meat Sandwiches”. I drove around the block (twice) to find the place, amusing Raegan no end.

I pulled up, went in, looked at the menu, and ordered a double cheeseburger, anticipating that first “loose meat” experience. I ate it, and it was a very good cheeseburger, with great beef flavor, a nice crust, and just the right amount of mayo. SCORE, I thought. Since I just bought the burger, with no fries or drink, my check was only $6.25.

So it’s now later in the evening, and I started to write the blog post. I wanted to remember the name of the Maid-Rite chainlet, and in doing so, I read several descriptions of the loose meat sandwich, which convinced me that I had just ordered a regular-issue (but very good) cheeseburger. The B&G menu posted online has an item “The Bee Gee” which looks like the loose meat I was looking for. Well, crap, thought I.

In my reading this evening, I noted that several other chainlets (including one in Wichita) also specialize in loose meat sandwiches. Since we are headed to South Dakota (through Iowa), I’m going to keep a lookout for any more of these. I will have one of those sandwiches…

Pudgy’s Pizzeria, Omaha, NE

30 June 2013

Pudgy's Pizzeria on Urbanspoon

Erin needed dinner at the hotel this evening, so we ordered takeaway for her from Pudgy’s. She got a 12″ canadian bacon with extra cheese, thin crust. It was really good! The pizza was cut into rectangles, kind of odd. We picked it up (they don’t deliver), and started eating it while driving back to the hotel. Was it the best pizza I’ve ever had? No, but it was also far from the worst. I’d gladly get another pizza here. Our check was $13.68.

Malara’s Italian Restaurant, Omaha, NE

17 May 2013

Malara's Italian Restaurant on Urbanspoon

My friend Brian told me about this place a number of years ago, and told me at the time to not tell anyone else. I hope a blog post doesn’t count… 🙂

I had dinner here this evening with my friend Wendy. It was excellent. I had fettuccine al fredo with chicken. The chicken is usually grilled, but the chef sauteed it at my request. It was perfect. The al fredo was that balance between too heavy on the butter and cream, and too much filler. I ate every bite without that sensory overload that a too-buttery al fredo can cause. The meal came with a decent salad.

So it was wonderful food and conversation. Service was right on the money. My check was $16.50. Great stuff, I need to come here more than every five years or more!

Hartland BBQ, Omaha, NE

14 May 2013

Hartland BBQ on Urbanspoon

I had dinner here this evening with my buddy Brad for no better reason that it was the #1 BBQ place in the Omaha area. We got there around 1830.

I wanted to try a two-meat with brisket and chicken, but was told no. I ended up getting a brisket dinner and a chicken basket (no sides); the total cost was reasonably close to what I would usually pay for a two-meat, but it was a LOT of food. The brisket was OK; it was a little dry, and a little less than fully tender, and had OK flavor. The chicken was pretty good; first of all it was HUGE, and a half a bird. It had pretty good flavor, but was a little dry on the inside (it was huge, after all). I got baked beans and green beans for my sides. The baked beans had quite a bit of jalapeno, and I ate little of them. The green beans were very plain.

They do not have iced tea (Lipton Brisk is not tea). They are a Pepsi shop. I would recommend they make tea, which is good with BBQ. My check was $20.83, a little high but due to the fact that I bought two meals. Service was very friendly. The place was pretty busy. I would probably go again, but would not go out of my way.

Jack and Mary’s Restaurant, Omaha, NE

9 May 2013

Jack & Mary's Restaurant on Urbanspoon

I needed to check out a couple places in west Omaha this evening, and for some reason I wanted fried chicken, so I did a quick Urbanspoon search and found Jack & Mary’s. I started off with a bowl of excellent chicken noodle soup. That stuff was great! My main course was a three piece chicken, all light. It came pretty quickly.

So the chicken was not just scorching, piping hot, so I presume it was already cooked when I ordered it. The chicken, which had been cooked connected, had been chopped into three pieces with a serious cleaver. I’ve not had chicken cut up quite like that. The chicken was OK, mostly pretty tender, but was a touch on the less-than-moist side. It didn’t have just a heck of a lot of flavor. In terms of quantity, it was just right for dinner for me.

The dinner came with some very good mashers and gravy. My second side was the soup.

I don’t usually get dessert, but they had a blueberry bread pudding. Since we all need our antioxidants, I got it. It was excellent! But it was HUGE. I think three people could have been fed with it. I managed to eat about half.

Service was very good, and the iced tea was excellent. My check was $21.03 of which $4.00 was the dessert, so I think it was pretty good value. I saw some pretty nice looking food aorund me. I think I would like coming back to the place.

11-Worth Cafe, Omaha, NE

29 March 2013

11-Worth Cafe on Urbanspoon

I have not been to 11-Worth in a while. I don’t get to near downtown Omaha nearly as often as I used to (I would stay at hotels downtown before nice ones were built in Bellevue). Today I got done with work in time to get there for lunch. Great stuff!

I got a CFS with mashers and chili. That chili was great stuff, not too many beans, just the right amount of heat, and served up in an oversized coffee mug. Yum! The CFS was excellent, 9 out of 10, fork tender all the way through, and breaded up and cooked just right. I asked for their famous sausage gravy instead of the standard cream, excellent stuff (even if it did cost an extra $3.25). I wasn’t too impressed by the mashers, they seemed to be too uniform and didn’t have a lot of flavor.

All of this was eaten up with no problem at all. The iced tea was pretty good, and service was just the right blend of visits and solitude. My check was $15.72. Need to get there more often.

Big Mama’s Kitchen, Omaha, NE

13 March 2013

Big Mama's Kitchen on Urbanspoon

I had extra time for lunch today, so I drove to NW Omaha to try Big Mama’s. Great stuff!

I had the 3-piece oven-fried chicken, all white. The breading was not really crisp enough to be “fried” chicken, it was more baked. It was excellent. The breading was coarse, and tasty, and textured. The meat was perfectly cooked, and just juicy enough; not a hint of dried-out here. The meal came with cornbread, sweet and not too crumbly, and I chose pintos as my side. They were tasty, and in a juice that was almost jet black, like you would expect in black beans. The only gripe of the meal: those beans were way salty, almost too much for me (and would be for many people).

I had sweet tea for lunch, yummy, but served in a small mason jar. My check was $14.62. Great lunch.

One side note: Big Mama’s was hosting a city council candidate forum while I was there. The debate was lively, questions from the audience were pointed and relevant. Democracy in action! That was a good way to spend a lunch hour.

Twin Peaks, Omaha, NE

13 March 2013

Twin Peaks on Urbanspoon

As I noted in my review of Twin Peaks in Plano, if Hooter’s offends you, so probably will Twin Peaks.

I had dinner here Monday evening with six others. We got there around 1830 and left around 2045. I got a couple appetizers. The fried pickels were excellent, those things were great! The pulled pork nachoes were OK at best; they didn’t have very much pulled pork, and the pulled pork wasn’t particularly tasty.

I got a cheeseburger, Man Sized (i.e. double meat). The burger was OK; most of the flavor was in the toppings, as the beef had little flavor. The fries were great, though.

I had iced tea, it was very good. Service was excellent. My check was $28.46; a little expensive, but most of that was the appetizers. Not a bad experience at all.

The Hanger, Eppley Airport, Omaha, NE

29 April 2012

The Hanger on Urbanspoon

I got to the airport to head home a little early last week, and so got an early dinner here.

The iced tea was decent, a pleasant surprise. I got a grilled chicken sandwich, with mayo! It wasn’t bad. I wrote “O….. K…..” on the receipt. It was tender, but just didn’t have a lot of inherent flavor. The meal came with decent french fries. I also ordered soup, er, chili, er, beef stew. The cup was advertised as chili, but it was more stew in taste and consistency. There was no spice heat, a few beans, and chunks of stuff like veg. Not chili. Stew. But pretty good for stew.

Service was pretty good. The restaurant was not crowded. My check was $11.83. I would not mind going back again.

Dinker’s Bar, Omaha, NE

12 April 2012

Dinker's Bar on Urbanspoon

I’ve had a number of people tell me that Dinker’s burgers are better than Stella’s. The sign outside says “BEST BURGERS IN OMAHA” or something like that. I got to town this evening, and decided to give it a try.

I got there about 1745 and left around 1900. The place was no more than 10% full. I found a table, and… waited. About 10 minutes. Eventually I noticed a sign over a counter in the back of the place: “ORDER HERE”. Hmmm. I went back there and ordered. I tried to order iced tea to drink, but no, you have to order drinks at the bar, towards the front of the restaurant. OK, ordering at the counter, I get that. Having to get all drinks at another place, I don’t.

I ordered a bacon cheeseburger, with onion rings. The tea that I got was decent. The onions rings were wonderful! I loved those. Perfectly cooked, with a tasty breading that was flaky and thin, like I like. Good stuff. The cheeseburger was cooked medium well like I like. The beef had decent flavor, a nice crisp outside texture. The bacon was really good.

So in the inevitable comparison between Dinker’s and Stella’s, I give the edge to Stella’s. Their burgers are much more flavorful.

My check was right about $10. The place is cash only. My usual comment: cash only, huh? Do you not want customers?

I would go back to Dinker’s if someone else suggested it.

Gorat’s Steak House, Omaha, NE

18 February 2012

Gorat's Steak House on Urbanspoon

Bill Hensley's Random Blog Colorado Springs restaurants

Gorat’s was recommended to me by a work friend, and this evening, after we got done with work, I headed over there. I got there at 1650, and was informed that They Do Not Open Until 1700 (well, they said 5 o’clock). I could have waited in the lounge, but I just stood around about 10 minutes, and was seated.

So Gorat’s is a clone of Johnny’s, Anthony’s, Cascio’s, Piccolo’s, and the like in Omaha, both interior and the food. Gorat’s is primarily a steakhouse, that has some Italian entrees, and some sort of pasta or green beans for a side, along with a potato. The food is just as good from place to place.

I ordered an “Omaha Sirloin”, which is a bone-in strip steak. It was not the most tender steak I have had, but it had a lot of flavor, and was cooked a perfect medium, just as ordered. The steak was proceeded by a mixed salad with ranch dressing, and a mixed basket of bread (rough wheat, garlic rolls, and the like).

I also got hashbrowns and spaghetti for my sides, and while the hashbrowns were pretty standard, the spaghetti and sauce was very good.

I finished off the meal with chocolate cake ala mode; the cake was moist and way, way chocolate.

The place is open for lunch, until 1400. My check was 28.36, but of course, I had a big steak and a decent dessert. Service was pretty darn good. My one gripe: the iced tea glasses were really, really small.

So I would go back to Gorat’s. They have oven fried chicken that I would like to try.

Foodies, Omaha, NE

17 November 2011

Foodies on Urbanspoon

I had lunch here after visiting Tea Smith to get some Yunnan Gold (great stuff!); the two places are in the same shopping center.

Foodies has sandwiches, soup, pizza. I got a Classic BLT. It had lots of B, middling L, and just enough T. The sandwich was excellent, very tasty, with crunchy B. I got it on wheat bread.

The meal came with soup, which today was beef barley. First of all, it was HOT! As it cooled, it was really, really tasty. It had (amazingly enough) beef and barely, but also carrots and celery.

They have China Mist iced tea. I tried some, not expecting anything good, but was pleasantly surprised. The China Mist didn’t suck nearly as much as most of the China Mist I have tried! It wasn’t nearly as good as real brewed iced tea, but it was drinkable.

The place was almost empty when I got there for late lunch at 1500. My check was $11.45. The place was good, I will go back.

Shirley’s Diner, Omaha, NE

16 November 2011

Shirley's Diner on Urbanspoon

I have had several recommendations for Shirley’s, and yesterday afternoon I had the opportunity to give it a try.

From the outside, the place is nothing to look at; just a door in a strip shopping center. Once through the atrium, it lights up, and you are surrounded by photos and memorabilia for various Hollywood stars. My table was a shrine to Marilyn Monroe, lots of nice photos of her.

The house specialty is chicken fried steak. What else could I do? The CFS was fork tender throughout, clearly hand breaded. The meat was a little thin, and was not jus bursting with flavor, but it was pretty good. The gravy was excellent, with pieces of sausage.

The meal came with nice cut green beans, and very good mashers (nothing dehydrated there).

The iced tea was good and kept refilled, and service was excellent. My check was $12.37, and I would gladly go to Shirley’s again.

Lo Sole Mio, Omaha, NE

6 May 2011

Lo Sole Mio Ristorante on Urbanspoon

I was reminded by someone that this was an excellent Italian restaurant. I headed to find it after work this evening. When I got there, I realized I had eaten here before some time ago, and liked it.

I ordered iced tea, it was excellent. The meal came with some bread; it was white rolls, and not bad, but not really good. There was garlic EEVO on the table, and I asked for some balsamic vinegar, and that helped.

I had, for the first time I think, minestrone soup. It was pretty good, I would have it again.

I ordered chicken marsala. The marsala sauce was thick, like gravy, and it was very good. The meal came with some very good sweet carrots. It also had a choice of either angel hair pasta tossed in EEVO, or oven roasted potatoes. I got both. While they were good, I think that next time I would get some fettuccine alfredo (if I didn’t get that as a main course). There was a lot of food; I ate all of the chicken and about 90% of the potatoes and noodles.

I got there around 1820, and left around 1940. My check was $26.04; a little expensive, but very good every once in a while. Service was outstanding.

The name, by the way, translates to “The Sun Mine”, or I guess “My Sunny Place”.

Spezia, Omaha, NE

7 April 2011

Spezia on Urbanspoon

I had Raegan and the kids to this restaurant a couple years ago; we were staying at the Homewood Suites that used to be the hotel next door (it’s something else now). Tonight, I went there with four other work friends. Overall, not a bad experience.

We got there around 1740, and left around 1920. Service was pretty good. Stan ordered an Italian Sausage & Roasted Pepper, which was sort of like a rectangular pizza, but without sauce. It was really good.

I ordered Chicken Broccoli Fettuccine Alfredo. It was not the best I have had, but it was good. The broccoli needed a little more cooking. The chicken was a breast grilled and dropped on top of the fettuccine; it should have been cubed or diced and sauteed and mixed in. The alfredo was good, but not terribly rich, and it was thin.

So the meal was not bad, but it was not nearly ideal. My check was $19.63. It was a lot of food, and from that aspect it was value, but it was not overly flavorsome. The iced tea was good.

I would go back again if someone suggested it.

Ozark Smoked Meat Co, Omaha, NE

6 April 2011

Ozark Smoke Meat Co on Urbanspoon

I had dinner here this evening with six work friends. We got there around 1720, and left around 1900 after a good dinner and a good conversation. There was one other table occupied while we were there.

What I wanted was a two meat dinner with brisket and chicken. They didn’t have that, but they had a dinner for two (BTW, it’s not on the online menu if you look at their website) for about $21.00. It has three meats, and four sides. Eddie and I got that; the meats were brisket, spare ribs, and a chicken breast. It was darn good! The ribs were not the meatiest I have had, but they had good smoky flavor and were tender. The brisket was pretty good also, and tender. The chicken was good as I started eating it, but it was a bit dry towards the middle. Overall, a really good meal.

They didn’t have any iced tea. I got DP instead, it was OK.

I would gladly go back again, this was good BBQ.

Brewburgers, Omaha, NE

5 April 2011

Brewburgers on Urbanspoon

Ate here for lunch today with some work friends. We got there around 1205 and left at 1250.

I got an iced tea and an Old Fashioned. The Old Fashioned is brisket that is roasted in brine. It certainly is salty. There was almost no flavor to the beef. It was tender enough, but just had no flavor, just salt taste. It came with mustard on rye bread. I only ate half of it. I chili cheese fries with it; they were OK, and there were a LOT of them! The tea was good.

Service was OK. My check was $12.44. I will not go out of my way to eat here again.

Farmhouse Cafe, Omaha, NE

4 December 2010

Farm House Cafe on Urbanspoon

After work last night, I needed to find a place to eat, so I fired up Google Maps on my Blackberry and searched for “cafe”. Farmhouse popped up as #3 on the list, and I liked the reviews, so I headed over there.

I got there around 1800. The place was only about 20% full, and I was seated immediately.

I looked at the menu, it is full of comfort food. I ordered a cup of chili, and the three-piece chicken, all white, with iced tea to drink.

The chili showed immediately. It was OK, but only OK. It was probably 20% big chunks of tomato. There were also tons of beans and unidentifiable stuff. There was little meat. There was no heat (spice) to it at all. The flavor was OK.

The chicken arrived while I was still eating the chili, very quickly. The usual “all white” order would be a breast, thigh, and wing, but this was three large breasts. I barely got all that chicken down. It was pretty good. I think that it was baked instead of fried, since the skin wasn’t very crispy. The chicken was fairly moist and not dried out, and had good flavor.

The chicken came with mashers and green beans. Kind of unusual – the mashers were dumped on top of the green beans, then gravy was dumped on top of the mashers. Bad aim on the part of whoever assembled the plate? I dug out all of the green beans and ate them (not bad), and ate most of the mashers (couldn’t get them all, too much chicken).

I had asked for some extra gravy up front. The gravy was… odd. It had a definite taste of cream. I couldn’t taste any flour or grease or anything like that. I think it was a plain roux. Now that I think about it, this “gravy” reminds me quite a bit of the cream sauce that Raegan makes when we have red-skinned potatoes.

The meal came with a muffin; I wanted blueberry, but got cranberry. My server went and got a blueberry, and let me keep the cranberry. I had a nibble off of each, pretty good. They will become breakfast.

I left around 1900. The meal was OK. The service was also. The tea was good. The bakery stuff there looked really good. My check was $19.04.

The Chatty Squirrel Cafe and Bakery, Omaha, NE

27 July 2010

The Chatty Squirrel Cafe & Bakery on Urbanspoon

We were cruising along Center Street in west Omaha last Saturday afternoon looking for someplace to eat. When we drove past the Chatty Squirrel, we said with a name like that, we just had to try it.

It turns out that the Squirrel had been open in this location since Monday! They had been on Giles in Papillion and had move here for more business.

The Chatty Squirrel has a pretty healthy menu. It is largely sandwiches and soup.

Raegan and I got turkey sandwiches on wheat. It was good, except that the sandwich was served on a roll instead of wheat bread. Good turkey, though. We also got some mushroom and potato soup, it was good.

Erin and Ian got grilled cheese sandwiches. Ian also got a smoothie that he really liked.

Raegan and I got iced tea. It was a little weak, but not bad.

The adult meals come with a sweet. Raegan got a butterscotch brownie, and I got a cake brownie. Both were really good!

So overall, the food was good, if a smaller serving size than you get at most places. That, of course, is not a bad thing on several levels.

So I can recommend the Chatty Squirrel. It’s family owned and operated. The staff is friendly. The cost is reasonable (our check was $31.51). There were three tables out of about ten occupied when we got there around 1230, and five out of ten when we left about 45 min later.

E-4B 35th Anniversary Celebration

25 July 2010

I just got back from a dinner and social event celebrating 35 years of the E-4 aircraft (A and B models) performing the National Emergency Airborne Command Post (NEACP) and National Airborne Operations Center (NAOC) missions. The mission actually goes all the way back to 1962, when it was performed by EC-135 aircraft.

The celebration was organized by the Nightwatch Association, which I shall be joining soon. The main activities for this event are the dinner and social, and tours of the aircraft for family. I brought Raegan and the kids all the way to Omaha specifically for the tour. They have not been on the aircraft since the 25th, and so I’m looking forward to them being able see the the changes in the aircraft since then.

The dinner and social were outstanding. These were held at the Embassy Suites in La Vista (a suburb of Omaha), and the food and service were really good. Even better was the social. I saw people that I have not seen in 20 years, and met a couple people that I had indirect interactions with as far back as 1986. The speaker (who kept it short), was an EC-135 battlestaff member in Eur and helped define the E-4 aircraft, and he did a good job as well.

I’ve been working with the E-4B since 1984 (26+ years), I’m proud of what I have been able to contribute, and it’s easy to get a big head from that. But being able to talk to, and hear the stories of, the (mostly) men and women that sat the alerts that were 24/7 for weeks at a time, for the rest of us as Americans, really puts contribution into perspective.

So the tour tomorrow is the last of the events, and I hope to be still working to support the E-4B for the 45th anniversary.

30 July 2010 update:

The tour was a lot of fun for the family to see the airplane that takes me away so many times. We had one of the 1ACCS ROs as a tour guide, and she and I had the usual banter about while was more important, radio or data (it’s DATA, of course!).

Aksarben Aquarium, Omaha, NE

25 July 2010

This is a neat exhibit in the Omaha area. It’s in Schramm State Park, about 20 miles from downtown Omaha. The last time we were there was about three years ago. We went this afternoon simply because we had an hour of free time, and we were on the west side of Omaha. It’s about a 10-min drive from our hotel at Giles and I-80.

The admission is $1 for adults and $0.50 for kids. You can’t beat that! The Aquarium is in a circular building. It is all Nebraska-native fish. There are frogs and salamanders also. They have some HUGE bullfrogs in the outer area.

I like aquariums, and I like those that have central-US fish best. Bass, crappie, bluegill, all very nice. This aquarium has them all.

Another part is the bird watching area. When we were there a couple bluebirds were in the area, along with the usual assortment of robins and such. A couple pair of binoculars are provided as well.

Finally, they have a large exhibit of Nebraska animals, or rather, parts of them. There are a lot of mounted animals like bobcats, deer, and the like. They also have a bunch of different furs, skunk, mink, beaver, coyote, etc. It’s nice to feel the differences in the fur and hair.

Lastly, the state park as a number of hiking trails. The kids and I walked most of them when we were here the last time. I seem to think that it is a $2 fee for this, but I may be off (I know there is a fee, though). If I can find them, I will post the photos from that adventure.

So kudos to the Nebraska Parks and Recreation people. They have a winner of a nice park here, lots of trees, and the aquarium and nature center is really, really nice.

Brother Sebastion’s, Omaha, NE

23 April 2010

Brother Sebastian's Steak House on Urbanspoon

I ate at this place maybe 10 years or more ago. I think I was not impressed one way or the other.

We got here with a group of co-workers around 2000. The place was largely empty.

I ordered some fried mushrooms for the table. The breading was kind of thick and tasteless, while the shrooms were OK.

I ordered a T-Bone. Overall, it was good. The beef had good flavor, and was cooked medium like I asked. The strip side was not as tender as it could have been, borderline chewy in a number of places. The filet side was very good, tender and flavorful.

The meal came with two sides. I chose a double order of pasta, which was fettucine alfredo. It was not good. The noodles were decent enough, but the alfredo was not good at all. It has some odd taste, almost like seafood, and I did not like it.

The meal came with a salad bar that was kind of small, but what was there was good. The ranch dressing was excellent.

The iced tea was good and kept refilled.

We left about 2200. My check was $57.75, which included an $8.85 (~15%) forced tip. My views on these are already discussed, so I will likely not be back to this place ever again. The server would have had a bigger tip from me if it were not for the extorted tip.

Lansky’s, Bellevue, NE

8 April 2010

Lansky's Pizza Pasta Philly on Urbanspoon

This place is just off NE 370 in Bellevue. I’ve eaten here a couple times over the past couple years. I suggested it to a group of work friends this evening, mainly because it is close to the hotel a number of us were staying in.

We got there around 1915, and the place was mostly empty.

I had tea (good) and Alfredo Chicken. The tea (and salad bar) are self serve. The chicken alfredo was good. The alfredo had a certain taste to it, the same taste as the alfredo as Johnny Corrino’s serves. It’s not bad, it’s just different. The meal was noodle-heavy, but had enough alfredo and chicken to make it a good meal.

In the past, I have had pepperoni pizza and cheesesteak. They were good.

We left around 2100. The place was actually a bit more full than when we arrived. My check was $10.14.

Petrow’s Restaurant, Omaha, NE

13 February 2010

Petrow's Restaurant on Urbanspoon

I saw an ad on one of the local Omaha stations for this place, and it kicked off a vague memory of someone recommending the place to me a couple years ago. So Friday afternoon when work was finsihed, and I was headed to the airport, I decided to give it a try. I got there around 1325.

I was seated immediately, but it was a couple minutes before I was noticed. The place was about 1/3 full. Service was great once I was noticed.

They bill themselves as an old fashioned soda fountain. There is one good way to test this – I ordered a vanilla milkshake. It was a lot of milkshake for $3.29. A big glass, with another half of the glass in the milkshake maker that came with it. Perfect consistency, not too thick, and a spoon was the best way to eat it.

I ordered a chili cheeseburger. It was a 1/3 lb burger. The meat was really good. The burger was served sort of open faced, so I ate it with a fork. The chili was a sort of Cincinnati style, with a lot of pinto beans and some kidney beans, and some chunks of green peppers in it. Not bad, buy not my favorite, it still was good on the cheeseburger. You have a choice of all fries, or all onion rings, or a combination. I got rings. They were excellent! Prefect breading, the onions were cooked all the way through, and just a bit sweet. I might get a full order of them next time I’m there.

I also got tea. It was good, and got refilled constantly.

Petrow’s has wifi. They turn it off 1100 – 1400 and during dinner hour. It came right up at 1400 (I was scanning with my BlackBerry).

My check was $13.24, not unreasonable considering the amount of food I got. The place was still about 1/3 full when I left around 1410. I wouldn’t mind going here again – the CFS is supposedly made right there on-site, and that has to be checked out.

Yet Some More Cool Things From The Air

13 February 2010

On my most recent trip to Omaha, there were a couple neat things I saw.

Omaha is on the Missouri River. The Missouri flows in a very well-defined flood plain along a lot of the Nebraska-Iowa border. The snow really helps bring out the terrain differences.

This shot has Nebraska City in the center of the picture; the Omaha Public Power District (OPPD) (another shot related to this plant farther down) coal-fired power plant is making steam. The flood plain is at roughly 920 ft (above mean sea level); the higher ground in Iowa is up to about 1200 ft, and the higher ground on the Nebraska side is about 1000 ft.

Not much to see in Omaha, but on the way home…

As we left Eppley (OMA), we left to the NW, and looped around over west Omaha. There was a broken layer of low stratus across the region almost all the way down to the NE-KS border. I was on the left side, and say a really cool thing. The MidAmerican coal-fired power plant is right across the Missouri River from Omaha. It’s plume was punching through the low cloud layer.

A little farther south, the OPPD plant at Nebraska City was doing the same thng.

Farther south, we flew west of El Dorado Lake in KS. I thought it was pretty cool how the arms of the lake had frozen over.

On this trip, we ended up flying much farther east than usual. At this point, we are usually west of I-35, but since we were east of I-35 we saw several cities we don’t usually get to.

This is Winfield, KS.

And this is Arkansas City, KS.

This is one of the weirdest shaped lakes in Oklahoma, Kaw Lake. I have never been to this lake, but it’s on the list.

And a bit farther on, Ponca City, OK.

The dam at the upper left is for Kaw Lake. Ponca clearly does a lot of oil-related business.

Next, we flew near my home for six years, and where I later met my very cute roommate, Stillwater, OK.

As we flew over eastern Oklahoma County, it occurred to me that we might be near Girl Scout Camp Cookieland, where our Girl Scout troop has camped several times, and Erin attended Summer Camp. I remembered it was along 29th and east of Peebly Road, so I started shooting pictures along what I thought was Peebly. Turns out I just got Cookieland in the first frame.

Finally, as we broke through the clouds on approach to DFW, the snow from the storm the day before was amazing. My seatmate made the observation that it looked like we were landing back at Omaha.

That’s it!

Johnny’s Cafe, Omaha, NE

12 February 2010

Johnny's Cafe on Urbanspoon

I have eaten at Johnny’s a number of times over the years. The last time was more than ten years ago, the night of the Lap Steak Incident. About which no more needs to be said.

Tonight I wanted to get steak. I had driven past Johnny’s on my last trip to Omaha a couple weeks ago around 2000, and it smelled really good, so I made a mental note to try it again soon. This evening we got out of meetings at a decent time so I headed that way. I got there around 1745. There were only a couple other tables occupied.

Johnny’s is one of the Omaha area restaurants that have been around forever; I think it’s been kept up better than some of the others.

I got a T-Bone. This thing was huge, 22+ ozs. The tenderloin part was a perfect medium, and was fork tender. Lots of flavor, it was good eating, and almost a meal in itself. The strip side was just a hair on the medium rare side, and not quite as tender. It also had some gristle in the meat, which was easy to cut out. I left that bone denuded of meat.

They have seven kinds of potato to go with the meal. I got potato au gratin. It was OK. There was real cheddar in with the potato. The only gripe was that the potato was not terribly hot.

So that’s a very basic meal. Meat, cheese, potato.

The meal also came with a salad, just lettuce, some grated carrot, half a cherry tomato, and a pepper (I fished the last two out). I got ranch dressing. It was not bad, but was unique in that it was very thick. You also got a couple rolls, they would have been nice warmed up.

I decided to get dessert since I skipped lunch. I got a Choco Cobbler, which is a warm brownie with a scoop of ice cream, drizzled with chocolate. It was excellent.

The tea was good. The only problem is that it is served in tiny glasses. I might bring my own tankard next time.

Service was perfect, the tiny tea glass never ran out. The steak got to me before I was done with the salad, but it sat and finished cooking while I finished the salad. I was given a mushroom reduction with the steak, but only dipped a couple pieces in it; the meat didn’t need the sauce. It was real mushroom, a lot of rich, earthly mushroom flavor in it.

I left around 1840. My check was $33.92. I think that the huge steak was a good value. I will not wait ten more years to eat at Johnny’s again.

Piccolo’s, Omaha, NE

10 January 2010

Piccolo Pete's Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Somebody in Omaha told me about this place a couple years ago, and I have eaten there several times since then. It’s a kind of boundary between the industrial area south of downtown Omaha, and the residential area that starts from there.

Piccolo’s is named Piccolo Pete’s on their website, and also on their Google Maps listing, but the sign out front is just “Piccolo’s”.

Piccolo’s is in a class of restaurants in Omaha that have a very “old” feeling to them. This includes places like Anthony’s , Casio’s, and Johnny’s.

Last Thursday, after a successful day of meetings, I decided to have a steak and headed to Piccolo’s. I had a bit of a hard time getting there, as Omaha had a ton of snow and some ice on the roads, and the area that Piccolo’s is in is quite hilly. I got there around 1745 and was seated immeidiately; there were only three other tables with people.

They had a 16 oz T-Bone on special, so that’s what I got. Now, I got a T-Bone at Piccolo’s about a year ago that I think was the single finest T-Bone I had ever had. That steak was fork tender all the way, and a perfect medium. This steak was about 95% of that that perfect steak – it had just a bit of char on the tip, I scarfed that steak down and left a very much denuded bone. The steak was perfectly cooked and well marbled, and was just full of beef flavor. It was just great.

The meal comes with a potato. I usually get hash browns, but in this case, I got a second serving of the spaghetti. You also get to start with soup (beef vegitable) and a salad. I skipped the salad, but the soup was just right given that I had just walked in from 0F temps. It was thick and hot, the soup was about as thick as gravy, and it had big pieces of roast and veggies. I got a bowl of cottage cheese instead of the salad.

I got a scoop of vanilla ice cream for dessert.

When I left, there were about seven occupied tables. My check was $22.95. Service was excellent.

I have had steak several times at Piccolo’s. I have also had the beef stroganoff; it was really, really good. The other thing I have had is the fried chicken, also excellent.

Grandmothers, Ralston/Omaha, NE

23 October 2009

Grandmother's Restaurant on Urbanspoon

I was really looking for some comfort food this evening. The hotel had some less-than-appetizing lasagna, so I decided to find someplace else to eat. I fired up Google Maps, centered it on Omaha, and started looking…

I chose Grandmothers. It’s in Ralston, a small town adjacent to Omaha, just east of 84th on L. I got there and was immediately seated.

The place was really, really good. My server said she liked the chicken fried steak best, so I got it. I was not terribly hungry, so the size of the CFS was a pleasant surprise. It was probably about 7″x3″. It was absolutely fork tender, and tasty. The gravy was clearly not out of a carton, you could taste the flour. It had a good consistency.

The meal came wth mashed potatoes and corn. The potatoes were covered in the same gravy, and were clearly mashed right there on site, since they had a couple lumps in them (this is not a bad thing!). The corn had been soaked in just a bit of melted butter, and were great!

I usually don’t get dessert, but I did this time. A warm brownie, with a scoop of ice cream, with some whipped cream and a drizzle of hot fudge. It was really good.

The iced tea was perfect. The service was also just what I wanted. I was left alone to work my USA Today puzzle section. My check was $15.16. A big part of that was the dessert, which probably could be eaten by two or three normal people (that’s people with a normal appetite, not MINE).

The place had large windows to the north side, which would have had a very nice view of part of Omaha if it hadn’t been dark and pouring rain.

I liked this place. It’s kind of out of the way from the parts of the Omaha metro area I usually hang out in, but it’s worth a drive.

The Honey Baked Ham Company, Omaha

29 July 2009

While finishing up our visit to Omaha last week, we went by The Tea Smith so my very cute and tea-snarfing roommate could check out some odious brew she read about somewhere. I read the newspaper.

I like tea, both iced and various blacks and such hot, in the English style with milk and a bit of sugar. I’m just not into some of the greens, or the rotted (I mean fermented) teas.

Anyway, it was after noon and we were hungry, so we went across the street to The Honeybaked Ham Company. Ham is good.

I got a Roast Turkey sandwich (ham is good, but so is turkey) and a cup of Ham and Bean soup. Raegan for a Cobb Salad, Erin got a ham and cheese, and Ian got a Prime Roast Beef Sandwich.

All of this was pretty good. The soup I got was really good. Ian frowned mightily at his, but ate most of it (they did not have cheeseburgers). The iced tea was good also.

Our check for the four of us was $30.

Don and Millies, Omaha, NE

23 July 2009

Don & Millie's Restaurant on Urbanspoon

There are a couple of these restaurants in the Omaha area. We ate at the Harrison and 132nd location today for lunch. There is another one on Cornhusker just west of US 75 in Bellevue.

This place claims to have the best cheeseburger in America. I got a Double Don, and while I can’t say it’s the best in America, it’s pretty darn good, and I would gladly get another one. Raegan and I split an order of onion rings, and they were excellent. Onion rings don’t need to be huge – they don’t cook well, and the breading gets all screwed up. These were smallish, and cooked perfectly. I got a cup of chili with the meal, and it was really good. A bit of beans in it, but not too many, and perfect for spiciness.

Raegan and Erin got loaded baked potatoes and liked them. Ian got a standard cheeseburger and wolfed it down.

Erin got some cheese freenchies, which we thought looked kind of like a deep-fried grilled cheese. She didn’t like it very much.

We also each got a very good chocolate chip cookie.

The iced tea was excellent. One note – they do not take AmEx. We were OK since we had both cash and MasterCard.

Julio’s, Omaha, NE

23 July 2009

Julio's on Urbanspoon

We picked this place more or less at random for dinner tonight. Used my Blackberry and Google Maps to search for “restaurant”.

This place was really good. We all walked out with food left over (very rare, especially for me). I am used to restaurants having two enchiladas; I usually get one beef and on chicken. The server noted that there was just one per order, but then noted that “they are pretty good sized”. For the record, she was not wrong. My beef enchilada was almost two inches in diameter and stuffed with very tasty ground beef. The cheese and stuff was on the OUTSIDE.

My very cute and Tex-Mex loving roommate got a chicken enchilada that tasted even better than my ground beef selection.

Erin got beef and cheese quesadillas in the kids size, and liked them. Ian got fajitas, mixed chicken and beef. I had some of each, and while Ian didn’t like them (“they tasted funny”, which translates to different than what I’m used to), I thought they were outstanding. They had some subtle taste that was really good, on top of and enhancing the meat taste.

I also got a cup of white chicken chili that was very flavorful, and had just enough bite for you to notice. The chips were interesting, a mix of traditional chips and tortilla that was cut up and lightly deep fried. The salsa was very good, I thought it was mild+, but Raegan and the kids thought it was more medium+ in spiciness.

The iced tea was really good. Our check for four came to $43.

Kracky McGees, Omaha, Eppley Airport (OMA)

25 June 2009

Kracky Mcgees on Urbanspoon

This will be short.

I have twice eaten at this eatery while waiting for a flight out of OMA. It’s behind the security checkpoint for the airport terminal.

I have ordered the BBQ pork sandwich twice. For an airport restaurant, it’s not bad. I also had chili-cheese fries. They have decent iced tea. The check was $13.03.

The service was pretty fast. The place is open air so you can people watch if you want. You could do worse than eat here while waiting for a flight to depart.

Update 29 April 2012:

I’ve had breakfast at KMs twice in the past couple weeks. Once I got the sausage and egg breakfast burrito. It was much better than my expectations. The eggs were scrambled there (not re-constituted) and the sausage was re-purposed pizza sausage.

I also have had the bacon, egg, and cheese biscuit. Decent, especially when I was in a hurry and the flight departure was close.

They have milk (good and cold!), and decent iced tea. You could do far worse.