The $10 Challenge: Addis Bar and Grill

My favorite meal at Addis Bar and Grill. It tastes better than it looks, I promise.
My favorite meal at Addis Bar and Grill. It tastes better than it looks, I promise.

I’ve embraced the “if not now, when?” motto in 2013. But all this change calls for some things to stay the same. I guess that’s why I refuse to order something new from Addis Bar and Grill.

Maybe the sweet sting of curry I smell when I enter the restaurant puts me into a trance. Maybe the wealth of options makes me panic and I choose something familiar and safe. Or maybe I’ve just found one dish at one restaurant that makes me happy enough to never branch out.

Addis Grill is an Ethiopian and Mediterranean restaurant on Fourth Street about a half a block south of Main Street in downtown Louisville. If provoked, I could probably give exact latitude and longitude coordinates — my day job is within spitting distance to Addis. Yet, it took me more than a year to stop in and try this eatery that is tucked away in the shadows behind concrete pillars. I ignored Addis as I walked several times a week to the more bustling food corridors of downtown Louisville for lunch.

One day, I got sick of the usual line-up of sandwiches, salads, and Mexican-inspired fare that I usually turned for a midday meal. A co-worker recommended Addis, a more international option than my usual standbys that was less than a five-minute walk from the office.

Addis serves up a broad menu that provides the chance to sample basic Mediterranean dishes. Appetizers, such as baba ghannouj ($4.75), creamy hummus ($4.75) and stuffed grape leaves ($4.99), are inexpensive enough to allow the more hesitant diner to try something new without spending too much money. The variety of dishes are wonderful for pleasing a group of hungry colleagues with diverse tastes, such as a selection of kabobs for meat-eaters ($7.95 to $12.95 depending on the meat) or vegetarian dishes such as the mujaddarah ($6.95).

All this sounded fine and dandy until my eyes settled on the Ethiopian Vegetarian, a lunch platter for only $7.95 that includes the following:

  • Misir Wot: Split lentil stew simmered in berbere (Ethiopian pepper)
  • Kik Alicha: Split peas stew in spiced turmeric flavored sauce
  • Misir Alicha: Whole lentil with onion and garlic jalapeno
  • Gomen Wot: Collard green with onion and garlic and spices
  • Atkilt Wot: Cabbage with carrot, onion and garlic in turmeric
  • Fasolia: Fresh string beans with carrots, onion and garlic

 

It was love at first sight. Variety? Check. Lots of vegetables, so it’s probably somewhat healthy? Check. Only $7.95? I couldn’t order fast enough.

The meal lost some of its visual luster when the employees stuffed everything in a Styrofoam container. Don’t be turned off by appearances — looks aren’t everything. Just let the spicy fragrance transport your mind to another world.

A full, un-Instagrammed view of the Ethiopian Vegetarian.
A full, un-Instagrammed view of the Ethiopian Vegetarian.

The Ethiopian Vegetarian is served over injera, a spongy, slightly bitter flatbread. Injera is very porous, so all the flavors from the thick stews on top seep into the bread. Injera is like an edible plate, and who doesn’t like dinnerware they can eat?

Though the stews are rubbing elbows with one another, each has a distinct flavor and texture. My favorite selection is the misir wot, a fragrant, rich lentil stew with a warm, spicy flavor. I also love the firmness of the cabbage, string beans and collard greens, a nice change from the more mushy texture of the lentils and split peas.

I’ve been to Addis three times in the past month. I have only ordered the Ethiopian Vegetarian. I’m sure the rest of the menu is just as delightful, but this spicy selection made a big enough impression that I don’t want to venture out.

Notes on Addis

  • My co-workers love the chicken curry that is served with rice, hummus and pita and only $8.49. One day, I’ll try it.
  • Visit Addis for lunch when the prices are a little cheaper than at dinner, but make sure to arrive before noon or you could face a line.

The Stats

Addis Bar and Grill, 109 S. Fourth Street, Louisville, Ky.

  • Ethiopian Vegetarian: $7.95
  • Total (with tax): $8.43

Mission: Accomplished

What’s your favorite neighborhood grocery store?

Local Louisville grocery stores are having their moment.

Insider Louisville profiled Sean Reynolds, an entrepreneur who plans to open Reynolds Grocery Store in Clifton next month. The store, which will be located at 1813 Frankfort Avenue, will be “closer to an indoor farmers’ market/Paul’s Fruit Market model than a full grocery.”

Reynolds will join a growing line-up of grocery stores that offer regional food at reasonable prices. Here are some of my favorites and what I turn to them for:

  • The Root Cellar. This relatively new store has two locations in Old Louisville and Germantown, and is $1,000 away from creating a Root Mobile to deliver produce to food deserts in South and West Louisville. Great for seasonal produce, farm-raised meat, dairy and eggs.
  • Paul’s Fruit Market. The Paul’s location around my way hits its peak between 5 and 6 p.m. That’s when office drones like me run in for last-minute ingredients to complete weeknight meals. Paul’s has a little bit of everything in its selection, from cheese and crackers to pasta and pesto. Great for fruit baskets, fresh orange juice, deli meat.
  • Frank’s Meat & Produce. If your parents where raised in Louisville, ask them about Frank’s. More than likely, they made frequent stops to this grocery store on Preston Highway. I don’t know what’s better at Frank’s — the hot lunches that never break $10 or the butcher’s counter with its steady supply of fresh meat. Great for meat, lunches, hard-to-find snacks.

What is your favorite neighborhood grocery store in or around Louisville?

The Root Mobile: The latest Louisville Kickstarter project worth your donation

 

The owner of The Root Cellar has worked hard to bring farm-fresh, local food to Louisville, and now he wants to take his market to the streets.

Ron Smith, founder of The Root Cellar food markets, has started a Kickstarter campaign to raise $10,000 for the creation of The Root Mobile. Ron’s goal is “to transform an old bus into a mobile market bringing our farm fresh food to the people who have the least access to it.”

The Root Cellar is located in two brick-and-mortar locations — the original store at Third and Hill streets in Old Louisville and the corner of Kentucky and Swan streets in Germantown. So why put produce on wheels? Here are some of Ron’s objectives:

• increase the access to local foods in our community by taking The Root Mobile to neighborhoods called food deserts

• raise awareness for the need to change the paradigm of food delivery

• create a new business opportunity for The Root Cellar

• provide input into those areas of the South/West Ends of Louisville that would best support a permanent location for a third store

I regularly shopped at The Root Cellar when it first opened in 2011 and I lived right around the corner. Ron is not only one of the nicest people I’ve ever met, but he really cares about the community and the ability to access local food. I’m happy to see that he has taken on this project, and I happily pledged my support on Kickstarter.

As of Thursday night, The Root Mobile has raised $4,833 toward the big $10,000 goal. The project needs to raise the money by April 29 to be funded. If you’re interested in contributing to The Root Mobile, visit the Kickstarter page here

Tardy to the ramen noodle party

Image
Chicken ramen with bok choy.

Brace yourself for a surprising confession.

I ate ramen noodles for the first time two weeks ago.

It seems criminal that it took me nearly three decades to eat this budget-friendly dish. The only time I was close to ramen as a child was when my mom only fixed ramen for my dad, who slurped up the noodles with baked chicken legs. It seemed like a “grown-up food,” so I stuck with my spaghetti. Then I went to college, where the halls of my all-girls dorm were thick with the smell of spice, salt and chicken, the hallmarks of a bowl of ramen. The smell was so pervasive that it dissuaded me from ever bringing those noodles into my life, budget be damned.

As with most of my food awakenings, Rob is the one who opened my eyes to the possibilities behind the red and yellow square packages. He grew up eating ramen noodles because “they were cheap, they were good and they were easy to make.” A couple of weeks ago, he came in with a Kroger bag full of ramen packages. I’m pretty sure his eyes twinkled.

It was time to give these noodles a whirl. He expertly boiled water and dropped the brick of wavy noodles into the pot. After pouring away most of the water, he sprinkled a chicken flavor packet into the now-flaccid noodles while simultaneously tossing them with a fork to ensure even flavor distribution. It was like watching Iron Chef. And the secret ingredient is … RAMEN.

I steamed some leftover bok choy to accompany the ramen (you know, to make it healthy) and helped myself to a bowl. My mind was blown. The ramen was so salty and spicy that I’m pretty sure I met my sodium intake for the day. The bok choy added some crunch to this tender noodle dish. My mind raced with all the vegetable additions I could make in the future.

Days after my awakening, a six-pack of chicken-flavored ramen sits patiently in the cabinet. But I won’t let almost 30 years pass before I eat ramen again.

[Review] Middle-class dreams of healthy eating come true with Green BEAN Delivery

My bounty from Green BEAN Delivery.

(Blogger’s note: For one week, Green BEAN Delivery is offering Ashlee Eats readers 50 percent off the price of a produce bin for new and reactivating customers. Just type in ACLapc in the promo code area. The deal doesn’t include grocery add-ins.)

I keep my life goals realistic. So realistic, in fact, that I don’t even call them “goals.”

I have “Middle-Class Dreams.”

My top Middle-Class Dream? To be the weekly recipient of a CSA bin.

Community Supported Agriculture, aka CSA, is a way to buy local, seasonal and/or organic food directly from your friendly neighborhood farmer. Here are the basics of the idea, courtesy of localharvest.org:

A farmer offers a certain number of “shares” to the public. Typically the share consists of a box of vegetables, but other farm products may be included. Interested consumers purchase a share (aka a “membership” or a “subscription”) and in return receive a box (bag, basket) of seasonal produce each week throughout the farming season.

Sounds nice, right? But the price point of the CSAs I have come in contact with have kept me from signing up. So I was thrilled when Green BEAN Delivery contacted me to review their program because of my appreciation of CSA and similar programs and my love of free stuff.

Green BEAN (not a CSA, buy similar) serves Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio participants with bins of (mostly) organic produce, much of which is from local farms, and natural food. It’s easy to get started with the program. You pick which size bin you would like to receive (ranging from a $35 small bin to a $49 large bin) and the frequency you would like to receive your bin. You can also select certain natural food brands to add to your bin.

For my review, I signed up for the small produce bin that the Green BEAN website said is “perfect for 2-3 people.” The picture at the top of the page is everything that came in the bin, and here’s the list:

  • 2 heads of broccoli
  • 1 bunch of carrots
  • 1 red onion
  • 24 oz. klamath pearl potatoes
  • 1 lb. green beans (the only non-organic item)
  • 4 bosc pears
  • 4 gala apples
  • 3 navel oranges
  • 3 tangerines
  • 1 head of bibb lettuce

The produce comes in an insulated bin complete with a cold pack, so everything arrived looking fresh out of the farmer’s market. Just opening the lid was like walking down the first aisle of the supermarket.

As soon as I washed and stored all the food, I peeled right into one of the deep-orange tangerines. It was juicy and tangy, a nice preview for the rest of the produce I would eat.

I spent the next week experimenting with all fresh food that packed the shelves of my fridge. Much like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get in the CSA bin each week, so a little research and flexibility are key.

After a call to my mom, I threw the green beans in a slow cooker with some bacon, onion, salt and pepper for a delicious side dish:

I also referred to my favorite cookbook and a recent issue of Better Homes and Gardens to create this dish of herb-roasted root vegetables that used the potatoes, carrots, red onion and a few sweet potatoes already in my house:

My husband and I ate the rest of the items in the bin straight out of the refrigerator in salads or just by themselves. Each piece of fruit or hunk of vegetable tasted better than the previous. Everything was fresh and fragrant, crisp and cool. Not a brown spot in the bunch.

The small bin is a great size for an adult couple and could last two weeks if you supplement your produce with other groceries. I also ate more fruits and vegetables during my time with the bin because I couldn’t escape all of the produce in my face.

The small $35 bin received on a bi-weekly basis is an expense I’m willing to work into my family’s grocery budget in exchange for healthier, fresher, more seasonal eating. There is enough variety and surprise in your selection to keep things interesting. I could easily seeing myself getting the majority of my produce from Green BEAN and The Root Cellar, another excellent resource for local, seasonal food.

The only thing left of my Green BEAN bin is the broccoli, and I don’t want my glimpse at achieving a Middle-Class Dream fade to black.

 

Bits and pieces: Michelle Obama, Quiznos death watch and other food news from the web, 7.25.11

  • “Our standard supermarket banana, a variety called Cavendish, may be at the brink of disaster.” That is definitely going to mess up my breakfast. (The Scientist)
  • First Lady Michelle Obama is trying to bring more fruits and vegetables to “food deserts” and is working with some big retailers to do so. (NPR)
  • And speaking of healthful living, should the government put a tax on junk food and subsidize produce to get Americans healthy? Food writer Mark Bittman argues that this idea is worth exploring. (New York Times)
  • Looks like business isn’t booming at Quiznos, a sandwich chain with a whole lot of debt. (Gawker)
  • Brooklyn restaurant Do or Dine serves foie gras doughnuts, and people are pissed about it. It just sounds kind of gross to me. (Gawker)

The $10 Challenge: Papalinos NY Pizzeria

A big ol' slice of Papalinos.

(Blogger’s note: No one guessed this location. Let’s try again this week.)

I received a firm affirmation that Rob is The One when we stopped in Papalinos NY Pizzeria for a quick dinner.

I wolfed down a slice of pizza with the speed and vigor of a teenage boy while my better half shook his head and stared in amazement instead of fleeing down Baxter Avenue.

I had eaten at Papalinos once before with a group of girlfriends before Catholic trivia night (we party hard, y’all). This was a situation in which the company overshadowed the food, and I was more focused on giggling with the girls than taking note of the nuances of pizza. So I decided to return to Papalinos with my normal partner-in-food, who is willing to forgo dinner conversation so I could stuff my face and take notes about it.

A rotating and sometimes surprising list of toppings and straight-from-the-oven freshness have made Papalinos, a relative newcomer to the Louisville pizza scene, a place that is worth going to more than once.

At a glance, Papalinos doesn’t seem so different from other places serving up New York-style pizza, a genre characterized by gigantic slices served on a paper plate. But Papalinos adds its own touch to this familar category of pizza. The restaurant makes many of its toppings in house, such as Italian sausage, meatballs, cured bacon and roasted red peppers. The crust is crisper than its more malleable counterparts (such as Spinelli’s), which makes folding the slice in half more difficult but holds up well under the weight of hearty toppings.

Papalinos puts most of its energy into its pizza, therefore only offers a few additions to the menu — breadsticks ($5), salads ($6), calzones ($10), canoli ($3) or Italian ice ($2). But with such good pizza, there’s really no need to dress up the menu. Stick with what you know, I say.

A slice of pizza begins at a budget-friendly $3. Veggies are an addition 50 cents each, and meat toppings are 75 cents apiece. Papalinos also offers toppings of the day, which can range from sauteed peppers and onions to roasted squash to blackened shrimp. The possibilities of topping combinations can make it difficult to place an order. On both visits to Papalinos, I was the person who let other people cut line while I studied the menu.

For the Challenge, I selected a slice of pizza with roasted red peppers, spinach and green peppers. Because each slice is made to order, I had to wait about 10 minutes for my pizza. It was well worth the wait. The red peppers, which are roasted in-house, were juicy and tangy and were my favorite topping of the three I selected. The spinach and green peppers were tasty, as well. The whole thing was piping hot, which forced me to eat the slice with my mouth half open to let  in some cool air. It wasn’t a pretty scene. Sure, I could have waited for the pizza to cool off, but my belly wasn’t having the wait.

One slice of Papalinos pizza is a very sufficient meal that will leave you with some spare dollars for a beer or fountain drink. And the pizza is good enough to justify gobbling it down in a hurry – even if it is embarassing to loved ones.

Notes about Papalinos:

  • Follow Papalinos on Twitter to find out what the restaurant is offering as the toppings of the day (or TOTD as the pizzeria refers to them).
  • The dining area of this narrow restaurant can get crowded quickly. On a nice day, eat outside so you have a bit more elbow room. Or have a seat at a counter, a great place to people watch on Baxter. But stay close enough so you can hear your order called.
  • The restaurant is open until 5 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and it delivers to you folks in the Highlands (lucky).
  • Papalinos recently introduced a frequent buyer’s card. Present this at the counter, and you get a hole punch for each slice you buy. After five slices, your sixth one is free.

The Facts:

Papalinos NY Pizzeria, 947-949 Baxter Avenue, Louisville, Ky.

One slice of pizza: $3

Red peppers, spinach and green peppers: $1.50 (50 cents each)

Total (with tax): $4.77

Mission: Accomplished (EASILY)

The $10 Challenge: Chop Shop Salads

(Blogger’s note: Buying a car is a witch. I’ve spent the past two weeks scouring the internet, visiting used car lots and haggling like hell after the family mechanic told me that my beloved Mercury Tracer, Judy, was close to death. Today, I emerged from Bob Montgomery Honda [shout out] victorious. I said good bye to Judy and hell0 to Yoda the Toy0ta Corolla.

Not only do I have a new[er] ride, but I will return to my normal blogging schedule that has been severely interrupted during the car-buying process.

Now, on with the food, dear friends.)

The Crunch salad from Chop Shop Salads. Kudos to reader greendrv for guessing the correct dish.


I might not have ever known of Chop Shop Salads if the restaurant hadn’t built a respectable social-media presence.

I’ve seen Chop Shop’s West Market Street location whenever I’m in the downtown Louisville area, but there’s only so much I can learn about a restaurant when I’m passing it at 25 miles per hour.

It wasn’t until I began to follow Chop Shop on Twitter that I became interested in this fast-food salad concept.

I can’t remember how I found Chop Shop on the social networking site (or if they found me), but it was a great discovery nonetheless. Chop Shop harnesses the sheer magnitude of the social media machine and uses it to drum up business (just look at this post — I’m several paragraphs in and I’m too busy talkin’ ’bout Twitter to even mention the food).

The restaurant effectively engages its readers on Twitter by offering discounts on its menu of salads and wraps. During basketball season, for example, they would routinely ask fans to tweet in what team they wanted to win an upcoming game, and winning fans would receive $1 off their order. They also send out tweets encouraging Facebook and Twitter followers to come into Chop Shop, pull up the restaurant’s Facebook or Twitter page, and get a $1 discount on their order.

The former promotion is what brought me to Chop Shop for the first time.

With my iPhone pulled up to display Chop Shop’s Twitter page, I visited the Market Street location during my lunch break.

Chop Shop takes the idea of a salad bar and amps it up to an 11. The menu offers a selection of restaurant-created salad creations that start at $5.49 and increase depending on ingredients. Chop Shop has some interesting combinations, such as the Tijuana Pool Boy with shrimp, feta, corn and black beans ($8.99); the Cowboy Club with grilled steak, bacon, goat cheese and sunflower seeds ($9.29); and the Handsome Rob with steak, chicken, four types of peppers and fried onions ($9.29). There are also more classic salad options such as cobb ($8.99), Greek ($7.99) and Ceasar (begins at $5.49). If you don’t like what the restaurant has put together, you can build your own salad starting at $5.49 with a wide variety of greens, meats, cheeses, protein, fruits and veggies. Need a more portable meal? Any salad can be made into a wrap, which cost less than the salads.

For my lunch, I selected The Crunch salad that includes iceberg lettuce, tequila lime chicken, cheddar, corn, black beans, red onions, tomatoes and tortilla strips ($7.69). Per the recommendation of the menu and the nice guy building my salad, I selected the Green Goddess dressing.

Watching the Chop Shop employee assemble my salad took me back to the first time I ever visited Subway as a kid. I remember the joy of standing on my toes and looking over the glass partition to watch firsthand how my order was made. The same thing happens at Chop Shop, only with more theatrics. Salad Guy (my name, not theirs) dumps the ingredients into a bowl, gives it a toss and gets to chopping with some kind of knife instrument that I’ve only seen in my nightmares. It’s dizzying and more fun than salad building probably should be.

After paying for my food (including my $1 discount), I took my salad back to work to enjoy at my desk. The Crunch was a tasty version of a southwest salad that a lot of restaurants offer. But the Green Goddess dressing really set the whole thing off. It was creamy with a hint of avocado, a good flavor to match with the tang of the tequila lime chicken. The chicken was well flavored, and there was a good portion of pieces spread throughout the dish. I loved the crunchy corn and beans, as well. Next time, I might ask for the dressing on the side when I order to-go, because my lettuce starting getting sogging on the ride from Chop Shop to my office. Salads also come with a sliced tortilla, which was kind of bland, but suitable if you want some carbs with your salad.

Nobody told me that a salad could be that filling. It might seem silly to pay almost $10 for a salad, but Chop Shop loaded mine with lots of toppings. I started got bleary-eyed as I inched toward the bottom of the plastic bowl. So much produce, so little time.

I’m eager to try Chop Shop again, especially with the variety of salads and willingness to offer deals through social media. Take note, restaurants — engage your audience, and more business could come your way.

Notes about Chop Shop Salads:

  • I’ve been reading that Chop Shop is going to bottle and sell some of their dressings. Heck yeah.
  • If you visit the Market Street location, park on Jefferson Street and walk. Don’t expect to park close, especially not during lunch hour.

The Stats:

Chop Shop Salads, 436 West Market Street and 126-D Breckenridge Lane, Louisville, Ky.

  • The Crunch salad: $7.69
  • Total (with tax): $8.15
  • Total (with $1 promotional discount): $7.15

Mission: Accomplished


The $10 Challenge: Happy Buddha

A “B” letter grade is acceptable in most areas of life – except for restaurant health inspection ratings. In the food arena, many a nose will turn up at the sight of a B in the window.

Here’s what will earn a restaurant a B in Jefferson County, Ky., via the health department’s website:

Restaurant has scored 85-92% on its last inspection or it has scored 93% or above, but with at least one correctible critical violation. Such correctible critical violations might include toxic items not properly labeled or stored or restaurant staff eating or drinking while preparing food.

This grade was plastered on the door of Happy Buddha, a fast-food Chinese restaurant in Shively. Though the follow-up score of 98 percent was circled in red on the same sheet, that omnious B looked me in the eye and dared me to disregard instincts to visit a better-performing restaurant.

But I live in a world of second chances, so I continued inside the restaurant, where I found a clean dining room, friendly staff and really cheap food.

Happy Buddha is close to my childhood home, but I never visited this Chinese food restaurant until recently. I blame the dark exterior and static signage that never appealed to a teenager who wanted something more exciting.

Too bad I wasn’t eating there as a teenager, because I could have saved some major dollars. Only one dish, the seafood delight with shrimp, scallops and lobster ($10.95), is above $8. And the dishes on the high end of Happy Buddha’s scale (hot and spicy orange chicken, $7.65, and the shrimp dishes, $6.75-7.55) include fried rice and hot tea, so you’re getting lots of food for just a few bucks.

The menu doesn’t venture beyond the standard food offerings you would expect from a fast-food Chinese restaurant. Have a taste for fried rice? They have six types ($3.25-6). Lo mein? Lots of it ($6.05-6.95). Egg foo young? You betcha ($4.75-6.50). But it doesn’t get more exotic than that.

I went with the old standby – the broccoli chicken combination with white rice and an egg roll ($4.75).

Broccoli chicken.

My order looked no different than any other broccoli chicken I’ve ever had – a pile of chicken, broccoli florets and carrot slices coated in a brown goo. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, mind you, because it’s exactly what I wanted my broccoli chicken to be. And when my order was ready to go in less than 10 minutes, I’m not expecting stellar presentation.

Happy Buddha’s broccoli chicken qualified as a dish that falls under the “You Get What You Pay For” heading. It wasn’t bad – it just wasn’t that good. The carrots tasted no different than the broccoli. The chicken was bland. And the egg roll could have been bought from the frozen food section of your friendly neighborhood grocery store.

That said, I got a lot of food. It was hot. It was quick. And it was less than five bucks.

I’m glad that I didn’t let the health rating scare me away because I wouldn’t have discovered a place to get really cheap food that’s close to my parents’ house. But Happy Buddha isn’t a place that will offer cuisine designed to stimulate the taste buds. It’s a restaurant that will fill your belly on the cheap with something other than a cheeseburger and fries. And that’s fine.

The Stats:

Happy Buddha, 3927 Dixie Highway, Louisville, Ky.

  • Broccoli chicken combination plate with egg roll and white rice: $4.75
  • Total (with tax): $5.04

Mission: Accomplished



The $10 Challenge: Shah’s Mongolian Grill

(Blogger’s note: I am actively taking recommendations for future $10 Challenge sites. My fiancé, Rob, has been urging me for months to try out the restaurant I featured this week.)

A table of young men began to sing along with the Ke$ha song that blasted through the speakers the other night as I ate a dish full of chicken and veggies at Shah’s Mongolian Grill.

Clearly, this University of Louisville-adjacent restaurant was not the best place for a young woman who has wiped her hands of the college crowd.

It’s hard to discuss Shah’s Mongolian Grill without a thorough description of the restaurant’s atmosphere, which  overtakes the great food offered there. First, a little bit about a Mongolian grill. These restaurants give patrons the opportunity to select meats, veggies and sauces of their choice that an employee collects in a bowl and dumps on a huge, flat grill. Here’s a peek at the selection:

Though the grill is right behind the register in plain sight, it was the sweet smell of flavored tobacco that grabbed my attention when I arrived at Shah’s.

Continue reading “The $10 Challenge: Shah’s Mongolian Grill”