Scotchies in Jamaica


Scotchies, Drax Hall, Ocho Rios, Jamaica. The original. 2 more locations on the island.

Jamaica + Foodie = Jerk chicken! Just outside of Ocho Rios lies a place call Scotchies, a well-known restaurant to locals and visitors alike. Guy Fieri and his family recently ate there while in port on a cruise. Touted as “the best jerk chicken and pork” by his crew and many others, I knew my stop in Ocho Rios had to include eating at Scotchies.

You do need to take a taxi there. After numerous, and I do mean numerous, taxi drivers hounding and getting into my “dance space” to get my fare, finally a kind gentleman at a fair price whisked me away down the seaside highway to this hidden island gem.

You see nothing but greenery from the road, but once past the gravel lot you enter paradise. The sights of a Caribbean gardens, sauntering pathways, and the smell. A mix of fresh ocean air, island flowers, and meat smoking on the grill. Oooh weeee! That scent instantly makes my mouth water.

Stepping up to the order window, jerk chicken, jerk pork and festival is high on my wish list, so let’s try! Stepping down the line to hand in my ticket for my lunch, I watch the gigantic grills working their magic. Interesting wood logs and large sheets of metal roofing are used to adjust the temperature. My order is ready, scotch bonnet pepper sauce is in a cup on the side and I’m ready to go sit and enjoy.

Scotch bonnet pepper sauce is up with in heat level with Habanero. Be careful. The jerk chicken is awesome, juicy and not overly spicy. I hate when the spicy heat overpowers the flavor of the meat. The jerk seasoning is the perfect balance and both the chicken and pork is hands down fantastic. Smoky, juicy, spicy. Ya Mon!

Festival was a great pick for a side. It is a cross of a squishy breadstick and cornbread…but fried. It is yummy and inexpensive, just try it and don’t ask questions. Thank me later.

Tip: Taxi will try to rip you off, they start at $50 or $60 to take you to and from this restaurant. They will go down to $30, I got my ride for $20. Make sure your Taxi is licensed. There was so much food, I shared some with Woody, my driver. Menu prices are in Jamaican currency, not US. Half chicken, 1/4 lb pork, festival, 2 drinks = $17 U.S.

4.5 out of 5 worth-the-trip Mon!

Mad Girl Eats Bubba’s Texas Burger Shack in Houston


Bubba’s Texas Burger Shack, 5230 Westpark Dr, Houston, TX.

Located in Houston , this rockin’ burger spot is a hidden gem under the twists and turns of a freeway overpass. It is a funky Texas-proud shack specializing in burgers….buffalo burgers tp be exact. They offer mighty-fine beef as well.  After a long day on the road, I wanted something substantial with heft to it and a meaty beefy flavor.

Buffalo wasn’t new to me, so I went with my gut, and tastebuds. I ordered up some juicy hunks-o-beef, a Border Burger with some wake-me-up flavor and  a classic wonder, Bacon Cheeseburger.  A few moments later, I was in burger heaven. Thick, juicy, done to perfection…rare.  I hate an overcooked burger, and they did it up just fine.  Quality beef flavor, with the addition of melty Monterey Jack cheese and zesty picante sauce, the Border burger was outtabounds!  Plenty bacon and cheese layered on the beefy goodness of the Bacon Cheeseburger was a hit. Bubba’s Burgers.. big and brawny, just like Texas.

Hours:  Mon-Sat 11am-10pm,,  Sun 11am-8pm

Parking lot in front. Small dining area inside, dining outdoors on the porch available. As seen on the Hungry Detective on the Food Network.

4.75 out of 5  meaty tastes of Texas’ finest.

Mad Girl Eats Cafe Rolle, Sacramento


Café Rolle, 5357 H Street, Sacramento, CA.

Heading north on I-5 in northern California, it was time for a late lunch before heading into the Cascade mountains for the rest of the day…and night. Café Rolle in Sacramento was a perfect respite and exactly what I had in mind. A quiet little place with superior food, something refreshing that wouldn’t sit heavy on the stomach while riding in the car for eons, but would squelch huge hunger.

Chef William Rolle’s menu was filled with beautifully authentic French offerings, making choices difficult. When you have a French chef, who wouldn’t want to devour the entire menu?! Although it was lunchtime, I had to try one of the appetizers, so I opted for a luscious duck pate served with cornichons, whole-grain mustard and slices of French bread.

A hot sandwich and one cold would be excellent choices, both on crusty French baguettes….ooh la la. The Croque Lamb Monsieur Sandwich was filled with warm rich lamb, melted Gruyère cheese, and finished with garlic mayo, tomato and greens. Delicieux! It was a blistering hot day, so a cold no-muss-no-fuss sammie is what this chick needed. Order up for a simple Brie Sandwich. Fabulous brie cheese, juicy ripe tomato, tarragon mayo, walnut and spring greens. Uncomplicated, fresh, clean, satisfying. I could eat this sandwich every day. Magnifique!

Café Rolle is a treasure. Whether you’re living or playing in Sacramento or NoCal, or passing through on the Interstate….stop. Get yourself to Café Rolle. It’s a quaint French bistro that serves up big French flavor. Save room for the Crème Brulee!

As seen on Diners ,Drive-Ins, and Dives.

Parking available in small parking lot in front of café, or parking on side streets.

Hours: LUNCH Tues-Sat 11am-3pm, DINNER Wed-Fri 5:30p-7:30p. CLOSED SATURDAY NIGHT, SUNDAY, MONDAY.

Cinq sur cinq (5 out of 5)  points of excellence.

Mad Girl Gets Fed at The Shed in Mississippi


The Shed Barbeque & Blues Joint, 7501 Hwy 57, Ocean Springs, MS. Two more locations: Gulfport, MS and Mobile, AL.

A pleasant surprise on the first day of my 6 week road trip, the stars aligned for me to have lunch at The Shed in Ocean Springs. A tasty treat awaits right off of I-10, Exit 57 in Mississippi!

My first impression ….what the heck is this crazy place?! It wasn’t your typical BBQ joint, nor was it a typical day. You see, the Food Network had production going on shooting the promos for their new show, “The Shed” featuring the family and sidekicks. Do to production, customers had to eat outdoors. It was a hot day and buggy, but not terrible.

I ordered the Shed combo, 2 meats (pulled pork and ribs), 2 sides (beans and sweet potato casserole), 2 bread. It arrived on a stainless steel divided tray, reminiscent of a school cafeteria…or a prison. Ha! Very cool idea, nonetheless.

The baby back ribs were good eats, but the pulled pork was the star! Smokey, tender, saucy yumminess.  I don’t think you can go wrong with any of their side choices. The baked beans were rich and hearty and the sweet potato casserole was so delicious, almost like dessert, I wanted more. Awesome meal, deserving of a happy dance!

The staff, owners/family are all on-point, kind and welcoming. The restaurant and property are entertaining in itself.  I look forward to returning, next time I’m on I-10.

As seen on the Food Network, Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, and the Travel Channel, Man vs Food Nation.

Hours: Sun-Thurs 11am-9pm, Fri-Sat 11am-10pm. On-site parking.
Catch some good BBQ and a show. A whole wing-ding! 🙂

4.5 out of 5 sweet and saucy smackaroos.

Mad Girl Eats Pine State Biscuits, Portland


Pine State Biscuits, 2204 NE Alberta St, Portland, OR.

Biscuits, who doesn’t love a warm, fluffy, piece of heaven?! I heard the name of this place and I didn’t need to know more, they had me at Biscuits. I arrived around 9:45 a.m. on a Friday, to a line out the door to the corner. The line moved swiftly and found myself at the counter to order within 10-15 minutes.

I order The Reggie, a biscuit sandwich with fried chicken, bacon, cheese, and yummy thick gravy. Because I can’t find good pimento cheese just anywhere, I opted for a side biscuit and pimento cheese to round out my order. In full need of a cuppa joe, they gave me a mug as coffee is self-serve. I liked that idea, because I could refill when I needed….not when someone got around to me. In the morning, that means life or death to some. Me.

The place was packed and had a constant flow of new arrivals. When one space emptied, immediately it was filled. I found a seat at the counter that surrounds the grill area. It was entertaining to watch the precision of the staff getting orders out as rapid as possible. No slouching staff here!  Ooh…my order was up, and conveniently grabbed from across the bar.

It all looked incredible. ..and I was starving. First up, the biscuit and pimento cheese. The biscuit was perfection, the pimento cheese was one of the best I’ve ever had. Creamy, sharp, flavorful. Happy. The Reggie was a sight to behold. What could go wrong with fried chicken, bacon, cheese and gravy??? Absolutely freakin nothing! Ohh man, the flavors together were of course phenomenal, but that topping of gravy put it over the edge. If I had one regret, I wish I would have ordered an extra side of gravy. I like my biscuits wet, I’m just that kind of girl 😉

Get here if you’re in Portland. Cool place, good menu and prices, fab food, nice and hardworking staff. It’s a winner.

Hours: Mon-Wed: 7am-3pm, Thurs: 7am-11pm, Fri-Sat: 7am-1am, Sun: 7am-11pm

Free on-street parking in nice neighborhood setting. Usual lines, limited seating indoors and out but table turnover is fairly quick. Bus your own table.  Enjoy!

As seen on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, Food Paradise, Unique Eats.

4.5 out of 5 biscuit-loving thumbs up!

Mad Girl Eats Perk Eatery in Scottsdale


Perk Eatery, 6501 E Greenway Pkwy, #159, Scottsdale, AZ.

Up early with the sun in the beautiful desert oasis of dreamy Scottsdale, I wanted an inventive, hearty, and flavorful breakfast to start my busy day. One glance at Perk Eatery’s menu and I set my GPS to quickest route.

On their Special-of-the-Day board, I hit the jackpot with their Wine Country French Toast. Thick pieces of French toast stuffed with brie cheese, topped with roasted red grapes and red wine rosemary syrup. Jealous?! Ha! Beautiful beautiful breakfast dish. Perfect with my fresh hot coffee. Me being me, I did toss on a tad of maple syrup…I like it gooey loaded 😉 That was a special treat I hope to have once again.

While there I had to taste test an egg dish. In keeping with the theme of being in the Southwest, desert, cowboys, bad boys, I was intrigued by the ingredients of The Outlaw Scramble…get a load of this. Three eggs, chopped ham, bacon, sausage, sautéed onions, green peppers all smothered with cheddar cheese and topped with cilantro jalapeno sauce. OMG. Hefty but dang, the flavors were incredible edible and not too fiery spicy. I’m a sauce lover and the cilantro jalapeno that topped this magnificent mega meal was one I couldn’t get enough of. Deeeee-licious!

Fab menu for breakfast and lunch. Can’t go wrong here, using as much fresh, local and organic foods as possible.

As seen on Guy Fieri’s Food Network show, Diner’s, Drive-In’s and Dives.

In a nice shopping center with free lot parking. Yay! Hours: 6:30am-3pm daily.

4.5 out of lipmaking points.

Mad Girl Eats Cochon Butcher in NoLa


930 Tchoupitoulas St, New Orleans, LA.

Leaving New Orleans, I decided to try Cochon Butcher before exiting the city. The butcher/sandwich shop/wine bar is the sister to the fancier, Cochon restaurant. They make their own meats, sausages, terrines…lush sandwich fixings. Their glass cases are filled with delectable pieces that scream to be tried. Ok, I give….one charcuterie plate please!

An offering from the sandwich menu is also a necessity. The pork belly with mint and cucumber sounded like the perfect mix for a hot day. Easy to eat, lets take them to go!

I could hardly stand to get to the car and start sampling. In car, roll down windows…I still have 15 minutes left on my meter anyway. First up, the sammie. Melty  rich and tender pork belly with mint and cucumber on a heavy-duty farm bread. First bite…first words…”Oh my God”. Nuff said. If a first bite gets me to moan out those words, it’s a winner. The flavors went together so well, I’m planning on using mint and cucumber in many things. I wanted to run back to the Butcher and order another, but I had a Charcuterie plate waiting. A cacophony of beautifully made meats were ready to meet their fate, my tummy.

The plate was very artistic, with sides of pickled okra, slaw, grainy hearty mustard, cracked flatbread, and a generous amount of slices of 6 different meats. Scrumptious!

The only thing I regret is waiting to go there last instead of when I first arrived in New Orleans. I definitely would have eaten there a few more times. Pork Belly sandwich, on my list of The Best in the United States. Boom!

As seen on the Food Network’s Best Thing I Ever Ate and Meat and Potatoes and The Travel Channel’s The Layover, Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations, and Food Paradise. I would say, all shows were correct in taking the time to visit this restaurant…and so should you. Run, don’t walk. Bourbon Street will wait.

Hours: Mon-Thurs 10am-10pm, Fri-Sat 10am-11pm, Sun 10am-4pm.

Street metered parking. Gets busy, I was there at 9:55 am. No waiting 😉

5 out of 5 mouth-watering points for  tastebud perfection.

Mad Girl Eats Beecher’s Handmade Cheese in Seattle


Beecher’s Handmade Cheese, 1600 Pike Place, Seattle, WA.  Also in NYC’s Flatiron District.

Mmmmm cheese, yes please! You can take the girl out of Wisconsin (almost 20 years), but you can’t take the cheese lover out of her. I was so excited to visit Beecher’s, across from Public Market in downtown Seattle. Warm and welcoming wood floors and brick interior, with glass walls to watch cheese making. Fascinating. Yes, fascinating.

Beecher’s has a nice menu of sandwiches, soups, pasta, and cheese by the wad. The only item I was drooling for, was their “World’s Best Mac & Cheese”. The line was long, but I muscled through it and got my cup of penne pasta with ooey gooey beautiful cheese. It was extraordinarily delish. This is not your box of neon yellow-orange mac & cheese. This is on the next level. Time to evolve.

If you’re downtown, make your way down the steep hill…sans stilettos, and get a heap of this smile erupting mac & cheese.

Check their website for times and vacation closures, so you’re not disappointed.

As seen on Crave on the Food Network and on Oprah. Beecher’s Mac & Cheese named one of Oprah’s Favorite Things. We agree, O!

4.75 out of 5 cheesy gooey goodness!

Mad Girl Eats David Burke’s Primehouse in Chi

To finish out my sampler platter of places to lunch in Chicago, welcome back to David Burke’s Primehouse., 616 Rush St., Chicago, IL.

You know when you have been to a restaurant, had a über fabulous meal, chomp at the bit to return and the food doesn’t live up to the memory? Well, upon my follow-up visit to David Burke’s Primehouse in downtown Chicago, I was anticipating excellence once again. Once again, that is exactly what I got!!!! No wonder they were on Food Paradise, Steak Paradise. I was, in Paradise.

I crush hard on this restaurant. Different staff this time, still exceptional. Different burger this time, still “Slap My Bootie and Call Me Susie” fantastic. It was Sunday, and their version of Brunch, so their menu was different than during the week.wpid-20121230_124122-1_wm.jpg The Fatty Melt Sliders I adored a few months back weren’t on the menu. When making reservations, asking about that menu item and letting them know I was traveling, the Hostess spoke with the Manager and said they would make them special for me. Really?! I love you even more! PSA – Just because I mentioned this, don’t be a jerk and demand off the menu items. They had 3 days to prepare before my arrival. Good people.

wpid-20121230_124319-1-1_wm.jpgBack to the meal. They have a nice offering for brunch, but adoring their dry-aged beef burgers, the special burger for the day was top choice at my table, the Chipotle Burger. Excuse me a moment while I wipe my mouth in remembrance of the first bite………………..okay. Freaking A-#1 incredibly delicious! An impeccable blend of flavors, not too spicy or overwhelming the taste of the beef. You just can’t go wrong with one of their burgers. Cooked to my perfect RARE perfection, thank you. Oh baby, it may be cold outside but dang! My innards are toasty and completely satisfied now. If you felt the need to light a cigarette after (outside of course), I wouldn’t blame you. 😉

5 out of 5 beef butter love smacks. MUAH!

Mad Girl Eats Filipino at Ruby’s Fast Food in Chicago

Ruby’s Fast Food, 3740 W. Montrose Ave, Chicago, IL

Ruby’s Fast Food is a quaint Filipino restaurant in Chicago, nothing like the Fast Food name suggests. The reason for going there? Andrew Zimmern,  and one of his choices for Best Thing I Ever Ate, Ruby’s Crispy Pata. wpid-20120722_153707_wm.jpgThe made-to-order fried pork leg was a splendid thing of beauty. The taste, even better. It came with so many sides, I had no idea what was what…but tried it all and O.M.Goodness….a foodie orchestra of Filipino delights hitting all the right notes….it had me humming.wpid-20120722_153700_wm.jpg

4.75 out of 5  let me say “Ahhhh”

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