If you have ever watched “Diners. Drive-Ins and Dives” on the Food Network, then you will appreciate Denny’s Diner in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin. There are plenty of good restaurants in the Dells, to be sure, and plenty of familiar chains as well. I’ve been going to the Dells for years and the one place I somehow missed was Denny’s Diner. Perhaps it is the location (on the corner of of Rt. 12 and Rt. 23) that made me miss it, but boy have I been missing out.
Denny’s Diner (not to be confused with the national “Denny’s” chain) is a hidden gem of a restaurant. The decor is similar to a 50’s diner, but with a hodge-podge of oddities thrown in. From Beatles poster on the walls, to a Tasmanian devil hanging from the ceiling to a train going by overhead, it is hard to describe the wild menagerie of collectables found in the restaurant.
But that is just the beginning of the enjoyment at Denny’s Diner. We went for breakfast. I had the Spanish omele (which could feed a small army), my wife had the Eggs Benedict, my oldest daughter the standard two eggs and bacon, and my youngest daughter the biscuits and gravy. All were very good and well worth a return trip on their own. But the hash browns, for me, were the star of the show. I would go back just for those. But my wife and youngest daughter liked the home-made cinnamon rolls the best.
Of course the toast on home-made bread was quite a treat. Yes, that’s right…home-made bread.
We wound up at Denny’s Diner by chance this time. On our next trip to the Dells, you can rest assured that our next visit to Denny’s will be high on the itinerary of things to do while we are there.
On our Great Road Trip 2012, we drove through Visalia, California on our way to King’s Canyon and Sequoia National Forest. As we were hungry and it was dinnertime we decided to stop. At this point in our vacation we had been on the road for over two weeks and were getting tired of eating out so we needed something different. We decided to stop at Akamaru Japanese Restaurant. And we were very glad we did.
The food was exceptional. As we are not too familiar with Japanese cuisine, the waitress was very helpful in explaining what each dish was and offered suggestions. They even explained how we eat the little green beans that came as an appetizer before the meal.
I and my youngest daughter had the Teriyaki Beef and my wife had the Bento box. My oldest daughter had the Beef Noodles which came in a bowl larger than her head. The Bento box was enormous and enough to feed two people. You can’t say that Akamaru doesn’t give you enough to eat.
We left satisfied with both the food and our choice of restaurants. In the unlikely event that we ever get back to Visalia again, we would certainly visit Akamaru again.
Before dining at El Gaucho I thought the phrase “melts in your mouth” only applied to M&Ms and butter. Then I had the Frenched rib chop. I didn’t think a steak could get this tender and flavorful. I asked for it cooked medium and it was perfectly done. But not only was it perfectly done color-wise, but the most amazing part was how it was perfectly pink in the center, but the was no blood at all. And while normally I would expect a steak this thick to be a little raw in the center, the cooking was done with such perfection that the texture was somehow firm but tender throughout. Simply put, perfection.
But the perfection didn’t stop there…the Full Gaucho potato was phenomenal. Prepared at the table with cheddar cheese sauce, butter and scallions, it was light and fluffy and delicious. And the roasted corn was a sweet and tasty treat that rounded out the saltiness and pepper of the potato and steak nicely.
The service was second to none and the live piano added a charm that reminded one of a day long past. It was very much like stepping into a time warp. I really expected Frank Sinatra and the rest of the Rat pack to walk through the door at any minute.
I would have said Humphrey Bogart, but I think he might have actually been there….