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At Home Store Opens In Destiny

I’m not gonna lie; I’m big into stores that sell “stuff”! I love walking around just looking at stuff of all types, whether it’s tools, fabrics, pictures, even drug stores and supply stores. I have no idea why I like stores like this; probably the colors and the eclectic tastes they offer, along with tons of choices.

At Home store in Destiny

In this vein, I have to admit that I had no idea what an At Home store was, so I had no expectations when I noticed it sitting in the former location of Bon Ton is DestinyUSA Mall. The sign looked kind of cool, which called me in to take a quick look around.

Wow! As soon as I walked in and looked to my right I saw very cool looking Marvel related items that, if I were younger, I’d have bought and put on my wall at home. As I started walking around I saw all sorts of pictures which I thoroughly enjoyed.

The more I walked, the more I saw, including this very funny toilet paper dispenser, some of the coolest looking stools that I know I’d never sit on, and a plethora of differently colored Christmas trees that reminded me both of my youth and a Charlie Brown Christmas.

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Truthfully, I didn’t stop to look at any prices because I was blown away with just how much stuff they had in there. I started to wonder what they’d put in place of all the Christmas stuff once the season was over, and I’m thinking I’ll definitely have to go back to take a look when the new year comes in. I didn’t even make it through the middle of the store… there was way too much stuff and too many people getting in my way. This was way more people than I ever saw in Bon Ton over all the years it was there.

That’s all I’ve got; go take a look and be amazed at just how much product they have; I’m betting you’ll find something you like there. For now, see some of the pictures I took while in there.

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Fu Wa Asian Restaurant Doesn’t Quite Hold Up

In my quest to find a good Chinese restaurant in the Liverpool area and a Japanese restaurant I like that’s just a little closer than Ichiban, my wife and I decided to try Fu Wa Asian Restaurant in Liverpool, in the plaza next to Aldi’s and the Red Cross. It’s also in the location where Kawa Restaurant was some years ago, and I absolutely loved their food.

Fu Wa offers both Chinese and Japanese food, including a variety of sushi’s. I rarely eat sushi because I’m not sure what I’m getting so my wife and I opted for a few more traditional things.

shrimp eggrolls

The first was deciding to share the shrimp eggrolls. As you can see, they looked pretty good. Unfortunately, neither of us could really taste them, as they didn’t have a lot of flavor. Also, there was a tiny shrimp tucked into each of these quarters… that was a bit disappointing also but even when we got to the shrimp we couldn’t taste it.

My wife decided to order the large wonton soup for dinner. I ordered salmon teriyaki along with fried rice. I didn’t have a lot of hope for the fried rice because I’d come before in the summer and ordered chow fried rice, and I had to add a lot of soy sauce just to get some flavor out of it. I also didn’t take a picture of either of these foods because wonton soup doesn’t photograph well, and the presentation of the salmon teriyaki was kind of pedestrian; nothing stood out so I didn’t think it was photo worthy.

My wife said she could barely taste the soup, and added soy sauce to it. That’s a bad sign because she rarely adds salt to anything. On my end, the salmon teriyaki tasted pretty good, but it’s rare to get bad teriyaki in any Japanese restaurants in town. However, the fried rice was as bland as I remembered it would be, so I brought half of it home and cooked it later on, adding my own touches to it.

I’m not really wondering why we were the only people in the restaurant at dinner time. They do offer take out services and are connected to GrubHub. I wish the flavor had been stronger across the board, but I can only offer an average rating for our overall meal experience.

Lights On The Lake – Dog Walk Revisited

Wow, time flies fast! I had thought it was only a couple of years ago when I shared my story and pictures of walking at the Lights On The Lake on the night where people could bring their dogs, but the article I just liked to shows me that it’s almost 4 years to the day; wow! Still, any time you get an opportunity to walk along Onondaga Lake and see the lights that others will be paying a lot of money to do soon is an opportunity one should jump at quickly, especially since I doubt they have anything like this in too many places across the country.

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Once again, there wasn’t any snow this year, and I still believe the lights look better with snow. Still, the temperature was in the 50’s, and in November in Syracuse it’s hard to be mad at that. The dogs were dogs of course, and it felt like there were a lot more than last time, but there wasn’t a single bit of trouble, except for occasionally getting wrapped up on a leash. If I were to make a recommendation it would be for more people to put a lighted garland around their dog’s neck so people can see them, since even around most of the lights it’s hard to see the dogs, especially the smaller and darker dogs.

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Once again I walked with my friend Scott but this time his wife joined us, which means he left his photography equipment at home. It also means we walked the entire length of the parkway and back, which is something I hadn’t done in a long time, and for the first time I learned that what I’d been thinking was John Glenn Boulevard near the Longbranch Park entrance is actually the Thruway; go figure! lol

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Every year it seems the people who set up the lights “ups” their game, even though a lot of the exhibits are the same. I think the best shot I got this year was the large castle image I’m showing in this post, but one young guy we came upon, who adopted us for about 5 minutes, asked if we would take his picture next to where Rapunzel was letting down her hair… even though he never gave me an email address to send it to.

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No matter; once again we had a great time walking, the weather cooperated, and it even made us forget that it took 15 minutes to find a place to park. 🙂  

Two Great Restaurant Stories In Liverpool

I eat out a lot; some of you can probably tell that by my numerous posts about restaurants. In the last couple of weeks I’ve had some outstanding customer service occur, neither time where I was expecting anything to happen but the staff and management was so nice and took great initiative that I felt overwhelmed with how nice people can really be.

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The first story involves Twin Trees on Route 57, which is kind of just across the street from where I live. Around 4 years ago I wrote an article about them saying that it wasn’t a bad restaurant but that it would never become my favorite. For once I have to eat my words because, indeed, it has become my favorite restaurant in the area. I love the people working there, and I love how well they take care of me… and I obviously love the food.

With that said, a couple of weeks ago I was there with my wife for an early dinner. I ordered a 7″ mini pizza and 6 wings, which she ordered the buffet. I got my pizza first, which they know I like, and was halfway through it when the wings came. I always order them the same way, honey barbecue but not overcooked, as I like them meaty instead of crunchy. This time around they came crunchy.

Someone else delivered the wings instead of the waitress. When she saw them, knowing me, she said that she’d order me new ones. However, I was actually feeling pretty good after eating the pizza, so I said I was good, and my wife said she’d take the wings we had home to eat later.

At that point I thought it was over, but within a few minutes she’s not only brought me a dozen wings the way I like them to take home, but she’d gotten permission from management to give me a credit for the wings. I was stunned, my wife was impressed, and I left a big tip, knowing that I’d just had one of the best customer service experiences I’d ever had. That’s the power of going to a place you love often, because the people there will take care of you and go the extra mile to keep you happy.

That’s not bad, right? Luckily, it turned out I had another happy adventure, which happened this past Saturday night.

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I’d had dinner at Twin Trees Friday night, and I don’t usually go to the same restaurant 2 days in a row unless I’m going with someone else. I was in the mood for prime rib, and the only place in town that I know serves it well is Longhorn Steakhouse, up on Route 31. They slow cook it throughout the day so that it’s very tender, and it’s the only place in the area where I know I can ask for a well done piece and not get something as hard as charcoal.

I got my meal and started eating it. I thought it looked a little small but I also know that sometimes meat shrinks. It was still very tasty, and with the garlic mashed potatoes I enjoyed it immensely.

Just as I was finishing the steak, the waitress came by with another 12 oz prime rib and said “The manager didn’t like the size of the first prime rib I brought out so he wants you to have another one.” Wow! This means I ate the equivalent of 24oz of prime rib, which I didn’t even know I could put away (not counting the fat of course) and it didn’t cost me anything extra.

Can you imagine how well treated I felt? That was twice in about a week and a half that I’d had a great experience, one at a native restaurant and one from a chain. Oh yeah; I tipped very well once again.

We really do have some of the nicest people in the country here in central New York. I’ll admit that when I moved to the area 41 years ago it felt like one of the most reserved places I’d ever lived in. I’m glad to call this area my home, and I’m glad to call out great customer service I received at two local restaurants.

Thanks y’all! 🙂  

Shrimp And Grits At Muddy Waters

If you read my previous post about my quest for finding a good meal of shrimp and grits in the Syracuse NY area, then this post won’t surprise anyone. Once again I decided to give another restaurant that purported to make this spectacular dish that I originally had in Memphis, TN the chance to impress me.

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Muddy Waters is located on Oswego St in Baldwinsville, and truthfully I’d never heard of it until I decided I wanted to try something different and did a search on Google for restaurants in the area. I saw that they claimed to have a menu steeped in New Orleans cuisine, and even though I felt burned by a previous restaurant making that same claim, once I saw shrimp and grits on their menu I knew I had to go there.

The picture above is the first thing you see when you’re walking towards the restaurant, which is on the lower level of a building that houses a bar on the upper level. It has a pretty big space inside and also seating outside, and it’s possible that they have entertainment on the weekend. In the middle is a big bar with TV’s set on sports channels, but I always come equipped with my own entertainment. lol

When the waitress came over and asked me what I wanted to drink, I asked for sweet tea… and of course they didn’t have it. Folks, you can’t call yourself a Louisiana, southern or soul food restaurant if you’re not going to serve sweet tea! I ordered something else to drink, then decided to have the red beans and rice soup and of course the shrimp and grits meal.

red-beans-and-rice-soupred beans & rice soup

As you can see, the presentation of the soup was pretty special; I wasn’t expecting it to look like this. I took my first spoonful with just a bit of the rice and soup so I could see what I might be in for, since sometimes these places serve spicy hot food. Instead, this was very flavorful, although the soup wasn’t very hot. I mention that for people who like their soup steaming hot; personally, I like a soup that I can immediately eat and not only could I do that with this soup, but I immediately mixed the rest of the rice into the soup so I’d have a mixture of both with each spoonful.

If you liked the presentation of the soup, then I’m betting you love the presentation of the shrimp and grits as much as I did. This looked spectacular, and I have to say it’s the most shrimp I’ve ever had with any version of this particular meal.

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Being me, I first wanted to see how the grits tasted on their own, as I’d never seen it presented in a square before… they tasted just right. Then I had a bite of one of the shrimp on its own and once again it was flavored perfectly, with just a minor kick of heat. Although I happen to like andouille sausage in my shrimp & grits, the flavor was such that it really wasn’t needed. Since the shrimp came on wooden skewers I pulled them off both skewers and cut them up so I could remove the tails and mix the shrimp and grits together; yes, that’s a pattern of mine. 🙂

I don’t think I can tell you how much I enjoyed eating this meal. Unlike the sampling I had at Laci’s (see the other article), this was a full meal and I wasn’t left hungry after eating it. That turned out to be a good thing because there wasn’t a single dessert on the menu that was calling my name… I’m picky about dessert.

This was a wonderful and enjoyable meal, and the best thing for me is that, since I live in Liverpool, it’s closer than any of the other restaurants I’d been to before. This means I’ll be going often to have this when I want something different than the norm, and I might even try something else on the menu… we’ll see. 😉  

Copyright 2016