Hagan O’Reilly’s Irish Pub

Buffalo wrap

Buffalo chicken salad

Potato skind

Bar

Exterior

Interior

**** (4 stars)

This is a fairly authentic Irish pub that combines traditional Irish food with modern American sports bar grub. The decor is great, and there are lots of cozy little alcoves all around the perimeter of the dining area. An ornate, L-shaped bar occupies one corner. The only failing is the overly bright lighting.

Potato skins were heavily loaded with bacon and nicely crisped. The Buffalo wrap and Buffalo chicken salad were both good, maybe not the best Buffalo chicken in town, but certainly adequate.

Quite a few beers are available on tap, in bottles and cans, although I would wish for more stouts and porters than the meager selection.

Service was very friendly and prices are reasonable.

Hagan O’Reilly’s Irish Pub
16112 Marsh Rd
Winter Garden, FL 34787
(407) 905-4782
https://www.yelp.com/biz/hagan-o-reillys-irish-pub-winter-garden

The Tam O’Shanter

Prime rib English cut

Toad in the hole

Exterior

Bar

Interior

***** (5 stars)

Opened in 1922, Tam O’Shanter is one of LA’s oldest restaurants. Although it is owned by Lawry’s, the atmosphere is quite different, with cozy nooks and fireplaces everywhere throughout the rabbit warren of rooms.

As at Lawry’s, prime rib is a major attraction, but there are many other interesting dishes, some with an Old World history, such as Toad in the Hole, which here is served as a large Yorkshire Pudding filled with stew ingredients.

The wine list at first looks small, but it is simply compact. Extensive selections are available in every category, and pricing is reasonable.

Our server, Mark, was that rare mixture of professional waiter, interesting personality, and gracious host, and he made our evening a delight.

The Tam O’Shanter
2980 Los Feliz Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90039
(323) 664-0228
https://www.yelp.com/biz/the-tam-o-shanter-los-angeles

Broken English Taco Pub

**** (4 stars)

This is one of the few good Mexican restaurants in the area. The food is a nice mix of authentic and creative. The focus here is on soft tacos and guacamoles and drinks. There’s a nice vibe from all the funky decorations, and an extensive bar for single businessmen at lunch time.

The Achiote Hummus was an interesting low-cal appetizer. The achiote chili flavor dominated, and the jicama was better for dipping than the cucumber.

Tacos Al Pastor De Pollo were authentically served on double corn tortillas. I’ve had pastor pork, but never chicken, and it was good, but not as rich as some. The traditional pieces of pineapple added a nice sweetness.

I would have liked to have tried more tacos, but each order includes two, and you can’t mix and match, which seems like an arbitrary restriction. The guy next to me wanted to buy three tacos, and you can’t do that, either. I think they’re shooting themselves in the foot with that arbitrary rule.

The highlight of my meal was actually the chips and salsa (sold as an appetizer). The chips were obviously home-made, and had puffed up like pomme souffle to give them a delicate yet somehow hearty crunch. The fact that they were slightly greasy could be forgiven, because of that great consistency. The accompanying green sauce had a slight hint of sweetness, and the red sauce had a strong ginger note that made it quite exotic. I couldn’t stop eating these!

The margarita was good if not remarkable. Service was friendly and attentive. The sidewalk dining is a bit too sunny at lunchtime, but might be nice in the evening.

Broken English Taco Pub
75 E Lake St
Chicago, IL 60601
(312) 929-3601
http://www.yelp.com/biz/broken-english-taco-pub-chicago

The Kerryman

*** (3 stars)

OK, I admit I’m not a huge fan of Irish pubs, but occasionally I’m dragged to one by my wife and discover the food is far above my expectations. This was not one of those times.

A general fogginess from the server about the characters of the beers and Irish spirits available did not bode well. Irish coffee was potable but not stellar, and they were out of the Jameson I ordered.

Sometimes you get decent American bar food in an Irish pub (this even happens in Ireland) so it’s not entirely stupid to order stuff like chili or a quesadilla. The chili was acceptable, the quesadilla about as mediocre as you’d guess.

But what should be really good is fish and chips, and indeed it was beautifully cooked, with a crispy brown batter. Unfortunately it was pretty greasy, and the fish, although tender and flaky had no flavor whatsoever. The accompanying fries were excellent, though.

There was one standout dish, though: the smoked gouda mac and cheese. It was the best thing I’ve ever had in an Irish pub, and the best mac and cheese I’ve had that didn’t involve lobster. This dish might by itself justify a return visit.

The Kerryman
661 N Clark St
Chicago, IL 60654
(312) 335-8121
http://www.yelp.com/biz/the-kerryman-chicago

Fiddler’s Green Irish Pub & Eatery

**** (4 stars)

This is about as authentic as an Irish pub gets. In fact, it’s more authentic than a few pubs I’ve been to in Ireland.

The decor is traditional and homey. The stew, fish and chips, and hen in a pot are all quite authentic. They even have the same traditional Irish nachos I had in Ireland. Seriously.

There’s a nice beer list that also include some local favorites, including some interesting stouts and porters.

Service is a bit better here than traditional Irish pub service, in that you don’t have to order at the bar.

This is probably the best pub I’ve been to in the US.

Fiddler’s Green Irish Pub & Eatery
544 W Fairbanks Ave
Winter Park, FL 32789
(407) 645-2050
http://www.yelp.com/biz/fiddlers-green-irish-pub-and-eatery-winter-park

The Whiskey

**** (4 stars)

Whiskey and burgers. What’s not to like about that concept?

We went with a large group at lunch, so I didn’t have a chance to sample any whiskeys, but we did peruse their list and it’s pretty comprehensive. Only a few really top shelf offerings, but at least a hundred interesting ones. I didn’t see any bargains, but the prices were okay.

The burger was great. Most of our group ordered The Whiskey burger, which had everything I like on it, include bacon that was nice and crispy. Accompanying fries were okay, although the sweet potato ones were a bit better if you like that sort of thing. I opted for the side salad, which was delicious.

Service was friendly, helpful and efficient.

If you visited this place when it was an English Pub you will be happy to know that it is now infinitely cleaner and better run.

The Whiskey
7563 W Sand Lake Rd
Orlando, FL 32819
(321) 430-6744
http://www.yelp.com/biz/the-whiskey-orlando

Crooked Can Brewing Company

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***** (5 stars)

What an array of options this place offers! Regardless of the style of beer you like best, they’re likely to offer a very well-made version of it at Crooked Can. The menu is on the wall behind the bar, and offers great explanations of what’s on offer, and how it is made.

Aside from the beers, though, it’s the environment that makes this place special. The concept they had for a new building to house their showcase brewery and synergistic businesses has been perfectly executed. The long counter lets you sip and enjoy your brew while admiring the stainless steel complexity behind the glass was. Or, if you prefer a table inside or out, that’s available, too.

A variety of tasty noshes are available just down the hall, from burgers to pizzas and all sorts of sweet treats. The whole of Plant Street Market is a great place to stop in after work, or enjoy after visiting the nearby Farmer’s Market on Saturday mornings.

Crooked Can is a great addition to the town of Winter Garden.

Crooked Can Brewing Company
426 W Plant St
Winter Garden, FL 34787
(407) 395-9520
http://www.yelp.com/biz/crooked-can-brewing-company-winter-garden

Redlight Redlight Beer Parlour

***** (5 stars)

Beer, Beer, Beer! That’s what this place is all about. An ever-changing list of draft beers, plus a ton of bottles.

I took a group of ten here, and the helpful folks behind the counter were able to guide each of us to something we really liked. In my case I found two that were probably my top two beers ever.

The atmosphere was chill, and the music good, and it wasn’t crazy busy on a Thursday night.

There’s no food, but a food truck in front (on our night it was terrific Peruvian fare) fills that bill, and they even brought it inside to our tables.

Lots of fun, and I’m not even really beer guy.

Redlight Redlight Beer Parlour
2810 Corrine Dr
Orlando, FL 32803
(407) 893-9832
http://www.yelp.com/biz/redlight-redlight-beer-parlour-orlando

Elephant & Castle

elephantandcastle

*** (3 stars)

This Americanized English pub has a pleasant atmosphere and good service.

There ¬†are about a dozen authentic English pub dishes, and a larger selection of American sports bar type items. I only tried the pub pretzels, which we extremely doughy and covered in oil. I can’t recommend them.

There is a decent selection of draft beers, and a somewhat limited bottle list.

Elephant & Castle
185 N Wabash Ave
Chicago, IL 60601
(312) 345-1710
http://www.yelp.com/biz/elephant-and-castle-chicago-3

Amazing Kale Burger Lunch Counter

**** (4 stars)

It’s always a pleasure to eat where the employees are really passionate about what they do, and that epitomizes The Amazing Kale Burger. From the moment I walked in I felt right at home, and my server’s enthusiasm for the food was very clear.

I tried the Vaden, which is served with a beet-based BBQ sauce. The kale burger patty is quite delicious, with all the ingredient in balance, and a nice crust from cooking. The accompanying lettuce and tomato were quite fresh, and the BBQ sauce was delicious. The bun was a bit small, sturdy and dry for my taste, but I can see where others might like it.

For a side dish I had pickled asparagus, which was tossed with yellow peppers and extremely fresh oregano bits. It was delicious.

House made mint tea was pleasantly unsweetened.

The kale burger was one of the better vegetarian patties I’ve had, and I’d often choose it over a meat patty if it were available elsewhere. Coincidentally, I ate here on national burger day!

Amazing Kale Burger Lunch Counter
741 Howard St
Evanston, IL 60202
(847) 660-4330
http://www.yelp.com/biz/amazing-kale-burger-lunch-counter-evanston