reviews

fido – Nashville, TN

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This amazing coffee shop/restaurant, nestled in Nashville’s West End, offers a fresh and tasty menu often overlooked in the south, and breaks away from the traditional southern fare.

I opted for something hearty, given the weather was a bit on the chilly side. fido’s Local Burger, made from Tennessee beef and local sausage, with Swiss cheese, pickles, onion strips and a zesty sauce. The meat was seasoned with an amazing blend of spices that added an entirely new level to a burger. The bread was a perfect texture and not too flavorful, taking away from the meat.

The sweet potato fries were grilled, made from real sweet potatoes right on site, were tender, soft and delicious. Not heavy at all (but healthy)! Although they were tasty in their own right, my choice of side dish competed with the burger’s complexity. I’d recommend something with a bit more salt, or perhaps a side salad.

Overall, a must try when visiting Hillsboro. I’ll definitely return and perhaps try one of their daily vegetarian options, complex salads, or fish options. As their website states, the restaurant as one that, “blurs the line between coffeehouse and restaurant. Chef John Stephenson continuously re-creates the menu. With fish and steak specials, breakfast all day and a seasonal menu, Fido is known as much for its food as the coffee. Fido also serves a classy selection of beer.”

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fido is a part of the unofficial Bongo World, started in 1993 by Bob Bernstein, and consists of a wholesale coffee roasting company and four cafes – each having a unique identity and menu. Their coffee is 100% organic and bought directly from Fair Trade small-farm co-ops. Check out the Bongo Java website for more information.

fido
1812 21st Ave. S.,
Nashville, TN 37212
615-777-FIDO (3436)

Open 7 days a week – 7am – 11pm

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Frankie’s Dishes Up Pizza, Pasta and some Pizzaz

Overall 3.5 out of 5.   http://www.frankieschicago.com/

I frequent Frankie’s Fifth Floor mainly because my office is in the same building.  This Lettuce Entertain You Italian locale offers a nice variety of quick, affordable lunches to a wide audience of locals, tourists and business consumers.  They also offer a decent selection of full entrees, including pasta, meats and salads.  Smaller style pizzas (10 inches, I think) are also available.

A marghertia pizza and small ceasar salad is a perfect lunch that will definitely leave you feeling full!  The chopped salad is also a winner.  I would, however, avoid the caprese salad.  The last two times I’ve ordered it, the mozzarella comes out extremely “wet”.  I know buffalo mozz is packed in water but the cheese has been lacking its creamy flavor and you end up with a plate full of water.  Not good.

The restaurant is basically a two-in-one offering.  You can sit “outside” (Frankie’s Fifth Floor Pizzaria) in the main area of the mall, which is nice due to the large window overlooking Michigan Avenue.  Frankie’s Scallopine (or “Inside”) offers a slightly more upscale and intimate aesthetic, sans pizza.  Either way, the food is quite good and you’ll be fine.

Be sure to check out happy hour on Friday’s, with martinis, select wines and small appetizers for $5!

See if Kevin’s working.  He’s the most considerate, attentive waiter I’ve experienced in a long time.  We always grab his section.

Bourbon and Burgers with Personality, Charm

Overall 3.5  out of 5.   http://www.rocksbargroup.com/lakeview/

This neighborhood bar, about a year into their expansion, offers a solid menu and great atmosphere.  It’s perfect for watching a game – day or night.  They feature a long list of whiskeys and have a great rotating beer selection on tap.  Be sure to check out their monthly drink specials and week night food deals.  (And some of the staff is VERY easy on the eye).

This restaurant is part of two. The sister restaurant is in Lincoln Park but, in my mind, this location has a lot more personality. Be sure to sit with Trista or Joyce.  They’re the best.  Start off with mac and cheese wedges with BBQ dipping sauce.  If you’re in the mood for a burger, you can’t go wrong with their BBBest BBBurger, which is topped with bacon, blue cheese and buffalo sauce.  Tots are a must.  For the more health conscious, the goat cheese salad topped with chicken is also a winner.

Best hangover sandwich in the universe – the Leroy Brown!  Take macaroni and cheese, top it with pulled pork and onion strings, and put it between two thick slices of Texas toast.  After a long night out, eating this will make you feel right as rain.

If you’re eating Sunday brunch, don’t expect a quick “in and out” experience.  Food orders take some time when crowded, due to overwhelming demand and their small kitchen.  This is also the reason they stop serving breakfast items at noon.

Lakeview locals frequent the place, as well as an occasional softball team on the weekends.  You’ll always find a variety of college fans (although not dedicated to one team) which brings in a great mix of straight/gay/families all the way around.

Seating tip: During the summer, sit outside on the side of the building, rather than the front.  The side street offers a little more shade on hot days.  There are NO trees on Broadway to break the pounding heat.  The best alternative is to sit inside next to an open window.  Either way, you can’t lose.

 

Review: Lux Bar Chicago

Decided to hit up Lux Bar for lunch. They must be known for their crab dishes since the multi-legged crustacean was scattered throughout the menu. Try the club sandwich with tangy mayo and avocado. The ingredients gave the sandwich unique flavor, not to mention they cut the crust off all the bread!

And, who does bottled Coke any more? Delicious.

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Lux Bar
18 E Bellevue Pl
Chicago, IL 60611

Equinox – Best Gym Ever; Social Media Maestro Series

Equinox, located in the lower levels of 900 N. Michigan Avenue, is most likely the nicest full-service club I’ve ever visited.  See, when hitting the gym, convenience is paramount.  The location must be close (meaning outside my office, pass it on the way to work, or less than a block from my house) because if I settle into my apartment after a long day, I’m not leaving.  Man, did I luck out.

This Equinox location exists as part of a nationwide network of high-end workout centers / spas.  They focus in larger metro areas and offer a high-priced nationwide package for the frequent business traveler.  Listed as “Uber Club…transforming the gym experience,” by Chicago Social Magazine, the staff members at this location are great…always with a smile as you enter and leave the gym.  Busiest times I’ve seen are Mondays and Wednesdays after work.  I can get in, complete a work out, shower and get back to my desk in just over an hour.  Not bad.  I have yet to take any classes there, which is sad because there’s something there for everyone.

One thing to note, I lost my iPhone here and became really disheartened when no one turned it in.  Don’t get me wrong – the staff did their best to look for it, and felt awful it happened.  But I don’t think that members who pay such high gym fees necessarily need to lift my iPhone.  It was an expensive mistake but as a warning, DON’T LEAVE YOUR ELECTRONICS lying around.

Huge Pluses:

  • Large amount of friendly, engaged trainers (you can really tell the ones that care about their clients)
  • Discount coupons to store and spa after joining
  • You can check in, reserve a spinning bike, check class schedules and find other gym locations via an Equinox iPhone app
  • Extremely clean
  • Almost no waiting for equipment
  • Eye candy galore
  • Monthly lockers, laundry service and towel service available
  • Immaculate lap pool
  • Complimentary one hour training session and full body assessment with membership
  • Complimentary 30 minute message
  • Full line of Kiehl’s products for use in the locker room and for purchase at the store
  • An occasional celebrity sighting
  • At times, awesome music

Minuses:

  • Memberships are higher than other gyms in the area
  • The gym’s underground.  No windows but well lit.
  • Cell phone reception’s not that great (see above).  I guess this could be either a blessing or a curse.
  • Initial 12-month contracts, after it’s month-to-month
  • Corporate discounts only happen if you get more than 15 people to join after you inquire about setting up the meetings.  Doesn’t seem like a lot but when you only have 75 people in your office, and the people that can join already are members, it’s tough.

Yes, I feel a bit of exclusivity when I go there.  There are a ton of business professionals that work out during lunch and after they leave the office.  Deals are discussed, people interact with each other and you may even see a celebrity or two.  I love the atmosphere, the cleanliness and the fact you hardly ever have to wait for anything.

It may not be for everyone but I’m glad I’m a member.

Coming Next Week:

As part of sharing new and interesting social media insight, I asked four social media specialists to answer the same series of questions.  Each week I’ll post their responses, along with some background information.  Hopefully you’ll find the interviews full of useful information. Enjoy!