Monday, March 31, 2014

Here You Go Bar Rescue Fans!

HTD gives you our thoughts after attending the OFace Bar viewing party.  Enjoy!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Live Chat: OFace Bar Council Bluffs

Have a question, comment, complaint about last night's episode of Bar Rescue from the OFace Bar in Council Bluffs?  Here's your chance to have them answered...or at least your chance to complain about HitThatDive not bashing the place.


We will be live on HTDTV at 8:30.  You can tune in by clicking this link tonight!  http://ustre.am/1bGvz 


Full Recap Tomorrow of the OFace Bar

Find out what Bar Rescue never told you about the OFace Bar right here tomorrow!

Great People...Great Bar. 

Sunday, March 23, 2014

HitThatDive Broadcasting LIVE Tonight from the OFace Bar

Starting at 7:45 tonight, HitThatDive will be streaming live video from the OFace Bar in Council Bluffs during their Bar Rescue viewing party.  Thanks to owner Karen Overmyer for allowing us this unprecedented access to all of tonight's festivities.

All you need to do is click this link at 7:45 to view itall as the OFace staff and regulars react to what really happened during the taping of Bar Rescue in Council Bluffs.  See you tonight.

HitThatDive TV goes live for the first time!

Live from the OFace Bar tonight! 

Friday, March 7, 2014

HitThatDive -- Bar Rescue Omaha Weekend!

Today is the start of a BUSY few days here at HitThatDive.  At 4:00 I'll be a guest on the Tom Becka radio program talking about the upcoming episodes of Bar Rescue that were shot in Omaha.  If you want to listen along...just click right here.

Listen to part one of the Tom Becka interview right here.
And while you're at it...here's part two! Becka Show Part Two.

Saturday I'll be bowling in the Andy's Place "Unluck of the Draw" bowling tournament at Chops Bowling.  It's always great to hang out with all the regulars from one of only three HTD Hall of Fame dive bars!

And finally on Monday, I'll be taking to Omaha airwaves again as a guest on Morning Blend Omaha (KMTV Channel 3) to give my impressions of the first episode of Bar Rescue filmed in town.  Don't live in the area?  Just click the Morning Blend link to watch live starting at 9:00 (Central)...don't forget to turn your clocks forward!

In case you missed it today...here's a link to the Morning Blend Omaha segment.  Good times!

We still sell these shirts
For those that are regular readers, there are some BIG announcements to look forward to in the coming week including a brand new HitThatDive website, information of the first-every HTD Golf Tournament and details on the 4th Annual Spring Stumble.

If you're new to HitThatDive...what took you so long? My guess is, if you're reading HTD (that's what the cool kids call it for short) you stumbled across this little old blog because of the recent Omaha editions of Bar Rescue.


With that in mind, let me give you a few reading suggestions that you probably missed the first time around.

**SPOILER ALERTS**

HitThatDive -- First Encounter with Bar Rescue in Omaha
HitThatDive -- Bar Rescue at Oasis Hookah Bar in Omaha
HitThatDive -- Oasis is now Taza?
HitThatDive -- Things go Horribly Wrong with Bar Rescue in Council Bluffs

Once you catch your breath...you can read the final recaps below:

Final Recap Part One
Final Recap Part Two
Final Recap Part Three
Final Recap Part Four

Remember, you can always follow along with the HTD shenanigans on Facebook and or Twitter. Wether you're a loyal reader, or a first-timer, thank you for reading HitThatDive...where drinking on the job is not only NOT an issue...it's a requirement!

It's More Fun to Hit That Dive!





Monday, February 3, 2014

Addy's Sports Bar and Grill -- OMAHA WING CHALLENGE

14110 S Street

Omaha NE 68137
402 991 2663

I tried a new approach in my review of Addy's.  Saturday marked my third trip here since December 23rd, so this particular review are based over several visits...and not just one as usual.  A little bit about this bar if you've never been here...the parking sucks.  In fact, don't even deal with the lot in front of the bar, just go to Boulder Creek up the road and park...that's what I do to avoid getting frustrated.

I was a big fan of the old Addy's location, so it surprises me just how different the new Addy's is compared to the old one. If you've never been here, Addy's really ins't a dive these days, but it is one of the best locally owner sports bars in the area. The regulars are still a holdover from the old place, so while Addy's has gone a bit upscale...a lot of the regulars still look like the folks you'd see hanging out in many other Millard dive bars.

Lastly, they have some sort of kickass-looking golf simulator room to the right of the bar.  If you miss swinging your clubs this winter...give this thing a try.  And then tell me how it works, because it looks confusing as hell to me.

Why am I here again?  Oh...yeah...wings.  I'll stop rambling.

Definitely NOT dry
First Impressions:  Order a bowl of beer and wait.  Not an overly long wait, but don't expect your wings to be thrown at you in less than seven minutes like Oscar's.  I didn't set my stopwatch, but my guess is that I waited between 15-20...which is the right amount of time to properly cook wings. Going against my tradition of Buffalo wings...I went strictly with their Char Buff wings.  They came out smoking hot all three times, but as a few readers on Facebook pointed out, they look a bit dry.  Which is kind of true, but this is a case that looks can be deceiving.  They smell good and spicy...and are burn your fingers hot.  Good start!

Score: 9

Sauce:  I kind of goofed on this one.  Since char buffing basically grills the sauce into the wings...it's kind of hard to get a real feel for just exactly how it tastes.  Now, the zip I had from the "Hot" sauce I ordered was great...it's just tough to really give a score on this one.  Others of Facebook have suggested getting them Char Buffed and then dipped again into extra sauce...which it a good option if you're a real sauce lover.  Even without it, all three orders tasted great...and because they aren't very messy... I didn't have to deal with looking like a clown mouth when I left.

Score: 8 (I'll go back soon and try them with additional sauce...promise.  So this may change.)

Double-dipped next time
Crispy:  Now we're talking!  Not sure I have enough flowery language in my limited vocabulary to describe just how perfectly Addy's wings are cooked.  They are super crispy on the outside, hot and juicy on the inside, they are easy to pull from the bone...you get it.  I like how they're cooked...A LOT!  Addy's seems to actually care about ensuring every single order of wings are cooked to perfection.  Even after sitting on the bar for 5 minutes or so, my last wing was still HOT to the touch on the inside when I pulled it apart.  And again, this was from three separate orders over the last month...so it's definitely not a fluke.

Score: 10!

Size:  Addy's has larger than normal wings, which at some bars, could be real trouble from under or over cooking.  But not here.  It's almost like they take the time to cook each wing separately.  The bigger and the smaller are all consistently great.  Even some of the oversized "Drummie" pieces would just fall off the bone.  Hell, you can even just Fred Flintstone the largest wings in your order...which is basically shoving it in your mouth and pulling out a stripped clean bone.

Score: 10
Pass me a straw!

Extras:  Holy crap!  Is that REAL bleu cheese...with chunks of cheese and everything?  YES! Finally, good blue cheese in Omaha...I TOLD YOU it could happen someday!  Celery, check. Here's the other thing I like about Addy's, you can even just get a half order for like $4.95 leaving more room for another bowl of beer.  I'm telling you, I was so psyched to get real blue cheese, I played a few minutes of "fish the chunks out of the cup with a  chicken bone" game. If anyone was there on Saturday, yeah, I was the goof at the bar eating blue cheese for desert.  I'm not big on social graces.

Score: 10

47 out of 50.  

The current record holder is the Pheasant in Millard with a grand total of 48 points.  Addy's is only one point behind AND I need to go back and try another order that are "double-dipped" in hot sauce.

Will we have a new tie?  Will we have a new winner? Hmmmmmm...who knew a wing review could have a cliffhanger of an ending!  Just like a special episode of Happy Days...you know, like when Pinkie Tuscadero and the Malachi Brothers would show up, this one is...TO BE CONTINUED.






Sunday, February 2, 2014

Best Bars for the Super Bowl in Omaha -- 2014 Edition

Not sure I could be more indifferent to this year's "big game" if I tried.  But, that doesn't mean it's not a great excuse to find a reason to suck down some cheap drinks and eat free food...on a Sunday night no less!  With that in mind, I asked local bars on the HTD Facebook page about specials that they have going on for the game...and this is what they had to say.  OMAHA! OMAHA!

Looking for a place or two to watch the game today?  Might I suggest:


The Village BarHitThatDive's Bar of the Year is the place to be if you're a Denver Bronco fan. Plus, they will be having $2 domestic draws, Jell-O shots, tons of free food and plenty of Bronco gear to raffle off during the game. HitThatDive Certified Bar

Maloney's Pub: Is having $12 buckets and a kick ass pot luck dinner. HitThatDive Certified Bar

Aussie's Pub: Chili cookoff and $3 16oz aluminums and TD shots. HitThatDive Certified Bar


Shevey's: Head on over to Elkhorn for $11 buckets (every Sunday) and yet another Bronco-friendly bar.

Eclipse Tavern: Happy hour all day.  $2.75 bottles, $2 draws, $6.50 pitchers, $3.75 wells. and $5.00 bombs.  And, tons of free food to snack on during the game.

Twisted Post:  Happy hour all day long and 1/2 price appetizers.

The Den:  Free pot luck, drink specials and a bikini contest at halftime. Plus, $300 in bar tabs being awarded and they have an all new game room.

Tiger Toms:  Free food and $12 buckets.

Shamrock's:  Pot Luck.  $2.25 domestic pints and bottles.  And...is one of the few Seahawks bars in town.

Keep in mind that friendly wagers on the outcome of the game are always entertained.  No money please, we only wager with rounds of drinks here at HitThatDive.



What I'll be doing during the game.


 



Wednesday, January 15, 2014

ODDKA Vodka -- Taste Test

A few weeks ago, a friend (and former co-worker that now works for a New York City PR firm) asked if I would review vodka from one of his clients.  "What all does this involve?", I asked him just to be sure it didn't sound too much like work.  "We'll send you some vodka, drink it, and write your opinion of it."  Wait.  Free booze?  I'm in!

Fresh Cut Grass, Electricity, and Wasabi ODDKA Vodka

ODDKA: For those that don't know...ODDKA makes some of the most interesting flavors of vodka on the market today including "Fresh Cut Grass", "Salty Caramel Popcorn", and "Wasabi".  I figured that I would sit around the house one night, sample all three flavors that I was sent, write up a few notes and call it a day.

But, that just seemed kind of boring.  So I called my friends at Omaha's Elbow Room to see if they were interested in helping me review some vodka.  Of course the answer was yes...so with camera and vodka in-hand...I was off to add "Booze Reviewer" to my ever-expanding resume.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, a video should be worth even more than that, right?  So, let me have HTD friend Jeff Novak, take the honors of introducing (and sampling first) our three ODDKA vodka flavors for the night.



Fresh Cut Grass: The thoughts on this one were universal.  What in the world is it? And, what do I order it with?  As it turns out, we all liked it as a chilled shot. It really does smell exactly as the name implies...but it was far more drinkable then we had anticipated.  Of note, we also tried it mixed with tonic water which was NOT a good fit.  Somehow the tonic took the subtle grass taste and enhanced it into what tasted like a giant pile of lawn clippings dumped right into your mouth...not what we had hoped.

If you're going to mix it with anything, soda water seems to be the wiser choice.  The ODDKA website also has a few additional cocktail suggestions for Fresh Cut Grass.  But, as for the HitThatDive crowd...we'll stick with drinking this as a chilled shot every time.

Enter "Fast Eddie".  Eddie is a vodka drinker that had never had ODDKA before, so naturally we put him on the spot immediately!  Was Fast Eddie the newest ODDKA fan in town?  Take a look for yourself.



Electricity:  Jeff described this one as grape-flavored where as Fast Eddie determined its flavor to be "Blue".  In either case, it's a berry-flavored vodka where the flavoring is not too overpowering.  Again, our taste testers at The Elbow Room determined this best served as a shot, but Jeff even thought it would work with soda water as well.

Ultimately, Electricity is for vodka drinkers who want a little different taste, yet don't want the flavor to completely overpower the vodka itself.  Even a vodka drinker like Fast Eddie was impressed with this one.

Now...how do I properly tee-up the ODDKA Wasabi flavor.  Perhaps our man DLH summed it up best in this video.



Wasabi: As a shot, this will get your attention.  Immediately! It was impossible for anyone at The Elbow Room this night to try ODDKA Wasabi without feeling the burn seconds after you swallowed it.  That wasn't necessarily a bad thing, in fact, much like eating wasabi...it seemed to be a great way to clear out your sinuses.

When you think spicy and vodka, you immediately think of a Bloody Mary.  Jeff's concern with making a Bloody Mary with ODDKA Wasabi was that he didn't want a mix to out-do the already spicy vodka taste.  So, he came up with his own recipe:

The Elbow Room ODDKA Wasabi Bloody Mary:

  • Celery Salt
  • Pepper 
  • Hot Sauce
  • Worcestershire Sauce
  • Tomato Juice (No Bloody Mary mix)
  • ODDKA Wasabi Vodka 

Now, in all fairness, did everyone that tired all the ODDKA vodka love it?  Nope.  But, what I was initially concerned about was that none of us were going to like any of them...and just wasn't the case. It's different, it's unique, and yes...it's a bit odd...but they even tell you that by the company's name.   

With all the flavored vodkas that are over-saturating the market with the same old offerings like Cotton Candy, Birthday Cake or even Fluffed Marshmallow...I like the fact that ODDKA wants to stand out in the vodka crowd and make something truly different.  

Are these flavors for everyone...probably not. But if you're tired of the same old offerings (and don't mind wandering off the beaten path when trying a new drink or two) ODDKA will take you down an adventurous drinking adventure that you can enjoy...without ever leaving the comfort of your barstool.  


Monday, January 13, 2014

Coming Tomorrow -- ODDKA Vodka Taste Test

A few weeks ago, I received several flavors of ODDKA Vodka to try.  Knowing that its always better to have a few drinks with friends, this time at the Elbow Room (which also is a member of HitThatDive's Hall of Fame) I brought along my video camera to catch the reactions of customers as they sample ODDKA's "Fresh Cut Grass", "Electricity", and "Wasabi" flavored vodkas.

What did I, and everyone else, think of these off-the-wall vodka flavors?  Full review...with videos...tomorrow.  Don't miss it!

What's it like to drink Fresh Cut Grass?
Find out tomorrow!
 

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Oscar's Round 2 -- Omaha Wing Challenge

17330 Lakeside Hills Plaza
New Menu
Omaha, NE 68130
402 758-1910

Two years ago, I stopped by Oscar's to review their wings. Predictably, they received 47 points out of a possible of 50. As most of you know, Oscar's has been know as one of the top bars in the area to always get consistently great wings. But then...something happened.

Since the review two years ago, only two things have really been consistent with every order of wings at Oscar's. One...they make it to you faster than a cheap Mexican place can zap a chimichanga in a microwave and flop it onto your table.  Two...the characteristic "charbuff" crunch has been replaced with a fully cooked, yet slightly slimy and not all that hot of a wing....which is kind of a bummer.

Great Sauce
Word around town is that Oscar's hasn't been all that thrilled with me since a bit of a "Twitter war" we had back in September.  So, chances are they still aren't going to be all that happy with me after this one either...but here's the bottom line, well as I see it anyway...

Oscar's has become a victim of its own success and is now trying to crank out wings faster than a sailor on shore leave can spend a stack of 20's in a seaside whorehouse.  Sure, it's a great way to turn tables faster than ever, but is it really worth a lower quality final product?  In my opinion, no.  But of course...I'm not the one making a ton of profits from the cash machine that is Oscar's.




This was a GOOD one
First Impressions:  Even for a Tuesday lunch crowd, this place is PACKED as usual.  There may be bar owners in town not making money...but it sure ain't these owners!  I take a seat near the bar and wait a good while for someone to wait on me.  I already know what I'm going to order...10 wings, charbuffed, double dipped in Buffalo sauce.  See, this was part of my test...I'm adding an extra step, so clearly it should take longer.

I get out my stopwatch and hit "Go" just after the server enters my order. Seven minutes, 16 seconds and .4 hundredths of a second...my wings arrive.  HOLY DOG SHIT...that's fast by fast food standards!  The always great sauce again has enough of a burn that you can smell the heat...but something is missing. Oh, I know, wings fresh out of a fryer (or grill for that matter) should be steaming hot. These lacked any sort of steam at all.

Score: 7

This was NOT a good wing
Sauce:  For me, Oscar's has the best sauce in the area.  It tastes almost exactly like the wing sauce I've been making for more than 20 years.  The Buffalo sauce in particular is the perfect compliment to the wings that have a good amount of charring on them...which are usually the smaller ones.

Score: 10

Crispy: This got a "10" last time.  And, if I change the category to "Chewy" it could get a 10 again. What once was the hallmark of a great Oscar's wing was its crunchiness. They were never overcooked, yet, always were good and crispy nearly every time.  But now what you get is a wing that has been (I'm guessing baked first) and then kept warm in the kitchen for some amount of time.  If it only took 7 minutes to get my food, they must thrown them in they fryer for 90ish seconds and then on the grill for another 30-45 seconds.  It CAN'T be any longer than that...or my order would have taken MUCH longer.

Also of note, those of us that have downed our fair share of wings...what happens when you pull apart and bite into that first one?  EXACTLY...you can't because they are too hot and burn your fingers. Even on my first wing, I was never in danger of burning anything...and by the last wing...it somehow seemed cooler than room temperature.

And, this is?
Oscar's vows they have never changed how they make wings...I would have to disagree.  What's changed is the churn-them-out as fast as possible cooking style that they never used before. This is the biggest weakness of Oscar's wings today.

Score: 5

Size:  All but two were perfect size...but the ones in question were a bit on the "mutant drummie" side and, while fully cooked, were far more slimy than the rest.  It also was the bigger two that gave off a distinct baked chicken taste...just like the bland oven baked chicken my Grandma would make every third Sunday.  But...not too much at fault here...moving on.

Score: 8

Extras:  Extra plate, check.  A few additional napkins, check. Sad-looking celery, check. Watery bleu cheese that doesn't taste anything like bleu cheese, check.  Wetanp.  What, now you don't even get a wetnap here any more?  At the very least, the corners of the packet make a great impromptu toothpick...not to mention I walked to my car with sauce on my face which would not have happened with a wetnap like they used to give out here. Not the end of the world I suppose...

Score: 8

Final Score: 38 out of 50 (Original Score 47 out of 50) 

Final Thoughts:

The Good:  Oscar's has some of the best sauce and reasonably priced wings in the area.  And, as history has shown, they really do know how to make a great order of wings if they want to.

The Bad:  The microwave burrito that I'm making for dinner, at this very second, takes six minutes to make.  How on earth can a restaurant place an order, properly make wings, plate them, THEN bring them to your table in seven minutes?  Answer...by cutting corners in the kitchen as far as cooking them properly, the way they once did.

Oscar's is a close to an "institution" as there is this far out in West Omaha.  But they sure could take a few notes from a place like The Salty Dog in Council Bluffs that makes it clear on their menu that all wings are cooked after you order them, so they will take at least 20 minutes. You can still do way worse in the area, but sadly, at one point not that long ago...it was almost impossible to do any better than Oscar's wings.


You can't make an egg this fast!