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Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Non-Food Post

Through a link to this blog the other night I came across a blog by a Nebraska and UNL grad national guardsman currently in Iraq - Half a World Away. He found this blog by searching for Don and Millie's (home of the best double cheeseburger in Lincoln, at least) because he used to work there.

I'm pointing this out on a food blog because his writing is very entertaining and gives a nice look into what Nebraskans are doing over there right now. I'm not going to comment on any political issues because this isn't the place and he doesn't get into that much either even if he could.

Planet Sub

When Planet Sub (Flash Warning) opened downtown next to BW3, The Coffee House and Bison Witches, the initial reaction from the lunch crowd was that it took way too long. Stories of 30 minute waits (at least) were common. Even a month after they opened a co-worker went there for lunch and got the last sandwich before they ran out of bread.

Well, I've still never been to Planet Sub for lunch but I've been there several times in the evening in the last couple of months and it's been terrific every time. So far I've had a Pesto Bello Combo, Buffalo Chicken, Yellow Sub, Pastrami Melt, and Turkey Club and they've all been some of the best sandwiches I've had outside of M & N Sandwich Shop and Manhattan Deli's Rachel (a pastrami Reuben). Plus, Planet Sub has daily $3 specials, $1 off coupons on their website, and late night specials for people looking for an alternative to gyros, Wiener Envy, Lazzaris or Amigos after the bars close.

As far as the sandwiches go, the Pesto Bello Combo was delicious but very sloppy. The toppings include Cheddar, Mozzarella, Roasted Portobello Mushrooms, Fresh Red Peppers, Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Tomato-Garlic Pesto and then you can add two meats. I chose Italian Sausage and spicy Capicola. With that much on the sandwich, it's going to be defiantly sloppy and that should be expected. The Buffalo Chicken was much better than other Buffalo flavored chicken sandwiches I've had elsewhere. I had the Pastrami Melt last weekend and it totally hit the spot and several places on my shirt as well. I'd like to see them replace the pepperjack with Swiss on that sandwich though.

So, I like it a lot but I haven't tried to eat there for lunch. Does anyone have any insights about Planet Sub's lunch service?

Friday, August 04, 2006

El Rincon

There are more authentic taco joints opening in Lincoln than a person can keep up with anymore. I noticed El Rincon on the way back home after the first day of the bar exam and decided I'd try it after the second day as a reward.

Inside it's pretty stark. The burger-dressing counter from the old Sam's Gutbombs is still there covered by a tablecloth though. I walked up to the counter to order and was invited to sit down so someone could take my order. That threw me for a loop because in most of the simple taquerias - Super Taco, Tacos del Pueblo, El Chaparro, El Comal, etc. - you order at the counter. It didn't make much of a difference though, since I ended up waiting for my food about the same amount of time at El Rincon.

The menu is very similar to the abovementioned restaurants but a little bit simpler. The basics are there - tacos, burritos, tortas, combo platters - but not much else which is fine for a place like this. One thing I did find intriguing, though I did not order it, was the option of having a chile relleno taco or torta. Maybe next time. I ended up getting what I usually order at a new taqueria which was a selection of tacos. At $1.25 each they were a pretty good value as they were noticeably heavier on the meat than the tacos at similar places. I ordered one each of chorizo, carne asada and carnitas. Lengua, pollo and cabeza were also available the day I was there.

Starting with the best, the carne asada was fresh, hot and juicy. Probably some of the best carne asada I've had on a taco in Lincoln. Oddly, it was topped with lettuce and tomato while the other two tacos had the standard cilantro and onion topping. The chorizo was flavorful but the texture was a little softer than I like; the meat was looser than I'm used to. Finally, the carnitas was in bigger chunks than you usually find which allowed the crispiness of the pork to be more noticeable. However, the meat was a bit too dry.

Hot sauces were served in squeezeable bottles. The salsa verde was very heavy on tomatillo and jalapeno and spicy but not too spicy. The salsa roja was very smoky, tinged perhaps with the Mexican smoked paprika I like so much, slightly spicier than the green sauce but again, not too spicy. Hot sauce passionistas will not be blown away.

I was also served a basket of hot from the oil corn chips and a bowl of salsa while I waited for my food. The chips were great but the salsa was a real disappointment. It was very fresh but about the only thing I could taste was tomato along with cilantro. Definitely ask for the hot sauce bottles to spice up the chip salsa.

A secretary where I work is from Mexico and she seems to know everybody who runs a Mexican restaurant in town and has an opinion on their food as well. El Rincon is not high on her list. She placed it below all the restaurants I've mentioned here and singled out the carne asada for particular criticism which definitely differed from my experience. It seems consistency might be a problem at El Rincon. Given they've only been open since early July that's understandable. Still, El Rincon is a nice addition to Lincoln's growing selection of taquerias, especially given it's location.

El Rincon
2100 N 48th St, Lincoln, 68504

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Back! Get it?

Now that the bar exam and the requisite recovery period are over it's time to get back to writing about eating. I'd like to thank people for not abandoning us during the prolonged absence. Gunscribe and shells even left comments on what appeared to be another of the 1,000,000 dead blogs clogging the Stevens pipes.

In fact, site traffic seems just a tad higher now than it was two months ago. Maybe I should stop blogging completely and cover the page with ads.

Friday afternoon I'll have a short review of El Rincon, the latest entry in Lincoln's growing taqueria population. I finally ate at Doughboyz during the dead period and I'll have a few words about them too. Short preview: pizza - great; menu and atmosphere - not so much. There are a few others rattling around, too, but I'll have to get Sarah to help me refresh my memory since it is still clogged with legal minutia that will slowly trickle away.