Firehouse Subs, Part 2: Dinner with the Co-Founder

I was delighted to be one of the bloggers invited to the Firehouse Subs dinner with the co-founder. I was already fond of Firehouse Subs based on past visits. (See the FoodMeOmaha post, “Firehouse Subs, Part 1: Hot Subs Done Right”).

On October 14th, my best friend, Zoe, and I went to the dinner event at Firehouse Subs (72nd Street) Omaha location. We were treated to subs and the Firehouse story told by the co-founder, Robin Sorensen. My fondness for Firehouse Subs was fired up!

Firehouse Subs dinner with the co-founder and other local bloggers.

Firehouse Subs co-founder, Robin Sorensen, talking about Firehouse Subs.

Firehouse Subs was founded by firefighting brothers Robin and Chris Sorensen in 1994. They started out with one shop in Jacksonville, Florida and successfully expanded to a franchise of more than 660 shops. I am glad they did and have two locations in Omaha!

Firehouse Subs’ mission.

As mentioned in a previous post, Firehouse Subs stands out for their hearty and flavorful hot subs. I learned the following from Robin:

  • The meat and cheeses are uniquely steamed to lock in moisture and flavor.
  • They use quality ingredients including premium meat and Sargento cheeses.
  • Their meats are sliced fresh daily.
  • The large specialty subs have a half pound of meat!

We enjoyed four different Firehouse subs (each a third portion of the large).

Hook and Ladder.

Hook and Ladder

  • Description: Smoked turkey breast and honey ham smothered with Monterey Jack and Fully loaded (lettuce, tomato, onion, mayo, spicy mustard) and a dill spear on the side.
  • Price: $5.69 medium, $7.69 large
  • FoodMe YUM Rating: 8.5 out of 10
  • FoodMe Value Rating: 8.5 out of 10

The Hook and Ladder is the most popular sub and I understood why after my first bite. This is a delicious combination of steamed turkey and ham, melted cheese, a good dose of mayo, lettuce, tomato, and onion on toasted bread. I am hooked on this sub!

New York Steamer.

New York Steamer

  • Description: Corned beef brisket and pastrami with Provolone, mayo, mustard, Italian dressing and a dill spear on the side.
  • Price: $5.69 medium, $7.69 large
  • FoodMe YUM Rating: 7.5 out of 10
  • FoodMe Value Rating: 7.5 out of 10

The New York Steamer is packed with flavorful corned beef and pastrami. The meat duo is the star complemented by melted provolone, creaminess of the mayo, a little spice of the mustard and the zest of the Italian dressing. This is recommended for the corned beef and pastrami lovers.

The Italian.

The Italian.

The Italian

  • Description: Genoa salami, pepperoni, ham, Provolone, Italian dressing and Italian seasonings, served Fully Involved.
  • Price: $5.69 medium, $7.69 large
  • FoodMe YUM Rating: 7.5 out of 10
  • FoodMe Value Rating: 7.5 out of 10

You can smell the Italian in The Italian. This is a tasty meat trio and melted provolone combo heightened with the Italian seasoning and dressing. I can see my dude, Brian, loving this sub.    

Smokehouse Beef and Cheddar Brisket.

IMG_5678

Smokehouse Beef and Cheddar Brisket.

Smokehouse Brisket and Smoked Cheddar

  • Description: USDA Choice beef brisket smoked for 16+ hours, cheddar, mayo, Sweet Baby Ray’s® BBQ Sauce.
  • Price: $5.99 medium, $7.99 large
  • FoodMe YUM Rating: 8.5 out of 10
  • FoodMe Value Rating: 8.5 out of 10

The Smokehouse Brisket and Smoked Cheddar is smokin’ awesome! This is a rich, flavorful, decadent sub. Oh yeah. Zoe (barbecue lover) and I really liked this sub. Warning: I can see this being too rich for some palettes.

FoodMeOmaha and hot sauces at Firehouse Subs.

Thumbs up for Firehouse Subs! This is the place to go for hearty and flavorful hot subs. Plus, there is a variety of hot sauces for more flavor!

FoodMeOmaha and Firehouse Subs co-founder, Robin Sorensen.

Thanks to Robin and the Firehouse Subs staff for the dinner event!

FoodMeOmaha and best friend, Zoe, at Firehouse Subs.

Thanks to my dear friend Zoe for being my plus one!

Here are posts from other local bloggers on the Firehouse dinner event:

Giveaway!

This is FoodMeOmaha’s first giveaway! Do you want a chance to win a Firehouse Subs gift card? If so, comment below on your thoughts about Firehouse Subs.

Note: One entry per person. The giveaway is open until Thursday, January 16, 2014 8:00pm Central Time. Winners will be announced on Friday, January 17, 2014 on a FoodMeOmaha post. The winners will need to contact me with their address at foodmeomaha@gmail.com within 72 hours to claim their prize. There will be another chance to win via FoodMeOmaha Facebook page. Stay tuned!

Firehouse Subs on Urbanspoon

2013 Omaha Restaurant Week Series #3: Blue Sushi Sake Grill

As aptly self-described, Blue Sushi Sake Grill has “sushi with an American attitude”. They serve up a variety of sushi, Asian-inspired dishes, and fun drinks in a trendy, modern scene commonly abuzz with mingling people. Service is friendly but is often slow during peak hours.

FoodMeOmaha goes to Blue Sushi Sake Grill for their lunch specials, happy hour, and select dishes.

On Wednesday, September 18th, I had lunch at Blue Sushi Sake Grill in the Old Market. I couldn’t pass up the 2013 Omaha Restaurant Week special of three courses for only $20! (Note: ORW is usually offered for dinner only.)

2013 Omaha Restaurant Week menu at Blue Sushi Sake Grill.

I decided to try items I never had before from the ORW menu.

Shishito Peppers – garlic, soy, lime, butter, shichimi.

Course 1: Shishito Peppers. The shishito peppers have a char-grilled, red pepper-seasoned, savory flavor. The batch I had was tasty and flavorful without the burning spicy kick.

Roja – tuna, yellowtail, avocado, cucumber, cilantro, soy paper, spicy sauce.

Roja close-up.

Course 2: Roja. I enjoyed the combination of tuna, yellowfin, refreshing cilantro, rich avocado, cucumber crunch, and the Sriracha finish.

Hawaiian Roll – tempura fried, salmon, crab, mango, mirin mango purée.

Hawaiian Roll close-up.

Course 2: Hawaiian Roll. The Hawaiian roll did not work for my palette. The fried tempura coating was overly heavy and greasy. The salmon and crab was lackluster.

Green Tea Ice Cream

Course 3: Green Tea Ice Cream. I have a weakness for green tea ice cream. This creamy, smooth green tea ice cream with fresh strawberries pleased my Asian sweet tooth.

Overall, my ORW selections were good but I prefer other dishes from Blue Sushi Sake Grill’s menu. My go-to favorites at Blue Sushi Sake Grill include the mango crab rangoon, coconut crab soup, chicken lettuce wraps, killer bee roll, and tempura fried ice cream.

2013 Omaha Restaurant Week Lunch/Dinner

  • Description: Three course for Omaha Restaurant Week
  • Price: $20.00
  • FoodMe YUM Rating: 7.5 out of 10
  • FoodMe Value Rating: 8.0 out of 10

Blue Sushi Sake Grill on Urbanspoon

2013 Omaha Restaurant Week Series #2.5: Taita Restaurant

Gallery

This gallery contains 11 photos.

Here are some delicious pictures of our 2013 Omaha Restaurant Week dinner at Taita Restaurant. Pictures are courtesy of FoodMeOmaha friend, Zoe. She has a keen eye and talent for photography. Click here for the FoodMeOmaha review!

2013 Omaha Restaurant Week Series #2: Taita Restaurant

I can’t rave enough about Taita Restaurant. Taita is highly-recommended by FoodMeOmaha for outstanding service, delightful cocktails, fine-quality seafood, AND best sushi in town!

On Tuesday, September 17th, FoodMeOmaha and best friends, Maude and Zoe, dined at Taita for the 2013 Omaha Restaurant Week. I was delighted to be back at Taita. (Click here for past FoodMeOmaha reviews on Taita.)

We ordered all the courses from the ORW menu, plus some other dishes. The headliner of this dinner is… holy sushi!!!

Yellowtail Spoons.

Chef Jose Dionicio of Taita treated us to yellowtail amuse bouche. The presentation was as beautiful as the taste. It was a refreshing, smooth bite. Our complaint: we wanted more!

Plum and Tonic.

Plum and Tonic, $6.00. This drink was a unique delight of plum wine, tonic, and nasturtium flower. My first nasturtium! The flower added an earthy spice to the semi-sweet drink.

Nikkei Roll: albacore two ways / cucumber / avocados / tiger’s milk.

Nikkei Roll close-up.

Nikkei Roll, $13.00. This is a tasty, well-executed, albacore two ways roll. I enjoyed all the elements of pure tuna, spicy tuna, cucumber crunch, red onion accent, seaweed layer, and delicate rice.

Veggie Roll: crispy quinoa / takwan-zuke / avocado /shitake / bedford gardens veggies.

ORW Course 1: Veggie Roll. Best veggie roll I have ever had! Typically, I snub “boring” veggie rolls for the raw fish. However, Taita’s veggie roll was a yummy surprise. The crispy, nutty quinoa is the finesse ingredient that makes this roll.

Sashimi: premium soy sauce / yuzu / thai chilies / tobiko.

ORW Course 1: Sashimi. The fresh yellowtail sashimi is enhanced with premium soy sauce, tobiko (flying fish roe), yuzu (citrus fruit) zest, and greens. I adored the simple, elegant sashimi.

Nigiri: Isaki, Uni and Iberico Ham Lardo, and Duck Foie Gras (from left to right).

ORW Course 1: Chef’s Choice Nigiri. On the menu, the nigiri is described as “3 perfect sushi bites.” I avidly agree. This is… holy sushi!!! The Isaki (Japanese Grunt fish) is a lovely fattier but delicate and light fish. Both the uni with lardo and duck foie gras were exquisite, rich, velvety goodness. Each piece was perfectly balanced with rice.

We were a symphony of mmms, ooohs, wows, and ohmygods. Among this foodie trio, Zoe has the most selective taste. Commonly, whenever we dine out, Zoe nonchalantly says “I can make this.” This time, Zoe said, “I cannot imitate this.” THAT says a lot!

The nigiri was glorious so we each ordered another round for $12. Awesome value for holy sushi.

Did you notice that there was no wasabi or soy sauce on the side? None is needed due to the fine-quality ingredients and superb execution by Chef Jose. Taita’s sushi is that good. Check out this great article, “What should you do with that extra wasabi? Nothing“.

Poke: fresh seaweed / rayu / sea salt / onions / tamari.

ORW Course 2: Poke. The sushi loving continues. The poke is a refreshing combination of luscious smooth salmon and fresh seaweed. This hit the spot!

Squid: house-made chorizo / garlic confit / roasted tomato aioli.

ORW Course 2: Squid. This is one my of favorite cooked seafood dishes at Taita. The chorizo-stuffed squid is a glorious union of land and sea.

Anticuchos: grilled majinola wagyu beef heart / roasted potatoes / chimichurri.

ORW Course 2: Anticuchos. The savory, beef heart with crispy potatoes and chimichurri sauce is delicious.

Uni Pasta (split three ways).

Uni Pasta, $18. We split this favorite dish (ordered from the regular menu). The uni pasta has wonderful chewy noodles with real crab meat immersed in creamy sauce.

Majinola Wagyu Brisket: stout beer and cilantro-brasied brisket / white beans / carrots.

ORW Course 3: Majinola Wagyu Brisket. The beef was good but paled compared to Taita’s seafood dishes. I wanted more cilantro flavor and tender meat.

Bass: roasted carrots / spring onions / clam stew / thai chilies.

ORW Course 3: Bass. While the bass with crispy skin and light stew was good, it was outshined by the sushi.

Salmon: butternut squash / house-made chorizo / pickled onion / apple salad.

ORW Course 3: Salmon. The salmon is my favorite cooked fish at Taita. This is a unique, complementary combination of salmon with crispy skin, butternut squash, savory chorizo, and refreshing apple salad.

Once again, X marks the spot at Taita for seafood treasures. The pinnacle treasure is the sushi!!! Taita has superbly executed, fine-quality sushi. FoodMeOmaha declares Taita is the best sushi place in town.

Special thanks to Chef Jose for the holy sushi!!! Special thanks to our waitress, Haley, for the wonderful and welcoming service.

2013 Omaha Restaurant Week Dinner

  • Description: Three course dinner for Omaha Restaurant Week
  • Price: $30.00
  • FoodMe YUM Rating: 9.25 out of 10
  • FoodMe Value Rating: 9.5 out of 10

Note: The overall rating is an average of all the ORW courses. The FoodMe YUM rating for the nigiri is 10!

Taita on Urbanspoon

2013 Omaha Restaurant Week Series #1: Railcar Modern American Kitchen

FoodMeOmaha was busy during the 2013 Omaha Restaurant Week. ORW was the time to dine for great restaurants, great value, and great charity. (See the previous post, “2013 Omaha Restaurant Week“.) Hence, I dined at several restaurants from new places to old favorites. This new series gives the lowdown on FoodMeOmaha’s ORW dining visits.

My first Omaha Restaurant Week venue was Railcar Modern American Kitchen. On Friday, September 13th, FoodMeOmaha and friend Renae dined at the railcar-inspired restaurant for the first time.

Railcar Modern American Kitchen is a simple, casual dining place with great, friendly service. On board, there are railcar-like window dividers and some railroad photography, but don’t expect to feel like you are in a train.

Renae and I each ordered different ORW 3-course dinners for $30 and a flight of wine (3 glasses) for an additional $10. We happily wined and dined at a great value!

We started out with the complimentary pretzel bread. Yum! It had a nice slighty-sweet pretzel skin outside and hearty, soft inside.

Course 1: B&O Maryland Style Crab Cakes. This was my favorite course. I enjoyed the tasty combination of full-flavor crab meat, fresh sweet corn, celery crunch, and creamy aioli sauce.

Course 1: All-Natural Angus Beef Whiskey Steak Skewer. This was my second favorite course. The savory steak, salty bacon, sweet teriyaki sauce, and unique, refreshing peanut coleslaw pleased my palette. On a picky note, I wished the steak temperature was medium, instead of well-done.

Course 2: Local Duroc Pork Ossu Bucco. The pork was slightly dry but still good. I favored the fatty meat pieces and the flavorful red wine tomato sauce and Tuscan beans. The best part was the small amount of precious bone marrow forked and slurped with glee.

Course 2: Pretzel Crusted Walleye. Meat lover, Renae, ventured outside her norm with this fish dish. She was pleased with the pretzel crust and mild white fish. My bites were okay but needed more mustard emulsion sauce for flavor and contrast.

Course 3: Chocolate Pecan Cookie. This hit the spot. We both enjoyed the warm, decadent, chocolate pecan cookie balanced with the cold, smooth vanilla ice cream. No question, this is way better than Old Chicago’s Big Cookie.

Course 3: Key Lime Pie. This is a yummy delight of refreshing, semi-sweet and tart lime and graham cracker crust.

Overall, the dinner pleased the taste buds. In particular, my favorite courses were the appetizers and desserts. Despite a few execution bumps, Railcar Modern American Kitchen served up a great food journey at a great value for Omaha Restaurant Week. I will be coming back to try more from Railcar Modern American Kitchen.

2013 Omaha Restaurant Week Dinner

  • Description: Three course dinner for Omaha Restaurant Week
  • Price: $30.00
  • FoodMe YUM Rating: 8.0 out of 10
  • FoodMe Value Rating: 8.5 out of 10

Railcar Modern American Kitchen on Urbanspoon

2013 Omaha Restaurant Week

2013 Omaha Restaurant Week

The third annual Omaha Restaurant Week is almost here! FoodMeOmaha will be forking, knifing, and spooning it up during Omaha Restaurant Week! Here are three reasons why:

1. Great Restaurants: The roster of participating restaurants is forking good! Four of the restaurants are led by chefs nominated for the prestigious James Beard Award – Jennifer Coco of J. Coco, Clayton Chapman of The Grey Plume, Jon Seymour of V. Mertz, an Paul Kulik of The Boiler Room Restaurant. FoodMeOmaha favorites include Taita, Lot 2 Restaurant and Wine Bar, V. Mertz, and Dante Ristorante Pizzeria. Plus, new restaurants to try!

2. Great Value: Three-course meals, some with beverages, are offered at a fixed price of $20, $30, or $40. Great quality for a great value. In fact, this is a better deal compared to regular prices.

3. Great Charity: The value is made even sweeter with charity. Feed yourself AND others in need in the community. Part of the proceeds go to the Food Bank for the Heartland.

Based on the participating restaurants and published menus online, here are FoodMeOmaha’s top three picks:

1. Flatiron Cafe: Flatiron Cafe is a New American fine-dining restaurant that I want to try for the first time. Their 3-course menu sounds marvelous. I am intrigued by the veal sweatbreads. (I haven’t tried sweatbreads yet!) Plus, two main course options – the beef tenderloin with king crab and the poached lobster with a truffle oil risotto – are calling to me.

2. Taita Restaurant: Taita caught me hook, line, and sinker for their unique seafood treasures. (Click here for FoodMeOmaha reviews on Taita.) I want to go back for more! Specifically, I want to check out their new sushi bar, feast on one of the sushi appetizers, and come back for the glorious chorizo-stuffed squid (second course option).

3. Dante Ristorante Pizzeria: Dante is one of my favorite restaurants in town. They serve quality ingredients and tasty dishes (pizza and non-pizza). Dante offers three courses plus wine for $30 – a great deal for great food. I am enticed by the field salad with pistachio and prosciutto (first course option) and the diver scallops and oxtail with potato gnocchi (second course option).

Of course, I am tempted by other restaurants including Lot 2 Restaurant and Wine Bar, V. Mertz, Dolce, J. Coco, The Grey Plume, The Boiler Room RestaurantLe Voltaire, Railcar Modern American Kitchen, Jackson Street Tavern, Plank, and Salt 88.

Click here for a complete list of participating restaurants and the 3-course offerings. Reservations are recommended.

Omaha Restaurant Week starts this Friday. Don’t miss out!

2013 Omaha Beer and Bacon Festival

On Saturday, August 3rd, FoodMeOmaha went to the first Omaha Beer and Bacon Festival at the Old Mattress Factory Bar & Grill. An advance ticket was $30 and a gate ticket $35. This event combined baconing, beering, and fundraising for Omaha Jaycees and Ronald McDonald House of Omaha.  Bacon and beer for a good cause!

Michelle, FoodMeOmaha, and Zoe (left to right), showing our support with Ronald McDonald Charity House temporary tattoos. Bacon lovers unite!

I was in good company with gal pals and fellow bacon lovers, Michelle and Zoe.

Tools for beering.

Each participant received a souvenir glass mug and a small plastic cup for beering. We enjoyed various beer samples among the dozen beer vendors.

Our main focus was the bacon. Like bees to flowers, we were bacon hopping from one bacon-dish vendor to another. Here are the bacon goods in order from my least favorite to my top favorite bacon dish!

Bacon Cheeseburger.

#6: This was a less-than-average bacon cheeseburger. The bun to burger meat ratio was off – too much bread or not enough meat .

Bacon Burger.

#5: This burger is tastier than #6. The bacon is built into the patty and balanced with fresh tomatoes and lettuce.

Jalapeno Torpedos – spicy pepper, fatty cream cheese, crispy bacon shell, laced with maple syrup.

#4: The Jalapeno Torpedos was greasy but still good. The grilled jalapeno, extra crispy bacon, and maple syrup gave it an extra edge.

Bacon Chocolate Cupcake.

#3: Opposites attract. The sweet, moist chocolate and salty, bacon crunch makes a yummy cupcake. I had 2.33 mini cupcakes. Sharing is caring.

Railcar Modern American Kitchen’s Bacon Au Gratin with Bacon Marmalade.

#2: This was my second favorite bacon dish at the festival. Comforting potatoes with a slight tart flavor and bacon goodness. I had two servings. Railcar Modern American Kitchen is one of many new restaurants I need to explore.

Plank’s Pork Belly, Scallop, Tomato Skewer.

Side view of Plank’s Pork Belly, Scallop, Tomato Skewer.

#1: Plank brought home the bacon! This was my top favorite bacon dish at the festival. Luscious pork belly, delicate smoked scallop, fresh heirloom tomato, topped with a smooth bacon horseradish aioli was a beautiful bite to immerse in. I would have recursively waited in line for another bite but they ran out. Sooo gooood!

Bacon Contest.

The judges got a much bigger piece of Plank’s bacon dish for the bacon contest. Greedy me was jealously eyeing them. Plank won first place at the first Omaha Beer and Bacon Festival Bacon Contest. I applauded in full agreement.

The festival had other goods worth mentioning including Bloody Mary’s with bacon for $7. Picky Bloody Mary fan, Michelle, approved and enjoyed two rounds of the drink.

I kept going back to the bacon jerky cart. For a donation, you get a bag of hickory smoked bacon jerky or sweet maple glazed bacon jerky. I came home with a stash of bacon jerky. The yummy treat didn’t last long!

Overall, we enjoyed the first Omaha Beer and Bacon Festival. Bacon, beer, benefit charity, and great company = happy FoodMeOmaha. I did wish they had more bacon. There were only six bacon vendors, some long lines, and most of the vendors ran out of their bacon dish within a couple of hours. Next year, I recommend coming early to beat the lines and get your bacon fill.

The second Omaha Beer and Bacon Festival is August 2nd, 2014!