big red rambling: 004 a ramble and a restaurant review


1st up, I just had to link to the new footage of space combat in the upcoming Star Wars: The Old Republic MMO from Mass Effect and Knights of the Old Republic creator Bioware:


I think I can say with all honesty that there is no game currently in development that I am anticipating more than the Old Republic. Which is kind of crazy because I am hardly that big of a MMO fan. Ah, but therein lies the rub, because OR is hardly a standard MMO. From fully voiced dialogue for ALL characters, as can be seen in the footage, to a true emphasis on solo play and story driven events, OR seems to have more common, appropriately enough, with Mass Effect then say World Of Warcraft. If you have not looked into OR before now, and you are any kind of science fiction, Star Wars, RPG, action\adventure, or video game fan, than do yourself a favor and head over here, http://www.swtor.com/ , and check it out. I doubt you will be sorry.

You know my co-host on this fine site loves fine food and wine. I on the other hand, like so many other things in our lives, have far simpler and seemingly less sophisticated tastes. So, with no other further ado, and because it’s my column and I can do whatever the hell I want, I present to you, of all things, a restaurant review. Because I like to keep my readership hopping.

Restaurant review:
Randy’s Restaurant and Ice Cream Review

I have often found that dinning out on a budget can be a tricky experience at best especially if I do not want to chow down on fast food for the millionth time. The trick is finding a nice restaurant, with good food, a causal atmosphere, and, above all, prices that will not burst the bank. This last part is the real sticking point. It is easy to find restaurants that offer good food at bad prices (at least for those of us operating under a strict and limited budget) and it is equally easy to find restaurants with good prices and bad food. Yet finding a restaurant that couples good food (and high amount of selections at that) with good prices can be as difficult as finding a cool spot in Scottsdale between May and August. Certainly such places must exist, yet this fact makes their discovery no easier to achieve. This is why my discovery of Randy’s Restaurant and Ice Cream, an independently owned eatery located at the intersection of Chaparral and Hayden, pleased me a great deal because (a few caveats aside) it is among the best non-fast food budget dining experience I have ever had.

Located at the back of the east side of a small and unnamed strip mall, Randy’s is the kind of place that it would be easy to drive by without ever noticing. Certainly, I did so myself for years, despite traveling that stretch of Hayden almost daily for nearly a decade. Outwardly, Randy’s has a elegant simplicity, with nothing but a simple sign in an unmemorable font near the restaurants roof to mark its existence. This lack of pretension continues inside, where Randy’s is a clean and well laid out dinning location, filled with nice, if unexceptional or memorable, décor. The walls are divided in color, with the upper portion painted a soothing tan and the bottom portion having a light pink coloring. The pink continues throughout the restaurant, specifically with the seating. The majority of seating is split between standard booths, that have pink seat cushions and turquoise tables, and stand alone tables, which switch things around by way of turquoise seats and pink tabletops. Most seats will easily hold five, with some additional smaller two person tables along with a couple of larger tables for parties of a more numerous nature.. Outdoor patio seating is also available, as is a long bar, stretching nearly the length of the restaurant and also serving to divide the kitchen from the remainder of the restaurant. Swivel chairs are attached to the bar for those customers who wish to dine in the style of a 1950’s diner or want to watch the two large flat screen TVs set up above the bar. Combined with the many pleasant, if not particularly memorable, paintings of landscapes and gardens that adorn the restaurants walls, Randy’s interior serves to set a proper mood for a enjoyable dining experience.

Moving on to the food itself, the menu for Randy’s Restaurant and Ice Cream is fairly diverse in an Americana sort of way. It is important to note that most of the standard meal choices listed below are available for a price under 10 dollars. For breakfast diners, Randy’s has the usual mix of pancakes, eggs, meats (bacon, sausages, ham), cereal, oatmeal/grits, and French toast in various combinations or single orders. The lunch menu has much of the same selections as the dinner menu, simply priced lower and its smaller portions.

Randy’s features a good array of sandwiches and hamburgers, featuring such choices as grilled cheese, roast and corned beef, BLT, liverwurst, and a Ruben for the sandwich lover. On the hamburger side of the equation, the usual ray of standard burgers, double burgers, and patty melts stand side by side with more diverse styling’s such as a California burger featuring guacamole and jack cheese and a western burger making generous use of bacon and barbecue sauce. The burgers at Randy’s, for example, cost either $6.95, which includes fries, or $8.50, a basket that adds coleslaw and ice cream to the already included fries. The patty melt basket I tried was wonderful, juicy and meaty without to much grease to ruin the experience, while the fries were suitably crisp and crunchy treats. Without a doubt, this was the second best patty melt that I have eaten in Arizona, just barely being beaten out in taste and value by Chompie’s similar offering.

The remainder of the menu is divided out over a fairly diverse selection of meal choices. Quiche, lasagna, spaghetti and meatballs, fried cod, grilled or fried catfish, chicken fried steak, chicken fajita, a quesadilla, fried chicken, and meatloaf are just some of the choices available for the more discerning diner. The spaghetti and meatballs I had for a quick lunch on my second visit, while not as good as the kind I can receive in a dedicated Italian restaurant, was very pleasant. The freshly made meat sauce complemented the nicely cooked noodles, neither soggy nor overly brittle, well while the accompanying garlic bread really left me feeling I had gotten more than my $6.95 worth. Similarly, the fried chicken dish, consisting of a breast, leg, and thigh along with my choice of three sides (I choose mashed potatoes, salad, and some ice cream and found all three choices equally enjoyable), that Randy’s cooked up for me upon my third visit, at the cost to my funds of $8.59, was equally tasty. Its lack of overly greasy flavor and texture, much like the patty melt I had previously chewed down, was especially appreciated while the crispy, delicious skin joined with well warmed and moist meat for terrific dining.

A good, if ever changing, selections of soups sit alongside a nice selection of salads as options for those less hungry or of the non-meat persuasion. Finally, as is to be expected from a restaurant with this name, ice cream features heavily for dessert, including ice cream pies and Randy’s Creations, a series of elaborate desserts created by hand by the chef. I can personally attest that the Snow Mass, a delicious mixture of vanilla and chocolate ice cream drenched with marshmallows, whipped cream, almonds, and a cherry, is well worth your $5.25 any day you have a little extra cash to spend.

Emphasis on the word cash, because of the one major caveat that I have to note for any potential diner that wishes to eat at Randy’s Restaurant and Ice Cream. Namely that they only accept cash or check, credit and\or debit cards of any kind not being accepted. There is a small sign in the restaurants windows that states this fact, but it is transparent and easy to miss, especially at night. I was forced to make use of the small ATM machine that Randy’s keeps near the front of the restaurant while paying for my first meal and the $3.00 service charge that accompany this usage was less than pleasing. Still, while this is an odd choice for a restaurant in this day and age to make, especially one as consistently crowded as Randy’s was the three times I visited, it should not dissuade anyone looking for a good meal at a good price while in the Scottsdale area.


1 Response to “big red rambling: 004 a ramble and a restaurant review”

  1. February 12, 2014 at 7:41 am

    It’s truly a nice and useful piece of info. I’m glad that you just shared this helpful info with us.
    Please stay us up to date like this. Thanks for sharing.

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