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8. amateur hour, i warned you.

i recently gave myself a 2nd instagram, mainly because i didn't want to mix food pictures with my personal photos...not because i think that highly of myself. with more traction on my open diary aka "blog" i wanted to reiterate a few things that i think are important if you have yet to read anything of mine.

i have numbered each entry, hoping that people would know to start at one and move up. but let's be serious (that's me talking to myself)... no one is going to read all of these, lack of time, interest or "its hard to follow because you don't use capitalization". understandable. but if you have taken a glance through some of these i would encourage you to at least begin with the "about me" and first 2 blogs, this will give you a bit more background as well as a pinch of credibility. like i have said before... there are very few things i do well but giving my uninvited opinion about food and drinks is one of them. creating recipes is another (food & drink) and consuming both is probably the most important.

i would rather keep people wanting to read, so if you are reading these thinking this is terrible, 1. offer me some advice, i'm open to anything except using the shift key with letters. 2. share with someone who enjoys my bluntness & hobbies and maybe the both of you can make fun of me jointly.

onto food. Mel's Place in Roanoke, VA.

going into a new place to eat should be fun and give you some sort of excitement...walking into Mel's gave me a little anxiety. mainly because the parking lot was empty, no signage and i had never been to this part of town. once inside, i knew hadn't made a bad decision. it's clean, modern with a rustic vibe and welcoming,. they have a happy hour EVERYDAY and most importantly there is a patio.

if i'm not awkward enough, whenever i try somewhere new i tend to stare...well i'm not staring at you (sorry for the awkward eye contact, i feel uncomfortable) i'm staring at your food (i might have gone to the "bathroom" to take a closer look). remember, i never go full in. i only order small plates, apps or a main dish to share which gives me the opportunity to see if it's see if its worth another round or if my single beer and wings are already a waste of $20.00.

i truly believe pizza in a way is equivalent to drugs. when i crave it i need it then. if i wanted bread or cheese i would eat those. i crave bread, cheese, sauce and the typical 6 toppings one should add to pizza. not just a "filler" of cheese. many of your typical joints don't know how to proportion ingredients to my liking. one should assume they proportion toppings based on cost. but really, when you open a box or get a slice, and you see 2 pieces of bacon or 3 tomatoes, compared to the open canvas of cheese it's like fml. i might as well have gotten extra cheese. and why the f would someone be so inconsiderate when putting together my craving of the day. this is why you go to mel's.

if you take look at the unbelievable photo above, that yes... i took (that's me being sarcastic) i hope you notice how much care, love and thoughtful consideration is perfected into this self made concept. so simple. every single ingredient is strategically placed. i can't remember the last time i had pizza and was this talkative i. i prefer cream cheese to marinara but apparently people out here don't do that. except this time the sauce was spot on. it didn't taste like chef boyardee and i could actually smell each of the most important ingredients that a quality marinara should have. adding chicken to a pizza can be dicey because it ends up being dry af, absolutely not, i even ate it alone. in addition every vegetable added was fresh and spread out evenly on the crispy, garlicicky and parmesan crust, which i even ate all of because most times i don't eat the crust just like a six year old would do. it was all just too good. it's like there wasn't just an assembly line of people distracted by lil pump in the background playing. whoever made this little bit of heaven was somehow reading my mind and did something right.

happy hour is everyday from 3:00-6:00, they include half off appetizers, $1.00 off craft beers and $2.00 off craft cocktails. because my love for condiments and fried food is so deep i feel like i can usually test a place out by getting chicken tenders, yes again i'm six. if i don't order a minimum of five condiments i must be hungover or with someone i'm too embarrassed to do this with. these were not tyson chicken strips, which i'm fine with, the wheel uses them and i crave that every month. they were pounded out chicken breasts that were maybe one of the most crispy things i had ever had. each condiment i ordered with made from scratch and again this says so much about a place.

a few ipa's in and i was full and happy as can be. my awkwardness level after a few beers goes from a 7 to about a 4, so at this point i actually got the opportunity to talk to Michelle who started the business. she was nothing but real and down to earth, not up my ass about what i thought or putting on a fake smile, she genuinely cared about how her food came out. HER food, HER recipes, not some corporate guy or girl using those extra fillers to stretch the product.

my only concern with a place like this or any local and self made place is that i only hope the staff will follow what's expected of them when managers and owners aren't holding their hands. it's hard to have each and every person that is hired to have such a passion for food and service. the challenge happens everyday and at every restaurant, unfortunately some of those folks are just picking up a paycheck. if that's you, do me a favor and remember the last piece of crappy pizza you had & treat it as if you are making it for yourself (without going overboard stoney).

i plan to recommend this to many and make this my new VA's johnny's replacement.

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