The Ram - Lacey, WA

A first choice place to go when my husband and I are looking for somewhere to eat, somewhere to snack, somewhere to have a pint, or somewhere just to hang out. Fun on a date or with a group of friends.

Honestly, we've never been on the restaurant side because we love the bar's seat yourself atmosphere. Happy Hour (9pm-close) is when you'll usually find us there. FULL SIZED appies and late night meals for half price. Cheap well drinks and pints. Very tasty.

Our favourite appies are:
- Potato Skins, loaded with toppings (including fresh crumbled bacon, not bacon bits) and delicious sour creamy dip.
- Buffalo Chicken Tenders, SO spicy and tangy, awesome blue cheese dip, clean and crisp veggies, and best of all, boneless. Always well cooked, crisp on the outside and nice and juicy inside.
- BBQ Chicken Quesadilla, a fantastic quesadilla. Lots of filling and flavour. Just a real good snack.
- Spinach and Artichoke Dip, very tasty dip although the bread dippers are a bit hit and miss. The garlic spread is delicious, but sometimes a bit heavy on some pieces and not enough on others. Once they're slathered in the dip, who cares. This stuff even tastes great the next day if you happen to be like us and order everything that tastes good since it's so cheap.

The next best thing about The Ram, is their awesome microbrews. If you're a first timer, I suggest starting with the sample horn. A generous 4oz sampler of six of their best selling beer. I like to do this at the start of the night then move on to my favourite, which seems to change every visit. Very good beer, with a good selection of domestic and imports on top of the house micros.

The service is pretty good there 90% of the time. Sometimes if you get there late you get a server who is pretty obviously at the end of their shift and wants to go home, but they still try to keep a smile on. We've always gotten our orders taken quickly, and our beer even quicker. Never a problem with refills, they're almost always right on top of it.

Another cool thing if you're just relaxing in the bar on a weekend night is the trivia pads. You can get these cool little digital consoles at your table that allow you to join in the trivia that's up on the smaller TV screens (the big ones are saved for any type of sporting event that's going on. VERY fun place during a game, but can be hard to get a table. Thankfully they don't seem to mind serving you a beer while you're hanging around the entrance waiting for one.

We're going again tonight. We'll go again before summer is over, and we're guaranteed to be there for good evening games during football season. Highly recommended! You can't go wrong with a $27 bill for two people during happy hour. Four appies and four pints - unbeatable!


The Urban Onion - Olympia WA

Had a gift certificate for this place, so my husband and I thought we'd try something new for our weekly date night.


Great location, strange entryway (wouldn't want to be seated in the mezzanie) but a great dark vibe in the actual dining room. After being seated, we were served quite quickly (although we were the only people in there) and asked what beers were on tap, and our waiter had a tough time remembering (there were only four or five) and couldn't tell us which was a pale ale.

Ordered two appies and two entrees. The hummus plate had fantastic hummus but was accompanied by severely overcooked pita chips that could have caused dental damage. Not only that, but there were only about six tiny chips. The dish was also served with carrots that weren't pealed well and chopped all sorts of sizes, from a big 1" x1" chunk, to small bits that were too flimsy to dip. Same with the cucumber - big thick steaks of it, to little crooked cut shavings.

The second appie was the Mediterranean salad. This sounded just like a greek salad, so I was super excited as it's one of my favourites. The waiter asked what kind of dressing I'd like on the salad, which confused me for a minute, then I decided on the oil and balsamic dressing since it didn't come with and they didn't have a greek dressing. The greens were good and crisp, other than the two dirty cores that were in it, the tomatoes were piled in a mash of horribly chopped mess, the cucumbers were again big steaks of cucumber mixed with crooked shavings, and half the kalamata olives still had pits in them (again, very nearly a dental disaster). The worst of all though, was the "feta". The "cheese" on the salad was two big ice cream sized scoops of what tasted like spoiled goat milk cream cheese. It was NOT feta whatsoever. It was not dry and savory, but just wet hunks of nasty on my salad. You couldn't toss it into the salad to enjoy some with every bite, but just got big mouthfuls of it.

Entrees next. My husband got the spicy vegetarian curry. I asked the waiter if it was an Indian or Thai curry, as I make a mean Thai one and was only interested if it was Indian. He assured me it was Indian. It wasn't, it was Thai. Not only was it not Indian, it was so bloody hot that it should have come with much more than the "Vegetarian Spicy Curry". We're big fans of heat in our meals, but this was TOO hot. You get used to a certain level of heat when eating in restaurants, but this should have had a disclaimer. It was un-enjoyable. And not just because of the heat, but because of the undercooked veggies, big chunks of uncooked mushroom stalks making us think there was sausage in the dish, all thrown on top of basic brown rice. This is a dish that would cost about $0.75 to make at home. There was no presentation value at all. Very disappointing.

I ordered the Blue Cheese and Mushroom burger, with the ground sirloin burger. The waiter had no idea what a sirloin burger was until I pointed it out to him as being offered on the menu. They were out of fries, so I'll have to assume that they're as good as other reviewers say. The burger came, plain as the curry. No tomato or lettuce, or any sort of topping or condiment. The meat of the burger was fantastic tasting and seasoned and cooked perfectly. The bun was pathetic. The blue cheese was quite generous and tasty, but the mushroom was a total of ONE chopped and burnt mushroom. The blue cheese dressing on the side salad I had to substitute was good though.

So the service was poor. The waiter didn't come back to refresh our water, and didn't offer us another beer until we were finished everything (even though the glass was empty most of the meal). He brought our entrees when we weren't even finished one appie, and brought our bill shortly after we were served the entree. We were never offered the onion bread they are known for, and weren't offered dessert. To top it all off, because we used a gift certificate, he added an 18% gratuity to the bill without mentioning it, and we were taxed on the gratuity. I wouldn't even have left 10%.

We'll never go back.




We love it for the cheap gift certificates (although most come with a hitch, but they're still worth it) and wide variety of restaurants available. It's also cool because you can send the certificates as gifts.

The biggest bonus though, is that there are often deals where you can get $25 gift certificates for TWO BUCKS!!! The catch is that you have to spend $35 at the restaurant to use it, not including alcohol, but still! Two bucks for the certificate, and the extra $10 meal, makes a $12 (plus tip) charge for a $35 meal.

Warning though, as you'll read in my next post, always Google search for restaurant reviews *BEFORE* purchasing and using gift certificates.


The Rock - Lacey, WA

The Rock is a rock music themed restaurant with a bar area. The music is a great combination of current and classical rock, and the walls are covered with rock themed swag. The pizzas are named after rock bands, songs and ideas, such as "The Crazy Train" or "Bat outta Hell". This is a great place to go with friends or family, bringing the family a little earlier in the evening, and staying late with friends.

The Rock is known for it's amazing wood fired pizzas, refreshing microbrews and "The Bucket", which is a knock-you-on-your-ass combination of citrus juice (orange and pineapple would be my guess) and five oz. of specialty rums and is actually served in a plastic bucket. Due to the KYOYA nature of these drinks, you're limited to only two servings, although that's plenty. At $9 a Bucket, two is plenty for the wallet too.

Our favourite food here used to be the Rock's Hot Wings. These things were FIERY! The chicken was well cooked and very saucy, with a nice serving of delicious blue cheese dip and some celery, to cool things off between bites. Another curious dish is the Brown Sugar Mozza Bread. Before you give me a weird look, give me the benefit of the doubt and try it. At first, I thought my friends were nuts for ordering this, but after trying it, I crave it all the time!

The reason I say that it "USED" to be our favourite food, is because lately some of the food, and all of the service, has gone

The quick wait times and friendly hosts and hostesses seem to have moved on to greener pastures. I'm sure the economy had something to do with this, but now you're left with some young person with much less interest in seating you then interest in finishing the conversation they're having with other host(esses) or servers. You'll often be passed up for parties bigger than you if you come in a party of two, even though most of their tables seat four or more so it isn't like they're waiting for a two top to be available.

The wait staff also seem very inexperienced, often forgetting to give you cutlery, or side plates for shared appies. Many times we've not had our water refilled when it's empty and haven't been asked if we'd like another beer, once when our beer was empty before the appies were gone and we still hadn't ordered our main courses. A few visits ago, I had ordered a second Bucket that never came, and when asked about it, the waitress brought it right away and made the comment: "Sorry, I thought it was for him." and motioned to our oversized friend in a dark trench coat. Whether that was a comment on his appearance or what, I'm not sure, but we were MAD.

Those perfect batches of hot wings have turned into small baskets of smaller wings that have been very overcooked and under sauced. And forget about the blue cheese dressing, 99% of the time you have to remind your server that it comes with that, and if you recieve it before your wings are cold, you're lucky. The sauce is still incredibly spicy and delicious though.

Two visits ago, I reminded our waitress about the blue cheese dressing and asked for a second bucket at the same time (yes I like my Buckets, it's probably the only reason we keep going there), and the dressing never came. The Bucket came about 20 minutes later when the bartender brought it out (with the ice completely melted) asking whose it was. Our waitress was sitting talking to friends who were seated a few tables over.

Another selling point for The Rock is their weekday pizza buffet lunch. A bit pricey at just under $10 per person, but it's all you can eat, and comes with a soda or lemonade (flavoured lemonade is extra). However, unlike our visits last year, our visit last week took forever to be seated, eventually seating ourselves in the bar. Water was brought, but drink orders weren't taken until we were three quarters through our meal (to save on refills?), we had to flag down our waitress for the cheque (she was busy talking to a friend at the bar) and she never came back to pick up our credit card. We had to walk it up to her and inturrupt her conversation after ten minutes. The buffet was out of cesear salad the entire time (we were there just short of an hour) and the pizza trays were almost always empty and very slow to be replenished.

All that aside, the pizza is fantastic, although overpriced. If you can overlook poor service, the possibility that you will get zero to one drink regardless of how many you'd like, and you keep the $5 off (a large pizza) coupon on the bottom of the recipt for next time, the pizza is pretty yum. Skip the appetizers (except the Brown Sugar Mozza Bread) and eat dessert at home, but the pizza is worth a shot. And don't forget to grab a Bucket!