Wolfgang’s Restaurant – didn’t know what I was missing!

A friend and I headed out to lunch today and he suggested Wolfgang’s Restaurant in East Grand Rapids. I’ve lived in the Grand Rapids area for over 10 years now and I’d driven past the restaurant countless times, but had never eaten there until today. It’s not some fancy restaurant…more of a diner style atmosphere that cares more about great food and service than outfitting it with ornate woodworking or looking like your average chain restaurant.

The menu mainly consists of a few pages of breakfast fare and a page of lunch items. I had always heard great things about breakfast, and that’s what I was in the mood for anyway – so it was an easy choice…or so I thought. There were so many great sounding breakfast choices – it made for a difficult decision. I eventually decided on “Uncle Ron’s Skillet” – a conglomeration of red-skin potatoes, sausage, bacon, melted cheese and a little bit of onion – topped with a couple of eggs and a side of toast.

All I can say is “Wow!” The food was incredible and the size of the skillet was enormous. I wanted to eat the entire skillet, but just couldn’t polish it off. I had to at least finish off the eggs, they were cooked to absolute perfection, I just couldn’t resist.

I guess you could say it might be a bit pricey for breakfast (my skillet was just shy of $8)…but then again, the portions are huge and the food is excellent. I’m not sure if half-orders are available or not, but I think that would be about the perfect amount food so I don’t gorge myself next time 🙂

I’ll definitely be revisiting Wolfgang’s sometime soon, I only wish I hadn’t waited 10 years in the first place! Next time it will be with my family, and I’m sure they’re going to love it.

PlayOn – a worthy attempt, but I think I’ll be MovingOn

It’s been a few months since dropping our cable TV service in lieu of cheaper alternatives. The solution I came up with is a combination of over the air digital TV stations, Netflix streaming, and a piece of software called PlayOn that would allow me to stream Hulu (and a handful of other content providers) from a PC to my PS3 and Xbox 360 game consoles.

Well, we’ve survived so far, but it has been a bit frustrating at times. Picking up digital TV stations over the antenna has been pretty solid; only a few times during really bad weather that I’ve had any issues. Using Netflix has also been pretty solid when using the PS3 and the Netflix provided CD to stream video – I’m actually really impressed with the video quality so far.

That leads me to the last of the bunch – PlayOn. My first month or so of using PlayOn was great. I was able to watch Hulu using my PS3 and Xbox…and even stream Netflix to my Xbox without needing to have an Xbox Gold membership. I should have known it was too good to be true.

I ran through the 14-day trial period and decided to buy a license for PlayOn. It continued to work great for about 2 more weeks…and then all of the sudden…I had issues connecting to Hulu. That seemed to get resolved after a few days; however, it hasn’t been the same since. I’ve had nothing but problems with video lag, stuttering, hanging, audio and video being out of sync. To PlayOn’s credit, they seem to be releasing updates/patches to try to keep up with all of the bugs – I’ve had the “luxury” of downloading and installing at least 5 PlayOn updates/patches since installing the software a little over 2 months ago.

I’ve worked with their support staff for a couple of days trying to resolve the issue. Unfortunately,
I’ve pretty much lost hope after the last contact from their support said the following:

“This is often indicative of something such as Security or AntiVirus software killing the stream. That’s almost certainly what is going on here.”

I had already told them that I had uninstalled my anti-virus to eliminate that as the culprit – and I wasn’t running a software firewall; yes, I have an external firewall, but no changes have been made to it – AND let’s not forget, PlayOn did work fine initially for the first month or so.

So, I’m pretty chalking up PlayOn as a loss. Of course, your mileage may vary. I just don’t have the time or patience anymore. It has to be quite a challenge for the PlayOn developer staff to stay on top of all of the changes that the various video content providers make.

I’m thinking my best bet is to look at getting a small PC or Mac Mini to hook up directly to my TV, maybe slap a digital tuner in it, and call it good. I guess that would solve my DVR issue too!