US Food Safety Recalls and Tips

Free Meals for Vets 2014

Free Veterans Day MealsFree Meals for Vets.   Most require ID proof of status or uniform.   Always call ahead to verify locations, times, and participation. Many of the listed companies are franchises and may have different policies.Thanks to all who serve.

54th Street Grill — Veterans and active duty military get a free meal (up to $12) on Tuesday, November 11.

Applebee’s — Veterans and active duty military receive a free meal from a limited menu, on Veterans Day, Tuesday, November 11.

BJs Restaurant and Brewhouse, Nov. 11, 2014. Complimentary lunch entree, up to $9.95 value.

*NEW* Bob Evans — Veterans and active military personnel receive free all-you-can-eat hotcakes on Tuesday, November 11.

California Pizza Kitchen, Nov. 11, 2014. Choose a pizza, full size salad, or pasta from the special Veterans Day Menu

*NEW* Cheeseburger in Paradise — Active and retired military personnel receive a complimentary All-American Burger with fries onTuesday, November 11.

Claim Jumper — On Monday, November 10, all Claim Jumper locations will provide veterans with a complimentary meal from a special menu.

Chili’s – Free meal, 11/11.

Friendly’s – Friendly’s is treating veterans and active military to a free breakfast, lunch or dinner from a limited menu on Veterans Day,Tuesday, November 11

Golden Corral — Golden Corral Restaurants’ Military Appreciation Monday free dinner will be available on Monday, November 17, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Military retirees, veterans, active duty, National Guard and Reserves are all welcome. 

Hooters, Nov. 11, 2014. Tuesday, Nov. 11, Hooters invites all veterans and current servicemen and women to enjoy a free meal, up to $10.99 in value with any drink purchase

*NEW* JJ’s Red Hots – Veterans and active duty military get with an unlimited free meal on Tuesday, November 11

Krispy Kreme – Free coffee and donut, 11/11.

.LongHorn Steakhouse – Veterans and current service members receive a complimentary Texas Tonion appetizer and non-alcoholic beverage from a select menu on Tuesday, November 11.

McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood Restaurants — On Sunday, November 9, participating McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood Restaurants will offer a complimentary entree to veterans from a special menu.

Noah’s Bagels, Nov. 11, 2014. Free coffee for active duty and veterans

Olive Garden – On Tuesday, November 11, all veterans and current service members get a free meal from a limited menu.

On the Border — Veterans and active duty military can enjoy a free meal from the “Create Your Own Combo menu” on Tuesday, November  11.

*NEW* Outback Steakhouse – All active and former service members receive a free Bloomin’ Onion and a beverage on November 11. Outback is also offering active and former service members 15% off their meals Nov. 12 through Dec. 31.

Perkin’s Restaurant & Bakery, Nov. 11, 2014.Participating restaurants are offering current servicemembers and veterans a free Magnificent Seven 

Pinnacle Entertainment — Veterans and active duty military get a free meal at select casinos on Tuesday, November 11.

Red Hot & Blue — Veterans receive a free entrée with the purchase of a second entrée on November 10, 11 and 12. Coupon required.

Red Lobster — Veterans, retired and active-duty military personnel receive a complimentary appetizer from a limited menu from Monday, November 10 to Thursday, November 13

Ryan’s – Free dine-in lunch on 11/11

Shoney’s — Shoney’s will be offering a free All-American Burger to veterans and active duty service members on Tuesday, November 11

Sizzler — Sizzler offers active duty and veteran military members a free lunch from a limited menu on Tuesday, November 11 until 4 p.m.

Starbucks – Free tall coffee 11/11.

Texas Roadhouse — Texas Roadhouse locations nationwide will offer veterans a free lunch on Tuesday, November 11 from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Offer is good for active duty, retired or former U.S. military. 

Travel Centers of America — On Tuesday, November 11, all CDL drivers who are military veterans eat free at participating full-service restaurants. 

Zoes Kitchen – Active duty military and veterans get a free entrée, and family members get 10% off on November 11.

Vienna Beef Italian Beef Kit

Vienna Beef Italian BeefI’ve written a ton about Chicago’s iconic specialty, the Italian Beef sandwich.  I’ve looked at different brands to prepare at home, as well as a number of restaurant offerings.  Check all those posts out here.  Today we tried Vienna Beef’s home version of the preparation, beef and gravy frozen in a tub.  Spoiler.  Any of these brands will disappoint you if you don’t COMPLETELY thaw prior to heating, and when heating GENTLE rules.  Boil any frozen Italian Beef and you’ll hate it, I promise.  Packaging says you can thaw in the microwave, but I personally would not.  I thaw in frig and the in pan.  24 hours +.

The product is available in different weights, with just meat and gravy in a tub in your grocer’s freezer section, or as “sandwich kits” which include authentic Chicago rolls and the pickled vegetable relish known as giardiniera.

Nestle a hot Italian sausage within your beef, and you have a “Combo.”  I prefer Klement’s from Milwaukee.  I have no ‘beef’ with Vienna’s Italian Beef product.  I love all their products. They tie at #1 on my preference list with one other brand.  Vienna’s beef is mild but very flavorful.  Some other brands are spicier, like Mike Ditka’s (which I believe is also made at the Vienna factory, but with a different recipe).

Have some shipped to your house, complete kits, just heat, eat, and enjoy.   You’ll be happier if your store leftovers – separate (beef and gravy).

Klement’s Sausage

Frozen Italian Beef

Thawed, Ready to Heat


Vienna Beef Italian Beef

Assembled Sandwich, Prior to Dipping!



Vienna Beef Italian Beef Kit

Red Robin Frozen Fries

Red Robin Frozen FriesI’ve puked out a lot of words on restaurant brands in grocery stores, just use our search box at the upper left to find articles on Steak N Shake, Fatburger, and many more.  Seems like restaurant brands will eventually take over the aisles —-  I’ll have to switch to a better class of grocery store.

Today I tried frozen fries with the Red Robin brand.  For some reason, they are not bottomless like at the restaurant – you will run out at home.  The label says “seasoned steak fries,” and that is an apt description.  They tout using Red Robin’s exclusive Seasoned Sal, and  the product is made for the company by food giant ConAgra (Slim Jims, Hebrew National, Swiss Miss, Hunts, Wesson, blah blah blah).

It’s funny,  it’s an accident that I got them.  They were crammed behind the frozen fries from Rallys/Checkers at the store. (Lately, I have been hearing all sorts of tales about  how food company reps screw with competitors –  I know of one pizza company that is often the victim, having their boxes crushed, thawed and refrozen – poor guys).

I would have passed on the Rally’s in any case, once I saw the package, they look like one of those extruded fry products, not my personal preference.

Kind of “unusual” or “atypical” at least heating instructions for the Red Robin fries – 425 for 30 minutes for the whole bag.  Seems long, but I always follow the directions the first time. Came out OK at the required heat and time.  Pictures below of both raw and baked.  Here’s a couple of funny points.  I have seen a couple of reviews of this product saying that they were WAY spicier than the restaurant ones, even to the point of nearly being inedible.  I didn’t find that to be true, and I’m a pussy about spice ‘heat.’  At least my bag were ‘gently seasoned’ with a pretty typical version of Seasoned Salt.  (Although when you look at the pic of the unbaked taters, they do appear to have heavy seasoning).

BUT.   As I said earlier, I passed on the Checkers because they were an extruded product, and DAMN, so were these.   What are extruded fries?  They make a potato slurry, kind of like a wetter version of mashed potatoes, and push the slurry through a mold to make fry shapes.  The result is a fairly crispy outside, and a very soft inside.  To me, they just bare no resemblance to POTATOES, but I know they are very popular with many people.   I report.  You decide.

It’s a 22 ounce package, price should be under $4 at your store. Or Wal Mart.  Package lists 26 different ingredients to make these “potatoes with salt.”  And BTW?  I hate that this segment is taking over the grocery store.

Red Robin Frozen Fries


Red Robin Frozen Fries

Unbaked Fries


Red Robin Frozen Fries

Baked Fries






Red Robin Frozen Fries

Do You Have Creative Ideas for Penna Olives?

Penna Olives I’m among a lucky group of folks asked by Penna Olives to play with some products and come up with some new ideas and recipes.   One of the premier olive growers and processors in Northern California, Penna sells all types of cured and stuffed olives, along with other related products.   Direct to customers as well as wholesale.  They sell ripe olives, right off the tree, for people who want to try curing and flavoring olives at home.   It’s easy and fun, I do about 20 pounds each year and they are popular holiday gifts, and the rest keep me for an entire year.  There are lots of tips on curing on the Penna site, and I’ve documented my experiences in the past.

The various sizes of green olives are the first to be harvested each year, in September, and they go fast, so you have to start checking the fresh olive page on the Penna website in late August to be sure you don’t miss out.

In the first pack that Penna sent out to play with are four products, Dirty Martini Mix, Olivesecca (dried, pitted olives), Sicilian Spiced Pitted, and Spicy Green Beans.  I have some ideas for each of these, and Mrs. Burgerdogboy loves the Martini mix in her adult beverages of the ‘dirty’ variety – she has to hide it from me or I’d just chug it.

How about you? Have some ideas for us to try out?  Let us know, and follow the results here and on Penna’s Facebook page!







Penna Olives

Paks Green Corner Update


This restaurant has announced it will close in November of 2014 as a result of selling their property


Follow up visit at Pak’s Green Corner in Duluth, MN, to make sure appearing on Triple D didn’t go to their heads.  Didn’t.  Still excellent.  Had the Korean beef taco, poutine, and red curry chicken.  Very enjoyable. With Canada being literally on Duluth’s doorstep, and poutine being the national dish of Canada, it’s about time someone offered it in the Twin Ports!  (Pak’s will be on Triple D 11/1, 11/2, and 11/7 on Food Network.  Check your local listings for times. )


Pak's Geen Corner Duluth



Pak's Geen Corner Duluth

Korean Tacos


Pak's Geen Corner Duluth

Red Chicken Curry

Paks Green Corner

Duluth East High School Student Cafe Venture

When I was a sprout growing up in Sinclair Lewis’  Zenith City,  I went to junior high (7-9) at Ordean Junior High School, where nobody complained  about us having “Warriors”for a team name with a silhouette of an Indian for a logo.   Then it was on to Duluth East for (most of) grades 10-12.  Well, due to some weird population shift in the cosmos now Ordean is East (after a gajillion dollar remodeling job) and East is Ordean East Junior….er Middle…..  Or something.  Don’t even think about getting me started on my grade school.

The students at East have always been an enterprising lot, but now they’ve amped it up by starting a restaurant within the school that is open to the public.  It’s called “Food for Thought” and it not only helps train students interested in the culinary arts, but also in general business.   The menu is varied,  very ambitious, and everything served is made from scratch in house.

Specials change by the week and month, and compliment the regular menu items.  The Duluth Lunch Bunch hit the cafe today and reported an  excellent experience.  Every dish consumed was superb in preparation and presentation, and the enthusiasm of the student employees was reported to be  far and above the service received in most Duluth restaurants. The operation is overseen by Glenn D’Amour, Culinary Arts Instructor for the Duluth public school system and former corporate chef  at several highly regarded local eateries.

We have a gaggle of pix, so let’s get right to them.  The current offerings are in our menu section.  And p.s. Don’t tell anybody the prices are too cheap!!!!  (Cash only, BTW).

Cafe and food photos by and Copyright Duluth photographer 

Food for Thought Cafe Review

Duluth East, Now Ordean – East


Food for Thought Cafe Review

Remodeled Ordean, Which is Now Duluth East


Food for Thought Cafe Review

Cafe Entrance. Which Apparently Can Get Slippery


Food for Thought Cafe Review

The Uber Chef


Food for Thought Cafe Review

Students Getting Ready to Dish Up the Goods


Food for Thought Cafe Review

BBQ Rib Plate


Food for Thought Cafe Review

Beautiful Plating for Local Favorite Walleye


Diners Dig Dining

Denture Set Takes Corn on the Cob Challenge


Food for Thought Cafe Review

Time for Dessert!


Duluth East High School

Tony Packo Hot Dog Sauce Review

Tony Packo Hot Dog Sauce ReviewLocal Toledo hot dog legend Tony Packo’s has been around for 70-80 years, and is the birthplace of the “Hungarian Style Hot Dog.”   Now with five locations, the business received a lot of publicity as the home town favorite of the TV character “Max Klinger” on the long-run sitcom “MASH.”

Toledo is about halfway between two distinct  “coney island hot dog” territories.  And all three are distinctly different in flavor and texture.  To the north, you find the Detroit style like American Coney, heavy on meat and a beefy taste –  in Ohio you have the dueling chains of Skyline and GoldStar, and both of their coney sauces have a ‘sweet’ element in them.  Some fans say chocolate, some say cinnamon.  They are both good, and you can purchase complete Detroit kits or Skyline ingredients online.  And you should.  Often.

So Packo’s sells their sauce in little 8 ounce cans (pictured), less than a buck and a half, if I recall, and the promotional material says it is enough for five hot dogs.  I think that’s conservative, you could probably schmear the sauce on 8-10 I’ll betcha.

Ingredients include: beef, water, chili spice, textured vegetable protein, sugar, salt, corn starch, and garlic.  The distinctive characteristics of Packo’s are 1) the presence of the chili pepper is very evident, as is the sugar.  The sauce is sweeter and hotter than the Detroit or Ohio styles.

There is a layer of flavor deep in there that reminds me of say, Hormel Chili.  Which isn’t a turn off, just ‘different’ for a coney type sauce.  In my experience. Your mileage may vary.  Below are pix of the sauce in the can, out of the can, and after heating.  Shop online if you can’t find at your grocery.  In addition to hot dog sauce, Packo’s sells pickles, noodles, peppers, chili, barbecue sauce, relish and ketchup.  And yes, I’d buy this again. Might even stock up.


Tony Packo Hot Dog Sauce Review

In the Can


Tony Packo Hot Dog Sauce Review

Out of the Can


Tony Packo Hot Dog Sauce Review

Gently and Lovingly Heated




Tony Packo Hot Dog Sauce Review

Luigis Frozen Pizza Review

I wrote about this brand previously, which may or may not have been born out of a Wisconsin tavern.  Last time I was intending to get an “all meat” but somehow got home with a supreme, a type I would never buy.  If you’re not bothering to click over to the other review, here’s the spoiler:  I thought it was pretty good.

Here’s the most excellent news:  none of these sausage ingredients start with “mechanically separated” (anything).  They are PORK!  WAHOO!

More careful this time, actually got home with the one I wanted (ham, sausage, bacon bits, pepperoni).  400 degrees for 10-15 minutes, and voila!   Cracker like crust, mild sausage, good cheese.  Sausage bits could be bigger (my preference), but overall flavor is great.  The odor of the smoke flavoring in the bacon is fairly strong, but not objectionable.

Luigis Frozen Pizza Review

Frozen, Out of Package


Luigis Frozen Pizza Review

13 minutes @ 400





Luigis Frozen Pizza Review

Stoneridge Meats

Stoneridge Garlic RIng Bologna ReviewIn nearly the geographic center of Wisconsin, a small town named Wautoma, Stoneridge Market is a full service grocery store that has a wholesale meat manufacturing  and distributing division, and if that weren’t enough, they own a winter inner tubing park nearby.  Their in-house meat counter features dozens of flavors of bratwurst, as well as other processed and smoked meats.  They’ll also process your deer for you, here’s the pricing for that.  (It’s very price competitive – get your venison sausage on!)  The market carries over 300 varieties of Wisconsin cheese, and fresh curds (squeaky cheese) are available every Thursday!

I picked up their garlic ring bologna, which is a beef/pork combination in a natural casing, with mild herbs and spices for flavoring.  It’s a nice fine grind, excellent casing, and mild flavor.  It’s not nearly as strong as “Chicago style” garlic sausages.

Even though this is a smoked product, it doesn’t say “fully cooked” on the package, so I recommend heating it in your preferred manner.  I usually simmer in water for a while, and then slice on a bias and pan fry.  Most times I like a little char.

Serve as a breakfast side, or an entree with kraut or hot German potato salad.   If Google maps is correct, the plant is one of the buildings at the end of the road pictured below.

Stoneridge Garlic RIng Bologna Review

Meat Counter

Stoneridge Garlic RIng Bologna Review


Stoneridge Garlic RIng Bologna Review



Stoneridge Garlic RIng Bologna Review

Plant Road

stoneridge meats

Portland, OR – Pizza at Uncle John’s Market

Mrs. Burgerdogboy came back from an outing with her pals at, with a most unusual rave – no, not the latest in intimate playthings for couples, but rather a tip on a pizza her husband must try!

So Sunday nite she urged us out the door as the punctuation for a week we have both been suffering from the Portland winter crud sickness – either as a very loving jesture or in fact as an excuse to pick up some ice cream – the cure all for any known feminine malady.

We motored over to Uncle John’s Market in Burlingame, long the destination of Portland pizza whisperers, but heretofore unvisited by Portland’s leading “pizza expert.” (Moi).

So here’s the drill.  There is a strictly take-out pizzeria inside this neighborhood market, offering slices or one-sized (x-large) pies to go, with your choice of toppings.

The mistress of Scarletgirl had recommended the pie as a thinner crust rendition of typical NY pizza, a two-handed slice, and she was spot on in both her description, and her understanding of what Burgerdogboy likes.

We grabbed a single slice of pepperoni for $2.75, and both enjoyed noshing on it on our way to ice cream land.

It’s thinner than typical NY pie, bordering on a cracker-thin, crispy slice, with nice cheese bubbles and a little char on the crust.

I grabbed a take-out menu, as it’s near to impossible to find details (or a phone number) for this neighborhood gem online.

For a quick slice in SW Portland, hit up Uncle John’s, or call ahead and order a large pie to go, or to enjoy al fresco (in your car) as we did!

Uncle John's Market Pizza, Portland, OR

Pizza at Uncle John's Market on Urbanspoon

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