Search
Advertisement
US Food Safety Recalls and Tips
View my food journey on Zomato!

Teasia Tea and Coffees Review

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Teasia Tea and Coffees ReviewAlthough only a few years old, Southern California’s “Teasia” have become known and praised for high quality teas,  coffees, and excellent customer service.

In the tea line, they specialize in K-cup products, with a variety of Oolong teas from Taiwan, and florals from around the globe.

I drink (literally) a bucket of coffee each day, from wake up to bedtime, and tho I have been able to partake in America’s favorite morning beverage on five continents, bought directly from growers, purchased green beans to roast at home, I honestly have never had coffee as superb as the line that Teasia puts out.

Concentrating on single origin,  small batch roasting, Teasia offers coffee from Africa, Asia, Central and South America. They always try their best to purchase Fair Trade beans.

The folks at Teasia sent me three different roasts to try: Guatemala Antigua, a Costa Rican, and Ethiopian Yirgacheffe. All three are medium roasts, single origin, whole bean.

Each were excellent in their own right, and I’m not sure I’d be able to pick a favorite. OK, I could, it is the Guatemalan. It’s very “bright” and you can detect the slightest hint of citrus and smoke. I ground it extra fine to use for espresso drinks, and it was the perfect.Teasia Tea and Coffees Review

I have not had Ethiopian coffee in the past. I’ve missed out. As a hot coffee, this one surprises you with a slight spice flavor and some floral. It’s very smooth, with no bitterness or acidic after taste.

In the summer, I’m all about iced coffee, nothing fancy, literally drip coffee on ice. Now that “cold brew” has come in to fashion, I can get the drink pretty much year around in a lot of outlets.

But I don’t always want to go on a hunt for it, so I’ve mastered it at home, and Teasia’s Costa Rican beans are perfect for it, and it’s so easy. Take a used liter water or soda bottle, rinse, put in a teaspoon of ground coffee for each six ounces of water. Fill it. Agitate. Place in the refrigerator overnight, at least. You can strain it into a new bottle through cheese cloth. I have a very fine mesh mini strainer, so I just pour out a cup or glass at a time. Costa Rican coffee may well be the smoothest you’ve ever had.

Teasia packs their coffee within 24 hours of their small batch roasting, and it is available in different sized airtight bags of whole beans. Their line is very competitively priced.

You can purchase teas and coffees online, directly from Teasia’s site. I’ve also seen it on Amazon.

In the meantime, follow @teasiateas on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Gortons Shrimp Bowl Meal Review – With Black Garlic and Wine Risotto

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Gortons Shrimp Bowl Meal Review I personally think that the sudden glut of frozen heat and eat meals at the grocery is due to the success of the “meal kit” business.

Those deals where they send you portion cut ingredients and a recipe and it’s supposed to be so easy to create a gourmet meal with no fuss.  ( I tried them when they came out, read about that here. Spendy and no less work, sez I).

So all sorts of frozen food companies have come out with meals, kits, and there are fast food branded ones, and even the big grocery chains and WalMart have their own take on the concept.

My experiment today is from the Gorton’s company, (over 150 years old)  the people you’re used to buying crispy seafood filets and fish sticks that never get crispy.  This is a shrimp bowl, with ‘black garlic and wine” (sauce) rissotto.

I know a dozen people who won’t even try risotto from scratch at home, so this is a surprise.  In smaller print, there’s a reference to ‘parmesan cheese,’ but to me, that was the predominant flavor in the rice.

Here’s the full ingredient list: (Cooked arborio rice, Shrimp (Shrimp, salt, sodium di-, tri-, and polyphosphate [to retain moisture], sodium bisulfite and sodium citrate [preservatives]), water, mushrooms (mushrooms, water, salt), olive oil, cream, Parmesan cheese (pasteurized cow’s milk, cheese culture, salt, enzymes, black garlic and wine seasoning (maltodextrin, dehydrated garlic, vinegar solids, modified corn starch, spices, malic acid, dehydrated parsley, black garlic powder, soy lecithin, lactic acid, jalapeño pepper, white wine solids, natural flavors), onions, corn starch, garlic (garlic, water), butter, white wine (contains sulfites), sea salt, parsley, tara gum).

There were  about 8-9 shrimp in the bowl, which are frozen solid, of course, so when you microwave (three minutes, stir, one minute) a lot of the trapped moisture in the shrimp is going to escape and they are going to shrink.  So I added a half dozen, because I had them on hand, and I could.  There are mushrooms, which retained their texture well. They look like slices of baby bellas.  The box says a “hint of parmesan” but as I said above, I think it’s a pretty dominant flavor.

The risotto was creamy as it should be and the shrimp remained very firm, as they should be too.

Bottom line?  I surprised myself and liked it.  Not sure if it’s supposed to be two servings or not, it wouldn’t have been at my house.  It was a comfortably sized serving for me.

It was $5.99 and a bogo yesterday.  There’s a coupon below you might want to try.  Their Entire product line.   Where you can pick some up.

Gortons Shrimp Bowl Meal Review

Frozen, out of the box

Gortons Shrimp Bowl Meal Review

Plated after microwave

Gortons Shrimp Bowl Meal Review

Coupon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gortons Shrimp Bowl Meal Review

Gortons Shrimp Bowl Meal Review

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Hazels Diner and Bakery Review, Hebron, IL

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Hazels Diner and Bakery ReviewLong ago, in a galaxy far, far away, I was convinced I had stumbled upon the best breakfast potatoes in the country.

OK, it wasn’t a galaxy, it was a breakfast horseshoe in Springfield, and after breakfast at Hazel’s Diner and Bakery, Springfield has been relegated to second place.

Located in the quiet ville of Hebron, IL, on the border of Illinois and Wisconsin, I don’t think I’ve ever been to a place more committed to scratch cooking. All baked goods, breads jams, spreads, donuts, cakes, pastries come from the kitchen.

The restaurant is open for breakfast and lunch daily, except Monday.  In addition to the home-made quality of the food, expect massive servings.  Hazels Diner and Bakery ReviewThough technically it was lunchtime, I ordered breakfast – simple, ham and eggs, potatoes, rye toast.

Everything was prepared precisely as ordered and meticulously plated.

The thick-sliced house-baked rye is amazing.  Excellent quality ham off the bone, salty and smoky with a very firm bite.  I’m a ham snob and this is an excellent choice.  Breakfast potatoes, rough cut, roasted, lightly seasoned, are over the top. You may opt for a shredded version as well.

My companion ordered a variation of eggs benedict, poached eggs, strip bacon, artichokes and spinach atop a house-baked English muffin and bathed in silky, creamy Hollandaise in ample quantities. ( “Excuse me, could you bring a tumbler of that and then look away while I chug it?”).

The restaurant is pleasantly decorated with Americana, and service is very small-town friendly.  Unisex bathroom is immaculate.

Baked goods are available for purchase, including breads, donuts, muffins and other pastries.  There are a few tables outside and they beckon passersby to grab a donut and coffee and watch small town America go by on a lazy summer morning.

The restaurant/town is a mere ten minutes south if you’re staying in the Lake Geneva resort area in Wisconsin.  Ask for Amy, server extraordinaire.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hazels Diner and Bakery Review

Hazels Diner and Bakery Review

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Jays Krispy Fried Chicken Review, Sikeston, MO

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Jays Krispy Fried Chicken ReviewOnce you’ve done “throwed rolls” (Lamberts) you’re left with few choices in Sikeston.  Jay’s Krispy Fried Chicken is one of them, and they’ve been around a long time. Also heard they have a buffet, so you know I’m down (up) for that.

Rolled in, ordered at the counter. “Do you want a breast or wings?”  Well, a breast, I guess, and they handed one over on a disposable tray and I headed to a table adjacent to the buffet area.

So apparently, unless I missed something, the “buffet”here is one piece of piping hot fried chicken and all the sides on the buffet you want. There were also unidentifiable (to me) chicken bits on the steam table.

Otherwise, standard fare, salad fixings, mashed, gravy, couple different beans, greens and the like. Might have had soup, too, I think. I loaded up.  I’m got a high degrees of confidence those side dishes came straight from a number 10 can delivered by Sysco or similar.  No matter, it’s a good value.  And the chicken IS exceptional.

I’d do it again, but stick to the menu.  They seem to do a brisk take-out and drive thru biz.  Open early.

Jays Krispy Fried Chicken Review

Jay's Krispy Fried Chicken Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
Jays Krispy Fried Chicken Review

Jays Krispy Fried Chicken Review

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Polar Freeze Review, Walnut Ridge, Arkansas

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Polar Freeze ReviewContinuing my northbound trek through Arkansas recently, I came upon Walnut Ridge, which doesn’t seem to have any Walnuts OR Ridges.

However, I did find out that the Beatles landed at the airport for a minute in 1964, and there’s  a plaque commemorating that event.  It’s also on the Amtrak route from Chicago to Dallas.  That’s about it.

It also has the Polar Freeze, a local family owned fast food drive-in, which seems to specialize in pit BBQ as well as burgers and the usual drive-in fare.

I was in the mood for a quick burger and tots, and it seemed like the Freeze could fit the bill.  They weren’t very busy, and they had lots of employees (all family?) scurrying about pretending to be busy.

The customer ahead of me was grumbling that they “lost his order” – but finally he was handed a bag, jumped in his car and took off.

My order just took a few minutes.  They handed me a number that they would call when it was ready.

It was ready, and I too, jumped in the car and headed east, towards I-55 and the Mississippi River.

The tots were perfect and they included a solitary salt packet along with a handful of ketchup packs.

My first bite into the burger took me by a little bit of surprise. I might have gotten the other guy’s lost order, or else they dress their burgers around here in a unique way.  My burger was topped with a flavored mayo (tho I can’t tell you what the flavor was) and dill pickle chips.  Period. Not disagreeable, but not my choice.

The hand-pattied burger was ultra local beef (you can tell) which was a pleasant surprise.

I should have ordered more, should have tried the BBQ.  Shudda, wudda, cudda.

There’s a note on the street sign that asks “Have you thanked the man upstairs today?”  But as you can see from my pic, there is no upstairs at the Polar Freeze.  So.

Polar Freeze Review

My number

Polar Freeze Review

 

Polar Freeze Review

 
Polar Freeze Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
Polar Freeze Review

Polar Freeze Review

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

JJs Lakeside Cafe Review, Lake Village AR

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

JJs Lakeside Cafe ReviewNorthbound on US Highway 65 through Arkansas the other day, was feeling a might peckish and decided I was in the mood for some catfish, a specialty around these parts.

A quick stop and visit with the helpful people at the Lake Village Visitors Center pointed me to JJs Lakeside Cafe.

The kindly old lady advised me to scurry, tho, it was 11:30 and soon the townsfolk would show up and it’d be slammed.  So off I went. The big feature at JJs is a daily lunch buffet, where for under $10 you can embibe on several entrees, side dishes, a salad bar, dessert and tea. Seriously.

But I had somewhere to be, couldn’t linger, so these people fixed me a catfish plate to go, with perfectly fried fillets, crinkle cut fries and tangy slaw. I told them I was a slaw fan and they doubled up on the portion for me. Nice. Also got a monster ice tea (brewed) and forked out less than $9.00.

The fish breading had a slight kick to it, one of the Cajun seasonings or an in-house blend, maybe, very flavorful, enjoyed it bigly. Crinkle cut fries were done and seasoned to perfection.

Wish I had time for the buffet, no doubt would have been some other delights I would have enjoyed.  Someday.

JJs Lakeside Cafe is open Monday thru Saturday, 6A- 9 PM.  Sunday 10:30A – 3PM. Breakfast served all day, everyday.  Menus are below, click to enlarge.

JJs Lakeside Cafe Review

JJs Lakeside Cafe ReviewJJs Lakeside Cafe Review
JJ's Lakeside Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

JJs Lakeside Cafe Review

JJs Lakeside Cafe Review

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Soul Fish Review – Little Rock, AR

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Soul Fish ReviewIt can sometimes be a challenge to find satisfactory restaurants in Little Rock that are open on Sundays.  Fortunately, there’s Soul Fish, right downtown on Main Street.  Emphasis at this eatery is “bonafide Southern,” with a further emphasis on seafood. (See menu below).

We started with the smoked catfish dip, something I’ve never encountered, and I’m sorry about that, because it was delicious.  Smokey, salty, creamy, accompanied by tortilla chips which I would bet are made in house.  A light fry, crispy without being jaw jarring, light salt. The perfect go-with.

I went for the fried catfish basket, there are three choices for the size of serving, I went for the small one, since I was on the road, didn’t want to have leftovers.

The fry breading on the fish is exceptional. Cornmeal based, with a hint of one of the Creole seasonings (my palate isn’t sophisticated enough to tell them apart – could be Tony Chachere’s, Zatarains, Old Bay, or a concoction dreamed up in-house.  In any case, it’s really tasty.

There’s a wide choice of sides with baskets and plates, I chose natural cut fries, and slaw and hush puppies were included.  The slaw was excellent, rough chopped cabbage with a dressing that is creamy, sweet and tart at the same time.  Other sides?  Cucumber Salad • Black Beans • Corn • Cajun Cabbage • White Beans • Baked Sweet Potato • Fried Okra • Coleslaw • Black Eyed Peas •  Mashed Potatoes • Green Beans • Sweet Potato Fries • Broccoli • Mac N Cheese • Zucchini • Collard Greens • Pickled Green Tomatoes.

My dining companion was my daughter and after a major assist of plowing thru the dip, she opted for the Caesar salad with blackened shrimp added. Also delicious. Very fresh greens and the shrimp were cooked exactly right.

Children’s menu, desserts, beer and wine available.  I’d return.  You should go.  Appetizer, two entrees, two beverages, tip, $40.

Open daily at 11A. Soul Fish has four locations; in addition to Little Rock, find three locations in greater Memphis.

Soul Fish Review

Smoked catfish dip

Soul Fish Review

Fried catfish basket

 

Soul Fish Review

Menu – click to enlarge

 

 

 

Soul Fish Little Rock Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
Soul Fish Review

Soul Fish Review

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Harpers Country Ham Review

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Harpers Country Ham ReviewMan I love good ham. OK, I love bad ham, too.  But “country cured” – a dry cure lengthy process with salt, hickory smoked,  that’ll get me everytime. I’ve driven back roads of Missouri, Virginia, the Carolinas and Kentucky in search of small processors.

I’d never heard of Harper’s, even tho they’ve been around since 1952, and I might not have ever heard of them as they suffered a devastating fire last year and had to look around for a frenemy to cure their pork for them.  Which they found in “Goodnight Brothers” of Boone, NC.

I ran into these hams at BOOMLAND!  a retail oddity on I-57 (and two other locations) in Missouri. Giant fireworks stores, knick-knacks, regional foods, ice cream parlor, and discount tobacconist.  I prefer the boneless biscuit size slice packages (which are only biscuit sized if your biscuits are the size of a small frisbee).  I bought all they had.  It was a BOGO thing.  It freezes fine.

Country cured ham can be very salty. Many people give it a simmer in water prior to frying, baking, whatever.  I’ve also known people who soak it in cold water overnight, or in the case of a whole ham, for several days.

I do or don’t, cause I love the flavor.  I eat it on its own as a snack, on sandwiches, but especially for breakfast.

Happy I found the product.  Sad I won’t run into it again for a few years.  Probably. Tho Goldbely has it for shipping from time to time it seems.

Harpers was the winner of the 2013 and 2014 National Champion Country Ham. 2013 Grand Champion Ham at Kentucky State Fair.

Harpers Country Ham Review

 

 

 

 

 

Harpers Country Ham Review

Harpers Country Ham Review

 

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Iras Bagels Review – Lake in the Hills, IL

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Iras Bagels ReviewLiving in the suburbs most anywhere, your choice for bagels is pretty much limited to one of the chains (which are all commonly owned now), the grocery store “bakery,” or grocery store frozen.

I think the first one I ever had was at a small deli across the street from my apartment in Minneapolis. I was hooked.  It was 1975.  Back then, other than at a deli, your choice was limited to frozen. Period.

Go to New York or someone that follows a traditional NY recipe (see video) and you’ll be spoiled forever.  No more chain or frozen bagels, uh huh, no way, never.

 

Well, I got lucky recently, with the opening of “Ira’s Bagels” in Lake in the Hills, IL, a NW Chicago suburb near me. I’m addicted.  Like I needed something else in the category?  I’ve been three times in two days!  In addition to their bagels being absolutely DELICIOUS, they are less expensive than the chain.

They also have sandwiches featuring (the very famous) Manny’s Deli corned beef and pastrami from the iconic downtown Chicago restaurant of the same name.  So no more hour commutes to dig into that, too!

My life is blessed.  Thank you Ira.  Live long and prosper.  Menu.  (Close up pic is mine – 3 “everything” bagels; store picture is from the company’s website).

Iras Bagels Review

 

 

 

 

 

Iras Bagels Review

Iras Bagels Review

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

JRs Chicken Review – Kankakee and Bourbonnais, IL

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

JRs Chicken Review 61 miles south of Chicago’s loop, off Interstate 57, one will wander into the pleasant town of Kankakee, population around 30,000.

Following a treaty signed by the US and Potawatami Indians in 1833, the town incorporated in 1854.  The adjacent town of Bourbonnais has a pop of around 18,000.

The cities were founded at the junction of two major Indian trading trails and the navigable Kankakee River. Today general manufacturing and food processing are the driving economic forces.

Don’t recall that I’ve ever been through here before, but found myself in town to observe the Chicago Bears training camp; they’ve called Bourbonnais “training camp home” since 2002.

Needing nourishment I sought local opinion on where the old-timers go, and was pointed to JR’s Chicken, with locations in both cities. I opted for the Kankakee stop, for no particularly reason.

The street portion of the building houses a take-out counter which appears to do a brisk business. The back portion is a full bar, dining room and video poker cubby.

Chicken in their name and chicken is their game. They also have a modest daily buffet with two or three entrees (including chicken of course) and an equal number of side dishes.  An amply stocked salad bar is also present.

I passed on the buffet, unusual for me, and it did look appealing.  But I’ve been on a catfish jag lately, and JR’s was willing to accomodate. (They had it on the menu).

It was divine.  Two crispy breaded fillets, I chose slaw and fries for a salad.  Minor objection from me to the fries, which were extruded potato product, not my favorite, but were made passable in this case with a longer fry time.  I suspect.

The fish breading as lightly seasoned and tasty.  Slaw is good, finely diced cabbage with a dressing that is both sweet and sour at the same time.  Same description for the tartar sauce (except no cabbage, obviously).

Travel companion did go for the specialty of fried chicken, which really is outstanding, crispy fry breading hiding very moist chicken. Sides were loaded baker and fried okra.

Dinner plates come with a soft roll and dairy spread.   Service was over the top.  Mid Saturday afternoon, maybe a third full.

Kankakee was memorialized in the Steve Goodman ditty “The City of the New Orleans” – the Amtrak daily ride between Chicago and the Gulf Coast.  Here’s Arlo Guthrie’s version.

 

 

 

JRs Chicken Review

Catfish and fries JRs Chicken

 

JRs Chicken Review

JRs Chicken Dinner Plate with fried okra and baker

Jrs Chicken Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
JRs Chicken Review

JRs Chicken Review

 

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail
Select a Topic
Restaurant Delivery!
The Food You Love, Delivered - Order Now!

Tweet! Tweet! Tweet!