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Archive for the ‘Breakfast’ Category

Lunchable Waffle Stick Breakfast Review

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Lunchable Breakfast ReviewWell this is a curious thing, spotted at WalMart for about a buck. “Lunchables” are “complete” meals to go, to eat heated or at room temperature, and were introduced in 1988 by Oscar Mayer, now part of Kraft.

They were created by a team at  Oscar Mayer as a way to sell more bologna, and the first units were comprised of lunch meat, cheese slices and crackers.

Now there is a plethora of choices, including the original styles, pizza slices,  diminutive hot dogs, burgers, and subs, and even tacos.

I admit to not being a regular customer, but I impulse bought this one, through it in the microwave for seconds and consumed.  I admit it has good flavor, the bacon is great, as is the syrup.  The waffles get kinda limp in the microwave tho, I should have tried one at room temp.

Would I buy it again?  Probably not, but they’re great things for a family on the go, as long as you watch the nutrition labels.  According to the package code, this product is made at  South’s Finest Meats 3201 10th Avenue, Suite S,  Tuscaloosa, AL 35401.

Lunchable Breakfast Review

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lunchable Waffle Stick Breakfast Review

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Genoa Illinois VFW Breakfast

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This small VFW post does whatever it needs to in order to maintain their solvency and funds for projects; they have found a niche with breakfast, dinners, and events for the community and environs.

The third Sunday of each month, they have an AYCE breakfast, loaded up with French toast, biscuits, hash browns, SOS, sausage gravy, two styles of eggs, bacon, sausage, juice, milk, and coffee – all for $7.  You also get the congeniality of getting to talk to the volunteers – seemingly all vets of last century’s wars. Nice guys, we should all be thankful for their service, of course.

Every Saturday, the post holds a burger and bratwurst cookout, and on selected Friday nights, they follow the local tradition of an AYCE fish fry. There’s also bingo and pull tabs.

Let’s all do what we can to support our vets. God knows the government isn’t doing much to help them!  The post is located at 311 S. Washington St.
Genoa, IL 60135 United States. (815)784-5967. www.genoavetshome.us

Genoa Il VFW Breakfast

 

 

Genoa Illinois VFW

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Panera Breakfast Sandwich Review

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20150817_090218Panera was founded in St. Louis, MO, where it operated (and still does in that area) at St. Louis Bread Company. The 1800 store chain is now owned by Au Bon Pain, which no longer operates Au Bon Pain (I liked those, for sure).

I don’t think I’ve ever been in a Panera before, thought I’ve had some of their sandwiches brought to me, and beyond the bread, they weren’t very impressive (not high quality ingredients or quantities of same).

Today I was looking for a new quick breakfast option, and did happen into Panera, where I ordered an Asiago Bacon Egg Cheese “pannini-ized” bagel sandwich, and a large coffee, which set me back the devilish amount of $6.66. No kidding.

The sandwich was prepared while I waited (except I don’t think the eggs were), it was hot, filling, and tasty.  Except for the cost, I might be a regular breakfast customer when I am out and about.

I found the store layout a mite confusing, there were four registers and two pick-up stations, I got sent from one to another, although there is no signage, some must be dedicated to one use or another;  they give you one of those vibrating hockey pucks to tell you when your order is ready.

Find one near you. Menu.

Panera Sandwich Review

 

 

Panera Sandwich Review

 

Panera Breakfast Sandwich Review

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Circle A Ranch Country Fried Beef

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Advanced Pierre Country Fried Beef ReviewI’ve written a whole lot about  the products from Cincinnati-based Advance Pierre, the premiere “heat and eat” and “gas station sandwich” maker in the U.S.  Often, besides in vending and C-stores, you’ll find their frozen products at dollar stores.

You know how much I love chicken fried steak?  I’ve tried it all over the country, both from restaurants and the heat and eat varieties.

This product was made in the plant pictured below, and is comprised of beef, mechanically separated turkey, and, not kidding, about 150 other ingredients.  Nuke of 90 seconds, stir “gravy,” nuke another 30, let sit for 30, and then “enjoy.”

Now ordinarily, I’d put this product in the category of “I tried so you don’t have to.”  But I didn’t really “try” it.  I had one bite and it was so awful, I couldn’t go on.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Advanced Pierre Country Fried Beef Review

Frozen, pre microwaving

Advanced Pierre Country Fried Beef Review

After microwaving

Advanced Pierre Country Fried Beef Review

Advance Pierre Plant, Amherst, Ohio

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Circle A Ranch Country Fried Beef

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Pepper Park Coffee Review – Barrington, IL

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Pepper Park Coffee Review BarringtonI admire anyone who starts a business from scratch; I’ve done it several times, and I know a whole lot about the pitfalls, anticipated and unanticipated, that can crop up.

I double dog admire anyone who starts a business in a crowded space like coffee, but the nice folks at Pepper Park Coffee were apparently undeterred, and opened up a great shop in one of Chicago’s fanciest suburbs, Barrington, about 55 minute NW of the Loop on the Metra commuter train.

Pepper Park has thought of it all.  Great coffee drinks, amazing pastries, breakfast and lunch sandwiches, free wi fi, and ample space to spread out by yourself, as a couple or even as a group, as they have a community room that can seat 20.   Plenty o’ parking and a drive thru.  Nailed it.  May even be just the place for a secret rendezvous!

Online and in the store, they have a great infographic that shows you just how your coffee drink will be constructed.  You’ll be an expert instantly if you’re new to coffee, and it’s a good refresher for caffeine veterans.

Pepper Park is on Pepper Road, NW of town, just off Highway 14.  Convenient to the local medical complexes, hospital and many other businesses, but in any case, worth a trek just to avoid the big, boring chain coffee places.

 

 

 

 

 

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Chik-Fil-A Breakfast Review

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Chik-Fil-A Breakfast Review

One of the Original Locations

I haven’t been in a Chik-Fil-A for over a couple decades. This wasn’t a social protest because of their “problems,” but rather they are just not top of mind for me, and also not as visible as other fast foods. There are about 2000 of them in the US.

It’s certainly not a place I would think of for fast food breakfast, yet here I found myself at one today, and it was only because of “location, location, location” and all I was really looking for was a cup of coffee.

I was aware they had “chicken biscuits,”  but I wasn’t aware they offered a bacon and egg biscuit, which is my preferred fast food breakfast item, second only after Sonic Toasters.

So I thought I’d take one for a test drive, and throw in a Chicken Biscuit as well, since that is their claim to fame.  Oh, and tater tot medallions?  Why not?

It’s all cooked to order, and the coffee was just brewing, so the amiable counter person asked me if I wanted a glass of ice water while waiting for the coffee, which they would bring to the table with the food.

I swear, the personnel at this restaurant were so smiley and gleeful, you just wanted to pinch their cheeks.  Hospitable behavior in the hospitality business sure doesn’t hurt one bit.

The biscuits are baked in store, so sez the literature, and the chicken is hand breaded on site, as well.  I believe it.  The bacon was thick and smokey, and the egg almost seemed like it might have been cooked in house, too.  And of course, any place that has hash rounds or tots is high on my list.  The biscuits could have used a few more minutes in the oven, but other than that, no complaints.

I was both surprised and pleased.  The restaurant was busy, too, busier with in-house diners than other fast food outlets I stop in.

They still aren’t open on Sundays (company policy thing), but I’ll be frequenting Chik-Fil-A more often, I suspect.  Chik-Fil-A Locator. Chik-Fil-A-Menu.

Chik-Fil-A Breakfast Review

Bacon Egg Cheese Biscuit

 

Chik-Fil-A Breakfast Review

Chicken Biscuit

 

Chik-Fil-A Breakfast Review

Tater Tot Medallions

 

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Chi-Fil-A Breakfast Review

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Appleton Farms Ham Steak Review

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Aldi Ham ReviewI have written about a lot of Aldi products; Aldi is the global discount grocer owned by the same German family as Trader Joes.  At Aldi, you won’t find many big brand names, but rather Aldi concocted brand names that are manufactured under contract to Aldi’s specifications. (Also it will cost you a quarter to rent a cart, refunded when you return the cart to the line. Oh, and bag your own).

Where as my spawn professes to be a “ham hater,”  I am a genuine ham lover, and adore it all. Except honey glazed.  My domestic favorite is the slow salt cured beauties from the Carolinas;  internationally:  jamon serrano, prosciutto and the like.

Much of the ham in grocery stores isn’t very good, tho, and so it’s nice to run into one that isn’t full of fillers and other bits.  The Appleton Farms Ham Steak is ham, water, salt, seasonings, and that’s about it.

It’s made for Aldi by a packer called “Gusto” and they’ve been running a  ham and bacon operation west of Chicago for over forty years.  Gusto was purchased by Butterball in 2012, Butterball is owned by Seaboard, a diverse firm dating back to 1918 and a single flour mill in Kansas.

They run a 200,000 sq foot facility in Montgomery, IL, capable of grinding out 6 million pounds of product weekly. Wow.

Their Appleton Farms Ham Steak?  Superb.  Highly recommended for real ham taste and texture.

Aldi Ham Steak Review

Aldi Ham Steak Review

Gusto Packing Factory

Aldi Ham Steak Review

Gusto Packing Aerial

Appleton Farms Ham Steak Review

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Big Skillet Review – Elgin, IL

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frontageAnother suburban Chicago breakfast, this one in the town of Elgin, far west of the city straddling the Fox River.  The 8th largest city in Illinois, it was founded as a dairy center (there was a Borden factory) and home to the Elgin Watch Company, maker of timepieces big and small.  It was the largest manufacturer of fine watches in the US for many decades.  The town boasts some incredible Victorian homes.

I was just looking for eggs, and the Big Skillet is a typical Chicago style “coffee shop,” meaning a very long menu covering all meals of the day, and an extensive bakery selection.

I’ve kind of always eschewed “skillets” for breakfast, no particular reason, I mean it’s the same food, just piled up instead of spread out.  But I’ll always go for a breakfast plate that gives you all three meats, and the “Butcher Skillet” did just that. A mound of hash browns, smothered in melted cheese, with ham, bacon, and sausage, topped with three eggs. Side of toast? Yes please, with an ample set of bread choices, I went for rye.

As with most area ‘coffee shops’, an ample dish of butter or butter like substance graces the table.  The massive dish in front of me, I didn’t make much of a dent. I managed two eggs, some of the meat/cheese, and 1 piece of toast.

Excellent food, great value.  Downside?  I left my favorite hat behind.  Sniff.

Big Skillet Elgin Review

Mmmmmm butter stuff

Big Skillet Elgin Review

Butcher Skillet

 

 

 

 

 
Click to add a blog post for Big Skillet Restaurant and Pancake House on Zomato
Big Skillet Review

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Sams Choice Original Smoked Sausages Review

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20150701_060836Right off the bat, even before trying them, I liked these better than the McCormick’s Grill Mates sausages I looked at this week (scroll down to next story). Reason?  First two ingredients are pork and beef, and not a mechanically separated poultry bit in sight. Also?  No “corn syrup solids.”  Sam’s Choice Original Smoked Sausages come in a 14 ounce package, four ‘larger’ size links, and retail for about three and a half bucks.

According to the USDA establishment number,  (4800), they are made for WalMart/Sams  by Eddy Packing, Inc., of Yoakum, TX.  Eddy has been around since the early 50s, and now operate a 300,000 square foot; the company is now in the hands of private equity investors, and cranks out processed proteins of beef, pork, turkey and chicken.  Eddy sells its own retail product under the “Eddy” and “Yoakum” brnads. (Pics of the plant below).  Yoakum is about 20 miles  south of I-10, about midway between Houston and San Antonio.

As these are “smoked,” they are fully cooked, and only require heating, if that’s how you prefer your sausages.  I lightly pan fried. This is a very mild sausage, suitable for a large bun sandwich, as an entree, or as a breakfast meat.  The flavor/aroma of smoke is slight. Consumers will find it more flavorful as bits of fat, which contributes to flavor, are evident in the mix. In short, I like it.

Sams Choice Smoked Sausage

In the skillet

Sams Choice Smoked Sausage

Cross section

Sams Choice Smoked Sausage

Eddy Packing, Yoakum, TX

Sams Choice Smoked Sausage

Eddy Packing, Yoakum, TX

 

 

 

Sams Choice Original Smoked Sausages Review

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White Castle Chicken Waffle Review

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White Castle Chicken Waffle ReviewWhite Castle has been trying on a lot of different dishes for size lately. Jalapeno and siracha everything, for example.  Tonight I went for the “Chicken & Waffle Slider,” a take off on the current chicken and waffle craze sweeping the country.  Used to be you could only get that dish in about three restaurants in the US, and traditionally it was a steaming hot, crisp waffle, a piece of fried chicken, and maple survey to splash.

White Castle has taken some liberties, used “Imported from Belgium” waffles, a fried chicken patty, a schmear of “country” gravy and some bacon bits. It had potential (at least in my head) but the execution (at least at this outlet) was awful.  The waffles had the limp consistency of sitting on a steam table, the dollop of gravy was undetectable and the bacon had (or waffle) had a heavy maple flavor that was kind of cloying.

I like most everything on White Castle’s menu and am more than an occasional customer, and no, I don’t drink.  But this one? Pass.  I did get a tasty order of o-rings, tho, second best in the fast food industry behind Arby’s terrific rings. So sez I.

White Castle Chicken Waffle Review

 

 

 

 

 

 

White Castle Chicken Waffle Review

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