Archive for the ‘Breakfast’ Category
I love cocktail sausages; not if they are swimming in barbecue sausage in a chafing dish mind you, but as a breakfast meat, or an anytime, low carb snack. Most brands are generally smoked, so if you’re inclined, you could eat them right out of the package. For me, I prefer them a little crispy, a little char, fried up in a cast iron skillet. “Overcooking” this treat for me makes them have a sensation (to me) of having a natural casing, gives them a little “snap.”
I’m choosy about my brands and their composition, preferring all beef, and usually latching on to Hillshire Farms (Sara Lee). Lately, tho, the texture of them seems to have changed a bit, at least to me, and I have been looking for an alternative selection.
I might have found a successor. The discount grocer Aldi uses a number of co-packers around the country to manufacture products to their specifications; in the sausage realm, Aldi’s brand is Parkview. Their cocktail sausages are made by a small company in Nebraska, an old family concern named Wimmer’s, which distributes several different brands of smoked sausages and meats in the Upper Midwest. Wimmer’s was purchased a couple of years ago by a larger Midwestern family concern from Illinois called “Land O’ Frost.
The USDA plant number that cranks out these little gems is Est. 5600, in West Point, Nebraska, a burg of 3500 about 40 miles NW of Omaha. They have about 130 employees, so they are an important part of the community.
The Parkview cocktail sausages vary in composition from my usual preferences, in that they are made up of pork, beef, with some poultry. Usually that third ingredient would be a deal killer for me, but in this case, I believe it provides a smoother texture. I like the flavor and texture both of these sausages. Not to mention since they are an Aldi product, they are value-priced. If you’re shopping at a major chain for brand name cocktail sausages, like all meat and especially pork products, the prices of sausages and bacon have skyrocketed lately, and you can count on Aldi to come in at a good 25-33% less than the national brands.
Good deal. Good food.
Parkview Cocktail Sausages Review
Born out of the original parent of Au Bon Pain, a delightful sandwich chain in urban areas up and down the east coast, Panera bread has grown through acquisitions and opening new shops to become a major force in fast casual dining. The company current has over 1700 shops operating in 45 states under several different trade names.
The company features a varietyof fresh baked goods, breads, bagels, and pastries, which can be purchased to take away or as components of the in-house menu items like sandwiches, and breakfast bagels. In addition to the bread baked in-house, the chain endeavors to use the freshest quality ingredients available for their other menus, including salads, pasta dishes and a rotating list of soups.
In addition to tasty food, Panera donates all unsold baked goods at the end of each day to local food banks and organizations. That’s pretty cool.
There was a Panera store here in Portland that also tried to help the community by having a “pay what you can” policy.
Today I had the broccoli cheese soup, bits of broccoli and carrot, seasonings in a thick cheese soup, garnished with pieces of bacon. It’s good, but then, I am having a new love affair with soup in general, and specifically cheese soup.
Mrs. Burgerdogboy got me started on soup as a meal, and I’m thankful for that education. Having been raised in the Upper Midwest, however, beer cheese soup, which has been around since the days of Medieval Europe, was a frequent menu item while I was growing up.
My favorite as a young man was at the posh grocery chain Byerly’s, in Minneapolis. There was one within walking distance of my house, and I used to like tromping through the snow late at night to get a cup or two. Recently, I was quite taken by the recipe at at little place called Mocha Mouse, in Black River Falls, Wisconsin.
Should you hit Panera just for a cup of soup? Definitely!
Panera Broccoli Cheddar Soup Review
Toodling up I-94 in Wisconsin, one runs into a raft of cheese chops and cranberry emporiums. About halfway between Madison and Eau Claire sits the burg of Black River Falls, and off the interstate you’ll find the Mocha Mouse, a fairly unique combination of retailer, with a cheese shop, wine, locally made canned goods, gifts, and a coffee shop. They are open 8A -8P every day.
Stopped in for breakfast on Christmas Eve, and was the only diner; was interested to note on each table top were individual ramekins or mixed variety of croutons. My inquiry to the waiter revealed these were for the beer cheese soup. Dang. Having already ordered breakfast, I added a bowl of soup to go to my order. (I did find the croutons made for an excellent appetizer – lol).
Breakfast was a straight up affair, with a couple eggs, thick slab o’ ham, and house-baked marble rye toast. It was prepared as ordered and a good value.
It didn’t take me getting far down the road before I had to dip into the soup, which had cooled enough so that I could just chug it from its take-out bowl. Some of the best I have ever had, seriously. Worth a stop. Menu. Cheese gifts by mail available online.
Mocha Mouse Review
First opened in Greenville, SC, Hardee’s is a ‘semi-national’ chain, mostly in the Eastern United States, and part of CKE (Carl Karcher Enterprises) which operates Carl’s Jr. in the Western US; the two share some menu items.
Hardee’s places a big emphasis on their breakfast menu, and offers a wider variety of choices than most competitors. Additionally, they push a “prepared fresh” method with their items. They prepare their biscuits in-house, from scratch daily, and
On a whim, I picked up their “Monster Biscuit”, which is a pile of bacon, sausage, shaved ham, and cheese. It surprised me on every level, and is surely one of the best fast-food breakfast offerings in the land. My only preference for “improvement” would be that Hardee’s also has a ‘country ham’ biscuit, and I think I’d prefer that ham on the Monster. Nevertheless, this is a good product, and as the advertising says, prepared fresh. Grab a couple today. Locator.
Hardee’s Monster Biscuit Review
Preliminary visit in advance of Todd Eckart show this Friday nite. The Rendezvous has a new chef, new menu, and might be the perfect night out for out-of-towners hitting Spirit Mountain, or visiting Duluth for the Beargrease Sled Dog race.
Sampled the Vous Dous wings, (their hottest!), excellent, with house-made blue cheese dipping sauce. Lots of sports on TV, breakfast, lunch, and dinner served from menu. They even whip up some sausage gravy SOS!
The Rendezvous is located in Scanlon, MN (Cloquet), 15 minutes west of Spirit on I-35.
Rendezvous Bar Review
I’m so old, “Little Smokies” weren’t around when I was a little smokie. Yet Hormel ‘full size” smokies were a regular part of my family’s weekend breakfast. Saturday breakfast was a big event at our house, my dad often cooking, and it was such a spread that kids often slept over on Friday nite to gorge on the feast which may have included any or many of the following: scrambled eggs, pancakes, waffles, toast, smokies, ham, steak, turnovers.
Oscar Mayer has brought back the ‘large size’ smokies, 8 to a pack, all natural, no artificial ingredients, a skinless sausage of beef and pork with seasonings, and hardwood smoked.
They are about the same size of hot dogs, larger than I remember them from back in the day, a coarser grind than hot dogs, with a bit more distinctive seasoning.
Verdict? They are OK, but not something I would pick up regularly. I have been spoiled by Hillshire Farms Beef Lil Smokies over the years.
The good news at the moment is Hormel has introduced a raft of new products, and they are all highly discounted.
BTW, some Hormel products are distributed on a regional basis, and I’ve found they have an ecommerce website for items that might not be available in your area. Cool.
It’s time to pay a small honor to America’s heroes (well we should every day!), and the Vet’s day free meal is one way the hospitality industry contributes.
Compiled from various web sources, be sure to check ahead of time with your local outlet to avoid disappointment. Some of these offers are nationwide, and some are only regional. Most require miltiary ID of some kind.
On Monday, November 11, 2013 from 4:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., Golden Corral will be giving out Veterans Day free meals to any person who has ever served in the U.S. military or is on current active duty. This includes retirees, veterans, National Guard or Reserves.All Golden Corral locations will be participating and no identification is required to get your free dinner buffet and beverage.
Stop into a participating Applebee’s on Monday, November 11, 2013 to get your Veterans day free meal. You’ll be able to choose a meal from a limited Veteran’s Day menu that includes steak, cheeseburgers, chicken tenders, salad, pasta, chicken, and shrimp. You can see the complete menu by using the link above. This deal is dine-in only and beverages and gratuity are not included.You’ll need to bring in one proof of military service such as a U.S. Uniform Service ID card, U.S. Uniform Services Retired ID card, current Leave and Earnings statement, photograph in uniform, be wearing your uniform, a veterans organization card such as American Legion or VFW, or a DD214. Find an Applebee’s near you and call ahead to find out if they are participating in the Veterans Day free meal.
Visit Chili’s on Monday, November 11, 2013, to get your Veterans Day free meal if you are a veteran or on active military duty. You’ll get to choose between these free meals:
- Oldtimer with Cheese
- Chicken Crispers
- Margarita Grilled Chicken
- Classic Turkey Toasted Sandwich (full)
- Lighter Choices Grilled Chicken Salad
- Soup & Salad Combo
- Any Flatbread (full size)
- Any 9″ Pizza
- Any Lunch Combo during lunchtime
You’ll need to show proof of military service to get your Veterans Day free meal. Find a Chili’s near you so you can stop in and get your free meal.
Olive Garden is having a Veterans Day free meal for all veterans on Monday, November 11, 2013. Veterans can choose a free entree from a special menu. All these entrees come with freshly baked garlic breadsticks and choice of unlimited soup or salad.Find an Olive Garden near you.
Veterans can start their Veteran’s Day off with a free breakfast at Krispy Kreme that includes a doughnut and a small coffee. No purchase is necessary. Find a Krispy Kreme near you to take advantage of this Veterans Day freebie
Veterans and active duty military can stop into their local Red Robin on Monday, November 11 to get a free Red’s Tavern Double burger and Bottomless Steak Fries. Be sure to bring your military ID to take advantage of this Veterans Day freebie.
T.G.I. Friday’s will be having free lunch for all veterans on Monday, November 11, 2013 from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at participating locations. Be sure to contact your local T.G.I Friday’s for details.
Stop by Denny’s on Monday, November 11, 2013 and all active, non-active, and retired military personnel can get free all you can eat pancakes from 6:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. All Denny’s locations are participating in this promotion and you’ll just need to bring a valid military ID along with you.
LongHorn Steakhouse is giving away free Texas Tonions and non-alcoholic beverages to veterans who stop into their local Longhorn Steakhouse on Monday, November 11 through Thursday, November 14, 2013.
Stop into a Little Caesar’s near you and get a free order of Crazy Bread for Veterans Day 2013. This is valid for veterans as well as active military members.
Veterans can stop by Red Lobster and get a free appetizer Monday, November 11 through Thursday, November 14, 2013.
Champps is giving veterans and active duty military a free burger and waffle fries all day on Monday, November 11, 2013There will be seven burgers to choose from – Champps Cheeseburger, Carolina, Shroom, The Guac, Firehouse, Chipotle BBQ, and Bleu.This offer is for dine-in only and only at participating locations so be sure to call ahead.
Participating Sizzlers will be serving veterans and active military members a Veterans Day free meal until 4:00 p.m. on Monday, November 11, 2013.
Some other non-food benefits:
- Free Haircuts at Great Clips - Veterans and active/inactive/retired military members can stop into Great Clips on Monday, November 11 and get a free haircut or pickup a free haircut card to use before the end of the year. Anyone can stop in to get their haircut and receive a free haircut card they can give to a veteran. These cards will also be available on their Facebook page.
- Free Car Washes - Veterans and active service members can get a free car wash at participating car washes on Monday, November 11, 2013.
- Free Haircuts at Sports Clips - Veterans and active duty U.S. service members can stop into participating Sports Clips on Monday, November 11, 2013 to get a free haircut.
Veteran’s Day Free Meals
Forty years before the invention of the clubhouse sandwich, Saratoga Springs, NY, was the birthplace of the potato chip. In 1853, George Crum, a Native American cook at Moon’s Lake House, was trying to please an unhappy customer, sliced some potatoes thin, fried them, dusted them with salt, and an American icon was born. For several decades after that auspicious beginning, the salty snack was known across the land as “Saratoga Chips”.
John Morrissey, a gambler, bare-knuckled prize fighter, and eventually casino owner and US congressman, started several concerns the Saratoga Springs area in the late 1800s, including gambling houses that were playgrounds of the rich and famous. His most renowned bout was against heavyweight champ Yankee Sullivan, which went 37 rounds, with both pugilists being beat to a pulp. Sullivan left the ring thinking he had won, but was disqualified.
As with many great inventions, the sandwich was created by accident; a late night diner at one of Morrisey’s clubs knew he wanted toast, but didn’t know what he wanted to accompany it. The chef put together some odds and ends that were remaining in the kitchen, mayo, ham, cold bacon, some chicken, and tomato, and created the three layer delicacy we know and love today.
The recipe ‘generally’ calls for three pieces of toast, and some combination/layers of cooked poultry, ham/bacon, lettuce, tomato, and mayo. The oldest known recipe for the sandwich appears in a cookbook put out by Good Housekeeping in 1903. The following year, the sandwich grew in fame after being served in four different restaurants at the St. Louis World’s Fair.
Today, you can find club sandwiches on many menus, but it takes a dedicated restaurant to make a great one, and having enjoyed this sandwich all over the world, I can say Around the Clock‘s in Crystal Lake is one of the best.
For nearly four decades, Around the Clock has been serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner, from very early to very late in the day, and pumping out great pastries and pies from its in-house bakery as well.
Service is prompt and cordial. I ordered my clubhouse “deluxe”, which is a $1.99 add-on that affords you a cup of soup, and choice of sides which include fries, onion rings, or a fruit cup. On it’s own, the sandwich is served with a crispy dill spear.
Around the Clock follows a very traditional recipe, using three layers of white toast, lettuce, tomato, mayo, bacon, ham, and roasted turkey. While I have been known to choke down a club made with “pressed, chopped, and formed” turkey slices if forced, such is not the case at Around the Clock, where the fresh-roasted turkey slices are thick, moist, and can take you to Thanksgiving with every bite. Vegetables were fresh and crisp, and the sandwich is pleasingly plated.
My soup choice, was French Onion, and again, the restaurant follows a very traditional recipe with croutons bubbling in the dark rich broth, which is topped by a thick cap of broiled cheese. An exceptional soup.
Prices provide a great value no matter which meal of the day you chose. The breakfast menu provides for some very over-sized options, perfect to get you started on wintry Iillinois mornings.
If you don’t feel like a full meal, Around the Clock is a great place to stop for a coffee (their’s is really good) and a piece of pie. Or order a pie to pick up and take home, you can do that online, and choose from over a dozen varieties.
Menus are online.
Around the Clock Reviews
Way down my list of places I will generally consider, a friend was popping for brekky, and it was their choice, so off we went. IHOP was started in 1957, in Toluca Lake, CA (San Fernando Valley), just across the street from one of the original Bob’s Big Boys.
The original concept was pancake and breakfast foods from around the world, so in addition to pancakes, they had crepes, blintzes and so on.
By the 1980s, the menu had expanded to include full lunch and dinner items; most locations (there are 1500 in the US and one in Dubai) are open 24/7. The menu is similar to Dennys and other like places.
Although it was earlier than the buttcrack of dawn, I wasn’t particularly in the mood for breakfast, so my compromise was to go with IHOP’s version of chicken and waffles, a distinctly historical ‘soul food’ dish that has worked its way into mainstream American cuisine (obviously, if IHOP has it). Their version includes four pieces of waffle and four chicken tenders, with pancake syrup and honey mustard sauce on the side.
I ate the chicken and played with the waffles. Should of had chicken fried steak and eggs.
This particular location used to be a “Wag’s”, Walgreen’s ill-fated experiment with competing against Denny’s and IHOP. They built up a chain of about one hundred locations and then dumped it on Marriott, which started life as A&W Root Beer stands, which they later renamed “Hot Shoppes.” Most Hot Shoppes were converted to a newer concept Marriott started, called “Roy Rogers”, which served hamburgers, roast beef, and fried chicken. Marriott operated a couple of other restaurant chains during that period, Gino’s, which was hamburger-centric, and Rustler Steak House. Hardee’s purchased the Roy Rogers chain and converted them to their own brand, although occasionally you will run into a Hardees that sells “Roy Rogers Chicken.” Marriott also operated Big Boy’s for a couple of decades before selling those to one of the franchisees.
I like buffets. I especially like them when they support a cause I am partial to, like veterans. Buffets for me are not (necessarily) about the quantity, but rather the adventure, and finding surprises on occasion, like this morning in Genoa, Illinois. The Vet’s Home there has several events per week open to the public, including a Friday nite fish fry, a Saturday afternoon burger buffet, and, on the third Sunday of each month, a breakfast buffet from 7-11AM.
You can find their event calendar here.
Advance publicity promised a buffet rife with French toast, scrambled eggs, sausage, bacon, biscuits and gravy. Juice, milk, and coffee included as well.
What the advance publicity didn’t mention was that the ‘gravy’ for the biscuits came in two forms, the traditional sausage gravy and……..(drum roll)………..S.O.S. or chipped beef!!!! Man oh man. Incredible!
While it is difficult to find the origin of SOS (“shit on a shingle”), it is a dish emblematic of the U.S. Army. Dried beef in a white sauce, served on toast (shingle) is a memory for many US veterans, and possibly why it was present on the buffet today. Historical references on SOS in literature date back to at least the early 1900s.
I was going to load up on the chipped beef, a couple pounds of bacon and sausage, and be done at that. (I have a previous piece on wolfing down at a bacon buffet).
About to pass on the scrambled eggs, the server looked a little hurt, and said “you can’t pass on ‘Scooter’s’ eggs. No clue as to who or what a Scooter is, but their version of scrambled eggs included sausage bits, cheese, and some herbs.
Take a pleasant drive in the country to Genoa for one of their events, gorge yourself, help out a worthy cause.
If you’d like to make a little SOS at home in the meantime, here’s a modest recipe. (serves 60).
Genoa? No, not the city Columbus sailed from, but a town on the historic Galena – Chicago stage coach route, back in the day; named by the founder after a burg of the same moniker in New York. 30 miles SE of Rockford, 63 miles W of Chicago’s loop.
And btw, Scooter? Good job on the eggs!