Archive for the ‘Hot off the Grill’ Category
Stopped in here before, yakked about it then. May be one of Duluth’s best. Kawika, head of the Minnesota burger posse was back today for the third pound, American cheese, medium rare, and a gajillion fresh cut fries. Most excellent. Full menu online. Find ’em at the top of Piedmont Avenue. Fresh ground daily, hand made patties.
Big Daddys Review
I first learned about urban/rooftop gardens from my friend Sara Pool, Portland, Oregon’s leading garden and foraging expert. . She is a big advocate of this kind of thing, and Portland has been an early adapter of the concept.
Attending the National Restaurant Show this past week, I was interested to learn about the garden atop the convention center, McCormick Place. Depending on who is measuring and what criteria is being used, McCormick Place may well be the largest convention center in the world, at over 2.5 million square feet. It opened in 1960 at a cost in today’s dollars of nearly a cool billion.
The garden covers two and a half acres and supplies thousands of pounds of beets, kale, carrots, lettuce, peppers, beans and herbs to Savor’s own outlets in the center, as well as to local restaurants. Savor’s use takes “farm to fork” to an entirely new level of definition. 20,000 honey bees and 2,000 earthworms hang around to do their part in garden production.
Another benefit of the garden is the Chicago Botanic folks use it as part of their internship program, so young volunteers are able to learn all about where their food comes from and how it gets to their kitchens.
Spoiler alert. I really enjoyed this visit. Can’t remember when the last time was that I stopped in a Fuddruckers, but it was certainly prior to their menu expansion, including “exotic” burgers, like elk, boar, turkey, kobe, and others (depending on location).
I went with the elk ($9.99) and it was cooked to order, got a side of rings ($2.70) and an iced tea ($1.75).
The “fixins” bar, (mustard, mayo, molten cheese, ketchup, garlicy dill chips, onion, jalapenos, lettuce, tomato and more) was well stocked and immaculate.
This location had the Coke Freestyle fountain machines, that pack 100 + varieties of soda and other Coke products into a single vend operation.
The fries had seasoned salt on them, I can take that or leave it, but it was a pretty light dusting. The onion rings are cut thin and have a light crispy breading.
There are a lot of other menu choices, both for mains, and sides.
One kind of “oh oh” for me is both the fries and rings came from a warming tray, so they could have been fresher, and I’d also like to see mini trays or plates at the fixings bar.
Other than that? When I want a fast-casual burger, Fuddruckers is my new go-to place!
Classically trained chefs open burger restaurants. As sign of the times, one suspects, and capitalizing on an “American craze” the past few years. I don’t know what started the current infatuation with burgers, tho I thought personally it was a reflection of the economic downturn – people still wanted to go out for beef, but steaks had become a little dear on menus.
In any regard, chef Crisitano Bassani, of the classic Italian Bapi Restaurant in suburban Chicago, got bit by the burger bug and opened “Big Chef” in Schaumburg. It’s kind of tough to spot, set back in a strip mall, but if you’re heading east on Alqonquin and you hit Meachem, you’ve just missed it.
I was on my way somewhere else and the sign caught the corner of my eye, I made a quick uey into the parking lot and walked in. Mid afternoon, Sunday, and the (perhaps) 60 seat eatery had one other table of four occupied, and a table of about ten young men who were just finishing up.
Unlike most new fangled burger restaurants these days, Big Chef has table service and linens. A server brought a large bottle of water, a tall glass of ice, and the menu (how did they know about me and the water thing?).
The menu offers a number of interesting combination burgers (around $12 with one side), brick oven pizzas, and huge salads. There is a full bar, with about ten stools in front of it, and an open kitchen design with a bar and stools facing it, as well.
Every day there is a special deal for extended hours, whereas any burger, salad, or pizza is $8.99.
I went with the bacon burger, which comes with lettuce, tomato, onion, mayo, and a well-melted spicy cheddar (don’t you hate it when there’s a slice of cold, unmelted cheese slapped on a burger – I sure do!). You have choice of buns from white, pretzel, onion, or wheat. Patties are a half pound of fresh ground hormone free angus. Side choices are fries, sweet potato fries, house made chips, rings, mashed or slaw.
The meat came as ordered (medium rare) accompanied by massive onion rings, with a light “panko-like/herb) coating, very crispy. I opted for the pretzel roll, which is almost always my favorite, but the results can be good or bad, depending on the recipe. Some pretzel roll doughs are laden with molasses, and it’s too sweet a bun for a savory burger, in my opinion.
The patty itself was very flavorful, and the vegetables fresh and crisp. I didn’t feel the need to salt either the meat or rings, which is unusual for me.
I recommend your try Big Chef. Desserts and ice cream concoctions also available. Full menu.
Made by the “Pride and Joy” brand, part of Indian Ridge Shrimp Company out of Cauvin, LA, the (total weight) 3.5 ounce patties are made from lobster meat, bread crumbs, egg, spices, and a zillion other ingredients you can’t pronounce.
You can pan fry them (I did) or bake them, and the instructions cautions that they ‘burn’ easily, and I found that out.
They taste ‘vaguely’ like lobster, but more like a fast food fishwich without a crunchy coating. Worth a dollar? Sure. Worth buying again? Not for me.
Buns are not included. I dressed it with Cajun seasoning, mayo and diced dills.
Lobster Sliders Review
I like sausage gravy. I’m not terribly fond of biscuits, but will have them on occasion, seldom if ever, make them at home. I’ve tried a mess o’ prepared gravies, canned, powdered, frozen, including Odom’s Tennessee Pride Sausage Gravy. Most of the frozen brands (these, Jimmy Dean, Bob Evans) sell for slightly more than a buck.
Today I stumbled across “Larry the Cable Guy’s” version, which was, in fact, at the Dollar Tree, and unlike the other brands, is complete, in that it comes with biscuits. It’s a heat and eat microwavable product, and the instructions follow the same rules as many of these types of eats, meaning heat, stir, heat, let sit.
I did all that. The finished product is pictured below, plated (I added the pepper). Verdict? Really not all that bad, unless you are on a restricted diet (it has a gaggle of sodium and carbs). Downside? A couple. Uneven heating even with a carousel microwave meant that one biscuit was soft and ‘flaky’ and the other was hard as a rock and couldn’t be cut even with a steak knife.
Also, if you shopping for very inexpensive foods, be prepared for the manufacturer to have made some sacrifice in the process, and one of the drawbacks of Larry’s Biscuits and Gravy is the packaging is very flimsy, and if you’re not careful, may result in spillage or burns. I would suggest you put the whole package on a plate before heating.
For some (unknown to me) reason, most of Larry’s products are manufactured by contract companies in Minnesota. The gravy is made by the company formerly known as Jeno’s, from Duluth (pizza rolls, Michelinas).
Now I see Bob Evan’s has a sausage dispenser for C stores (pictured up top). That’s what I need for MY kitchen!
larry the cable guy biscuits and gravy Review
I call these kind of lunch meats “pressed, chopped, and formed,” but on the package, I notice it says “cooked, chopped, and pressed.” My bad. My mom was on a kick with these kind of ‘meats’ for supplying our brown bag lunches during our coming up years. Although my siblings and I were relatively healthy and active, our mother had given up the fight years before, and so our school lunches became extensions of whatever diet she was on.
One year, it was sandwiches on toast that was sliced horizontally, so the sammie used one slice of bread, not two. Another year, it was yogurt, and to this day, I can’t look at the stuff. Lots of pb and j, of course, bologna and lunch meats like those from Carl Buddig. The product always amused me, as if they weren’t different ‘colors,’ you might think they are all the same product. Taste the same, to me, anyway.
The scariest thing of all? The price has hardly changed in fifty years. These were 2 / $1 at the WalMart.
Buddig has been around since the late 1800s in distant suburb of Chicago; picture of the modern factory is below. It’s still being run by descendants of the founder.
There’s a couple ways you could use these products, diced as an ingredient, though don’t look for it to impart all that much flavor, or as a base for your kid’s sandwiches, piling on the vegetables to give it substance, crunch, and balanced nutrition.
As for me, it’s always my preference to make my own lunch meats at home, using full cuts of muscle, prep, cook and run through the slicer. Short of that, I enjoy a quality expensive corned beef, like the ones made by the Carnegie Deli in NY, or Chicago’s Vienna Beef brand.
But props to Carl Buddig for their “Old Wisconsin” line; their natural casing hot dogs and polish sausages are some of my very favorites.
Buddig Corned Beef Review
I was never much for places like dollar stores, Goodwill, or thrift shops, but they were regular stops for the late Mrs. BurgerDogBoy, having come from a disadvantaged backgroud.
But after awhile, I kinda got into dollar stores, as there were some kitchen staples there that it was hard to find better prices on, namely spices, herbs, and chicken stock. For me, tomato juice was also a thing.
I like to cruise their foods section looking for new or never seen products, and I’ve previously referred some of their heat and eat things like burgers and fish sandwiches. I even like their empanadas.
So when I saw lobster “sliders” (still in the freezer here) and lobster egg rolls, I had to give them a shot.
The egg rolls are sold under the “Imperial Garden” label, and are made and distributed by a company in Houston, JYC International; apparently the company also has a thing about the edamame segment.
The roll weighs in at 5 ounces, and the list of ingredients is seemingly endless, but number one is cabbage, and number two is lobster. Number three? That fake crab stuff. Of course the flavor and texture of the cabbage is the predominant one.
You can microwave or conventionally bake these frozen treats, I always up for the latter, and it took about 24 minutes. I let it set a minute or two, sliced it and served with sweet/sour and hot mustard. The wrapper was nice and crispy from the oven bake, I doubt it would be in the microwave.
It’s as good as any egg roll you’ll get at most Chinese restaurants in the US, not as good as if you made your own.
I’d buy them again.
Imperial Garden Lobster Egg Roll Review