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Archive for the ‘Hot off the Grill’ Category

Supreme Lobster Appetizers


Supreme Lobster AppetizerHad an occasion to need appetizers this week, but didn’t have time to make them.  A local Chicago company, Supreme Lobster and Seafood, sells quality heat and eat appys to bail you out of just such a jam.

Picked up their bacon wrapped scallops and their lobster rangoon won tons. Both could be ready in less than 20 minutes in a conventional oven.

Sometimes with ‘bacon wrapped’ items, it seems like the bacon seldom gets to a satisfactory “done stage,” but such was not the case with the Supreme product.  Although these weren’t ‘bay scallops,’  they also weren’t full size sea scallops; they may have been the latter cut into manageable portions. In any case, the bites had a great flavor.

As did the lobster rangoon won tons, a dollop of lobster ‘salad’ (with cream cheese) inside a crispy won ton, and yes, the pastries do puff up and get nice and crispy.

For these type of appetizers in the frozen food section of your grocery, expect to pay in the range of $1 per appetizer, which is competitive with any brand.

Should you need massive quantities, try a company like AppetizersUSA, which has a very diverse offering and different quantities to get shipped directly to you.

(The  scallop products are manufactured  for Supreme Lobster by Golden Phoenix Foods of St Louis, a company specializing in Asian appetizers and nibbles).

The plant, pictured below, is about a mile south of downtown off I-55.

Supreme Lobster & Seafood has a retail outlet in suburban Chicago, should you be in need of all manner of fresh and frozen seafood and fish. Store details.

Supreme Lobster Appetizer Review


Supreme Lobster Appetizer Review

                                  Lobster Rangoon

Supreme Lobster Appetizer Review

                    Golden Phoenix St Louis Operation






Supreme Lobster Appetizers


IONutrition Meal Home Delivery Review


Ionutrition Meal SubscriptionUsed to be if you wanted to take advantage of a “home meal delivery” service, the companies that were available in the genre were focused on weight loss; or you could try and put together your own plan with a company like Schwans.

But lately we been presented with  a gaggle of choices from different companies, catering to all types of diets and tastes, as well as subscriptions that send portion control ingredients for you to cook at home, or fully prepared fresh “heat and eat” meals from companies like IONutrition. These guys are focused on fresh, organic, wholesome meals, and you can subscribe to a pure vegetable diet or one that includes animal protein.

They comped me some samples, and first off I went for the Butternut Portobello French Lentils with Salmon, which is ready to go after only two minutes in the microwave.

The ingredients are so straightforward it’s a breath of fresh air: Salmon, lentils, onion, carrots, mushroom, sweet potato, squash, eggplant
almond, tumeric, cumin, parsley, garlic, sea salt, filtered water.  What, seriously? None of those ingredients you can’t pronounce or have no idea what they are? Wow. Outstanding, folks.

Another significant difference with IoNutrition is they don’t have freezers chock-a-block full of frozen meals; they prepare your order right when you place it, and ship it out in a gently refrigerated box.

Watching calories, carbs or fats?  You’ll dig this nutritional information.   15 ounce serving = 537 calories, fat 2, carbs 55, fiber 16, protein 46. Meals are gluten and dairy free,organically sources elements. Eat them at home or amp up your daily office lunch.

The big question?  How was it?  Fantastic.  Seriously.  As good or better than anything I could fix at home, and possibly the best salmon I’ve  had in years. Additionally, the creative blending of spices and flavors in the sides is a real nice change.

If I haven’t given you enough reasons to try them out, know that IONutrition is a ’caused-based’ business and supports several charity partners.

One more reason?  How about a discount just for readers of Burgers, Dogs, Pizza, Oh My! For a limited time, get 15% off any meal plan by using the code “BURGERS.”  Get the full 411 on the company here.



IoNutrition Review

                       Salmon, Lentils, Portobello




Ionutrition Meal Home Delivery Review


O&H Bakery Racine, WI


My mother loved Kringles.  What are they?  A Scandinavian  confectionary pastry, multiple layers of thin, flaky baked dough, in a horseshoe shape, with layers separated by a wide variety of your choice of fillings/toppings like berry, almond, chocolate and the like.  More on the origin.  My mother, or parents, really, took delight in having certain things brought in that were either rare in our city, or banned outright.  For years, margarine was illegal in Minnesota, a supposed challenge to the dairy industry, so someone would run to Michigan and get a car load.  Our maple syrup came in massive quantities of one gallon cans, annually, direct from a producer in the Northeast.

And once a year, a Greek fisherman from Florida would come by and sell natural sponges.

And such was the case with “Kringles,” as everyone in the Upper Midwest believe the best ones come from O&H, a bakery in Racine, WI.  They make large variety of flavors year round, supplemented by seasonal favorites.  My mother thought these were “Christmas-y” and someone a number of them were transported to our house in time for the holiday season from a bakery 400 miles away. My mother preferred almond ones, my father, berry flavor.

Stopped by O&H’s newest outlet the other day, they are dealing with quite a crowd this time of year, and have plenty of goods, freshly baked, and read to go.  It’s a full service bakery, they also have nearly every kind of sweet roll, cookie, and loaf bread you can imagine, and all excellent.

If you’re inclined, order your own Kringles directly from them, online.  They even have a “Kringle of the Month” club.  You’ll also find the Kringles available at many Upper Midwest groceries.


O&H Bakery Review Kringles








O&H Bakery


Pub 72 Review, Gilberts, IL


I’ve been on a mission to have weekend breakfasts at rural locations in Illinois, and today we hit the Pub 72 Bar & Grill in Gilberts, IL. The “72” is after the number of the highway, and if memory serves me, is a rather new name. Not sure if the change also represented a change in ownership.

The place has a menu with “something for everything” whether you’re in the mood for plate dinners, sandwiches, appetizers, pizza, or adult beverage drink specials.

They serve a VERY economical breakfast (beginning at $2.99) on Saturdays and Sundays from 9 AM.

This is one of those joints were seemingly every employee took a course in what being in the hospitality business truly means. You’re almost always greeted by the owner when you walk in, a guy who doesn’t think so much of himself that it would be beneath him to walk around, refill coffees, inquire to customers satisfaction, and be observant enough to notice patrons that need attention.  Superb. Rare qualities in most smaller places these days.

Serving help was equally affable, smiles all around, diligent order taking, great follow-up.  By 9:30, the place was pretty busy with Sunday morning diners.

I had ham steak and eggs, great piece of ham with a nice grill char on it, just the way I like it.  And a slice of Texas toast. As is the fashion at small diners in Illinois, a bowl of butter pats grazes each table.  Eggs cooked precisely as ordered.

Hash browns are above average too.

I’ll be back.  You should check them out if you live in the area, or are tooling down I-90 some day.


Pub 72 Bar & Grill review

              Ham, Eggs, Texas Toast



Pub 72 Review


DQ Chicken Fingers Review


Dairy Queen Cheese CurdsStarted in Illinois in the 1940s, Dairy Queen (now owned by Warren Buffet) is based in a Minneapolis suburb and has over 6500 stores in 27 countries. Over the past few years, they have been adding hot food items to their ice cream only stores.

I set out to have a Warren Buffet burger today, but the store I hit only offered fried food items, so I went with the 4 chicken finger basket, an order of cheese curds, and a bottle of water.  The basket also includes “Texas Toast.”   It was $8.79 for the lunch, pretty steep, IMHO.

The chicken fingers were hot and crispy, all white meat, but a little diminutive.  The curds were fantastic, and I had just seen a documentary about how and where DQ curds are made, so I knew they would be good.  They are real “curds” where as some places are really selling you deep fried cheese SAUCE.  Big difference. You have your choice of dipping sauces with the chicken, and one of them is country gravy!  YAY!

The “Texas Toast” should have been called “Delaware Toast” it is pretty scrawny as Texas Toasts go.

I like chicken fingers, and I’ve tried them a lot of places.  I did a chicken finger smackdown tour of the south, and came away from that liking Zaxby’s the best.

The full DQ menu is here, as is a store locator.   Menus in Texas vary slightly, not sure why.  I do know I have enjoyed “Steak Fingers” at Texas outlets in the past.

Dairy Queen Chicken Fingers Review








DQ Chicken Fingers Review


Francesca’s Bellezza – LaGrange, IL


Starting as a humble eatery on North Clark in Chicago, the Francesca group has grown to over thirty restaurants in several concepts, with locations in Chicagoland, Wisconsin, North Carolina and California .  Reporter Luscious Linda dropped in their LaGrange, IL location, and enjoyed the Blueberry Cheesecake with Marscapone.

Francesca's LaGrange

Menus   Locations   Reservations

Francesca’s Bellezza


Dining WIth My Late Friend Pat Clawson


Pat died last week, unexpectedly, at his home in Michigan.  I’ve known Pat for more than 30 years, and he was a legend in the media business, as an investigative reporter at CNN and NBC, and as the D.C. bureau chief of the media trade rag “Radio and Records.”  It was during that last position we became friends and allies, I was involved in some ground breaking stuff which he admired, and he gave me generous media coverage, which helped me launch my venture.

Later, long before the germ of an idea for Sirius / XM appeared, we proposed a global satellite radio to Motorola, using their Iridium satellite system. They liked the idea but turned us down, because they said the system would be up to capacity with phone usage.  Motorola? Really?  Whoops.

In any way, Pat was a physically big guy, which fit his larger than life reputation and personality, and we enjoyed sharing meals around the country from time to time.

There was nearly always a “current affairs” or historical journalistic significance to where we dined, whether it was having a half-smoke on the streets of DC or a fine dining experience at  the Old Ebbits, a tour of Italian restaurants and former mob hangouts in South Philly, or at Machus Red Fox in the Detroit area where  Jimmy Hoffa was last seen.

One of the last times we ate together was with a group of our media peers in Los Angeles, where we successfully and not very gracefully, closed up a notable French restaurant for the note – and I mean “closed up” in that they asked us to leave. Feeling a little rowdy that night.

Never one to shy from controversy, Pat served as PR flack for the scientist accused in the anthrax scare in 2002.  Pat was a staunch libertarian and ran for local office.

Pat was a good friend to all who came in contact with him, and loyal to a fault.

We stayed in touch over the years, and lately had lively dialogues about politics on Facebook.  He hadn’t been posting the past week, and yesterday I found out why.

Gonna miss you, Pat. Perhaps you’ve bumped into Jimmy Hoffa up there, and the mystery has been solved for you once and for all!

Pat Clawson Obituary in the Flint paper.


George’s Review – Indianapolis


George's Neighborhood Grill ReviewGeorge’s is a friendly bar and grill, located on the northeast side of Indianapolis, just off the 465.  The feature a large selection of craft beers, and an amped up menu of bar fare, including appys, pastas, salads, sandwiches, entrees, pizza, and desserts. Something for everyone.  Check out the loaded waffle fries for a different appetizer experience, with crumbled bacon, sour cream, cheddar and mozzarella cheeses and scallions.

One of our at-large reporters, Southside Bob, stopped in to George’s for a slice of Coconut Cream Pie and reported it superb. Over a dozen beers on tap, including domestic, craft, and imports, some rotating regularly.

Open daily at 11 AM. George’s complete menu, and directions

George's Neighborhood Grill








George’s Review


Schaumburg, IL – Pilot Petes Restaurant Review 10/2015 Update


I was flying home from FCO, stopped at ORD and taxied out to a suburban airport to hook up with a friend, and bum a ride on his plane back to Santa Barbara. He was held up with a ground stop at TEB, so I was gonna have a couple of hours to kill.  Luckily, there was a bar and restaurant at the airstrip.  I didn’t even know the airport was there, despite the fact I used to live nearby. Seems more like it’s for personal aircraft, I didn’t see many corporate-sized planes on the tie downs.  There’s a flight school and heliport, as well.

The restaurant overlooks the runway, and it’s called Pilot Pete’s.   It has an aviation theme (surprise!) with large scale model airplanes hanging from the ceiling, airline seats in the waiting area, and other general air knick-knacks as decorations.

I admire the owner/manager, this place has a very long menu, seemingly no pre-prepared dishes, as well as daily specials. It has to be a chore to keep everything running smoothly. The waitstaff is clad in shirts that say “Flight Crew,” and the couple I talked to said they’d worked there for years and wouldn’t work anyplace else.

Although this place is apparently known for its version of the hundred dollar hamburger, I was in the mood for something a little different, and surprise, I over ordered.  Started with an amazing “Fall Salad”, which crisp greens, blueberry, chicken and damn near a half pound of feta.  Salad came with soup, and I opted for French Onion, piping hot, flavorful, with the traditional baked cheese/crouton cap.

Launched into the restaurant’s version of a Cuban, which the menu says is an homage to the one prepared by Treasure Island in Tampa.  Pete’s strayed a little bit by adding mayo, tomato, and lettuce, which didn’t take away from the quality meats and cheese, which were amply packed between  pressed  halves of a garlic Cuban baguette.

The only downside to the meal were the accompanying fries, which were the extruded type, good flavoring and seasoning, just not a personal favorite. Overall, it was a terrific meal with portion sizes that could easily have served three.   Sandwich, soup, salad, cocktail, $40 including tip.

Here’s the menu.   (Update, October 2015).  Had their “hundred dollar burger” and onion blossom.  I added Asiago and onion straws to the 10 oz medium rare patty. Excellent. Pics down below.

PIlot Pete's Review

Fall Salad


Pilot Pete's Review

Cuban Sandwich and Fries


Pilot Pete's Review

Aviation Decor


Pilot Pete's Review


Pilot Pete's Review











Pilot Pete's on Urbanspoon

Pilot Petes Restaurant Review


Trident Fish & Chips Review


Trident Seafood ReviewSeattle based Trident Seafood is America’s largest seafood processor, with plants across the lower 48 and Alaska. They create seafood offerings for the retail and commercial markets. Consumer products are available under eight different brand names.  I picked up Trident brand’s “Alaska Fish & Chips” a heat and eat product of fried pollock and french fries.

This is an oven baked product, about 20 minutes at 450.  Usually my “complaint” if I have one, is failure of the fried food to get crispy, but such is not the case with this product.

The fish and fries come packaged separately (not sure why there is a difference in color of the cello), but can be baked together, same pan, same amount of time.  At my store, this was on sale for a little over five bucks, and the package claims it feeds two.  Four small fillets are included, along with an ample serving for the thick fries.

I am usually prepared to not like “heat and eat” fish, because budget fish sticks were regularly in appearance at my mother’s dinner table. Along with mayo with chopped chives for a ‘tartar’ sauce.  They weren’t very enjoyable.

Fortunately, there is nothing about Trident’s Fish & Chips that reminds me of those old fish sticks.  This  is great.  Fish and fries are crispy, with great flavor.  Easy to fix, and at full retail, about $3,00 per plate, which is a bargain these days. There are other varieties, as well.

Trident and their sister brands are available in grocers about everywhere, and some of their products are available at their own online store.

Trident Seafood Review

                                   Out of the box

Trident Seafood Review

                                  Into the oven

Trident Seafood Review

                                Pollock fillets

Trident Seafood Review

                       Trident’s Seattle Operation

Trident Fish & Chips Review

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