Archive for the ‘Miscellany’ Category
Rivers Edge Chevre Wins “Best American Cheese” for the second time in 2013 in international competition
Rivers Edge Chevre’s Up in Smoke was chosen as the “Best American Cheese” at the 25th annual Guild of Fine Foods World Cheese Awards on Wednesday, November 27th 2013. The competition was held at the BBC Good Food Show in Birmingham, England. This win follows on the heels of Rivers Edge Chevre’s Humbug Mountain winning Best USA Cheese in July at the 116th annual International Cheese Awards in Nantwich, England.
Up in Smoke is a hand formed 4 oz. round of fresh chevre that is smoked over maple and alder and then wrapped in smoked Big Leaf Maple leaves that have been misted with bourbon. Patricia Morford received word of her cheeses fate via an email from fellow Oregon Cheese Guild member and one of the over 250 judges of the World Cheese Awards, David Gremmels, (co-owner of Rogue Creamery).
“Congratulations Pat on winning a Supreme Super Gold tonight at the World Cheese Awards and being Crowned Best American Cheese! I chose, presented and championed your cheese tonight on the supreme judges panel. It showed and tasted brilliantly against 60 competing cheeses and the panel of 15 judges totally agreed by giving it a Supreme Super Gold and crowning it Best American Cheese.”
Before making it to the final round of judging it had received a Super Gold in the class it had originally been entered in (Class 5007- Goat’s milk cheese smoked). The final panel of 15 judges represented 13 different countries. Up in Smoke competed against smoked goat cheeses from all around the world in its original class and then against all the cow, sheep and goat cheeses entered from the United States before being awarded “Best American Cheese”.
Up in Smoke was not the only Rivers Edge Chevre cheese to win an award, Siltcoos, a small ash coated, soft ripened wheel of chevre that is decorated with a fern was awarded a Gold in its class (Class 5514- Any cheese that has been awarded Supreme Champion (or its equivalent) in a national or international cheese awards in any country). Siltcoos was entered in this class because it had won Best in Show at the 2012 American Dairy Goat Association’s cheese competition.
Rivers Edge Chevre is a farmstead goat cheese producer located in Logsden, Oregon. Their cheese is sold across the United States and can be purchased 7 days a week on the farm at their self-serve cheese refrigerator located on the front porch of the dairy at 6315 Logsden Rd., Logsden, Oregon 97357.
up in smoke cheese
On Belknap (“bell-nap”), one of the main drags in Superior, WI, two blocks west of the other main drag, Tower Avenue, you’ll run into one of the area’s largest liquor stores, the Keyport, which has an attached bar and grill of the same name. If you’re driving around looking for it, it’s in the outlot of Super One Grocery.
They frequently have live entertainment, daily specials, karaoke, and a gaggle of big screen TVs for sporting events.
The Minnesota Burger Bureau Chief was following one of his local favorite music acts, Todd Ekhart, and stopped in the other night, sampling the “Siracha Burger” from the full menu, which includes ciabatta sandwiches, wraps, salads, Mexican favorites, and pizza. The hand-formed char crust burger patty was painted with a siracha / bbq sauce mixture, topped with bacon, cheese, and onion rings. He reported that it was a fine effort, other than he and the chef had different opinions on what levels of doneness meant. (Food photo credit Kawikamedia.com; exterior shot from Google Maps).
Keyport Lounge Review
As a consumer, I totally get Groupon, Living Social, Amazon Local, and the host of other services like this. I get a good deal (if I ever actually redeem the coupon) (I have a bundle of expired ones), I am (hopefully) introduced to someplace new, and will (hopefully) return again and spend real money.
Does it work? Yes and no. There is plenty of research that shows running a promotion like this creates a lot of traffic, but repeat business is not so hot.
At least not strong enough to generate a positive ROI on the promotion, as from the initial sales, the restaurant is receiving half of the highly discounted offer Groupon has distributed; Groupon keeps the rest (plus credit card fees, returns, etc).
Example: your joint is offering $40 worth of food and drinks for 60% off. So this is sold on Groupon for $16, and you’re going to gross $8 on the deal. (I understand the fee split can be negotiated, tho, as is the time it takes to get paid).
$8 for $40 worth of your inventory. Yikes. And don’t forget the credit card fees and returns and such. So let’s say you’re getting $6 on $40.
Now any of these services have massive reach, and you’re going to receive (hopefully) a bundle of cash at the onset of the promotion, and that will help you out for the current month, and you cross your fingers everyone won’t come and redeem the coupons in the same week, or month even.
Here’s what I’d like from you dudes in the restaurant business. Run these specials IN-HOUSE, or to your own email list, or by putting them on your website, or spending miniscule amounts of money to advertise them in places like the Patch.
You get to keep ALL the money, you don’t have to wait for it, you get to WRITE your own copy, and you get to dictate redemption times.
I’d rather give you the money.
Jon Stewart, the witty host of TV’s “The Daily Show” took off on Chicago pizza last week, as a postscript to a story about the new World Trade Center being named the tallest building in America. Seems Mr. Stewart’s opinion of the 2nd city is less than favorable, and his pizza rant took up quite a long segment. If you missed it, I’ve included it here.
Mind you, I don’t DISlike deep dish (Chicago style), it’s just I prefer pizza for the toppings and cheese, and less for a heavy crust.
Gino’s East is one of the more renown deep dish makers in the city, with about a dozen locations, and like many successful pizza restaurants, they have a frozen line that closely parallels the restaurant pizza.
They are widely available in grocery stores, weigh in at two full pounds, and cost considerably less than at the restaurant, of course.
The Gino’s East version of the Chicago pie starts with a thick butter flavored crust in a two inch pie pan, followed by a layer of cheese, a layer of sausage, more cheese, and thick and chunky tomato sauce on the top. (That order was part of the source of Stewart’s consternation – “sauce on the top!”).
While it takes nearly forty minutes to bake at home, the result is worth it, a flavorful pie, with quality ingredients. If I was in charge, I would make a few small changes, I’d go with a single patty of sausage spanning the pie (as some places do), and more cheese. Gino’s East frozen uses sausage crumbles. I can imagine that these are pre-cooked, resulting in a less greasy pie, which is understandable and a good thing.
The pies are made by a contract manufacturer in the tiny town of Waupaca, Wisconsin; Chef Fresh is the name of the outfit, and I found an old news story about them.
Ginos East Frozen Pizza Review
From humble beginnings in Champaign, IL, in 1953, Dog n Suds grew to be one of the formidable fast food chains in the early 60s, peaking at over 600 locations in more than 30 states. The restaurant featured drive-up service, coney island style hot dogs, and ‘charco-broiled’ burgers.
A series of events, a couple of sales, and interest in new franchises waned, and shop after shop closed.
Today, the company is rebuilding, with about two dozen outlets, primarily in the Upper Midwest. They’ve licensed their classic root beer formula, which was the original bedrock of their success, to Clover Bottling in Chicago, and Dog n Suds root beer is available in grocery stores in the Midwest.
I haven’t been to one for years….but I’m feeling it’s time for a road trip!
I tweeted something about El Gaucho this morning, and they retweeted it, of course. It got me to thinking about why I like El Gaucho. Why go to a regional steakhouse in cities (like Seattle and Portland) that are chock-a-block full of the national chains like Ruth’s Chris and Morton’s, and local old-timey favorites like Ringside in Portland?
The answer, for me, is rather simple: El Gaucho approaches steak with value propositions on every level – quality, preparation, ambiance and service that is unequaled on every level.
They have combined the best of “old-world panache’ with modern service.
I’m particularly fond of El Gaucho for their offering of two very traditional menu offerings that are seldom found anymore, table side preparations of steak tartare and chateaubriand.
Restaurants seem to shy away from steak tartare these days, probably because it’s raw beef and some perceived potential for liability (rubbish). The traditional dish has always been prepared at tableside with egg, capers, onion and seasonings to taste. They mix it, offer you a taste, and you can correct to your own palate. That’s service. Served with toast points.
(I previously did a mini-post about this dish a couple years ago).
Chateaubriand, the elongated beef tenderloin from which filet mignon steaks are cut, is one of the ultra-premium cuts of beef available today, and is the perfect selection for two or more diners. It was first served to Napoleon, and is traditionally accompanied by a rich Bernaise sauce, silky, buttery with a touch of tarragon.
The atmosphere at El Gaucho is dark, but warm and inviting, perfect for a romantic interlude or discreet business event. Classic cocktails are artfully mixed by the competent drink masters tending bar.
My only regret about El Gaucho is that they haven’t expanded beyond the Pacific Northwest. One can always dream. Dinner menu.
(This photo from El Gaucho’s Instagram site).
El Gaucho Steakhouse Review
The holiday season is approaching, and as usual, it can be fraught with social crises – what to give as a present to the special client, relative, or BFF. How to impress when invited to holiday open houses, or hosting parties? Should you bring the same old bottle of wine you have year after year?
How about something entirely different? Something that will impress, amaze, and be treasured? This year, consider Maestro Dobel Tequila.
Named after its founder and famed tequila maestro, Domingo Beckmann Legoretta, each bottle of Debel is made from 100% blue agave grown on the Dobel estate, and is the first multi-aged clear tequila.
Double-distilled and matured in Hungarian White Oak barrels, Dobel is filtered to produce its exceptional smoothness and clarity.
The clear elixir inside is matched only by the aesthetically pleased vintage style bottle, with the family estate embossed logo and a ultra-chic black and silver color scheme, signed by Senor Dobel and the Master Blender.
At this time of year, there are many reasons to celebrate: the traditional holidays, the end of a successful business year, the hopes for a new year ahead, a long lasting relationship, a budding new one. Eschew the traditional toast in favor of the new spirit of a new age, with Dobel Tequila as your toasting beverage of choice. Share the expression of your own personal good taste with a beverage that tastes good!
The holiday season is one of good cheer, parties, family and friends coming over, feasts and accompanying beverages. This year, you can break out of the mold, and delight your guests by serving something entirely new and refreshing, Maestro Dobel Tequila.
To learn more about Maestro Dobel Tequila, take a run over to their Facebook page, and for cocktail ideas, Maestro Dobel invites you to download their free recipes. Dobel Tequila is available nationwide in fine bars, restaurants, and retailers, in 200 ML, 375 ML, and 750 ML bottles.
(Maestro Dobel Tequila furnished consideration for this post).
Among the many restaurants honoring past and current troops today, was local Duluth eatery Grandma’s Saloon and Grill. Vets and actives could chose one of seven specials for their complimentary feed.
Our favorite group of Duluth vets descended upon Grandma’s Restaurant and went with the “Clubhouse Wrap”, which the menu describes as thick-cut bacon, smoked turkey, tomato, romaine in a flour tortilla with creamy mayo and crispy fries.
The deal was offered at all three Grandma’s locations, and all of us at Burgersdogspizza.com thank Grandma’s for thanking our service men and women. Grandma’s regular menu is here.
Grandma’s Free Vet’s Meal
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
The Texas Roadhouse chain was one of many eating establishments that participated in the free feed for active miltiary and vets this year; the event takes place annually on Veteran’s Day in November.
Minnesota Burger Bureau Chief Kawika and his fellow Vietnam era veterans headed to the local outlet for lunch. The group enjoyed a 6 oz sirloin, sides, beverage, and were treated to a rousing rendition of the national anthem. Strawberry Cheesecake for dessert, and even the condiments got into the act!
A good time was had by all, and our thanks to those who serve, and have served.
Veteran’s Free Lunch