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Archive for the ‘Seafood’ Category

Two of My Favorite Tuna Recipes

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Favorite Tuna RecipesMy late mother made tuna a regular part of our family’s meal rotation. One was an entree, what we call in Minnesota a “hotdish.”

Her recipe called for two cans of tuna, drained, stirred into a  can of cream of mushroom soup simmering in a sauce pan.

It was plated by ladling it piping hot over crunchy “Chinese noodles.”

We affectionally called the dish (polite version) “tuna stuff.”

Tuna melts entered the scene as we got older, and she followed a pretty standard recipe. As we children got older, we all adapted our own variations to our individual tastes.

My long term tuna melt recipe is to take two cans of solid  white in water, drain, break up with a fork in a mixing bowl. Add in 1 T of mayo, and 1 of yellow mustard.

My mom would add in diced dill pickles or celery for crunch. I’ve elevated it to used diced quality Kalamata olives. On white toast,  covered with your favorite cheese, under the broiler til the cheese is bubbling. I like mine when the cheese takes on a  little burn!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Favorite Tuna Recipes

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Middendorfs Review, New Orleans

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Middendorfs Review New Orleans CatfishI love this place.  Been in regular attendance for the past two decades.  They’ve had their share of troubles, flooded twice cause of storms, but they keep coming back, stronger and better than ever.

Caveat one:  this is a New Orleans AREA restaurant, not in the city, it’s about a 30 minute drive north on I-55. It sits perched on the edge of Lake Maurepas, which in turn empties into Lake Ponchartrain. There’s a nice outdoor deck when the weather is nice, which it usually is.

Middendorfs, like a lot of area restaurants, serves tons of local seafood, prepared in all manners and styles, but deep fried is the New Orleans way; you can get giant combo platters of shrimp, oysters, fish, and crab. But most people go for a dish unique to the restaurant, deep fried catfish filets, but they’re cut lengthwise into paper thin slivers. Unique. Crispy. Tasty.  Dinners come with fries, slaw and hush puppies.  Never had any use for the latter, personally.

You can get a piece of beef or chicken if you insist, and there is an adequate ankle biter menu. You can get raw or BBQ oysters or delicious gumbos as a side or starter.

I only get here once every few years, and I hope they keep on and on.  It’s my place for ‘cat’ in the New Orleans area. (Oh and they also serve them whole, bone-in, if you like it that way).  I like to bring out of town company here. If I haven’t taken you, it’s because I hate you.

Middendorf’s Menu.

 

Middendorf's Seafood Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Middendorfs Review

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American Turners Fish Fry – Elgin, IL

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Elgin Turners Fish Fry ReviewThe “American Turners” is a social club started by German immigrants to the US in the mid 1800s.  Still with a nationwide presence day, they have about 50 locations around the country.

The movement started in Germany during the occupation by Napolean, as a way to preserve culture, and promote fitness of mind and body.

The group has a number of large meeting halls where they hold special events, celebrate German holidays, and provide space rentals for events in the community.

The hall in Elgin, Illinois has seen better days, but it hosts a very lively membership with weekly events, mostly for members, but some are open to the public, including a weekly Friday night fish fry.

Fish frys are common in Northern Illinois and Southern Wisconsin, offering either a set menu or AYCE options of some or all of the following: cod, haddock, shrimp, perch, or catfish, usually accompanied by (choice of) potato and slaw.  I’ve been to a few, some are OK, and some are pretty bad and overpriced, but such is not the case at the Elgin Turners.

In fact I was delighted with the entire experience.  I chose the combo plate, which included shrimp, haddock, and perch, fries, roll and slaw. Soup and salad bar were available for a buck extra, but I passed on that. The food was cooked to order, crispy, lightly seasoned. I like perch a lot and have eated it all over the world, and the Turners is terrific. Service was great as well.

There is an all you can eat option, or by the plate option. There are plenty of extras/sides to choose from as well.

Serving times are 5-8PM, and arriving right at 5, I was the only diner, save for a few bar patrons, but the room quickly filled. Service was great. Prices are extremely reasonable.  I think it should be a regular stop for me, and I will try out some of their other events like “Beer & Sausage” night!  Full beverage service available.

Entrance to the building event is thru a small door in the back of the building, off the parking lot.  The address is 112 Villa Street, but the entrance to the lot is on the side street (Fulton). If you are coming from I-90, Villa Street is a continuation of Dundee Avenue, which you reach via the Illinois 25 exit.  Sample menu below, most plates are around $10.

Elgin Turners Fish Fry Review

Elgin Turners Meeting Hall

Elgin Turners Fish Fry Review

Fish fry crowd!

 

Elgin Turners Friday Nights Fish Fry

All dinners served with soup or salad, roll, cole slaw, mixed veggies, choice of France fries, sweet potato fries, loaded baked potato, baked sweet potato, onion rings, potato or American fried potatoes

All you can eat fish fry dinner. Fried haddock, perch or both

Fried Haddock Dinner

Fried Perch Dinner

10 Piece Shrimp Dinner

Combo Platter Includes? 1 piece haddock, 1 piece of perch, 2 shrimp and 2 scallops f

4 Piece Fried Chicken Dinner

3 Piece Chicken Tender Dinner 

Sandwich and kid options as well.

 

 

 

 

American Turners Fish Fry

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Cruisin Review, Gilberts, IL

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Cruisin Review, Gilberts, ILI have no clue how the ‘tradition’ started, but Friday nights in Northern Illinois and Southern Wisconsin are “fish fry” nights, with many restaurants and bars offering some variation of this meal, either at a value price or on an all you can eat basis.

Cruisin’, a distant Chicago suburb bar with a second location east of Rockford, offers different specials every night of the week, with the Friday fish fry providing diners with a choice of walleye, cod, lake perch, shrimp, catfish or haddock – baked or fried, with a choice of two sides from a lengthy selection.

The restaurant has a very complete menu, with steaks, chicken, seafood, sandwiches, ribs, burgers and salads.

The fish fry isn’t “all you can eat,” but it is certainly “all you care to eat,” as the serving size is very generous especially for the price.  I went with the battered Alaskan walleye, as I am from Minnesota, and you can’t be from Minnesota if walleye ain’t your favorite eatin’ fish.

It was delicious. The joint is very busy on Fridays, as one might expect, but service was prompt and courteous.  The fish was light and flaky, the batter crispy and not overwhelming, and the shoestring fries, crispy and lightly seasoned. Superb.

Cruisin’ opens at 11AM daily, sports a car-themed decor and the Gilberts location has regular classic car shows on the lot. Check website for dates.

Cruisin Review, Gilberts IL

Alaskan Walleye and Fries

Cruisin' Review, Gilberts, IL

Map to Cruisin’

Cruisin Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
Cruisin Review

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Culvers Walleye Sandwich Review

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Culvers Walleye ReviewI try and say something positive in every review I post. Even if something went wrong, or I don’t like something, I still try and remember to say “while this isn’t to my preference, you may enjoy it.”

Such is the case at Culver’s today, “Home of the Butterburger,” a Wisconsin-based regional burger and custard franchise. In addition to the standard burger type menu,they also have sandwiches, daily soups, and plate dinners.

I’ve had plenty of good grub there in the past, no denying that. I adore the crinkle fries, and the burgers are top-notch for fast food. Culver’s prepares your food to order, so there’s always a bit of a wait, but if you’re dining in, they’ll tote your tray to the table when it’s ready.

Once a year, for a limited time, they feature a popular fish in the Midwest, walleye pike, on a sandwich or plate. The walleye isn’t really in the pike family, it’s more closely related to perch, but Minnesotans at least, some Wisconsinites, other Midwesterners and Canadians consider walleye to be the filet mignon of freshwater eating fish. The filets are ample-sized, generally boneless, and the meat is light and flakey. It’s good sauteed in a cast iron pan over a campfire, pan fried with breading, or broiled. You can even find walleye bites in some restaurants.

Walleye is the state fish of Minnesota, Vermont and South Dakota. They grow up to 20 pounds, and anglers enjoy their ‘fight.’

So my sister, who lives in a Culver’s city 500 miles away from me, looks forward to walleye season with a great deal of anticipation. I admit, I was looking forward to it as well. During Lent, there’s a plethora of fish options in fast food and fast casual restaurants, and some of them are very good, Culvers Walleye Reviewand a good value.

Oh how I wish I could say the same about Culver’s walleye. I emailed my sister a few days ago and asked if she had partaken yet this year. She said she had, the previous week, but it was a horrible experience, everything was so greasy, the bun didn’t even survive half the meal. And I thought, “well, that’s too bad, probably a new guy on the fry basket or something.”

So I stopped at one today, ordered the sandwich and crinkle cut fries to go, the sandwich alone is $5.49, but walleye is expensive, and it’s not farm raised like catsfish or tilapia. Most restaurant walleye in the US comes from lakes in northern Canada. (I hope they don’t get any ideas and build a wall)!

But alas, my sandwich and bun was very greasy as well. While the fish flesh tasted good, the breading had no seasoning and was falling off the filet in chunks, not a good sign. I set the bun aside (it comes with shredded lettuce and mayo), and ate the fish with my hands.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ll go back to Culver’s, but if I want fast food fish in the future, I’ll get it elsewhere. Here’s the http://www.culvers.com/menu-and-nutrition. I recommend the pot roast.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Culvers Walleye Sandwich

Culvers Walleye Sandwich Review

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Rural New Orleans Seafood Buffets

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(This is from our archives, check on whether they are open before making the drive).

I am in buffet heaven, if there is such a thing.   I’ve previously written about a couple; I hit the other two “main attractions” in the past few weeks.

Number one, in all manners of speaking, was the House of Seafood Buffet, at 81790 Highway 21, in Bush, Louisiana.  Like most restaurants in these parts, they are open on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights, and they live up to their name.  There used to be a restaurant in my hometown whose slogan was “If It Swims, We Have It,” and I think the same could be said for the House of Seafood.  In addition to the usual fried entrees you will find at any indigenous restaurant, locally, the HOS has  boiling pots a brewing, and you will find ample boiled seafood selections to go along with your other choices.  They also have very respectable beef dishes, delectable fried chicken,  and a whole host of salads and sides, as well as the traditional desserts in the area.

The second stop was the Ole South Seafood and Buffet, at 15273 Highway 21 South, in .  Boasting similar opening days and hours as the HOS (but I believe Ole South is open on Sundays, call first), and a cavernous three room dining hall, the Ole South runs a distant second to HOS in my opinion – for selection, at least, but not for quality.  Both restaurants prepare their food fresh, and Ole South also has a carving station with ham and beef, which HOS did not.  Ole South has probably half the serving table size as HOS, but has accompanying prices which are less.

I’ve never been much of a buffet person, but I like these places, and there should be some of these in the city.  We seem to have dozens of Asian buffets in (the best, by far, is Oki Naga in Metairie, IMHO), but none of these “local dish” places.  I’m curious as to why.  It may well be the cost of rent, because these places in the hinterlands are huge.

I didn’t ask the prices before I went in, and since waitresses at both restaurants asked if we wanted the “buffet” I assume menu items are available as well. Seems like if you deduct the price of your beverage (HOS has pitchers of tea on the table, Ole South has waitresses pouring, but they get busy), I would guess that HOS runs about $15 per person, and Ole South about $12.  Both are good values, but I would return to HOS, and probably not to Ole South. Just personal preference.

Sidebar:  Another recent stop was in Angie, Louisiana, at Stuart’s Café, which is open from 5:30AM til 9PM daily.  I don’t know when they get to rest with those hours, and we could certainly use a place with similar hours in Mayberry, where most restaurants aren’t open early in the week.   I had the “double meat cheeseburger” at $4.00, and for one of the very few times in my life, I couldn’t finish it – it was huge.

But I was intrigued by another menu item, which I’ll have to check out next time:  “meat on toast.”

Doesn’t that just set your mouth a’waterin’?

New Orleans Seafood

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Musso and Frank Review, Hollywood, CA

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Musso and Frank Hollywood ReviewI have written about the joys of going to an establishment where they remember you – your likes, your dislikes; or are willing to prepare something “off the menu” to your liking.  But I find a certain comfort, as well, in being a regular at a place where just the opposite is true – they savor and protect your anonymity, and everyone is treated the same.

Such has been my experience with my favorite restaurant in Los Angeles – the venerable “Musso and Frank” Grill, in Hollywood, which purports to be Hollywood’s oldest restaurant (1919) and certainly can count itself as the sole survivor of the former plethora of “old Hollywood” celeb hangouts like The Derby, Ciro’s and Chasens.  In a city where nothing remains the same, and a historical site draws real estate speculators instead of preservationists, Musso and Frank is always there, always the same.  I’ve been dining at M&F for 30 years, and I’m still a stranger and family at the same time, each and every time I visit.

M&F’s has always been a Hollywood favorite – from as far back as the days of F. Scott Fitzgerald, Raymond Chandler, Dorothy Parker, Dashiell Hammett – and continues this day with frequent visits from the likes of Woody Allen, Al Pacino, a virtual who’s who list in Hollywood.  The dark wood paneled walls, crowded booths, and geriatric waiters have all survived the decades – as has the menu.  Where else can you find Welsh Rarebit, Jellied Consommé, or stuffed celery on a menu – with not sign of penne, pesto or anything remotely classified as noveau or fusion in sight?

You’ll start your dining experience as all customers do, with your linen-tablecloth adorned table being graced with a pitcher of water, ample real butter, and a plate of their ‘signature’ rye bread – tho the regular can be heard to ask for a “basket of butts” signifying to the waiter that 1) they have been here before, and 2) they prefer the ends of the loaf to the thick sliced slabs from the middle of the loaf.

The menu is lengthy.  Entrees are separated into “ready to eat” and “cooked to order” categories.  It’s noted that some entrees may take up to 40 minutes to prepare.

But you won’t care – you’ll just slam back another martini or perhaps a mint julep (William Faulkner used to get behind the bar and mix his own), while you are waiting; or perhaps you’ll doodle the outline of your next screenplay on a scrap of paper while you munch on a butt.

M&F is an assured “celebrity-spotting site” for tourists (I say tourists, because a native Los Angelean would never ‘bother’ a celebrity in public).  The last time I dined there, I had Fred Willard and a lady friend on one side of me, Rip Torn and a friend/colleague on another. Willard was very gracious; Torn was very drunk.

And me?  I emulated Willard and Torn both, and got graciously drunk….

M&F is open from 11-11 Tuesdays thru Saturdays at the corner of Hollywood and Cherokee.

If you’re a “regular” or a “regular wannabe,” you’ll enter thru the back door…

Musso and Frank Review

 

 

 

 

 

 

Musso and Frank Review

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Berrys Seafood and Catfish Buffet, Florence, MS

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I’m not ashamed to say I like AYCE buffets.  Especially at breakfast, where I often find my plate full of a half dozen different processed pork breakfast meats and little else.  But I also like seafood buffets, and I stumbled into a doozy in Southern Mississippi, 12 miles south of the State Capital on Highway 49.

I suspect Berry’s Seafood and Catfish House has been around forever, but in Florence (they have one other location), they are in obviously new and massive digs.

There are “hot bars” and “cold bars,” with fried and boiled shrimp, fried and broiled or blackened catfish, and everything in between, including beautiful salads and desserts.  Fried chicken, too.  More detail on the lunchtime menu can be found right here’ya.  Lunch and dinner are slightly different prices, but count on around $30 for two persons.

Special nights add crab legs to the buffet, and an ala carte menu, which includes steaks and sandwiches, is available for lighter eaters.

There’s no alcohol available, and the dozen or so large screen TVs are generally blaring religious music and messages – just sayin’, if that kind of thing is not your cup of tea.

As for me?  Did somebody say all you can eat catfish?  I’d put up with karaoke for that!

Berrys Seafood and Catfish Review

 

 
Berry's Seafood & Catfish House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
 

 

Berrys Seafood and Catfish Buffet

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Galatoires Revillion Fail – New Orleans

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Galatoire's Review

                 Shrimp Scampi

One of the oldest operating restaurants in New Orleans, and generally regarded as one of the finest restaurants in the country, Galatoire’s is emblematic of fine cuisine in the Big Easy. I’ve had dozens of spectacular meals there. Unfortunately, our Revillion dinner, on Christmas eve, was not one of them. Revillion menus are set price, multi-course holiday dinners. Galatoire’s offering pays tribute to local ingredients.

As you might expect, the restaurant is extremely popular for these meals, and at this time of year, but with advance reservations, we were seated prior to our actual reservation time. All good so far.

My personal menu selections included starters of a Shrimp Scampi dish, followed by Lobster Bisque, a Beef filet with red wine reduction and creamed spinach, and a flan-like dessert.

The “Scampi” was an interesting approach to the traditional prep, with a number of hot, seasoned, shrimp perched atop a piece of crispy bread that had been marinated in shrimp and butter liquids. Very nice.

The soup arrived, and the four of us at the table received a wide range of temperatures for the soup – unfortunately, the range started at tepid and went all the way down to cold. Any attempts to get the server’s attention to get new, hot servings, fell on deaf ears. She made a major server faux pas at this point, and said she was busy with a “very large table.” Tsk. Tsk.

The entrees arrived prior to the return of the soup, and they too, were room temperature. They were probably plated beautifully in the kitchen, but the server had apparently jiggled them enough en route that the wine reduction had splashed all over the plates.

By that point, we had given up trying to convince the server to rectify matters, and (reluctantly) said a word to the manager, “Billy,” who offered to “make things right,” to our satisfaction.

Two soups reappeared, and oddly, they kitchen had just nuked the partially eaten soups instead of sending a new serving. Soup has splashed and dried along the inside of the bowl, and wasn’t very appetizing in appearance.

Billy reappeared, and his solution to the experience was to shower us with as many cocktails and desserts as we cared to consume. We indulged, but didn’t take advantage, of course.

He also sent around a “prepared table side” special flaming coffee for the whole party. Nice effort, but too little too late.

He did step up with the bill tho, and whacked about 25% off the tab, which was unexpected. So the Revillion dinner for four with cocktails, desserts, after dinner drinks, came out to about $240. A good value for Galatoire’s and for the season.

Will I return? Absolutely – as I said at the top, I’ve had dozens of great meals here. Most diners at the restaurant are used to being waited on by servers that have worked their for decades, and maybe our person (who was young) was new, and to her, it was just a job.

Galatoires Review

                                     Beef filet with spinach

Full Menu

Galatoire's Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Galatoires Revillion Fail

Galatoire’s Review

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Johnsonville Andouille Review

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Johnsonville Andouille ReviewIt’s not real easy to find true Andouille sausage up here in the winter wasteland. The Louisiana version is a pork, coarse-grained smoked sausage made using pork, garlic, pepper, onions, wine, and seasonings. It’s stuffed in a natural casing and smoked again.  There are hundreds of sausage makers in Louisiana, and so there is a lot of variation in taste and texture, but most can be described as flavorful to the extreme.  The French version (pictured below) is more coarse; when I lived in Paris, I ordered it at a local bistro, and the offal bits were clearly identifiable, which was a little bit of a put off for me. Most Americans are used to their sausages being made from a smooth slurry.

As is with the Johnsonville Andouille, a smoked pork/beef sausage made for the masses.  Ingredients are Pork, beef, and less than 2% of blah blah blah including corn syrup, in a collagen casing.

I think Johnsonville’s New Orleans Spicy Smoked Sausage might be a closer match.

Anyway, I had a hankering to make gumbo today, and grabbed the Johnsonville Andouille.  It didn’t add anything to my recipe, nor detract.  Most people will find it to be an ordinary smoked sausage, and that’s OK under a lot of circumstances.

Johnsonville Andouille Review

                               Fine grind in collagen

 

Johnsonville Andouille Review

                              And into the gumbo!

 

Johnsonville Andouille

                    French Andouille

 

 

 

 

 

Johnsonville Andouille Review

 

 

 

 

 

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