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Jewel Italian Sausage Review


Jewel Italian Sausage ReviewPicked up a package of fresh hot  Italian sausage at my local Jewel-Osco; the chain is part of the Albertsons et al grocery empire owned by Cerberus Capital.

The store brand sausage is packed for Jewel stores by a Chicago area meat company called Randolph Packing, which also sells products under their own brands.  (Factory picture below).

It’s a medium heat, nicely flavored sausage; my own personal method of cooking fresh sausages is to par boil them and then do a little pan fry action.

Here I’ve got a few of them swimming in Italian beef broth, ready to join the seasoned slices of beef on a French roll for a Chicago favorite, an Italian Beef “combo” sandwich.

Jewel Italian Sausage Review


Jewel Italian Sausage Review




Jewel Italian Sausage Review


Free Veterans Day Meals 2015


Veterans Day Free Meals 2015

Veteran’s Day is officially Wednesday, November 11, 2015.

2015 Free Meals

(These deals are at participating locations; strongly suggest you call ahead to double check and ask whether military ID is required!)

At participating Applebee’s on 11-11-2015, Veterans and Active Duty Military can select a free meal from a limited menu for Veteran’s Day. Provide proof of service required.

Bar Louie Free Lunch or Dinner
On Wed., Nov. 11th, 2015 every Bar Louie location across the country will offer veterans and military personnel a free meal up to a $12 value when they show valid military I.D. or other proof of service.

Buffalo Cafe Free Meal

Another place to eat free this Veterans Day is Buffalo’s Cafe, located in three US states.

California Pizza Kitchen Free Meal

Stop by a participating on Wednesday, November 11, 2015 to choose a pizza, full size salad, or pasta from the special Veterans Day Menu when you dine-in.

Carrabba’s Free Appetizer
All active and retired veterans receive a free appetizer at participating locations on Monday, November 9th through Sunday, November 15th.

Cattleman’s Free Steak Dinner

Active, inactive, and retired military personnel can come into Cattlemens and get a free Small Sirloin Steak Dinner on Veterans Day.

Chili’s Free Meal

From special Vet’s menu

City Barbeque
One free half pound sandwich platter will be given to each veteran for either dine-in or carryout orders on 11-11-2015. At participating locations only.

Cotton Patch Free Meal
Free meals to veterans of Veterans Day.  Choice between a chicken fried steak or chicken fried sandwich.

Denny’s Free Grand Slam

On Wednesday, November 11th, all active, inactive and retired military personnel at all participating Denny’s restaurants nationwide will receive a free Build Your Own Grand Slam breakfast.

FATZ Cafe salutes our Veterans and Active Military with a free entrée on Veterans Day. On Nov. 11 from 11 AM to close present your Military ID and enjoy a free world famous Calabash Chicken meal.

Fox & Hound Free Meal

Stop into a Fox & Hounds on Wednesday, November 11 for a free meal or beverage (up to a $10 value) for all veterans and active duty military.

Friendly’s is treating veterans and active military, with a valid military ID or honorable discharge card, to a free dine-in breakfast, lunch or dinner from select menus on Veteran’s Day, 11.11.15. The breakfast choice is their Big-Two-Do’s® array of breakfast options, and the lunch and dinner option is the All American Burger with fries and a beverage (soda, iced tea or hot beverage).

Golden Corral
On Wednesday November 11, 2015, Golden Corral offers a free sit-in “thank you” dinner for Military veterans, retirees, and active duty members.

Grub Burger Bar
Veterans, Retired Military, and Active Duty members with a military ID will receive 50% off of their meal, plus a free  Caramel Apple shake for Veterans day this year on Wed. 11/11/2015.

Hoss’s Family Steak & Sea House Free Meal
Hoss’s is serving up their “American Value” meals absolutely free for veterans on Wed., Nov. 11th, from 11 A.M. to 9 P.M. Valid I.D. is required

JJs Red Hots All You Can Eat

Both locations of JJ’s Red Hots in North Carolina are letting active duty military and veterans enjoy a free all-you-can-eat special all day long on Wednesday, November 11.

This Veterans Day free meal consists of an unlimited supply of hot dogs, sausages, sides, and non-alcoholic drinks.

Max & Erma’s Free Cheeseburger Combo Meal with Dessert
On Veterans Day, participating Max & Erma’s locations are celebrating veterans and active military personnel with a free three course combo.

McCormick and Schmick’s Free Entree
On Sunday, November 8th, 2015 enjoy a complimentary entree. All veterans must show official verification. Entrees must be enjoyed at the restaurant.

Mission BBQ
Veterans and active-duty military will get a free sandwich after the National Anthem at noon on Veterans Day.

Longhorn Steakhouse Free App
Receive a complimentary Texas Tonion appetizer and a non-alcoholic beverage on Nov. 11. Includes veterans and current service members.

Max & Ermas Free Meal

Free cheeseburger combo for dine in.

Mission BBQ Free Sandwiches

After a live performance of the National Anthem at noon on Veterans Day, November 11,Mission BBQ locations will be giving away free sandwiches to active-duty military and veterans.

MOD Pizza – Free pizza

In honor of Veterans Day, all MOD Pizza locations will be giving out free pizza or salad to veterans.

This free Veterans Day offer is valid on Wednesday, November 11 only

O’Charley’s Free Meal
On Monday, November 9th, all veterans and all active-duty military personnel will have their choice of one of nine meals on the O’Charley’s “$9.99er” menu. Options include O’Charley’s Famous Chicken Tenders & Twisted Chips, Cowboy Sirloin, Homestyle Chicken Pot Pie and Santa Fe Tilapia, among others.

Olive Garden Free Meal
On Wednesday, November 11, 2015 all veterans and military active duty will receive a free meal from a special menu including entrees, freshly baked garlic breadsticks and a choice of unlimited soup or salad.

Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt

All veterans, retired and active-duty military personnel receive a free cup of froyo, up to 11 ounces, on Veteran’s Day, Nov. 11. To claim the offer, customers should provide proof of military service, such as a military ID card, uniform photo, honors, badges, or come dressed in their military uniform.

Outback Steakhouse Free Bloomin’ Onion® and a beverage
All active, retired military and veterans get a Free Bloomin’ Onion® and a beverage on Veterans Day. Must have valid identification. There is also a military discount of 15% off the total check from November 12th thru December 31st, 2015, valid for military members and their families.

Ponderosa and Bonanza Steakhouse – free buffet from 4P til Closing on Vets day.

Primanti Bros.
Veterans and active duty military get a free sandwich from 4 PM to close on 11/11/15.

Red Lobster Free App
Service members past and present receive a complimentary appetizer or dessert from a special menu. Proof of service required. Valid Monday, November 9 through Thursday, November 12, 2015.

Red Robin Free Burger & Fries

Veterans and active duty military can stop into Red Robin on Tuesday, November 11 to get a free Red’s Tavern Double burger and Bottomless Steak Fries

Sammys Woodfired Pizza and Grill

On Wednesday, November 11, Woodfired Pizza & Grill is celebrating Veterans Day by offering veterans and active service members one of two free selections.

With a valid military ID, you have the choice between hummus served with grilled herb flatbread or garlic cheese bread.

Sheetz Free Sandwich

Sheetz convenience store locationswill be giving veterans and active military members a free lunch on Wednesday, November 11.

The Veterans Day free meal will include a 6 inch turkey sub and a fountain drink. 

Shoney’s Offers Free All-American Burger
Shoney’s says ‘Thank You’ to America’s heroes by offering a Shoney’s All-American Burger and fries to all Veterans and Active Duty Military members on Veterans Day, 11 November 2015.

Tijuana Flats
Veterans and active-duty military eat free on Veterans Day.

Tubby’s Free Sub

Veterans and active duty military members can get a free small Grilled Steak N’ Cheese or Tubby’s Famous Sub 

Village Inn Free Breakfast
All who have served get a free breakfast on Veterans Day. Choose between Buttermilk Pancakes, three slices of French Toast or a Belgian Waffle. Village Inn is also thanking veterans with a “Thank You for Your Service Card”, which is a 20% discount off the total bill for the next time they visit a Village Inn.

Ponderosa and Bonanza Steakhouse – free buffet from 4P til Closing on Vets day.

Wienerschnitzel – Free chili dog and small Pepsi on Vets day.


More locations and benefits can be found at:

Free Veterans Day Meals 2015


Rooftop Garden McCormick Place, Chicago


Urban Rooftop Farm ChicagoI 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.

Savor, the consulting group responsible for the food service at the center, partnered with the Chicago Botanic Garden to set up a usable urban farm on the roof of the center.

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.

Urban Rooftop Farm Chicago




New Orleans Jazz Fest

Billy Joel 2013

Billy Joel 2013

Officially, the name is New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Fest, and it’s a 10 day musical celebration held each April and May at the New Orleans fairgrounds (race track) and other venues around town.

Now in its 45th year, the fest attracts musical acts and fans from around the world – samples of nearly all musical genres in addition to jazz, and presents dozens of acts daily spread across a number of outdoor stages. Sets run between 45-90 minutes with little time for band changes.

In addition to local favorites, the fest is chock-a-block full of international headliners, attendees this year can catch Keith Urban, John Legend, the Who, Jimmy Cliff, Robert Cray, Tony Bennett, Lady Gaga, Jimmy Buffet, Beausoleil, Chicago, Elton John, Dr. John, Buddy Guy, and many, many more.

The music is great, a chance to see so much talent in a relatively small venue, back to back. But for some of us, it should be called “New Orleans Food Fest” as it’s a chance for local restaurants and chefs to show off the masterpieces, which are sold in booths around the fairgrounds.

Some of the more popular options are the local favorite sandwich muffaletta, crawfish bread, crawfish, poboys, pralines, fried catfish and shrimp, alligator sausage, meat pies, beignets, and more. All fabulous.

If you ever craved a music / food orgy, surrounded by 50,000 other revelers for fun in the sun, put Jazz Fest on your calendar for next year. Music line ups are announced in January.





New Orleans Jazz Fest


Eat Downtown Duluth


Like many cities, my hometown of Duluth, Minnesota, has a special “Eat Week” which takes place annually in March.  The promotion highlights the downtown area restaurants, and allows you to sample menu or new items for a reduced set price – $10 for lunch, $25 for dinner.

More than a dozen restaurants participated this year, including favorites like Black Water Lounge, JJ Astors, Tycoons, and the Pickwick.   Tycoon and Pickwick’s offerings are show below.  Eat!  Enjoy!  Save money!  @Visitduluth

Eat Downtown Duluth Promo


Eat Downtown Duluth Promo


eat downtown duluth


Restaurant Lent Specials and LTOs


Lent Restaurant SpecialsMost restaurants and fast food chains that offer Lent specials annually start them 40 days or more before Easter, and run them through the holiday weekend; some may end up being permanent menu adds.   Here are the ones we  have noticed so far, clicking on the link will take you to a description of the offering or the restaurant’s locator tool.

Boston Market – Wild caught baked Cod on Fridays

Burger King – Adds spicy version of fish sandwich

Carls Jr / Hardees – $1 off fish sandwich combo

Cheeseburger in Paradise – Salmon, Talapia and Shrimp specials

Church’s – Butterfly shrimp special

Del Taco – More shrimp and fish dishes

Fuddruckers – Beer battered fish and chips

Golden Corral – Seafood Buffet

Krystal – Fish sandwiches and hushpuppies

McDonalds – none

Old Country Buffet – Seafood Buffet

Popeyes – Butterfly Shrimp Special

Quiznos – Lobster and seafood sandwiches and salads

Red Lobster – Lobsterfest is back

Red Robin – Arctic cod basket or sandwiches

Shoneys – Safood menu specials weekdays, seafood buffet weekends

Wendys – Pacific Cod Fish Sandwich

White Castle – Shrimp and Fish Nibblers

Additionally, many locally owned restaurant near you may offer specials, especially on Fridays. Some restaurants that aren’t adding fish or seafood will still put an emphasis on, and discount their non-meat items.







restaurant lent specials



The Best Food Festivals of the Fall


Fall Food Fests 2014Hitting the road or need an excuse to?   There are plenty of food events across the US this fall.  Here’a rundown of some of the best, in calendar order:

Feast Portland, September 18-21 at various venues in the city, this is an opportunity to truly sample the best of Portland, quickly becoming one of America’s great food cities. Only three years old, a number of food magazines and critics call it “the best food festival in the country.” It’s presented (sponsored) by Bon Appetit magazine.

Hob nob with top chefs and stars of country music at the Music City Food & Wine Fest, September 20, 21.  Tickets available here.

If you’re thirsty after all that food, best head to the Great American Beer Fest in Denver, October 2-4.  Do you think the mile high city will be hosting “Weedfest” in the future?

If beer ain’t all that important, but getting sauced is, head to Kansas City for the World Series of Barbecue, over 500 teams from all over the world competing to be awarded the ‘best of the best.’  October 2-5 are the dates, and in addition to the competitions, there will be demonstrations,  a trade expo, and the world’ s largest barbecue sauce store.  (Bet there won’t be any Texans in there!)

Downtown Keene, NH, presents Pumpkin Fest, Saturday, October 14.  Expect food, crafts, music and a carnival at this annual tradition that is rapidly becoming of the major events in the Northeast.

Sail or drive in to the Wellfleet Oyster Fest on Cape Cod,  October 18, and 19th.  Expect a whole mess of seafood, including several raw bars.  I’ll be at one, they’re behind the town hall.











food events calendar 2014

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