Tag Archives: Food

Three Quotes And A Photo

We took a two-week road trip recently through Virginia, Tennessee and Kentucky, (another blog), and I came across three quotes or phrases that I thought were fun, along with one very interesting photo.

The phrases first…

What is a bookshelf other than a treasure chest for a curious mind.
(I like this for all the obvious reasons)

Say what you will about the south but no one retires and moves north.
(I never thought about this before but there is some truth to the words)

Intoxicated people, children and leggings, never lie.
(Well now, we can go on forever about this line)

As for the photo, I was stopped at a light in Lexington, Kentucky and saw this window advertisement for the attached business.


Now, I’m not really sure what kind of establishment this is. Is it a bait and tackle shop? A bar and grill? I was thinking maybe both but the fine print right next to her lips and below the anchor says…you’re sure to catch something.

That altered my mindset just a bit. While I was tempted to investigate, I thought better of it and left when the light turned green. Not that I wasn’t curious but you know what they say about curiosity.

Besides, I just wasn’t in the mood to catch anything from a place called Ole Hookers.

More Summer Thoughts

I keep thinking in snippets this summer, which shouldn’t surprise anyone who knows me these days. My attention span is limited and though I sometimes try to loosen the strings on it, it just keeps coming back. So anyway, here are a few thoughts.

Burgers

When was the fifteen dollar burger born and where the hell have I been hiding? Come on. It’s a slap of chop meat, after all. But I guess if you put it on a brioche roll with caramelized onions and aioli mayo, it begins to market itself. it sounds higher end, like a dive with tablecloths. This burger craze started about ten years ago when the market fell out and people wanted alternative places to go for dinner that were reasonably priced. But as with everything else, people always try to push the envelope to see just how much the public will tolerate. And it appears, at least with burgers, the carnivores are willing to pay the price. But it’s still a slab of chop meat on a roll dressed up for a cheap photo shoot date.

Home For Mom

Joan Lunden does commercials for a place called A Home For Mom. It’s a senior care referral service. As I watched the commercial, I began wondering what happened to Dad. Is there a different commercial for him? I never saw one. Do we not think Dad is going to need a place or do we figure he”ll figure it out on his own? That’s a scary thought. Statistics tell us that women live longer than men but to blatantly toss dad to the side of the road on these commercials is a bit harsh, don’t you think? I wonder what 75 year old Dad is thinking as he’s sitting across from Mom and finishing his second bowl of chocolate, chocolate chunk caramel ice cream and this commercial comes on. Just wondering.

Eclipse

I think the eclipse thing was interesting and if you were in certain parts of the country when it was full it must have been a cool experience. But I saw people interviewed who drove fourteen hours for the two minute blackout and estimated it would take them twenty hours to get home. I saw others who were crying at the experience. There were people who planned their trips and marriages around this, paid lots of money for hotel rooms, endured standstill traffic jams and didn’t get to see much because it was cloudy. I don’t know what to say about these people. I hope you’re not one of them but if you are I don’t know what to say about you people. If you really want to be entertained and don’t mind traveling. I can take you to the beach in New Jersey one day. There are sights and people there that will entertain you for hours. You don’t know what you’re missing.

Scouts Of America

Apparently there’s a feud brewing between the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts. It seems the Girl Scouts are upset because the Boy Scouts are trying to turn the tide on decreasing membership and decided to recruit girls for their organization. The Girl Scouts, of course were not amused. They referred to it as a “covert campaign” that was “reckless and unsettling.” The Boy Scouts argue that many millennial parents prefer their children be in the same organization and some girls have petitioned to join the ranks of the boys. Now I don’t know about you but I would never go to war against a woman. Men just aren’t properly equipped emotionally or intellectually to even be on the same dance floor as women so what makes anyone think this little battle will end up on the positive side of the ledger for the boys. That being said, it’s hard to argue for gender inclusion on one side of the coin but not on the other. I’m looking forward to a fun ten rounds, though I predict the knockout will come in round one.

Billie Jean

I was listening to Michael Jackson sing his hit song on the radio the other day and two lines reminded me of our politicians and those who blindly follow along.

And mother always told me be careful who you love
and be careful what you do ’cause the lie becomes the truth.

Have a great rest of your week and weekend. I’ll be working on my thoughts.

 

Free Grandparent Advice

 

My five-year old granddaughter, Sophia, called me tonight and said, “Grandpa, you’re the best person in our whole family.”

I sat up and raised my eyebrows a bit because Sophia doesn’t usually dish compliments easily. So I figured she either wanted something or she had a high fever and was a bit delirious. I cautiously thanked her, told her I loved her, and she asked if I wanted to speak to her Mom. I said okay.
When my daughter got on the phone I asked her where that came from. She said they were in the kitchen and Sophia just said it. When my daughter asked her why she felt that way she said, “because grandpa always gives me chocolate chip cookies.”

BAM!!!!!

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Its like I always say, if you’re going to show up, you have to show out.

Sometimes it’s fun being the man. Even if it only lasts five minutes and requires a chocolate chip cookie payoff.

 

No Raw Cookie Dough?

So the FDA has announced that it’s no longer safe to eat raw cookie dough or batter. The FDA, that bastion of all things right. The organization that consistently allows things to come on the market and then pulls it after they find there may be a bit of a problem associated with it. These are the people  who are trying to mess with my ability to enjoy life. Because really, has anyone ever told you that it was safe to eat cookie dough? Of course not. We just did it anyway. We lived dangerously. We chose the wild side.

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It seems that it’s not just raw eggs that can cause you to get sick but flour can also harbor E. Coli. Okay, thanks for the heads up. FDA. I’ll take your warnings under advisement. By the way, when you found red coloring No. 3 caused cancer you banned it from cosmetics in 1990. Nice move. I’m just a little confused on why you allow it to remain in our foods. I’m sure there’s some logic you can provide for that along with other questionable decisions you’ve made in the past.

Apparently General Mills recalled all types of flour at the end of last year because of this contamination, however I can tell you without hesitation that since that time, cookie dough has passed my lips on several occasions with no problems.  The FDA claims that since December, 38 people in 20 states have become sick with diarrhea and stomach cramps that can last up to a week. That’s roughly five people a month. I don’t know about you, but I like my chances. It’s safer than getting in a car, that’s for sure. I wonder what would happen if I pushed the envelope and drove while eating cookie dough at the same time. Do you think it’s against the law? Do you think the FDA works with local law enforcement? Because if you cramp up while driving, well, that could create a messy situation.

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Oh yeah, the FDA also suggested that we not give children cookie dough to play with. Come on, let’s get serious. Does the FDA  think we’re all savages without an ounce of common sense in our bodies? I mean, I love kids, but cookie dough should be revered and kept in a place of respect. We don’t play with cookie dough. We eat it. What was the FDA thinking?

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So based on my findings, or should I say the FDA’s, the risk for getting sick because of this flour thing is very small. Heck, we all sometimes get a stomach virus without going near cookie dough or cake batter. If we do get it because of that, at least we derived an afternoon of enjoyment in the process. So I’ll take my chances.  Because anyone who has licked a cake batter bowl or enjoyed a taste of cookie dough understands that this is one of life’s great pleasures. But I know there are some of you out there who don’t condone this practice and I respect your opinion. Just do me one favor…

Please pass the cookie dough before you leave.

P.S. I wonder what’s going to happen to all that cookie dough ice cream.

 

 

 

 

Watermelon and Peach Caprese

We’re big fans of summer fruit so when my wife found this recipe we had to try it. It’s great for lunch or a light dinner and really simple to make. All you need is seedless watermelon, two large yellow peaches, a ball of fresh mozzarella, olive oil, balsamic glaze, kosher salt and fresh basil leafs.

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Slice the watermelon into wedges or circles, about a half-inch thick. Slice two peaches into rounds, and then thinly slice the mozzarella.
On a plate, arrange a slice of watermelon, peach, mozzarella and a basil leaf. Repeat to make a taller stack and add one more slice of watermelon on top. Drizzle the stack with olive oil and balsamic glaze. Sprinkle a bit of kosher salt and top it off with another piece of basil.
Prep time, 20 minutes. Makes four servings.

Enjoy!

 

 

A Post About Animal Crackers?

I wanted full disclosure from the beginning so I made sure anyone who read the title of this post could walk away from it without wasting their time because, really, who wants to read about animal crackers, especially from someone who should have outgrown them fifty years ago.

And yet, you’re still her. Imagine my surprise. Well, since you decided to visit and stay for a few moments, I promise not to make this too long.

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Yes, I admit I like animal crackers. I don’t know why and I never tried figuring it out. I like the shapes, the taste and how they make me feel when I eat them. Handfuls at a time. They’re addictive.

Without giving you a history of them, (who wants to endure that), here are just a handful of facts.

There have been somewhere around 53 different animals that have been used since the cracker/cookie was first created in England in 1902, however only the bear, elephant, lion and tiger has made it through the entire lifetime of the cracker.

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About six thousand miles of string are used annually on Animal Cracker boxes

Every hour, Nabisco’s factory, located in Fair Lawn, N.J. makes 300,000 of these cookies ending up with over 40 million boxes a year.

The current cookie count with respect to different animals is around 19.

If you put a box in front of me, I will pretend I’m 7 years old and eat the entire package…and that’s a fact.

Thank you for spending a few minutes with me in deep thought. You may now return to your regularly scheduled broadcast channels.

NYC Cupcake Tour

I love desserts. I could go to dinner and be perfectly happy ordering an appetizer and dessert and if you want to skip the app, that would be fine with me. So when one of our daughters gave us a cupcake tour in New York City as a gift, my happy face had a happy face.

The tour happened in and around Greenwich Village and included six stops. Not every stop involved a cupcake, which was fine with me. You want to have a cupcake tour and throw in a few different kinds of desserts? That’s like asking me if it’s okay to take me on an ice cream tour and include pies, cakes and a chocolate stop. How is that even a serious question?

The walking tour was supposed to last two-hour but it ran over about thirty minutes and involved walking about a mile and a half.

The first stop was a little store called Baked by Melissa. These were not your typical cupcakes but rather the top of a mini cupcake. They were all very different and priced at one dollar each. Melissa’s is just off Union Square in case you’re ever in the neighborhood. Our sample was a seasonal creation called a Lemon Cuparoon and it was very good.

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Our second stop was a gelato/sorbet place called Amorino. They don’t just serve gelato in a cup as many places do, they create a work of art, as seen by the photo below. Their gelato is served like a flower and it’s impressive to watch them make it, especially when they incorporate more than one flavor. Our sample today was a seasonal mango sorbet and I have to say I’ve never tasted sorbet like this. It was made with all natural ingredients and felt like I was biting into a fresh mango both in texture and taste. It really was very good and the best sorbet I’ve ever tasted.

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Our third stop was my favorite. The front of Molly’s Cupcakes looks like a school bus and the tables inside were classroom desks. But the real attraction was the cupcake itself. If you are ever in New York, Chicago or Iowa City, I’d suggest you walk off your plane and find this place. The cupcakes were that good. We were able to choose our own full size cupcake and frosting and add toppings from the toppings bar if we wanted a little kick. My wife had a carrot cupcake with cream cheese frosting and said it was the best she ever had. I went old school with a vanilla cupcake and chocolate frosting. When I was done I asked if I could work there for free. I didn’t want to finish the tour or go home that night. I wanted to stay and close the place down; sweep the floors, clean the tables, wash the tins, whatever it took.  I was prepared to endure a sugar coma and if that’s the way it ended for me, the smile on my face as they carried me out would be enough for people to understand. Here’s a taste of Molly’s..

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IMG_1534IMG_1537Our next stop was another little place called Bisous Ciao Macaron. It should be noted that these are not macaroon’s, those coconut cookies, but the French Macaron which is a little piece of heaven in a small dessert sandwich. We sampled a chocolate macaron which was just the right amount of sweet and so delicious. Bisous Ciao also served some other delights which you can see below. Great little place in the village that you should try if you’re ever there.

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At this point the sugar was definitely kicking in, so what did we do? We went to a tiny little place called Milk and Cookies, of course. Most of these places are very small and this place was no exception, unless you’re describing the cookies. They were big and they were very good. Our sample, if you can call it that was a very large oatmeal, sea salt and toffee cookie. It was excellent but I could only eat a piece. Why? Because I had to buy a chocolate chip cookie and sample that also. And yes, you are reading the photo correctly; they are 29.50 for a baker’s dozen. And yes, people were buying them like crazy. That’s our tour guide, Mallory, in front of the store.

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Our final stop was, unfortunately our least favorite. Magnolia’s Bakery has been credited with starting the cupcake craze back in the late 90’s based on its inclusion into the popular show, Sex  and the City. Bus tours and a near cult following were a result but for us, the sample of a red velvet mini cupcake was not up to par with the rest of the stops. It tasted dry and kind of stale.

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Some sights along the way included the snake man and the giant bubble man in Washington Square Park.

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Of course after all those sweet, we were in desperate need of some real food so we hiked over to Little Italy and had an early dinner outside at La Mela. That enormous dish which could have easily fed two people was red snapper with rigatoni and a side of the best broccoli, (no joke), I’ve ever had. Must have been the roasted garlic. IMG_1556 IMG_1557

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It was a fun day, even though we walked over ten miles, according to our tracker. There are so many food tours in the city, if you’re so inclined to try one. We walked from midtown, down to Union Square, did the tour, walked to Little Italy and Canal Street and then back to midtown. The Village has a very different feel than midtown and you never know when you’ll run into a little club like Cafe Wha?, where Bob Dylan first played in New York and people like Janis Joplin, Joan Baez, Springsteen, Lenny Bruce and Richard Pryor also performed and honed their skills.

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Hope you enjoyed our little tour. Stay hungry and now you can go and have a cupcake… or two.