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Sunday, July 24, 2011

Amy's Lasagna - Better than anything you'll find at Carrabba's

I've worked at 3 restaurants in my career as a Restaurant Manager. Two of them had Lasagna on the menu. The problem with restaurants having Lasagna on their menu is that they want every dish to go out the same.  It has to look the same, smell the same, taste the same and hopefully end up in the same patrons belly so they recommend it to their friends. My Mom's and my Wife's Lasagna, even though it is always delicious, never tasted exactly the same. Some layers had a little more cheese than others, or a little less meat than others or some of the cheese on top had a little more carmelization than other parts. Then when you try to dig out a piece it always ended up looking like Picasso's take on Lasagna; Noodles shooting this way, meat trickling out that way, and cheese oozing all over the place loosely holding the dish together. Attributes that would make any restaurant Manager of Chef cringe and yet at the same time make my mouth water.  There is no plate picture because it would not do it justice.

Cook Meat & Onions with Garlic Salt until brown.

Ricotta Cheese mixture - Mix Ricotta and Cottage cheeses with 2 eggs, pepper, garlic salt, and onion powder.

First Layer - Sauce
Second Layer - Lasagna Noodles

Third Layer - Cheese Mixture
Fouth Layer - Meat Mixture

Fifth Layer - Shredded Mozz
Repeat until you are out of Layers and End with, from the bottom - Noodles, Sauce, Mozz & Parm

Bake @ 350 for about 45 Min

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Justin's Hot dogs, Fresh cut French Fries & Corn on the Cobb

So do yourself a favor and stop at a farmers market or local farm and pick up a fresh potatoes and corn on the cobb before summer ends. This is how you do a summer dinner right. Before you fire up the grill get your deep fryer up to 375. Fresh cut French fries need a good 10-12 minutes to cook and will need shimmied every 3 minutes or so. After they are cooked to a crunch golden brown color they are moved to a paper napkin covered stainless steal bowl. 

Nathan's hot dogs are the only way to go. The flavor is unmatched. 
Some like short diagonal grill marks that go across the dawg. Justin prefers, and I agree, that the grill marks should extend the length of the hot dog. This caramelizes every bite.  

Your next question should be, "Where is the corn on the cobb"? The answer is still in the pot of water of course. After the corn is done cooking in water Justin leaves the corn in the water to keep it hot and juicy. This way every ear of corn that comes out is piping hot and ready for a pad of butter to be slathered all over it. I appreciate Justin, Jodi, Kaelin & Hailey for inviting us over for a family summer dinner. 

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Fuji, Asian Cuisine Review, 60 Boardman Poland Rd. Youngstown, OH 44512

From the west including Cleveland you want take 80 or 76 east to 11 north and take 224 east. From the east including Pittsburgh you want to take 80 east to 11 north and take 224 east. From the south including Columbus take 77 north to 76 or 80 east to 11 North and 224 east. I start with directions because the food and service are so good that I recommend this to anyone within a 2 hr drive to try this place out. Fuji, Asian Cuisine on 224 in Boardman. right across from the Southern Park Mall. Fuji is the best Asian Cuisine I've ever had. I don't know how pathetic that sounds but it is what it is. I've been to buffets, sit downs, Mongolian BBQ & Sushi Rock. I've been brainwashed so long into thinking that the only entrée I can enjoy at an Asian Restaurant is Chicken & Broccoli. Thanks to Fuji that is over.

This is Chicken Terriaki. It represents my dive into exploring this entire menu. It was delicious. The chicken was plump and juicy and had the perfect amount of Terriaki. the Onions & Bean Sprouts were cooked perfectly. I ate them all and didn't reek of Onions for 2 days.

This is the Playboy Roll - Tempura Shrimp, avocado, cream cheese topped with Tuna & crunch and the Champion Roll - Smoked Salmon, avocado & cheese deep fried with pickle jalapeño & a spicy sauce. 

Kani (crab Stick) and Ebi (shrimp) sushi and a California Roll.

Fuji, Asian Cuisine Restaurant Menu, 60 Boardman Poland Rd. Youngstown, OH 44512

Fuji Restaurant in Boardman, OH has closed. However, it has been reopened as Mizu. When we get a chance to dine there we will submit a new review

The following link is for the review of Fuji - Asian Cuisine. It cannot be said enough - The food and service are amazing here. I feel people think that in order to  get their moneys worth from an Asian cuisine restaurant they have to get a ridiculous amount of food. The great news here is that you get a ridiculous amount of food and it is delicious. 

The Starters page 
23 appetizers consisting of Soups, salads and rolls. Notable ones - Juicy Spring Roll, Beef Negimaki and chawanmushi - a japanese steamed egg custard with chicken. We did not try any. Not because we didn't like anything there. We were saving room for entree's.

The Salads Page
14 salads - Many of us had the house ginger salad. Delicious Ginger Dressing. You have to like ginger to enjoy this salad. Other notable salads - Baby Calamari salad, Papaya Salad,  Sunomono Salad, and Baby Octopus Salad.

Main Course Pages 
These are split into Thailand, Japanese and Chinese sections. Great news is that it was hard for me to find anything ending in Lo Mein or the Chicken and Broccoli. This is great because every buffet in town kills these titles. It is refreshing to see Entree's called Crazy Sesame Chicken, Mongolian Trio, Mussels in Black Bean Sauce, Singapore Styled noodle, Massaman Curry, Pan-Fried Salt & Pepper Calamari, Pork Katsu and Unagi Don. 

Teas Page

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Johnson Peaches, N US HWY 220 and Dockery rd/Haywood Cemetary rd, Rockingham, NC

Year after year of vacationing in North Myrtle Beach we noticed more and more Peach stands popping up. Most are small local farmers who have delicious peaches. But Johnsons Peaches, well they are different. This was the scene shortly after 9am. Peaches were available but it was obvious that they had already sold many and the parking lot was packed. Fresh Peaches are just one of the many produce items that they carry. They also have fresh plumb, watermelon, tomatoes, okra and potatoes just name a few. They also have Peach jams, purees and other canned or bottled peach assorted goodies. And if I didn't mention it, they're peaches are delicious. Nothing like that crap you'll find in the grocery store. These are juicy and sweet. 

The sign from the highway.

From left to right is fresh homemade peach and Strawberry ice cream. Both were delicious. I had to eat both since my son didn't eat the strawberry. They also make homemade apple dumplings. I should have got him one of those also. How do I know they are homemade? I could see them being made from the Ice Cream order window. 

So If you ever find yourself traveling down or up 220 in North Carolina make it a point to pay attention for Johnson Peaches. You will not be disappointed. Just note that they will be moving their retail location. We did. She you next year. 9am.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Luigi's, 503 61st Avenue North, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Luigi's is an Italian Restaurant Located in the heart of myrtle beach. In the midst of Outback, KFC, Carrabbas and various other big chain restaurants is this Italian Gem. The first thing that should said about them is that they are accomodating. My father called a week and a half before we went on vacation to myrtle. While a request for a table of 20 at 5:30 the week of 4th of july would be met with "I'm sorry but we'll have to split you" or "we'll can't seat you all at the same time" or other rediculuos excuses at other locations it was no problem for Luigi's. We walked right in to our table, were greeted in seconds with no excessive wait for drinks or food. I had the Chicken Sorrentino. Sauteed with prosciutto ham, eggplant, mushrooms served with fresh mozzerella and creamy marinara sauce. It was delicious. The service is top notch, the ambiance is comfortable but classic and the food is deliciously homemade. If you are ever near Myrtle Beach, call for reservations a week early and skip the Carrabba's.

This is my son smashing on a plate of buttered garlic noodles.

House Montepulciano D'Abruzzo

Chicken Rose'

Beef Carpaccio
Seasoned Olive Oil


Chicken Sorrientino

Veal Saltimbocca

Bubba's Fish Shack Menu, 16 s. Ocean Blvd, Surfside Beach, South Carolina

We found Bubba's Fish Shack last year when were trying to meet family halfway while on vacation. Almost everything onthe menu is fried so the only healthy option you'll find is a grilled Chicken Sandwich, or what my wife got, the Grilled Chicken Salad. The decor is awesome. It truely looks like a fish shack. For appetizers we had Fried Calamari and Fried Green Tomatoes. The Calamari came with the tentacles, the only way to eat them. I've never had fried green tomatoes and they were delicious. I ate the Fried Shrimp PoBoy. Everything is homemade and handbreaded. They feature All you can Eat Fried Catfish for $14.99 and PBR (pabst blue ribbon) for $2. Bubba's Fish Shack is what it is. Don't try to find the Gluten Free of Heart friendly section. It doesn't exist and I'm totally fine and happy with that. Thanks Bubba. See you next year.

Devo - Olive Oil Company, North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

This is Devo - Olive Oil Company. We stumbled across them while walking around Broadway at the Beach in North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. The entire store has urns that hold all of their Olive Oils: Fused Citrus Coils, Infused EVOO, Single Varietal EVOO and Specialty Gourmet Oils. Such as Athenolia Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Basil Olive Oil, Black Truffle Oil, Blood Orange Olive Oil, Chipotle Olive Oil, Italian Grapeseed Oil, just to name a few. They also carry Aged Balsamic Vinegar, Artisan Wine Vinegars, White Balsamics. Such as, Blackberry Ginger Balsamic, 18 year traditional balsamic Vinegar, Champagne Vinegar, Dark Chocolate Balsamic, Espresso Aged Balsamic, Cinnamon Pear Balsamic, Coconut White Balsamic, Red Apple Balsamic just to name a few more. I can't really say I had a favorite because I tried so many. What I will say is the flavors are mellow in the Olive oils, Intense in the Balsamic Vinegars and spot on in both. They have 2 locations. One at Battlefield Mall in Springfield, MO and Broadway at the Beach in North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. They're website is . You can place orders online and have the product shipped directly to you. All of the Oils and Vinegars can be purchased in 200, 375 and 750 ml bottles. They also carry Hand Made & All Natural Pastas. Vegetable Rotini, Egg Angel Hair, Garlic Parsley Angel Hair, Chocolate Fettuccini, Curried Carrot Fettucini, Red Pepper Fettucini, Spinach Linguini, just to name a few. Rounding out their line of products are a couple Salts, Peppercorns Soaps, Hand & Body creams. The Soaps are made with, can you guess? Pure Olive Oil.
Being 100% Italian I can appreciate a deliciously seasoned Olive oil. If you are ever around North Myrtle Beach or Springfield, Missourri you owe it to yourself to stop by and try some expertly crafted Olive Oils & Balsamic Vinegars.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Hamburger Joe's Menu, 712 48th Ave. S. North Myrtle Beach, SC

We used to go to Fudruckers every year. That is until we found Hamburger Joes. It's nestled right behind Olive Garden off of HWY 17/N Kings Hwy in North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. There are so many trees around that if you try to fing it from the road you'll miss it. Which is fine by me. With so many chains in North Myrtle and more popping up every year it's good to know that Hamburger Joes is around.
They specialize in Hambugers at $3.65 and Cheeseburgers at $3.95. Now I know what you are thinking - How good can they be at those prices? The answer - Damn Good. You can get them All the way with slaw, chili and onions or with your choice of mayo, pickles, lettuce, tomato or onion. I got both of mine all the way. You can just tell when a restaurant makes thier food in house, the Chili on the burgers was the best I've had in a while. We also had their wings. They were a good size, Not jumbo but not tiny. Great sauce also I think It may have been from a bottle though. \
They have good service for a hamburger joint. Drinks in under 5 and entrees in under 15. Which is good because we had kids with us. All in all a good experience at Hamburger Joes. If you are going south on HWY 17 turn left just past Olive garden. If you are going North turn right just past the BP/McDonalds Combo. I'd tell you where Fudruckers is but, honestly I can't remember where they are located.