• Category Archives Food
  • Dos Mama’s Eastside Eatery

    So, this past weekend, after I had participated (OK, it was more a witnessing… my Civil Air Patrol cadets did the participation part) in the Wreaths Across America ceremony at Forest Meadows cemetery, a group of us went to Dos Mama’s Eastside Eatery here in Gainesville.


    The food there was quite good. I didn’t take any pictures, and I am starting to refrain from doing so when I go out to eat these days because it has become so… gauche… to do so.

    The fare there is classic American… hamburgers and stuff. I had a simple steak and cheese sandwich, but it turned out to be huge! It was put on two nice hot dog bun like pieces of bread, and it was simply too much for me to eat in one seating. I took half of it home, and for those of you that have met me, you know that me doing something like that is rare. I saw the hamburgers that were delivered to some of the others at the table, and the hamburgers were also of high quality, with meat patties that were nice and think and covering the bun. They looked quite good as well (I just wanted a steak and cheese sandwich for once, darn it!)

    I spoke with the co-owner (they were both there… obviously this is a business that has only just started up in the last year and is still working on getting clientele) and she was very enthusiastic about getting more business. The business gets a strong turnout during the lunch period in the week because of all of the light industrial businesses in that area, and also a good showing for breakfast, but apparently supper time is very light for them (face it, workers at the end of the day just want to go home…) so she is looking for ways to increase the business during that time of day. One thing she is doing is getting groups to hold meetings and stuff there, where they can grab a bite to eat while talking.

    So, my recommendation for Dos Mama’s Eastside Eatery is certainly a thumbs up! Go there!

  • Picky eaters

    So, one of the things that I do on a semi-regular basis is cook food for a semi-charitable organization (I say semi-charitable, because they have yet to file all of the paperwork necessary to become a true non-profit where they can give tax write-offs to people who donate. Don’t get me started on that… just… don’t)

    Anyway, when I cook for this group, it is usually for a group of between thirty and sixty people, depending on the event. There are usually decent facilities for me to produce the cooked food needed to feed these folks, and I do actually enjoy it.

    Unfortunately, when you are preparing meals for this many people, you do run into people who have allergies or objections to certain foods due to religious principles, etc. (You know, the vegetarians, those that have to remain Kosher, and various allergies… the biggest allergy that I have to typically deal with is gluten, though I did have a really odd one recently with garlic and vinegar…) I actually don’t have any problem with those things. Nor do I really have a problem with having to make the food somewhat bland in the first place, because a lot of people can’t handle the spiciness of food that I prefer. No big deal… I make food that everyone I am serving can handle, and then I make some special things that I warn them not to mess with. They understand, and no issues are had.

    So now we get to the crux of this post…. Picky Eaters

    This past weekend I had one kid (OK, he’s sixteen… whatever) who basically would not eat anything. Note that I said “would”, not “could”. There is a difference. This kid, when he saw the beef stew, rabbit stew (yes, two different stews… who gets to eat rabbit stew?), and vegetarian chili that I was serving, came up to me and stated that he does not eat stews.

    Does not eat stews

    Who the hell doesn’t eat stews? What kind of fucking limitation is that? I just stared at him for about a minute after he told me this drivel. Then I made a mistake…

    I tried to placate him by finding something that he would eat.

    Instead of just blasting away at his idiotic little bullshit about not being able to eat a fucking stew (note that it was not the ingredients in the stew that he was whining about, but the way that it was prepared) I went into the kitchen and figured out something that he could eat. I kick myself for doing this now, but at the time I was just stressed and not thinking clearly.

    Frankly, I don’t really blame this kid. He’s sixteen. He was apparently raised in a home that allows him to get away with being the pickiest eater I have ever met. I almost hold pity for this kid, because what the hell is he going to do once he enters the real world and he is at some luncheon with his boss, and when he looks at his menu there is nothing that he will eat on it? Is he going to whine and moan and complain about there not being anything on the menu to eat because the kids menu isn’t visible?

  • Home lunch replaced with garbage from school

    Original article: Preschooler’s homemade lunch replaced with nuggets

    To me, this is a total travesty. It is an indication that the nanny state of our government has over-reached its bounds. From the article: “…a state agent who was inspecting lunch boxes decided that her packed lunch — which consisted of a turkey and cheese sandwich, a banana, apple juice, and potato chips — ‘did not meet US Department of Agriculture guidelines'”.

    So what did they do? They replaced the child’s lunch with a cafeteria tray that had chicken nuggets on it. Frankly, I consider the kid’s sandwich to be a hell of a lot more wholesome than those nuggets… do a search on just what chicken nuggets are typically made from (these probably came from a frozen package distributed by Sysco or something) and tell me that a turkey and cheese sandwich is less wholesome than reconstituted chicken parts that have been bathed in ammonia to kill off E Coli and other bad stuff.

    I think that the mother should be developing a lawsuit against the school. I think that Jamie Oliver should be up in arms (actually, he already is, but perhaps hasn’t focused on this particular story yet). I think Anthony Bourdain is probably just shaking his head and saying “I told you so!”


  • Quick chili recipe

    OK… not really a chili, since I use baked beans in mine… let’s call it Beanie-Weanies from Hell instead…

    First, you need a decent sized crock-pot… not one of those little ones…

    Now, the ingedients…

    • 1 can of baked beans, 28oz. I usually use Bush’s, because they go on sale 2-for-1 at Publix on a regular basis.
    • 2 cans of diced/chopped/whatever tomatoes. If they have flavoring in them like chilis or something, that is fine. Do what you like in this regard.
    • 1 can of Hormel chili. (Optional – I used it because I had it in the pantry)
    • 1 can of chili beans
    • 1 large onion, or two smaller ones, chopped. It isn’t a chili without onions. I suppose if you have some pearl onions you could just peel them and throw them in whole… that would be nice too.
    • 1 carrot (optional – They work in a chili, and I had some in the fridge) Chop it up into bite size pieces… or not… heck, it is your chili!
    • 1 Kielbasa sausage, chopped. OK, you can use just about any sausage you want, but I recommend something along the lines of a kielbasa. Hot dogs will work fine as well.
    • Chili powder
    • Sambal

    Throw all of this in the crock pot and stir it up. Get it nice and mixed together. Then turn it on and wait.

    Realistically, my philosophy on chilis is that they are a garbage bin for things in your fridge, sort of like a stew… After a little while, your fridge starts to accumulate end bits of things that just don’t really make a meal on their own… but if you chop them up and throw them into a chili, they can be used as a filler.

    Throw in the chili powder and sambal, making it as spicy as you want. Let it stew for a number of hours.

  • Dinner at Kouzzina, Walt Disney World Resort

    My mother and I went here on Saturday night after a day of walking around EPCOT center and sampling some of the foods at the Food and Wine festival. We had an 8:20 reservation, which we were just in time for.

    First, it seems that they bunch up the reservations like this for a first and second seating arrangement at the restaurant. While this does seem to make sense in some ways, in others it means that there are some flow control issues, and you get a lot of bunching up of things. Ah well, we didn’t mind waiting for our little buzzer to go off, as it has a decent range and we were able to go out on the pier and watch a performing clown do a show with hats. Quite entertaining.

    As we were being seated, the hostess explained to us something about the restaurant, detailing how it was a restaurant featuring the recipes of Cat Cora, how the kitchen was laid out in the open so that everyone could see what was going on in the kitchen, etc. Very reminiscent of the California Grill on top of the Contemporary Hotel. I don’t know how much of a change this is compared with Spoodles, but I don’t mind the layout… it works. The room itself is semi-high ceilinged, and while conversations of guests do carry to some extent, it is not excessively loud in the eating area, something that I am not a fan of. While there is guest noise that carries, it isn’t to a point that it becomes bothersome and you find yourself yelling across the table just to be heard. If they could tune it so that it was a little quieter, it would be better… perhaps some sound baffling in the ceiling or something. Come on Imagineers! Get to work!  🙂

    Seated, we were introduced to our server (almost said waitress there, but decided to keep it more neutral, keeping in line with what Disney apparently wants to present) who had a strong southern drawl (hey, we are in the south… no biggie!) She was sweet, but a bit distracted by things that were going on around her. I’m not sure if this was considered a busy night, caused by it both being a Saturday night and having the Food and Wine festival just down the path in EPCOT, but it seemed like the wait staff were a little short-handed… and when I say a little, as if they were missing maybe one or two people and therefore each server’s area was an extra table or two larger than normal. No idea, really. I would have to go on a weekday night when things are typically quieter to see.

    First came the drinks, of course. I am not a drinker, and really the only thing I drink in the alcohol range tends to be things like ice wines. I did look over the mixed drinks quickly, but as they were all the standard Disney World drinks, I passed and went with a pomegranate lemonade… more on that in a bit. My mother ordered the Retsina wine, which surprised the waitress… I’m not sure why, since Retsina is a classical greek wine and this was a restaurant featuring greek food. I tried a bit of the wine… not something I would order myself, but interesting… it is a dry wine with an interesting pine taste to it. Not really horrible, but then, I also can enjoy Beverly from EPCOT’s Cool-Zone, where you get to sample different Coca-Cola beverages from around the world. (However, they have been messing with the mixtures there… just about everything is sweeter now, and Beverly isn’t nearly as bitter as it once was…)

    Looking over the menu, we decided against any of the appetizers. They just didn’t seem appealing to us at the time. My mother is somewhat picky in what she selects in restaurants, and the appetizers just weren’t in her list of things she wanted to try. Mom wanted to try the beets dish, until she realized that the beets were chilled. I might have gone with the Kouzzina Sampler, which is a choice of two skewers with olives, cashews, dolmades, tzatziki, hummus, grilled pita, and a choice between prawns, lamb meatballs, or chicken.

    I went with the lamb shank, which has oven-baked gigante beans and a pepper sauce, along with a side dish of brussel sprouts (I know… I know… Brussel Sprouts? Are you nuts? Hey, I like them, particularly if they are done right) with capers and lemon. My mother went with the Kouzzina Trio, which is a tasting size portion of Greek-style lasagna, char-grilled lamb burger, and cinnamon-stewed chicken with orzo, along with a side of herbed orzo with olive oil and kasseri cheese.

    The food arrived on the table very quickly. I don’t know if they had it ready to go in back somewhere and just microwaved it or what (I’m kidding… I am sure they prepared it properly) but it was on the table in no time.

    Let’s start with the Kouzzina Trio: The cinnamon stewed chicken was amazing, and afterwards my mother said she would happily order that as a full dish instead of the trio. The lamb burger was good, but we both felt that there were too many toppings. The burger would have been better without some of the toppings taking away from the taste of the lamb itself. I tried eating just a piece of the lamb burger meat alone, and it was quite good, so the toppings just took away from that taste. The lasagna, while quite good, also had cinnamon in it, and thus it was somewhat reminiscent of the chicken dish. We both felt that pairing it with the cinnamon-stewed chicken was a bit of a mistake, and that the third dish should have had some contrasting flavors. While it was good, it just didn’t fit quite right with the other two items on the plate.

    My lamb shank was wonderful, and combined with the gigante beans it was a very good dish. The lamb was baked to perfection, and we were both happy with it. I don’t really have that much to say good or bad about this dish. It is what it is, and if you are in the mood for lamb, it is certainly worth having.

    The herbed orzo side dish was also quite nice, and added a nice contrast to the items we already had. I found it to be a nice palate cleanser so that when I switched to different dishes I would have a clean taste going in. The cheese that was melted on top of this dish was also perfectly suited for the dish. A welcome side dish to just about any entree you happen to select.

    Finally, the brussel sprouts. First of all, I received a bit of a look of surprise from the server when I ordered this. I don’t understand why, because brussel sprouts, when done properly, are wonderful. I assume that because we were obviously American, we were not big brussel sprout eaters. I beg to differ… I love the bloody things. The sprouts were quite good, and the saltiness from the capers brought out the flavor of the sprouts. My only comment on the dish is that less oil should be used in the preparation, and more capers should be used. In my book, another nice side dish to complement a main course.

    The only other issue that occurred with this meal was the server’s inattentiveness. She did a good job of keeping us going with the meal, and was not intrusive with asking us if everything was going well (something I hate… I swear they are trained to ask this question exactly when my mouth is full.) However, I found the pomegranate lemonade to be extremely sweet, and would have preferred to switch to something else after the first glass. When it came time for a refill, she asked if I wanted a refill (which is fine), and when I started ask her a question she nodded and turned to another table, blithely ignoring the fact that I wanted to ask her something. She came by after about five minutes with a full glass of the lemonade again. I didn’t comment at the time because it wasn’t that big a deal, but it still bothered me, and that was reflected in the tip at the end.

    We are slow eaters, and we took about two hours to eat. When we were done, the restaurant had pretty much cleared out.

    Would we go again? Absolutely. My mother said she would like to try the whole fish at some point, and I might like to try either the flank steak or the seafood stew… both looked quite good, at least on the menu. I never got up to walk around a bit and see what other folks were eating, which I now realize was a mistake.

  • Food and Wine Festival, 2010. EPCOT Center at Walt Disney World

    Went to the Food and Wine Festival this weekend, and had my mother with me for the first time so that she could experience it. The past couple of years that I have attended, I have tried to sample everything that even sort of piqued my interest.

    Not this time.

    This time around, we were a lot more selective about what we went for. We would go up to each booth, look at the menu and decide whether anything even sounded remotely interesting, then watch the booth as other people would buy the different items. If they looked good, then we would get in line and give it a shot.

    This only happened a couple of times.

    The new Singapore booth was one that we sampled substantially. They had two different food items (I differentiate this from the wine aspect of the booths, as well as dessert items) which we sampled, both of which were excellent.

    The first item was a shrimp cake with Singapore noodle salad. We had to wait a while for this, since the shrimp cakes were taking a while to cook up on the grill. Unfortunately, they were rushing a bit, and our cake was underdone. It was still tasty, but the fact that it was underdone was kind of offsetting. The noodle salad was also stone cold, though we are now thinking that this was on purpose, and not something that happened simply because it sat out for a little while. The noodle salad was quite good, and had a nice spiciness that made us want more.

    The second item was a coconut braised beef rendang with jasmine rice. This was the best thing we had all day from the festival. While the rice was something that you could get anywhere, the rendang was exceptional. It had a nice sweetness to it before a bit of a spicy kick came out at the end. I am now looking for recipes for this one, because it was that good.

    The second (and last) booth that we stopped at was Argentina, where they had a roasted corn and cheese empanada. This was quite tasty, the filling just right, and the flaky crust beautifully made.

    That was it for booths that we actually sampled! Yes, just two. We looked very hard at what was being put out by Australia, but when we passed by the second time the barramundi fish just didn’t look as appealing as it did the first time around (we were no longer anywhere near as hungry), and the lambchops seemed very small for the price… not to mention we both have racks of lamb from Australia sitting at home in the freezer waiting to be cooked up.

    One other place that we looked at was the lettuce wraps with roast pork and kimchi slaw from South Korea. Unfortunately, the second time around when we looked at it again, it had also lost it’s luster.

    We finished off the day at EPCOT with a meal from Japan, a rice bowl with curried beef and potatoes that is always available from the Yakitori House up on the hill behind the pagoda. It is a substantial amount of food, and certainly enough for two people. One of my more favorite places to get food at EPCOT these days, because it is one of the more economical quick food places.

  • Quick dinner at Fuji Hana – Gainesville

    Went to Fuji Hana Sunday night for a quick meal. Decided that I was just going to eat at the sushi bar because I really only did want something quick, and didn’t want a ton of food.

    The place is really quite nice, and the owner and workers there take a lot of pride in what they have created. It took a couple of months for them to actually open the place initially, because they did an incredible amount of work in preparing the place for business. It is a combination sit-down restaurant, sushi bar, and hibachi.

    I have eaten there more than once, so I have experienced both the sushi bar and the restaurant portions of the place, but have yet to go to the hibachi side of things… that will wait until I have some people to go with to make it a proper event.

    Anyway, back to the food. I ordered two rolls, with water. The first roll was a volcano roll (I like spicy stuff!) and this thing comes with both some spiciness and it is tempura’d, so it comes out nice and warm. Wonderful!

    The other roll, unfortunately, I have no idea what it was called or even what was really in it. It was good, but for my tastes not as good as the volcano roll (I am also writing this almost a week after the meal, so some memory is hazy.)

    In all, the meal was quite enjoyable, and I will be going back there again and again. I consider them at this time to be the best sushi place in town.

  • Lunch at Mexico Lindo in Lake City

    So, I was on a ride… hrm… this actually was a longer ride than usual, and requires that I start at the beginning.

    So, Friday evening I decided that I was going to go to a gun show at the American Legion post in Trenton, because I had never been to a gun show and it somewhat interested me. Get up nice and early and start heading out there. On the way an older classic plated car pulls out right in front of me, to which I had to brake pretty heavily. You would think that the owner of a classic vehicle would be more concerned with what they are doing and not pull out in front of traffic like that. Kept heading down the road, and eventually reached Trenton only to find that the main street of Trenton is completely blocked off for an arts and crafts festival.

    So I park the bike and take a walk around. Lots of quilts and stuff floating around, which I took a couple of pictures of. The pictures are in the camera still, so they won’t get posted here at the moment.

    Turns out the car that pulled out in front of me earlier was heading for this show as well, to be an exhibit in the street. I considered accosting the driver, but decided to pass on it… if they get into an accident, serves their own damned fault!

    So, finish with walking around and get on the bike to start heading out, only to find that in order to start heading towards Bell, where the Legion hall is actually at (despite the name), I have to go through a bunch of side streets and stuff because the main street is blocked off and there is no easy way around. Oh well… not that big a deal on the Intruder.

    Get to the hall, and pay my entrance fee. Looked at the guns for a while, but it just didn’t interest me all that much. Left pretty quickly after that and started to realize that I was getting hungry, and I really didn’t want anything back in Trenton, so I kept heading north on SR 129 until I got to Branford, which had…. NOTHING. Little po-dunk town with a gas station and nothing else.

    Eventually I got to Live Oak, which I know has food. Unfortunately they didn’t have anything that I really wanted at the time. I am somewhat picky when it comes to barbecue, and I really wasn’t in the mood for it in the first place. They also had a mexican place there that did look somewhat interesting, but I also wasn’t in the mood for that. I was really looking for a bistro, somewhat fancy, and it just wasn’t happening. I guess I need to learn to lower my standards a bit. There was a diner there that I checked out, but walking in it felt too commercial, so I walked out of there after perusing the menu and confirming my suspicions that it would be your typical american fair.

    Headed east out of Live Oak heading towards Lake City, and of course skipped all of the fast food joints that were along the main drag near the interstate. Got into the main part of town, and went up and down the main street. There were two places in there that looked semi-interesting, but one of them was closed for the day (apparently only serves dinner) and the other looked like they weren’t serving either.

    By this time I was bloody hungry, and just about anything would do, which is why I then went to Mexico Lindo. It is in the south part of town, between route 41 and 441. I was the only one there when I walked in, and was greeted by a very nice little mexican girl.

    She initially came out with the standard chips and salsa. The chips were standard, but I found the salsa to be a bit too wet. Some sort of thickener needed to be added to it to make it actually stick to the chips a bit more.

    I ordered a burrito thing, and I took pictures that are still on my phone, but it appears that my phone is currently having issues sending anything anywhere, so that will have to wait. I found it to be quite tasty, with a sauce added to it that I could not quite identify. Somewhat salty (the sauce), with a sort of weak caper taste. Very interesting and a nice flavor.

    Only one other patron walked in while I was sitting there having my meal… a family who looked as if they had just come back from soccer practice or something.

    So, the meal was quite nice and I would recommend them again to others.

  • Lunch at the Copper Monkey

    This past Friday I went to the Copper Monkey in Gainesville for lunch. It is a restaurant that is highly recommended by my work mates, so we went there.

    This is basically a burger sports grill. The offerings are what you would typically find. One of my coworkers calls it the best burger in Gainesville… I disagree, but that is probably a matter of taste.

    We were a group of six, three of us having never been there before. Those three were also from China and had not really been to the typical American sports bar, so that was interesting and kind of fun to share.

    We all ordered burgers, and the host of the meal also ordered an appetizer of twenty wings… I think they did pretty well with these. I feel that they were baked as apposed to being deep fried, which I consider to be a superior method. The sauce was applied just right… not too weak, and not so much that the wings were swimming in it. They were ordered with a medium hot sauce, which I consider way too weak, but the taste was good regardless.

    Moving on to the burger, I ordered the “University Avenue Burger”. This is a burger that comes with sauteed onions and mushrooms, plus onions, lettuce, and pickle. Fries were also included in the basket. The fries were actually pretty decent… standard sized fries that held up throughout the meal without getting soggy or hard. The burger had good meat in it, but I feel that they are missing something in the mix. It needs a bit more salt to really bring out the flavor of the meat.

    It is good food, don’t get me wrong, but I can not label these burgers as the best in Gainesville. I feel that there are better out there.

    The Copper Monkey is located at 1700 West University Avenue.

  • Faire is over!

    So, the Hoggetowne Medieval Faire is over for another year! Thank god! Really, I enjoy the faire, but the hours are killer for the job that I do. Next year I plan on doing one of two things… Either cooking for the guilde again, or not cooking for them and just cooking for the encampment. Whichever it happens to be, I am NOT going to be the quartermaster during the year. That can be someone else.The menu was basically the same as last year:

    • Sausages with grilled onions and peppers
    • Macaroni and cheese
    • Grilled chicken with onions and peppers
    • Baked Beans
    • Vegetable platter
    • Scrambled eggs and biscuits and gravy for breakfast
    • Assorted danishes for breakfast

    Some other things that were added to the menu this year:

    • Kabobs for kids day
    • baked Potatoes

    Of course, I also had to do some special stuff, and I did the following this year:

    • Curried venison for the second Saturday. This was a particularly strong hit, because it was simply incredible.
    • Some elk roast. This wasn’t quite as good as I had hoped, but it wasn’t bad. I was glad to share it out to people because it was something special, and something that most people have probably never had before.
    • Another lamb roast. This was a lot better than the elk roast, and because it was so big I was able to save half of it to take home. I later threw it into a crock pot and make a lamb stew out of it.

    For that matter, I plan on dropping my role as the Director’s Committee Chairman. I’ll stay on the Director’s Committee, but not as the chair. That can go to someone else as well. I have enough meetings to deal with these days as it is.

    Faire was good, though. I enjoyed myself, despite now being sick because of it. I should be clear of the sickness that I caught tomorrow morning, though.

    In other news, I think I managed to fall head-over-heels for someone very special this past fortnight. I am not going to mention any names, because quite frankly I have had really bad experiences with that sort of thing in the past, and in this case I am going to keep it to myself. Needless to say if she reads this, she will probably know it is her. I don’t know how she will handle it, but this is my position on it (at least at this point in time…): I am not going to do anything about it. I just feel that there might be too much drama, and quite frankly I would prefer not to be with her and have her as a friend than to lose her completely, because she really is a special person to me.I made that mistake once… I’ll never make it again.

    This is a long collection of thoughts, and it is very likely that some of these thoughts are truly messed up in the process. Suck it up… I am a bit under the weather right now, and thinking clearly is not at the top of the stack right now. It’s just a good thing I didn’t post this yesterday, because I was really loopy then.