Monday, November 30, 2009


Earlier this month I posted my Thanksgiving Turkey recipe -- and here is the product of that recipe.

As you can see in the "Before" image, you have a turkey all coated in baconey goodness. In the "After" image you have that turkey fresh out of the oven minus the bacon which I ate removed about 90 minutes before the turkey was finished. YUM!!!

I should note, that I modified the recipe slightly -- I also placed butter (seasoned with rosemary, thyme, and sage) under the skin. THAT really added some flavor.

Hope you had a happy Thanksgiving!


Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Turkey Day!

I Just want to take a moment to thank you, my readers, for coming to my blog. I'm truly grateful for you guys. *HUGS!!*

Now go stuff your faces with turkey!

Also, you see that bikini turkey photo? Well, here's the recipe for how you can actually make that inappropriately tan-lined turkey! Enjoy! (I'd do it, but my wife would kill me!)

I'll be back on Monday, with some info about Dressler's!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Cashion's Gas (Cornelius, exit 28)

Yeah. You read the title right. I went to the Cashion's just east of exit 28, at the corner of Catawba and Statesville Rd. Inside the Cashion's there is a little grill that serves very basic short-order food, (i.e. burgers, hot dogs, sandwiches, and some breakfast).

Generally speaking, I try to avoid gas station food -- because it GIVES ME GAS!! (HA! I kill me!!)

Ok, ok, juvenile humor aside, I really do try to avoid gas station food. In fact, I've never had any prepared food from those fast-food / gas station combos that you see along I-77 or I-85. But longtime Foodie reader Bill insisted that I try this place.

I'm freakin' glad I did!!

Bill was right -- the burgers here rock! They're hand made patties, topped with a serious amount of cheese, with some of the best produce around! Seriously.

The burger was prepared to order (after I ordered, I heard the burger hit the grill), and I asked for tomato, onion, lettuce, ketchup and cheese. A few minutes later I was handed the burger on a plate, wrapped in aluminum foil. The burger was drenched in American Cheese. (Typically I don't like American Cheese, but with this much melted gooeyness, I can't complain).

The produce was amazing. Really. I need to shop where they do. The two tomato slices were thick, ripe, and bright red. The iceberg lettuce and white onion were fresh and crisp.

The patty, cheese, and produce combined to create one of my favorite burgers in the area. To me, it even beats the 5 Guys burgers -- and THAT's high praise. In addition, it was relatively cheap. The burger and a bottle of Coke came to $4 and change.

The only downside to the burger is that it is at a Cashion's. So there is no seating, and if you eat in your car (like I did), there will be a smell of gasoline. But, it was worth it for this cheap bite of deliciousness.

Atmosphere: 0/0
Food: 4/5
Service: 3/5
Total: 7/10

Price: $
Kid Friendly: No. There is no place for your little-ones to hang out while placing the order.

Conclusion: Cheap prices, low visibility, and a REALLY good burger make this one of best kept secrets for burger lovers.

Restaurant Info:
Cashion's Quik Stop‎
19733 Statesville Rd.
Cornelius, NC
p) 704-892-7762‎

Monday, November 23, 2009

Recipe Friday Monday: Dishwasher Salmon

I ran across this recipe while rummaging through my wife's Real Simple Magazine. And yes, you read the title correctly... Dishwasher Salmon.

This is a salmon dish that you poach in your dishwasher. The salmon is cooked by the hot water, and the heating elements on the drying cycle. Unorthodox, I know. But from a quick Google search, it appears that this actually works!

I've got the link below, but here's the basic idea: Wrap a salmon fillet in aluminum foil. Place on the top rack. Run on a normal heated cycle. And viola! Poached salmon.

Here's the link. If you make this recipe... let me know!!

Dishwasher Salmon Recipe

Friday, November 20, 2009

Mac's Speed Shop (Cornelius)

At the urging of a friend of mine, I decided to hit the local Mac's to get some BBQ. This was my first time at Mac's, and I was curious about what I would find. And more importantly, how would it compare to Lancaster's (my favorite BBQ in the area.)

Mac's has a definite biker bar feel to it. In the front there are almost a dozen motorcycle parking places (cars park in the back), while inside you'll see lots steel, wood, and many HDTV's.

Once inside, my friend and I were taken to our seats at a small elevated table in the middle of the main room. From my seat I could see no fewer than 4 HDTVs, each one with an ESPN channel showing. The menu has a decent selection ranging from standard BBQ and ribs, to salads and sandwiches.

Wanting to have a smaller serving of BBQ and some sides, I decided upon the "lil pig" BBQ sandwich. Along with the one side of mac and cheese, I decided to get a second side of BBQ beans. (Beans, beans, good for your heart, the more you eat -- the more you...) Oops! Sorry for that brief trip down grade school memory lane....

Anyhow, the food arrived quickly and I took a look. As you can see, it was pretty much standard BBQ fare. The BBQ pork was a little more bland and dry that I was expecting. However, the sauces at the table added the needed flavor and moisture.

The sides, however, were delicious. The mac and cheese was made with real cheese and was creamy and good! The BBQ beans, were really flavorful and had a nice and thick sauce that had hints of molasses and brown sugar. The sauce had some meat in it, but not much.

I know people love their BBQ, and I'm sure this will ruffle some feathers. But, I didn't find anything about Macs that was extraordinary. For the most part it was about average. The BBQ was OK, but the sides were slightly above average. The next time I go, I'll be sure to try their ribs, and see if my experience differs.

Atmosphere: 3/5
Food: 3.5/5
Service: 3.5/5
Total: 10/15

Price: $$
Kid Friendly: Yes

Conclusion: About average BBQ with a biker theme. It was OK, but not memorable. I'll head back again because I want to try their ribs.

Restaurant Info:
Mac's Speed Shop
19601 Liverpool Pkwy.
Cornelius, NC 28031

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Need a logo for the Lake Norman Food and Wine Fest

As you know, over the past few weeks I've started moving forward on the idea that is the Lake Norman Food and Wine Festival (TM). Over the past few weeks I've met some great people, and every day I'm a little more convinced that this will happen. (Finished line-item budget last night!)

So the other day, while I was getting ready to put together letterhead, business cards, and a website, it hit me. I need a logo!! Something that will look good on all communications. Something that screams "Lake Norman Food and Wine Festival." So, I thought I'd make something....

As it turns out, my graphic abilities stopped advancing when I was three years old. And I hear that color crayons don't work on computer screens very well (that's what my wife said when cleaning her screen with Windex). So, dear readers, I need your help.

From now through Tuesday, November 24, we will be accepting any and all logos e-mailed to The winning logo will be chosen based on its ability to encapsulate the "Lake Norman Food and Wine Festival" (TM) and the logo's level of awesomeness. It will be used on most paper, broadcast, and electronic communications; and in those communications, credit will be given to the artist (name and URL), when possible. In addition, the winning artist will be given a booth space at the Festival in the merchants area.

Yes, I know that money would be preferable. But this is planned to be a startup non-profit that will give much of the proceeds to charity -- hence, there is no money!

For those of you thinking about submitting a logo, here are some things to consider:
1) The Festival will be held in late spring during the day.
2) There will be food and wine.
3) Each logo must incorporate the words "Lake Norman Food and Wine Festival."
4) Winner will be chosen based on artistic ability, clarity of logo at smaller sizes, ability to encapsulate idea of festival, and whatever random whims befall the judge(s).
5) Winning logo will be seen on most print, broadcast, and electronic communications from the Festival organizers. Where practical, the winner's name (or company/group) and URL will appear on those communications. In addition, the winning artist will be given a (free) booth space at the Festival.
6) This contest is open to all individuals, companies, educational institutions, associations, or groups who wish to enter.
7) Each entity may submit up to three logos entries to
8) Each submitted logo should be JPEG format and no more than 750 x 750 pixels (we'll contact you for higher-rez if needed.)
9) Entries must be recieved by midnight, Wednesday, November 25.
10) Winner will be notified via the e-mail address from which the logos were sent.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Need Gifts for the Holiday? Visit the Pampered Chef!

Before I start getting the "Foodie has sold out!" e-mails. I wanna stress that I'm not getting paid for this blatant promotion......

*Foodie steps onto soap-box*

AHEM ... to the left of this post you'll notice an ad for the Pampered Chef. Never heard of the Pampered Chef? Until recently neither had I. But I think it's fair to say that the Pampered Chef is to today's Foodies, sorta like Tupperware was to housewives of the 60's and 70's. And trust me -- it's just as necessary!

This link goes to a friend of mine, Michele, who sells through the Pampered Chef website. But here's the thing -- she doesn't just sell cookware. If you contact her, she will come to your home, and cook a meal for you and your friends. And in the process she'll show you the many great products and gifts that she has. (She's got lots!)

If you want cheap recipes ($2 per serving), you should call Michele (704-560-7409). If you need a gift (i.e. cute martini glasses, great knives, cookie press, etc.) for the Foodie in your life, you should contact Michele. If you are looking for products with a lifetime warranty ..... you get the idea.

So, in conclusion: You could go to a national retailer, and pay too much for low quality krud... or you could support somebody who lives here AND get a great deal on high quality cookware, bakeware, stoneware, etc. etc. It's an easy choice for me.... click here.

*Foodie steps down from soap-box and gets a martini*

Friday, November 13, 2009

Recipe Friday: Thanksgiving Turkey

Thanksgiving is rapidly approaching and you know what that means -- TURKEY!!!! Lots and lots of turkey and stuffing and cranberry sauce (from the can) and a whole lotta stuff.

But lets face it, it's the turkey that rules the roost. It's what we all think about and look forward to. I've been cooking the turkey for a looong time now, and I've finally got it down to a science. The ingredients? Bacon, butter, herbs, more bacon, more butter, and a nice chardonnay. It's a modified version of my Grandfather's recipe. He used the bacon and butter. I added the injecting of the herbs and wine. :)

My recipe is below. But this got me to thinking -- what do you do to your turkey for Thanksgiving?

1 small turkey
1-2 packages of bacon
lots of butter
2 cups of chicken broth
1 tbsp of thyme, sage, and rosemary each
1/2 cup of wine
pre-made stuffing
1 Turkey Injector

1) Prepare turkey as necessary. (Thaw, remove neck and gunk, and wash with water)
2) Mix broth, herbs, and wine in blender, then strain, and put into bowl. Then fill injector.
3) Use injector to inject liquid into breast, thigh, and drumsticks.
4) Coat turkey with butter.
5) Fill turkey cavity with stuffing.
6) Top every part of turkey with a layer of bacon, adding new bacon as old bacon shrinks.
7) Cook as directed, basting with remaining injector liquid and butter.
8) Remove bacon one hour before done cooking to let turkey skin brown.
9) Serve with lots of sides and family.
10) Enjoy!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Wine Wednesday: Château Larose-Trintaudon

The other day while at the store I can across a bottle of interest. A bottle of 2004 Château Larose-Trintaudon Haut - Medoc. And it was half off, from $24-- SWEET!!!

Later in the week when preparing dinner for my wife, I opened it and had a glass.

Not so sweet.

In fact, I found little to like about this wine. In theory I like reds from the Bordeaux region. I find their flavors to be more subtle and nuanced than similar wines. However, this 65% Cabernet and 35% Merlot tasted much more like a Malbec than anything else. The flavor was down right earthy -- sorta like what a red wine would taste like if they threw in a few trowels of dirt into the barrel.

It felt flat and flabby against the tongue, with strong mineral after tones. It should have tasted better, and other vintages received high scores, but this 2004 wasn't worth the half-off price. Heck, it wasn't even worth $2.

What started off as a great bargain, was instead a dud. No wonder they cut the price by half!!

Wine Rating

Score: 1/5

Price: $$

Wine Info:
2004 Cabernet / Merlot
Château Larose-Trintaudon
Haut-Medoc Region
Bordeaux, France

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Lake Norman Food and Wine Festival.....

The ball, it is a rollin'. I've made some good progress over the past couple of weeks regarding a potential Lake Norman Food and Wine Festival (TM).

It appears that both the public and those in the restaurant industry want it to happen. So, I'll be putting my head together with some smart people, and we'll see what happens! This is no guarantee that it will happen... but things are beginning to look promising.

So, be sure to check back often for updates.

Monday, November 9, 2009

A Foodie Reader has a Question!

I got an e-mail this weekend asking me this question:

"Do you know of any of the restaurants here at Lake Norman who will be having Thanksgiving buffets?"

That's a good question that I've never thought about -- since I'm always busy basting the turkey on Thanksgiving. So, I'm passing the buck to you, my wonderful readers. (I heart you guys!) Do you know of any LKN restaurants that serve a Thanksgiving buffet dinner??

If you have anything to say, click on the comments link below this post!

Thanks for your help!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Recipe Friday: Best Mac 'n' Chese Ever

A little while ago a Foodie reader sent in the recipe below. So, I thought I'd share it with you. Apparently a while back Emeril Lagasse asked folks to send in their recipes in an attempt to find America's best Macaroni and Cheese. The one listed below is from Laura Macek and was featured on Good Morning America. Personally, I don't know about nutmeg on my Mac and Cheese. But it's worth giving it a try!

1 head of garlic, roasted
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 pound Cavatappi pasta
1/2 pound sliced Applewood smoked bacon
1 1/2 cups fresh white bread crumbs (5 slices, crusts removed)
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese 8 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup minced shallots
1/2 cup flour
1 quart whole milk
6 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated
8 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar cheese, grated
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1) Preheat oven to 350°F.
2) First roast the garlic. Slice 1/2 inch off the top of the entire head of garlic. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Wrap garlic head tightly in a square of heavy foil and roast until tender, about 45 minutes. Remove garlic pulp by squeezing garlic head. Smash cloves with a fork to form a paste.
3) Cook pasta according to package directions.
4) Cook bacon completely. Drain on paper towels. Reserve 1 tablespoon of bacon fat. Crumble bacon when cool.
5) To make topping: Combine breadcrumbs, crumbled bacon, Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, and 2 tablespoons of melted butter. Set aside.
6) Preheat oven to 375°F.
7) Sauté shallots over low heat in reserved bacon fat for one minute. Add remaining 6 tablespoons of butter and continue to sauté shallots in butter and bacon fat until translucent. Add flour and continue to cook for 1-2 minutes. Increase heat to medium. Stirring constantly with a whisk, add milk and roasted garlic paste.
8) Cook until sauce is thickened (coats the back of a spoon). Remove sauce from heat then add salt, pepper, nutmeg, Gruyere and Cheddar cheeses. Taste and adjust salt and pepper if necessary.
9) Stir in cooked pasta. Pour into baking dish. Sprinkle topping to cover entire top. Cover with foil and bake 15 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking until sauce is bubbly and topping is browned.

Here's the link:

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Interview with eeZ Managing Partner Marcus Hall

Foodie’s Note: Originally I was going to just have a transcript of this interview. I mean, it seems simple enough. Record the interview. Type the interview. Done. Right?

Wrong. As conversation flows, there’s just too much going on that simple text doesn’t convey. Also, there’s length. My interview with the Managing Partner of eeZ, Marcus Hall went WAAAY longer than expected. The conversation was so easy, in the blink of an eye, almost an hour had passed. And my tape recorder (yes, it’s actually uses a micro-cassette) was almost full. Do you guys want to read 8 pages of text??? Yeah, me neither.

So, below is the interview I promised so long ago…. Enjoy!


Birkdale was the reason my wife and I decided to move to Huntersville. The shopping, the movie theater, and the food constantly call us. As you know, food is one of my passions – I’m always on the lookout for unique and freshly prepared dishes. And some of the best meals I’ve found are at eeZ. My wife and I are almost regulars there. In fact, we’ve been there so much, we don’t even bother with the menu – we already know what to order and expect.

However, when I sat down with the Managing Partner of eeZ, Marcus Hall, I didn’t know what to expect. The last time I interviewed somebody I was in grade school, and one of the questions was “What’s your favorite color?” So, needless to say, I was out of my element.

But I’ve gotta say, this interview was a lot of fun. Marcus comes across as a good guy and is easy to talk to. And, boy, does he know his way around the restaurant industry. Starting as a dish washer at age 15 at the Rockola Café (think Applebee's and Chili’s) Marcus has spent much of his life working in restaurants. And through all those years he’s learned that the customer’s dining experience is the concern of all of the restaurant’s staff, “if you want the customer to return, you’ve got to keep them happy and give them a good value.”

But it wasn’t until after graduating college and being stuck behind a desk at Georgia Pacific that Marcus realized that he wanted to stay in the restaurant industry, “It just wasn’t me. I spent all day long looking at the clock on the computer screen.”

A few years later while enjoying some pizza at a Cici’s Pizza Marcus ran into this future business partner and co-owner of eeZ, Alan.

So, with all this experience you’d think that eeZ was going to be a guaranteed success. But in all honesty, it almost didn’t make it. As it turns out eeZ was originally going to be a local franchise of Zyng Asian Grill.

Don’t remember Zyng? Don’t worry nobody else does either.

Zyng was originally set to be a series of 45 franchised restaurants in the U.S. Focusing on the Pan Asian segment, Zyng would bring healthy Asian cuisine to the Birkdale area. Unfortunately (but fortunately for us), Zyng had a bad game-plan. With pre-made foods, frozen ingredients, and bad management, Zyng Corporate was bound to fail.

However, Marcus and Alan thought the Asian Fusion idea was good, and they kept eeZ going. First they brought in a Chef to help them create a new and original menu. This time all the food was prepared from scratch and nothing was pre-made. Then, due to customer demand, eeZ started offering Sushi.

There were a few bumps in the road, but eventually they brought in Master Sushi Chef Rifali Almunir. Originally from Indonesia, Almunir is as much an artist as a chef. In fact, Almunir is the mastermind behind the eeZ originals like the Filet Mignon Pin Wheels and even a roll inspired by a regular customer.

Longtime eeZ regular Doug came in for a drink almost every night. Then one night he came in for a drink, and ordered two filet mignon dinners to go – he was taking dinner back for his girlfriend who wasn’t feeling well. By the time he finished his drink; he left, and forgot about his dinners. Once the meals were ready, and nobody was there to take them, Almunir took the filets and then created the Doug's Filet Roll. By the time all was said and done, the Doug Rolls sold out before the end of the night.

While Almunir keeps watch behind the Sushi Bar, Executive Chef Mat Turney, oversees the kitchen. Turney came to eeZ after serving as a developmental chef to Darden, the company that owns many restaurants including Bahama Breeze, Olive Garden, Capital Grill, etc.

But he wasn’t always at eeZ. For almost three years, eeZ operated with only kitchen managers. However, Marcus credits Turney with being the “glue” necessary to hold the kitchen together and hiring him was the “best move ever.”

However, it wasn’t until the mention of General Manager Louis Camire, that Marcus really started gushing. Camire is a 20 year veteran of the restaurant industry and has been with eeZ since before the beginning. While Marcus referred to Turney as the “glue,” he called Camire the “super glue” of the entire organization.

Fortunately, eeZ hasn’t felt the effects of the recent economic downturn. Offering a six page menu (with minor tweaks for the spring and fall) with everything cooked to order, eeZ has a lot of choices. Or as Marcus said, “we’ve got something for everyone.”

And if you’re wondering when eeZ will open another restaurant, you might not have long to wait. They’ve already looked at places in South Park, Ballentyne, and Dilworth. Unfortunately, none have been a good fit for a second eeZ. However, Marcus pointed out that eeZ is currently staffed for two restaurants, and has two separate and strong management crews, so he anticipates opening another soon.

It appears that the eeZ model is built around the customer experience. Though not necessarily cheap, Marcus has worked to ensure that eeZ is a great value that keeps the customer happy, “(We) work hard to give customers a great experience every time, and if they don’t, we want the opportunity to make it right.”

Based on their success, it seems that eeZ already knows what the customer expects and apparently, they deliver.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Cozumel Mexican Restaurant (Mooresville)

Yesterday as I drove to Cozumel with my friend he asked, "Where is this place?"

I jokingly answered "Eh, it's in the same place as TJ's Deli." As you may recall, TJ's Deli was the horrible restaurant that scored a 1/5 on food. And I knew Cozumel was in the same complex -- so I tried to scare my friend by saying it was in the same place. Here's the irony -- it IS in the same place.

TJ's Deli is no more, and Cozumel has taken its place.

The interior has changed slightly. It still has the same tables and chairs. While the booths now have small archways, and there is now a small bar. But the register is in almost the same place and the chair-rail and green paint are still there. Fortunately for Cozumel, green is on the Mexican Flag.

We walked in and were seated quickly. After we looked over the menu for a while, we made our decisions. However, it took several more minutes for our chips and salsa to arrive, and for our waitress to appear. Our waitress came over, and took our drink orders, and then disappeared before we could give her our food orders.

While we waited for her to return, we snacked on the chips and salsa. The salsa was very watery / runny, but at least the chips were OK. As we were half way through our chips, our waitress returned with our drinks, and took our food orders. I ordered the lunch special with a burrito and a chili relleno. While my friend ordered the taco and chalupa lunch special.

Now, if you'll recall, one of my measures of a good Mexican restaurant, is the chalupa. Often times the suckier restaurants will try to put one past its customers by passing off a tostada (round, crispy, flat, corn shell) as a chapula (round, fried flour dough). So, the test begins.....

Surprisingly, our food was brought out by the bar tender -- who spent most of his time hanging with the hostess, while the waitress busily ran from table to table without any assistance.

My food arrived, and I took a bite of the burrito. Which was pretty much an enchilada but with a salsa based sauce. Aside from the sauce, there was nothing to distinguish this from an enchilada. No lettuce, cheese, onions, or rice. Just ground beef. Fortunately the ground beef was seasoned well - it had some good cumin and oregano flavors. And though I wasn't happy about the enchilada-ness of the burrito, it was good.

Next came the chili relleno. It was remarkably small. However, it was covered in cheese and filled with ground beef. This was new to me. Every time I've had a chili relleno its been filled with cheese only, so the beef was a nice surprise. Unfortunately the cheese sauce wasn't really cheese. From the way it sorta congealed on my tongue, it seemed much more like a cheese-like food (i.e. Velveeta) than cheddar. Needless to say, I'm not a fan of their cheese sauce.

And as for the chalupa test -- they failed. It was indeed a tostada. Why do restaurants insist on making claims on their menu, that they just can't back up in their kitchen?? Ugh, I can't figure out if they're assuming that their customers are ignorant, or are they just hoping the customers don't care. But either way, the restaurant is undermining their customer base.

Also it should be noted that the staff seemed to be having some issues. It took a long time for our chips and salsa to appear and they were never refilled. In addition, our waitress was rather curt and abrupt, and the few smiles seen were tight and quick. That said, she was working the tables mostly by herself with limited assistance from the bartender and hostess who were busy entertaining themselves in a corner by the bar. That would make me cranky too.

All in all, the food was cheap and below average. As were the service and atmosphere. But the restaurant is still new, hopefully they're just working the bugs out.

Atmosphere: 2.5/5 (clean, but most other restaurants in the area have done a better job)
Food: 2/5
Service: 2/5
Total: 6.5/15

Price: $ (lunch was about $7 including tip)
Kid Friendly: Yes

Conclusion: The score is lower than I thought it would be. The restaurant wasn't bad, I just found it to be below average in all categories. The fake chalupa and cheese brought down the food score.

Restaurant Info:
Cozumel Mexican Restaurant
120 Market Pl Dr
Mooresville, NC
(704) 696-2581‎

Monday, November 2, 2009

Idea: Lake Norman Food and Wine Festival?

I had a brainstorm about a month ago.... Why doesn't the Lake Norman area have a Food and Wine Festival???

So, I started looking into it. There appears to be support from the local restaurant industry. But costs would be prohibitive to visitors and vendors alike. So then, after some talks with the Folks at the Charleston Food and Wine Festival -- I realized that by following the organizational structure of a 501 (c) (3), this festival might be made cost effective by bringing in corporate donations, and any profits (probably small) would be donated to local charities.

So, I'm working on putting together some numbers to see if this could actually happen.

And this is where you come in!! I need you to fill out my form and answer my questions. It's short and will take you about 1 minute to complete. Here's the link!!

Thanks in advance!!