Monday, November 28, 2011

Now that Turkey Day has ended, and my belt has gone out another few notches, what am I going to do with all those leftovers??  Or here's a better question: What are YOU going to do with all those leftovers??  To help with that question, here's a link to that gives a bunch of recipes for use with Thanksgiving Leftovers.  Enjoy!  Click here for one of my favorites, or go here:

Friday, September 30, 2011

My Hiatus Explained

If you've been following me for the past 2.5 years, you know that I spent much of my non-foodie time trying to find a job.  Things started picking up December last year, and after a few months I found myself writing freelance for some local papers.

I'm not really a writer by trade, but it was something to help supplement the income, while I continued my employment search -- which was bordering on 3 years.  Finally this past August, I landed a really good gig.  So I threw myself into my job to establish myself.  I have, and I am really enjoying it.

I enjoy my widely varied tasks at this nonprofit venue, I like my co-workers, and my boss rocks!  So, now that I've been working there for a couple of months, I'm going to come back to my Foodie roots. 

Over the next few months I'll be updating the website, getting some new reviews up, and I might even start writing for a local magazine! 

So, stay tuned.  I'll keep you in the loop!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Casual Dining Chains Losing Ground to Fast Casual Eateries?

Here's an interesting article from The Chronicle that talks about the declining sales of casual dining restaurants (i.e. Chili's, Applebees, Ruby Tuesday, etc.) and about the rise of fast-casual restaurants (i.e. Panera, Qdoba, FiveGuys, etc.)

I think it hits on a good point.  About a decade ago, I wouldn't think twice about eating at Chili's or Applebees.  Now, I can't remember the last time I ate at one.

On the other hand, I routinely visit Qdoba and Panera, at least a couple times a month for each.  I go for three reasons. Quicker. Cheaper. Better tasting food.

So, have your eating habits changed?  If so, why?

Here's the article:

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Wine Wednesday: Beringer Chardonnay

The other day at the local Harris Teeter, I ran across a bottle of Beringer.  I've heard of Beringer for as long as I can remember, but I don't think I've actually TRIED a Beringer.

So, when I saw this 2009 Chardonnay on sale for about $8, I decided to pounce.

I'm seriously glad I did.

To the nose, it has a light feel -- like that of a sauvignon blanc.  It's smell mostly consisted of citrus and pear, with an acidic twinge that only 14% alcohol can bring.

The taste, however, was completely different.  Though it had the citrus and pear I was expecting, it had a yummy oaky flavor and creamy mouth-feel.  Yeah, it's a full-bodied wine, but the taste of alcohol was negligible.  Good for me!  Bad for my liver.  :)

It has become one of my go-to wines for the foreseeable future.

Score: 4/5

Price: $ (under $10)

Wine Info:
2009 Chardonnay
Beringer, Founders' Estate

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Restaurant Review: The Nook

Atmosphere: 4/5
Food: 4/5
Service: 4.5/5
Total: 12.5/15

Summary: Better than average food, great service and a cozy atmosphere make this one of my favorite coffee shops in the area.

For the full review, hit the jump!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Restaurants hit hard by increasing food prices

Here's a great article from Business Today (a local and monthly publication) about how Lake Norman restaurants are handling the increases in food prices. Are they passing along the increased prices to the customer? Are they taking losses on some dishes? Read on to find out!

Business Today talked to three of my favorite places: Alton's, Galway Hooker and Ferrucci's Deli. If you like food in the LKN area -- this is a must read!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Whole Foods Rap

I'm back from an unannounced hiatus!  Sorry for disappearing like that.

However, to make it up to you, I wanted to pass along this Whole Foods rap!  If you miss Whole Foods like I miss Whole Foods, then this viral video is for you!

Here's the link:

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Jogging for a GREAT CAUSE....

I need your help to spread the word about this event...

Coming up is a fun-run/walk at Jetton Park.  The event is fun, but the cause is serious.  In fact, it's heartbreaking.  I can't really do it justice, so here is some text that I've pulled:
The Kiffors, Jen, 25, a nursing school graduate, and Zack, a long time school age teacher at Gateway Academy and their 9 week old baby, Julian, are in the midst of a horrible family tragedy. The Lake Norman community is organizing to help them. 
Last December, Jen finished nursing school. She was hired by CMC Main in Charlotte and was supposed to start mid March, after giving birth to their son, Julian, in February 2011. However, when Jen’s “after pregnancy sicknesses” didn’t get better, she was diagnosed with a very rare cancer, Primitive Neuroectodermal Tumor of the Kidney, which has sadly spread throughout her body. PNET is so rare that there is no cure. Jen has begun chemotherapy and is in the care of oncology doctors at Duke Medical Center.
From what I can tell, this event is meant to help their son Julian, with future costs of life / education. These are good people who have been dealt some of the worst cards ever. So, please join me, and hundreds of others, by participating in this event and helping a worthy and local cause.

Here's a link to the PFD poster:


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Food Lion Going in the Wrong Direction

According to the article below, it sounds like Food Lion (a.k.a. Delhaize) will be converting most of its Blooms into Food Lion stores.  And honestly, I just can't understand the reasoning behind this.  Bloom stores are plainly superior to the sub-standard experience I usually get from my local Food Lion.

For those of you not familiar with Bloom.  Think of your local Harris Teeter.  I love my local Harris Teeter, and I know many others who do too. With large and fresh veggie selections, a nice meat and seafood department, selection of high-end cheeses, specialty items (like Indian and Thai foods) and large beer and wine selections, THIS is a place that knows how to make shopping enjoyable.

My few Bloom experiences were far superior to my usual Food Lion experiences.  I have two Food Lions near me, and usually this is my shopping experience.  Below are parts of some of my conversations that I've actually had at these Food Lions.

At the deli area:
Where's the fresh Parmesan?  No, I don't want the Kraft stuff stored at room temperature for 20 years.
Do you have any Black Forest Ham?  No?  Honey Ham?  No?  Any ham?
Do you have any good, crusty, bread -- like a French baguette or sourdough loaf?  No, not the Pepperidge farms breads -- REAL bread.

In the fruit and vegetable area:
Do you have any shallots? No, not scallops, shallots -- they're like little onions *sigh* never mind.

In the meat area: (assuming I can find a butcher, which isn't always the case.)
Do you have any non-farm raised (insert fish name here)?  No?  Didn't think so....
Can I get a boneless pork shoulder?  Not for another few days?

In the Dairy Aisle:
Why does it smell like sour milk?  Excuse me, sir? Your dairy refrigerator is over 60 degrees.  (His response:  "The refrigerator is on a DEFROST cycle."  When was the last time, you had to defrost your fridge?)

In the check-out area:
Sure, I'll help you bag my groceries.....

The Harris Teeter closest to me is always packed with people.  While the local Food Lions are comparably empty?  Why?  My guess is the HT offers an enjoyable shopping experience, with a large selection of high-quality foods and an inviting atmosphere. And if I want to stock-up on cheap pre-packaged stuff (like soda or chips) I'll just head to Target or Wal Mart -- not Food Lion.

When Food Lion (a.k.a. Delhaize) created the Bloom brand several years ago, I had hoped that ALL Food Lions would eventually adopt the Bloom example of freshly prepared foods, high quality produce, large selections, and an inviting atmosphere.

Sadly, with this decision it looks like we'll be losing some excellent grocery stores -- and I'm guessing that closing Bloom stores is just the beginning of closings for Food Lion.  After all, when was the last time you heard your neighbor exclaim "I love my Food Lion!"  Yeah, me neither.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Taco Bell Continues to Create Mexican-ish "Food"

Below is a great link to (The San Francisco Chronicle's website), which features a You Tube video of a guy eating a Taco Bell taco with -- get this -- a shell made from Dorito's (Nacho Cheese flavor, if you must know.)

This recent gastric assault is supposedly called the "Dorito Loco Taco" and is being test marketed in that bastion of Mexican culture and food -- Ohio.

Ok, so nobody there probably knows what real Mexican food is, but at least it's tasty!

And though I'm sorta poking fun at Taco Bell for this:  Taco Bell, if you're listening, please send me one!  It sounds delicious!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Recipe Friday: The Best Meatloaf Ever

I've gotta admit.  I've never really been a meatloaf fan (the food, not the ROCKIN' singer).  Maybe it's the thought of a loaf of meat.  Maybe because that meat should be on a bun.  Or maybe it's because I'd never really had it growing up.  Either way, me = not a fan.

So, when my wife shared the recipe from this month's Real Simple, I wasn't bowled over with enthusiasm.  However, Real Simple has rarely let me down. AND that publication is what really taught me to cook.  So, I decided to try it.

Boy, am I glad I did. This meatloaf is amazing.  Moist and delicious, with bacon and gruyere cheese, it smells like something that you'd find in a top-notch restaurant.  This is truly a gourmet take on an American classic.

My slightly modified recipe is after the jump. We added some extra bacon and gruyere.  What else would you expect from me?  Lemme tell you, it's amazing, and definitely worth a try.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Bacon Perfume -- The Ultimate Seduction

It has come to my attention, that a company (or evil government conspiracy) has created my version of kryptonite -- Bacon perfume.

You read that right. Apparently, smelling bacon throughout the kitchen is no longer enough.  Now you, me or (HOPEFULLY) my wife can just spritz on the bacon smell.   God, I LOVE technology!

I'm sure you have questions -- I sure do.  Fortunately, their website has answers.  I've listed a few Q&As below:
Question: Do these fragrances smell like bacon?
Answer: Yes and No. These are sophisticated aromas. There is a top, middle and bottom note. Both Bacōn Classic and Bacōn Gold are comprised of essential oils, flowers, herbs and the essence of bacon. The bacon is the bottom note. Hidden in just the right place. It's there alright, and the real fun is in finding it.
Question: Are these fragrances considered a cologne or perfume?
Answer: Each fragrance is designed for both men and women. Pick the scent that appeals to you and uncover a new level of awesome.
Question: What is the difference between Bacōn Classic and Bacōn Gold?
Answer: Each differ in many ways but Bacōn Classic is best characterized as a spicey maple aroma and Bacōn Gold, a memorable sizzling citrus. Both however offer the same potency of the secret formula.
So, if you're looking to seduce the foodie in your life, go grab a bottle of this stuff.  I can't wait to give it to my wife for our anniversary! Click the jump for the website!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Foodie Weigh-In #4: Back on the Wagon

Well, I'm back below my initial weigh-in.  This Monday's result was 213 lbs.  Not great, but after the gorge-fest that was my D.C. visit, I'll take it.

I was mostly good last week. Aside from a few bottles of wine, I ate mostly healthy.  Three salads for lunch, and a sushi dinner splurge at eeZ, mark my weight is going back down.  YAY!

I got in a couple of good work outs, 45 mins of resistance training, and a spirited 45 min. hike on the dirt trails through Latta Plantation.

Now let's see if I can repeat that this week!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Foodie Weigh In #3: Off the Wagon

I spent part of last week with my wife, visiting friends.  During a quick trip into DC, we took our love of food to a completely new level.

First we had dinner at Focca Luna -- a place that has reached almost Sainthood (in my mind), for their pizzas.  Seriously, with its hand-made wood buring oven pizzas and very high quality ingredients, these are my favorite pizzas on the planet.  Also, they've got an amazing veal bolognese.  Since we couldn't decide which one, we ordered one of each and split them! 

Let me tell you.  You haven't lived until you've had a Focca Luna pepperoni pizza, TOPPED with their veal bolognese sauce (minus the noodles).  There are few things better.

The next evening we went to a dinner for my wife's former boss.  He was retiring, and all his ex-employees gathered to send him off in style.  (Yeah, he's a GREAT guy!)

So, a couple of his past employees are now high-level executives.  This means, that the ENTIRE dinner was paid for by a couple large companies.  The restaurant is a posh (not spice) italian place in downtown DC, just a few blocks from the White House.  The wine didn't stop pouring.  And the food was amazing. 

I started with a prosciutto "salad" -- gotta love a salad that is all meat and cheese.  I then worked my way into ANOTHER veal bolognese sauce with fettuchini.  Then topped it all off with a flourless chocolate cake.

All in all, it was amazing.  Until I got home and got on the scale -- 216.5.  My total weight-gain last week was 5 lbs.!  ACK!  I'd say it wasn't worth it -- but I'd be lying.

Now, this week, I'm getting back into my schedule. I worked out this morning, and my lunch will be a salad of some sort.  Hopefully, I can get back to my pre-trip weight.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Meal Deal at Qdoba: Kids Eat Free on Sat.

I got this note in my e-mail the other day. Apparently, if you go to Qdoba in North Carolina any Saturday this March, your child can eat for free -- as long as you purchase any regular entrée.

This is a decent deal.  If I had kids, I'd be there every Saturday ordering a Mexican Gumbo.

FYI, the word is already out, and last Saturday the place was packed!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Restaurant Review: 131 Main (Cornelius)

Atmosphere: 4.5/5
Food: 5/5
Service: 4.5/5
Total: 14/15

Price: $$ (Burger was $10)

This post was originally planned to be a review of the Roast Beef Sandwich.  A delicious sandwich that is one of the best I've had.

But then I had a bite of my wife's Cheeseburger.  It is, simply put.

The Best Cheeseburger Ever.

(Thanks to my wife who traded her half of the burger for half of my Roast Beef Sandwich -- I got the better half of the deal!)

As you know, I love burgers.  And some of my favorites include In-N-Out, Five Guys and the Bull Burger at Bullfeathers on Capitol Hill in D.C.

But now, there's a new Top Dog (or Burger, if you prefer), and that's the Classic Cheeseburger at 131 Main.

(Hit the jump for the entire review)

Monday, March 7, 2011

Foodie Weigh In #2

I hopped on the scale this morning was was shocked to see that I was down to 211 lbs.  This week was full of work, not work outs.  I only had one resistance training, two 30 min. yoga sessions, and a 30 min. walk.  Not the amazing work outs I had planned.

But, it appears that the healthier diet is working.  I had several salads again this week.  And I stayed completely away from fried foods (except for sharing a bowl of kettle chips on Saturday.)

Well, it appears that something is working, so I'll be keeping this up!  On the down-side, I'll be doing some traveling this week, and plan to see some old friends at a free dinner with top-shelf drinks and gourmet food.  I may come back heavier than ever!

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Taco Bell Offers Discounted Food This Week Only

Due to the debacle over their not-so-meaty beef, Taco Bell is planning on squelching the cacophony of dissent, by offering discounted Crunchwrap Supremes!  YAAY!

Because nothing says "We stand behind our 88% beef-like product," like a flour tortilla, wrapped around a fried corn shell, with cheese, tomatoes, lettuce, sour cream, and eventually beef -- all for $.88.  Don't forget the Fire sauce!

Please understand, I love me some Taco Bell.  But really, celebrating the fact that your beef is over 10% filler, is just sad.  Just offer some cheap steak tacos and I'll be good. (F.Y.I. their Fresco menu items, are outstanding!)

Click the jump for a link to Taco Bell's $.88 Crunchwrap Supreme.

Now in England - Chimp Meat?!?!

It's been less than a week since my Breast Milk Ice Cream post -- now it comes out that there's a black market for CHIMP MEAT.

Yes, that's right, somebody is using our little monkey friends for food.

Ordinarily, I'm OK with people eating most things that are edible, and I understand that in come countries Fido is on the menu.  While I wouldn't do it, I'm OK with people who do.

But this is too far.  Chimps are, genetically speaking, about 95% - 98% identical to humans.  I'm sorry, but that's almost the same percentage of some dorm-mates of mine in college!  And that comes too close to cannibalism for me to be comfortable with it.

Hit the jump for a link to the article:

Monday, February 28, 2011

Foodie Weigh In

Well, it's been one week, and I'm down two pounds.  I didn't get in the work outs I had planned (only two resistance) and 1.5 walks (one was only a mile, the other probably about 2.5 miles.)

However, I think my diet was probably on the better side.  I had some salads for lunch and dinner, and desserts were kept to a minimum (only a few).  In addition, my snacks during the afternoon consisted mostly of nuts -- which I am told are healthier than Flaming Hot Cheetos (yeah, I don't believe it either).

So, I'm down to 212.5 lbs from 214.5 lbs.  My initial goal is 200lbs.  I guess we'll just have to wait and see if I can keep this up.

How about you?  Anybody want to join me in my efforts to be healthier?  If so, leave me a comment!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Breast-Milk Ice Cream -- I'm undecided on this....

Today Reuters published a story reporting that a specialty ice-cream shop in England was selling ice cream made of breast milk.  Yes, from an actual woman. The flavor called, Baby Ga Ga, costs over $20 per serving!

I'll take two full B scoops please!  (Sorry, I just had to...)

They're calling it, and I quote, "an organic, free-range treat."  Criminy, I can't even imagine how the FDA would certify this... the mind boggles.

Here's an excerpt:
What could be more natural than fresh, free-range mother's milk in an ice cream? And for me it's a recession beater too -- what's the harm in using my assets for a bit of extra cash," Hiley said in a statement.

"I tried the product for the first time today -- it's very nice, it really melts in the mouth."

The Baby Gaga recipe blends breast milk with Madagascan vanilla pods and lemon zest, which is then churned into ice cream.
I honestly don't know what I think about this.  But I'll give the guy credit -- he's a marketing / PR genius.  It's a freaking ice cream store thousands of miles away, and he's getting a LOT of press over this.

So what do you think?  Tasty?  or Yuk?

Follow the jump for the link!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Has the Lake Norman Foodie Become the Lake Norman Fatty?

Being a foodie has it's perks!  I looove eating great food and drinking even better wine.  I've gotten to know local chefs, restaurant owners, and even folks that have wineries close by.

But it also has its down side.  For example: today's scale reading -- an outlandish 214.5 lbs.  Which rounds-up to:


That is the weight I had when I was in high school.  I was able to loose and keep it off for over 18 years.  It's been creeping up for the past decade -- Now, it's come back.


So, what am I going to do about it?  Well, I believe in moderation with all things, so here's my plan.

1) Try to cut back on the wine.  I'm not going to cut-back a LOT, but I think during the weekdays, I should try to limit myself to three glasses Sunday through Thursday.  Friday and Saturday are still open bottle nights.  :)

2) Eat some freakin' vegetables.  Before I moved to the east coast, I had very little meat in my diet.  Often, it was vegetables and pasta (with the occasional pizza and linguisa sandwich).  So, I'm going to eat less like I did last night (filet mignon with a herb butter; bread with olive oil, and artichoke with a garlic aioli), and more like I will tonight (Chicken Thai Salad, with lettuce, cucumbers, corn, carrots, red peppers and peanut sauce.)

My goal is at least two dinners per week that consist only of vegetables, and at least two lunches during the week that are mostly vegetables.

3) Work out.  I'm going for about three 30-45 minute resistance work outs.  With at least one long walk / hike during the weekend.

I'll be posting updates and will keep a tally going on the right side of this blog.  Hopefully, I can knock off some of this weight before I'm at the beach this summer -- I'd hate to get harpooned!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Taco Bell Beef Isn't Really Beef -- I KNEW IT!!!

This isn't the most noteworthy news.  After all, did any of us REALLY assume that Taco Bell used real ground beef in their amazingly cheap (yet delicious) food-like offerings?

Nope, me either.

Here is a listing of what is in their "Ground Beef" that's really called "Taco Meat Filling."  Personally, I'm just relieved that there isn't any horse...
Beef, water, isolated oat product, salt, chili pepper, onion powder, tomato powder, oats (wheat), soy lecithin, sugar, spices, maltodextrin (a polysaccharide that is absorbed as glucose), soybean oil (anti-dusting agent), garlic powder, autolyzed yeast extract, citric acid, caramel color, cocoa powder, silicon dioxide (anti-caking agent), natural flavors, yeast, modified corn starch, natural smoke flavor, salt, sodium phosphate, less than 2% of beef broth, potassium phosphate, and potassium lactate
How's that for a list?  Nothing says yummy taco like "autolyzed yeast extract."

Hit the jump for Taco Bell's response:

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Starbucks to Introduce Larger Cup; My Bladder is Too Small

Taking a page from their awesome April Fools joke, when they announced the creation of a 128oz. "Plenta" cup, Starbucks has announced that they are actually introducing a larger cup.

This new cup size, known as a "Trenta," will be (only) 31oz. and will be used for cold drinks only.  But to give you an idea of the size.  It is over 50% larger than their "Venti" cups which are only 20oz. The additional price should be about 50 cents more than a "Venti."

To be honest I'm glad about this.  Whenever I've ordered an iced coffee, I've always felt a little jipped, due to the fact that 70% of the drink appears to be ice.  Fortunately, now I'll get plenty of caffeine.  Unfortunately, I don't think my bladder can handle the extra volume of liquid -- time to grab a table close to the bathroom!

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Nook

Atmosphere: 4.5/5
Food: 4/5
Service: 4.5/5
Total: 13/15

Price: $ (under $10)
Kid Friendly: Yes.  A hi-chair and a kids meu are available.

Conclusion:  Yay, I have a nearby non-starbucks coffee choice!Warm decor, good food (and coffee) and a friendly staff make this place worth visiting again and again.  Next time I'm coming here for lunch to try the Pesto Turkey sandwich!

Click the jump for my detailed review and info about The Nook:

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

National Whipped Cream Day!

Yes, you read the headline correctly.  Today is National Whipped Cream Day! 

It's a day of celebration!  It's a day of sweetness! So grab a loved one and some whipped cream and nibble... So, go get some whipped cream!

Here's a quote from the article:
 On this day, January 5 in 1914 Aaron “Bunny” Lapin was born in St. Louis Missouri. He ultimately developed the aerosol spray cream which was then and still known today as “Reddi-Wip.” Back then, spray creams had already been available for a few years but the canister always had to be taken back to factory to get refilled. Bunny invented the convenient single-use can and we celebrate his birthday in honor of his accommodating contribution to dessert lovers.
And here's a link to the article:

Wine Wednesday: Wily Jack Cabernet

When it comes to food, I'm not terribly snooty -- I'll eat anything as long as it tastes good.

But when it comes to my wine, I have a little bit of attitude.  I don't care if it's cheap or expensive, I just want the wine makers to deliver a good product.

So, when I saw the Wily Jack website I was worried.  Their homepage focuses on the label and not the wine.  Here is the first sentence of their homepage -- I kid you not:
Wily Jack wines have packaging that is graphically compelling and entertaining, with stories that chronicle the life and wisdom of Wily Jack.
Yeah, their website boasts that their wine bottlesthey have stories that chronicle the life of Wily Jack -- a fictional character.  Seriously, if I wanted to read while drinking -- I'd stick with Playboy Cosmo.

Click the jump to read the rest of the review and the score.