Archive for the ‘Food and Drink’ Category


I’ve decided to start doing reviews for Yelp! I was always disappointed that there weren’t enough reviews there for my liking, and realized the only way to get reviews up there was to do some myself.

So my URL there is http://www.kibblesbits.yelp.com if you want to see my opinion on stuff, beyond what I write here.  My first review is for Pizza Ranch in Dubuque.  And if anyone reading this wants to add me, go ahead!

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Well, I picked up some extra roma tomatoes, some garlic from the garlic stand, and some local honey (yes honey) for my tomato sauce.  I managed to somehow get the ‘tomato machine’ working.   The sauce has been cooking for about 8 hours, at least, and I will be slow cooking it even more.  I’m hoping to get 8 quarts or so out of it.  (In pint jars.)

It brought back so many memories!  I’m glad I can do out here in Dubuque what I used to do as a kid in Brooklyn.  I hope it turns out nice, I want to ship it out to my family all over.  If it works out, I’ll be doing this all over again either next weekend or the weekend after.  Maybe even both, with the way it smells and tastes so far!

And somewhere in the middle, I’ll be attempting jelly for the first time.  Mountain Dew jelly.  Can’t stand the stuff (Mountain Dew) but it is a novel idea, and I know some people who will get a kick out of it, so if it works out, I’ll send it their way.

I’d just freeze the sauce like we used to when I was younger, but I really want to share the sauce with family and friends.  I miss them, being out here in Dubuque, this is a good way to connect with them, and connect with the family I left behind by carrying on traditions.  (Including insisting my son help, and then telling him, “no no no” and doing it myself, and then insisting he helps again.)

I did just notice I’ve got one heck of an ache in my shoulder. Cranking that tomato squeezer takes a lot out of you!  I can imagine my next visit to Dr. Besler (my chiropractor). “What did you do to it? Wore your textbooks on one side again?” “No, cranking out tomato sauce. Literally.”  The man is a miracle worker, though, so I’m not worried.  Some Ben-Gay, until then.

Oh and besides the above ingredients, I have some wine in it, olive oil, and a lot of the basil from my garden.  I had a basil BUSH, just about. I’ve got to start freezing it, like mom suggested.

I’m mostly glad to send it out to Dan, who will be working for a while at Lincoln Center, it looks like. We’ll know this week, I think. At least he’ll have something home cooked when he’s out of town.

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Well, at least the food was edible.

My retired parents flew into Dubuque to see us. I thought Taste of Dubuque would be a great event to wind down after a day of travelling. That the kids could get ‘kid food’, like pizza, and the grown ups could get other food.

I had been warned, however, that it was geared towards drinkers. I waved this off, though, figuring we’d be ok. There was a kids area, right?

Well, once we found the trolley stop (not one trolley stop downtown was marked), we chugged over to the festival.  The kids area was a bouncy castle, and…I guess some sort of putt game and a fishing game.  Not too much, but a nod to families, I suppose.  I think there was a ‘sucker wheel’ or something, too.  Well, we weren’t there for games so the lack of kid’s activities was acceptable.

Of course, we had to do a bathroom run, which was firmly in BEER STAND TERRITORY. Still, no lines, clean, limited smell, and nice hand sanitizer stand right there.  Then we went back to get food.

There were lines everywhere, which was encouraging.  The food was typical fair/festival stuff, I thought perhaps some of the restaurants would use this as a chance to show off, even outdoors, and have something a bit more unique. Coming from NYC, though, we’re a bit hard to impress, to be honest.

Then my parents took the kids to look for a table and some chairs (which you think would be standard at a festival all about FOOD), and I spied a pepsi stand. Strange, honestly, that the individual stands didn’t also sell drinks.

You needed a ticket, a beverage ticket, even for soda. Or water. You couldn’t just buy it. I can understand needing the control for the alcohol, but can’t you give non drinkers a break? I guess not.  I was not willing to go on TWO lines for a drink, so I went to find my family.

Well, they were under a tent (the only shade available), sitting on the ground. A gaggle of volunteers had a group of seats, while my parents sat in the dirt. I don’t mind my kids sitting in the dirt, but I really think that volunteers are there to help the general public, and the tourists, and letting an older retired couple sit on the ground is pretty appalling. I was embarassed for my new city that they could just sit there and do that.  I really think that the only reason people volunteer is for the free t-shirts (which are usually pretty entertaining).

Eventually a different group of people got up, and we got to sit. No tables, but we sat. We then left the festival, and let me tell you, my dad’s back was still in agony the next day.  (In a forum on the thonline website someone said you are expected to bring your own seating. I did not see one person carrying their own seat around.)

I think the Dubuque Historical Society has something to do with this, but I’m not sure.  If that’s the Mississippi River Museum people, the ones that don’t like disabled people going to their museum (which is why we didn’t renew our membership — we’re not welcome), then I guess I’m not suprised.

Dubuque looks really, really ugly right now.  In NYC, my parents would have been offered a seat. For all that they say about rude New Yorkers, this festival was one big exercise in rudeness.

But hey, the beer drinkers were happy.  Beer makes this city go round.

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There is a local supermarket called Eagle. Has all the weird things I never saw in NYC, like ham salad and pistachio salad and all these jello-y looking and mayo looking salads in the deli case. And no boars head. Or Italian cold cuts.

But they did have spinach dip. And I love me some spinach dip (got some pita chips too).

I took it home and looked at the ingredient list (its made in the store).

sour cream
<b>veggie soup mix</b>
water chestnuts

Now it’s tasty, but having "veggie soup mix" as an ingredient just makes me giggly.  Not even something like "vegetable soup mix" or "dried onions, salt, dried blahblah, MSG etc". Just veggie soup mix.

Oh, Toto, I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore.

I’d rather have that though, than the overreaching law in NYC that will be banning trans fats. Now I’m all about eating healthy, but I am NOT about the Nanny state.  Morons.

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Link: Weird & Different Recipes. Spam shake, banana worm bread, kitty litter cake, etc.

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Link: Newsday.com – Health News/Science News.

Let me tell you, the day that Burger King puts a gun to my head and force feeds me a Whooper, large fries, and a shake, is the day I’ll start making mewling noises about how unhealthy they are, and how SOMETHING needs to be done.

Right now, the only thing that needs to be done is for people to get a sense of responsibility over where they shop and what they eat. Start buying more organic food so it doesn’t cost so damn much, make it worthwhile for people to sell healthier food, and maybe you’ll find some. Meanwhile, don’t get freaked out when people might actually enjoy a big greasy omlette, some cheese, bacon AND sausage on a huge, carb-laden bun. No one is making you eat it.

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Link: Ernie’s Continental Delicatessen and Imports Main Page.

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Link: Drunk Chef Recipe Cookbook – Good Recipes, Good Drinks, Good Times.

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Oh this site is FANTASTIC. It is scans from old cookbooks, old ads, magazine articles, all sorts of information on REALLY BAD FOOD.

But not bad on purpose. Someone actually thought these dishes were good ideas!

Coffee Jello?

Dr. Pepper Goulash?

I’ll just end the post with this little bit of yumminess. Benedictish Frankwiches.

You’re welcome.

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Might not sound like much of a site, or much of a post, but this link is to a substitution list. But when you are cooking, and realize you are missing some basic ingredient, it can’t hurt to know what you can substitute in its place.

The rest of the site it came from isn’t bad, either!

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