The Opinionated Foodie: The Love (or Not) of Food and Everything That Goes with It


Life Is Too Short to Eat Plain Burgers
March 26, 2014, 12:53 am
Filed under: Random Foodie Thoughts | Tags: , ,

Inspired by the husband’s taste buds, supper tonight was a burger, seasoned only with salt. The burger was on a buttered bun slathered with smooth peanut butter. You also had a granny smith apple that had been sauteed in butter and brown sugar. Finally, bacon.

It’s a keeper, my friends. Just fabulous.

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New Food Finds in Nashvegas
January 25, 2014, 2:10 am
Filed under: Random Foodie Thoughts | Tags: , , ,

We’ve had a sick family member in Nashville, and we spent last Sunday mostly in a hospital waiting room.

Not a fun way to spend a day, but we made it.

That morning, we had had breakfast at McDonald’s and then lunch from a vending machine. It wasn’t too bad though. I had stocked up on quarters, and so we feasted on chips and chocolate. Plus, the kiddos thought the vending machines were the coolest thing evah.

We were what you’d call “country come to town.”

Before supper, we said our goodbyes and searched for real food. We drove around and round and ended up at a J. Alexanders that we weren’t really dressed for and probably didn’t smell right for either, but we went right in anyway.
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We started off with the Margherita flatbread thinking that Mr. Picky would like it. He did, but every one else really liked it. I do believe it is a recipe that I could make. I think I shall try.
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Miss Helper had the Croque Madame, a very big-girl sandwich for such a little person. I stole a bite (or two. or ten), and it was very good. I could try to make this one too. Maybe. Mr. Picky had the Not Your Ordinary Mac and Cheese and didn’t try a bite. When we got home, Miss Helper and I ate every bit of what he didn’t eat straight out of the doggie bag. Divine. I’ve already found the recipe.

It shall be mine.
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I had the beef tenderloin carpaccio in my ongoing attempt to eat the weirdest thing on any menu. I asked if it was a small plate because I thought the price was a little on the cheap side, and the waitress said that it indeed took up the whole plate which was indeed regular sized. Yes.

I loved it. The sauce was a little absent from the dish, but the rest was neat to eat and tasty too. I did worry about the results of eating raw beef, but no worries. I am not going to try to make this one at home, though. Ever.

Raw meat like that tenderloin is not going to be easy to find at our local country Kroger, I am sure.
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I also had the roasted beet salad. Now, that was good. It was warm and the goat cheese was creamy and not too goat-y. Delish. I think I could swing this recipe too-if I can figure out just how to get beets around here.

I don’t want to go back to any hospitals anytime soon, but a trip to J. Alexander’s would be just fine.



Baby, It’s Cold Outside: Snow Weekend Eating and Cooking

This has been the best weekend ever. The last time I was outside of my house was Thursday at 3:45. It is now Sunday afternoon. So, so lovely.

We have worn almost the same clothes since arriving home from school. I have just about finished two books, watched hours of Say Yes to the Dress, played games, watched Christmas movies, and cooked.

It has all been lots of fun.
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Our first snow-weekend meal was fondue. We were in Nashville for Thanksgiving, and we stopped by Trader Joe’s on our way out of town to mingle with the yuppies and grab some unique eats. I tried to hang like a yuppie, but all my clothes matched and I left my sunglasses in the car so I couldn’t wear them in the store. So embarrassing.

I got some kale, seaweed, and a bag of almonds as big as my head for my brother-in-law; I am sure it is a gift that will keep on giving. (Shout out there to Mark and Cousin Eddie!) I also got all sorts of weird cheeses, so peppermint pretzels that I didn’t share, and this tub of fondue which we ate with leftover Conecuh sausage and some crunchy bread. Delish!
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After we ate, I made the usual joke about how we were now fondone. Mr. Picky just rolled his eyes at me.

Tough crowd.

For dessert, we had the necessary snow cake. It was the reason for the snow, I am sure. It just melts like snow in your mouth and lasts the whole snow weekend.
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I also made a potato soup that was a recipe of a friend’s friend. To. Die. For. I didn’t have Velveeta, so I used four cups of shredded Cheddar instead, and it was still fabulous. We ate it twice, and then I threw the rest out so I could use my large pot for chili. That did not go over very well when Mr. Opinionated went looking for it. I thought I was going to be thrown out in the snow. Yikes.
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I was spared when I promised to make it again someday. Whew.

The chili was okay, but it was beanless. Beanless chili is unheard of around here, but apparently I am expected to have beans even when the road looks like a mirror because it has so much ice on it.

Again, tough crowd.
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Today I made Grandma’s chicken and dumplins. This is the food that should be made for anyone who has to get out in weather like this. I promise you that a bowl could put hair on your chest and keep you warm for a month. It made up for the beanless chili.

Next, I am going to try to make buckeyes. Depending on if we have school tomorrow or not, who knows what else is coming out of my kitchen.

One thing’s for sure, it better have beans in it if it is supposed to.

The potato soup recipe which I halved:
10 cups cubed and peeled potatoes
3 cans of chicken broth
2 cans of water
1 stick of butter
1 small onion, chopped
2 carrots, sliced
2 T chives
1 T parsley flakes
1 1/2 t both salt and pepper
1 package real bacon bits

1 cup flour
2 cups milk

1 pound Velveeta, cubed
16 oz sour cream

In a large pot, combine all of the first eleven ingredients. Cook until the potatoes are tender-about fifteen minutes. Combine the flour and milk. Add flour and milk to the soup and bring to a boil. Stir often. Remove the pot from the heat, add the Velveeta, and allow to sit with the lid on for several minutes for the cheese to melt. Add the sour cream and stir to incorporate the cheese and sour cream.



No Complaints Here: Findley’s Irish Pub

A weekend trip to Nashvegas was what the doctor ordered after the last few weeks we have had around here. After searching and searching, our best bet for a hotel during fall break was the mammoth Opryland Resort, a place I mostly avoid like the plague.

Yet, here we were.

We got our room when we and half of the South got checked in, and then we got a different room. The second one was the keeper. After traveling all day and then the long, long line at check-in, and then the room hopping, supper sounded like a great idea.

The way we used to travel, we would never, ever eat at the hotel where we were staying. Hotel restaurants always seemed too swanky and expensive. Lately though, we have changed our ways and have started eating at the hotel more often since it is so convenient even if it is more expensive.

Luckily for us, this worked out very well for us at the Opryland Hotel at Findley’s Irish Pub.
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We were starving when we sat down. The whole hotel was swarming with conference people from Merry Maids and three weddings that night.

We started with the fries with gravy, or as we call them at home, Boo Fries.
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These were fine, but I make better at home.

Regardless, while we were eating our Boo/Gravy Fries, we were enjoying ourselves. The restaurant very comfortable and busy. At a table next to us, though, an older couple was not having a nice time. The man ordered fish and chips. He sent the fish back for some weird reason. Then, he proceeded to send back the fries. They were burned, he said for all to hear. Our waiter, a nice non-Irish guy, explained that that was just the way the fries were made. The man still insisted on different fries. We were eating the same fries with gravy and cheese, and there was nothing wrong with them.

Really, Ridiculous Old Dude? You apparently need more gravy and cheese in your life.

The waiter brought out fresh fries special made for Mr. Complainy Pants that were still not good enough.

His wife, however, ate most of them. I am sure they went nicely with her salad, and I am also sure our waiter had to comp the couple for their pickiness even though he offered a substitute side for the still-not-good-enough second batch of fries.

Thou Shalt Not Be Rude to the Wait Staff should be a Commandment.
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We had no complaints. Mr. Picky had the grilled cheese. He didn’t complain, and his name is picky.
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Miss Helper had the pasta. Loved it!
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Mr. Opinionated had the pub burger. He liked it, but at the price we paid for it, it was a little bit of a let down. It may have been full of fancy stuff, but it was still just a burger.
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I had the Bangers and Mash. It was awesome.

This summer, I really, really watched what I ate and tried to be healthy. I lost several pounds, and realized that I could eat better.

This dish erased every bit of the work I did this summer. It was worth it.

The potatoes, the sausage. Good grief. The mustard sauce. The salad on top with the vinaigrette. Heaven.

We travel to Nashville once or twice a year. Next time we go, I hope we get to eat here again-minus all the Merry Maids and the complaining old guys.
Findley's Irish Pub on Urbanspoon



The Sandwich King’s BLD Sandwich

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It took me months to make this one. The short ribs in this BLD are not an every day thing around here, and they may not be an every day thing anywhere for all I know.
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All I know is that I saw the episode where Jeff Mauro makes this sandwich, and I had to try it, but the short ribs were dang hard to find.
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I tried this recipe once with pork ribs. It was good, but by the reviews I read about this sandwich, I knew it could be better.
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One day at Sam’s while I was perusing the meat, I found them-beef short ribs. I wanted to shout, “Look! I found them! Beef short ribs!” I restrained myself, believe it or not.
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It was exciting, though.
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So I bought them up and brought them home. I followed Mauro’s recipe almost exactly, but I still had to add some beef broth during the cooking since I thought they looked a little dry. I never did get my gravy thick like his, I didn’t have any horseradish mayo, and I thought that the meat tasted a little too bayleafy.
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Still, with an egg on top on a toasted bun, it was the best sandwich ever.
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Ever.
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I can only hope that it doesn’t take me another series of months to taste this sandwich again. It was too, too good.
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Thanks, Sandwich King.
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Mugshots-Tuscaloosa, Alabama

When you live anywhere close to Memphis, it is a goal in life to eat at all of the Huey’s in and around town. It is like an unspoken dream to eat at them all, even though they are all pretty much the same. I have eaten at all but maybe two.

Now, a new dream of mine is to eat at all of the Mugshots. I live no where near them, but still. Dare to dream, I say.

The second Mugshots I got to cross off my bucket list of Mugshots was in Tuscaloosa, home of the Alabama Crimson Tide.

We are not fans.

However, the town is neat and the food at Mugshots was great.
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We started off with Scooter’s Moo Cow Cheese Wedges and the queso dip. The fried cheese was very, very good. It is hard to beat a good fried cheese.
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Mr. Opinionated had the Come Back burger and loved it.
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I had my second peanut butter burger. It is the best burger around, and nobody ever wants to share a bite. Win-win, I say. The bread on this burger is perfect, and the peanut butter is devine. I love it. It would be no problem to make this at home, except for the buns.

The people at Mugshots have the best buns. Giggle, giggle.
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Mr. Picky had a grilled cheese, of course.

It is my hope to continue my tour of Mugshots and finish my bucket list someday. I think I can-one peanut butter burger at a time.



Homemade Boo Fries

So, you know how it goes. You go to a restaurant far from home. You see something unique on the menu. You order. Your taste buds are taken on a journey to Awesomeville. You mourn the fact that you may never taste this dish again.

It is a sad, sad cycle. What to do?

Try to make it at home, and if it fails, you never tell anyone.

If it succeeds, you can post it on your foodie blog for your foodie friends. Both of them.

That, you two, is what is happening here. While at Acme Oyster House, we ordered Boo Fries for no other reason than they sounded interesting. Yet, they were fabulous. Life changing? I don’t think that overstates things. Really, delish.

So, we are home now, and the chance of Boo Fries from Acme Oyster is a dim possibility. It just isn’t gonna happen anytime soon, but they were so simple that I thought that maybe I could recreate them. How hard could it be? Plus, the husband had already given me the go-ahead to make a roast (not his favorite thing to eat) to try out the fries. So, I tried them.
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Success, my friends. Success.

Good gosh almighty, they were good. All I did was make a roast in a pretty simple fashion.
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I used a small roast with an onion, celery, potatoes, and a package of Crock Pot savory pot roast seasoning. I left it in the crock pot all day, and then just before suppertime, I fried up some frozen French fries. To serve them up, I plated them with the fries, then the juice from the crock pot, and shredded Cheddar cheese on top.
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This recipe, as simple as it is, is a keeper. Three out of four of us loved it, and it was pretty close to the Acme’s dish. It was a happy and proud moment for me and my stomach. May the cycle of vacation food be broken again someday. If I can do it again, I promise I’ll tell you both about it.
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