"Peter-fied" Chicken and Veggie Packages

August 1st, 2005

I altered a recipe that Nick gave me on Friday when I asked him what I should make myself for dinner. He had suggested his Chicken and Veggie packages. Where he got this recipe originally, we may never know. In any case, he said to take a chicken breast, some sliced up onion and zucchini, some extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), and season to taste. Take all of your ingredients, wrap them in tin foil (hence the word packages) and throw them in the oven at 400 degrees for 30 minutes. For a treat, near the end of your 30 minutes add a cheese of your preference to the packages. What I did was slightly different.

After preheating my oven to 400, I pre-made three little tin foil trays in which I would be able to dump my ingredients in thirds. I chose three as I had purchased a package of three chicken breasts. I took each chicken breast and sliced them into strips, maybe 3/4" thick so they would cook more evenly once in the oven, seasoned them and put each in the tin foil. I only chopped up 1/2 of an onion as I do not as a general rule like onions, but I thought it would flavor my chicken well.

Next I moved to my stovetop where I pulled down a pan and cooked 4 strips of bacon. I bought some beautiful applewood smoked bacon that had been cut nearly 1/4" thick. Once cooked, I forked one piece into each of my packages (and ate the fourth). Now I was left with a mess of bacon fat in my pan. No problem Mr. Charles Shaw cannot handle. I added red wine to my pan and sauteed a handful of mushrooms. I poured my wine/bacon nectar/mushroom mix over my packages and closed them. They went into the oven for 25-30 minutes.

My modifications to Nick's recipe were small. Mushrooms in place of zucchini, red wine instead of EVOO, and I omitted the last minute cheese. I guess you could say I treated myself with bacon instead. I have no complaints about my meal and the way it was prepared.

Simple recipe. Simple dinner. And best of all: Simple clean-up.

Outraged.

July 26th, 2005

You may or may not be able to relate to the idea of having a "go to" lunch spot for a particular day of the week. I do not have one for each day of the week, well lately I do not have one at all. For a long time, every Thursday I would go to Cosi for their Chicken Corn Chowder.

An admitted soup lover since confronted by a close friend a few years back, few things in life matched up with Cosi's Chicken Corn Chowder. With their special bread, break off pieces and dip it in the soup...so good. The switch was made that Thursday was no longer the day. Monday was now the day. As Cosi does a "soup of the day", you had to be sure to be there on the right day to get the Chicken Corn Chowder. This was a minor inconvenience at most.

Then a few months ago I became inundated with work and school and luncheons and the like. Every Monday I seemed to have something else going on. My trips to Cosi became nonexistent. How I longed for those days, sitting at my table; book in one hand, soup spoon in the other.

It was time to take charge, which I did yesterday. Yesterday was my triumphant return to Cosi to claim the Chicken Corn Chowder that was rightfully mine. I know what you are expecting and no, they did not change back to Thursdays. They changed the soup! The absolute worst thing that Cosi could have done. They have a new and different Chicken Corn Chowder. This new version of the old favorite is unremarkable. There is nothing that sets this soup apart from other soups. Just when Cosi could count on regaining my business, this happens. I take it personally. This is a slap in the face.

I am outraged.

July 20th, 2005

Behavior is a mirror in which everyone shows his own image.

June 15th, 2005

Don't be hasty, prosperity will knock on your door soon.

Grill 23 & Bar - Boston, MA

June 3rd, 2005

Located at the corner of Berkeley and Stuart Streets in Boston's Back Bay area, Grill 23 & Bar is a premier dining experience. Executive Chef Jay Murray prepares a fine menu that is highlighted by their signature Kobe Beef cap steak. Again, it is highly recommended that you do not order your Kobe Beef warmer than medium-rare. It is nice to know that in a city full of Seafood restaurants there are still places to get a great steak. But don't worry, Grill 23 & Bar has a full menu of seafood items as well. It is a very versatile dinner destination.

The meal is more expensive than some places, but the food, wine, wait staff and experience were worth it. The meal will be >$50 per person if you do drinks and appetizers and the dress is business casual to business professional. It is a good setting for business dinners, dates or even a good meal with friends.

The next time I am in Boston I will have a hard time struggling between going back to Grill 23 & Bar or trying someplace new.

The restaurant was suggested to me by the front desk at my hotel when I asked for a good steakhouse to which I would take a client. When travelling anywhere, for any reason, I always recommend you ask the concierge where to eat rather than picking something out of the air.

June 1st, 2005

You are the master of every situation.

Xochimilco - Detroit, MI

May 18th, 2005

The signs say Mexicantown, though some call it "Mexican Village". Whichever way you say it, this area of Detroit is home to Xochimilco's Restaurant.

I have never been to Mexico so I cannot speak to the authenticity of their Mexican menu, but what I can tell you is that the food is delicious.

I would accept take out from Xochimilco if I absolutely had to, but eating there is part of the fun. The place is dimly lit and has nothing too exciting lining its walls, but it is still a great place to eat.

You get a bottomless basket of fresh tortilla chips with salsa (both mild and hot) to snack on before, during and after your meal. A tip I got from Nick, who is the kind soul who shared this little Shangri-La with me, is to never leave Xochimilco with any less than two large chips and two large mild salsas in my hands. Pricing is on the appetizer side of the menu to see how much that will run you out the door. The chips have a decent shelf life and the salsa is so fresh when you get it. You have a snack for a few days, assuming you don't eat it all on the ride home. And if you're thirsty, I believe all beers, domestic and imported, are $3 and you see plenty of margaritas on the tables to round out your Mexican meal.

You would be hard pressed to find a sit down restaurant that takes less time between order placement and delivery of food. It does not take long to eat at Xochimilco, so keep this in mind if you pull up and see a line for a table. Prices are also very reasonable.

I do not get down to Xochimilco nearly as often as I would like. It is hard for me to justify the trip down to Detroit on my own, but any time I find a willing companion I head south. It's pretty easy to get there from north of Detroit as you just take I-75 south to exit 47-B which is the exit for the bridge. Do not get on the bridge, mind you. After a series of left turns you end up facing Mexicantown. The address is 3409 Bagley St. (You can also take 96 east and get off at the exit for the bridge.) Parking is limited directly next to the restaurant, but there is an extended lot just beyond.

If you could pick one restaurant that excites me most when I get to go there, this is it.

Chicken Bacon Cheddar Ranch

April 21st, 2005
Why?  Because Hootie said so.
(Thank you to Population Statistic for the image of Hootie.)

The Chicken Bacon Cheddar Ranch from Burger King is far and away the most exciting new arrival to the Burker King menu in a very long time. Typically I will not deviate from the double cheeseburger when I hit up the home of the whopper, but I could not pass on this. Two toppings that belong on each and every food item, bacon and ranch appear together on this one sandwich. You can't go wrong.

I had to try this for the second time tonight. The first time my order was messed up. I asked for no tomato and no onion, I got my sandwich also with no bacon or chedddar. Defeats the purpose, no?

Tonight they righted their wrong and I'm glad they did. Good sandwich, one worth even sitting through those awful commercials.

Sapporo - Scottsdale, AZ

April 20th, 2005

Sapporo is a diverse location. The restaurant features a trendy bar, a traditional dining area and their piece de resistance, the Teppanyaki style tables (Hibachi to some, or even Japanese Steakhouse if you prefer).

Their dining room menu looked extensive, but from our perspective, if you are going to go to a place that will do Teppanyaki style, that is what you have.

If you have never been to a restaurant in this mold (Benihana's, Kyoto's, Kobe) I highly recommend it. Tables are set up to seat 8 people along one long and the two short sides of a rectangular table. The other side of the table is reserved for the chef to work as he comes and prepares your food on the grill surface in the center of the table. The chef's are trained to not only make delicious food, but also entertain you while you wait. They are masters of their equipment and I am sure do not recommend you try any of their tricks at home in your own kitchen.

Sapporo serves your meal with fried rice rather than most of the other restaurants which offer fried rice as an add-on to the meal and serve steamed white rice. I was glad to see fried rice come standard; it is the highlight of the meal for me (isn't it criminal to hear me say that when I order two lobster tails as my entree?). Each dining guest receives a bowl of mushroom soup, a salad with the house ginger dressing, a shrimp appetizer, mixed grilled vegetables and your entree. It sounds like a lot of food. Well, ok, it is a lot of food. But don't worry, while chopsticks are on every place setting, forks are available.

Many if not all of these restaurants offer Kobe beef, which before our dinner at Sapporo, I had never tried. One in my party ordered it and offered some to share. I have to make this statement clear: Kobe beef was the best steak I have EVER had. Kobe beef is from cattle whose days feature massages and a diet enriched with beer, and no I am not kidding. (*You will never want to order Kobe beef cooked longer than medium rare.)

Sapporo is located at 14344 N. Scottsdale Road near the Greenway-Hayden Loop.

April 20th, 2005

Laughter is a tranquilizer with no side effects.