Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Shed BBQ

I really like to try to eat at a restaurant at least three times before I make a review. Restaurants have bad days too. In this case the restaurant is out of town and after eating there I really don't think I'll return. The shed is located in Ocean Springs Mississippi just off I-10. The wife and I were heading to New Orleans to see our grand daughter and visit my wife's sister who lives in Oklahoma. Around lunch time I remembered a BBQ joint featured on the Food Networks, Diners, Drive-In's, and Dives. This place looked incredible. If you were going to design a BBQ joint this place would be the blue print. It is located at the entrance of a camp ground and it is a shed, filled with items gathered from dumpster diving. There were more seats outside than inside. The grounds a littered with memorabilia if you will from the dumpster diving. As you enter, you have to order at a window and then find a seat. No hostess here. I ordered the brisket and spare rib combo plate. My wife ordered the pulled pork. The menu states that all BBQ is served with sauce whose recipe was passed down from an old black guy that made the original sauce. The spare ribs were over cooked to the point that the cartilage at the top of the rib was the consistency of jello. They were dry and the sauce didn't help. The brisket was chopped and covered in the same sauce. Now I know that brisket is the hardest thing to perfect, but this was dry and tasteless. In competitions brisket is presented sliced not chopped. I tasted my wife's pulled pork and it was also chopped and dry. My anticipation of having some killer BBQ was met with wholesale disappointment.

The Shed get 1 star for ambiance.

Shed Barbeque on Urbanspoon

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Liza's Kitchen ( same great food, new location)

Seeing a restaurant change locations has always scared me. I remember Momma Campisis that was a quaint, warm, great Italian restaurant in St. Andrews at the foot of Beck Ave. Momma would come around to all the tables and make you feel welcome and part of the family. Business grew and she moved to a larger facility and things were never the same for me. Today I lunched with the wife at the new Liza's Kitchen location about a block from it's former location on Thomas Drive in the Mirabella plaza, a small U shape center. It was packed with customers and the service was good. I know there are many Liza fans out there and my hope is they will keep patronizing Liza's. As I have said many times a sandwich is no better than the bread that is it's foundation. Liza's makes their on Foccacia bread and it shows. I am soooo tired of local restaurants calling a sandwich a Po Boy and serving it on a hoagie roll or bun. That aint a Po Boy. The menu hasn't changed and that's a good thing. I have tried the hot turkey, Muffelatta, and the black and blue sandwiches, and many of the soups. Today I had the tomato basil soup, all of which I recommend. The Hippie Chick is their most popular, but I have not tried that one yet. The soups are fresh and flavorful.

Good luck to Liza's Kitchen and the move.

Liza's Kitchen on Urbanspoon

I give Liza's 5 stars

Monday, February 16, 2009

My Marathon Man

My son Andrew (the handsome guy on the right) completed his first marathon in 4 hours and 26 minutes. He ran the heartbreak marathon while deployed in Iraq with the Marines of the 1/3 and in a sand storm as you can see in the pictures. His only training has been a couple of 6 to 8 mile practice runs. Although he is a Marine, he hates running, but choose to run for a personal challenge. He has excelled at every challenge he has faced in the Marine, so for those of you who don't understand our military and what it is about, it is about making men out of boys and teaching them to face challenges with drive and purpose beyond their personal desires. Andrew will be home soon and wants to attend college. Before the Marines, I would have looked at that as a disaster. Now I view it as another challenge he will face and tackle with the same drive and determination he has learned in the Marines. He is my hero.

God Bless Our Military.

War is an ugly thing, but it is not the ugliest of things. The decay and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. A man who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing he cares about more that his own personal safety, is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free, unless made so by the exertions of better men than himself.

John Stuart Mill
"It is the soldier, not the poet, who gives us freedom of speech. It is the soldier, not the reporter, who gives us freedom of the press. It is the soldier, not the campus organizer, who gives us freedom to protest. It is the soldier who serves beneath the flag, who salutes the flag and whose coffin is draped in the flag that gives the demonstrators the right to burn the flag."

St. Valentines Day Dinner

So it's Valentines Day and to add to the card and present I got for my wife, I cooked a great dinner. I went to Sam's club and they had fillet mignon on sale, so I bought a pack of four beautiful steaks that were bound for the grill. I also bought some 16-20 count shrimp that accompanied the steaks on the grill, at Tarpon Dock seafood. I used hardwood charcoal which for the uninitiated is wood that has been processed as charcoal instead of sawdust that has been processed with binders to make briquettes. It has a distinct flavor and burns hotter that briquettes. The steaks were marinated in my homemade steak marinade and the shrimp were seasoned with my Bubbaque seafood seasoning and skewered. Along with the surf and turf I served garlic and rosemary, roasted, baby Yukon Gold potatoes and some roasted Chipolini onions. The real hit was the pear, walnut, and Gorgonzola salad dressed with a Balsamic vinegar and olive oil. The contrast between the sharp, pungent Gorgonzola blue cheese, the crunchy, earthy, note of the walnuts, and the sweet, crisp, red Anjou pears, was spectacular. I could eat that everyday. We washed this all down with a bottle of Bolla Valpolacello, slightly fruity, oakey red wine. My wife broke out the fine china and silver, and added some candle light. It was an elegant dinner. For dessert I had a can of Ready whip and a bottle of Hersey's chocolate syrup, and that's all I'll say about that.

Good cooking.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Trigo an artisan bakery and cafe

Located at 119 Harrison Ave in downtown Panama City, I have seen ads about this place and about the owner, so today my wife and I had lunch there.

The decor is very nice and warm. White linen table clothes topped with glass give the place a very classy look. It seats maybe 20 to 25 people with some additional sidewalk tables outside. It was a little windy and cold today so we stayed inside. The menu is simple. Salads, sandwiches made on fresh baked breads, and a soup of the day. Today was broccoli and cheddar soup. They have a combo meal with a bowl of soup and a half sandwich. My wife tried the roast beef with blue cheese and red onion, served on an herbed foccasia bread. If you have eaten at Liza's on the beach it is the very same sandwich. It was listed as a pannini, but the sandwich didn't look like it had been pressed at all. I wanted to try the New Orleans Muffler, but after reading the ingredients I changed my mind and had the ham and cheese pannini which also didn't look like it had been pressed. The reason behind the switch was the ingredients for the Muffaletta was pepperoni, salami, cappy ham and olive spread. Anyone who has had a true New Orleans Muffaletta from the Central Grocery in the French Quarter knows it does not contain pepperoni. In fact a true Muffaletta is genoa salami, mortadella, ham, with provalone cheese, and the olive salad. Don't try to mess with tradition. I would have been OK if they had called it an Italian sandwich, but it ain't no Muffelatta. The sandwiches and soup where good, especially the soup an a cold day like today. The bread was fresh and warm and the meat was piled high. Remember this: A sandwich is no better than the bread it is built on. The ham and cheese was made on an asiago roll with sweet red peppers on it. My wife enjoyed the roast beef, but did say the blue cheese overwhelmed the beef flavor. Trigo advertises Boars Head meats so you know they are of good quality. Trigo also offers some baked goods like scones, pastries, cookies, and souffles. We will definitely return to try the baked goods.

I give Trigo Cafe 4 stars

Trigo on Urbanspoon