Food Blog

KIPlog cooks, eats (and drinks)

Entries from November 2005

Another Breakfast in the desert

November 30th, 2005 · Comments Off

“Didn’t you eat anything but breakfast?” you ask. I’ll get to some very nice dinners at Wright’s, The Capital Grille, Vincent’s and Different Pointe of View, but I’ll stick with the breakfast, (and gravy) theme.

The Farmhouse was apparently a very popular place for a long time, until a controversial change of ownership sent the regulars boycotting the original location. The original mother and daughter team reopened the Farmhouse in downtown Gilbert AZ. where the place needs several benches and a pad of paper outside the restaurant for the waiting list, even on weekday mornings.


In an area of new strip malls and chains, this place thrives, and it’s obvious why: cheap, big breakfasts which blow away the last two places I just reviewed.

I had the biscuits and sausage gravy (sorry no chicken fried steak here), very tasty with bits of flavorful sausage and fluffy soft biscuits. My home fried potatoes arrived late, but were great. Others at the table had some big ass pancakes, and the special – a pork tenderloin omlette, which, after tasting, I wished I had ordered. But I wasn’t going to give up my biscuits and gravy.



Also on the menu was a biscuits with chip beef gravy, which I had never seen before. I was intrigued since who would serve something like that, unless it was outstanding?

The little story on the back of the menu let us know that the place was getting some good press, including an inclusion in a “top 25 things to do in Phoenix” list.

I’m sure most of the other things on that list included hikes that burn off all that gravy.

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Tags: Restaurants

A tale of two chicken fried steaks

November 27th, 2005 · Comments Off

It’s been a long time since I’ve been out west, but that’s where I developed criteria for picking places to eat while on the road. I’ll give credit for most of these ‘rules’ to Dayton Duncan who wrote them in his book Out West, where he followed the Lewis and Clark Trail.

The criteria are things like never go to a place that has cars in the parking lot with out of state license plates, never pick a place with a ‘waitress wanted’ sign in the window, always pick the place with a parking lot full of pickup trucks, always pick the place with a sign advertising ‘homemade pies’ etc.

While in Arizona I drove around by myself, trying to see as much landscape as possible. Way north of Phoenix, I stopped for a sign that said ‘great food, stop here’. I figured that should be a good reason to stop. Unfortunately, Kid Chilleen’s Bad Ass BBQ wasn’t open yet.


So I drove into Black Canyon City, and the city was bristling with activity. All kinds of vehicles like ATVs, 40 year old Mercedes and Horses were carrying people around for their Saturday morning errands. I passed a small cafe ‘The Four B’s’, with a full parking lot of pick-up trucks, and another busy looking cafe – Byler’s Amish Kitchen. I thought about skipping breakfast, but soon convinced myself to turn around.


It had the requisite pick-up trucks in the busy parking lot, and I thought I heard chickens out back. Good signs. I walked into to a very busy Saturday morning’s business. Everyone (except me) knew each other. I was lucky to get a seat. I got a good one, with a view of the birdhouse town outside the window.


I ordered the country fried steaks, and a biscuit. It came with 2 eggs, hash brown potatoes and some apple butter. It was around 6 bucks with coffee. I expected to find this hidden treasure of a restaurant, with food so good everyone came for miles around. But what I got was decent, cheap food. The steak and gravy weren’t very flavorful, almost completely unseasoned, and the biscuit was fluffy, but plain. You could taste the freshness of the eggs though, and the apple butter was amazing, apply-sweet with touches of cinnamon.

Chicken Fried Steak, Byler’s Amish Kitchen, Black Canyon City, AZ

I liked the place and I cleaned my plate, trying to convince myself that cheap, decent, everyday food didn’t need to be great. The little gift shop/cash register by the door had some preserves and jam for sale and I bought some strawberry-rhubarb jam. It wasn’t until I got home that I realized that it was made in the Upper Penisula of Michigan (by the same Bylers that own the Amish Kitchen restaurant.)

The next morning I was confronted with a 16 dollar chicken fried steak on the menu of the Biltmore Grill, inside the Biltmore Hotel. I had to compare it.

Chicken Fried Steak, Biltmore Grill

At three times the price, it didn’t come with hash browns or any apple butter, but the gravy was made from really flavorful sausage, the steak had a tasty, crunchy breading, and the biscuit was fluffy and buttery. It was worth the price, but who’s going to pay 15.95 every day (or every weekend) for breakfast? Especially without that apple butter.

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Tags: Restaurants

Away, Eating in Phoenix

November 26th, 2005 · Comments Off

Sorry to all those who’ve requested to be added to the list, I’ve been ignoring you. But not on purpose, I’m in Phoenix enjoying a Thanksgiving vacation. I’ll have a report in a few days.


Eggs Benedict from the Biltmore Grill.

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Tags: Restaurants

Sea Ranch Seafood

November 21st, 2005 · Comments Off

I’ve gone past the Sea Ranch Seafood in Evanston (518 Dempster Street, 847-492-8340) a few hundred times without even looking in. I figured it was an expensive high quality fish place that I shouldn’t tempt myself with. I poked in yesterday to look around and grabbed some quick sushi.

It has refrigerated cases with pre-cut and whole sushi-grade fish, a freezer with Japanese frozen packages of dumplings and things, a few shelves of the kinds of dishware, condiments, snacks and candies you’d find in Mitsuwa, and a deli-style sushi counter with six little tables. The pre-packaged stuff looked beautiful, including sizable lumps of uni, hunks of yellowtail and thick octopus arms. The sushi prices are reasonable, and there’s a good variety of the tame to the daring (i.e. uni). I had the spicy eel avocado, and my lunchmate had the Wisconsin Roll (sour cream, smoked salmon). Both were very tasty. While I can’t properly review the place without trying more (especially the raw stuff) everything seemed fresh and they were doing a brisk business, a required sign of a good source of fish.

Spicy Eel Avocado roll.

Wisconsin Roll.

It’s nice to know I have a mini-Mitsuwa right up the street. You never know when I need to run out and get some fresh uni.

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Tags: Restaurants

Food links

November 19th, 2005 · Comments Off

Some food links:

The Linux-Powered Keg Fridge Cross a Linux computer with a keg fridge, and you get a tap that knows when you’ve had enough.

Drinks of the Century

McDonald’s to serve nutrition data with food Do we really want to know?

The Delicious Life comes to Chicago. It’s always interesting to see an out of towners perspective on our food.

The turkey soda was a fun novelty, but broccoli casserole is taking it too far.

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Tags: Food News and Links

More Food Blogs

November 11th, 2005 · Comments Off

A few more food blogs.Olive and Mason eat Chicago, “this blog chronicles the betting and lunching adventures of olive and mason, who work together in an office (and are secretly dating).” Lunch reviews in the Streeterville area of Chicago. Streeterville has always been a bit of a mystery to me, so I’ll be reading this one regularly. The area is such a mystery to me that I didn’t even know there was an Elephant and Castle on East Huron, steps away from the Apple ‘Cathedral’ on Michigan Ave. I’ve eaten at the E & C on Adams a while back, and have been wanting to go back. While nobody beats Debbie’s Fish And Chips at the Celtic Knot, E and C has a unique fish batter – almost like an airy donut since it’s so light and sweet.Asian Vegan “Journey in the creation of a restaurant” PortlandCooking Fire Traditions of the Global Kitchen “a meditation on how to regain some of the lost ground without surrendering the SubZeros, CuisinArts, and Viking Stoves that define the modern kitchen: ways to infuse cooking with tradition.” This is one of those particularly good blogs, with excellent photography and interesting explorations.An Exploration of Portland Food and Drink “throwing ourselves on the grenade of bad food to save you”Fine Dining Solutions “A Personal Chef Commentary: Recipes, Ingredient Discussion & Reviews of Local Markets & Restaurants” DC.In a Fancy Glassyou don’t need to save the crystal for a special day, even water tastes better in a ‘Fancy Glass’” An American in Tokyo.Plantstalkers “we slay vegetables”Renaissance Culinaire “A pastry student, blogging my way to Pastry Chefdom.” PortlandThe Way The Cookie Crumbles “the life and death of my culinary endeavors”Vegan Porn

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Tags: Food Blogs

Habanero Applesauce

November 11th, 2005 · Comments Off

I got some free habaneros a week ago, and I’ve being experimenting with them (see the soup), although very conservatively. They’re brilliantly hot, but I find I can get them to just be a hint of heat and flavor by using them sparingly. I threw a minced square inch of it into a BBQ sauced pork loin and it wasn’t really enough. But I did come up with this applesauce which will become one of my staples. It turned out rather mild, but I’m sure it’s easy to make this as firey as you want with a little more habanero or one of its ribs. Keep in mind these peppers can vary in heat so exercise caution.


Not my best photograph, but it illustrates its color next to some panko-coated fried pork cutlets.

a cored, peeled and diced granny smith apple
a square inch of minced habanero
a minced carrot
a shake of powdered ginger (although minced fresh stuff might make a nice touch)
1 T apple juice
1 T Datu Puti Sukang Maasim cane vinegar

Maybe that last ingredient is a little obscure, but the slightly sweet Phillipino cane vinegar is perfect for this. I think I picked it up at Lincolnwood Produce. I imagine apple cider vinegar would work too, but I haven’t tried it.

If you have a small food processor or chopper, pulse all the ingredients a few times to get an applesauce consistency. The bright habanero flavor shines through the apple sweetness that’s cut by the mild acidity. You may have to strain it a bit if it’s too wet. This stuff is awesome on pork.

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Tags: Veggie Recipes

News I missed

November 10th, 2005 · Comments Off

I linked to a story about Chicago’s Chocolate smell last week, but I missed the stories and conspiracies about NY smelling like pancakes for a day.

Darn it. I also missed a whole bunch of Marshall Fields (or Walmart or whatever they’re going to be called now) demonstrations by several very cool chefs like Gale Gand, Mario Batali and Marcus Samuelsson. Some guy named Lagasse will be there Saturday.

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Tags: Uncategorized

Food Blogs

November 9th, 2005 · Comments Off

BBQ Forum BlogBlog Appetit “Guaranteed Fresh Food News, Muse and Views with Recipes” California.The College Food Experiment Prince Edward Island, CanadaComfort Food “Because it’s a cold, cruel world out there, and good food’s the best comfort.”Cake and Commerce “One girl’s salt is another girl’s fleur de sel”Dunkin Donuts TalkFoodie Universe “Celebrating and Critiquing One of Life’s Necessary Pleasures” Los Angeles.Give Me Some Food “a lot of food and a little culture in San Francisco and beyond”The Hampton Smoker has lots of good BBQ links.Hope it’s good! “Broadening my Horizons by Broadening my Palate” Mass.In Mol Araan Food, cooking, words, some in YiddishKitchen Blog Canada.Ole Smokey’s BBQ Weblog “My place on the World Wide Web to discuss anything and everything – BBQ! Come on in and enjoy.” Alabama.The Rock ‘n’ Roll Kitchen…”you know i got sole..” Derby, United KingdomSailu’s Food – Indian Recipes , Home Remedies & Ayurvedic CookingStalking the Waiter “Riffing on foods, flavors and methods since…no, that would be telling.” SF Bay Area.Tea Guy Speaks Pennsylvaniazand food blog: the only REAL flog on the internet “This blog keeps track of what I eat! read this often if you are interested in what I eat.” The lost, classic style of blogging with posts like: “i bought a spatula”.

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Tags: Food Blogs

Food news

November 6th, 2005 · Comments Off

EPA not cuckoo for cocoa powder “The sweet smell of chocolate wafting through downtown Chicago isn’t fattening, but it could be bad for you anyway.”

Jolly Green Giant Gone; May He Forever Rest In Peas

U.S. Sauerkraut Sales Soar on Reports it Could Cure Avian Flu “Sauerkraut sales are going through the roof, with some Midwest stores reporting an 850% spike just last week on a recent report that scientists at Seoul National University successfully used Kimchi Sauerkraut to treat chickens infected with Avian Flu.”

Johnnie Walker releases celebratory whisky blend “Canadian whiskey company Johnnie Walker is celebrating the 200th birthday of its founder with the release of an exclusive whisky blend, valued at $27,000 per bottle.”

Oligopoly brief: Anheuser-Busch “Anheuser-Busch, until recently the world’s #1 brewery, has followed a different course from rivals like SABMiller and InBev, formerly Interbrew, which became #1, at least by volume, after its merger with Brazil’s AmBev.”

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Tags: Food News and Links