Friday, August 25, 2006

A Review...

This time it was the Has Beans coffee house in downtown Chico. I stopped by about 8:30 this morning and found a not very crowded scene. But by the time I had ordered my latte and muffin, there were 4 or 5 people in line behind me. The place is comfortable but dark. I had to change my seat when I couldn’t read the comics in the CN&R. (Tom Tomorrow) There were two seats in the window section that had plenty of light, but since they put you on display for passerby’s, I wasn’t interested. There is some art work on the walls and that’s always appreciated. Plus, there was reading material; a sign of smart management!

OK, here’s the review: The coffee was good. I would return for it. The service was pleasant, but the muffin had seen better days. They need a better selection of pastries.

And speaking of reviews...check out this site; Yelp. Just Search for your city and see what comes up.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

The Deep South

A “good old boy” dinner…shrimp and grits. Probably best for a winter night but I tried it tonight and it was great. Now I have had shrimp and grits before; even had them for dinner. Most memorable was a dinner in Charlotte, North Carolina. And I believe the origin of this dish is from that state.

I started with a package of frozen Tiger shrimp (20-25 count) from Trader Joe’s. First, defrost and then use scissors to cut off the shell on the tail, rinse and pat dry. Set aside.

Buy regular grits, not “quick” grits. Now pour out one cup and then heat a pot with 4 cups of chicken broth. Once it’s boiling, pour in the grits, stir and simmer on low heat for about 20 minutes.

In a large frying pan, cook 6 slices of bacon until browned. Set aside to cool. Now add to the frying pan; ½ cup of sweet onions, chopped fine and 1 clove of garlic, minced. Crush the bacon into bits and add them to the pan. Now it’s time to add the shrimp to the frying pan and cook until just turning pink on both sides. While the shrimp is cooking, turn off the heat for the grits and add 3 tablespoons of butter and ½ cup of sharp cheddar cheese. Stir them in.

Now it’s time to pour the grits into a large serving bowl. And add the shrimp, bacon, onion and garlic mix from the frying pan. Yes, there are some bacon drippings in there…you bet! Mix well and serve immediately.

OK, it’s not exactly heart healthy fare, but I didn’t use butter; I used a substitute. And I cut the amount of cheese in half. Feel free to experiment. For instance, I will only use half the bacon next time.

Friday, August 18, 2006

TJ and Me Redux

Trader Joe does it again…this time it’s the “new” Corn and Chile, a salsa without tomatoes. I’ve tried it on a few things now; the latest being some tuna burgers. It has mild heat and a sweet tang to it. Definitely worth trying.

And speaking of tuna burgers; these are a lot of fun to make. I go with a basic recipe of tuna, mayo, egg, bread crumbs and then improvise. Tonight I threw in some French’s fried onion rings, chopped sweet white onion, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, black pepper, bread crumbs with Italian seasoning, etc, etc, + Corn and Chile…shaped it into patties and cooked for 4 or 5 minutes on each side.

And the next time I make them, they will be different once again!

Cafe Mondo

It's a coffee shop review and I may have hit paydirt here. I stopped at the Cafe Mondo because of a recent CN&R review of coffee shops, plus my daughter had told me it was worth trying. It's not much to look at from the outside and inside, it's decor is junkyard chic. Comfortable would be a good word to use, but service was great! The coffee, a latte, was right on! Temperature and taste were all to my liking; and they encourage reading at this store, with plenty of newspapers and magazines to choose from. To eat, I had a great orange and white chocolate scone. ("Would you like me to heat that up for you?" Yes!)

Of course I will have to try it again, just to make certain. I've been fooled before. (Higher Grounds) Then I have to try Has Beans in the downtown area...

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Burt Munro and

The Worlds Fastest Indian

A great movie! You should rent it, really! Anthony Hopkins stars in this true story and you know that Sir Anthony wouldn't work in a bad movie. I know the title might put you off, so this link shows you some more information about it. Go ahead, rent it. You won't be sorry.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006


Last night we tried out a new Trader Joe’s item…Basil Pizza dough. It was easy to work the dough into the required 16” circle and then I had some fun deciding what to place on it. You start with a light coating of olive oil and in this recipe; I followed that with some ground turkey. I had already cooked the turkey (rare) with a liberal dose of Greek Herbs. Then I added slices of baby zucchini, halved cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, bell pepper slivers and chopped onions.  

After 18 minutes in a 400° oven, it was ready to slice and eat. And surprisingly good. We’re going to try it again and vary the toppings to include spinach and other fresh garden items.