Monday, December 26, 2005

The Dining Accomplice

In several of my reviews, I've used the term "Dining Accomplice". I guess I could use Dining Companion, but accomplice sounds better as we are being sneaky, sneaky for my blog's sake.

So, I don't name names. I try to keep my accomplices nameless. It protects them from other people who are jealous that they got to dine with me instead of them (yeah, right), angry establishment owners\waitpeople\cooks\chefs\etc. and the police (if I mention drinking was involved and my DA got busted, there could be written proof of intoxication...don't need that). I guess I could use their names if they want me to, but I never ask. It just makes things easy that way. I guess I could just make up a name and use it all the time. However, if I'm out chowing burgers with the guys, they'd probably want to kick my ass if I refered to them as Daphne. On the other hand, if I'm out with any of my female friends and I refer to them as Fred, I might get a "go eat by yourself" the next time I ask.

Thusly, I'm stickin' to DA. Unless, of course, I'm out with mom. Mom probably doesn't care. She's even more blunt than I am. If someone doesn't care for one of my comments, she'd probably give them an earful...and they'd probably deserve it.

See you incognito....

Farmington Pizza Company

Now, I know you are reading the title and wondering "What the H@ll is Kevin doing driving all the way to Farmington for pizza"? He wasn't. Kevin & his dining accomplice were heading NE of Farmington to The Roadhouse, but it was closed. What the hell is up with that? So, you're next question is: "Why the H@ll is Kevin & his dining accomplice heading NE of Farmington (which is even farther into the middle of nowhere) when there are plenty of places to eat in Peoria"? I heard the smoked turkey sandwiches at The Roadhouse are the bomb. So, there!!

Anyway, after finding out the the Roadhouse was closed, we ventured back to civilization and went to the Farmington Pizza Company. Of course we were wondering, "How far are we from Elmwood?" We were instructed to find our own seat, which we did. Looked like it had been a busy night earlier. There is the main dining room and a bar off in another room. On the menu: pizza (duh), sandwiches, apps and an odd and end entree. So, it's a Dr. Pepper to drink. I ordered the supreme pizza which was sausage, pepperoni, onions, peppers and mushrooms. I had them toss some jalapenos on it to make it more interesting. My dining accomplice ordered the Cajun twisty fries as an appetizer and the tenderloin for the "main course". The waitress recommended the tenderloin..said it was more of a breaded pork chop than one of those wafer thin "more breading than ground meat" type tenderloins. The Cajun twisty fries came out. These were no more Cajun than a glass of Farmington tap water...they were your basic pre-seasoned curly fries that come out of a bag like you get at Hardees...and my only complaint. The pizza was of the very thin crust variety...like Monicals or Davis brothers, but better than either of those AND cut into wedges. Proof that a very thin crusted pizza CAN be cut into wedges instead of tiny little appetizer sized squares. Nice amount of toppings and cheese...just enough to make that fairly crispy thin crust just start to droop. They weren't light on the jalapenos, though...got my John F. Kennedy's worth there..WOOOOEEE. Half way through my small pizza (which was about 10" round or so) I was burning up. My D.A. proclaimed that the tenderloin was pretty tasty and I informed my DA that that "review" was going to be quoted. It did look good and meaty. After finishing off the "Cajun" fries, we both had to take home leftovers.

Think I spent $12 with the tip.

So, if you are near Farmington, need to get away from Peoria, going to the Roadhouse and it's closed or some other reason to head slightly west, I recommend going to the FPC.

See you around the table (except all the tables at TFPC are squares or rectangles) ...

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Upcoming Classes

As most of you know, I'm doing cooking classes again! I know I'm thrilled as I really miss doing them. Here is the information and my schedule.

“WE ARE COOKING AT THE BRONZE FROG”
7724 N. Grand Prairie Drive, Peoria (309.692.4707)
(*Between Coldstone Creamery and Old Chicago)

WINTER CLASS SCHEDULE (JANUARY – MARCH 2006)

Class Registration Policy: You may call or come in to register (692.4707). Seating and enrollment are on a first-come basis. If a class is full, we will place you on our waiting list and notify you if a space becomes available. All class members will receive a discount the night of class. Payment: Classes are $30 unless otherwise noted. Payment must be made within 5 days of registration. After 5 days, all unpaid seats will be released to those on waiting lists. Times: Classes are held from 6:00 till 9:00 p.m. unless noted. Refunds: Refunds will be given if cancellations are received 3 days prior to the class date. If you cancel later than the three days, the recipes will be given to you.

Monday, January 16 – (“Stew over This One”) w/ Kevin Roecker. Those cold winter months! BRRRR…..Nothing better than a hearty, hot, steamy stew to keep the chill away. Get warmed up with Chicken and Andouille Gumbo, Tex-Mex Chili, Pazole Blanco, Low Country Boiled Dinner and Lentil-Sausage Stew. Yum!!!!

Tuesday, February 7 – (“Sensational Pastas”) w/Kevin Roecker. If you like pasta from simple to elegant to traditional to the wild side, then this class is for you. Chef Kevin will be creating several pasta dishes for any occasion: “Voodoo” Pasta, Cheese Tortellini Paesana, Chef Kevin’s “Pan Buster” Lasagna (Made with a very rich, homemade Bolognese sauce), Penne with Salmon, Asparagus and Shiitake Mushrooms in Boursin Cheese Sauce and Johnnie Lomanto’s Shells and Sausage in Pink Sauce.

**Saturday, February 18 – (“Dinner/Jazz/Wine Pairings = One Great Evening”) w/Kevin Roecker, Joe Metzka. (Cost-$40.00) 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. You are invited to join us for an evening to remember at the Bronze Frog. Your evening will include fabulous food, great music and wonderful wine. Kevin will be preparing a 5-course meal to enjoy all while enjoying the great music of Joe Metzka. You will learn about the pairing of wines with your different courses. This is one class you won’t want to miss! The menu: Asian Style Crab Cakes with Quick KimChee and Mango-Tamarind Sauce; Cream of Potato with Prosciutto and Leeks; Chef Kevin’s Caesar Salad with Loccotelli Romano Crisps; Chicken Breast Suprême stuffed with Italian Sausage and Roasted Mushrooms\Grilled Vegetable Ragout with Tomato Fondue & Pesto Risotto; Chef Kevin’s Black & White Tartlet with Raspberry Puree

Monday, February 27 – (“Indoor Beef”) w/Kevin Roecker. Need some cold weather month beef recipes until you can get the grill out? How about Traditional Hungarian Goulash, Hoisin Beef with Crispy Vegetables, Steak Salad with A-1 Vinaigrette, Strip Loin “Star of Texas” and Beer Braised Pot Roast. Count me in!

Monday, March 13 – (“Eggs Anytime”) w/Kevin Roecker. Is breakfast your favorite meal or are you intimidated by it? Either/or, here are some simple, satisfying recipes we will be making:
Traditional French Rolled Omelet (with various fillings), Poached Eggs Forestiere (a twist on Eggs Benedict), Huevros Rancheros, Eggs Baked in Puff Pastry with Chipped Ham, and a German Breakfast Casserole---Himmel and Erde.

Monday – March 27 – (“Don’t Be Such a Crab”) w/Kevin Roecker. Like crab? Here is a class devoted to this tasty clawed crustacean. Kevin will be preparing She-Crab Soup, a wonderful appetizer in Crab Savannah, Southern Style Crab Cakes, Crab & Mushroom Egg rolls, and Crab and Sweet Potato AuGratin.

** This class may be already sold out. If interested, call and get put on a waiting list. If we can get another 24 people, we’ll try to do the class again.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Please raise my taxes

The comptroller at District 150 has been working overtime trying to figure out a plan to cut the district's $8 million dollar deficit. I'm sure after countless hours, many sleepless nights, 1000's of phone calls to other districts to see what they are doing and of course, scrutinizing every penny, every receipt, every expenditure to curb costs, the plan has been developed. And the verdict?? RAISE PROPERTY TAXES!! NO SHIT?!?! WOW, I'm glad we're paying this person a fuckin' busload of money to come up with this brilliant idea. I don't know who you are, but I'd call your alma mater up and demand a refund. Either them or whatever beer company you funded by drinking yourself through CPA school instead of going to class. My parent's collie could have come up with that one. My next thought. This is supposed to balance or get into the black the school districts finances by 2008. Will my property taxes go down or will they continue to quietly and unsuspectedly continue to gouge us like the entertainment tax of 2% that was supposed to have disappeared from restaurants, etc. after the Civic Center was built (the first time)?

I got a plan. It's called a use tax. First, cut everyone's salary to what I make. That would save +/-$135,000 just with the top three salaried persons. So, I think I could save the district about 2 mil right there. Less salary, less matching taxes to pay. Next, $6,000,000 divided by 15,000 students. That's about $400 a kid. Divide that out over the next 5 years and it's $80 per kid per year. Send the bill home with the kids. No $80, no school. No school, you go to jail. Then you can pay bail and an attorney, too.

OR


District 150. Call me. Let me help you out. $6,000,000. I know of a program that guarantees you $4 profit per pie you sell in a legit fundraising program. $6,000,000 divided by $4.00. That means each kid would have to sell 20 pies per year for the next 5 years. And if you play hooky and get caught, you have to sell 10 extra pies. Detention: 5 extra pies for each offense.

The problem isn't the debt. Well, it is a problem...if my restaurant is $8 mil in debt I have to shut the doors..I can't raise property taxes like the government when they are short of money or charge $185.99 for chicken cordon blue. It's how you are going to balance the budget once you fixed it after shoving more property tax increases up my ass. In six years are you going to come back and say "Oh, we're $10 million in the hole again...let's raise property taxes $120 per 100,000k." Most likely.

Seething under the table.....