Sunday, April 29, 2007

More Lunacy

I am SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO tired of hearing about our "beloved" IL government and their yappy dog Dailey, going after legal gun owners. {shaking head}

I would love Gov. Rod and Daily to answer this question. How does banning semi-auto guns in IL get them out of criminal and those in illegal possession hands? PLEEEEEEAAAASSSSEEEEEE explain this to me. I'm just a common citizen who has no idea. No, Gov. & Daily, let me tell you. Do you think those in illegal possession give a shit about your law? Hell, no, they are already breaking laws that are on the books that you lawmakers, law enforcement people, prosecuters and judges don't aggressively go after & enforce!! Wake the f*ck up!!! So you think some gangbanger is going to say "Oh, gee, this Glock 9 I illegally possess is now even more illegal to possess so I better turn it in?" HAHAHAHAHAHA!! Hold on, I can't type very well because I'm laughing too hard. The only people this stupid law affects is legal law abiding citizens and we are protected by the second amendment!!!! The second you pass that stupid law, the next second I and I hope millions of other legal gun owners in Illinois file huge lawsuits against you for violating my constitutional rights!! I might as well own my guns illegally because Illinois won't make any stronger laws against illegal gun possession nor will they go after and prosecute those who do illegally "own" them. If they would spend half this energy, resources and money on battling illegal possession, MAYBE we'd be making some headway on crime.

As Rob states, Mayor Daily has a FOID (Firearms Owners Identification) list and if you fail to register your legally owned guns in Chicago (which is a little known and unpublicized bullshit Chicago law), they can come and take them away from you. Nazi Germany, anyone? What a law for wimps. Hey, Gov. Rod and Daily. Why don't you make laws like if you are a known gangbanger, drug dealer, thug, punk, suspect of criminal activity, you and your property can be searched at any time for weapons. Oh, that would be in violation of their rights? How about my SECOND AMENDMENT rights you are violating? The only way you dipshits are going to make the streets safer is going after and prosecuting the ILLEGAL POSSESSION OF FIREARMS!!! Not legally owned ones.

And Gov. Rod. What are the odds that the 8 homicides in Peoria so far this year were carried out by those who legally possessed firearms? I bet the answer is the same number as those in illegal possession who will turn in guns if you enact a semi auto ban. Zero. 0. Nadda.

The only thing I want to hear from you two is the sound of suction followed by a large pop caused by you pulling your heads out of your collective asses and make some real gun crime prevention laws. Make it a law that states any conviction involving the use of an illegally possessed firearm gets a minimum 25 years in Menard, no parole, no time off for good behavior. If you are a minor, at 21, you just got rolled out of juvie to the big house. Instead of going back to bangin' on your 21st B-day, you are going to get "married". Killing someone, you never get out.

I still don't feel any better....

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Blogger Bash

Well, that was fun. I'm not going to list names, but bloggers (and some spouses or friends or children) PeoriaIllinoisan, Peoria Weekend, Problems Are For Solving & Keep Passing The Open Window were in attendance plus well-known commenter, Anon E. Mouse.

I think I had a beer (or two) for anyone who wanted to attend, but couldn't.

Thanks to all who showed!

See you around the table....

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Peoria Smoking Ban Fails

I'm happy to see that the proposed smoking ban in Peoria failed as the City Council voted by a wide margin against it. As I've said a gazillion times, restaurants and bars in Peoria that are near surrounding cities that do not ban smoking, would have suffered as their business could technically just go across the street. I am glad to see that the council believed that owners livelihoods needed to be protected and not force more government on business owners.

Now, before anyone gets all "I shouldn't have to inhale smoke in a restaurant", I am FOR the statewide ban. Then ALL businesses are on the same playing field. However, I still think TRUE bars should be exempt because smoking, drinking and BS is their business. I doubt many people go to places like the Red Barn for dinner.

See you around the table....

Monday, April 23, 2007

ATTENTION WINE LOVERS LIVING IN ILLINOIS!!!!!

This was sent to me by a company I purchase wines from that I can't find in Central Illinois. I always buy local first, but when I can't find it here (something like Ken Wright Pinot Noirs or Knebel Winniger Rottgen Spatlese), I go in search of on the internet. Once when I asked a local liquor\wine distributor to get a certain wine I wanted (above mentioned Ken Wright Whistling Ridge Pinot Noir), I was told "Its not profitable for us". They won't get it for you and now they are obviously trying to bribe Springfield into not letting you get it for yourself.

If you want the option to buy out of state wines, follow the directions.

Thank You!!

Chef Kevin

Dear Illinois Wine Lover,

You are about to lose your right to buy and have shipped to you wine from out-of-state retailers like us.

We urge you to forward this Email to every wine lover you know in Illinois. This is YOUR right you are about to lose. Only NOW can you make a stand! PHONE CALLS ARE EVEN BETTER! Phone numbers of three sponsors of the bill are listed below!!

Alcohol distributors in IL have convinced a number of legislators to support HB 429, a bill that would prohibit out-of-state retailers from shipping you wine. You have had this right to buy wine from out-of-state retailers for 15 years. It`s about to go away unless we act together NOW.

Since 2000, Illinois alcohol distributors have given more than $5.4 million to Illinois politicians, making the wholesalers among the top three or four players in Illinois politics. This is how such an outrageously anti-consumer bill gets considered, let alone brought to the floor of the Assembly.

We are asking you to contact your state representative in the House and ask them to vote NO on HB 429 when it comes to the floor of the House as early as THIS week. The best way to contact them is by phone or fax. Below is a web page that will allow you to find your state Representative based on your zip code. Below is also a number of points you can use in a FAX or phone call.

It is imperative that this outreach happen as soon as possible or we will no longer be able to take your orders as we have done for Illinois wine lovers for the past 15 years.
Here are three sponsors of the bill from a recent news story. Contact numbers and e-mail addresses are below. We URGE you to send them an e-mail or call them NOW!!


Lou Lang: reploulang@aol.com - (217)-782-1252Jay Hoffman: jayhoffman@charter.net - (217)-782-8018Tim Schmitz: ilrep49@sbcglobal.net - (217)-782-5457

YOU CAN LOCATE YOUR IL STATE REPRESENTATIVE BY VISITING THIS ADDRESS:
http://r.vresp.com/?SpecialtyWineRetaile/5e0e088048/929972/a6c6402dd4/7b1776d

SUGGESTED POINTS TO MAKE IN YOUR FAX OR PHONE CALL:

Dear Representative,
As your constituent I am requesting your vote NO on HB 429 when it comes to the floor. This bill strips me of a right all Illinois consumers have had for 15 years to legally purchase and have shipped wines from out-of-state retailers. The bill is anti-consumer, blatantly unconstitutional, and a piece of naked special interest legislation aimed at reducing competition for Illinois alcohol distributors. I`d request you consider the following points:


1. There has been no consumer outcry for taking away our longstanding right to buy and have shipped to us wines from out-of-state retailers.
2. This bill is not about protecting children from obtaining alcohol online as it specifically allows both out-of-state wineries and in-state wine retailers to take orders on-line and ship wine to Illinois consumers.
3. HB 429 directly contradicts a 2005 U.S. Supreme Court decision (Granholm v. Heald) that stated the playing field for commerce in wine must be level for both in-state and out-of-state companies. HB 429 is not level as in-state retailers may ship, but out-of-state retailers may not ship wine to Illinois consumers. As a result it is almost guaranteed that HB 429 will cause an immediate lawsuit to be filed.
4. The only constituents HB 429 helps is the Illinois alcohol distributors who are the only source of wine for Illinois wine retailers. Consumers must now ONLY use Illinois retailers to procure wine.
5. HB 429 is easily fixed by simply amending it to read that both out-of-state wineries AND OUT-OF-STATE RETAILERS may apply for the new "DIRECT SHIPPERS PERMIT."


I urge you to vote NO on HB 429 or work to amend it. Otherwise it's simply a slap in the face to me and all your other constituents all to benefit Illinois alcohol distributors.

BLOGGER BASH

I posted this a few days ago. Thought I would re-post it to the top. Haven't had too many takers so far. Oh, well. More food for us :)

I said sometime late last year that I was going to host a blogger bash in late April. That is still the plan. I was planning to do a seafood boil. No longer the plan. This would be better in the fall when I can raid my parent's garden (they don't care...they plant WAAAY TOOOO much stuff for two people) for new potatoes, onions and fresh corn on the cob.

So, the date will be Saturday, April 28. I'm thinking 4 PM. Just going to have a cookout: some burgers, brats, drunken beans, chophouse potato salad.

I'm inviting all Peoria area bloggers. And for you commenters out there. I'd like to invite a few of the more well known or frequent commenters. Obviously, if I opened up to all commenters, EVERYONE would start commenting and I'd have half of Peoria in my front yard and have to pull a few "fish & loaves" miracles or have to hold up CEFCU to pay for it. Anyway, if you want to attend, e-mail me at kevin@chefkevincooks.com and I will e-mail you back the particulars.

See you around MY table......

Sunday, April 22, 2007

What Song is it Ya'll Wanna Hear Now?

I wanted to go to the .38 Special, Hank Williams, Jr., Lynyrd Skynyrd concert tonight. Somehow, I screwed up what day tixs went on sale and when I realized my goof, only nose bleed seats remained. I have hard time paying the same $$ for nose bleeds as those in the front row. Oh, well, I've seen .38 Special at least a half dozen times (first time when they opened for REO Speedwagon at Bradley Field house in '78?) and the same goes for Skynyrd\Rossington-Collins Band. Not a Hank fan. Doesn't mean I dislike him...just never got into country music.

A friend called me Thursday and said she was going (didn't have an extra ticket or wasn't offered). I thought, ya know, once when Johnny Lang was in Peoria, I heard a conversation that they moved the sound board (or something) and it opened up some tickets. Got lucky and picked up some seats in the 7th row in the Civic Center theater the day before. What would be the chance something may open.....

Check Ticketmaster on Thursday. Why lo & behold, two tickets, slightly left of center, FIFTH ROW. As much as I despise $11.50 worth of fees PER TICKET (and they didn't have to mail them..I "will called" them), I figured by the time I drove to the Civic Center to buy the tix to avoid the fees, they'd be gone. Oh, well. Grit teeth, bear it.

Now I can't hear. Can't talk very well, either. I must say I've got my fill of screaming Gibson SG Specials, Fender Stratocasters and Gibson Les Pauls until, well, I can hear again. Few guitar solos are written like this anymore :(

Not doing a whole review, but I thot L.S. was better a few years ago when they opened (and in my opinion, blew off the stage) Z.Z. Top.

.38 Special singer\guitarist Don Barnes and his Gibson SG both sounded great even after all these years and played most of the guitar solo in "Caught Up In You" right in front of us.

Strangest thing? Seats next to us were empty. Now, unless something happened, who would buy 5th row seats and not show? Next thought was there were a LOT of tix to this show for sale by online tix scalp...I mean brokers. I hope they ate a lot of them. Really sucks that a true Hank, .38 or LS fan could have had better seats if the tixs weren't held hostage at $200 each.

See (but not hear) you around the table.....

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

....For The Cure

The Race For The Cure is Coming up. It is a huge event in Peoria. Every year, there seems to be more supporting events. There is the Race. There is Walk for the Cure, Ride For The Cure, Golf For The Cure, Johnsonville Brats For the Cure. License Plates For The Cure. Even saw Bark For The Cure (pink doggy get-ups) and Diamond Bear For The Cure. There may be more.

OK. Very well, good and fine (something one of my french accented culinary instructors used to say). But how about a few others. Some serious, some not.

The first one that came to mind is Drink For The Cure. Have Brewers Distributing and Pepsi donate the product and the proceeds from each frosty beverage consumed at a Scott Janz hosted soiree goes to the Race.

Blog for the Cure. I'm sure with all the ads Billy's been putting up lately, he could put up a donation link. I think all of us bloggers could\would click on and make a donation.

Eat For The Cure. Peoria is good at this, but probably couldn't happen until next year. You know those dining coupon books? Same principle. Buy the book at next years race and the proceeds go to the Cure. Participating restaurants could give away whatever they wanted: a free drink, buy one get one, all the chicken noodle soup you could eat, etc.

Pie in the Face for the Cure. Imagine this: In a carnival-like atmosphere, all of Peoria's current & past politicians showed up. They put their face through the cardboard stand up. Over their head is their voting record (I'm sure CJ can come up with this in under 30 seconds). Buy a whipped cream pie for $3 and get to "pie-ing" those with whom you disagree. Now, Emtronics would be emptying out the CEFCU machine buying chances to "cream" those with "voted for $6 garbage tax" over their heads. This could actually bring in more revenue than the Janz soiree.

Dance For The Cure. What about a big street dance on the river. Charge of admission (minus any expenses occurred) goes to the Cure. A few errant bullets from the Riverplex would keep things hopping.

I'm for this one (why is alcohol always on my mind?) Taste for The Cure. A bunch of local area wineries have popped up. Indian Creek, Kickapoo, Willetts, Furrow, Mackinaw Valley...did I miss one? Have a wine tasting. Pay to get in...some of the proceeds go to help recover part of the expense of the wine, the rest to the Cure.

And I'll put up: Chef Kevin Cooks For The Cure. the hard part is finding someone willing to give up a kitchen. I know a few places closed on Sundays that might. Get the Spirit of Peoria to wave the fee, go for a cruise, cook up some prime rib or Jambalaya or grilled cheese sandwiches.

Ok, not as funny as Obriens "Bloggy" Awards a few months back, but then again, it wasn't really meant to be (overly) funny or to poke fun. I think the Race is an worthwhile cause & an outstanding event and just having a bit of fun with it.

See you around the table.

BLOGGER BASH

I said sometime late last year that I was going to host a blogger bash in late April. That is still the plan. I was planning to do a seafood boil. No longer the plan. This would be better in the fall when I can raid my parent's garden (they don't care...they plant WAAAY TOOOO much stuff for two people) for new potatoes, onions and fresh corn on the cob.

So, the date will be Saturday, April 28. I'm thinking 4 PM. Just going to have a cookout: some burgers, brats, drunken beans, chophouse potato salad.

I'm inviting all Peoria area bloggers. And for you commenters out there. I'd like to invite a few of the more well known or frequent commenters. Obviously, if I opened up to all commenters, EVERYONE would start commenting and I'd have half of Peoria in my front yard and have to pull a few "fish & loaves" miracles or have to hold up CEFCU to pay for it. On the other hand, for the 40 hits a day this blog gets, I don't have to worry much....unless Billy posts it or I get "Beachler"-ed and CJ reports on it.

Anyway, if you want to attend, e-mail me at kevin@chefkevincooks.com and I will e-mail you back the particulars.

See you around MY table......

Shutting Down....

I'm going to shut down my culinary hotline blog. It doesn't seem to get much use. Most people e-mail me or find some other form of contact. Got a cooking question in the future, e-mail me at kevin@chefkevincooks.com or fill out a contact me form at http://chefkevincooks.com

Thanks for all those who asked questions.

Chef Kevin

Hmmmm....interesting.....

Got an e-mail & also had a link sent to me.....


"Executive Chef Top Paying Executive Chef Position Tavern on the Water 4/13/07

Must be an experienced chef. Need to have knowledge of inventory, food costs, ordering, hiring, training, cooking, and general running of a full service restaurant

Location: Peoria"

This is listed on line if you go looking so I'm not posting "secret" or "classified" information.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Its LIVE! chefkevincooks.com

After messing with it on & off for over the last two weeks, chefkevincooks.com is finally live. Actually, it has been live, no one knew about it as I was working out kinks. And with my html skills, there were a lot of them.

So it does what I was trying to so with my MySpace page, but a bit more professional. I wanted to move this blog over there, too, but Godaddy.com wants extra $$ for a blogsite. So, I think I will stay here. Why screw with something that works?

Basically, it is where I will be cooking in public, how to contact me for catering, etc., some other people and places I support, a small bio and a recipe and wine page. Don't get too excited about the recipe page...its just has one at the moment & I've already posted it somewhere. Just wanted to fill the page.

So, here is the link:
chefkevincooks.com

I'm also thinking after doing some internet searches that the coin phrase I've been using "See you around the table" doesn't seem like it is being used by anyone (or anyone with a website) so this is my proclamation that I'm claiming it.

See you around the chefkevincooks.com table.....

Sold Out.

WOW!!

The response was overwhelming. The August 11 wine dinner at Willett's Winery in Manito with yours truly providing the food is sold out already....and a waiting list. We are going to look into the possibility of a repeat date.

See you 40 around the table....

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

I'm in the PJS Today

Somewhere, I believe, there is more to this article on vegan cuisine...I'm just the recipe\cooking guru part of the artcle. As the article states. I'm no authority on the subject, but I do find it challenging to cook for a vegan lifestyle: one really must know how things are processed. One such example is that there are even some beers and wines that are clarified with animal products.

Anyway, the article written by Danielle Hatch is here.


See you around the table.....

Monday, April 09, 2007

Tavern on the Water

I've received comments, questions, e-mails, etc. if I have eaten at Tavern on the Water. Well, yes I have. There have been a few area bloggers who have commented. Normally, I don't rush off to new restaurants because as an ex-restaurateur, I know it takes a few weeks to get all the issues and timing worked out. My point of view is let them get all their issues resolved on someone else's dime. But I regress. Went anyway.

I know I'm in deep ca ca when the chef comes out and says "Am I going to read about us in your blog tomorrow?". Guess I'm going to have to shave, wear contacts and buy a wig.

We had to wait quite a while to get a table. Thought on a Monday night we'd be safe at 7:30 without a reservation. We were wrong. I know better, but it was sort of a spur of the moment thought in the first place. So, I can not bitch about the wait.

Started with the bruschetta appetizer. One crostini had a white bean puree laced with truffle oil (my favorite). One was artichoke & feta (DA's favorite) and the 3rd was a diced tomato version. Was fairly tasty. Now here is where the chef & I part company a bit. I agree to toast the crostini, bread, etc. but I'm from the school where it is toasted about 1/3 through and the middle soft and slightly chewy. These were toasted fairly crisp throughout, crumbled when I bit into it and the tomato version found its way onto my plate and lap.

I had the duck, medium rare, that was accompanied with an apricot demi glaCe and an apricot and cranberry risotto. I also had a Caesar salad. My DA had the sea bass with the carrot soup. First, the Caesar salad was actually a Caesar salad!! Can ya believe it? Whole baby hearts of romaine (not chopped romaine) tossed with shredded parm, Caesar dressing and croutons. Happily astonished I was! A bit small I thought for the price, but I just was so excited that it was a real McCoy Caesar salad! The duck was a perfect M-R. The demi (& why I bring this up is because there has been talk of glue like demi glaCe here) was a bit thicker than I would serve demi, but far from a glob or glue like as I've heard from other reports. The risotto was not as creamy as I would have hoped risotto to be, but the flavor was fantastic. My DA's sea bass was perfectly done. The carrot soup was poured from a wine bottle in a dramatic presentation. I didn't try the soup. She enjoyed it.

Passed on dessert.

Would (will) I go back? Yes. But I want to address a few things here and I've spoke to the chef about these. Might be out of his control, but a few things I found odd.

1. Wasn't charged for bottled still water....good by me :)
2. This is a nice place. It appears that a lot of $$ was put into the upstairs dining area. It has all the makings for a fine dining restaurant. What I don't get is the short sleeve black polo shirts. Or the white cheapo $6.99 white dishwasher aprons. Come'on...let's try long sleeve black shirts and some heavyweight $22 professional grade Chef Revival or Chef Wear aprons for a more polished look. And what is with the plastic cart with the tablecloth draped over it?
3. Let's say this without going into specifics: We were approached in a fashion that lead us to believe that what we were being offered was going to be a sample or free. It was not.
4. The staff doesn't appear to be old enough or experienced enough to act so pretentious.
5. What the hell is anyone going to eat on this menu with the MANY offerings of high end champagnes? Seriously, how many Dom, Cristal and Perrier Jouet, etc. selections does one place need? The low end of the red wine list ends at $39 a bottle and starts up again at $78 and up per bottle which pretty much wipes out me buying a bottle.

Ok, why the harsh review. This is how I look at things. I go to McDonald's and I have certain expectations. I go to Rizzi's...certain expectations. I go to a place where one can very easily drop $100 on a Monday night without going nuts ordering bottles of Dom, and you have certain expectations. The food is at or slightly beyond my expectations. The decor was. The ambiance was. The rest needs a bit of work. But that is why I hate going to places and spend this kind of $$ until little quirks like these are worked out....that is what all those people who "HAVE" to be one of the first people to try every new restaurant that opens are for...guinea pigs :)

To my Chef acquaintance who will most likely read this. Dude, the food was awesome. We've discussed the other things in some detail. I hope things come together and you become very successful in this venture.

See you around the table.......

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Not Much.

I'm sure people come up to you (as they do me) and say something like: "What's goin' on?" or "What's new?" or "What you been doin'?".

Not much. Been making up teaching some cooking classes that got "snowed out", been travelling a bit for work and nursing an eye infection. Nothing thrilling. Ya just want to say to people "I just spent the weekend climbing the Pitons on St. Lucia then waterskiied to St. Kitts then handglided all the way to Puerto Rico". Next week I'm rollerblading the great wall of China and then fly to Cabo and drink margaritas with Sammy Hagar.

Truth be known, I'm working on a website. Want to "off" my My Space page and maybe even this blog and do everything on my "soon to be" website.

Hopefully, sometime shortly after Easter it will be up and running. No promises. Got a lot of outside gigs goin' on.

See you around the table...