Tuesday, October 30, 2007

I Never Got A Ticket

According to the Peoria Journal Star, City Councilman Eric Turner is now wanting sidewalks installed around Manual High School due to the recent high school student jaywalking incident.

I have many questions preceded by a statement or two. My grade school had to be about 3/4 of a mile from my home and there were no sidewalks. How in the hell did I ever make it there and back for a couple of years without getting a jaywalking ticket? Better yet, how did I manage to deliver the Peoria Journal Star for almost a decade without getting a ticket travelling some of those same streets (and other streets without sidewalks)? Oh, shit! And when I ran to get back in shape on those streets preparing for the upcoming tennis season, how did I ever elude the police from writing me a ticket? Do you think it may have been because I WASN'T IN THE MIDDLE OF THE (BLEEP)IN' ROAD?!?!?!?! Maybe I was on the side and very edge of the road. I have friends who live in East Peoria whose kids manage to walk to school and THERE ARE NO SIDEWALKS!!!! Do you read about them getting jaywalking tickets? How in the hell is that not happening? Are the cops slacking? Are they being bribed with donuts and Starbucks? Maybe the kids aren't in the middle of the road!!!!!
To put in sidewalks because it should cut back on walking in the street to and from school has to be one of the most ridiculous things I've heard. OBVIOUSLY (see above) walking along a street without sidewalks and not get a ticket can be done. Now to put in sidewalks because it will improve the city's infrastructure, I can live with. But just because some high school kids can't figure out where the freakin' side of the road is, well, maybe they shouldn't be in high school.

On a side note, drive down the streets of the East Bluff on any given summer evening and you will find scores of kids walking in the street instead of the sidewalks. Most have attitudes that YOU, the DRIVER, are in THEIR way inconveniencing THEM. and the sidewalks are empty. See a pattern? ME ME ME ME ME ME ME ME ME

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

I'm Cooking Again

I know, you don't even know what you are preparing for dinner on Thanksgiving Day and I'm asking you to think about Valentine's Day 2008!!!

Guys, no time like the present so you don't screw up Valentine's Day next year. Ok, it isn't Valentine's DAY but it is meant to cater towards a nice dinner, with music and wine the Saturday BEFORE Valentines Day.

I'm cooking at Willett's Winery in Manito on Saturday, February 9. Dinner will be a 6:30 PM. Cost will be +/- $50 per person. The menu is not yet planned, but is always four courses with matching wines from Willett's portfolio of wines produced right here is Central Illinois. Music, once again, will be performed by the incomparable Joe Metzka.

So here you go: Send an e-mail to Cris at cris@willettswinery.com or call (309) 968-7070.

See you around the table....

What Pest(s) Do You Need To Get Rid Of?

Mice, fleas, mosquitos, dogs, cats, chipmunks, loud honking geese, bad neighbors, children playing "their" music too loudly, telemarketers, etc. got you down? Want to get rid of them? To quote Aerosmith "Just Push Play". Please note: You will drive yourself crazy if you don't plug you own ears. And at the end, cover your eyes, because it isn't pretty either. Now, cover your ears, aim your speakers at the offending object, turn the volume up and let 'er rip.


Ok, some people are saying that the keyboard was out of whack and was sampling at the wrong rate causing it to be in a key that Eddie Van Halen couldn't match because it was between keys. Evidence is that Eddie was playing in the key that it was written as this recording was compared to the studio and Eddie is on and the keys are off.

Others claim Eddie was handed the wrong guitar and it was tuned in a different key. Sorry, don't buy it that. Even though Eddie has done a lot of chemical damage to himself over the years, I would like to think that even if the guitar was tuned in the wrong key, he has enough talent that he could have "winged" something better. And I'm thinking with all the monitors, he should be able to hear himself, realize it is messed up and since the song is so synth based, he would have time to go back and get the "right" guitar before his solo.

And what in the world is David Lee Roth doing to that inflatable microphone? EEEEWWW...

Hat Tip to Keith Shank

The Case of the Missing Post

I took down my "I could use a good asskicking post". No, I'm not wimping out or running away. I've traded e-mails with Travis Mohlenbrink, the GM for Bar Louie. He thought that the way things were phrased that it portrayed some mistruths. Ok, I guess I could see that. Instead of trying to correct the verbage which nobody would read, I just deleted the whole thing and posted this explanation instead.

I'm still not quite sure what is going on, but hopefully some sort of resolution will occur.

Hope the Peoria Police Department Doesn't Get This Idea.

I guess the subtitle would be : At least they are getting out of their squad cars and are out amoungst the civilians.

Police patrolling the red-light district of the Belgian capital have been ordered to stop visiting brothels and drinking in bars when on duty. A letter sent to officers in Brussels' northern police district, and published in a Belgian daily on Tuesday, urged them to set a good example and earn the public's respect. "These officers think their duty hours are to be used to drink alcohol in bars, practice sports..., visit brothels or massage parlors, and entertain (intimate) relationships with residents of the neighborhood during their patrol," said the letter from a local police chief.
"It is only by setting a good example that the police can make itself respected," the letter said, urging officers to adopt more conservative behavior. A police spokesman confirmed the letter was authentic, but said the police chief had only reacted to rumors of officers behaving badly while on duty.

The whole Reuters story is here

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Is this REALLY necessary??

I'm zooming through some online music channels this morning and what do I hear? A remake of Britney "No Panties" Spears hit "...Baby One More Time" in a tempo and musical style that made me want to kill myself. Seriously, a band called Fountains of Wayne remade it. Now there is puke all over my keyboard and it is hard to type.

Ok, I can dig some covers and remakes, but not a lot of them. Sometimes I wonder when a band does a lot of them (unless it is a whole tribute CD or something) if they don't have enough artistic ability or what. I mean if you really, really, really like A song and want to remake it, cool, but I think some artists and bands make a living on it.

But a Britney Spears tune? Time to warm up the twin 350 watt Yamaha amps and clean out my eardrums with some Cerwin Vega projected Sammy Hagar.

Help, me, P.I., Help me!!

UPDATE: Now I've seen and heard a band or individual named Luna remake "Sweet Child O' Mine". Please help me. I feel like I should be doing some meth and smoking weed.

I Can't Calm Down After Seeing This

With all the controversy about the Manual 22 jaywalking incident, I see this:

There is an office building across Glen from the Metro Centre. I *think* it is a medical office of some sort, not sure. I'm stopped at the light exiting the Metro Centre that turns onto Glen and I'm the first car at the light turning left. This is in the early afternoon. Some mother is dragging her small, maybe 2-2 1/2 year old child (not walking too well or fast so I might be stretching the age here) ACROSS 5 LANES OF TRAFFIC from said building!!!!!! Not at the crosswalk, but through 5 LANES OF TRAFFIC ON GLEN!! WTF?!?!?! And again I say: WTF?!?!?! The little kid is bouncing around like a pinata, half trying to walk in pace with mom and half being pulled along.

Now if I tried that shit with my nephew, wherever my mother was, she would automatically sense this, grab her paddling stick, track my ass down, try to turn me over her knee and beat my ass until it was so tender it would make filet mignon look like shoe leather.

:shaking my head:

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Businesses face new license fee

Copied straight from the Peoria Journal Star headline, here is another proposed fee on restaurants or other business that just sucks ass. This $50 fee, according to the article, is supposedly not a revenue generator for the city of Peoria, but a way to register and track those business responsible for paying HRA taxes.

Bullshit. I know when I got behind, they sent you a notice. They know who you are. If they (supposedly) don't, then registration should be free. The city's theory is this (according to the article): If you are registered and your business owes HRA taxes for the year just ending (minus December, I hope) they (whomever THEY are) will not renew your (FREE the next year, if you are up to date on your payments) business license and they (once again, whomever THEY are) will come along and shut you down until the HRA tax is paid. This has been brought to light the the Wendy's of Peoria owes a bus load of HRA taxes.

Send out a notice NOW to all businesses paying into the HRA debacle that starting now, if you are 3 months behind, they (the same whomever they ares above) will shut you down.

If it isn't the $$$ city hall is after, then my plan should be good enough. Register for free and if you are 3 months behind, the unknown THEY will come and shut you down. Simple. Cheap. And unfortunately, effective. (It is a well known fact that I think the HRA tax should be abolished because A. it was supposed to be a temporary tax to support the Civic Center B. it has continued to be a 20+ year crutch for them and other identities that weren't on the HRA receivership "bill of tax" when it was initiated.)

Kinda reminds me of the Boris Becker commercial. They say a 17 year old can not win Wimbledon. They say you can not serve at 190 kilometers per hours. They say he can not win Wimbledon twice. (Picture of Boris's face fills the screen) "Who are THEY, and what do THEY know?" Not a shot a city hall here, it just reminded me of the commercial. (For those of you who do not get this, Becker won the Wimbledon tennis tournament at age 17 & 18 and served at over 190 KMH - which is slow now, as speeds are up to the 220 KPH range).

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

China Express

On the corner of Knoxville and Nebraska sits a little restaurant called China Express. It unfortunately shares a building with one of the gazillion cash advance\pledge your car title stores.

I drop in here from time to time. Monday night it just was an ideal opportunity. I order the Szechuan Chicken and 2 Shrimp eggrolls. The counter guy asks me if I wanted it hot. I said "Yes, please" and he repeated himself as to ensure I really did want it hot. I ensured him of that.

I took my order home, I live about 1/2 mile. The shrimp eggrolls had a lot of those tiny salad shrimp in them, but were sort of non descript in flavor. But for $2, they were worth it. I got the little box of rice and enough Szechuan Chicken for two people.

Now, I think to myself, BRING ON THE HEAT!! Put some of the rice on a plate, scoop some chicken (and there was a LOT of chicken in this), some green peppers, red bell peppers, carrots & broccoli and sauce. First bite...this isn't spicy. Next bite...same thought. It never did begin to resemble spicy. Great flavor, no heat. So, I added some of this. Now, I have heat. ( Side note: I read where my favorite heat enhancer - Pure Cap - is barely in the top 30 hottest sauces...used to be No. 1) The food is very good, just needed some kick. Cost me $10. A lot of food for $10.

I still like China Express and will undoubtedly go back. However, the guy seriously needs to read http://chefkevin.blogspot.com/2006/09/im-on-fire.html to understand what the true meaning of spicy is.

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

I'm Cooking....

...and the weather looks to be great.

For the people who read my blog, you have noticed to the right the wine label for Willett's Winery in Manito. This Saturday, October 13, I'll be cooking at Willett's Winery in Manito. This is their first Octoberfest and we're hoping it will be a huge success! It is an open event, no reservations required. It is running from 12-6 PM. The Ratskeller Brummers band will be playing from 1-4. We are having the bratwurst for this event custom made for us by Rod At The Butcher Block. Using an old recipe from a German butcher (or is it a recipe form an old German butcher? I think either is a fair statement) , we will be adding a little of Willett's Chambourcin wine to meat and spice blend before stuffing them. There will also be butterflied pork chop sandwiches, sauerkraut, German potato salad and various German desserts. There is also going to be various vendors of goods at this event. Visit them at http://willettswinery.com

See you around the table.....

Chef Kevin

Chain Restaurants Cause Bad Driving

I knew there was another reason I dislike chain restaurants...they cause bad drivers.

"In Bloomfield, Colorado, a 6-year-old boy was hungry and decided he'd go to Applebees. So he grabbed the car keys, took his booster seat from the back seat of his grandmother's car and placed it in the driver's seat, then made a go of driving himself to the restaurant Tuesday.
He made it about 75 feet. Unable to take the car out of reverse, he crossed the street and ran into a transformer and communication box, knocking out electricity and phone service to dozens of townhomes. Nobody was injured and the boy, whose name was not released, got out of his car and told his grandmother what happened.

"He proceeded to start the car and started backing up," said Sgt. Colleen O'Connell of the Broomfield Police Department. "He went backward about 47 feet, hit the curb, then went backward another 29 feet."

Investigators couldn't figure out how the boy reached the accelerator and no charges will be filed."

Now, I could make some snippy remarks that the child's guardians should be charged with child abuse for taking him to Applebees in the first place, but I'll refrain. OOPS...too late!


I know this headline will attract attention! According to Yahoo! News, a man in Australia atttempted to take his life by drinking anti-freeze. He was taken to the local hospital. When the hospital realized that they were out of the usual treatment for the consumption of anti-freeze (which is apparently pharmaceutical grade alcohol), they needed a quick solution: Vodka. Yes, this guy was "fed" 3 drinks worth of vodka AN HOUR for 3 days until he "snapped out of it".

Now, a couple of scenarios appear. One is that the guy woke up when no one was around, realized he was on a Grey Goose drip and decided to fake it for a few days. Come, on...free booze? Wouldn't you fake it? Two, how do you bill his insurance company for a case of Stolichnaya? Somebody at State Farm in warming up the big, red DENIED stamp! Third, can you imagine the hangover? Did they have to give this guy a case of Ibuprofen just to kill the pain? I realize they gave him vodka because it is the purest of the ingestible alcohols, but what if it made him a mean drunk? Different alcohols affect people differently.

Some people will do anything to get drunk :)

You can read the story here.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

I'll let the BIG GUNS handle this one.....

I can't wait to hear what the big time Peoria area bloggers like Billy Dennis and C.J. Summers have to say about this ad in the Sunday October 7, 2007 issue of the Peoria Journal Star:

OK, I'd like to say a few words. First, the blaring headline "Important events in history weren't announced via blog" really have little to do with the subject matter written about in the rest of the advertisement. What the heck does "Important events blah, blah, blah" have to do with a variety of governmental public notices? Are governmental public notices considered Important events in history? Second, newspapers have been around a lot longer than blogs. Let us hope to God that important events in history were reported in the newspaper, because unlike most bloggers, THAT IS THEIR JOB!! This isn't our JOB...most of us have jobs so undoubtedly the media has more time to deal with the "important dates in history". However, to criticize the blaring headline, not the content of the article, the media looks pretty silly when bloggers scoop stories on them. The aboved named and others have proven that just here in Peoria. Others, like myself, can not "scoop" the press on certain issues as we have signed confidentiality agreements with our employers. Uh, the press doesn't have that. Last, we HOPE you have vastly more resources to post "governmental public notices" far before bloggers do.

What is this ad as trying to say? I'm no journalist, but I'd have to give this an F+ in relaying a definite point.

And if "good government depends on" me, well, fire 'em all and I'll make my mother a dictator. If nothing else, the finances will go back to black.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

For The Love of Food

As some of you may know, I'm not a big fan of cooking shows. I used to be. I learned how to use a chef knife watching Julia Child and Jeff Smith (The Frugal Gourmet). I learned things like cooking in progression from a TV show.

Not today. Today's cooking shows are all about entertainment. Emeril started off teaching...you could learn a thing or two from "The Essence of Emeril". However, watching cooking shows today is watching people create food without explaining to you why, how, when, etc. When I hear "add the onion", I think, how much, how is it cut, why are you adding it at this time? You might as well watch Babe Wilkelman fishing on the Outdoor Channel if you want answers to those questions watching today's cooking shows. I want to believe that the Food Network's original intent was to teach people to become better cooks but I guess it (and other stations) aren't finding that entertaining enough to hold an audience.

Which brings me to shows like "Top Chef" and "Iron Chef". When the hopefuls in these shows started out in the cooking world, do you think their thoughts were "Gee, if I can take some ridicule or verbal lashings from some top chefs and "critics", I can get my own show, restaurant, more recognition, etc.?" I kind of doubt it. I think most got into the culinary arts for the love of food and doing something with it. But the more we see of Emeril, Mario, Rachael, etc., their shows, their pots and pans, spice blends, clothes, etc., I wonder how much is the love of a good publicity agent, management team, accountant and money and how much is REALLY still the love of food?

And this is the reason I've never got into cooking competitions. Oh, some say I'm a wimp; that Chef Kevin is afraid. To those who REALLY know me, they know I'm not an egotist and being a glory hound isn't my thing. I have no desire to see if I'm a better ice carver, better mystery basket creater, better anything than anyone else. I know what I know and do what I can do. I'm sure there are people who can whip my ass in the kitchen...so what? That might make them "better" than me, but does it prove the love of food? No. And that is why I got into it.

I'm amazed by how many requests I get from people who "really want to learn how to cook" (and I know I owe one of you a response). It is more about learning the very basics and ratios and applying them to everything than memorizing 1000's of recipes. It makes cooking fun and easy. But where do you learn these skills? Not watching cooking shows on TV.

Please don't get me wrong. I think from the great Julia Child through now, these TV chefs have done a wonderful job of promoting the culinary arts and bringing great awareness to the profession.

Do you know the names of Ferdinand Metz, Roger Verge', Paul Bocuse, Alain Ducasse & Gerard Boyer? Probably some of the greatest chef alive, but no TV shows. I've met Metz, Bocuse and Verge'. Bocuse was asked "Who is cooking at your restaurant while you are here (a week long visit at the Culinary Institute of America)"? His reply was "No one. We are closed if I'm not there". How many restaurants does Emeril have that he is rarely there? Make you wonder "The love of food or money?".

I've always have wanted to write about this, but this article, was my final inspiration.

PS: In the picture in the article above, there is a woman cleaning an onion. If I were to have cut THAT MUCH off the top of an onion in culinary school, I would have failed for the day...Chef Michael would still be yelling at me...and I graduated in '94.

See you around the table.....

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

A Culinary Challenge - Prize Involved.

I don't remember who said this (and I'm highly paraphrasing here), but in the cooking world, nothing holds more truth: Once you think you've learned everything about the culinary arts, you've just become an idiot. I've never professed to know everything...not even close. But that is a whole other blog!

However, over the last few months, I have been going absolutely nuts trying to remember a cooking method. It involves saute-ing a few vegetables, placing a piece of protein (fish, chicken, etc.) on top of the veggies. Some liquid is added to the pan, the pan is covered and placed in the oven. About 10 minutes later, the pan is removed, the veggies and protein are plated. The sauce can or can not be slightly reduced before pouring over the veggies. There is a name for this cooking method.
But.... I'm duh.

I know there are some area chefs and culinarians that read my blog. There are people who have some wicked research skills. And yet others who may have unnamed resources available to them. So here is the deal: Find me the term and tell me where you found it; I will know it when I hear it. The prize will be ONE of three things: 1. I will cook the above for you and three guests if you are in the central Illinois area. 2. If you are not in central Illinois, or don't want me to cook, I'll send you a financial windfall to the equivalent of the meal. 3. Or, as a third thought, instead of the meal or the $$, I'll make a $100 donation to the Peoria Junior League's Peoria Playhouse in your name.

Now, I'm hoping that my brothers and sisters of the chef world will just extend to me the courtesy of term, instead of collecting the prize, but a deal is a deal.

Let me help you along. These terms are NOT it: saute, grill, stir-fry, smoke, braise, stew, fry, pan fry, sear, pan sear, pan roast, burn (see if you are still with me, here), roast, broil, bake, boil, steam, poach, shallow poach, deep poach, simmer, en papillote, Poêlé, gratin, throw lit matches at, fricassee' or flambee'. And I want to think it starts with the letter P or possibly B. Those aren't guarantees.

Ladies and Gentlemen, start your search engines!

Monday, October 01, 2007

New Blogger

Just going to throw a quick introduction out here. Fellow culinarian & chef, Keith Shank, has started a blog called the A Visual Experience. Go & check him out.

Welcome to the blog-o-sphere, Keith!

See You Around The Table....

Chef Kevin