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Friday, December 28, 2012

Checking Out Maddie's Place On Rebsamen Park Road


Haven't been to  Maddie's Place in a few years so, a friend and I made a date to check it out for lunch. Actually, we really wanted a nice, quiet, friendly atmosphere to catch up on a few years or so. You see, Leta just moved back from Fort Worth and we have not had a nice girlfriend lunch for a long time. It was wonderful to chat, rehash, and renew our friendship since she is back in town to stay!! We've known each other most of our lives...Ridgeroad Jr. High, NLR High, various reunions, a couple of Bible studies, and a few dinners, drinks, and such.  She is an especially nice person (rare) and, I can see our relationship continuing onward. Sort of special...how many friends are you still friendly with since way back when???

Back to Maddie's...we each had the special, Cajun Chicken & Dumplings. Very ample serving with lots of plump dumplings and plenty of chicken for a hearty New Orleans type meal. And, because we had lots to catch up on so, we stayed a good while, so dessert was a necessity. Chocolate Creme Bruleé is always delicious here. So that's just what we had before we paid our tab, jumped in the car, and shopped at various antique malls all afternoon! Very nice to have a good friend who, even though, you haven't seen for awhile, seems to nicely fit right back in where you left off, years ago! Sort of like revisiting Maddie's Place, too...


Maddies_Place on Urbanspoon

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Metro Burger Is Simply Wonderful!

Metro Burger on Urbanspoon                                                                                                           


 

Because I do a lot of shopping in the Indian Hills area, I recently discovered a wonderful new burger joint at the back end of the Indian Hills Shopping Center. We badly need new restaurants in the area so, I was game to check this place out. Sort of simple menu, yet still a lot of complex offerings which stimulated my taste bud thoughts in a way I didn't think a burger joint could. All that said, and after reading all the menu suggestions, I chose the basic beef burger with American cheese, standard dressings, and topped off with powder sugar coated sweet potato fries. Simply wonderful!!! Pricey, but what burger place (including McDs) isn't???

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Mac and the Magnificent 7 Cheeses


I have this wonderful mac and cheese recipe by CarnieWilson that I got from an article years ago and have turned into my own. It's one of those bake in the oven mac & cheeses and believe me it is out of this world!  Makes a lot, so plan to feed a crowd or freeze in smaller containers. Also, plan on a trip to the store to purchase all those 7 magnificent cheeses...don't wimp out on them either! Rich, creamy, and so good you will even eat it for breakfast...

How to make Carnie Wilson's Mac & Cheese:
Ingredients:
3 1/2 cups cooked elbow macaroni, the big kind
1 1/3 cup heavy cream
1 1/3 cup half and half
2/3 cup sour cream
4 oz cream cheese
1 egg
3 T flour
1 T Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon each garlic powder, onion powder, kosher salt, and dry mustard
1/8 teaspoon each cayenne, nutmeg, and black pepper
12 oz Velveeta cheese, cubed
8 oz Vermont cheddar cheese,cubed
10 oz Gruyere cheese, shredded
2 cups Jack and cheddar cheese, shredded
Paprika
Chives and Parmesan cheese for garnish

Directions:
1.  Preheat oven to 350°, grease a 13x9 inch dish with butter.
2.  Pour cooked pasta into the prepared dish.
3.  In a large mixing bowl combine the heavy cream, half and half, and sour cream.  Break the cream cheese into pieces and add to bowl. Add egg, flour, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and dry mustard along with cayenne, nutmeg, and black pepper. Whisk together, will be lumpy. Set aside.
4.  Starting at corners of pasta shove the cubes of Velveeta and Gruyere into the pasta working toward middle.
5.  Pour cream mixture into pasta and shake to distribute evenly.
6.  Sprinkle Jack and Cheddar over the pasta.
7.  Sprinkle with the paprika. Bake for 30 minutes or until bubbly.
8.  Sprinkle with chives and Parmesean for garnish.





 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Wished Lindsey's BBQ Would Get Their Groove Back...

Gee, I hate to say bad things about past loves...but, I went to Lindsey's BBQ the other day for lunch and I was sooooo disappointed. Had the pork BBQ combo and gosh, it was sort of tasteless. Was one of those...looked really good but, no flavor. My side of beans tasted a bit bland, as well. Maybe I was suppose to pour the BBQ sauce sitting on the table all over my sandwich to spruce it up, but I didn't. Anyway, my lunch companion had the turkey and dressing plate with mixed greens, steamed cabbage, cornbread, and hushpuppy. I sampled the dressing and did not catch any trace of sage...what the heck was that all about?? Dressing without sage overload is an unforgivable sin where I come from. Maybe my taste buds were out to lunch that day, or I was having a bad one, or they were having a bad one, but I really wish this place would get their BBQ and soul food groove back. Total bill with drinks was $14.15 so I shouldn't complain too much. The greens were good...



Lindsey's Hospitality House on Urbanspoon

Monday, September 17, 2012

Yamato Japanese Steakhouse in Jacksonville

Don't know why this place is hardly occupied when we visit, but we love it and visit often!! So, being lone diners, we often receive extra special attention, even though we do have a different server each time. I tend to get the same thing every visit, like the Tempura Shrimp Bento Box. It has huge crispy Panko fried shrimp which are soooooo tasty. Never soggy, oily, or spongy. The Bento comes with choice of soup (love the miso), salad with choice of dressing (nicely generous with the ginger dressing, too), fried rice, crispy egg roll, and four little sushi pieces! Whatta meal for under $10...I always bring leftovers home for late night snacking. Check out these pics...




You probably should stop in (just off Hwy 67/167), if ever in the Jacksonville area...I hear they even have Karaoke. Very pleasant place to eat (grill and bar areas pictured below)...they really should spruce up that fish tank in the front entry way, though.


  
Yamato Japanese Steakhouse and Sushi on Urbanspoon

Friday, August 31, 2012

PF Chang's...a pretty place to eat

Was in the NWArkansas area yesterday and stopped in P F Chang's at the Promenade Mall area for lunch. If you haven't been to this mall, you have to go! Crystal Bridges is putting NWAR on the map! Anyway, P F Chang's has some pretty fancy decor with some very pretty food, as well. We sat at the bar because the huge dining area was packed! In fact, this place is always packed. Goes to show, OK food dressed up real pretty along with pretty decor and pretty good service = success! We had the Salt & Pepper Calamari, Vegetarian Fried Rice, Kung Pao Chicken, and two teas for a whopping $38 bucks (pretty pricey area), including tip.


P.F. Chang's China Bistro on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Chet's Pralines...WAY Too Easy to Make!


I have a wonderful Louisiana cookbook called Cést si Bon! which I bought in the 70s. This is a noteworthy cookbook because it has some of the best authentic Cajun recipes around. It also has an Our Chef's section which has interesting instructions you probably have never experienced in recipes before. These explicit directives are very helpful in making the recipe work and just the other day, I made these perfectly delectable Chet's Pralines. The recipe yields 20 and guess how many are still hanging around...thanks, Chet for all the helpful instructions!! You're a good man for sharing this gem...Cést si bon!

How to make Chet's Pralines:
 Mix well:
 2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups sweet milk
1/3 teaspoon soda in "dutch oven" or something deep because it foams up while cooking. Cook over medium heat until hardball forms when dropped in water. Stir occasionally while cooking to prevent sticking to bottom of container.

Take off stove and add;
1 Tablespoon butter
1 cup pecans
1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix well and return to stove and cook one-two minutes more. Remove from stove and whip until starts to thicken.  Drop spoon-fulls on wax paper, and drop fast because it hardens quickly once it starts. By the time you have dropped the last one, the first one you dropped is usually ready to pick-up. These are the greatest pralines you have ever eaten. Do not cook on a rainy day, they will not harden.   Chet Beckwith




Monday, August 13, 2012

Small Town BBQ greatness...BBQ Sandwich at Mick's BBQ


In the North Little Rock area, if you haven't stopped out 3609 MacArthur Drive (old Conway Hwy), just pass the Levy I40 entrance (about where the old Scenic Drive Inn was located), and picked up a BBQ special (includes chips and tea) from Mick's, you simply haven't experienced small town BBQ at its very best! The special for about $6 bucks at Mick's is simply to Di for!! Reminds me of the(very) old and now gone, White Pig Inn which was located across the street from the old MOPAC RR (now Union Pacific RR) on Pike Avenue. Remember that one?? Anyway, with lots of tasty rich sauce, huge chunks of freshly smoked pork, and a touch of slaw (if you desire), Mick's BBQ  makes one of the BEST BBQ sandwiches around! Sit out front under the awning or in your car...open on Sunday, too.

Mick's Bar-B-Q on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Loving The Mexican Culture...Know Your Chiles


I have this wonderful Mexican cookbook, Mexican Family Favorites Cook Book, by Mariá Teresa Bermúdez that I refer to quite often for some simple and delicious Mexican favorites. Thanks to Teresa, this lil' ole Southern gal knows her chilies, makes her own (cost efficient and always better than store bought) chili powder, cooks a mean batch of pork tamales (corn husk and all), and respects the clove of garlic as a medicinally and spiritually Mexican cure all! I do love the Mexican culture and their fresh and easy way of cooking...I make my own Kahlúa, too! Try this delicious casserole!


How to make Beef Enchilada Casserole
Ingredients:
1 1/2 to 2 lbs lean ground beef
1 crushed garlic clove
4-5 stewed tomatoes, chopped (I use a 14 oz can)
6 oz tomato sauce
2 tsp olive oil
3 tbl diced onion
Salt to taste
Ground pepper
6-8 jalapeños, diced (I use a couple)
12 corn tortillas, cut into triangles
3 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/3 cup fresh cilantro, cut in small pieces
1 cup grated Jack cheese
Directions:
1.In a skillet, brown meat, then drain well. Return meat to skillet, add crushed garlic clove and cook until well blended into meat. Cover, leave aside.
2. In a saucepan, add stewed tomatoes, tomato sauce, olive oil, onion, and all seasonings. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover to simmer 20 minutes, stir frequently.  Blend in jalapeños, cover, put aside.
3. Preheat oven to 350° F, then lightly butter a square 2-quart casserole dish. Cut corn tortillas into quarters. To cheddar cheese, blend in cilantro.
4. In a mixing bowl, combine cooked meat and sauce, mix well. Layer casserole dish with tortillas, then add meat/sauce mixture. Sprinkle with cheddar cheese/cilantro mixture, then add another layer of tortillas and repeat, ending, with meat mixture. Sprinkle entire casserole with Jack cheese and any leftover cheddar cheese. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes until cheese is completely melted. Serves 6-8


Friday, August 3, 2012

Freshly Brewed Coffee, Southern Fried Breakfast, Airy Angel Flake Biscuits, Down Home Hospitality, & A Dining Room With A View...all to Di for!






These are the delightful things you will experience when you travel Hwy 7North to Jasper and stop in for breakfast at the Cliff House Inn overlooking the majestic Arkansas Grand Canyon. Since the leaves died off early this year (AR, KS, OK hottest states in the country with major drought going on) we turned the air up to high, pretended it was fall, and made our annual pilgrimage up Hwy 7North a little head of schedule. Spectacular, as usual, and the Cliff House Inn didn't disappoint us either. The inn owners are always so friendly and they still cook the best breakfast in the Ozarks (with a view of the Arkansas Grand Canyon OTH/on the house). I especially like their light and fluffy Angel Flake Biscuits. Don't know for sure but, they probably make these scrumptious jewels via that famous Angel Biscuit recipe (got mine out of Recipes from Miss Daisy's) which I have shared with you below...

How to make Angel Biscuits:
3 cups self-rising flour
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup shortening
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 cake of yeast, dissolved in 1/4 cup warm water

Sift dry ingredients, cut in shortening. Add milk and yeast mixture to make a soft dough. Turn out and knead about 20 strokes. Roll to 3/4 inch thickness. Cut out biscuits and cook on a greased pan for 15 minute in a 425 degree oven.

FYI, stop and smell, but don't pick the zinnias...pretty pricey crop this year with the high cost of watering.



Cliff House Inn on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Fine Italian Dining...in Russellville

Stopped in at La Villa Italian Restaurant the other day (just down the street from Feltner's Whattaburger) and believe it or not had some pretty tasty, fine Italian food in Russellville. Was surprised to see how big this small Arkansas town has grown, probably because of the huge expansion of Arkansas Tech University College. And, students gotta eat, don't they? There weren't really any students in this place, just families, business people, and lots of diners.Betcha the students were down the street enjoying cheaper burgers...but, we enjoyed the Italian cuisine and were amazed to experience fine (and delicious) Italian dining in Russellville! Tried the Fried Calamari, Eggplant Parmigiana Rolltini, and the plain ole Spaghetti and Marinara Sauce. The vodka marinara sauce,crispy calamari, and homemade rolls were to Di for! Excellent service and super clean surroundings! 5 outta 5 for CRA (Clean Restroom Award)! Total bill plus tea for two, sans salads, and including tip was $34.88.While traveling down I40...do drop in.




La Villa on Urbanspoon

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Back To the Simple Life...Hog Pen BBQ

Found this lil' hole in the wall on Walnut Street in Conway. Upon seeing all the huge fancy catering trucks outside we moseyed in for some plain and simple tasty Southern BBQ.

The Boudain Dinner at $8.29 with sides of okra and sweet potato fries was good. Maple syrup for the fries was a nice lil' touch. The Rib Dinner at $10.05 with sides of baked beans and potato salad was very good. Ribs melted off the bone. Two choices for sauce (hot or mild) kept in line with the keep it simple philosophy.

You will be able to find good food, friendly service, and a big fat hog in the trough outside at the Hog Pen!

Hog Pen Barbecue & Catering on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Super Pimento Cheese Recipe Found In the Morning Newspaper...Better Than Mom's

Got this great recipe out of the Arkansas-Democrat Gazette newspaper this morning, went to Kroger, bought the ingredients, and having a super pimento cheese celery stick right this moment. It's creamy, spicy, simple, delicious, and even tastes better than the one my mom use to make. Thanks, Kelly Brant for sharing this super recipe and yes, it will go perfectly with my 4th of July spread!


How to make Spicy Roasted Red Pepper Pimento Cheese:

1 lb sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup mayo
1/4 cup neufchatel cheese, softened
1/4 cup sour cream
1/2 of a 12 oz jar of roasted, red peppers, drained, chopped
2 teaspoons finely grated onion
2 teaspoons coarse-grain mustard
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
ground pepper to taste
Crackers, apple wedges and/or celery sticks, for serving

1. Using a box grater, grate cheddar cheese using fine and coarse holes for the best texture; set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, stir together the mayo, neufchatel and sour cream until creamy and well combined.
3. Stir in shredded cheddar, roasted peppers, onion, mustard, cayenne and mix well.
4. Season to taste with ground black pepper.
Serve with crackers, apples or celery. Makes about 3 1/2 cups.


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Average Life Span of a Housefly...




that's about how long Dona's Little Italy survived at the old Bruno's Little Italy location on Bowman Curve in western Little Rock. Super fortunate I got to try the perfect homemade dinner rolls with light fresh marinara sauce, the delicious Joe's Pizza (should have been Dona's but the printing company screwed up), and the delectable refreshing Italian Spumoni before the management recently closed the doors. I even got to chat and eat with the genuine Italian owner (heavy accent and all) who filled us in on how many other successful Italian restaurants he has, that his brother, Joe, has Joe's Pizza and Pasta Italian Grill in Springdale (which happens to be my most favorite Italian place in the Natural State), why Dona's probably sunk like the Titanic (amazing how most people think they can't eat Italian food without a bottle of wine), and what he's thinking about doing in downtown Little Rock. Although it was to be my last meal at Dona's, it was a luscious experience! 


And, how many of you know the average life span of a housefly according to Newton's Home Page? Email your answer to diannehocut@live.com and the first correct answer to arrive, will win a gift card to Marco's Pizza! Deadline for entries is June 29, 2012 at 8 pm, CST! Winner (if any) will be announced on this blog. Good luck and maybe you'll get to try Dona's or Joe's real Italian pizza at sometime in the near future! It's gonna be hard to keep a true Italian eatery that plays Dean Martin music down!!!

Dona's Little Italy on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Love Those Itty Bitty Hole in the Walls of Arkansas...


Was in the Clinton area the other day and had the opportunity to check out this adorable little hole in the wall designed just right for "food & friends" eatin' in Arkansas. Located in the small and cozy town of Leslie, the Skylark Café was a foodie's delight! My party tried a tad of everything and from a group of eight, there were no registered complaints! Just had to experience the Chili with Buttermilk Cornbread Muffin and sooo glad I did. Chili was spiced just right with subtle blends of different herbs and chili powders and loaded with various cheeses on top. The cornbread muffins were freshly baked with coarsely ground whole wheat grains. Once you go freshly and coarsely ground with whole grain corn kernels you never go back to plain ole store bought corn meal! From the freshly baked bread and desserts to the vegetarian offered delights, I can't wait to trek on back to the city of Leslie and try some more homemade goodies at the Skylark Café.




Skylark Cafe on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

We Live Too Close...

Glad Smokin' Buns is not open 7 days a week (open Wed thru Sat) or I think we might eat there every night if we could! They always have delicious food, no waiting, and delightful wait staff!! These are a few of my favorite things at Smokin' Buns...




Smokin' Buns on Urbanspoon