Thursday, October 4, 2018

Lobster, It's what's for Dinner at the Five fishermen, Halifax,NS

Lobster, It's What's For Dinner!

We had the recent good fortune to visit Nova Scotia which offered me the opportunity to try to eat my fill of culinary crustaceans.

Lobster is in season in Nova Scotia year round, but that may not be the case in a particular area where you are located. The season rotates through various geographical locations depending upon the time of the year. While fresh lobster may not be available in one city, a ten mile drive could bring you to an area where it is available. Of course, frozen lobster is always available.

While Poutine, french fries with cheese curds covered in brown gravy, may be the go-to fast food of Canada, Lobster is the signature dish of Nova Scotia. Roadside bars have portable signs in their parking lot that say “Beer and Lobster, Enough Said” You may have Lobster Benedict for breakfast, a lobster roll sandwich for lunch and a whole lobster for dinner. I like Nova Scotia. But if lobster is not for you, Nova Scotia also offers an amazing selection of other fresh seafood as well “Canadian AAA Steaks”. This is a grading system similar to “USDA Prime”. It is a tender, tasty, but more lean steak than it's US counter part.

We had a wonderful meal at the Five Fisherman restaurant in Halifax, NS. The building itself is of great historical importance for the City of Halifax.

In 1818 the parishioners of St Paul’s Church of England opened the building as a school. It would become the first school in Canada to offer a free education. It is for this reason that the building has the distinction of being the First National School and is a protected Heritage site.

The building changed hands to its new proprietor, Anna Leowens. She started an Art school, the Halifax Victorian School of Art. Before coming to Halifax, Anna was the governess to the children of the King of Siam, an experience she would later write a book about called “Anna and the King of Siam”. That book would be translated into the Broadway musical, “The King and I”.
The building was then taken over by the Snow family. John Snow & Co. Funeral Home would play a significant part in two of the world’s greatest disasters processing the victims of the Titanic disaster and the Halifax Explosion, the world's largest explosion prior to the Atomic Bomb! If you are not familiar with this. It is worth a google search. This appears to be the basis of the many reported hauntings throughout the building.
Our meal began with a Shrimp Cocktail for Sue and three different types of Fresh Oysters for me. The oysters came with fresh ground horseradish, hot sauce and a Mingonet White Wine dipping sauce, yum!
The wine list at the Five Fishermen is extensive, with world wide selections at reasonable prices. We had a Jost winery, Tidal Bay. Tidal Bay is a designated viticultural area wine made from the L'Acadie grape. It is a perfect accompaniment to seafood and only $19.00 per bottle.
Sue had Acadian Shellfish Tagliatelle, clams, shrimp, mussels and fresh herbs in white cream sauce with fresh sorrel sprouts. It was very rich and totally delicious.
I had the Classic Lobster dinner, a whole lobster with roasted potatoes and Chef's selection of vegetables that included carrots, broccoli, along with yellow and green zucchini. It more than met my wildest expectations.
Sue's dessert was a cherry tart with whipped cream and toasted almonds. I had a crème brulle' with currents, strawberrys and a pane of sugar glass. This was a great meal in a beautiful location in downtown Halifax, NS
The Five Fishermen is a multi-level restaurant with a bar area, dining rooms upstairs and down, private dining and an oyster bar as well as al fresco dining. It is a must visit place in Halifax and we highly recommend making reservations ahead of time It is always a busy place, but the service never suffers.

The Five Fishermen is located at 1740 Argyle Street, Halifax NS B3J 2B6, Phone: (902) 422-4421

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Sunday, September 9, 2018

TEENY TUCKER at BB King DAy 2018

TEENY TUCKER at BB King DAy 2018

This is raw video of Teeny Tucker at the 2018BB King Day symposium. It was an amazing jam session of Blues Masters at work.

Much more to come in the future weeks.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Here is a link to a new 60 sec  PSA we did for the BB King DAy Symposium 2018. 
It has a bit more detail than the 30 sec version. If you like the blues and American history please join us there. It's free! Click the link to see the video.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

The 4th annual BB King Day Symposium is September 6th at Mississippi Valley State University. The subject of discussion is "suffering Songs" the relationship between Native American and African American music and dance. This is a free event and will be followed by a"jam session" at BB King's Club Ebony featuring some of the World's best blues musicians.

Click this link to see the 30 second public service announcement for the event.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

The Tenderloin Room Bananas Foster preparation

Here is a link to the video of the Bananas Foster preparation at the Tenderloin Room at the Chase Park Plaza in St. Louis, MO.

Click this link to see the video

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

The Tenderloin Room, St. Louis

The Tenderloin Room inside The Chase Hotel complex, at Kingshighway and Lindell is a St. Louis institution when it comes to classic fine dining. 

In the tradition of many classic restaurants, the Tenderloin Room is family owned and operated and has been “The Place” for such stars as Frank Sinatra, George Clooney and most of the “A List” people that visit St. Louis . The Tenderloin Room has retained the look and feel of the elegant restaurants from years ago – plush and comfortable without being “clubby”.  The dining rooms are finished with elegant hard woods and brass chandeliers. The tenderloin room is definitely a steak house legend.

The tenderloin room serves gourmet cuisine that is perfect for romance, business and pleasure. the intricate interior design is a work of art. One look at the bar area and it's stained glass ceiling will assure you the tenderloin room is a one of a kind dining experience,

I had mentioned that it was our anniversary when I made our reservations, and when we were seated with found a “congratulations” greeting card signed by the entire staff. That was a very nice touch and set the stage for a wonderful dining experience.

Many items are prepared table-side, including appetizers such as shrimp, herring, smoked salmon and more. Sue had the shrimp cocktail and I had a perfect Carpaccio. I also tried their famous US Senate bean soup and it was very good.

Sue choose the 10 oz fillet mignon and I had the pepperloin, twin, tenderloins, after all this is a steak house. Both came with their twice baked potato ( just the filling, no skins to deal with) and grilled fresh asparagus with Parmesan. We took the option of having their house steak sauce served table-side and it was amazing. Booth steaks came cooked to order and I literally cut mine with a fork!

The Tenderloin Room also has vegetarian and gluten free selections as well.

Because it was a special night, we had a Chateauneuf-du-Pape wine, with the smoothness of a Rhone and the full body of a Bordeaux. Salute!

Sue had another table-side specialty for dessert, their Bananas Foster. A visual experience like no other, and of course, the taste was equally excellent. I couldn't pass up the home made, warm, bread pudding with ice cream, honey and cinnamon. It the perfect end to a perfect evening!

The Tenderloin Room is a must do dining experience in St. Louis.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Johnny's Italian Steakhouse, Des Moines, IA

We recently had the pleasure of dining at Johnny's Italian Steakhouse in Des Moines, Iowa. What defines it as an “Italian Steakhouse”? Their website desscribe the origin as follows;
Growing up during prohibition and the Great Depression in the Valley Junction neighborhood of West Des Moines, Iowa, John Stamatelos often received 25 cents from government tax collectors in exchange for insider knowledge on the locations of his father’s illegal corn moonshine stills. Happily accepting the cash, the youngster would then lead the G-men astray to spots where stills were long since abandoned.
Stamatelos turned those quarters into seed money for converting his own house into Johnny’s Vets Club in December 1946. Since liquor by the glass was still illegal, he operated the club as a speakeasy. Playing host to community dignitaries and locals alike,
Meanwhile, another Johnny on the other side of town, Johnny Compiano, and his wife, Kay, opened Johnny and Kay’s Restaurant—a humble one-room dining area and bar. Compiano’s love for cooking started in New Orleans while serving in the Coast Guard, and his iconic Steak de Burgo soon become a nightly attraction. Aside from their mutual love of hospitality, both Johnnys laid claim to the best de Burgo in Iowa—one adhering to the Italian style of cooking with olive oil, while the other used butter, garlic, and heavy cream.

In 2001, Heart of America Group owner Mike Whalen created a modern-day tribute to the concepts fostered by Stamatelos and Compiano. Johnny’s Italian Steakhouse, with 18 restaurants in 9 States honors the same spirit of service and culinary flair as the storied gentlemen sharing this emblematic first name.

Johnny's Italian Steakhouse by the numbers: 13 appetizers (we explained to him that toasted Raviolis were invented in St. Louis), 11 pastas, 7 seafood dishes, 6 steaks, 4 soups, 3 chicken dishes and even more specialty items.

We started our dining experience by sharing a house salad. This Italian dressing salad was more than enough for two.

Three different people suggested I try “Johnny's Chanel No. 5”. I had to think twice about ordering something named after a French perfume at an Italian steakhouse, but I gave it a try. It is Lobster, shrimp, artichokes, prosciutto and cheese ravioli in a garlic cream sauce. Don't hesitate, go for it. It was delicious!

Sue had the Snapper Basilico, a red Snapper fillet, fresh basil, garlic, yellow and red cherry tomatoes, and shaved Asiago with a fresh red sauce. Again, an excellent entree.

Our server was a very attentive without being overbearing, even when he tried to convince to have dessert as he brought a tray of beautiful examples to entice us. Unfortunately for us, our entrees were huge portions that left no room for anything else!

The restaurant has an upscale ambiance with tables, leather booths, curtained private dining areas, an outdoor patio with a fire pit and a comfortable bar area. We thoroughly enjoyed our dining experience at Johnny's Italian Steakhouse.

For reservations and more information go to

Monday, July 23, 2018

Nick's Bar and Grill, Des Moines, IA

Nick's Bar and Grill in the Des Moines suburb of Clive, Iowa is a great place to eat that reminds of the old Supper Club style of restaurant minus the relish platter. The restaurant side is paneled in hard woods with comfortable booths. The Bar side is also finished in hard woods and is a comfortable place to have a cocktail as well as a meal. There is patio seating as well.
Our waitress, Maureen,who has been there for more than a decade, was very pleasant and shared a few stories with us as well. She said it is known as a family restaurant where a lot of “deals” are made in the back room. I cautiously asked if she meant Mafia Family Deals and she laughed and said “no, just political deals”. It seems that Nick's is a favorite meeting place for well known politicians during the Iowa caucuses! The like of john McCain, Rand Paul and others have been known to meet in the private dining room to hash out their positions for upcoming elections.
Since 1996, Nick’s has been known in the Clive community for being the “go to” restaurant for a power business lunch or dinner. Our relaxed environment along with home cooked food and drinks at a very reasonable price is what has customers coming back on a regular basis.
The atmosphere at Nick’s is perfect for a quiet evening date. The dinner menu is filled with great tasting dishes, wonderful desserts and reasonably priced drink specials. I had a bourbon on the rocks and it came out as a double pour. Sue had a cranberry margarita martini and it was also a good sized pour.
We started with Sue having a house salad with blue cheese dressing. I had a cup of Southwestern style corn soup. Sue's main dish was the Linguini Carbonara with bacon, mushrooms and a cream sauce. It was a large portion and absolutely delicious. I had Pork Medallions in a mustard and sage Cream Sauce with a side of Cole slaw. The meat was so tender I cut it with my fork and the mustard/sage combination was perfection! I also had an IPA draft beer with dinner.
We were too full to even consider desserts as neither of us could finish all of our entrees.
Nick's Bar and Grill is fine dining at a very reasonable cost. Our total bill was only $58.00! we will definitely go back to Nick's Bar and Grill.
Nick's is located at 9769 University Ave. Clive, IA Phone 515 221 1338

Fly-Over-Country Dining

On our recent visit to Des Moines, Iowa we were fortunate enough to have stayed at the Renovo Hotel in Ubandale, Iowa, on the west side of Des Moines. Next to our hotel was the Machine shed restaurant.

The Machine shed is a farm themed restaurant “dedicated to the American farmer”. Serving locally sourced food items, it is true “down home”cooking that any farmer can be proud of.

The Machine shed serves breakfast, lunch and dinner with huge portions worthy of a group of thrashers! We had breakfast before we headed out to see the Iowa Living History Farms next door.

The Machine Shed is famous for its $13.00 breakfast buffet. I took one look and decided it was too much for me. It was huge display of breakfast favorites and I would have eaten way too much!

Our very pleasant waitress, dressed in bib overalls, was very efficient. We ordered from the menu and it took a while to decide what we wanted because there are so many delicious items to choose from. Sue had the cinnamon french toast made from their home made cinnamon rolls and served with a generous slice of country ham. I had the country breakfast, a country fried steak (you could also choose a pork chop or chicken) two eggs, and your choice of hash browns, country fries or cheddar potato casserole. I chose the country fries. It was all good!

The coffee was hot and tasty and no problems with refills on the coffee or water. In fact the water comes to the table in a large metal pitcher.

The Machine Shed is definitely a family restaurant with many extras, including a well stock gift shop with everything cast iron skillets and cook books on how to use them, novelty items, jams and jellies, fresh baked pies and cakes and more. There are even free tractor and wagon rides!

The Machine Shed has restaurants in Iowa, Illinois, Michigan and Minnesota. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves at the one located at 11151 Hickman Road, Urbandale, IA 50322 P: 515.270.6818