Restaurant Review: Blue Moon BBQ

Full Moon BBQ

If you are anticipating a negative review, you can move on. Blue Moon BBQ may have some things about which I will comment, but overall, not bad at all.

First and foremost, I will say the food is pretty darn good, if you like southern barbecue, that is. Personally, I don’t care for the sticky sweet sauce, but that’s me. Apparently, I am outnumbered.

I do have two comments, but you knew I couldn’t end my review there, right? First, when I ask the cashier, who took our order, if they use real butter she assured me they did. Then, she thought it a good idea to double-check. She did and confirmed they did, indeed, use real butter. Now, as one who uses real butter it was obvious instantly that it was not real butter – you know, the kind that comes from cows and not a mixture of some oil blend. The glop I received, was without a doubt, not the real deal. I do wish restaurants would get off the lobbyist bandwagon about ‘heart-healthy margarine’ … it isn’t healthy. Period. Well, one more thing: do we even know what margarine is? I would much prefer to trust a cow, not a chemist.

Second, portion sizes. Yeah, I know … we (and I use the term loosely) want to get our money’s worth, right? I prefer perfectly cooked, locally grown food and I’m willing to pay for it. Many, dare I say most, prefer quantity vs quality. It’s all about the dollar. I recall, years ago, having breakfast with my husband and stepson. The restaurant of choice offered an all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet – multiple kinds of meat, eggs, grits, toast, multiple kinds of potatoes, pancakes, waffles, and one little option for fruit – not fresh, mind you, but canned and all for $5.99! My stepson was appalled that I ordered from the menu – a small bowl of oatmeal with a side of raisins and a cup of hot tea. He proceeded to lecture me on ‘how to eat at a buffet’ and how important it was to ‘get our money’s worth.’ I actually paid the same price for my decent bowl of oatmeal. After we finished eating, my stepson proudly patted his abundant belly, offered a burp, and said, “Now, I got my money’s worth.” He hadn’t paid for breakfast – LOL!

But back to portion size and Blue Moon BBQ … I will have to peruse their menu again and look for something more to my liking. Today I ordered a baked potato with ‘butter’ and sour cream on the side and 2 ounces of “unsauced” shredded pork. OK, the pork was a little on the dry side – I suppose that’s where the BBQ sauces come in and the potato was absolutely, without a doubt so big that I only ate about a quarter of it. Interesting, I think, that their regular drink size was a mere 16 ounces – way smaller than what I am used to getting. Funny, I thought – though I was rather pleased with my smaller cup. I often find myself only filling my cup about half way or throwing out half. It was a nice change, but it sure didn’t match my massive potato.

Oh, one more comment: when I spoke to the manager and cashier about half portions, I was offered the children’s menu option. While I am not opposed to ordering from a child menu, the offerings was what has become standard: chicken fingers, hot dog, etc. Why can’t they provide smaller portions of their regular menu? Hmmm … something for them to think about.

So, the bottom line? If you’re hungry, you will leave stuffed if you eat everything. They have salad – I got that last time and again, left about four cups of lettuce on the plate. Way too much food and even though I hate to waste the food, it is better for my waist.

Bon appetit.

You Are What You Eat

This is a collection of graphics, TED and YouTube videos, and other items I’ve gathered as I discover just what our food ISN’T in today’s supermarkets … make those markets not super at all. The pictures below speak volumes about how we are nourishing our bodies … or not.

Many of the pictures have been taken from a multitude of sites and Facebook pages I follow. I credit those who run the sites and have left any reference to another site on the graphic or video. And, I thank them wholeheartedly for working so diligently to educate people about the dangers in today’s foods.

VegKitchenExtreme Health RadioThe Real Farmacy, GMO Free USA, Alabamians Against GMOs

Another Restaurant Review: Zoës Kitchen

Zoes-Kitchen-Menu2Not everyone who reads this blog is local, but if you happen to have a Zoës Kitchen in your neck of the woods … don’t delay! The staff at the Dothan location rocks! Never had a bad experience!

Zoës Kitchen offers something for everyone but the real treat is the freshness of the food. Something I found amusing is a sandwich on the children’s menu which indicated it was served on whole wheat bread saying ‘white bread upon request’ – how refreshing to default to a healthier choice.

The first time we went – and yes, we’ve been there several times since then – my husband ordered the steak kabobs – the only negative was that there weren’t enough for his he-man appetite. I don’t recall what he ordered the next time, but he was more satisfied with the amount. He did say the steak kabobs had a great flavor, but he left wanting more.

Another oddity, based on other local restaurants, was the availability of freshly cooked and raw broccoli – it’s in just about everything! My mother always said she eats enough broccoli to keep her colon happy … she’d do well at Zoës Kitchen. Of course, not everything comes with broccoli, but if you don’t like it, chose carefully.

Hummus? Fan or not – it’s worth a try. My friend, Tammy, ordered it and said it was ‘to die for’ … I believe her. She wouldn’t lie about hummus! I had the basil pesto hummus last time and I think people hear my groans of delight throughout the restaurant!

Recently, I had Zoës Kitchen veggie pita pizza … OMG … I doubt I will ever find a pizza I like better! Roasted vegetables, mozzarella, feta, fresh basil, caramelized onions, and mushrooms with a side Greek salad on the side and I was set … for lunch and dinner. Yum!

My husband is a sucker for a good Reuben sandwich so when I saw Zoës Kitchen’s version – Grüben … I tried it for my husband. I loved it. He didn’t, but he was delighted with his choice, the Steak Stack – sliced steak, portobello, mozzarella, caramelized onions, feta spread, tomato, sourdough and rosemary oil.

I loved their red potato salad but it wasn’t Tom’s favorite – but unless it’s homemade German potato salad, Tom probably wouldn’t have liked it anyway. Not his thing. I could have easily eaten the whole container of it!

Need I mention the awesome fresh squeezed limeade? I didn’t think so. OK, it was AMAZING! Not overly sweet with a luscious tang … I had two.

If you’re looking for fresh food, made on site daily … give Zoës Kitchen a try … tell ’em Elizabeth sent you.

7.3.2015 Let’s eat out

My husband, Tom, and I enjoy eating out. Of late, we have become more critical. Perhaps it’s because we’re in our mid to upper sixties. Perhaps it’s because we expect whatever we order to be better or at least different that what can prepare at home. Granted, we aren’t eating at restaurants who offer an obscure cuisine  – but more common fares, like steakhouses, Chinese restaurants, and Mexican restaurants.

Today we ate at a new steakhouse restaurant in a nearby town. Because my husband loves, loves, loves steak, I thought it would be a nice treat since we’ve been pretty busy lately. The parking lot at 11:15 in the morning, a mere fifteen minutes after they unlocked the doors, was packed. We walked in and were immediately greeted with loud music (a pet peeve of mine) and a cubby lined with hard benches for those who had the foresight to arrive earlier than we did. I was given a buzzer and told it would be about fifteen minutes. I didn’t buy it, but we decided to wait anyway. There were menus available while we waited – what a good idea! – and I began to peruse what was available. I quickly found the salad section and, though the name was different, I found one of my favorites – Black and Blue Salad – strips of perfectly cooked steak, fresh lettuce (I prefer a spring mix or other healthy green), tomatoes, red onion, blue cheese, and croutons. My dressing of choice would be some olive oil and balsamic vinegar and a little salt and pepper. The restaurant had their take on my beloved Black and Blue and it was pretty standard, dare I say blah? The steak was unseasoned, the Romaine lettuce was fine, but as I said I prefer a healthier green, but was grateful it wasn’t head lettuce. The tomatoes were sadly not very tomatoe-y … with all the local farmer’s markets, I was shocked at the pale color of the minutely diced hothouse variety of tomatoes. After having tomatoes from roadside stands that dot the entire community, I was pretty bummed by the flavorless tomatoes I was served. There was plenty of bleu cheese, for which I am eternally grateful – it is my go to cheese! There was a smattering of croutons which had more flavor than I expected. I think the salad dressing was the biggest disappointment – the menu said homemade and again … blah, blah, blah. The menu said it came with Italian, but I was served creamy Italian which I would have changed. I hate creamy Italian and theirs was, by far, one of the worse I’ve ever had. No flavor. I don’t think I’ve ever – in my entire life – had to add salt and pepper to my salad dressing!!!

So, let’s move onto Tom’s experience. First of all, when the waitress arrived, she asked if he wanted to order an appetizer, he surprised me by saying, “Yes.” We rarely order appetizers, preferring to save our caloric intake for our meal. He then ordered a steak (no surprise there!) and selected his two sides – a side salad and a baked sweet potato. We were a little taken aback when his side salad arrived before his appetizers. The appetizer arrived before he finished his salad and very shortly thereafter, his steak/potato and my salad arrived. He pushed his appetizers aside to eat his steak. He told me the appetizers were pretty greasy and again, not much flavor. In their defense, all the food in the appetizer combo were deep-fried and covered in cheese. Tom would have eaten more than one of the potato skins and more of the hot wings had his meal not arrived. We thought it was odd to receive his salad before the appetizer and that his meal was served before he could even finish the appetizer.

But, his steak was perfectly cooked, though seriously lacking seasoning. And, the butter for his sweet potato was nothing except processed grease … why do restaurants insist on serving a Country Crock-type of margarine instead of real butter? I’d pay extra for real butter.

So, there you have it … oh, I could have prepared a fabulous dinner for six with the money we spent on lunch today.

When we left, I asked Tom to rate the restaurant on a scale of one to five, five being awesome. Tom = 2 / Me = 2.5

A Facebook friend suggested another roadhouse … we’ll try that one next.

Right in the middle …

After my full time job dropped to part time (not by choice), I found myself with a bit of foot castextra time in the afternoons. With my foot surgery behind me and doing well, I called a friend who teaches swimming classes at her private pool and offered my services to teach water babies. She was delighted and I began teaching on June 1. After several weeks of classes and a decent tan (I teach from 3pm – 5:30pm) I slipped stepping into the pool and broke (or as the doctor put it … shattered) my right heel – yeah, the ‘other’ foot is now sporting a bright orange cast to my knee.

So, no more swimming this summer which makes me think about how I’m going to get any exercise. I can’t really walk well – I mean I do fine around the house and at work, but for exercise – not so much.

I called my buddies at Advanced Rehab where I received my therapy after my left foot surgery and asked if I could do their fitness program for my upper body only. He said sure! Yea! (It’s what I love about living in a small town.) I did my first little upper body only work out today and will repeat it next week, so long as I can secure a driver … remember, right foot is out of commission so I cannot drive – at least not safely.

So, that’s it … I’m grounded, so to speak. But, that gives me a chance to catch up on my recipe testing and blogging!

Always Write!

Press the button

ImageWouldn’t it be nice if you had a “simple button” you could press to instantly simplify your life? I fear it would be like all those gadgets we buy to make life easier and as fabulous it would be to press a ‘simple’ button I’ll bet it would end up in my ‘er’ drawer … you know … slicER, gratER, peelER, etc.