Good Eats At Rocco Vino’s

Way back in January, before we managed to hit “PEAK STUPID” every day with the China Wuhan Virus , we had an “out of towner” that we had to entertain for a few days and the good  best part of that was we got to expense a pretty good dinner.

Rocco Vino’s

There were six off us and we ordered three appetizers:

Bruschetta, Calamari, Toasted Ravioli.

All very good !!

Roco_001

For my main course, it was a coin toss between the Linguine & Clams or the Zuppa.

I went with the Zuppa.

Zuppa di Pesce….$26
“Scallops, calamari, shrimp, octopus, mussels &
clams with linguine in a tomato herb sauce”

Roco_002

Man, that was really good !!!

When I ordered it, the waitress asked if I wanted it with “red sauce or white sauce” and as soon as she finished saying that she said, “Honey, nobody orders the white sauce.”

Hmmmm, I really thought about the white sauce, which would have been interesting if it were an Alfredo, but not sure if I would want it if it were a white wine sauce.  So I got the red.

I had a dish very similar to the above before.  Similar but not the same:

Acquaviva Winery

I remember the Zupp di Mare was really good but it was so long ago that I wouldn’t be able to say which dinner was better.

Using search engines on the intertubes, I can’t find any difference between Zuppa di Mare and Zuppa di Pesce.  It might just be a personal or regional difference.

Chinese Food Porn

I have been doing “fairly well” with watching my caloric intake and had not been to a Chinese buffet in quite some time.

Below is “Plate # 1”

I usually judge the quality of a Chinese buffet by their egg drop soup and their crab rangoons.

This was a new place for use to go to and they scored an “A” for the soup and rangoons.

Buffet

Toaster Bacon?

reddi-bacon

Making bacon in the toaster?

Yep, it was tried in the mid 1960’s.

Just drop the foil package with precooked bacon into the toaster and just 60-90 seconds later, hot bacon.

toaster_bacon

I can think of at least two possible problems with this idea:

  1.     Obliviously any grease leaking out is a fire hazard.
  2.      There are several way of opening the package that I could easily see someone         carelessly spraying hot grease around.

The approved way to cook bacon:

bacon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hardware

Had the occasion to take the wife out for her 50th birthday and we went to a “new” restaurant in our area.  I say new because we haven’t been there.  I think the place has been open for a couple of years.

Hardware:

Hardware_001

I of course started my dinner off with a beer flight.  4 different 4oz beers for $10. Surprisingly the Black IPA was my favorite.

 

Hardware_002

The wife ordered Poutine for an appetizer.  Everything with a fried egg on it is good.

One of the drinks of the night was the Mojito.  The wife got one and instead of rum, it was made with whiskey

 

Hardware_003

 

Several good items on the menu that I wanted to try but I went with the “Sticky Chicken.”  Fried thighs with a whiskey based glaze.  This was really,really good !!!

 

Hardware_005

The wife ordered the “Pork Belly Korean Fried Rice.”  Again, with a fried egg on it, how could it not be good??

Food Review

I had the occasion to stop at a McDonald’s on the way home one day and thought I would try one of their new items:

food_review

Well, the item is called “Jalapeno Double”.  I was presuming that the double meant “double beef.  I don’t recall tasting any beef, I thought I was eating a jalapeno/jalapeno sandwich.  There was no shortage of “HOT” in this item.

SmashBurger

A new hamburger joint opened up in my area (It’s been here about a year, but I just got around to going to it).

It’s called “Smasburger”

I like burgers.  I like burgers a lot !!

To me, a good burger is a patty and a bun.  That’s really all I need. Maybe a nice shot of horseradish mustard.

Since I was at a “specialty” type burger joint, I decided that  to properly evaluate the burger, I should order something other than just a simple burger.  I ordered the “Spicy Baja” (Pepper jack cheese, guacamole, lettuce, tomato, onion, spicy chipotle mayo and fresh jalapeños on a spicy chipotle bun)

The fries are “shoestring cut” and they are actually hard to eat because they are small.

The chipotle sauce was quite zingy but over all, there wasn’t a whole lot of taste.  I had a much better jalapeno burger at Applebees.

It was a $5.99 burger and the price was right since we had a “buy one, get one” coupon.  If I get another coupon, I might go back just to try a plain burger.

My wife and I both concur that if we are in the mood for going out for a burger, the choice still is Portillios.

We’ve been to Red Robin twice.  This is the kind of place that I think gives burgers a bad name.  Too many choices, too many “things” to pile on .  Kind of like have a salad or a side entree stacked on the burger.

A Quick Spaghetti Dinner

The wife and daughter were out for dinner with my mother and my out-of-town niece, so I was on my own for dinner.  We had already planned on having spaghetti so I went ahead with it for my self:

I come from a very non Italian family and I remember when I was a bout 12 years old, I was having dinner at a friends house and when they served the spaghetti, there was a separate dish for the pasta and the sauce !!  To me, that was something that was out of the norm !

The sauce was from a jar

The meatballs were frozen in a bag

The Parmesan was pre-shredded.

That’s why it’s a “Quick” dinner !! (Don’t think bad of me)

This was the food count for the day:

Calories Fat Carb Protein
Lean cusine Egg Roll 320 1 62 8
3/4 cup rice 240 0 54 6
1 cup Yogurt 120 0 18 10
Fruit 70 0 14 0
6 Meatballs 230 16 5 15
Sauce 160 5 24 4
Pasta 630 5 123 21
Beer 55 0 0 0
1825 27 300 64

 

When I was counting out the calories making dinner, I thought that there was WAY TOO MANY and I decided not to have any toasted garlic bread. But when I totaled it up for the day, I was quite surprised (pleasantly)to see that I was still under 2000 calories for the day !!

Lunch For Week XVI

Lunch for week XV was nothing to write about, really !!

It was a 4 day work week and on Tuesday and Wednesday, I had leftover beef and mashed potatoes from Christmas dinner.

Thursday and Friday I had “Cream of Chicken Soup from a can.

But now, it’s on to week XVI !!!

I am slightly embarrassed that it is store bought, packaged food.  I am only using 3 cups of the rice to add to the dinner.

But there is a method to my madness.

At work, there is a weight loss contest/competition (for a lack of better description).  I would much rather cook my own food, but it is much easier to use packaged food that I can easily count calories, fat, carbs etc.

I learned about this weight loss event about two weeks ago.  I decided that it would be counter productive to continue going to the gym AND watching what I ate if I were going to do this.  So I stopped my normal eating habits and did not restrict/control/restrain myself when it came to foodstuffs.

I FEEL HORRIBLE !!!!!!

I can not imagine what I would feel like if I continued like that.  I did not try to overeat, but there was very little reason to stop.

That’s a funny thing about my daughter.  A few years ago were at home eating hamburgers and she (6 years old at the time) was about halfway done with her burger and she put it down on her plate and said, “I’m full” and was done eating. Over eating is not natural and has to be learned???

Because of the eating of the past two weeks, I expect to weigh in close to 250 pounds.  My goal for the 12 weeks is to lose 10%.  Yes, a lofty goal but since there is prize money involved, I have an extra incentive !!!

Lunch for Week XIV

Back to making another classic: Split Pea with Ham !!

Normally when I make my lunches for the week, I end up making enough for just four lunches, leaving me to forage on Friday.  But this week I made a double batch of the soup and not only will there be five lunches, each one will have a bit more then normal !!

And of course, the finsihed product.

The ham was on sale at the supermarket “Buy one Get one Free” and with a coupon that I had, it made this ham only about $5.00 and total for the week of lunches will be under $4.00 since there is much more soup, I won’t add any crackers.

Oh, and as a footnote, No, I did not use all of that ham in the soup.  I used only about a 1/4 of it and will slice the rest of it for fried ham and hash browns for a dinner this week.

Lunch for Week XIII

UPDATED !!!!!!!!!

This is the lunch we had today:

Yes, it is enough food to feed a small Amazon village for a week!!

I am not in the habit of putting butter on my rolls or toast at home.  I use butter to cook with but not spread on my food.  It’s just a way to save some fat and calories for eating MEAT later.

BUT !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I wasn’t  going to dip the lobster in the butter mostly because I didn’t want to hide the taste of the lobster with the butter, but I went ahead and dipped.

I FORGOT HOW $@#!&% GOOD CLARIFIED BUTTER WAS !!

Holy cow was that great !!!!!!!!!

I almost wanted to drink it straight up !!

===================================================

This will be a more boring post then any other !!!
The Holiday activity is beginning and this is the schedule for the week:

Monday:      Office luncheon

Tuesday:     Department (off site) Christmas party

Friday:         OFF

So I will just have to forage on Wednesday and Thursday.

The office luncheon:

In today’s economic situation, it’s a miracle that we still get a nice luncheon.  We also had a bang up picnic this summer.

Now I don’t want to look a gift horse in the mouth, but I could almost do without the lunch.  We have an upscale cafeteria in our building ($7.50 for sandwich,soda and chips)(which is why I bring my lunch!!) but when they try to put on a lunch for 200+ people, it loses a little in quality.

The main entree is Filet Mignon(nice, but would rather have a rib eye) and I think there will be a shrimp entree as well, roasted potatoes, steamed vegetable medley, rolls and and a variety of cheesecakes for desert.

No, I’m not bragging or gloating.  The cafeteria staff will do a great job but it’s really hard to put it all together with the best quality.

I would be happy with a good burger and fry !!

Lunch for Week XII

UPDATE :

The good news is that lunch is not ruined.  It has a heavy vinegar taste, but will do for this week !

 

The week of leftover lunches were interesting, but it’s nice to get back to some spicy Chinese !!

Now, that looks like a lot of chicken but it isn’t really too much considering there is probably only a total of 6 thighs and it is for 4 lunches.  I did accidentally take more out of the freezer then I wanted to, but decided to cook it all any way !!

There was a very good sale on “Black Friday” at my grocery store and one of the things that I bought was a “name brand” can of baby corn  instead of the cheapest one that I can find.  What a difference it made when I opened the can and emptied the contents into the strainer !!!.  Each ear was the same length and same girth, not just a random bunch of stuff in the can !  It will most likely taste the same and I don’t mind using the stems and stalks in the lunches, but if I were preparing a meal for others, I might have to go with the name brand as presentation is almost as important ast the taste.  And my lunch experience is mostly just about filling my pie hole until dinner.

Despite this looking like a lot of chicken, when I spooned out equal portions into my lunch containers, there wasn’t too much.  My lunch is quite a bit less than what you would buy for take out and a Chinese restaurant.  And I will be keeping the sauce and chicken separate as to keep as mush of the fried, crunchy goodness that I can !

I have ruined a bit of food by “experimenting” or altering a recipe.  Today, I thought I would try adding a little rice wine vinegar into the sauce.  And don’t you know that I dumped too much in !!!.  I tried to compensate by adding another package of sauce.  I did not sample the sauce yet, so on Monday at 11:15 am when my food comes out of the microwave at work, I will find out how it is !

Lunch For Week VIII

I finally located more of the good chili that I had before. I was able to buy it from Amazon.com (Cugino’s Chili).  I only paid $21.85 for my order.

With the saltines, this week of lunches will cost about $11.00

I prefer to have my ground beef  not to be a paste.  I like it to have a good texture.  In fact, the next time I shop, I will be trying to find a coarser ground.  Even when making something as simple as tacos, it makes a great difference with the coarser grind.

Lunch for Week V

The Split Pea Soup (with slab bacon) was good, but I want to go back to my Chinese lunches, so this week it is Oyster Beef with mushrooms and sprouts.

The meat after cutting and marinating overnight in the Oyster Sauce:

And of course, the finished product !!!!

There isn’t much color in this dish.  I only added half of the sprouts and thought that if I tossed in some broccoli there would be too much food.  Did toss in a sprinkle of crushed red pepper flakes.

Going to be a little more costly this week:

Oyster Sauce:          $1.60

Sprouts:                     $1.00

Mushrooms:            $1.00

Meat:                          $5.30

I bought everything except the meat at Big Lots last week when they had a “20% Off Everything” sale so those items are 20% less.  I also stocked up on various Chinese ingredients.  They did not how ever have any of the baby corn left !!

When  I emptied the can of mushrooms, I noticed that it said “Product of China”.  That got me to thinking a little bit.  These mushrooms are not a gourmet product.  I can hardly believe that a farm(er) in China can raise, process and ship a can of mushrooms to America and Big Lots can sell it for $1.00 and make money doing it.  Is there a shortage of mushrooms in America?????  America is not able to produce enough mushrooms so that it needs to be supplemented with Chinese imported mushrooms??

Strange thoughts.

Lunch for Week IV

Well, with the Fall weather beginning (HA !! 80 degrees this weekend !!) I went back to making my Split Pea Soup (with Bacon this week)

It has 16 ozs of green split peas.

The instructions on the bag say not to pre-soak them, but I have found that they cook much faster after being soaked.  Overnight in this case.

1 pound of thick cut bacon fried to perfection !!!

Unfortunately, I was out of crushed red pepper flakes so I added a couple of squirts of Tabasco sauce for a little zing.

Have you ever seen anything more beautiful !!??!!

And of course, the finished product !

Peas             $ 0 .99

Bacon         $  3.99

Crackers   $ 1.00

Lunch for Week III

Made another big batch of “General Tso’s Chicken”
Made it this time with a double batch of sauce (I need to find somewhere I can buy it in bulk!!)
Also, I did not coat and fry the chicken, instead I just sauteed it.
I found a 5 pound package of chicken thighs at Jewel-Osco for .99 a pound and spent a little time in the kitchen de-boning it. (I don’t mind be the prep monkey in the kitchen)

So for the 5 pounds of chicken, I made my lunch for the week, made dinner for three, and put some in the freezer. Not to bad!!

Lunch for the week II

I was able to find the above bag of chili fixin’s at Big Lots for $2.99 and with the ground beef coming in around $3.00, this week’s lunch will run about $6.00.

I am not a big chili eater but this mix has a really good mix off spices and seasonings.

Lunch for the week I

Just for a change of pace, I did not make my usual “Split Pea & (fill in the name of a pork product) Soup”

Being the notorious cheap bastard that I am, this lunch for the week will be just under $5.00.

Normally that amount of meat would have only been 2 lunches, but I do need to lose about 20 pounds so I am going to be making a  (more) serious effort to eat less !!!

Finished product.

When using the canned vegetables, the secret is to mix them with the cooked meat, cover and remove from the heat.  That way the vegetables won’t get overcooked.  Yes, I could use fresh vegetables but sometime it’s much easier to open a can !!

Supermarket Standoff: Best Tasting Bacon

http://shopping.yahoo.com/articles/yshoppingarticles/686/supermarket-standoff-best-tasting-bacon/

“Carnivores, rejoice. This edition of Supermarket Standoff puts front and center the meat that claims unabashed adoration from food writers, chefs, and dudes ’round the world. Bacon has inspired large-scale festivals, questionable hygiene products, and now an international holiday. People love bacon.

A lot of it is produced in the U.S.–more than 2 billion pounds each year–which became quite clear when we were researching for this taste test. We whittled down the large volume of brands by choosing classic hickory- or applewood-smoked versions. We included both cured and uncured bacon; the latter is rising in popularity due to health-conscious baconnoisseurs. (Not-so-fun-but-at-least-educational-fact: the term “uncured” is a little misleading, since it’s meant to indicate that the bacon is free of pork-preserving sodium nitrite. But uncured bacon generally uses celery juice, which releases natural sodium nitrate and nitrite anyway.)

Some of our tasters prefer their bacon crispy and charred, while others wanted it chewy and ham-like. Whichever camp you’re in, you can be guided by both our top picks and nutritionist Marissa Lippert’s favorites.”

The grocery store that I shop at has a terrific “slab” bacon that is my favorite.