Thursday, March 23, 2017
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
Since you had no logical answer to that $100,000.00 question, you decide to make a change in your habit of buying. Thus, here you are standing in the aisle of a grocery store that was perfectly empty when you started studying the containers, the color of the ingredients, reading every little fine print written on the labels and all the while starting to get that blank stare of “This is confusing the hell of me" look.
Then you notice that the aisle traffic is now looking like the Birmingham Interstate at rush hour, not because the people need stuff on the aisle, but they are curious why you have been standing in one place for three hours. Now! You have the security team, the store management, the cleaning people and the homeless man who lives in the dumpster looking over your shoulder to see what is so interesting.
You’re trying to figure out just how to get out of this dilemma. So! The first thing you do is check your bank account to see if you have the extra $500.00 to just buy every sauce on the shelf. Nope! So! Now! You’re down to making that fateful decision of "Am I wasting my money or is this going to be the holy grail of sauces?”
But wait! Before you step into the deep water, there is one more option. You can look at Trader Evaluates occasionally to see if he has already wasted his money on the same thing and is telling you about it, so that extra $5.00 can be used on something meaningful like a Tennessee Lottery Ticket. It would be a shame that fate would have it that $5.00 you just squandered on a bottle of crap really cost you $100 Million because you didn’t buy the ticket that would have made you an instant millionaire. So! With that ringing in your ears as to why you should be reading the rest of the article, allow me to fill you in on what I found with the items I have purchased lately.
J.D.’S DIRTY WHITE SAUCE
It comes in a 16 oz. plastic bottle with a very well designed marketing label to catch your eye. That is about the only good thing I can say about this sauce. On the bottle it says good for Chicken, Baked Potato, Pork, Veggies, and Bread. They describe the sauce as dirty looking and zesty. Dirty I agree with. Zesty? Well, like President Clinton says, it depends on your definition of Zesty.
I want you to know I did not have “zesty” with that sauce. In my definition the first letter “Z” of zesty is nowhere near this sauce. The first bite I took sent me into shivers. I am not sure if it was the vinegar, lemon concentrate, low grade mayo, or what? But my group I had with me when I opened the bottle did not stop there. We put it on chicken, pork, and poured some on steamed broccoli. A vote was then taken as to give it the trash can pitch or keep it on the table. You should have seen the beautiful arch it made as it hit the edge of the trash can and sank into the bottom of “Never To be Seen Again."
Great Value Rising Crust Pizza
Wednesday had been one of those days. I am sure you have been there--get one thing done and two more things are added before you finish with the first. As I entered Wal-Mart on the way to the house, my stomach was telling me my throat had been cut since early that morning and it needed something fast. I could feel my body shrinking as I walked down the aisle and stopped in front of the Great Value Shelf containing all different varieties of pizza. Now! I usually make my own pizza, but tonight was going to be one of those get in the mouth quick meals and I selected the Chicken, Bacon and Ranch Sauce.
There was no particular reason why I chose this one, and I didn’t expect much in taste above cardboard standard. Taken out of the carton and still wrapped in the plastic it had about as much eye appeal as roadkill, and I was starting to have second thoughts such as Peanut Butter and Jelly or this sitting before me. But I followed thought with my original thought and put 'er in the oven for the required amount of time which was about 25 minutes. I looked at it for the first time when the timer went off and was surprised at the caterpillar to butterfly metamorphosis that had taken place. Sitting before me was a fluffy white sauce, slightly brown topped pizza with...Yes! Folks! large chunks of chicken and lots of bacon bits as toppings. After cutting it into the usual 8 piece configuration, I shuffled two pieces on a plate and coated them with 6 inches of crushed red pepper, grabbed a cold one from the fridge and set down in front of the big screen.
The first bite indicated I had made a good choice. The crust was crispy, yet soft on the inside. The sauce and the ingredients blended well and for the price was “Good Value.” So! If you're in a rush and need a quick meal, this one you might want to try.
Brain Fillers: The word is Al Dente in Latin means “to the tooth.” It indicates a degree of doneness when cooking pasta. When someone says that it is slightly chewy and firm they are saying it is Al Dente.
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Thursday, August 19, 2010
MUG.com is now open at their new location 401 Cox Boulevard, Sheffield, Alabama. Their new phone number is 256-710-8692.
I was in recently talking with Jim and Cindy about how much work they had done since I had seen them only eight days before. When I last saw them they were standing in a building stacked with boxes, furniture, counters not installed, nothing on the walls--and that was just the front.
The new kitchen which tripled space for them was even in more of a mess. When they gave me the date they would be opening I thought, "Well! That is a good goal but you should at least make it realistic." Little did I know the capabilities of these two hard working people. Not only did they make the date, but they did not look in any worse wear for it. Well! At least Cindy did not look as if she had stormed “Pork Chop Hill.”
As we talked they mentioned that earthmomma, one of my favorite posters on the TimesDaily Forum, had dropped by to see their new location. While there she had ordered a Melted Cheese Sandwich. They were telling me about the sandwich they served her, and it sounded so good I ordered one.
Now! I’m not so sure this is the same type cheese sandwich since they have so many versions, but this one was my pick. It had three different types of cheeses, sauteed onions, cucumbers and tomatoes. The cheeses blended well together with the other ingredients. The bread was toasted to perfection and had just the right crunch that made it a probably one of the best melted cheeses I have had in a restaurant.
Over the years Jim and Cindy have built a good business with just plain good food and wonderful service. So! If you want to be treated like family and not a customer I suggest you drop in and give them a try.
Until next time, don’t let the grease pop on ya!
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Tuesday, July 27, 2010
In the Japanese language Ichiban means “The Best” or “Number One.” This is presently one of the newest Asian Cuisine locations in the Quad-Cities and has rapidly become one of the most popular restaurants in the Shoals area. Being a Sushi fanatic, when I travel throughout the Southeast I invariably attempt to find the best Sushi spots at least once on the trip. Over the years I have experienced some of the best and some of the worst of that particular cuisine. Thus, I have come to recognize there is an extreme difference between what is bad, mediocre, average, good, excellent, and at the top of the game Sushi.
I never thought I would be able to say this, as I was born and lived a good many years in this area, but for me to even think about, much less say that Sheffield, Alabama, is the home of one of the finest and talented Sushi Chefs in North Alabama would have never crossed my mind a year ago. But I firmly believe that you will not find any better Sushi or experience any better Japanese or Asian style food than at this little building directly across from the Helen Keller Hospital.
I have learned as I travel if I really want to know where the good eateries are, I start looking at the parking lots of the restaurants. In rural areas I look for how many pickups are parked in front, for those farmers know where the farmhouse tasting grub is located. If it is lunch time in an urban area, then I simply look for the place that has the most cars along the side or parked along the street because their parking lot is already full.The locals have found Ichiban is one of those places. Either through experience or through the grapevine they have learned you can get a dining out experience at eating out prices here. It is not unusual to see the place packed with hospital staff taking their lunch break there as it has become one of the favorite places for the HKH employees to grab a delicious meal and be back at work in the allotted amount of time.
It has been my experience there are many things that go into a good dining experience. The atmosphere of Ichiban, including the décor, cleanliness, sound, demeanor of wait staff, dress of the wait staff, service of the wait staff, and of course the appearance of the food is exceeded only by the taste. I assure you the attention given by their wait staff, dressed in their colorful attire, is beyond question one of the best in the Shoals area.
We arrived at Ichiban on a Saturday afternoon around 5:30 p.m. as we wanted to get in and be seated before the evening crowd started to arrive. This being our third time there, we were as usual met at the door by a very pretty waitress, and immediately taken to a table. She took our drink orders and while we waited we began to go through the menu that offered Teriyaki entrees, Katsu dishes, Tempura, Select Noodle and Rice entrees, the usual Chinese Dishes, Bento Box combinations, and for those who want to really spice up your evening, Thai cuisine. Phew! And I have not even got to the Sushi selection which contains the usual Nigiri pieces, Spicy rolls, Tempura rolls, and Sushi combinations. Then we get into the Specialty Rolls, various Sashimi and Sushi Combos and an allotment of hand rolls. It is by far a Sushi Lover's dreamland.
The first Appetizer to arrive was “The Red Snapper Sashimi ” ($6.95). The beauty of the display alone was pleasing to the eye, but when the freshness of the snapper met the taste buds it was a match made in heaven.
This was followed by the second Appetizer “The Jade” ($6.95) on which I walked over and watched the Sushi Chef apply his trade on. The Jade is a whole avocado cut in two, then stuffed with a mixture of fresh crab, various sashimi, avocado pulp and a variety of sauces that created such a wonderful medley of flavors complimenting each other well.
The first entrée to arrive was the Chicken Teriyaki ($9.95). I bet you have never really thought about what is Teriyaki Sauce or even how it is made. Well! I knew that you were just dying to know, so here goes. The noun “Teri” refers to shine or luster. “Yaki” refers to the style of grilling or broiling. The Sauce is simply a combination of soy sauce, mirin or sake along with honey or sugar. This mixture is then cooked into a thick sauce which is then used as a marinade or brushed over the meat of choice such as chicken, beef, lamb, pork or various species of fish. This dish was served with steamed broccoli, sautéed onions, mushrooms and several pieces moist and tender chicken breast. The dish is well worth the price, and I highly recommended you give it a try. It is served along with a choice of Miso Soup or a Ginger Salad. We ordered both with the Ginger Salad costing a $1.50 extra.
The Lobster Roll ($10.95) is a beauty to behold for any Sushi Lover. It is a mixture of Sashimi Salmon, Tuna, Yellow Tail Snapper, Avocado on the layered over a huge portion of Spicy Lobster and Tobiko Fish Egg, then layered with a spicy sauce which is the crowning taste that places it up there with one of the best Sushi dishes I have ever tasted.
The Volcano Roll ($9.95) is a large California roll in the center topped with lots of Spicy Tuna, Snow Crab, Masago, Scallions, and a then layered with a very spicy sauce. The name is perfect for this dish that is a delight to the person who likes a kick to their food. I highly recommend it as it met every expectation I had regarding this dish.
So the next time you crave a unique treat where not only your eyes and taste buds will be delighted, but your pocket book will still have funds when you leave, think of “The Ichiban.” I believe it will be placed in that category of your favorite places to eat.
Saturday, July 10, 2010
Have a favorite chicken biscuit? Tell us about it. E-Mail Trader at:
Trader has already been hard at work evaluating various Shoals chicken biscuits, but he wants to be sure he's tried all the area has to offer--in the name of fairness, of course.
Look for his review coming soon. In the meantime, be sure to visit Trader's Facebook page and become a fan: link