Posts Tagged ‘Eating Out’

The Way to a Man’s Heart…

It’s no secret that I love food — whether it’s eating out or entertaining at home.

When it comes to entertaining, I think cheesecakes are my specialty!

Why cheesecakes specifically and not just cakes? Because just the thought of decorating a cake with frosting is a nightmare for me — I wouldn’t even attempt it for guests!

Here are some of my favorite cheesecakes I’ve made over the years!

Anthony's Cheesecakes

Once it’s safe again to eat out and socialize, I can’t wait to embark on a new beginning in a familiar state. 

Today, I’m sharing some of my favorite dining experiences (so far) and I’ll conclude with the most magical meal ever!!!

Since I’m now living in central Illinois, I’ll start off with a beautiful and tasty appetizer I had in May 2012 at Destihl in Champaign, Illinois, as I was passing through on my way to Indianapolis, Indiana.

At the time, I wrote, “Not only was it very tasty and refreshing… I was so mesmerized by the presentation.”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

It was “Watermelon & Feta” (cubed watermelon, house olives, feta, extra virgin olive oil, balsamic glaze, and micro greens) and “Shrimp Ceviche” (shrimp, cilantro, lime, red onion, jalapeño, and avocado mousse).

The meal was so delightful that I dedicated a whole blog entry to it!

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/05/17/destihl-my-beating-heart/

But, back to the beginning! 

Growing up poor in western Kentucky, we really didn’t get to eat out much. Our Aunt Norma would occasionally treat us to burgers, chili pies, and cold mug root beer at K & N Drive-In in Mayfield.

On the rare occasions our father did take us out, there was a roadside joint just outside Mayfield called Jack’s Drive-In. Basically, it was a carry out place with some picnic tables.

While it had the best cheeseburgers, my favorite sandwich was the fried veal patty!  Who knows what it really was!!!  And, I wouldn’t eat either of them now since I don’t eat beef anymore! 

My first server job was at the Happy House Restaurant in Mayfield in the 1980s.  One of the specialties was the “House Tea”, which was very sweet tea with special touches — a combination of fruit juices!  Delicious!

They also had the best desserts (Kentucky Derby Pie was my favorite), prime rib at night on the weekends, and the Copenhagen.

It’s an open-face turkey sandwich with a spinach mayo dressing!

But, my favorite restaurant in western Kentucky is Patti’s 1880s in Grand Rivers, located in the Land Between The Lakes area.

It’s the only reason I go back to Kentucky!

They’re well-known for the amazing thick pork chops and appetizers like the beer-battered cheese sticks and the blooming onion!

Their homemade desserts are incredible — the meringue on the pies is whipped a mile high and the Sawdust Pie is just out of this world! 

Luckily, they’ve shared that recipe and I make it on special occasions!

My favorite meal ever, from a fresh, flavorful experience, was at בני-הדייג, which translates to Benny The Fisherman, right on the Mediterranean Sea, in Tel Aviv, Israel.

What you see here is the equivalent of their “starters” — fifteen of them, including the bread basket!

This was brought out as our “salad” before the entrees — and this was just for two people!

I shared my favorite restaurant (Patti’s 1880s) and my favorite meal (בני-הדייג — Benny the Fisherman).

Since I love lists, I’ll highlight a couple of other dining experiences and restaurants.

My favorite entree was in Atlanta, Georgia, in 2016, at Tavernpointe in Midtown.

It was a Sonoran Salmon (avocado soup, goat cheese-black bean cake, crema, and pico).

And, my favorite brunch or buffet is Wicked Spoon at the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas!

Can you say, “Bottomless Mimosas”?

That was my brunch on my last visit in December 2019.

It was a 4.5-hour meal. I outlasted the lunch server and the evening server kept the mimosas flowing!

And, yes, I savored every bite of all four courses! I don’t waste food. 🙂

In addition to the great restaurants and meals I’ve highlighted, there was also a dinner cruise on the Seine River in Paris, France, that ended with a visit to the top of the Eiffel Tower, and a stage-side seat at the historic Moulin Rouge sipping champagne as I turned 50!

As I wrap this up, I now want to share details of the most magical dining experience in my life (so far)!!!

It was on my first solo international trip to Morocco for my birthday in 2018. Marrakesh was my favorite city I visited in this northwestern African country.

My own “Crazy” (rich?) “Asians” (Pom, Sheila, Po Po, and Izzy) made the evening and my time in Morocco so memorable and fun.  

I met these wonderful ladies at the beginning of the trip and I shared a lot of time with them — an incredible group of friends!

Our evening started off with with a horse-drawn carriage ride through the streets of Marrakesh at sunset and a jaunt through the crowded souk (an Arab marketplace or bazaar) in the Medina (the old quarter of town) on the way to dinner.

Once we were dropped off from the carriage ride, we made our way through a series of alleys that looked like a deserted, bombed out part of town!

But, at the end of the maze was the incredible and gorgeous Lotus Privilege Restaurant!

Once we stepped inside, per custom, we washed our hands with warm water from a elegant silver tea pot.  We were then handed a tasty drink and took in the spectacular scenery.

I’m not being vain here.  I just couldn’t choose which beautiful backdrop to share!

Our three-course meal started with a tasting menu of incredibly colorful and tasty Moroccan salads.

This was followed by entrees of either cockerel (chicken), veal, or fish Tagine (my pick), and three choices for dessert. 

I chose the pastilla with light cream and crushed almonds with fresh mint!

And, we were treated to live, energetic African music and an elegant, gorgeous belly dancer!

What a memorable evening!

And, while there are still many places I still want to visit (Greece, Cambodia, and Vietnam), I’d love to go back to Morocco!

As we head into the summer and life returns to the “new normal”, I can’t wait to find delicious food and fun experiences in central Illinois!

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — May 18, 2018

It’s past the middle of May now and the unofficial start to the summer season is getting closer — Memorial Day!

Have a great weekend and thank you for taking the time to check out my random thoughts.

REPUBLICAN HATE & JOHN McCAIN

I voted against Senator John McCain when he ran for president in 2008 and there are many things that he says and does that I disagree with.

McCain

However, I appreciate all that he did for the United States as a veteran and a former Prisoner of War.

It saddens me that he’s battling brain cancer.  What makes me equally sad (and mad) is the total lack of respect he’s getting from the Republican Party.

Recently, Utah Senator Orrin Hatch stated that he wants McCain to reconsider not wanting Donald Trump at his funeral.

With all of the mockery and the snide comments #45 made about McCain, I wouldn’t want him at my funeral either!  When that time comes, I hope that his family forbids Trump from attending.

Sadler

And, then late last week, White House aide Kelly Sadler said in meeting, “It doesn’t matter, he’s dying anyway.”

Seriously, if there’s a time and place to use a derogatory term for a woman (Sadler), it’d be now!

And, recently on Fox News, retired Air Force General Tom McInerney called McCain “songbird John” for allegedly providing information to the North Vietnamese while he was a POW!

DECENCY HITS “ROCK BOTTOM”

Here’s what former Vice President Joe Biden had to say the day after Sadler’s comment.

Biden

BANNING THE MEDIA

I’ve made it a point to mention #45 as little as possible over the past eighteen months.

I know it’s denial.  If I don’t talk about it, maybe I’ll wake up and realize it was all a bad dream.  Wait, that was on “Dallas”! 🙂

Last week, he tweeted (shock!) about taking away press credentials.

45 Press Trump

He’s sounding more and more like #37, Richard Nixon.  We all know how that one ended!

In case you don’t — resignation from office in disgrace!

ENOUGH ABOUT THEM

Gag Me

SOMETHING ABOUT THE ROYAL FAMILY!

There’s a big Royal wedding this weekend and I’m sure there’ll be cake.

This is what I wrote in December 2012, “Sir Paul McCartney orders a fruitcake from cake designer Fiona Cairns each Christmas and, in early 2011, Cairns was tapped to make the royal wedding cake for Prince William and his future bride, Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge.”

Royal Wedding Fruit Cake

THIS SHOULD MAKE YOUR SMILE

This video still rocks my world and makes me smile! 🙂

Why?  Because (1) “It’s Britney, Bitch” and (2) I still find actor Aaron Milo drop dead gorgeous!

I’ve featured “Eating Out:  Drama Camp” and “Eating Out:  The Open Weekend” actors Aaron Milo (from Rockford, Illinois) and Daniel Skelton’s fun video to Britney’s “Big Fat Bass” three times over the years of my blog.

So, why not a fourth time?

If you’ve never watched it, treat yourself now! 🙂

CREEPY CRUSHING

Okay, it’s a little creepy because, sadly, (1) he’s dead and (2) if he were still alive, he’d be turning 93-years-old this November.

So, it’s not a real crush.  But, look at how sexy Bobby Kennedy was in his 30s and, even at 42, when he was gunned down in June 1968.

Bobby Kennedy

Kennedy was the father of eleven and his widow, Miss Ethel, just turned 90-years-old in April.

“BOBBY KENNEDY FOR PRESIDENT”

When I saw that Netflix debuted this documentary, I thought it’d be an hour or two.  But, it’s four one-hour episodes and it’s incredible!

It covers Bobby’s life campaigning for his brother, John F. Kennedy, the nation’s 35th president, and becoming his attorney general.

After JFK’s death, Bobby had to decide whether to become President Johnson’s vice president in Johnson’s 1964 presidential run or venture out on his own.

He chose the latter.

When the documentary gets to Bobby’s assassination inside the kitchen of the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles in June 1968 after winning the California Democratic Primary, it gave me chills and goosebumps.

We’ve all seen the Dallas footage of JFK’s assassination, but it’s in black and white and from a distance.

But, when Bobby raises his hand and his head is cradled, the blood and the blood red color of television is chilling!

Watching this documentary, I was thinking of what a great president Bobby Kennedy would have been if not for his senseless murder.

And, could you imagine Richard Nixon going over the deep end if he had lost to two Kennedys in his bid to be president?

Nixon

I guess it would have kept him from resigning in shame in 1974 after the Watergate scandal!

GRADE:  A

ANOTHER CRUSH AND IT’S NOT JUST ME

Actor Josh Brolin who plays the villain Cable in the upcoming “Deadpool 2” movie out May 18th tells “Entertainment Weekly” of a crush he developed after seeing 2009’s “The Proposal” many times.

DEADPOOL-2-847185

Brolin says, “I told Ryan [Reynolds].  I was like, ‘I don’t know why this is, and I don’t know what this means psychologically, behaviorally, emotionally, but I have kind of a crush on you.'”

Ryan-Reynolds-Body

Brolin, get in line!

“TUESDAYS WITH MORRIE”

I just finished reading my 17th book of 2018, Mitch Albom’s 1997 debut bestselling novel, “Tuesdays with Morrie”.

Morrie

It’s a beautiful, life-affirming, platonic love story between two men — an aging, dying college professor and one of his former students.

Sixteen years passed from college graduation to when sports writer Albom found out his sociology professor, 78-year-old Morrie Schwatrz, was dying from ALS (aka Lou Gehrig’s disease).

Albom Morrie

It’s a beautiful book that needs to be read.  It’ll give you a more positive look at life.

Here are a couple of my favorite words of wisdom from Morrie:

“Dying is only one thing to be sad over, Mitch.  Living unhappy is something else.”

“If you are ever going to have other people trust you, you must feel that you can trust them, too — even when you’re in the dark.  Even when you’re falling.”

Mitch learned the most valuable lesson of all from Morrie, “there is no such thing as ‘too late’ in life”!

Years ago, I read Albom’s second novel, 2003’s “The Five People You Meet in Heaven”.  I highly recommend both books!

“THE POST”

This Steven Spielberg-directed film starring Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks is based on the true story of the Washington Post’s fight with President Nixon in early-1970s over publishing the “Pentagon Papers”.

It got two Oscar nominations for Best Picture and Best Actress (Streep) and six Golden Globe Award nominations.

Streep plays Katharine Graham, the heiress of the Washington Post and the company’s television stations after the death of her father and her husband.  Hanks plays Post editor-in-chief Ben Bradlee.

It’s a great historical movie with superb acting!  However, I hated seeing Sarah Paulson in a throwaway role as Bradlee’s wife!

The last moments of the movie before the credits (two phone calls is all I’ll say so there are no spoilers) gave me goosebumps.  I was screaming, “Yes”!

If “The Post” was your typical “summer popcorn movie”, that final scene screamed “SEQUEL”.  But, if you know history, you know what happened next! 🙂   You could also say that the “sequel” came out in 1976! 🙂

GRADE:  B+

“PETER RABBIT”

This live action-computer-animated comedy starring James Corden (“Into The Woods”) and Rose Byrne (“Neighbors”) was very successful.

The $50 million movie brought in an incredible $320 million worldwide.

However, it did come with controversy.  The movie was accused of “allergy bullying”.

In one scene, a bad person (Domhnall Gleeson) is trying to kill Peter Rabbit and his family.  The rabbits learn that the person has an allergy and they use this allergen as a weapon in war.

I know allergies are serious, but if someone is trying to kill me, all is fair in love and war!

But, I know the movie is directed at kids and it may give them bad ideas!  Wait, does that mean no more movies, television, music, books, video games, or internet for them, too? 🙂

I loved the movie and highly recommend it.

GRADE:  B+

HAPPY 20TH BIRTHDAY!

This month, 20 years ago, Madonna entered the Billboard Hot 100 with her 37th Top 40 hit with the second single and title track from the “Ray of Light” album.

It also became her 21st chart topper on the Billboard Dance Club songs chart.  (She now leads all artists on that chart — a record-extending 46 #1 songs!)

“Ray of Light” won two Grammy Awards and five MTV Video Music Awards.

It was also voted one of the best songs of the 1990s!

BREAKING NEWS:  It seems that a new Madonna single is coming soon and her 14th studio album is finished!!!!!!!

THAT’S IT

With all the craziness in the world, make it the best in your little part of it!

Anthony