Wednesday, November 11, 2009


I told you all from my last writing, that I had a special treat regarding my experience at a very unusual place to dine while I was in Phoenix. You see, I had only one night in Phoenix before I had to fly off to Alaska and I wanted to make this meal to be a memorable one. To that end, I decided that it was time that I consulted Triple D to see what hot spot was in the area that made its mark on the show. So after consulting their trusted web site, I found the location I just had to visit. So do you want to know where I ended up? Do you want to know how I came up with the title of this blog? Do ya???? Fellow moaners get ready, Fellow moaners get set, Fellow moaners lets goooooooooooooooo to Shell Gas Station and Convenience Store. That's right, the Shell station on the Southeast corner of Union Hills in Phoenix, Arizona and when you get there you will find Roberto's Authentic Mexican Food. So now you see how you can fill up your gas tank and your belly all in one stop! "Now wait just one minute!" "You are telling us, you ate food from a convenience store and are willing to write about it?" I say YES and I say if you ever, ever, ever get to Phoenix you must go there as well.

"OK, Man that loves to Moan, what so great about Roberto's"? Well, how about the freshest ingredients around? How about the most flavorful warmed flour tortillas I have ever tasted? How about the nicest gal that ever waited on me?

This is my new friend Monique!

Anyhow, as I was saying, how about the fact that the people at Roberto's really seem to care about putting out the most fresh, authentic Mexican food possible? How about, how about, I could go on forever. But lets get right down to the meal. If a pic is worth a thousand words, start talking.

What you are seeing is the meal that Bob and I co-consumed. To tell you the truth, we had such a hard time deciding what to order, we decided to order many items and split everything. What a great plan that was! So, what is it you are looking at that we ingested? Well, let me go down the list in the order we ate:

1. Nacho Grande -Top right

2. Chile Rellano's - Bottom left

3. Torta Carne Asada - Top Left

4. El Pastor Plate - Bottom right

5. Flour Tortilla Shells (foiled wrapped)

Just take a good look at the food, because I am telling you all, not only did the moans start coming out at first bite, but they just kept coming after every bite and didn't end until there was nothing left. I kid you not, I am now sold again on authentic Mexican chow. I have to say however, Roberto's has raised the bar so high, that I doubt any place else can match the quality.
So, prior to getting to Roberto's, we passed a Coldstone Ice Cream parlor and decided we would stop there after our meal. Unfortunately, by the time we got done sopping up every last bit of flavor with our tortilla shells, we had no more room for ice cream. But, I still had a hankering for something sweet to finish off that great meal. What was I to do? That's when my good friend Bob, said he would treat me (actually Monique treated us) to an authentic Mexican beverage: A Horchata!!! A what, I said? Well, well, well, for those of you that have consumed a Horchata, know the taste treat I was in for. Let me just say, I didn't think my taste buds could have anything else go over them that could finish off the night, but I was dead WRONG! Horchata is a refreshing cold drink usually consisting of rice, almonds, cinnamon (canella), lime zest and sugar. This drink is rumored to be a cure for a hangover (if this is true, pass me the bourbon). Even though the drink has a milky appearance it is completely dairy free. Now, I can't tell you how Roberto's concocts theirs, but, I swear to God, this was the icing on the cake. It reminded me of drinking the finest rice pudding available. The flavor of this drink just explodes in your mouth after each sip. I must say, after finishing off my glass of this wonderful mixture, I was spent! There is no other way to say it. This was one of the most memorable meals I have had since starting this blog. I was actually hoarse from all the moaning!!!
So that's it my culinary counterparts. Next stop,Alaska for a what I hope will bring much more to write about. Stay tuned and I will continue to share with you all those Meals that made me Moan.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Rosita, The Pioneer and an Old Friend

As I sit here poolside at the Chap (Chaparral Suites) in Scottsdale, AZ, with my Denver trips behind me, it is time for me to write to you all about my dining experiences that “Made Me Moan” in the Mile High City.

So as you all prepare to read this, you may be asking yourself “Triple M (Man of Many Moans) what took you so long to write this next chapter of your culinary experiences”? Well simply put, I went into a writers block and did not want to bore anyone with frivolous dribble until I broke out of it. But now, I’m in the right frame of mind and am ready to put in words the meals I had that will tempt your appetite and have you drooling for your next meal. Now, before I start, I need to explain the title to this section of my blog. You see, I was convinced the proper title should have been WAPITI, ROSITA & YAK but then when discussing this with Bob (my traveling companion for this trip) he suggested ROSITA, The PIONEER and an Old Friend. After hearing his reasoning’s, I agreed. So, what’s with the name you may ask, well let me take you on my journey to Denver.

Rosita’s Mexican Restaurant

So I know what you are all saying, “Moan Man, what are you doing at a Mexican restaurant? You told us you were finished with Mexican food, what gives?” Well, I was meeting Kelly (customer) for lunch one afternoon and she suggested Rosita’s. Well who am I to say no to a customer? So as I was sitting there with my team (Bob, Carl and Brad) waiting for Kelly, I had time to fret over my food options. It was at this time I resigned myself to the usual burrito. When Kelly arrived she stated that if you come to Rosita’s, you must try the Pablito. The what, I say!! What is a Pablito? "Order it and find out" she suggested, and that I did......................................

I wish I could tell you what was in this concoction, but I can’t! Suffice to say, whatever was in it, tickled my taste buds enough to cause those involuntary moans to come out. This dish had all the components to make a good Mexican dish. It had meat, cheese, greens, wrapped around a tortilla shell. In a nutshell I would rate this dish as outstanding and very filling (I must say, I had trouble finishing it). My faith in Mexican food was starting to be renewed. I must ask myself however, is there more out there that will bring me back full circle? Only time and a visit to Arizona will tell.


OK, so you get the Rosita piece. Now, let me tell you how Bob came up with the pioneer part. To do that, let me give you all a history lesson. Back in the days (late 1800’s to early 1900’s) there was an individual who shaped the way of the Wild West. William Frederick Cody, known as Buffalo Bill, was a buffalo hunter, U.S. army scout, and an Indian fighter. But he is probably best known as the man who gave the Wild West its name. He produced a colorful show called Buffalo Bill's Wild West and Congress of Rough Riders of the World, which had an international reputation and helped create a lasting image of the American West. William F. Cody died of kidney failure on January 10, 1917, surrounded by family and friends at his sister's house in Denver. On his deathbed, Cody was baptized into the Roman Catholic Church the day before his death by Father Christopher Walsh of the Denver Cathedral. Upon the news of Cody's death, he received tributes from King George V of the United Kingdom, Kaiser Wilhelm II of Imperial Germany, and President Woodrow Wilson.[15] His funeral was in Denver at the Elks Lodge Hall. Wyoming Governor John B. Kendrick, a friend of Cody's, led the funeral procession to the Elks Lodge.

Contrary to popular belief, Cody was not destitute, but his once great fortune had dwindled to under $100,000.Despite his request in an early will to be buried in Cody, Wyoming, a later will left his burial arrangements up to his wife Louisa. To this day, there is controversy as to where Cody should have been buried.

On June 3, 1917, Cody was buried on Colorado's Lookout Mountain in Golden, Colorado, west of the city of Denver, on the edge of the Rocky Mountains, overlooking the Great Plains. His exact burial site was selected by his sister, Mrs. Mary Decker, while looking over the area accompanied by W.F.R. Mills, manager of the Denver Mountain Peaks.

OK, history lesson over, lets talk food! After visiting the grave site of BBC, I was in the mood for some, let say, wild game and that brought us (Bob, Carl, Brad and me) to…...

The Buckhorn Exchange is Denver’s oldest restaurant, or so they say. So what kinds of game can one get at the Exchange you may ask? Well, just one look at the decor will give you an idea.

We were seated promptly and our waitress Raina, came by to tell us a bit about the place. Before we go into that, I must say that Raina was smartly dressed in a very colorful blouse and the most exquisite set of hooped ear rings I have ever seen. With items on the menu such as Rattlesnake, Alligator Tail, Rocky Mountain Oysters, Buffalo, Quail and traditional beef, I was in another quandary as to what wild game they had that was going to “Make Me Moan” With so many choices, I asked the lovely Raina for some help and after much discussion and thought, I decided on having a combination plate which featured two meats of my choice and a side. the next question was what two meats, and that's when I finally decided on Wapiti and Yak!

So you are now probably asking yourself “what in the good Lord’s name is Wapiti and what exactly is a Yak”?

Well it's education time again:

The elk, or wapiti (Cervus canadensis), is one of the largest species of deer in the world and one of the largest mammals in North America and eastern Asia. In the deer family (Cervidae), only the moose, Alces alces (called an "elk" in Europe), is larger, and Cervus unicolor (the sambar deer) can rival the C. canadensis elk in size. Elk are almost identical to red deer found in Europe, of which they were long believed to be a subspecies; however, mitochondrial DNA evidence from 2004 strongly suggests they are a distinct species.

The yak (Bos grunniens) (Tibetan: གཡག་; Wylie: g.yag) is a long-haired bovine found throughout the Himalayan region of south Central Asia, the Tibetan Plateau and as far north as Mongolia. In addition to a large domestic population, there is a small, vulnerable wild yak population. In Tibetan, the word gyag refers only to the male of the species; a female is a dri or nak. In most languages which borrowed the word, including English, yak is usually used for both sexes.Yaks belong to the genus Bos, and are, therefore, closely related to cattle, with whom they commonly interbreed, as well as the Southeast Asian banteng, gaur or Indian Bison, and the now extremely rare kouprey.Yaks are herd animals. Wild male yaks stand about 2 to 2.2 meters (6.6 to 7.2 ft) tall at the shoulder and average 1,000 kg (2,200 lb); the females weigh about one third of this.[2] Domesticated yaks are much smaller, males weighing 350 to 580 kg (770 to 1,300 lb) and females 225 to 255 kg (500 to 560 lb).[3] Both sexes have long shaggy hair to insulate them from the cold. Wild yaks can be brown or black. Domesticated ones can also be white. Both males and females have horns.

Now that you are all educated on the Yak and Elk, let me tell you how this delightful game was prepared. The elk was char grilled and served with a berry cabernet sauce, while the Yak, also char grilled was topped with a garlic butter sauce. Both of these entrées reminded me of the finest cooked steaks I ever tasted. The Yak was like a fine NY strip and the Wapiti a tender filet. My mouth was treated to a combination of flavors that exploded in my mouth to the very last bite. I must say that this was my first foray into the game field and I can tell you, it won’t be my last.

An Old Friend

In an earlier visit to Chicago, I told you of my fortune of finding a breakfast spot that was top notch (Bentley's). I must now tell you that I was reacquainted to an old friend for breakfast in Boulder, Co when Bob and I came across the Original Pancake House.

I first discovered this establishment in Rockville, MD and must have gone there at least ten times for breakfast. So when I found out that there was one in Boulder, I had to make the drive there. As in Rockville, their menus had the same offerings and rather then go with their signature apple pancake, I ventured off the beaten path and settled on the Tropical Pancakes with a side of their homemade corned beef hash.

These lightweight beauties were made with pineapple and came with tropical fruit compote. DELICIOUS!!!! The cornered beef hash was to die for.

The corned beef was shredded properly and made up the majority of the mixture with just the right amount of potato. Add some ketchup plus a dash or two of hot sauce and the moans came swimming out of me like a tidal wave! This combo of pancake and CB was enough to put me over the edge on the full belly meter. It’s a wonder I could eat when dinner time came around (but of course I did). Now, it is a rarity that I share with you a meal that a companion of mine had, but in this case I will make an exception. Bob had the corned beef hash and eggs and a side of the thickest bacon around.

See, the reason I tell you this is because I have ordered this dish on one of my many trips to TOPH and can tell you from experience, it is OUTSTANDING!!!!

So there you have it my fellow culinary followers. My trip to the Rocky Mountains has been chronicled and now I must get ready to head off to Alaska. I promise that I won’t make you wait too long to find out what Alaska had to offer and what interesting foods I found that Made Me Moan.

Oh, one last thing. While I was laying over in Phoenix, I had the opportunity to visit an establishment that I shall write about in my next blog. The only thing that I will leave you with, is that it was in the most unconventional spot you could imagine and it served up the some of the best Mexican food I ever ate. Stay tuned!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

The Bentley, a Loin and Stomach

Well week two of my Chicago excursion is over and I have two new restaurants to talk about and a return trip to another. However, before I get to that, you may be asking yourself, "What's up with this title?" "How does the Moan Man tie in a classic car (the Bentley), a loin and stomach"? One might think that my rental for the week was a Bentley, that all this good eating has gone to my mid-section and as far as the loin is concerned, I think I will stay away from that one altogether! So what exactly am I writing about? Lets get to my week of eating and the food "that made me moan"!

The Bentley

When you travel as much as I do, you need to make some decisions as to breakfast. The choices are, eat at the hotel's restaurant, go out and find a great breakfast spot or skip it all together. Knowing me as most of you do, you are probably saying to yourself, "Marty skip a meal, I don't think so" and you would be correct. So after having a dismal breakfast at the hotel on day one, I decided to try my luck to find a great breakfast spot. So armed with a GPS, Todd and I ventured out for the type of breakfast that will offer me the food that will "make me moan"! Where we ended up was Bentley's Pancake House.

After spending many agonizing minutes and a few cups of coffee deciding on what to have, I settled on the Irish Skillet. A deep dish delight filled with hash brown potatos, corned beef, onions, cheese covered with not one, two or even three, but four eggs!

This culinary masterpiece was nothing short of spectacular! The hash browns were cooked to a crispy perfection, the corned beef (the real stuff, not canned) were bite size strips of the most flavorful meat I've ever tasted in a breakfast meal. The cheese covering the beef and potatos was melted perfectly and the eggs, cooked over easy made for topping to die for. OMG what a breakfast! To say I moaned would be an understatement. In fact, as I am writing this, I'm starting to moan all over again (Cyndi just came running into the room to make sure I was ok)!

A Loin

As you may all remember from my previous blog, I spent an afternoon having lunch at a restaurant called Hog Wild. This is the fine establishment where I dined on a pork chop sandwich. I was told by Mark (Barb's husband) that I should make a return trip there for dinner and try their pork tenderloin sandwich. I told him that I would and last week with Todd, Barb, Mark and Narayan in tow, we went back to the Hog! Now since I already knew what I wanted, I walked up to the counter, placed my order and sat down at my table and waited quietly until they brought out this...

Anytime, you get a piece of meat on a plate and its hanging off of it, you got yourself a meal! The tenderloin was cooked perfectly, tender and moist. The potato's (which to me is a filler) that accompanied the tenderloin were too good to pass up. I wish there was something I could say to let you know what was going through my mind while eating this meal, but somethings are just better off left unsaid. Suffice to say, any visit to the Chicago area, must include a stop at Hog Wild.


As I wound my way around the Chicago area conducting business, I was trying to figure out where I was going to stop and have dinner. Since I was in an unfamiliar area, I checked the web to see if Triple D had been to a place that was going to be close by to where I was. As luck would have it, there was indeed a Diner (I'm a big diner fan) that was featured on the program that I knew I had to try. As I was conducting my business however, I was told by Lynn who was working the Service Desk at the store I was at, that I should try a local restaurant and she recommend Jim & Pete's.

So off we (Barb, Narayan & Todd) went to try the local cuisine. Now, being a huge fan of Italian food, I found myself in the usual quandary of what to order. Will it be a pasta dish, chicken or veal? Too many choices and they all sounded good. So as I'm scrolling down the menu trying to make that most difficult decision, my eyes spot a dish that was a must have, and this is what I ordered.............................................

That's right, Beef Tripe over a bed of linguine. Cow's stomach you might ask? To be perfectly clear, beef tripe is usually made from only the first three chambers of a cow's stomach: the rumen (blanket/flat/smooth tripe), the reticulum (honeycomb and pocket tripe) and the omasum (book/bible/leaf tripes). I'm sure what I had was the reticulum variety. Anyhow, let me digress and bring you back to the meal itself. We started off with an appetizer (Bruschetta) that Todd thought was appropriate for the evening.

Now, I view eating bread as a filler, which is something that fills me up so I can't enjoy my main meal to the fullest extent. But I was willing to go along with Todd's suggestion and I was not disappointed. The bread was toasted just right and was buttered with a garlic butter mix. The topping was fresh with just the right amount of tomato mixture on each slice so as not to overpower the total package. A great start to what I was hoping would be a great meal. After a cup of soup, out came the main course. This was a meal that was fit for king. The pasta was cooked al dente, the sauce was as good as any that I have had outside the home, and the tripe, simply put, was magnificent! The only problem I encountered, was how on God's green earth would I be able to eat the entire bowl that was put down in front of me! I'm excited to say, it was not as much of a problem as I originally thought. You see, as soon as I took my first bite, and there was that flavor explosion in my mouth of this wonderful mixture of tripe, pasta and sauce, what was in front of me may not even be enough! But of course it was. In fact, I did indeed have to leave a little left in the bowl (damn filler I ate beforehand). Now I know tripe is not for everyone, but for those of you that like to partake in this delicacy, Jim & Pete's is the place to go. On a moaning scale, I would give it (and of course I did) a 5 out 5 moans! Now that I was completely satisfied and full to the brim it was time to head out. The only thing left to do was pay the bill and mosey on back to the hotel. That is when our waitress (I'll call her Patty), came out with a little thank you dessert that they offer free to all new comers.

Those would be Todd's hands you see clasped in prayer asking to be given strength to have enough room in his belly to enjoy this masterpiece that was set down in front of us. I wish I could convey to you how delicious this was, but you will just have to take my word for it. These puff like pastries, were covered with powered sugar, drizzled with chocolate sauce, add in whipped cream and vanilla ice cream and topped off with a few cherries, we had an excellent ending to a most memorable meal.

Well that my fellow followers was week Two in Chicago and the experiences I had with "Food That Made Me Moan". It's off to Denver now and I hope to have many more meals to write about next week. Please feel free to add your comments to my blogs as it is great to hear from each of you that read this. Wish me well, and I will write my next blog with Meals from the Road of Denver.

Monday, October 12, 2009

The Hog, The Coach and a Butter Burger

Last week I spent some time in the windy city of Chicago. During my trip there, I had the pleasure to have three memorable meals that "made me moan". My first meal was a late lunch at Hog Wild, a quaint little place that made a pork chop sandwich you could really sink your teeth in. To say this was a lite lunch would be a total fabrication. The chop was so tender that I had no problem cutting it with the plastic knife that I was given to use at my discretion. I chose not to eat it as a sandwich based on the thickness of the chop and the bone that it came with! Because I like to eat many of my meals "wet" they also gave me a side of their homemade au jus to drown my sandwich in. WOW, what a start to my week!

It took me a couple days to recover from the "lite" lunch at Hog Wild, when I let my counterpart from the west talk me into going to Mike Ditka's for a small bit of beef. Having heard many good things about the coach's place, I decided that it was a must stop for us. After mulling over my choices, I went with a wedge salad (one of my all time favs) and the 16 ounce Prime Rib, cooked medium rare. After consuming what I would say was one of the best wedge salad I ever ate (outside of my wife's that is), out came the main course. As I cut into this most tender piece of meat, I knew my taste buds were in for a flavor explosion, and sweet Jesus, I wasn't disappointed! The "moans" came out of me after the first bite and continued right on through to the very last morsel. I have taken in some mighty good rib in my days, but the Coach won the super bowl with this offering!

My week ended with a simple offering of a Butter Burger from Culvers. How did I come about Culvers you may wonder. Here is what happened, I was dining on a slice of pizza with some customers and co-workers, when I was told I must try the BB at Culvers. It didn't take much cajoling for me to agree to meet my customer and her hubby for what I was told would be a great tasting burger. I chose the Culver Deluxe and a side of cheese curds. Mmm, mmm, mmm, it was a moan at first bite. Even when I wasn't thinking about it, the moans just came out. You know you had a special burger to make that happen! I was so impressed with the meal, I agreed to try the Turtle sundae which is made with two scoops of vanilla frozen custard, hot fudge, hot caramel, Spanish peanuts and topped with a cherry. What a great finish to my meal and my week in Chicago.
Well, that was the "food that made me moan" in Chicago. I look forward to my return trip to see what else Chicago has to offer. I'll let you know next week.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

In the Beginning

Well this has been a long time coming I guess. After much encouragement from family, friends, co-workers and clients of mine, I have decided to take the leap and join the blogging era. My blog will tell you of the restaurants (specifically the food) that I have visited that have had a special impact on me. For those of you that know me and have experienced my dining habits, you know I tend to moan when eating great tasting food (hence the name of my blog). My blog is in no way a testimonial of a restaurants food, service or anything else. Simply put, it's food that I ate that made me moan! Based on the fact that my job has me on the road a great deal, I get to visit many restaurants throughout the United States. It is with these visits, that I will share with you in pictures and verse the food that made me moan. I will lay out for you monthly what states I will be visiting, so if anyone has any suggestions for a restaurant that serves good food, you can let me know. For the remaining month of October, I will be visiting, Chicago IL, Denver CO, St. Paul MN and Anchorage, Alaska. Check back often, as I'm sure you will get a laugh or two with what you see and read. I look forward to many great tasting meals on my trip across the states and many moans to go along with it.