Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Quest for Some Juicy Nookie

So I am out in St. Paul, MN conducting some warewash training to our brethren from Canada and thinking, I've got to get myself some juicy nookie while I'm here. Now, you may be asking yourself, "what is the Moan Man up to now?" "A little nookie when he is away from home, that can't be good"! In this case, I'm talking about a very special hamburger (Juicy Nookie) that one gets from the Nook Restaurant.
Now, since I will be with Bob and Robert for this evening of culinary excitement, I decide that perhaps we should go to the Nook's sister restaurant, the Shamrock Grill for a little extra elbow room. OK, so now you are probably asking yourself, "what is so special about the hamburger?" Well, first, they use the freshest meat to make their burgers and then, unlike most burgers that have cheese (cheeseburgers) these burgers are made with the cheese inside them. So in other words, they take a beef pattie, lay the cheese on top of it and then add another pattie on top of that and form it into one big burger. When this bad boy cooks up and is ready to be served, you got yourself a masterpiece with some very hot and liquefied cheese in the middle ready to flow out at first bite.
Looking for a change of pace that evening, I went with the peperjack cheese for my Nookie and wasn't disappointed. The burger was cooked to the exact temperature to allow it to be juicy and flavorful. With the burger, you get hand cut fries that they soak overnight in vinegar. Man, it doesn't get much better then that! One thing I should let you all know, is that with each Juicy Nookie comes a disclaimer stating that the cheese inside is very hot and caution should be taken when eating. Of course, I threw caution to the wind and dug right in. Just another mistake on my part! As warned, the cheese was extremely HOT and by GOD if I didn't scorch the inside of my mouth.
Now, since I was eating 3 meals a day during this trip, I was getting um, well, um, filled up and instead of trying the Nookie Supreme (bun, burger, bun, burger, bun) I opted for the single. Mistake number two! You see, when I finished my single, I still craved for more. What I should have done was follow the lead of Robert, well sort of. When we sat down and started to dwell on what to order, Robert saw that there was a challenge for those up to it. The challenge was simple, consume two Nookie Supreme's with all the fixins and fries and you win. Simple as that! Now I was struggling with just deciding on whether I wanted a single or supreme and Robert pipes up and says "I will take on the challenge." With our orders placed, we waited patiently for the food to come and the challenge to begin. It wasn't long before we saw what Robert had to consume to be on the wall of fame for winning.

And just so you get the full extent of the challenge, here is the back view of the two baskets that needed to be devoured:

As I said, I should have gone for the Supreme, but to eat two, well I don't think so! The challenge was on and Robert was confident that it was going to be a slam dunk! He started with optimism as would anyone taking on a challenge and tore into the first of his two Nookie Supremes.

Notice how small that Nookie looks in his oversized hands!! Robert was off and running and by the looks of it, his quest wasn't too far from being realized. After finishing off his first tray it was on to number two, and although there were times where he had to sit back and take a breather, in the end all that was left was, well simply put, NOTHING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The "big man" had climbed the mountain and conquered the Nookie Supreme Challenge! And to the victor comes his picture on the wall of fame where his place of immortality will stand forever! I am proud to say, I was there to witness this feat and could only wish I had it in me to be as courageous as Robert to have tempted fate and took on the challenge.

Long Live the King!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, January 24, 2010


Yes, those were the famous words spoken back in the 1800’s to those that were in search of fame and fortune. For me, I heard the calling but it was under much different circumstances. You see, I went out west to find Meals that would Make me Moan! OK, to be honest, I went out there to work, but as long as I was out there it wouldn’t do any harm to do some moaning.

So I left bright and early Sunday morning and boarded a flight to Washington, DC. From there another flight to Phoenix, AZ and then one more flight for good measure to Seattle, Washington! After spending eleven hours in three different planes, you could imagine what my appetite was, as well as my demeanor. I needed food and it needed to be good enough to Make Me Moan. After meeting up with my partners in crime for the week (Bob and Brad), we settled on going to the Keg for some beef. You see, the gal at the front desk of our hotel said if this is the first time we have visited the Keg and we let them know, they would give us free shrimp cocktail for being newbies. With my mouth watering, we were promptly seated and waited patiently for our waitress to come take our order. After hearing the specials and ordering our drinks we asked for our free shrimp cocktail only to be disappointed by the fact that they discontinued offering that incentive, BUMMER!! Life goes on as they say, so I settled on some French Onion Soup (made with Spanish onions) and the prime rib with a side of mushrooms. The soup came out hot, loaded with plenty of onions and a golden brown layer of baked cheese on top. OOOOOOOOOWEEEEEEE that was good. When the prime rib came out our waitress warned us to be careful of the horseradish sauce as it was a specialty of the house and had a bite to it. Not one to back down to the heat of a HR sauce, I slathered it on my perfectly cooked prime rib and took a bite, then another and another until my taste buds said STOP you fool, you're going to burn us up if you don't. That’s when the heat hit me!! It was like a five alarm fire in my mouth! Water, lemonade, more water, more lemonade and then and only then was I ready to resume with the task at hand. You see, no matter how hot the HR sauce was, it was delectable and I just couldn't’t stop dunking my chunks of prime rib in it until everything on my plate was devoured. What a start to what I hope will be a week of many moans.

Monday and Tuesday morning brought us back to an old friend for breakfast.

That’s right, The Original Pancake House. Yup, Seattle had several of them in town and we (Bob and I) couldn't pass them up. Both mornings we feasted on eggs, pancakes, hash browns, toast, corned beef hash and of course, their famous thick cut bacon. Oh boy, two days of eating like that for breakfast and we needed to take a break. In fact after Monday’s chow down, we skipped lunch and only had a light meal for dinner.

Tuesday was a different story. Bob and I started at The Pancake House, skipped lunch and then went out for what I would hope was going to be a great Italian dinner. After doing some extensive research for a great place to dine, we settled on Grazie Resturante Italiano. One step into this quaint little cafe, and I was feel pretty good about my choice. After scouring the menu for what I was going to dine on, I decided to go off the norm and order a dish that contained a red sauce of sorts. Now, for those of you that did not grow up in an Italian household you wouldn’t understand the risk I was taking. You see, growing up with Italian grandparents, parents, aunts, uncle, etc., you become accustomed to eating homemade sauce on a weekly basis. When I say weekly of course, I don’t mean once a week, I mean several times a week and because of this, your taste buds become accustom to a certain quality of sauce. So you can now appreciate the position I put myself in. After much soul searching, I decided on Caesar salad and the Fettuccine Puttanesca.

The salad came out first, properly dressed with five anchovy fillets but was very light on the dressing. In fact, I must say, sans for the anchovies, the salad was not that memorable. I started sweating at this point as I was beginning to second guess my decision to come here. When the fettuccine arrived, I was overwhelmed by the wonderful aroma and overall appearance of the dish. I couldn't wait any longer, I picked up my fork, twirled some of that great looking fettuccine ladened with artichoke hearts, anchovies, tomatoes, calamata olives, mushrooms, capers and took my first mouthful. Mama Mia, I hit pay dirt!!! Not only did the moans start to come, I was overcome by memories from my youth. Memories of going to my grandparents and aunts house after Church to enjoy some home made pasta and sauce. Those are the memories that are deeply ingrained in my memory banks. The type of memories that take a special Italian dish to bring them to the forefront of my mind. Man, this was some magical pasta I was eating. I couldn't get enough. Even when I said I was done and couldn't eat any more, I found a way to finish every last noodle! So now that I properly finished off the main course, there was only one way to pay tribute to what I just had. Dessert!!! Now, my cousin Amy has been on the lookout for the perfect cheese cannoli and I wish I could say, I found it at Grazie's, but I can not. However, I can say I did find the perfect chocolate cannoli Just take a look at this beauty.

The shell was lite and crispy, with a filling that was flavorful, yet not too sweet. The whipped cream and chocolate sauce was just the right amount to compliment this delightful delicacy. All in all, a perfect meal and one that was totally worthy to be written up in the Meals That Make Me Moan Archives.

Wednesday is now upon us, and to tell you the truth, I need a break from eating!!! Well ,at least I need to change things around a bit. It was decided that there would be no breakfast and then a light lunch to ride us over until dinner time where we had planned to meet Shane and Kelly for what was promised to be a moan worthy dinner. With this in mind, breakfast was skipped and we opted for a light lunch of.........Hot Dogs! After spending some time searching for a hot dog spot, we ended up at Matt's Gourmet Hot Dogs. Now I won't spend much time on this but to say they had one of the best chili cheese dog and slaw dog I have ever eaten! Moan worthy indeed, but lets remember we are still talking about hot dogs.

Dinner time has arrived, Brad, Bob and I went off to the city to meet with Kelly and Shane at the 5 Spot restaurant. A lively little place that is known for American Regional Food. In fact, every 3 months they change their theme. This time around it was food and drink from St. Louis. I like to think that I am just as adventurous as the next person, but this restaurant is know for their honey stung fried chicken. So I guess you all know where I went with this.......................

That's a half of bird you are looking at which has been buttermilk dipped, deep fried and drizzled with Tupelo Honey. Served with some mashed potato's and carrots. This was no "KFC" I was dining at!. One bite into this moist bird and the flavors exploded in my mouth. There is no other way to describe this fine meal but to say the bird was moist, flavorful and plentiful. Everything that I look for in a meal to make me moan.

So that concludes the end of my Seattle trip. I must say, this trip ranks up there with my many experiences since I started writing this Blog. A few points I need to leave you with before my next writing:

1. That mysterious appetizer I so enjoyed at the Lucky Wishbone in Alaska was none other then deep fried chicken gizzards. Congratulations goes out to Kitty Hayes for guessing correctly on this!!

2. The fact that I have now been treated to such memorable meals as a pork chop sandwich and a pork tenderloin plate at Hog Wild, A Poblito at Rosalita's in Denver and honey stung fried chicken from the 5 Spot in Seattle has created a contest of sorts between Barb, Kelly and Shane as to which area, East or West can come up with the most memorable meal that will Make Me Moan. As Barb puts it, "I know how to play both sides and come out the winner". Clearly in this contest, the deck is stacked in my favor.

3. My next stop is in St. Paul, MN where I will be in search of some Juicy Nookie.

Sunday, January 17, 2010


Happy New Year to all and with that said, it can only mean one thing.....many more Meals to Make Me Moan!!! Now, before we start out on the twenty-ten journey, let me bring you back to the end of 2009 where my journey ended......ALASKA. What a week of bone chilling cold that was. If it wasn't for some constant moaning, well, I just don't know if I would have made it! So, what do you think when I say Alaskan food? Salmon? Crab Legs? Halibut? How bout fried chicken?? Yup, I said fried chicken and not just any ole fried chicken, I'm talking about fried chicken from the legendary Lucky Wishbone Restaurant.

Serving Alaska for over 50 years ,this landmark aims to please with some of the best home style cooking that can be found. Well, with a claim like that, how could I refuse. So me and my team for the week set out to see what all the hub bub was about and as usual, we weren't disappointed. Well at least 3 of the 4 on the team weren't disappointed. You see, if an establishment is known for a certain kind of food, lets say fried chicken, you get the chicken, right? Well, my group for the week consisted of Bob, Ameer and Brad. For some reason, Brad decided to get the halibut. not a bad choice for Alaska, but not the right choice for the Lucky Wishbone. OK, so whats so special about the fried chicken you may ask. Simply put, they fly in their chickens from the lower forty-eight several times weekly. Which means fresh chickens that are never frozen. They have an established policy of only using the freshest and finest ingredients around. And that history of 50 years, well you judge for yourself.........
That's a five piece basket over fries and nestled up to a corn muffin. What a meal!!! The chicken was crispy on the outside and moist and juicy on the inside. Once I started, I couldn't ,nor wouldn't stop until every piece was devoured. A great meal and a great start to my Alaskan adventure. But wait, I forgot to tell you about one of the best appetizers I have had in a long, long time.

This might have come out of "left field" for some, but for me and my friends it was right up our alley, as well as keeping with the theme of the dinner. Not sure what you are looking at? Well, you see the corn muffin? I know you can't see the pile of fries underneath the appetizer. But what exactly is the appetizer? You tell me. That's right, you want to know what these interesting looking nuggets are, you will need to send me your comments with your ideas. 'll let you know when you get it right.

OK, two things I want to say here...steak and a burger. Yeah, beef, well, sort of. The burger wasn't actually beef in the traditional way, it was Rudolph, I mean it was reindeer. A reindeer burger from Phyllis's Cafe and Salmon Bake.

The burger was cooked to a medium rare temperature and served with tomato and pickles. One bite into this lean, juicy burger and I was thinking that's why Mr. Claus has reindeer's. They're delectable!!
Now for my last part of this recap, I want to remind everyone on how much I detest eating at hotel restaurants. In fact, I will go out of my way not to do it. But alas, I must tell you all that I broke my golden rule in Alaska. As I was cow-towing with the front desk beauty one evening, she asked me if I was going to dine at their restaurant. Now I didn't have the heart to say no to her, but there was no way I was going to say yes. After some pleading on her part that I try it, I stated to her that I was meeting two of my Associates that evening and if she came up with some incentive for me, I would consider it. Well suffice to say, she made it worth my while......OK, I better clarify that. With $40.00 of restaurant credit in hand, off I went to the hotel restaurant. Once there, I took an inordinate amount of time to find a meal that would Make Me Moan (as if that could be possible from a hotel restaurant)! So after much discussion with Bob and Ameer, we all decided on something different. When the waiter came over to take our order, we engaged him in our pursuit of moans and he set us on the straight and narrow..........

That's a sixteen ounce rib-eye that was grilled with butter to a perfect medium rare temperature, with garlic mashed potato's and cauliflower au-gratin. Once we started to bite into our steaks, there was a cacophony of moans coming from the three of us. In fact at one point the moans got so loud that the table next to us asked the waiter what was going on at our table. I can only say that if this is the type of food that every hotel restaurants could produce there would be no reason for me to leave!!

So that's my recap of Alaska. Obviously, I had many more meals then just the chicken, steak and Reindeer. But as you all know, I will only write about the Meals That Make Me Moan.

Come back soon as I will recap my week in Seattle. You won't be disappointed as I came across some dishes that was moan worthy and I'm excited to write about them. Also, you will discover how one meal has started a battle of east and west.