Dear Bob, here are some photos of my life here on the campus of Concordia Seminary. I love kids, working with the grounds crew, swimming, playing with my dog friends, and especially my own family people.
Big news for those of us addicted to Snickers bars and other candy made by the Mars company. There is now a recall in 55 countries for all Mars candies after a "small piece of plastic was found in one of its products." For us in the U.S. we can go on as usual because the company believes the problem originated in their Netherlands plant. If your Snickers or Milky Way or other Mars bar doesn't say on the packaging, "Mars Netherlands", you're ok.
I'll confess to being a Snickers person. I take a bite out of a Snickers here and there throughout the day. I just don't feel right if I don't have that Snickers bite. I have also noticed that the company has now created a Snickers Crisp bar which is similar but has a rice krispy center. I tried one the other day but it didn't have that deep caramel, chewy texture I like.
For once the diet police have given permission to us to have something good. "Why Valentine's Day is Actually the Healthiest Holiday".
"Recent studies have often pointed to the impressive health benefits chocolate" although it is only certain types of chocolate which are good for you. Dark chocolate ranks among the most powerful superfoods known to mankind.
Wow. That is quite the statement.
Wine has also been shown to have health benefits, especially red wine. It helps reduce the risk of depression and dementia. It is also associated with anti-aging properties, as well as with a lower risk of developing breast, lung or prostate cancer. Wine was also shown to protect against type 2 diabetes, stroke damage and even liver disease.
Dale got into the habit of loving eggnog with a bit of bourban added to it over the holidays and now misses it since eggnog is gone until next November. I have no desire to try and make it from scratch so have been looking for alternatives and I do believe I've found it and it's all about Ted Drewes frozen custard.
I looked up what goes into eggnog and it's pretty much what you get with a Ted Drewes vanilla custard. I bought a couple of the individual cups sold in local grocery stores, let it soften to not quite liquid, put it into a container, added some nutmeg and a bit more vanilla, a bit of milk to thin and Voila! After the first sip Dale said, "That's it!"
If I get tired of doing this, I've heard Baskin Robbins always has eggnog ice cream but I'm not sure it's creamy enough.
How's this for a change of pace? Most stories about what to have while watching the Super Bowl are positive, written so that you'll go get whatever the article recommends. But not this one from Chicago Tribune columnist, John Kass. He writes: Super Bowl Snacks Must Rise Above Glistening Cheeses, Wilting Vegetables.
Ha. Most of us have been around football parties that featured veggie trays and plates of small cubed cheeses. Ranch dressing for dipping, crackers for holding the cheese. Often toothpicks are involved.
"Clearly, there is a reason for bad Super Bowl Party food: lazy cooks who don't even cook.
"Raw vegetable tray," tweeted reader Dan Lambert who hates the ubiquitous vegetable tray. (Crudites if you are fancy.) Deep-fry it or GET OUT!"
Sadly, Super Bowl hosts and hostesses have been brainwashed by evil corporate America to think all they have to do is order up deli or chunks of yellow cheese and stick stupid toothpicks in them and call it Super Bowl food."
And more wrong football food is stuffed into the story.
So what serves as good Super Bowl Food? Kass doesn't even like hot wings because most are not hot and they're soggy. He thinks they should be crisp. Frankly, I don't remember ever having crispy wings, most are sort of soft because of the sauce they've been tossed in. What he likes is Louisville Wings, bourbon-flavored wings dumped on a hot grill to crisp, then smothered in that spicy bourbon sauce.
Chips and dips and salsa and beer are good. But don't put out any food or dips formed into a football shape.
I usually try to do wings, tortilla chips with gaucamole and salsa, other snack stuff and a meat of some kind, sausage maybe. Beer, wine, Dr. Pepper, Scotch. Maybe meatballs would be good this year with good Italian rolls or bread.
All of a sudden we're hearing about new restaurants opening with a "Fast Casual" concept. What in the world is Fast Casual? I've been looking this trend up and still am not sure what makes it interesting or different.
"It’s generally acknowledged that fast-casual concepts are hybrids of quick-service and casual dining that provide counter service and offer more customized and freshly prepared dishes than traditional quick-serves, all in a upscaled, inviting atmosphere." Also no drive thru's or table service.
One restaurant chain often used as an example of Fast Casual is Chipolte's. You go to the counter and order, pick up your food and go sit down or take it home. Panera's may be similarly defined as Fast Casual. Both of these seem to me to be just another variation on fast food while advertising as fresh food.
Columbia Missouri will soon see West Main Pizza, a fast casual pizza place. Pizza and casual have always gone hand in hand so this genre puzzles me. Bigger news and news I'm excited about, is the famous and popular Mexican restaurant, Hacienda soon to open a Fast Casual place in downtown Clayton. Again, though, the concept is more fast food than new and different. But, cool. I love the Hacienda and not having to drive down Manchester once in a while is a good thing.
In the end, I'm still not sure what makes Fast Casual much different than fast food places except the type of food or the name.
This is really impressive. Pappy's Smokehouse in Soulard, probably the most well known and loved place for ribs in St. Louis, was just honored by the Food Network as the number 1 BBQ in America. No small thing coming from the Food Network. The program counting down the top five will be rerun on Saturday January 23 at 5:30 pm on the Food Network.
As an aside to this story, our students who work part time on grounds here at the seminary have for several years been bringing Pappy's wood from trees which have been taken down. They split the wood, let it season a bit and then truck it over to Pappy's. Cherry wood is the most appreciated and Pappy then feeds all the guys. It's a win win.
This week many people in St. Louis and especially here in the Demun neighborhood were shocked to learn that Jimmy's On the Park restaurant was closing. Not only was the closing announced, the closing was done immediately. This place has been an institution in the local area across from Concordia Seminary and it will be quite the loss. One of the first questions from many past patrons was, what will happen to all the framed caricatures of well known St. Louis people which lined every wall in the place. We were interested as well because Dale had his exaggerated face on that wall too.
A couple of our seminary students who work on landscape along with the director, Gayle, went over to Jimmy's on Wednesday to find out about the caricature and walked in to find a couple of very harried employees of an auction company doing inventory ahead of a future auction. This was two days after the closing announcement and already things were getting set to be sold. Anyway, she told them that Jimmy left word that if anyone who's picture was on the wall wanted to have it could come and get it. So yesterday Gayle and I went over and were again met with two very harried auction workers who looked as though they were under a time clock to get things done. One took the time to find a square head screw driver and took down Dale's portrait.
You have to realize caricatures are an exaggeration and it is in this case. Ha. But we are glad to have this ten year old piece of St. Louis restaurant history.
Not ever having been to a Rams home game the information on the type of soda sold at the Jones dome came as a surprise to me while reading a story on the NFL owners and Stan Kroenke this morning. Seem owner Kroenke had some insulting words about St. Louis and St. Louis fans while angling his way to moving to LA. A hashtag went live almost immediately after Stan's words went public. #Kroenkecomplaints
The Rams sell RC Cola at their games! I mean seriously? Who even realized RC Cola was still around? That was a minor player in soda sales even back in its 1960's hay days. Really? RC Cola? Also Sun Drop. What is a Sun Drop? Oh but! RC Cola is the top selling cola brand in the Philippines so there's that.
This is exciting news. Restaurateur Mike Nasur will be opening a third Tasty's Chicago Grill in the former Hardee's on West Main in Belleville on January 11. He also has a Tasty's in Decatur and Peoria which offer Chicago style Italian beef sandwiches, Chicago hot dogs, gyros and more.
This news will probably have me making the trip over to Belleville and I've always wondered why the St. Louis Metro with all its restaurants never got a good Italian beef place. These places are on every corner in Chicago and down here there are many transplanted Chicagoans who miss Italian beef. Lots of St. Louisans who have been to Chicago love the beef too. St Louis' idea of Italian Beef is kind of like pulled pork, shredded beef instead of sliced. So Yay for this news.
Also Collinsville's Zapata Mexican restaurant is branching out and adding a third Zapata's in the former Pasta House in Fairview Heights.