Tag Archives: Beer

Nat Geo After Hours 2015

Nat Geo After Hours 2015

A Special All-Access National Geographic HQ Take Over!

Featuring hot jamz from our friends:

With exclusive party-time access to the Nat Geo Museum exhibits including:

Indiana Jones Exhibit
Indiana Jones and the Adventure of Archaeology: The Exhibition

MONSTER FISH: In Search of the Last River Giants

Cash bars everywhere, including cocktails and:

Beers From Around The World

Beers From Around The World!

Nerd out with lightning talks from Nat Geo Explorers:
Nat Geo Explorer Talks
Presented by Dos Equis


Alize Carrere
Alize Carrere: When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Adapt

Jonathan Mehring: Skate the World
Jonathan Mehring: Skate the World

Anand Varma: Zombie Parasites
Anand Varma: Zombie Parasites

Patrick Meier: Jedis of the CyberWorld
Patrick Meier: Jedis of the CyberWorld

Erin Spencer: The Lionfish King
Erin Spencer: The Lionfish King

Annie Fitzsimmons
Annie Fitzsimmons: Confessions of an Urban Travel Blogger

+ more stuff like

#NukedTheFridge: The Roast of Indiana Jones!

3D movies to blow your fragile little mind!

DJ Set from the Axel F Crew!

Real Man Music from Jonny Grave

DJ Smudge (ESL)

Photo Camp
Even more cool museum exhibits!


A big outdoor courtyard to frolick in!
Food trucks! Photobooths! Lasers!
Mechanical Sharks! & more surprises!

Advance tickets on sale now for $25

Last 3 years we sold out!
This is a 21+ event

As always, there is no dress code, but we recommend staying on theme:

indy / short round / sexy snake / giant boulder / jungle foliage / #nukedthefridge
monsters / fish / nessie / moby / narwhal / mega and/or mecha shark
archeology gear / safari hats / zissou fashion / jane goodall slacks

Look how much fun we had last time:

last time



An Event That Sizzles with Flavor – Come out and Eat! Drink! Judge!

July 17, 2015

  • It’s Hamptons vs. NYC as GrillHampton pits 8 East End chefs against 8 Manhattan chefs in a one-of-a-kind cooking competition and tasting event
  • Hosted by “Restaurant Impossible” star Robert Irvine & “Chopped” star Marc Murphy
  • Enjoy the great grilled fare, beer and specialty cocktails—along with live music by New Life Crisis—then be part of the action as you cast your vote for the finest food of the night.
  • Chicken and beef that are grilled on the Traeger Pro Series  are also available for free when you buy drinks.
  • Friday, July 17, 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. at Sayre Park, 156 Snake Hollow Road, Bridgehampton. General admission tickets are $125.

Taste of Home

Thursday, June 4 2015

VIP Hour: 6:00 – 7:00 PM
Event: 7:00 – 9:00 PM

Honorary Chair Ruth Reichl and Housing Works invite you to join hosts Alex Guarnaschelli, Sam Sifton and Brooks Headley for Housing Works’s popular chefs’ tasting and culinary-themed benefit.

Ruth Reichl, Alex Guarnaschelli, Sam Sifton and Brooks Headley

Featuring food from:

Jody Williams, Buvette, Via Carota
Carlo Mirarchi, Blanca, Roberta’s
Caroline Fidanza, Saltie
Francis Derby, The Cannibal, Resto
Joe Tarasco, Marta

and cocktails curated by:

Dan Sabo, Ace Hotel Downtown Los Angeles
With spirits from Grand Marnier and Aviation American Gin
Wine by Broadbent Selections
Beer by Greenport Harbor Brewing Co.

Proceeds benefit Housing Works’ fight to end AIDS and homelessness.

Sponsored by:

Davis & Gilbert LLP

Dems Have Party Planner Now Blogging in Denver

After a long day rubbing elbows with pundits and politicos, where can a hungry Democrat (especially one that didn’t think to make reservations a month ago!) go for relaxed conversation, cool vibes and a taste of the Denver nightlife?

Forget the concierge and forget the Yellow Pages. THE place to get connected in the Mile High City during the Democratic National Convention is “DNC After Dark,” a new blog created by Metzger Associates that helps visitors maneuver and take full advantage of Denver – whether it’s dinner reservations, recommendations for the coolest music venues or event planning for intimate groups – during the DNC weekend (Aug. 25-28).

From the best coffee shops with speedy Wi-Fi or the best bars with micro-brewed beers and speedy Wi-Fi; to below-ground martini bars and rooftop patios with killer views of the Rockies; to the only place in town that serves Rocky Mountain rainbow trout and free-range buffalo prime rib, “DNC After Dark” gives a “locals-only” perspective that will show a side of Denver few out-of-towners, regardless of political persuasion, ever get to see.

With more than 10 years of experience in event planning and management, Denise Smith is heading up Metzger Associates’ new strategic events planning practice and is managing the “DNC After Dark” blog, and if you want to Rent a house for a party he has the best recommendations for you. Not only can visitors get her expert take on the out-of-the-way places only a local would know, Smith is available to help set up special dinners or events.

While the convention presents an obvious financial opportunity for many businesses, actually reaching potential customers through advertising or marketing is more than cost prohibitive for most (some sites are charging up to $10,000). “DNC After Dark,” on the other hand, will offer the 35,000 delegates, politicians, media and political enthusiasts descending on Denver a free guide to the city’s myriad of cultural attractions, restaurants, bars and more. And while the mainstay eateries, hotels and entertainment venues of downtown Denver have been booked-out well in advance, the option to check out some of the Mile High City’s best kept secrets and hidden treasures is ripe for the picking.

Alcohol Companies Targeting Youth

A comprehensive review of television advertising practices by alcohol companies from 2001-2007 finds an increase in youth exposure to alcohol advertising and relatively few industry- sponsored "responsibility" ads. The new study, released today by the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth (CAMY) at Georgetown University, evaluated advertising trends and identified the best and worst brands with regard to youth exposure to alcohol.

This report shows that more than 40 percent of youth exposure to alcohol advertising came from ads placed on programming with a disproportionate youth (ages 12 to 20) audience — the highest percentage since CAMY began monitoring youth exposure in 2001.

The report data clearly show the 30 percent threshold established by alcohol trade associations in 2003 has not reduced youth exposure to alcohol advertising on television, nor has it reduced the youth overexposure that occurs when advertisements are on programs with disproportionate youth audiences.

"The sad reality for kids and parents is that the alcohol industry's 30 percent standard is working on broadcast but not cable television," said CAMY executive director David Jernigan. "From 2001 to 2007, the number of alcohol advertisements seen in a year by the average television-watching 12-to-20 year-old has increased which is the opposite of its purpose."

CAMY's data shows advertisers have made some progress with regard to advertising during shows where more than 30 percent of the viewers were under age 21. The percentage of alcohol product advertisements on these programs went from 11 percent in 2003 to 6.3 percent in 2007.

The study's other key findings include:
— Almost all youth overexposure to alcohol advertising occurs on cable.
Almost two-thirds (63 percent) of the overexposing alcohol ad
placements in 2007 were on cable television, which generated 95 percent
of youth overexposure to alcohol advertising on television. Of the
youth overexposure on cable in 2007, 53 percent came from beer
advertising, and 41 percent from distilled spirits advertising.
— In 2006 and 2007, there were no alcohol industry-funded
"responsibility" messages about underage drinking on television. Over
the entire period of 2001 – 2007, youth ages 12 to 20 were 22 times
more likely to see an alcohol product advertisement than an alcohol
industry-funded "responsibility" advertisement about drinking-driving,
safety or underage drinking.
— Eleven specific brands are responsible for 48.5 percent of the youth
exposure to advertising. For this report, researchers developed a
methodology to determine the best and worst performers with regard to
youth exposure to alcohol advertising. Among brands responsible for
the much of youth exposure to alcohol advertising and exceeding the 30%
youth threshold are:
— Miller Lite
— Corona Extra Beer
— Coors Light
— Hennessy Cognacs
— Guinness Beers
— Samuel Adams Beers
— Bud Light
— Smirnoff Vokdas
— Disaronno Originale Amaretto
— Miller Chill
— Multiple Brands from Mike's Beverages.

Alcohol remains the leading drug problem among young people, and underage drinking is responsible for 5,000 deaths among young people each year. Scientific studies show that youth exposure to alcohol advertising contributes to the likelihood of underage drinking.

The National Research Council and Institute of Medicine, the U.S. Surgeon General and 20 state Attorneys General have all recommended eliminating this disproportionate exposure.

In 2003, the National Research Council and Institute of Medicine recommended that alcohol companies move toward a 15 percent threshold for youth audiences, since this is roughly the proportion of youth in the general population. In 2006, Congress passed and President Bush signed into law the Sober Truth On Preventing Underage Drinking Act (or STOP Act) requiring, among other things, that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services report annually on rates of exposure of youth to positive and negative messages youth about alcohol in the mass media. Although this reporting has been authorized by Congress, funding for it has not yet been appropriated.

"Our findings continue to support the elimination of alcohol advertising on programming with more than 15 percent youth audiences. It will save young people's lives and the alcohol industry advertising dollars," said Dr. Jernigan.

Weston Irish Festival to be held Oct. 12-14

The Weston Irish Festival began in 2000 and has grown to a three day event of all things Irish. Located in the sleepy town of Historic Weston, Missouri, the Irish Fest brings over 7,000 festival goers to a three acre property in the middle of Weston which encompasses O'Malley's Irish Pub, American Boman Restaurant, the Weston Brewing Company. In the middle of all the fun is an Irish-esq grassy knoll with a huge stage that boasts entertainment from dawn until the wee Irish hours of the morn.
The Weston Irish Festival is located in Weston, Missouri. This historic town is located just 35 minutes north of downtown Kansas City and 30 minutes south of St. Joseph, Mo. Take I-29 to exit 20 and follow the signs to Weston and to the festival. For complete directions, Mapquest this:
500 Welt St.
Weston, MO 64098
Dates/Hours/Ticket Info :

October 12th, 5pm-1am $8
October 13th, 11am-1am $10
October 14th 12pm-12am $10

O'Malley's Irish Pub:
At the heart of it all is the historic and unusual O'Malley's Irish Pub. Founded in 1842, the pub is famous for it's underground cellars and three floors of full-on Irish fabulousness. The bottom cellar is a whopping 50ft below ground. Going in, you can just imagine settlers and traders drinking whiskey in the pub long ago. It truly is something to see–with ten Irish whiskey's and draught beer a-flowin'…you just might think you've stumbled into a pub somewhere in the middle of the Irish countryside.
With 4 stages full of bag piping, traditional Irish Dancing and Irish music-the Weston Irish Fest brings non-stop entertainment throughout the fest. Enjoy entertainers at Hall Stage, Courtyard Stage and performers inside O'Malley's Pub.
Not to be missed:

The Elder's
Seven Nations
Young Dubliners
Micky Finns
Eddie Delahunt
Flannigan's Right Hook
For a complete listing of events, check the Weston Irish Fest Entertainment Schedule. http://www.westonirish.com/stageschedule.shtml

Irish Food:
The fest has a plethora of delicious Irish fare with everything from authentic Irish dishes like Irish Stew, Bangers and mash located in the food court. Traditional Irish foods are also available inside the America Bowman Restaurant (located inside the festival grounds).
O'Malley's Pub offers (in true Irish pub fashion) multiple full service bars with draught ales, lagers and cider , wines and specialty drinks. The complete bar boasts ten Irish whiskeys. Draft beer, soft drinks and specialty drinks (ie Bailey's and Jameson) will also be available in the festival courtyard.
Taxi Cabs and Shuttles:
The Weston Irish Fest is definatley a place for fun. If you've had one too many whiskey's or more than your fair share of Weston's famous brew… take a cab OR rent a shuttle.
From the Irish Fest website:

Local Taxi Services: Veteran's Cab Company, 913.682.7200

Groups of 10 or more can order a shuttle:

Laidlaw Transit – Parkville 816.741.4023
Laidlaw Transit – Blue Valley 913.897.2347
Laidlaw Transit – Olathe 913.782.1050
Laidlaw Transit – South Kansas City 816.765.3100

Martha’s Vineyard Food & Wine Festival Extravaganza Is Set For October 17-18

Maggie White, president of The Edgartown Board of Trade, today announced the schedule of events for the 2008 Martha’s Vineyard Food & Wine Festival. From October 17 – 19, visitors and residents are invited to attend cooking demonstrations, food & wine tastings, culinary seminars, and wine dinners featuring the area’s finest chefs, farmers, and specialty food purveyors. This distinguished group of professionals will host more than 13 events all highlighting fresh, local ingredients.

Festival Opening Reception – Friday, October 17

The Food & Wine Festival will begin on Friday, October 17, at 5:00 p.m. with a reception at the Martha’s Vineyard Museum – Small Plates from the Grill Grates. BBQ masters Andy Husbands, chef/owner of Tremont 647 in Boston, and Dante de Magistris, chef/owner of dante in Cambridge and the soon-to-open Il Casale in Belmont, will grill island-raised meats, seafood, and produce for guests to sample. Wine historian Nina Wemyss will pour a selection of vintages chosen to accompany the smoky, subtle flavors of BBQ. Guests can place bids on cases of rare wines during a silent auction while listening to live jazz music by Jeremy Berlin. Tickets are $100 and proceeds will benefit the Martha's Vineyard Museum.  


Following the cocktail party, Festival attendees can choose from one of the

pre fixé wine dinners offered by Edgartown restaurants at 7:30 p.m. Participating restaurants to date include Atria, Détente, and l’Etoile. Sharkey’s Cantina will host a Southwestern-themed dinner with pairings of Casa Noble Tequilas.


Culinary Seminars – Saturday, Oct. 18

Culinary experts will present seminars in Edgartown galleries and restaurants on Saturday, October 18. Seminar tickets range from to and include:

·          Chocolate and Dessert Wine Pairings, by Lee Napoli of Chocolee Chocolates–2008 Best of Boston “Best Chocolates,” and Jonathan Alsop of The Boston Wine School

·          Beer and Cheese, by The Vineyard’s own Offshore Ale and a selection of cheeses from Shy Brothers Farm, Westport, Mass.

·          Bread and Olive Oil, by Joanne Chang, owner, Boston’s Flour Bakery, and Emmanuel Daskalakis of Aralia

·          Classic Cocktails, by Lauren Clark of DrinkBoston

·          Adventure with an Affineur, wine and cheese tasting, by Russo’s of Watertown resident wine & cheese expertMark Trumble


Children’s Camp at The Farm Institute – Saturday, October 18

The Food & Wine Festival has arranged a half-day camp for the children of Festival attendees. Participants will tour the farm and help care for the animals.


The camp is open to children ages 6 – 12 years of age and will be held from 12:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. The cost per attendee is and the registration deadline is October 4. Camp reservations can be made on the Festival Website at www.mvfoodandwine.com.


Corn Maze – Saturday, Oct. 18 & Sunday, Oct. 19

For families to explore together, the famous corn maze at The Farm Institute will be open throughout the weekend from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Admission is for children under 13 and for guests over the age of 14.  Tickets are available for purchase at The Farm Institute.


Grand Tasting, Oct. 18 – Chefs, Vintners, and Cookbook Authors

On Saturday, October 18, from 1:00 – 4:00 p.m., the Martha’s Vineyard Museum will host the Grand Tasting.   Distinguished island chefs, including Kevin Crowell of Detente, Christian Thornton of Atria, Anthony Saccoccia of The Grill on Main,will demonstrate dishes prepared with local, in-season produce, meats, and seafood, highlighting each chef’s distinctive style.  Noted vintners will pour wines for guests including Rombauer Vineyards, Duckhorn Wine Company, Liberty School Wine, and C. Donatiello WineryAcclaimed cookbook authors,including Cathy Walthers and Chef Andy Husbands, will conduct a book signing. Tickets are $100. 



Two Gourmand Dinners – Saturday, Oct.18

These dinners will be held at a private residence from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.   Guests are invited to enjoy flavorful fall menus while engaging in conversations with chefs and culinary experts on the benefits – and challenges – of eating locally in New England.


Food, Art, and Wine

Chef Peter Davis of Henrietta’s Table in Cambridge will prepare an island-grown masterpiece while noted Wine Historian Nina Wymess pairs each course with a selected vintage. With literary anecdotes and illustrations, Nina will explain the historical relationship between wine and art as well as its cultural significance. Margarit Mondavi of the Mondavi Winery will discuss her interest in uniting wine with the arts and the winery’s dedication to cultural programs.   Tickets are $500.


Sustainable Seafood

Chef/Owner Jeremy Sewall of Lineage in Brookline, Mass. will walk diners through the process of preparing sustainable fish and shellfish. Heather Tausig, coordinator of the New England Aquarium’s Celebrate Seafood Dinner Series, will lead a discussion on the importance of shopping for and eating sustainable seafood. Chefs Collaborative’s new Sustainable Solutions seafood guide will be provided for guests. Tickets are $500.


Farmers’ Market and Brunch – Sunday, Oct. 19

The Festival will close on Sunday, October 19, with a Farmers’ Market and Brunch from 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Local farmers will offer their fall harvest for sale. Guests can also purchase prepared brunch foods a la carte


The Museum will be open for children to enjoy a complimentary craft activity while museum guides engage young festival attendees outdoors with historic games.


Ticket Information:

For more detailed information and to purchase tickets, visit www.mvfoodandwine.com. Tickets may also be purchased in Edgartown at The Christina Gallery and at the Martha’s Vineyard Museum. 


Please note: schedule subject to change.

Tomato Clamato

The hottest happy hour concotion these days begins with tomato juice.

It's called Clamato.

What is Clamato®ä
Clamato is a high-quality, savory tomato cocktail juice with spices. Its distinctive and invigorating flavor can be enjoyed in so many delicious ways.

Clamato can be used as an ingredient in both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drink recipes, as well as in the preparation of a variety of dishes that the whole family will enjoy.

History of Clamato
Our history began in California in 1969 when Clamato® juice was created, a unique and tasty cocktail made with tomato juice and a blend of spices that livens the senses.

The farmers were the first ones to appreciate Clamato juice's refreshing flavor when they realized how it made their long, hard days in the sun much more tolerable. Soon, Clamato became more and more well-known throughout the United States and México. Today, it's a popular beverage among Latinos everywhere.

Clamato Caesar and Clamato Picante were created, adding to Clamato's popularity and making this all-time favorite more versatile.

Clamato is now the indispensable ingredient in many beverages, including the traditional Chelada™. It is said that the Chelada made its first appearance in Mexicali at the “Bar los V-tarros” where, the story claims, that it was very common to experiment with drink mixes in an effort to find the perfect antidote for the hot, sultry climate. Witnesses claim that Mr. Camacho, the owner of “Bar los V-tarros,” and his good friend created the now very popular Chelada, a mix of Clamato with beer, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, lime and pepper. The recipe became so popular, it quickly spread from Mexicali … to the world!

Clamato is also the main ingredient in Canada's number one cocktail, the Bloody Caesar®. Walter Chell invented this drink in 1969 for the opening of a restaurant called Marcos. Bloody Caesar is a mixture of Clamato, vodka and spices.

People who use Clamato to prepare food and drinks fondly refer to it as, “My Clamato.” Because of its versatility, Clamato allows you to prepare an almost infinite variety of tasty recipes with your personal flair.

Clamato in combination with TWANG Rimmer Salts is tantalizing to the taste buds.

Nation's Largest Beer Festival on Tap in Denver

Held in the Colorado Convention Center, the festival covers nine acres with 400 different craft breweries exhibiting their wares, all competing for coveted medals. Some 46,000 beer-lovers are expected to attend, each receiving a special glass that entitles them to a one ounce sample of any of the 1,900 pale ales, stouts, porters and lagers available. The breweries are arranged by geographic location, so it's possible to “drink your way across America.” But sampling the beers requires some discretion and choice. A one ounce sample of every beer available would require drinking the equivalent of 26 six-packs.

Denver and the GABF are a perfect match. Colorado brews more beer than any other state and the Mile High City is home to the world's largest single brewery, Coors Brewery, and the nation's largest brewpub, the Wynkoop Brewing Company, founded by the city's mayor, John Hickenlooper.

Throughout Colorado, there are more than 80 brewpubs, 18 microbreweries, and two major breweries, burnishing the state's reputation as the “Napa Valley” of beer.

More Info on the GABF at www.GreatAmericanBeerFestival.com

Cindy Crawford Launches Mag. in Chicago

Supermodel and Chicago native Cindy Crawford will join Niche Media CEO Jason Binn, Midwest President and Publisher Dan Uslan and Editor-in-Chief Susanna Homan, to host the launch party for Michigan Avenue magazine on Sept. 20, 2008.

The red carpet extravaganza at The James Chicago will bring together tastemakers from the Windy City and around the country including “Top Chef Chicago” winner Stephanie Izard, Pro Golfer Luke Donald, and more. Guests will be treated to live performances from Terrence Howard and Destiny's Child singer Michelle Williams while sipping on Don Julio Ultra Premium tequila, Ciroc cocktails, Sapporo beer, and enjoying food from the renowned David Burke's Primehouse.

About Michigan Avenue magazine: Michigan Avenue is synonymous with Chicago–and Michigan Avenue magazine, which debuted on September 15, 2008, is the talk of the town, celebrating the lifestyles and passions of the city's most affluent and sophisticated readers. High-impact covers and witty, intelligent editorial content make Michigan Avenue magazine a must-read. Every issue features interviews, fashion stories, an inside look at the lives of celebrity contributors, product and accessories trends, the best in home design, art, restaurants, theatre, entertainment, and amazing photos of the people and places that make Chicago so special.

More than 30 bold-faced names with Chicago ties have contributed to the first issue, including Oprah Winfrey, Mayor Richard M. Daley, Michelle Obama, Reverend Al Sharpton, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, political comedian Bill Maher, Chicago rocker Pete Wentz, famed photographer Victor Skrebneski, singer Michelle Williams of Destiny's Child fame, journalist Bill Kurtis, Tim Zagat, Mariel Hemingway, writer and host James Lipton and news anchor Robin Meade, to name a few on the acclaimed list.

About Niche Media Holdings: Niche Media, a subsidiary of Greenspun Media Group, was founded in 1992 and is the country's preeminent regional magazine company with the largest network of city-specific luxury publications in the United States. Niche Media consistently delivers the finest editorial content and advertising to a controlled group of influencers with the highest disposable incomes in each city. Niche Media reaches readers who maintain annual household incomes of at least $200,000 and have liquid assets in excess of $1 million, making the pages of these glossies some of the most valuable real estate in publishing. Additionally, the company brings its publications' pages to life with more than 500 dynamic A-list events across the country each year. With more than 300 full-time employees, Niche Media exceeds 30,000 pages annually, and its titles have a combined annual distribution of more than 8 million copies. Niche Media's titles provide advertisers and marketers with a direct connection to the most desirable markets across the country.

Charlotte Hosts Oktoberfest!

Crowd gets a taste of German celebration as Charlotte hosts the 8th annual Oktoberfest near uptown. Close to 80 breweries were in attendance; from national breweries like Anheuser-Busch, all the way to certified home brewmasters. Oktoberfest 2008 was sold out as the crowd steadily swayed from tent to tent receiving 5oz samples from the participating breweries. The Charlotte audience did not only enjoy the beer; bands played through out the day while others took time to play foosball and other games scattered around the stadium by Central Piedmont Community College.
This event and the World Beer Festival that was held in Raleigh, NC marked the beginning of North Carolina’s celebration of Germany’s Oktoberfest.
“I’ve never been to Germany to experience Oktoberfest, says Lisa, a recent graduate, “but the Charlotte Oktoberfest was amazing. I can’t wait until next year’s!”

PartyDigest Dining Diva Blogger

Dining Diva Review: The World’s Best Barbecue–Troy’s Ribs Boynton Beach, Florida

The best ribs I have found in the world have been at Troy’s BBQ in Boynton Beach. I’ve been a BBQ Ho for my entire life and have eaten Q all over the USA and the world and I have yet to find a better rib joint than the little take-out shack at NE 10th and Federal Highway (US 1) in Boynton Beach, Florida. There’s no point in reviewing ambience or service because there isn’t any–it’s a takeout window in a 600 square foot building so close to the railroad tracks that you can’t hear a thing when the train goes by. Troy is only open on Thursday, Friday and Saturdays and you better get there early because when it’s gone you are SOL until the next batch comes out of the smoker–and that takes at least 18 hours. The limited menu features ribs, chicken, beef and pork along with a sweet potato pie that is a really excellent rendition of a humble dish.

Troy uses a secret spice rub and then gently smokes the ribs for hours over a wood mix that leaves them incredibly delicious and shake-the-meat-off-the-bone tender. He has a house BBQ that is good, but I rarely use it–those amazing ribs don’t need it!! It’s a sweet mustard based sauce that is very similar to Blue Front BBQ Sauce and it’s good, but the flavor of BBQ is in the meat, not in the sauce. Call ahead for large orders. He also does catering and I have served his ribs at countless parties where my guest ate every single rib and raved about them. Tell him the limo lady sent you, he’ll know! I wish I could talk him into franchising so I could get a franchise here in Illinois!! I used to live 15 minutes from there and now I live in Virginia and every time I come to visit, I bring back 50 pounds of ribs as carry-on luggage to sustain me until my next Florida visit. If there is a heaven, then Troy certainly will have the rib concession because between here and heaven there are no better ribs to be had for love or money, and I am sure that angels will line up for his BBQ! His fame has spread nationwide–I mentioned him to the owner of Pappy’s Smokehouse and he has also heard of Troy’s Ribs. I’d never live in Florida again, but I sure do miss Troy’s ribs–they are one of two places in Florida that I never fail to visit when I am home for a visit with my family!
Dining Diva Review: China Restaurant, Highland Illinois–A Rural Surprise That Rivals Hong Kong’s Finest Restaurants!

Imagine the shock of moving to a tiny town in rural Illinois and discovering a Chinese restaurant on the same level as the magnificent ones I dined in all over Asia! This is the case with the China Restaurant located on the town square in Highland, Illinois. The place doesn’t look like much from the outside, but there’s ample parking and even though the booth seating is a little lumpy, the staff is friendly and they all speak English fluently. The menu prices are VERY reasonable and although the portions aren’t huge, they are more than enough for a substantial meal. The egg rolls are more like spring rolls, but are very tasty. The Wonton soup has big meaty wontons in a lovely chicken broth that was made from chickens instead of soup base. The Hot and Sour soup is one of the best I’ve had in the USA and only equalled by a restaurant in Palm Beach, FL and another one in Richmond, VA who use the virtually the same recipe. The LoMeins are tasy and filled with meats and veggies as is the fried rice, and even though this is ordinary fare, they do a very good job of it–and if you can’t do the basics well, the rest won’t be good either. They do excellent sweet and sour dishes as their meat pieces are mostly meat instead of mostly breading and is very crisp and not greasy.Where China Restaurant really shines is in the Chef Specialties. Their General Tao’s Chicken has a very thin crisp coating and is tossed in a wonderful sauce and served with very fresh steamed broccoli and has a spicy sweet bite that can be adjusted to your taste preferences. Their Orange Beef is likewise a tasty dish with a definite orange flavor and bits of juliennes orange peel prominently scattered through the dish. The Sesame Beef is tender with a light sauce that again will have a spicy bite altered to your taste. They will also add spice to dishes that are not normally though of as spicy dishes if you request it. The Mu Shu Pork (or beef, chicken and shrimp) is wonderfully flavored and rolled up in lovely thin rice pancakes with just the right touch of Hoisin sauce and the Twice Cooked Pork is a classic in brown sauce that lightly glazes the cabbage, peppers and pork. Even the fortune cookies are good–fresh, crisp and individually wrapped. The service is attentive and water and beverage service is prompt, and chopsticks are available on request. They have a small selection of imported beers including Tsing Tao which is a very good Chinese imported beer and a small wine selection. They deliver lunch and dinner locally as well as catering and selling their sauces (sweet and sour, etc.) by the pint or quart for use in home recipes. Friendly service, low prices, fresh ingredients and an excellent chef make this little Asian restaurant jewel shine in the heartland in a place you would not expect to find it!
Food: 4 stars
Service 3 stars
Dining Diva Review: Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar, Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar, Baton Rouge, LA

We dined here with my husband’s parents to celebrate his Dad’s birthday. The ambience was very nice and the table properly appointed, but the meal left a lot to be desired. Fleming’s is owned by Outback, so I was hoping for a great dining experience in the expensive restaurant category, in the class of the Raindancer Steak House. Alas, this was not to be. They did make an effort to make my father-in-law happy for his birthday by bringing him a “birthday salad” composed of a wedge of iceberg lettuce heart slathered in bleu cheese dressing which Dad absolutely LOVES after we declined the cake offer (we had gotten an Ambrosia Cake from Baton Rouge’s best bakery that was at home for later) but while it showed the dedication of our waiter, the rest of the meal was substantially below what we had expected for a restaurant of this alleged calibre. It was WAY WAY overpriced for a steak full of gristle. Service was good but it should be for what they charge. As expensive as Ruth’s Chris and also a la carte which I find annoying–for a steak would it kill you to toss me a 50 cent potato? The salads were good, the wine list impressive, but the steaks were a miserable failure all the way around. I’d never eat there again, I’ve had better steaks at Golden Corral than the miserable piece of meat they served me at this failure of a restaurant. My father-in-law had a good time, but he always has a good time with us–we could have stayed at home and gotten a slew of boiled crawfish like we did last time we were in Baton Rouge, spicy and fresh cooked with corn and potatoes, we dumped them on the patio table a had a feast! Fleming’s needs to find a new meat supplier or they need to lower the prices because their meat supplier is ripping them off in a big way–and apparently their executive chef doesn’t know how to pick out and butcher a decent piece of meat.
Dining Diva Review: Mungo’s Restaurant in Fairview Heights IL–Review

My husband and I had dinner at Mungo’s tonight (9/5/07) and it was quite a distressing experience. I grew up in the restaurant business, owned a very profitable one for a while and spent 2 years at Le Cordon Bleu in Tokyo–along with having been cooking for almost 40 years. First, there was some sort of black gunge in my iced tea–not a big deal, the tea was replaced immediately but I couldn’t figure out what it was that was in there–but it made a yukky dark brown smear on the tacky white butcher paper they put over the tablecloths–what’s up with that by the way? Can’t they afford tablecloth laundry? It looks REALLY tacky to have white paper over a burgundy tablecloth–here’s a hint–spring for the Plexiglas cover if you can’t afford tablecloths or better yet no tablecloth. Anything is better than the white-trash ambiance of the paper-covered table! I had the Fettuccine Alfredo with chicken and asked for the chicken to be well done since I’ve been served MORE than my share of raw chicken and shrimp over salads and pastas and I hate sending food back. The fettuccine was good, but the chicken was ROCK HARD and obviously had been microwaved–there wasn’t a grill mark or browning of any sort to be seen on it and I could barely cut it with a knife–really bad. I told the waiter this but didn’t send it back because in all fairness I DID ask for well-done chicken and I figured the chef wanted to make sure it was not coming back. The waiter insisted that it hadn’t been microwaved, but it had been not that I cared to argue about it, I just wanted to eat after a stressful day of wedding planning and auditioning restaurant and caterers. I had forgotten about it; when to my utter astonishment, a man dressed in blue-jean cutoffs claiming to be the OWNER (who looked like he’d been nipping a few at the bar) came to my table and began screaming that the chicken had not been microwaved and that it had been sauteed in olive oil and that I had insulted his restaurant and that I shouldn’t tell them how I wanted my food cooked–just let them handle it. Up to this point the crud in the tea, the tacky butcher paper over the tablecloth and the rock-hard microwaved chicken were basically non-issues and I would have given the restaurant another try somewhere down the road since I always eat somewhere twice before reviewing or deciding never to eat there again. In the limo/wedding/hospitality biz one has to be a little flexible and realize that doo-doo does happen–regular chef is sick and the replacement pops a piece of chicken in a microwave to try and give the customer what was requested, but for the owner to come out and scream at dinner guests is an experience I have never had–and won’t repeat. I didn’t understand why the place was so empty at the dinner hour, but after being lambasted by the owner, it all makes perfect sense and I understand why the poor chef lied about microwaving the chicken to his enraged boss–who then turned his rage on the customer, a super no-no in the hospitality industry. As a retired restaurant owner, professionally trained chef and limousine business owner, I do have more than my fair share of cooking and hospitality experience and I wouldn’t eat there again if I were STARVING to DEATH. My wedding guests CERTAINLY won’t be subjected to a dining experience at Mungo’s and the owner should seriously consider some etiquette lessons–which would be a tax write-off because it would help him manage both his restaurant and temper. I was so stunned that I didn’t even think to get up and walk out–which astonished my husband to be who told me later that he was fully prepared to get up and walk out. This man has a LOT to learn about the restaurant business–treating customers badly explains why he can’t afford a good chef, table linens and iced tea without crud in the bottom of the glass!
Food: 1 star
Service: 2 stars
Screaming and Possibly Drunken Owner: Unbelievable!
Dining Diva Review: Dewey’s Pizza, Kirkwood Missouri

We visited Dewey’s Pizza in Kirkwood, MO on Saturday and were delighted by the entire experience. There was a 10 minute wait for a table, which wasn’t a big deal but we were surprised that the restaurant was so busy since Saturday lunch is historically the slowest day of the week for most places. We were seated at a booth that was spotlessly clean, (as was the restroom I visited while waiting for a table) given menus, and our drink order was taken promptly by our server, Annie. The menu was clear and concise and unusually informative, something I really appreciated as I like to know what’s going to be on my plate. Even though there was a team service concept going on, Annie was our main server and returned quickly with our drinks. She patiently told us about the pizza and answered our questions even though they were very busy and when I asked for a slight variation on my salad, her “no problem” reply was instant and came with a genuine smile. She also told me that there would be a slight extra charge for what I wanted, which was no big deal–fifty cents–but it was nice to be told in advance and not get the check and see it there. I love informed consent! She left with our order and the other wait staff members refilled our drinks at hal
-full cheerfully, albeit hurriedly, as they were still slammed. My salad arrived promptly and was delicious and unusual. The usual iceberg lettuce was nowhere to be seen, but the cold, crisp mix of field greens was a pleasant change! Since I was unable to decide between the peppercorn ranch and the house balsamic vinaigrette, Annie brought me a waffle cup of each on the side, and as a sidebar, she is one of the best wait staff I’ve ever had at any restaurant. She could easily make the jump to fine dining at any 5 star establishment in the country, I was very impressed with her and hope she realizes her potential. Both of the dressings were so good that we saved them after the salad course, something I normally do NOT do.Annie also told us that we could have a half white and half red pizza, a choice I have never been given before and was delighted to have since I like both red and white pizza. I finished my salad and one of the server team (not Annie) whisked away my plate, but took my used silverware off of the plate and placed it back on the table–the ONLY service flaw in the entire experience, I would have expected clean silverware to be offered and if it wasn’t, the dirty utensils removed–I left them on the salad plate for a reason. Service plates and extra napkins were left in advance of the arrival of the pie, and the plates were shiny clean. The pizza arrived and it was magnificent–plenty of toppings and perfectly done with a satisfyingly thick layer of cheese on both sides. I prefer my toppings under the cheese to hold them down and prevent them from escaping off the pie, but it’s a minor point. The red side was spicy with just the right bite and amount of sauce and the white side was just as good with the hint of garlic that could have been stronger, but that’s a personal preference. The crust was crispy on the outside, pillowy on the inside and totally delicious–one of the best pizza crusts I have ever had. I’m ashamed to admit that we ate every single morsel of the pizza between the two of us–we are hogs to be sure–but we couldn’t stop eating the delicious pizza which is why there is no dessert review included this time. Annie came by to make sure the pizza was the way we liked it and the tea refills were continued until we finished the pie and declined any further refills. The check was presented right after the empty pizza dish was removed, and the credit card was whisked away and returned for signature promptly but we were not rushed to leave even though they were STILL very busy. I have not had a service or dining experience to beat this one at any pizza establishment I have ever visited and it rates many returns and a top rating–the best I have ever given any pizza or family casual dining establishment in my life! Keep up the good word–I’m a customer forever! When I have 6 months to live, I am having my bed moved to the store!! I have also dined at their sister restaurant in University City Missouri and the food is just as good, but the service at the Kirkwood store is a little better. It’s nice to see consistency in a chain!
Service 4.75 starsFood 5 stars
Dining Diva Review: Millenium Hotel Restaurant–A View To Die For, And A Chef Who Should be Shot!

City: St. Louis, Missouri, Top of the River Restaurant, Millennium Hotel.

My beloved husband and I went to celebrate our FIRST wedding anniversary tonight. He picked a restaurant that had a carousel top revolving 28 floors above the St. Louis streets: The Millennium Hotel’s Top of the Riverfront. The Arch and the river made for a beautiful view as the sun slowly sank in the west and the lights of the big city came on as we watched. Our waitress Brenda was a darling, and the evening began with the promise of wine, romance and a sumptuous meal. But, sadly, like the song says, two out of three ain’t bad. John did his very best and the romantic atmosphere was delightful–the view, starched white table linens and crystal clear goblets filled with a crisp German Riesling made for a wonderful beginning. Then the baby at the next table began to scream–and the evening that had started with such promise unraveled into an unparalleled dining disaster. We made our displeasure at having to listed to the screaming brat known to dear Brenda who did everything but toss the miserable spawn of Satan out the window to make the noise stop. My first instinct was to finish the wine and soup, pay the bill and leave but John said the periodic 110 decibel shrieks were tolerable so we stayed. I do not know why restaurants of this supposed calibre allow children under the age of 12 when the world is full of Denny’s and McDonald’s where even though screaming brats are still annoying, they are “family oriented”. At for a 9 oz filet, I don’t want to hear anything but the lovely sound of the talented piano player. We asked if we could move but that apparently wasn’t an option, but I digress. We started our dinner with the Apple Jack Onion soup which was topped with a thick and satisfying layer of melted cheese and two pieces of crispy garlic crostini. For some unknown reason, pieces of RAW purple onion were placed in the soup under the cheese, but after I picked them out, the soup had nice flavor even if they did add pepper by the boxful, but we like spicy food so it was an interesting twist on a classic recipe. The crisp Riesling was a nice counterpoint to the soup and the screams from the next table were intermittent and barely made me jump more than 2 or 3 inches. Brenda went to the table several times to try to quiet the demon seed, and to her credit (and tip) had some success in silencing the lamb and blowing them out of the restaurant in the way a good waitperson can do when s/he wants the table turned and fast! God bless Brenda. John ordered his steak medium and I opted for my standby of Pittsburgh rare (black and blue by any other name is still burnt and cold) and as I have come to expect in 99% of the steakhouses in the world, they didn’t know how to do it. They did manage to make John’s filet Mignon so raw that he barely nibbled around the edges (and to avoid the large chunk of gristle in the middle of his steak–the first time I’ve ever seen gristle in a filet Mignon) so that it wouldn’t bite him back since it was still alive and brought mine out barely pink and minus the burnt crust that I so love–and am willing to forgo overcooked centers for that burnt flavor I crave. The first bite of my steak was filled with gristle, the second bite flavorless and the third bite had another huge chunk of gristle and I didn’t bother with a fourth. I didn’t know that Dollar Tree had a meat section, but doubtless that’s where the restaurant buys their steaks. The “Bearnaise” sauce was from a mix and tasted of flour and tarragon with none of the buttery tartness of a Bearnaise made with tarragon, wine vinegar and egg yolks with butter lovingly beat in to form the emulsion that makes Bearnaise sauce what angels dine on, the “Yukon gold” potatoes were ordinary white potatoes with no cheese flavor and I didn’t bother to taste the lone baby carrot because I didn’t care by then, so it might have been the world’s best carrot ever–but I somehow doubt it. The 3 small asparagus spears were quite good though, they were the highlight of the meal. Brenda was mortified by the huge chunks of gristle and the errors in cooking and we ended up paying for the soup and the wine (and of course tipped her on the entire amount of what the bill was before they removed the steaks from the check) and then we left, John very disappointed in the food and me very disappointed that the wonderful evening that John planned for our first wedding anniversary went south since he had tried so hard to make it a special evening. He gets an A+ for effort because he really went to a lot of trouble, and I was astonished that the restaurant didn’t require jacket and tie. I guess when your food is that bad, you let anyone in–squalling babies and jeans and flip flops are welcome. The view was breathtaking as the sun went down and the lights of the city came up, but the food ruins the whole experience. I expected so much more from this gorgeous venue, it was a total disappointment. I might go there to have some wine and watch the sunset but I’d never eat there again. Service 3 stars Food 1/2 star