Posts Tagged ‘restaurant’

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The people at NERDSTEAK want to review YOUR product!

If you have a food related item that you would like an unbiased review of, please contact us!

  • Contact us and give a little detail about your product. We will provide a shipping address and timing of the review.
  • We will only provide an unbiased review of your item along with unedited photos.
  • We will contact you AFTER our results have been posted to provide you with any links, photos, or information you may need.
  • We will not return any unused or unopened items.
  • We will not review an item if it has been opened, broken, or tampered with in any way prior to our review.
  • We will complete a review with in-depth detail ranging from packaging appearance & functionality, product appearance, eating or use experience, value based on pricing, and overall review with a 1 thru 5 score.
  • You are allowed to use the review for any promotional opportunities.  If you need any specific focus on the evaluation, please let us know ahead of time.
  • We like everything from food, gadgets, equipment, clothing, ingredients…basically anything that can relate to food.
  • Examples of our reviews can be found in our previous posts.

AxeMenBBQ

The Axe-Men BBQ team out of West Dundee, Illinois is looking for supporters and sponsors for this years BBQ season. We are a new team that competed in our first KCBS event in October of 2014, and still ended up with a 9th place call for ribs, and 10th place call for chicken, even with minimal equipment.  Our team is planning to compete in at least 6 events next season, and our goal is to participate in high profile events like the American Royal Barbeque Competition in Kansas City, as well as the Jack Daniel’s Championship in Lynchburg. Many of the regional events we participate in will be in the Midwest. We are fully invested in competing on the KCBS circuit and making Axe-Men BBQ a grand-champion team.  We also would eventually like to sell our sauces, rubs, and marinades to the general public.

As you might be aware, these BBQ competitions take a lot of time, effort, and money to complete. We are interested in everything from grills, smokers, trailers, campers, and meat…down to cleaning supplies, tables, chairs, coolers, wood, charcoal, beverages, knives, utensils, promotion materials, entry fees, and cash donations. In return, we want to go above and beyond to help promote any sponsors who help us along the way. We would add your company/personal name and/or logo to banners, clothing, or any other allowable items.  We can hand out sell sheets, contact info, or samples of anything you wish to visitors of the events. We would add you to our email list so you can keep track of our competitions, as well as visit us at any time to sample some of our award winning BBQ. Also, we would be more than happy to have a representative from your company on site to discuss your products with the public or other teams. If you have any other requests on what you would like from us in return for sponsorship, we are more than happy to discuss. The team also has a large network on social media including personal pages, blogs, and professional contacts.
Please let us know if you have any questions or need any additional information. Below are a few links to see how exciting some of the events and opportunities we will be participating in.
Thank you very much for your time, and we look forward to hearing from you soon!
Steve Quirk
Mike Haracz
Ribs
Creole Rice Stuffed Pork Loin with Andouille and Collards

Cajun Dirty Rice Stuffed Pork Loin with Andouille and Collards

Here is a very easy recipe using D’allesandro Cajun Dirty Rice Blend.  You can also add more filling before you roll the loin, just make sure it is tightly tied with twine.

Cajun Dirty Rice-Stuffed Pork Loin

2-1/2 to 3-pound pork loin
1 cup cooked Cajun Dirty Rice
1 cup cooked andouille sausage, crumbled
1 cup thinly sliced collard greens, picked
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
Butcher’s twine

Preheat oven to 350°F.
Prep pork loin by slicing across it lengthwise, stopping 3/4 inch from the other side. Open halves, laying pork flat. Starting from the center, slice each half lengthwise, again stopping 3/4 inch from the other side. Again, open so pork is flat. You will have made one large, flat piece of pork 3/4 inch thick. Make sure to keep it in one piece.
Evenly cover flattened pork loin with prepared Cajun Dirty Rice, andouille sausage and collard greens, then tightly roll it jellyroll-style so that the loin returns to its original shape.
Tie with butcher’s twine to keep the filling inside and to cook evenly.
Rub outside of meat with olive oil, then season with salt and pepper.
Place on a baking sheet and bake until internal temperature reaches 155°F, about 1 hour.
Increase heat to 500°F and cook for an additional 5 minutes, until exterior is crispy and browned.
Slice and serve.

Makes 8 to 12 servings

ID-100186769Talk to any of your friends or family members who work in a restaurant kitchen, and they will tell you about the long hours working nights, weekends, and holidays. They will tell you about the burns and knife related injuries, their sore feet and back problems, and the fast pace life of a restaurant chef. Many of us really enjoy this type of atmosphere as a career choice, however, it is not a fit for everyone. Here is a short-list of food related career choices other than working in a restaurant…

Click here to read Chef Mike’s Examiner.com article 

How to fix your failing restaurant

How to fix your failing restaurant

Please check out my newest Examiner.com article entitled:

How to fix your failing restaurant

There has been a surge in reality TV with programs geared towards fixing a failing restaurant or bar. If you pay close attention, they all have the same message and the same steps to change your establishment from losing money, to being packed with patrons and profitable. Here are a few simple initiatives to align your business on the road to success, without waiting for a TV celebrity to walk through your door…

Out of all the reality TV show hosts which pertain to flipping a poor performing bar or restaurant, I feel Jon Taffer is the best of the best.  Not only do you have to be knowledgeable in in the food and beverage industry, you have to know how to motivate and inspire. Here are a few reasons why he is the man:

  • Industry knowledge – Like many of the reality hosts, Mr. Taffer has years of experience and knowledge, however, he knows how to translate this into action.  He knows how to separate his personal opinion against what is needed for each bar or restaurant to be successful.  He looks at consumer data from the area, making sure there is an actual business need for the changes he implements.  Unlike other celebrity chef or bar consultant types, he does not have a cookie cutter standard on each operation. He also knows how to bring in other industry experts to get the job done.
  • Professional Chaos – If you really pay attention to him during his show, you will see that almost every time he introduces himself, he is EXTREMELY professional and proper.  Anyone in the industry should follow this same demeanor.  It isn’t until someone lies, cheats, or puts others in harms way, does he amp up into the beast he is know to be. He is full aware of all his actions and what the response will be.
  • Motivation – Yes, he may verbally abuse a poor performing employee who has a negative impact on his or her establishment.  Yes, he may bring people to the brink of tears or fist throwing.  But what happens, after all of the yelling and screaming, when the unmotivated employee actually starts doing well? He is the FIRST to provide support and praise this action. He will 100% give credit where it is due, and if you have just spent the last 3 days being yelled at by the ‘enemy’ and then the ‘enemy’ becomes your support system, brings out the best in you, and inspires you to achieve   what Mr. Taffer knew you could do all along…that is how you truly change habits, and bring a positive, reassuring attitude to the workplace, while also reassuring the credibility of your actions.
  • Needs no credit – It takes a team to pull off a complete overhaul.  Mr. Taffer always lets you know that company ‘xyz’ was the one who created your new sign in under 3 days, and changed all the plumbing, and added that cool new super cold tap in the bar, and provided all the kitchen equipment.
  • Aware of his surroundings – A skill that many people DON’T have, is being able to spot when a true problem is.  Maybe the chef or the bar staff is not lacking due to motivation, it’s because they haven’t been trained properly.  An employee might continually be hostile to his manager because the manager is actually his brother, and there are underlying family issues involved.  In order to fix a problem, you need to be aware of the root cause before changes can be made.
  • Out with the old – It does not matter if you are an iconic brand, and have been in operation for years. If the establishment is performing poorly, things need to change, and that is sometimes hard to hear.  Your grandfather built this bar from the ground up and it has a nostalgic value to YOU, but YOU are not the customer.  Mr. Taffer teaches people to separate their personal preferences against what is going to ultimately make money and add value to the business
  • Family Matters – A trend with many struggling businesses is that it is family owned and operated.  This makes the manager/employee dynamic very difficult to follow.  No matter the type of business, having a healthy family outside the 4 walls is equally important inside when running the business.  Mr. Taffer always seems to find where the family bonds are broken, and uses the business success to mend it.
  • Not above it – There is a certain expectation when opening a high class martini bar in Vegas, verses a biker bar in the middle of nowhere.  Mr. Taffer is not above serving hot dogs and hamburgers because THAT is his consumer base, that is what the people want, and that is what they are willing to pay for.  He does not expect to serve 10 courses when there is only a closet sized kitchen to work from, but on the other hand, he knows how to produce a high caliber product within any price point.  If you are serving cheap hot dogs, they will be the best cheap hot dog, and they will make the business money.

Mr. Taffer, if you ever need a chef to come in and help a struggling bar or restaurant, i am your man.  I get it :o)

ID-100101588Here is a list of some interesting and no-so-popular ingredients you may want incorporate into your menu:

  • Scorpion Chile – Sorry Ghost chile, there is a new, (not really that new) king of fire in town. This is a variety in the capsicum chinense family that on average, has a SHU measurement of 1.2 million.  That is face melting heat, and the current world record is held by the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion burning at over 2 million SHU’s.  New Mexico State University’s Chile Pepper Institute regulates the testing and authentication of these chiles.  These chiles also have a a sweet, fruity flavor profile which you may forget after your tongue falls off.
  • Wiri Wiri Chile – Averaging at around 70,000 SHU’s, this chile still packs a punch but add a delightful fresh, bright flavor when used.  Works great when blended into a hot sauce sweetened with fruit.
  • Yellow Eye Steuben Bean – This bean has a mild flavor and a beautiful mustard colored spot on a off white background.  The hold up exceptionally well when cooked and make an excellent carrier for strong flavors.  They are actually related to the kidney bean.
  • Chinese Black Rice – This is a medium grain glutinous rice perfect for all kinds of interesting recipes.  It is relatively sweet and slightly sticky, but will impart its deep indigo color to anything you cook with it.  Stop using a boring all purpose white rice already!
  • Grano – This is an ancient whole kernel pearled wheat berry from Italy. It has a texture between al dente pasta and brown rice, but with a vibrant golden hue.  Grano is made from durum wheat, the same used to make most upscale pasta. This grain holds up great after cooking, so use in soups, salads, and pilaf dishes, and can be ground then used like a hot cereal.  (I used it to make this salad.)
  • Kaniwa – A close relative to quinoa and also a member of the goosefoot family.  It is used just like quinoa in many applications and has all of the same nutritional benefits, Kaniwa has the added bonus of not containing saponins, which sometimes causes quinoa to be bitter.
  • Fregola Sarda – This is a toasted form of couscous and comes in a variety of sizes.  It has a rough texture which help sauce cling to it, and the toasted gives it a beautiful browned color and and firm bite.
  • Sumac – The North America variety is poisonous, however varieties grown in the Middle East impart a sour flavor the same way you might use lemon or lime juice.  It also has a dark red color which makes for a fantastic presentation.
  • Black Garlic – Originally made by letting garlic cloves ferment over vats of soy sauce, black garlic imparts a deep molasses-like profile with tangy garlic undertones.  The texture becomes soft and gooey similar to dried fruit.  It does not leave you with the pungent fresh garlic flavor or odor you may be used to.
  • Long Pepper – This was the first pepper variety brought to the West.  It has a more intense flavor compared to traditional peppercorns, as well as sweet undertones.  It can also be ground just like it’s black or white peppercorn brethren.
  • Fleur De Sel – Most chefs and foodies will know this is the purest, most pricy sea salt available.  Produced in France, it has a bright white color, a wet, grainy texture, and is best used to finish a dish, as well as up-charge your guests.
  • Hemp Hearts – Considered a ‘super-food’ due to their nutritional value, they are the soft, creamy nut inside the hemp shell.  Very high in plant protein, vitamin E, and omega-6 fatty acid, they make a great alternative to those with nut allergies.

What are some of your not-so-familiar food ingredients???