Saturday, July 20, 2013

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Thursday, July 26, 2012

4brothers - same as me but I also have 2 sisters.

4Brothers Bar and Grill in LeMars, Ia was the spot of a nice little dinner date with my wife a few days ago. One I enjoyed very much. We sat at the bar, because the place was jamming what with Ragbrai kicking off the next day et al. Ragbrai is a huge bike across Iowa event and that day alone I saw at least 4 repurposed old colorful school buses with 20 or more bikes on top cruising around LeMars.  In fact there was a whole bus load of folks already in 4Brothers when we got there.

One of the great things you can tell about a restaurant is it's quality under fire. 4Brothers did really well.   It was like I said a dinner date and we had fun sitting at the bar and hanging out watching the show so to speak.

4Brothers atmosphere is definitely american bar and grill. Why there is even a full size Fat Tire bike hanging over the bar.  It is comfortable, quality feeling inside kind of that dark cozy atmosphere you immediately fell comfortable in.  I of course was happy to find that nice thick syrup they call Guinness on tap.  Never fails to help any atmosphere.  They had several others on tap (15 in fact) and had a fair selection of bottles available too. Fairly good stocked wine list and of course spirits. One strike against them was a lack of Porto. My wife loves to make sure she gets a glass of Porto when she can. I can't blame her I dig it myself.  The bartender said they don't get much of a request for Port there, in fact he says he only hears the request once or twice a year. Well that would be the requests from my wife I suppose. :)

The Menu is expansive serving everything from pastas and sandwiches to steaks and burgers. The appetizers are some that you would expect but each executed really well. We had the spinach and artichoke dip, which is served with colored tortilla chips. I wasn't even going to have any but I did and then I couldn't stop. The amount of chips is huge and you are bound to have a few chips leftover after scrapping the hell out of the dip dish. I have in the past had the boneless wings and while good, I find it hard to tell the difference between the hot and mild. I would like to see them get a bit more creative on the wings. I think based on some of the house specialities that are fantastic they could produce very memorable wings in fact.   We also ordered a side of fries because my wife said we had to. The fries came out and I swear they are these standard looking french fries you see at any diner. Krinkle cut and all. I was not impressed until I tasted them. I was actually very surprised to find that they were damn good. Like how a frie is supposed to be. Crispy hot and well just damn good.  I could go back just for fries.  Funny how execution matters right.

We had the Rueben and split it, not being super hungry. Again execution. A great rueben with shredded corn beef loaded up on the sandwich. I definitely am a fan of their  whole grain mustard aioli that they smeared on.  Dipping the sandwich in an excellent 1000 island dressing only enhanced the experience.  I am actually thinking about a Rueben right now, I may go back once I am done typing. Maybe I won't wait. Ok I am going to, but I don't want to. I will finish this. Taskmasters... Taskmasters...

I do need to sample other items from the menu especially their signature dishes. I am keenly interested in the Peach Mustard Pork Chop and would also like to try the MAe ploy SAlMon. I have had plenty of the Lavosh which I will probably wrongly compare to Pizza. :)  They really do this dish right. A sweet and thin cracker bread topped with melted havarti cheese and baked with any  three of the following items: tomatoes, green peppers, yellow onions, bacon bits, chicken, turkey, ham, artichoke hearts or mushrooms. In fact Mama brought two home last night and the kids and I got full. 

If your in LeMars you have a few choices now and along with Archies for some of the best steaks in the US you know have excellent American fair at the 4Brothers Bar and Grill. 

4brothers on Urbanspoon


Saturday, June 23, 2012

Sioux City Farmers Market

Hey peeps and tweeps and all of the blogged, don't forget about the Sioux City Farmers Market. Especially Clint Brown Produce.

Awesome jellies and fabulous Heirlooms. Sat/Wed Tyson Events Center parking lot.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Albondigas - An airport run. To Oma lands me in Espana

I am in Omaha picking up my daughter and I came down with enough time for a bite to eat. I did a quick urbanspoon spin and it came back with Espana. I immediately loves the idea. A tapas bar. You know I did write and mean loves, not loved. Honest. I loves the idea of tapas. It was right for a rainy stormy night to find this really cool part of Spain located in OMA. The Benson neighborhood. 

The atmosphere was dark and soft, never been to Spain but I saw it on Google once. I would say they hit the atmosphere pretty well. The dark reds and muted deep colors that complement the restaurant transport you out of Omaha and out of the Midwest. Cute little tables line the back half just past an overwhelmingly large bar that sits right in the middle. Walking in on a Sunday night I was treated to live guitar.  The entertainer was. 

The food. The first clue I was going to be happy was something I passed by at the bar. Two large hanging serrano hams. That being the spanish version of Prosciutto. Ham people. Excellent dried cured super flavorful ham. Yeah we can get technical and say that Serrano is typically dried at higher altitudes only from one or two types of pigs or something but whatever. I like both. lots.  

Espana serves essentially Tapas and if you are prepared to wait and have at least two people you can get the Paella. Next time I am getting the Paella. Soon. Like maybe this week.  Tapas originated in Spain. Typically thought to have originated in the Andalusia region. The bartenders and patrons would cover (english for tapa) the rich fruity sherry in order to keep the fruit flies out. There are about a half dozen other stories as well but I like this one the best. Tapas evolved from simple breads to this inspirational bar hopping snack which many make a complete meal of.  

Our waitress was eager to explain how to order tapas, she said just like sushi. In other words you make a meal out of all these little plates. She recommended 2-3 plats per person. My own appetite says at least 3. :) 

The menu is divided into cold or hot tapas and each of those sections are divided into vegetarian, seafood and meat. The menu items are titled in spanish with english translations and english descriptions underneath. I like that. Lends some authenticity. What also does that is in speaking with the server further she divulged that many of the recipes were actually generations old. The tastes were fresh and the presentations were up to date IMHO. 

From the cold side I sampled (their descriptions, my rating) 

Tres Quesos
Mahon - semi soft, fairly sharp, island of menorca manchego - firm texture, full nutty, mildly piquant, cabrales - blue cheese, intense, buttery and tangy. apples, figs, quince membrillo, asturias   LIKE LIKE
Fresh diver sea scallops, shrimp, red bell peppers, fresh citrus, fried plantains on fresh spinach  THE BEST ONE
Montadito De Vieras Con Salsa Pesto
Pesto of parsley, roasted garlic, pine nuts and manchego cheese on a toasted baguette with grilled diver sea scallops  No wait this is THE BEST ONE 

From the hot

Datiles Envueltos Y Rellenos
Dried dates stuffed with cabrales blue cheese and marcona almonds wrapped in serrano ham. sangria reduction  Seriously THE BEST ONE HONEST
Pierna De Cordero Asada
Slow braised lamb, rosemary, bell peppers, garlic, fried diced potatoes, olive oil, piquillo pepper  ----- NOPE THEY WERE OUT??? BUMMER 
Croquetas De Jamón Serrano Y Pollo
Serrano ham and chicken croquettes, allioli sauce----- NOPE THEY WERE OUT??? BUMMER 
Pollo Relleno
Chicken breast stuffed with serrano ham, manchego cheese, spanish olives, fried, béchamel sauce - Being out of the other two the server recommended this one It was very good but not the BEST ONE. 
The full menu is here

A quick horrible picture(great food) showing the stuffed dates and the cheese plate. The bread they served was great and they actually continued to bring us plate after plate of bread even trying to give us more than needed. :)  

The service was on par with what you would expect in a bar/grill pub and I liked it just fine. Water could have been filled up a bit quicker but I should have probably been ordering sherry I suppose. I would say plan on spending as much as you do for sushi, each plate is pretty close to 10$ on average some less some more that is how averages work you know.  The Pollo Rellono came out and I was at first excited that it was such a big portion. A whole chicken breast then I realized it was 10$ for a whole chicken breast and I get a bit deflated, but then I tasted and shared it and I was very happy. I would pay perhaps $11 for that preparation again. :) Toss in a glass of sangria and you add a 5 spot or so.  Dinner for two ran 70$ with the tip. I will return to Spain. 

España on Urbanspoon

Saturday, April 28, 2012

A springy type lunchish salad

A Greek Inspired Warm Chicken Salad over Baby Spinach

That is a long title. And I probably should have made it sound better. How about a longer one. Greek Inspired Warm Carrot and Honey Simmered Chicken Tenders with Mini Sweet Peppers over Baby Spinach with Fresh Mozzarella and Kalamata Olives.  Yeah there we go.

For the Warm Chicken
1 lb of fresh chicken breast cut into strips.
3 mini sweet peppers of different colors cut into whole slices
3-4 tbs of virgin olive oil
1 tsp of garlic
4 oz of fresh carrot juice
1 tsp of dried oregano - but use fresh if you got it.
2 tbs of organic wildflower honey

For the Baby Spinach Salad
3-4 cups of baby spinach washed
1 mini cucumber
5-6 scallions
2-3 radishes
Kalamata Olives
Fresh feta or mozzarella cheese

Put a skillet over a medium flame and add the olive oil, you want a bit of a puddle. Let that heat up while you rinse your chicken tenders. Typically you can find tenders already cut but if not take a few chicken breast and cut them in to 3-5 sections and you will have tenders essentially.  Let's make sure your chicken is not to wet so that the oil doesn't splatter when we place it in the skillet. So if you oil is smoking it is way to freaking hot! I was thinking medium heat/flame here.  Ok not smoking, but warmed ed up. Good. Let's place the chicken tenders in and start browning them, we are going for light brown not the crispy caramelized brown.

Take your oregano and peppers and garlic and toss them in the  pan after you have the chicken browned on either side. Your peppers should be in a cross section type slice, so they look like colorful Jalapeno's.. hey that would not have been so bad, right some jalepenos. Ok so let this cook until the chicken is cooked through and the peppers are nice and tender.

Whilst that there chicken et peppers are a cookin let's go ahead and prep our salad. Slice thinly the mini cucumber, scallions and radish mix them in a bowl. Rinse and drain your fresh baby spinach plate a good section on 2 separate plates. Top with veggies making it even/colorful etc...

Back to the chicken, ok cooked through. Good raw chicken sucks. Take the carrot juice and poor it in the pan and cook that down till it is about gone, it will make a bit of a sauce from the carrot juice, oil and chicken juices. When it is cooked down drizzle the honey over the chicken mix up the pan contents a bit and then let is sit off the heat for a few moments to cool just a bit.

Take your feta or mozzarella cheese and break it up over the salad, add however many Kalamata olives you like. Then top each salad with half the chicken tenders and peppers stacking it all up to get some height on the salad. The juice from the pan can make a great dressing or you can add your own like a nice blue cheese dressing or something.


Friday, April 27, 2012

Skol Vikings

We come from the land of the ice and snow,
From the midnight sun where the hot springs blow.
The hammer of the gods will drive our ships to new lands,
to fight the horde, singing and crying, Valhalla, I am coming...

Who is drafting for the Norsemen and what have they done with the real Viking front office? Cause like they are doing a great job for once! Liking the excitement and possibilities. I like the fact they could trade back into round two for a serious CB and then use a compensatory pick to grab McNutt from IA.