Monday, June 29, 2015

Hardee's Pork Chop Biscuit

10610 Old Highway 21
Hillsboro, Mo

I know, I know,  I said I was going to stop reviewing fast food places.
This was all Angel's idea, blame her.
In our weekly county paper we received the usual pile of glossy printed ads. The one for Hardee's caught my true love's eye.
Pork chop. . . Mmmm, pork chop.
She mentioned it to me on Thursday evening, then again on Friday. So as soon as I was up on Saturday I slipped into some sort of pants and shirt and then slid my feet into my old, comfy Crocs.
I made the five or six mile drive to town, then nosed the VW into the drive thru lane. I had my order in my head. So when the metal box addressed me I yelled it out.
Two Grilled Pork Chop Biscuit with Egg and Cheese, two Mile High Bacon Egg and Cheese Biscuits, two medium Tater Rounds, and two medium coffees.
There was no one in front of me so I drove right up to the window. In only a couple of minutes the window opened and coffees were passed through. I returned the favor by letting the young lady hold my debit card for a moment. By the time she was done with it, someone handed her a steaming bag.
Boy, that was quick.
The drive home was uneventful.
Mile High Bacon Egg and Cheese
Angel had just come in from tending to some of the boarders (dogs, not humans) She seemed happy to see me and was very pleased that I'd brought her some coffee. She usually doesn't get around to making her coffee until she's rotated all the dogs out at least once.
"What's with  the other biscuits?" She asked about the two mile highs.
"Just in case." I replied.
We each took our fair share and sat back in our recliners. Not much was said.
My own impressions were fairy positive. This was not mushed and reformulated meat, this seemed to be an actual, thin sliced, boneless pork chop. The flavor and texture were both there.
Angel said hers was good as well, but with some reservations. "I'm not much of a biscuit person."
I immediately called the most vicious attorney I could find and insisted we immediately file for a divorce, without prejudice, with the demand to leave her penniless and lonely for the rest of her natural life. Not a biscuit person? If I'd known that all those years ago. . .
Bottom line, she liked the pork chop part of it because it tasted like a pork chop.  I thought it was a pretty good breakfast sandwich, because I am a biscuit person.
So yeah, we can recommend it. It was much better than that Bologna and Velveeta thing Hardees offered a few months back. . .
Bonus, this time I didn't get sick!

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Monday, June 15, 2015


106 S. Main Street
Desoto, Mo.

On The Web.

We felt an urgency to go to Lorenzo's, one of our favorite places, when we got the word.
If you haven't heard, Lorenzo's in Desoto is closing its doors.
I asked the manager, Charlotte, about this. She explained that the lease was running out and the repairs needed for the old city main street location was just too much to handle. She also said that they were planning to reopen when/if they can find a new location.
It's sad, really, since the old building is really quite charming.
'Charming' is also a real estate euphemism for 'quirky, old, lots of character (flaws)', etc. I once bought a charming 100 year old 2 story house in Springfield, Mo. That charm was mounted on a crumbly foundation, rusty iron pipes, wiring from the 1920's and time worn beams and joists. The maintenance was indeed constant and nightmarish in scale.
I understand the dilemma.
It's still sad though. I loved sitting in the charming little place, cozy, comfy, watching the occasional long train go by across the street. And the food was always quite fine.
The Place:
What does it matter, they're closing soon. Read my previous posts for the finer details.
One thing I will point out that I don't think I've mentioned before, which is odd since I see it/stare at it every time we go. there's a little sign above the kitchen entry. It says 'Bella Cucina.' I have no idea what that means and that makes me furious. I should look it up, but I've got better things to do. Stupid foreign languages. That and the wine list. It is always right in front of me, yet I always order tea, even though Lorenzo's outsourced tea is not really very good.
The Food:
Charlotte took care of us the whole evening. When she asked us for drinks, I stupidly sat there staring at that confounding sign and the hand-chalked wine list and once again asked for tea. Angel didn't, she asked for Diet Coke and Adam for Dr. Pepper. Yuck.
The appetizer was a foregone conclusion, the Toasted Cannelloni. Yum.
We all had vowed to try something different as a way of saying farewell to a favorite. We all, of course struggled to keep from just going for the old favorites. We all succeeded though.
Me: Chicken Parmigiana with a side Caesar salad and rosemary potatoes.
Angel: Salmon with the same sides.
Adam: A personal chicken Caesar pizza. I'll explain later.
The salads came quickly, as did the appetizer. I knew the filled and fried pasta bites would be very, very hot, so I first dug in to my salad. Definitely not Caesar salad from a kit. Rough torn lettuce, thick, creamy dressing with a slight, salty burn to it. Nice.
Adam goofed and bit into a cannelloni. Meaty lava squirted out the sides and seared his still boyish face. I laughed.
After a few minutes, I had some of the filled fried pasta. It squirted, but didn't scald. Tasty, meaty, tender.
I was sitting there, between the appetizer and main course still staring at that sign, and the wine list. I took a sip of the tea, which I
wasn't really enjoying when it dawned on me. When Charlotte stopped by to refill, I declined and asked for a glass of chardonnay. It would cost $5.99, about half the cost of a full box of chardonnay, but I wasn't driving and was certainly not enjoying the tea. A glass of wine will give me a decent buzz, but will not incapacitate me. Well, okay, the notes I took after that point are even  more indecipherable than usual.
After the salads and appetizer were finished off, the main courses arrived in good time.
Adam's pizza was hilarious. A standard pizza with chicken, topped, once pulled from the oven, with Caesar salad. Certainly more efficient than two separate courses, but. . .  He seemed to enjoy it though. "Like a Pizza and salad in one!" he proclaimed.
The next day he mentioned that it was even better cold.
Angel's salmon was covered in a cream sauce and pocked with capers. Capers, I learned, are pickled flower buds from a shrubby plant called a caper bush, or more formally, by plant snobs, capparis spinosa. It's a Mediterranean thing which I can either take or leave. She later said the fish was fine, but it was only salmon, and the heaviness of the cream and butter was starting to overwhelm her and she didn't care at all for the capparis spinosa.
She did like the rosemary potatoes though, she mentioned that a couple of times. I agreed. Just cubed taters fried or broiled with, get this, rosemary.
Aside from the tasty potatoes, my chicken was pretty good. I couldn't recall if I'd ever ordered chicken parmigiana anywhere. It's basically a chicken breast slathered with spaghetti sauce and parmesan cheese. Chicken breast is the least flavorful edible part of that miserable fowl. It's the biggest though so it's used a lot. I prefer a darker chunk, like a thigh, but that wouldn't need to be covered in cheese and red sauce.
Anyway, it was pretty good. Not too dry as I'd assumed it would be. The sauce was not overpowering and the cheese was light, so it didn't come off as too rich at all.
We're sad to lose this place.The food, even though these dishes weren't our favorites, is always of high quality and first class preparation. The service, spot on and professional. I really hope that they find a place soon and can open up again without losing any of the qualities that make this a true Desoto treasure.

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Monday, June 1, 2015

Kettelhut's Smokehouse

1267 N. Truman Blvd.
Crystal City Mo.
On the Interwebs

We were looking for recommendations for a good fish taco. Two conditions apply. Jefferson County, excluding Arnold and no fast food joints.
The only places mentioned so far, Taytro's and La Pachanga, there were problems with. Taytro's only has them on their lunch menu and we didn't really care for any thing else at La Pachanga.
So we didn't even try, Angel made a last minute call.
The Place:
Just opened up last September, we reviewed it the first weekend after that. As is the standard for a new place, we made note of some issues to follow up on. I don't care who you are, the first few weeks open is going to have issues. Service especially, the team hasn't had time to work out the kinks. That was several months before this trip, they've had plenty of time to get their act together.
I also told Angel and Adam what they'd ordered on that first trip. More about that later.
Kettelhut's is decorated in a theme of Memphis Blues. There are 'Beale Street' signs, photos of blues musicians and wall decor of saxophones, guitars, etc. The overhead music is all blues, all the time. I like this type of music better than some others, but I can't say I want to hear a lot of it. To me, it gets a bit repetitious after a while. It was tolerable for the time we were there though.
We were seated in a booth, remarkably the same booth as the first time from what I recalled from the wall decor above us.
Abby came by and introduced herself and took our drink order. She seemed nice. Tea, tea and Pepsi.
The Food.
I decided pretty quickly, a simple pulled pork sandwich. Nothing fancy. I sided it with baked beans and fries, almost as an afterthought. We'd had their 'Fried Taters and Onions' on the first trip, I'd mentioned that I didn't like thick cut fried potatoes, so I decided against them this time.
When Abby returned we were ready to order. Angel disappointed us by ordering the same thing she had the first time. I encourage the family to mix it up a little from time to time. But since I'd told her what she had the first time she just replied to my sigh with a "It sounded pretty good when you told me."
So she asked for a 2-fer, ribs and chicken, sided with cucumber salad and fried corn on the cob.
Gratefully, Adam shifted gears and ordered the BBQ Nachos, which are available as an appetizer or a meal.
I checked the time. On the first trip there had been a significant time delay between ordering and service, this is one of the things I was looking for.
The thing about a smokehouse is that there just shouldn't be a long wait. Everything's already made. Big batches of sides, slow cooked meats already cooked. . .
They did not disappoint, less than ten minutes. They also got all the orders right. So far, so good.
I was a little surprised by the amount of fries. My plate looked more like a French fry meal with side of beans and a sandwich. Too many fries is hardly a crime though. I just thought they overshadowed the main event and there was certainly more than I'd ever be able to finish, especially seeing that they'd been a tad over-salted.
The beans looked impressive. Nice and dark. There was more bean juice than I usually care for. The taste was outstanding though. This wasn't baked beans from a can, these were slow cooked, in house, with a hint of molasses. Mmmm
There was more meat on the sandwich that I originally thought. They'd piled it on quite generously. I tasted a sliver, definitely smoky, but a bit dry. That's what all the bottles of sauces were for. I chose two sauces, a sweet one and one called 'Pappa's Pride' which I highly recommend. A little sweet but less so than many bottled brands.
The fries were pretty good, but a little too salty and way, way too many of them.
Angel plowed through her meats like a Jurassic raptor. (BTW, the raptors in that movie were
modeled after cretaceous period dinosaurs, not Jurassic.) She claimed that the chicken was nice and crispy with a moist and tender interior. The ribs, tender and meaty. The corn, surprisingly wasn't dry from being fried. The 'toast' was barely toast. Cooked on one side only and barely buttered. "I think I OD'd on meat." she said.
Adam's nachos were "pretty good" though he added that there was too much cheese. . . as if such a thing were possible.
Abby kept the drinks refilled and processed the bill quickly.
Frankly, we were impressed and quite satisfied. All the original, startup issues had been resolved. The food was good, the service, by that I mean Abby, was top notch, the tables were being cleaned promptly, orders were correct and served in a timely manner. . .
All for forty bucks.
Yeah, pretty much no significant complaints. It's good to see a local business do well, I hope they are here to stay.

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