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Tom and Leslie’s New Orleans Travel Blog Part 2: The sights

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As you read in our first blog, Tom and I absolutely enjoyed the variety of tastes New Orleans had to offer. Believe it or not, we didn’t just eat our way through the city! Here are some of the sites we were able to take in.

Katrina

Our guide took us to the center of Katrina where the levy breached. When the water swelled with the current, they didn’t secure the huge barges enough. As the water went higher and violently swirled, the barges broke loose and slammed into the levy. Our guide’s house was nine miles away and the water rose to the roof of her house. Incredible.

Mardi Gras World


We also visited Mardi Gras World which is as big as Boeing’s large warehouse. This is where they make the colorful floats for the parade. We snuck in to take pictures (shhhh 🙂 ).

WWII Museum

We also spent nearly four hours at the WWII museum (the 3rd largest in the world) which consisted of four huge buildings. We started with an IMAX movie, “Beyond Boundaries,” which was narrated by Tom Hanks. The movie included special effects which made our seats shake and vibrate when bombs were set off. Both our dads served during WWII so the entire experience was extremely emotional.

Overall, my favorite part of the trip was seeing the massive floats, and so glad we didn’t miss the WWII experience. If you ever find yourself traveling to New Orleans, please let us know if you need any recommendations on where to stay, eat and see!

 

       
Friendly New Orleans police officer and downtown Bourbon Street on a Wednesday night.

Tom and Leslie’s Travel Blog Part 1: A Taste of New Orleans

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Recently Tom and I had the pleasure to travel to the colorful and “rowdy” city of New Orleans for a business conference. It was on my ‘bucket list’ to go, so I was very excited. New Orleans is an active 24/7 city of many sights, sounds, and of course the world famous food concocted by world famous chefs. Unusual Creole flavor profiles not to be forgotten.  We thought it would be fun to share our experiences. If you’ve been to New Orleans before, we’d love to hear all about your favorite spots. If you’ve never been, we encourage you to put it on your bucket list.

We’ll dedicate this first post to the food. We had many tasty meals while on our trip. Here are some of the highlights.

Roosevelt Hotel Restaurant

The Roosevelt Hotel is just a short walk from the French Quarter and just about anything and anywhere you want to explore. It’s a beautiful property with an amazing handmade timepiece greeting you at the hotel’s main entrance. “Mystery Lady Timepiece” was made by E. Farcot and displayed at the Paris Exhibitions of 1867 and 1878.

We had many delicious meals at the Roosevelt Hotel Restaurants from crab and crawfish omelets to the best Gumbo I’ve ever tasted, served by the nicest and most fun loving people. We were hugging each other at the end of the week.

For starters, on our 41st wedding anniversary, I thoroughly enjoyed the Braised Beef Short Ribs. The demi glaze was so light and perfectly seasoned, I asked for more! Tom dove into the rich Three Cheese fresh Shrimp and Crawfish dish (loads of creme!). Homemade hot and fluffy rolls were too tempting to turn down.

            

While we ate, we had live music; a pianist and alto singer breaking my heart with all the best. Lots of Cole Porter. When they played “Have I told you lately that I Love You?” that did it! That’s our song. We were celebrating; besides I already had two glasses of excellent robust red. I looked at Tom and said, “You know we gotta do this, right?” Yup, right there with the restaurant packed at every table, we got up and danced; just us. We were dancing by the serving credenza, and Eddie, one of our servers who enjoyed serving us with an exaggerated Fred Astaire style, came behind us. I said, “Sorry Eddie if we’re in your way.” “I’m lovin it up!” he said.

Carousel Bar

As far as drinks were concerned, we were told by every cab driver, guide, and everybody at the hotel that we just had to have a “Pimm’s Cup” at least just once. Thirsty after a walk about, we went to the famous Carousel Bar. Tom ordered one and I took a sip; kinda too sweet and bitter at the same time. Instead I had Rev. Stiggin’s Pineapple Daiquiri. Delicious! The bar itself rotates; yes, the whole bar!

           

Mandina’s Restaurant

Mandina’s is a neighborhood restaurant well acclaimed by the locals. We had to take a cab to get there. And, yes, you take cabs; not Ubers. Much safer. The place is very homey and simple with a combination of Italian and Creole cuisine. It was hard to choose, especially with my milk allergy. In the end, Tom’s choice was a packed fried oyster Po-Boy. He pushed me to take a bite and I wanted to spit it out! It’s the damn texture I can’t deal with. But you gotta try, right?

My meal was eggplant with shrimp, crab, and crusted ham in a roulade sauce. Very good, but so rich I only ate half that little dish. I wasn’t a fan of the pasta. Just the basic southern Italian heavy noodles with the marinara on top.

            

We did have tapas at another restaurant on Frenchman’s Street on the 2nd floor where we first saw the wedding party parade. I had two orders of the fresh crab cakes {ok, I was hungry from all the walking!} while Tom had the fresh crawfish tacos. You could get very fat trying all the dishes. One thing though, our main server at the Roosevelt Hotel, April, said everybody makes Gumbo different, and her momma makes the best. She was going to sneak some in for us, but I didn’t want her to get into any trouble. Yeh, I think all for all for me …. Gumbo is the main go to.

Again, these are just a couple of our most memorable meals and I think we’re still recovering from all the food and drink! Been working it off for weeks now; cardio, cardio, cardio. If you ever find yourself traveling to New Orleans, please let us know if you need any recommendations on where to stay, eat and see. 

reuben sandwich

Corned Beef for the holidays? Yes, please!

By | Angus Meats, Buy local, Family, Food Service, Holidays, News, Retail | No Comments

Outside is shut down, right? You did your due diligence and got your screens, furnace filters and smoke/carbon monoxide alarms changed. Getting a breather yet? Nope.

Thanksgiving weekend is looming. School and college breaks with hungry mind-stressed kids added with visiting ‘special dietary concerns’ family is headed your way. More laundry, your kitchen is crowded and possessed, the TV is constantly on, plus there’s no hot water in the shower. Everyone is swarming you with questions and antidotes. I’d suggest a spa vacation at Northern Quest Casino, but that’s probably not gonna happen. Bummer.

I know the traditional Thanksgiving dinner is a given (everybody loves their favorites), but what do you serve the rest of the time? Nachos? It’s the classic for sure. Mac-n-cheese? It’s the staple of the south with every meal. Little ones dive right in.

How about something really different? How about a Hot Reuben or a Hot Corned Beef Special? Get some freshly made hoagie buns and let them pile on our Angus Meats (of course!) Corned Beef with all the fixings’ you already know about. Our Angus Meats Corned Beef is amazing and hand-turned for 21-days. So tender, easy to cook, and slice. My son-in-law loves it for breakfast with eggs, but, he’s from the south.

Whatever savory delight your family enjoys this holiday season, our Angus Brands’ family wishes you a warm and Happy Thanksgiving!

– Leslie Stachecki

 

 

 

Image credit: Photo credit: jeffreyw on Visualhunt.com / CC BY
Prime rib

Happy New (School) Year!

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My sister and I always call each other on the first day of school to say, “Happy New Year!” because to us it seems more like the new year than January 1st. A new school year is a new beginning for many families along with another dramatic seasonal change. The cooler mornings and shorter days invite a change-up in the kitchen too; playing around with new twists to old favorites.

Even though we barbeque year round, there is much to be said for a slow-roasting roast or turkey filling the house with comfort aromas. We like to cook a Tri-tip or Prime Rib with lots of garlic and special spices on the weekends for weekday lunches. Of course, being a carnivore at heart, one of my personal favorites is a hot turkey breast sandwich on fresh wheat bread with lots of mayo. If I’m watching my carbs (all the time!), I’ll make an “unwich” but cheat with the absolute necessary side – Original Lays Potato Chips.

Happy New Year, everybody!

Written by Leslie Stachecki 

grill

Grilltastic spring ideas

By | Angus Meats, Bold Burger, Buy local, Family, Grilling, Ground beef, How to, News | No Comments

Alrighty grill lovers. May is National BBQ Month! Now there’s a holiday I can really put my tongs around. Let’s celebrate this sucker with some Curry-style.

Here it goes.

First of all, this celebratory meal (or meals, right?) is going to be cooked entirely on the grill. I know what you’re thinking: “Hold on there Curry and don’t be in such a hurry!” Well, “Don’t-worry-Curry” has a plan. We are going to start with the main course. Beef, chicken, pork, even lamb all are in abundance during the spring. Question is, what sounds good to you and your family?

Next, we are going to cook all our complimentary vegetables on the grill. Yes, this can be done. You can use a special grilling pan made for vegetables that goes directly on the grills’ rack. If you don’t have one, cut your vegetables into portions, wrap them in foil, season them, and splash with a little olive oil. Place the packet on the grill and cook till al dente.

Can’t get enough corn-on-the-cob? Corn-on-the-cob cooked on the grill is one of the best preparation methods. The question is, are you supposed to shuck the corn? I cook my ears of corn leaving the husk on. Just soak them in a bucket of water for a few hours and then toss them on the grill. Shucking the corn is also an option, especially if your kids are looking for a chore (yeah, right!). Once shucked, place on the grill and fire away. Finish both methods of grilling by brushing on melted butter and sea salt.

How about grilled artichokes? Split smaller artichokes in half, toss in olive oil, season with your favorite blend, and grill until al dente. Other no-brainer options: Asparagus, tomatoes, zucchini, yellow squash, all delectable grilled veggies! Just olive oil, season, and grill away.

On to the starches. One of the best ways I have found to cook starch is cooking in foil pouches. Cut the potatoes (Yukons, Reds, Russets) into slices or small chunks. Season with olive oil or butter, sprinkle with cheese and season with fresh or dried herbs. For yams and sweet potatoes:  butter, brown sugar and cinnamon makes for a tasty treat.

Speaking of treats – pound cake grills great. No kidding. Spread both sides of a piece of cake with butter and sprinkle with brown sugar. Place on your grill and caramelize both sides. Serve with a scoop of ice cream and berry sauce, top with whip cream garnish with a mint sprig. Not a cake person? Take a peach or nectarine, split in half and grill away. You can also grill some pineapple and drizzle with a honey-cinnamon glaze. I guarantee your guests will be impressed!

Happy Grilling!

Written by Angus Brands’ Jeff Curry

Reflecting back on 45 years of innovation

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Am I the same person as I was 45 years ago? Just the other day, I found a simple note that I wrote back in 1988. The note was all about creating a new kind of sliced ham with my Dad; a spiral sliced ham. Reflecting upon this, I came to realize that, in this regard, I haven’t changed all that much in over 45 years. I still love creating and working closely with those that share the same passion for food and flavor profile combinations as I do. This inner excitement comes from working with top chefs and other foodies in our area, and collaborating on new approaches to how we prepare, taste, and jazz up their daily menus.

Our Angus Brands team was constantly innovating in 2017. They developed fantastic new sausage flavors such as Blueberry Peach Sausage Links, which complement our Apple Cranberry Sausage, and Roulade with Milano Sausage rolled within a pork loin. Delicious! Along with our line of full-flavored ground beef offerings, we’ve also created a Stuffed Chicken Breast with Asparagus and Provolone cheese.

Our Recipe for 2018: Partners, Knowledge, Experience, Focus, Understanding, Know-How, and a Lot of Passion. These are the necessary ingredients that create the best possible options for everyone. How exciting! Let us know what’s on your wish list.

Happy Holidays and here’s to a fantastic 2018,

Tom Stachecki

*Pictured above: Leslie Stachecki and Jeff Curry, all ready for the holidays!

Count your blessings

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Chilling down right? Yard art is put away, you’ve been raking leaves and pine needles for days. Heat is on (did you remember to change your furnace filter from all the smoke we had?), and the fireplace is crackling.

I’m more of a fan of Thanksgiving than Halloween. Thanksgiving is all about family, blessings to be grateful for, and remembering those we love who cannot be at the table.

I absolutely love the smell of our Angus Brands turkey slow cooking in the oven mixed with the pumpkin perfume of nutmeg and cinnamon spices. I don’t think there’s another holiday that measures up to the level of what our senses enjoy more. Talk about a real “foodie” day!

And isn’t it cool when the first snowflakes fall on that night? The kids get so excited! November is cozy, warm, with quiet days and nights. This is the time of year I really have a hard time getting out of my warm and perfect pillowed bed in the dark morning; especially for 7:00 am workouts at the gym (gotta work off that bird!).

Since our girls’ families are 3000 miles away, I find it funny when some of my friends are complaining they’re going to have 10 to 20 people for dinner. I’m thinking how lucky they are! It’s just the two of us. If I could say anything to all of you, it would be this: Embrace the ones you love; hold them close in person, on the phone, or FaceTime/Skype and overlook the minor stuff – it doesn’t matter anyway; say a prayer for those who’ve passed on that they are not forgotten. Sounds corny, but truly be grateful.

Happy Thanksgiving & bless you and your families, 

Leslie Stachecki

Fire and Forget

By | Angus Meats, Bold Eats, Family, How to, News, Poultry, Recipes | No Comments

Here are three simple, slow-cooker recipes that you can start in the morning and forget about until dinnertime!

Beer Legs

Ingredients:

  • Package of chicken legs, seasoned with salt and pepper
  • Diced onion
  • Bottle (or can) of your favorite beer

Directions: Add all ingredients to your slow-cooker and cook on HIGH for 4 hours or LOW for 8 hours.

Teriyaki Thighs

Ingredients:

  • Package of bone-in chicken thighs
  • ¾ cup soy sauce
  • ¾ cup water
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 2 tsp. minced garlic
  • ¼ tsp. minced ginger

Directions:

  1. Add chicken thighs to slow cooker
  2. Whisk together remaining ingredients
  3. Pour mixture over chicken and slow cook on HIGH for 4 hours or LOW for 8 hours.

Country Style Pork Ribs

Ingredients:

  • Package of bone-in or boneless pork ribs
  • BBQ rub
  • Bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce

Directions:  Season ribs with the BBQ rub and place in crockpot.  Add BBQ sauce and cook for 4 hours on HIGH or 8 hours on LOW.

Now wasn’t that easy?  The great thing about these recipes is you can change the protein (chicken, beef, pork), but keep the seasonings the same.  Tip: the pork ribs are great with an onion or golden mushroom soup mix as seasoning.

Enjoy all the extra time you’ve saved!!

Thank you to Spokane’s First Responders

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Do you ever hear sirens in the middle of the night? The louder they get towards your home; you wonder if someone is in trouble? Is there a fire somewhere? Is it close to you?

We don’t always put in perspective how, at a moment’s notice and without truly knowing the unpredictable situation they are called into, what these brave people deal with everyday risking their lives and jeopardizing the future of their own families.

On Friday, July 14th we held our 2nd Annual First Responders Appreciation BBQ. Spokane’s police, sheriffs, and firefighters dropped by for a free juicy Angus Brands’ grab-n-go burger lunch.

Our son-in-law has been serving on the Swat Team in Charlotte, North Carolina for over 14 years. Tom and I are proud to be a part of the ‘Blue Family.’ We have seen things and events that sometimes are very hard to comprehend or process. So, this is our way of thanking Spokane’s Finest.

Our First Responders are terrific. They’re just like the rest of us with a great sense of humor. It was a joy to seeing them smile, laugh, and relax for just a short time. They talked about their families, showed us fishing pictures, and expressed how much they love what they do while raising their kids in Spokane.

They really appreciated what we did for them but we can never show just how much we value them.

Angus Brands also wishes to thank those who back-up our First Responders: Dispatchers, 911 operators, and all the support staff who keep everything calm, organized, and in control.

We knew one First Responder, now we know 46. Next year we hope to meet more of you.

Leslie Stachecki