Archive for the ‘FOOD’ Category


Not having a birthday every year about once a year I buy myself a non-Leap Year celebration gift! This year, on a whim, after seeing their web page, by accident,, I decided to get me their welcoming gift of 15 different treats for $14 including shipping. What I didn’t know, until I get the box, that as good as the treats are (were!) the writing on the 16 different ‘sides’ of the box holding the gift were side splitting funny and I treated myself to reading ONE side as I ate ONE of the 1-1.5 ounce sample packages EVERY DAY for 15 days–okay I cheated on the last side as I read it while I ate the 15th sample.
The items run from Boubon Pecans, Southern Heat Mix, Dark Chocolate Turbinado Sea Salt Almonds to Apple Pie Crunch, Roasted Pistachios (Salted, in Shell), Roasted Cashews (50% less salt) not to forget Dried Pineapple (Chunks), Half Dried Apricots, Spicy Lime Plantain Chips plus 6 other items.
Between the snacks and such writings, as on the last side, “Open me to get the inside scoop! Nuts! Nuts! Nuts! We’re nuts! Go ahead take a peak inside!” this was one of the best presents I bought for myself!

Posted November 3, 2022 by greatmartin in FOOD


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About once a month we go to Arby’s to have one or more of their Reuban sandwiches. A Reuban is made with corned beef, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, Thousand Island or Russian dressing on rye bread and then grilled. Every once in awhile Arby’s will publish a coupon allowing a customer to buy up to 6 Reuban sandwiches at one time at $4 each. These are good Reuban sandwiches but most people, mainly New Yorkers, think of them as made on deli seeded rye bread while Arby’s rye is a soft almost wheat like bread making it taste different but are they good! With a soda or coffee and fries lunch comes to about $10.

On the other hand like most full-service restaurants Outback’s prices have been going higher every week and customers, especially at lunch, are getting less and less and they have been emailing coupons for specials each week. Three weeks ago they offered a 11 ounce sirloin steak, fries and a soda for $17.99 plus tax and tip and was a good buy except we forgot to tell them to go easy on the 17 seasonings they use but we ate it all!

Two weeks ago their special was a ‘blooming’ onion with a cheeseburger each, fries and a soft drink which I think cost $13.99 Their onion is a treat and though the burger is cooked to order (I like it as rare as I can get it which is not easy to get beef cooked that way in restaurants!) I don’t particularly like all the fillings added.

Last, but not least, week they had a special of a steak or a chicken (the latter Australian ‘done’) breast plus a choice of a side (we each took a baked potato) bread and a soft drink or a glass of beer. (Oh yes, talking about the bread–if you look in the last picture you will see half of a loaf left and 2 butter servings–Allen doesn’t eat butter but we each have a loaf of bread!)

I’ve been looking forward each week to the emails from both companies and all you have to do is send them your email address. Plus Outback has a reward system which I haven’t figured out yet how it works but have gotten 2-$5 rewards so far.

Posted October 31, 2022 by greatmartin in FOOD, RESTAURANT REVIEWS

5 dinners in 50 minutes   Leave a comment

Being retired and too busy to eat–no, no—not to eat, but to cook, I spend 50 minutes every Saturday to get my dinners for Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday prepared so all I have to do is microwave my main course when I am ready to eat.

First thing I do is defrost the vegetables I will use as a ‘bed’ for the protein and at the same time cook up some rice and noodles and the protein, mainly chicken (breasts and thighs), when they are finished. While they are cooking I take 2 bags of prepared salad, empty them into a large bowl, add chopped onions and dressing, divide them into 5 salad bowls and cut 5-6 ‘grape’ tomatoes, cover each with plastic wrap and put them in the fridge. (Each evening, just before serving the salad I will put a half a teaspoon over the top of the salad.)

Finished with that I take the defrosted mixed vegetables, add a pound of sliced white mushrooms, spread the 5 dinner plates with them, add rice to some and pasta to others plus different sauces (in jars) from salsa to worcestershire to A-1 steak sauce, etc., place the chicken (or sliced beef or meatballs) on top or mixed in the rice/pasta, cover the plates with plastic wrap and into the fridge. Just before I serve a plate I will microwave each for about 5 minutes.

Oh yes, when I want to lose weight I weigh the foods I am eating and keep track of the nutritional counts like calories, sodium, cholesterol, carbs, fats, protein, etc.

After all that I wash the dishes and within 50 minutes I have my meals. Oh, if you are wondering, on Thursdays and Fridays I usually eat out a late lunch–off the menu– and just have something light in the evening—hey carrot cake is light, it is the cream cheese ‘icing’ that is heavy!

Posted October 29, 2022 by greatmartin in FOOD

THIS ‘N THAT SEPTEMBER 2022   Leave a comment

1) The much needed rains have come–7 inches in Miami and 4inches in Fort Lauderdale yesterday and the rains are coming today and where the rains are the Herons follow! It seems the only times we see them is right after a heavy rain as if they know there will be insects for them nibble on!
Talk about ‘nibbling’ I try to get to Big Louie’s a few times a month for their pizza (2)–it is the only restaurant that I have gone, and go, back to eat that I have worked in–am seriously thinking of having my 22nd Leap Year birthday party there in 2024! Hard to believe that I retired 20 years ago and I must admit I don’t miss working though I did enjoy being a waiter when I did. (Only mistake I made was NOT declaring all my tips–would be getting more Social Security now!)

On the subject of food someone sort of indicated that it seems I am always eating out but not true–I usually eat out twice a week, generally on Thursday & Friday, though restaurant prices seem to be going higher and higher and portion sizes smaller and smaller! In any case I usually cook/make 5 dinners and 5 salads (4–the dinner plates on the bottom shelf and the salads on the middle shelf) on Saturday for the week so all I have to do is heat the dinners. As a rule I do ‘behave’ myself Saturday through Wednesdays–won’t talk about the other 2 days or the other meals!!

Talking about eating out–last Thursday Allen felt like having something light so we went to IHOP where I usually will have a cheese omelet but this time I decided to have a cheeseburger (photos # 5) and, trust me, no way did it look like the one on the menu! For the burger and coffee it was $14—no, I won’t be an old man and say I remember ‘in the old days’ when a cheeseburger cost a dollar and change!! :O)

Before the rains came we had record breaking heat (3) for September with Miami reaching 93 degrees when the normal is 90 and Fort Lauderdale was 94 degrees when the normal is 89 with only Key West being lower than normal. Today, with the rain, the high was 82 when the normal is 9 degrees and in 2019—no rain it hit 95 degrees. When it gets above 90 degrees it usually means we have ‘feel like’ temps of over 100–now though cooler the humidity, because of the rain, will be over 75%

.Food and weather–guess I covered it all! LOL

Posted September 18, 2022 by greatmartin in birds, FOOD, FORT LAUDERDALE, WEATHER

“SNACK TIME”   1 comment

No matter how many times I pick up a restaurant menu and get sticker shock at the prices I still have this ‘need’ and so I spoil myself and fill it!

I haven’t been to Panera’s Bread restaurant in at least 10 years because no matter how fancy they make it up it is still ‘fast food’– not that I have anything against fast food places as you will see it is just if I am going to pay higher prices I expect to be waited on, served while I sit at a table and server takes my order, serves it and then gives me a check.

When I go to a Subway (picture upper left corner) or Arby’s (picture below it) I usually have a coupon and the meal will come to less than $10 so I don’t mind ordering at the counter, picking it up there, getting my own drink–basically waiting on myself!

And then if I have a pizza delivered (second and third pictures on top) I know there is a delivery charge plus, of course, I will tip the driver, but that is convenience more than service—plus I know better–never order a Domino’s or Papa John’s pizza when you have a Big Louie’s less than a mile from you!

Getting back to Panera’s–the 4 bottom pictures–I had a chicken sandwich (smaller than the palm of my hand–seriously) which came with a bag of chips plus I had a coffee and a bear claw–the latter a decent size and it came to $18. I guess I shouldn’t complain as I got a paper napkin with it.

On the other hand I sat down in the Outback, had a server take me order, bring me my drink plus a loaf of hot dark bread and then served me a Filet Mignon, 6 chicken wings, a baked potato with sour cream, cheese, butter and julienne cheese on the side in addition to a side of broccoli (3 middle pictures) plus had a cloth napkin, steak and butter knives and 2 forks (and another loaf of bread!) and the check, with tax and tip came to $20.14

Now don’t get me wrong I am as comfortable eating in Subway as I am in the Outback but one is having ‘lunch’ while the other is ‘dining’–and both are franchises!

Bottom line is that I will probably not go back to Panera’s for another 10 years if then! :O)

Posted September 6, 2022 by greatmartin in FOOD, FORT LAUDERDALE


Have you ever heard of and/or had Dragon fruit? I never did until The Pantry gave me a couple to try–and as someone said that it must be because I have led such a sheltered life! I had to google it to even find out how to eat it but that turned out to be very simple. It is supposed to taste like a cross between a kiwi fruit and a pear but I found it tasteless which is why it must be so healthy for you. Here is more information if you are curious :

Well along with a new fruit I tried a new restaurant and like the Dragon fruit I found it tasteless and disappointing–Allen picked up the check so I shouldn’t complain but…..when you can get a sandwich AND a large cup of soup on the same plate you know the sandwich isn’t as big as a regular sandwich. This was supposed to be a chicken salad melt topped with tomato and Monterey cheese. The soup was good but after 2 bites the sandwich was gone!

The other three restaurants we went to were good old reliable s with the first being the IHOP which I still think have the best cheese omelets but this time I had the fancier Big Steak Omelet made with steak, cheese, tomatoes, onions, mushrooms and salsa. Being the good boy I am I could have had pancakes on the side but instead had hash browns. It was big, delicious and at $12.79 a good deal.

We hadn’t been to the other favorite for awhile and I think only once since COVID hit but Cabo Blanco, a Peruvian restaurant, has always been excellent with many specials–over 28 for lunch! I love their lunch special which is shrimp, fresh tomatoes, onions and a dark herb sauce on linguini and it was as good as ever though the price went up a bit to $16.99 and instead of an overabundance of shrimp there were a dozen but with the cup of chicken soup served first it is a very satisfying lunch!

Last but not least another favorite, Tequila Sunrise, that I have been going to for over 20 years but have also been alternating with another Mexican restaurant Jalisco the past 2 years. I have never had a bad meal at Tequila Sunrise and didn’t this time when I enjoyed the beef and chicken Fajitas plus I had a ‘buy one get one free’ coupon (which isn’t true because it is only good for up to $12 but I am not going to argue!) so lunch was plentiful (with the chips and salsa to nibble on while waiting for the main course) and fairly inexpensive.

Oh yes a lot of restaurants are adding either an inflation ‘fee’ or a fee for paying by credit card!

Posted August 7, 2022 by greatmartin in FOOD, RESTAURANT REVIEWS

Am I just a grumpy old man or ???????????   1 comment

What does it mean when menu prices are no longer giving me sticker shock? What is it doing to me mentally when I am seriously thinking of not eating out anymore? Am I finally ‘POOR’ or just a grumpy, cranky old man??

This past week we went to two old standbys that we hadn’t been to in a long time and I was unhappy with both for different—but I think justified–reasons!

On Thursday we went to Pomperdales–a ‘New York type deli’–that I used to go to AFTER I got weighed at my primary doctor’s office which was next door and no longer is. All the years I went to my favorite deli in New York I never remembered waiting on myself and yet here I place and pick up the order, get a drink (in my case water) and have to clean up after myself ! And this cost me $18.49 and tax coming to $20 but that’s not what I am complaining about (well, at that price I am not happy waiting on myself!)—hope you are sitting down because I am sure you never expected to hear this from me–the sandwich was too clumsy to hold and eat because it was so thick! I had ordered a Reuben and between all the meat centered in the middle of the rye bread plus the sauerkraut plus the thousand island dressing with each bite part of it fell on the plate or on me! It was sloppy and, consequently, not enjoyable! Putting half the amount of meat or even just spreading it out between the 2 slices of bread more evenly would have made it a lot more enjoyable to eat!

Oh yes, that $18.49 sandwich was for 8 ounces of corned beef while you could get one for $23.49 for 12 ounces of corned beef–at a little bit over $2 a pound for the meat I would have been very happy getting 6 ounces of meat!

Okay, if you are over the shock of me complaining about too much food how about if I told you I didn’t have a piece of the great carrot cake at Lester’s where we went on Friday?! Lester’s is a landmark diner in Fort Lauderdale not far from where I used to live and go to all the time! (Before I forget–they have a Reuben Sandwich for $12.99) They have done a lot of renovations and it is all sparkling metal and glass now with red accents.

I ordered the seafood platter which came with Stuffed Shrimp, Shrimp Scampi and Tilapia for $21.99 including soup and a side dish. Since I was having the Scampi I asked for linguini as my side dish. It is a full serve restaurant and our server Lisette was excellent. The soup was good, served with crackers, though a bit salty. Ah, remember the old days when you got a basket of bread and/or rolls and butter when you ordered platters? In any case the dish looked good when it came. The Tilapia was a good sized piece  while the shrimps were big and though the stuffing was just piled in a scoop over the shrimp tasted good. The Scampi had a good garlic and oil covering but it all laid on a dish of cold pasta! Yes, I could have sent it back to have the pasta warmed up but didn’t instead (lesson learned as a server–never return food!!  That’s another post!) telling myself I would have the carrot cake afterwards but I didn’t because the cold pasta just turned me off plus, as much as I don’t like to do it I was concerned about what it would cost these days because they do have a great carrot cake and serve a big slice. With tax and tip lunch—in a diner!–came to $60!!

I love eating out but how many lunches can I afford to spend $45-50? ($20 Thursday and $30 Friday!) That plus going to a movie would eat up my Social Security very fast. As it is not going to the theatre (and miss seeing touring shows) plus eating dinner out has ‘saved’ me money to a certain extent.

So do I 1) give up eating out?  2) Just be a grumpy, cranky old man? Or 3)??????????????????

Posted July 9, 2022 by greatmartin in FLORIDA, FOOD, FORT LAUDERDALE

Welcome to June in Fort Lauderdale   Leave a comment

For the whole story

Tropical Storm Watch Issued for South Florida as Potential Tropical Cyclone One FormsA Tropical Storm Watch was issued for South Florida as Potential Tropical Cyclone One formed Thursday evening, according to ..

Meanwhile life goes on in South Florida!

1)  The two wolves on the June calendar welcome you to summer, the rainy & hurricane seasons, in Fort Lauderdale!!!

2) The Gateway Theatre was recently taken over by new owners and started a GoFundMe page to spruce it up a bit. The first picture was a year ago and the second today’s lobby-a lot more to come. Here’s more of the history of The Classic Gateway:”The Gateway Theatre opened March 24, 1951 with the world premiere of “Up Front” starring David Wayne. It was operated by Wometco Theatres as a single screen venue with 1,500 seats, all on a single floor. The theatre had its own 500-car paved parking lot. Sunrise Cinemas later operated the the theatre and had converted it to a fourplex.The World premiere of “Where The Boys Are” took place here in 1960 which is where I saw it before I moved back to New York.
It runs the latest in fine art, foreign and independent films. It is noted as one of Fort Lauderdale’s landmark theatres.”

3) And then what’s life without food? That is why the Quarterdeck is here! I have been going there for over 20 years and just last week had the BEST jambalaya ever and I have been recommending it there for years but this was pure heaven.Well if the electricity and power doesn’t go off with the 8 inches of rain expected I’ll see you tomorrow!

Posted June 2, 2022 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, FOOD, FORT LAUDERDALE, WEATHER

Lasagna, an alarm and a Geranium!   1 comment

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1) It is so great to have an Italian neighbor—an Italian neighbor who loves to cook–an Italian neighbor who loves to cook and is a good cook–an Italian neighbor who loves to cook and thinks of her neighbor!! Yes, that is Cathy and just today she brought me a HUGE pan of lasagna–enough that I may even Allen half–(he is just lucky that my primary doctor said my potassium is a little too high and she wants me to come in for a lab test next week and that I should watch what I am eating–she has no sense of humor because she didn’t laugh when I said that I always WATCH what I am eating whether an apple or a carrot cake!)

2) Talking about my primary and doctors and labs–after close to 20 years with Aetna I switched my Medicare Plus insurance to  Health Sun because of the many benefits including a free ’emergency response system’–after my ‘falling’ off my recliner in December I’ve been looking into an alarm system–this one wouldn’t have helped me because you have to push the button to get help and I was out cold for about an hour and a half but this is at least a start–I can wear it around my neck (as in the picture) or like a wrist watch. I’ve been wearing it around the neck without any problem when I am in the apartment and in bed. I am trying to be careful as I walk around but…….So far, so good!

3) A little brightness near my computer–the sun shining on the Geranium giving it a white look when it is actually a mix of red and pink–love it!Now to MY lasagna!!!

Posted May 18, 2022 by greatmartin in FOOD, HEALTH


Gilbert’s 17th Street Grill

I’ve always considered Gilbert’s 17th Street grill one of the better places for a good cheeseburger but I found myself disappointed this time.

I won’t make a big deal out of getting Sweet Potato fries for regular French fries as that could have been quickly fixed if I had wanted to change but it wasn’t an important item for me.

The burger itself was thick on a small bun, medium-rare as I ordered, and by the time the cheese, lettuce, tomato and the slice of onion I requested it was too thick to take a reasonable bite. The burger flattened a little and put on a slightly larger, not thicker, bun would have been a lot better to deal with.

Removing the top part of the bun, using and knife and fork it was a good meal but not a cheeseburger! :O)

By the way, the ‘runner-busboy-server was excellent!

Cold Stone Creamery

Haven’t been here for awhile so decided to go in for an ice cream. There were 4 customers in front of me and 2 came in right after I did.

Looking over the selections—many as usual–I decided to have one of the

‘Signature Creations’ called Chocolate Devotion consisting of chocolate ice cream with chocolate chips, brownie bits and fudge served in a waffle cup with chocolate around the edge but I had it in a plain cup.

Could have done without the last 2 items in it but it took care of my chocolate ‘fix’ for a few days!

There was one person behind the counter and she was doing it all–waiting on 8 people, making their orders, working the register—with a smile!

Posted April 25, 2022 by greatmartin in FOOD, FORT LAUDERDALE

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