My sister Shmoo (Linda) and her husband Fuzz (Mike) and his brotherinlaw Dave own a bar and grill in the U.P. of Michigan. It's called Fuzz and Dave's Mid City Bar and Grill The name Shmoo is from the Lil' Abner cartoon. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shmoo
Because they cook and serve food in their bar, they were invited by their food supplier to come to Green Bay for a huge "Food Show" on Wednesday. Since they come all the way from Caspian, MI they travelled down the night before, after they were done with work. We met up at The Texas Roadhouse in Green Bay for dinner with them for:
(restaurant meal number ONE)
We enjoyed mar-gar-EEE-tas! Each drink has an iridescent plastic test tube of tequila shots set in each glass called "Kickers" What a surprise!
Steve ordered half a baked chicken and I had garlic shrimp,
Fuzz had a rib eye steak and Shmoo had sirloin &shrimp---- yummmm
We ate wayyyy too much of course, but it was so good and we left with full bellies for us to wander on back to our house and them to their hotel for the night. With promises of seeing each other in the morning, we went home to sleep off the restaurant food as it was quite late. I think a walk would have been better for us, but it was after 10:30 and Steveio had to work early in the morning.
Arggghhh I woke up and felt just as full as the night before! Steve left for work after getting a BIRTHDAY KISS from me... Yes.. Wednesday is Steveio's birthday!!!! He is one year older but also one year better!
I let the doggers out to the potty yard one last time before locking them back in the house for the day. I hopped in the car and drove up to Green Bay. I met up with Shmoo and Fuzz at their hotel and we headed over to the Shopko Hall Expo Center for the food.... this entry scene just BOGGLED THE MIND:
This array of fresh vegetables and fruit was just "too much"
and I have NO idea why they displayed all of this in such a humungous manner????
It was later torn down and donated to a food pantry.
Each vegetable was perfect in size, shape and color,
even the potatoes were polished or oiled up to a sheen?
What was the point?
The colors were eye dazzling and the fruit was amazing too.
We were registered and I was their guest so I got a name tag too. The general public is not allowed in, just restaurant and bar owners that serve food and have accounts through the main wholesaler, Reinhart Foods. The folks displaying today are all the vendors who offer their foods to be ordered through the wholesaler, not direct sales. So it really wasn't a "sales pitch" at each booth, more of a "taste pitch" and "hope your next order with Reinhart you will remember our food and add us to your order" type of offering.
The first stop around the expo hall was also the most interesting. It was booth of all the commercial cooking supplies, utensils, gadgets and tools. These items could be bought on site and carried home, or left till later or ordered/delivered with your normal food order. We browsed for a while, and then decided to come back there later to pick up the things they needed for their bar's little kitchen. I really enjoyed seeing some top quality kitchen stuff at really wonderful prices, many lower than what you find in any cooking gadget store or retail outlet.
There were six aisles with food vendors up both sides of the aisle.. so that is TWELVE rows of food to learn about, sample, mark your order books and perhaps get some non-perishable take-home samples. Everyone had their "best of their best" food cooked up and prepared for sampling.
So many things to try... the best cuts of meats, the freshest fish and shrimp, the newest flavors, ideas, spices and sauces to sample. The folks manning each booth seemed knowledgeable and there wasn't any high pressure sales because technically they weren't "selling" they were giving the restaurant and bar owners the opportunity to taste the products that they already have available.
I tell you, with probably 70-80 different booths, each with multiple deep fryers, nesco roasters, sterno stoves, heat lamps and baked foods on display, it got VERY HOT in there in a short time. Whew....
This guy on the left had "fish n chips on a stick" it was like a fishstick patty on a stick, and coated with tiny lumps of hashbrown cubes and then deep fried. It was a "take and go" meal! The guy with the crazy pizza hat was actually selling the individual items to go on pizzas so restaurants can buy the ready-made supplies and do their "own custom pizzas" instead of pre-made ones. Hmmmmm
As we wandered around, sampling, testing and talking,
we had a bit of silliness too!
One especially friendly vendor was selling relishes, condiments and items for bar drinks like in bloody mary's etc. We told him we were the Pickling Sisters and Pickles Queens of the Iron County Fair! Haha... so he gave us some of his big dill pickles on a stick to munch on!
Any of you readers from up in Iron River will remember the little unique store called "The Pickle Barrel" and how you got to dip in the big huge barrel and pull out a pickle like this to chomp on. This sure brought back memories!
The array of dipping and cooking sauces was amazing.. but the BEST booth was the Sweet Baby Ray's for BBQing! Yummm it's our favorite! They have now come out with Sweet N Sour Baby Rays, and were already all out of the samples in the first hour of the show. We know it's available in stores, but in much smaller sized bottles. Even these huge sized bottles don't last long in our family, for all the amount of this we use when cooking while camping!
As the day wore on, we were wearing out! We took a break for a while, and a nice vendor near the sitting area was giving out bottles of water to drink. With all of the salty deep fried foods we had sampled so far, we needed it! I think we were beginning to smell like french fries!
All throughout the day, they had drawings for door prizes, and we were listening to the announcements as we strolled around through the last two rows of food. Nope, we didn't win anything. But we were so full to the point of bursting that I was thinking a nice long nap was in order. Haha.....
Finally about 3:30 we left and went outside. In Wisconsin, today had bitter cold, blasting winds, snow flurries and FREEZING outside. At first it felt kinda good after the heat and odors of inside. We noticed as we walked through the cold to the parking lot, we could smell the scents of frying oils, fish, and grilling meats on our clothes, hair and skin! The cold temp magnifies the odors even more so. Ewwww!
I consider this day as
(restaurant meal number TWO) !!!!
I slugged my way back to my car to drive back down to Chilton. Steve was going to be home from work soon, so I wanted to get back, get his presents wrapped up and let the dogs out. The dogs had been locked in the house for 8 hours and that is the longest we have ever left Binney so far since we got her 4 months ago. Finney is good for that long, but we weren't sure on Binney. Got home and all was just fine and dandy! Whew!
Was the day over yet??? Nope.. we still had to celebrate Steve's birthday!!!! Plus my sister and her husband have never seen our house yet. They came down about 5 pm to join up with us. We gave them grand tour of our home. Little Binney is not happy with people coming in and disrupting her "routine" and "order" of her home. I swear she is OCD and doesn't think things should be in different places, or people in her place. She definitely has PSTD from her previous life, so anything that has changed is bothersome to her. When people come in, she hides in her "safe spot" on the couch, wedged as tight as she can into the corner cushions.
My sister is very loving and gentle, and knows dogs. We placed Binney into her arms... with soothing coos of her voice which is close to mine, Binney relaxed and cuddled in safe and sound. Ahhh her world was okay.
After seeing our house and putting the dog down, it was time to head out to celebrate Steveio's birthday! Our favorite mexican restaurant is El Camino in Kiel, WI about 10 miles south. Soooo this is ---- yup, you got it----
(restaurant meal number THREE)
We do eat here about once a month, and know what we like the best... of course we have to have the margarEEEtas before the meal comes. Steve had the steak fajitas that come a-sizzling and a-crackling to the table on a cast iron pan.
I order the same thing EVERY time, and know even if I only eat a little, I can take the rest home with me. It's a seafood chimichanga without the brown sauce on top. Also I forgo the beans, which gives me extra rice. This meal is good for three more lunches at home, each with 1/2 a chimi reheated and some rice too.
Fuzz had a beef burrito and taco
and sister Schmoo had a taco salad.
in the middle we had a HUGE mound of guacamole to share!
Yup.... Holey Guacamole!
If that wasn't enough, now it was Steveio's birthday treat! They bought out a big plate of sopapillas which are deep fried pastry triangles, rolled in cinnamon and sugar. They are drizzled with thin lines of honey and chocolate sauce. In the middle is a big mound of "fried" ice cream! They roll a ball of vanilla ice cream in cinnamon and sugar and freeze it hard. Then it is taken out and stuck under the broiler quick to caramelize the coating without melting the ice cream. Complete with whipped topping and candle! They all sang Happy Birthday to my Steveio!
(he shared some of his treat with all of us)
Okay... we left fully full to the fullest, and carrying our "take out containers" for additional meals for the rest of this week. Whew!
Shmoo and Fuzz were on their way back to the hotel, and we waddled on home to our doggies. Little Finnegan was happy to see us, but Binney kept looking around for "those peoplez" who were in her house! She kept going around from room to room until she was satisfied that they were not in her space. Once we got ready for bed, her "routine" returned to normal and she came willingly to have her teeth brushed and ready to crawl into her bed alongside of Finnegan. Her world was "right" again.
Soooo it's Thursday. Guess what I had for lunch??? You got it, leftover guacamole, chips, half a seafood chimichanga and some rice!
(restaurant meal number FOUR)
Tonight is our oldest granddaughter's dance recital up in Green Bay. We are looking forward to going and see her shine on the stage. Then... guess what? We are going going to a RESTAURANT for ice cream after the performance! LOL
You got it...
(restaurant meal number FIVE!!!!!!!!)