Sunday, June 27, 2010

Day trip to Eufaula - Phil's Barbeque -- Rib Rub recipe

Phil's Barbeque best butts in bama

Who? My wife and myself
When: 5-2-2010 at 11:00 am
Where? Phil's Barbeque, 534 S Randolph Ave, Eufaula, AL 36027

What did I have? Chopped pork Platter, with bread, fried okra, and coleslaw, and my wife had the shredded pork sandwich.
Why? We decided to make a day trip to Eufaula and we got hungry after checking out all of the historic homes. We went looking for a local restaurant that was still serving breakfast. After much searching we gave up on breakfast and decided on lunch. After seeing many signs for Phil's "Best Butts in Bama" we stopped in. When we parked and smelled the flavorful smoke coming from Phil's we forgot breakfast completely. The food was excellent! Everything was made to order, the pork had been cooking for hours. The meat was tender juicy and had a great smoke ring. My wife who did not like coleslaw before tried theirs and now orders it every time we go to a BBQ joint. The meat is served without sauce and they have several homemade sauces to choose from, pick whichever you like and add as much as you want. If you are in Eufaula when they are open this is a place you must try.
What would I change? Their sweet tea was a little too sweet for me, though some like it that way. I chose to go half sweet and half un-sweet.
Would I eat there again? Yes, the food was great.
On a scale of 1-10 I would rate this establishment a 8.

Recipe: Rib Rub

1 tsp cumin
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp salt
2 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp white pepper

This is enough to make one rack of ribs. Just mix these ingredients and apply liberally to your ribs. Be sure to remove the membrane off of the inside of the ribs, or it won't get good flavor. It might seem like a lot of pepper in comparison to the other ingredients, but it has the perfect level of spice. It has a mild burn on your lips, sweet in your mouth and a light heat in the after taste. This is enough for a rack of ribs, but I have a pint jar mixed up and use it on all types of meat. To make great ribs apply the rub, wrap in foil and place in the fridge for at least 4 hours and up to 24, take the meat out of the fridge when you start your coals and let it come up to room temp. Then cook over indirect heat for 4-8 hours at 180-225 degrees. If you like bbq sauce on your ribs just before they are done take the ribs off and build up your fire. Then place the ribs directly over the fire and apply the sauce, turning it every minute and layering the sauce until it has the desired level. For more info on bbqing and ribs check out and

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Carrabba’s Italian Grill - Columbus

Who? My Wife and I

When: April 6, 2010 around 6:30 pm

Where? Carrabba’s Italian Grill, 5555 Whittlesey Boulevard Columbus, Ga.

What did I have? I had the Pollo Rosa Maria with a salad and garlic mashed potatoes and my wife had the Mezzaluna with a salad.

Why? I love Italian food and have spent 4 weeks in Italy. I have been to other Carrabba’s and enjoyed the food. So when my wife and I were looking for an Italian diner I thought this would be a great choice. Wrong:

There was about a fifteen-minute wait, which is not bad considering I have had several 45 minute waits in Anchorage. The wait staff was courteous but inattentive. We ordered and were promptly forgotten about. The salad was a plain iceberg salad with few embellishments. The chicken was over cooked and not very flavorful. The mashed potatoes were too salty to be enjoyed. Carrabba’s has a small and a regular entre size. They didn’t offer this the last time I was there, but I knew if I ordered a regular meal I would have enough leftovers for a second meal for only $2.00. I was so disappointed in this meal that the leftovers sat in the fridge un-eaten till they spoiled. I had to spend 10 minutes trying to get my waitresses attention to get a refill for our drinks. When we had this meal we had just moved here from Alaska the day before, and we expected more for the price. For a comparable price in Alaska the salad would have had at least 6 species of vegetable and cheese and such a simple entre would have been so good that there would be no leftovers. In Alaska food prices average 50% more than Columbus, so based on my recent experience and previous experiences with Carrabba’s I expected more.

What would I change? I would find a chef that can consistently cook high quality food and I would make sure my wait staff knew what is expected of good service. I know that bad food is not their fault, but as long as they get the order right, refill my drink regularly, and don’t try to rush me out the door by giving me my check before I am through eating or wait 10 minutes after I ask for the check to bring it to me then I am a happy tipper.

Would I eat there again? No, I would not eat at this Carrabba’s location again without assurances that significant changes had been made. Neither my wife or I thought we would be in a hurry to return to Carrabba’s.

On a scale of 1-10 I would rate this establishment a 4.

Recipe: Rosemary Lemon Chicken

1 sprig Rosemary, about 3 tbsp chopped (only use fresh, dried looses all of its flavor and does not rehydrate well)

1 chicken breast, 8-10 ounces (In our home one chicken breast this size is enough for both my wife and I)

2 tbsp lemon juice

1 tbsp honey

3 cloves of garlic

1 tbsp olive oil

Use fresh chicken or thaw frozen chicken. Chop the rosemary into small pieces place it into a small mixing bowl. Dice the garlic and add it to the mixture. Pour in the lemon juice and honey. Make sure the honey is dissolved in the mixture and pour it into a zip lock bag with the chicken breast in it. Allow the chicken to marinade in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours. Remove the chicken from the marinade and let it drip dry. Heat olive oil in a small skillet and when it is hot place the chicken in the pan and cook till lightly brown. Be careful not to overheat the olive oil. It has a low smoking temperature and will give food a bitter taste if you overheat it. A medium to medium-high heat will be sufficient, depending on your stove, to cook the chicken. Serve the chicken over a salad of fresh greens or with pasta drizzled with an olive oil and basil sauce.

Rosehill Seafood - Italian salad dressing recipe

Who? Myself
When: 6-23-2010 at 12:30 pm
Where? Rose Hill Seafood: 2621 Hamilton Rd. Columbus, Ga. 31904
What did I have? I had the seafood platter. This was the first time that I have been to Rose Hill Seafood so I decided to get the seafood platter and sample a variety and see what I liked.
Why? They were busy and had a full parking lot, but they still found me a table right away. The service was great, the food was good, and the prices were reasonable. Even as busy as they were it was easy to get seated, served and back on your way in 45 minutes, which makes it convenient for an hour lunch break. The shrimp was crispy on the outside and tender on the inside, no chewy overcooked shrimp here. The oysters even though they were fried retained their flavor and were identifiable through their crispy coating. The crab cake was nice and moist inside it’s crunchy fried exterior. The catfish was a little over cooked and not quite as flakey as I like and the breading was falling off. The scallops were perfectly done and extremely tender, probably my favorite part of the meal. The next best was the oysters.
The meal was served with lemons, onions, pickles and a baked potato, which I had replaced by a salad. The salad was mostly iceberg lettuce with sparse slivers of carrots and red cabbage. The salad had a choice of dressing and I chose the Italian. The dressing was served three in small cups, which are great for portion control. I only needed one cup of the dressing, which was flavorful but ordinary. I cut up part of the onion that was served with the meal and put it on the plain salad to give it a little more flavor. I also had the sweet iced tea to drink. It had a good flavor without too much sugar.
What would I change? I would add a little more of the carrot and red cabbage to the salad as well as some red onion and a second kind of lettuce or spinach. The salad would be better with a fresh homemade dressing instead of the prepackaged dressing I was served. For the over cooked catfish I would make sure the oil was up to temperature which would brown the catfish quicker giving it less time to cook and making the breading less likely to fall off. I would also like to see more offerings on their menu that are not fried or raw. The majority of the menu was served fried or raw, with a few items offered grilled (mostly chicken).
Would I eat there again? Yes, the food was good overall and I like seafood.
On a scale of 1-10 I would rate this establishment a 6.

Recipe: Simple Italian dressing
¼ cup olive oil
1 cup white wine vinegar
Dash of salt
Dash of balsamic vinegar
1 tbs. Italian seasonings
1 tsp. black pepper
Combine and shake vigorously and let sit for a few hours to let the flavors mingle. Shake again and serve.