Tuesday, November 3, 2009

mad cheap: hot and sour soup

as the weather turns towards autumnal chill, one thing to remember about lincoln is that there is an upside to so many strip malls: so much chinese takeout.

you don't need to live near the restaurant-laden n. 27th corridor to get a bowl of hot and sour soup (or egg drop soup) for a dollar if you're lucky-- and two dollars if you're not. a bargain anywhere on that spectrum. ready on the spot, too; no need to call ahead. this bowl is from ming's. i can recommend theirs for sure.

not for vegetetarians, and i don't know i'd trust a place that said otherwise.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

more last minute halloween treats

cupcakes from le quartier. aren't they beautiful? tasty, too. use that coupon i wrote about the other day-- expires 10/31!

last minute halloween cookies?

even though conroy's bakery is in college view-- and on the prescott street strip of businesses near union college-- they are open on saturdays, not being seventh-day adventist themselves. (i'm going with irish catholic because of the name, and the posters in the windows for friday night fish fry events, and being closed on sundays.) they're right across the street from the mill, which is, of course, also open on saturdays, and every other day of the week. coffee takes no holiday.

you need to visit this bakery just to experience how fabulous it smells in there, but it's also the place to go for a variety of decorated cookies on any holiday.

Monday, October 26, 2009

le quartier coupons, half-loaves

found a coupon for le quartier on p. 2a of the ljs today. not sure how often they run them. look for them in the paper version of the paper if you have paper access.

a recent picture of their black walnut sourdough is above-- look how purplish and gray the meat of the bread is, because of the nuts. so delicious. almost beats the blue cheese bread, but not quite.

the $2 half-loaves are up for sale on the glass counter at meridian park, and on the east wall (by the croutons on the wire rack) at the pine lake location. keep an eye out for that to change with extra holiday business; who knows what that will bring.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

open harvest member meeting tonight-- 5pm-- potluck-- great location-- triggertown!

how's this for some late notice for you? open harvest co-op grocery is having its 34th annual membership meeting today (sunday, october 25th) from 5 to 7:30 pm at auld recreation center. that's in antelope park, and the actual address is 3140 sumner but just go to 32nd & a and you'll see it. it's that mysterious looking building you can see from the bandshell or the fabulous rock island trail. i haven't been in it since i was a kid, for a science fair.

one of my favorite local bands, triggertown, is playing at, supposedly (you know how events go), 5pm and again at 6:45. there's food to share. if you're a member and learning of this from this post, looks like you're bringing "fruit or a beverage" to share.

From 6:45 to 7:15 there's a q&a with the board of directors. there's an interesting debate going on about those new "impulse purchase" shelves by the registers. it's my understanding the co-op bylaws have clearer guidelines about the purchase/selling of food items, but not so much about non-food items. there's going to be a petition asking some changes along those lines.

i can see the point of those who want clearer structure-- believe me, in a co-op, if there's not already a procedure and a set of guidelines, there will be someday so you might as well go ahead and do it--

but in my little magpie grocery shopping brain, my first reactions to the new impulse racks were: well, that's certainly an unattractive display. then i thought, i bet those aa duracell batteries are twice as much as they are across the street at walgreens. (by the way, they're 4.99 for a four-pack at open harvest. outrageous!) then i thought, some people are going to be mad those aren't the rechargeable kind. (I didn't even notice the notebooks made of non-recycled paper, or the ashtrays.)

i think they should put the magazines up there. i would love to browse the magazines while in i'm in line there.

anyway... should be an entertaining meeting. if you're a member, go! i hear they had horrible turnout last board of directors election. you've got equity in this business.

Friday, October 23, 2009

there are all kinds of holidays in grocery shopping

on november first, grocery stores discount all the halloween candy and paraphernalia until they sell out (which doesn't take long). same happens the day after christmas, valentine's day, easter, and... husker football games. it's a different sort of candy after husker games, of course. it's candy for the heart and arteries!

earlier this week at the 70th & pioneer hy-vee, i bought the 3# potato salad for a dollar, the 5-layer dip for a dollar-- and that was also buy one, get one free. and then the bacon-wrapped, stuffed chicken breasts for a dollar apiece. so all the food in the top picture cost four dollars total.

if you and your household don't like potato salad, this would be a silly buy, even at a dollar. i passed up the pasta salad at the same price for that reason. and i was happy with the dip (with a little heat added), because there is this other sport called baseball that you really should check out sometime, nebraska.

oh, and the husker tissues are are $2 at the same hy-vee. i hope i don't need them tomorrow. no more post- traumatic- sports- depression for me, thanks.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

leftover review, new restaurant: toast

I'd never heard of the fallbrook neighborhood, so if you're like me, you're going to have to mapquest directions to 570 fallbrook blvd to find toast, a new place that calls itself a cafe, serves deli food, and looks like an expensive restaurant inside-- except for the two giant flat-screen tvs in the (full) bar area. it would be a good venue to watch a game. between that and complete coffee service, using beans from the mill, this should become quite the neighborhood hangout.

what you see here is half of a deilicious sandwich. what you don't see here is a club sandwich, as it's called on the menu-- they usually look more like this. this sandwich, however, was very tasty, and i'd go buy it again. it comes with salami, roast beef, smoked ham and turkey, and cheddar and mayo. i added (at no cost) lettuce and tomato. the meats were all excellent quality and the flavors blended wonderfully.

i've included a picture of the food side of the menu. it's limited but a great starting point.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

today only, half-off everything at south street dairy queen-- closing for season

the tiny dairy queen on south street near capital parkway is closing for the season today. everything is half-price! they're open until 10pm. go enjoy an unusually warm day-- compared to the weather we've been having-- with some half-priced sweets.

this location doesn't serve hot food (except for hot fudge) so don't go in expecting a cheap hamburger like i did. oh well!

there's a bunch of signs saying there's going to be some lane closures, but not street closures, in the area from 2-5pm for a road race. i'm not sure what that's about and a cursory (literally and figuratively) search of the journal star website came up with nothing, but i'm not used to their new setup, so maybe it's just me.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

free pizza (or beer) on your birthday month for signing up for an email list

so right where antelope creek runs near 48th & normal, on the west side of 48th, there's an establishment that is both a barbecue place called buster's, and a pizza place called ramos, and then a sports bar on top of that. i confess i have been here in the past, when i lived within walking distance, and they had some sporting events on their televisions that i didn't have on mine. anyway, it had been a while.

but i signed up for their email list here once, and so just got an email for either a free personal size pizza or a free draft pint. considering the value, i went for the pizza. i mean, do the math here.

deep dish, not at all spicy-- and i do prefer spicy-- but tasty nonetheless. pretty doughy and good for the chicago style.

they have maybe a dozen televisions for sporting events, two pinball machines (spiderman and addams family), and i've heard rumors of karaoke-- though not witnessed it myself. and according to the menu, they deliver until 2am! holy cats.

the thrift store in lincoln where your dog can accompany you. and wayne thiebaud.

i might not have noticed cause for paws if it weren't right next to my vet, namc, whom i also recommend--but that's talk for a dog blog i don't have (yet). cause for paws thrift is within that south 56th/old cheney/ highway two snakepit of busy streets, all with a morass of lanes-- an area where, once again, one appreciates the general gridlike nature of most of the urban planning in lincoln. the quickest hint i can give is: same building as juice stop, other side. so it might take you a minute to find it the first time. or two. but it's worth it.

website here, with hours that have changed recently--but now include sundays, on the limited side. and yes, you can take your well-behaved dog into the store with you-- even off-leash. and the money earned (check their website for current information, and hours of operation) goes to pet-related causes.

they're doing that summer/winter switch of clothes and housewares, and most things are half-price if not less. i bought some good work clothes that were quality and inexpensive. the shoe selection stands out, and i generally avoid second-hand shoes.

of course i looked for a kitchen item so i could write about this store here, and found something that i had already wanted: a sheldon cookbook, which made me quite happy. (of course you should buy a copy at the sheldon gift shop given the opportunity yourself; the sheldon needs your money too! i invite any of my friends in other cities to show me a better free museum. and the kaneko exhibit right now is fantastic, so at least go see that.)

somehow haven't bought it before, but like i said, always wanted it. the picture on the cover-- from the sheldon's permanent collection-- is of course by wayne thiebaud, who was one of my first favorite modern artists as a child. of course he was! look at it! he painted cake! and bubblegum! with those thick, frosting-like strokes! he was my introduction into appreciating pop art the way the beatles were my introduction into appreciating pop music. they catch your eye, they catch your ear, and it goes from there.

the cookbook was a dollar at the thrift store. go buy some some stuff there, or drop stuff off! and you can take the dog along.

i hope there's something in there i want to make...

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

good news for local vegetarians: college back in session

yes, school back in session changes the dining options on the weekends downtown. it also changes take-out options in the college view neighborhood, with the hours at the union college dining hall going back to regular (longer) hours.

their dining hall site is here. the college is seventh-day adventist, which means traditionally vegetarian. and anyone from the public can go get a tray of food either to eat there or take with them. one aspect of the religion that makes this dining option more convenient for vegetarians in town is that the religion's day of rest is saturday-- meaning, pretty decent hours on sunday around mealtimes.

the salad bar, represented up top, is fantastic (yes, that's edamame) and 3.99/#. they cut the broccoli and cauliflower into bite-size, which is a basic standad for any salad bar. i put the dressing on at home, you know, even though they have nice choices. so the salad was just over three bucks.

the middle pic is some bread from their bakery which turned out to be quite delicious and not too carrot-heavy in taste at all, and obviously cheap. they have a large baked goods selection. you can tell some has been frozen and re-thawed, which bothers me; but i also understand the reasoning. i would just like to be able to decode their sale-date a little better. they have many many sweets for those wh0 seek those out-- i hear good things about the cinnamon rolls.

the last picture is some food from their hot bar, which still confuses me-- as i apparently always pick out sides (in this case: brown rice, asparagus, cheesy steamed cauliflower, some semi-spicy garbanzos and a spoonful of something that looked tasty), and i seem to avoid the meat-like but meatless entrees; and this causes confusion at the register. i'll get it worked out. that plate was just over $5. right now i'm wondering why i didn't just just load up with steamed asparagus.

they also have a sandwich-to-order bar, a pizza-to-order bar, and a coffee bar. not sure about the selections there. also a huge fruit bar that i wished i had grabbed a plate from, just to show here. to-go containers cost 25c but they'll let you re-use your own.

so, don't be frightened-- they're friendly and no one's tried to convert me. and it's seriously the healthiest option in college view, when they're open-- check that website.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

until saturday 9/19 at target: buy 5 kashi products, get $5 target gift card

most of the kashi products at target are on sale for 2.88 as well-- again, just through saturday. (if you aren't familiar with kashi as a product line, you might be interested to know about their whole-grain approach to convenience foods.) also, look for some coupons on some product boxes themselves... and at their website... and from their facebook fan page. i got $2 more off the purchase using those today.

the 2.88 price provides the biggest savings on the frozen foods. which, as frozen dinners go, are probably some of the tastiest available.

the sale price applies to (again, most but not all) cookies, crackers, cereals, energy bars, and other products. and if you buy five items from the brand, the target cashier hands you that nice little "thank you" gift card you see there. you don't have to take your receipt to customer service, you don't have to take the card there to get it activated, and you don't have to wait for a $5 rebate check in the mail 6-8 weeks from whenever you get around to maybe applying for it.

so once, again, target amazes me with taking a racket (like rebates) and making it cusotmer-service oriented. and then, also, the design of the gift card itself-- tell me no one's going to re-gift that as an actual thank-you present. brilliant.

this should be at all targets nationwide, i believe. if you're in lincoln, the one on south 40th has the biggest food section.

Monday, September 14, 2009

answer to kfc's double down: lnk's trouble town, pierogi pwn?

i wrote about the fabulously tasty, and nutritionally fantastic, double down sandwich from kfc on another food blog i have (a blog that i haven't used in a while. taking pictures of food that wouldn't work together was fun, but the options were frighteningly limitless and potentially dangerous).

whichever way, the double down is a sandwich from kfc that uses fried chicken as bread. so i used leftovers to make a couple of these little sandwiches that i called trouble towns in homage to the original unimaginable sandwich:

bread-parts: waffle fries
protein-ish: cheese & potato pierogis
dressing: what the watering hole serves with pierogis. blue-cheesy. not bad.
extra layer: some caramelized onions.
side: sauteed mushroom caps.

thanks to t for bringing me back to the watering h0le for the first time this century, and thanks to j for the waffle fries!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

the eagle is abierto: d'leon's at 27th & randolph open

finally open. i'm not sure why d'leon's remodel of the old drive-thru seemed to take so long. perhaps because i drive past so frequently? they just come into the neighborhood, paint the building bright yellow and throw up "opening soon" signs; and then, nothing for weeks. i was going to stage a sit-in.

just south of randolph on south 27th (on the northbound side of 27th street), the locally-owned, seemingly-unstoppable d'leons has finally opened this location. open 24 hours a day. drive-thru 24 hours, walk-in 6am to midnight (if i remember, 5 tables).

yes, this is within seeing/hearing/smelling distance from the amigo's at 27th & capital parkway. the two locations are so close, they are within wrapper-wafting distance of each other (not that anyone in lincoln, nebraska would ever litter). amigo's-- another locally-owned, seemingly-unstoppable mexican fast food chain. odd choice of location for d'leon's? perhaps not, considering how little one wants to deal with a u-turn on 27th st.

given the opportunity to seize upon an impulse burrito at this intersection, you will not be provided with much of a dilemma, if you practically consider each establishment. amigo's is cheaper, your choices are more limited (this can make it much faster depending on who's in your car), and the palate presented is one step more complex than taco bell. d'leons is what people like to call "authentic"-- can we get a better word for that, please?-- slightly more expensive but quite resonable for the quality. and while more inconsistent-- still ten times better. your wallet and taste buds, and which direction you're heading on 27th, will work it out for you.

for me, it's also a question of, "do i want my nostalgic fast food from high school, or do i want a burrito?" pictured: their lincoln breakfast burrito (breakfast served all day). potatoes, bacon, sour cream, and cheese. 3.99.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

take-out review: caffe italia

tossed arugula with reggiano and walnuts, dress-it-yourself with their oil and vinegar. five bucks. all excellent ingredients, the combination of which i am completely fine buying already thrown together, new york times.

i'm told they know on wednesday afternoon what the friday night dinner menu will be. going to find out tomorrow. have you been to the friday night dinner at caffe italia?

Sunday, July 26, 2009

mad cheap: tired produce at open harvest

i'd heard that open harvest was putting out bags of "tired" (read: "one day left to use") produce at a discounted price. i never thought i'd get a bag of sweet and hot peppers for $1.27. the cashier seemed pretty surprised, too; so i think i was in the right bargain bin at the right time. other bags yesterday had squash, eggplants, bananas, pears, and apples.

open harvest is in the process of expanding its physical space as well. stop in and check it out. the bulk section (one of my favorite parts of the store) has been moved to the west side of the interior. i think that's temporary.

you can sign up to receive the membership newsletter through e-mail here.

mad cheap: pickled herring at sun mart

for those of you that love pickled herring, or love someone that does, 99c at the sun mart at 48th & van dorn today.

pickled herring is one of the quintessential love-or-hate foods. if you don't know where you stand, you might want to spend a dollar to try it out. adventure-cize your palate!

Monday, June 29, 2009

mad cheap: portobello 3.88/lb at super saver

great for grilling, my favorite non-meat burger substitute. at 3.88 a pound, these two cost less than a dollar. receipt more for scale than proof.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

strawberries should not be the size of a child's fist, unless you hate the flavor of strawberries

i bought these weekend before last at the old cheney road farmers' market. it was so nice to taste strawberries again.

strawberries that taste like strawberries, that is.

mad cheap: ten cent kiwi fruit and more

today, and while supplies last, at ideal grocery.

gold kiwi for ten cents apiece. they're ripe; and taste like green-fleshed kiwi, and they're actually still fairly green in hue. and ten cents each. i asked the produce guy about them being so cheap. they got a deal and want to move it out the door. make that work for you!

in the close-out close-dated basket, some sopapilla mix for fifty cents. i like sopapilla but can also imagine using this mix for something else. if i don't use it soon, i'll throw it in the freezer for the future.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

last day: yellow bell peppers for 77 cents, hy-vee

i bought one and now i'm thinking i should go back for more... 77 cents is a great price for yellow bell peppers.

i went to the 50th & o st. location. they also had organic yellow baby carrots for 1.50 for a 16 oz. package, and manzano for 99 cents a pound... the little guy in the picture was sitting by himself on the display, i didn't peel him off a bunch, i swear... he was twenty cents.

a dollar's worth of lychee

$3.48# at russ' right now. what would you do with a dollar's worth of lychee fruit?

Monday, June 8, 2009

and this is what a pulled pork and pea shoot salad looks like

my favorite two-ingredient salad ever. the smoky, spicy sweetness of pulled pork teams up perfectly with the bite and crunch of pea shoots. any more ingredients would just confuse the palate.

so let's say you're lucky enough to go to a summer event and you get sent home with some pulled pork. if you bought pea shoots at the farmers' market that same summer weekend, you're set for the best monday lunch of anyone in your building.

toss the two ingredients together with a non-metal implement to avoid bruising the pea shoots. you're better off combining right before eating.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

this is what a quarter of a pound of pea shoots looks like

so don't let the $10/# price tag scare you.

(not a serving suggestion! please rinse and dress first.)

the yellow cherries are back, super saver

three dollars for a pint, which seems more than reasonable at this point of the season. and a practical thing to pick up on the way to the party or barbecue or lunch or reception (when you're not supposed to bring anything, but you want to bring something).

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

another farmers' market: thursday afternoons, 4:30 to 7:30.

the first day for this farmers' market is this coming thursday afternoon, june 4th. it's at pentzer park, 2 blocks north of 27th & holdrege. 4:30 to 7:30.

since this market hasn't started yet, here's pictures of stuff i bought at the community crops stand at the old cheney market a couple weekends ago. some red-spined spinach, similarly-stemmed baby chard, and chives.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

the other six dollars at the farmers' market

1/4# of arugula, two dollars.

an already-bagged, very clean bunch of dinosaur kale, two dollars. (a great price on this, my favorite green. you see one of twenty leaves in this picture. would have been the highlight of the day, except for the next item on the list.)

which is:

purple and orange cauliflower! sold by weight measure, around two dollars total for both heads.

six dollars at the farmers' market

one pint of snap peas, three dollars. one bunch of purple green onions, one dollar. one bunch of baby bok choi, one dollar. three "salad" tomatoes, one dollar.

sixty-three cents-worth of kumquats from super saver

what would you do with them? throw them on a cheese plate? make a cocktail garnish? incorporate into a dessert? go hog wild with some crazy entree, like a kumquat-pistachio pork chop?

2.89# at super saver now.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

my favorite cupcake so far

from the cup, of course. a carrot cake cupcake. the cake was very light, and the cream cheese frosting complemented the texture perfectly.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

99c while supplies last. green beans, salt pork.

at the 70th & pioneer hy-vee today, they had these close-dated specials: 12oz bags of washed, trimmed green beans for 99c, down from 3.98 each; and 12oz pkgs of salt pork also for 99c, down from 2.49.

also at that location, corn king brand bacon for 69c a package. i didn't get any but some people were buying half a dozen packages. if i had a big freezer or a big family, i'd go in and stock up.

one thing i have to say for the hy-vee at 70th & pioneer: it plays the best in-store "hy-vee radio" of any location in town. in one trip, i heard devo and gary numan. obviously it's just their 80s channel, but i have heard much much worse music while grocery shopping.

mulligatawny at open harvest every saturday

i'm a huge fan of mulligatawny soup. my favorite in town comes from the oven. i do enjoy open harvest's version, though, and it's nice to know it's the regular saturday soup at their deli.

i hear that open harvest deli is now offering some sushi to order. i haven't tried it yet.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

boxes of mother's day candy on sale, a day early

it's the day before mother's day-- and heartland pantry already has all the boxes of mother's day candy on sale for half-price.

Monday, May 4, 2009

rock island trail? $5 lunch from leon's

the rock island trail follows an old rail line through lincoln. just south of memorial park on the trail is leon's. here was my idea for lunch-- for two actually, on one recent day, for five bucks:

first, leon's always has bags of salad mix marked down to 99c because of close-date. yet the mix inside always looks great. they're storing these absolutely correctly, apparently.
then, fried chicken tenders from the deli. i cut these up into chunks to toss into the mixed salad. in the caesar-ish salad mix, this works pretty well.
and last and not least, some fruit and a brownie to share.

leon's is open sundays. and open until nine, which is after sundown even now.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

buttermilk 59c/qt at ideal this week

that sale price of 59c for a quart of buttermilk at ideal lasts through friday. if you're not near ideal, but using buttermilk as a marinade (like i wrote about here) still interests you, check the price at the grocery store you frequent. it's probably low there, too. prices in the dairy section of the supermarket are noticeably lower of late. so if you like dairy products, stock up! you could get enough milk for a year for... oh wait, that won't work.

that's some more chicken (skin-on, obviously) marinated in buttermilk, then browned, then baked. very tender and moist.