Best place for brunch? My favorite cities top a new list

Did you know April is national brunch month? Me either, who comes up with these things?

A great egg-white omelette should be part of any first-rate brunch offering.

I recently received a press release, from of all places, rating the best brunch cities in the country. No surprise that the top three — New York, San Francisco and Chicago — are three of my favorite U.S. cities, maybe my three most favorite.

I don’t go to brunches much anymore because to me the best are all-you-can eat and that’s not very heart healthy. Casinos in the Chicago-area where I live once had massive buffets, but those closed during Covid and have not come back. Not exactly brunches, but in my mind they tend to blend together.

The survey lists 200 cities and includes fun little subgroups like Most Brunch Vendors per Square Mile (Miami wins) and Most Brunch Clubs (New York). You can click through to get details on various cities too.

I write about some pretty serious food issues here, so it’s nice to take a break once and a while and write about fun things like brunch. Enjoy your next weekend brunch but try to eat healthy in the process.

Always, always check your store receipts

Here’s a great way to help keep your food costs in check in these days of higher prices — always check your receipt before leaving a food store to be sure you haven’t been overcharged for something.

Prices are all in a computer somewhere these days, how can you be overcharged, you might ask? It’s the old story of garbage in, garbage out when it comes to computers. Stores may not input proper sale prices, or the right brands, or a myriad of other mistakes.

Jewel, an Albertson’s chain I shop at in the Chicago area, is infamous, in my mind, for not giving the right prices on sale items. Just this week it charged me an extra $3 on a three-pound bag of potatoes that was supposed to be on sale for 99 cents.

Continue reading “Always, always check your store receipts”

New food words — believe it, the dictionary says it’s so

Cooking up more healthy foods for you in my outdoor kitchen. Thanks for reading all my posts!
I may have a chef’s jacket, but I can still learn new food words.

We all talk about food daily, don’t we? And we usually use the same words for it, a steak is a steak isn’t it?

But according to The 9 New Foods Words in Merriam-Webster and How to Cook Them, there are new food words you need to know.

Pumpkin spice leads the list, an easy one so you won’t be intimidated. But then comes omakase, ras el hanout, mojo and more.

Take a look at the list and the recipes suggested to see how current your food knowledge is, and to amaze your friends next time you talk about food.

Avoid these late-day habits to avoid weight gains

Binging on ribs? Don’t, not if you want to drop some pounds.

While this blog isn’t mainly concerned with dieting and weight loss, we do write about it from time to time because, more often than not, heart patients like me need to drop some pounds.

So we’d suggest checking out this piece at, 5 Things You Should Not Do After 5 P.M. If You’re Trying to Lose Weight, According to a Dietitian.

They’re pretty common-sense, if you think about them. Like not opening a refrigerator without a plan. Or binge-eating late in the day.

But, if you need reminders, print the list out and put it on your fridge! Staying up too late is the toughest pone for me. I’ve always enjoyed being awake when everyone else is asleep. I feel the world can’t hurt me then.

Anyone else?

Halibut with Romesco sauce — hold the nuts

Halibut is a luxury fish, one more commonly eaten at restaurants than at home because many people are afraid to try preparing fish themselves. But this recipe sounds worth trying, albeit without the almonds mentioned if, like me, you can’t stand nuts.

Halibut on a carrot puree at a restaurant in Milwaukee which is, sadly, no longer there.

Here are the basics, from the site, minus changes I would make:


  • 1 1/2 pounds halibut fillets
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt (leave out the salt)
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper


  • 1 large red bell pepper
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1/4 cup slivered, toasted almonds (only if you like them, I don;t so would omit)
  • 1 thick slice of bread, torn into pieces (find the lowest salt bread you can)
  • 1 teaspoon salt (omit, fish is salty as is, no extra is needed)
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 cup drained canned diced tomatoes (buy low- or no-salt ones)
  • 2 tablespoon red wine vinegar

To create the dish:

  1. To make the sauce, preheat the broiler. Quarter the bell pepper and place it, cut side down, on a baking sheet along with the garlic cloves. Broil, turning the garlic once, until the garlic is browned and soft and the skin of the bell pepper blackened and blistered. Removed from the boiler and set aside cool slightly.
  2. peel the blackened skin from the pepper and remove the core and seeds. Put the bell pepper and garlic in a food processor along with the almonds, bread, salt and paprika. Process to a paste. Add the tomatoes and vinegar and process until the tomatoes are small and fully incorporated.
  3. To cook the fish preheat a broiler to high. Season the fish with the salt and pepper and broil about 4 minutes. Turn and broil for another 4 minutes, or until the fish is cooked through. Serve the fish immediately, with the sauce drizzled over it.

Enjoy. And if you love halibut, try this other recipe on my site, halibut with wine and herbs.

Zupas: a tasty salad place worth a visit

Since Chicago-area McDonald’s decided to drop salads this year, I’ve been searching for alternatives that are both tasty and well-priced. My quest took me to a northern Chicago suburb, Deerfield, and a place called Cafe Zupas.

Zupas apparently is a chain, you can check its website for locations. Like other national salad places, it offers a range of pre-determined salads or you can create your own, which is what I did.

Cafe Zupas in Deerfield, Il. It was very clean and everyone was helpful in preparing my salad.

The create-your-own comes with a protein (I picked chicken) and five toppings. The assortment was such that I got two helpings of tomatoes, there wasn’t a lot else that appealed to me. I also got cucumbers, cranberries and strawberries.

The place also didn’t have plain oil and vinegar, surprising and a little disappointing. It does have some low-salt dressing options, check its nutrition page before you go.

The size of the salad was larger than other salad places and the price, a little over $10, was in line with what two McDonald salads would cost me.

My Zupas’ salad. I plan to go again.

While I’d like to see oil and vinegar and more topping choices, I still give Zupas a thumbs up. One especially nice feature, a free chocolate-covered strawberry comes with every meal.

When Mrs. Dash can’t help, make your own spice mixtures

I’ma. Bog fan of Mrs. Dash salt-free spice mixtures and its spice packets or such offerings as taco and fajita seasonings.

But lately, the Healthy Heart Market where I order such items has not had the Mrs. Dash fajita mix in stock, so I started looking for a recipe of my own.

I found that, like everything else I suppose, there are lots of options for such recipes online.

Some of the results of my search. You can find many more.

I did a search for “mixing your own fajita seasoning salt-free” and the results poured in.

You can easily do the same, then pick one that appeals to you.

10 more salmon recipes to add to your files

In another sheet of aluminum foil, place your four pieces of salmon and separate with aluminum foil. Then rub in marinades for each.
Soon it will be time for grilling salmon outside again in my Midwest home. Can;t wait. In the meantime, check out these baked salmon recipes.

I’ve written in the past that you can never have too many salmon recipes. So here are 10 more from All are baked, which is healthy, ut check recipes to see if you need to eliminate any salt, fat or sugar that ingredients may bring.

Salmon with Green Beans and Smashed Potatoes, the first recipe listed, looks simple to make and tasty, I’d leave out the salt and go with a fat-free mayo. If you’re worried about sugar intake, substitute red potatoes too. This recipe shows its nutrition info, which is always helpful.

Not all the recipes have nutritional information however. Crispy Sheet Pan Salmon with Lemony Asparagus and Carrots sounds tasty too but has no nutrition info, sadly. I may try it anyway.It also includes mayo, get that fat-free. And again, leave out the salt, you don’t need it for fish.

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