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We’ve Moved!

1 Mar

Dish Dash Dime has moved to it’s very own website. I’m so excited to bring you a website that will continually evolve to bring you the best recipes, deals, freebies, giveaways and more. So what are you waiting for? Go to right now.

SOPA and Blogging

18 Jan

Now, I’m not one to explicitly shove my opinion down someone’s throat in hopes that they’ll take my side and then act on it as well. Its rare you’ll find posts on this blog unrelated to food, deals, and the like. But I’m also not one to ignore a problem or to pretend like it won’t impact me. So that is why I want to bring your attention to SOPA and PIPA. Before you stop reading, thinking that this is a political or social statement, I just want you to watch this video.

On the Tuesday 24th January 2012, the US Senate will vote on the internet censorship bill.

Its your choice what you do with this information – I just want to keep you informed of what could happen if this bill were to pass next week. Here is a great article I found on that really explains what the bill is and how it will affect you as internet users and me as a blog writer:

As stated prior in what PIPA and SOPA are and what will they enable U.S. government agencies and private companies to do, the internet will become a hunt for any little bit of possible copyright violation. Of course the government loves blogs and bloggers, so it is only natural to think that they will receive a lot of special attention. These acts make it the blog owners responsibility for everything that is displayed on their site, including the comments of visitors.

So say an article is published one day featuring a logo, or trademark, of corporation and that corporation doesn’t like that it is being put on display on the site. Now the author of this article could have used it as a teaching method, critique, praising good design, or anything you can think of, it doesn’t matter. With these acts being only direct enough to give an area for attack, and vague enough to manipulate and twist seemingly any possible way, any type of accusation can be made and found true.

Please consider the impact this type of decision could have on America and the Internet. Yes, certain file sharing and piracy sites do need legal action, but something this vague could be more powerful and more abusive than we can even realize. If you agree, then choose to do something about it and join the petition at I wish I had a better solution to help control and take down sites where creative content and intellectual property are shared with no exchange of payment, but for now, I know that SOPA and PIPA are not the answer.

TK’s is much more than OK

11 Jan

It’s hard to find a restaurant that makes fresh and flavorful American cuisine and bar food favorites without compromising service, quality, or atmosphere. A restaurant that feels like a home kitchen filled with gourmet flavors and concepts but that offers something different from a local self-proclaimed fast-casual concept chain. If simple, good eats is what you’re after, then TK’s Urban Tavern is the place.

TK’s Urban Tavern is a moderately priced casual eatery offering everything from comforting bar classics like mac ‘n cheese to grilled halibut filets that might just put your favorite seafood restaurant to shame. The bar hosts a variety of craft beers, a familiar wine list, and some unique specialty cocktails. The atmosphere is just like a tavern should be – dark wood floors, exposed brick walls, a vaulted ceiling with small spotlights, and floor to ceiling windows for natural light when there is some.

During the warmer months, outdoor seating is located on a small patio and offers guests an even better people-watching vantage point while they enjoy their cuisine. During our visits, the staff and service was truly refreshing and added to the enjoyable and relaxing atmosphere. Every person we encountered, whether one of the friendly owners, Tom Kelly and Brian Pierce, our server, or someone clearing the table, made sure our dining experience was perfect.
Our server treated us like we were all friends hanging out for the first time in years. She welcomed us to the restaurant like we were at her house and she was the one cooking the meals. She answered questions with ease and made us very comfortable – water glasses were always full, and empty plates never lingered.

On one occasion, we chose the barbeque chicken quesadilla. Not being the biggest fan of barbecue flavors, I was skeptical to put something smoky in what should be a spicy Mexican dish. The appetizer came out hot, fresh, and presented in way that you would find at most upscale restaurants. It came with a delicious side of guacamole and had the perfect combination of meat and cheese. This is the kind of quesadilla that requires some fork and knife attention. It’s gooey, messy, and flavorful. Excellent.

Our gang of four ordered the Cobb salad, the pulled pork sandwich, yet another barbeque chicken quesadilla, and an order of the special that night: mahi mahi street tacos.

Admittedly, Cobb salad might not sound like anything fancy; particularly when most dinner salads these days come with five parts greens to one part toppings. TK’s Cobb salad came already tossed with large pieces of tomato, avocado, and tender chicken breast. Bacon, egg, and mild blue cheese crumbles served as the perfect complement to the mixed greens. The salad is served with tasty ranch dressing that beautifully brings the flavors together. While a simple dish, it was a memorable salad.

The fish tacos were a special that night and could be ordered individually or as an entrée. The entrée came with four small tacos. There was some sort of seasoning on the fish that didn’t quite mesh with the other ingredients like theguacamole. But the mahi mahi was grilled perfectly and each street-sized taco was amply filled with fish. The entrée wasn’t large by any means, but enough for one person to be very satisfied.

The pulled pork sandwich is a TK’s Tavern favorite and has made quite a name for itself with frequent visitors. On top of a large toasted baguette comes a heaping portion of pulled pork, topped with Havarti cheese and cold apple slaw. Served up next to this monster sandwich is a mound of homemade French fries and a spicy ketchup accompaniment. Unlike most pulled pork sandwiches, which offer more sauce and mess than meat, this sandwich is all about the protein. And then French fries are hot, crispy, and worth every calorie. Out of the four items we sampled, this was the clear winner and easy to see why it was such a favorite among regular visitors.

Once again too full for dessert, our eyes did happen to glimpse (or maybe stare) at some of the desserts on our neighbors’ tables. We did see a root beer float, served up in a chilled mug with vanilla bean ice cream. And for chocolate lovers, a decadent layered chocolate cake is served with caramel ice cream – and definitely big enough to share.

Overall, we enjoyed our dining experience at TK’s. Even though the restaurant was closing by the time we left, we never felt rushed to order or eat; and we even lingered a bit afterwards. TK’s Tavern is a great place to eat quality food in a relaxed environment. Almost like your best friend had become your very own personal chef, and happened to re-do his living room to look like a dimly lit, yet modern tavern. For lunch, dinner, or happy hour, TK’s Urban Tavern is worth the visit. Your taste buds will thank you.

True Foods Kitchen

26 Dec

I’ve recently developed a phobia to eating at chain restaurants. HAHA. Its more like, why eat somewhere the same each week instead of trying somewhere different? And while True Foods Kitchen is a chain restaurant, its much different than an Applebees or Outback Steakhouse. Its these types of places that make me excited to eat out again. After all, if I can make the food myself, in the quantity I want, when I want it, why would I pay someone else to do? Enter True Food Kitchen and their green-friendly, fresh food, healthy concept.

True Food KitchenWe visited True Food on a recent Monday night. We arrived before the dinner rush and while the restaurant was steadily busy, it never felt crowed and we never felt rushed. The dining room is one room, which made for some noisy ambiance, but not so overwhelming as to disrupt conversation. The atmosphere is modern and contemporary; the walls sport a yellow pop of color on the most upper reaches which is brought to life by the textured dark walls below. Wooden beams cross over the ceiling and giant retro-looking circular dome lights run down the center of the room which creates a great symmetry to the overall look and feel.

Outside, a patio offers comfortable seating as well as traditional tables. Fabric panels with clear plastic windows help keep heat from fire pits and heaters inside the patio on chilly winter nights. Back inside, an open kitchen is adorned with bins filled to overflowing with the bright colors of lemons, oranges, limes, pineapple and more. From these, True Food squeezes their own juices for a variety of both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages as well as accompaniments to some of their entrees. Look closely and you will see that the kitchen is devoid of fryers and microwaves which underscores their health conscious, green-friendly concept.

True Food KitchenOur waiter was friendly, knowledgeable, and attentive. He told us about the True Food concept before recommending a few dishes. He pointed out that the menu changes based on the season, as they get all their produce from a local farm in Peoria. And on the menu, items are clearly marked as vegan, vegetarian, or gluten free.

We were eager to try some of the fresh-squeezed juices and ordered a Honey Lemonade and a Medicine Man. The honey lemonade was divine, tasting of pure, sweet honey and freshly squeezed lemon juice. The Medicine Man was coined as an antioxidant drink, and was a bit underwhelming. The drink was made with olivello, cranberry, and pomegranate juice and then mixed with soda water and pomegranate seeds.
For a starter, we ordered the Shiitake & Tofu Lettuce Cups. Each one was amply filled with a delicious blend of tofu, mushroom, ginger, and cashews, for a crunch. The sauce was ample, but not overpowering. It was a light and healthy alternative to a heavy appetizer served at most restaurants. The lettuce cups could also serve as a great entree for a lunch or light meal.

After many recommendations by our waiter, we decided on our entrees. We ordered the Squash and Ricotta Ravioli and the Teriyaki Brown Rice Bowl, with both shrimp and chicken (instead of picking just one!). The entrees arrived at almost perfect timing after we had finished our appetizer. The dishes were hot and obviously very freshly cooked. We agreed that it was the hottest we had ever received an entree from the kitchen. We appreciated both the prompt kitchen to table service, and the feeling like someone was making us a home cooked meal.

The Teriyaki Chicken Rice Bowl is made with a house-made teriyaki sauce featuring their fresh squeezed pineapple juice. So the dish boasted an overall citrus flavor in contrast with the savory choice of protein and vegetables. The shrimp was easily better than the chicken, although both were cooked to perfection. The rice was tender, and plentiful, while the unique addition of avocado provided a great compliment to the layers of flavor in the dish.

The Squash and Ricotta Ravioli came in a delicious Miatake Mushroom soy broth, adorned with perfectly seasoned kale. Unlike the usual ravioli dish, drenched in creamy sauce, this version was light and fresh. The squash was a sweet compliment to the creamy ricotta cheese. The homemade ravioli were large and a perfect al dente. Needless to say, both plates were almost clean when our waiter came to collect them.

Too full for dessert, we’re eager to come back and try crowd favorites like Squash Pie or the Low-Fat Ginger Ice Cream, or perhaps a Banana Chocolate Tart. We were overly pleased that the place seemed anything but gimmicky or pretentious. The service, atmosphere, and quality of food made for a great food adventure. It’s a great place for drinks and appetizers, a date, or even a large group hangout. They also offer a wonderful weekend brunch featuring organic eggs, turkey bacon, and sweet potato hash.

Leaving the restaurant feeling healthy, energized, and refreshed we both agreed that Fox Restaurant has once again found a great niche with this concept. For a good meal with good-for-you ingredients and surrounded by good company, it truly doesn’t get any better than this!

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