thanksgiving at bobby 2014 For the last few season, Food Network has aired their Thanksgiving Live special full of recipes, tips, and tricks from different Food Network personalities. That short tradition dies this year. Maybe it’s because of Giada’s crazy and annoying behavior, not mention her nearly losing a finger, that lead them away from the live format to a pre-recorded show.

Below you will find my running commentary about the show. For the recipes, please visit Food Network’s website.

Bobby’s Roast Turkey with Mustard Maple Glaze | Click here for the recipe
The show begins like any good Thanksgiving show should with the prepping of the turkey. Bobby is doing a roast turkey with mustard maple glaze. Bobby employs the start with a hot oven (450 degrees) and finish it in a cooler oven (350 degrees). If you reverse this method you still brown the sky, but are more likely to overcook the meat doing so. Do it at the start and you don’t have to worry about that.

Katie’s Cornbread Stuffing with Herb Butter | Click here for the recipe
Katie Lee makes a cornbread dressing with the herb butter. Her tip was to cook the dressing once the turkey is done cooking. It needs to rest before carving. She has it already to go a day or two before hand, and then it’s ready to slid in the oven when the turkey is ready. Great use of time and oven space.

Sunny’s Cranberry, Apple, and Fig Streusel Tart | Click here for the recipe
As a produce man, the first thing that jumps out to me is figs. The recipes call for fresh figs. Good luck finding a fresh fig around Thanksgiving. They pretty much disappear from stores once the calendar turns to fall. You can find dried figs year around or use dates. Not much else is said about the dessert.

Bobby Flay Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes

Bobby Flay’s Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes

Bobby’s Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes | Read my recipe review
Since the recipes were posted way earlier I was able to try this out out before the show. The best part of these potatoes is using buttermilk instead of just regular milk. It adds a nice tanginess. In the show he uses just a potato masher for mashing while online the recipe says you can use a food mill. I did it with the food mill – which gave it a lighter texture. Bobby offered a great tip to keep the potatoes warm. Put them in a bowl and make a double boiler. The steam from the pot underneath will keep the potatoes warm while the rest of the meal comes together.

Sunny’s Sage and Pecan Sweet Potato Casserole | Click here for the recipe
To make up for the fig oversight, Sunny comes up with the idea of making a crumble topping for sweet potatoes, that combines pecans, sugar, butter, and sage. She folds in the marshmallows instead of just throwing them on top. She roasts them in the oven first to give you that camp fire like flavor. Not a bad idea if you are a fan of this often over sweetened dish.

Back to Bobby’s Turkey
He rubs this maple-mustard glaze onto the turkey. I am sure the glaze is very flavorful, but if you are like family that doesn’t eat the skin then all the flavor is going to waste. Another option would be to taste the same glaze and put it underneath the skin before you begin cooking it.

Alex Guarnaschelli’s Broiled Cauliflower Steaks with Parsley and Lemon | Click here for the recipe
If you are looking for a new Thanksgiving side dish to try, this may be the one you have been waiting for. Making cauliflower into steaks is all the rage. The cauliflower gets blanched, and then marinates in coconut milk and spices. You make this ahead and all you have to do is roast them for 10 to 15 mintues, then broil them to get some nice char. All done at the last moment before the meal. I love tips that help you bring the meal together and hot all at the same time. Drop a little gremolta (parsley, lemon, garlic) and a vinaigrette. A great way to bring a super fresh flavor to the meal.

Roasted Carrots, Spanish Spices, Yogurt Sauce, Harissa | Click here for the recipe
I am all about including carrots in the Thanksgiving meal. These carrots are blanched, then fried in spices, topped off with yogurt sauce and a pomegranate vinaigrette. I have seen the exact carrots he is using. They are small, carrots that come with a small section of the tops and are peeled. These carrots are extremely expensive. I have seen them for $7.99 per pound. You are better off buying a bag of organic rainbow carrots which go for about $2.49 and then just cut them into sticks.

Bobby’s Gravy, Alex’s Great Idea
The best way to make a gravy is a roux. This helps prevent the disastrous lumpy gravy from occurring. I love the idea Alex has come up with. She takes the vegetables she roasted the turkey with and purees them and adds them to the gravy. This is great way to thicken the gravy without adding flour. Perfect choice for those looking for a gluten free gravy and it adds great flavor.

Michael’s Southern Greens | Click here for the recipe
Michael uses a combination of kale and collards and instead of the standard ham hock, he goes for smoked turkey wings. You get the smoky flavor, by it’s a bit healthier with the turkey.

Final Thoughts on the Show
I did not like it as much as the Thanksgiving Live. Show wasn’t as teaching or as useful those new to cooking for Thanksgiving. It also lacked that fan interaction that made things more exciting in the past. I would not call it a true replacement. However the show still did provide some useful tips, my favorite being pureeing the vegetables to add to the gravy. Watch replays of the show to get some good recipe ideas.

Here are the recipes they were shown by not really talked about:
Alex’s Indian Pudding | Click here for the recipe
Michael’s Chocolate Pumpkin Pie | Click here for the recipe
Katie’s Deviled Eggs | Click here for the recipe


Restaurant Impossible Angelo's Woodstock

Problems Robert Had to Address
1. Owners with very little experience and knowledge of how to run a restaurant
2. An inexperience cook with a cocky attitude
3. Food that is not up to par
4. A design with no clear theme

The Recipes
BBQ Glazed Roast Chicken | Print the recipe
Robert criticizes restaurant for using store bought BBQ sauces, yet this recipe is basically a doctored up BBQ sauce on some roast chicken. What gives?

Panko Crusted Salmon and Corn Chickpea Salad | Print the recipe
Salmon is covered in panko bread crumbs and is pan-fried and served over a cold salad of chickpeas, corn, diced tomatoes, cumcumber, red onion, and romaine lettuce.

Restaurant Impossible Still Open I always try my best to guess whether or not a place is going to exist long after Robert’s visit. I thought during the show that this place won’t last. They are lacking too much for Robert to help them in just two days. Just before the show aired a report came out that the restaurant while still open is for sale. I am afraid that some people are trying to get on the show to their place fixed up so they can sell it. This has happened with other restaurants Robert has gone to. They do have a right to do that, but it’s shame to see them “waste” Food Network’s help when another place wanted to succeed. They still say that they are open to keeping it going but I think they might be more happy to sell the place.

One of the problems with Seven was their inexperience in the kitchen. Apparently they did hire a chef to run the kitchen, with their son still helping out as a cook, which I think was a good move.

Have you been to this restaurant, what did you think?

If you want more Robert Irvine recipes, here are some of his available cookbooks:

This cookbook contains 111 recipes many with complete timelimes and several that are gluten free. An example of the kind of recipes you will find are Lime-Cured Shrimp and Roasted Corn Chowder, Porcini-Dusted Pork Chops with Cremini Mushrooms and Golden Raisins over Horseradish-Scented Potatoes.

In this book Robert shares his personal stories (including cooking for First Lady Laura Bush) and cooking philosophy. There are also recipes to be had like Black Angus Beef Tartare with Toasted Brioche and Fried Quail Egg, Roasted Duck with White Bean Ragout.


Ducky's Resturant Impossible

Problems Robert Had to Address
1. Two owners who are struggling to stay on the same page.
2. No theme in the decor
3. Dirty front and back of the house
4. Canned green beans
5. Service that can be slow

For all the work they did not put into the look of the place, they do have a really nice looking website, something that looks professional and polished, not just thrown together. Make sure to take a look.

The Recipes
Fried Chicken | Print the recipe
One of the challenges they were fasting is the slow service to get out their fried chicken. They wanted cook fresh and that is admirable. They did have the chicken turn out moist, which Robert was pleased with. In order to speed up the process, Robert has them cook the chicken in the oven first so that it is ready to go for the fryer when service time comes. Besides that there isn’t anything else to this recipe.

Tempura Crawfish | Print the recipe
Another fried option is the Tempura Crawfish. Tempura batters are suppose to be lighter. It is served with a sauce of green onions, corn, and mayo.

Collard Greens Bubble and Squeak | Print the recipe
They wanted to have classic Southern comfort food so of course you had to have collards. This recipe combines collards and potatoes and makes them into cakes that are pan-fried. The collards are cooked in stock, apple juice, and bacon.

All of these dishes still seem to be on the menu, whether or not they are true to the way Robert waned them is a whole another question.

Restaurant Impossible Still Open
Whenever I see a resturant have the kind of cleaning problems this place had, I never feel very confident that the place will succeed. I am sure some people will be put off by the dirtiness of the restaurant and as with all RI re-dos the bathrooms are not included, so I have to wonder if Georgia Boy Cafe’s bathrooms are still that way.

Have you been to this restaurant, what did you think?

If you want more Robert Irvine recipes, here are some of his available cookbooks:

This cookbook contains 111 recipes many with complete timelimes and several that are gluten free. An example of the kind of recipes you will find are Lime-Cured Shrimp and Roasted Corn Chowder, Porcini-Dusted Pork Chops with Cremini Mushrooms and Golden Raisins over Horseradish-Scented Potatoes.

In this book Robert shares his personal stories (including cooking for First Lady Laura Bush) and cooking philosophy. There are also recipes to be had like Black Angus Beef Tartare with Toasted Brioche and Fried Quail Egg, Roasted Duck with White Bean Ragout.


Thanksgiving Live Recap 2013

What has become an annual tradition on Food Network is their Thanksgiving Live show. This year it aired on Saturday, November 23rd from 12-2pm with re-runs on Sunday, November 24th 12-2pm and 6-8pm. This show is about sharing recipes and answering questions from Food Network viewers. It’s a fun show each year that I look forward to watching. The Food Network personalities that appeared this year include Alton Brown, Bobby Flay, Giada, and Ina. The nice people at Food Network have posted the recipes that each chef will share during the show. I posted a link to each recipe below.

Alton Brown’s Recipes
Clarified Butter
Baked Macaroni and Cheese | This appears to be this original mac & cheese recipe from Good Eats.
Brussels Sprouts with Pecans and Cranberries
Good Gravy
Cranberry Sauce | Another Good Eats recipe making another apperance

Bobby Flay's Smoked Paprika Potatoes

Bobby Flay’s Recipes
Mashed Potatoes with Smoked Paprika and Chives | I gave this recipe a try, the smokey flavor of the paprika was a nice surprise addition to your standard mashers and the color was a beautiful fall orange!
Country Bread Stuffing with Goat Cheese, Kale and Bacon
Roasted Turkey a la Tangerine
Roasted Shrimp in Cazuela

Giada’s Recipes
Apple Crostata | Can’t go wrong with a baked apple dessert, althought the last crostata I made that was Giada’s recipe did not turn out well.
Kale and Gorgonzola Salad
Thanksgiving Turkeys ! This one is for the kids. Giada takes candies and cookies and makes them into turkeys
Turkey Breast “Porchetta”

Ina’s Recipes
Accidental Turkey
Roasted Figs and Prosciutto
Mushroom and Leek Bread Pudding
Green Beans Gremolata | I want to give this one a go, except I might find a cheaper substitute for the pine nuts.


Ducky's Resturant Impossible It’s been a while since I have wrote a Resturant Impossible Follow-Up. I started writing these on a whim and it has been a great source of search engine traffic for the site, so I keep on doing until it’s not! This episode Robert visits a restaurant called Ducky’s. It’s a family business where emotions are running high (hmmmm….sounds familiar!)

Problems Robert Had to Address
1. Two words – canned food
2. Boring decor with little creativity
3. Service is not efficient

Canned Food
I often wonder what these people are thinking. Do they ever watch the show? In fact they showed they did, as the owner waited for Robert to make his patient “yuk” face, where he spits food into a napkin. So you think they might have learned a lesson or two, like getting rid of canned food. People can open cans at home (not that they should). It’s always better for the bottom line to go fresh. Restaurant takes these shortcuts because it’s easier for them in the kitchen. Just so no to canned food. It may seem like a savings not it’s really not.

The Recipes
Crisp Onion Burger | Print the recipe
This burger is made with 80/20 beef (20% fat) with onions, thousand island dressing (yuck!) on brioche buns. Nothing super creative here, but Ducky’s isn’t a gourmet joint, so simple and tasty is what they need.

Blackened Snapper, Red Pepper Sauce, Cheese Grits and Corn Relish | Print the recipe
A blackened snapper fish is served with a red pepper/apple juice sauce. It is served over grits with a corn relish. A fancier dish, but nothing that can’t be made by a decent cook.

Interested in more Food Network recipes, check out my post on the Best Food Network Recipe I Ever Made

Best Food Network Recipes I Ever Made

Restaurant Impossible Still Open
With a strong family presence and passion I knew this place wasn’t going to at least make it to the airing. But does it has a long term future? Will it be along to pass down to the next generation? Here are some comments I found online that should how Ducky’s is doing.

This first one is from Yelp:

Saw the RI show. Tell Amanda to get rid of that stupid stud beneath her lip and cover the tattoos on her right arm. Both are turn-offs to most of the public.

Amanda is a little rough on around the edges, but she seems to have the passion for the business and it has to start there to be successful. This comment doesn’t really help us see how the place is doing. So let’s see what else is out there. Let’s see what’s on Trip Advisor:

Nice clean place, service was fair and friendly. I liked the Catfish but the grits and red pepper was cold. The rest of my party were equally disappointed in their steak dishes.

Problems with the kitchen getting the food out hot. Robert didn’t spend any time really working with the service (at least what we saw on camera). Two days isn’t a lot of time to turn every aspect around. This show is about giving restaurant owners a leg up, but if they don’t take the ball and run with it on their own, they will end up on the closed list (and a lot of places have not made it). Let’s look at 1 more comment from Trip Advisor:

Thankfully, Chef Robert Irvine left the personality when he made over this restaurant in late July 2013. (Show will air in late August or early September). As a Kokomo landmark restaurant, Chef Irvine left the good food and excellent service alone and just gave it a very nice “face lift”. Interior is very welcoming and attractive.Had a great burger and fries for lunch with soda refills coming so fast, we hardly noticed it! We’ve always enjoyed their breakfast and lunch, but with the new floor, updated décor and slimdown menu items….whew! Winner, winner, chicken dinner! And that was today’s special…Hoosier Chicken and Noodles. Give it a try!

Nice positive comment. I found a few other similar to this one. The place isn’t without it’s problems. they can keep on tweaking things that might be a plc

Have you been to this restaurant, what did you think?

If you want more Robert Irvine recipes, here are some of his available cookbooks:

This cookbook contains 111 recipes many with complete timelimes and several that are gluten free. An example of the kind of recipes you will find are Lime-Cured Shrimp and Roasted Corn Chowder, Porcini-Dusted Pork Chops with Cremini Mushrooms and Golden Raisins over Horseradish-Scented Potatoes.

In this book Robert shares his personal stories (including cooking for First Lady Laura Bush) and cooking philosophy. There are also recipes to be had like Black Angus Beef Tartare with Toasted Brioche and Fried Quail Egg, Roasted Duck with White Bean Ragout.


Food Network Thanksgiving Show Guide 2013

It’s that time of year again, time to celebrate all things Thanksgiving. If you are looking for new recipeps to try this Thanksgiving, let Food Network be your guide. There are tons of Thanksgiving programming on the network between now and turkey day with the highlight being the 3rd annual Thanksgiving Live! on Sunday, November 24th. This is a 2 hour special (from 12-2pm ET) where Food Network personalities (including my favorite Alton Brown!) will answer questions via e-mail, phone, Skype, social media, etc. It’s a fun show each year with plenty of recipes to try out.

Below you will find a list of shows airing on Food Network before Thanksgiving. You will find links to recipes that I have tried myself. All times are Eastern or Pacific. Episodes that are brand new this year as marked as such.

* – indicates recipes I plan to review this year

Saturday, November 9th

The Best Thing I Ever Made | Easy As Pie | 8am
Alton Brown’s Caramelized Grape Pie
Kona Mango Cream Pie
Turkish Borek
Shepherd’s Pie 2

Wednesday, November 13th

5 Ingredient Fix | Thanksgiving Feast from One Grocery Bag | 10am
Brussels Sprout Gratin*
Roasted Turkey Breast with Gravy
Cornbread Dressing
Ginger Pumpkin Tart*

Saturday, November 16th

Bobby Flay’s Barbecue Addiction | Giving Thanks for Barbecue | 10:00am
Cajun Brined Turkey-Two Ways
Eggplant Casserole with Red Pepper Pesto and Cajun Breadcrumbs
Grilled Crawfish with Spicy Tarragon Butter
Grilled Potatoes with Crabmeat-Green Onion Dressing

Show re-airs Nov 18, 2013 @ 9:30am

Trisha’s Southern Kitchen> | No Fuss Thanksgiving – New | 10:30am
Turkey and Dressing Casserole
Homemade Turkey Gravy
Buttery Roasted Carrots*
Sweet Potato Pie

Show re-airs Nov 19, 2013 @ 5:30pm

Barefoot Contessa | Thanksgiving 2.0 | 11:00am
Roast Turkey with Truffle Butter
Turkey Hashed Browns
Sausage-Stuffed Mushrooms*

Show re-airs Nov 19, 2013 @ 4:00pm and Nov 26, 2013 @ 12:30pm

Giada at Home | Thanksgiving Leftovers – New | 11:30am
Thankful Shepherd’s Pie*
Cranberry Barbecue Sliders With Celery Apple Slaw*
Eggs Benedict on Stuffing Cakes*

Show re-airs Nov 18, 2013 @ 3:00pm & Nov 29, 2013 @ 9:30am

Sunday, November 17th

Giada at Home | Thanksgiving Sides | 7:30am
Persimmon-Pumpkin Pie
Baked Mashed Potatoes with Peas, Parmesan Cheese and Breadcrumbs
Thanksgiving Turkeys
Sweet and Savory Root Vegetable Stuffing*

Show re-airs Nov 18, 2013 @ 3:30pm

Trisha’s Southern Kitchen | A Yearwood Thanksgiving | 8:30am
Grandma Lizzie’s Cornbread Dressing
Cranberry-Orange Relish
No-Baste, No-Bother Roasted Turkey
Sweet Potato Souffle

Rachael Ray’s Week in a Day | Thanksgiving Anytime | 9am
Broccoli and Cauliflower Gratin Mac n Cheese
Ginger-Soy Carrot Soup*
Roasted Mushrooms, Parsnip, Potatoes and Spinach Casserole
Turkey and Mushroom Creamy Tomato “Gravy” With Gnocchi
Roasted, Brined Turkey Breast with Maple-Worcestershire Gravy and Fruit and Nut Rice Pilaf*

Guy’s Big Bite | Grateful Duck – New | 10am
Spice Rubbed Duck Breast
Creamy Celery Root, Fennel and Apple Salad
Cumin Roasted Carrots*
Garlicky Roasted Brussels Sprouts*

Monday, November 18th

Tyler’s Ulimate | Tyler’s Thanksgiving | 10am
Oven-roasted Turkey Breast with Leeks and Cornbread Stuffing
Roasted Turkey Gravy
Grainy Mustard Mashed Potatoes*

Secrets of a Restaurant Chef | The Secret to Brined Turkey | 2:00pm
Brined Herb-Crusted Turkey with Apple Cider Gravy*
Sausage, Apple, and Walnut Stuffing

30 Minute Meals with Rachel Ray | Keep On Giving | 2:30pm
Honey Mustard Dressed Greens with Apple and Pear
Turkey Pot Pie with Cranberry-Orange Corn Muffin Topping

Tuesday, November 19th

Down Home with the Neelys | Giving Thanks | 10:30am
Pumpkin Cupcakes
Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Walnuts
White Cheddar Mashed Potatoes*
Stuffed Turkey Breast

Ten Dollars Dinner | Thanksgiving | 1:30pm
Sweet Potato Empanadas
Cranberry Salsa
Turkey Taquitos*

30 Minute Meals with Rachel Ray | Thankful in Thirty | 2:30pm
Easiest Ever Baked Stuffed Apples
Turkey Cutlets with Sausage and Zucchini and Tipsy Gravy

Giada at Home | Thanksgiving | 3pm
Butternut Squash Soup with Fontina Cheese Crostini
Honey-Mustard Pork Roast with Bacon
Chocolate, Chestnut and Orange Trifle

Wednesday, November 20th

Barefoot Contessa | Turkey – Not Just for Thanksgiving | 4:30pm
Creme Brulee
Perfect Roast Turkey
Thyme Popovers*
Vegetable Tian

Saturday, November 23rd

Sandwich King | Thanksgiving Sandwiches | 7am
Open Faced Turkey Stuffing Patty with Gravy and Cranberry Sauce
Cranberry BBQ Turkey Sandwich*
Mom’s Mashed Potatoes a La King

Pioneer Woman | Thanksgiving | 10am
Cornbread Dressing with Sausage, Apples and Mushrooms
Cranberry Sauce
My Favorite Turkey Brine
Green Beans and Tomatoes
Creamy Mashed Potatoes*
Roasted Thanksgiving Turkey
Pecan Pie
Turkey Gravy
Sweet Roasted Rosemary Acorn Squash Wedges*

Show re-airs Nov 24, 2013 @ 8:00am & Nov 25, 2013 @ 5:00pm

Giada's Cranberry Orange Turkey

Giada at Home | Thanksgiving Favorites | 11:30am
Cranberry-Orange Glazed Turkey
Pumpkin and Goat Cheese Risotto
Roasted Root Vegetable Salad

Sunday, November 24th

Barefoot Contessa | Thanksgiving Countdown | 7am
Herb-Roasted Turkey Breast
Homemade Gravy
Sausage and Herb Stuffing*
Celery Root and Apple Puree

Show re-airs Nov 25, 2013 @ 4:30pm

Monday, November 25th

Alex’s Day Off | An Early Thanksgiving (Guests) | 10:30am
Stovetop Green Bean Casserole
Sugar-Cranberry Pie
Turkey and Stuffing


Benner Street Robert is returning to the Cincinnati area for the 2 time, this time to tackle a pizzeria that is struggling. The owner Tony has been doing things the same way for over 2 decades, it’s what he knows. Robert is going to teach him what he knows and hopefully that will help this restaurant bounce back.

Problems Robert Had to Address
1. Bland tasting tomato sauce leading to bland tasting food
2. The owner's stubbornness to change
3. Dirty carpet and ugly wall colors
4. Difficult finding what door you enter to get in the restaurant

The Tomato Sauce Problem
Tony’s sauce was bland, making all his food bland. If you can make a good tomato sauce then you can make plenty of flavorful dishes. In this country many people just buy tomato sauce in a can or pay extreme prices for a jar of some sauce with some famous chef or place on it. Mastering a tomato sauce in your own kitchen is a key skill to possess. In the summer time I like to make as much sauce as I can either on the stove top or in the slow cooker. That way I am using the best tasting tomatoes possible and then freezing the sauce to last through the winter months – so I don’t have to use store bought tomatoes in the winter that taste like nothing. When tomatoes are in season is when I have tons of fresh herbs in the garden. It’s a lot of work to do in August and September but it’s worth the effort to have my homemade sauce on hand whenever I need it.

The Recipes
Pizza Pockets/Purse | Print the recipe
I like his idea of using egg roll wrappers to make a pizza pocket. I have made a similar thing but in a small package using wonton wrappers to makeDeep Fried Pizza Wontons.

Restaurant Impossible Still Open
According to the Mason Buzz, business was booming out of the gate, but slowed down in the month of July. Tony is hoping things pick up when the episode aired. Why might the slow down be? The reviews online since the makeover have been rather negative. Here are some examples from Yelp:

“As a born n raised Yankee I have loved Apontes. But since Restaurant Impossible has been their they have raised their prices. Two pizzas came to $50!!”

Prices always seem to go up after Robert’s visit. I think he encourages it, trying to help them make more money. Althought it can backfired like he did with this customer.

“This place is a freaking joke now…. Went in on a Friday night and was handed a piece of paper menu which had about 9 items on it, followed up by the waitress telling us the only thing they have for the night is 18 inch pizza they are out of everything else… This use to be a place with great food now it looks like a cheap ikea remodel with a terrible menu not a restaurant impossible remodel… I’ve been a long time customer but not any more you’ve lost my business Tony”

Another customer promises to never return. I although I did not see a problem with the remodel. I like IKEA!

“Always enjoyed Apontes. Upon finding out Restaurant Impossible did a show from there-they changed their good way of doing business. Website says order online and delivery but when you try to order online you can’t. So i call and they don’t deliver and don’t have an item they show on their online menu. Always supported Tony but won’t ever again. Really sad!”

So for some reason they don’t delivery? They never brought it up during the episode. So don’t know on that one.

Closing Thoughts
As I keep reading the reviews on Yelp, they seem to have received way more good reviews than bad. It seems people did like their food, either that or the standard for pizza is so low (if you are a regular Domino’s or frozen pizza eater) that even ok is seen as great. This leaves me to wonder if it was really the food that was hurting this business. They didn’t seem to address anything but food and decor. Are there business things that Tony is doing wrong that is costing them money. Robert seem to be just blaming it all on Tony and his food. Robert has gotten away from the list he use to make at the start of the show. In this episode I have my doubts he really got to the problem. The future will tell whether Aponte’s is better off.

Have you been to this restaurant, what did you think?

If you want more Robert Irvine recipes, here are some of his available cookbooks:

This cookbook contains 111 recipes many with complete timelimes and several that are gluten free. An example of the kind of recipes you will find are Lime-Cured Shrimp and Roasted Corn Chowder, Porcini-Dusted Pork Chops with Cremini Mushrooms and Golden Raisins over Horseradish-Scented Potatoes.

In this book Robert shares his personal stories (including cooking for First Lady Laura Bush) and cooking philosophy. There are also recipes to be had like Black Angus Beef Tartare with Toasted Brioche and Fried Quail Egg, Roasted Duck with White Bean Ragout.


Benner Street This was one of the most shocking episodes of Resturant Impossible ever. Not because the co-owner went out on ambulance (the 11 bypasses he mentioned at the start made me think he is always a moment away from an ambulance ride unfortnately.) but because Robert didn’t say the place was dirty, didn’t complain about the service, and he liked the food. It tasted good. They couldn’t even get any footage of customers complaining about the food or service. So why is this place failing? I list some problems below, but the main one is the owners whose relationship is in a worst state than the business.

Benner Street | Click here for the restaurant’s website

Problems Robert Had to Address
1. The husband and wife owners fight with each other even in front of customers
2. The wife Dorothy micomanages everything that goes on in the restaurant
3. Their bar and menu is missing many items on a consistent basis
4. The menu items are dishes that are outdated and old
5. Looks like a grandma designed this place – the decor is way outdated and old looking.

The Recipes
BLT – Braised Bacon, Collards and Tomato Jam | Print the recipe
Robert does his take on the BLT concept by using braised bacon, collards for the “L” and a tomato jam. I have to say that plate of food looks very unappealing. It doesn’t appear the owners like it either as it does not appear on their current menu.

Seared Beef Tornadoes | Print the recipe
Beef tenderloin served over polenta that has goat cheese in it. This item is still on the their menu, appearing in their Tapas section.

Restaurant Impossible Still Open
With the quality of food this place has been turning before Robert came, it’s no surprise that they are still in business. They have some talent in this restaurant. The question is can the owners get out of the way. That remains to be seen. Food Network’s report says that Thom has taken some time away from work. I think he needs to just place himself in a mentor role. Teach his passion and oversee things. But don’t be involved in the day to day stuff. This includes his wife as well. Her habits are very hard to break. Letting go and letting people do their job is not easy. If she can do it, then I think Benner Street has a lot of life left in it.

What might end up hurting this restaurant is the new decor. Let me be blunt – it sucks. $10,000 should have done a lot more. That curtain is just awful. It doesn’t fit into the rest of the design at all. I think that particularly designer just over thinks. She tries too hard to be creative. Nice simple modern look would have been good. The stuff hanging on the walls looks like it would have been hanging on the walls before the re-design. I really hope that I don’t see this designer again.

The reviews for the Benner Street after Robert’s visit were mixed. Either people really loved it or they really hated it. Here is a 1 good review and 1 bad taken from Trip Advisor.

Went for dinner on a recent Saturday night.
We were greeted warmly and were seated promptly.
Our server was knowledgeable and friendly. They had our favorite seasonal beer on tap which made for a great start.
The appetizer (tapas) of seared beef tornadoes with polenta appetizer was tender and delicious.
The twin jumbo lump crab cakes entree was excellent and so were the jumbo sea scallops with mandarin orange glaze.
The flourless chocolate torte dessert was served with fresh berries and whipped cream and made for a delicious finish to a wonderful meal.
We will definitely return.

Poor dining experience. Revised menu is pitiful-adequate at best for a pub but nonsense for a fine dining establishment. We had scallops in orange sauce. They were overcooked and sauce was way too sweet and unrefined. Meal served with three incredibly small and very thin asparagus spears with a small amount of greens on the plate. No dinner rolls-no dinner salad-no potato or rice! French onion soup was average. This meal was $23.00. THE OLD MENU FEATURED OUTSTANDING ITEMS SUCH AS FRIED OYSTERS, LUMP CRABCAKES (NOT CRABCAKES WITH 50% FILLERS AND AWESOME RACK OF LAMB. These items were nowhere to be found. New chairs have replaced the old chairs previously in the restaurant. These chairs were very uncomfortable-bring your own seat cushions. WE HAVING BEEN COMING TO BENNER STREET FOR 15 YEARS. I AM SAD TO SAY THAT WE WILL NOT RETURN.

I would expect to find some customers not happy with the changes. Some people don’t do well with change. But I wasn’t there that day so maybe this person does have a legitimate beef, still they would have to know in order to turn on more customers, they may turn off some regulars.

It often seems like one thing Robert does that isn’t shown too much in the show is encourage price increases. I have read a lot of complaints about price increases or getting less for your money. Some places even returned back to their old prices like The Dinner Bell who is no longer in business.

Have you been to this restaurant, what did you think?

If you want more Robert Irvine recipes, here are some of his available cookbooks:

This cookbook contains 111 recipes many with complete timelimes and several that are gluten free. An example of the kind of recipes you will find are Lime-Cured Shrimp and Roasted Corn Chowder, Porcini-Dusted Pork Chops with Cremini Mushrooms and Golden Raisins over Horseradish-Scented Potatoes.

In this book Robert shares his personal stories (including cooking for First Lady Laura Bush) and cooking philosophy. There are also recipes to be had like Black Angus Beef Tartare with Toasted Brioche and Fried Quail Egg, Roasted Duck with White Bean Ragout.


Kalico Kitchen This episode was different from many of the other episodes in two ways – Robert decided the name needed to be completely changed and the kitchen was clean! Edible’s Restaurant becomes Hurley’s American Grille in this episode of Restaurant Impossible.

Hurley’s American Grille| Click here for the restaurant’s website

Problems Robert Had to Address
1. Bland garbage food
2. Boring decor with dirty old carpet
3. The owner is too timid to lead
4. Missing $600 000

The Recipes
Cheesesteak | Print the recipe
Robert felt their original cheesesteak was a really poor excuse for one. They are right near Philly, they need to have a good cheesesteak. Robert’s recipe is pretty basic. He just need to show them how to cook it properly, so it doesn’t come out looking and tasting like shoe leather.

BBQ Glazed Smoked Chicken | Print the recipe
Robert was frustrated that they were not using their high quality equipment. Their smoker was really only uses to make pulled pork, when there are so many more options out there. He showed them how to smoked chicken. The chicken is served with a BBQ sauce consisting of ketcup, white balsamic, stone ground mustard, and horseradish.

Lesson for Home #1 – Use It or Lose It!
Do you have a piece of equipment in your kitchen that doesn’t get used much? People often by appliances thinking how cool they are in the store but they don’t have any idea of how to use them. Think about what’s in your kitchen? Is there anything you don’t use. Do some research online. Find out how you can use it. If you aren’t going to use, you be better off selling it from up space and getting some money to use towards something more useful.

Lesson for Home #2 – Make Your Own Smoker
Does that smoked meat from this show got your mouth watering? Did you know you can make your very own smoker by just using a grill? I have not tried it yet but I want to know that I have some free cherry wood. If you want to know how take a moment to watch this Alton Brown video before continuing on.

Restaurant Impossible Still Open
The fact they have a clean kitchen is going to really help them soak up only positive publicity from the RI experience. The change in decor was so drastic, I think that only will bring people in. I have high hopes for this place as I go into looking at some of the reviews since the makeover. The good thing about a name change for them is their old reviews from the previous name don’t follow them over with their new name. It’s a fresh start even online. On the website Yelp, the restaurant has been reviewed 14 times, with an average score of 4 stars. Pretty good. Let’s take a look at a couple of those comments.

“I had been to the old “Edibles” a year or so ago and saw the transformation on TV.
I cant say enough about the transformation. The decor, menu choices and the general feel for the place has come full circle.
The chicken was awesome as was the Philly Cheese steak,
I will be back!!”

That’s good to hear. Robert seems to have had a positive effect on the food. His dishes can be found in their current menu on their website.

We just went for lunch and everything was great! We were greeted by the hostess, Mrs. Hurley, and were quickly seated. The main dining room has been nicely redecorated and the menu provided a wide variety of choices – a good selection of apps, sandwiches, pizza and salads – all of our usual favorites. They still have a well priced kids menu too. The waitress was very friendly and efficient. Our drinks arrived quickly and she followed up several times for refills. The food was hot and very tasty – and best of all still very reasonable. We’ll definitely be back. The Hurley family has worked very hard during a tough economy to maintain a good family spot for dining out. Hopefully the publicity from the recent ‘makeover’ will bring in a steady flow of customers for them.

Good food, good prices, and good for the family. Sounds great!

No hostess at front. Had to wait for a waitress to seat us. Out of the first soup we picked. Food was ok. One of us had the salmon and he said it was good. Waitress refilled one drink and didn’t see that the other was empty too. When she did then it took awhile to “brew” tea. Brought it as we were leaving. There was a child walking around holding spoons so we were wondering about clean silverware. May give it another try hoping this was an off night.Only half the sign was lite too.

This was the worst review I could find and it doesn’t sound too bad. Even the reviewer wasn’t ready to just write them off.

These are the kinds of restaurants that really need Robert’s help. It’s good to see a place do so well afterward, especially considering how many places still close after RI (check out my list of closed restaurants). Robert helped breath some new life into this place and as long as we can carefully make sure we aren’t missing $600,000 again, then I think there is a long future ahead for Hurley’s. Nice story!

Have you been to this restaurant, what did you think?

If you want more Robert Irvine recipes, here are some of his available cookbooks:

This cookbook contains 111 recipes many with complete timelimes and several that are gluten free. An example of the kind of recipes you will find are Lime-Cured Shrimp and Roasted Corn Chowder, Porcini-Dusted Pork Chops with Cremini Mushrooms and Golden Raisins over Horseradish-Scented Potatoes.

In this book Robert shares his personal stories (including cooking for First Lady Laura Bush) and cooking philosophy. There are also recipes to be had like Black Angus Beef Tartare with Toasted Brioche and Fried Quail Egg, Roasted Duck with White Bean Ragout.


Kalico Kitchen For this episode Robert is in my home state of Michigan. He is in Douglas, Michigan located on the beautiful coast of western Michigan, not far from Holland, MI and Grand Rapids, MI. It’s one of my favorite parts of the state. Now I have another reason to go, to check out a restaurant featured on RI. After seeing the cleaniness of the kitchen, I might have to think second about it.

Kalico Kitchen | Click here for the restaurant’s website

Problems Robert Had to Address
1. An owner that insulted and swore at her staff
2. Staff are busy pointing fingers and making excuses
3. A dinning room and kitchen that was extremely dirty
4. Grease built up under the kitchen equipment that leaked into the tiles
5. Food that was underwhelming

The Recipes
Andouille Cornbread Stuffed Quail, Red Eye Gravy | Print the recipe
A unique dish – quail that is stuffed with a cornbread stuffing that contains andouille sausage. The gravy contains coffee which is why it is called a red eye gravy. Quail is small enough to be deep fried whole in not a lot of time.

Restaurant Impossible Still Open Follow-Up Here are some comments that I found online about the restaurant after Robert’s visit. These are Google reviews.

Me and my parents went there after seeing that Robert Irvine gave it a makeover. Expected an excellent expierence. No. The decor was decent. It took us almost 30 minutes to get our food. And it turned out they had a bigger menu than what they gave us. When we told the server, he acted irritated and basically argued with us about it. The soup was lukewarm, and onions weren’t on the menu for the chef salad but they were there on the salad. The lemonade was yellow water. There were cobwebs everywhere. It seems like we went back in time to the pre Robert Kalico Kitchen. Don’t waste your time.”

Not the most glowing review. This customer pointed out they saw cobwebs, so seems like they haven’t gotten themselves on a regular cleaning schedule. Let’s try another review.

This was the WORST place ever!!!!! The food was under cooked. We were never ask what do we want to drink. Some people in our party order breakfast. The eggs in the omelet were way under cook, and we tried to send it back to have it cooked more. The kitchen worker said it was the cheese. That’s bull I know what under cook eggs look like. The gravy look and tasted old. As well as it was really greasy. The service was very slow we sat down while we where waiting two other tables came, order, are and left before we ever got our food. Don’t waste your time going to this place.

Ok that’s not any better. Let’s look a review at Trip Advisor. Bear with me this is a long one.

“On Saturday night after a full day at Oval Beach, my husband, my son-in-law and their children and our other two granddaughters went to Kalico Kitchen for dinner. We arrived around 6:00 p.m. We had a total of 8 people. When we walked into the restaurant, they were not sure if they could accommodate us but finally decided that it would be OK. They sat us at a picnic table inside the restaurant. Kind of unique but it fill all of us. When we placed our orders, we asked for 2 tickets. My husband, myself and our two granddaughters were on one ticket and my daughter, son-in-law and our other 2 grandchildren were on the second ticket.

After at least a twenty minute wait, our food came. My husband, myself and our two granddaughters started eating our food. The other food order never came and we were now finished our dinner. The waitress passed by many times and saw that they did not have their food, but kept taking other orders. I watched her one time and she motioned to the other waiter that she still had my daughters ticket and had not given it to the kitchen at all. She finally approached our table and said that the kitchen made a mistake and they were only going to start their order now. We had now been in the restaurant for one hour. We were upset, but they were hungry and so we waited. Finally my daughter’s dinner came and only one of the pancake dinners for our grandson. The next pancake dinner came for our granddaughter about 5 minutes later and I took it to cut it up for her and the pancake was not cooked. When I told the waitress she said she would get them to make another. My daughter then said just cancel that one and she split the first pancake dinner between her two children. My son-in-laws dinner still had not come. It was a hamburger with fries and we saw many pass by for other tables that our waitress was taking care of.

After one and a half hours and my son-in-laws dinner never came we finally just wanted to settle our bills and get out of the restaurant. When I ordered my hamburger it you wanted it deluxe (a slice of tomato and a piece of lettuce–it would be $1.50 more) if you wanted fries it would be another $1.50. The hamburger alone would be $5.75 and would be ketchup, mustard, relish). I chose to just get the hamburger. When my dinner came it had fries. I questioned the waitress and she said she just put them on. When the bill came, she charged me for the fries.

When we went to the cash register, I looked at our bill and she charged me for the fries, as well as other charges such as for lemonade which they did not even have after telling us they did. She had other items on their as well. I told the lady who I assume was some boss that there were charges on my bill that we did not get. She finally had our waitress adjust the bill and then she told our waitress to take an extra 25% off our bill. The waitress said she did not know how to take 25% off and only knew how to do 20%, so the boss said, then give them 20% off. I could not believe the whole register seen. Another person came up and wanted to make everything right for us, but the boss or whoever she was said she was taking care of it.

I just paid and waited for the exact change and did not give the waitress one penny of tip as she did not deserve any of it.

The real thing that bugged us was that they still charged our daughter and son-in-law and added extras. There was not one compensation for the fact that after almost two hours, my son-in-law never got his food.

I only go into some of the stupid details because the whole night was a nightmare. The waitress told hus that this restaurant was featured in some magazine as a special place to eat. This would not be on our list and we will definitely inform anyone that is going to that area to avoid that restaurant. If I could have gotten the names of some of the other diners in the restaurant at the time, they witnessed everything that happened. The best part is while the brains were trying to figure out our bill, etc. at the register there was a table just waiting on ketchup for their fries and had to wait until they were almost cold and I doubt they ever got the ketchup because the waitress would have taken 15 more minutes to find it.

Never again will we darken the door of that restaurant.

You know I can just picture the owner barking at the waitress when she just told them to take 20% off. This is what pretty much all the reviews were. A lot of negative. I was not encourage by the follow up on Food Network’s website. Although they said business was up, one of the staff members said that the owner’s relationship with her employees and son has not change at all. She never really humbly apologized during the show. She doesn’t really get it. I don’t have high hopes for this restaurant continuing on for too much longer. I give Robert credit for really trying to truly get through to her about her behavior. She doesn’t seem to open to change.

Eric Profile Transparent Background


I'm Eric. I live in Ann Arbor, MI with my wife, 3 kids, and a flock of ducks. I love grocery shopping, trying new fruits, farmer's market, and traveling.

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