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The Best Chili on the Planet!

By Todd Barron @

I know, I know…. The Best Chili on the Planet may be an exaggeration as everyone has their own personal favorite.  BUT…. Cincinnati Chili is one of those recipes you have to try to really understand how unique and completely awesome it is.

Not only does it not have beans or the typical things you think of when it comes to chili, but you serve it on spaghetti (what???) with cheese and onions.  The result looks more like an Italian dish but it tastes every bit like a dish from Mexico given the ingredients of cinnamon, chocolate, and other awesome flavors in the curry known as mole from south of the border.

You can spend hours grinding the spices and mixing the ingredients, or, you can do like I do and buy pre-made chili mix from Skyline Chili via Amazon (link below.)  When I make a batch I always use two spice mix pouches, two pounds of ground beef (or turkey,) two inches of water over the ground meat, and an 8oz can of tomato paste.

Cook it down over 3-4 hours, breaking up the meat and stirring every 20 minutes to keep it from burning, and then serve over your favorite noodles with a HUGE amount of cheddar cheese and fresh diced white onions.  I promise, you will not be sorry!  I have won more than one chili competition with this simple dish and it always amazes those who are not used to it.

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Fried Food with 75% Less Fat?

By Todd Barron @

No, it is not a gimmick.  You can actually “fry” food using up to 75% less fat with amazing results.  How is this possible?  You cook with u2ltra-high convection and do not immerse the food in the actual fat.  This is made possible by Air Fryers.  At first I was skeptical, but after buying one and giving it several tries, I am a convert.

So how does it work?  As mentioned, you coat the food you wish to cook with the appropriate oil (butter, olive oil, vegetable oil, etc), place it in the basket, close the unit, set the time and temp, and let it do it’s thing.  When cooking, the air fryer circulates very hot air around the food in a vortex of sorts.  The result is cooked and crispy food without the heavy grease associated with deep fat frying.

I tested it by cooking a fryer chicken because I wanted that rotisserie chicken flavor but at home.  For $7.99 I was able to buy a whole fryer chicken at Whole Foods and made the entire dish for less than $9.  This is at least $4 cheaper than buying a cooked one at the grocery store and was super moist.


  • 1x Whole Fryer Chicken
  • Spice blend
  • Butter


Let the chicken come to room temperature.  Combine the butter and half of the spice blend until you have a fairly loose paste.  Rub it over the entire chicken until throughly coated.  Sprinkle the remaining spice blend over the entire chicken.  For my spice blend I used Herbs from Provence, Cumin, Ground Cinnamon, Chipotle, Paprika, Salt, and Pepper.

Place the chicken, breast side down, in the air fryer basket (it will be a tight fit.)  Turn it to 360F and cook it breast-side down for 30 minutes.  Flip the chicken over, place it back in the basket, and cook at 360F for another 30 minutes.

Since I live at a high altitude, it took me slightly longer to cook the chicken.  The goal is to reach 165F at an internal temp of the thickest part of the chicken.  You may have to cook it more or less to reach this temperature depending on where you are.  The nice thing about the air fryer is that you can push the pause button and check the temperature.

Once the chicken is done, let it sit in the fryer for 15 minutes to cool down so that you can remove it for pulling.  Remove and pull the meat from the chicken.  Personally, I made quesadillas with the roasted chicken and they were amazing!

I toasted quesadillas on the stove, pulled apart the roasted chicken, and then folded some fresh grated cheese into the quesadillas before heating completely in a pan.  Muy Bueno!

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Bean Fosters – Coffee in Golden, CO

Latte caramel

When you enter Bean Fosters in Golden, CO it doesn’t look like much (a bookstore and a coffee shop) but the house-made salted caramel latte is quite good.  It’s not overly sweet and the caramel sauce on the top is a great touch.  I recommend it if you find yourself stopping by for a morning boost.
Bean Fosters on Urbanspoon

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Vina Pho and Grill – Beef Pho

By Todd Barron @

Beef & Brisket Pho

Beef & Brisket Pho

I had Beef and Brisket Pho at Vina Pho and Grill today in Boulder, Colorado. The broth was light and somewhat simple, but the beef added extra flavor to the Pho and I really enjoyed the generous amounts of basil and jalapeño provided.
Vina Pho and Grill on Urbanspoon

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Healthy Dover Sole with Pea Puree

By Todd Barron @

Dover Sole with Pea Puree

Dover Sole with Pea Puree

Bake the Dover Sole, and set atop a puree of peas and skim-ricotta cheese. Top with roasted trumpet mushrooms and a dab of pesto. Sided with roasted garlic, carrot, and red onions.

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Healthy Grilled Swordfish

Grilled Swordfish Steak atop Greens

Grilled Swordfish Steak atop Greens


  • Half pound piece of fresh swordfish (steak)
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 bunch romaine lettuce
  • 1 small tomato
  • Olive oil
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Brown mustard
  • Salt
  • Pepper


  • Coat the swordfish steak with olive oil, lemon juice, and sprinkle with salt and pepper, let marinate for 10 minutes
  • Heat grill to 450 degrees F
  • Dice tomato
  • Mix romaine and diced tomato with 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 tablespoon balsamic, 1 teaspoon mustard, and salt and pepper to taste


  • Grill the swordfish on each side, about 10 minutes, until an instant read thermometer reads 140 degrees F in the thickest part of the swordfish steak
  • Remove from grill and let rest for 5 minutes


  • Put a handful of the greens on a plate, top with the swordfish, enjoy!
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Brasserie Ten Ten in Boulder, Colorado

By Todd Barron @

French market doughnut & lemon crème beignets

French market doughnut & lemon crème beignets

Boulder Colorado has several restaurants to try but I choose Brasserie Ten Ten for brunch.  The day is a beautiful 65 degrees Fahrenheit and people are sitting both indoors and out.  It’s quite busy but not in a bad sort of way.  There is an energy to the restaurant and although my family is seated in the middle of the fray, it is comfortable and inviting.

Brasserie Ten Ten won awards in 2012 and 2013 for Excellence Best French Restaurant and Best Brunch and by looking at the menu I can see why.  They offer everything from lemon beignets to steam mussels and more.  There are so many choices I want to try (and will on future visits.)  We settle on the Lemon Crème Beignets at $5.95 for eight.  For my entrée I settle on one of the specials, Les Oeufs (which means eggs in French), which is a bed of potatoes (hash), with pulled pork, and poached eggs on top.

The place is busy, large tables full of families are enjoying themselves, and I don’t even notice the time that goes by as I enjoy the people watching experience.  The beignets show up and are a great value for the price as the plate is full of perfectly fried beignets.  The lemon crème sauce is divine with a strong hint of lemon and it is perfectly creamy.  I could eat a plate of it if I had too (or had the calories to spend for the day!)  I stop at two beignets but really want to eat more.  We have plenty left but I don’t want to ruin my entrée.

In short notice my entrée comes out and is surprisingly light.  The eggs are poached perfectly and ooze over the dish when broken.  There is a strong hint of tarragon to the entire dish that is almost overpowering but stops short of that mark.  The pulled pork has a lot of flavor that is easy to detect and it all works well with the “hash” of diced potatoes.  Unlike a southern style hash, this one is boiled potatoes sitting in a light broth.  I like it, a lot, and when done there is nothing left on my plate.

I cannot wait to go back and try a dinner at Brasserie Ten Ten and recommend you give it a try!

Brasserie Ten Ten on Urbanspoon

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Cheers in Maumelle upgrades their menu!

By Todd Barron @

Cheers Chicken Pesto

Cheers Chicken Pesto Pizza

I am used to seeing restaurants update their menu items, one at a time, over a period of several years but it is rare to see a restaurant make major updates all at once.  Cheers in Maumelle has done this though and my hat goes off to them!  It takes a brave soul in the restaurant industry to change and Cheers has changed for the better.

They took out the view of the kitchen and replaced it with an appealing brick oven pizza station.  Also gone is the reception desk when you enter and the tables have been moved around a little.  But, aesthetics is not what is really interesting.  The new menu items are where the fun begins and as expected, they now offer several different brick oven pizzas!

I personally ordered the Chicken with Pesto pizza that arrived within a few minutes and loved it.  The crust was not too crisp but not too soft either, and I could taste the pesto apart from the chicken and other ingredients.  The pizzas are a little on the expensive side given their small size but compare to value in other recent entries into the area.

Overall I’m very impressed with the updates Cheers has completed and feel like Maumelle has a brand new restaurant!  I cannot wait to go back and try the other new menu items.

Cheers In Maumelle
(501) 851-6200
1901 Club Manor Dr Ste C
Maumelle, AR 72113

Cheers In Maumelle on Urbanspoon