About redonionrestaurants

My wife Cindy and I own and operate the Red Onion Restaurants in the midwest.

Foodie Event in Galena!

Video

Red Onion Restaurants

has teamed up with the American Culinary Federation

The ACF was started in 1929 and now has more than 20,000 members.  ACF is the culinary leader in offering educational resources, training, apprenticeship and programmatic accreditation designed to enhance professional growth for all current and future chefs and pastry chefs.  In addition, ACF operates the most comprehensive certification program for chefs in the United States.  Furthermore, this organization is home to ACF Culinary Team USA, the official representative for the United States in major international culinary competitions, and to the Chef & Child Foundation, founded in 1989 to promote proper nutrition in children and combat childhood obesity.

The American Culinary Federation provides accredited educational programs, certifications, competitions and networking designed to enhance professional growth for all current and future chefs and pastry chefs. Their vision is to be the leader in professional and personal development for the culinary community, while promoting current culinary techniques and preserving the history and skills of our craft.

Red Onion Restaurants desires to be a part of training the next generations of chefs, creating a culinary community that works together to provide great dining experiences for our locale as a whole.  We realize that if talent is confined, eventually the community around us will suffer.  In combining talents and resources to train the next generation, as well as provide education for our guests, we will all succeed in laying the foundation of great food for years to come.

This is why the Red Onion has been a member of the ACF for over a year now and is working to bring the benefits of this cooperative and educational approach to our own neighborhood. So foodies, chefs, or restaurateurs, come join us and be a part of this community.  Let’s bring out the best in all of us!

Happy Mother’s Day!

I truly believe the old saying, “God could not be everywhere and therefore He made mothers.” Would any of us be the individuals we are today if it weren’t for our mother’s influence and love? I certainly know I wouldn’t.

Be sure to watch our Mother’s Day video!

It has been a few weeks since Dining with Dave has had an update, but there is a very good reason! Red Onion Espressoria has expanded, and we now have a second location in Bentonville, AR (in case you hadn’t heard). It has been an exciting ride this month as we get the new locale up and running at full speed. Bentonville has welcomed us with open arms, and we are very excited to be in NW Arkansas! Like us on Facebook or check out our menus , including our brand new Breakfast Menu on the redonionrestaurants.com website!

But back to the real reason we’re here today: Mother’s Day! Several guests of Red Onion Espressoria & Red Onion Cafe took time this weekend to send their mothers a message, so click the link below to watch! And be sure to give your mom a hug and kiss this Sunday!

Mother’s Day Video

A Beginners Guide to Great Steak

My best advice: come to Red Onion Cafe

(need I say more?)
ROC Filet
If you’re grilling at home, though, here’s a few pointers.
  • There is a long list of steak cuts, so it depends on what you’re looking for. Your more tender cuts are going to be from the tenderloin (obviously), which include the filet mignon & Chateaubriand. The sirloin and NY strip are tastier choices with a little higher fat content. The T-bone & rib-eye are tougher, but definitely flavorful choices. If you’re looking for the big brother of steaks, try the porterhouse, which is a combo of the NY strip and the filet.
  • Before you start the grill, set your steak out to bring it to room temperature. This will allow it to cook faster and more evenly.
  • It is also a good idea to season your steak early so it all doesn’t just season the grill. Typically I will just use a salt/pepper mixture. You will want to oil the grill right before you put the steaks on, so this will add flavor as well.
  • The most important part of grilling a good steak is getting the correct temperature. There is much debate about the “finger pressure” test, but the only sure-fire way to test it is to actually take the temperature of the steak.
    • Rare: 125 degrees Fahrenheit
    • Medium Rare: 135 degrees Fahrenheit
    • Medium: 145 degrees Fahrenheit
    • Medium well: 155 degrees Fahrenheit
    • Well: 165 degrees Fahrenheit
  • And finally, after you take the steak off of the grill, you want to let it rest for 5-10 minutes. This allows all the juices to absorb into the steak. If not, when you cut in all of the juices will flow out, as will a lot of the flavor!

With this warm weather, it’s time to get out the grill again! Let me know about the exciting recipes you’re trying. Happy grilling!

John’s Sharp Ideas

A few months ago I introduced a long-time member of the Red Onion family to you: ROC General Manager, John Starchman. Today he’s sharing a video blog with you about knife selection and proper knife handling techniques. Check out the link below, and sharpen your knifing skills!

John’s Sharp Ideas

Alton Brown link

Love is in the air.

Do you remember Valentine’s Day 2011? We had just dug out of our two feet of snow and ice from the previous week and were starting to thaw out, finally. This year, it looks like we’re going to have gorgeous, unseasonably warm weather! Valentine’s Day is always a fun season at the Red Onion Restaurants, because it is one of our busiest times. If you’ve never brought your sweetheart into Red Onion Cafe for Valentine’s Day, you’re missing it. Standing room only in the lobby, servers in and out of the kitchen almost at a run, hosts efficiently cleaning tables and seating new guests immediately, delicious dinner specials & chocolatey desserts being delivered to each table (for two, of course!): there is an underlying level of anticipation and excitement each year for Valentine’s Day. Extra staff, food and promotions all go in to making this one day our biggest week of the year.

Valentine’s Day has been around for hundreds of years, though. St. Valentine, the guy that started this whole hullabaloo, was martyred on February 14, 269 A.D. for refusing to give up Christianity, but this also happened to be the same day that was devoted to love lotteries at the time. So, the two pieces of history merged together to form what we now call Valentine’s Day. Interesting tidbit: In the Middle Ages, young men & women drew names from a bowl to see who their valentine would be. They would pin these names to their sleeve and wear them for a week. To wear your heart on your sleeve now means it is easy for people to know how you are feeling. (Know anyone like that…?)

Now a days, we’re more commercial about the whole idea of love on Valentine’s Day. In 2010, it was estimated that 15 million e-valentines were sent and 190 million paper valentines mailed or delivered. And it should be no surprise that the largest recipient of paper valentines is, you guessed it: teachers. I even saw a statistic that said that 3% of pet owners give valentine gifts to their pets! In all, Americans spend almost $16 billion dollars a year on valentine gifts, the largest amount being spent on flowers and jewelry.

With my own family, I’ve always worked on Valentine’s Day, being in the restaurant business most of my life. But it has become a tradition that my wife Cindy and I now work at the restaurants lending a helping hand where we can during the frenzy, and this is how we spend Valentine’s Day together. We recognize that it is a special day for couples, a day to acknowledge our love and devotion to one another, so what better way for us to show that love but by working side-by-side on our life’s work, which is Red Onion Restaurants! For me, Valentine’s Day is more about spending quality time with her and making sure she knows how much she means to me than anything else. So, although my wife and I have a work date each year, we enjoy that time together.

At Red Onion Restaurants, Valentine’s Day has become more than just a one-day holiday. We now have a Valentine’s Day weekend. We serve entrée, dessert and wine specials for several days surrounding the holiday. This year we will start our Valentine weekend on Friday, February 10 and will culminate the season on Tuesday, February 14. Reservations are still available for the weekend and Monday, so call today. 417.623.1004

Have a great Valentine’s Day!

Red Onion Espressoria is expanding!

I have very exciting news from the Red Onion Restaurants family – Red Onion Espressoria will be opening a second restaurant Spring, 2012, and this one will be in Bentonville, AR! It has been a dream and prayer of ours since opening the Red Onion Cafe in 1995 to expand the Red Onion flavor to other cities in the four-state area. And now we are seeing that dream realized!

In addition to the Espressoria menu favorites and coffee espresso bar offered at our Joplin location, this new Espressoria at 14th & Walton Blvd. will also offer breakfast. We will keep you posted with more information about our menu items, hours and date of opening!

redonionrestaurants.com

A Healthier 2012: 5 Tips

Without surveying the masses, I’m confident one of the primary New Year’s resolutions across the US was “eat healthier in 2012.” Was that one on your list? I’m not ashamed to admit that it was on mine. Breaking out of old eating habits is the key.

For several years now I have battled heart disease, which culminated in July of 2006 when I had bypass surgery. And since then, I have found that the best way for me to stay healthy and feeling good is to follow a very healthy eating regimen and exercise regularly. Eating Mediterranean-inspired recipes have helped me in my efforts to be healthier. Be sure to check out my Grilled Atlantic Salmon & Olive Tapenade recipe at the end of this blog.

Here’s a few tips that have helped me break out of my old eating habits:

1. Use fresher ingredients. Instead of processed food from a box or can, go through the produce section of the grocery store and pick up an onion, squash and mushrooms. It takes just a few minutes to slice these veggies up and sauté them in a pan with EVOO (not butter). Now you have a healthy side item!

2. Use less fats. We mentioned using extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) instead of butter. This is a small change that can make a huge difference. Butter, vegetable and canola oils and margarines can easily be substituted for EVOO. For tender, flavorful baked chicken, rub the chicken breast down in EVOO, season with salt and pepper on both sides and bake.

3. Eat less meat. You don’t have to give it up entirely, just try to reduce the number of times you eat red meat each week to 3 or less. That includes hamburgers, tacos and stews or chili with beef in them. Also, when you’re trying to decide at the restaurant between beef or chicken and a fish item, go for the fish. In particular, a white fish like tilapia is a healthier choice. And see if they will grill or bake it for you, instead of fried.

4. Use fresh herbs & seasonings. Instead of reaching for the salt shaker, try seasoning your meats and vegetables with fresh basil, oregano, thyme or rosemary. Even putting fresh garlic into the mix will add a flavorful and healthier alternative. Garlic can lower cholesterol levels and reduce the buildup of of plaque in the arteries. When picking out garlic at the grocery store, you want to choose cloves that are firm, tight, heavy & dry.

5. Eat smaller portions. This may seem like an obvious solution, but it is one of the most difficult to actually accomplish! Make a point at the beginning of a meal to take smaller portions. Or if you’re at a restaurant, decide right at the moment they set the plate down to not finish the entire plate. Another helpful way to do this is at restaurants is to share a meal. At the end of the day, we’re not going to starve even though we are not miserably full after a meal!

Grilled Atlantic Salmon & Olive Tapenade 

Ingredients:
Salmon (3 oz.)
Paul Prudhomme Magic Salmon Seasoning (available at Sam’s Club)
EVOO
Couscous
Fresh Spinach
Basil Pesto*
Olive Salad**
  1. Prepare the couscous & olive salad before starting the salmon.
  2. Season the top of the salmon and place in sauté pan or on flat grill with EVOO top-side down. Add a small amount of water and cover with a small bowl to steam. Cook each side until lightly golden.
  3. To plate, first put down a bed of fresh spinach, then 3 oz. of couscous. Place the salmon on top of the couscous and garnish with pesto and olive salad.
* Basil pesto can be purchased in the produce section of most grocery stores.
** Olive Salad: Mixture of chopped black olives, green olives, diced red onion, diced red peppers, marinated in vinegar & EVOO to taste.
 

Three ROC Managers

My previous blog introduced many of the long-time members of the Red Onion to you, and due to its great success, we’ve got more for you this time!

I’ve really just scratched the surface introducing you to my team. But I couldn’t go without subjecting you to the entertaining stories of our three ROC managers. Ted, Jeremy & Jody are part of the team that makes the ROC world go ’round. Enjoy!

Three ROC Managers

Season of Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a busy time in our family that includes lots of planning and preparation. Approximately 30 people will be descending on the Blum house on Thursday for our annual Thanksgiving dinner with my wife’s extended family. This year will be a little different, though. My mother-in-law, Jerry Reppond, known by all far and wide as Granny, passed away in October of this year, and she will be greatly missed. She was the matriarch of our family, and Thanksgiving was HER holiday. We have always had a large group with lots of family as well as many guests. The dinner rotates to different brother’s & sister’s houses each year.

Granny & family, Thanksgiving 2010

We’ll all miss Granny this year, but the tradition will continue at our house. My sister-in-law Jane Southwick has promised to make Granny’s famous cranberry salad (which is the only reason I keep going to these crazy big Thanksgivings), so here’s the recipe:

Granny’s Famous Cranberry Salad

1 Pkg. Ocean Spray Fresh Cranberries
*1 Cup Miniature Marshmellows (as desired)
*1 Cup Red seedless grapes cut in half
* 1/2 Cup Pecans – chopped
1 – 8 0z. carton Cool Whip
3 Cups Sugar

Grind cranberries and add sugar, let stand overnight in the fridge.
Add other ingredients about 1 hour or so before serving.
* Just an estimate. Add what seems good to you!

Enjoy Thanksgiving this year; the Christmas holiday is fast approaching! My wife, Cindy, has already decorated our restaurants with the festive Christmas cheer that she does every year! Although 2011 has been one of the most difficult years I’ve ever experienced, I know we can keep pushing forward and counting every blessing (even the small ones) as we finish out this year. This Thanksgiving don’t forget that our Lord Jesus Christ will continually give us strength to rebuild and move forward. Happy Thanksgiving!