FOOD and LOVE •                                07 - 06 - 2020                        TAMPA BAY,  FLORIDA

Welcome To My Take On Healthy Good Food 

Cooking is all about food and love.  In these tough times with COVID-19, food becomes even more important for reasons of sustenance, personal health and flat outright survival.  Some unfortunates are starving and thank ( GOD)  good ness for the pantries and charities that have opened their hearts.

This website is about my thoughts about food today and cooking tastes/trends with the tips, easy recipes and tricks of the trade to make some of your attempts at cooking more professionally rich, safe, appealing and fun.  And its truth, if you can’t handle truth and live or die by TV commercials, HSN, Fake Chefs, their Shills and others leave now… and have a nice day… I will hit on some things you make not like…  

I got through higher education working in restaurants in NYC, the mecca of food and diversity almost 56 years ago. College credits were eight dollars and we did not have microwaves, fast food and in some cases English speaking workers… glad I took some Spanish in high School.  In one place it was me and the boss and Rico my translator, the other guys were all from Puerto Rico and we had a good crew. I also learned all about their cuisine…

I learned more about people, culture leadership, humanity and compassion working the back end than I did in college. I also learned about good food.

Today technology has been upgraded, science is evident, tools are better, working conditions somewhat improved and distribution is stabilized but one infected employee can and did cause an epidemic Hep-A infection in Tampa Bay.  And it was being spread through the restaurant business, my turf.   Many were ill till the state forced shots for employees. 

During a routine wellness checkup my Internist noticed a previous vaccination for Hep-A didn’t show in my extensive blood work.  It was immediate, within an hour ordered STAT by my physician to the Health Department for shots and upgrades to earlier vaccines.  So far I have had no problems. And the state cracked down on those not having the shots. 

😇 The Beginning Of Mankind’s Interest in Food  —  Cooking is as old as time itself and is constantly changing.  We have chronicled the first episodes in the development of cooking going back to the caveman and his discovery of fire which meant food could be cooked! THE WHOLE STORY IS HERE: 



Birth Of The Obesity In America  —  The second great deva-evolution in cooking was the invention of the TV Dinner and Corporate Influenced Franchise food, the stuff created in labs, and portion controlled with no caloric advantage nor vitamin supplementation that good cooking provides.   

We simply call it Fried Death Food…or FDF.  I am a caregiver for cancer patients especially in stem cell transplantations.  Critical in recovery is what they ingest, TV dinners don’t work and actually work against rebuilding of the systems. I am emphatic about that.  I will allow patients a Culvers or Chick-Fil-A as a treat but only once or twice a week as Culvers and Chick-Filet-A,  are the cleanest places we checked, most good management, product and employee loyalty to good habits and to their quality natural ingredients and corporate mentality.  Most TV dinner are sub-par in intake patients need.

Bad Food Choices And Training  —  When you fast food it at McDonalds, too many hands of young kids handling things and in two minutes at the counter I witnessed three violations. The store near me hires kids who don’t last long and I have yet when we tested then, we ever got the order right, and it was not hot according to my expensive thermometers.   Whoever is doing their training does not have the maturity to deal with food.

The Imbecile Who Is Anti Vaccine And Anti-Rules  - Should be hanged and then thrown to the sharks…In Florida much of our Hep-A, COVID-19 and other charming diseases came from beach bars.  And the COVID-19 Pandemic exploding this week 6/17/2020 T-RUMP Clone governor who will set a record as a one shot governor if he lives…for opening bars and the idiots call people who will not wear masks. 

Avoid Buffets And Bars - Open Food  —  Today not wearing a mask, sitting in a bar with people not wearing masks,  screaming, screaming and yelling is a recipe for a quick trip to the ER.   Also Eating at buffets with people touching everyone else’s food with common utensils and some food days old is a recipe for death.  Same for bars, we don’t need a bunch of drunk idiots pushing this pandemic onto innocents by simple contact. 

Buffets, like many other businesses throughout the US, have closed out of safety precautions, and may not be able to return once the COVID-19 crisis is over.  The CEO and founder of Food Service Results, said buffet restaurants had already been in decline for 20 years, driven by consumers’ change in taste for healthier options.  He foresees many of these restaurants closing. It’s not easy for them to just shift gears and operate like conventional restaurants or start making deliveries, especially during a pandemic. 

“The competition for takeout and off-premise food is very high. Fast casuals not only do a very good job with high quality and healthier fare, but many of them, like Panera Bread, are offering drive-throughs and express pick-ups,” he said. “Buffets just aren’t designed to be convenient.” On top of all that, many buffets occupy spaces with a very large square footage, which means higher rent. 

Closed For Violations  —  It always has been the highest range of pollution in the services here.  Buffets,  most are pseudo Chinese, Asian, Vietnamese all thrown together under the name of Asian-Fusion buffets avoid.  Buffet food not sold, is put in the chiller overnight and reheated the next day mixed with fresh to look OK.  

The violations in these places are repetitive,  reheating yesterdays food, cleanliness and people think they are getting a bargain…with many of the items served, I call Class Two.  Seconds and rejects they get from suppliers cheap.  King crab so old it looks horrid but people do not know.  They probably never saw King Crab A+ Quality…  The six Chinese Buffets are no.   Chinese people don’t make Sushi, (Japanese) can’t afford King Crab, ( Alaskan) don’t fry Rice, Rice is eaten white, and they do not make Kim Chee ( Korean ).  Most of the crab I tried at these places was disgusting

Mexico is another Americanized mishmash.  Between Taco bell and half the Mexican Food here, I call it Tex-Ex and Reject-Mex.  I took my Mexican based green carded legitimate gardening crews to a Taco Bell for lunch and they didn’t know what half that stuff was on the menu…  Asian buffets and several Mexicano Joints in Pinellas and Pasco counties had more violations than other establishments. 

Chefs, Products, Endorsements And Shills For Idiots  —  And today with the TV and HSN’s celebrity chefs, and a few fakes thrown in, touting all kinds of innovations, gadgets, pots, pans, copper, and ceramics, how can you fail? The tools do all the work except extra seasoning and adding things like forethought, talent, creativeness, taste, texture, goodness, healthy trials and some intelligence, you don’t think of it when you “  Only need to push one button “  and you are a chef… no,  you are just a lazy simpleton looking for the simple way out and friggen lazy. 

Tampa Bay Food —  I live in Largo, a city of 110,000 (seasonal)  plus which is just one small part of the Tampa Bay area.  As the barren stretches between towns disappeared, and were filled in with houses and malls the borders vanished.  The circle of eateries I frequent are interesting enough to warrant travel to the outskirts since Tampa is incredibly diverse, many ethnicities  produce exciting food.  “Diverse ethnic food once in a while” amidst the mechanical, redundant and usually boring offerings by the chains and franchise’s that frequent this area.  

People frequent places they are comfortable in, by prior visits or personal recommendations. We go out to eat for one of two reasons. We all have to eat,  usually close to work or home and we go out to eat as a celebration or an event, or holiday.  In a way, the better places are self critiquing and require little policing.  The expensive places are not affordable on my daily turf,  I am self supporting and do not take freebies, so I go after the entire spectrum fairly and equally and repeaters catch hell. 

My Short Shopping List     Places I shop frequently for food or to dine, some for decades, and I recommend because of their consistency, cleanliness and fresh choice food selection or talent behind the sous pan or griller… This is doubly important especially during the confinement periods of the COVID-19 shelter in place…  Just good common senseAddresses for these places in or near Largo Florida are under the Tampa Food Scene.  Note: none of these places are high priced, and the quality of the food and service is outstanding. In addition, few or no notations with Kitchen police or violations I have seen.  These are the few I will eat out at because I know things are right

😃    Hamburgers  — Culvers  on East Bay Drive

😃   Chinese Food Zom Hee - Seminole Park Blvd…

😃   Best Italian Food & Pizza  —  Country Village Inn Largo  The Best Pizza and full Italian Menu …  

😃   Steak And Meat Dinner Sit-Down   Longhorns At US !( Cooks With 23 Years In Their Kitchen), 

😃   Steak - Meats For Home Costco Has Real Quality Meat, Slightly Higher In Price…But Quality

😃   Rotisserie Chicken  — Costco  Best Chicken Period!  Caused Sam’s to rethink theirs…

😃   Sam’s Rotisserie Chicken  —  Sam’s Had To Get Someone And Fix their Rotisserie Chicken…

😃   Oriental Market —  M&D Foods -a True Asian Market - Live Shrimp, and Fish, Mussels, Sushi Rice

😃   Commercial Grocery  —  Gordon Food Service (Clearwater)  ** With them for years, great vendor…

😃   Warehouse  Grocery  —  Costco  **  Higher level of Quality Then Sam’s, who is Wal-Mart

😃   Best Waffles And Pancakes  —  Still I-hop After 40 Years

😃   Sushi And Sashimi  — My Kitchen - I Make my Own —

😃   Best Grocery Chain  — Publix  — Love Their Multi-Grain Bread,Clean Fresh ** LARGO MALL**  Super Publix is 93,000 square feet and well managed , best produce, good management and pharmacy, a well run organization.



  • Repeated inspection failures - we monitor daily 
  • Dirty properties, inside and exterior, also next door to a topless emporium
  • Unclean food facility areas like the server tables even with sneeze guards
  • Overall Dirty kitchen and too many open containers
  • Stale food, old food, kept three days ( Severe problem found in all our Chinese Buffet )
  • Unclean appliances, like soda and shake machines  
  • Imbeciles beyond help either serving or in management  ( Big problem)  
  • Poor training, poor treatment of the help,
  • Reports by the County food  inspectors as to compliance with regulations
  • With a minimum of three visits to correct a single issue or problem  (
  • Other responsible professional critics like Dirty Dining  ( Excellent)
  • Anything involving Human Trafficking or Food Trafficking 
  • Misrepresenting the product, telling you its local Grouper and its some junk fish
  • Straight from the Bay except it was a bay in Indonesia, somewhere quite west of Los Angeles
  • Simply put their food and/or location was sub-par…  It was bad and / or stale / or a reheat.
  • A definitive lack of good food which encompasses taste, consistency, competitive, similar or different, and not updated, not very good management, over worked by bad supervising hours, staff, offerings, service, speed and efficiency. You will see this at the bottom of the page


RATATOUILLE is a 2007 American computer-animated comedy film produced by Pixar and released by Walt Disney Pictures. It was co-written and directed by Brad Bird.  The title refers to a French dish, “ Ratatouille", which is served at the end of the film and is also a play on words about the species of the main character. 

The film stars the voices of Patton Oswalt as Remy, an anthropomorphic rat who is interested in cooking;  Lou Romano, Ian Holm, Janeane Garofalo, Peter O’Toole, Brian Dennehy, Peter Sohn, and Brad Garrett… 

The plot follows a rat named Remy, who dreams of becoming a chef and tries to achieve his goal by forming an alliance with the Parisian restaurant’s busboy.


In 2005, Bird was approached to direct the film. Bird and some of the film’s crew members also visited Paris for inspiration. 

To create the food animation used in the film, the crew consulted chefs from both France and the United States.   

I adopted Remy, a resident of Paris as my Kitchen Mascot…he sits on my shelf supervising all I can do…and has quite a sophisticated palate. He would love to become a chef so he can create and enjoy culinary masterpieces to his heart’s delight.   The only problem is, Remy is a rat. When he winds up in the sewer beneath one of Paris’ finest restaurants, the rodent gourmet finds himself ideally placed to realize his dream.

I make anyone I coach watch this Disney movie about the passion, the chef must have to be creative and not a corporate zog.  It is a movie that kids should see because it teaches them that success comes from passion, pride and perseverance.


In Tampa, this is an ethnically charged environment.  What I mean is,  many of the independent Italian places are owned and run by Albanians, Greeks, Macedonians, because few people order Albanian Pizza, or Macedonian Spaghetti,  if there was such a thing.  My favorite Italian restaurant is owned by a Greek fellow born in Greece but moved to Italy who is incredibly astute at Italian food and just about anything else.  His help is the best, his food is consistent, his place is immaculate and an atmosphere where you feel welcome. We probably eat there three, four times a month.  He and his father had a long history in good Italian food just the way they did it in NY.

Our Asian Restaurants like to be known as Asian Fusion…  There is a reason for this, history, war to be specific, to some it still moves borders that were invisible anyway.  Five of these countries really do not have a border and food flows based more on the crops available more than absolutes.  Most of the Fusion places have variants from all these countries, some subtle, some quite different.

•  VietNamese  (PHO SOUP and Stocks w/Almost Anything, Chicken, Pork, Fish ) 
•  LAO ( Laap, Spring Rolls and Thai peppers in everything) 
•  Cambodian ( Chamhoy, steamed food)  
•  Japanese  (Sushi and Sashimi) 
•  Korean ( Kim Chi and Korean Steak) 
•  Thai Food Containing the five ingredients of Taste SWEET, SOUR, BITTER, SALTY AND SAVORY 
•  Chinese dishes you see in most Chinese restaurants which never came from China…Americanized   

We have ethnic diversities with Indian, Mediterranean, Greek, Philippine, Puerto Rico, available.  And Fusion simply takes the diverse popularity of Southeast Asia treats and cuisines for the break needed from the usual themed or chained establishments offering a different slant on things and them all together.

Besides the Fusion Pho’s we also have rib joints and a few great soul food eateries.  We host two of the largest ethnic food parties in the South,  Rib Fest and  SPIFFs’  and that draws huge crowds.  Tens of thousands attend these functions every year.  COVID has hurt those great days of food and food passion…I welcome those gatherings back but many participants in a great county fair will not be returning if they lost their businesses.

The tools and the base foods are the same.  It's what you throw in the pot and what you season it with. The basic skills, never ending or changing are easy to learn.  Having grown up in an Italian-Jewish neighborhood in Brooklyn and having a friend whose Dad owned the local pizzeria and meatball sub emporium, I probably changed my blood type to “O” Positive which stood for Oregano Positive for sure.  I had so many Italian friends (I’m Jewish) I was made a member of the Kosher-Nostra early in life. 


Diversity, Interest, Uniqueness, Craziness and Class

😇  I was and will always be a fan of Anthony Bourdain both as a Chef and as an entertainer in his travels around the world to places and levels of culinary experiences most of us would never see.  

He told it like it is, not what the corporate spinners put on everything in our society today.  Celebrating ten years on his show before his passing, he was a straight shooter and the show has won many awards. He was as comfortable with a burger as he was in the finest of French Restaurants.  If the food was good, he would let you know, and tell you why it was conducive to that area.  He was more than a chef and a host, he was a culinary and an ethnicity educator… he was my mentor and made me think… I believe it was health issues…

😜The other guy Mr. Zimmern is a very skilled worldly diversified chef and quite the entertaining character.  He has a Medical Board certified cast iron-titanium glass lined stomach full of Aqua Regia to digest his sometimes unique appetite.  

Having traveled myself, liberal with food, and partaken of some local dishes, I’m running about 65-70% OK with his choices.  

The other things about 35% are in the bags the airlines have on back of the seats.

The rest forgetabout it, require immediate attention,  and a really good gag and sometimes a convenient flower pot solved the problem.  I’m not that brave. 

😀 In totally different format, I also like Guy Fiero, a little more off the wall,  and I share my love of the locally owned restaurants with his genre which consists of a lot of drive-ins and dives, where I too have found some great eats and great ingenuity in unique genre’s and venues.  These smaller places remind me of pre-corporate days and one word… “ uniqueness” not found in day after day corporate guano.

Some of the chefs and places he visits have some of the most creative techniques and they have fans… Very loyal customers whose comments especially if it’s an ethic dish,  “ Just like my Momma made it”… No higher comment needed…

But in one place he built up as big, our meals there were flops really bad.  Must have had the B team working that day.   It was burnt overcooked,  not as ordered,  over-spiced,  which brings me to those websites with running commentaries on food, and it’s about time some truth came out. They are all not as legit as they claim.  And too many families writing fake reviews… Too many want bribes…

Many run hot and cold and of course will look good when the cameras are cranking and when it doesn’t look good they start over.  Guy knows his stuff and his backroom experience is based on knowledge, sometimes he acts quite crazy, crazy as a fox…


OP-ED:  —  Seal the bags in grocery stores.  Sam’ s Club in particular leave all their produce open in plastic bags and those who came here from abroad feel the need to take the bags apart and pick each individual pice of fruit by trying it first. 

In this day and age of Hepatitus A - and COVID-19 epidemic in Florida we have to be extremely cautious about any people handling raw food that is not to be cooked.  Not to be biased but many of the all you can eat buffets and ethnic food services are continually being challenged by the food police.  They should be closed.  People playing with the food and opening bags should be reported to the management.

I am working on a bill in the Florida legislation for some kind of control.  Hep=A can stay alive on anything for up to several hours and my bet those handling the produce never had either MRM or Hep-A shots.  COVID-19 is respiratory but when I see someone smelling a melon, thats close enough for a respiratory transmittal.

Places to eat fall in categories, I will start comparing these groups using simple terms like my seals or Emoji’s.  I maintain the competition on an equal basis because I have been in small home grown family stores that serve better food for the same money the chains do.  I go after both if the foods bad.

Some think I’m a little harsh on these corporate places or buffets but if you saw and knew what I see and observe, you would not eat there.  Just because they enjoyed their meal there, you don’t see germs and mold and overly exposed food not to temperature,  I’m harsh because I saw or spotted something that was not right that unskilled people not familiar with regulations and laws concerning the industry are not aware of.  I do carry a thermal testing device to see if food is properly cold or hot.   And a little spore unseen and people may not be aware of has killed 144,000 of your friends

In the last ten years we have a 60% rate of obesity and the rest of the world starving, corpo-guano or processed food is alive and well.  Health is superseded by sales.  When your food is processed to make cheap meat saturated with everything from Papaya juice to chemicals that I cannot pronounce, I will go after them.

And I love open kitchens, I hate the places that cook in back rooms that you don’t get to see.  And possibly the techniques and bad habits you wouldn’t want to know about.   Just about every day we see on the TV or in the news an article on Listeria, Salmonella and a hundred other bugs or viruses in our foods and adding bad habits in the kitchen just adds to the possibility of illness, not wellness.  

Another point I have to make is that some stores are better run than others. I am merely trying to make you more cognizant of your surroundings and what you eat.    Places visited on this list might have the date and time I visited when I remember to put it in my recorder.   And I check a place three times before I clobber it with accolades of pleasure or criticism. 

If it doesn’t look like you are getting either your money’s worth, or the food isn’t right,  COMPLAIN and MAKE IT LOUD!   Sometimes loud enough for the next table to hear.   Bring it back to the counter and either demand a refund or replenishment. They should get the message and when they get it often enough, they respond. 

Problems Come On All Levels

They start with middle level ill-trained managerial failures who have survived and are not good trainers.  It progress’s to corporate bean counters writing processes, and who never flipped a burger

Employees turnover, underpaid and understaffed, and those employees who took a job either under or over their talent or pay grade and the problems arise when the help feels not wanted or part of the team.

Franchise food is not personal service.  And we understand the “ flakiness” of the fast food operation when ten cars are stacked up in the drive and the manager is having a meltdown because,  “Some lady is screaming about the lack of softer eau-de-toilette paper” in the bathroom.

Some places think they are appealing to Moms and their kids, but customers with screaming kids actually cost some places business.  Like the kids palace at McDonalds, make better food not better playgrounds.  Worse some of the Moms are already stressed out because those idiots made food a toy store.  If you think those toys and games are needed to get your kid to eat, just starve him for a few hours and watch what happens.  

But these corporations who confuses eating and customer retention with bottom lines and I’ll bet most of the board members don’t frequent their own food products.   

I didn’t have to travel far to find bad.  As I travel, I will simply point them out. They might call it unfair, I call it public service. If they wish to challenge me,  I have the photos and in some cases recordings and really good contacts at our local TV and Newspapers. But I am also fair...

We went back and rechecked a few places this year. Good food and getting involved is the Food Court section and we look at food not only as a critic but as a consumer, and without hesitation I will tell you some places improved and some fell off the wagon, one or two made the bad food list and one was just absolutely abominable.

Not surprising,  most of the bad were still bad, or gone, most of the good were still good except for a few improvements.

Because we are not really in control of what we eat all the time, we end up eating out and at the mercy of the food prep God’s.  A few have the nether God’s like Colitis and Diarearus on the payroll preparing their fare, and thats not fair to the consumer.


DEC 2020