Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Matt's meatball response

Matt here ... 

I welcomed John's challenge and well, here are the results:

Part 1

Part 2

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Wegmans Polpette Large Oven Baked Meatballs

John here ...

OK, so technically I am not Italian (Dutch and Polish) in that I was bred by parents that didn't have an ounce of Italian in their genes. But when I married my wife, I converted to Italianism through a long and arduous process. My parents may not have been pleased with my decision, but I was old enough to think for myself. The allure of being Italian was just too much for me. I needed to do it.

There were tests, role playing exercises and accent seminars in order to complete the conversion process. I passed them all with flying colors and had no issue replacing "tomato sauce" with "gravy". I even had "man-a-gut" nailed to a tee and never again uttered "manicotti". I was in.

Because of my new found heritage, I've had my share of good meatballs over the years. In "Sunday gravy" with my wife's family and through a host of different recipes my wife has experimented with. While I may not be a true connoisseur, I can detect a good meatball when I taste one.

Now with two adults working and two young and active children, there isn't a ton of time to plan and execute elaborate dinners. You have to pick and choose your battles and more often than not, the meatball is sacrificed.

Until now that is.

A few weeks back my wife had been doing some "food research" (and she is damn good at it) and asked me to pick up the package below? From where you ask? C'mon now.

Yes, Wegmans Polpette Large Oven Baked Meatballs are from the mecca that is Wegmans.

Of course I agreed to pick these up since there was a decent chance Matt and I may happen to find our way there.

That night, the family enjoyed them with spaghetti and our favorite gravy. Holy crap'n crap. They were likea whata mamma made.  

Quick aside - Italians in Italy (that was fun to write) do not add gravy to their meatballs. Spaghetti and meatballs do not exist. Meatballs are typically a side dish or second course. Here in the USA, we have bastardized them. But I will admit, a meatball parmesan sub is killer.

Aside over  

So these Wegmans meatballs are fantastic. I've had them a number of times since and the entire family continues to rave about them. They are super moist even though frozen and damn tastier than any frozen meatball I've ever had, not to mention other homemade meatballs I've sampled.

A win for busy people.

But the true test won't come until Matt tries them. He is full blooded Italian from the Bronx and I'm sure he has had his share of dynamite meatballs over the years. I imagine him playing stickball in the street until his mother or grandmother yelled out the window, "Matthew, time for dinner and get your bib."

So I convinced Matt to give them a try. As you can see here, he bought them with our last run to Wegmans.

Well that and an endless supply of gum and floss picks.

So Matt is now on the clock to give these a run and provide his honest feedback. I know I anxiously await the results.

But before I go, I wanted to share something with you all. I decided to try these Wegmans meatballs sans gravy; simply on their own. I baked 4 of them in the oven and dived in. You can witness my thoughts on this with the following video.            

Not quite a natural behind the camera yet, but I'll get there.

You're up Matt. The challenge is officially on.

Monday, February 9, 2015

John's top 20 songs of all time

John here ...

Before I dive into my musical choices, I have to comment on Matt's options. Here is a quick rundown of both his latest "mixed tape" and his top ten list of all time:

Sugar – Maroon 5 - didn't know it was necessary to add this one since you can only hear it on the radio every three minutes.   
      Only the Young - Journey - I freakin love this song too; it is the quintessential 80's soundtrack song. Although I'm embarrassed to admit I've never seen Vision Quest.    
These Days – Bon Jovi - are they still making music? Does JBJ own the Buffalo Bills or is he the mayor of Rumson?  
Until I Find You Again – Richard Marx - I refuse to even look this one up. If I'm not mistaken, Matt went on the Richard Marx/Eric Carmen cruise a few years ago.   
Something Big - Shawn Mendes - are we sure this isn't his son's mix? Mendes is opening for Taylor Swift this summer and can be seen all over Disney Channel. Yes, I knew all that off of the top of my head.    
Always on Time - Ja Rule and Ashanti - I love not knowing a thing about Ja Rule and I'm going to keep it that way. 
Love Never Felt So Good – Michael Jackson & Justin Timberlake - this song is so Matt you have no idea. 
Miami 2017 (Seen The Lights Go Out On Broadway) – Billy Joel - I like
Scream - Usher - you can take the man out of the Bronx, but you can't take the DJ out of ... wait ... what ... did that make sense? It did to me before I started typing it.  

And now the top ten list. Wow. Where to begin?

My Way – Frank Sinatra - not necessarily my fave Frank but this song is still all sorts of awesome.
New York State of Mind – Billy Joel - top three BJ song for me
I’ve Got the Power – Snap - is he kidding? Does this actually qualify as a song? Wasn't it just a sound bite at sports arenas in the early 90's? I would pay to watch Matt sing this in his car. Hint. Hint. 
If You Don't Know Me By Now - Simply Red - I would honestly consider this on my bottom ten list. Who would possibly want to know this guy? Blech. 
How Deep Is Your Love – Bee Gees - I lean more "More Than a Woman" or "Jive Talkin" but this one is OK. 
Looking For an Echo – Kenny Vance - Oh, I didn't realize Matt is 76 years old.  
Hotel California –Eagles - I'm not familiar with this song. Must not have been played all that much over the years. 
The Boys Are Back In Town - Thin Lizzy - I'm not buying this one. This is an attempt to come off like a rocker. More likely choice here should be New Edition or Color Me Badd.  
Truly – Lionel Richie - I like me some Lionel but not this one all that much. 
Lose Yourself - Eminem - one of these things is not like the other ... 

Now onto my choices.

They're awesome.

You're welcome.

In no particular order:

Radiohead - Fake Plastic Trees

Blondie - Tide is High

Great White - Save Your Love

Queen - Fat Bottomed Girls

Radiohead - Paranoid Android

Sade - King of Sorrow

My Chemical Romance - Sharpest Lives

Van Halen - Unchained

Frank Sinatra - The Way You Look Tonight

Silversun Pickups - Substitution

Tesla - What You Give

Van Halen - DOA

Badfinger - No Matter What

System of a Down - Sugar

Pantera - Walk

Green Day - Jesus of Suburbia

Eagles - Peaceful Easy Feeling

Black Crowes - Sometimes Salvation

Def Leppard - Mirror, Mirror

Radiohead - Jigsaw Falling to Pieces


So there you go.

All the musical recommendations you'll ever need.  

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Matt's top ten songs of all time

Matt here ...

Seeing that great picture John posted of Tony Robbins just got me thinking. No, not that he has some big a$$ teeth and maybe a hair transplant, but how it doesn’t matter who you are, or where you’re from, that there has not been a time where you were laying there all slouched on your couch, changing the channel, ready to pass out (after finishing a batch of salty pretzels and a vat of diet soda) but stopped when you heard him preaching some powerful message about changing your life overnight. All of a sudden you hear the “Rocky” theme song playing in your head and you’re ready for change!
OK, so what if that was me a few nights ago? Go ahead, have your laugh (Hold on - let me dust off the salt crystals that fell on my shirt right before I passed out in the middle of him telling me how to change my life in 3 short days). Glad I can give you that visual.

Tony Robbins is one example of the weird things that drive my mood and lead to the creation of my next CD masterpiece (and yes, a 10 min Tony Robbins clip made its way to one of my CD masterpieces that may have also included a song or two from “NSYNC” or yes one of my favorites “Frank Stallone”. I know, WTF!)

There is no telling what songs could end up on these insane mixtures of melodies that get me ready in the morning to tackle the world or a few ballads that make you reach for a Kleenex and want to stay in bed all day (now who doesn’t love “Careless Whisper”? - and yes, I do own a George Michael back-pack, so piss off!).

Every “DJ Matte B” (yes, that was my DJ name back in 1989) compilation CD consists of a bunch of really fast upbeat songs that range from current top 10 to 25 yrs. old.  These musical extravaganzas are as eclectic as it gets, so I challenge any one of you to top the examples below….

Here is an example of one of my CD masterpieces:

Sugar – Maroon 5
      Only the Young - Journey
These Days – Bon Jovi
Until I Find You Again – Richard Marx
Something Big - Shawn Mendes
Always on Time - Ja Rule and Ashanti
Love Never Felt So Good – Michael Jackson & Justin Timberlake
Miami 2017 (Seen The Lights Go Out On Broadway) – Billy Joel
Scream - Usher

Now, addressing John’s challenge. Very hard to do. Here is a quick stab at my top 10 (In no particular order):

My Way – Frank Sinatra
New York State of Mind – Billy Joel
I’ve Got the Power – Snap
If You Don't Know Me By Now - Simply Red
How Deep Is Your Love – Bee Gees
Looking For an Echo – Kenny Vance
Hotel California –Eagles
The Boys Are Back In Town - Thin Lizzy
Truly – Lionel Richie
Lose Yourself - Eminem

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

The "Two Guys at Lunch" soundtrack

John here ...

One of the great pleasures of going out to lunch each day with my BFF is the surprise that awaits once the key enters the ignition and Matt's car radio welcomes me. Over the years I've been greeted by New Kids on the Block (NKOTB to those in the know), plenty of 50's Doo-Wop, Eminem ("You only get one chance") and yes, even inspirational messages from everyone's favorite jawline.

The soundtrack varies greatly from week to week or even day to day. I still remember being greeted by Adele one summer afternoon and learning that her song was on Matt's "workout playlist".

Chew on that for a minute.

I kid you not, "Rolling in the Deep" inspired Matt to bench like 275 lbs. 25 times as if he were at the NFL Combine. Don't believe me? Read here for proof.

The dude's musical and inspirational tastes are so all over the place and I love it. It is impossible to pigeon hole. I could go on all day with stories I've learned over the years. From his attendance at a George Michael concert where he excitedly earned a backpack featuring the 5 o'clock shadowed singer to his belting out of "Carry on My Wayward Son" that was legitimately American Idol worthy to his fascination with Sly Stallone's singing brother Frank.

Don't believe me? Think I'm making this up? Again, here is your proof.

The best.

So with all of this in mind, I thought it would be great entertainment to have Matt share with us his top ten songs of all time. I promise you incredible diversity, some head scratching moments and songs you will not be able to get out of your head for days.

You're up Matt.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Two Pomegranates and a Guy

Matt here ...

Yes we are back!!! The Two Guys at Lunch duo is back in full force and ready to keep you posted on everything from Fage Yogurt to Kale Salad to Chicken Parm Pizza and Fantasy Sports. 

Most of the time we agree on our favorite foods and sports topics but for some things we have our own separate passions. One of John’s passions is water. Plain and simple, the guy loves it. Never see him without a water bottle. His daily consumption could fill one of those gas tanks you see on the New Jersey Turnpike.

Quite frankly it pisses me off because I have trouble getting down a sip of it without having to add some sweetener to it. I know, save your breath, water is the best, I get it.   

Now on to more exciting stuff. 

Let’s talk about one of my passions. Ahhh those big round juicy (hey!! get ya head outta da gutta) red beauties that come out every October. Yes, those red beauties are Pomegranates! Seeing them in stores brings a tear to my eye and an excitement like a 7 year old running to the tree on Christmas morning. Have them plain, in yogurt (Fage only of course), smoothies or on a salad and you are in business my friend. 

I saw them while John and I were browsing Wegmans for a few odds and ends (love that phrase). Once they caught my eye, everything slowed down and I immediately stopped listening to whatever he was saying. At that moment it was all about me and the POM’s (Remember, they must have the little POM sticker or don’t even bother). 

“Oh what beautiful pomegranates” I said out loud without any hesitation. Love was in the air! I grabbed two of those perfectly round beauts (hey!! I told ya, get ya head outta da gutta) and everything was good in my world.

If you need a little tip on the how to de-seed these powerful anti-oxidants, check out my 1 minute video that makes life a little easier when trying to get to the juicy red seeds.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Two Guys at Lunch - "Don't call it a comeback"

John here ...

I know it has been over a year since we last posted but let's not dwell on the negative today. We are back and that is all that matters. You asked for it and we felt compelled to give our public what they want; tales of two gentleman eating lunch. I know ... groundbreaking stuff ... and you're welcome.

Quick history of the past year: With new quirks in our schedules, Matt and I haven't enjoyed each other's company at lunch as often as we'd like. It has been a difficult and trying time, but I think therapy has helped Matt dramatically. I can't always be the rock so it is good to know he can open up to others.

But the past is in the past (thanks Elsa) and now our schedules are lined up once again and we can get back to that good place. It's 2011 all over again. So buckle up and enjoy the ride, we have a lot of catching up to do.

Onward to today ...

We are in the midst of a monumental storm here in the Northeast today (editor's note: the storm ended up totally disappointing, Snowmageddon it wasn't) but that didn't stop Matt and I from making it into the office.

And hitting up Wegmans at lunch.

We were literally the only ones in the parking lot at noon today. Luckily Matt had on his sensible shoes so I didn't have to hold his hand and guide him to the car.  

It was tough sledding getting to the old daily oasis but the end result was never in doubt.

After we grabbed our lunches and found our usual seats, it was comforting to know we still "had it". I totally shrieked out loud when I saw that we bought the exact same beverage. A 42 year old yelling "twinsies" was probably a bit creepy but my emotions got the best of me.

Between us, we scarfed down:

  • 3 barbecue chicken wings
  • Cajun Kettle salad
  • Buffalo chicken chowder 
  • Sushi
We then set out to tour the store for a bit and pick up the bare essentials before the storm really hit.

Now each lunch typically results in one moment that reminds me why we do this day in and day out. Something that still makes me laugh the next day. Today it was Matt passionately spouting out unprompted, "Those are beautiful pomegranates" as we walked by this display.

I can't even begin to tell you how much Matt loves pomegranates. In fact, I'll leave that up to a future post from him. Just know that there is a You Tube video out there of Matt's tips on how to navigate the seeds of this complicated and finicky fruit.

But you would have to agree, those are some good looking pomegranates. Reason #3467 why Wegmans kicks ass.

As we headed back to the office after another successful lunch and I held on to my newly acquired organic eggs and peanut butter stuffed pretzels, I spotted Matt's purchases in his back seat.

Someone was having pomegranate oatmeal tomorrow morning. Nice.

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