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Joined: February 8th, 2008, 2:52 am

December 30th, 2017, 11:48 pm #11

WEEK TEN: April 2, 2018 7:30 EST

CONNECTICUT ... &width=560

We, the people of the United States, in order to delight the taste buds, do ordain this mouthwatering menu from The Constitution State.

Nicknamed The Constitution State, Connecticut knows how to start traditions. On this episode of State Plate, Taylor Hicks gets schooled on classic eats with Connecticut flare! First, Taylor eats a piece of apizza, a Connecticut take on an Italian staple that swaps sauce for seafood. Next, he’ll snack on a cold sandwich with a temperature twist, as he dives into a hot lobster roll. Then, he’ll chow down on a burger so unique that it’s picking up steam – the steamed cheeseburger. Finally, he’ll cool down with an ice cream float and learn that this sweet treat has a history as flavorful as Connecticut’s. So come explore new traditions and one-of-a-kind treats on this episode of State Plate!

1. Ted’s Restaurant in Meriden featured on ‘State Plate”
Taylor Hicks, the host of “State Plate,” visited Ted’s Restaurant in Meriden for his April 2 show. Courtesy of Taylor Hicks

Taylor Hicks, the host of “State Plate,” visited Ted’s Restaurant in Meriden for his April 2 show. Courtesy of Taylor Hicks

March 24, 2018
By Bailey Wright, Record-Journal staff

MERIDEN — Ted’s Restaurant will be featured on a new “State Plate” episode on April 2.

The steamed cheeseburger venue will be one of five Connecticut eateries visited by “State Plate” host Taylor Hicks, a recording artist who won the fifth season of American Idol. The show airs on INSP Network.

“Anytime they choose you for any of these shows it’s always really cool and really neat,” said Bill Foreman, owner of Ted’s Restaurant.

The more-than-50-year-old family-owned restaurant has been featured worldwide, in magazines, newspapers, and other TV shows, including “Hamburger Paradise” and “Burger Land” on The Travel Channel and “Man vs Food” with Adam Richman.

“State Plate” premiered in 2016 and recently announced a third season, which will complete the show’s tour of all 50 states.

“What we wanted to do is showcase a plate of food that’s iconic to that state,” Hicks said. Episodes air every Monday at 7:30 p.m.

“I loved Connecticut because it’s a state with land and sea,” Hicks said in an interview with the Record-Journal last week. “So we’re able to cover anything from lobster rolls to steamed cheeseburgers.”

Among the “iconic” Connecticut cuisine featured is Noank Aquaculture Co-op’s oyster on the half shell in Groton, Ford’s Lobster Restaurant’s hot lobster roll in Noank, Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana white clam pizza in New Haven, and Avery’s Beverages’ ice cream soda in New Britain.

‘State Plate’ and Taylor Hicks put spotlight on CT’s food
by mchaiken • March 30, 2018
By MIKE CHAIKEN ... -cts-food/

Taylor Hicks won the hearts of America as the last singer standing on “American Idol.”

Now Hicks is traveling into the heart of America on the INSP food show, “State Plate.” And on April 2, Hicks’s visit to Connecticut will make its debut on the cable network.

“State Plate,” according to press materials finds Hicks “on a quest to assemble plates that represent each state’s most historic, famous, and tastiest foods… as he travels from coast to coast visiting farms, ranches, markets, and festivals in order to uncover the stories and legends behind each state’s unique food traditions.”

Although the appointed leader of Idol’s “Soul Patrol” may be known for his musical talent, Hicks’s credential as a foodie are pretty solid.

“I had been touring a lot as a kid touring through Alabama,” said Hicks, who grew up in the southern state.

During his time on the road as a musician, Hicks said,“We would visit all these places (restaurants and food establishments)… We would pretty much go on a food tours.”

Plus, Hicks said, his upbringing gave him no choice but to learn indulge in food. “Being in Alabama and the South,” the host of “State Plate” said, “you could not have a palate for food.”

Besides loving the taste of food, these days, Hicks also delivers the food to the mouths of America as co-woner of Sawe’s Juke Joint in Birmingham, Ala.

Food is a “great outlet for me,” said Hicks. “It fits my personality being from the South and being a fan of barbecue.”

Prior to arriving as host of “State Plate,” Hicks already was aiming to be at the helm of a food show. He said he had been pitching ideas to networks that placed him in the role of a host of a food show.

And then, Hick said, “The stars aligned. ‘State Plate’ was looking for a new host.”

Hicks said he liked the idea behind “State Plate.”

Being someone from Alabama, Hicks said, he often wondered what people liked to eat in other states. And he was sure the feeling was mutual for people who lived in other states as well. Additionally, he liked the educational aspect of the show and the culinary exploration involved.

In his travels of the United States, Hicks said one of the aspects of the culinary spectrum across the country he noticed the most is the importance of the small farmers who bring the food to the table that Americans love. “I have much respect for farmers and small farmers.”

Along his travels, which have taken him to 36 states in two seasons, Hicks also said he has learned to love all of the regional delicacies. But he has developed a special affinity for wild asparagus from Minnesota. “Wild asparagus is something I never tried before.” He said he already loved asparagus. But wild asparagus, he said, “takes it to another level.”

The April 2 episode of “State Plate” will put the focus on Connecticut food. So, on that episode, Hicks visits Mystic Oysters in Mystic, Frank Pepe’s Pizzeria in New Haven, Avery’s Beverages in New Britain, Ford’s Lobster Restaurant in Noank, and Ted’s Restaurant in Meriden.

“Connecticut is such a beautiful plate of food,” said Hicks.

“The state of Connecticut has such a great local flavor. It’s a neat experience because you have land and sea,” said Hicks. When the food matches the landscape, Hicks said, it “can make for a euphoric feeling.”

When audiences tune into “State Plate” to learn about Connecticut’s food scene or the food landscape of any state, Hicks said he hopes the show inspires them to take the time to take a visit to those states and try the local favorites.

And, ultimately, he said he would like to see his audience expand their palate. “I definitely have a bigger palate (since doing the show),” said Hicks.

Appetizer: Mystic Oyster on the Half Shell

Noank Aquaculture Co-Op

Oysters are farmed on the Mystic River with a floating tractor . The babies are grown in the winter in hatcheries. By summer they are put into the estuary ( intertidal waters of salt and fresh waters )

In 18 months they are ready to harvest . Rakes are attached to the "tractors" and in shallow water are dragged to bring up the oysters.

Open them and eat them plain ( with juice ) or with lemon , horseradish sauce .

Entrée: Steamed Hamburger

Ted's Restaurant. Meriden, CT · A unique twist on fast food, the steamed cheeseburger, endures at this tiny '50s-era counter serve.
Mike and I are going to be on the show State Plate with Taylor Hicks! Lol We went to get steamed cheeseburgers at Teds in Meriden and they were filming for the show! We got to meet Taylor Hicks too, he seems like a nice guy. Apparently they liked the way we ate our cheeseburgers! Who would have thought my big TV break would be me stuffing my face with a cheeseburger?! It was pretty delicious actually! Lmao!

In the early 1900's , steamed cheese was used for food for the railroad workers, but they needed more protein. Beef patties were added to enhance their diet.
A steam cooker is used . Well done Beef is formed into a big patty, when steamed , it is put onto a hot bun . Melted white cheddar cheese is put on top and you can add lettuce, pickle, onion if you want.

Side 1: Hot Lobster Roll
Ford’s Lobster Restaurant

The Connecticut lobster roll is butter based while the Maine lobster roll is mayonnaise based. Butter poach the lobster , add to a hot buttered bun, sprinkle with fresh parsley.

Side 2: White Clam Pizza

Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana - Frank Pepe knew in 1925 that only coal burns hot and dry, and doesn’t give off steam like a wood fire. He knew that only a coal fire could give his “tomato pies” their famous crisp, charred, chewy crust.

Roll out pizza dough; add fresh clams with some of their juices , sprinkle with fresh minced garlic and fresh grated parmesan cheese , oregano and olive oil. Bake for a few minutes in a hot, hot , hot pizza oven.

Dessert: Ice Cream Soda

Avery’s Beverages - In 1906, Benjamin Silamen, a Yale Prof. brought soda to New Britain Conn and established Avery's, the oldest soda company in CT.
Put pure cane sugar in a vat and add water to form syrup for 1 1/2 hrs. The flavoring for the soda is added to the syrup ( cola, lime, cherry , etc ) . The soda syrup is put into bottles and carbonated water is added to the bottle and capped. There is a separation between the syrup and the carbonated water so the bottles have to be rotated sideways three times . ( The secret of Avery's sodas )

Put ice cream into the soda , add a straw and sip this delicious concoction.


Entrees and Sides :



1. Those lobsters bite: ... &width=560
2. Connecticut did not ratify prohibition in 1919 ( Rebel with a cause , maybe ) You can't call a pickle a pickle unless it can bounce . Connecticut is just strange that way.
3. The more oysters the better for the environment. ONE adult oyster @ 65 degrees can filter 30 gallons of water a day. This makes for pure water and yummy oysters.
4. The longer the antenna on a lobster the fresher and if there are barnacles growing on the shell, the meat will be dense as this lobster has not shed it's skin.
5. Pizza in Connecticut is Apizza , pronounced A-Beetz

Joined: February 8th, 2008, 2:52 am

February 26th, 2018, 2:03 pm #12

WEEK ELEVEN: April 9, 2018 at 7:30

NEW MEXICO ... &width=560

Some enchanting deliciousness from The Land of Enchantment!

It’s a hot, hot, hot episode of State Plate! Taylor travels to New Mexico to chow down on chiles galore. He’ll turn up the heat in Hatch, a town famous for green chiles and their classic stew. Then, he’ll spice it up in Chimayo where he’ll make chile powder and eat carne adovada. Then, he’ll see how much heat he can stand, when this kitchen cooks up two savory side dishes: calabacitas and sopaipillas. Finally, he’ll chill out with brittle made from a native nut that’s hard to pick but worth the effort. We’re packing the ultimate heat in the land of enchantment on this sizzling episode of State Plate.


1. Daily Post
Submitted by Carol A. Clark on March 26, 2018 ... ate-series
In State Plate, Hicks tastes his way across the United States on a quest to assemble plates that represent each state’s most historic, famous and tastiest foods. He samples crab cakes in Maryland, chili in Texas, potatoes in Idaho, and other delectable dishes as he travels from coast to coast visiting farms, ranches, markets and festivals in order to uncover the stories and legends behind each state’s unique food traditions.
It’s a heaping helping of America’s most intriguing cuisine, rich in history, folklore, and flavor. After two seasons of State Plate, Hicks will have documented the most popular foods from 36 states in the U.S.
When many think of New Mexico they imagine the magnificent caves of Carlsbad Caverns National Park, the Native American history at the Pecos National Historical Park or the stunning landscape of Valle Vidal in Carson National Forest; but what about the food?
Hicks travels the state discovering all the delectable dishes the state has to offer. He visited Sante Fe and Albuquerque and filled his plate with delicious food from each of these areas.

2. State Plate’ to sample New Mexico
By Adrian Gomez / Journal Arts and Entertainment Editor
Saturday, April 7th, 2018

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Taylor Hicks has come a long way since winning “American Idol” in 2006.
He’s kept his music career going.
bright spotBut he’s also made the jump into TV and hosts the successful show, “State Plate with Taylor Hicks.”
Hicks tastes his way across the country on a quest to assemble plates that represent each state’s most historic, famous and tastiest foods.

He samples crab cakes in Maryland, chili in Texas, potatoes in Idaho, and other delectable dishes as he travels from coast to coast visiting farms, ranches, markets and festivals in order to uncover the stories and legends behind each state’s unique food traditions.
Taylor Hicks is the host of "State Plate with Taylor Hicks
Taylor Hicks is the host of “State Plate with Taylor Hicks.” The show will feature New Mexico cuisine on Monday’s episode. (Source: INSP)
After two seasons of “State Plate,” Hicks will have documented the most popular foods from 36 states in the U.S.
The latest episode, which airs at 5:30 p.m. Monday, brings Hicks to the Land of Enchantment.
Hicks says when many think of New Mexico they imagine the magnificent caves of Carlsbad Caverns National Park, the Native American history at the Pecos National Historical Park or the stunning landscape of Valle Vidal in Carson National Forest.
“But what about the food?” he asks.
Hicks spent a few days in Santa Fe and Albuquerque filming the episode, where he samples local favorites like Hatch chile stew, carne adovada, calabacitas, sopaipillas and piñon nut brittle.
Hicks had a stuffed sopaipilla at The Sopaipilla Factory in Santa Fe, as well as carne adovada from Chimay Chile Bros., green chile stew from The Blue Heron Restaurant at Sunrise Springs Resort and Spa and calabacitas from the Santa Fe School of Cooking.
He also visited Jericho Nursery in Albuquerque where he had piñon brittle.

“It was a good trip,” he says. “There’s a lot of planning that goes into each episode. Our producers are looking for suggestions from viewers about what to highlight. We’re looking for the best and coolest type of food that we can get.”
For the trip to New Mexico, there was one thing Hicks has to eat – green chile.
“Chile is big in the state,” he says. “It’s just amazing how diverse the plate is for New Mexico.”
Hicks and crew turn over an episode every five days, which means there wasn’t a lot of time for sightseeing.
“We like to cover a whole lotta the state,” he says. “It’s a lot of work but being able to tell these stories and give some perspective to a wider audience is fun.”
“State Plate” recently got the green light for a third season and Hicks is looking forward to hitting the goal of all 50 states.
“I get to try everything and my palate is overextending,” he says with a laugh. “This show is my life and the food is what fuels me.” ... le-nm.html

Appetizer: Green Chile Stew

Before cooking or using chilis , torch them until they are blistered and blackened. Wrap with plastic wrap over a bowl to stream and peel when cooled. Remove seeds and chop .

In a large pot over medium heat, heat the oil and brown the stew meat, New Mexico uses rib eye and the onions until onions are translucent; about 5 minutes.
Pour in the diced tomatoes, potatoes , chiles, beef broth and chile peppers. ...
Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 1 hour. Add some sour cream to cut the hotness.

The Blue Heron Restaurant at Sunrise Springs Resort & Spa

Entrée: Carne Adovada

In its simplest form, raw pork is cut into strips or cubes and placed in a large plastic bag with New Mexico red chili powder or minced red chili peppers (Hatch or Guajillo chili peppers), garlic, oregano, cumin, lime/lemon juice and/or vinegar, and salt, then mixed and refrigerated over night. The dish is cooked by baking at low heat wrapped completely in foil or in a covered dish like a casserole dish to keep the meat moist: about 4 hours.

Chimayo Chile Brothers chimayo chilies

Side 1: Calabacitas

In summer, when everything is fresh, the winning Three Sisters combination is a version of calabacitas that's made with a base of fresh corn, summer squash and string beans (or other beans ) Add onions and chilies.
Cooked in a HORNO oven ( Pueblo Indian oven ) in a micaceous clay pan

The Santa Fe School of Cooking

Dessert 1: Stuffed Sopaipillas

Stuffed Sopapillas are delicious fried fluffy sopapilla dough for a truly memorable dessert.

The dough is made from flour, baking powder, salt and shortening --- it is rolled out. The bread is fried and it puffs up. Add a stuffing (beans, rice and chilies for a savory sopapilla or berries or apples for a sweet sopapilla )

The Sopaipilla Factory

Dessert 2: Piñon Brittle

The New Mexico alternative to peanut brittle.

Look for cones that are opening as they are riper. Shake the cone to release the seeds. There may or may not be nuts in the seeds. It is a painstaking process that is done by hand.

To make the brittle, boil sugar and corn syrup with the nuts in the mixture. Add butter and spread out on a sheet pan to dry. When it is dry, smash into brittle pieces.

Jericho Nursery

Entrees and Sides :


1. Hatch chilies are harvested in the Fall ( Sept. ) New Mexico is the Hatch ( green ) chili captial
2. There are green chilies and red chilies . The green are just unripened reds. Spaniards from Mexico brought the chili to New Mexico in the 1600's .
3. Chimayo chili is grown on holy ground in sacred soil. The church and religious statue where the ground is holy.
The spring water has healing powers according to the people which is transferred to the chilies. These are the smallest chilis , they are curly and are used ground for chili pepper. Must hold your breath when processing them.
4. Pinon seeds sell for $30.00 to $40.00 a lb. Looking for pinon pine trees
5. The pinon is the official State Tree of New Mexico

Joined: February 8th, 2008, 2:52 am

February 26th, 2018, 2:04 pm #13

WEEK TWELVE: April 16, 2018 at 7:30


Origin of the ALL YOU CAN EAT BUFFET, Nevada's Las Vegas and Reno shine as the places to fill up with gourmet delights.

Hang onto your silverware! A bountiful banquet awaits…in The Silver State!

It’s no gamble that you’ll find fabulous food in Nevada! On this episode of State Plate, Taylor Hicks goes big, tasting his way through The Silver State’s legendary buffets and more. First, he’ll sample Nevada’s favorite appetizer, the shrimp cocktail. Then, he’ll find the biggest, baddest buffets to pile on the prime rib, crack open some crab legs, and savor a tsunami of sushi all along the Vegas strip. Finally, he’ll loosen his belt and feast on gateau Basque, a flaky dessert that’s as old as Nevada itself. Get ready for all you can eat episode of State Plate!

Viva Las Vegas: ... 45/video/1

Appetizer: Smoked Shrimp Cocktail

Libertine Social Restaurant Mandalay Bay, MGM Resorts, International James Beard Award-winning chef Shawn McClain challenges diners to free their minds from preconceived notions about Las Vegas restaurants and get ready to eat, drink and liberate at Mandalay Bay’s latest hotspot, Libertine Social. The next-generation gastropub will stimulate the senses with New American bar food by the renowned chef, a pioneering cocktail program by Modern Mixologist Tony Abou-Ganim and a range of compelling atmospheres to fit diners’ motivations.

At the Mandalay, the shrimp are smoked before marinated in olive oil, chili pepper, onion powder , sugar and lemon. Sprinkle sea salt on them and grill for 8 minutes . You can resmoke them or just serve with sauce and lemon. Serve cold on ICE.

Here is the recipe from the Mandalay : ... -cocktail/ or check out food facts below

Entrée: Prime Rib

Bacchanal Buffet, Caesars Palace Millions of people each year frequent the Caesars Palace Buffet for their succulent Prime Rib.
Season the ribs and roast for 2 1/2 hrs. at 200 degrees. Then you can grill to the desired doneness .

Side 1: Crab Legs ... 2643012609

Season the boil with a sachet of spices . Put crab into boil for 5 minutes . Serve hot .
Paradise Buffet Fremont Casino ( check below in food facts )

Taylor had some trouble with the spices put into the boil......a coughing fit ensured.

Dessert 1: Rainbow Sushi Roll
Makino Sushi & Seafood Buffet

Originating from Japan, sushi has become a staple in America.

A rainbow roll was given its name because of the pop of color from the sashimi and avocado topping the roll. Spread sticky rice onto
seaweed paper used to hold sushi together. This paper is called nori. Flip it over and add cucumber, crab, avocado. Roll using a MAKISU . Place the sashimi ( raw tuna, yellowtail, shrimp, mackerel , albacore, and/or salmon ) on top. Cut to desired size.

Dessert 2: Gateau Basque (Basque Cake)
Gâteau Basque is a traditional dessert from the Basque region of France. The Basque culture is prevalent in Northern Nevada. Taylor enjoyed playing guitar with the locals. Typically Gâteau Basque is constructed from layers of an almond flour based cake with a filling of either pastry cream or preserved cherries.

Basque Ogi Deli -

1/2 cup sugar.
1/4 cup cornstarch.
Pinch of kosher salt.
2 cups whole milk.
4 large egg yolks.
2 tablespoons unsalted butter.
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract.
1 tablespoon brandy./cognac

Scald milk and reserve. Make a custard from sugar, eggs, vanilla, flour, corn starch . Add the scalded milk and cool.
To make the crust: Add, butter, eggs , sugar, vanilla, and cognac to flour. Roll out.
Place a layer of dough in a cake or pie pan.
Add a layer of custard
Place another layer of dough onto the custard.
Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.

Entree and Sides:


1. 40 million visitors to Las Vegas consuming 60 thousand lbs. of shrimp cocktail a day.
2. The Golden Gate Casino in the early 1900's had the first shrimp cocktail
3. In 1956 at the Fremont Hotel, the Paradise Buffet began serving snow crab. 2400 lbs a week
4. In the 1940's at the Last Frontier Casino, a prime rib dinner with sides went for $1.50.
5. Sashimi is thinly sliced raw meat—usually fish, such as salmon or tuna—that is served without rice. Sushi is not raw fish, but rather vinegared rice that is mixed with other ingredients, which may or may not include raw fish.
In some countries, the terms "sashimi" and "sushi" may be used interchangeably, but this is incorrect usage. Raw fish is one of the traditional ingredients in sushi but sushi may also be made without meat or with cooked seafood as long as it uses vinegared rice. Sashimi, on the other hand, always contains fresh raw meat or seafood.
6. Mandalay shrimp recipe : The Shrimp
1 1/2 pounds jumbo shrimp, deveined, with tails on
3 tablespoons fresh cilantro (or parsley if you like a milder flavor), chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced or 2 scallions, white and green parts, sliced thin
Salt (Kosher or Sea Salt)
Cracked black pepper
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
Optional if you like extra spices

1 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon cumin powder
For brushing shrimp on grill

4 tablespoons butter, melted or extra olive oil
Citrus Sauce

1 cup ketchup
¼ cup fresh orange juice
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 or 2 teaspoons of canned chipotle chiles, minced, plus 2 teaspoons of adobo sauce or chipotle juice from the can
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 to 3 tablespoons white onion, diced
2 to 3 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped fine

1 teaspoon orange zest, finely grated

Start with the cocktail sauce

Place all the ingredients for the sauce in a bowl and whisk until mixed. At this point you may divide the sauce into individual smaller bowls, or do this later.
Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Prep the shrimp

Rinse, clean and blot dry the shrimp.
In a mixing bowl, toss the shrimp with cilantro (or parsley), chipotle and sauce or juice, salt and pepper. When combined, stir in olive oil and lime juice.
Let marinate for 15 minutes.
Place shrimp on skewers, 2 to a skewer, leaving room between the shrimp and at either end of the skewer.
If you’re smoking…

Lightly oil the rack.
Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to set up your smoker.
Preheat to 225 degrees to 250 degrees F.
Add wood according to the manufacturer’s specifications.
Place the rack with the shrimp in the smoker and smoke until the shrimp are firm and bronzed. This can take anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes. Keep a careful eye on the shrimp.
At the 20-minute mark, baste with butter or 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
If you’re grilling…

Preheat your grill to a high setting of 450 degrees F.
Place wood chunks or smoking chips on the coals. You can put the chips in aluminum foil, but cut a few slits into the foil to all the steam to escape.
Direct grill the shrimp for about 2 to 3 minutes on each side. They should be sizzling and brown on the outside, and if you have a thermometer, the internal temp should reach at minimum, 120 degrees F.
Turn the shrimp over once during cooking, at which point, baste with oil or butter.