Chef Cali Bergold and Carson Pazdan on WGN

The Kids Feeding Kids Club was founded in 2008 by 5-year-old Carson Pazdan.

Inspired by his love to cook and experiment in the kitchen, Carson wanted to create his own cookbook featuring all of his recipes as well as those from other children. He dreamed of a cookbook designed by kids for kids. This idea evolved into a vision of creating a club for kids where they can directly impact the lives of other children and help stop hunger. The organization’s mission is to feed hungry youth through fundraising and volunteering, building awareness, compassion and a foundation of philanthropy that will last a lifetime. It is the organization’s belief that the earlier children are introduced to community service, volunteerism and charity work, the more likely they are to stay engaged in these activities into adulthood thus making the world a better place.

To learn more about the cookbook, and donor opportunities, please visit

Worms and Eyeballs

1 lb. bucatini pasta (hollow spaghetti)
1 sm. red bell pepper
1-1/2 lbs. ground chicken breast
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 Tbs ginger, chopped
2 scallions, finely chopped
2 Tbs hoiser sause (Chinese BBQ)
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
3 Tbs vegetable oil
1 cup preshredded carrots
1 cup bean sprouts
1 cup snow pea pods (cut into pieces with scissor knife)
1/2 cup tamari

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Put a large pot of water to boil for the pasta. Cut off a quarter of the bell pepper and have your grown-up helper (GH) chop it finely. Slice the rest of the pepper yourself. Combine chicken, garlic, ginger, scallions, finely chopped peppers, hoisin sauce, salt and perpper in a bowl. Roll the mixture into meatballs the size of chicken eyeballs and place balls on a nonstick cookie sheet, coated lightly with 1 Tbs vegetable oil. Roast the chicken eyeballs for 10-12 minutes. When the past water comes to a boil, cook pasta according to directions. When the pasta is almost cooked through and the eyeballs are about 5 minutes away from coming out of the oven, start stir-frying the veggies. Heat a large nonstick skillet over high heat and add remaining 2 Tbs of vegetable oil. Stir the veggies for 1 minute. Have our GH drain the noodles and add the worms to the veggies. Pour in the tamari while the GH tosses the worms and veggies to coat. Transfer noodles to serving platter. Remove the eyeballs from the oven, roll them on top of the worms, then serve.

Eating Southwest Michigan

Best Afternoon Delight – Gelato at Casual Chef Café

Be sure to stop by the Casual Chef Café and The Pumpernickel Inn along Red Arrow Highway in Union Pier, Michigan. Their selection of gelatos was outstanding – we sampled the mint chocolate chop, pistachio nut, malted chocolate and toasted coconut caramel. Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner the café is a cozy, relaxed spot. Also, if you’re in need of your “Starbucks fix” the Café serves the full line of drinks. There is also a Bed and Breakfast attached that has five unique rooms that include a full breakfast.
16090 Red Arrow Highway, Union Pier, Michigan

Best Little Market with Big Ideas — Bud & Elsie’s Union Pier Market

So it’s this tiny little place, with a screen door that smacks you in the ass as you enter – at first go-around it’s a beachy, sleepy “convenience store” and then … upon closer inspection, its this tiny little place with super great food stuffs … Scharffen Berger chocolate bars, local wines from Round Barn, St. Julian and Tabor Hill, bread from Labriola, tons of organic stuff and great housemade guacamole and hummus (we also stocked up on some of their salads – try the chicken Caesar and some ginormous sandwiches for the beach). Wine tip … try the Round Barn Merlot – this a supple sipper for post-beach porch hang time.

Bud and Elsie’s
9805 Townline Road, Union Pier, Michigan

Pizza How It Should Be (and don’t forget to get a salad so you can get the dressing) – Mario’s Pizza

Okay, let’s set the record straight … there’s pizza, and then there’s pizza. There’s pre-formed cardboard pizza crusts with stringy, gooey mozzarella and sub-par toppings and then, hold on to your aprons, there’s Mario’s Pizza. Walking into this place I knew I was in good hands – behind the order counter there was this smoky, black, hotter than hell Blodgett deck oven that had to be more than 60 years old. Cranking out pie after pie … this oven had some history (and I’m betting they have never washed it or sprayed it down – this is the sign of a great pizza oven – all those years of baked on flavor). We were bringing pizza and pasta back to a hungry mob back at the beach house – our stomachs ached and our mouths watered – the order was impressive: Two large pies – one with everything (and by everything, they mean everything, including sliced meatballs on top) and one simple pepperoni and cheese. For pastas, we tried the shrimp scampi, linguine and red clam sauce, pasta with meat sauce and penne in alfredo with chicken and broccoli. As we waited for our order, we played cards, talked with the locals and basically drooled. The smells were incredible …with each of our pastas we were to receive a house salad. What dressing did we want?

Me: “Whattda got?”
Mario’s Pizza Goddess and Order Taker: “Caesar, Ranch, French, Italian, Bleu Cheese”
Me: “Which one is homemade?”
Her: “All of them”
Me: “All of them?”
Her: “Yah, all of them, why’s that so hard to believe?, everything here is scratch – now which one do you want?”
Me: “I want to have all of them and … I love you”
Her: “Go sit down and wait for your stuff”

This is real pizza done perfectly – you’re not going to find any goat cheese or bbq chicken pineapple pizza – this is authentic, down-n-dirty pizza. Go eat there.

Mario’s Pizza
16170 Red Arrow Highway, Union Pier, Michigan

Slow Down, Feel Special, Have Some Dinner at Bentwood Tavern

Located inside the gorgeous Marina Grand Resort in New Buffalo, Bentwood Tavern describes its food as “artisan comfort food” – I’ll agree but it does have a bit of a swanky swagger to it. We started with a fig and prosciutto pizza from the wood-burning oven and the tuna and avocado tartar – both were excellently executed and tasted divinely delicious. Next, a Caesar salad and then entrees of the evening’s fish selections — sautéed skatewing with this super rich and sexy mushroom sauce and striped sea bass with a rustic kalamata and tomato relish. Both of the dishes were plate-licking good. We ended with the lemon start and coffee. The room is simple yet artful, the service attentive and friendly and the wine list eclectic and fun (we tried the Adelsheim Pinot Gris from Oregon – a great pick to pair with our fish).

Plaza Real … in Barcelona
It was late at night … 1, maybe 2 am … the plaza was crowded, noisy, but yet relaxed and a bit sleepy – like the child begging to stay up but groggy with sleep. Yet, I was hungry and the call of the cafes beckoned. Should I do tapas, just some bread and jamon? Dessert and coffee? More wine (no, definitely no more wine). I slowly strolled passed tables of kissing couples, lost in thought vagabonds and rowdy students. Eating in Barcelona made choosing a cafe easy and difficult at the same time. You could view what everyone was eating to see various foods at different cafes. It was difficult to decide. I turned the corner and almost crashed right into a white aproned waiter. He was carrying a larger than life bowl of steaming mussels. The smell was overwhelming – garlic, saffron, tomatoes, onions, peppers, capers. What was that? Something a bit sweet on the nose. I followed him to a table and ordered a glass of wine (I know, I know, I said no wine but I’m at a café in Barcelona and it’s 2 am and the moon is shining right into the plaza. So yes, more wine!). I ordered and my Barcelona memories will always be filled with mussels and the moon.

Mercat de Sant Josep/ La Boqueria
Probably Barcelona’s best-known market, ideally situated just off Las Ramblas this market is a must whether sourcing ingredients for a fine meal or just wandering through. It’s an assault on the senses with smells coming from the fish and the fruit. The food ranges from ready-made fruit salads for the tired tourist, to quite alive crabs and lobsters. Markets in Barcelona offer the ideal place to purchase some of the freshest food and produce in the city, which is usually reasonably priced. They are the perfect place in Barcelona to buy food for snacks or ingredients for meals and there is generally more choice here than in supermarkets.

Dining at Tragaluz is to remove yourself from this world and travel to a place where food is the ruler and you are a glorious subject waiting for the next course to loose yourself in. The dining room is divine, the service is first-rate and after 6 hours at the table you feel you might simply make a little bed in the corner and wait until tomorrow where the chef may find you. Of course, he’ll offer you strong coffee and a baguette and invite you back for more!

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