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Monday, August 26, 2013

pop-we Dinner Club Reviews Dundee's Dario's Brasserie

Dario's chicken pasta.
In the historical Dundee area is a hidden gem that population-we™ (pop-we) foodie Michelle found called Dario’s Brasserie. Located at 4920 Underwood Avenue in Omaha, NE., Dario’s is a European style restaurant. It is little place nestled between a coffee shop and a bar. When you walk up you notice the welcoming awning with outdoor seating underneath. As you pass through the doors there is a hostess stand with the dining area behind it, there is a bar in the back on the right wall. The subtle décor and lighting make this a perfect date night place. The dining area is mainly made up of small seating for 2-4 people.

Dario is a trained classic French chef who studied at The French Culinary Institute in New York. The menu has the likes of Mussels, Escargot, Duck along with other culinary delights. Tonight I felt like pasta, which is not always on the menu. It was a hearty dish with chicken, zucchini, other vegetables, and crapes in a rich cream sauce. As much as I enjoyed my dish what other people order looked fantastic. Next to me a foodie ordered the Smokey Grilled Pork Loin served with chive mashed potatoes, Belgian ale fig sauce with sauteed vegetables. It looked amazing, which made me jealous. When I asked how it was he responded “it’s delicious, just wish there was more of it!” Which seemed to be a common theme, good food but small portions.

Chef/Owner Dario also has a passion for beers. In his restaurant, you will not find the common beers such as Bud, Coors or any of the domestics that is everywhere. There is an extensive beer menu all of which are specialty or European style beers; many are heavy, others have hints of fruit or exotic sour ales. If you were looking to try different styles of beers, this would be a place to try. Dario’s also has events where they pair the meal with beers.

After compiling the surveys from the other foodies the pop-we Dinner Club gives Dario’s Brasserie a 4.03 star average on a scale of 1-5.

Atmosphere/Decor – 4.29

Cleanliness – 4.14
Dario's Mussels with Chorizo.

Wait Staff – 4.86

Menu – 3.43

Food Presentation – 4.29

Food Portions – 3.86

Food Taste – 4.71

Cost (was the cost worth meal?) – 3.29

Noise Level – 3.14

Overall Experience – 4.29

For more information regarding directions or Dario’s Brasserie, visit their website at 

Fellow population-we™ readers, if you've been to Dario’s Brasserie leave us a comment and tell us what you thought?

Want to do this yourself? To review how to start your own dinner club, visit our January post about doing just that. Remember it is a template; tweak it to fit you and your friends’ tastes. pop-we Dinner Club: good food…good friends…good times.
Dario's Brasserie on Urbanspoon

-population-we™ blog post by Brian Brown
© 2013 population-we, LLC 
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Monday, August 19, 2013

Watermelon Anyone?

Black Diamond watermelons at a local farmer's stand.
Those who know me well, know I'm not a fan of watermelon. Don't get me wrong--I'm not saying I dislike it like when America's 41st President George W. Bush said he hated broccoli. No hate emails please. However, till this day I can't stand anything watermelon i.e. candy, drinks, desserts and the juicy fruit itself. It hasn't always been this way. Yes, there is a watermelon back story for this blogger.

Growing up my dad's nickname from the neighborhood kids was: "The Watermelon Man." So, this is where this story starts. My dad's fondness for watermelon started when he was a kid. He grew up on a farm in Greenfield, Iowa, where his mom had a watermelon patch. He would share his love of watermelon with his own family someday. And he did, during summers growing up my dad would travel to a local orchard and buy a truck load of watermelons. His watermelon of choice was and still is, a Black Diamond. Most of my friends would snack on candy and ice cream in the summer. With a truck load of watermelons that is what The Bohan kids would eat. It was a delectable and refreshing summertime treat during Nebraska's hot summers. My dad would also give a watermelon to each family on our block; hence, where my dad's--The Watermelon Man--nickname came from. So, we'd eat a lot of watermelon all summer long.

Some years earlier, my grandmother's watermelon patch would be part of a conversation at a bar in Vietnam. My aunt's husband was at a local bar while on leave for a weekend pass; where he met another service person who happened to be from Greenfield, Iowa. My uncle would comment that his brother-in-law was from Greenfield. After learning my dad's name, the man would replay that he used to steal watermelons from the Bohan farm. It's a small watermelon world, indeed.

The Bohan family farm in Greenfield, Iowa.
While composing this post, I called my mom to get the account from above. Also, while I had her on the phone I had her ask my dad for some watermelon tips.

Question: How do you know when a watermelon is ripe?

Dad's Answer: When it tastes real sweet.

Thanks dad for what sounds like a knock, knock joke. In all honesty, to find out if a watermelon is ripe-- just thump it on the side. If a loud hollow sound emminates-- it is ready for the picking or consuming.

In short, to answer the watermelon anyone question; for 23 years now, I haven't been able to bring myself to eat a watermelon. Too much watermelon consumption for me. However, my siblings and parents still eat the fruit. In all seriousness, you can tell I still have very found memories of the watermelon, which suffices for me.

-population-we™ blog post by Becky Bohan Brown
© 2013 population-we, LLC 
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Monday, August 12, 2013

'Little Steps. Big Impact.' Ozone Awareness Days Ends This Week

A MAPA bus.
My husband and I committed to live a greener lifestyle a longtime ago. Given this fact, The Brown's recycle in our ever day lives; whether it's recycling paper, cans and glass. Also, to decrease our carbon footprint even more we carpool and at times take public transit. No joke, read about our past carpooling and bus riding efforts at Metro Commuter Challenge and Ride the Bus to Work Day. Like most, it took baby steps to get us to where we are now. That is why when I learned of this “Little Steps. Big Impact.” initiative taking place in the Omaha metropolitan area this week I had to share it with our population-we™ readers.

The birth of this campaign came about because of the growing concerns for Omaha's air quality or "ozone." Ozone season is from the months of April to October. For more information, read "What is Ozone." To educate residents and especially commuters on how to decrease their ozone impact, the Metropolitan Area Planning Agency (MAPA) teamed up with the Douglas County Health Department. With ozone emissions at the forefront of concern for this campaign the main driving point for the Ozone Awareness Days would be to get commuters to ride a MAPA bus. In this case, the price definitely makes it right--it is just a 50-cent bus fare on each Ozone Awareness Day this week: Monday through Thursday, Aug. 12-15.

Besides reduced bus fares the “Little Steps. Big Impact” campaign website offers resources for Omaha commuters to learn more about ozone impact. The campaign also provides tips for everyday ozone reductions such as: taking the public transit, carpooling and avoiding outdoor activity. The website defines the peak hours of outdoor activity between 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. However, don't be alarmed Nebraska usually lands way below the national average. On the day I wrote this post, Omaha ranked at 41, which is classified as "good" by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) air quality standards called the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS). But due diligence needs to be met to keep it that way! So, Omaha's MAPA and the Douglas County Health Department want to make commuters aware of the number of trips we take in our vehicles, too.

So, if you live in the Omaha metropolitan area, please consider participating in MAPA's and Douglas County Health Department's "Little Steps. Big Impact." Let's take yet another step to transform our carbon footprint to just a little; because together we can make a lasting difference to reduce our impact.

-population-we™ blog post by Becky Bohan Brown
© 2013 population-we, LLC 
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Monday, August 5, 2013

Pet Amber Alert Is Here to Help

Any pet parent knows this horror; you go to let your fur kid inside and they are nowhere to be found. It is a gut wrenching feeling to say the least. This has happened to me on more than one occasion but the most memorable was when someone left the gate open and my German Shepherd Precious was gone. She was my world. My family bred German Shepherd dogs, so Precious was mine since birth. We kind of grew up together. I’ve watched Cesar Millan and think I have dog whisperer capabilities truly because of the connection I had with Precious. She was special, throughout the years my parents would allow only a handful of dogs to live in the house, and Precious was one of them.

Pepper with her Westie house guest, Alex.
You may ask why blog about her now? While pet sitting recently I had a couple gut wrenching occurrences centered around four-legged fur friends. First, Pepper (our 14-year old mutt) was doggy sitting Alex a 13-year old Westie. I was moving the hose and Alex bolted out the gate and I had to chase him down the street; all while wearing flip flops. I did finally catch up to him after taking off my flip flops. Second, not no more than 15 minutes would pass when I was still outside watering my flowers and a lady and a little boy walked by. She asked if I’d seen a little white dog and I answered I have one in the back yard. Her eyes swelled up with excitement until I explained, it was a Westie, I was watching for my cousin. Her shoulders slumped back as she told me they were looking for their Jack Russell Terrier. I told her sorry, I’d been out most of the morning and haven’t seen him. She said thanks and she continued walking up the street. The little boy beside her would continue to bellow out “Scruffy!” as they walked. This immediately brought tears to my eyes.

A couple days would pass and obviously Scruffy still had not been found. To my dismay, Brian took a couple fliers from the dad, and said--we’d do what we can! I knew immediately--I had to do a blog post in hopes of reuniting Scruffy with his family. Unlike when my Precious went missing, today there is the Internet and social media to rely on. You’ve heard of the Amber Alert for missing children and at-risk adults? Well, there’s a pet version, too. Enter Pet Amber Alert for missing cats, dogs and birds. When a pet is lost, Pet Amber Alert uses phones, faxes and social media to alert thousands of neighbors, animal shelters, veterinarians, hospitals, and pet stores in the area the pet was reported missing. The Pet Amber Alert website reports, “this method has an average success rate of 77 percent. We'll post an immediate blast to accounts on Facebook and Twitter. Share our alert with your own (social media) connections to expand your research.”
Scruffy's Pet Amber Alert.

However, the service isn’t free. The cost is $39.95 to send missing pet posters to 25 local animal shelters, veterinarians and pet businesses; $59.95 to send phone alerts to 250 neighbors; or $99.95 to send both phone alerts and posters. A Premium Plan touted as the "BEST VALUE! Most Successful!" can send calls to 1,000 neighbors and missing pet posters to 100 businesses for $249.99. For a love this strong wouldn’t you buy a Pet Amber Alert, too?

Like in Scruffy’s case they can issue alerts while on vacation. Scruffy’s family was on vacation from Hastings, Neb., when she went missing. “The service will also fax and email a poster of your lost cat, dog or bird to veterinarians, animal shelters and animal control officers within 10 to 100 miles of the location where the animal was last seen,” the website says. “Our system can issue an amber alert to any location in the United States. Simply enter the street address your pet was last seen and we send the alert to this location.”

Also, want to continue too make a difference? If so, bookmark this Pet Amber Alert page and check back periodically to help try and reunite lost pets in your neighborhood. I truly think if Pet Amber Alert existed when Precious went missing--I would've been reunited with my dog companion. Please help us reunite Scruffy with his family from Hastings, and view Scruffy's online Pet Amber Alert.
(Editor's note: I was not paid or thanked in any way for this post. There are no affiliate commissions tied to this service. I am not endorsing or recommending it, because I have not used Pet Amber Alert myself.)

-population-we™ blog post by Becky Bohan Brown
© 2013 population-we, LLC 
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