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Monday, November 28, 2011

pop-we Dinner Club Reviews Agave

Agave in Dundee
Agave: a broad-leafed succulent plant found in warm, dry regions of the tropics; there are some 300 varieties of this plant, but it is from only a few that Tequila or Mescal is produced. This month pop-we dinner club member and author of this post -- chose for us to dine at Agave.

Agave is a Mexican restaurant located in the heart of Dundee at 5013 Underwood St. in Omaha, NE. The Dundee-Memorial Park neighborhood, where the restaurant resides, recently was named to the American Planning Association 2011 Great Places in America: Neighborhoods. Agave is tucked back off the street a little bit so there is some parking in front. However, most in our party found parking in the adjoining neighborhoods, where we got a glimpse of the old school architecture that helped earn Dundee its recent top ranking. At Agave, there is ample seating: an area outside and inside where there are three sitting areas. The bar area is near when you walk in. When you name a place after the plant from which Tequila is made you would expect Tequila, they claim to have over 100 different labels.

Agave plant
When you order from the Joe’s favorites section of the menu you receive complimentary chips and salsa. The salsa is red tomato-based and has a nice bite, but it is not hot enough for my taste. Something unique to Agave, they provide complimentary hot sauces at each table. They are jalapeno and habanero pepper-based sauces. The waitress showed us a trick to screw off the top of the decanters for better pouring. I preferred the habanero, which most at our table did, too. It had a nice heat and rich aftertaste flavor. For my main meal, I tried the smothered chicken burrito plate on this occasion. It was a large burrito that came with rice and beans...the portion size was big. I enjoyed the dish; the chicken was fresh (not out of a can) and plentiful, nice flavor, rice and beans were good. To get a glimpse at some more of their Mexican cuisine, population-we™ readers can check out Agave's complete menu at content/uploads/2011/07/agave_online_menu_1.pdf.

After compiling the surveys from the other foodies the pop-we Dinner Club gives Agave: 4.1 star average on a scale of 1-5.

Atmosphere/Decor – 4.33

Cleanliness – 4.22

Wait Staff – 3.88

Menu – 3.77

Food Presentation – 3.66

Food Portions – 4

Food Taste – 4.11

Cost (was the cost worth meal?) – 4

Noise Level – 4.11

Overall Experience – 4.11

Fellow population-we™ readers, if you've been to the Agave 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.
Agave on Urbanspoon
-population-we™ blog post by Brian Brown
© 2011 population-we, LLC 
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Monday, November 21, 2011

Home Instead Senior Care and HyVee Spread Holiday Cheer with 'Be a Santa to a Senior' Program

As we approach the season of giving, we sometimes begin to think about those less fortunate; however, most holiday giving and drives revolve around children and families. Home Instead Senior Care and local HyVee stores are trying to alleviate that problem by offering a program called "Be a Santa to a Senior."

Based off a "Secret Santa" concept, the holiday event matches up participants via a Christmas tree. Each Christmas tree is covered with paper ornaments, each bearing a senior's name and gift request. Secret Santa's choose an ornament and return the unwrapped gift under the tree by Tuesday, Dec. 6. Visit here to watch a video on how the program works:

This tree of giving starts with a paper ornament.
For the second year in a row UNO's Department of Gerontology also sponsored a tree. This is the tree where population-we™ Secret Santa's got matched up with their seniors. Other Christmas trees are located in Omaha HyVee stores scattered throughout town.

"We originally got involved with the effort as transportation elves," said Marietta Sewell, president of UNO's Sigma Phi Omega, a national gerontology honor society. "Gerontology students helped deliver the gifts to the Omaha Home Instead headquarters and to other various social agencies."

Each population-we™ staff member has committed to being a Secret Santa for a senior. The following "Be a Santa to a Senior" participants will receive a holiday gift from each pop-we contributor:

Name: Marge
Senior: Stationary set, stamps

Name: Linda
Wish: Stuffed teddy bear, lotion

Name: Catherine
Wish: Caffeine free diet coke

Name: Ben
Wish: Nebraska shirts or sweatshirts and sweatpants

Name: Wallace
Wish: Husker sports book

Name: Mary
Wish: Book about Omaha Gold Coast area

Social workers identified the needy seniors to event sponsor -- Home Instead Senior Care -- who compiled the list.

"You can tell the quality of life some of these seniors are living by their requests," Sewell said.  "One lady only requested a box of mints."

Again this year, students will pick up gifts from UNO and HyVee stores to help wrap them before social services drops them off to seniors. All gift donations go to seniors in the Omaha community.

Adopting a senior is open to the public, so tell your friends and family, and begin the season of giving off right, by helping elderly in your very own community. To volunteer or to donate a gift in your area, visit Home Instead at
- population-we blog post by Becky Bohan Brown
© 2011 population-we, LLC 
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Monday, November 14, 2011

Thanksgiving Homemade Pies Offer a Taste of Home in Omaha & to Deployed U.S. Troops from a Texas Café

Grandma Estelle's four homemade pumpkin pies from Thanksgiving 2010 
Thanksgiving in America just isn’t Thanksgiving dinner without pie. Depending on the region, pie tastes vary. Here in the Midwest pumpkin pie still reigns supreme. For 22 plus years I've gotten to enjoy homemade pumpkin pie courtesy of my husband's Grandma Estelle. She will celebrate her 89th birthday this December and her homemade pumpkin pies are still center stage at all our Thanksgiving gatherings.

However, down south in Texas pecan pie is the choice. A small town café in Round Top, Texas, is making sure U.S. troops are getting that little piece of Americana shipped to them wherever they may be stationed in the world this holiday season. The owner is Bud “The Pieman” Royer.

With a middle name like "The Pieman" it probably doesn't come to population-we readers surprise that Bud's Royers Round Top Café's nickname to most is called the "Pie Palace." This all began in 1987 when Bud started using Grandma Long's pie crust recipe and sold a couple of pies a week. More than 25 years later, Bud The Pieman, has gone into the mail-order pie business. To date, the town's population is 50 and Royers' sells about 10,000 pies a year. Among those loyal customers are U.S. troops.

"I've got chocolate chip like a big thick chocolate chip cookie," he said. "I've got butterscotch chip. I've got cherry. I have peach. I've got blueberry with granola topping, and I have apple, strawberry rhubarb. I have buttermilk, which is chess pie. Buttermilk with chocolate chips and coconut in it, I got a coconut chess, and I have the pumpkin."

The Café ships thousands of pies across the nation during the holidays. Though pecan pie is the region's favorite, because pecans are grown native in Texas, the chocolate chip pie is Royers' best seller. It is also the anchor in "Operation Desert Pie" -- Royers Round Top Café's very own military recognition/appreciation pie program.

Here's words from Royers' website where the Café offers a call-to-action to customers for Operation Desert Pie:

Royers' slice of chocolate chip pie
"Many of yawl want to be a part of this OPERATION but do not have any names of soldiers to send a pie too…we are compiling a list of soldiers who’d love to have some Royers’ pie …. ‘tis “THE ULTIMATE SLICE OF HOME!” from back home!!!"

Royers' goal is to ship 5,000 pies to military personnel deployed throughout the world this holiday. Orders for Thanksgiving ended Nov. 7; however, Christmas order's for "Operation Desert Pie" continue until Dec. 5. To order, visit this link.

"OUR OBJECTIVE: To ship 5,000 Royers’ pies, 'THE ULTIMATE SLICE OF HOME' to our fighting troops for T'Day & Christmas!"

With order of two pies through the Operation Desert Pie program, Royers makes a $5 donation to the Fisher House Foundation. The foundation offers free or low cost lodging to veterans and military families receiving treatment at military medical centers. Watch Royers Round Top Café  3-minute video of U.S. troops getting pies here.

The Bohan and Brown households will give thanks again this year for being able to enjoy the delights of Grandma Estelle's homemade pumpkin pies. Thanks to the generosity of others thousands of troops will get the taste of home this Turkey Day, too.  So, give thanks for our freedom this holiday and consider sending a pie to U.S. troops.
- population-we blog post by Becky Bohan Brown
© 2011 population-we, LLC 
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Monday, November 7, 2011

11.11.11 UNO DET 470 & NET Television Salutes Our Nation’s Veterans with Special Programs

U.S. flags will not be flown at half-staff across the nation this Friday, Nov. 11, to commemorate Veteran's Day. Instead, this is a day to honor our nations veterans. It is not a day of mourning, but a day of celebration and honor. population-we staffers would like to take this time to thank all the veterans in our families and extended U.S. family for their service to our country.

A dear friend of many of our staff had a husband who was Missing in Action (MIA) and a Prisoner of War (POW) during World War II. While interviewing Florence for a book, which I’m writing on Florence and her life-long friend Estelle, she shared with me a phone call. It was a long-distance phone call from her husband after Howard had been rescued. She was pregnant when he had gone missing. Tears flowed as she heard his lost voice from the other end of the phone. Howard first asked if she had the baby? She replied, “yes…we had a son!” He responded, “what did you name him?” “Jerry,” she replied. Howard answered, “...are you kidding -- you named him 'Jerry' -- that’s what we’ve been trying to kill over here!” She immediately responded that they could change his name. Jerry was now 2 years old. So, Howard responded: “No!” He had been missing and considered dead for those two years. During that time, Howard was tortured and imprisoned in Germany. He earned a Purple Heart for his WWII service and sacrifice. Besides Howard's son being named after his wartime enemy and being a Purple Heart veteran; he also walked with a limp the rest of his life -- all reminders of being a POW/MIA veteran.

This story came flooding back to me when I heard about a POW/MIA remembrance planned at the University of Nebraska at Omaha this week. UNO Air Force ROTC, Detachment 470, will be hosting a POW/MIA vigil on campus Tuesday, Nov. 8, at 5:30 p.m. All are welcome to join, DET 470 as they conducts a candlelight vigil in honor of American Prisoners of War and those Missing in Action. The Nov. 8 vigil will conclude a 24-hour guard at a bamboo cage on the UNO Pep Bowl. The bamboo cage, will be filled with an empty uniform in remembrance of all past and present POW/MIA. For more event information, contact Col. Major Gregory P. Reis (Arnold Air Society, Earl S. Hoag Squadron) at or visit

In honor of Veteran’s Day, Nebraska Educational Telecommunications (NET) Television will also air three special programs the night before to salute our nation’s veterans and explore the history of war.

Airing Thursday, Nov. 10, on NET1 and NET-HD are “Vietnam War Stories” at 7 p.m., “POV: Where Soldiers Come From” at 8 p.m. and “STRATCOM 9/11: A Different Doomsday” at 9:30 p.m. All times are CT.

“Vietnam War Stories” shares just a fraction of the personal memories of the three million Americans who served in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War. Veterans from all branches of military service share moving stories of triumph and loss on the field of duty, of sacrificing nearly everything on the battlefield and of the strong bonds of brotherhood and companionship in the ranks. Along with the veterans’ stories, archival video, historical photography and maps evoke stark imagery of the conflict.

“POV: Where Soldiers Come From” follows the journey of childhood friends from a small town in Michigan who join the National Guard after high school graduation and end up in the Afghanistan mountains. Over four years, the program chronicles the young men’s transformation from restless teenagers to soldiers looking for roadside bombs to 23-year-old combat veterans trying to start their lives again. The film offers an intimate look at the young Americans who fight our wars, the families and towns they come from  -- and the way a faraway conflict changes everything.

The 30-minute documentary “STRATCOM 9/11: A Different Doomsday” tells the story of the critical role Omaha’s STRATCOM played in supporting air defenses, gathering intelligence and supplying a safe haven for the President of the United States during some of the most uncertain hours in the nation’s history after the 2001 September 11 terrorist attacks.

“STRATCOM 9/11: A Different Doomsday” is a production of NET News for broadcast on NET1 and NET-HD. NET1, NET2 and NET-HD are part of NET Television, a service of NET. For a complete television program schedule, visit NET’s website (

We dedicate this post to the sacrifice and accomplishments made on our behalf by all of the U.S. military men and women. Remember to stop by UNO this Tuesday; tune into NET's Veteran's Day programming this Thursday; or fly your U.S. or POW/MIA flag at your home or business this Friday. But most importantly, thank a veteran if you come across one this week.
- population-we blog post by Becky Bohan Brown
© 2011 population-we, LLC 
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