We had previously run a question from readers Alli and Kanela Duncan asking about rumors that the great Prospero's Deli, a defunct lunch spot in the southwest, would be returning. A friend of former co-owner Beth Ramone passed the article on to her, and she emailed us with an update from Italy. (My week is always better when I get an email from Italy.)
"It really excites me whenever I talk to people and they continue to show their love for Prosperos," she wrote. "It's been one of my pride and joys in life and I've been continually in the works of its return. Two years ago I was in the process of reopening on 19th and O streets when the opportunity to move to Santa Barbara arose. I took that and have spent the last two years learning about seafood, something a little bit lacking in Bakersfield and so amazing in the SB area. I have also spent months on a farm in New York milking goats and learning the cheese-making process. I am sitting here writing this email in the center of Rome trying to pick up more of the tricks of the trade in Italian cuisine, something of a passion of mine. Meats and cheeses to bring to a deli case near you. Wouldn't you just love being able to stop in for a panini filled with spicy capicola and sharp provolone or bresaola and peperonata. Maybe some fresh pasta? A lesson in the art of making fresh mozzarella? Fresh focaccia layered with porchetta?
"I love the passion that Bakersfield has for food, something I've noticed in the last few years of travel can be surprisingly lacking in many areas. Reopening and sharing my experiences is definitely in the back of my mind, but is Bakersfield ready for a Prospero's comeback?"
I love a mystery. Leave us hanging. If there are more developments, we'll share them as soon as we get them.
In our last column, we wrote about restaurants offering special discounts to veterans and current military personnel on Veterans Day. Along with Applebee's free entree from a special signature menu and Famous Dave's BBQ's 25 percent discount for veterans and active military, we found more deals. (Note: Most require a valid military ID or proof of service, unless otherwise noted. Call restaurant to verify it is participating.)
Chili's offers military personnel a choice of eight free meals, today only, dine-in only. Any dessert on the menu is only $5 for an added bonus.
BJ's Restaurant & Brewhouse is offering free lunch entrees or individual pizzas to both veterans and active military today.
Hooters is offering 10 free wings with the purchase of a beverage to any military serviceman, past or present.
Olive Garden has a special free menu, including breadsticks and a choice of soup or salad, to veterans, today only.
Some Little Caesars Pizza locations will provide veterans and active military members with free Crazy Bread with orders today. Call stores to verify participation.
Outback Steakhouse is offering a free Bloomin' Onion and Coca-Cola product to military personnel today and Monday.
Goose Loonies Tavern & Grill is offering a plate of their choice to active military and veterans on Monday.
Denny's will host a Veterans Day Appreciation Event from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday with free all-you-can-eat pancakes for all active military and veterans.
Red Robin will offer a Red's Tavern Double and bottomless steak fries for veterans and active personnel on Monday.
Sizzler (Real Road and Mount Vernon Avenue) offers a free lunch (from a choice of three entrees) served until 4 p.m. Monday.
Golden Corral is offering a complimentary meal on Monday from 4 to 9 p.m. for anyone who ever served in the U.S. military. No proof of service is required, but it's dine-in only.
Juicy Burger is offering a free burger, fries and drink to military personnel from 4 p.m. to closing today at both locations.
Jack in the Box offers gifts
In the previous Dish I mentioned that Jack in the Box had discontinued the frequent customer card promotion they'd been testing in Bakersfield. Reader Vincent Rivera wrote to say that all customers who participated would get two free parting gifts: a free item on the menu if you had any points on the old card, as well as a gift card sent to you in the mail if you type your card number into the JIB rewards Web page.
"I received a card value on $20 and my mother received one for $10," he wrote. "Just thought your readers could use this information."
Thanks, Vincent. He did remind me that there's a Dec. 31 deadline on both offers, so get on it.
Thanksgiving at the Padre
Years ago on one Thanksgiving the family decided to go lazy and instead of meeting at someone's house and slaving all day in the kitchen, we enjoyed a marvelous feast at the Bistro. Still have the family picture on the wall. Amazing how relaxed everyone was when you don't have to wake up at the crack of dawn, make the stuffing and get the turkey in the oven so it'll be done by mid-afternoon.
Anyway I was reminded of this option when I saw a sign in the lobby of the Padre offering a Thanksgiving buffet on Nov. 22 from noon to 7 p.m. The fare will include all the traditional Thanksgiving entrees, dessert stations and "all the fixins." Cost is $28.95 per person, but wine bottles above $50 are half-price.