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April 2008

Family Night at Three Samurai Japanese Restaurant

Excellent food, Teppanyaki cooking and an entertaining chef make for a fun evening!

If you're not familiar with the art of Teppanyaki, its tabletop grilling.  You sit and watch as the chef taps salt/pepper shakers and cooking utensils on the flat top grill, tossing and juggling them in the air as he prepares your food right there in front of you. 

The soups, steak, chicken, veggies and shrimp were all superb.  Not only does the Three Samurai prepare amazing food, but they provide incredible entertainment as well.  Table guests enjoyed flaming onion volcanoes, spatula tossed broccoli aimed into willing patrons mouths, and various other acrobatic acts and jokes from the chef.

Providing excellent food and family fun, the Three Samurai Japanese Restaurant is a must do.  Prices were reasonable, with the 'dinner & show' tab for a family of five coming in at about $100.00.  The only slight downer was a waitress that was not as attentive as she could have been.  It took two requests each time to get something like a water refill, we attributed it to the busy night.

The Three Samurai Japanese Restaurant scores four out of five stars.


They're located at:  1801 2nd St, #200, Coralville, IA 52241, call 319-337-3340 for reservations

Elegant Relaxation

If you're looking for a nice, quiet, fine dining experience, make a reservation at Cafe Z.

Owner and chef David Zaghloul is very talented and all his fantastic creations melt in your mouth. 

The following cuisine was sampled, and it was all outstanding:

  • Insalata Caprese - Fresh Mozzarella cheese & tomatoes, Mediterranean olives, basil, olive oil, & balsamic vinegar. Served with baguette bread.
  • Seared sea scallops with truffle scented polenta, house vegetables and blackberry glaze
  • Fillet Mignon seared to perfection served with Gold Yukon potatoes and black truffle sauce
  • Seared lamb loin & black truffle sauce
  • Creme Brulee

David also offers a very nice selection of wines.  So whether it's a romantic evening for two, or simply some relaxation, good conversation and great tastes planned with a couple of friends - check out Cafe Z, which rates 5 stars!


Cafe Z, 1705 S. 1st Ave Ste A, Iowa City, IA 52240.  Reservations can be made by calling (319) 338-1738 or email at

Food Stamp program needs review and reform

Well-intended, the Food Stamp Program mission is to help low-income people and families buy the food they need for good health. You can apply for Food Stamps at the state level of government.  In Iowa your application would go through the USDA office in Des Moines.  If eligible, your food benefits are provided on an electronic card (EBT) that is used like an ATM card and accepted at most grocery stores. 

Iowa food stamp users spend more than $24 million a month in groceries, according to the state. That’s double the level in 2003, when the EBT card replaced the use of paper coupons in Iowa.

But did you know that Food Stamp participants can purchase chocolates, candy, pop, and chips with their EBT card?  That's allowed, it's not fraud, waste, or abuse under the rules, but it's most definitely not healthy.

In 2004, the state of Minnesota requested permission from the USDA to prohibit Food Stamp users from buying candy and soft drinks with taxpayer money.  The proposed modification was clearly intended to promote diet quality by limiting the purchase of empty calorie foods.  Further, taxpayers should not subsidize bad eating habits.  Minnesota's request was rejected by the USDA.

Besides the unhealthy element that is allowed by the USDA, other aspects of the program are rather eye-opening and alarming.

Even with today's inflated food prices, a family of five should be able to reasonably feed themselves on about $500 - $600 a month.  No, that amount of money won't buy steak and lobster, but it is enough to provide for quality, balanced meals.  You can buy a lot of rice, flour, milk, eggs, vegetables, fruit, and chicken on $600 a month.  A question taxpayers need to ask legislators, “Why are we paying 100% of a family’s grocery bill?"


People should WANT to get off of food stamps.  But how is giving a family $1400 motivating them to do so?


Some of these people are business owners, who own homes, nice cars, and trendy cell phones with Blue Tooth ear pieces.   How do you think they can AFFORD that Honda Pilot SUV?  They don't have a grocery bill.

Contact Senator Grassley with your concerns about the Food Stamp Program: (click on 'contact)

There is no health care crisis and socialized medicine doesn't work

For more than fifteen years, Hillary Clinton has worked to bring socialized heath care to America.  She failed miserably in 1993 trying to socialize U.S. medicine and her overkill antics of "crisis" and secret meetings perhaps cost her husband the continued opportunity to work with a Democrat majority in Congress.  Republicans upset the Democrats in the 1994, giving the GOP a full majority for the first time in 40 years.

Democrat presidential hopeful Barak Obama is also campaigning hard for "universal" health care coverage.  He too is pushing arrogant and exaggerated political promises in attempts to appeal to voters. 

Both candidates are using the Canadian health care system as a model for their respective plans.

The Canadian health care system simply doesn't work.  With most everyone facing long wait times, many Canadians cross the border into the U.S. to get their health care needs taken care of.  Canada isn't the only nation with socialized medicine woes.  Issues are prevalent in other countries to include Britain with its long wait times and less than stellar care.  France is wrestling with runaway health-care inflation. That has led to some hefty tax hikes and their economy has suffered mightily as a result.

The state of California recently rejected a statewide universal health care plan due to the overwhelming costs involved and the fact that running such a program would bankrupt the Golden Bear state. 

The state of Massachusetts, the only state with an 'everyone must have health insurance' mandate, is now in the red, the program forcing the state to deficit spend.  That was not at all intended with the implementation of the plan.  It was supposed to do the exact opposite.

The Democrats can't even run their own party efficiently, they don't know who their leader is, they can't conduct primaries right, delegates are lost, and they're all fighting with each other.  Do you really want these folks in charge of your health care? 

With nations around the globe, and some U.S. states failing to deliver timely, quality health care in "universal" form, it seems that Obama and Clinton are ignorantly arrogant to think they can.

Kudos & Complaints: Festivals, fun & defeating the purpose

Smiley_face KUDOS:  With the festival and parade season fast approaching, a big thank you goes out to all those volunteers that coordinate and put together those great community events.  Organizing festivals such as North Liberty Fun Days, Coralville's 4thFest, and Solon Beef Days is no small feat!  Those folks deserve a big heartfelt community hug!


No_excuses COMPLAINT:  To the people who use the bank drive-through teller during normal business hours for multiple and/or complicated transactions.  Taking up a lane for a ten minute plus transaction(s) defeats the entire purpose of drive-through banking. 

Cows, The Constitution, and The Ten Commandments

Three things to ponder  (circling around the Internet, author unknown)

1. Cows
2. The Constitution
3. The Ten Commandments
Is it just me, or does anyone else find it amazing that during the mad cow epidemic our government could track a single cow, born in Canada almost three years ago, right to the stall where she slept in the state of Washington? And, they tracked her calves to their stalls. But they are unable to locate 11 million illegal aliens wandering around our country. Maybe we should give each of them a cow .
T H E   C O N S T I T U T I O N
They keep talking about drafting a Constitution for Iraq. Why don't we just give them ours? It was written by a lot of really smart guys, it has worked for over 200 years, and we're not using it anymore.
T H E   TEN  C O M M A N D M E N T S
The real reason that we can't have the Ten Commandments posted in a courthouse is this:
You cannot post "Thou Shalt Not Steal," "Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery," and "Thou Shall Not Lie" in a building full of lawyers, judges and politicians...It creates a hostile work environment.

There they go again…

The state’s coffers continue to be flush with cash, but what will happen to that money?

The Revenue Estimating Committee (REC) is expected to increase their estimate due to revenue running at over 10 percent year-to-date.

An increase in the estimated tax revenue usually means that Iowa’s economy continues to grow, thereby creating more tax revenue.

The problem with this is, the Democrats will plan to enlarge government with those additional dollars.

Legally, the Legislature must use the REC’s December estimate of state revenue to build the state budget. Democrats are already hinting at breaking this law to add spending to their already excessive budget.

Republicans are calling for Democrats to instead give that money back to the taxpayers, which will encourage investment and build further growth into Iowa’s economy.

Democrats have already raised taxes twice this session – once on property owners and once on business owners.

Shouldn’t taxpayers benefit from these additional funds rather than have them used for more government expansion? After all, it’s your money first.

Stewart Iverson is the Republican Party of Iowa Chairman