After three months away it has been a hectic two weeks getting the shop back in order, cleaned and stocked and ready to open this Saturday. I already have a nice load of orders and lists coming out of my ears to ensure everything gets done! And I already have the first order of sugar cookies decorated, and such a cute, springy order at that!
Category Archives: Friends
Our last Friday in Savannah was definitely a happy one. Our friends Cris and Lan drove up from Florida to spend the day with us, eating too much sugar, walking, visiting and laughing.
We walked over to Leoci’s for lunch, and before our food arrived, one of the chefs appeared with homemade crostini of quite an impressive length. I’m sure normal people just eat crostini, but it was much more fun to be ridiculous with them.
After dropping leftovers back at the apartment, we walked down to the riverfront and took the ferry across to the convention center and walk around a bit. While we were waiting for the ferry to return, we spotted dolphins swimming up the waterway! (I know in the picture they just are little specks in the water, but they looked so close in reality!) We really enjoyed the day with such good friends, and we’re hoping that another 8 years don’t go by before seeing them again!
Knowing we were going to be in Savannah, we were excited to visit our friends, Cris & Lan, and their kids, Presley & Cooper. We met and became close with the Garrards while we lived in Seattle, but when we moved to Wisconsin, and they shortly thereafter moved to Florida, it has been much too long since we’ve reconnected.
We drove down to Atlantic Beach on Friday, which is just outside of Jacksonville, Florida. It is a very comfortable, relaxed, family-friendly beach community and we thoroughly enjoyed catching up with Cris and Lan as they showed us around their little town. And really, the best way to do that was on bicycle or on foot.
They live about two blocks from the beach, and the weather this weekend was perfect to spend some extended time walking along the shore.
It was a bit windy, but that didn’t stop us from walking up and down along the ocean for several hours.
Just a great visit in a beautiful little spot of Florida.
Goodness gracious. I just wouldn’t know what to think if I ever left the King’s house WITHOUT a belly ache from laughing too much! The evening included: smacking each other with foam toy axes, eating HAM (I want ham for eating the ham please!), the guys shoving whole cupcakes in their mouths, Pugs (not drugs!), hilarious (and thoughtful) gifts, groaning while playing with the Terrible Puzzle Ball, and feeding turtles snowman doo. Yep, the best kind of night with the best kind of friends!
Our good friend Mark recently took a job in Madison, and we’ve been working to get together and catch up for awhile. The stars finally aligned and we drove down on Tuesday to meet up with him (sans his lovely wife Kerry, sadly) for dinner at 43 North, just a block from the Capitol.
It was a cold, rainy, Seattle-in-January type evening, so it was easy enough to find a parking spot near the restaurant. The chef at 43 North was nominated for a Best Chef Midwest James Beard Award, so we were looking forward to the meal as well as the company!
We started with a few appetizers, a salad, a squash and hen egg salad medley, pork rillettes, and lobster bisque. All were delicious, though the conversation overshadowed the offerings. It was great to hear about the changes and events taking place in Mark and Kerry and their sons’ lives and to chat a bit about the bakeshop and our winter plans.
Our entrees arrived and while overall the dishes were excellent, the plates had a few off flavors or textures that just kept them below an “exceptional” status. Mark’s salmon was flavorful, flaky, and pretty much perfect, but the vegetable medley served alongside it, a combination of cauliflower and brussel sprouts, didn’t seem cooked through (though we weren’t quite sure if that was the intent or not). Justin’s Waygu Strip Loin was perfectly cooked, but the char on the exterior had an overpowering smoky flavor. My game hen with sweet potato gnocchi and mushrooms was fantastic – no faults.
Dessert offerings faired similarly. Justin’s cheesecake with a housemade nutella was the winner of the evening, Mark and I both choose the Chocolate Brownie with Peanut Butter Panna Cotta. And really, they should have allowed the Panna Cotta be the center of the plate, rather than a supporting character to the just pretty good, though a bit dry, chocolate brownie. I even wondered if the brownies were a couple days past their prime. But really, when smothered in a vanilla bean cream and with a bite of that superb peanut butter panna cotta, we were able to polish it off.
Overall, it was a great dinner with a great friend, with only a few aspects of the dishes falling short of our expectations. We did find out, on our way home and some searching online, that the James Beard Award nominated chef just recently left the restaurant! So actually, our expectations were a bit misplaced to begin with!
Day two in Minneapolis was another spectacular day of eating. We had some time to kill in the morning before Trav and Emily flew in, so we stopped by the Como Zoo. It doesn’t get any better than a $2 zoo trip. We spent about an hour there just hanging out, watching the animals, and taking some pictures. When we were watching the orangutans, all of a sudden the baby ran outside with a bag on it’s head. Apparently they give them bags to play with, so we had a good time watching the baby run around, looking ridiculous. The mom also got in on the bag-on-head action.
We picked up Travis and Emily and walked around downtown Minneapolis a bit, before heading over to dinner at Haute Dish. Nestled right next to Sinners and Sex World, it makes for an interesting neighborhood atmosphere. They are a fairly new restaurant and the “theme” is that they take midwest favorites, deconstruct them, and make them fancy. We had tater tot casserole, ants on a log, general Tso’s chicken (actually sweetbreads), and mac and cheese, but other than name they weren’t really recognizable to the regular dishes you would expect. Julie’s Tater Tot casserole order was probably the favorite of the night. The giant tater tot’s were unbelievably soft inside. The desserts were super interesting, with uncommon flavors like peppercorns, jicama, and tarragon thrown in for good measure. We all walked away stuffed and everyone had at least one thing they had never tried before, so it was a quality food-adventure.
This past weekend, we were in charge of Maureen on Saturday and Sunday while her parents were in Illinois. We went up to Wausau to look at the chalkfest artwork and then head over to the airport for the balloon rally and “ribfest”. It’s a weird combination of stuff to do, but it totally worked and we had a blast.
The chalkfest art was amazing to look at. A lot of people were covered in dark chalk and looked to have sore knees from bending over to the ground all day.
After chalkfest, we drove over the downtown Wausau airport for ribs, balloons, and fireworks. We parked at Julie’s aunt and uncle’s house (Ruth and Greg) and walked on over to the airfield. We were presented with 5 giant rib booths. Each had signs that were easily 20 feet high, advertising their awards and what they offered. We got some cheese curds and then waited in line for a sampler platter with brisket, pulled pork, ribs, chicken, and then another 1/2 rack of ribs, just in case. We polished all of the food off pretty easily. While we were waiting in line, I saw they were offering bi-plane rides, so I grabbed Maureen and we went up in a plane over Wausau, which was a pretty amazing view of where I grew up.
After the plane ride, we waited until it got dark to watch the fireworks. Unlike “safe”, normal fireworks, these are large fireworks shot off only a couple of hundred feet from the audience. The wind was blowing back to us, so a lot of the fireworks were going off directly above us, which was *awesome*. Julie’s cousin Laura actually got hit by shrapnel and there was lot of ash and still-smoldering pieces of paper falling around us the whole time.
Hooray! Tomorrow starts our “Spring Break!”
Tomorrow we are headed down Chicago-way with the King family, and as their girls are of the school-age variety, we decided to go over Spring Break. It is funny, really. Justin and I haven’t really thought of Spring Break when vacationing in the past. Ever since college graduation, and with the lack of offspring, we haven’t had to worry about school schedules and the like. It is kind of fun to have the excitement build up to an official Spring Break, people talking about heading to Florida, Colorado, visiting family, etc, and knowing that we’ll be heading out for a bit too!