Archive for October, 2008

Fried Egg Sandwich

Sunday, October 26th, 2008

Fried Egg Sandwich

Some of you might remember the old timey diners where you can stop in for a quick fried egg sandwich on white or wheat toast with a hamburger pickle slice on top and a cup of coffee for $1.95 plus tax and tip.

Sometimes, late at night, when I am a little hungry after a light dinner,
I think about the new and improved modern fried egg sandwich, one with two 3/4 inch slices of fine toothed and sturdy, evenly and lightly browned toast, an easy over egg fried in a pat of real butter with a slightly raw egg yolk that drips just enough to leave a little puddle on the plate in the middle of the two sandwich halves. Then a thin slice of white American cheese, the real kind. Next, several two inch pieces of thin to medium thick bacon, very meaty, somewhat crispy, not too flexible, not too salty. Add a very thin slice of seeded red tomato, and finally a bit of shredded greens. Nothing to tear into, but an incredibly tasty combination of egg, bacon, tomato, cheese, and greens in between two slices of toast that feel like one delightful element with slight variations. The sauce, only butter and yolk, and only a little bit. Pepper, maybe, sometimes. To me, it is the classic of all classic sandwiches.

Now, serve that with a nice green salad and some iced tea or black coffee and you have a food lover’s dream meal.

You can make that at home for a couple of dollars. Or you can go over to the Northfield Golf Club and let Raphael and his team make it for you. Enjoy all the service, lovely view, and nice getaway from dirty pans and dishes…at a slightly higher fee. Or you can just lie in bed and dream about the classic fried egg sandwich.

Just for FUN!

Saturday, October 25th, 2008

Hi! I am starting a new category for you because I know you need a little break, a laugh and a hit of odd stuff to make your day. So, here’s the first Just for FUN! link. I promise you will be entertained for a few wonderful moments.

1. http://www.shopsins.com/media/redshops/shopsiemenu.pdf This menu is from a place is in Manhattan, as far as I can tell.If you ever run out of ideas on the age old question, “what’s to eat?”, worry no more.

2. Lark Toys, Kellogg, Mn-collectible and new toys, on the way to Minnesota Marine Art Museum in Winona, MN, just past National Eagle Center in Wabasha, MN, A fun day trip along the Mississippi River, gorgeous scenery, Lake Pepin that never freezes.

La Vencedora

Tuesday, October 21st, 2008

La Vencedora, a grocery store, restaurant and bakery. Located at CR 3 and Hwy 19 in Northfield, west side of 3.

It was a sunny autumn afternoon, just after 1PM. I walked in, was greeted by a lovely senora who graciously asked me, “Can I help you?” ‘Si’, I said showing off my Spanish :) , I ordered a corn taco, pork. Everyone was so nice. Did I want onions? Por favor, I bragged. Did I want cilantro? Did I want spicy green salsa? Si, si, si, I replied. It only took about a minute and then, there it was, my pork taco with everything. Gratias.

I took it home, shared it with dh and ate it. I was amazed, I was surprized, I was happy. Look folks, for $1.98 total we got a nice happy little snack. If I had two, that would be dinner for me. So delicious. The corn tortilla was not that rubbery one I am used to, the pork was lean and juicy and chunky, not ripped up shredded muckety muck. The cilantro had some guts to it, not that weaky, thin, and barely flavored cilantro I usually see around. Then, a nice hunk of fresh lime to go with it, and fresh onions, not those about to disappear ‘caramelized’ ones you don’t see but sort of feel. The green side container of salsa was very good. A deep spicy but mellowing out sort of salsa. I liked it mucho bueno.

I saw a man eating there with several plates set out before him. I want that next time.

How do you say ‘authentic’ in Spanish? Let me give them four stars so far.

Hot Tip of the Week

Monday, October 20th, 2008

Week 1.In honor of the old master, I am posting this notice to tell you that most of Bob Dylan’s

100s of songs are online free to listen to at htt://www.bobdylan.com

2.A great site for jig saw puzzle enthusiasts, or at least something to do on a cold winter night.

http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/myshot/dogs/puzzles?source=email_pom_20081118&email=pom

National Handicap Month

Saturday, October 18th, 2008

If you, a friend or a loved one is permanently handicapped,

you can get a free pass to the National Parks.

http://www.nps.gov/pub_aff/access/access_pass.htm

October Hot Tips!

Friday, October 17th, 2008

See http://www.1800Tequila.com for an art contest, prize $10,000 to design the tequila bottle.

See http://www.studentcam.org for a contest to win one of $50,000 in prizes in January, 2009

See Hot Tips for other good deals.

Grace

Friday, October 10th, 2008

Some of us are facing hard times right now. A lot of us won’t be going out to eat quite as much. Or we will be hitting the cheap eats more often than the wine and dine places. I feel really blessed that we spent the last year especially enjoying all the fun and fancy facilities the area has to offer and to share our experiences with you, the hungry, interested reader.

(We hope the restaurants saved up some of all of our money so they don’t go broke in the coming months. We’ll do our best to support them, but I feel happy that I do know how to cook enough to make it interesting at our own kitchen table for awhile.)

Yesterday I received some anniversary presents from my sister. She sent me a box of lovely food related items; a set of four linen tea napkins, a bag of gourmet caramel popcorn, seasoned pretzels, some Republic of Tea honey ginger tea and two microwave coffee samples, a cute ceramic pumpkin, a pear shaped candle, and a book called “Bless This Food” by Adrian Butash (1992).

The book is all about grace, the history and prayers that each religion offers as is customary to thank the Maker for the food and abundance we each receive every day. It is nothing new to say how important it is to be ever mindful of our many blessings as we walk this earth from our first days to our last. But, we do forget as so many other things come into our minds each day. So, let me remind you, and let me offer a few URLs and a suggestion to say grace every day, at least once, twice wouldn’t hurt, either.

Oh, and many thanks to my sister and thanks to my readers for putting up with me! :)

http://www.gracebeforemeals.com/saying_grace.php

http://home.pcisys.net/~tbc/mealpryr.htm

http://www.geocities.com/athens/3680/gbm001.htm

http://entertaining.about.com/cs/etiquette/a/sayinggrace.htm

***In your comments, why not post your favorite grace prayer?***

Fermentations Wine Bar and Bistro

Saturday, October 4th, 2008

Fermentations Wine Bar & Bistro
236 Railway Street, N.
Dundas, MN 55019
507-645-8345
www.fermentations-bistro.com

When we walked in, we were pleasantly surprised at the butter yellow walls and oddly unmatched artwork. French? maybe, maybe not. But the tables were nicely set with small vases and flowers, salt and pepper shakers and cloth napkins and mini candles. The rooms seemed sparkling clean and the seating is fairly comfortable.

Right away, let me say, make reservations! We saw several groups get turned away the hour and three quarters that we were there, and the people were so disappointed- so plan ahead!

The food was good, but the prices are high. We nearly spent $100 for two, no wine, no appetizers, just tea, entree and desserts. The service is pretty good, but I have to compare Fermentations, which I have lovingly just nicknamed, Fern’s, to Cosmos, cuz the prices are the about the same…see my Cosmos blog…but the service was lacking.  (And, I had let them know that I would be blogging our experience a week ahead of time.)

Here is how I compare it…when you run out of tea at Cosmos, it is immediately replaced. When you are done with your plate, it is immediately removed. Within a bite or two, you are asked if everything meets with your expectations. When one course is done within a minute, the next is presented. The table water is pure tasting. Pretty much we had good service at Fern’s, but we had to ask for everything and call in the hostess at one point. This is not the level one expects at these prices.

On the other hand, it is nearby and saves time and gas and car wear and tear. That is big. Unless you are going into the cities for a play or meeting or family, or so on, stay here and eat at Fern’s.

I ordered Butternut Squash Lasagna. I had to send the first plate back. No chef should send a plate out like that, especially at $22 a hit. It was overdone to the point of part was unchewable and the other was rubbery. Homemade noodles shouldn’t be rubbery or chewy. No. I sent it right back and within moments got another one which was so much better, I raved about it to my hubby for several minutes. I gave him some and he agreed, it was very good. The server thanked me for telling them.

I do recommend sending things back. It puts the restaurant on notice that not all customers are going to be such nice victims as they might hope. And the rest of us won’t have to go through that as much. To be fair, I’ll repeat myself and say the lasagna was great. A sauce made from the squash, and a delicious, sweet ricotta cheese and homemade noodles, very rich, but not too rich. Highly recommended.

My husband orderd the Lamb Scallopini. It was like that dog says that got his teeth brushed for the first time in the commercial for the “Chihuahua” movie. He says it was “minty!” The lamb was also curiously chewy, even though thinly sliced. Hmmmm. Dh said at Cosmos prices, it doesn’t compare. The pureed potatoes were very plain, and the carrots were fine and sliced on the bias. The gravy or sauce was minty, and I am not sure we like minty gravy on our potatoes. It may be a French thing. Please comment and help us out here, if you are a gourmet of the French persuasion.

We had for desserts two wonderful items which we lovingly shared. I had the Molten Chocolate Mint Ice Cream. Now that’s where the mint is fantastic. I don’t like the chocolate mints from Marshall Field’s, some may know. I always thought that they tasted chalky. This combination from Fern’s was not at all anything bad. It was good. Very good. I think I will go back right now and get another one. hahaha. Just kidding. Gotta watch my girlish figure. The name describes itself, so I’ll move on.

My dh had the Cinnamon Creme Brulee’. We both thought it, too, was fantastic. A very good job. Just skip the entree’s and order three desserts each. You wouldn’t regret it, or would you?

Here’s my hubby’s version, he wrote it himself!

Entree:

Lamb Scallopini $29
Local Sunshine Farms Leg of Lamb, Proscuitto, Mint, Pureed Potatoes, Mint Glace de Viande

Dessert:
Cinnamon Crème Brulee $8

The experience:

I was hoping to get a good meal for the $30 in Dundas, and I went with the servers’ recommendation that the lamb was “great.” Unfortunately, I was disappointed. The lamb portion was razor thin with small portions, yet still chewy. The mint overwhelmed the taste of the lamb, rather than compliment it. They could have just served mint and done nearly as well. Nowhere near as good as other lamb meals I’ve had at other restaurants. The “pureed potatoes” were simply plain, white mashed/whipped potato, same as you can get at most any cafe across the country for a couple dollars, with nothing particularly special about them. Not even any gravy, though the mint sauce was reasonably good with them. The vegetables were simply carrots, which were OK.

Now, on to the dessert. When the Cinnamon Crème Brulee arrived, I wasn’t expecting much after the main course. It looked very dark, so I wasn’t holding out hope. It was actually very good, with a delicious cinnamon flavor, a creamy texture, and the top was surprisingly not burnt.

The verdict:

Compared with other places of a similar price range, Fermentations fell well short. A better route may be to get a main course some place better and stop off for dessert, since dessert was the best part of the meal and though a bit on the high priced side was very good. I doubt I’d return for the main course, though. I can see why wine is sold as such an integral part of the meal at Fermentations. I suggest the slogan should be “You don’t have to drink to eat here, but it helps.” The price honestly far exceeded the quality of the meal and the service.

This is me, Bright, again; Fern’s has a full bar, wine intense and an ever changing menu, check their website every two weeks. They also have special events and you will need to sign up for them.

Unfortunately, this restaurant is not very handicap accessible…and the two parking spaces in front of the restaurant are taken by Fern’s catering trucks. Not very considerate, imho.

I like to leave on an up note, so I shall say that all in all we had a good evening, the mood was light and the room was full of talk and chatter and I even got to hear a little music in the background.

Rate Northfield’s Chain Restaurants

Friday, October 3rd, 2008

Good day! One thing we are missing around here is a take on fast food and chain restaurants.Our readers would like to know which places have the best food, service and prices. Tell us what your favorite coffee, sandwich, potato, salad or pizza is. Who sells the best food and drinkfast and cheap? Just leave a comment in the comment box and it will show up within a day.

We have Arby’s, Wendy’s, McDonalds, Taco Bell, Subway, Taco Oasis, Quarterback Club, Gas Station Food at Casey’s, Kwik Trip, Super America, and China Buffet, Applebee’s and the new Mexican grocery store on Hwy 3. I have blogged Perkins, cuz we like it there so much, but you can leave a comment about them, too, if you want.

Please help us out and tell us where to get the good stuff! Oh, and let me know if I have left any stores out.

Thanks in advance and have a really lovely autumn weekend. :)

Ranchero Supper Club

Wednesday, October 1st, 2008

Ettlin’s Ranchero Supper Club 4452 – 40th Street West Webster, MN 55068 Phone 952-652-2700

(about a twenty minute drive from downtown Northfield, five minutes west of 35W)

Today, after getting our flu shots at Northfield Clinic, and some Martinelli’s unfiltered apple cider at Just Foods, we headed out to Webster, drove up to Ranchero and found out they would be opening in 20 minutes, just enough time for us to check out some property and head in for dinner.

They open at five, so we were there early, and only a few other people around. We like it that way usually. D ordered filet mignon and baked potato and I got the scallops that I remembered were so good from a couple of years ago, the last time we went out there. I also got the au gratin potatoes and we both had salad. My dad used to say you can tell how good a place is gonna be right away from the salads they serve. I think Dad was right. Our Ranchero salad was crisp, fresh, cold and full of good things like red red tomato, a thick chunk of cucumber, crisp greens and very flavorful roquefort dressing.

My hubby always orders the steaks that come with mushrooms, which he does not like and which I love. He likes the flavor though. I like the whole package, flavor and shroom, so I get the good part. Ranchero’s mushrooms were cooked to perfection…brown, but still in the original size and shape, no mush to the mushroom. This is how to cook it if you want all the flavor and good texture. To me, that is almost like the most expensive Maine lobster for my personal wow factor.

My hubby said his steak was bigger than most and almost as good. Well this time he ordered it medium and at other times, he leaves it to the chef, who usually cook it on the rare side, allowing more tenderness and flavor. But, it was good, generous, and about five dollars cheaper.

I had the broiled scallops. They were a bit overdone. I could have sent them back, but I ate them and they did not taste burnt at all. They were actually tender and juicy, and the white sauce they come with is perfect in between the mushroom sauce, I alternated, or even without any sauce. Very good. Well worth the $14.95. The au gratin potatoes were so delicious, I ate a few bites and put them in a box for breakfast tomorrow. I’ll take them out of the frig and let them warm up naturally to room temp, and then devour them. Enough calories to last til dinner. :)

Ranchero is one of the few places we have been lately that still offers a relish tray. Last time I saw that wan an almost identical club just outside of Tulsa, OK. There was fresh crispy celery and carrot sticks, krinkle cut, hot and red peppers, pickle spears, corn relish, huge fancy meaty green and black olives, bread sticks, warm bread, and butter pats.

For desert, we shared a strawberry cheese cake, totally homemade, a huge piece, and so good…just the right combination of crumble and smooth…$4! Oh, boy. The other thing I remember from last time is the bread pudding. If you ever want to bribe me, send pudding first. Just kidding, I don’t bribe all that well. :)

We had nice strong iced tea with lemon to drink, a nice ol’ timey atmosphere with red and white or green and white or blue and white checked plastic table cloths with heart design in the colored parts, and a great server named Heidi, who did everything just right. Thank you, Heidi.

They have a bar that opens at 3:30, a lunch buffet on the second Sunday from 10 to 2, and they are closed in July. Other than that, they are opened Tues thru Saturday 5:00 pm til closing and Sunday 5:00 to 8:30pm. Reservations for brunch and weekend evenings are recommended: 952-652-2700.

They do have a full range menu, and are handicap accessible from the post office entry way.