I had a few requests for me to write some of the experiences I failed to write about. So here are some quick roundups.
Granite City Brunch
The buffet was great, as long as you realize going in that you're going to a buffet and your breakfast isn't going to be made to order. I was actually really impressed with the freshness of the food. They served a lot of fresh fruit and had some cheesy hash browns that were as close to perfect as you can get when you mass produce something. The Bloody Marys were okay, nothing to write home about. You get a caramel roll that was better than what you would get at a hotel breakfast, but nothing special. The highlight though was the eggs Benedict station. You just walk up to this station and they make you eggs Benedict fresh, right in front of you. Overall I give it 3.5 out of 5 stars. If you want to gorge yourself on breakfast food, stop by a Granite City on Sunday.
I made these a little over a week ago, and they were pretty easy. The dough was simple, pretty much just yeast, flour, sugar, and water. You let the dough rise and then roll it out. I vaguely remember making pretzels when I was younger, and I must have retained some of that knowledge, because when I formed them, I figured it out right away. Once you have the pretzels in the appropriate shape, you boil them in a water and baking soda solution and then bake them for about 15 minutes. They didn't turn out that well since I didn't realize until Saturday that my oven was off by 50 degrees. I'll definitely make them again though, and this time I'll get them right.
First, I need to note that this is the second time I've made this. The last time was over a year ago though, so I wasn't exactly drawing on a ton of remembered experience. They turned out really well though. I used the pasta dough recipe from the cooking bible, the Joy Of Cooking, and rolled it through my pasta maker. It's a manual hand cranked one, but works really well. Basically you just roll out wide noodles, put a mound of toppings in the middle, and cover it with a second noodle. I used water to make the seal stick.
For a filling I used fresh mozzarella, grated Parmesan, cottage cheese, mushrooms, and Italian sausage. (btw: The Wedge has phenomenal Italian sausage) I binded it all together with an egg. After putting them together I cooked them in boiling water for about 7-8 minutes and served with some jarred pasta sauce I had picked up. The next time I make ravioli, I plan on making the noodles thinner, I used a three on my pasta maker and I think I should have went with a two.
Photo walk around The Lake of the Isles
Well this wasn't that exciting, and I didn't take that many photos, but I did get a photo of a muskrat and considering it was the first time I had a chance to snap any wildlife photos in months, it was a blast. Here are a few of the photos I took.
You can see larger version of these images on my Flickr Page.