Oh how I’ve grown.
Head over to the High Plains Reader where I embarck on my first jello shot-making adventure.
I learned a lot about crafting jello shots during this crash course. Mulled wine and eggnog are classic holiday beverages for good reason, but why not surprise your guests with fancy jello shots at your next gathering?
I’ll meet you there. . .
It tasted drinkably smooth and we were surprised by how much we enjoyed this unusual beverage. I set off to make my own with local horseradish.
Learn how I made my own version of horseradish vodka in the High Plains Reader’s Cuisine section. While mine didn’t become as mysteriously smooth as Moscow On The Hill’s, it added zip to bloody Marys.
One week ago, on a sunny fall afternoon, Jake and I were married amongst the company of a small group of family and friends at Central Lutheran Church in Minneapolis, MN.
Because we decided to get married with relative spontaneity, we kept the ceremony simple. We look forward to hosting a wider reception in the spring so we can celebrate with many more of our family and friends. We are humbled by the generosity and kindness of all who have assisted us and wished us well as we continue to share life together.
After the ceremony, we enjoyed dinner at Heartland Restaurant in St. Paul, MN. The moment we arrived, I leaped out of my wedding dress. It was beautiful and painstakingly altered. And even with half the boning removed, it was still uncomfortable, so I changed into something that would allow me to enjoy dinner.
|Photo by Pat Carney, The Carney Group, Minneapolis, MN|
Upon arrival, I enjoyed sneaking bites of bread and cheeses and giggled as I watched some of the children discover their love for whole grain mustard and pickled watermelon rind. The chefs provided plump burgers for the children who preferred one.
|Green salad with sweet vinaigrette, spiced nuts, and roasted cauliflower, crispy-skinned white fish with pickled onions on top of creamy beans, and apple tart with whipped cream and candied nuts.|
As I said my goodbyes that evening, I used my fingers to swipe tastes of whipped cream and tender slices of fruit from my tart. Then, we headed to the St. Paul Hotel for our one-day honeymoon where we were greeted by a man in a top hat.
This was our first stay at the Saint Paul Hotel and it felt like old-school luxury. My favorite perks included access to the workout facility on the top floor and wi-fi for no additional fees. The service was polished and professional, though much involved tipping. If you stay here, remember to keep some cash on hand. In the morning, we treated ourselves to a room service breakfast, a first for both of us.
Growing up, when we traveled as a family, we only stayed at hotels that included free breakfast. My parents outfitted us in fluorescent fanny packs in which we kept our lunches. I remember how we sat on the steps of the Lincoln memorial, and ate sandwiches and carrot sticks together.
We ordered a large pot of coffee and omelets filled with ham, green pepper, onion, and cheddar. Each came with hash browns and toast. In addition, we ordered a fruit plate, having no idea each portion would be so large.
Although the price of this breakfast was astronomical (delivery fee & automatic gratuity, plus an extra tip because we weren’t sure if we were supposed to tip on an automatic gratuity?), the meal was made with care. The breakfast cart was covered in a white tablecloth. The omelet platters were not only huge, but satisfying. I was most impressed with the hashbrowns’ crispiness. The fruit platter included yogurt and sweetbread and the assortment of fruit avoided being one of those crappy versions that mostly includes under-ripe melon. We enjoyed choosing from the variety of condiments such as cream, butter, peanut butter, tiny jars of jam, ketchup, and Tabasco.
As critiques, the room did not include a coffee maker with complimentary coffee, although I may have been some in the lobby. Our large pot of coffee, as overpriced as it was, tasted strong and freshly brewed. Our room included a mini fridge, but it was only equipped to carry snacks for sale. We actually managed to eat most of our food, so I did not have to beg the hotel to ask the kitchen to store our leftovers, and we were full until the evening.
The food was as good as it was when we dined there for my bachelorette outing. We decompressed over drinks. Jake was enjoyed ordering Trappist ale on tap and I sipped a tart cocktail made with lemon and apricot brandy.
We dipped the crisp fries in mustard and curry mayo and shared small boodje sandwiches on toasted buns. I returned for the spicy calamari and shrimp salad while Jake chose smoked pork and spicy shrimp. Surprisingly, our favorite sandwich was the most simple. It was made with warm, herby cheese and a meaty tomato slice that tasted marinaded or roasted.
I’m not sure how I felt about the Dutch gin sampler. It’s not that the sampler was bad, but more that I’m not sure I enjoy sipping straight gin. Spicy curry + gin = burning.
We ordered creme brulee for dessert and ate it in bed. I bypassed the room service delivery charge by ordering it from the Saint Paul Grill’s bartender. Somehow, the kitchen managed to pack a creme brulee into a take-out container, crispy sugar crust and all.
Wedding, over. Fall break, over. It’s back to the grind. Salad lab ends, baking lab begins and my five a.m. wake-up call resumes. . .
Special thanks to our family and friends, Central Lutheran Church, Heartland Restaurant, The Carney Group, and Elsa at The Wedding Shoppe on Grand Ave.
Each week we aim for two date nights. One to interrupt the mid-week grind and one during the weekend.