Category: eggs (page 1 of 2)

A Detour At Kay’s Kitchen, St. Joseph, MN & Nine Breakfasts That Changed My Life

Jake and I enjoyed one of our longer stretches away from the Twin Cities. It fell between our wedding and Thanksgiving. Now, we’re back to traveling back and forth along I-94 for the holiday season.

This past weekend we celebrated the engagement of Jake’s youngest brother and his fiance. On the way back to Fargo on Monday morning, I stopped at Kay’s Kitchen, in St. Joseph, a restaurant that has served breakfast since 1972. St. Joseph is the home of the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University so I guessed it would have a decent cafe or diner. I had remembered finding Kay’s Kitchen on a web search for breakfast along I-94 months ago.

When I’m in a hurry but want to stop for a food detour, I pause in towns whose main streets are about five minutes from the freeway (such as Osakis and Fergus Falls). I stopped in St. Joseph, knowing its main street was also a short drive from the freeway. Kay’s Kitchen is not actually located in St. Joseph’s charming main street area, though it’s not far.

I sat in the diner part of the restaurant and perched on a bar stool along the counter. The woman working there quickly offered me a bottomless mug of coffee, $1.69, and provided me with a menu. Little plastic containers of cream and a jar of sugar were already at the counter.

For breakfast, I chose the Silver Spoon Omelet, $7.99, described as having avocado, tomato, onion, bacon, mushrooms, and cheese. It also came with my choice of wheat toast and hash browns. After a short wait, my breakfast arrived.

The omelet was fluffy and I liked its texture. The inside was filled with plenty of caramelized mushrooms, onions, and large pieces of crunchy bacon. I love mushrooms, especially when cooked to a golden brown. The avocado on the top of the omelet was a little droopy and slightly oxidized. It didn’t taste bad, but could have been fresher.
The omelet, as a whole, tasted quite good, but I didn’t like the little dribbles of oil from the inside. These either from the sauteed vegetables or bacon grease. I enjoyed the hash browns. They were crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside. They were also nicely seasoned. The wheat toast was dense and grainy and spread with margarine. I helped myself to the plastic packs of strawberry and grape jelly available on the counter.
In summary, breakfast was fine. I appreciate that Kay’s used fresh mushrooms instead of canned. I hate canned mushrooms.
The service wasn’t notably warm, but it was attentive. My mug was frequently refilled with hot coffee and I received my bill quickly which was helpful since I was driving directly to class in Moorhead.
Although I enjoy breakfast foods, restaurant breakfasts don’t often strike me as life changing. More often than not, they have been decent, but not life changing. But that doesn’t keep me from searching.
Nine Breakfasts That Changed My Life
  • Venezuelan corn pancakes with butter, syrup, and cotija cheese from Maria’s Cafe, Minneapolis, MN
  • Daily egg bake from The Lodge On Lake Detroit, Detroit Lakes, MN
  • A freshly fried churro, Puebla, Mexico
  • The room service breakfast we ordered after our wedding from The St. Paul Hotel, St. Paul, MN.
  • Four-course breakfast at The Elephant Walk, a bed and breakfast in Stillwater MN (the cheese and homemade cracker platter was stunning as well. Rita even made me gluten-free muffins during my year-long, gluten-free phase).
  • Breakfast on trays including maple sausage, french toast, and fruit that we picked up to eat in our room at the Chelsea Station Inn, a bed and breakfast in Seattle, WA (The rooms are more like apartments and cost less than what you’d pay at a nice hotel. There is a community fridge packed with treats like goat cheese, local sodas and ice cream, plus an equally stuffed pantry).
  • Fluffy cinnamon rolls from Isles Bun & Coffee (I worked at an office next door one summer and, had this been longer, I would have had some problems).
  • An eggy breakfast skillet with thin slices of jalapenos griddled until caramelized at the Waveland Cafe, Des Moines, IA.
  • The simple but satisfying $5 free range eggs and sourdough toast plate from French Meadow Bakery and Cafe, Minneapolis, MN

Spicy Curry Deviled Eggs With Shrimp: Inspired by Amsterdam Bar’s Spicy Seafood Broodjes

One of my favorite tastes from the past year came from the Amsterdam Bar & Hall in downtown St. Paul, MN.

Every once in a while, I will eat something so cravable that I plot to return as quickly as possible. This was most certainly the case with Amsterdam Bar’s Spicy Seafood Broodjes. After one bite, I knew  I would crave their little Dutch sandwiches filled with a creamy, curried shrimp and calamari. The broodjes buns are always toasted, the curry sauce is spicy enough to induce a sweat, and the seafood is sweet and tender. I dragged Jake back to this bar the day after our wedding.

I was thrilled to run across an adaptation of Amsterdam Hall’s Spicy Seafood Broodjes on The Tasting Table. When my friend invited me to help her make some appetizers for her holiday party this past weekend, the sandwich’s flavors rose to the top of my mind. Her special request was deviled eggs. I flavored half of the eggs in the traditional manner and seasoned the others like those spicy sandwiches I love. I spiced the creamy yolk filling with Sriracha and curry powder. Then, I topped each egg with a poached shrimp. The spicy versions disappeared the most quickly.

The traditional deviled egg were inspired by this recipe from C. Hamster from the Chowhound board “Your best deviled egg recipe please.” Goya Sauzon is a seasoning mix that I found in the ethnic section of the grocery store. It contains MSG so if you are sensitive to this food additive, leave it out completely and just use salt or soy sauce.

If you don’t have a piping bag and tip or do not want to purchase one, you could spoon the filling into the egg whites. I bought a reusable piping bag and star tip from Creative Kitchens located in the West Acres Mall for $10. I’ve also seen plastic piping tips at big box stores.

Spicy Curry Deviled Eggs With Shrimp
Inspired by Amsterdam Bar’s Spicy Seafood Broodjes

Ingredients:

Traditional: 
Eggs
Mayonnaise and/or Miracle Whip
Dijon Mustard
Worcestershire
Grated onion (& the juice)
White Pepper
Soy Sauce
Optional: Goya Sauzon
Garnish: Minced chives and smoked paprika

Spicy Curry With Shrimp Filling:
Egg yolks
Miracle whip, mayo, or both
Grated onion (and juice)
Sriracha
Hot Madras curry powder
Salt

Instructions:

To hard boil eggs:

  1. Place eggs in a pot in a single layer.
  2. Cover with plenty of cold water.
  3. Bring to a gentle boil. If the water boils too hard or too long, the eggs will crack and leak.
  4. As soon as the water comes to a boil, remove from the heat. Add a splash of vinegar (which supposedly helps the eggs peel easier). Cover and let sit for 12 minutes.
  5. Plunge into ice water until cool and peel.
  6. Cut eggs in half the long way. Cover whites and place in the refrigerator until ready to use. Pop yolks into a separate bowl.
To make the filling:
 
Traditional:
  1. Hard boil eggs and separate yolks from whites.
  2. Mash the egg yolks as finely as possible. Adding some mayonnaise will make this process easier.  For the smoothest texture, use an electric mixer, whip attachment, or food processor. Keep adding mayonnaise, Miracle whip (or both) until the filling is your desired consistency. Since I wanted to pipe my filling, I aimed for a texture that wasn’t too stiff.
  3. Season the filling with mustard, Worcestershire sauce, grated onion, soy sauce (or salt), and white pepper (I also added a small sprinkle of the Goya Sauzon seasoning).
  4. Pipe the yolk filling into the egg white halves. Garnish with a sprinkle of chives and smoked or regular paprika.
Spicy Curry With Shrimp:
  1. Hard boil eggs and separate yolks from whites.
  2. Follow step one, above.
  3. Season the filling with grated onion, curry powder, sriracha, and salt.
  4. To cook the shrimp, gently simmer in broth seasoned with lemon slices until just cooked. The raw shrimp will change from gray to pink.
  5. Plunge the shrimp into ice water until cool and drain.
  6. Pipe the egg yolk filling into the hard boiled eggs.
  7. Top with the shrimp and chives.

Farm To Fork, A CSA Series: Too Busy To Cook

Culinary school. Work. A wedding in four days.

The past couple of weeks have left little time to cook. Visit Simple, Good, And Tasty to find out how I used my CSA box.

I’ll meet you there.

I-94 Is Delicious: The Brass Lantern, Alexandria, MN

On Saturday morning, I found myself on the road again.

I’ve become intimately acquainted with the stretch of Interstate 94, between Fargo, ND and Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN.  And I find myself in a love-hate relationship with the journey.  At the end of the three and a half hour drive, I am usually spent, especially at the end of a busy week.

I enjoy scanning the local radio stations along the way.  When two stations simultaneously played Paula Cole’s Where Have All The Cowboys Gone, I was filled with glee.  This was followed by Aqua’s Barbie Girl and something by Shaggie.  As an introvert, I enjoy the solitude of a solo road trip and spend most of the drive singing like a lunatic.

Billboards have become as familiar as friends.  I nod at the grinning Keith of Keith’s Kettle Family Restaurant and and wonder when OMG meant “Obama Must Go.”  The terrain is mostly flat and mostly boring, unless you look closely or take time to wander off the beaten path.

This time, I drove without a specific plan of where I wanted to stop for a meal.  I just drove until I was hungry and noticed my blinks dangerously increased in length.  Thus, I exited in Alexandria in search of breakfast.  An appointment in St. Paul left me with less than an hour to choose a restaurant and eat, so I conducted a quick Internet search, settling on The Brass Lantern.  It was close to the freeway and ranked on Urbanspoon, which I realize is as helpful and prone to astroturfing as Yelp.  When it comes to outstate Minnesota, I have to take what I can get in terms of online reviews.

I had a difficult time finding The Brass Lantern, located in what looked like a strip mall.  The restaurant’s interior was dated and dark, and I hesitated when it seemed devoid of customers this late Friday morning.  I asked a server if I could order breakfast.  She answered affirmatively and invited me to sit in the front section of the restaurant that faced the inside of a mall where a few other customers had settled.

When I inquired about using the restroom, they replied, “It’s in Herberger’s.”  I spent the next ten minutes holding my bladder and silently cussing as I wandered through the dead mall and weaved through cosmetics and clothing.  A friendly salesperson finally guided me through the department store maze, to the cleverly hidden bathroom.  Aren’t they always?

By the time I returned to the restaurant, the staff had gravitated towards the other side.  I felt like Goldilocks/Sheldon Cooper as I tried out several booths in hopes of finding a seat where I didn’t feel so awkward.  I wandered to the other side of the restaurant and let a server know I had, in fact, emerged from the garishly-colored bowels of Herberger’s juniors department.  She quickly gave me a menu along with a mug of hot coffee and water.  I ordered the Western Breakfast Skillet with sourdough toast.

My meal quickly arrived and I inhaled my skillet of scrambled eggs mixed with diced bell peppers, onions, and ham a top fried potatoes.

The scrambled eggs reminded me of egg foo young patties.  They were cooked to the point of being golden brown on the outside and slightly spongy in texture, and covered in melted American cheese.  Jake likes his eggs like this; cook to the point of near crispiness.  I prefer mine soft or runny.  The fried potatoes were crisp, non-greasy, and nicely salted and the buttered sourdough toast hit the spot.

As I began to eat, I overheard a server tell a regular she just learned a patient escaped from a local psychiatric hospital.  According to her friend, who was supposedly an employee at the hospital, the patient was described as dangerous.  The server and the regular agreed their best precaution was to carry their guns with them until the patient was re-admitted.  Then, the server added that she hoped she wasn’t murdered that evening. I ate quickly.

While I can’t say I’d make a point to return to The Brass Lantern, I also can’t really say I disliked my meal, well-cooked eggs, American cheese, grape jelly packets, and all.  The food and coffee were served piping hot, the skillet was not greasy, and I found the service endearing. I basked in the “hun’s” and “dear’s” and appreciated their efforts to make sure everyone’s coffee and water was refreshed.

As I paid my tally of $10, I asked for a small, to-go cup for my remaining glass of coffee to sip on the remainder of my drive.  The server provided me with a fresh tumbler of hot coffee and offered me a set of French vanilla creamers.  Not the powdered kind.  I loved her for that.

Even though I would have liked to make one more trip to the ladies room, the thought of returning to Herberger’s was too much to bear, so I ran out from the dead mall, back to my car.  I locked my car door and began to breathe a little easier as I sipped the gift of hot coffee and put some distance between me and Ms. Alexandria.

Our Detroit Lakes Weekend Part I: Eggbake Heaven & “Za” from Zorbaz

My idea of heaven is waking-up to someone else’s eggbake.

Such was the case during our weekend stay at The Lodge On Lake Detroit.

Our room’s balcony overlooked the grassy lawn and clear waters of Lake Detroit.  On our first evening, we giggled as adults polka’d around a campfire on the beach.  During the day, friends gossiped over beer while children built sandcastles.

The view from our balcony

The lodge was immaculately clean and it’s vibe was tranquil.  Obviously, not a prime choice for rowdy party-goers.  We unwound and enjoyed the complimentary wi-fi and watermelon water from the lobby.  Jake swam in the indoor pool while I sat on a beach chair and daydreamed.

My favorite part of our stay was slicing off wedges of the lodge’s eggbake featured at the complimentary breakfast.  This eggbake was no ordinary eggbake.  In fact, it may even be better than your mother’s.  Each morning, the staff gingerly replaced small pans of eggbake made with vegetables, meat, gooey cheese, and fluffy cubes of bread.  On the first morning, I found fresh broccoli, and on the second, rosemary.  While some gravitated toward “make-your-own waffles” or the strange, automated pancake machine, I lined-up for eggbake, dousing it with a selection of hot sauces.

The Lodge also provided three varieties of hot coffee, plus flavored syrups.  Definitely my thing, not Jake’s.

A small bar in the lobby opens at five p.m. and serves bottles of craft beer, wine, cocktails, and a selection of treats such as $3 cheese plates and flat breads.

Overall, we have no complaints about The Lodge.  The staff members were lovely and we returned to Fargo breathing a little easier.

Before we left for Detroit Lakes, we had asked friends and coworkers for dining recommendations.  Nearly everyone pointed us towards Zorbaz.  So, on Friday evening we made the obligatory stop at Zorbaz for our first meal in Detroit Lakes.   We easily located the illuminated “Z” and sat on the patio beneath a neon palm tree.

Zorbaz offers an eclectic “please all” menu of pizza, Mexican-inspired food, and spaghetti.  Jake ordered the “Hot Hawg” pizza that was generously topped with green chili sauce, Canadian bacon, pepperoni, andouille sausage, bacon, and jalapenos.  He seemed satisfied and enjoyed the rest as leftovers.  I didn’t consider it particularly spicy, except for the jalapenos.

I don’t often crave Americanized-Mexican food, but was surprised at how much I enjoyed Zorbaz’s chicken enchiladas.

The chicken was plentiful and moist and the enchilada sauce packed more flavor than Mexican Village could muster.  I noticed the sauce contained rough cuts of fresh vegetables and I appreciated the garnishes of jalapeno and fresh, red onion.

The wristbands were annoying, the atmosphere was fun, and Jake was happy with the surprisingly large tap beer list.  Portion sizes were large considering the prices.  My enchilada plate, alone, contained enough food for three Jeni-sized meals.

We felt the food was tasty, though nothing earth-shattering.  With its relaxed atmosphere and proximity to the main beach, I can see why families look forward to making summer pilgrimages to Zorbaz.

Sidenote: I once dated a man from Philadelphia.  He asked me why Minnesotan’s called pizza, “za.”  I had no idea what he was talking about.  I believe I had my first encounter with “za” at Zorbaz.  When you “za,” do you know?  

 

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