This week the phrase “Comfort me with apples” came to mind. It’s also the name of one of my favorite Ruth Reichl books.
As soon as the weather dipped towards the 50’s, I ordered some hoodies and headed to the apple orchard.
Some of our family members were raving about the caramel apples at Pine Tree Apple Orchard in White Bear Lake. They also mentioned their apple turnovers, which they described as nothing special to look at, but extremely delicious.
Caramel apples got stuck in my head and I thought about them all night.
For eight years I was watching Chopped when I could have been watching Guy’s Grocery Games.
Back when we thought it wasn’t cool to like Guy Fieri, I crinkled my nose at GGG. Since then, I’ve grown tired of food snobbery and comfortable just liking what I like. Ironically, hipster culture made the uncool foods, cool. At some point I realized that having seen every episode of Diners, Drive Ins & Dives twice meant that I might actually be a pretty big fan fan.
My obsession with Guy’s Grocery Games began during this pandemic when I randomly flipped on an episode. To my surprise I could not stop watching. Between the contestants I recognized from Diners, Drive Ins & Dives, wacky challenges, and friendly banter, I needed to watch more. And so I did.
A lot more.
This tangent that will bring us back to the Honey Baked Ham Cafe.
Last week I had a huge craving for Boston Market.
My mind swirled with nostalgic cravings for a rotisserie chicken or meatloaf platter with the orange macaroni and cheese that always tastes more disappointing than it looks (yet you order it every time anyway).
I was surprised to to find that all of the Boston Markets in Minnesota have closed. Minnesota, Iowa, and North Dakota have zero Boston Markets. Wisconsin has two. Florida has 50. One for each state.
How dare you leave Minnesota when I haven’t wanted to eat you for a decade?
Somehow this brought me to a second, fast casual meat-centric chain, The Honey Baked Ham Cafe.
Last summer the only thing I cooked was bruschetta.
I made bruschetta a lot. Every week. This summer I’m still making a lot of bruschetta. But I’m also making gochujang-butter shrimp. The sauce is inspired by the delicious gochujang-butter chicken wings a restaurant called Rabbit Hole used to serve in Midtown Global Market years ago before closing.
This gochujang butter sauce is composed of only two ingredients – a gochujang squeezy sauce and butter. I could be your Asian Sandra Lee.
When people ask me what I’m up to this summer, the answers always the name:
“Not much, haha.”
If they ask if we’re going on any trips, the answer’s “Nope lol.”
We’re spending time outside with family and close friends. We’re walking the dog a lot – Trayse is having the best pandemic ever. We’re getting home projects done, and grilling on the deck.
I’m watching a lot of TV. Just started Fleabag and the Babysitters Club re-boot.
Here’s a few take-out things I really enjoyed and would recommend.
My reigning favorite summer meal right now is the Tofu Don bowl with some veggie sushi for later from Kado No Mise that I wrote about earlier.