Monthly Archives: July 2009

New-to-Me Restaurants

In my previous post, I forgot to mention a couple of restaurants that I tried recently.

First up, Crêpes in the City (Yelp link because it looks like they haven’t renewed their domain name!). This place has been open for around a year, I think, but I never had a chance to go until I was serving on a jury last week (forgot to mention that, too. Also, Porkchop served on a jury recently as well.). Anyway, this meant I was conveniently within walking distance of the crepes.

And the crepes are so delicious! I would walk several miles for them! I had the Mediterranean (tomatoes, olives, artichokes, mushrooms, etc.) on a whole wheat crepe. The crepe was huge and packed with filling, and utterly lovely. I chose the whole wheat batter from the list of five possibilities (regular, herb, whole wheat, espresso, and chocolate, if I recall correctly). Batter choices! Nice!

Before, Rooster was my favorite crepe place. Now…I think it might be Crêpes in the City. Of course, I’ll have to go back a couple of times to sample more…especially the dessert crepes.

Second, we had Sunday brunch at Benton Park Cafe. This cafe is super close to our house, but we just hadn’t made it over there until now. They were packed, but since we sat outside, we didn’t have to wait for a table. I had the California omelet, and Porkchop had the South of the Border burrito. We both had the loaded potatoes on the side. Thumbs up on everything! Tasty and good-sized portions! Oh, and they serve a slice of cumcumber in their water, which is all sorts of refreshing.

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Put Up or Shut Up

Porkchop and I should be painting the office nook tonight, but instead we’re resting. Of course, “resting” means that Porkchop made the most delicious dinner of local bratwurst with apples and onions, mashed potatoes, and roasted (homegrown) delicata squash (well, I did the squash, but it wasn’t much work). And then we did dishes, picked tomatoes, and Porkchop did some paint clean up.

Here is the painting as it stood Sunday morning:


Woo! Bright colors! The colors in the two rooms are actually the same, but they look a little different. These rooms have now been touched up, and Porkchop put the first coat up in the bathroom – a lovely dark chartreuse which looks pretty darned good.

While painting this weekend, we also canned sweet pickles. A lot of them:


That’s about 7.5 lbs of cucumbers. And they made 10 pint jars. Canning in progress:


Did I mention we made pickles?

That isn’t the only canning we’ve been up to. Two weekends ago we went blueberry and peach picking:


We took the fruits and made blueberry-lime jam and peach butter:


I think we have 8 jars of the blueberry lime, and maybe 5 of the peach butter (which is amazingly delicious, oh yeah).

We’ve also been putting up tomato stuff: oven-dried tomatoes, spaghetti sauce, and tomato-basil dressing (which we also use as a pasta sauce). Oh, and I canned two pints of crushed tomatoes over the weekend. I also have designs on the butternut squashes ripening in the kitchen window. Last week I made a super tasty bisque with a squash, so I intend on making up and freezing a couple of batches. To get us through the long winter, you know.

Going back to tomatoes, we’re in a bit of a lull right now. The cherry tomatoes and sungolds are still coming in, but I’ve picked the green zebra, black krim, marvel stripe, and brandywine clean. Now a second wave of baby tomatoes has started, and I can’t wait for them to grow and ripen!

Here’s the last black krim…it’s a bit naughty looking, don’t you think?


Oh, and the tomatillos are starting! Here’s the first one:


What else…

We bought school supplies for a couple of neighborhood kids:


If you’re in the neighborhood, I encourage you to do the same! The info is here.

That’s all! Have a great week!

Nesting Dolls, Birthday Weekend, and Other Things

Okay, first up, who wants to order a set of nesting dolls?

Porkchop is an excellent nesting doll painter. For example, here’s a set she made recently for friends of friends:


I don’t have pictures of these folks, but believe me when I say these likenesses are amazing. Let Porkchop know if you want a set! Email her at porkchoppress (at) gmail (dot) com for pricing and other details. Sets aren’t limited to 5 dolls, just so you know.

Birthday Weekend
Along with celebrating the birth of our great nation last weekend, we also celebrated my turning 31! We left Thursday afternoon for Madison, where we stayed with Porkchop’s friend Patrick, who is starting the MFA program at the UW this fall. After a late night at the Weary Traveler, I had a hard time waking up for my breakfast date with old friend and former co-worker Darcie (who contributes to the Craftology 101 blog). I wasn’t as bright-eyed as I wanted to be, but we still had a great time catching up and enjoying our Marigold breakfast. The next time I see Darcie, she might be living in Denver, which is all sorts of exciting (our breakfast also marked Darcie’s last day at our former employer – woot!).

After breakfast, Porkchop and I left for Minneapolis. The day was perfect for driving…sunny skies, low humidity, a cool breeze, and Twilight on CD. Twilight was perfect for driving, but I don’t recommend listening or reading it otherwise (Also, guess what’s worse than the book…the movie! We watched it last night, and I can’t believe how horrible it is!).

Upon arriving in MPLS, we went to Katie and Beth’s apartment, which is actually two floors and the size of a house. It was our first time to visit K and B in their new city, and I’m so glad we made it up there. Being around K and B is like having my batteries recharged. We laugh, we talk about things, we have fun doing nothing. During one of our dinners, we talked about how, out of our 9 years of friendship, we only lived around each other for 1.5 of those years. So, those must have been really formative years because we’re still good friends.

Anyway…without writing a novel, here’s a bullet point summary of what we did:

  • Visited farmers’ markets!
  • Walked around Mill Town. Pictures below are us at some mill ruins and watching a boat go through a lock:


  • On July 4th, we made pesto potato salad for a potluck hosted by K and B’s friends. After eating, we walked over to Powderhorn Park and watched the neighborhood firework display. Everyone from the neighborhood watched the fireworks! It was so wholesome and Mayberry-ish, only the neighborhood was really diverse. It seems some people in MPLS think Powderhorn Park is a “rough” neighborhood…these people need to visit our neighborhood in St. Louis, and then we’ll see if they still think Powderhorn Park is rough!
  • Went to the Mall of America. Hey, everyone does it.
  • Helped Katie buy a used 10-speed (actually a 12-speed).
  • I finished one of my Facebook Making Things project for a friend who lives in MPLS (actually K and B’s friend, and my friend by association). It’s the sev(en)circle from the Assemblage blog. I was using stash and scrap yarn, so I made the loops different colors, and I really loved the end result:


I think that’s it for MPLS! Super fun times!

Our 10-hour drive home on my birthday wasn’t so fun, but fortunately we had Twilight for entertainment.

Porkchop gave me super great gifts! My favorite is my new lunch bag (this is a bad pic):


My tiffin and water bottle fit in it, and it’s neoprene so my water bottle doesn’t get anything wet. I also received this pack of 5 Envirosax and the book Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day. My first loaf just came out of the oven! It doesn’t look like the pictures in the book, but maybe it will still be tasty.

Garden Things
Upon our arrival home, I found a baby melon in the garden!

There are a few more little guys out there, which is very exciting.

We also found that our potato experiment didn’t turn out well. St. Louisians will recall the crazy rains we had earlier this summer…these rains broke our potato plants and made them die early. We had hoped for the best, but this is our yield from our garbage can:


Murrr. Another garden lesson for us.

On a happier note, Porkchop came home a bit early on Friday and finished our strawberry and blueberry bed!


So awesome!!

Have a great weekend!