Here is part 2 of 3 of our little mini-vacation. As mentioned, this is by far the most swank hotel that I have ever stayed in. In keeping with that theme, it had the most over-the-top mini-bar that exists. For example:
We managed to avoid the temptations of the wonders of the mini-bar. Although I’m pretty sure our willpower would not have been as resilient if we didn’t just have one of the top three meals of my entire life. But of course that is coming in another post . . .
(don’t you just hate cliffhangers?)
Lindz had this brilliant idea of having a little “stay-cation” awhile back. In order to rationalize it further, we also combined it with celebrating Lindz’ graduation and our anniversary. Yup, it was going to be an expensive night. Which is why we combined three celebrations into one big blow out. The place that Lindz found was 601 Graves in downtown Minneapolis.
Hands down, this was the fanciest place that I have ever stayed. And not surprisingly, the most expensive.
All in all, the hotel was a fun experience. But for the price, I’m not exactly itching to get back anytime soon.
Coming soon in parts II and III: the most over the top mini-bar that I have ever seen and supper at the hotel’s restaurant, Cosmos.
Our friend, Narren, was up here in the Cities for a conference last week. Being the good friend he is, he called us wondering if we wanted to get together for supper one night. Our answer was “Well, duh.” After winding our way through the maze of one-ways in downtown Minneapolis, we found Narren waiting outside of his hotel for us. Once he hopped in the car, his first question was “Where are we going?” Yeah, this wasn’t helpful. Lindz and I rarely go to downtown, so it’s practically a foreign country to us. So we found a parking ramp a little farther down the road and figured that was a good starting point. After walking around for just a bit, we discovered that we were right by the hotel where Lindz and I had our “stay-cation” (a post that is coming soon, i.e. as soon as I remember to get some pics from Lindz’ computer). At this point Lindz suggested going to Kieran’s Pub, neither Narren or I could come up with any reason not to, so that is where we ended up.
I’ve never been to Kieran’s, but I’ve heard about it constantly from friends who work downtown, as well as ones who like to frequent pubs. I haven’t heard a bad review, and after visiting, I can see why. Since we went on a Tuesday, it wasn’t very busy at all, which is exactly the way I like it. We were seated immediately and promptly placed our drink order. Both Narren and I decided to go with the June beer special: Brooklyn Lager.
As far as food, I couldn’t resist going with the fish and chips. After all, we were in an Irish pub. Also, it is one of those dishes that I use to determine the quality of a place. I use dishes that are deceptively simple to prepare, but if it’s done right, it’s wonderful. If it’s not done right, well, you can tell immediately. In other words, there really isn’t a middle ground for taste. The result? Kieran’s passed with flying colors. Easily one of the top 3 places where I’ve had fish and chips here in the Cities. I took the walleye option over the cod. No particular reason, just the way my whim was pointing at that moment. As a added bonus, I didn’t even need to ask for malt vinegar. They just assumed that I wanted it because everyone should eat it this way. I love it!
Ringer loves my Mom’s homemade sauerkraut. She’s bugged me so often about swiping her a jar, Mom will just send one with me for her. The catch is that when you reuse the rings (the part that holds down the canning lids), they can get a bit rusty. When that happens, it can be a bit tricky to get it open. We tried everything to get it opened. Running it under hot water, tapping it, brute strength, and passing it back and forth to try something else. I’m convinced it was sheer willpower that opened it. Of course, Ringer maintains that she loosened it for me.
Not surprisingly, Lindz was laughing at us the whole time it took us to get it open.
“Making Hash Browns” from xkcd.
As promised, I had a second go around on roasting some bone marrow.
As previously discussed, I wanted to try frying up rondelles to get a more even cook on the marrow. Of course that meant that I had to get the marrow out of the bone. The first problem that I noticed was that I didn’t look closely at the bones when I bought them. Only one had the marrow running all the way through. The other two were cut off an end of the bone in such a way that there was bone completely covering one side. This basically left me with one bone to work with and the other two to roast as I previously had done. Which led me to my second problem of how to get the one chunk of marrow out. I wasn’t about to use my good chef’s knife for obvious reasons. I didn’t want to use our cleaver because I was legitimately concerned that I would completely destroy it (or me). I didn’t have anything flat, small, and flexible enough to “cut” out the marrow. Which led me to my toolbox.
The hacksaw had too fine of teeth to do much good. The coping saw worked much better, but it still involved a lot of sawing. I noticed when I was cleaning up that I had a blade with more aggressive teeth that would have saved me quite a bit of headache. Oh, well. Once I had cut completely through the bone, I just used the blade to cut between the marrow and the blade. Once that was done, the marrow slid out relatively easily. At this point, I was able to finally slice it into the rondelles.
Into the frying pan and the oven. The bones roasted in the oven for about 20 minutes. The ones in the frying pan were only there for about a minute on each side.
I enjoyed the parsley salad so much from last time that it was a foregone conclusion that I would make it again.
Pan frying was a much better option in my opinion because I had much better control over the cooking. Although I’m not sure that it was worth the work to cut it out. I couldn’t taste any difference in the flavors between the pan roasting and the oven roasting. All in all, my opinion about marrow hasn’t changed since my last post on it. It’s okay, but I would just as soon dip my toast into bacon grease.