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Lake of the Woods

Since the weather has been attempting to freeze my vitals off at work, I’m going to reminisce about a warmer time.

Every summer my family goes up to Lake of the Woods to visit and fish at my uncle’s cabin for a long weekend.  This was an odd year for a couple of reasons.  Work was a mess, so I couldn’t take off on Friday like everyone else, so I ended up driving six hours by myself after putting a full day.  Caffeine and MPR Classical made for relaxing trip.  I didn’t get up to the cabin until 2 a.m., but Lindz was a sweetheart and stayed up to wait for me.  Also, this was the first year that Grandma Bert couldn’t make it up.  She had just gone into the nursing home a couple of months prior.  The whole weekend just felt a bit off because of it.

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The view off the end of the dock. Lake of the Woods is behind the reeds on the horizon (behind the boats).

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Dennis and Patty’s dog, Charlie.

If I remember right, everyone came close to limiting out Saturday.  (I only went out on Sunday).

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The walleye and sauger from Saturday’s outing.

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Cole with the monster 30″ walleye he reeled in.

As has been the custom for the last I don’t know how many years, we do a huge fish fry and meal on Saturday night.

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Saturday’s catch filleted and ready for breading and the frying pan.

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One pan down and many more to go.

My uncle Dennis has a really sweet set-up for frying fish.  He’s got a large propane burner set up on a stand and a 18″ cast iron skillet.  You can fry a lot of fish very quickly.  Like I said, sweet set-up.

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My contribution to supper.

While most of the crew was out on the lake, I made some guacamole for supper (and to snack on while waiting for them to return).  I was a little bit bummed out that most of the people weren’t too crazy about it.  But I got over it pretty quickly by eating some more guac.  I was also a bit confused about the so-so reaction because these are the people that regularly eat head-cheese, kraut, pickled pigs feet, herring . . . .

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The token veggie tray.

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Homemade coleslaw with Grandma Bert’s dressing recipe.

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Fresh sweet corn and boiled new potatoes.

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Pickles and cream.

Pickles and cream is basically sliced cucumbers and onions done up as refrigerator pickles.  Then you add heavy whipping cream and a bit of sugar (to taste) for the cream part.  Now, this is going to sound really weird, but it is unbelievably delicious.  You take the pickles and cream and put them on mashed potatoes and enjoy.  Without a doubt, this is my favorite topping for taters.  I like it even better than chicken gravy and I think chicken gravy is what the Greek gods referred to as ambrosia.  Yes, the potato and pickles and cream combo is really that awesome.

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I’m sure that I love my sis for more than her baking skills, but staring at this picture, I’m having a hard time coming up with any other reasons.  J/K, Chell.

Quasi-fake mint Oreo type cookies and monster cookie bars were the desserts that made it up north this year.  To no one’s surprise, they disappeared by the time we left on Sunday afternoon.

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The snacks of choice while out on the lake.

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Sunday’s catch.

Like I mentioned, I went out fishing on Sunday.  We finally found a hot spot when we ran into a little engine trouble.  Well, more of an electrical fire.  Okay, that’s a bit of an exaggeration.  There was a short in the wiring by the battery and it melted a bunch of the plastic insulation around some wires. Since the battery is in the same well as the engine, there was a whole lot of concern when smoke was spotted coming out of the hatch.  The only thing affected was the down riggers, so we made it home without further incidence.  But that did cut the fishing short.  Oh, well.

On the plus side, I did pull in a couple of decent sized walleyes.  Unfortunately they were in the size slot where we needed to toss them back (19.5″ to 28″).  The one that got me was the one that measured 27.5″  I was sooo close to my own trophy walleye.

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This is the one that I’ve decided to brag about.

Guy’s Night

So my friend Ringer and I had a guy’s night when Lindz was out of town a while back.  I know what you’re thinking, “You’ve mentioned her before and unless something drastic changed, she’s still a girl.”  And you’re right, she is a girl,  but over the years she has proved that she has more testosterone than many males that I know.  Heck, she even went to my bachelor party.  So by definition, she is “one of the guys,” and therefore guy’s night is a legitimate option.  Anyway, we both love to try new foods and the best we could come up that night was a Brazilian rotisserie called Rodizio Grill.  We both decided to get the “Full Rodizio” which included the all you can eat salad bar and the gauchos (I know it’s a poor use of the term, but that is what they were called) with their spits of meat.  I’m not going to go into a full blown review like I did before because it was, well, a pain in the nether regions to write up.  I’m just going to give some brief impressions / highlights of the place.

We started off with a round of the salad bar, and I have to say, for the $20 price tag for that option, it is a bargain.  There was at least two dozen options of green salad, pasta salad, collard greens, cheeses, cous-cous, mozzarella salad, yucca salad, coleslaw, and bread.  I know I’m forgetting a bunch of stuff as well as low-balling the number of dishes.  Two of my favorites were the collard greens and coleslaw.  Not that I’ve had a lot of collard greens in the past, but these were best that I’ve ever tried, and Ringer, who’s had more than I have, also really liked them.   The base of the coleslaw was nothing special, it was just your basic creamy-style slaw, but they threw in shaved coconut and chunks of pineapple which pushed it into its own little realm of mouth magic.  The enthusiasm with this dish didn’t carry over to Ringer.  Oh, well, more for me.  We both decided that it would be well worth the trip again just for the salad bar.

The gaucho’s with their meat was an interesting experience.  We got a little hourglass shaped wooden marker with one half painted red and the other half painted green.  It’s a really simple system.  Green up, the gauchos will check if you want some of what they were offering.  Red up, they will skip your table.  On its side equaled “Check, please!”  You should check out their menu because it is quite extensive.  But here are some of highlights that we tried.  The Bife Com Alho (Beef-e Com Al-yo) is beef that is slathered garlic paste.  I mean slathered.  Even after it was cooked, you could see the layer of garlic that is still on it.  If you are a fan of garlic, this is definitely the dish for you.  My personal favorite of the tasty beef options.  The pork options were all very good, but nothing outstanding.  Without a doubt, my favorite chicken dish was the hearts served with a slice of lime.  They are called Coracao (Cor-da-sone).  The gaucho was quite kind enough to give me 3/4’s of a skewer.  He even mentioned that some people asked for entire skewers just for themselves.  The Abacaxi (Ah-bakah-shee), grilled pineapple, was to die for.  I’ve always been a fan of grilled pineapple and this was exquisitely done.

The best part of all of this is that it is that you can eat as much of whatever you want.  So my suggestion is to try a little bit of everything that sounds good and then get a lot more of whatever tickles your fancy.  A quick side-note is that they claim over 90% of their menu is gluten-free, and from what I saw that is completely true.

I would like to give a special shout-out to the gauchos and the floor manager who were extremely helpful in getting us what we wanted and making sure we were able to try everything that we wanted.  They definitely added to the experience.

Mmm. Happiness is chicken hearts.

Um, yeah. I’m Polish.

To make a very long and sleep deprived story short, Lindz and I spend the last day and a half in and out of the ER helping a friend because she broke her hip.  Don’t worry, she is fine.  Got some pins and a rod installed and on the road to recovery.  Anyway, didn’t really have a chance or the energy to make anything resembling a meal today or even the desire to go out and get food.  So Lindz ended up finishing off the leftover pizza in the fridge and I just operated on auto-pilot which apparently meant sausages and a quick homemade coleslaw.

Seriously, the only way this could possibly be more of a Polish stereotype is if I had a glass of Vodka with it.

Once again, I blame my upbringing.

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