[FHCx322] National Baklava Day/National Homemade Bread Day

Put on your balaclava!

IT’S NATIONAL BAKLAVA DAY AND NATIONAL HOMEMADE BREAD DAY!

Baklava is a sophisticated dessert. Much of our Mediterranean friends disagree that it’s anything special, but I mean really. We’re simple people. We would eat a block of chocolate and it would be amazing. Backpedaling, we’re not saying chocolate isn’t sophisticated… just that Baklava has layers.

Layers of filo dough and chopped nuts! It’s all held together by a very particular honey-ish syrup that is characteristic of any baklava.

Our favorite restaurant that serves Baklava is Holy Land, as in, National Gyros Day Holy Land. In addition to our lovely dinner of gyro, we got to take a gander at:

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Porque no los dos? We had to try both. The chocolate drizzled one was excellent.

Another favorite thing of ours to eat is bread. Bread bread bread. All the time. It’s something about our genetics that predisposes us to a love of bread. We see bread in our dreams. We even saw a baguette in a zoo once. The sign read, “Bread in captivity.”

Today’s homemade bread was courtesy of the amazingest baker, SPad. This is the guy who used to not be able to find shirts that would fit because his arms were so huge from kneading dough all the time (back when he worked as a baker). These days he focuses on a few breads and is very modest about how amazing his bread really is. His best work is the sourdough:

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We wish you could smell this!

Tomorrow is National Vichyssoise Day.

-SPAK

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[FHCx317] National Pizza With Everything (Except Anchovies) Day/National Chicken Soup for the Soul Day

IT’S NATIONAL PIZZA WITH EVERYTHING (EXCEPT ANCHOVIES) DAY AND NATIONAL CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE SOUL DAY!

Everything?! Well, almost everything. For some reason, anchovies were left off of tonight’s menu by the powers that be. It wasn’t us. We’d eat anchovies.

We were able to swiftly pick up pizza at a local joint called Fresh Picked Pizza. They have all sorts of really tasty pizza, but we knew that we had one in mind to get fixed up for the evening.

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Do note the lack of anchovies.

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As a personal-size pizza, you can barely fit all those ingredients on there. Wonderful.

Today’s other holiday comes at a fortuitous time as AK is battling the Minnesotan common cold. (We’re sure SP will follow suit shortly.) Truly there is no better remedy for the insufferable symptoms quite like a homemade Chicken Soup. It warms the heart and soul and tummy. Thanks to SPom and SPad for always having the tastiest and most comforting chicken soup.

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Since SP moved out of his parents’ house, seeing a huge container of chicken soup like this is not infrequent.

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With carrots and matzo balls of course.

We feel comforted by our comfort foods.

Tomorrow is National Indian Pudding Day!

-SPAK

[FHCx288] National Dessert Day/World Egg Day

Today is two gross.

IT’S NATIONAL DESSERT DAY AND WORLD EGG DAY!

What better way to wake up than eggs AK-style? Make a couple super-runny over-easy eggs and serve on toast. Eggs around the world may be served differently, but this is SPAKhouse.

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Gooooooooooooooooooooo

Ok. What to do for dessert… Well we left it up to chance actually. For SP‘s birthday, AK bought us tickets to go to a first-ever event held at St. Paul College, this thing they call their “Chef’s Dinner.” They brought the chefs from Revival and Surly, both restaurants of great repute in SPAK history, to oversee the culinary program students in creating a beautiful dinner. So we left it to them to provide us with dessert. But on the journey there, we have to share the following as well.

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Oh there’s dessert! This cheesecake had mini sopapillas on top, and a fudge sauce made with cayenne pepper. SO good.

We loved it. It was super fun. We were glad to be part of it!

Tomorrow is… too much. National Cheese Curds Day, National Red Wine Day, National Mushroom Day, National Chicken Cacciatore Day, National Roast Pheasant Day. Oy.

-SPAK

[FHCx282] National Pierogi Day/National Fluffernutter Day

TODAY IS NATIONAL PIEROGI DAY AND NATIONAL FLUFFERNUTTER DAY!

The PBJ, as a sandwich, is not boring. It’s not even outlived its awesomeness. But sometimes what could really go well with peanut butter on bread is some marshmallow fluff. It’s a different kind of sweet to balance out the savory, salty peanut flavor. It’s better than bad; it’s good!

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PB. Fluff.

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Some like to have a thickness ratio that the fluff/PB is equal to the thickness of the bread. We’re ok with just a bit on each side.

We also have to pay respects to the pierogi today. While many cultures have their own dumplings – Chinese have bao, Japanese have gyoza, America has… dumplings – Eastern Europe’s dumplings are high on the chart of tasty starch. Whether you call them piroshok, varenyky, pelmeni, or pierogi, we’re all talking about something very similar – dough wrapping some tasty potato-y, onion-y, possibly cheesy stuff.

We got our pierogi courtesy of the Highland Grill, whose Steak and Pierogies entree is one of SP‘s favorites.

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Fried to perfection.

Yummy!

Tomorrow is National Moldy Cheese Day and National Submarine-Hoagy-Hero-Grinder Day, because we needed a third day to celebrate hoagies.

-SPAK

[FHCx280] National Noodle Day

IT’S NATIONAL NOODLE DAY!

So many options! And man, do we love them all! You could go Eastern Europe with Beef Stroganoff… or Italian with frankly any pasta… or how about East Asian? Yeah! Let’s do that! Let’s get some Ramen. Real, tasty ramen. Not just Maruchan.

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We took a trip to Masu, one of the Japanese delights of the Twin Cities. We would have loved to go to United Noodles today, but they’re only open 11-6 each day, and we wouldn’t have made it in time. Still, Masu really hits the spot.

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Some nikuman to start us off. Mmmm buns.

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And some very tasty duck gyoza.

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SPom and AK both ordered gyudon, which is an amazing beef and rice bowl.

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SP got the Beef Short Rib and Kimchi Ramen. That’s a poached egg in the bottom left and it simply turned to mush.

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SPad ordered Yakisoba, a really awesome Japanese noodle dish. For those not in the know, soba is a buckwheat noodle.

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Rammmmmmen.

However you spin your noodles, happy noodle day!

Tomorrow is National Frappe Day.

-SPAK

[FHCx262] National Cheeseburger Day

Deja vu…

IT’S NATIONAL CHEESEBURGER DAY!

Well on Thursday we celebrated double cheeseburger day. Today celebrates the singular. The original. But we aren’t going to do your regular old McDonald’s.

We’re Minnesotans. We believe in the Juicy Lucy. We went to Blue Door Pub.

The Juicy Lucy is a Minnesota invention, where cheese is stuffed into the burger. Techniques vary, and there is dispute regarding what restaurant actually created it. But Blue Door has one of SP‘s favorite burgers, so we had to do it.

Behold, the Merriam Park burger. Burger stuffed with blue cheese, bacon, and garlic, and topped with a red currant jelly.

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STUFF IT INTO DA FACE

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Look at all that good stuff inside.

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Oh, and here’s AK‘s burger, the NeuFrenchy: swiss cheese, prime rib, mushrooms, swiss mornay sauce, and onion jam. Served with au jus!

Horribly unkosher and horribly delicious. It’s like we’ve taken everything we can from the cow and made it tasty together.

Tomorrow is National Butterscotch Pudding Day!

-SPAK

[FHCx259] National Linguine Day/National Creme de Menthe Day/National Double Cheeseburger Day

IT’S NATIONAL LINGUINE DAY, NATIONAL CREME DE MENTHE DAY, AND NATIONAL DOUBLE CHEESEBURGER DAY!

It’s hard to place which of these we would enjoy most. AK definitely would go for the pasta, and SP would certainly like the double serving of meat… We love both.

Linguine is the pasta that you have when you want spaghetti, but slightly flatter. These little tongues are good at carrying sauce which, let’s face it, is the real reason we’re eating pasta to begin with. Well thanks to Buca, which supplied SP with beautiful birthday coupons, we had some linguine on Tuesday and had some leftovers today.

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We built our own with linguine, marinara, mushrooms, artichokes, onions, and poached garlic. With meatballs of course.

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And look at this cute cake they made for SP! (Those aren’t actually noodles)

Alright, palette cleanser time. Let’s have a mint. A menthe.

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Lastly, we took a trip down to SParents (since we haven’t been there in a while) to have some burgers. SPom’s hamburgers are awesome. She has some kind of magic she makes them with, because she uses a 95% lean beef – not traditionally what you’d use for a juicy hamburger – and mixes in pureed… MUSHROOMS! It thickens out the patty and they are super tender. But then she gives SP all the credit because of his grilling skills. Let’s just say that SP is so badass at grilling that he did the whole thing in the rain tonight!

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Rainy burgers!

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Some cheese.

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SP‘s.

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AK made this with some sauteed onions and mushrooms.

Tomorrow is National Guacamole Day and National Cinnamon Raisin Bread Day.

-SPAK