Right in the midst of my fortheloveofallthatisgoodcanwinterpleasebeover funk, a wonderful weekend put a spring in my step. Only the best of friends can do that.
On Friday evening, Dave and I took an hour and a half long drive to Stevens Point for a much-needed visit with two of our favorite people in the world: Dan and Emily.
We always have a ridiculously good time hanging out with them, and this weekend was no exception. My camera was shy Friday evening but we had plenty of fun catching up with Dan and Emily and two of their good friends Luke and Kirsten (who I am determined to make our good friends as well because they are so cool).
We listened to Gaelic Storm, enjoyed delicious adult beverages, planned a dinner of mussels and oven fries, then ended up eating oven fries and ordering pizza when we found out the mussels had all closed. We went to bed at a perfectly respectable 12:00am and woke up the next morning with French-pressed coffee and more music. Dan and Em always have music playing in their apartment, and it definitely makes the mornings more relaxed and enjoyable.
Dan and Dave took to the kitchen to work on breakfast for us: potato latkes with fried eggs. I love men who cook. Women too. Actually, anyone who likes to cook is pretty awesome in my book.
Breakfast was simple but incredibly satisfying. I put a nice little swirl of Sriracha on top of my over easy egg, and the creaminess of the yolk was very satisfying against the sharp onion taste and buttery potatoes. Perfecto!
After breakfast, we headed off to an antique store/consignment shop, which had three levels of awesome finds. We spent several hours sifting through everything and had fun entertaining the idea of buying cast iron pans, antique swords, hideous paintings, and 50s art decor and trying on clothes.
This 70s-tastic jacket fit Em like a glove. And I found this hideously yellow hat to be quite flattering, indeed. 🙂
Dave tried on an awesome army jacket that we all loved.
It fit him so well that we convinced him to buy it. Dave doesn’t have a really good-fitting jacket, and this one looked too good on him to pass up. Vintage clothing is the best. In the end, we all left with something, and we met up with Luke and Kirsten again at Emy J’s for coffee and tea.
I ordered a Yerba Mat’e tea for a boost of caffeine.
And Em insisted we split this to-die-for fig bar.
It was a lovely take on a fig newton with an enormous amount of chewy, juicy fig filling. Delicious.
Dan and Em just bought a house (!!!), and we did a drive-by Saturday to get a sneak peek. It is beautiful and so them. I am really excited for them to move in and make even more happy memories. Like us having cook-outs and playing croquet in the back yard. 🙂
We stopped back at the apartment for a bit to check on the status of that night’s dinner: beer and balsamic braised short ribs, which made the apartment smell heavenly.
And Dave started dough for Caraway Rye bread to go with dinner.
After we put the dough in the refrigerator to rise slowly, we headed to a local brewery to enjoy a pint.
I have never been a Beer or Miller girl, so I am becoming a big fan of local breweries. The beers always have so much more flavor to them, and I’d rather pay more for good beer than settle for second (fifth) best. The selection at O’so was great.
I ordered a beer off the ‘Dark’ menu: Night Train.
We split an asparagus quesadilla and a creole quesadilla. I was quite taken with the idea of the asparagus quesadilla–I’m a huge fan of asparagus, but I don’t cook it as often as I would like to eat it. Broccoli always seems to win out.
I loved seeing the stack of bourbon barrels at the tap house. Now that’s art.
After an hour or so at O’so, we got back in the car and headed to another brewery for a real live brewery tour…Central Waters.
Central Waters is become pretty popular in the Midwest, but they want to stay small enough that they will still be a microbrewery, which I think is a fantastic idea. Sometimes beer loses its appeal when you know you can get it anywhere. It’s like going to McDonald’s in France.
We had a relatively small group of about twelve, and our tour guide answered almost every question we threw at him. I know I didn’t absorb all of the information he gave us (it was a lot to take in at once!), but I had a great time trying to take it all in.
Another reason I had such a great time was because two of our other friends met us for the tour and came back to Steven’s Point to hang out with us for the remainder of the weekend.
Tess and Jake are fabulous. I really wish they lived closer so I could see them more, but considering they live 2 1/2 hours away, the couple times we see them a year is pretty good. Saturday night was spent much like Friday night: listening to music, enjoying beverages, and just being in good company.
We were all helping out in the kitchen, and due to unforeseen circumstances with the oven, we didn’t end up eating dinner until 9:30. It was worth waiting for.
These ribs rivaled Dave’s in savory melt-off-the-bone flavor, and I loved the parsnip puree that they were served on. I never cook with parsnips, but I will definitely be making that puree again. It was a wonderful bed for the braised ribs, creamy like mashed potatoes with a more earthy flavor.
Another night turned into another morning. The only cure for a Sunday morning:
Along with the bacon, Em made Jamie Oliver’s pancakes with blueberries.
And while we waited for the three batches of pancakes to cook, we enjoyed more French-pressed coffee and mimosas.
I am used to eating most meals by myself, so it is always a real treat to eat in the company of others. The food always seems to taste better when it is flavored by good company.
We lounged about for a few more hours, cleaning dishes, then watching Boondock Saints in honor of the day. After the movie ended, we unfortunately had to face the music and make our trek back home. Luckily, the end of the weekend was highlighted by a Leahy-Dowe (and every other American) tradition: Shamrock Shake.
Lunch of champions.
Happy St. Paddy’s Day, everyone!