Saturday, September 15, 2018

Back Home and Cooking Brats & Stuffed Chop

While in Sycamore, IL, there was a little dive looking place at the end of the road entering the campground that Bev found totally fascinating and insisted we check it out.  It’s somewhat hard to describe so we’ll use their words – “A butcher shop that cooks.”  

All of the meat cooking and smoking is done over charcoal on outside grills and the eating is at picnic tables also located outside.  The inside contains a case full of good looking meat, homemade salads of all kinds (slaw, potato salad, pasta salad, etc), deli meats.  They serve hot and cold sandwiches along with plate meals from the meats they cook. 



The Country Store & Catering has a fine looking meat case with both raw and prepared ready to cook meats such as stuffed pork chops.


We bought a stuffed pork chop and a pork loin & bacon wrapped andouille sausage but didn’t cook them until we got home.  I enjoyed them both but preferred the pork chop.  Here is the raw chop and as you can see, they cut in from the fat cap side to add the stuffing with the one negative that much of the stuffing came out as the chop cooked.


Our neighbors were leaving on an extended RV/bicycling trip to New England and Nova Scotia and we wanted to send them off with a meal and they chose sausages with peppers and onions so we picked Lithuanian, and Cheddar Jalapeno brats.

Normally, I just grill them whole, but I decided to do it a little differently beginning with making a little pocket in the bread.  Then I cut the brats lengthwise so they would cook faster, have more crust area, and open up in the bun to provide more space for the toppings. 


Bev used the discada to cook the big pile of veggies as she wanted a big surface area to insure they got caramelized rather than mostly steaming in our big saute pan.  We don't break this thing out often but when we do it works beautifully.


I cooked the brats flat side down first then flipped them and topped with cheese and I expected them to curl from end-to-end and to close back up along the cut line but they did neither and laid flat on the grill – likely because the cut casing could have no impact on them.  Here they are ready to serve and as it turned out the best way to build the sandwich was to lay the flat brat on one side of the mustard coated bun and the veggies on the other, fold closed, and dig in – my sandwich shots didn’t turn out. 


My choice was the cheddar jalapeno brat and I loved it with just the right amount of heat from the peppers.  Then I ate about one third of the Lithuanian with some mustard and kraut and it was also delicious.  I’m looking forward to working our way through the half freezer shelf full over the next several months.

Good friend Russ likes to enjoy a margarita or so when he comes over and I couldn't resist buying him this super sized glass while on our trip - it's about a foot tall and holds several normal sized margs.


Photos can be enlarged by clicking on them and the blue words are links.

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by Almost Heaven South.

Larry

9/06/18 Meal Date

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

2018 Summer RV Trip – Days 44-46 – Last Day In Sycamore & Trip Home

Our original plan was to go from Illinois to Ohio Amish Country (Holmes County) then on to West Virginia for an 11 day, two stop rally of our RV club, but when the rally dropped down to just three coaches, we decided to cancel it.  My girls had already been saying they were ready to be home, so we cancelled out Holmes County as well and made plans to head south.

We were due to leave IL on Sunday of Labor Day weekend and not surprisingly, a suitable campground site was not to be found in the area we needed to spend the night so we stayed another day in Sycamore and had no problem getting into the Monday night place we wanted.

So Sunday, we made preparations for departure and watched a Shania Twain concert on TV and all I can say is that she is spectacular and then she starts singing and becomes even more so. J

Monday, September 10, 2018

2018 Summer RV Trip – Day 43 – Historic Roundhouse Restaurant & Sausage

Saturday was our day to visit with the kids and stock up on sausage and at Ann’s suggestion, we met for lunch at Two Brothers Roundhouse in Aurora, IL.  Eric was out of town so it was Ann and Matthew & Sophia who are growing like weeds.

The restaurant is in an old railroad roundhouse and here is an excerpt for Wikipedia – “The Two Brothers Roundhouse, formerly the Walter Payton Roundhouse, America's Historical Roundhouse, and Chicago, Burlington, & Quincy Roundhouse and Locomotive Shop is a historic building converted to a restaurant in Aurora, Illinois. It was originally constructed in 1856 as a roundhouse for the Chicago & Aurora Railroad (later Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad) and served in this capacity until 1974. It was abandoned until 1995, when a group of investors led by Walter Payton purchased it and converted the building to an entertainment complex. Its most recent tenant is Two Brothers Brewing. The building is the oldest limestone roundhouse in the United States and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.”


Two Brothers is a restaurant, brewery, and distillery and it is amazing how they have made use of this fine old building which is made of stone and wood – huge beams can be seen supporting the roof on the inside.









Then the outside area where the turntable was located is set up for events.



Our lunches were burgers, wings, stuffed poblano, and a reuben and they were all just warm by the time we got them so the food gets a C but the location was a winner.




From there, we headed over to The Wurst Kitchen to stock up on some great sausages to take home – we bought at least 30lbs of frozen ones and the RV freezer was completely full.




Photos can be enlarged by clicking on them and the blue words are links.

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by Almost Heaven South.

Larry

9/01/18 Event Date

Saturday, September 8, 2018

2018 Summer RV Trip – Days 41-42 – Moving To and Visiting the Sycamore, IL Area

Our son Eric and his family live it Naperville, IL so we planned to stop for a visit on our way south and the nearest decent campground I could find was in Sycamore, IL which is in farm country about 40 miles from Naperville.

The trip south from Egg Harbor was uneventful (just the way I like them) and our route was WI-57S, I-43N, I-41S, WI-26S, I-39S, and WI-64E.  Most of the roads were concrete or paved over concrete so we experienced joint cracks most of the way but none of the surfaces were really bad.  WI-26 was a nice drive out thru the county side and much of it was 4-lane. The two interstates around Green Bay were uncrowded and made for a good by-pass.  I would use this same route again.

We pulled into Sycamore RV Resort around 4pm and had no issues with any roads until making the turn onto E North Ave leading to the campground.  The road was narrow and I crossed over the curb with both the rear coach tires and the car.  Here are shots of our site and our view out the front.  We were in site 86.




On Friday we drove through Sycamore and down to DeKalb and noticed the area seemed to be doing well economically in both the downtown's and the road between the towns was lined with the normal strip malls and big box stores.  I asked the campground owner if there was something beside Northern Illinois Univ. and farming bringing in money and he said it was mostly farming plus Sycamore is the county seat.  Here is an NIU shot from the web then two buildings I was impressed with.





Since Saturday was Pat’s BD and I thought we might be busy that night, we pan fried some steaks for her celebration supper on Friday.  I used the induction cooker and had not used it like this before, but it worked fine once I figured out which heat level to use.  The girls each had a filet and I had a strip and after tasting mine and theirs, I will never again order a filet.  Yes, it was more tender but the strip had way more of a beef flavor – I knew this but it was never before made so clear to me.

For more on the campground, here are some shots of the part that is in the shade and along the lakes beginning with a web shot of their map - we were in the blue sites in the upper right.







Everything worked well at the campground and it had one of the best WiFi's I've found but the big negative was no cable and our antenna would not get local channels so I couldn't watch WVU whup-up on TN on CBS without going to a sports bar, which I originally considered then decided against.  I hated to pull against UT but I just have to root for my home state school and alma mater, but I hope the Vols have a great year from here on.

Photos can be enlarged by clicking on them and the blue words are links.

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by Almost Heaven South.

Larry

8/30-8/31/18 Event Dates

Thursday, September 6, 2018

2018 Summer RV Trip – Day 40 - Salmon Spread & Door County Wrap-Up

It finally happened on our last day in Door County – a 25 degree temperature difference.  The primary reason I wanted to visit northern MI & WI was to see if they would be a good place to beat the summer heat in TN and we had already decided the answer was no.  But on Wednesday we finally got what I had been hoping for the entire time, well maybe not this much but it was 90F at home and only 65F here in Egg Harbor.  I talked with a friend in Knoxville and he said he had already lost 10# of sweat while working on his RV that morning.  This was only the 2nd or 3rd time we've been able to open up the coach and I had hoped to do that most days during this trip.

For our last day in Egg Harbor, the girls went out for a little last minute shopping including some fruit pies for the road and we began stowing items for the trip – mostly the girls wines – they found several they liked and I found none so I would not recommend Door County for serious wine but it’s good for sweeter grape and fruit wines.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

2018 Summer RV Trip – Days 38 & 39 - Coyote Roadhouse, Salmon, and Pasta

During our wine tasting trolley tour, we asked the driver where the locals go for non-tourist food and one of the places he suggested was the Coyote Roadhouse located a few miles east of Egg Harbor.  They opened at 11am so we skipped breakfast and went for an early lunch.


After entering, my first thought was yep, this is a roadhouse and the kind of place I like.


Sunday, September 2, 2018

2018 Summer RV Trip – Day 35, 36 & 37 – Friday Shopping, Eastern Peninsula, Trolley Wine Tour

Friday was supposed to be a day of bad weather with rain beginning around 1pm so the girls decided to get out earlier than normal, visit the Egg Harbor farmers market, then head up to shop in Fish Creek until the weather got bad.  I had a couple of repairs to make so I hung around the coach with the dogs and fixed supper.  Turned out the FM had only four stands (but one with good maters) and the rain went around the very dry peninsula and the girls spent several hours in Fish Creek.

Saturday began with this special Bev BLT & egg (it was awesome and here is a shot of the privately owned park model two sites from us.