Being on hold for the majority of two hours was not on my itinerary for this trip. Starting the day with fresh coconut water and pineapple, wasn’t officially, but it was a welcomed breakfast.
Following the theme of this trip, today started with a few knuckleballs. I have started to reluctantly await each day’s plot twist, a la Scrooge and his spirits in A Christmas Carol, whether it’s a restaurant that’s closed or a ferry that filled before we could get our tickets.
Today was transition day from Fajardo to Old San Juan. That meant checking out, returning the rental car and checking in at our new hotel. On our way to the airport we stopped to get fresh fruit from the coco frio man. Not knowing Spanish well enough to barter or attempting to, we got hosed on the cost of the fruit. To save some toll money we took the 3 all the way to the airport instead of getting on 66. That saved at least $7. The first two legs were relatively smooth, minus creating my own roundabout trying to find a gas station before returning the junk bucket.
We’ve all done it. No shame. We’ve eaten leftover pizza for breakfast. While this dish takes a bit more work than foraging in your fridge, you’ll be rewarded with a sensational and fresh breakfast.
Cast Iron Creation
Turn on your oven to 350 degrees.
To start, I made my own hash browns after frying up some bacon. You could also use frozen hash browns to cut down the prep time. To make your own, shred 3 potatoes. I recently purchased a KitchenAid Mandoline. That helps speed up the job. I found it tough to use the mandoline with the potatoes. It worked great on softer veggies, but struggled against firm potatoes.
Once the hash browns were cooked–about 15 minutes–I removed them from the pan and added onions and green pepper. Saute those for a few minutes and remove to a bowl. Then I whipped 4 eggs with a touch of water.
Return the taters to the skillet and add the eggs.
Return the veggies and bacon. Add tomatoes. Sprinkle in your favorite cheese. I had sliced american that I put on top.
Put the skillet in the oven for 8-10 minutes. Slice it up and enjoy.
As part of the ongoing series, here’s another simple way to use tortillas. Eggs are one of my staples for quick and tasty meals, whether for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
This amalgamation cleaned out a lot of ingredients lurking in my fridge: Spinach, cherry tomatoes, baby bella mushrooms, pecorino cheese. Pecorino has a strong salty flavor, so go easy on the salt in the eggs/veggies. I sauteed the ingredients before cooking the eggs, cleaned out the skillet, re-oiled, then added in the beaten eggs. In place of toast, I warmed two tortillas and used them to grab up some omelette deliciousness.
In my defense, I went to the gym Friday after work, successfully bookend-ing the week with visits to the meathead factory. That may have been the last healthy life choice in the decadence that was Saturday and Sunday. The weekend included a visit to my aunt’s, Walmart, Taco Bell and the un-mapped region known as Aurora.
So much for sleep.
This counts as fruit, right?
The culinary highlights were numerous. After driving to pickup our ceramic creations at Terra Incognito, Leann and I wandered the street (yes, singular) of Forest Park. Not in the mood to day drink or buy antiques, we ventured to Taco Bell. After uttering “I don’t know the last time i’ve been to Taco Bell,” I educated Leann on the many wonders of their menu. The lesson concluded with the dictum “You can’t go wrong.”
What did I have you ask? Those that know me, know my order when ringing the bell. But this particular Saturday I deviated from my standard order to try the quesarito. I had read numerous descriptions but had to see how they repackaged their core ingredients into a new package. The only real difference from any other items on the menu is the black foil wrapper. The contents are beef, beans, rice, nacho cheese sauce, sour cream and a spicy sauce. It’s essentially a grilled beefy five-layer burrito.
We rolled to Aurora to sample Leann’s first attempt at making tiramisu. I had my reservations, not for her ability to bake, which has yet to be matched, but for the effect of the espresso granules and coffee-soaked lady fingers on my fickle body clock. I don’t drink coffee. Bold statement. I know. But I just pass out occasionally at my desk and blame our nation’s reliance on carbs. So when I was spooned a small portion at 7PM, I hoped the morsel wouldn’t impact me the same way that the coffee-laced desserts in Roma had. Fast forward a few hours when I kept waking up every 45 minutes and we can give this victory to caffeine.
Today started with making my favorite breakfast: french toast. We added a splash of Kahlua to the batter for a little extra coffee zip. I snagged a recipe from All Recipes.
6 thick slicesbread
1/4 teaspoonground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoonground nutmeg
1 teaspoonvanilla extract
The weekend wrapped up meeting mi amigo at the driving range to hit a bucket. The weather was ideal. After spraying balls in every possible direction, we grabbed lunch at the course’s restaurant. Then I made another stellar decision: BBQ Chicken Nachos.
If you’re giving up on your life, why stop at french toast?
After everything I ate this weekend, I fear this may be the only tent that fits me.
After live tweeting my train commute into the city, I took a cab to a morning meeting. In the 10 minute ride, I learned my cabbie, Muhammad Ali, wakes up at 4am and also doesn’t like driving in the snow.
The saddest part of my day was not being able to photograph my breakfast. I had eggs benedict, which is becoming my go to instead of french toast. It was at this moment that I realized I have a problem. There is no reason to photograph all my food, but for some reason I feel compelled. I’ve entered a support group.
Below are pictures from the rest of my day downtown: working at Starbucks with the hoi polloi, a stupidly delicious muffuletta, then an early evening of culture at the Art Institute of Chicago. ‘Twas a good day, but it reminded me that there are warmer places to live in January.
Started the day with a jaunt through Union Station.
The Grand Hall
After a client meeting, I had to refuel.
The Muffuletta is possibly my favorite sandwich. L’appetito is one of the few places to make them in Chicago.
Try it heated and you’ll never go back to a regular sub.
Time is heavy. Ya dig?
The garden was closed, but it still looked serene.
I wasn’t sure if it was snow or a tear in the lion’s eye.
A painting in a painting.
Wheat stacks: Winter
I made a sacrifice in hopes winter would end.
This was in the Native American art section. The imagery might haunt my dreams, but I loved the vivid colors.