Saturday, April 21, 2007

Home on the range

Once again here I am in Minneapolis, where the as-of-yet lack of lack of leafy greeness has been compensated for by warm temperatures and lots of sunshine. My appreciation is renewed for how much space this city affords its residents for a fraction of the price of Paris or San Francisco, allowing for such luxuries as multiple bathrooms, sunrooms, covered porches (think bicycle storage), and backyards. Taking advantage of the latter, last night we fired up what was my first bbq in well over a year [edit: actually no-- there was the wildly good June '06 bbq at Mario's!]. We started out with eggplant, zucchini and asparagus all brushed with chile-garlic oil, and quickly moved on to Ryan's killer burger concoction: good-quality beef mixed with salt, plenty of diced red onion, local amablu cheese, a bit of garlic, and lots of fresh ground pepper. On grilled homemade sesame buns, much else in the way of condiments would have detracted from the burger's inherent charred, juicy and salty glory. I'm not positive that other burgers can live up to those standards-- the bar has been raised, and raised high. Finally, we made the practically foolproof Cook's Illustrated grilled pizza, topped simply with garlic oil, San Marzano tomatoes, pretty good brick mozzarella (alas, why is fresh mozz so damn expensive??) and extras like fresh basil, grilled veggies and italian sausage. Awesome. To flaunt my overblown patriotism (ahem), an apple pie was clearly in order (props again to Cook's for their insight). And although the folks at Sonny's down the street were inexplicably out of vanilla, their dense, crunchy almond ice cream stood in just fine (ok, wonderfully).

Beer, burgers, pie... come on, bring on summertime already!

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