I bet you get up some mornings and are getting ready for work and get stuck in that moment when you have to decide on making something at home or stopping and picking up something on the way in and in that moment you usually decide to pick something up because you don’t think there will be enough time to make something. Don’t fall for it! You are telling yourself a lie. Breakfast is a very important part of the day and is also very simple to make. The most important thing to do is plan ahead.
When I go for my weekly market trip I make sure to pick up various items to use throughout the week. This last trip I spotted some croissants in the bakery and picked up a pack of 8. I also try to keep things in the fridge like eggs and something easily microwavable like microwave bacon or sausage. You don’t always have to do everything fresh and elaborate. Most times the easy to put together stuff will taste better and leave you more satisfied than if you pick something up at a drive through.
Tip: Keep a pack of microwave bacon (or sausage)in your fridge. It lasts for a while and is quick and easy to prepare. If you are concerned about health then there are a couple of really good microwave turkey bacon’s available.
So for my lazy morning breakfast I pulled a few items out of the fridge to get started. A few strips of microwave turkey bacon, a couple of slices of fat-free cheese, 2 microwave sausage patties and two eggs. I also set out two of the croissants I picked up earlier in the week.
Now I know you are thinking that sounds like a lot of work and that you would rather just hit a drive through. Well it is actually not a lot of work at all. The entire process took me less than 10 minutes. I got out a frying pan and turned on medium heat and sprayed it with non stick oil. While it is heating up I laid out the bacon on a paper towel and stuck it in the microwave for a minute. I then cracked the eggs in the pan and sprinkled with a little salt and black pepper. While those started cooking I removed the bacon and put in the sausage for a minute and a half. Then it was time to flip the eggs. Once I turned them over I used the spatula to pop the yolk. I know some people like it to be a little runny but if you plan to eat this in the car on your way to work you don’t want something drippy and runny in your hand. While the eggs were finishing up i cut the croissants in half for sandwiches and then scooped the eggs out on to a plate. I then laid the croissants cut side down in the pan to heat them up and give them just a little bit of toastiness. They only take about 45 seconds to warm up.
Tip: While croissants are always best fresh you can heat them up in a frying pan to give them back a little bit of the toasty, crunchy flakiness for your sandwich. This will allow you to buy a few more to keep throughout the week. Or you can just use toasted bread if you like.
Now it is time to assemble the sandwich. lay down egg on the bottom half of the croissant, place a slice of cheese then put down the bacon or sausage and cover with the other half of the croissant. There you have it. A quick simple and very tasty breakfast that will rival almost anything that you can be handed out of a window of a fast food place. You don’t have to use croissants either as a couple of slices of toast will work just as well.
Tip: It’s all in the seasoning. If for some reason you have a problem with making eggs that taste like the do in a restaurant remember these two things. Salt and Pepper. a few sprinkles of salt and black pepper go a long way to transform your eggs from bland into a taste sensation.
Well I hope that this can get some of you motivated in the mornings to treat yourself to a home-made delight instead of just heading off to the drive through.
Thanks for reading
Who’s ready for BBQ? Because for this weeks review SA Dining went on a road trip and came up with a winner. Right outside of Austin in Round Rock is a BBQ joint called The Salt Lick. They are known for their unique open pit smokers and delicious food all over Texas, so while I was in Austin I decided to head on over and give them a try.
As soon as I stepped out of my truck I could smell the smoke and it made my mouth start watering. I don’t know if this was just due to the anticipation of the meal to come or if it was because it just smelled so good. Either way I was ready to get inside and see what awaited me. When you walk in the door to The Salt Lick you see kitchen off to the right and everyone buzzing around chopping and cutting some of the best looking BBQ I have seen outside of my own smoker. At the corner of the counter they have a few of their homemade pies sitting on display and I knew I would have to try one, but more about that later. The seating is picnic style with long tables and benches for everyone to sit together and enjoy. I can imagine that when it is busy this can be a little bit annoying as I don’t really care for sharing my table with complete strangers but luckily I did not have to worry about it since they were not very busy when I got there.
After looking over the menu and having a very hard time deciding on just one thing I thought it would be a good idea to go with the all you can eat BBQ family style dinner. This means they bring you a little bit of everything including beef brisket, sausage and pork ribs for the meats and potato salad, Cole slaw, beans, bread and pickles and onions for sides.
I’m going to go ahead and get the sides out of the way before moving on to the meat. Most of these are just standard sides that you get at almost any BBQ place in Texas. The beans are just regular barracho beans which Texas is know for serving with everything BBQ related. While I am from the east coast originally and prefer BBQ baked beans these actually had a pretty nice flavor. The Cole slaw was a little bit better than most places but was still not the Cole slaw I grew up on. Most Texas restaurants make Cole slaw by shredding cabbage and dousing it in vinegar, where I am used to it having a little more creaminess to it with a little mayo and sugar added. Basically I like Cole slaw to have flavor and most of the restaurants out here do not make it that way. Now we move on to the potato salad which they take a different approach to making. This is a non mayo based potato salad that has more of a mustard flavoring to it. While it came off a little bland to me it was still pretty good, and when you added some of the signature BBQ sauce to it it was fantastic. Those are the big guns for the sides and while they were OK I am sure that they are not the reason that most people visit The Salt Lick.
The reason everyone visits The Salt Lick is because of the BBQ and I can say that I now know why. When they set the plate with all of the meat down in front of me I knew that I was in for a treat but I had no idea it would be as good as it was. The first thing I tried was the brisket and it was pretty good. It had a nice smokey flavor and those black crisp edges known as bark that everyone loves. The flavor is good enough that you don’t need sauce but it is even better with it added. My next taste came from the smoked sausage. I have eaten a lot of smoked sausage in my time and had many different flavors and variations but none of them were quite as good as this smoked sausage. I’m not sure if it was the flavor of the sausage or the the flavor that the smoke gave it but either way it was pretty incredible and when you added the BBQ sauce to it you have a flavor combo that cant be beat. I didn’t think that it could get any better than that and was perfectly happy with continuing on until there was no sausage left but I had these port ribs sitting there calling out to me to be tried. So I pushed past the sausage, picked up a rib and bit in to it. First let me tell you that there wasn’t much biting involved because it pretty much fell apart and started melting in your mouth it was so tender. Like the sausage the flavor was incredible and even better with a little sauce. The ribs were perfectly cooked and some of the best tasting I have ever had which says a lot because I grew up eating stuff like this. I’m not sure about you but when in comes to BBQ there are some things that need BBQ sauce and some that don’t, but there are also some that don’t but taste that much better if the sauce is good. The latter applies in the case of just about everything at The Salt Lick. The sauce is a unique blend that uses no tomatoes and has a slightly sweet but mustard flavor to it. It is not a very thick sauce but is thick enough to stick to your food and it is great on everything.
Now after that you would not think that I would have had room to try anything else but when I saw the list of deserts on the menu I had to give it a try anyway. You can choose between a slice of their homemade pecan pie or a bowl of their peach or blackberry cobbler and have a scoop of Blue Bell vanilla ice cream added on top of any of them. I opted for the pecan pie with a scoop of ice cream. The pie it self was pretty good but not the best I have ever had. I think the consistency was a little off for me. Instead of being gooey like a pecan pie should be it had more of a pumpkin pie consistency to it which I wasn’t really expecting. But the flavor was spot on and when you add the ice cream nothing else seemed to matter.
After all of that you can count it a sure thing that the next time I happen to be up in Austin I will be making time for a trip back to The Salt Lick and maybe a spot for a nice long nap afterward.
I know a lot of people are not crazy about seafood or will only eat certain types of fish that don’t have that “fishy” taste to it, thankfully I am not one of those. I love all types of seafood and chances are if it has ever lived in or near the water I have eaten it. On my latest adventure I decided to give the Islamorada Fish Company a try. For those of you that have never heard of it, this is the restaurant attached to the Bass Pro Shops. I am not sure how this place has flown under my radar so long but I am glad that a friend of mine pointed me in their direction.
This location is set up sort of like a fishing lodge on the inside with dark wood everywhere and stuffed sea life hanging from the ceilings. They also have a giant fish tank on one of the walls and a huge fire pit in the middle of the dining area. The dining room is huge and the tables are spaced far enough apart so that you do not feel crowded. There is also a nice outside dining area with a large waterfall to give it that nice ambiance.
While you are waiting on your food they bring you a small loaf of bread with whipped butter. The bread was fresh and hot and it is baked with a sugar coating on top. I wasn’t sure I would care for it that way but one bite proved that wrong. It will melt in your mouth and make you look forward to the next bite. It is a wonderful way to start a meal.
Originally being from Florida I had to start out this adventure with an appetizer fit for a former resident of the panhandle state, so I went with the fried alligator (or gator as we call it in Fl). Now gator is one of those things that if done right can be an incredible treat but if done wrong can be a tough chewy nightmare. Luckily in this case it was cooked to perfection. The outside had a nice breading that was crisp and crunchy while the inside melted in your mouth. It was so good in fact that it influenced my main meal choice.
My main dish is called the Sportsman’s Platter and includes a hefty sample of Fried Shrimp, Fried Catfish and yes, you guessed it alligator. It also comes with a very tasty Cole slaw, and french fries or onion rings. If you have read any of my other reviews you have probably figured out that I chose the onion rings. You also get three sauces for dipping, a nice creamy tartar sauce, cocktail sauce and another sauce that I have yet to identify that is so good you will not need the other two. It is green for starters and I am pretty sure is sour cream based. It is a nice compliment to all of the different tastes on the plate. The shrimp were pretty typical of any seafood restaurant out there. Nice big breaded shrimp that were pretty tasty but nothing you can’t get anywhere else. The onion rings were no doubt frozen but were pretty high quality frozen onion rings that had a nice flavor but nothing spectacular. The Cole slaw however is much better than most restaurant Cole slaw especially the restaurants in San Antonio who think Cole slaw is nothing more than shredded cabbage doused in vinegar. This Cole slaw was very creamy the way it is supposed to be which is a very nice change. I don’t really need to go over the gator again because I covered that above but will move on to the catfish. I grew up eating fried catfish and think that I have a pretty good view of how it should taste and what is good and what is not so good. Well this my friends is some great catfish. It has a light breading and is fried crisp on the outside and is tender and flaky on the inside. They use a corn meal breading that compliments the fish perfectly and makes that nice crunchy coating. Overall this was one of the most satisfying meals I have had at any restaurant in a while. I would highly recommend giving it a try and if you have someone in your group that is not a fan of seafood you can take them anyway as Islamorada Fish Company has plenty of non seafood choices too.
You can guarantee that I will be back for more.