Archive for the ‘food’ Category

Disappearing Rainforest Cafes

February 23, 2009

For years, Bridgette and I thought it would be fun to visit a Rainforest Cafe some day. The stories of animatronic animals and simulated storms sounded like a memorable experience.

When we got married in 2003, the nearest one was about 45 minutes away in congested Tysons Corner, VA. So we put it off for a few years. In 2005, we went to look up their hours and discovered they had closed that location.

Dave&Bridgette with animatronic elephant

The next closest Rainforest Cafe was about an hour away, in Towson, MD, near Baltimore. Finally, in October, 2007, for our anniversary, we got to that location. We got there soon after they opened, so it was almost empty when we were seated, and we had a great time. Every twenty minutes or so, there was a simulated storm and the animatronic animals would panic at the thunder and flashes of light.

Bridgette with a Volcano!

We ordered a towering chocolate cake called a Vocano for dessert, which featured one of the servers hustling out of the kitchen with it, lit sparklers on top, yelling, “Vollllcaaaaaaaanoooo!” It was better than the happy birthday rap you get at a lot of restaurants (to avoid paying performance royalties on the Happy Birthday song, which is still under copyright, BTW).

After lunch there, we went to the aquarium in the Baltimore Inner Harbor.

For Valentines Day, 2009, we thought we’d go back to the Towson Rainforest Cafe and the Inner Harbor. When we looked them up on the web to find out when they opened, we discovered that the Towson Rainforest Cafe had closed a month earlier. The nearest ones are now in New Jersey and Tennessee.

It seems the Rainforest Cafe may be modeled after the world’s rapidly disappearing rainforests a little too realistically.

We did, however, get to the Inner Harbor Cheesecake Factory for dessert. There was a rather long wait, but it was shorter than driving to New Jersey.

Bread Machine Whole Wheat Bran Bread

August 5, 2008

By Jim MacKenzie

Put the following ingredients in the bread machine:

1.5 cups+1 tablespoon water, doesn’t need to be heated
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp canola oil or corn oil
3.5 cups bread flour
1.25 cups whole wheat flour (Pillsbury or Gold Medal), and/or spelt flour
0.5 cup of wheat bran and/or ground flax seed meal
Sprinkle 1 tbsp yeast on top.

Turn the machine on a 2-hour Basic Dough cycle (or “course”) to stir up (knead) and warm (rise).
Take the dough out of the machine.
Knead by hand for around a minute to smooth out.
Cut it in half, and put half in each of two medium-size bread pans.
Let it warm up to double the size so it comes over the lip (around 20 minutes).
Make 1 tbsp water and 1 egg white mixture, brush on top.
Sprinkle sesame seeds on top.
Bake for 35 minutes at 375 degrees.

Dinner Rolls

August 5, 2008

By John Olsrud

½ cup warm water
2 tablespoons active dry yeast
1 ½ cups lukewarm milk
1 cup raisins
1 cup bran
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons salt
2 eggs
½ cup soft margarine
1 cup whole wheat flour
4-6 ½ cups all-purpose bread flour (high-protein)

Measure water and yeast in a large bowl.
While stirring it, add milk, sugar, salt, cinnamon, eggs, margarine, raisins, bran, and whole wheat flour.
Add the all-purpose flour until easy to handle (not sticky). Mix with a wooden spoon.
Knead until smooth and place in a bowl greased with shortening.
Turn over and cover with a damp cloth.
Let rise in a warm place until doubled or around 2 hours.
Shape dough into a small balls 1 ½-2 inches in diameter and place on a greased cookie sheet or muffin tins sprayed with Pam.
Let rise ½ hour.
Preheat oven to 375.
Use the highest shelves.
Bake 12-20 minutes, until a light golden brown (but check the bottoms to make sure they don’t overcook).
Switch upper and lower sheets halfway through for even baking.
Melt around ¼ cup of butter or margarine and brush on tops.
Makes around 25-30 rolls.
Total time around 4 hours.