Random Observations

After a few days away from my desk to belatedly celebrate that aforementioned milestone birthday, I find my thoughts as scattered as the piles of paper currently cluttering its top. So, today’s blog is going to be devoted to some random thoughts …

Hubby Bryan and I spent a long weekend in the Twin Cities area, including one night in downtown Minneapolis. We had hoped to escape to somewhere warm this month, but when that didn’t work out, opted for staying in a place connected to the Minneapolis Skyway system. We left our winter coats behind in the hotel room and got from place to place in climate-controlled comfort, only venturing outside for a quick sprint to a nearby restaurant.

If you’ve never been in the Skyway, check it out sometime. It’s a great place for people watching, and I’m always amazed by the thought that people who live in the downtown area might rarely have to venture outside in the winter, as the restaurants, shops and other places of business are all connected.

On our way to our downtown lodging, we made a stop at one of the many Twin Cities venues that has been featured on Bryan’s favorite television program, Guy Fieri’s “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” on the Food Network. Psycho Suzi’s Motor Lounge is a Tiki-bar themed restaurant perched on the bank of the Mississippi River. This was our second time there, but both times have been in the winter. Someday we hope to be there in the summer and take advantage of the big deck that overlooks the river. It’s a unique experience, and the food is darn good.

This is a bit belated, but I have to add my kudos to those of many others for the recent staging of the Worthington High School musical, “Hairspray.” When I first heard about this year’s musical selection, I wondered how they were going to pull off such an ambitious undertaking. I’m still marveling at the professionalism of the production, as well as the wealth of talent on the stage. Wow, wow, wow.

Sitting in the audience, I also recalled —as I’m sure a few other WHS alumni did —the musical productions of my own high school career, oh so many years ago. In my years, we did “The Music Man,” “Fiddler on the Roof” and “My Fair Lady.” I have wonderful memories of each production, whether just singing in the chorus or serving as student director my senior year. Yes, such productions are a lot of work, but the memories and experiences will last a lifetime. It is wonderful that our school district and community continue to support such an endeavor —a tradition that I know goes back more than 40 years.

Have you seen the commercials or displays in the stores featuring the new flavors of Lays potato chips? The potato chip company launched a contest, “Do Us a Flavor,” a while back for which people were asked to submit suggestions for new chip flavors. Three winners were determined, and their flavors are now on the market: Cheesy Garlic Bread, Chicken & Waffles and Sriracha. People can now vote to “save their fave.”

On a whim, Bryan and I purchased a bag of the Chicken & Waffles flavor, and we haven’t been able to stop eating them. The flavor is a bit unusual —savory with just a hint of maple syrup. Now, it seems the grocery supply is running slim, and we’re having trouble finding them. Needless to say, we have done our voting.

While I wait to see if our favorite flavor makes the cut, I just might have to try making the dish upon which it is based. Chicken and waffles is a dish that emerged through the American soul food tradition and is more prevalent down South than here in the northern climes.A piece of fried chicken is served on top of a waffle, and then the whole thing is doused in maple syrup.

On the Daily Globe lifestyle page, I recently published a version made with frozen waffles, but I think if you’re going to go to the trouble, from-scratch waffles would be better. So here’s the waffle recipe from the Breakfast and Brunch Dishes section of DotMom’s “Mixing and Musing Cookbook.”

Stay Crisp Waffles

Combine 1½ cups flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder, ½ teaspoon soda, ¼ teaspoon salt and 1 tablespoon sugar.

Separate 3 eggs. Beat the yolks with ¾ cup dairy sour cream and ¾ cup buttermilk. Add dry ingredients. Add ¼ cup melted shortening and ¼ cup melted butter. Stir until batter is smooth and lump-free. Fold in beaten egg whites.

Bake in waffle iron according to appliance directions.