Sunday, April 29, 2007

Bring on the Road Food

Saturday morning dawned sunny and warm, pregnant with possibilities (I've been dying to use that expression all WEEK!) These are the days I dream of when beaten down by winter snow drifts and 5 lb servings of casseroles. Matt & I came up with a vague plan and an excuse for a road trip. We peeled down the top and hit the road. We decided to find an outlet mall. Our friend Andy's birthday party was to be held later that night at Nye's and I could use a new pair of shoes. Or a new skirt... Maybe a nice top?

We cruised down 35E South until eventually it was just 35. I pointed out all of my favorite suburban roadside attractions. Oh! Applebees! There's Aisha' Honda dealership! Can you believe she drives all the way out here for an oil change? Road kill!! What the hell was that thing?

My favorite was a van full of dudes trying to change a tire. It was apparent that the most precious cargo of the van was probably the guy who's face was plastered all over it. If I had to venture a guess, I'd say they were touring. And there they were in the hot mid day sun on the side of the road halfway to Iowa, which is pretty much halfway to no where fun for them. Feeling sympathetic, I pointed and laughed.

We should have known that the shopping excursion would prove fruitless. There was NOTHING worth spending any money on in this dump. I couldn't find anything to buy at a Gap outlet. Do you know how wrong that is? And why would anyone need to go to a Payless outlet? You PAY LESS!! Is a discount on some $12.99 Ked rip offs worth it? Well, shoot, might have been, if I'd found anything int here other than Dora the Explora slippers and some gold frappe lame` heels. I'll spare you the tedium of the Old Navy and a place called Mustard Seed.

A new plan was devised for our retreat. We would need to find a country road, long, twisty and with as few stoplights as possible. Cty Road 3 suited us just fine and would provide a leisurely reproach to the city. We re-applied our sunscreen and took off.

"Hey, look! It's the guys in the van again!" This time the van was on a flat bed tow truck. "HA HA!" I pointed. This road wasn't as pretty as the country roads that Wisconsin had to offer, but it was a good place to start off the convertible season. Matt had been starving for hours and we vowed to stop at the first roadside place that showed promise. Although we slid by some cute little towns, really there was nothing. I even got off the path and cruised down the main drag in Fairbault. What I didn't know about Fairbault is that they have some amazing gingerbread, old Victorian houses. Huge, beautiful houses! And apparently the people that live in those houses either eat at Burger King or Subway 'cause that's all they got.

Back on the road again, we were fast approaching the cities, although most of the Suburban trappings were history. I didn't see any super Wal-mart's or maybe I blocked it out. While winding up a large hill, we did spot a place called Cooper's. I would have preferred that it wasn't addressed in Eagan, but we were hungry and they had a patio. I had to squint my eyes to adjust to the cool darkness inside. I saw a couple of plates of food and they were just what you'd expect: heaping mounds of French fries and a Prime Rib sandwich the size of your head. Nice. We made our way out to the patio that was breezy cool and perfectly shaded. This place was gorgeous. Over my shoulder in both directions I could see high hills and spotted a pair of red-tailed hawks.

The nice couple already seated out there told us that the waitress was swamped and laughed heartily at Matt's t-shirt that proclaimed: "Jesus Shaves." I'd gotten over the joke long before, but they loved it.

Matt just went in and ordered for us. When he asked what I wanted to drink, I impulsively yelled, "Blue Moon!" Seeing the advertisement on the back of a menu. What I got was one of the biggest beers ever served to me in my LIFE! It was delicious, but a meal unto itself.

The food took a while and we realized that the reason it was so slow is that the waitress was the only one working. I hope someone was in the kitchen, but there wasn't even a bartender! She was great, though. We'd ordered a BBQ bacon burger and the onion rings. The onion rings were perfectly cooked! Nice, crunchy shells wrapped around juicy, sweet onions. They were served with a side of mustard dipping something that I was leery of until I tasted it. There was so much mayo in there! It was mustard, honey and a whole lot of mayonnaise. I loved it! And it perfectly complimented my rings.

The burger was really good, too. It was nicely seasoned, they used good bacon and the BBQ sauce tasted like KC Masterpiece, my preferred bottled variety, if push comes to shove. Now, this was nothing compared to the meals I've tried at La Belle Vie or even the elegant burgers at Craftsman, but this was just exactly what hit the spot, our first foray into summer convertible weather road food.

We left just in time, though. As I was licking my fingers, the soft melody of what I can only describe as a Spinal Tap cover band came wafting out of the overhead speakers. What.the.hell.was.that? We jumped into the car as Marilyn Manson was covering a Depeche Mode song(What's darker than dark and more depressed than I was at 14?) I turned up Joe Strummer & the Mescaleros on the CD player and sped away singing, "Coma Girl." Hell, to each his own.


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