Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Maybe I Belong in Nordeast

Last night Matt walked from our house down here - downtown Minneapolis and we went to dinner. He started out walking to Kowalski's. Then we couldn't decide what we wanted for dinner and he said he'd just meet me here. And then he walked all the way down here. He's is insane.

We went to Bulldog NE for another disappointing bacon cheeseburger and I ordered truffled tots and got a small handful of regular tots. I was so dissatisfied. I'm sure it was just because it was Monday, because usually Bulldog is outstanding.

Wanting our date night to continue, we decided to go for a drink at Grumpy's. This should be our neighborhood bar. I was seriously thinking that maybe when we relocate it should be to Nordeast. It's got all my requirements, Lunds, bars, restaurants and walkability. Hell, we got engaged at Dusty's! How Nordeast is that? Plus, it's closer to where I work and closer to Matt's school. And did I mention that they have a Gumpy's over there!? Sigh. June is going to be a long wait.

While we were there, we were outside smoking on the patio and there's this one legged guy talking with a couple of his buddies while seated in a little Rascal type thing. The conversation went like this: Oh, before I tell you, there was this guy that had just been poured into a cab, he was literally fall down drunk. I mean it. He fell down. So, being the friendly neighborhood joint that it is, one guy baby-sat him and another regular got into a cab to take Sloshy home. Okay conversation: Three guys - five legs.

"What do you owe me money for?" Guy who cared for Sloshy.

"For the cab for Steve." One Legged Man

"Oh, Chuck just paid it out of the register." Extra Dude.

"Nawh man, let me give you 10 bucks."

"No, no, Chuck took a $20 out of the register it's cool." Sloshy carrier.

"Don't worry about it. I can make it up in tips from my other job." One Legged Man pauses for effect. "From my restaurant job.... at the IHOP." And, I shit you not, he stood up and fucking hopped! I love this bar!!

Monday, October 22, 2007


On Friday night Matt & I were eagerly anticipating a nice dinner out with our friends Tony & Sarah. They just bought a house in South Minneapolis and we were going to swing by their pad before heading down to this new place called Buster's. Everyone was raving about their beer list. I'm not a huge beer person, but I do like checking out new bars.
They asked that we show up at their house at 7 and then we'd head over to the restaurant. My Dine-y sense started tingling. Right at 7 on a Friday? Really? I decided to let it go. This was a joint, in their neighborhood, we should be fine.
Of course we weren't. Not only was every table taken, but also - there's no hostess! We stood in the doorway, waiting like patient Midwesterners, when a group finally got up to leave. We were moving towards it - and the people leaving were gestering - when all of a sudden a pack of beer sloshing hoodliams swooped in from their original perch at the bar and poached our table! Then, I thought we could at least sit at the bar, other people had already positioned themselves there. The people departing apologized and the waitress looked at us helplessly, "You've just got to be really agressive."
Hey, I have no problem with agressive, but this was freaking anarchy! We'd stumbled into a scene from Lord of the Fries. Tony & Sarah were both starving, having had really stressful weeks, the pressure was too much for them. We decided to head elsewhere. Sarah voted for the Muddy Pig.
Now, I love the Muddy Pig, but again, this seemed like a risk. And a far risk at that. Still, we hopped in our cars and drove over the river. Nope. You could barely even walk in there. I reasoned that the Happy Gnome is pretty half assed - maybe they would have room? No, their wait was an hour. (And to anyone who agreed to wait over an hour for that over-thought pretentious, not quite well conceived menu, I have to tell you. You are a Moron. Go out, right this moment, and order up one of these "country" breakfast burritos and call it a day. Dear God.)
I decided the driving around was maddness and picked up the phone. I found a place that I knew would have open boothes and knew I probably wouldn't have to have them hold one. They had food and a liquor license. Our needs at this point in the night were pretty minimal. We went to the Downtowner Woodfire grill. The soothing lighting and complimentary colors were a breath of fresh air! There were easily four tables within sight that could accomdate us! We sighed - we would eat and have a drink. Things would be fine.
And, I guess that's true. It was fine... but the over all experience wasn't much better than a walk of regret up to the take out counter at Taco Bell. First, the host tried to seat us at a table right next to the door and facing an odd and uncomfortable looking angle. I asked that we instead get a booth in the bar. It was much better. What I didn't realize is that we were also sitting right next to the moody interlude in an episode of Miami Vice. Suddenly, there was this really loud, mournful, phony jazz sax solo being played by a guy four feet to my left. Oh, come ON! You've gotta be kidding me! Now, I can't hear anybody and you're giving me a headache. No, douche! She is so NOT like the wind! GAWD.
I got a passable wine and studied the menu with intensity. Tony knew right away that he wanted the Thai pizza. The rest of us took a while.
You know, it didn't used to be this way. I remember a few years ago when we would frequent the Downtowner for fun nights out and the occassional birthday. I would always order either the bacon, baby spinach salad with Maytag blue cheese, or the spicy Chipotle penne pasta. Neither of those items are on the menu anymore and the last time we tried to eat there, Matt got food poisoning off the mussles. I wanted chicken, but the damn chicken kabobs - with veggie and basmati rice - is $17! For a skewer of chicken! None of the pizzas sounded good and Tony was starting to look peaked.
Finally, Matt & I agreed to split the bacon cheeseburger. Sara got the kabob and Tony got his Thai pizza. We sipped our wine and tried to talk above the opening strains of Careless Whisper.
The food did arrive in a timely manner and when my glare at the waiter reminded him that I had asked for a glass of wine a while ago, he did offer to put it on the house for me. I thanked him and felt a little bad about the glaring. I'm sure we weren't his favorite table of the night, but he had absolutely no bad attitude. He was just fine.
The food was not. I really want to know what they did to the bacon on my burger because I actually had to pick it off. I never turn down bacon! But it was under done and had this distirbing plastic flavor. Tony stared mournfully at his pizza. "It's not exactly what I was thinking. There's... there's too much pineapple on here."
Pineapple? Thai? Wouldn't that be Hawaiian.
Sarah's kabob was fine, but she's a diminuative little thing and she finished the whole plate. There is no way - from quality to quantity - that her dish was worth the nearly $20 she shelled out for it.
We all kind of pouted into our plates. Well, at least we didn't starve. I winced as we signed the check and left. Next time, I'm taking control of this cigarette boat and we are heading for open waters! WOOO HOOOOO!!!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Jay's Cafe Again

Oh my God, Jay's is my new favorite restaurant! We had an absolutely FLAWLESS dinner there again. Absolutely amazing. As a matter of fact, right now, I'm proclaiming myself president of the official Jay's Cafe fan club and will be distributing buttons and copies of phony autographed head shots. There will be weekly emails sent directly to you, telling you all about how totally freaking AWESOME Jay's is and we all want to marry them.

Last night I was lucky enough to meet up with my dear Matthew, who I hadn't seen at all for the entire week. It was a long, dull, sad week. There was a lot of moping on the couch, occassionally hissing at the stove and mindless TV. There might have been some drooling and moaning, too. I'm sure you were feeling the affects of this weather, too! How can you not get a little gloomy when all you see is rain and gray and fog and misery in the skies every morning? And when did it start getting dark so early? It's dark when I get up in the morning. It's dark as soon as I'm home from work and it's dark in the depths of my sensitive little soul. I almost broke out the Edgar Allen Poe and was considering scratching meaningful words into my forearm with a paperclip when Matt called to say he'd gotten Thursday night off from work. Faster than you can say, "Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow..." I was on the phone with Jay's making reservations.

At 7:00 sharp, I met him on a dimly lit street corning, huddling under his umbrella. The swirling rain and velveteen black sky did nothing to darken the shining smile hidden under that maroon and gold umbrella. Thank the heavens, I got my husband back!

We giggled like school kids stealing away between periods. Arms wrapped around each other walking up to the restaurant, our bodies were bumping and rolling away from each other like pinballs.

There weren't too many people inside, but I was glad I made a reservation. We were seated again at the little table by the front window. The light was warm and soft, the acoustics toned down. It appeared that most of the other people in there had some sort of affiliation with the U. The waitresses were students nearing graduation and another couple looked to be professors. There was another couple resembling us in the back corner. I overheard from their conversation that they were young, but had already been married four years. I nudged Matt, "Go ask them where they live."


"They're people like us! We need to find out if they live around here. Maybe this is where we should move."

He looked at me, with that funny look on his face that I know is all mine. His eyes were telling me that I was being ridculous, but it was much to his amusement. He looks at me like that a lot.

We again ordered the mussles because - I mean really, how could we not? Again they were outstanding. These mussles should make those pitiful little mollusks at Mahattan's weep with their pathetic blandness. Not that I didn't enjoy my time there on Monday, but these were amazing. We inhaled them, sopping up bits of tomato and leek from the creamy wine infused broth. I was drinking a Tomassi Valpolicella, which is kind of a weird thing to order for a starting wine, but Laura's early mockery of my wine selection some how got me to order an Italian wine I thought she'd approve of. And while it was good, it was too strong for the meal.

So, I did what any sensible girl would do. I tossed it back and ordered a Moon Mountain, Cabernet. (Doesn't that sound like Jerry Garcia's girlfriend?) This wine was so amazingly good and simple. It was much lighter with a more complex flavor.
For entrees we decided to eat a little light... well, Matt ate light. He had the house cured salmon with pickled onions and a light horseradish cream sauce on "crackers." What he got was a little round pizza crust with a thin layer of sauce, ribbons of melt away salmon and little bright purple pieces of onion. One bite and Matt exclaimed, "Alchemy!" This confused the profs next to us, but they tried not to stare. It was perfectly balanced, though. Just a hint of a bite of the horseradish - a nibble, if you will. The gravlax was so tender and so mild it made me wish we could have had this for breakfast. The onions were bright and tart, in perfect contrast to the rich cream. Everything was right, and everything was in its place. Outstanding. The only thing is that it is a little bit small. This is probably why it was listed as an appetizer.

No matter, because the pizza I ordered was enough for both of us after those mussles. It was a super thin, super crisp crust with a thin layer of tomato sauce topped with locally sourced bacon, thick cut into little chunks, walnuts reduced to a creamy, nutty flavor bit, mild and saucy gorgonzola cheese with little thin slices of apple. The tomato sauce and the rest might seem as though they wouldn't work, but they positively sing when united.

When the server presented me with my gooey, steamy, crispy, bacony meal it was all I could do not to start gorging myself while she was still at the table. But she lingered as I was massaging the cheese with my eyes. She apologized for the pizza and said it was done more than they would have liked it to be. What? There was one edge that was a little black and that was it. If I'd been at any number of other restaurants that serve little gourmet pizzas, one little black corner wouldn't have caused a batted eyelash. Clearly, the pizza wasn't even close to being ruined. It still looked gorgeous to me.

"We'd like to get you a dessert."

Really? She smiled and walked away. I was baffled. Free dessert? For this? Hmm... Okay! I enjoyed each decadent, sweet, smokey, salty, golden, crispy bite of my pizza. We only finished half of it, but I was already looking forward to feasting on the rest for breakfast.

All of the desserts sounded lovely, but I had to go with the pot au creme. It was so good. I mean, seriously - SO GOOD. The top was a chocolate cake consistency, but as my spoon dove down there were soft layers of boyount mousse topped with a rich homemade whip creme. I can't remember the last time I enjoyed a dessert so much.*

We sat and savored. I sipped my wine and he his Schell's. I loved that the chocolate wasn't so overly sweet that I couldn't take a sip of water and go back to my wine. It actually changed the flavor just a bit, but made the wine even better.

We lingered, fingers knitting and released before twining again across the table. Looking out the window, the lights were streaked and everything around us was reduced to a vague, Impressionist rendition of reality. It was easy to believe that we were not in St. Paul, bordered by freeways, but actually just off a little street somewhere in Greenwhich Village. A romanticized reality on an blissful night.

*(Well, except of course for my Mom in law's chocolate cake that we had on Sunday - she won 2nd prize at the State Fair with it. If you see her, ask her about that - the joy of five children long since raised has waned, but the cake triumph will live for forever.)

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Oh Hells No!

Oh, no you di'int! Gurrl, don't be thinking I di'in't see yo pasty behind go an take the last Reese's cup. Now all they be left is these nasty Whopper's an shit. Don' nobody round here be eatin no nasty, ass, crumbly fake-ass candy like that. How you gonna do me like that?
You betta watch yo ass. Nuuu-uh, I'm fo cereal, girl. I don' care if you is on yo period. Yo mama raised you up betta than that. I seen you. You been goin up back and fourth from that there candy dish since damn near 9 o'clock dis morning. First there's all they Snicker's. Then they's all dem carmel crunch what-sists. Now, you gonna do me like dis?
Ain't yo ass fat enough a'ready? I GOT all this workin' girl an' that's WHY I be leaving all that nasty sh*t behind. But if I gotsta sit up in dis piece, listenin' to tha MAN yabba on for damn near 2 hours, I deserve a li'l some'in for the effort. I DESERVE me some peanut butter in my chocolate. Now, you BEST be handin that oringe bitch back in my direction before I hafta get all ghetto on yo ass.
An I ain't one you wanna mess wit! You don' start walking yo cottage cheese suckin, Diet Coke drinkin', Jenny Craig callin' behind back here, I'm gonna hafta schedule another conference call. An don NOBODY want that.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Manhattan's & Beyond - My Favorite Hour of All

Consider, if you will, the humble happy hour. Believed to have gotten its roots in the navy, this tradition has long warmed my heart and fueled many a night of mayhem. All the same, when asked where to go, I usually can't come up with anything good. There are the outstanding ahi tuna eggrolls at Zelo, but that place is so expensive! There are the mini pot roast slides for super cheap at M&S Grille, but the drinks are expensive and last time I was there I nearly clocked the bartender. I could leave downtown - 2 for 1's at Leaning Tower? Figlio's for cheap wine and cheap sub-par food? Eh...
It must be that I'm over-doing it. I think what's going on with the happy hour is the same reason I have nothing to wear. There are too many options and none are new and shiney any more.
That's why I was so happy when J.Lo came to my sad little no-posting rescue and whisked me and Heather away to the new Manhattan's Restaurant & Bar where the old Zeno used to be (or the old Big City Bagels, if you're counting.) She'd been there on Friday night before the Gaffigan show; the service was outstanding and the food was excellent.
I only have a few quibbles, but I gotta tell ya, that happy hour menu is a fun little deal! Half price drinks, wine, beer and food specials. Because we have no self control, we ordered the calamari, mussels and the little sliders. I tried to find an acceptable wine, with Laura mocking my new Spanish wine prediliction. It was so obviously a conspiracy because the Temperanillo I received was tinny and green tasting. The calamari come with little shrimp battered and fried with a side of a delicious garlic aioli and a wretched cocktail sauce. Avoid the cocktail sauce at all costs and save any extra aoili, as Laur said, "You never know."
The calamari was cooked until tender, as were the lucious little shrimpies. I was really impressed that they were so good and not fishy or rubbery at all. The breading was a little bit too salty, but this is happy hour after all. They don't want anybody neglecting those drinks.
Now, the mussles, to me, were fishy. I had a couple that weren't properly cleaned and a beard resembling rotten Spanish Moss was so off putting that I didn't eat any more.
I ordered another drink - Mt. Gay Rum & Coke. The usual. The Coke tasted off, but that's something that I've experienced at a lot of restaurants. The beverage gun just needed to be cleaned. Meanwhile, we were lonley. Where did the waitress go? Later I would realize that the restaurant set up may have been part of the reason she was often hard to find. There was some sort of a show at the theater next door and the restaurant is split so that half their patrons are the in the bar and the other half are accross the hall in a room I'd never noticed before.
Heather ordered a decent glass of Cabernet - so I'd say that's the wine to go with in the future. It seems like so many restaurants around are all serving the same mediocre wine. It's really odd to see Jacob's Creek and Kanooga Hill every damn place I go - even Skinner's! If they serve me a glass for $5, I'm going to have a hard time ordering it for $12 a glass over at Ike's.
Eventually the four little sliders came and they did look like sliders. Flat, square little patties that were adorned with a chipotle-leek-aioli. I didn't notice any leek flavor, there was a faint whisp of smoke from the chipotle, but this was where the garlic hoarder in Laura came in handy. They...eh, they weren't all that great. I kind of regretted eating it right after I did and the onion strings were cold and inedible.
Over all, I've got to say, though, for the prices, in this nice of an atmosphere, Manhattan's Restaurant & Bar is a great place to grab a bite before the show or unwind after a crazy day of work and public whining.

Monday, October 15, 2007

If Only....

Dear Joy,

Are you okay? Sick?

I don't mean to nag but haven't you been eating? I usually check out your blog a couple times a week to read your delicious reviews that make me want to run out and eat.
I miss your blog.


Dear Sherry,

Unfortunately, no, I am not sick or even trapped under something very heavy. I am boring. I KNOW! Por que!? What? Me, boring? Yes, it's true. I've been so wrapped up in my faboo new job that I have let you all down. Yes! You who matter most! You who provide my peaked little opinions the light to grow and florish.
I'm a wretched excuse for a blogger! I mean, here you are, caring what I had to eat for lunch, and I'm not even sharing!
So, here's the problem - with the busy and another weekend out of town I haven't even had any sort of an interesting meal since Jay's! Tragically, I've eaten boring food at the Muddy Pig - who I used to love so! And I just had this chicken noodle soup from Macy's the viciously burned my tongue.
Tonight, I plan to go home and wallow. I don't have anything in the fridge or any dining companions. Matt's out working at the bar and I was hoping that maybe we could go out tomorrow night, but no! Instead he's going to see these guys and relive some misguided college days with his hetero-life partner Zack.
Where we will go even if I had a dining buddy is another form of torture. I'd hit Jay's again, but they aren't open again until Wednesday! There are interesting restaurants, but I'm gonna have to recite that stupid refrain that there is barely anywhere decent to spend a dime on food in the Saintly City.
And guess what? It gets worse!! I finally broke down and told the landlord that we needed a new stove. Del Oven ain't cuttin' it. All I can throw together is a stir fry because it's got two temperatures, Off and steamy attick of the fifth demention of Hell hot. They.aren't.going.to.replace.it. Can you believe that!? I even found a FREE upgrade from NUNS and they just had to pick it up, dump it in the house and call it a day.
I was told that WE can go get it (don't mess up the floors) and just store Diablo Del Kitchen in the garage. IN THE GARAGE with four chairs, two useless shelves and a broken washing machine. I won't be able to fit the g.d. car in the GARAGE anymore.
Sigh. We live in the wrong neighborhood. I don't know if you've picked up on that. I've been doing my best to, ya know, keep it quiet. It's blue collar, hard working and safe. But it is pale, people. And it is seriously devoid of dining destinations.
So, what to do until I move? For one, I'm hoping J.Lo's gonna come through on this hook up she mentioned to me about a certain highly anticipated restaurant opening in Minneapolis, but that's about it. Sad and boring am I.
So, know anyone want to sublet a subpar little cottage on the cheap?


Thursday, October 04, 2007

Jay's Cafe - I think I'm in love

Ahhhh.... Don't you just love fall? My whole life, this has been my favorite season. Growing up on Sunnybeach Road fall always brought the beautiful colors and the first freeze meant it was safe for me to go bounding through the woods without worrying about woodticks and mosquitoes. My family were all bird hunters, although by the time the tradition got down to me, it was a little watered down. My Grandma Gidgee (103 this December) would go out with my Grandma Duncan and bring back whole flocks of water fowl. Me? I went out once. With my mom, Dad and cousins - and our faithful Golden Retriever Sunny (gee - how did we ever come up with that name?) We flushed a grouse, Dad shot and got it. Sunny brought it back to him and that was all we had to show for about 7 hours wandering around in the woods. I'm sure at the time I was bored as hell. With the glossy reflection of time it feels more like something out of a Sam Cook column.
Eating wild game wasn't anything newsworthy up North and I've had all manner of furry beasts. Most, I didn't enjoy. I've come a long way and now I so desperately miss the deep, rich flavor of pheasant. Our hunting rifles are long gone as are Sunny and Dad and the only thing I've ever taken aim at, was a Mt. Dew can perched on a sapling.
Still, this season always makes me feel the most alive. Up at Andy's cabin last weekend I took the most amazing nature hike. Seriously, I saw God on this trip. A gust of wind blew a puff of colored leaves off a poplar tree and they fluttered to the ground like a burst of butterflies.
To eat locally and seasonally is all the rage right now, but shouldn't it always be the case? It's difficult for that to be possible for us, stuck up here in the frigid winters, but right now is the time to do it. Right now, there are apples dangling from trees like the biblical tale, tempting us with their supple flesh and sweet, crisp juicy flavor. Now's the time to crack through that skin and let the juices run down your chin. There are mushrooms popping up all over the place thanks to those heavy rains we've had. Nuts are dandling from trees (although - word to the wise - you should really pick hazelnuts with gloves on. Learned that the hard way.)
Now is the carpe diem moment of Minnesota, because God only knows how long we have before the arctic gales shutter us inside, stuffed under layers of blankets and polar fleece, watching the pot roast dissolve in the crock pot.
Last night I had that perfect fall meal. It was quintessential Minnesota fare and it was actually not at Heartland.
Since we've moved over to this side of the river I've been missing Barbette. I loved the locally sourced food from sustainable resources, but I also loved the little neighborhood cafe feel. The service can be spotty and occasionally something would land on your table and you'd wonder what the chef's were thinking, or if they were even paying attention. (Do they even CARE?) But, most of the time it was consistently lovely and when we sat in Danielle's section, everything was flawless.
But it's all the way over there. It used to be a 3 block walk. Now, it's a 20 minute drive and it's really not worth it. So, I was left to bemoan the fact that there are NO neighborhood cafes with all those elements in St. Paul.
I was wrong.
There is Jay's cafe, in the former Chet's Taverna space. I'd never been to Chet's, but I'd been to Succotash next door. The space always looked cute, but for some reason I never went in. After doing an extensive search for someplace for dinner, I stumbled upon their website. Now, this sounded like my kind of thing!
We were there relatively early - 6. I met my sweetheart right after work. He'd just come from a meeting with one of his professors and was lookin' damn fine. All buttoned down resplendent with sport coat and cuff links. God, I love this man.
The space is really small and they were empty when we arrived. We took the tiny table by the window and admired the art hung from the walls. Our service was flawless and our waitress was adorable. Then again, I would hope she'd be right there at all times considering the binkiness of the room.
We ordered wine and the mussels to start. The wine list is modest, but all sounded good and reasonably priced. The mussels were gorgeous. Really, the shells were a glistening slate color. they were swimming in a broth studded with diced, sweetly fresh tomatoes, leeks and just a little splash of cream. The tasted like a delicate sip of the sea. They were supple, soft and tender. The bread served with them was simply toasted and rubbed with a little garlic. It's a trick I use at home, but seldom find in a restaurant. Usually, they're all slathered in butter and studded with little bitter, sharp bits. Flawless, simple, clean cooking.
For an entree we split the braised pork. This little piggy grew up in a farm not far from here and we were promised he lived a happy little life until it was time for dinner. The meat just melted into the sweet broth. There were olives, local mushrooms and kale, too. In the center of the plate was a luscious pillow of creamy, Parmesan cheesy polenta. This all food just begging to be eaten. Every gorgeous bite dissolving into happy nutritious, sustaining deliciousness. Heaven. I was in heaven.
This is where I want to have every date night for the next 230 years with my husband. The only problem is that they are only open for dinner Wednesday through Saturday. Every other day they are available for breakfast and lunch. I'm sure that's good, too. But there is a void for an affordable evening out with terrific and ethical food. And did I mention that it is affordable? For two gorgeous, deep, dark cherry and chocolate tinged glasses of wine, two bright, crisp Schell's pilsners, an appetizer and an entree portioned enough to feed two, we paid $50. It's cheaper than Barbette, too! I'm already planning my next trip in. I must go there and go there often. The people at Jay's need to know there's a demand for what they're doing. And they need to be open Tuesday's because that's the traditional night Matt and I go out to eat (because of all the nights he's usually tied up at the bar.)
And I'll let you know how that goes. Until then - would you just look outside! LOOK! Those colors! Fading to yellow greens, deep rushing blues, maple trees vibrant and begging you to come hunt for leaves. Enjoy and cherish every second we've got left before it's time to batten down the hatches and endure the long, cold why-the-hell-do-we-live-here winters. Instead soak in the why-would-I-live-anywhere-else Autumn.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007


What is up with me and this place these days? In the past three weeks I've been to Chamber's as many times! It's not that great and I seriously cannot afford this joint. Luckily, or perhaps as a testament to my cleverness, I have not been forced to pay most of the time.
The first time I went was with a bunch of my new coworkers for lunch. We were seated in the main upstairs dining room and I was left to stare at this very realistic sculpture of an old guy. An old guy that really didn't appear to be having all that great of a time. Meanwhile, I was dying from an allergy attack and desperately praying that I was not a snotty, seeping mess in front of my new work buddies. I was, though. Nobody talked to me. I ordered the spicy noodles that really did live up to their name. The shrimp was just a little over cooked, but dusted with peppery seasonings and set atop a bowl of ramen-type noodles garnished with a spicy chili paste, and they were all soaking in a lovely little anise flavored broth. It was tasty and pleasantly hot - not at all MN spicy. It was enough heat to knock the sneezes out of me completely. Until I was done eating, of course. After the meal I tucked into the gorgeous bathroom to blow my nose and continue my prayer vigil. Didn't work.
The next time I went was last Thursday and it's one of those nights where it's probably better to leave plenty out. We were drinking and there was no eating, so you make up the story as I go along. Yours is probably better anyway. I went out for what was supposed to be just one cocktail with J. Lo, my friend Candace and a couple of her coworkers. We went right up to the upstairs bar only to happen upon an entirely empty room. It was only 7 but, were they even open? It was cavernous and our heels echoed against the floors. Just then, a server motioned for us to follow him the opposite direction of the bar. He was unknowingly inviting us to a corporate party for an upscale retailer. We may or may not have gone in. And they may or may not have been serving martinis.
Eventually, we made our way downstairs. The night was warm, but the fire in the outdoor courtyard was comforting. There was one waitress and exactly two other tables filled. What is up with this place? Doesn't anybody come here? It's beautiful! Oh, that's right. $8 for rail drinks. Hmmhmm. Yeah, I'm probably not going to be spending too much time there either.
The chairs were incredibly comfortable and sleek in their '60's mod design. I walked over to the very large gorilla statue in the middle of the courtyard. It appeared that his arm fell off. He was looking at it. He didn't seem too bothered about it. I found myself staring into his non-existent eyes until I was reminded of that scene in Ferris Bueller's Day Off when Cameron stares into that painting and you can tell he's identifying with that little boy and some how you know that he's a supremely lonely and fucked up individual. I could practically hear the music. Better go sit down.
Wandering back to our table, I ordered another drink or four. We were having the greatest time! Making friends with random people in that way that you only can when you're all together lonely and in search of a good time.
J.Lo and I called it a bit of an early night and shoved off for our respective homes. There may or may not have been a stop at Taco Bell. It was an adventure, crawling around all those nearly empty rooms and surrounded by all of that odd art. I'm not crazy about everything that's in there, but I suppose that's sort of the point.
Now, I'm thinking I'm done with the place. The food is good, but not outstanding. The art is weird and sometimes stares back and it's almost always nearly empty. Or maybe that's just the pessimist in me?
Yet today I went back with my attorney and paralegal. What? I can so have an attorney! I have very important legal documents to review and stuff. Like, that time I got my purse stolen? Yeah, he totally told me what kind of letter to write to protect my already empty bank account and... and I don't really have any assets.. per se. I do have a kick ass Henkels knife, though. Fine! It was Matt's brother. Still, no reason that the Chamber's shouldn't think I'm chock full o'money. Here I am, damn near becoming a regular!
For today's lunch Aisha (oh, yeah, the paralegal's my friend. We only grew together. I'm going to be her maid of honor at her wedding. It's not like we're all that close or anything. I can call her a paralegal. Because she is.) Aisha ordered the same noodle bowl thing I had before, Patrick had the charred corn ravioli and I had the Portobello mushroom sandwich. Thankfully, we were now facing away from the creepy dude and I was gazing upon a calming white wall. Ahh... fond memories.
My sandwich was good. It was really messy, though. There was a ton of mayo on there! And a slippery little mushroom doesn't need any more greasing up. Still, it was tasty. It was served along side some very, very thin and a little under seasoned home made potato chips. There were only a couple and my lack of restraint thanked them. Aisha seemed pleased with her noodle bowl. Patrick scarfed down the raviolis so fast that I didn't really know if they tasted good. They looked divine, but it was an awfully small portion, covered in a lovely pesto and spiced up with a kick of wasabi. Our service, meanwhile, was flawless.
Still, I don't really understand why I've been there so much. It seems to be just another hotel downtown. One with great art, but about as lively as Firelake after 5. It's pretty much dullsville. Then again... I'll be happy to go again if you're buying.