Friday, February 08, 2008

Wild Times in the East, Fueled by Vodka

Well, my night last night didn't exactly turn out as planned. Andy had gotten tickets to last night's Wild game through her work. She invited me to go with her. There were four tickets, but we couldn't get any of our other friends to drop their previous plans. Matt had to work, Laura needed to stay home nursing pink eye and Eric and Pierre just had to go to this Lavendar event at Picosa. Fine. Andy was kind enough to give the extra two to the new girl in her office, April. April was apparently so thrilled with the opportunity to go to the game that she was bouncing off office walls the rest of the day.

We were set to all meet up at the Eagle before heading over to the game.
Traffic was snarled up all the way to Minneapolis so Andy was struggling to get to downtown St. Paul where she and Dan were to meet up with me, April and April's friend (who I would later learn was named Derek.) I was going to have to meet April myself and give her their tickets. Andy described her as having a darker complexion and and brownish hair. She was wearing a white Wild baseball hat and her companion was in a Wild hat and a red turtleneck. "Oh, that narrows it down."

Matt was kind enough to drop me near the bar before heading off to work. I trotted up the frigid street to the Eagle bar. I would rather go to the Eagle in Minneapolis for their 3 for 1's and hot leather nights, but... what are you gonna do. So, I pulled out my phone to call Andy because I did not feel like hanging out with a couple of strangers. Before I could dial, this woman comes racing out of the bar and sweeps me into a giant hug. "Joy! You're Joy right? Andy's friend! RIGHT!" Yeah. "COME INSIDE!!!!" Uh, okay.

I walked past the scantily clad girl guarding the tub of Bud Light and through the pulsating music. I was unfurling myself scarf, jacket, other jacket, gloves, and hoisted myself up onto the tall chair. They were both staring at me with deranged looks. "Oh, I should give you your tickets." I fished them out and was about to say, "So... we got a wait---"

They had their coats on and were out the door. Nice. I hate her. So, I sit there, with my hate, and the loud, terrible music, and the throngs of assholes. I text Andy who assures me she's on her way. I ordered a drink and slammed it. $6, three swallows, but what price can you put on the stopper of your vile of rage? Thankfully, Andy and Dan arrived soon. Dan and I attempted to shake hands. It was awkward because we didn't really. I just shrugged and said, "We'll work on our secret handshake for next time." He laughed. Dan thinks I'm funny = like Dan. (See how easily won over I can be?)

We went inside, I concealed my flask filled to the brim with voddy. We got regular drinks and made our way to our seats. Now, you would think seats 1 and 2 would mean aisle seats. They do everywhere else. But no. They are the absolute two inner most seats in the whole stupid row! PAST a girl with two raccoons strapped to her feet, her moron boyfriend and past April the Guerrilla hugger and her friend MAW Boy. GRRREEAAT. We sat down. The game had started and it wasn't even very good. They were just kind of floating around the ice. Where was the hustle! How 'bout a little fire boys, this is the team that Texas stole from us! No. At one point, two guys looked at each other, shrugged and decided to fight. They did. The crowd cheered. There was no conviction or reason to throw off the gloves. You know, I hated that Russel Crowe Gladiator movie. And already, I was dry.

We waited until the first period was over and went and got regular diet cokes. For some stupid reason I set my glass on top of the garbage can, that had a slight curve to the top of it. Suddenly my glass plunged to the floor and I was out $3.50 that I would never see again. Plus, now I'm the jerk that spilled soda everything. Andy was kind enough to poor half of hers into my cup. Love. Andy. I doctored them and we sipped while watching the crowd go by. A particular perfume wafted past us.

"Do you smell vomit?" Andy asked.

"Yeeaaahh." I grimaced.

"Could just be nacho sauce."

"Does that make it any better?"

We tried to move upwind, but it was no use. Free ticket or no, I was done. I love hockey, but I just couldn't. My mood was ruined and I'm still working out how I can legitimately pin that on Ape.

We left and we went to Moscow on the Hill. As we were approaching two ladies of a certain age passed us. One brunette-ish under some grays, one blonde, one taller than the other. "Hello," they said as they passed us by. Andy and I smiled, warm air escaping into the cold night, whisps of fog passed between us. We smiled at our shared premonition.

The interior of the restaurant was diametrically opposed to the Xcel. The lighting is soft and complimentary, it was warm, cozy and they have piles and piles of Vodka that they're just BEGGING you to drink. Inviting smells wafted from the kitchen, spices and simmered meats. I ordered a shot of Stoli Gold and a gherkin. The waitress carded me and my flask glinted in the candlelight as I opened my purse. Ah, classy.

Andy ordered the Premium flight of vodka, some chicken blini to share and a peasant pelmini. Everything was exquisite. The vodkas were amazing. Each were nuanced and had different flavors. One was even a dark cocoa color. Another had an almost sweet rosy flavor, made from grapes. Yet another tasted like pow, right in the kisser. Ho boy! That'll knock the snow off of your shoulders!

The food was awesome. The little delicate crepes wrapped around diced chicken and mushrooms was outstanding in its simplicity. The rich, cool sour cream generously dolloped on the side like a newly minted snowbank. I could stay here eating these things for days! And they were only 6 dollars!

Why haven't I been eating here every night of this long winter? The food and room are perfect for warming the icicles off the end of your nose and putting the feeling back into the tips of your toes. And it's a great date place, with all of the draped shawls over the lights, and enthusiastic encouragement to enjoy many spirits.

The cheesy, hearty pelmini were draped in golden, gooey cheese and earthy mushrooms. Each little dumpling contained spicy little sausage meatballs. Hearty, warm, winter food. My soul and faith in humanity restored, I was able to go home and get a sound sleep. Maybe I'm not quite the hockey head I once thought I was. I'm much more the bring-on-more-vodka kind of person.

Schast'ya i zdorov'ya!


At 9:55 AM , Anonymous JLo said...

I had to give up seeing my 7th grade crush Mike Modano and an amazing 1-0 game because I contracted pink eye from a 4-year old on my plane back from a conference in Orlando. Why in the h-e-double hockey stick would you send business travelers to DisneyWorld???

At 10:00 AM , Anonymous Peggy said...

Rule #1 - when you have access to free hockey tickets, call your sister-in-law

Rule #2 - Do not go to the Eagle. A couple of drinks at O'Gara's and a lovely ride (with said drinks) on the Shamrock Shuttle is one option. The bar at Pazzaluna or St. Paul Grille are also fine choices.

Rule #3 - Make good on your desire to go to Moscow on Hill (say this with accent) during the winter - perfect cold weather food. Try the borscht if you have not already. I assumed I would hate it until I tried it. So good.

Rule #4 - re-read rule #1

At 10:54 AM , Anonymous andy said...

I couldn't agree with Peggy more, but have to defend the choice of meeting at Eagles. The ticket handoff had to happen...and it had to happen somewhere central. As it was, I had to print out a map and show my dear coworker where Eagles is as just saying it's at the intersection of West 7th and Kellogg didn't ring a bell for her sense of geography and places of interest. Ahem.

Damn traffic.

At 11:52 AM , Blogger Joy Estelle said...

I swear I will now and forever more call SIL when there are free hockey tickets and clandestine vodka shots on the menu.

What was I thinking not extending the invitation? I am a terrible sister in law. May you force me to eat tater tot hotdish until I repent.


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