It took ten minutes in Duluth to know I loved Duluth.
The beautiful thing about Duluth is that it’s only 2.5 hours from the Twin Cities. In just two and a half hours, you move from the bright lights of downtown Minneapolis to land doted with lake cabin lakes and trees which become thicker and taller until you reach the western-most tip of Lake Superior upon which sits Duluth.
People asked us, “Why would you want to go to Duluth in February?”
Duluth is beautiful. The food is good. Lake Superior is so vast it feels like an ocean. As you stare at the waves of blue-green water crashing against jagged sheets of ice piled up against the coast, you will feel so small. The cold lake breeze whips your hair around your face and make your eyes water. Lake Superior will humble you and it will feel so good to be humbled even if you didn’t know you wanted to be.
I may live in Minnesota but I don’t like the cold.
I used to but I’m too old and tired now. Spending one winter in St. Louis, Missouri broke us.
This past weekend I was watching the last Top Chef episode. Not only did they go camping, they went snow camping. I wasn’t sure which was worse; this challenge or that one season where they contestants had to do a relay race in the snow and chip cooking tools out of giant ice blocks.
Either I would do the George Constanza thing where I’d end on a clever high note and say “Alright! That’s it for me!” and then run away. Or I’d serve them crudo.
In this sub-zero weather, I’d rather stay indoors mall walking or sitting on my couch reading books.
I just finished Emma Cline’s The Girls and have so many feelings and am now reading Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle In Time.
Here are two, new indoor activities I tried this month that happen to be located in Northeast Minneapolis:
I used to think cooking pasta dishes in an Instant Pot was ridiculous until my family gave me one for Christmas.
I’m always a late adapter to trendy things; from creating a Twitter account to using bath bombs to getting an Instant Pot.
This all changed last month when I was trying to prep beef stew in the crock pot before work. Nine hours later, that dreaded thing happened. I walked back into my house and didn’t smell a thing. Upon opening my front door, the hopeful waft of cozy, fragrant slow cooked beef didn’t hit my face. Just the normal everyday smells of our dog and traces of my hollyberry wax melt. Noooooooooo.
“That’s it” I exclaimed. “This would never have happened if I had an Instant Pot.”
People may make mock me for microwaving scrambled eggs in the mornings, but if I can’t remember to turn on a crock pot, I’m not sure I want to juggle a hot pan. Chef Mike is all I want to deal with at 5:30 in the mornings before running to the bus stop.
Confession: I hate gift guides but I enjoy reading everyone’s “Best and Worst” end-of-year recaps.
Usually I publish something along the lines of “The 10 best foods I ate this year” type of thing. This year I’m writing something a little different.
One year ago, I was wrapping up a temp job I began soon after we moved back to the Twin Cities from St. Louis, MO. The data entry assignment at an ill-fitting desk wreaked havoc on my body. The problem was that I was too efficient and so they kept extending my end date. I was in constant pain day and night. In December, I got pushy about requested an assignment that aligned more with my career interests.
The next gig led to a permanent job and this fall I finally got hired as an employee. I’m grateful for this job opportunity and for every day that my body feels normal enough that I don’t even think about it.
Each morning, I hop on the bus at 6:45 a.m. that heads to downtown Minneapolis. I love looking out the windows at all of the glittering buildings and bridges as we cross the Mississippi river.
Leeann Chin was probably my first favorite restaurant. And Leeann Chin’s cream cheese wontons were one of my first true loves.
Back when I grew up, Leann Chin was a treat. I grew up in the southern suburbs which didn’t offer a large variety of cuisines. Restaurants were typically fast food or sit-down; fast-casual concept hadn’t gained momentum yet. Leeann Chin made it convenient and affordable to grab tasty Chinese food. I could usually talk my folks into visiting a Leeann Chin between their stops for burgers.