Thank you to my folks for sending us to New York City to celebrate my birthday!
There is a place in Times Square where you can forget that you’re in Times Square.
Times Square is out of control.
The buildings are adorned with towering, skyscraper-tall screens flashing advertisements. The sidewalks and plazas are packed shoulder-to-shoulder with people. Know that you can’t get anywhere quickly.
Even though I was a tourist, I could not wait to get away from the tourists. There is no rhyme or reason to the way people walk down the sidewalks. Hugging the right does not exist. Groups of tourists move through Times Square in big, slow blobs that take-up the entire sidewalk width and abruptly stop.
The air smells like a million different things: Trash. Urine. Bodies. Car exhaust. Cigarettes. Cinnamon roasted candied nuts, falafel, and griddled meats and onions.
Thank you to my folks for generously sending us to NYC for my birthday!
Our trip to New York City ended in a high-speed car chase.
The taxi driver wove around cars at every intersection, accelerating suddenly from 5 mph to 50. Things got funkier on the freeway. For he was engaged in a high-speed chase with himself.
Pat’s Tap has many lovely qualities.
If you can forgive Pat for preferring the Packers, you’ll appreciate her generous happy hour, Skee-ball machines and a patio welcoming to pets.
Oh yeah, and the food’s good too.
What I’m here to talk about today is cheese curds.
It’s easy to make OK versions and hard to perfect. Deep frying battered cheese so that it has the ideal taste and texture is a complicated and beautiful thing.
I never want to drink another Wondrous Punch but I have no regrets about trying one.
Until this weekend, I had never had a “Wondrous Punch,” but I’ve always known the name. Most Twin Cities residents do. It’s the signature drink at Red Dragon, a dive bar located on Lyndale in South Minneapolis. As far as I know, Red Dragon’s always been there. The exterior looks the same as it did when I used to drive past every day ten years ago.
People tell their Red Dragon stories wistfully. They typically occurred a while ago and end in “I don’t remember much,” a brawl, or puking. “The Wonderous Punch is really strong,” they add.
Many things in Uptown have changed. When everything becomes newer and shinier, I’m drawn to establishments that keep serving what they’ve always been serving in an unapologetic, irony-free manner. They don’t serve kale salad or change their menu font from Comic Sans because they don’t want to.
I love going to haunted places, but I never ever ever want to find a ghost.
Haunted places are old and interesting. They’re cloaked in storytelling and steeped in history. I especially love visiting haunted dining/drinking establishments because you don’t just wander through; you get to pull up a seat and eat.
Forepaugh’s is 147 years old. The mansion is tucked into a quiet stretch of West 7th near the river. Jake and I have driven along West 7th a million times and somehow never saw Forepaugh’s. I’m not sure how, because the mansion in all of its glory looms on the peaceful, grassy lot.
Since 1870 the sign says.