The real winners of this pandemic are drive-throughs.
I used to hate the Starbucks drive-through on Marshall and Snelling. I loathed it.
Every time I would drive by the notorious carbucks I would curse the people blocking the street and bike lane with their cars. The traffic in and out of the Starbucks is so bad that an officer actually directs traffic at the entrance/exit.
For those of you who don’t live in the city, there’s just not much room for drive throughs. Space is limited. That’s not to say there aren’t drive-throughs. There just aren’t many and they aren’t usually perched on tiny corners of the busiest intersections.
I hated the carbucks until the pandemic. Now I love carbucks.
In Minnesota it’s just kind of summer until it’s fall.
We spend six months complaining about the winter and four months complaining about the heat and humidity. Then, there’s fall.
Once the tips of the trees start to change colors, there’s no turning back. We’re given this sweet, fleeting stretch of magic before everything’s cold and brown and bare.
For two weeks the cross street is lined with a canopy trees with little orange leaves that gently sprinkle down like a snow globe, forming shallow waves on the streets.
The pandemic transitioned from faraway news to full-blown this spring. Now, we’re moving towards winter and it’s still here.
A spring onset let us quickly pivot to eating outside, talking outside, moving outside. . . being outside a lot more than we used to.
Winter is coming and I’m worried.
Can restaurants make it without patios? Will ice bars become a thing? What will holidays look like? I wonder if people will get restless and do the inside things they avoided during the summer. Will the people that don’t, go full blown Shining?
This week the phrase “Comfort me with apples” came to mind. It’s also the name of one of my favorite Ruth Reichl books.
As soon as the weather dipped towards the 50’s, I ordered some hoodies and headed to the apple orchard.
Some of our family members were raving about the caramel apples at Pine Tree Apple Orchard in White Bear Lake. They also mentioned their apple turnovers, which they described as nothing special to look at, but extremely delicious.
Caramel apples got stuck in my head and I thought about them all night.
For eight years I was watching Chopped when I could have been watching Guy’s Grocery Games.
Back when we thought it wasn’t cool to like Guy Fieri, I crinkled my nose at GGG. Since then, I’ve grown tired of food snobbery and comfortable just liking what I like. Ironically, hipster culture made the uncool foods, cool. At some point I realized that having seen every episode of Diners, Drive Ins & Dives twice meant that I might actually be a pretty big fan fan.
My obsession with Guy’s Grocery Games began during this pandemic when I randomly flipped on an episode. To my surprise I could not stop watching. Between the contestants I recognized from Diners, Drive Ins & Dives, wacky challenges, and friendly banter, I needed to watch more. And so I did.
A lot more.