Every month I look forward to book club.
It’s a women’s book club that initially formed after the election via social media. We take turns choosing books written by women of all genres. I’ve learned I’m really good at is waiting until the very last minute to cram in each month’s book!
Besides the conversation and exposure to books I might not choose to read myself, I like trying new restaurants. Of course the places have to be conducive to a book club gathering (not too loud, not too small, not too busy where lingering at a table is going to cause an issue). We live all over the Twin Cities and rotate restaurants in different parts of the cities.
Restaurants have included Cooper’s Pub (fantastic veggie burger), Ginger Hop (loved their curries – though on the sweeter side) and Delicata (fantastic pizza with a crisp crust) and . Last month we met at Hy-Vee Market Grille in New Hope, MN. Yup, that’s Grill with an E.
There’s a reason why this post has no photos; If I had taken pictures of my meal I would have gotten kicked out of the theater. But more on this soon. . .
Alamo Drafthouse Cinema is a Texas-originating chain of movie theaters that recently added a location in the Twin Cities suburb of Woodbury.
These days, many movie theaters have plush reclining seats and alcohol. Alamo offers these things plus local beers, a large menu and strict code of conduct. I found the seats here a little bit more comfortable than the typical megaplex.
I bought our tickets online. The website makes it really easy to choose your seats. The theaters are on the smaller side. When we arrived, we wandered into the theater and weren’t quite sure if we were supposed to check in at the front desk. The employees at the front desk directed us to find our seats in the theater and said they didn’t need to scan our tickets. No one ended up scanning our tickets.
Order beverages near the front desk and bring them into the theater or wait until you’re seated. This location serves 32 local tap beers. I was impressed they offer one of my favorites, Castle Danger Brewery’s nitro stout. My glass of merlot came in gigantic pour.
Sometimes the greatest act of self-love is ordering your own appetizer platter for dinner.
Appetizer platters always make me think of this girl I knew from college named Tina. I hated Tina for really only reason, mostly involving an appetizer platter. To celebrate the end of a big project, a group of us dressed-up and met at Olive Garden. We attended a small college in rural Iowa and an evening at Olive Garden was an event. I decided to let loose and do something I’d always wanted to do: Order an appetizer platter as an entree.
The main reason I ordered the appetizer platter was because it contained a portion of calamari. Tina, my seat mate, was also excited I ordered the appetizer platter and suggested we share meals. Back then, I wasn’t confident saying “no,” so I reluctantly agreed. Trina ordered something completely unremarkable that I can’t remember and then she ate most of my calamari. I watched in horror as her hand kept reaching over, grabbing ring after ring. “I just love calamari!” she gleefully exclaimed.
If you invited me to meet you for lunch at a chain restaurant seven years ago when I first started my blog, I would have recoiled in absolute horror. I was a food snob.
Now, it’s not that I think chain restaurants are the pinnacle of dining, but I like eating at them from time to time. I just do and understand if you don’t. Also, I’ve grown up and learned it’s crappy to make some one feel bad about where they like to eat.
Variety is the spice of life. That’s my motto, anyway. Let’s begin with the hill I’d be more willing to die on.
The Waffle House: “An irony free zone where everything is beautiful and nothing hurts for everybody regardless of race, creed, color, or degree of inebriation is welcomed. . . Its warm yellow glow, a beacon of hope and salvation inviting the hungry, the lost, the seriously hammered all across the south to come inside, a place of safety and nourishment. It never closes. It is always, always faithful, always there for you.”
-Anthony Bourdain’s narration, Parts Unknown, Season 5: Charleston.
In the Charleston episode of Parts Unknown, Chef Sean Brock guides Anthony Bourdain through the wonder that is the Waffle House. Brock walks him through his preferred tasting menu-of-sorts which include the following:
Hashbrowns, scattered, with onions, cheese, and ham.
Salad with thousand island dressing
Thin cut pork chops
T-bone with Heinz 57