Our dining-out adventures have been casual and close-to-home, lately.
Between the snow and polar vortez cold snap, we haven’t wanted to drive very far. Never in my life have I felt -26 (and worse). Walking the 2.5 blocks to the bus was unbearable. I thought my legs were going to give out and collapse after running one block. The house cracked, but our boiler held up. Every potty break for our dog went something like that Bird Box conversation where Sandra Bullock was yelling at her kids.
“UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES ARE YOU ALLOWED TO TAKE OFF YOUR BOOTS. . . YOU HAVE TO DO EVERYTHING I SAY OR WE WILL NOT MAKE IT! DO YOU UNDERSTAND.”
We’ve gotten together with family for various occasions and visited our favorites like Stewart’s for patty melts and Himalayan on Lake Street for our typical order of garlic naan, fried okra and potatoes, chicken tikka masala and palek paneer, all spicy.
Find yourself a good bar close enough to tromp through the snow to.
Here are a couple of new things we tried in St. Paul:
Even though we’ve lived in the Twin Cities most of our lives, there are many classic and much talked-about restaurants we haven’t visited.
The North Loop area in downtown Minneapolis has boomed since our first move to Fargo and we haven’t spent much time there. In fact, we rarely go to downtown Minneapolis on weekends. I love working there, but am eager to catch the early bus after work to beat the traffic and crowds.
It’s possible to find parking downtown, but you will have to navigate around all of the construction, meters, and pay lots/ramps, all typical downtown stuff. If you can take a bus, the light rail, or Lyft, it’s a breeze. And, you don’t have to worry about enjoying some drinks.
Disclaimer: Logan spoiler.
Oh, Logan. North Dakota was supposed to have a starring role. The whole film builds towards this majestic moment where all of the little mutants make a grand pilgrimage to North Dakota.
I’ve gone as North as Grand Forks and I’ve driven across the state from Fargo to Medora. The burnt orange, rolling prairie grass and rugged terrain of Theodore Roosevelt National Park left me awestruck. I’m sure the prairie grass is scratchy and thick with critters, when you drive by and see it gently rolling in the wind, you’ll want to pull your car over and take a nap in it.
North Dakota is actually really beautiful. I could see the characters in Logan reaching the fictional destination of Eden in my mind as prairie grass danced in the wind.
Once I got into an Anchorman-style fight on Twitter about Jucy Lucy’s. Someone definitely drew a Twitter trident.
Fighting about Jucy Lucys is relatively easy to do in Minnesota. Many of us harbor lots of strong feelings about the subject.
If you’ve never heard of a Jucy Lucy, it’s essentially a burger stuffed with cheese. Two restaurants in Minnesota claim to have invented it. If you’ve ever seen Jucy Lucys featured on national television shows or travel blogs, you’ll probably find they only feature Matt’s Bar and 5-8 Club. This usually has me rolling my eyes because they leave out the Nook (or Casper & Runyan’s Nook, to be exact).
I really haven’t had that many versions of the Jucy Lucy and I haven’t even visited the 5-8 Club which is going to compel some to cry “heresy.” Once upon a time we tried Matt’s Bar and then we visited the Nook. Then, we thought we should branch out and try a different place and the burgers were overcooked and disappointing so we kept returning to the Nook.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t visit other places. And I’m not saying that we shouldn’t either. I’m just saying that the Nook is my favorite.
We ended up dining at scape completely by accident.
After wandering the Central West End district of St. Louis searching for dinner, we made a full circle and peeked inside to ask about a table. It was a last resort, really. We call it a happy accident.