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:
- Pad Thai
These are foods that I really like but can’t cook well.
The only pancakes I can make somewhat well is Jenny’s recipe for Grandma’s Featherlight Pancakes.
Buttermilk pancakes had been on my mind all week. On Friday, I rode the early bus downtown and wearily stumbled up to my desk. I perked up upon opening the cafeteria menu and seeing the breakfast special was buttermilk pancakes.
Suddenly the day felt shorter. I perked up.
Becoming comfortable dining alone is a satisfying part of adulthood.
Our parents probably warned about the un-funness of bills, cleaning, fixing things and working. Sometimes eating ice cream for breakfast is the most satisfying part of a tough day. I’ve also found that pulling up a seat at any bar to order the food and beverage of my choice is very satisfying.
Dining alone used to terrify me. One May term in college, I spent an entire month eating alone in my dorm room. My roommates and best friends were gone and I felt too embarrassed to eat in the cafeteria. I literally ate baby carrots, oranges, ramen, and grilled cheese sandwiches all month.
If I could go back in time as current me, I would stroll into that cafeteria and and sit wherever I wanted. Of course, there’s a lot I’d tell my younger self.
Whenever someone’s like “So are you ready for Christmas” I die a little bit inside.
It’s not that I don’t like Christmas, but when you work full-time, the preparation is a lot. My work team is small and with the major holidays (Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year) falling on Tuesdays-Thursdays this year, we have to take turns with our days off.
This year I swore I’d finish my holiday gift shopping early this month, and, well, I didn’t.
I am enjoying a little stretch off before Christmas until I serve as the after-Christmas crew. This weekend I’m planning to make lefse to share with our families (here’s how I do it at home without fancy equipment) while drinking white russians and listening to podcasts.
Before I compile my best/worst year-end posts, here’s a final post on a few more memorable dining experiences:
I have a long-held fascination with malls and food courts. Especially mall food courts.
Growing up, we frequented the mall food court. Everyone could split up and reconvene with their favorite foods; A slice from Sbarro, a baked potato loaded with teriyaki chicken from 1-Potato-2, a combo from the Chinese restaurant or Philly cheesesteak from Steak Escape.
These days many malls are barely hanging on for dear life and others are still thriving.
The Rosedale Center, a thriving mall, located in Roseville, Minnesota (a suburb located near St. Paul) revamped their food court. Sure, there’s still an Orange Julius/Dairy Queen/Karmelkorn. But now there’s this fancy new food *hall.
Revolution Hall just opened just last month. The concept of a food hall is very cool. With the decline of malls and giant department stores, food halls are a compelling way to fill these empty spaces. It’s especially fun to see one of our childhood malls revamped – it was actually built long before we were born in 1969.