During the three decades I’ve lived in the Twin Cities, I’ve never seen A Christmas Carol at the Guthrie.
I’ve always heard about it, though, for it’s the 44th season.
This year my folks took us. It’s no surprise that the acting, sets, and sound were stunning.
What struck me the most was the diversity of the cast. Growing-up, I rarely saw people that looked like me cast in television shows or movies, unless they were a “bit” or the show was themed.
For example, Tiny Tim’s family included people of many races (and Tiny Tim was played by a girl). This wasn’t discussed or alluded to, the family just simply was.
It makes me excited that people get to see more and more actors who look like them in stories, new and old.
Every weekend I drive around collecting desserts.
For a while I was really into doughnuts. Then it was Trung Nam croissants (still love them). For a couple weekends I collected slices of Cafe Latte cake (the best). When I don’t feel like driving to Cafe Latte, Lunds & Byerlys will do. Then, I was really into cookies. Unfortunately, I never found any as good as my own.
Farmers Markets always have pastries and they’re a good excuse to visit a bakery nearby. Pie, biscuits, sourdough bread, I love chasing bready things.
This is all to say that really like pastries and I’ll be damned if I don’t know which ones are good. Really good.
Marc Heu’s patisserie blew me away.
You should totally drink at the Rainforest Cafe.
The Rainforest Cafe inside the Mall of America is always a place I’ve wanted to go. I’ve walked by it countless times but have never ventured inside.
There’s always a crowd of people waiting outside. It’s tacky and loud. Animatronic animals shriek. The food is expensive and I’ve never heard anyone say it’s good.
The very first Rainforest Cafe opened in the Mall of America two years after the mall opened.
Back in 1994, Nickelodeon Universe was Camp Snoopy. Snoopy’s big, red dog bowl was an easy place to meet your friends. Sometimes my folks would take us to the Knott’s Berry Farm restaurant where I remember eating the best fried chicken ever. And inside the Rainforest Cafe, it didn’t just thunder and lightning, it also rained.
Sometimes spicy won’t do. Extra hot won’t be good enough, either.
You don’t just want your food to make you sweat, you want a cathartic, painful, out-of-body experience due fueled by spice, chilis and serotonin.
I think this is how you heal a broken heart.
Once in a while discussion threads appear on Twitter and Reddit; Someone will ask where to find the spiciest food in the Twin Cities and people respond.
They often suggest Marla’s, On’s, Bangkok Thai Deli, Gandi Mahal, Grand Szechuan, Grand Catch, D-Spot, and Revival’s Poultrygeist sauce.
Curry Grain Bowl with Tempeh from Tillie’s Farmhouse (St. Paul, MN)
We didn’t visit Tillie’s because we never make it past Stewart’s.
The last time I visited Tillie’s was was decades ago when it was Trotter’s.
Back in high school, we went to Trotter’s during finals week. We felt very grown-up piling into someone’s car and driving across the river into St. Paul to lunch. I never ordered anything fancier than a turkey sandwich, but it was the best turkey sandwich I ever had. Fresh grainy bread, sprouts, and mayo, which I had previously thought I hated. It just seemed so special.