They say you can’t go back.
Sometimes you can.
For Jake, this was his first trip back to Fargo since we lived there eight years ago. I’ve returned a couple of times since. Fargo was our home for two years, the first of several job transfers and first time away from home. Well, home-home. Our original home.
At first, I hated living in Fargo. Everything was different and felt smaller. There was that little toll bridge I kept finding at and train tracks that criss-crossed the city. By the end of our two years, we made good friends and found our favorite places. Leaving felt bittersweet.
Ever since I saw that Office episode about Meredith trading sexual services with a supplier for a corporate discount and free Outback Steakhouse, I’ve wanted to eat at Outback Steakhouse. The episode closes with everyone in the break room happily feasting from a multitude of takeout containers. There’s no way you can watch that episode and not want to immediately go.
I’ve been waiting with bated breath to cash out my points for Outback Steakhouse.
At work we have a Facebook-like platform for recognizing our coworkers. Each month we get $5 worth of points to give away. Managers get more.
When you accumulate enough points, you can exchange them in the points store where you’ll find prizes ranging from jewelry to backpacks. There’s also gift cards to just about any chain restaurant you can imagine.
Some people hoard their points for years. Some only buy gifts for others. I cash out as soon as I get enough money to make a dent in a meal at a chain restaurant.
Last weekend we had to get out of the house.
Another blizzard was predicted to land Saturday night. I laughed-cried when my phone notification dinged that the previous snow emergency was over. For, the next day, the city called another one.
We carefully maneuvered through the lumpy snow filled streets of Minneapolis and St. Paul. The city streets become so narrow with snow piles and parked cars that each block feels like a scary game of chicken.
Lake Street is an incredibly diverse street that spans the city. As a newer St. Paul-ite, I try not to refer to the Lake Street Bridge as the Marshall Avenue Bridge in the company of Minneapolis residents.
This bridge crosses the Mississippi river and takes you to either Minneapolis or St. Paul. There’s a lot of eat along the entire stretch.
We parked near Ingebretsen’s, a 97-year old Scandinavian market.
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.