Sunday, October 17, 2010

Too Much of a Good Thing

Recently Doug had the day off from work and picked me up for lunch. It was beautiful out so, after an unsuccessful attempt to get anyone to acknowledge our presence at Sushi Tango and walking out, we found ourselves sauntering into Uptown Cafeteria & Support Group, the new and oddly named restaurant in Calhoun Square. The Cafeteria has windows that open completely, so even though you're inside it feels like you're outside, which is fantastic until some loser's car alarm goes off ten feet away for twenty minutes. Suddenly you find yourself longing for the dark, cavernous booths of a local burger joint.

Nonetheless, we were happy to be enjoying the late summer warmth and ordered, somewhat foolishly, two bleu cheese menu items - a bleu cheese salad and the bleu cheese nachos. Both came with an (over?)abundance of bleu cheese, something I never thought I could feel. Too much bleu cheese? What? But the salad was covered, absolutely covered, in bleu cheese crumbles, and sometimes more is actually too much. Perhaps if we had only ordered one or the other I'd feel differently, that might have been our mistake, but I'm pretty sure each were overkill nonetheless. The nachos were a fun twist on traditional corn tortilla/cheddar/salsa nachos, with bleu cheese sauce, crumbles, bacon and green onions atop crispy fresh homemade potato chips. The bacon was a fantastic addition, but the chips suffered from an all too common nacho issue - chips drenched in toppings while many others went without any. Still, I'd order them again with just beers and no bleu cheese salad and share them with several other people because a little goes a long way with these.

On the other hand, The Uptown Cafeteria & Support Group has something really wonderful to offer its guests - the best table sauce selection I've seen in awhile! Always at the ready no matter what you order, soy sauce and bright green jalapeno Tobasco sauce share the caddy with Sriracha sauce and a giant, shiny bottle of Mrs. Butterworth's syrup. What more could a diner need?

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Thank You, Mother Nature

As regards weather in Minnesota, there is a lot to complain about. Our winters are long and cold and frustrating, we can get some awful heat waves in the summer, tornadoes in the spring and fall can sometimes last about an hour and a half. But this summer and fall have been spectacular, and I must give credit where credit is due. Thank you, Mother Nature, you have been very kind to us (or those of us who don't live in southern Minnesota where everything is underwater).

Doug and I took a road trip a couple of weekends ago, just for the day, to St. Peter. The air was warm but not too warm and the fields were gorgeous as we drove on and on past one after another. Then last weekend we spent in northern Minnesota on a golfing weekend with my best friend and her husband. I was pretty sure the weather would be bad and mentally planned alternative activities that we could do while the rain fell, except that it not only didn't fall, but the skies were the most beautiful shade of blue and dotted with puffy white clouds that reflected off the cold lakes like a mirror. On top of that, the leaves were changing color, from deep greens to vibrant shades of yellow and orange and red that looked like classic paintings. Today we visited the farmer's market and then an apple orchard in Delano, a lovely brisk and sunny drive due west on 55, and once again couldn't believe our good fortune. The sun shone on us the entire day, lifting spirits that can so often be down during overcast Minnesota weather.

Thanks again, Mother Nature. We owe you one.