Mill City Live, Chastity Brown, Minneapolis, MN

Wow, what a great artist/event for me to pretty much stumble into on a Wednesday night, held in one of the most iconic and historic buildings in Minneapolis, the Mill City Museum. And the cherry on top of this cultural sundae, all for $5. Easily the best sawbuck I've spent in a long long time. The voice, the writing, the atmosphere...get the to a Mill City Live, and double-time if Ms. Brown is playing.
Event: Mill City Live 2013
Artist: Chastity Brown (Go here! Listen to her music! I double-dog dare you...)
The "ruins" of the old flour mill and the museum's outside
Nope, not Greece, Minneapolis.
"...early in the mornin', late in the evenin', anytime in the afternoon..." (I swear this was a camera from this century)


Hyland Lake Preserve Ski Jump, Bloomington, MN

I know some of you heard I could ski jump only minutes from my house (and if I lost all leave of my senses one day), so I thought I would highlight this area of the preserve with a quick hike of it in summer.

I was impressed with how high it all rises above the surrounding area, with the massive steel structures required, with the lack of any real "jump" (it just shoots straight out over the hill), and with the hiking trails that wind around the mountain/hill. It makes for a very nice afternoon get-away, but only minutes from home.


The Bachelor Farmer 2, Minneapolis, MN

One interesting or new thing in this place to note, literally. All of The Bachelor Farmer's guests checks (aka, your bill) are presented to you in bright red Moleskine notebooks. Like this...

Guess you can't say you didn't notice your bill.
And the reason they do this is it allows the guest(s) to write something down in the notebook. I don't think anyone told us or suggested what we write in the notebook, but it was pretty clear after flipping through the first one (at the bar), that you could write whatever you wanted. A number of folks seemed to write about the food, restaurant, experience, etc., while others wrote whatever came into their heads, like this...
And we didn't know the ultimate purpose of these "love notes" until we went to the restrooms. They pull out approved notes and use them as wallpaper for the wall in the restroom hallway. So, while you're waiting for so-and-so to vacate the loo, you can read all about other people's experiences.
It gave the wall a very unique and, surprisingly, not a cluttered look.


License Plate Update

You kinda want to punch this person in the neck, just on principle.

The Bachelor Farmer 1, Minneapolis, MN

There's been enough written about the place that I'm not sure what I could add, so the pics below will be my "review". I would like to note one thing I found at this reataurant that I have not seen done so well in any other Twin City establishment, that is, they just seem to have captured a great Scandinavian feel. And I don't mean like modern fixtures or all blond servers. I mean the experience at The Bachelor Farmer was friendly, warm, inviting, relaxed, and still special. It reminded me very much of trips to Stockholm and Lund, maybe even Copenhagen... and of course exactly like all my trips to IKEA (kidding on the last one). No matter, I believe it's this feel of the place that makes it special in the region and worth a trip for anyone.

A comforting, welcoming, Scandinavian front entrance

An inviting, empty yet perfectly appointed space welcomes anyone with the first seating time

You can usually get a peek into the kitchen from many angles too

And this is what people come for - gimme!

Sugar & Salt Cured Sockeye Salmon - wow, what a great summer dish.

My #1 entree of the night, fresh caught Cod with an eggplant puree, summer squash and haricot vert... like the best, not fried, fish stick you ever had. Really comforting, but light too.

The #4 entree for me (and we only had 3!)...Roasted Pork Leg with pork fat potatoes, heirlom broccoli and fresh soy beans. Too much of the protein was too tough to enjoy this dish enough, imo.

A strong #2 entree for me... Old Water Brisket with sweet corn and romano bean (?) sucotash. Very tender and flavorful while not being overly heavy, like a piece of brisket can be.

What? You have desserts? Ok, I'll take a peek at the menu, just in case...

One of the most fun desserts I've seen in a long while "Cake to Share". Easily one of the best serve-your-own strawberry shortcakes. And that little spatula - how cute!

Salted caramel-chocolate tart - good, but not quite what I had in mind when I saw the word "chocolate". I mean, I want lots of chocolate.

And have you ever gotten a little goodie bag at the end of the meal, to take home and enjoy later? This was a bag with two small "financier" cookies (yes, I had to look it up too). But after eating them I now know it's like the best little butter cookie crossed with a macaroon's texture you could ever eat. Bravo, TBF!

If you made it this far, please stay tuned for a special 2nd post tomorrow on this restaurant. I have something saved that I think you'll enjoy.


lazy sunny August day...

...everything in MN knows to get some sun while the getting's good...


Carver County Fair, Waconia, MN

So, I'm beginning to figure out how this summer fair season works...I believe the carnival employees and infrastructure has travelled from Delano 4th to Wright County to Carver County to who knows where...the next county fair? Maybe the state fair?
Here's some of the new items from Carver County:
I forget the name of these little guys/girls, but they were foreign and darn cute
Start that day off right with a gut-bomb! 
Why not? 
If you had a long night, why not curl up with your favorite bovine come mid-morning? They did look cozy... maybe a little too cozy...


How many states you got, yo?!

Just this past week, I was trying to recall how many US states I've been able to get to in my lifetime, and it prompted me to write them down (the ole memory isn't as sharp as it used to be). Here's my list so far (I ain't dead yet!). I'd like to say "in no particular order", but we all know that's not possible with me...

1. Illinois*
2. Wisconsin*
3. Minnesota*
4. Nebraska
5. Iowa
6. Indiana
7. Ohio
8. Michigan (Upper and Lower peninsulas)
9. Pennsylvania
10. West Virginia +
11. Kentucky +
12. Virginia
13. Maryland
15. Missouri
16. Texas
17. Oklahoma
18. Vermont
19. Rhode Island
20. Massachusetts
21. Connecticut
22. New York
23. Colorado
24. New Mexico
25. Arizona
26. Utah
27. California
28. Nevada
29. Idaho
30. North Carolina
31. Florida
32. Kansas
*official resident at one time or another
+ pretty sure, on a childhood vacation

Sorry, District of Columbia.
Not all of these were for any extended stays or even overnights. I'm pretty Oklahoma was just as we drove through on a grad-school spring break, but I'll still count it.

Feel free to write your states or totals in the comments.


Wright County Fair, #2

When a coworker asked, "Do you wanna go to the demo derby?", I answered faster than a rattlesnake,  "Heck yes!"
It did not disappoint. The spectacle was a sight to behold, the crowd better than I could have hoped, and the noise coming out of the unmuffled cars was unrelenting.
This is how you wet down the track b/w heats... notice the high-tech human on/off switch for the water spout 
"Uhh, Sir, I think your car's on fire" 
"I get the way back!" 
I wanted to go left! 
This is the same car on fire above... you can see how cherry-red the exhaust pipes coming out of his hood are - yowza! 
Beautiful afternoon for some derby! 

Wright County Fair, #1

This small (in my mind) county fair was everything you could want and more. The pie eating contest (placed tied for 2nd) was worth the price of admission alone...and admission is like $3. The food vendors were numerous and somewhat inventive, a la "boar bites". And the entertainment was first class down home, home grown, honest to goodness, wholesome fun. Stay tuned...
 Lemon-squeezie is not optional. Get The Tanker... 64oz of refillable lemony goodness.
I never seen curly feathered pigeons before... 
... still kinda creepy... and still pigeons. 
Mmmmm, thirst-quenching! 
This was my downfall and also proudest achievement (at a county fair) 


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