Awesome Weather Blog - Winter in Review

Never thought I'd use the phrase "Awesome Weather Blog", but I guess that's what happens when you live in MN. This is the place to go. Now on to their look-back at this last winter...

Winter 2013-2014 Perspective
Sunday temperatures across parts of the Midwest were some of the warmest readings we've seen since late last year. The 2013-2014 winter was quite a bit colder than average from Canada to the eastern two-thirds of the nation, but NOAA sheds light on how our cold winter compared to the entire globe.
"For many residents of North America, the winter of 2013-14 has felt like one of the coldest in many years. Waves of Arctic air brought extended periods of cold weather and above-average snowfall to the middle and eastern portions of the United States and Canada. Seven Midwestern states had one of their top-ten coldest winters, and the Great Lakes were chilled until they reached nearly 91 percent ice cover. Even portions of Mexico and Central America were cooler than normal.
But human memory is not a scientific measure, and long-term perspective tends to get lost in everyday conversation and news coverage. The winter of 2013-14 followed two winters that were significantly warmer than the norm, which likely made this season feel worse than it was. Researchers at the U.S. National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) reported that the average temperature of the contiguous U.S. for the winter was just 0.4° Celsius (31.3° Fahrenheit), about 1°F below average."
"The map below puts the North American winter in wider context. On a global scale, land temperatures for the December through February period were actually the tenth warmest in the modern record, according to NCDC, 0.87°C (1.57°F) above the 20th century average."
"Far eastern Asia, particularly China and eastern Russia, were significantly warmer than normal. In Europe, Austria and The Netherlands observed the second warmest winters in their records, and Switzerland its third warmest. With temperatures as much as 5°C above normal, spring crops and plants began sprouting several weeks early across much of Europe. And in the southern summer, the extended heat waves in Australia and Argentina stand out."


Graphic: Successful People vs. Unsuccessful People

Could this also be titled something like "Happy People vs. Unhappy People"?



Stop & Stare - "Sunburst", Dale Chihuly, Minneapolis Institute of Art, Minneapolis, MN

You can't help but notice this sculpture/chandelier hanging from the foyer in the MIA entrance. I feel like I've seen similiar works in other museums around the country. I finally took the time to look a little closer and get some information on the artist.
This piece, like all his work, is really a sight to behold. It looks lighter than air, but as noted below, is made completely of glass and weighs more than a ton. Kind of crazy, no?


Out of doors at the MIA

The first day of Spring brought sun and above freezing temps. Strong start, time for some pics..,


Nothing Bundt Cakes, Omaha, NE

Could not have gotten free mini-bundt coupons to a better place. We sampled small bundt cakes of lemon, red velvet, and carrot. I think my fave was red velvet. I wished the carrot had some texture in it (carrot bits, nuts?) rather than just smooth batter. The lemon was solid. We all agreed we made a huge mistake by not trying something in the chocolate family, but not to worry, we'll be back. 

Iowa sunrises rarely disappoint.

License Plate Shenanigans

Seems like a perfectly normal plate to take a pic of if your initials are "mk"...

I don't know what the "Thanx" is for, but the rest made sense upon closer inspection...

Ah well. Maybe not so appropriate for my initials after all. 


Dixie Quicks, Council Bluffs, IA

High time I visited this well-regarded, funky place, and it did not disappoint. Very busy place, but seating time with reservation and service was good.

The menu is a little unique/goofy as there are no menus, just a big chalkboard. Side step social norms? Ok, I'll play along. I found what I wanted pretty quick anyways. 

The Bloody Mary was easy to find and spicy enough to satisfy any edible heat seekers. 

The Chicken Fried Steak & Eggs hit the spot. The grits were a bit watery and flavorless, but that's kind of how grits are. Other than that small hiccup, the trip was worth the wait and I would go back at any time. 

Omaha Firsts

When in Rome...

Never had a lime version, it's alright...more flavor than the original I spose. 

UNO Hockey at the Century Link in Omaha. 

This made up for the can of lime-flavored beer. Great taps and bottles from beer all over the world, nice people too. 

I guess everything comes in 25oz. "American" cans now...even Japanese beers. 

Did not disappoint. 

Damn good cakes...and who doesn't like a business name with a pun?


Contender for America's Best Sandwich

The Pork Tenderloin at Barrett's in Omaha, NE. 

It's better than it looks. 

All aboard!!! Choo Choo Restaurant, Loretto, MN

If you want a taste of Americana in the heart of not-so-far-from-the-city rural Minnesota, think about heading out to the Choo Choo. It seems like it's an institution and been there forever, probably because even their wings are 45yrs old. They have a good bar and full bar food menu. They're famous for wings and after having a half-dozen, I agree...thought I would get one or more sauces next time. 

This place pulls in the range of people from the towns nearby, old dudes, families, and folks like yours truly, which gives plenty of people watching, like any good bar should have. 

Unique place, nice service, and solid evening out in rural America. 


Derby Night Done Right

Tanpopo Noodle Shop, St. Paul, MN

Wow, what a cool, hidden gem. And that's not to say it's hidden from everyone, but I'd bet from the majority. Reason being, if the majority knew about this very modest space, shared in a building with artist spaces and a coffee house, it'd be way bigger and way busier. Frankly though, part of the charm is being an out-of-the-way place (for quisine in MN) in an out-of-the-way location. 

Although on inspection they are a Japanese restaurant serving all kinds of foods, like sushi, sashimi, tempura, etc. , the word "noodle" is in their name and that's what drew me in. A quick web check has them listing two famous noodle varieties, if a noodle can be famous:

Soba (buckwheat flour)

and Udon (wheat flour)

They have daily specials
But on a chilly winter into spring evening, I wanted a bowl of boiling hot broth and fresh noodles. Dining solo, I had plenty of time to choose a beer 
from a brewery I'd never heard of, Hitachino... Japanese no less, and was delicious too. 

I could take my time on the menu, finding and settling on kimchi nabe, which I recognize as having a Korean influence, though maybe kimchi is more universal than I think?
They also did me a solid with my order and wouldn't let me, or strongly suggested not to, order soba noodles with the dish. They said the soba would disintegrate in the hot broth. So, I chose udon in the broth and had a side of soba just to get a taste. Both were awesome noodles. The fixins in the broth were also very well done. All in all, I had a great meal and left feeling like I found a hidden gem. That's a good feeling...plus the full tummy feeling too. 

Grand Ole Creamery & Pizza, St. Paul, MN

Though I'd been in to this ice cream shop before, I don't think I've done a post. 

This is a great old-school ice cream shop, including water in the back and old-timey stuff on the walls. 

Even after inhaling a Juicy Lucy and fries, I couldn't say no to Marshmallow Man and Chocolate Fudge Brownie. Wow, delicious. Go, go now. 


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