Sunday, July 20, 2014

"Just trying not to get run over."

So there are seven grandkids on the Goin side (in order of age): Amy, Jack, Steve, me, Patrick, my brother Nick, and Jeff.  There's a meme that goes around Facebook about how your cousins are your first friends and big fat cheesy whatever, but I can dig it.   Even though Jack and Patrick lived in Green Bay (Jeff didn't come around until later) (he kinda inspired this entry), they still made it down for cousin week at the cabin every year.  I don't know how Grandma and Grandpa Goin managed to take care of us all, what with the camp songs and air guitar on flyswatters and the Look What the Cat Dragged In it hurts me, but somehow they did.  And for that I am grateful, because not only are the Goin cousins some of my favorite people, but I've also been able to celebrate most of Mötley Crue's collection since I was 8 thanks to them.  I still don't know where Tropicana is or why Vince Neil lost his heart there.

Ten years ago at Jack's wedding.

Jeff is the baby of the family.  Sure, he's 29 and has been a husband for just over 24 hours, but still.  We all (minus Nick, who was too young) went into Packer territory for his baptism.  Naturally, with that fond memory in mind last night, I cried my stupid eyes out during that ceremony.  He wasn't even out of the gate before I was reaching for a tissue.  But I guess that's how my family is.  Sarcastic and sentimental.  Despite all my pathetic blubbering, I had a fantastic time, and you know why?  Mr. and Mrs. Jeffrey Goin know how to rock a wedding.

Noah and I got married well before Pinterest and all that jazz, so clearly there are a few things I wish we'd done differently (no clinking of the glasses, no weird photographer, NO clinking of the frigging GLASSES I will kiss my husband of my own volition thank you very much).  I wish I'd put more thought into our special day, but hindsight is 20/20 and I've had glasses for 30 years.  Jeff and Kelsey had some nice touches that really knocked the ball out of the park (see, I made that joke because Jack works for the Twins!  Geddit?)
Jack, geddin' it from Steve.

1. Open bar.  I totally get why you wouldn't want to have one.  It's spendy, people might get stupid, and in certain counties you might have to keep a cop handy to make sure nobody goes over the next farm over to start mud wrestling with pigs.  I wish we'd had one to thank the folks who drove in from everywhere and bought us nice gifts.  And didn't go up to north Ham Lake to go cow tipping (none of our guests would have done that) (...I might have).
We had a cash bar. 

2.  Appetizers.  Reportedly there was a meat and cheese tray at our reception but I never saw it, likely because our batshit crazy photographer had never been on a golf course and didn't know where to take good pictures.   Last night I ate my weight in cheese empanadas.  Don't judge.  Appetizers are the poo, so take a big whiff.
Copyright some drunkard with a disposable camera.  Remember those?  Of course not. 

3. Sit down dinner.  Now it was really fun taking my plate through the buffet at our wedding...not.  Especially wearing a white dress?  And monkeys might fly out of my butt!  Outdated Wayne's World quotes aside, it was so much nicer to be served my pasta rather than winding up with a chestful of pesto.  Even though green is a tremendous color on me.

All in all, last night was an emotional and amazing night.  It was the first Goin wedding in 10 years where I hadn't been a bride or a maid, and it was so tremendous to be able to celebrate the introduction of another Goin girl into the family in such a swanky but yet chill environment.  To the newest Goin, I say welcome with open arms, and enjoy a lifetime of "Kelsey Groin" jokes. We love you!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

"Why don't you try to solve the mystery of who put mud in the freezer?"

Summer in Minnesota is far too short.  "Well golly gee, what an extremely astute observation that nobody has ever made," responded 75% of year round Minnesotans.  Haters.  That's why Noah and I like to sit on our deck after work on those lovely sunny afternoons.  Living right off a fairly busy thoroughfare is kind of a pain in the ass, but we've learned to deal with the roar of motorcycles and those God forsaken Con-Way trucks that once drove some out of town friends of ours to start a drinking game (see truck, take drink.  Not for rookies).  We've also learned we live in a city full of morons who don't understand the concept of a crosswalk.  Seriously, if you're going to be the dumbass to put your toddler in a SHOPPING CART and WHEEL HIM across FOUR LANES of late afternoon traffic, at least have the common sense to go the extra mile (as it were) and let the timed lights guide you.

Yes.  This is a real thing that actually happened.

But I digress, as per usual.  So last night, as Noah and I were having a nice conversation and watching the idiot parade, I got a wicked craving for a bomber pop.  Not just any old bomber pop, but one from a blue and white ice cream truck.  Back in the '80s, when the old neighborhood was filled with kids, nothing thrilled us more (other than a rousing game of TV Tag) than the faint ringing of that bell.  We'd run sopping wet, nicely chilled from playing in the sprinklers, beg Mom for a few bucks, and tear down the street before he drove off.  There's a sort of innocence involved with the nostalgia...I still get a little giddy when I hear the ding-ding, even though there's no chance I'm going to chase that bugger down the street ever again.  Even I have some dignity (I DO I SWEAR).

Totally rocking the dignified label.

Thanks to my parents having a deep freeze the size of a mini-horse, we always had plenty of frozen snacks to tide us over in the event of a no-show by our trusty truck.  Now, freezie pops are good.  If you ask my niece, they're probably her second favorite thing in the world besides Daddy.  On a spectacularly hot day in West Fargo last summer she had three and her tongue looked like it was ready for its first Grateful Dead concert.  I'm not saying she's wrong, because the cutest little girl in North Dakota can do no wrong (I can hear her daddy laughing from here), but Popsicles are really the way to go, if you ask me, didn't.  Just close your eyes - it's 80 degrees outside, you just got done playing in the neighbor's pool, and your mom opens the freezer and hands you a classic grape Popsicle.  Or cherry!  Or root beer, which is still my favorite.  Sure, they were a little messier than freezie pops, but you didn't have to clean up after yourself!  Watering bans aren't a thing in 1987 so you feel free to go back out and spray yourself in the face with the hose!  Now go dry off because Kids Incorporated is about to start.

However, the ultimate - the pinnacle - the "thank you for staying outside and playing nice instead of straight up murdering each other" - was always Dairy Queen.  Mom would take us to the junior high pool and let us loose while she got a few hours of some much deserved freedom, which I'm assuming she used to grocery shop and what not rather than having a three gimlet lunch at some dive bar (viva Blainbrook!).  Even though we were tired out and positively reeking of chlorine, we'd practically squeal with delight when Mom turned instead of going straight on Central.  We didn't have a lot of money back then, what with the whole single-income-two-kids situation, so getting a Blizzard or a Dilly Bar was a real treat.  Although I never got the appeal of the Mr. Misty.  Just have yourself a nice refreshing glass of Kool-Aid instead!  You know you're not going to sell that whole pitcher anyway.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Highway 8 Revisited

Noah and I went to the Goin family cabin on Pipe Lake for the 4th once again this year.  My grandparents built it (with their bare hands!) (Grandma was one tough German cookie) in 1956, so I've been going there since I was an infant.  Like, my birthday is May 21st, and I have a feeling my very first Memorial Day was spent up there.  Having traversed Highway 8 eleventy nine times in my life, there are certain landmarks I enjoy seeing along the way.  Thesse are kind of out of order, but it's my Monday and frankly I don't give a rat's ass.

Lindstrom's water tower is a tea kettle!  How Swedishy and quaint!

I don't enjoy seeing this sign unless I'm coming up from Iowa.

Our McMansion.  I can't stop smiling when I see it for the first time every year.

Nothing like driving on gravel for a nice smooth ride!

This is the point where I get giddy to the point Noah threatens to slap me stupid (OMG kidding).

When I was younger this house had mint green trim on the windows so I called it the gingerbread house.  I assume it is not made of gingerbread as it has not been eaten by bears as of yet.

Redneck yacht club!

A couple of jackasses.

Pipe Dream Center...not sure if that was intentional or not...

This house is a trip.  It's so dilapidated I'm surprised it can hold up that satellite dish.

Always thought this was pretty.

It's the turn off of 8!  Eeeeeee!

See, because my husband's name is Noah...get it?  GET IT?!


Almost to Wisconsin!

Yup.  Rocks.

Eichten's, for all your cheese and bison needs.

Raise your hand if you remember when this was an A&W!

This was the Dinerbel - one L - until this year because they hate me and want to whiz all over my childhood memories by changing their name.

Terrible picture of a cute little gift shop called Gustaf's.  Seriously, did Stevie Wonder take that?

And the DQ which will forever be known as "The One Robin Williams Stopped In When He Was in Hazelden."

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Beef! YEAH!

Yesterday we met up with our Fargo girls for brunch at Elsie's Bowling Center.  What's that, you ask?  Why would we insist on a bowling alley for the most important meal of the day?  Because I said so.  Ass.  I wanted to take the girls someplace new, and their original choice of Dan Kelly's wasn't open yet.  Besides, when they come to Minneapolis, they always hit two places: DK'S and Manny's.
Nancy's mountain of beef

Manny's was good when it was in the Hyatt, but something happened when it moved to the Foshay.  It feels swankier somehow, despite being in a skyscraper that's older than Jesus.  I swear the food got better.  I normally order seafood at steakhouses, because I am That Girl, but I'll order the shit out of a slab of beef the size of my face there.  If I were a bigger deal at work (my actual job title is "Peon Lifer"), I'd find a way to have lunch meetings there once a week.  And pay with my corporate card.  Like a boss. 
Keep it classy, homies! 

We were introduced to Mancini's by my sister-in-law Julie and her now husband Matt.  I originally balked at going there, because...St. Paul?  And they don't take reservations?!  Kristin Ann Goin Oberg was not raised to sit and wait for a meal like a commoner!  Except I totally was (because the Perkins in Blaine always had a line out the door...not), and while we waited Julie got tipsy and asked me to be a bridesmaid, so obviously I cried happy tears.  I also cried happy tears when I had my first bite of lobster.  Those tears may have been composed of clarified butter.  We went back for my birthday dinner last year and they made me a whole frigging cake!   I felt special. 
Because that was what I needed after a cup of butter. 

When we got engaged, we happened to have a coworker who got us an in at Gittelsons Jewelers.  That meant not only did we get my engagement ring for a song, but we got two free drinks at the dearly departed Morton's.  Now, people talk about how great Murray's is, with the history and the silver butter knife steak and OVERRATED.  Like Rhonda said yesterday, "It's like a picnic in there!"  Morton's was so much more fun, like when they'd bring around the cart o' beef to aid you in the crucial decision of what cut of meat you most craving.  And the chocolate molten lava cake?  If there was an award equivalent of a Grammy for cake, it would have won Record of the Year every time.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Feedback funsies

Last weekend, Noah and I made the pilgramage to Sioux Falls, simply because I'd never been, and I have a solid amount of vacation days to burn before my boss goes on maternity leave until the end of time.  I was hoping to come back and regale you all with tales of delectable meals and dazzling cocktails like with the Kansas City trip.  As you may have guessed since I haven't blogged about the trip yet, it was...not a foodie trip in any way shape or form.  Don't get me wrong, the cheeseballs (deep fried cheese) and the new to us chislic (deep fried steak.  That's right!  And yet so wrong...) were great, but not really blog-worthy, you dig?

So here I've been for the past two weeks with a bug up my ass to write, but no good subject matter.  Faithful readers, I am writing to ask for your help.  I want feedback from y'all.  Who are you?  What have you enjoyed about reading this drivel?  Are there any restaurants you want to read about?  Any food related topics I could ramble on about for a few paragraphs?  I'm thinking one about wedding food is in order, but I'll wait until after my little (I guess I can't call him little if he's going to be 29 on Saturday) (JESUS I remember his baptism like it was yesterday...sob) cousin Jeffy's wedding for that.

Help a sister out.  Sharing is caring!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

“Fish meat is practically a vegetable.”

In the interest of saving some money and hopefully losing some weight, I am having a big leafy salad for lunch.  Because of this, all I can think of is how much better just about anything else in the world sounds right now.  When I was young and new to working downtown and still had a (bleep)ing metabolism, I'd venture out into the skyway and eat anything I wanted.  Hello Jamba Juice, yes I would like a Peanut Butter Moo'd the size of a pony keg!  Ciao bella, Andrea Pizza, two New York style slices are just what the doctor ordered (man, I need to go back to THAT doctor)!  Good God that sounds good right now.  (Bleep)ing salad.  Now that I no longer have one hour paid lunch and am pretty much chained to my desk all day (let's not forget old and lazy), skyway lunching is no longer the best option for me, which is a pity because there are these new contraptions out there called "food trucks" that are all the rage amongst downtowners.  Thankfully, I have a wonderful husband who brings me lunch on occasion, and in the summertime, that lunch is from the Sushi Fix truck.

Before I go on, I want to know what's so damn scary about sushi.  Every time I'm presented with a mouth watering array of fish, at least one of my fellow cubicle dwellers (hi Scott!) freaks out like this is Fear Factor hosted by Joe Rogan (his last name is not Garrelli) and I've just been served a plate of slugs.  It is an acquired taste, I'll admit that.  We took my wonderful in-laws to Masu in Northeast last year, because a good sushi and robata restaurant is fairly hard to come by in Williams, MN (they're basically in Canada.  If you stood in their backyard and threw your passport you'd hit a Mountie) (which I don't recommend).  We have a picture of Maripat taking her first bite of sushi, and bless her heart she ate it like a champ, but I'm fairly certain that wasn't her favorite part of the meal.  Hence why we took them to a place with robata as well, because after she had the eggplant all was forgiven and I was accepted back into the family.  Which is good, because then I was able to enjoy some amazing short ribs.  Mmm, short ribs.  (Bleep)ing salad.

Don't get me wrong, I love Masu dearly, even if it seems to always be packed and the majority of the clientele is so pretentious you'll feel like you're at one of those damn hippie music festivals (Hullabalooza '96!).  There's just something a little extra special about Sushi Fix.  When the truck is out, they Tweet a picture with their location and the daily special, which is usually something spicy and we've established that's something I generally cannot handle.  (The last roll I got there was spicy and I loved it.  It was also wrapped in soy paper so you better think twice before calling me a pansy, you horse's ass.)  Instead, I stick with what I know, and what I know is that their sashimi is phenomenal and I insist that you sushi fanatics must try it.  On a hot summer day, when the sun is causing me to melt in my blast furnace of a cubicle, it's the best lunch ever.  If you're a nigiri person, I can dig that too, for it is delectable (no hate on this blog.  Food is love).  I've had sushi where they don't use enough vinegar in the rice, resulting in a maximum amount of blandness.  No me gusta.  Grab some chopsticks, dip the fish into the soy sauce, and kampai!  And if you need me, I'll be here eating jellybeans and hoping I remembered to put on deodorant this morning.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

"I'd eat that off a flip flop!"

Imagine that, I went on vacation for a few days, came home, and suddenly my damn pants don't fit!  I'm sure it had nothing to do with the fact that I ate like a champion for four days.  Not that I don't eat well in Minnesota - I wouldn't have a food blog or a potbelly if I didn't - but something about being out of my element just made everything taste better.  I tend to get stuck in a food rut on occasion, so  taking a road trip to Kansas City was a great way to experience something new with the same old guy.  I already told you about our amazing experience at Alba in Des Moines, so let's pick up where we left off.

The hotel didn't provide a free continental breakfast (cheap bastards), so we set off on our journey, hoping to find a sweet little dive bar, because dive bars have the best greasy food, and that's what we wanted.  Well folks, our dumb asses should have consulted Google Maps, because after an hour of driving we'd found nothing except Casey's General Store and roadkill, and I'm not a fan of either.  Thankfully Casey's did sell Snickers, which was a relief because I have no idea how to cook a skunk carcass on the hood of a car, nor do I want to find out.  We did happen upon a family restaurant whimsically dubbed "The Toot Toot" (no, seriously) (Iowa, am I right?), but family restaurants in general kind of give me the heebs.  Also, as funny as I think farts are (on a scale of one to ten they are HILARIOUS), I just couldn't deal with that;

We pressed on and eventually stopped in Kearney, MO, birthplace of Jesse James (please be aware this will be the only time you learn something in this blog).  Kearney is a lovely town with twee shops and you can park your car in a spot right on the street.  We stopped in at Fatboyz, because anyplace with a Z instead of S has to be good, right?  Hell yeah that's right!  It was everything a good dive should be - strong drinks, a hint of secondhand smoke in the air, and deep fried goodness.  This is how I was introduced to the corn nugget.  I mean, hello, cornbread made with whole kernels of corn, fried to a crisp?  Don't get me wrong, I love cheese curds and all their melty fabulousness, but these were just stupid good.

Speaking of stupid, three hours in the car and three cocktails later left me wiped out.  I'm not much of a nightlife gal as it is, so I was perfectly happy to park my kiester on the bed and watch TV while Noah picked up dinner.  And what was for dinner, you ask?  Jack Stack Barbecue.  My brother-in-law John wanted me to blog about how the barbecue was down there compared to Spitfire in Fargo, and for the love of God I hope they don't ban me for life for saying this, but there's just no comparison.  My baby back ribs were perfect, and I've enjoyed myself some good ribs in my day courtesy of Noah (Famous Dave's is ass) (RIP Famous Dave).  It's been a while since I had ribs at Spitfire, but it wouldn't change my opinion because Jack Stack was AMAZING.  The meat was incredibly tender, the sauce was sweet without being cloying, and WHOA NELLIE I can't believe I haven't mentioned the beans yet!  Bush's can come up with all the new varieties they want and try to use that ridiculous talking dog to sell them, but no.  I honestly can't tell you what made them so good.  All I know is if I exclaimed, "Oh my God!  The BEANS!" one more time I likely would have been smothered with a downy hotel pillow.

Part of me feels like I should have a sign off line a la Guy Fieri.  Part of me also thinks nobody should imitate someone who looks like they have an albino porcupine on their head.  Winner winner chicken dinner!