Monday, August 25, 2014

Making memories of us

Grab a carpet square and pipe down, it's story time!  As most of you know, my relationship with my husband began the night of my 25th birthday.  I had been celebrating (read: self medicating my way through a quarter-life crisis like a horse's ass) at Williams with some friends, and Noah managed to convince his buddies to join us after the Wolves game was over.  I don't know if it was the beer or if it was love at first sight (probably the beer), but the moment he sat down it was like nobody else was in the room.  Several cliches later, we decided to hit the bar within stumbling (literally some nights, and this is why we don't wear wood bottomed shoes anymore) distance from my apartment, so Noah went to ask his roommate if they could join us.  Rather than give a yes or no answer, Derek gave the response of a lifetime:

"You know that's my cousin, right?"

Yup.  Derek, one of my eleventy-nine cousins on my mom's side (not to mention she's his GODMOTHER), was sharing an apartment with my future husband.  After Noah called me over to confirm and I figuratively, ahem, pooped a brick, it was all good and we went off to Al's for last call.  So Noah and Derek continued living together for a while until my lease in St. Louis Park was up and we decided to rent our own little place in Golden Valley.  (Yeah, we lived in sin.  Don't judge.  That's God's job.  Don't do God's job for Him.)  We found a delightful two bedroom with underground parking, a balcony, and the crappiest pool in the history of pools.  But it was ours, and that's what mattered.  The first night we ate Godfathers straight out of the box and I tried valiantly not to smear tomato sauce into the brand new carpet.

So you can imagine my disappointment when I found out this morning that "our" original Godfathers had recently closed.  I can't say I'm surprised, given how that area's full of more upscale fast casual restaurants.  True, it was next to Down In the Valley, which should really just call itself "Stoner's Pot Palace" and stop pretending to be a record store, because COME ON.  But anyhow, I'm sad that some places we used to go are no longer with us.  Clearly food is a big part of our relationship if I associate it with certain milestones.  When we picked up my engagement ring we went to Morton's - aaaaand they're closed.  First apartment, first taco pizza from that Godfathers - aaaaand they're closed.  The most heartbreaking one has to be where we went on our first date - a little place called Tiburon.

Picture it: Sicily (or Minneapolis), 1922 (try 2004).  A young blond woman is about to go on her first of many dates with a very handsome young man.  He whisked her away in his chariot (Grand Am) for a night of sparkling (nervous, probably sweaty, at least on my part) conversation and amazing food at Tiburon.  Now, they had both been doing Atkins like a couple of idiots, so the idea of mashed sweet potatoes was too tempting to turn down!  Paired with a scrumptious, tender lamb chop, the couple to be dined like royalty in the company of a fish tank that ran the length of the entire restaurant.  He kept staring at the tank in hopes that one of the bigger fish would eat another, because he was a very demented individual.  After the meal, he accompanied her to the bar so that she might have herself an ill-advised cigarette (again - idiot).  "Look!" he exclaimed.  "The lights behind the bar change color!"  As they did.  And so the couple's first inside joke was born, and they lived happily ever after, except for the week before the wedding when she lost her damn fool mind a few times and almost burned the apartment down.  Good times.  Other than that, solid!

Friday, August 8, 2014

"Cheeeeeese. Yeah, didn't we lock you in a dumpster one time?"

I have fond memories of Godfathers Pizza.  Back when I was in high school and flannel was so popular it almost got a presidential nomination, we'd have half days of school at the end of the year.  How glorious, I thought!  It's like I'm one of the cool kids playing hooky, except I won't get sent to Saturday school!  My friends and I have a perfectly legitimate reason to leave at 10:45 and head down the street to Godfathers' lunch buffet.  So we'd stuff our faces and drink regular soda for an hour or so, because you might not think marching band geeks have big metabolisms but all that flag work really worked the core or something (I don't work out much) (OBVIOUSLY).  That Godfathers also holds the "distinct" honor of being the place where I once slapped a guy.  He was my first love until he started using a word that sounds like flag and instead of telling him why it was inappropriate and he should not use such language I put down my slice of taco pizza (mmm...) and unleashed my righteous palm across his face.  Did I mention this was a double date?  Aca-awkward!

Who wouldn't want to get smacked by this saucy little minx?  Also, none of those things happened.
Flash forward X number of years.  Husband (obviously not the aforementioned fartknocker) and I have found ourselves living down the street from the location of Slapfest 1996.  We don't frequent the buffet as we discovered your metabolism dies the moment you find true love (it's a story deeply buried in the Hans Christian Andersen archives), but we do go out for the occasional pie.  So, given the rich history of this particular pizza place, you can imagine my dismay when we went there one day to find they were closed.  Closed!  The nerve!  So many cherished memories of blowing straw wrappers at my besties before going to somebody's house to watch Monty Python and the Holy Grail...again!  Dust in the wind, man.  (You're my boy, Blue!)
Flash foward again.  Something intriguing happened.  A few weeks ago, Red's Savoy popped up within cat tossing distance of our house.  Noah, having grown wary of the ever changing rotation of meth labs fronting as pizza shacks was overjoyed, whereas I was nonplussed.  I know everyone raves about it like it's one of God's greatest creations (that would actually be the Pocket Hose), but we went there the Sunday after our bachelor and bachelorette parties, and it didn't blow my mind.  It was good, and it got the job done, which was a miracle in and of itself given the magnitude of my hangover.  Actually, I wasn't too bad.  In fact, when I got home from the bar, I was trying to get everyone to rally.  At 3 am.  Where half the people staying in our apartment had been drinking since well before noon, one of which (take a wild guess who) had long since gone to bed with his flip flops still on.  So while Red's will be given another shot (oh God were there ever shots that night) sometime soon, tonight we're doing it right.  Tonight we consume Pizza Luce!
My half has goat cheese on it.  I may have just drooled on myself.  Don't judge.
Luce is, hands down, my favorite.  The sauce is perfect, they use a ton of cheese, and I don't know what they do with their crust but I swear on this carpet sample it's downright good for you (right?  RIGHT???).  It's a pity I have no idea how to run a business (I'm amazed I can keep plants alive) because I would throw a Luce in that old Godfathers spot so fast the citizens of Fridley wouldn't know what hit them.  Unfortunately their locations aren't exactly northern suburban friendly, so occasionally we'll sacrifice a night at home and stay downtown in a hotel where were we can order in from the comfort of a big fluffy bed.  I highly recommend doing it as a date night once in a while.  Typically I'll grab a drink at the bar while Noah runs the suitcase upstairs, and then he'll slide up next to me all, "Clive.  Clive Bixby.  Let me get you a cosmo with one of the drink tickets I got for being a rewards member!  CHA-CHING!"  Gotta make sure to be up to the room before the Vikings game, because preseason or not, Noah will not want to miss the first kickoff of the year!  Skol!

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!