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!