This pandemic trend is okey-dokeyOriginally published by DK on October 19, 2020 at 1:04 pm
Chicken wild rice soup @ Minnehaha Cafe, Mystic LakeOriginally published by DK on October 11, 2020 at 6:02 pm
So great to hang out in the Commons today with JV, RW, JK and the kiddoOriginally published by DK on October 10, 2020 at 5:45 pm
So great to see Talia again!Originally published by DK on October 8, 2020 at 10:29 pm
Short-staffed, limited hours, two hour wait @ Sven and Ole’sOriginally published by DK on October 3, 2020 at 11:15 pm
Mmm…buttered breadOriginally published by DK on October 1, 2020 at 11:19 pm
Mac and cheese taco?Originally published by DK on October 1, 2020 at 11:07 pm
World’s Best + no linesOriginally published by DK on October 1, 2020 at 11:04 pm
Fit *and* obeseOriginally published by DK on September 30, 2020 at 8:07 pm
Pepperoni *and* sausage todayOriginally published by DK on September 28, 2020 at 12:02 pm
Top notch food at Fortune BayOriginally published by DK on September 25, 2020 at 10:48 pm
Jamaica in GilbertOriginally published by DK on September 24, 2020 at 10:16 pm
Masks now required at the VCOriginally published by DK on September 23, 2020 at 9:21 pm
Thanks for another great season, GordyOriginally published by DK on September 23, 2020 at 9:13 pm
Do it yourself in 2020Originally published by DK on September 22, 2020 at 6:50 pm
Having an empty nest is strangeOriginally published by DK on September 22, 2020 at 6:49 pm
Greg’s Meats FTWOriginally published by DK on September 21, 2020 at 7:46 pm
I’m wearing this new one if we get to go back againOriginally published by DK on September 16, 2020 at 11:26 pm
Beautiful evening on the patio at Kado no MiseOriginally published by DK on September 16, 2020 at 5:46 pm
Punch + Carbone’s 🍕Originally published by DK on September 10, 2020 at 10:40 pm
Kinda sad, but way better than nothingOriginally published by DK on September 3, 2020 at 5:24 pm
I wish it could be year-roundOriginally published by DK on September 1, 2020 at 6:00 pm
Lil’ Chovi Sunday menu in MinneapolisOriginally published by DK on August 31, 2020 at 8:36 am
Pine Tree Apple OrchardOriginally published by DK on August 29, 2020 at 2:28 pm
Good luck to Danielle in her future endeavors (Mississippi Pub, Inver Grove Heights)Originally published by DK on August 26, 2020 at 7:56 pm
I’ve been thinking a lot about safety lately. The pandemic, political and economic turmoil, return to work plans – all of these have safety components that give me anxiety and make 2020 feel like even more of a challenge. What exactly is the condition of being safe? I like these definitions: freedom from danger, risk, injury or loss; unhurt, harmless, cautious. Of course, safe can also mean unlikely to produce controversy or contradiction – also sometimes useful, but not what I’m writing about today.
The spread of COVID and the tools and policies available to manage the threat have become overtly political, which is unfortunate. I’m lucky that I really don’t have to fight any physical battles with people who won’t wear masks or follow guidelines and have the economic stability to isolate at home as much as I can during the pandemic. I’ve already decided I don’t *need* to visit casinos, go to movie theaters or drink in bars right now and I tend to favor take-out over eating inside at restaurants that are offering that option (and winter is coming, patio people). Correctly wearing a face mask to Target or the grocery store is literally the easiest thing you can do to keep the economy running, limit the spread of the virus and help keep people safe.
Outdoor activities are safer than indoor activities, which has resulted in a surge of bike sales and golf rounds. These are both things I love to do in a “regular” year, so this has been a great way to pass the time (and keep my move streak alive). It’s funny that some of the outdoor things I like to do aren’t always considered safe: danger is part of the appeal with downhill skiing and single-track mountain biking, for example. But even with those activities, I’m more cautious the older I get. Running has always been important to me, but I’ve even turned that down a notch, preferring strenuous hill walks to full out running for speed (at least for now).
I’m very fortunate that sports, concerts, travel and food have played significant roles in my life. Venue safety is part of my career, so I pay close attention to what others are doing. Unfortunately, we didn’t have a great experience with the Saints returning to live baseball in our neighborhood, so we only bought tickets to two games. Why? We didn’t feel safe: no security at the gates, seat maps that placed people at the drink rail immediately behind us, other fans not following the guidelines and limited staff to enforce the rules. I get the economics, but what is the long-term damage to your brand if people don’t feel safe? We did have a good experience at the Minnesota Zoo a few weeks back and expect to have a good experience at the Minnesota State Fair Food Parade next week, but it seems critical to me that you get safety figured out.
I miss live music, but I don’t see that industry coming back for a while. The next ticket I have is for a November 27th show at the Fitzgerald, a theater I love. Even with masks and a limited audience (which isn’t possible, since tickets are already sold), I can’t imagine any scenario that would make me feel safe enough to go on that date (and near-zero chance it doesn’t get rescheduled again like every other show I still have tickets for from 2020). I’ve also been reading a lot about Disney, and while thoughts of an uncrowded Disney World are tempting, my internal safety meter says tell Mickey we will see him again later.
The activities I’ve talked about so far mostly involve things that a majority of people would consider first-world privilege. I’m still employed, we’re not facing eviction and we have food on the table. Everyone in the family is still healthy. We have a bit of an economic safety net thanks to inheritance. We have access to reliable transportation. Middle class white males don’t have to face the same issues that women and people of color do as part of their daily existence (I’m working on a draft “On Race” post that I hope to publish soon). So what other safety issue is front and center for me? Crime rates.
When we moved from the suburbs to Lowertown, my mom was very concerned about our safety (even though she also lived in Saint Paul). The area has had ups and downs from a crime standpoint, but I’d never felt threatened here (even at night). The pandemic and the protests following the death of George Floyd have changed the look and atmosphere of downtown Saint Paul. According to the Pioneer Press, there have been more than forty recent arrests in the area around Mears Park and Union Depot for fighting, drug dealing and other criminal activity (including a shooting). Homelessness has also been on the rise and a small tent city can now be seen outside our windows near I-94. There are people needing obvious mental health assistance. I wish I knew the answers to these problems – what we are doing now isn’t working and something needs to change…Originally published by DK on August 23, 2020 at 9:07 pm
It finally feels like home againOriginally published by DK on August 17, 2020 at 7:55 pm
Monday treat stickOriginally published by DK on August 17, 2020 at 10:16 am
I even helped make them this timeOriginally published by DK on August 16, 2020 at 3:41 pm
Shells seem to be MIA around hereOriginally published by DK on August 15, 2020 at 6:57 pm
Pre-Saints Dinette burgerOriginally published by DK on August 7, 2020 at 6:06 pm
B-Dubs for the winOriginally published by DK on August 4, 2020 at 8:14 pm
Not pictured: the awesome hash browns (Arby’s-style)Originally published by DK on August 2, 2020 at 11:11 am
MIA: Mt. Dew Zero Sugar, caffeine-free diet Pepsi, Sprite Zero, Cherry Coke ZeroOriginally published by DK on July 25, 2020 at 2:40 pm
We so wanted to love this place, but…Originally published by DK on July 22, 2020 at 10:11 pm
Fruit Stripe, Chuckles and CrunchieOriginally published by DK on July 21, 2020 at 5:31 pm
Savor every oneOriginally published by DK on July 19, 2020 at 6:31 pm
Nice to visit with Lynn @ Red CowOriginally published by DK on July 18, 2020 at 12:58 pm
Composed with a lot of help from the PAMP bartendersOriginally published by DK on July 14, 2020 at 8:23 pm
I’d love Arby’s (and their ads) even if it wasn’t FallonOriginally published by DK on July 13, 2020 at 5:56 pm
The wonderful croque madame (but those are the not the usual fries)Originally published by DK on July 10, 2020 at 1:29 pm
Sooooooo sadOriginally published by DK on July 8, 2020 at 6:59 pm
Amazing what $1300 of coin-in will get youOriginally published by DK on July 8, 2020 at 10:41 am
I’ve been fortunate to continue working through the pandemic, but it’s been tough to take time away (especially since I’m the only IT person left). Thanks to the support of my boss and one of our awesome game day staffers, I was able to take a week off without looking at work email once. We originally intended to spend the week on Isle Royale National Park, but the ferry and Rock Harbor Lodge decided to scrap the whole 2020 season and our reservations were cancelled.
Plan B was to stay the first half of the week at Lutsen Resort and the Fourth of July weekend on Lake Vermilion (at Fortune Bay). Those plans changed as the temperatures kept rising – it was even hot along the usually cool shoreline of Lake Superior and we discovered upon check-in that Lutsen Resort does not have air conditioning. They were accommodating by offering us a full refund, but there were really no other options in Lutsen or the surrounding spots (Grand Marais, Tofte, Grand Portage). Fortune Bay could get us in early, so we set off on highway 1 through Ely and decided to spend the whole week on Vermilion.
Fortune Bay has done a nice job with COVID safety and procedures. They had temperature checks set up on the entry road, mandatory face masks and lots of signage, plexiglass and hand sanitizer. The casino floor had basically every other machine turned off, but they kindly turned on my favorite game for the week (big thanks to EJ). I think I made it worth their hassle, though, while still getting a lot of quality playing time. They had Frozen-themed giveaways on Thursday and Friday for 100 points earned (an Olaf waffle maker on day one and an Olaf snow cone maker on day two), so I spread my playing time out accordingly. Marisa really, really wanted these, so I was happy for the solid play-through.
Food options during the week were a little limited, but what was open was solid. We stopped at the Ely Steakhouse on the way over from Lutsen and they were following all of the state orders for in-person dining. On the other end of the spectrum, the Vermilion Club was following just about none of the rules, which blew us away (maybe “VC” really stands for Virus Central). We still ate there twice in-person and had take-out a third day, because Poor Gary’s pizza and the bleu cheese and chicken wings are Northland classics (hopefully we were personally careful enough).
Back at Fortune Bay, I hit the Wilderness Grill four times, having great experiences each time. The new chef used to work at Alma in Minneapolis and I really liked all of the sandwiches I tried (pulled chicken, walleye, porchetta and cheeseburger). Their new fries are reminiscent of the state fair classics. In the casino proper, we had a wonderful dinner at the Sunset Steakhouse and stopped several times at the Gold Mine Grill, which is getting better with service and staffing (they’ve always had great coffeeshop-style food options). The Tamarack Buffet was closed for service, but was the room was being used for socially-distanced overflow seating.
Thought I would play a lot of golf during the week, but the temperatures were warm and I just didn’t feel like going every day. I did drive down to Coleraine to play Eagle Ridge with the Millers and got in a twilight round on The Wilderness with John, Cathy and Bonnie. The whole region needs rain badly, so there were some near-dead areas on both courses (especially in the roughs). The Wilderness also has a lot of behind the scenes changes: the contract with KemperSports was not renewed and former golf GM Tom Beaudry and superintendent Vince Dodge have both moved on to the state of cheese. Still love that course, though, and it continues to be the one I’ve played the most.
It was also great to hang out at Dacha Batinich on Birch Point again with Mary and the crew. Big thanks to John and Cathy for taking us out on the boat for a pizza picnic (and for taking Sasha and Marisa out again later in the week). Skip-Bo games and great conversations make that little cabin a very special place indeed.Originally published by DK on July 5, 2020 at 5:09 pm
Super One Foods, Virginia, MinnesotaOriginally published by DK on July 5, 2020 at 1:44 pm
Mt. Dew flavor with fruit juice?Originally published by DK on July 5, 2020 at 1:42 pm
Fortune Bay’s Gold Mine GrillOriginally published by DK on July 4, 2020 at 7:12 pm
Wilderness Grill: chicken, walleye, cheeseburger and porchettaOriginally published by DK on July 4, 2020 at 7:07 pm
Bay muffin at the Gold Mine GrillOriginally published by DK on July 3, 2020 at 6:05 pm
Thanks John and CathyOriginally published by DK on July 2, 2020 at 9:20 am
Totally worth the priceOriginally published by DK on July 1, 2020 at 9:49 am
https://www.chicagotribune.com/coronavirus/ct-coronavirus-blackbird-restaurant-closing-chicago-20200629-wd6vrgjm4ffejdlahihvauzhji-story.htmlOriginally published by DK on June 30, 2020 at 10:07 pm
Interesting times in the NorthlandOriginally published by DK on June 29, 2020 at 10:08 pm
Walleye and steak, Ely SteakhouseOriginally published by DK on June 29, 2020 at 12:31 am
Great! Lakes Candy CompanyOriginally published by DK on June 29, 2020 at 12:26 am
Deluxe biscuits and gravy with eggsOriginally published by DK on June 28, 2020 at 1:31 pm
la Pistola at Eastside, MinneapolisOriginally published by DK on June 27, 2020 at 6:52 pm
ThankfulOriginally published by DK on June 25, 2020 at 7:09 pm
Last visit with Armon before the adventure beginsOriginally published by DK on June 24, 2020 at 7:31 pm
Lakeside BarOriginally published by DK on June 24, 2020 at 7:26 pm
Birthday dinner outside for CKOriginally published by DK on June 23, 2020 at 9:08 pm
Brunson’s Pub patio, Saint PaulOriginally published by DK on June 23, 2020 at 1:42 pm
Mystic Steakhouse is still rockin’ it during the pandemicOriginally published by DK on June 21, 2020 at 8:31 pm
MK coming up big with breakfastOriginally published by DK on June 21, 2020 at 11:06 am
So nice to eat *at* Zantigo today for lunchOriginally published by DK on June 19, 2020 at 12:06 pm
Welcome back Steve (and crew)Originally published by DK on June 18, 2020 at 8:04 pm
Delicious lunch from a Saint Paul classicOriginally published by DK on June 17, 2020 at 12:43 pm
I hope this one is for real – lunch plans for sureOriginally published by DK on June 16, 2020 at 10:09 pm
CHS Field open for food, but not baseballOriginally published by DK on June 15, 2020 at 2:34 pm
Post-round Angry OrchardOriginally published by DK on June 12, 2020 at 12:27 pm