Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Posts Tagged ‘restaurants

Out Again

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Feeling quite the bon vivant event-goers of late, last night we found ourselves out on the town again. We took a chance with our chickens and left their coop access door open long after dark in order to head downtown to Minneapolis for dinner and a concert with Cyndie’s brother, Ben.

Highest accolades shout-out to Mercy restaurant for superb food, great service, and fine ambiance.

Oh my gosh, the salmon and fixings were sublime. Shared bites from Cyndie’s and Ben’s plates revealed their choices were just as good.

Conveniently, the restaurant was just steps away from the State Theater where Ben had tickets for a solo acoustic concert by guitarist, Trey Anastasio. I am most familiar with Trey’s electric guitar artistry on his self-titled album, but I’m sure he is better known for his role in the rock band, Phish.

I’ve seen plenty of performances that were advertised as “acoustic” but stretched the definition to a variety of degrees. Trey’s show held reasonably close to the genre.

Our seats in the balcony placed me appropriately between two levels of interested fans. There were two guys behind me who I assume came with dates who were in love with the guitarist. These guys decided to have a full-voiced conversation about the mundane, …about one of their dads, something down in a basement, how the truck was performing… in the middle of some fascinating finger movement across frets.

Two people in front of us were being moved to the highest levels of euphoria upon hearing the opening notes of every song, unable to keep their hands from floating into the air in joyous rapture, occasionally rising to their feet to dance, as if powerless to resist the bliss unleashed by the connection their minds provided to the Phish song Trey was acoustically covering.

I couldn’t join the Phish faithful in singing along, because I didn’t know the lyrics, but I was thrilled to be witnessing the live-performance virtuosity of such an accomplished musician.

It made it easy for me to overcome the urge to turn around to tell the guys about my deck and the power tools I was learning to use in replacing all the rotting cedar boards with new green-treated two-by-sixes.

As our car barreled east on I94 through St. Paul after the show, a call came in from Ben. He just wanted to let us know he was a few blocks from home already and wondered how we were doing. Funny guy. We had about 40-minutes left to get to Beldenville.

Happily, I found the chickens all safe and sound on their roost, cooing at my arrival to close the door.

Another smashing success of a night out on the town. Thanks, Ben!

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Fine Dining

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We went out to dinner last night with Mike and Barb who spent the night so they could give us a hand finishing the board replacement project on our deck today. Dinner was at our local favorite destination restaurant, Shady Grove. It’s about two minutes away from our house in a structure that looks like it used to be a house, though serving food as good as the fanciest downtown restaurants in Minneapolis.

The difference is in the extraordinary flavors. That is what sets each bite apart from what we typically experience eating out at most other comparable restaurants. A simple dinner salad comes alive with any one of their custom-made dressings providing a notable accent. I chose honey-mustard and was greatly rewarded.

Maybe the secret is in the sauce because our fun appetizer guilty pleasure of deep-fried Ellsworth cheese curds came with a surprise cup of sweet/hot chipotle sauce for dipping and that definitely took things to another level of goodness.

Even the fresh-baked rolls seemed to be graced with an extra flavor beyond just bread.

Maybe I was just that hungry.

The second I got home from work, I went out on the deck to make sure the last few old boards were pried up and nails removed in order to be as ready as possible to maximize progress today. I built an appetite before Mike and Barb arrived.

For my entrée, I chose the fish fry with a side of wild rice blend with dried cranberries. I like my fish mild, so the filets I enjoyed were more for the texture than flavor, and it was perfect in that regard. The rice blend, however, was irresistibly flavorful and that had me gobbling it up like I hadn’t eaten in weeks.

Regretfully, I was so taken by the nirvana of my eating experience that I forgot to take a picture of the meal. It would have complimented this post nicely. I was so busy living in the moment that I didn’t think to capture a shot in order to revisit it later.

I don’t think it would be smart to eat such good food every night, for fear it would become mundane and my senses dulled to the splendor.

Fine dining is fine because it is not just everyday food. If we ate this well too often, the experience would become ho-hum.

Last night was truly fine.

Here’s hoping today’s deck progress will be comparably fine. Looks like we are going to have weather that qualifies for that descriptor: fine. That is, as in, highest quality.

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Written by johnwhays

October 18, 2019 at 6:00 am

Still Ely

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Having a day off in the middle of our week of riding is a nice change of pace. Unfortunately, it wreaks havoc on the organization system I had established for keeping track of things in my duffel bag.

Yesterday was a chance to sleep in, pick our own restaurants for meals, and shop Ely.

After an early hike to get coffee with Laura, which scored me a chai, a larger gang formed for breakfast at Insula restaurant.

Breakfast salad was my choice and I was not disappointed. Poached eggs and smoked salmon! Mmm. It was delicious and just what I wanted.

Look at that morsel of blue sky!

We shopped the main drag and I got to visit my two favorite outdoor gear retailers: Wintergreen and Steger Mukluks.

One of our riders from California, Bob Murin, paints watercolors and I came upon him mid-picture.

In the afternoon, we visited the International Wolf Center and were lucky to spot the four males that made an appearance right before we left, three of whom are visible sprawled out in the image I captured.

It was all good, but paled in comparison to the social-hour surprise we got in the park where we tented.

An Ely cake baker, Susan Laine, showed up with a treat she baked to welcome us!

That is love, I tell ya.

 

 

Written by johnwhays

June 19, 2019 at 6:00 am

Shopping Dining

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Yeah. Remember that thought I tossed out before we left, about considering posting one picture to portray each of our days. Never mind that.

Yesterday, we shopped the Miromar Outlet mall.

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In the evening, we dined at Divieto Ristorante.

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In between, we snuck in a little swim.

Rinse. Repeat.

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Written by johnwhays

January 23, 2019 at 7:00 am

Florida Chill

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The morning was cold enough that there were wisps of evaporating moisture rising from the heated pool. I enjoyed a swim to start my day, despite temperatures in the 40s (F).

Yesterday was Fred’s actual birthday, so we updated the chalkboard sign in the kitchen.

Fred was off braving the chill to get in a round of golf, so the rest of us went on an expedition to visit Farmer Mike’s U-Pick flower and produce operation.

On the way home from the farm, we stopped for some nourishment at Dolly’s Produce Patch and Eatery. It was a little early for lunch, thus our choices ranged from Blueberry Scone, to a slice of Key Lime Pie, to my cup of freshly homemade Cream of Broccoli Soup.

The soup was divine.

The bulk of the afternoon was filled with reading and a nap in the sun, and then preparing for the grand finale of the day.

Birthday dinner for Fred would be at Real Seafood restaurant in Naples. It carried on the theme of divine food. I honestly intended to take a picture, but was so immersed in the experience, taking a picture never crossed my mind.

We were extremely well fed in every way.

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Written by johnwhays

January 22, 2019 at 7:00 am

All About

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Cyndie. This Weekend, it’s all about Cyndie as we celebrate the milestone of her 60th birthday. With Jackie tending to animal chores at Wintervale, Cyndie and I are submersed in the loving energy –and I do mean energy– of the Friswold family. We are staying at her parent’s house in Edina, MN, but have twice in a row found our way to downtown Minneapolis.

Last night, it was dinner and music at the Dakota, where we ate like royalty and swooned over Shawn Colvin‘s very personal solo guitar song performance.

This morning, Cyndie is sleeping in. My brain is busy trying to process the onslaught of activity, memories, and emotions –not to mention distractions of mental and physical preparations for my biking and camping trip that starts on Friday– conspiring to confuse me over whether it’s all about Cyndie, or all about me right now.

I had the great pleasure of starting the day yesterday riding bikes with Cyndie’s brother, Ben. He rode over from about a mile away just as a rumble of thunder rolled over us.

We took pause inside to watch the radar long enough to see we would have a perfect window of opportunity after a very short wait. The tiny disturbance sliding south of us was just a precursor to the precipitation that would arrive in the middle of the day and hang around for the afternoon.

While the sky was watering the earth, more of the Friswold clan gathered for lunch at Jimmy’s restaurant near our old Eden Prairie stomping grounds.

After a little nap before heading out for the night, attention turned to a gift brother Barry presented to Cyndie. Her jaw dropped when she saw her younger face on the cover of a memory book of pictures he had spent many loving hours to produce.

Just as she finished a first pass through the overwhelming collection of memories the images trigger, we stood to witness Justify run for the triple crown. Then eleven of us headed out for dinner and the concert.

With noted local musician and song-a-day YouTuber, Zachary Scot Johnson opening the show for Shawn Colvin, we were treated to a range of guitar-accompanied stories, providing me with a second recent prompt to wonder whether I am still a guitar player, or not.

A variety of reasons have combined to allow months to pass without my spending time with fingers on frets. I am inclined to blame my yet-to-be surgically treated arthritic left thumb as the primary culprit for the hiatus, but deep down, I have a sense I may be giving that more credit than is due.

Somehow, while distracted with too many of my own concerns rarely focused on accomplishments, I have been granted the chance to flutter around the bright light that is Cyndie for 44-some years.

It makes for a tangled web that isn’t so much all about her or me in the end. It really has become all about us.

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Written by johnwhays

June 10, 2018 at 8:35 am

Core Four

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Well, I’m glad that’s finally over. We got all that crazy birthday celebrating out of the way for Cyndie yesterday with a dinner out for the core four –us and our two adult children. That takes care of that for another year.

Oh, have you met Cyndie’s family of origin? Last night was far from the end of birthday festivities for her. There still remains almost a week of planned events, including family coming in from out-of-town, more dinners out, music and dinner at the Dakota downtown, a dinner in, and who knows what else they have yet to reveal.

Yesterday, Cyndie treated herself to a spa/massage session in the morning and topped off her day with the core four dinner at the very trendy “Young Joni” restaurant in North Minneapolis. It was too popular to get an open reservation, so we settled on sitting at the bar to eat.

I would say the popularity is deserved. We had an excellent experience.

After we got home, we learned the restaurant was a product of our friend Mike Wilkus’ architectural firm. No wonder it felt so comfortable to us.

While walking Delilah when I got home, I remembered to tend to a tree that caught my attention when touring the property on Sunday with the DNR Forester.

Don’t be this guy: Five years ago we had a wicked spring snowstorm that dropped 18 inches of snow on the 2nd/3rd of May. Many trees were damaged. To save one pine, I tied a rope to secure it to another tree to keep it from tipping all the way over. Then I forgot about. For five years.

In an attempt to save the tree, I girdled it by neglecting to check and adjust the support.

Oops.

Never mind.

That’s not what I meant to do.

At least the birds appear to be getting something out of the tree, but I guarantee you, they are not getting anything close to the fine cuisine the four of us enjoyed for Cyndie’s birthday dinner last night.

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Written by johnwhays

June 5, 2018 at 6:00 am