Archive for January, 2012

Winter Restaurant Rant

Sunday, January 29th, 2012

I really appreciate the great effort it takes to run a restaurant from finding a good location to gathering all the tools and furniture and appliances, lights and utilities, rest rooms, floors, parking area and maintenance of the aforementioned.

I really appreciate the knowledge and temperament that a restauranteur and staff require to welcome the public into
a particular space for a particular purpose. I really do.

But I miss one or three things very badly. I miss booths and music and good lighting.

Now, I know that music is hard to come by because the music distributors have a hold on the pockets of everyone who wants to hear previously recorded music and the licensing cost each year runs in the thousands of dollars. But, I do see on the Internet there are alternatives.

And I miss booths. I miss the wall, the soft seating and back support. I miss the corner to stuff my purse,
coat and gloves in without falling out one side. I miss the seclusion and the ability to look out as well. I miss booths.
I know they are expensive. But hard wooden chairs hurt my boney butt. And my gloves slide off the chair next to me. I can see everyone and everyone can see me. Why, their chairs can touch my chair!

The other thing people are not paying much attention to is lighting. No one wants to appear less good looking than they really are and nothing can undo a day at the spa better than bad lighting. But, you need to put enough light on the food so people can see what you are trying to get them to eat. Take soft lighting and spread it around evenly.

Oh, yeah and I almost forgot. I love the vase and little flowers, even if they are silk flowers, though one real one is kinda nice.

Many thanks to the folks who do provide us with the nice amenities that make eating out such a delight! As for the rest of you, get a clue, many of us can cook pretty well at home, so it’s not just about the food, it’s about the atmosphere and being well served during a nice break in routine.

The RailHouse Grill Again

Sunday, January 29th, 2012

We had a great pizza, gyros and pulled pork sandwich with super cole slaw. But today, I want to talk about the French fries…or whatever you call these beautifully created morsels of heavenly light batter and flavor. The bbq sauce is also great because it is sweet and has a hint of perfume to it that left me lingering over my happy experience even as the big trains rolled a few yards from our table.

When in Lake City, check them out at
800 West Lyon Ave. Lake City, MN 55041. 651-345-5762.

Grumpy’s Slippery’s Is Back Again

Sunday, January 29th, 2012

Looks like some previous owners have re-opened Slippery’s. I haven’t been there yet, but there will be a Grumpy Old Man’s dip into the river on February 25 at 3PM. Check it out at 10 Church Avenue Wabasha, MN 55981-1214
(651) 565-4748 not sure of the phone number right now though.

blacked out wikipedia

Wednesday, January 18th, 2012

Wikipedia is blacked out for a day…trying to send a message to congress to leave our free internet info alone!
Write your congressman right away, people! don’t let them keep knowledge away from us…it’s our internet, not theirs! Pass this on, please.

O O Looks Like Pan Pan Has Closed Closed

Monday, January 16th, 2012

Sorry to hear that Pan Pan on Division Street in Northfield has closed. Good luck!

My Mentors

Thursday, January 12th, 2012

January 11 is National Mentor Day, as I was reminded by Griff Wigley of Locally Grown Northfield. Growing up I rarely saw my parents for more than a few moments at a time, they were so busy working. However, I did have two neighbors who were very civic minded, and childless. They owned a small department store, complete with a US Post Office, lovable Cocker Spaniel and large garden. We lived above the store and shared in the garden and a lovable dog, at least I did during the time that I was 5 through 11 years old.

Stephanie and Gustav Breslauer taught me so many things that I still keep with me today. Gus had a fantastic sense of humor and would often make jokes and puns. I would always laugh with him. He taught me how to load a coal furnace! But more than that, Gus was big on charities and charitable organizations like the Kiwanis Club. We would go out and sell peanuts on the corner of the streets in Chicago. We’d find a busy street corner and stay out all day. We sold red fabric poppies on Memorial Day and if there was a disease that needed research funding, we went door to door and collected for it.

I treasure those memories, as people were so kind and giving and really helped to make us feel good about what we were doing. The Kiwanis Club had a special dinner and show every year to thank the volunteers who sold peanuts and did so many other things for handicap children. Each year they had a really good magician who would involve kids from the audience. I’ll never forget the year they invited me up to help with a card trick. My first introduction to public speaking. Thank you, Gus. Your lessons served me well.

Stephanie, or Stevie as she was called, taught me many things about gardening. Every good weather Sunday she would be out there weeding, planting and fixing up. She gave me jobs like gathering seeds from the 4 o’clocks, watching for birds and smelling the flowers. She told me how seeds that she didn’t plant got into her garden. Then, I got to skate through the garden all day long. I still garden in my home and I don’t think I will ever quit enjoying nature and growing plants.

My dear mentor also taught me about knitting, crocheting, color coordination, collecting, and painting. Stevie used to crochet beautiful afghans and raffle them off at the church for the school funds. Everyone who knew coveted those afghans all year long. She would never sell them. She made them while the store was quiet and her other work was done.
The church would make ten thousand dollars or more and back then, that was a lot of dough. She let me help with turn the yarn skeins into balls. I also used to straighten out the considerable thread drawers making sure each color variation was in it’s proper place. Whenever I knew there was work for me, I couldn’t wait to get started. These activities honed my hand eye coordination and sense of accomplishment, unbeknownst to me at the time.

Stevie’s garden was surrounded by high walls of neighboring grocery store buildings on two sides and a multi car garage, one level on the third side and our department store/apartment building on the fourth…we were in Chicago…so Stevie decided she would rather look at her own creations rather than the brick walls, so she painting beach scenes. They were fun and flowing and the colors were bright and cheery and she taught me to think out of the box with all her beautiful art.

To this very day, I knit, crochet, paint, and think outside that box. I think Stevie is certainly one of the most beautiful beings I have ever known. Quiet as she was, she taught me the basics of so much of what I do today.
Thank you, Stevie, up in heaven, thank you.

There’s so much more to this story. Maybe I’ll get to that book someday.

But know that if you have any life skills at all, and a real caring for people, I would highly recommend mentoring a child or anyone who could use life skills. Of course, do the background checks for your own safety.

Eagles, Not the Football Team

Wednesday, January 4th, 2012

Searching around the Internet can be somewhat frustrating at times when so many things are named for things that they are not. But, let’s not get into that right now. My focus is on an old problem with an old solution that was brought to my attention by a recent WCCO newscast. but still, our country’s incredibly beautiful and wonderful eagles are still being sickened and killed by highly toxic lead shot and lead bullets.

Lead is toxic and the effect on eagles is a painful and drawn out death. We took lead out of our paint because it was killing kids. Let’s take it out of our guns when hunting deer and other animals. Many states have laws that require the use of copper or other non-toxic ammunition and many people around here volunteer to do so because they know it makes their families safer, too, when they eat the game they shoot. Although it may be more expensive, it will certainly go along way to make up for the damage caused by lead.

The warmer season we are having this year only aggravates the situation as the deer entrails containing the lead left by hunters are more visible to eagles and others and therefore more accessible and visible as food.

If you are a hunter or know of one, please pass the information on and let’s reduce the number of eagles dying each year.
It’s bad enough they have to contend with harsh weather, other predators and vehicles. Give our eagles a break and take lead out of the equation.

If you google, “non toxic bullets deer hunting”, you will see dozens of articles that talk about this subject at length.

Also, please visit the eagles at the National Eagle Center in Wabasha, MN. A beautiful building and museum right on the Mississippi River.