Wednesday, August 04, 2004

The Eatathon Continues

This report is going to sound like a restaurant review. Seems we did a lot of eating out over the last few weeks.
We went to another Fuddruckers hamburger "palace" but unfortunately this franchisee didn't have his act together or was just having a bad day. Nothing was good about this visit. We wont be going back, to this branch of Fuddruckers anyway.
We had found a part of town during one of our "where the hell are we" excursions when we tried to take a short cut home. Called Uptown it is near the city centre and has heaps of restaurants and bars. So we went back to do mex and indulge in another Coldstone Icecreamery experience. Walking around we found a Carribean restaurant so mex got the chop for that night. What a great place! Chilli crab cakes followed up by fish with herbs, ginger and some sort of curry rice all baked in a banana leaf in a wood fired oven and washed down with, dare i say it, chardonnay!
I just managed to fit in the ice cream later ie. a medium serve of dark chocolate mixed in with chocolate brownies, chocolate chips and chocolate fudge!!!!! Wonder why i had trouble sleeping that night?
The next night we went to a German restaurant. The Gasthof zur Gemuetlichkeit has quite a reputation in Minneapolis. It is the centre of Oktoberfest celebrations in Minnesota. The place is large but was nice, just like a proper German pub. The beer was great. Warsteiner was so fresh! We shared a 2L boot.The atmosphere was Disneyland Deutschland with a lot of pseudo Bavarian bravado. I could have killed the accordian player by the end of the evening. You can hear "Roll Out the Barrel" just so many times. The food bore little resemblance to the real thing but was passable. The main thing was we had a lot of fun.
The culinary highlight of the week and maybe the trip, so far, had to be dinner at a well known Minneapolis steakhouse.
It was fantastic.
Ruth's Chris Steakhouse is part of a huge chain of American steakhouses. Great steak! No, absolutely wonderful steak with all the fixin's and not too bad a Cabernet to go with it. The cheesecake was to die for, not to mention the chocolate cake that I managed to have a few bites of. Servings as usual were huge. They have 40oz t bone! I had the large filet which was 12 oz and 3 inches thick and cooked to perfection.
We think we might go there again for our "farewell" dinner.
This weekend we left for Sioux Falls on Saturday morning but not too early this time. We had a good run or maybe the trip seems shorter now after doing it a few times.
We did butter burgers and frozen chocolate custard at Culvers for lunch and then headed for Trent. From there we went out to dinner with some friends to a Chinese BBQ. You select all sorts of self serve meats, seafood, noodles, vegetables and sauces which they cook on a huge hot plate. It was really nice although I overdid the chilli a bit. My use of chopsticks seemed to be a novelty for the table. Then we went back to their place for more of a chat while we watched the storms roll on by. It was really loud and lightning was everywhere. There were tornado warnings but nothing happened, so we made a run for it inbetween the downpours.
I have mentioned before going into decision crises brought on by the list of specials and salad dressings at restaurants etc., not to mention the vast selection of goods at supermarkets. You would have thought you would be safe at a car wash.
Not so!
We got confronted by the attendant with a long list of wash options not to mention an equally long list of the car deodorants available, from cinnamon to vanilla. The latter broke me up.
That night around 2am more storms hit Trent. It was like being in a war. Great claps of thunder and continuous lightning with lots of wind. Hardly any rain though. We had to get up and turn on the TV to check out the tornado alerts but there was nothing. There were a heap of branches down next morning.
On Monday we drove back to Minneapolis, stopping at a huge sporting goods and clothes store, Cabelas, on the way. I bought some new pants and a few shirts. For some reason my current wardrobe doesn't seem to fit as well as it did in Australia. Must be the laundry detergent here.
Other than the above, the main action here has been the Democratic Party Convention and the nomination of John Kerry as presidential candidate. The event was given wall to wall media coverage. Hopefully our election campaigns never get to this level of hoopla but I have a feeling we are already heading that way. However I did like delegates' orchestrated hysteria not to mention the balloon and confetti finale. There seems to be an unhealthy concentration on the personality and background of the candidates and their wives rather than on the policies but guess we are into that as well these days. No one is willing to call the result in November with it split right down the middle. I noticed there was no heckling at the public meetings of either Bush or Kerry. Apparently it is not the done thing, being a manners' issue. You can degrade, defame and humiliate politicians in the media, impeach them on trumped up charges and even assassinate them, just don't yell at them at public meetings.
We went to the local wine shop's wine sale. The place was a madhouse. Cart, sorry, trolley rage was just bubbling below the surface. Who says wine is not popular in the USA? Lots of bargains.....but not enough time to drink them all. I bought Australian Rieslings (CHEAP!), Kiwi Sauvignon Blancs, some generic Bordeaux and some Loire Valley wines, Pouilly Fume and Sancerre. The latter are completely different to the New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs and not to my taste. I must be a French wine philistine!
Another thing I have found to be different here is the postal service. Post office shops are in supermarkets and are open 8am - 9pm every day. There are even mail deliveries on Saturday!!!! You can leave your stamped mail in your mail box to be picked up rather than making a trip to the post office (so that's what that little flag on the post boxes is for).
I also found out that health insurance can cost up to $US9000 a year, so no more whinges about Medibank or MBF!!!!!

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