Reetsy's Thanksgiving Allegory

My Thanksgiving Allegory:

As a graduate student, I am the potato the week before Thanksgiving. The potato masher is finals.

As you can see from my allegory, Thanksgiving is not for graduate students....or undergrads for that matter.

As Thanksgiving approaches, many non-students anticipate 4-5 days traveling and eating Thanksgiving food stuffs with family and friends, which seems stellar to me for two reasons: I like eating Thanksgiving food stuffs. I like my family and friends.

Why, then, is Thanksgiving a pain in my rump roast? FINALS.

While everyone else is eating leftovers, drinking old fashioneds. and watching the Peanuts Thanksgiving special, I'll be sitting with laptop on lap, trying to write an evaluation of the fiscal condition of some municipality in some state that is worth 50% of my final grade, probably realizing I've left a valuable document, book, or flash drive at home. At this point, I will ask for an old fashioned.

While aunts and mothers go shopping, I'll be frantically pounding out emails to absent-minded group members attempting to finalize a group project that has become, at this point, the bane of my existence. At this point, I will ask for an old fashioned.

While sisters and brothers are busy making plans for the Christmas holiday, I'll be realizing that I have no time to do any planning - or laundry, for that matter - until December 21st. At this point, I will ask for an old fashioned.

I'm noticing now that this might imply that I'm not thankful for the thanking holiday, which just isn't the case.

Thank you, Thanksgiving for giving me a chance to chow down with family and friends.

I promise to gleefully participate in the festivities once I'm done with grad school. And when I do graduate and am able to participate with cheer, I will ask for an old fashioned.

[where: 55406]

HOLD ON 4.....a YouTube Hero Emerges


Evergreen Chinese: Dumplings for Lovers

Some people crave steak. Some people crave wings. Some people crave chocolate.

Me? I crave dumplings.

I pine for dumplings from every corner of every culture. Pierogi, gnochhi, jiaozi, momos, gyōza, matzah balls, and even plain ol chicken n' dumplins - I crave them all without prejudice.

With Asian dumplings on the brain on a damp November evening, we contemplated Jun Bo or Tanpopo, but we instead headed to Evergreen Chinese, a Taiwanese spot recommended by Andrew Zimmern for its jiaozi (potstickers). Located in a lower level, beneath a flower shop on eat sreet, Evergreen is understated in appearance. There ain't nothing fancy about this joint. For the most part, it seems they devote their energy to the food.

A server wearing a sweatshirt, sneakers, and jeans brought us some hot tea, and dropped off the menus. Most of the entrees fell at, or below, $10.

We started the meal with some boiled peanuts and potstickers.

Cold boiled peanuts are strange and savory and good. They're especially good with hot tea. Gerg looks wary in the photograph, but that had more to do with our conversation than the peanuts.

You might notice there are no photos of the potstickers. We ate all the potstickers before I realized I forgot to take a photo. Why did we scarf them down so quickly, you ask? Because they were SUPER tasty. Tender, juicy, and perfectly browned on the bottom, they are an on point dumpling. I feel strange about the fact that I didn't take a photo of my favorite part of the meal. However, my date was a fox, and I got distracted. SO THERE.

For our entrees, gerg ordered the moo shu pork and I ordered the three cup tofu.

The moo shu pork was a combo of shredded pork with cabbage, carrots, mushrooms, eggs, and green onions, served with two pancakes, which were more like crepes. A red squeeze bottle of hoisin sauce accompanied the entree to the table. The green onion was nice and crisp. The pork was tender. The portion was ample, to the extent that some of it fell off of the plate.

The three cup tofu is kind of amazing. It's fried tofu served up with heaps of garlic, basil, and ginger, in a sauce made with soy sauce, sesame oil, and cooking wine. I added a little hoisin sauce just because, but that was unnecessary. Looking for a flavor explosion? Try the three cup tofu. The tofu was fried tofu- nothing rad, or anything, but the SAUCE was.....WIN.

Oh, and for the vegetarians out there, Evergreen Chinese has more mock meats than, well, any other place I've been to in Minneapolis - mock chicken, mock pork, mock beef, mock duck, mock shrimp, and mock squid. That's some serious mockiness. You can even have the potstickers made with mock meat. Lucky you!

Our bill for the evening was about $28. I'll need to head back to try the steamed dumplings, steamed buns, and the sauteed eggplant.

PS - In addition to accepting any and all items from the Swiss Colony catalog, I am now accepting dumplings as gifts.

[where: 55406]

Reetsyburger's Cheeseyburger Date

Recently, Gerg and I headed out on a cheeseburger day date on a not-so-nice day in November. We were inspired by Dara Moskowitz's article, "Burger Kings," published in Minnesota Monthly magazine.

CHEESEBURGER DAY DATE??? Indeed! The cheeseburger day date was contrived as a response to the leaves being too frozen rake. "We can't rake?? Let's eat cheeseburgers! "

Our plan: to patronize two of Dara's destination recommendations, and to split a burger at each of those two venues, thereby increasing our intake of burger options and venues in one fell swoop. Indeed, we killed two burgers with one stone.

To prepare for our date, I engaged in an hour-long morning workout, and consumed a glass of white wine for breakfast. By 1pm, we were out the door, dreaming about cheeseburgers for lunch.

We selected two stops: King's Place in Miesville, MN and the House of Coates in Coates, MN.

We headed to the King's Place first. King's Place ain't fancy - just simply decorated with beer signs and a Hamm's bear statue from March 2007. Starving, we grabbed two stools at the bar, ordered a tall glass of Hamm's and started to peruse their burger menu.

They offer more than 35 types of burgers at King's Place, including the Triple Play Burger topped with bacon, cheddar, swiss, pepper-jack, green olives, and sour cream. They also have one of those Goober Burgers with peanut butter and mayo on it. We decided to split the most frequently ordered King Burger. Two gals in a very tiny kitchen cranked our burger out in no time. Also, they wore leg weights.

Behold, the King Burger.

The King Burger at the King's Place is awesomely tasty. Nicely seasoned, very juicy, tender, slightly charred, the beef burger was topped with grilled onions, American cheese, mushrooms, and bacon. The bun was buttery and barely there - napkins were definitely in order. The grilled onions practically melted. We both agreed we really liked this burger. We agree with Dara; this burger has inherent awesomeness. "Devourable" is the perfect word to describe this burger. After we finished it, gerg wanted to order another. However, we knew we had another burger awaiting us in Coates, MN.

After about 15 minutes, we arrived at the House of Coates, in the middle of nowhere, still hungry enough to split another burger. The House of Coates' decor consists of plywood booths, rafters leading to nowhere, bar stools, and a pull tab booth. I ordered a Summit IPA, and gerg, being a pepper, ordered a Dr. Pepper.

Their menu offers a handful of burgers - the most strange being a "Vegemite" burger, which is a burger topped with cheese and vegetables such as cauliflower and broccoli. We opted for their house favorite, the Swanee Burger.

The Swanee Burger is served with American cheese, onion, and bacon, with a pickle on the side. The beef was a tad dry. The grilled onions were tender and buttery. The bun was big. I would have preferred a less substantial bun, and a rarer burger. It was a filling burger, and worth it, for the price. I think we were the only non-regulars in the joint.

Overall, the cheeseburger day date was a success. Two burgers were split. One was awesome. One was decent. And with a $100 pull tab win, the date paid for itself.

We are in the process of developing justifications for a drive back Miesville. We're eager to go back and try some of King's Place's more wacky combinations. We raved about the King Burger while we were eating it. We raved about it as we finished our Hamm's and played pull tabs. We're still raving about it today.

[where: 55406]

Preparing Myself for Owning Uggs

I'm SO over having cold feet in the winter. I'm SO over it.
I can barely bear the thought of having cold feet again this winter.

So I did it.

In a stylistically nightmarish move, I bought a pair of boots that are ugly and cozy.

I went with the short ones because I thought they were less ugly than the tall ones.

Will I rokk them outside of the house? Not sure.
Will I rokk them inside the house and smile about having warm feet? You betcha!

[where: 55406]

The Great Wasp Nest Snafu

On a sunny autumn afternoon, after all the leaves fell off our trees, we noticed a big wasp nest in the birch tree.

I suggested that we knock it down from the tree, since the frost had already come and gone, and the wasps had vacated the nest. Gerg climbed the tree, and shook the branch with might. The wasp nest did not budge. Next, we attempted lobbing several items at the nest. Gerg was able to secure a solid hit with a red, rubber dog toy, and we cheered. If you look closely, you can see the object flying through the air, just above the higher power line.

However, while it was, indeed, a most palpable hit, the nest did not fall. Rather, the dog toy became lodged in the wasp nest, as evidenced in this photo. Other attempts to knock down the nest and the toy were fruitless. Soon it became dark, and we suspended our efforts for the evening with the wasp nest and dog toy still stuck in the tree.

On a cool autumn evening, our dog gave me dirty looks all night.

[where: 55406]