Archive for April, 2013

Dive Night is a semi-monthly adventure undertaken by me and Husby, along with our friends Ruthie and Ray. Each couple alternates choosing a restaurant, one which must come under the category of “dive.” Our definition of dive: a neighborhood gathering spot with a laid-back atmosphere and good food. We’ll find the interesting hang-outs in the Minneapolis/St Paul area. Casual attire required. A sip of beer or wine doesn’t hurt either.

It’s been a long time since the last Dive Night.  I guess the four of us are getting busier, so we get together when we can.  The dive was the choice of Husby and me, which took me back to my old neighborhood of over twenty years ago.  I spent some time at this place during my single days as it was only a half block away from my apartment, and when Husby and I were dating we’d stop by for a bite once in a while.  We thought it would be a good place to share with Ruthie and Ray, and really fun for me to see what’s happened to the establishment since I’ve been there last.  I present to you, Goby’s.

Goby’s has a new facade since I was there last, but the interior was pretty much the same as it was oh so many years ago.  One thing I noticed right away that hadn’t changed at all ~ one of the regulars.  A little grayer, but it was the same guy.  We were there around 6:30 on a Friday evening and the crowd was more mature, like us.  I have no idea what kind of clientele they have after the dinner hour.

A view from the front door. See that wait person toward the center of the picture? The one with the short shorts? She also had a low-cut top that was very filled out. Besides being very bodacious she was also a very good server. I’m sure the boys tipped her well. I would have too ~ she was cheerful and served our meals perfectly.

Here’s a picture of the game room. It’s located at the back of the bar/restaurant. Lots of games to choose from. Lots. There’s also a juke box that holds lots of your old-time favorites.

Goby’s is a clean place to spend an evening eating, playing, and drinking.  Husby and Ray both got a Stella Artois (if I drank beer that’s what I’d drink because it’s just so classy) but Ray didn’t think the Stella was anything spectacular.  Husby still enjoys it quite a bit.  Ruthie and I got our typical glass of wine.  And now, on with the food.  Please forgive the blurry photos.  I’m still learning how to take pictures in a dark room.

For appetizers we got a basket of deep-fried pickles (Ruthie’s favorites) and deep-fried garlic mushrooms. Both were served with a ranch dipping sauce. The mushrooms were especially good with that garlic-y flavor.

Ruthie ordered a steak sandwich with mushrooms and swiss cheese. She ordered the steak rare and that’s exactly what she got. It looked delicious. She also got a side of onion rings which looked fantastic.

Ray got a hickory burger with bacon, cheese, and a hickory barbecue sauce. He also got a big pile of fries. The buns Goby’s uses for their burgers are my favorite. They’re toasted, but are lofty and kind of squishy. I love them.

Husby had the buffalo chicken sandwich. He got it with chips, which come standard with a burger/sandwich. The chicken was moist and the buffalo sauce was just the right temperature, spicy-wise.

I got the ‘shroom burger. It was a favorite of mine a long time ago and is still as good as ever. Goby’s uses fresh mushrooms and plenty of cheese. I got a side of crinkle fries and seasoned sour cream. The sour cream was a little sweeter than I expected. It tasted more like Thousand Island dressing, but was still tasty.

The burgers are eight ounces but you can also get them as twelve ouncers.  Twelve?!  I love to eat but a burger that big would put me in a food coma for a week.  But it’s available for those with extra huge appetites.

One thing that might turn some people off is the outdoor smoking.  Smokers stand close to the door, and the day we were there the door was open, so the smoke wafted in a bit.  If that bothers you, you might want to sit toward the back of the room away from the door.

All in all, Goby’s is every bit as good as I remembered it being.  It’s a bar, there’s no doubt about that, but the food they serve is well-made and served hot out of the kitchen and our service was considerate, friendly and accurate, not to mention a perfect hottie.

Whether you go to Goby’s for an after-work cocktail, a very reasonably priced and delicious meal, or to shoot a game of pool or two, you’re sure to have a good experience.  If you doubt it, just ask the twenty-five-year veteran Goby’s patron sitting at the end of the bar.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of this very special Dive Night, which will be posted later this week. 

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It’s a good thing I decided to roll with the punches, because once I did things turned around.  Drastically.  Last Monday we had a pretty significant snow storm and this past weekend the snow was gone and we had temperatures in the 70s.  You can’t even imagine how many people were outside riding bikes, jogging, skateboarding, and wearing the skimpiest clothes they have since last August.

Another activity common to people in our neighborhood was yard work.  Nearly everyone was outside cleaning up the debris of winter, including Husby.  He was outside working before 8:00 a.m. on Saturday morning and has already made our backyard very tidy.  All we need is some green grass and we’ll be all set for summer.

Me?  I spent some more time cleaning.  I don’t have an entirely free weekend until the middle of June, so I thought I’d take advantage of this event-free weekend to get caught up with neglected tasks and also undertake some more spring cleaning projects.  Oh how I love the smell of Murphy’s Oil Soap in the spring!  I was even able to open the windows while I worked, which was a good thing because even with a nice breeze blowing through the house I lost about fifteen pounds of water weight with all the sweating I did.  Scrubbing takes a lot of work, you know.

I probably should have spent more time in Craftland pouring candles and otherwise preparing for the upcoming craft show season.  But getting the house into shape this weekend will make doing Craftland stuff more enjoyable ~ it’s hard to do something that doesn’t seem like work (pouring candles and other stuff) when you’ve got unfinished chores nagging at you.  I did enough this weekend to keep the nagging at bay, so this week I’ll be going full steam ahead in Craftland.

It’s so nice to see spring make an appearance.  I hope it decides to stick around.

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A Child’s Vision
by Alfred Noyes

Under the sweet-peas I stood
And drew deep breaths, they smelt so good.
Then, with strange enchanted eyes,
I saw them change to butterflies.

Higher than the skylark sings
I saw their fluttering crimson wings
Leave their garden-trellis bare
And fly into the upper air.

Standing in an elfin trance
Through the clouds I saw them glance….
Then I stretched my hands up high
And touched them in the distant sky.

At once the coloured wing came back
From wandering in the zodiac.
Under the sweet-peas I stood
And drew deep breaths. They smelt so good.

Sweet Pea Candle at Auntie B’s Wax

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Wordless Wednesday

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Rolling With The Punches

It’s April 23, 2013. This is a picture taken from my back yard.

I give up.

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The Ordway Theater

This weekend I went to the opera with Charlotte and our mom.  It was the perfect opportunity for me to wear my great-grandma’s mink stole.  Yes, it’s a real mink stole and please don’t throw any figurative paint on it because you think I’m being abusive to animals.  As I said, it was my great-grandma’s, so those little minks were dead long before standing up for animal rights was in vogue.

We saw Turandot, only my most favorite opera ever.  I’m a little sentimental about this opera because a long time ago I heard the aria Nessun Dorma on a rented movie and fell in love with it.  I ran the credits of the movie really slow so I could find out what that great opera piece was.  Quite a while later I saw Turandot was going to be performed at our own Ordway Theater, so Charlotte and I went.  It was the first opera I ever attended and was so wonderful I wept openly.

Ever since then Charlotte and I, along with our mom, have seen one opera every year.  For a while there were some husbands accompanying us, but they dropped out after a while.  It’s a nice girl date that gives us a chance to dress up, and afterwards we get some good girlie food.

Turandot finally returned and it was better than ever.  The set was really cool, the costumes were so bright and colorful, the orchestra was in excellent form, and the performers on stage were fabulous.  We had our girlie food too.  Mine was a bowl of mushroom wild rice soup, a focaccia roll and a very large piece of cherry almond cheesecake.

It’s nice to get a little culture once in a while.   Plus I’ll have that beautiful aria running through my head for a while.  Vincero!

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When I was in seventh grade I took Home Ec(onomics) in school.  I didn’t do so well in the sewing part of the class, but I did pretty well in the cooking part.  In fact, I did so well with making muffins that during the summer following seventh grade I entered my muffins in the county fair.  And won a blue ribbon!

I love muffins.  I mostly love muffins that are plain or have berries in them.  I won’t eat a chocolate muffin, and oaty muffins are wasted on me.  I thought I’d share my recipe for Blue Ribbon Muffins in case you like muffins as much as I do.  It’s a plain recipe, and you can add a cup of berries to the batter if you like.

First of all, grease the bottoms only of your muffin tin.  Bottoms only.  This is very important because if you grease the sides your muffins might not have a nice, rounded top.  Then, whisk together:

3 cups all-purpose flour
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup sugar

In a separate bowl mix together:

2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil

Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and fold gently until the dry mixture is completely moistened. Don’t over stir because then you’ll get air holes or “tunnels” in your muffins. The batter should be lumpy.  Spoon batter into muffin cups.  You can use paper liners if you prefer (and you wouldn’t have to grease the tin at all) but I find that makes the muffins drier than if they are baked right in the tin.

This is a good consistency for muffin batter. The wet ingredients are carefully folded so there is no dry flour in the mix, but the batter is still lumpy.

After the batter is evenly distributed between twelve muffin cups, bake in a preheated 400° F oven for about twenty minutes.  It might take longer or shorter, depending on your oven.

A perfect muffin! Nice rounded top.

Let the muffins cool for about five minutes in the pan, and then remove to cool completely.

Like I said earlier, this recipe can take a cup of berries if you want a more fruity muffin.  I like to add blueberries or raspberries when I’m in the mood.  You can mix up these muffins in the time it takes your oven to preheat, so you’ll never have the excuse of “I have no time to bake.”

These plain muffins are divine with a bit of butter.

You can also freeze the muffins for a later date.  I put them in the freezer immediately after they’re completely cool, to prevent them from drying out.  However, I don’t normally freeze them unless I’ve made two batches.  We can eat one batch of muffins pretty quickly in my house.

Who would have thought I’d still be making the muffins I made forty years ago in Home Ec class?  And why wouldn’t I?  They’re blue ribbon winners!

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