Featuring personal photos of the Lake Minnetonka Area and things of interest to the author.
Thursday, March 30, 2006
Wednesday, March 29, 2006
The Snow Is Out
I win. I out waited the last snowstorm without shoveling (much) , and now the snow has melted from my driveway. My VW was only hung up once on the pile at the end of the driveway where the snowplower's "hump" resides.
Tuesday, March 28, 2006
A burst of Spring color
Sunday, March 26, 2006
Chowder and lobster
My wife Shelly and I arrived at The Blue Point Oyster bar prepared to eat quality seafood. The Blue Point in Wayzata is one of the most well known seafood restaurants in the Twin Cities. We always order simple, and expect quality.
I was slightly ornery.... I am always slightly ornery. Crummy gray weather, and snow in late March. So I ordered the staple comfort food of every seafood bistro - new England Clam Chowder. I said "this better be good" or I will have their heads! Well, it was. Creamy, clam flavored and filled with the signature ingredient of a chowder - potatoes. Yes folks, if it is creamy and has pototoes, it is a chowder. It was a sweet buttery clam broth with a hint of spice, but only a few clams..... but that is not why one orders a chowder. It is Potatoes! (Served with those little salty round crackers).
Needless to say the Blue Point did seafood right, at your usual substantial price. Shelly had (live) lobster and I had broiled scallops with garlic mashed potatoes. It was teriific, and it brought to mind a few of my favorite food facts. I have many more.
1. Blue cheese is from cows milk, roquefort is from goats milk. God knows, I love them both.
2. Drawn butter and clarified butter have milk solids removed. Melted butter is melted butter.
3. The oldest grain domesticated is barley, and has been the food of the common man for thousands of years.
4. Potatoes and tomatoes - new world fare. How did Russians make Vodka before this time?
Pizza, don't even think about it.
5. Pasta was invented by someone. Chinese, Italian, or Middle Eastern? Whomever, we all thank you.
Finally this bit on Catsup from The Science of Cooking Web Site:
In the 1600s, traders brought a condiment idea back from China, the affluent classes there commonly served dishes with the rich brines from pickled walnuts and mushrooms and fish. Eventually, the Brits began bottling these succulent condiments, calling them catsup.
Colonial Americans borrowed and tinkered with British catsup recipes, trying different vegetables and spices. At first, these catsups were usually tart, and also made with mushrooms and walnuts—in contrast to the sweetened tomato varieties available today at your local supermarket. But around the mid-nineteenth century, entrepreneurs exploited the American taste for sweet foods and sold catsup made with tomatoes, vinegar, sugar, cinnamon, cayenne, and salt. The growing popularity and availability of tomato catsup took off in the 1870s when the young Heinz company added a sweet tomato ketchup to its condiment line.
Thursday, March 23, 2006
The Roots of Minnetonka - Ginseng
My fascination with the very early settlers around Lake Minnetonka led me to an odd bit of information.
This from the History of Wayzata, but similar scenarios took place in Deephaven and other towns around the lake:
"In 1855, Wayzata had an influx of settlers who built a sawmill, a hotel and
a blacksmith shop. Most early settlers made their living off the land,
first by clear cutting the trees to grow corn and wheat. In 1857, this
flourishing economy was nearly terminated by a grasshopper plague. But then
ginseng was discovered in the remaining hard wood forest which had been left
standing, these trees being too great a distance from the lake to float down
stream to the sawmill. Ginseng's root was in great demand as a aphrodisiac
in the Orient, and after the eastern forests had been depleted, Wayzata
became a collection center for the roots discovered around the lake. Ginseng
saved the town.'
To my surprize the discovery of Ginseng was akin to a mini gold rush for the Lake Minnetonka, farmers became very
wealthy on it and for years it was exported by the ton at very high prices to China.
Monday, March 20, 2006
1991. When we brought Mardi home from the breeder she weighed about 3 or 4 pounds. To my estimation she was just one big peering eyeball. Well, somehow, in our brand new house (an old house, but brand new for us) with an acre of heavy woods Mardi ran off and hid. She did not know what was going on, or perhaps she was just being playful. Anyways, we could not find our brand new doggie.
We were beside ourselves with panic. The woods were dark and heavily grown with foliage... how do you find a tiny black poodle in those woods? - Well you don’t. She finds you.
After a panic stricken 30 minutes of searching I noticed a single, peering eyeball among the dark green hosta. It was Mardi.
She was never lost again, until now.
Saturday, March 18, 2006
Our oldest dog, Mardi, has passed on.
Friday, March 17, 2006
Fast food stories for Friday
The car burst through the front of the Burger King plate glass window. The acne speckled trainee was shocked and looked directly at the car's driver, who was leaning out the driver's side window. "What are you doing?' He asked the driver.
The driver replied: "The sign said - Drive through window!"
Clowns and Food
Ronald Mc Donald rests eerily by the Golden Arches. He sits on a bench, and there is room for you to join him! Is there any question that Ronald is carnivorous? This meat eating clown has sharp canines to rip and shred... not so the European clown. That drawn and pale figure you see is the gentle mime. He is searching for brocolli outside his invisible cube. He is so weak cannot talk, and walking into the wind takes all the strength he can muster.
Thursday, March 16, 2006
Wednesday, March 15, 2006
Monday morning snowfall
Monday, March 13, 2006
March is the snowiest month in Minnesota. I drove to work today and, for the first time in many years, I assumed blizzard driving tactics. Fist gear, neutral, slide to the right out of the grooves, guide myself back, Contemplate sideroads. All to the gentle drone of Public Radio.
It wasn't that bad, but it seems that Metro Bus drivers had a lot of difficulty. Sideways is more that just a movie. The 394 Express lane prices were $4.75 in an express lane that was a foot deep in snow. Big bonus.
Friday, March 10, 2006
6:15 Friday, a familiar spot.
Tuesday, March 07, 2006
Kirby Puckett's Mortal Flaw - Acute Angle Closure Glaucoma
Readers of this blog may already know that the I have glaucoma, but not the acute type that ended Kirby Pucket's career. Mine is much slower, indeed its progression is almost unnoticable to me. Yet for an artist, just like Kirby Puckett's Acute version, it is a very grave physical flaw. For Kirby, it precipitated his disintegration which eventually lead to his downfall.
It is quite Shakespearean. Kirby Puckett, A noble character, admired and beloved by almost everyone was born with a tragic flaw. One that was eventually triggered by a physical one. - Kirby's flaw was that he loved to play baseball, and that he he lived with a tremendous appetite for fun and fame. Glaucoma took the spotlight away from him very early in his All Star, Hall Of Fame Career. He lost his vision at the age of 35. Blinded and out of the spotlight he turned to self destructive behavior and eventually isolation, then death.
I will always remember the 1987 World Series. The disbelieving cheers. - Minnesota (you pick the sport) had never won a major sports title. No, Minnesotans had almost resigned themselves to "The Big Letdown". Kirby, at his finest just could not let that happen, and with his all out exhuberance he gave everyone a new outlook.
10 time All Star in his 12 years of play, here is a reminder that money did not buy him happiness:
1985 Minnesota Twins $130,000
1986 Minnesota Twins $255,000
1987 Minnesota Twins $465,000
1988 Minnesota Twins $1,090,000
1989 Minnesota Twins $2,000,000
1990 Minnesota Twins $2,816,667
1991 Minnesota Twins $3,166,667
1992 Minnesota Twins $2,966,667
1993 Minnesota Twins $5,300,000
1994 Minnesota Twins $5,300,000
1995 Minnesota Twins $6,300,000
1996 Minnesota Twins $6,200,000
1997 Minnesota Twins $7,200,000
Career (may be incomplete) $43,190,001
Saturday, March 04, 2006
The Loon Overthrows the Goldfinch in a Coo
I remember watcthing the colorful yellow Goldfinch (Eastern) as it darted through the rose bushes as a child. I never saw many, but I knew from the World Book Encyclopedia that they were the Minnesota State Bird. It maintained this unofficial status until it was overthrown in a round of the 1961 Minnesota State Legislature. They decided the Goldfinch was too common (indeed it is the Iowa state Bird today) and was replaced by the eccentric Loon as the official State Bird. The Loon's most prominent usage is on Automobile Licence Plates and on the Minnesota Lottery Tickets.
Pictured is one of 3 Lottery Tickets I puchased the first week of the Minnesota State Lottery, and never scratched off. They remain a mystery to this day almost 20 years later. They are the only tickets I have ever bought. I do make and eat wild rice soup, the official Minnesota State Soup -really!