Monday, September 20, 2010

Weekend Wanderings - End O' Summer

I realized last week that it had been awhile since I'd published a post that wasn't driven by current events in the world and it's politics, so for Monday, we'll dust off the ol' "Weekend Wanderings" franchise for a brief summer's end meandering.

Saturday dawned with meeting some friends, and fellow Kingfield Dog Park Task Force associates Ben and his wife Gail to do a little community service and heading over to the Lake of the Isles Dog Park to clean it up a little.

When we arrived with buckets, plastic bags, shovels and other poop-scooping and garbage collection apparatus in hand, we were pleasantly surprised to discover that all of the hype saying that the Lake of the Isles Off-Leash Area was a disgrace to the Minneapolis Park system was in fact, just that.


Took us all of fifteen minutes to pick up every single piece of trash in the off-leash area, and I didn't find anything bigger than a coffee cup.

Sunday morning dawned cool, but sunny. A perfect day for the weekly (and requisite) trip to the MAC Dog Park (pictured at the top... all artsy and shit) at the Minneapolis/St. Paul airport. All four dogs were loaded into the car with all of the usual barking, clomping from Victor, and general chaos. We set out with my trusty co-pilot Sidda in the jump seat, ready to take the wheel if I need her to.
With Roxie and Victor in the back and Gus hidden somewhere on the floor, the car definitely fits the description of "K-9 Unit".
Gus and Victor at the "bar".
Tara, Gail and Ben, and Gus, Sirius, Doc, and Sidda.
A couple of weekends ago, I finally got to check out the Tin Fish at the Lake Calhoun Pavilion. Even though it's in the Upper Midwest, two of the Twin Cities parks have the unique amenity of an independently-owned seafood restaurant right in the middle of the action.
There's definitely something to be said about fresh seafood served in the midst of nice scenery...
Of course, after meals out, there are always individuals at home ready and willing to help dispose of any leftovers. Unfortunately for them there were no leftovers from The Tin Fish.
I did actually make it to the Minnesota State Fair this year. I'll talk about it amongst the photos below, but I noticed something rather disturbing as I walked through the crowds people-watching and soaking up the defining event of Minnesota's agricultural economy.

Of course there was the requisite display of antique faming equipment. Apparently these old tractors are quite a big deal to certain fairgoers. In the photo below, you'll notice the handwritten sign to the left that says "Starting Times".

Yes, you guessed it. People will actually begin gathering ten minutes before a scheduled starting time just to see a noisy old tractor's engine run for a few minutes.

They party HARD here in Minnesota.
All kidding aside, the Minnesota State Fair is indeed an interesting diversion simply for the sheer volume of people in attendance each of it's twelve days. A veritable sea of humanity walking too slowly for a certain New Yorker's liking, coming to a dead stop in the middle of a crowded pathway for no apparent reason, and with total disregard to the thousand or so people right behind them on the same path.

Weird Al Yankovic himself was there being interviewed.
The true highlight of this year's fair for me (and the only real reason I attended) was my Landlord and friend Mark (Lead Guitarist for the band Catchpenny) won a contest and proposed to his girlfriend on live TV.

Of course the band played ...
After the engagement festivities, we headed out into the crowd in search of sustenance...
But the main attraction of the Minnesota State Fair is food.

If you have never had either of the following you must visit here next summer during Fair time.

Deep Fried Cheese Curds

Walleye Fries or Walleye Cakes (pictured below)
This is Minnesota State Fair food and its function is to make you happy. Everything is either on a stick, deep fried, smothered in butter or all of the above. The chefs here have truly have mastered the art of greasy food. The variety of food choices is actually quite surprising; it’s not just sausages and funnel cakes. They offer such oddities here as:

Teriyaki ostrich on a stick

Chocolate covered bacon on a stick.

Frozen key lime pie slice dipped in chocolate on a stick.

Deep fried twinkie on a stick.

Deep-fried cheeseburger sliders (cheeseburger batter-dipped and deep fried).

Pig’s ears dusted in seasoned flour and fried until crispy served with a lime chipotle glaze.

Chicken Fried Bacon (thick-cut bacon battered and breaded, fried and served in a boat covered with gravy).

Deep-fried shortcake (shortcake batter deep-fried and covered with strawberries and ice cream).

Chicken Chipotle pizza on-a-stick.

Pork Chop on a stick.

Deep-fried pickle slices with ranch dressing.

There are many more examples... in some cases, each more disgusting that the last.

This is why you're fat America.

And we must not forget Spamville, which I refused to enter, and struggled to avoid vomiting long enough to take a picture to prove it's existence.

This is just here because it's the Coolest Chicken I have ever seen in my life.
One final crowd shot.

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