Some Ultimately Non-important Yet Still Great Things I Ate This Month

It’s February first tomorrow, guys. It’s the mental page-turning of what was a pretty cold, dark month into a new, fresh, one-step-closer-to-spring month. I’m already excited. So, new month, new page, let’s get started. Recently I’ve been reading a bit about gratitude journals. That sounds very flowery. Now, I do not keep a gratitude journal. But I have started writing letters and emails — to my grandparents, that overdue thank you card from Christmas, a postcard to a friend — and just taking that five minutes a day to remember why I appreciate someone and their place in my life is really nice.

If I did have a gratitude journal, it’d probably go something like this: So last week I slipped on ice and fell on my butt in front of a full Crossfit studio mid-workout. I was grateful for the fact that I’ve come a long way since I was sixteen, and I am now able to look up and laugh at myself instead of slink away awkwardly. Even though I will discover a fairly large bruise a few days later, and later fall at the same spot (but this time the Crossfit gym is empty, thank the Lord.)

And my gratitude food journal would read:

Best Pairing of Food & Entertainment: Smack Shack @ 1029 Bar and Silver Linings Playbook

My friend heard that Smack Shack really throws down in terms of lobster rolls and lobster mac n’ cheese, so we decided to visit 1029 Bar (Smack Shack’s home until it opens up a brick-and-mortar soon) to satisfy our fix. We didn’t know what to expect and the bartender sort of laughed as us when we entered and waited for a table. Finally, smartening up, we grabbed two stools and sczootched into the bar. “There ya go,” he said. “What’ll it be?” 1029 is a dive bar in a very classic sense: ceilings covered with license plates, a bullet-studded car door on the wall, autographed bras dangling about. A cold beer and creamy lobster salad atop sweet, thick, butter-crisp Texas-style toast with enough lemon-drizzled arugula to give it a spicy kick, and I was in heaven. It was loud in there, and warm, and afterwards we walked to St. Anthony theater and caught Silver Linings, set in Philadelphia, equally dive-y, and overall excellent.

“I’ve Made a Huge Mistake (by Overlooking This)” at Kramarczuk’s

If you’re like me and really bad at making choices, and at the same time love good comfort food, and at the same same time enjoy new types of food, check out the brunch at Kramarczuk’s. I’ve been there before for dinner and lunch, but always get stuck when ordering. I want everything! How can I possibly pick between their best sausage and their best dumplings?! With brunch, just $13 and you get to try everything at this Minneapolis-based Eastern European staple. Cabbage rolls? Suuure. Sausage? Sauerkraut? Perfectly made creamy oatmeal studded with raisins and apples? Three-layer berry cream cake? Deviled eggs? Eggs benedict? So many eggs! Don’t expect an air of fanciness or even freshness, at times, but the brunch is solidly good when it’s cold outside,  and this is the type of food that you pile on your plate without worrying that all the food is touching, because you’re going to eat it all together anyway. I only wish I could line my pockets with cabbage rolls before I left.

The Little Meal that Mattered – Blood Orange Arugula Salad at Common Roots

Friday I wasn’t feeling too well, but I mustered the energy to go to Common Roots and pick up their blood orange arugula salad, which is made with fresh shaved fennel, onion, and just the right amount of lemon vinaigrette. It’s just almost too simple to be so refreshingly delicious. I savored it while I watched Tiny Furniture.

I Could Probably Make This at Home But I Didn’t & Everything’s Good Wrapped in a Tortilla – Crispy Chickpeas and Red Curry Chicken Burrito at World Street Kitchen

Crispy chickpeas that crunch in your mouth and coat your fingers with a slightly oil peppering of spices — I could make these at home. But I didn’t. I ate them here. And they were delicious. And only $3.

The concept of what WSK calls their “Bangkok Burrito” sounds like a stoner recipe – just take the Chipotle concept and mix it up with fried rice, a healthy dose of curry, tender peices of chicken, basil, and their “secret sauce” – but it will have you wondering why you haven’t wrapped up your leftover Indian food in a burrito and stuck it in the microwave before. Well, now you know. Burrito bliss, my friends.