Landlocked lobster love

July 17, 2012

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We Minnesotans may be landlubbers but one thing is for certain—we have good food. I know there are many excellent restaurants around the area, but my personal focus on eating out for two and a half summers has been with our new industry of (mostly) high-end food trucks. Two summers ago there were just a handful on our streets. Last summer there were a few more. This summer there has an explosion of new food trucks, and I don’t mean in the combustible sense.

The chefs who run these trucks aren’t afraid to make good food. And I certainly am not afraid to enjoy it. In fact, in the last couple of weeks, I have had the pleasure of consuming three completely different lobster rolls. Yes, you heard me. Lobster rolls. Here in landlocked Minnesota. (I don’t count Lake Superior. There are no lobsters there. Delicious lake trout, yes. Lobsters, no.)

Here, then, is a round-up of the lobster rolls you could have been enjoying had you been around and, if you were around, chosen to eschew skyway chain restaurants and chew on some inspired food.

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The original: Smack Shack

Smack Shack was one of the original food trucks in downtown Minneapolis, appearing on the scene that first summer of 2010. Lobster and seafood is what they do. If you observe their truck from above, say, in one of those skyways where you’re trolling for taco Tuesday, you’ll see the giant lobster painted on the top of the truck and perhaps be intrigued enough to leave your comfort zone and treat yourself to a truly spectacular sandwich. I don’t have the links to prove it, but Smack Shack’s lobster roll has been reviewed by many as rivaling anything found on the northeast coast. Chef Josh Thoma tosses globs of succulent lobster in a cucumber tarragon lemon dressing and stuffs it into tender griddled milk break made by local bakery star and bread provider to the food trucks, The Salty Tart. I can also personally attest that The Salty Tart’s beer bread is another amazing creation, especially if you toast it and slather it with fresh, local butter. But I digress.

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Next up: Get Sauced

Chef Driven is the umbrella company for a few different food ventures, one of which is the Get Sauced truck. Get Sauced appeared on the scene late last season and made an immediate impact. Their menu is Latin-influenced and features amazing tacos and tortas made with seasonal and sustainable ingredients. Out of the blue last week, a Mexican lobster roll appeared as the special item. This version was a toasted bun (from the Salty Tart as well?) packed with more of a salady filling. There were nice, giant pieces of lobster mixed with shredded meat, sweetcorn kernels, cilantro, and spicy spices. Sweet, succulent, spicy, splendid. Chunky lobster, yes. Succulent, again yes. The same only different, definitely, deliciously!

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Newcomers: SushiFix

This summer, 2012, has seen an exponential growth in the number of food trucks on the streets both in Minneapolis and St. Paul. Do I exaggerate about the exponential part? Of course. But as more trucks join the scene, it becomes harder to stand out from the crowd. SushiFix does not have that problem, because they are the first truck to serve fresh, amazing sushi. Or sushi of any kind. And while you’re finishing rolling your eyes about the notion of a mobile food truck serving sushi that’s anything less than disgusting, let me disabuse you of that notion. Food trucks are licensed and inspected like any fixed kitchen and, amazingly, they employ modern techniques such as—wait for it—refrigeration. The proprietor is a well-experienced sushi chef previously of a respected restaurant in town and I’m pretty sure that I read that the fish is overnighted daily from Japan (I’m not doing much research-linking tonight but I’m 97% sure I’ve read these things to which I’m referring). But if you’re still skeptical, hey, go back into the skyway and enjoy that sodium-bomb chemical sub. 

Today in the pre-lunch Twittersphere, SushiFix announced that their special was a lobster roll. A sushi lobster roll!  I suppose sushi is often made with lobster, but because we were dreading the forecast high temperature of 100°F/38°C, a fresh roll with lobster, tempura shrimp, avocado, and strawberries—strawberries!—seemed like just the thing. And so it was. My only “complaint”? The outer strawberries made the pieces a little slippery to pick up with my chopsticks. First world problem. And for the first time (except maybe that other time I had SushiFix’s spicy tuna roll) I didn’t even think about employing the soy sauce and wasabi. For the record though, I’m pretty sure the soy sauce is homemade or, as is currently the fashionable terminology, house made.

We are not deprived.

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These two photos are the earliest and latest ones I have of myself. What has happened in between? Funny you should ask. Let’s take a look.

Ages ½–10

I’d swear I remember when the baby picture was taken. I have other toddler memories, such as what the kitchen in our first house in Manteno, Illinois, looked like. Yellow and floral.

We spent many summers in Bloomington, Indiana, while my dad worked on his PhD at Indiana University. He finished the work but his committee denied him of the degree.

To this day I have dreams that involve the house on Main Street in Ada, Ohio, where I grew up. I’d love to get back inside that house for a look. I remember listening to Winnie-the-Pooh and Peter and the Wolf records in the living room on our big, console stereo. It was a big deal when I got to operate it myself. We moved to a different house when I was eight.

Ages 11–20

Our new house was a block inside city limits. Most of the time I’d walk or bike to school, but if I wanted to ride the schoolbus, I walked over to Grandview Boulevard.

I spent countless hours in the city swimming pool. I spent countless hours playing Kick the Can with the neighborhood kids. I crashed my friend’s brand new bike that I rode around while she was inside eating supper. There was a horse at the end of the block, where the town suddenly turned into the country. There was a woods at the end of the block that seemed very big at the time. In it there was a treehouse.

We moved to Wisconsin two days before I turned fifteen. During the first year, my sophomore year in high school, it was novel and fun and not completely awful because it was to the small city where my grandparents lived and I already had a couple of friends. Then in my junior year, I grew to resent having been plucked from where I had grown up. I became a troubled teen. I stayed out all night one time without communicating with my parents. I broke up with my boyfriend which upset my parents who liked him a lot. Their reaction was very formative. I considered dropping out of high school.

I worked as a professional radio deejay.

I graduated high school.  I started college. I dropped out of college.

I moved out of the house. I moved into the house.

I went back to college. I dropped out of college.

I moved out of the house. I moved into the house. I still have nightmares that for one reason or the other, I have been forced to move back in with my parents at my current age with my youth issues, such as no boys in my bedroom.

Ages 21–30

I started technical college. I transferred technical colleges. I dropped out of technical college.

I moved out of the house. I went back to college. I dropped out of college. Rinse and repeat.

I moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota, to go back to college. I finished college! My mom proudly told a friend that I was graduating at age twenty-six. Her friend asked what my PhD was in. Sadly, it was just my bachelor’s degree, in English, after eight years.

I went to Europe for the first time on a trip with my parents that was a graduation present.

I worked for a year at a job that was pretty dead-end but which got me lots of promotional copies of albums on cassette. I decided to go to graduate school.

I moved to Madison, Wisconsin, to go to the University of Wisconsin for meteorology. I learned that a boy who had been one of my best friends growing up and who also went to Wisconsin for meteorology was, in fact, gay and that we’d never have that chance to get together that I had been denied when my parents ripped me away at age fifteen.

I flunked out of graduate school when I failed calculus for the second time. I began to get serious about bowling.

I went to the local technical college, Madison Area Technical College, and met Chris Gargan. I graduated with my commercial art degree and have been a graphic designer ever since.

Ages 31–40

I moved back to Minneapolis. I worked through a temp agency and met my two best friends, Jim and California Rob. I became employed at my current position which I’ve held for over sixteen years. Oh my goodness, I began to grow up!

I became a published author, though not in the way I imagined as a kid. But my name now appears in the Library of Congress, so that’s something.

I went to the United Kingdom for the first time and fell in love with it. I realized that London is my soulmate. I will live there someday.

I got more serious about my bowling.

Age 41–present

Along with other spending, all of my trips to England contributed to my declaring personal bankruptcy. I learned that it’s not actually that difficult, in the big scheme of things, to live without credit. Except for being deprived of more trips to England.

I kept getting more serious about my bowling. People think I’m joking when I say I take three balls with my to league. The people who are really serious take six or eight.

California Rob moved to California. Jim got married. Possibly in the opposite order. I began my descent into curmudgeonhood.

Oddly, still in my bankruptcy, I was able to procure a mortgage and buy my first home, a condominiumized apartment. Gotta start somewhere. The housing market tanked. I am stuck unless I want to take a significant loss in my selling price.

I began to develop my love of craft beer. I hate saying “craft beer” because it’s such a buzz-term right how. But if more people like it, more will be made and that’s not a bad thing. My gateway beers were Bell’s Oberon and the local Summit Extra Pale Ale.

I have slowly and surely been gaining weight.

Last night, I picked up a twelve-pack of Summit’s Silver Anniversary Ale. Then I went to the preseason meeting for my Monday bowling league. Then I stopped at a bar that had a firkin of a special, grapefruit-infused version of Odell Brewing St. Lupulin Extra Pale Ale, a current favorite of mine. I was chit-chatting with the young patrons on either side of me about beers in general and India Pale Ales (my preferred variety) in particular. My bartender asked me—almost accusingly, as though I were a spy for a distributor—who I worked for. When I said a small graphic design company, he blinked and said, “You know a lot about beer.”

That made me feel really good.

Tonight, I enjoyed some of that Summit Silver Anniversary Ale.

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Last Saturday, all I was planning to do was ride my bike the ten minutes to the nearby Midtown Farmers Market, eat the farm egg sandwich with asparagus pesto, greens, maple vinaigrette, and Parmesan that the Dandelion Kitchen food truck was making, and bike the ten minutes back home. No such luck. The weather, though slightly on the warm side for my personal preference, was simply wonderful and I couldn’t help but stay outside.

This was my first time visiting this particular market. I go anywhere on Saturday mornings, it has been to the Mill City Farmers Market to visit another favorite food truck, Chef Shack. But this Saturday, Dandelion Kitchen’s tweet about that egg sandwich caught my eye and I thought, why not? I’ve often enjoyed their lunch creations downtown during the work week and I was excited to try something different.

It was delicious. I bet they’d sell a lot of those egg sandwiches at lunch, too.

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There were a few other food stands at the market, so I went back for more. I decided to also try the Caprese kebab and the curry satay chicken from Kabomelette. I don’t know how I was expecting the Caprese to be prepared—I guess as a kebab I was thinking it would be hot—but it was the only thing it could have been—mozzarella balls and grape tomatoes on a skewer. I think those fresh mozzarella balls might be one of my favorite forms of cheese. The curried chicken was quite good, too.

I will try the other food stands the next time I go back.

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When I finished eating, I had a ten-second debate with myself about whether to take the long way home, aka, do the ten-mile bike ride loop. It was a debate because I hadn’t packed my bike the way I would if I planned to be out for a while; in the end, I knew that if I went home to re-prepare I probably wouldn’t go back out, so away I went south instead of north.

I was rewarded within a mile. As I approached the corner of Hiawatha Avenue and 46th Street where the bike trail jogged off into a less-concretey setting, a young deer came trotting out of the brush looking as if it had a mind to cross Hiawatha. I was able to cross 46th quickly enough that I could shoosh it back to where it had come from. A few yards on and I could still see it between the road and the nearby houses.

I went off-road and stalked it gently to see if I could get some pictures. It was obviously an urban deer because it didn’t seem too concerned by me. We had a few stare-downs and I could see that it was a young buck with about six-inch antler sprouts. He eventually waggled his tail at me and sauntered back into the undergrowth and I decided it was time to move along.


My loop took me through Minnehaha Park. After dilly-dallying at the market and communing with the deer, I found myself in need of facilities and availed myself of the some in one of the pavillions. When I came back out, I noticed that Minnehaha Creek was flowing more energetically than I’m used to seeing  it when I ride east from Hiawatha. I let myself be hypnotized by what could be considered mini-rapids and walked my bike along the bank for a ways. I came to a footbridge over the creek and went up on it. I looked over the other side and suddenly realized that I had accidentally come upon Minnehaha Falls.

No kidding, that’s the first time I’ve ever been to the falls in person in the twenty total years I’ve lived in Minneapolis which is just crazy. It’s a landmark location. For the second time in the day, I made the decision to take my time. I locked my bike up and explored, along with a hundred of my closest friends.

Doesn’t matter that there were crass people and screaming kids all around me. Doesn’t matter that to go down and then back up, I had to negotiate about three storeys’ worth of short, stone steps. Sometimes, the aesthetics still win.

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I found out that the hoard of other bikers I was seeing on the trail, most of whom had little number tags pinned to their backs, were participants in the Tour de Cure for diabetes, the finish line of which was in the park. As part of the festivities, the cover band Stitched was playing. I sat and listened their interesting range songs, which included Bon Jovi’s “Wanted Dead or Alive” and the Ohio Players’ “Love Rollercoaster.” I liked the guy’s voice.

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I finally got going again and went my merry way north along the Mississippi River. When I got near the end I decided that I was too hot and tired to deal with the long, steep hill that I knew awaited me to get up from the river back onto the streets in my neighborhood, so I peeled off into the side streets which were a little less direct but much more flat.

As a result, I was able to ride through the Milwaukee Avenue Historical District, a charming example of urban preservation. The houses were built in the late 1800s and rehabilitated in the 1970s. The street was turned into a pedestrian mall and when you walk (or bike) along it, you totally have the feeling of being in another era.

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I got home and realized for the first time in the nearly four hours that I had been out that oh yeah, it was sunny and I hadn’t put on sun screen because I had only been planning to be out in it for twenty minutes. Fortunately, it never felt as bad as the crisp to which it looks like I’m fried here. Still, it was shocking when I first saw it.

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I showered and refreshed myself, built a fire with which to cook, and enjoyed a few Summit Gold Sovereign Ales while sitting on my steps. All in all, I consider it to have been one of the most enjoyabledays—partly because it was ninety percent spontaneous—I’ve had in the last few years (London vacation last summer notwithstanding). Hurrah!

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I’m not trying to make it sound overly grandiose, I was just going for parallel construction with the title from Monday night’s entry because this is a related story. As the big scheme goes, it was only a baby step.

Tonight, I joined the Smack Shack food truck crew in north Minneapolis and helped dish up free food for tornado survivors for three and a half hours. It was nothing fancy—hotdogs with or without chili, some Hamburger Helper pasta, and ice cream. Chicken nuggets and chicken wings also made brief appearances. But for the neighborhood people, many of whom literally have no roof over their heads, or who asked for extra to take back to the people who had stayed at the house to safeguard it, it was plenty alright.

The important thing here for me is that this was the first volunteering of any kind I’ve ever done in my entire life. For some background on how out of character this is for me, please take a minute to read this recent post, the theme of which was a fortune cookie fortune which read “conscience is a man’s compass” and which involved some self-examination on the topic.

I can’t claim that it was some bolt of lightning striking that got me out there tonight. It’s true that when I see accounts of disasters on the news, I sometimes wish I was in a position to be able to jet off to the location and give some man-hours to clean-up, recovery, whatever. My thinking is usually in terms of physical labor versus interacting with people. I am uncomfortable around people a lot of the time.

My reason was much more mundane and self-serving. Smack Shack is one of my favorites of the food trucks that began appearing in the Twins Cities last summer. As a loyal customer both to the truck and to the bar in whose kitchen they wintered, I have established an acquaintance with the proprietor and chef, Josh Thoma. The trucks fascinate me because all of the chef-proprietors turn out amazing food from a kitchen that fits in the back of a UPS van.

When the tornados hit last Sunday and I watched the live feed from one of the news helicopters, I again had the stirrings of the feeling of wanting to help, and wished I didn’t have a really big project at work that was due yesterday (and which I’ll finally finish tomorrow morning) so that I could take a couple days off for this local disaster. But I did have to go to work, so all I did on Monday was make a donation to the org GiveMN.org.

Then in the afternoon, the tweets started to come through. Several food trucks, including my three favorites, were going to make their ways to the tornado zone to hand out free food. I instinctively thought that offering my labor to one of them would be an easy way to help for a few hours and give me a little brush with food truck fame and allow me to importantly note that I worked side-by-side with Chef in tornado relief. Unfortunately, I was busy Monday night.

Due to not finishing my work project on time I didn’t feel I could go out Tuesday evening either, which I found particularly bothersome after Chef Thoma tweeted for helpers at Smack Shack. Finally tonight, Wednesday, I was available and got myself to the truck right after work.

So that brings me back to what I wondered about at the end of the “conscience” post. My reasons for being this evening’s hotdog bun stager extraordinaire were at least seventy-five percent selfish. But would the people who got some free food and could watch their kids being delighted by a small bowl of ice cream with sprinkles have cared if they knew why I was really there? Isn’t it okay that whatever my motivation, everybody got something out of it?

I can’t say explicitly that it was a life-changing experience and that I’m going to run off and join the Peace Corps or even that I’ll start volunteering at some local soup kitchen. What I can say is that at the moment, I seem to be overcome with an unusual peaceful, semi-fulfilled, extremely mellow feeling.

 

Photo by Smack Shack

As if I didn’t already adore my local food trucks for their amazing culinary delights, today, in the aftermath of yesterday’s tornados in the Twins Cities, one of which tore through the Camden neighborhood in north Minneapolis, several of the mobile kitchens went up to the area to aid in relief food dispensation. I admire them even more. It doesn’t matter that it was mostly hot dogs and bottled water donated by grocery stores. None of them hesitated in committing to the effort.

A photographer named Tony Webster has a gallery on Flickr of shots from around the neighborhood (one of which I linked to above). There wasn’t utter obliteration as in Joplin, Missouri, but the damage was still pretty devastating. 

We had had almost two inches of rain in the previous 36 hours so the ground was saturated. A lot of the damage was caused by entire trees being uprooted and falling over onto structures, rather than simply snapping and not expanding their footprint too much. I’ve seen photos of entire blocks of trees just toppled over on their sides. It weird and sad. And, of course, plenty of roofs were torn off also. That’s odd, too, to see into homes like you were the Jolly Green Giant who just pulled them off to see what’s inside.

Fortunately, unlike in Joplin, there have been “only” two related deaths so far.

If you’d like to donate to a local relief organization, GiveMN.com has a fund. I contributed what I could.

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Smack Shack. At one point there was an impromptu prayer session in front of the truck.

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World Street Kitchen. The comfort of a hot meal, however simple.

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Chef Shack. A worker refuels.

 

Photos by Tony Webster, Smack Shack, World Street Kitchen, Chef Shack

Commute, in a few sentences

February 14, 2011

I am very grateful that for sixteen and a half years now, I have not had to drive my car to get to my job. For eleven years, I lived two and three quarters miles from my job. A little over five years ago, I moved and am now only one and three quarters miles from my job. It’s all in town so I can take the bus, ride my bike, walk, or, since I moved, hop on the light rail for eight minutes.

In the not-hot weather, I take the light rail in the morning and walk home. It’s about thirty minutes—a perfect amount to be beneficial as exercise and not so long that I get bored and don’t do it. The walk also serves as my unwinding time.

Here is a little two-minute digest of my train ride.

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Today I was supposed to pick someone and follow them for a while, reporting on where they went. Well, I followed Old Man River and he went south, to New Orleans.

I was going to take pictures of the river (the Mississippi River in downtown Minneapolis)—the river itself—but it didn’t take long at all for my focus to shift to the bridges. The river is present in a few of the shots, but once again the underneaths of the bridges are the stars. Maybe you remember when I did that last summer on a bike ride.

Ah, summer.

The difference between last summer’s bike ride and today’s walk is, oh, I don’t know, about 70°F/21°C. I didn’t look today, but it was about 15°F/-9°C, based on the forecast high. But being a hardy Minnesotan, I bundled up and went for a nice walk.

So.

 

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1. Hennepin Avenue Bridge (historic). Underneath the bridge, behind where I stood to take my photo, are a couple of pylons from the original version of this bridge built in the mid-1800s. I think the current bridge is the third or fourth version. Oh. According to Wikipedia, this bridge was the first permanent one across the Mississippi River. How about that?

 

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2. 3rd Avenue Bridge (secret passage). Just a bit east (the whole walk wasn’t even two miles), is a more modern-looking, but quite older bridge. This one was an odd duck because it has beautiful arches when viewed from a distance. But when you’re standing directly underneath it, all you see are two doorways like the one in this photo. It looked like it went through three parallel walls. Weird. I was sort of disappointed there wasn’t a drawbridge or something.

 

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3. Mill Ruins Park. Okay, so it’s not a bridge, it’s the riverfront ruins of abandoned flour mills. There is running and dripping water everywhere. The icicle mass was cool. There also seemed to be a model photoshoot going on. The models were not modeling outerwear. Silly catalogs.

 

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4. Stone Arch Bridge (arches). This is the bridge that might possibly have some notoriety outside the Twin Cities. It used to be a railway bridge. Now, it is for pedestrians and bicyclists. It’s stoney and archy and neat. It’s at the foot of the St. Anthony Lock & Dam, which I believe is the first lock and dam on the Mississippi. The first in sequence, I mean. I don’t know if it was the first constructed.

 

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5. I-35W Bridge (strong). This is the sturdy replacement for the bridge that collapsed in 2007. From the side you see graceful arched spans, and from underneath you see these stout legs. I live in the neighborhood. I was outside puttering with my tomato plants when the old bridge collapsed. I heard the sirens and figured there was a big accident on I-94, which is also near my home. It’s still weird to interact with the new bridge.

 

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6. 10th Avenue Bridge (industrial). It’s also weird to be underneath this bridge, just a couple blocks downstream from the 35W Bridge. This photo doesn’t show it, but this bridge looks old and tired from below. The roadbed on top is all spiffy, but it’s a little creepy to look at the chipping concrete when you know what happened to its neighbor three years ago.

Thus concludes today’s history lesson.
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Photos were taken with the assistance of my new friend, Instagram, and the Inkwell filter. (Except for the first one of me, that is. I did that in Photoshop.)

We had a blizzard! Here are the videos; check out the photos, too.

Snowing (Saturday 1:30pm): This was the scene all day Saturday.

 


Front Yard Tour (Saturday 2:00pm): Here’s a fun tour around my immediate front yard after the first of my two shoveling sessions on Saturday. Two of my neighbors had already shoveled on separate occasions.

 


Blowing (Saturday 6:00pm): By the time I went outside for the second time, the wind had picked up. The snow ended around this time, but then it got blown around.

 


Ruth and the dogs (Sunday 12:00 noon): Sunday I managed to be outside for over three hours. Most of that time was spent shoveling various and sundry. I also helped a couple people dig their cars out and took a walk around the neighborhood. My neighbor Ruth was a good dog mom and took Frank and Grey Girl out for a real walk. She’s Nick the Cat’s mom, too. She’s getting used to me documenting. I included it because who doesn’t love seeing doggies?

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It snowed! Here are the photos; check out the few videos, too.

 

 

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Friday night as the snow started around 10:13pm. If you look closely, you can see rabbit tracks crossing the sidewalk. I think one lives under my neighbor’s stairs.

 

 

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Time lapse: 

Saturday at 9:30am, 11:30am, 1:30pm, 3:30pm; 

Sunday morning before and after shoveling. I can’t see too much out my window anymore!

 

 

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Saturday at 1:30pm 14 inches; at 5:30pm 17.5 inches. That was about the end of the snowfall. Then it got windier.

 

 

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Saturday afternoon I shoveled an exit trail from my garden level apartment. I did it a second time four hours later. It wasn’t too bad Sunday morning after a few more inches and overnight winds. However, it had to get worse before it could get better as I did a thorough removal from my door area, steps, and walk.

 

 

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Before and after. I was nice and shoveled my neighbors’ deck and stairs. I figured I could do it tidily myself and minimize the mess below, or be annoyed at having to clean up after them later. I also shoveled my end neighbors’ steps and made a one-shovel-width trail. They’re in Mexico and I bet they’re laughing right now!

 

 

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Post-shoveling view of my window from the outside.

 

 

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Fortunately, blowing and drifting worked to my car’s advantage. It wasn’t too much trouble to shovel out my parking space. The drift didn’t go very far underneath.

 

 

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Around the neighborhood: My immediate street has not been plowed yet as of 9:30pm Sunday (it was vacated by the city years ago, so we have a contract with private plowing). The city made one pass through the side street. Snow emergency routes like Cedar Avenue are in pretty good shape. Drifted snow in a nearby vacant lot.

 

 

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Views from my nearest MNDOT traffic cameras Saturday afternoon during the storm.

 

 

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I’ll end with gratuitous rabbit pictures: a neighborhood rabbit frolicked Friday night before the snow started; tracks on a drift in my yard on Sunday.

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I only intended to go to the Mill City Farmers Market to get something to eat from Chef Shack. I did, and then on my way back, I got a sudden bee in my bonnet to just go on a little bike ride. So I did. And paid attention to the undersides of bridges.

These are all bridges over the Mississippi River between St. Anthony Falls Lock & Dam and Lock & Dam No. 1. There are three not pictured because I didn’t get the idea right away.

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Bridge to nourishment: bacon beer brat from Chef Shack.

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Photo 1: 10th Avenue

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Photo 2: Remains of the I-35W bridge that collapsed in 2007 are still spread out on the Bohemian Flats near the University of Minnesota.

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Photo 3: I-94

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Photo 4: Franklin Avenue

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Photo 5: Railroad bridge between 26th and 27th Streets . I would seriously doubt that it’s still used for train traffic.

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Photo 6: Bridge to hydration

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Photo 7: Lake Street

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Photo 8: 46th Street. This one seemed quite cathedral-like to me as I stood under it.

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Photos 9–12: Bridge on the Mississippi: Lock & Dam No. 1. I had a little staycation with this as I hadn’t realized that you can walk all around the facility. There is a catwalk that bridges the two locks (it seems only the 9-footer is used), and then it’s quite parklike on the dividers between the various channels.

Photo 9: Bridge to observation, catwalk

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Photo 10: The 6-foot lock, which doesn’t seem to have been used any time recently, as there were some quite large shrubs growing in the far end of it on the wall.

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Photo 11: Bridge to dinner, if you’re a spider.

Finally, I leave you with this video of the dam’s waterfall. That’s a blue heron flying around. There were also white herons, ducks, and geese.

There were more bridges on the second half of my ride, but unfortunately, my battery died while I was enjoying the Lock & Dam. Maybe I’ll go out again this weekend to capture those.