We are three weeks into the month and I have been keeping pretty busy.
On October 2nd I paid off my student loans. I am coining it Indebrendence Day. I even wrote a haiku for the occasion:
My student loans are
paid; Today shall be known as
That night I met my dad, his cousins and some of their friends downtown Madison because they were in town for a football game. I made it to a few new (to me) bars (Genna’s, HopCat) and a few old ones (Brocach, Paul’s Club, Irish Pub). It was a great evening out. A little side story – I went downtown unprepared for the cold. I was shivering as I was walking up State Street to the square. It was almost 9 at night but Ragstock was open so I ducked in and bought a baja (aka drug rug). I have always wanted one, I am not sure why, and this was the perfect reason.
The first Saturday of the month saw me visiting my Aunt & Grandma and going to ScanFest which included good food and an Abba tribute band! In the row in front of us was a kid that was really into the music and it was fun to see someone connecting with something so much. (I also have been there several times before – see this post)
This month I also gave blood at the Red Cross. While I was there I saw public radio personality Norman Gilliland also donating. It was a neat brush with a local celebrity. After that I met my brother for lunch at the always delicious Oakcrest Tavern and then we went to the Mustard Museum in Middleton.
One weekend my girlfriend visited and we had a night out. We ate dinner at Qdoba on the way downtown. The traffic was terrible and I am not a traffic person at all. But the prize was the Madison Symphony Orchestra. I have never been there and it was pretty neat. There were three pieces played. I liked the last one the best because of the percussion. The second piece featured a soloist on violin. The instrument was Stradivarius and it was older than the piece he was playing. Apparently they name these and his was the Marsick Stradivarius.
We finished the night with poutine from Mad City Frites. I had heard of the place several times in the media and I wanted to try it and I finally did. The poutine was pretty good although I don’t think I have ever had poutine before so I have nothing to compare it too. It hit the spot on a cold, windy October evening. I will have to get back there as a lot of the other options on the menu looked pretty good.
Now I am enjoying the unseasonably warm weather. I am still wearing shorts on my bike ride into work. And the Packers are undefeated. Life is good right now. I hope your October is going well.
After a long hunt I finally found something on my list that I had been looking for:
My new Made In USA can opener
A made in USA can opener. It is an EZ-DUZ-IT can opener made by John J Steuby Co from St ouis. As you can see from the packaging they really play this up. I was delighted by the price – it was $11.95 – only one dollar more than the made in China one next to it. I did a “heft test” in the store between the two in the store.Plus I was able to purchase it a small local business on State Street in Madison. (Tellus Mater)
The can opener has a website but they must spend lots of time making can openers but not a lot on web design.
This thing feels serious in my hand and I am looking forward to using it to open chili, soup and other canned movies. I don’t plan on buying another can opener for years.
My Dad and I ate here at Pitch Pizzeria when we were in Omaha this past June. It was the College World Series weekend and the place was hopping. We had two stools looking over the food area and could see the stove and the workers. The pizza was delicious and the drinks were refreshing. It had a nice atmosphere on the Friday afternoon we were there. If you are in the neighborhood I would recommend stopping in for some pizza.
In 2013 on my trip to South Dakota with my girlfriend we were walking around Pierre, SD we stopped to eat at what I thought was a local little ice cream place called Zesto. (“Zesto is the Besto!”)
But when I was in Omaha this year I was surprised to see another Zesto. After some research on Wikipedia it looks like there are a few of them around but they are independently owned.
The word Zesto sounds bit like a medication or a 50’s cleaning product that you would hear on old time radio. Keep your eyes open – you never know what you will see when you are out and about.
Zesto Wikipedia page
“26th best small town in America”
Just off of Highway 30 in Iowa is the small town of Nevada. I had to read what they put on their sign twice. It says “26th best small town in America”. I can see if you were in the top 10 or something it might make sense but at what point do you say to yourself “We should probably find something else to put on our sign”.
I filled up in town and my Dad and I had lunch at Quirks. It was filling and good. The service was friendly and prompt. The bar level seemed really high, but the stools didn’t match the height. That was the only negative for me.
It seemed like they have a historic downtown. It was daytime but I didn’t see the neon lights usually associated with the other Nevada. According to the Wikipedia page the name is pronounced differently than the state.
Have you ever been to Nevada, IA? What is the strangest thing you have seen a town put on their welcome sign?
I spent the weekend with my girlfriend and we made pierogi. Actually she made pierogi and I tried to stay out of the way. It was our first time doing it and they turned out pretty good.
This picture shows the insides (potatoes, cheese, onion and spices) on the dough before closing them up.
After closing them up and sealing with the tines of the fork. This gives them a nice look.
Last night I went out. The UW Cinematheque was screening “The Producers”. I had never seen it before but have only heard good things about it.
The movie exceeded expectations. Gene Wilder and Zero Mostel were hilarious. I cannot imagine how it would have been received in 1968. It crossed so many lines but still managed to be funny. Almost every line was memorable. Laughing at the jokes with the rest of the audience is more satisfying then laughing alone on my couch.
Before the film started they showed a trailer for a movie called “Skatetown USA“. It is hard for me to believe that at some point in time someone thought this was a good movie to make. It apparently was the film debut of Patrick Swayze.
After dinner it was time to eat. I cycled from Union South (where the movie was) to downtown to find some food. I ended up going to Paul’s Pel’meni. It is the little place on Gorham with the “Gorham Dumplings” sign in the window. It was my second time there and I like the place a lot. It is simple, the food is good and the service is good. For a half order of dumplings is $4.5 and only a buck more for a soda. And they have Sun Drop. I will be returning again.
If you really like pel’meni but can’t always get downtown you can buy frozen pel’meni at Intermarket which is a Russian grocery store on Old Middleton near Knoche’s Food Store. Lots of interesting things there.
The best part about my evening was the biking. I haven’t biked at night in a long time. It is much different than biking during the day. Looking at Google maps it looks like I biked 13 miles for my dinner and a movie. I was tired but it was great exercise. And for The Producers and pel’meni I would do it again.