Minnesooota? Yah, you betchah!

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Dinner with Dave and free Famous Dave’s for a year, dontcha noh?  We cashed in on the first part of our grand prize early this week with a fun–and needed–vacation to Minneapolis.  They sure did roll out the red carpet for us.  The Hotel Ivy sure was one fancy-shmancy place, all dolled up with a 42″ flat screen, robes, slippers, an umbrella, valet parking, and turn down service.  Turn down service is the ultimate example of luxury laziness.  Someone comes in to partly pull down a corner of your bed linens so you can pull them down the rest of the way when you’re ready to go to sleep.  Sorry, maybe I’m just a tad unrefined, but I just don’t get that.

Dinner with Famous Dave Anderson was a definite treat.  VP of Marketing, Aric Nissen, was our gracious host and got everything going with an All-American feast.  When Dave got there, he asked if there was anything on the menu we haven’t had.  I noticed baby back ribs on the menu, which we don’t have out here in the Golden State.  Within moments of mentioning that, baby back ribs were on the table.  A bit more tender than the glorious St. Louis Spares, but a bit too sweet for me.  I’m sure they would do well in California.

Dave has a big, fun personality, but he also has an easy going way about him.  We talked about sports (he’s a Bears fan, good thing we serve a merciful God!), BBQ joints, BBQ methods, my campaign, and a number of spiritual issues.  Both he and Aric seemed to be genuinely interested in my ministry.  Dave has a tremendous amount of Bible knowledge and seems to be a man with strong values and morals.  It was a very enjoyable time.  They gave me a Famous Dave’s BBQ set (tongs, spatula, sauces, rib rub), a golf shirt and apron (both with the Famous Dave’s logos, of course), and Dave’s book, LifeSkills for Success.  The book is an awesome read, very entertaining and filled with biblical principles.

minnesota 041After dinner (and a bunch of pictures) we were off to the Minnesota State Fair, supposedly the biggest state fair in the nation.  We were there on a “slow” Monday night, but it was about as crowded as the dreaded dollar day at the L.A. County Fair.  There were more hands to shake, pictures to take and food to eat at the Famous Dave’s booth.  The place was packed and there was a steady stream of Famous Dave’s fans taking pics with the big BBQ guru.  Every year, they offer a unique item at the fair.  Last year it was “Pig Lickers”, chocolate covered bacon.  Wish we had the chance to try them, but we did get to sample this year’s offering, Pig Cheeks!  As weird as that may sound, they are amazing.  Those cheek muscles don’t do a whole lot, so they are incredibly tender and succulent.  Beautifully smoked, then glazed with a peach-based sauce … oooohhh, good night in the mornin’, those were cuh-razy good!

After a bit of mingling (which included meeting a fellow Famous Fan, Linda K), we were set free to enjoy the fair.  So I went right to the Ferris Wheel, took on the roller coaster, Hammerhead was next, and, just for kicks, we went on the sky ride.  I’m such a liar.  I’m so scared of heights, my pulse rate rises to dangerous levels when I get up to the second step of a ladder!  So without the BBQ Kids in tow, we held hands and admired the diversity of mullets gracing the fairgrounds as we headed right for the Spam booth!

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Famous Dave’s then Spam?  Are you kidding me?  This was so much happy, happy, joy, joy in so short of a time, I felt like I was going to short circuit!  This couldn’t get any better …  could it?  Oh, baby, it did:

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Oh, yeah, deep fried cheese curds!  I’ve already begun writing a song about them (stay tuned for another music video, we’ll see if we can’t book the “eye-candy-crew” again).  I think curds are the solids found in minnesota 060milk/cream that are separated from the watery part (whey), that is turned into cheese.  It really doesn’t matter what they are, these deep fried bad boys are truly one of the greatest inventions ever.  I’m talking right up there with the steam engine, refrigeration and zippers!  A friend of mine put it this way: “They’re dangerously good.”  Someone has got to bring this upper midwest delicacy to California.  I think it would be a great addition to the Famous Dave’s menu.  Or even P.F. Chang’s (how do Kung Pao Cheese Curds sound?)!  Hey, anyone, please, I’m begging.

minnesota 071Tuesday we got to visit with some friends.  First, we drove about 35 miles to Elk River to visit with an old college buddy.  Doug was in my dorm and in my wedding (and I in his).  It was such a blessing to visit with him and his wife, Julie, and their three kids.  After lunch, he took us out fishing on his boat for about an hour where I hooked a trophy 52″ Northern Pike!  There I go lying again.  Really, it’s more like a small exagerration, as I somehow mustered up the strength to pull in a one pound Largemouth Bass!  You read that right, folks, that monster was a full 16 ounces!

minnesota 075Later that afternoon, I treated my BBQ Honey to Hotel Ivy’s afternoon tea service.  Very upscale, very chic, very hold your pinky out as you drink your high-end tea and look smugly out the window at the lowly peasants walking by.  It was definitely a splurge, but we were given a generous amount of spending money!  It was a pretty cool experience.

Then it was off to Fat Lorenzos, an italian restaurant youth group alum, Philip, has raved about to me for years.  Another youth group alum, James (these guys are brothers), and his wife drove an hour from Owatonna to hang out as well.  The food was tremendous (once again, Philly, good call!), and the fellowship was awesome.  We truly love those guys.  It’s so cool to see them all grown up, but still pretty much the same.  Well, James has really gone down hill.  He owns a metal detector.  A metal detector, for goodness sake!  Does it get any worse than that?  Wow.

Wednesday gave us just a few hours to hit up the Mall of America before flying out mid-afternoon.  Doesn’t seem like the locals frequent this gargantuan shopping center/amusement park/aquarium/bunion grower as there weren’t that many mullets to admire.  I was on a mission to try Minnesota’s state fish, Walleye.  We found Twin Cities Grill and saw they offered the beloved freshwater fish on their menu.  It lived up to the hype!  Walleye is a delicate, flaky white fish.  We ordered the Walleye Fish Fry which has supplanted Andria’s Fish and Chips (Ventura, CA) as the best I’ve ever had.

I can’t thank you all enough for supporting my campaign and helping us win this.


13 comments so far

  1. Renae on

    Wow… SOunds like you had a fun, busy, awesome time. BTW you can get cheese curds at A&W but they probably aren’t as good as the ones you had. 🙂 I am glad you won and that you got such a wonderful vacation. you deserved it. 🙂

  2. jaynepomuceno on

    Yeah, did some internet research this morning and found that out about A&W, so we went this morning after soul winning. They’re good, but not quite up to par with the State Fair. But floats are just 99 cents right now!

  3. Rose on

    Got the Famous Dave’s e-mail, congrats! Hilarious post and your videos are so much fun! I grew up in Wisconsin, you’re right, A&W cheese curds are not quite the same. They’re one of the first things I eat when I go back to visit.

    God bless!

  4. jaynepomuceno on

    Rose, welcome! Hope you come by regularly!

  5. Pokey on

    So fun to read and see the pictures! we are glad that you both were able to get away, and the food sounds too good! thanks for sharing- l&p

  6. Becka on

    Well, in spite of the mullets, you must say that Minnesota is pretty. However, just be glad that you didn’t go in the fall or winter. It’s freezing cold up there, dontcha noh? Sounds like you had a great time. As always, enjoyed the post!

    WI cheese curds are pretty good, but I don’t know that I’ve had them fried.

  7. jaynepomuceno on

    Becka, you haven’t lived until you’ve had them fried! What a shame, you lived in WI for a couple years and didn’t have deep fried cheese curds? Don’t you have some friends out there you need to visit?

  8. Antonia on

    You had Robert and I laughing! We liked the picture of you and the spam. We are so happy for you guys!

  9. janet2000 on

    The name “cheese curds” just doesn’t sound appetizing (neither do pig cheeks). But I’ll try pretty much anything that’s deep fried (like snickers and oreos at the L.A. Country Fair).

    Great post!

  10. jenmarie on

    Ha ha, I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone in MN with a mullet, actually…
    Glad you guys had fun! Vacations are a necessity of life, the more the better, I say! 🙂
    Oh, btw, I tried the nachos while at Famous Daves in the Springs – and I got the beans on the side! 🙂 They were okay, but…they’re better at a Mexican restaurant, naturally.

  11. jaynepomuceno on

    Maybe it was “Mullet Day” at the fair? Agreed, vacations are a necessity of life, but you’ve made them a WAY OF LIFE!

  12. James B. on

    Yes we had a blast with you guys as well! I rarely see mulletheads here except in the tinytowns of like 100 people, but thats pretty rare. Chesse curds just do not have an appetizing name but I got hooked onto them when I was a freshman. They do rock!

    Hopefully next year when you come out again, since MN has so much to offer you guys, you will be able to stay at our house. 🙂

  13. jaynepomuceno on

    Yeah, James, maybe you can show me how a pro uses a metal detector!

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