Thursday, February 17, 2011

Let it Snow...

When we announced our impending move to colder climes, we were met with a lot of shock and disbelief from family and friends.

"Are you aware what happens up there in winter?" one uncle asked.

"Is there life in Minnesota? I picture the White Witch's Kingdom with everyone frozen in place....." another friend commented.

Here's the thing... some people like snow. Gasp! The horror! I admit, cold weather isn't for everyone, but you may as well make the best of it when it's around, something Minnesotans excel at with equipment like this:

They even plow the greenway so cyclists can bike all year long.

I always wanted to invest in some cross country skis for some outdoor exercise but it didn't make sense in the Black Swamp region, where even a little thaw turned the ground to muddy mush. Combined with the lack of hills, NW OH is very unwelcome to winter enthusiasts. Enjoying winter was an uphill battle, not unlike a practice session for the Jamaican Olympic bobsled team.

Here in Minnesota outdoor activities abound all year, especially winter:

Skiing, snowboarding, sledding and tubing are only part of the fun. As we get settled in we hope to take in some ice fishing.

Perhaps we'll attend the Winter Carnival next year. Featuring ice carvings, snow sculptures, a giant frozen maze, frozen go-kart racing and more, this festival proves Vikings up north know how to have a good time in every element.

Come to Minnesota in the cold season and embrace your inner snowman. I guarantee you'll have more fun than Clark Griswold had on his Christmas Vacation.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Sweet Treats

So, after lunch at the Cheeky Monkey we walked about a block down the road for a piece of cake.

We took it upon ourselves to fill a pink cardboard box full of goodies to take home. Why? Because somebody has to do it and we were willing to make the sacrifice.

Now, I'm about to show you some of the contents of that box, so you may experience uncontrollable desire and a need to rush to the nearest bakery. :)

Red Velvet Valentine Cupcake

Valentine Sugar Cookies

Peanut Butter Chocolate Cupcake

Cherry Tart

Oh, and they taste good too.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Restaurant Review: Cheeky Monkey Deli

Monkey see, Monkey eat! We trekked up to the Twin Cities this week to enjoy the neighborhoods we miss so much. This time around we mainly visited the St. Paul area, specifically the Cathedral Hill neighborhood. If you have a fondness for historic communities, then you'll love Cathedral Hill. And if you like sandwiches and soup, then you should stop in at the Cheeky Monkey Deli.

A giant three panel menu greeted us at the door.

For some reason Jonathan and I both gravitated to the meatloaf sandwich (must have been the subzero temperatures outside). We decided to share a sandwich and a bowl of chili. We ordered, took our designated number and sat near the fireplace. Unfortunately, a few moments later we were told (very apologetically) that they were out of chili. Oh no! The horror!! They suggested a turkey/vegetable soup instead and we acquiesced.

While we waited for our order, we looked around at the decor. Three colors dominated--red, black and white. Besides the expected prints of monkeys placed here and there, they also had framed album and comic book covers decorating the walls. Some albums made sense--The Monkees. Others not so much--Barry Manilow. As for the comic books, they needed more Gorilla Grodds, Monsieur Mallahs, Detective Chimps and Gleeks gracing the covers instead of those pesky super-humans. ;)

The uncomplicated chandeliers also caught our eye because the light bulbs looked like they came from another century.

When our food arrived we couldn't wait to dig in and enjoy. We weren't disappointed. The spices in the soup created a savory base that boosted the flavors of the large pieces of shredded turkey and vegetables.

And the meatloaf sandwich? Moist. Tasty. Spicy. More, please.

If you ever check out the Cheeky Monkey, get the Meatloaf Sandwich. I'm serious. Unless you don't eat meat. Then stay away from it, but don't fret because they have some delicious-looking options for the veggies out there too. Like the pressed swiss cheese, grass-fed gouda, provolone, caramelized onions on ciabatta sandwich or the grilled seasonal vegetables, hummus on ciabatta sandwich.'re hungry now aren't you?

Well, put on your coat, head out the door and get over to the Cheeky Monkey Deli. It's easy to find, just look for the monkey...