Thursday, June 19, 2008

pork chops and applesauce ...

our plans to read in leif erikkson park were thwarted by a visions of the vista fleet chugging along at a nice clip and the promise of a hot dog vendor anchored in canal park.

canal park was like a nike commercial where everyone is running and the world's collective BMI is gatorading itself toward extinction. we were having a pleasant conversation when chuck stopped mid-sentence to damn-near shout:


it just flew out. like he had spontaneously birthed an 11-year-old boy from his mouth. actually, it was infamous beer tent. a post-marathon church for thousands upon thousands of sturdy thigh muscled boogie wonderland fans wearing "finisher" t'shirts, scorched skin, and a medal. stand in line for a porta potty at 10 p.m. and you will overhear more about splits, paces and chafed bloody nipples than if you subscribed to runner's world on tape.

i'm just guessing. i've never been to the beer tent. i stood on the fringe one night and realized that the only way it is possible to charge a cover charge and $5 or more for a bottle of bud light is to invite a bunch of people from minneapolis to duluth, break down their spirit by sending them on a 26.2 mile run, then stick them in a yellow tent in canal park.

it is the exact opposite of a carnival. no tilt-a-whirls, but some young runner from white bear lake is bound to get the spins.


more than a year ago, chuck and i were both hangover hungry on a sunday and decided to test out hell's kitchen. we did laps around the block, trying to find a place to cram a car. hungry was morphing to sick and sick was a gateway drug to testy. the mere sight of an egg mcmuffin on a park bench would have sent me cartwheeling through traffic just to lick that sweet, plastic cheese from the wrapper. i glanced to my right at a stop sign where a man was posing for a photo by a fountain. he was turned slightly and had his hands positioned in a way to make it look like -- in the photo -- he was emitting the stream.

any thoughts of hunger were replaced by the idea of his wife showing those photos -- an "our trip to duluth" slideshow to their adult children and wee grandchildren.

we failed to recreate that image today. [they've since added a railing, that makes getting into the exact position a challenge for anyone under 6-foot-8.]

we couldn't get it to look like i was spitting, either. doh.


i love hot dog vendors, and the five foot radius of county fair air they emit. how hours later you will think: hmm ... what smells like cheese curds? and then realize it's your face. crabby bill's version is like a beached tugboat and has everything from hotdogs to fish wrapped in lefsa.

we each got a dog slathered in pure, undiluted, milky white horseradish.
"this is powerful stuff," mrs. crabby bill warned us.
i went about four spoonfuls deep.
"careful, it's potent," she said, then directed us to a nearby picnic table.
i spooned another dollop just to freak her out.
"if i see things blowing up green, i'll know it was you two," she said.

people with sensitive tongues are so cute. this hot dog was awesome.


we came home and grilled meat -- which is what we do now instead of going to restaurants: boneless pork chops marinated in southwest sauce and then a skewer filled with great veggies. a mango-banana-raspberry mix for dessert.

it has been said that the grilling spatula looks like something out of "friday the 13th."

and i ate an orange in a way i hadn't eaten an orange since i last played organized soccer ... um, 1988ish?


chuck said...

I want to justify myself for non-Duluthians: I've lived in Duluth my whole life. I've been to the beer tent (it sucks). I've even worked at the beer tent (it really sucks).

However, Duluth truly is a place where you might turn a corner and spontaneously, unexpectedly, run into a Tilt-a-Whirl. It's happened to me before.

This is a magical place to live.

Beret said...

I'm always afraid to buy something at Crabby Bill's, so I end up at the popcorn cart. This year I'm going to take the plunge though.

Good luck with the half marathon! I'll be thinking of you when I'm sitting around at home.

Krupskaya said...

I was in the beer tent once, and it involved knowing the bouncer, unlimited free beer and not running the marathon. That's really the only way to hit the beer tent.

Amy said...

i am inviting myself over to eat your meat.

L Sass said...

Aw, I have such fine memories of the Beer Tent, circa 1983-1993 when my dad was running G'ma's each year!

(But, I, of course, was a bona fide imported child from the Cities...)

Clare said...

Is that mango-banana-raspberry thing from VT? How was it? I thought about making it, but sensed it was one of those things that would look a lot better in the pretty magazine pictures.

christina said...

clare -- it is! but i just mixed together the mangos, bananas and raspberry in a bowl, and then topped it with the sauce instead of making those cute little individual bites. i thought i'd probably claw my eyeballs out wrapping a mango around a banana.

it made a good dessert.

Kristabella said...

I've been to the Hell's Kitchen in Minneapolis. Their BLT was excellent.