Saturday, August 28, 2010

Don't Ignore the Normalcy of NoMi Neighbors

Usually, the Strib's Letter of the Day doesn't even hold my quick glance long enough to finish the headline.  But today's was different, because the words North Minneapolis jumped out at me, as they always do.

I don't know Leah Westberry, the letter's author. But I tip my hat to her and give a "Well Said, Leah".

Thank you for putting it so eloquently.

There are "regular" people on the North Side, too. In fact, there are thousands of us here. We live in the midst of the gangs and the violence and the extreme poverty that you hear so much about. We are hardworking, middle-class families and individuals. We are senior citizens who have lived on the North Side for decades. We are college students, nurses, teachers, landscapers and truck drivers. We are black, white, Hispanic, Asian and Native American. We hate the violence. We love our neighbors. And we are not leaving. So please don't talk about the North Side as if the rest of us don't exist. It is a very small percentage of people causing all of the misery and getting all of the attention. Stop dehumanizing the North Side.-Leah Westberry, Minneapolis

So in honor of the normalcy of NoMi neighbors, I'd be delighted to share some photos of the wonderful, normal NoMi neighbors and other NoMi happenings, that I have a chance to enjoy. 
Normal NoMi Youth Neighbors
NoMi Neighbors being Normally Goofy
We have cool biker clubs, that's normal, right?
OK, I realize this doesn't look exactly "normal"!
We have great parties
And great cook-outs
We leave doorstep treats for each other
We show off our beautiful families at neighborhood events
We teach the little ones the important things in life, knitting
We try to grow the prettiest gardens you've ever seen
We make really fun drinks. Really fun!
We have artists and art houses and art galleries
We love each others children as if they were our own
Does it get any more normal than kids + scooters + sunshine ?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Before and After: Refreshing 26th and Penn

Vacant building on Southwest corner of 26th and Penn

The intersection of 26th and Penn doesn't have a lot going for it. (Unless you count that train that's going to stop one block away!) Yeah, there's a lot going on there, but not a lot of good. I will say, the no-accounts don't hang out in the parking lot of this building anymore. They used to congregate way up against the building, under the overhang, in the darkest spots possible, sitting on the little ledge where the glass meets the foundation. The Butt Ledge.

I can vividly remember driving past this building about 9 or 10 at night, headed east on 26th, and I could actually see the motion of a hookers head bobbing up and down. *Gross* (Of course I called 9-1-1 but I also called Don Samuels, he was in his crime-fighting socks again).  But the past few years, for some good reason the no-accounts leave this building and the parking lot alone.

Not a lot of good is right. Until recently. There was a project sponsored by The Pohlad Foundation, to refresh the facade of a long-time vacant building. The real purpose of the project seems to have been put people to work, put money in their pockets, brush up their skills or train new ones. I'm all for that and if it means the hardscapes of our streets are brightened, refreshed and improved then, really, what is there to complain about? It's a win-win. (Thanks, Pohlads! Your help in our community is welcomed and greatly appreciated!)

Here is a write up in the Strib, and some before and after pictures for history's sake.


Possibilities for this building being used (soon) are in the works and as soon as any info is made public, I'll keep readers informed as best I can. In the mean time, here's my vote to make sure this neat vintage parking lot light fixture is preserved, for character's sake!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Banana Blossom Restaurant on Lowry Avenue

1742 Lowry Ave N Minneapolis, MN 55411 near Knox

The other day I was traveling down Lowry Ave when something bright, new, different caught my eye. It was a new sign I hadn't seen before. Banana Blossom Southeast Asian Cuisine.  I thought to myself, well, what *was* there before?  I remembered it was Good Deal Restaurant.  Right near Good Deal Grocery, where Knox meets Lowry.

A few days later I had the chance to stop in for some take-out dinner.  Turns out it's the same owner operators as Good Deal, they are just making a name change.  Don't worry, it's still a good deal!  I ordered the pineapple pork stir fry but no photos to share due to camera malfunctions. It was very tasty, a tad spicy, but not too much for my Scandinavian palette.

While I was there for take out, I saw they advertised a lunch buffet. So I made a point to stop in during lunch time to photograph the lunch offerings. I didn't eat lunch there, so I can't testify, but I'll let the pictures do their thing with a thousand words and all that.

Large servings of Pho. Not quite visible is a large plate of fresh accoutrements
Note the buffet carry out option for those on the go.
Open until 8 daily, except Wednesday until 7
*these aren't ALL the menu pages, just some of them*

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Music and Art Festival in NoMi - This Sunday!

image found on NAC site

As I write this, I'm sitting at the highly enjoyable 42nd Avenue Station coffee shop in the Camden area of NoMi and trying a delicious piece of wild rice and ham quiche - it is fantastic.  {I thought I would have my favorite, but I opted for something new - I highly recommend it!}

This coffee shop always has so much going on in the realm of art- live music, art showings, NoMi related gatherings - that I had almost forgotten an upcoming event I first saw on facebook, until I was reminded by a brightly colored flyer placed here on the coffee table.

This coming Sunday, August 22, 42nd Avenue Station is sponsoring a Music and Artisan Festival. The event flyer advertises live music, food, and live artisans all held rain or shine and with free attendance. Further details reveal there will be "fun people... GREAT FOOD... community... PEOPLE WATCHING... original pieces and inspiring finds!"  "Sponsored by 42nd Avenue Station, a local business promoting local artists while serving up the finest coffee, tea and sandwiches this side of the Mississippi." {Well, there might be a few who disagree with THAT statement, but we do have some good coffee shops, just not enough of them!}

So if you're around NoMi on Sunday, looking for something to do, head to 42nd and Lyndale between 10am and 7pm.   If you are interested in being a vendor call them at 612-710-8177.

Friday, August 13, 2010


The now famous Bat Shirt guarding my luggage. XoXo

It's August, and for some of us in NoMi this time of year has become known as Bat Season. A few of us are collecting quite a few hair-raising bat stories including three-on-one mortal air combat (clarification: three bats, one brave man). But the baby holding a sleeping (stunned) bat might be the champion bat story so far.

With NoMi's lovely stock of older homes it's no wonder how they end up inside when, really, everyone would much rather they remain outside, including the ugly little terrors. I know, I know, they are environmentally friendly, but why do they have to be so creepy?

Be on the lookout in your home and share your bat stories here!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Adventures in Eating Your Flower Garden

Grill and eat your day lily buds. You'll be super surprised at how tasty they are.  

And we all know how many orange day lilies color NoMi in abundance. 

Here's the back story. A few weeks ago, while checking on a piece of his real estate out in an affluent suburb of St. Paul, a friend had an enthusiastic idea to grab some day lily buds and grill them up with that night's summer dinner. After seeing my friend consume almost anything and everything, from bugs to exotic drinks, this suggestion didn't phase me in the least bit. I just didn't realize at the time how tasty they would end up being.

This post had been in the hopper for a while and didn't get up in a timely manner, at least not with synchronized timing of the day lily buds. Some unopened day lily buds might still be out there somewhere; look for more shady spots and they might be a little behind the rest.

Yes, that is the Mugshots paper that we had to spontaneously use to collect the buds. 

Mix 'em up with your favorite seasoning salt and a little butter. I imagine olive oil would work well also. 

Wrap 'em in foil and prepare for the grill. 

I grilled mine out of direct heat for about 10 or 15 minutes. Use your judgement on how hot your grill is. Eat and enjoy. They tasted a lot like grilled asparagus.

Another northside friend blogged about a different garden culinary adventure here.

And just for fun, here's a few other pictures of the bizarre food adventures I am exposed to by virtue of having a bizarre foods nut for a boyfriend.

Instant Jellyfish. Mmmmmm. (sarcasm font)

I guess some of these used to stay around for centuries. 

This preserved duck egg was quite tasty. Don't be timid about trying it. 

Something with legs and antennas. 

Okay, that's enough of that. This could be an endless photo journal of bizarre foods, but the day is waiting.