Thank you, mom

Thank you, mom

The first thing I knew about my mom was that she loved the countryside; fields of grass and flowers in the summer and white snow in the winter. The second thing I learned about my mom was that her patience was as long as the Mississippi River, was as wide as the Grand Canyon, was as deep as the Pacific Ocean. But when it was gone it was gone and not coming back. Thank you for loving me when I know it was difficult so do so. I got sick a lot. I would stay home from school. Physically sick, or just sick of all the finger-pointing, teasing classmates that took so much time out of their day to make other kids miserable. Thank you for taking care of me when I was sick, even (or especially) the times I didn’t have a fever. And thank you for taking care of me, but also for not taking care of me when it was time to stand on my own two feet. You knew as well as I should have that you weren’t always going to be there to pick me up, so thank you for giving me two feet to stand on and carry me when you couldn’t. What I never learned about my mom was what she gave up to have me. To make me. To create me practically out of thin air, like magic, like nothing. I never learned that she dropped out of college to give me a life. That she quit her degree in biology to create mine. That I became her life in a...
Selby & Snelling now home to Athenian Street Food: The Naughty Greek

Selby & Snelling now home to Athenian Street Food: The Naughty Greek

A Greek native finds his home in St. Paul, and brings tasty pork gyros with him. Flirt, be chic, get naughty at the Greek The scene on Selby just got a whole lot feta. The Naughty Greek, run by Angelo Giovanis, has become a hot spot for the neighborhood. Located in the old Cupcake space, the new eatery opened in November 2016. Lead by frustration in finding authentic Greek food in Minnesota, Greek-born Giovanis decided to become “The big feta” and open his own authentic shop, based on the tastes Giovanis misses from the Greek hills of the Peloponnese. The entire menu reflects things he always wants to eat himself, making it hard for him to choose a favorite off the menu: “I would say I have two favorite dishes followed by a dessert. My favorite dish is the ½ lb lamb plate. I love lamb, I love tzatziki and fries and the combination of the three on one plate makes me happy. My pork gyro is the reason why I opened this restaurant – eating this “sandwich” brings me back to the streets of Athens.  Lastly, the orange filo cake is a favorite of me and my family, it is my Grandma’s recipe (thus called Yiayias Orange Fillo cake) and reminds me of her; it’s also the best way to end a Greek savory meal.” Inspired by his grandma, and the rest of his family, he has now managed to create and open an adorable shop in the heart of St. Paul. From the authentic ingredients to the family feel, The Naughty Greek has nailed it. The shop roasts locally-sourced pork and...
Restaurant views and reflections: An essay by Jennifer Murray

Restaurant views and reflections: An essay by Jennifer Murray

One of my favorite moments while glancing out of the window during a busy night at work is when the sky is just darkening behind the old brick warehouse buildings of Lowertown and a final burst of sunshine breaks against the brick and windows creating a golden glow of buildings in front of the settling darkness. I have found that it’s usually pointless to try and point this out to my coworkers at Saint Dinette, because we’re often all too busy in the evening to appreciate anything beyond the bustle of the restaurant.  Which is a good thing: that bustle means we’re doing a good job, means people are flocking to a place that we love, eating the food that’s been made with so much care and inspiration that it boggles my mind, and appreciating the atmosphere that is fostered and inspired by the amazing people who own and run the restaurant. The view out of the window is an added bonus, even if it only provides a short moment to re-center myself, because sometimes it’s hard to be an introvert in a job that mainly attracts extroverts and requires sustained bursts of energy in a crowded room.   Sometimes I wonder how on earth I got here, nearly twelve years into restaurant work and finally in a job that I love on every single level. Not that I haven’t loved my previous jobs, but none have had so few negative qualities (Saint Dinette has none of note). Sometimes I wonder how I ever got into and stayed in this line of work.   I recall the views out...
Dear Mother Nature, I’m sorry

Dear Mother Nature, I’m sorry

Dear Mother Nature, It’s time to come clean and admit that I have failed. I’m sorry, Mother Nature, you deserve better. We talked about climate change in high school. We saw pictures of smokestacks and smog, of miles-long traffic jams and mountains of trash in landfills. I’m aware. I’m supposed to be a part of an aware generation; we Millenials who are changing everything for the better and undoing the damage of past generations and all that. I mean, I grew up watching Fern Gully. I was scared shitless of the Tim Curry-voiced gas monster that was destroying the pure and beautiful forest and the pure and beautiful fairies who lived there. But I haven’t really done anything about it. You’re sick, and I’ve failed at making you better. I vote for the people and policies I think (hope, pray) will make things better, so I don’t really have to do anything myself. I “like” articles from Mother Jones and my progressive friends on Facebook. I tell people how important the environment is. I’m conscious that climate change exists. I know that the Paris Agreement might actually enact some real change. Or at least I hope so. Reading about it makes me feel better at least. And then I continue on my way. I check email. I go to work. I have lunch. I look at my Instagram to see how many people liked a picture I took of the green leaves turning red and orange for autumn because they’re there and pretty, and even if I know that someday they won’t be I don’t really know what to do except appreciate them today. I...
We already have some of the answers

We already have some of the answers

Hello real life and internet friends, The interweb may still be cute cat videos in your world, but most of my friends are deep into politics and racial equity stuff lately.  I think it’s really easy to get swept up in some of the problems that face us without really ever putting much thought toward what solutions may be out there.  To that end, I wish to offer the following. There are 3 things at the root of most of our headline making problems of late: Ignorance Lack of tolerance Lack of engagement Here are 5 things we can all do to make sure that we are tolerant, informed, and engaged within our communities.   1. Get involved in LOCAL politics. Most decisions that have tangible/direct effects on you and your family are made in city council/school board type meetings – not in the Oval Office.  These meetings are typically open to the public and if you really want to be involved, you don’t have to have a bazillionairre family member to run for office at that level.  Going to these meetings or becoming a low level official will open up your access to mayors and governors as well.  This is all about engagement. 2. Study the histories of cultures which are represented in your community. You may not KNOW a Hmong person/African American/Somali/etc., but you can learn about their backgrounds and know the struggles and triumphs they’ve had as cultures.  These stories make up the fabric of their households and are a part of your community worth recognition and celebration.  Internalizing and embracing the ancient and recent histories of your neighbors is a good way...