I promise we’ll finish our Romanian cooking. We have one more recipe to share with you all, and it’s coming up soon. We’re just finding it hard to keep up this summer what with road trips, birthdays, anniversaries, camps, swimming…yada, yada, yada. June and July are always our busiest months – and some of our most fun months too. It’s always a whirlwind and full of milestones that remind us how lucky we are and how much fun we have together. You know, the stuff memories are made of…
We recently took a road trip back to Minnesota. While we didn’t live there more than a few years, it was long enough to make it home. The kids still get excited singing “London Bridges” every time we cross the state border between Wisconsin and Minnesota.
It’s an old town, originally settled by the Wapasha tribe and named for Princess We-Noh-Nah, daughter of Chief Wapasha III. It’s population began to grow in the 1850’s with wheat milling and lumber.
Today the city is home to about 28,000 people and two universities. It’s a beautiful slice of the country with serene drives along the Mississippi River and great eagle watching depending on the time of year. Mr. N and I often went to “look for eagles” mid-afternoon, but he always seemed to be asleep within minutes. A mom’s gotta do what a mom’s gotta do some days.
While not having nearly as many amenities as we were used to growing up in Chicago, we managed to find plenty of things to keep us busy – visiting parks, hiking, taking scenic drives and visiting the intricate lock and dam system along the Mississippi.
And every time we get a chance to go back for a visit we make sure to pack as many of our favorite things into the trip as we can, one of which is a visit to our favorite “sandwich place.” The Acoustic Cafe, which I know we’ve mentioned before, is located in downtown Winona.
It’s our home-away-from-home, and was one of two restaurants we frequented on almost a weekly basis. (The other being a coffee shop for coffee, breakfast and board games with the kids.)
Again, going from Chicago and a plethora of fabulous restaurants at our fingertips, we weren’t big into cooking. I guess you could say, between the small town, having a toddler and eventually a little baby girl, we learned to embrace our home cooked meals. It was where our love for cooking really kicked off.
I start with a large Mountain Dew. That’s a nod to my former college days in Winona (I actually went to school here before having met Mike. Little did I know I’d end up back as an adult and my husband would be a professor at my alma mater.).
As for the sandwiches, the kids order ham with provolone and have it topped with mayo and special (secret) sauce. Mike and I each order the “combo.” It’s a mixture of ham, corn beef and salami. Mike’s is topped with everything – Swiss cheese, lettuce, onions, secret sauce, yellow peppers, mayo and tomatoes. My toppings of choice are always secret sauce, onions and provolone. (Notice the broomball champion t-shirt. Gotta represent.)
And no meal at Acoustic is complete without one of their giant, fresh baked cookies. Peanut butter is our favorite, but the kids have been known to be swayed by the double chocolate fudge cookie as well. Yes, that is a full size napkin.