Thursday, March 18, 2010

Celebrating Our Diversity -- Keeping It Real @ The More Cafe in Milan

Those are fightin' words in some circles. To others they have different meaning. With political overtones aside, we enjoy sharing other cultures. As I posted on Facebook, we just returned from Milan. I got a few quick comments this morning. One friend questioned when we went because she had just talked to me two days ago! We just returned from Milan, MN. Milan (pronounced Mile-an) is a town of 326 people near the So.Dakota border. It is on the beltline of Minnesota. We live in Stillwater, a town on the MN/ WI border straight across the state at it's skinniest part. Heritage in the Milan area is mostly Norwegian. Last year we heard about a tiny restaurant that made potato dumplings (klub)similar to the ones Jon's family makes. That is why we drove 200 miles. We wanted to compare the Norwegian version to the knoedels he makes. We were charmed and it was worth the drive. (Factor in we are retired people.) Jon called in advance to assure they were still making klub. There were about a dozen people eating at the cafe when we were there. Single guys wearing seed caps sat on high stools at a long table. Couples took the booths. The entertainment was Vern and his One Man Band. He looked to be 80 something and played a harmonica and zither as his foot thumped the peddle to beat the drum. The music was old time. Great ambiance. The cafe is owned by a guy in his 30's. His Korean-American wife cooks. The recipe for the Norwegian dish was acquired from the locals. At other times an oriental menu is available. On Tuesdays the menu is simple: One or two klub. Ham or side pork are optional. The klub dumplings are served in a bowl of melted butter. Add salt and eat. I am glad you can still find little restaurants like the More Cafe in Milan, Mn. We have enough chain restaurants that all look alike.
To add to our ethnic sampling we stopped for a slice of pizza at Cossetta's in downtown St. Paul on the way home. We arrived at 2:00pm just as the St.Pat's Day parade was ending and throngs of green costumed revelers were descending on McGovern's Bar across the street from Cossetta. We managed to add Irish and Italian to the list. Too bad we forgot about the St. Urho's Day celebrations in Finland, Mn on March 16th. Maybe next year we can do that.
Link to You tube video of Vern found on You tube.

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