We tripped giggling about some inappropriate joke on the patio at Black Forest Inn for a pre-lecture dinner. Hip blondes in red lipstick ironically eating their heritage and suburbanites in their polo-shot-and-khaki-best filled the garden on a recent crisp night. Minneapolis and Saint Paulians cherish our fleeting sun and prefer our patios ivy covered, restaurants sans outdoor seating lay barren through the warmer months. We should offer hearty thanks to this local culinary institution for adding its award winning beer garden with fraudulently bubbling pond in the mid-1970s.
"Spaetzle is a must," I said once we calmed down from our laughter over my mom's surprisingly original that's-what-she-said joke, coming from a mom makes even the most cliched sex joke particularly comedic. Since 1965, Black Forest Inn has been lovingly turning egg, milk and water into fluffy squiggles of spaetzle comfort. That night, they welcomed my creamy, succulent beef stroganoff into their delicacy with the wise encouragement of my grandma at Thanksgiving dinner: "You're ass is grass if you don't eat my stuffing." In this case, I'd have to punish myself if I didn't forget the wavy, slippery egg noodles of previous stroganoffs and remember the homemade Bröchten to soak up any gravy not attended to by the spaetzle.
Too bad my family's intense matriarchy and ill timed Anthony Bourdain reference made my efforts to split the sauerbraten aspic pre-meal unsuccessful. Happily, she generously shared her Alsatian sauerkraut casserole. Rich, smoked sausage, hearty potatoes and onions tempered the strength of sauerkraut not normally welcome on my tongue. I'm not a very good German. A third Paulaner Salvator and definitely the plum and custard tart would have been ordered, if timing had not prevented us. The Fantasy & Reality: An Examination of Dress and Jewelry in Rembrandt in America lecture started ten minutes after we signed our bill.
The lecture hall lights were brought down and the young lecturer hard already started umm-ing her way through the PowerPoint slides. The culprit for our tardiness: a small bladder requiring a quick pit stop, and maybe that second beer. By the time we found seats, I was wishing I'd gotten a third. However, after a rough beginning of nervous speaking belying her strong background on the subject, Ann Tozer really tickled some controversy out of the audience. Broaching the theory that religious figures who dressed solemnly were perhaps "just as, if not more, proud" in their attempts to contrast themselves with the bejeweled and ruffled dress of the wealthy scandalized two older women sitting next to us. They left quickly, huffing "impossible" and "sacrilegious" while they noisily gathered their designer handbags and denied themselves the chance to debate Ms. Tozer's well-researched argument. We laughed at their departure on the way home to nurse a happily growing food 'baby'.