20 October 2016

Borough, Mpls revives my faith in sandwiches

I don't usually order sandwiches when I'm out for lunch. It's not that I have anything against sandwiches in principle. It's just that when I'm eating out, I usually prefer something more creative, an entree, or even a salad. It doesn't take a lot of imagination to put some stuff between two slices of bread.

(Exception: Grilled cheese. I LOVE grilled cheese sandwiches.)

Earlier this year, Borough, a restaurant that I really like quite a lot, started serving lunch. So late in summer, when I was downtown during the lunch hour, I decided to give it a try. They have several items on the lunch menu that look good. But for some reason, I decided to try the pastrami sandwich. So glad I did.

Pastrami on Rye at Borough
The pastrami was excellent. Great flavor and very tender. Borough does a nice job with proportions. There's a generous serving of meat on the sandwich, but it's not piled ridiculously high. The sandwich is on a very tasty rye bread that's lightly grilled. Along with the meat on the sandwich is sauerkraut and spicy mustard with a couple of pickle slices on the side. Now this was a sandwich to get excited about. I had a side order of potato salad, made with fingerling potatoes, mustard, egg, celery, and roasted peppers. It was great.

My server was very helpful. I asked him about a catfish sandwich also on the menu. He appropriately raved about it and suggested that I try it on my next visit. So I did. When I was back downtown a few weeks later, I went back to Borough and ordered the catfish sandwich.

Catfish sandwich at Borough
As you can see from the photo, this was a very creative construction. The plank of catfish is blackened and grilled. It straddles two halves of a toasted roll made with goat milk. Piled on the catfish is a generous mound of celery root slaw. There are 3 dabs of hot sauce on the plate and the requisite pickle slices. I loved it. Another excellent, creative and noteworthy lunch that just happens to be a sandwich.

Well, with two great sandwiches in the course of a few weeks, I began to wonder if I've been unfair in my prejudice against ordering sandwiches. So recently, I was shopping at the Ridgedale Mall. It was around lunch time. Ridgedale has several good choices for lunch over and above the offerings in the food court. I've heard good things about Ruscello, the Italian restaurant at Nordstrom's and decided to give it a try. On the menu was a sandwich that sounded good - braised short rib on a baguette. So I ordered it.

Alas. The bread was good. The braised short rib was flavorful. But the sandwich was ... blah. It was just some stuff between two slices of bread. It leads me to conclude that it requires some creativity and finesse to make a sandwich that's worth ordering in a restaurant.

Braised short rib sandwich at Ruscello

18 October 2016

My room with a view

In my whole career, I never had an office with a window. Actually, I guess I'm lucky I even had an office. I understand that the new trend is for something called 'collaborative working environments' and 'nomadic' offices. I'm not sure exactly how it all works, but from what I've heard, you come to the office with your computer and just settle into an open work carrel, or gather round a table with co-workers who are collaborating on a project.

I always tried to be progressive and open to change. I tried to be a champion of more electronic communication and computer technology. (When I retired, I had almost no paper files for the last 7 years of my career. Almost all of my old work records consisted of electronic files stored on my computer.) When I traveled for work, I was pretty comfortable setting up a mobile office in my hotel room. As long as I had a good internet connection, I was able to work and be productive.

But back at the headquarters, I did have an office ... with a door ... that locked. I'm not sure how well I would have accepted giving it up for a permanent nomadic existence. I decorated my office with photos and artwork and plaques and other remembrances. Just no window looking outside.

Now I do. After I retired, I re-purposed a spare bedroom into a home office. I hung some of the same artwork. I put in a nice desk. (It's now almost as cluttered as my desk was at the office.) I have a couch where I sit and read sometimes. I bought a turntable and I play some of my old vinyl records while reading. And there's a big window overlooking my backyard.

Occasionally now, I catch myself gazing out the window. It happened the other day. It was damp and chilly and windy. I watched the autumn leaves tumble to the ground (and started thinking about when I'd have to go out and start raking.)

Actually, it was kind of distracting. Maybe I'm lucky I didn't have a window at work. I probably got more done.