Archive for the ‘Travel and Tourism’ Category

Minnesota – “Land of Plenty”

Traveltalks – 1942 Minnesota: Land Of Plenty


Via Julio Ojeda-Zapata

Winter Surfing on Lake Superior

I’ve blogged about winter surfing on Lake Superior a time or two in the last couple of years, but I’m never attempted the cold feat.

Jenn of Jenn Barnett Photos went and this is what she has to say.

It was a balmy 5 degrees F and the wind was blowing, so naturally we hopped in the car and drove up to Stoney Point to catch some waves. We checked out the surf just outside of downtown Duluth and it looked a little small but we kept our hopes up for Stoney. We pulled up to Stoney Point and well, it was still small. There were a couple of guys out already and after watching for a while it was clear that today would be a waiting game. Whatever! After a three hour drive we weren’t going to just turn around, so the guys went out anyway. It was worth a shot! The conditions did improve and the boys were able to score quite a few decent rides. I was able to capture some good shots, only fell twice, and didn’t break anything. An awesome day!

You have to check out the slideshow.



Duluth Hell’s Kitchen To Close, Reopen as HellBurgers


While I was in Duluth last weekend I stayed in the Canal Park area. It seemed like a third of the Minnesota had the same idea. I quickly found out there were two hockey tournaments and several Christmas parties.

This made it pretty impossible to get dinner reservation in the 5pm-7pm time frame at most places. Friday night we had a party of 7 and managed to get a table at Hells Kitchen with a rather short wait. The food was excellent as ever, but the service left a little something to be desired. When drinks run dry and the third attempt to remind the server is met with “I have thirteen tickets, I’ll get to you when I get to you.” there’s a temptation to roast the server, but instead I asked him “Did you just tell my wife that you’d get to us when you get to us? Profound.”. It did not seem like he had 13 open tickets, but we were a patient group and for the excellent food a few service glitches were worth tolerating. (I’m talking to you Adam, shape up dude.)

On Saturday evening I had a slightly larger party and once again everyplace in the area was booked solid, so I walked over to Hells Kitchen and they took my reservation for 5:30 and offered a small room. Score! When I was arriving a young couple walked up to the door, went inside, saw the gothic decor, and turned around. I mentioned it to the host and he said it happens a lot. I couldn’t help but wonder if Hells Kitchen was a little a head of it’s time for Duluth.

That night once again our food was great, there were a few small consistancy isssues and a couple of service glitches that made me ask the server if there was something wrong. “We’re not used to people ordering these things. It’s not like in the Cities where it’s packed all the time. That’s why we’re closing and reopening”

After a short conversation I found out they were going to rebrand as HellsBurgers, ditch the gothic decor, and focus on more standard americana fare like burgers and brauts.

So when I arrived home I shot off a letter to the owners asking them about closing and this is their response.

Basically, our food costs have risen 27% but we haven’t raised prices with the economic conditions being what they are. When we we analyzed our best sellers, it was hands-down our sandwiches and burgers, so that’s when we said “duh” and decided to expand in that direction. (A good number of diehards love our breakfasts but our strongest business by far was lunch and dinner.)
That said, we’ve been having fun designing our new menu, adding brats and a big variety of wings and even homemade foot-long corndogs and of course our award-winning chili and soups. (Note we are NOT trying to be fancy pants with foie gras burgers and exotic ideas…we’re just hoping to put out good food.)

While we’re at it, we decided to lighten up the place and remodel a bit and then we added spiked shakes (yum) for fun and then we got crazy and decided to add a movie screen to play old stuff from the 50’s 60’s 70’s and 80’s….and finally live music (free) on Saturday nights…HellBurgers give our place a nice kick in the ass, and from the immediate customer reaction to the news, our staff is feeling pretty excited about lightening up and brightening up our little corner of Canal Park.

I have to admit, it sounds like a great business move. Though, it’s a little sad the people of Duluth don’t seem to realize what a cullinary treasure they are losing in Hells Kitchen.

I’m sure HellsBurgers will still have some twists and I’ll check it out next time I”m in D-town.



Duluth Minnesota

Duluth - Sat - 12-05-09 071
Oh shit, I’m in Duluth. My theory is Duluth birds actually poop more than any other birds in the world. Draw your own conclusions.

I’m busy trying to stay alive and keep from getting too creeped out.

Duluth - Sat - 12-05-09 063

I didn’t post my cleche’ shot of the lift bridge or hillside yet, but rest assured they are on the way.

Go D-Town!


Talking Minnesotan – 11/06/09

Image Soirée au MIA upoaded by Minneapolis Institute of of Arts —– Check out their calendar of events

I think this next item is really cool, Bob Collins and Mary Lucia have put their 5:15 segment online. I know with many folk Bob and Mary can inspire a love’em or hate’em situation, well you can put me in the love’em camp.
MPR News Cut: Fresh Eye on the Radio
Give it a listen.

*Update*Speaking of MPR,if you haven’t seen David Brauer’s, of Minnpost, piece on MPR Executive Pay check it out, especially the comments.

While Secrets of the City has art The Affair
scandalOnline Protest Promotes Viewer Interaction

Citypages trys to help out Snoop, who was in town last night, with Advice for Snoop Dogg on getting high in the Twin Cities

My only advice to the Snoop Dogg would be don’t exhale, but I’ll bet he knows that already.

Since Crazy stays crazy

I’ll close it out with: Smart went crazy


Where Am I?

Here’s a pretty simple game of “Where in Minnesota Did I Take this Unaltered Picture?” Kudos to the first commenter who gets it right!


P.S. It has my favorite free views of the city.

NWA Flight Misses MSP by 150 miles.

Bob Collins breaks the story

And a few moments ago, the National Transportation Safety Board issued a news release detailing a puzzling lapse by a Northwest Airlines flight crew over Minneapolis yesterday: On Wednesday, October 21, 2009, at 5:56 pm mountain daylight time, an Airbus A320, N03274, operating as Northwest Airlines (NWA) flight 188, became a NORDO (no radio communications) flight at 37,000 feet.

The flight was operating as a Part 121 flight from San Diego International Airport, San Diego, California (SAN) to MSP with 147 passengers and unknown number of crew.

At 7:58 pm central daylight time (CDT), the aircraft flew over the destination airport and continued northeast for approximately 150 miles. The MSP center controller reestablished communications with the crew at 8:14 pm and reportedly stated that the crew had become distracted and had overflown MSP, and requested to return to MSP.

Now, we could wait for a rational or reasonable explanation OR we could speculate wildy.

I think you know which I prefer.



Iconic Duluth Structure Needs Help

My beloved home town Duluth needs help restoring an icon, The Enger Tower.

Enger Tower is an 80-foot (24 m), five-story blue stone observation tower atop Enger Hill in Duluth, Minnesota.[1] The tower is at an elevation of 451 feet (137 m) above Lake Superior, providing panoramic views of the Twin Ports. Each of the tower’s levels has a lookout that is accessible by stairs. A green beacon mounted on top of the tower can be seen for many miles.

MPR reports

a close look reveals trouble. A stone bench on the first level is all but gone — reduced to a few rocky shards jutting from the tower’s side. City Architect Terry Groshon points to the hole in the tower roof, where rain and fog creep through on Duluth’s colder days and to a nearby steel rail that’s half-eaten by rust. Water gets into the cracking masonry, freezes, and pops the rock and concrete out. Some people pick at the loosening stones … He doesn’t have a price tag yet, but he thinks it would take a couple hundred thousand dollars to patch it up for another decade, and over a million dollars to do it right

As a child Enger Tower was one of my favorite places to picnic and I try and make it there at least once a year. The views really are spectacular and I hope the city finds a way to fix this amazing landmark.

If you’re heading to Duluth then Enger Tower is a must visit and not just for the views from the tower. The surrounding park is beautiful and the drive along Skyway Road is breathtaking.


Minnesota State Fair Opening Day in 20 Seconds

Thanks to MPR you can now watch thousands of fair goers eat millions of calories in less than a minute. Mmmmm, I’ll take 18,000 pronto pups.


Minnpost reports

A record-setting crowd visited the 2009 Minnesota State Fair’s opening day Thursday. Minnesota Public Radio captured a portion of those 114,439 people from a video camera setup near its stage at the Fair and sped up the time from opening to closing to make this 20-second video.

So you know, go get something on a stick.
(What is the dude at 1:27 up to?)

I hear Summit has beer on a stick this year. I’d like to see you drink a day’s worth of that in twenty seconds.

Seriously, do it, send me your video.


What if it happened to you? (Trapped in an Airplane)

The headline reads “47 trapped on ‘nightmare’ flight to the Twin Cities”, but you don’t have to get far into the story to know there’s wasn’t much ‘flight’ going on at all.

This is another story where an airline site on the tarmac for extended periods of time while the passengers are kept inside waiting.

From the story:

When Link Christin boarded a Continental Airlines flight from Houston to the Twin Cities on Friday night, he expected to be on the ground in about three hours and ready for a comfy bed.

Instead, he was among 47 passengers who spent the night trapped inside a small airplane, parked at the Rochester airport, complete with crying babies and the aroma of over-used toilets.

The ExpressJet Airlines that operated the plane says the flight was diverted to Rochester because of Twin Cities thunderstorms, and that airline regulations prevented passengers from getting off the plane.

Christin is incredulous that the airline couldn’t figure out an option besides trapping passengers on the plane for nine hours

I have to admit, this is one of my only fears of flying. It happened to me one time on a flight to Atlanta where we couldn’t land because of storms and the plane actually ran out of fuel and was diverted to an army base in Birmingham. We refueled, and then they kept us for hours upon hours sitting on the tarmac.

I think we were supposed to arrive at MSP around 4pm and it was after midnight when we actuallly arrived.

It may just be my perception, but it seems like these types of delay have been becoming more and more frequent and some of the time it seems like an inconvenience and others it seems like a kidnapping.

What do you think?


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