Minnesota – The Bootleg

Each week, the Sip Advisor will alphabetically travel the United States, discovering the best each state has to offer in a variety of subjects. Today, Minnesota welcomes the Sip Advisor. The Land of 10,000 Lakes actually has many more, so at least they’re humble folk. Let’s see what the North Star State has going on:

Motto: “The star of the North” – Canada may have some objections to that…

Food: Hotdish is a Minnesota classic. These casseroles come in a variety of forms, but typically combine a starch, a meat, and vegetables, mixed with canned soup. A popular version uses tater tots, ground beef and cream of mushroom soup. Hotdish can even come served on a stick, with the soup used as a side dipping sauce.

Drink: Craft beer is big in Minnesota, with brewing in general having a long and storied history in the state. Companies such as Surly, Summit, and Schell’s are among the best today, with Schell’s being the second oldest family-owned brewery in the U.S., founded in 1860.

Hotdish

Site to See: For those who love to shop, a mecca of mall madness can be found in Bloomington. The Mall of America is the largest mall in the U.S., home to such attractions as the Nickelodeon Universe theme park, Sea Life Minnesota Aquarium, Crayola Experience and FlyOver America. Opened in 1992, the mall contains 520 stores and restaurants.

Street: Summit Avenue, in St. Paul, is notable for being the longest street of Victorian homes in America. National Historic Landmarks along the route, include the James J. Hill House, F. Scott Fitzgerald House and Frank B. Kellogg House. However, architect Frank Lloyd Wright and writer F. Scott Fitzgerald both disliked the area.

TV Show: Coach, starring Craig T. Nelson as Minnesota State University football coach, Hayden Fox, ran for nine seasons and exactly 200 episodes. The final two seasons were set in Florida, with Fox becoming the coach of an expansion NFL team, but it was revealed in the series finale, Fox retired and returned to Minnesota.

Movie: I’m a huge Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon fan, so among some tough competition, I have to go with Grumpy/Grumpier Old Men for this category. Set in Wabasha, feuding neighbours, Max Goldman and John Gustafson Jr., trade insults and pranks, while their respective son and daughter enter into a relationship together. The sequel sees everyone happily ever after, so perhaps the movie titles don’t fit.

Grumpy Old Men

Book/Author: It is generally accepted the Peanuts comic strip, created by Charles M. Schulz, is set in Minnesota. After all, Schulz was born in Minneapolis and some mentions during the comics run place memorable characters, such as Charlie Brown and Snoopy, there. Schulz retired on January 3, 2000, dying a month later of colon cancer.

Fictional Character: Minnesota is a hockey mad state; therefore, hockey legends with fill this category. First, the rough and tumble Hanson Brothers, from the classic film Slap Shot, are Minnesota-bred. Next, we have the Mighty Ducks minor hockey team, led by coach Gordon Bombay. Can you just imagine if these great players all united to form an all-state squad!?

Fictional City: Frostbite Falls is the hometown of Rocky J. Squirrel and Bullwinkle J. Moose. Based on the real-life International Falls (nicknamed the Icebox of the Nation due to its extremely cold temperatures), Frostbite Falls is where antagonists Boris Badenov and Natasha Fatale are often trying to capture “Moose and Squirrel,” perhaps to make a hotdish.

Actor/Actress: Funnymen Chris Pratt and Vince Vaugh were born in Virginia and Minneapolis, respectively. Coincidentally, both have had roles in Jurassic Park films. Other notable stars from the state, include Judy Garland, Jessica Biel, Jessica Lange, Winona Ryder (born in Winona), and Seann William Scott.

Hanson Brothers

Song: Skyway, by the Replacements, is an ode to the Minneapolis Skyway System, a network of pedestrian footbridges, which allow folks to remain inside and safe from the elements for 11 miles and 80 city blocks (the longest continuous system in the world). The Minnesotan band’s song is about two lovers, one on the street and one within the Skyway System, who are unable to connect.

Band/Musician: Two icons of the music industry were born in Minnesota. Bob Dylan has been recognized as one of the most influential artists of all-time, earning such accolades as a Nobel Prize in Literature, the Presidential Medal of Freedom and induction into various Hall of Fames. Fellow Minnesotan, Prince, also enjoyed a very successful career, sadly passing away of an accidental fentanyl overdose, in 2016.

People: The Coen brothers, Joel and Ethan, were born in St. Louis Park and are among some of the most successful filmmakers in the industry. Their most notable movies include Fargo (set and filmed in Minnesota), No Country for Old Men and True Grit, all of which were nominated for a Best Picture Oscar, with No Country for Old Men taking home the prize.

Animal: Not only was a dog (Duke) elected mayor of small town Cormorant Village, but the canine was re-elected three more times, serving for a total of four years, before retiring. Duke’s human deputy mayor, said the canine “hangs out at the local pub and makes sure everything is running.”

Duke the Mayor

Invention: Frank C. Mars founded Mars Inc., in 1911, in Minneapolis. His famous chocolate bar creations included the Milky Way, Snickers and Three Musketeers. His son, Forrest Mars Sr., later developed the Mars bar and M&M’s candies, while estranged from his father. He returned to the fold, when he inherited Mars Inc. and merged it with his own company.

Crime: I had this article all written up and ready to go… then the murder of George Floyd occurred and a rewrite was needed. Floyd’s death, at the hands of Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin and his colleagues, has resulted in Black Lives Matter protests across the country and abroad, seeking reforms on policing and highlighting racial inequalities. Floyd was 46 and is survived by five children.

Law: In Minnesota, nursing homes and senior care facilities may only stage games of bingo twice per week. Yeah, that will keep the residents in line!

Sports Team: Minnesota has one team in each of the Big 4 sports leagues. Minneapolis is home to three of those clubs, the Vikings (NFL), Twins (MLB) and Timberwolves (NBA), while the Wild (NHL) play in St. Paul. The defunct North Stars (NHL), had played in Bloomington from 1967 to 1993, but were relocated to Dallas, Texas.

Bingo

Athlete: Minnesota has long been a breeding ground for professional wrestlers. Such notable stars from the past, include Verne Gagne (whose American Wrestling Association was based in Minneapolis), Bob Backlund, Bronko Nagurski, Curt Hennig (aka Mr. Perfect), the Road Warriors, Nikita Koloff, Barry Darsow, Rick Rude, Jesse Ventura (former governor of Minnesota), and Sean Waltman (aka X-Pac).

Famous Home: The Glensheen Historic Estate, in Duluth, is an expansive property, operated by the University of Minnesota Duluth. Famous for its architectural design, the mansion was the site of a grizzly double murder of owner Elisabeth Congdon and her nurse, at the hands of Congdon’s adopted daughter’s husband. Tours of the estate are available, but questions about the murders can only be asked afterwards.

Urban Legend: Although there’s a drunken prankster, Ola Värmlänning, among Minnesota folklore, I can’t find much info about the character, so we’ll go with the Kensington Runestone in this category. The Runestone, which details the experiences of 14th century Scandinavian explorers, has been the subject of much debate over its authenticity. Most scholars have debunked the artifact as a hoax, but it remains on display at the Runestone Museum, in Alexandria.

Museum: Spam, the canned pork product, was invented in Minnesota. Therefore, the state is home to the Spam Museum, located in Austin. Visitors are offered spamples from spambassadors, with a highlight of the museum documenting Spam’s importance during World War II. Austin also celebrated Spamarama annually, from 1978 to 2007, with the event returning in 2019. The festival featured a Spam cook-off competition.

Spam

Firsts: The University of Minnesota has been responsible for many major medical developments. These include the first open heart surgery, as well as the first bone marrow, kidney and pancreas transplants in the U.S. The world-renowned Mayo Clinic is also a Minnesota institution, known for its treatment of patients and research programs, leading to many medical innovations.

Company: General Mills, makers of popular cereals such as Cheerios, Trix, Cocoa Puffs, Lucky Charms, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, and Golden Grahams, is headquartered in Golden Valley. Other General Mills brands include Betty Crocker, Pillsbury, Chex Mix, Hamburger Helper, and Old El Paso. Two more notable companies based in Minnesota are retailer giants Target and Best Buy.

Events: The Miracle on Ice, which saw the U.S. defeat the powerhouse Soviet Union (and later capture the hockey gold medal) at the 1980 Winter Olympics, was accomplished by a team loaded with University of Minnesota players and led by the program’s coach, Herb Brooks. The victory was iconic during the Cold War era and made all the more memorable by commentator Al Michaels call: “Do you believe in miracles?!”

Miscellaneous: Minnesotans must enjoy their leisure time, having invented a number of objects for fun on your own and with friends. These items include snowmobiles, water skis, rollerblades, the game Twister, Nerf balls, and Tonka Trucks.

The Bootleg

The Bootleg

  • 1.5 oz Vodka, Gin or Rum
  • 3 oz Bootleg Mix (recipe below)
  • Top with Club Soda
  • Garnish with Mint

The Bootleg Batch

  • Bootleg Mix (Combined in Blender)
  • 1 Can Frozen Lemonade
  • 1 Can Frozen Limeade
  • 1/2 Cup Mint Leaves
  • 1/2 Cup Simple Syrup

The Bootleg is a country club favourite in Minnesota. Some say the recipe first appeared during prohibition, used to mask the taste of alcohol. This drink was very good, which I mixed up for friends and family to enjoy poolside on a warm day. Anything is better than the alternative Minnesota cocktail of choice, the Beertini/Midwest Martini, which combines lager beer with green olives and brine.

Snack Time #42 – Oreo Thins Salted Caramel Cookies

On our recent trip across the border, Mrs. Sip found this Oreo Cookies release. I can confirm, the Oreo Thins Salted Caramel Cookies did not last long in our snack cupboard, as they we very tasty and you didn’t feel so guilty about eating them.

Mrs. Sip and I were discussing Oreo Thins the other day and we thought it was funny that when you’re a kid, Oreos are all about the filling. When you get older, you are looking to snack without doing too much damage to the body, so the Thins are a perfect option.

Oreo Thins Salted Caramel Cookies.jpg

We found the Salted Caramel Cookies at Target, but I assume they are available at a number of grocery chains. Other Thins flavours include Chocolate, Mint, Lemon, and the one Mrs. Sip was hoping to get her hands on, but they were sold out, Coconut.

No company comes out with more intriguing flavours than Oreo. Every time Ma Sip is in the U.S., she finds a new variation or holiday limited edition to bring home. Recent discoveries have included Jelly Donut, Apple Pie and even Mystery.

For more Snack Time articles, please visit our main page…

November 29 – Black Friday

Bloody Friday

I’ve never taken part in a Black Friday shopping event, at home or abroad. I don’t like crowds, waking up early, and the idea of fighting over limited deals. I did do Boxing Day shopping on a couple of occasions when Mrs. Sip and I were in our early dating years and those were bad enough that we fazed them out. Good thing, too, here are some of the craziest Black Friday stories!

black-friday-trample

Door Crashers

In 2008, a 34-year-old Wal-Mart employee was trampled to death in Valley Stream, New York when Black Friday consumers stampeded into the store. Shoppers continued to pour into the location, despite the injury and co-workers trying to stop the rush and help their fallen comrade. Even police where shoved by deal-seekers as they tried to assist on the scene. A pregnant woman was also hurt in the incident, begging the question: what the hell was she doing there in the first place!?

Toys R’ Us Kid

On the same day, across the country, two people were shot and killed following an altercation at a Toys ‘R’ Us store in Palm Desert, California. As two women began fighting, their respective male counterparts pulled guns on each other and ended up killing one another (no loss there!). The incident was said to be more personal than a fight over merchandise and could have been gang-related. When I go to Toys ‘R’ Us, I’m always packing heat!

Cutting Edge

In 2010, a woman was arrested outside a Toys ‘R’ Us (what is with people shopping for their kids?) in Madison, Wisconsin after cutting in line and threatening to shoot people who objected to her budging. No cuts, no butts, no coconuts, am I right! Lanessa Lattimore was quoted as saying, “I just wanted to get my daughter the toy that she wanted for Christmas, which probably won’t be there when I go today.” Did ya think they might restock sometime in the next month!?

Black Friday Savings

Pour Some Pepper On Me

In Porter Ranch, California, in 2011, a woman used pepper spray on fellow shoppers to “get an advantage” on them over discounted Xbox 360 video game systems. This was in a wealthy suburb, of all places! The attack injured about 20 shoppers and unfortunately, the perpetrator got away in the chaos… whether she was also able to grab her prized Xbox is unknown. You have to hope that at some point, karma comes back to haunt this loser.

‘Tis the Season

In 2011, Walter Vance, 61, collapsed after entering a Target store on Black Friday and later died in hospital from a previously known heart condition. These things happen, but the tragedy comes when people stepped over the man and continued their shopping while he was in distress. I have to point out, if you know you have a heart condition, why in the hell are you joining the madness of Black Friday… and this dude should have known better, he was a freakin’ pharmacist! Worst yet, apparently all he wanted was Christmas decorations. As if those couldn’t have waited!

Black Friday Survival

Parking Wars

Sometimes folks don’t even get into the stores before violence breaks out on Black Friday. Two people were shot outside a Wal-Mart in Tallahassee, Florida after a dispute over a parking spot. I think one of the things I hate most in life is crowded parking lots and the whole pursuit of a suitable spot. I know I’m far from the only one who gets put on edge as you spend countless time going up and down aisles hoping for an opening and when you finally find one, you feel like celebrating… with gun shots!

Love at First Line

Things aren’t all bad, though, on Black Friday. In 1991, two random people lined up outside a K-Mart in Valley Stream, New York and made small talk as they waited for seven hours for the store’s doors to open. Two years later, they married and in 2009, Matthew and Michaelle Tulloch, won a $1,000 shopping spree at Best Buy for sharing their story in an essay contest. The couple now has two kids and celebrates every Black Friday the same way they spent that fateful day in 1991.

Drink #333: Black Friday

Black Friday Drink Recipe

  • 1.5 oz Bourbon (I used Jim Beam Black Cherry)
  • Top with half Ginger Ale and half Cola
  • Splash of Lime Juice
  • Garnish with Crushed Lime Wedges

Did you know that the last Friday before Christmas has also been dubbed ‘Black Friday’ in the United Kingdom, due to it being a popular night for office Christmas parties and the resulting need for emergency services following hard drinking and an increase in fights!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
I really liked this cocktail thanks to its taste and simplicity. My favourite touch of the entire recipe is to use Crushed Lime Wedges which are meant to honour the many that have been trampled attending these Black Friday sales. I thought that was such a great idea and tried to reflect that in my work.

January 15 – Purple Flirt

Tim Horton’s, Target and Rotisserie Chicken, Oh My!

craigslist_missed_connections

Recently I wrote about my own “Missed Connection,” playing off the Craigslist page where you can write to someone you randomly bumped into and wonder if they noticed you too. That got the editorial team (my wife and me) at The Sip Advisor thinking that there could be some other good missed connections out there worth dissecting. It didn’t take very long at all to find a few diamonds in the rough. If only these people could be as bold in their real life as they are behind their keyboards (pot calling the kettle black!?!?). Perhaps the Purple Flirt would have helped them?

Missed Connections: Timmy Ho’s

i seen you again today my sweet honey crueller

quit being so cruel too me

i saw you eating a big bowl of tim hostrons chilly – you coulndt get enouf

the napkins were all overthe table stained in with sweet tims

i think you also had a boston cream donut on the side wit ha cocna cola (you awlays order the same thign)

i was the one whoe ordered the bbq chicken snack wraper with canadian maple and M double-doulble

wont u be my honey curller? i will fill you up with my boston cream 😉

honey cruller

Advisor’s Take: I don’t think we’re talking about donuts anymore! Maybe we never were. Does the girl this poster is writing about have scoliosis? Why else would she be comparable to the twisted honey cruller?

Why do guys think the quickest route to a woman’s heart is through vulgarity? What happened to chivalry!? I guess you just don’t find true romance at Tim Horton’s anymore.

I think both of these people are lost causes: one’s a messy eater and I’ve personally had “enouf” of the other’s writing style.

Missed Connection: Dinner and a Shopping Spree

Hi babe where are you?

you pulled in last week with you gray van
and you wayed to me from inside the van
you throw me a kiss,,,,,,,,,looking for you
badly……lets meet again and go for dinner
and i will take you to Target for shopping
You could buy anything you want NO LIMIT 

target

Advisor’s Take: Damn! An all-expenses paid trip to Target?!!… What gal wouldn’t jump all over that!? (I’d jump all over that!). Can you imagine how that would go? I’d go absolutely crazy in the candy aisle, grabbing Skittles and Starburst before going into a candy-induced coma. And let’s not even think about what could be achieved in the liquor and mixer aisles. I’d ruin this guy and put him into debt for years to come. Just like the club, he couldn’t handle me!

I also can’t believe how awful the grammar and spelling is in these posts. It makes me scared for the future of this world.

Missed Connections: Rear-Ender 

Thanks for rear-ending me [with your shopping cart]!! haha… I loved your juicy, succulent, breasts… delicious thighs… and then I looked away from your rotisserie chicken and saw your very sexy smile…. 😉

Let’s chat. Look forward to hearing back from you.

Rotisserie Chicken

Advisor’s Take: What a great opening line: your rotisserie chicken! I’m totally going to steal that for my own repertoire. This guy is actually quite clever. I’d give him a chance. And what a tale to tell your future grandchildren. Grandma and grandpa met when grandma rear-ended grandpa. Ha ha… because, you know, women are bad at driving! Oh grandpa, you’re such a card…

Drink #15: Purple Flirt

Purple Flirt Drink

  • 1.5 oz Vodka
  • 1 oz Sambuca
  • Top with cranberry juice
  • Garnish with pick of Maraschino cherries

Well, the drink didn’t really turn out purple, as you can see. I guess that’s symbolic of the “Missed Connections” on Craigslist. Sometimes things just don’t work out no matter how hard (or little) you try.

Seen any other crazy or funny “Missed Connections”? Send them my way, as I’m always in search of a good laugh!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
While there were a few disappointing elements to this cocktail, what dropped its score the most was the fact it didn’t even turn out purple. Next the mixing of Sambuca and Cranberry Juice is one I still question. They just don’t seem to fit together.