December 10, 2013
The glutton’s diaries
Oozing burgers in St. Paul, Minn.
They’re ooey-gooey (1) and oh-so-good. At the always-bustling (2) burger joint in residential St. Paul, over-indulgence is the rule and staff proudly wear T-shirts promoting the ‘Meat is Murder. Tasty... Tasty... Murder!’ motto. Want a burger stuffed with pepper jack and topped with roast beef, bacon and cheddar? No problem. How about a patty coated in a delectable bourbon sauce? Coming right up. Care to heap the sauerkraut, corned beef, Swiss and tell-tale sauce of a Reuben (3) atop your standard burger? Done.
Unlike Minneapolis with its hip downtown vibe, St. Paul is the sleepier of the Twin Cities. But its neighborhoods offer dining gems, some of which, like The Nook, are more hole-in-the-wall (4) than chic gastropub. Situated beyond the outfield fence of the high school baseball diamond where eventual American League MVP Joe Mauer and Hall of Famer Paul Molitor cut their teeth (5), the restaurant’s brick facade has placards marking the spots where big hitters have landed balls over the years. Inside, the walls are plastered with memorabilia, photos of famous diners and award brags. Local icons have sandwiches named for them.
The Nook opened in 1938, and is now run by a pair of fresh-faced high school buddies who bought it in 2000. Ted Casper and Mike Runyon built it into a big draw.
It’s almost sacrilegious to bypass the beef, but the generously portioned beer-battered (6) walleye sandwich and half-pound BLT (7) won’t disappoint either. Need some veggies? Go for an appetizer of Leprechaun Legs (deep fried green beans with a zippy dipping sauce).
Fries share a basket with the burgers but that doesn’t mean they’re secondary. Soaked overnight in vinegar water, they cook up with a crispy outside but keep a chewy middle. Be sure to ask to have them tossed in ‘crack’ — a garlicky pepper blend that you’ll want to lick off your fingers.
Wash it all down with one of many imports or local brews on tap.
Adapted from a story by Brian Bakst for AP
Something gooey is soft and sticky. What about the “ooey”? It doesn’t mean anything, but it sounds great next to “gooey”! This sort of sound similarities are called “alliteration”, and are a favourite with journalists and advertisers.
A bustling place is full of people moving about quickly. Speaking of alliteration, a frequent phrase to describe the activity of a busy place is “hustle and bustle”.
(3) Reuben sandwich
The Reuben sandwich is a hot sandwich of corned beef, Swiss cheese, with Russian or Thousand Island dressing, and sauerkraut grilled between slices of rye bread. There are different myths and legends about who “Reuben” was and where this US
A hole in the wall is just what the name describes: a small, dark shop or restaurant that looks almost like a hole in a wall. In the UK, the word is also used to talk about ATM/cash machines.
(5) To cut one’s teeth
To cut your teeth on something means to do something that gives you your first experience of a particular kind of work. After you cut your teeth, it’s time to learn the ropes (we’ve covered this idiom a few weeks ago, it’s review time!).
A walleye is a kind of fish, and when it is beer-battered it is covered in a mixture of beer, eggs, milk and flour before going into the frier. Yummy!
This is another favourite item of fast-food lingo: a BLT sandwich has bacon, lettuce and tomato.
Hyphen-mania strikes back!
Four Mondays ago this space discussed hyphens, and now we have another article that has some juicy examples!
Expressions like “hole-in-the-wall” and “oh-so-good” are a lot like the examples we saw last time – complete phrases which blended into a single “word” (linguists will tell you that “word” is not such a clear-cut concept anyway...). But others here present different scenarios.
“Ooey-gooey” is a good case of the “combo hyphen”, when two words go together well and become a unit: super-duper! “Always-bustling” is interesting because of the frequency adverb – many hyphenated words begin with “always-”, “often-” or “sometime-”.
And this is just the tip of the hyphen iceberg! Pay attention to the Herald and you will find many, many more! classic was born.