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5 Blogs I Tried To Write This Week

By the time any of you are reading this, I will be on a plane, leaving Minnesota. I don’t often travel to places I can’t drive to in under three hours, so I feel like my mind has left ahead of me in anticipation, trying to prepare itself for my body to arrive. As such, writing about life at the Smokehaus has been a trying task.

I won’t lie to you: I was unable to come up with anything substantive or cohesive that filled a whole 5 Things™ blog. I tried to write something about our catering department, examining more closely the different levels of service they are capable of offering, but as they are actively developing menus and service packages, everything I wrote seemed to merely parrot THIS POST.

Don’t misunderstand—there will be another post about our catering department, which is eagerly awaiting its chance to serve you a several-course meal of any genre of food—we’ve got plenty of dishes in our arsenal, and love a new challenge; prepare you an easy-to-transport, casual picnic-style meal, like pulled pork or chicken sandwiches with creamy coleslaw on the side—simple in execution, sufficient to feed a small army; execute a thoughtful buffet with multiple dishes, capable of feeding many folks of diverse palates and accounting for dietary concerns; assemble a piece of interactive living art in charcuterie board form, essentially a buffet, though less clinical in execution—great for events where good food is an attraction, but not the main event; or, a favorite, a smaller multi-course meal, served family-style (center of the table, serve yourself) for more intimate events.

A classic charcuterie board for a wedding reception.
The barn at Hemlock Preserve (Esko, MN), a favorite venue of ours.

I can’t wait to tell you more about our catering department, with concrete details, but right now it’s just beignets on my mind.

How about that weather? Beside being the #1 small talk topic in town, maybe even the whole state (whole Midwest? Whole country? Whole world?!), the weather impacts our business. On the Mail Order end of things, it means that the odd package might be held up in a snowstorm. In the deli it might mean that we start sending our coworkers home right after the lunch rush, and end up closing at four.

The weather is truly out of our hands. And while the temperature oscillating between thirty-degrees Fahrenheit above and below zero, with vigorously shaken snowglobe levels of frozen precipitation suddenly rolling in is certainly not the most boring thing I could be thinking about, I’m eager for the upper-sixties to mid-seventies, and have already written about the weather enough, and stretching the weather across five Things™feels like I’m cheating you.

My coworker sent me a text, that said they were discussing which sandwich they would be from our menu. Immediately, this resonated with my unintentional theme of having an unintentional theme. I’m not sure what the qualifiers were, but when I asked who was what, I got this response:

  • Tyler is The Hedonist
  • Patricia is The Tempest
  • Lucy is The Banh Faux Mi
  • Andy is The Cedar’s Secret
  • Michael is The Fuzzy Bunny

They asked which one I would be, and I said The Purple Range. If you’re still reading, thanks for coming to my TED Talk.

Then of course there was that busy weekend followed by a national holiday which resulted in major tip-outs to everyone in the deli (thank you to our very generous customers!), being so completely depleted of product that we are still catching up to restock the shop, selling a lot of our Smoked Lake Trout Chowder (which bodes well for it becoming a permanent fixture), and of course just a lot of pride that even in our slow season we can bust out days like that.

And it’s been a while since I’ve discussed our weekly Dungeons & Dragons session. The action has really been a bit too diffuse and contextual so far, and as low-level characters early on in a massive campaign, there’s still a lot of self-discovery going on. Only very recently was I even able to completely verbally express my character’s journey-defining revelation/vision to our DM, Harrison. Once we really know our characters, the stories will be more worthwhile.

But this week, we came face-to-face with our archenemy for the first time. We didn’t need to, but we never said we were the good guys, just helpful—so when the mission (to infiltrate the lair of the crime boss while they slept, and replace their pet goldfish with an Awakened goldfish spy) was complete, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to grab a few of the magical items laying right within our grasp on the table. How were we to know that the aforementioned crime boss would wake up, and get a solid look at our sheepish faces before we sprinted our way out of their lair. It looks like I’ll be investing in a mask.

The journey, as usual, was just as, if not more satisfying than the destination. The lair itself offered a number of challenges, including solving high-stakes, colorful puzzles while battling a handful of animated stone replicas of the big-boss, figuring out how to ration the gold that we need to pay back the loans we took to open The Malt Solstice at Trollskull Manor, our tavern/base of operations/secret alchemy lab/spiritual healing center, while solving pay-to-play puzzles, and my druid figuring out how to proceed after having all of their possessions, save for their actively enchanted-quarterstaff, disintegrated after being thrown onto a trap.

And of course their are all the spoils of our victory, like the stolen Bag of Holding; the pilfered wines & spirits from parallel planes that we’re going to carelessly put on our establishment’s shelves; the pleasure that comes with successfully routing an opponent on the battlefield of a booby-trapped disco floor, with a magical gnomish reflective spinning orb floating above us; and knowing that my druid truly only needs themself and their magical quarterstaff, not even their potions of healing or their clothing, to bravely face down a powerful antagonist…and wisely decide to dash and Misty Step away as expediently as possible.

Yes, there is plenty I could say about our most recent Dungeons & Diners & Dragons & Drive-ins & Dives session, but is that what you came here to read? Again, I honestly am not sure. Let me know if I need to increase the D&D play-by-play content.

Anyway, before I head off on vacation, I’ll just leave you with this final list of honorable mentions for this post:

1. I’ve been spending a reasonable non-zero portion of my paycheck on the Quadruple-Ginger Cookies we’ve recently begun selling. That’s raw ginger, ground ginger, crystallized ginger and pickled ginger in the mix. Oh, and honey. These cookies slap. They’re moist, but lightly crispy, and a perfect follow-up to my other current obsession, the Adisalad.

2. We recently started offering these Pine Cones in our deli. They’re $8 each and contain a portion of sliced salami mix, a few buttery olives, and a mix of assorted charcuterie, dealer’s choice.

Like a charcuterie platter for one.

3. Look out for upcoming announcements about NWS Happy Hour! There will be deals and happy hour-only specials.

I’m sitting in the airport, waiting to board my flight, so I’m going to let you go. Have a good weekend. Try a Quadruple-Ginger Cookie or something.

One thought on “5 Blogs I Tried To Write This Week

  1. Always fun to read!

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