Marathon Volunteering and Yum

Last weekend was the Twin Cities Marathon. The TC Marathon is hosted by Medtronic and is the self-proclaimed most beautiful urban marathon in America. As far as large city marathons go, TC is moderately sized (about 12,000 runners compared to 27,000 at Boston). The past couple years I’ve volunteered on race day in the elite athlete tent, and I decided to shake it up a bit this year by volunteering for set up. We set up on Friday for the Sunday race, and it was interesting to see the whole finish line and expo area in the process of coming together:

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I was stationed at the finish line, helping to attach sponsor signs to street barricades:

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SO MANY SIGNS TO ATTACH:

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By the end, I never wanted to see another zip tie:

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In other news, this past week on Monday and Tuesday I had a conference for work. We all went out for lunch together on Tuesday to a restaurant in St. Louis Park called Yum.

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Yum is a bakery and cafe that is pretty much adorable in every way. The menu is a combination of standard comfort food (mac and cheese, egg salad, fish and chips) as well as some untraditional options (ahi tuna burger and amablu crusted filet!).

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The bakery section shines with a tempting display of cupcakes and the signature chocolate cake with buttercream frosting called the Patti Cake (the owner’s name is Patti):

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In addition to food, Yum also sells a variety of knick knacks for all your random gifting needs:

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I ordered the salad sampler which came with one scoop each of egg salad, tuna salad and chicken salad, but I asked for two tuna and one egg:

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Several people at the table ordered fish and chips:

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Everything was delicious! Yum also sells an assortment of breads for purchase, including a nice looking challah!

 

 

Bad Chinese Food is the Worst

Bad food is bad food. Yes? For some reason though, when I eat bad Chinese food, I have a splitting headache for the rest of the day. MSG, anyone? Anyone…anyone….Bueller?

Needless to say, the following blog post does not end with a recommendation.

This week, I met a friend for lunch and we decided to try a Chinese restaurant in St. Louis Park across from the shops at West End.

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It looked unassuming enough, and it actually had pretty decent reviews on Yelp. It is pretty much your quintessential Chinese restaurant – complete with lunch buffet and Chinese year animal calendar placemats:

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Perhaps our big mistake was eating the buffet instead of ordering a dish from the menu, but we were both very hungry and the buffet looked to have some good options:

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I took some chicken stir fry, fried rice, lo mein, and egg foo yung:

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The food tasted alright while I was eating it (read: super greasy), but before I was even done with the meal I started to feel bad…splitting headache bad. Isn’t that weird?

Headache aside, the food was the low end of mediocre at beat – I think there’s A LOT better Chinese food that can be found in the area nearby. I would recommend Wok in the Park as a great alternative that has much fresher, tastier, and (seemingly) healthier dishes.

Shoes Shopping and Mill Valley Kitchen

Shoes are a big problem for me. From running shoes to just regular sneakers, it’s always a struggle for me to find shoes that will 1) fit my orthotics, 2) give me enough support outside of the orthotics, and 3) meet my high standards for comfort. I’ve had several attempted and failed shopping trips to try to find a nicer looking shoe that meets all of my requirements. Currently, whenever I go somewhere that calls for a nicer pair of shoes I either wear my Ugg boots, suffer miserably wearing uncomfortable shoes, or give up altogether and just wear my sneakers. On the recommendation of someone at my office, I decided to check out Schuler Shoes in St. Louis Park.

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I was told that Schuler’s had a wide selection comfort shoes and staff members who would help you find what you were looking for. The selection of shoes available was pretty impressive. They had an impressive selection of pretty much every comfort brand I’ve heard of.

Keen and Choco:
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Dansko:
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Naot (an Israeli brand!):

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I tried on a couple Naots and a pair of Danskos. The Naot shoes were a little too narrow for my orthotics to fit quite right. The Danskos were a little wider and felt pretty comfortable. My heel did seem to come out a little when I walked, but the salesperson told me that is standard with Danskos since they have the hard rocker sole. The Dansko model were called Arden Black Nappa:

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I’m wearing them today, and so far things are going pretty well. I started the day without socks, but that was a little uncomfortable and I felt like they were rubbing. Once I put socks on, I’ve been feeling a lot better. The only issue now is might need some non-white socks.

For lunch yesterday, we went to Mill Valley Kitchen. It’s in St. Louis Park, and they boast healthy and well-proportioned meals. I’ve wanted to try it for a while, and – given that it’s my own personal restaurant week – this was the perfect opportunity.

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The inside was very classy! I was expecting a cafe of sorts, but it was a lot more formal.

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From their bathrooms, I could also tell they are into the environment and all that good stuff. Telltale sign: REAL TOWELS!

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My dad and I both got salads for lunch. I got a butter leaf salad with asparagus, new potatoes, and skirt steak:

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My dad got a house salad with chicken, and we shared some house made pita bread:

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The lunch didn’t quite fill me up (there was very little meat on the salad). If I went back, I would definitely order something else, but I’m not desperate to return soon. I wasn’t too impressed and would go back to a lot of other places before I go back here.