On the Road: Minneapolis
MINNEAPOLIS – The Russell Wilson jersey came with special privileges.
It always does on Alaska Airlines, and that carried special significance for one passenger on Saturday who boarded early for flight 748, heading to Minneapolis.
“My wife still has to wait,” he said. “She’s a Vikings fan.”
Yep. This was that kind of trip. One in which Seattle went on the road and reminded everyone that it is a team to be reckoned with in its first trip to Minnesota since August 2010.
The weather was warmer than anyone could have expected, which was important since Minnesota’s team is in between stadiums right now and squatting at the University of Minnesota, which is an outdoor stadium.
It was 37 degrees at kickoff Sunday. Downright balmy. So warm, in fact, that I was willing to wait in a line that threatened to extend outdoors before I could find a seat at Matt’s Bar and Grill on Cedar Street in South Minneapolis.
No plates. No ice.
We blew our budget on napkins. That’s the advisory posted on the wall of Matt’s. You’ll understand the rationale when you take your first bite of a Jucy Lucy, but wait.
You’ve got to let it cool down first. That’s the warning that’s issued with each of those burgers that feature a molten cheese middle.
That burger has become a Minneapolis staple. There are imitations all over. There are adaptations such as the Blucy, which is served at The Blue Door, featuring – you guessed it – blue cheese in the middle. But there’s only one true Jucy Lucy and that’s at Matt’s Bar and Grill.
President Barack Obama has eaten one. There’s a photographic proof, but not even he could use a credit card. See, Matt’s is a cash-only establishment. The kind of place that has a plaque at the bar in memory of a long-time patron.
It’s a pure slice of what makes Minneapolis such an appealing city. A pinch of small-town charm in a big-city setting.
The people are extraordinarily nice, and while there’s an old joke that a Minnesotan will give you directions to everywhere except their house, I found the hospitality to be unbelievable.
Then again, my host didn’t have all that much choice on Saturday night as I visited my younger brother, who moved to Minneapolis from Seattle more than a year ago.
Saturday wasn’t my first chance to meet his daughter, Henri, who is 2. She was born in Seattle. It was my first chance to talk with her, though. We even went out to dinner, driving over the St. Paul to Luce’s Pizza, which features a baked-potato pizza. It’s even crazier than it sounds as the toppings are mashed potatoes, broccoli, cheese and bacon. It’s served with sour cream, and it is delicious. Even Henri thought so.
When it comes time for her to visit Seattle, we’ll make sure to get Henri a Russell Wilson jersey. We wouldn’t want her to wait, after all.