Tuesday, July 7, 2009

"A Steak And A Manhattan On West Broadway Before I Die"

Photos By John Hoff

Jim Wentzel, a longtime board member of the Hawthorne Neighborhood, chatted with me a couple weeks ago and shared an interesting personal vision of the future of West Broadway...

Jim is a simple man with simple needs, and a simple vision of the future. He wants "a steak and a Manhattan on West Broadway before I die."

I knew a "Manhattan" was some kind of drink, but I'd never had one before. Like Jim, I am also a simple man when it comes to food and drink. I have one criteria for what I'm willing to try: have I ever tried it before? If the answer is no, I'm pretty much willing to try it. Think I lie? Click here. Then also click here.

Jim's vision of West Broadway development sent me on a whimsical quest for the perfect Manhattan. The one pictured at the top was at Pizza Luce, which is in the part of Minneapolis where the streets say "North" but it's not considered "North Minneapolis," apparently. Go figure.

The friend who was with me that evening informed me the Manhattan was "too fruity" to be a Manhattan and, furthermore, it's not a Manhattan if it's not served on ice. So she said. But she used to mix Manhattans for her grandfather, so her opinions are rather deeply ingrained. The bartender was equally adamant about how there's only one way to make a proper Manhattan, and it's pretty much his way. (Though he'd be glad to make it any way I like)

The second drink is a Manhattan served at Fine Line while NoMi's very own band "Watson" was playing. (Sure, only one of the band members is from NoMi, but they all live in different places and my neighborhood planted the sticker of territorial claim FIRST, so they belong to US)

Where was I? Oh, yes, seeking the perfect Manhattan.

Anyway, the Manhattan at Fine Line was good, too. But what would be the best Manhattan of all? Well, that would be the one I'll drink with Jim Wentzel after we eat steak on West Broadway.

With revitalization busting out all over and crime dramatically down, it could happen in a year or two.


Homewood Confidential said...

A nice, tender filet mignon on Broadway sounds fantastic. For the time being, though, I'll settle for a Dairy Queen in Homewood. SW corner of Penn & Plymouth?

Somehow I doubt the city would ever cough up that property for something like that, though.

Anonymous said...

I think "Watson" also use to practice in NoMi so I think its NoMi band.

Jordan Neighbor said...

Hey! That's Gooch - the best bartender in Minneapolis!

See, the thing with that Manhattan that Gooch made, I couldn't quite get past the fact that it was served in a martini glass.

The bottom Manhattan picture is more accurate, at least according to Grampa Ken's standards.

The Mortgage Geek said...

What the HELL is up with that first drink??? A Manhattan served in a pansy little martini glass?!?!?!

Somebody needs to go back to bartending school.

MikeT said...

I'd be happy with a rib joint that I didn't have to wear a flak jacket in.

Jordan Neighbor said...


That is EXACTLY the reaction I had when it arrived on the bar top...


(never even mind the pinkish tone to the drink from the Grenadine that was added!!)

Chunkstyle said...

Some friends of mine are considering organizing a neighborhood cleanup, and I thought of your area, the one sandwiched between Farview and Lowry, and nominated it. If we go there, we could grill...


Johnny Northside said...

I looked over your link briefly and, wow, so many things come to mind.

The first: I have no authority to invite somebody into the neighborhood nor, for that matter, NOT to invite them. It is a free country. If you want to wear your permitted weapons and pick up litter, as some in your group have apparently discussed, (see your thread) that is your right.

I will say this: I walk around all over my neighborhood and ride my bike and drive. I walk with my 12-year-old child. And I don't feel a need to carry a gun. (Do I have one IN MY HOME? That's another discussion and, for the record, the military rated me an expert marksman)

But anyway...

I've seen people who come from outside my neighborhood with all kinds of pre-conceived notions and they carry guns for "protection."

I saw a plumber do this, and later the relative of a dear friend. (He claimed to always carry his handgun, but we all knew it was bullshit)

If you want to carry your legal weapon to make a statement and demonstrate you have a RIGHT to do that, and because you think it's more useful than sitting around a gazebo scaring little kids, that is one thing.

If you want to carry your weapon because you think my neighborhood is so very dangerous, and you think you NEED a weapon just to come into my neighborhood, that is something else entirely. You might like to be aware crime has DRAMATICALLY PLUMMETED in my neighborhood.

One part of Hawthorne between Fairview Park and Lowry, called the Eco Village, recently went TWO MONTHS without a reported crime.

So, for the record, you DO NOT need a weapon just to casually walk around in my neighborhood. We do that ALL THE TIME up here. With our little kids along. The reality of NoMi (North Minneapolis) is far ahead of the lagging mainstream media stereotypes.

I would also add that some folks in the neighborhood would feel the mere DIPLAY of a weapon is emotionally loaded and contrary to certain goals of peace that individuals have worked on long and hard in this neighborhood, and, really, I feel like the folks who are involved in that point of view might want to be part of the discussion, too.

I'll say this: if somebody offers me something off a grill, I seldom refuse. Doesn't mean I agree or disagree, just means I am hospitable and polite. And I sure hope ya'll will be looking at good deals on homes, because there are plenty of them.

I'll give you a link to one of my favorite Realtors in a moment. Oh, by the way, she is very fond of her handgun. That doesn't mean she carries it around, though.

Johnny Northside said...

Here's a good way to contact a NoMi Realtor, in case any of you do come up here and you're so impressed you want to buy, buy, buy.


Johnny Northside said...

But, God, I wish people would use my free speech forum posts. That's why I put them up!!!!

The Mortgage Geek said...

Since the "free speech forum" is old, I'm going to respond to the conceal/carry/trash pickup under this thread.

Well-said, John, and thanks. I fully support the 2nd Amendment and I generally don't side with most legislation restricting handguns. I also wouldn't want to say no to anybody who wants to organize a neighborhood clean-up. Especially after the 4th, with a lot of fireworks debris littering our streets and vacant lots.

But I've been in the neighborhood for over two years. I've stared down my share of drug dealers, users, pimps, prostitutes, squatters, and slumlords in that time. And while I've seen situations that I've decided not to directly engage in, I've only needed three "weapons": My wits, my car, and my honestly acquired Blackberry.

In May, NoMi had four clean sweeps happening on the same Saturday. Scores of participants helped and there were no safety incidents I'm aware of.

I'll second John's opinion. If you're going to do a clean-up because it's the right or neighborly thing to do, great. If you're going to do such an event in a way that creates a perception that the need to own/carry firearms in NoMi is somehow greater than it is elsewhere, I personally would rather you not do so.

Ranty said...

For the record John, my stepfather DOES carry his weapon everywhere - including when we take after-dinner walks through the woods around their uber-safe property out in the boonies.

I know you thought he was just scared to be in Hawthorne, but I can tell you that his statement was not in fact "bullshit."

Furthermore, I welcome ANYBODY who wants to come and experience Hawthorne in ANY positive way, no matter what their politics are.

I look forward to the opportunity to SHOW (rather than tell) yet another group of people what our wonderful NoMi (and Hawthorne in particular) have to offer.

Johnny Northside said...

Until I run into your stepfather somewhere outside NoMi carrying his pistol, I am "sticking by my guns." The way his eyes darted from side to side while standing on the porch, all that "neighborhood talk" I had with him...

And the fact he accidentally snagged the weapon on your nylons gave me evidence for my hypothesis.

But we can leave this argument aside and look at the bigger picture. I would love to see ANYBODY come and pick up litter. But I reject any statement, explicit or implicit, that my neighborhood is so troubled that you have to walk around with a gun.

It reminds me of that "wooden nickel" conversation with the state senator, and what I said in response to that. YES, we have more than our share of problems, but not EVERY FIVE MINUTES.

This could be an opportunity to talk about how much crime is DOWN and how much shot spotters had to do with it.

Ranty said...

Because my word is not good enough, John?

Johnny Northside said...

I doubt he carries the gun "everywhere" as that's not even legally POSSIBLE.

And his eyes did dart from side to side while standing on the porch, and I talked to him ALONE and he was (as Kenya McKnight would say) "very, very, very" interested in safety issues in the neighborhood.

Can truth possibly be somewhere in the middle? He carries the gun A LOT but he made damn sure to carry it THAT day? And he was VERY concerned about safety in the neighborhood and quite aware of all the media hype?

Yes, your word is good enough but I think you see him through "loving eyes" and naturally you rise to his defense.

As I would rise to yours.