For several years since THE FLOOD, I have gazed out the window and looked at the white snow of winter. I have been full of wonder: How long, oh Lord, should a furnace last in North Dakota? This week, the answer came loud and clear. Twenty years is a good long life for a furnace. And so I said farewell to Fannie, the old furnace, and I welcomed Freda, the new furnace.
Lunch begins at 11 a.m. daily at the Panda Buffet Chinese restaurant at 2451 Columbia Rd. But customers keep streaming in during the early afternoon. Many seem to be UND students. Others seem to be people who come regularly and have their favorite dishes. They wend their way around the large service buffet, where there are 95 items. Enough, I thought, to feed any army. Most popular choices, according to John Chen, the manager, are snow shrimp and TSO chicken. The chicken with a special spicy sauce is breaded and deep fried.
Dear Sandy Mason, Tell the snowbirds you see floating around Tucson that they can rev up their motors and come home from anytime. This is a great week in Grand Forks. We are gearing up for the 10th annual Masonic-St. Patrick's Day parade Saturday. That's the day after — but who cares? The parade will start at 3 p.m. downtown. It will go about five blocks north on Third Street to Kelly's Bar. This is a free community parade open to all businesses and groups. Even pets can be in the parade. Several Shrine units will walking, sponsored by Malta Lodge 131.
Five years have passed since the email from a ''Joe Schmo'' showed up on my computer. It said my Eat Beat column in the Grand Forks Herald about the new Olive Garden in Grand Forks was pathetic. Well, okay. I thanked Joe and went to bridge club at Donna Gillig's house. When I came home, my computer was groaning in pain. The emails were flowing in. They came to my home and flowed into the Grand Forks Herald. It was reported there were 1.3 million hits, twitters and tweets online. There were calls from Jay Leno, CBS, ABC.
It was too late for lunch and too early for dinner. And I was hungry. So a swung off of 32nd Avenue South and drove into the parking lot of Panera Bread Co. There I chose a half a salad — Green Goddess Cobb with Chicken—and a one-ounce bag of kettle cooked potato chips. For those who stop here regularly, the procedure is quick and easy. You learn to step up to the counter to order and pay. You choose one of three seating areas. They bring the food to you.
There are some problems I take to the Lord in prayer. There are others I take to my bridge club. And when I turn on television in the evening, I am told there are things I should ask my doctor. I should ask my doctor about Cialis. I should ask also about whether Invokana could soothe my lower back pain. Will 12-hour Aleve make it possible for me to go on rides at a carnival with my grandkids? And should I use Linzess for constipation?
Roses will be selling like hotcakes before Valentine's Day on Tuesday. And it's about time to ditch the poinsettias that have grown weary of sitting around since Christmas. Time marches relentlessly on. So, too, does the hoops team at UND. It's been a long time since a fan favorite such as Quentin Hooker has come along. Little children line up at the end of a game to shake his hand. And he takes the time. He thanks the football players who come and cheer on the team. He greets older fans from the area who help fill the bleachers at The Betty.
Salads, sandwiches and soups are featured along with pizza at Up North Pizza Pub. It's a restaurant inside a pizza pub. And it has a key location at the corner of Fourth Street N.W. and DeMers Avenue in East Grand Forks. My mission was to try the restaurant offerings on a wintry day. When struck with the thought of the Muffuletta on the menu, I ordered a quarter-size of this big sandwich — only to find it just had been taken off the menu.
The pucks are flying all around Grand Forks this weekend. There's hoops at UND this afternoon in The Betty against a fearless women's crew from Montana. And a second game hockey game tonight in The Ralph against Miami. The weather forecasting people, who have not been very jolly, say things are going to be better — before they get worse again. Even in January, there are people who say, "We live here because we like it here."
Sometimes when you take food home from a restaurant it tastes better the next day. And sometimes it just sits there in the refrigerator until you throw it out. The leftover Ravioli Di Portobello I took home recently from the Olive Garden tasted better two days later. The ravioli was good enough the first time around. That's when I had supper with Marcia and Brad Wehe and Jana and Charlie Makovsky. The dinner for four with me at the Olive Garden went for $160 in the silent auction before the recent benefit dinner for Northlands Rescue City Mission.