Two Meals, Two Shows

Those of you who have stuck with this blog for awhile will remember that I used to do a lot more theatre reviews and restaurant reviews. I've lost steam on them lately for  number of reasons (like lack of babysitters). But I am happy to say that I caught up with both a little, thanks to buy birthday and the Fringe.

On Friday, for my birthday lunch, we headed to Red River Kitchen. Saint Paul has not known what to do with that site for a long time; I have seen a lot of proposals come and go. But apparently what needed to be done with it was simply to spend a few thousand cleaning it up, then let a permanent food truck do the foo service. The atmosphere is fresh and lovely, and the food great!

There is a wide variety of kinds of food. That said, it adds up fast, which I find happens at most similar places (think Sea Salt and Dockside). Lunch for 3 of us, including beers for Patrick and myself, was $51.20. That said, Patrick had a more expensive item (the crab noodle bowl), and Beatrix had a hot dog, fruit salad, and a bottle of water, which added up to $15 just for her. I had fish tacos, which were great, and a delicious blueberry beer. We ran into a friend, contemplated a game of corn hold, enjoyed looking out over the river at the Irish Fair, and generally had a great time. Highly recommended.

Last night, my cousin's daughter was free to babysit, so we ran off for a quick dinner at Mucci's. They don't take reservations, and I have been scared by the lines there before it opens, but we timed it perfectly and the friendly hostess got us a table right away. We proceeded to try the Mucci's Juice (fanta and red wine, yum!), a chop salad, and two deliciously simple (and large) fried pizzas. Great food, a lovely atmosphere, and some of the best staff I have seen in a long time — friendly, but not obsequious. I would like to go every week, if I could.

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Last year, we hosted The Fourth Wall when they were in town for Fringe. For various reasons, we could not billet this year, but they were kind enough to give us some comps, so we hit some Fringe shows on closing night tonight. (For far better Fringe coverage than I will skim over here, check out One Girl, Two Cities.)

It felt like a waste to see only one show on a wristband, so we headed first to Circus McGirkus. I honestly had expected something a little more circus-y (though there was some good hand-balancing), and perhaps a bit riskier with the dance elements. There were some very charming moments, however, so it fit well my Fringe theory of "see what you can and you might be surprised how much you like it."

Fourth Wall's show (Fruit Flies Like a Banana: Alphabetical Disorder), though, hit it out of the park. We had loved the show last year (as did the rest of the Fringe), and I was afraid I might not be as impressed this year. Their shows that we have seen to date are all based on short vignettes — the audience picks a card, or a letter, or whatever, and then they perform the piece that goes with that. And by "perform" I mean percussion, bass, and flute (and toy piano, and ukulele, and...) along with wildly imaginative movement (HOW does Hillary play the flute, upside down, while being carried by Neil?) So in any case, the show did exactly what it did for me last year — reassured me that the power of inventive, cross-platform performance is still very much alive. I don't know what these guys are up to next, but whatever it is, you should see it.

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