Average morning rush-hour wait, in minutes, at metro-area ramp meters. It’s perfectly timed so the guy making the customer-service call from his cell phone in the car in front of you will be pulling out his credit card, providing his account number, and ï¬nishing up his morning coffee just as he merges onto the freeway.
Minutes that the ramp meter will save the average driver on the freeway. What to do with that extra 2.7 minutes? We’ve got a few suggestions.
Hours you may wait to get a table at Red Lobster in Burnsville on a typical weekend night. But, hey, those Cheddar Bay Biscuits are so worth it.
10 to 12
Number of weeks you’ll wait to get Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows from the Hennepin County Libraries if you join the reserve list for J. K. Rowling’s series finale. Assuming there are no late returns.
Approximate waiting time, in years, to get season tickets for the Minnesota Vikings.
Approximate waiting time, in years, to get season tickets for the Green Bay Packers. Which is predictable, since the Packers have a comfortable indoor stadium. What? They don’t? Well, it must be the fact that Lambeau Field has a much smaller seating capacity than the Metrodo—wait, Lambeau Field is bigger? Well, we give up.
8 to 10
Approximate time, in years, that faculty members at the University of Minnesota wait to get contract parking at the Washington Avenue Ramp. The good news is that by then they’ll know if they have tenure.
Freelance writer Erin Peterson, who once waited in line three hours to register for college classes, now barely has the patience to wait three seconds while her credit card is charged during online registration.
Things To Do Before…You muck up the mulch
Forget Sotheby’s. You can find antiques and collectibles worth $10,000 at rummage sales. Learn how from Jim Cook, who has amassed one of Minnesota’s foremost troves of art and collectibles, when he shares his secrets and a host of treasures—Babe Ruth’s bat, a signed photo of Al Capone, and more—at a March 1 fundraiser for WomenVenture. See www.womenventure.org for details. —TIM GIHRING
Pigs are flying. Cows actually. Brenda Langton, owner of the thought-to-be vegetarian Cafe Brenda (they serve fish and chicken, too) is now serving beef at her newish Spoonriver. Langton buys whole grass-fed cattle from Sunshine Harvest Farms in Webster and serves each cut until it runs out. Tenderloin may be available one evening, flank steak the next. Mooove over tofu! —RACHEL HUTTON
Next time you’re at Walker Art Center, don’t forget to sit on the art—the lounge chairs and couches, that is, designed by Blu Dot. The local purveyors of cheap chic kick off the Walker’s In Situ series of functional art that, yes, you can situ yourself down on. Just don’t leave crumbs between the cushions. —TIM GIHRING
It might be the hypothermia talking, but what could be cooler than mixing snowmobiling and golf? At the Gull Lake Frozen Fore in Brainerd on March 3 and 4, you can snowmobile between nine holes outside various resorts and restaurants, putt a tennis ball around the lake, enjoy food and games, and, with your $25 registration, raise money for charity. Last year, more than 360 people played. That’s what we call a par-tee. See www.gulllakefrozenfore.com for details. —TIM GIHRING
Truly Hot Dishes
You can find the new Foundation for Immigrant Resources and Education (FIRE) cookbook at Central Presbyterian Church in St. Paul, but you won’t find recipes for bundt cake or tater-tot casserole in it. The St. Paul–based advocacy group that uses the church’s space recently published Cooking with Fire: Recipes from around the world; ingredients and where to find them around the Twin Cities, with the help of literacy-program volunteers and participants. The recipes, from Africa, Asia, the Americas, and beyond, range from the familiar (chili verde, hummus, couscous) to the not-so-familiar (koo koo, sweet-potato leaf sauce, azifa). Cooking with Fire also includes personal stories and information about local ethnic restaurants and markets. Available at Mississippi Market in St. Paul, the cookbook is an outgrowth of FIRE’s commitment to empowerment through literacy and community. To learn more about FIRE, visit www.fireprograms.org. —EMMA CAREW
Opera Goes to the Movies
There’s the spectacle, the gowns, the howling and the tears. And that’s just getting out the door for a night at the opera. Admit it: the trials and tribulations of Tosca can seem like peanuts after you’ve spent 40 minutes looking for parking.
Some people enjoy the drama of attending the opera. But for those who don’t—and for those who do but can’t afford a $75 ticket (let alone, a flight to New York City)—the Metropolitan Opera has begun live satellite broadcasts of some performances to movie theaters across the country. Launched in December with a stage-to-screen version of Mozart’s The Magic Flute, the Saturday afternoon series has been a hit in the Twin Cities—as evidenced by near sellout crowds at cineplexes in Eagan and Brooklyn Center. At a January showing of Bellini’s I Puritani, opera buffs dutifully wiped the buttered-popcorn crumbs from their hands to applaud each time an aria ended. And the audience probably contained at least a few parents who had dropped their children next door—at the matinee showing of Happy Feet.
The series concludes with broadcasts of Eugene Onegin, on February 24; The Barber of Seville, on March 24; and Il Trittico, on April 28. See www.metoperafamily.com for details. No furs required. —JOEL HOEKSTRA