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Celebrating a Birthday, Duluth Style

Over the course of a week, I celebrated my birthday, Duluth-style. In sharing the story with you, I celebrate the things about Duluth I like.

On Monday, I had dinner with a group of friends I met at Rogue Robot at an open gaming night. Games were the door that opened into our friendship, but company is what keeps us together. We met at the 7 West Taphouse in Superior. The burgers are always tasty and priced right.

On Tuesday I spent time with Trudy Vrieze, creator of The Human Fabric of Duluth, at Perk Place Coffeehouse. The Human Fabric project reminds me why I like living here — the depth of the people who call Duluth home. And Perk Place is one of a small number of shops in Duluth that makes ca phe su da, or Vietnamese iced coffee. It’s basically condensed milk and coffee, but it’s so tasty.

That night, I had dinner with Timothy Broman of Collector’s Connection at Ganucci’s. Tim is the generous soul who illuminates the lives of several dozen, and he illuminates mine, often by reminding me of the awesome things in West Duluth. We enjoyed pizza, we visited Dungeon’s End and Zenith Books. At Zenith, I bought a used copy of The Thoughtbook of F. Scott Fitzgerald: A Secret Boyhood Diary. What a find for a birthday.

On Wednesday, I enjoyed grading with a colleague at the Starbucks on Woodland. Starbucks on Woodland is the “on-campus but not on-campus” meeting place for me and several of my colleagues. I received a birthday note, too, from Izzy in Duluth.

At lunchtime, I enjoyed the buffet at Oriental House with a friend. Oriental House is perhaps the best Asian (especially Vietnamese) food in Duluth per dollar. There may be better pad thai elsewhere, but it will be much more expensive. There may be better pho elsewhere, but it will be more expensive. And the buffet is a remarkable deal.

I ended Wednesday alone in the sauna at Essentia for an hour. Recovery. Too many people, over too few days.

On Thursday, I enjoyed lunch with colleagues at Superior Dining. I want to nod, for a moment, to the value in eating at the dining services at both UMD and UWS. Superior Dining at UMD has the only Mongolian grill in Duluth.

On Thursday night, I shared dinner at the Tavern on the Hill. I had forgotten the value of the Happy Hour there.  Then, I saw Star Wars at the top of the hill. It was nostalgic, already, to see a movie at a theater with straightback chairs instead of the DreamLoungers at the DECC. And in case you are interested, this movie was average in the way that all Star Wars movies are average. The only good movies in the Star Wars franchise were Empire and Rogue One.

I finished Friday with dinner at Keyport — all you can eat fish fry for ten dollars, plus music by Mackie Brothers. By coincidence, I enjoyed a surprise visit from Stan from the Sauna!

Today begins the rest of my life, and I think Duluth is a good place to live it.

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