Nankin chow mein, workers and more

  • Article by: BARBARA FLANAGAN
  • Updated: July 2, 2010 - 2:23 PM

The Flanagan Memo -- Re: A blooming, booming July 4th for all, plus ...

• • •

Here is an alert to all of those people who have besieged me over the years about that great chow mein at the former Nankin Café:

No, I do not have the recipe, but on Mondays, after 4 p.m., there is Nankin Chicken Subgum Chow Mein as the daily special at the new Uptown Cafeteria in Calhoun Square.

Haven't tried it yet.

• • •

Russ Fridley, the longtime head historian of Minnesota -- he ran the Minnesota Historical Society for about 30 years -- died last month. He will miss the unveiling in August of the new Workers Memorial, something he had a big hand in creating.

Actually, it all began with Dave Roe, retired head of the Minnesota AFL-CIO.

Roe approached Fridley quite a few years ago with an idea for a labor interpretive center.

They worked on it, but it didn't happen. So Roe, after retiring, came up with another first-rate plan -- a Workers Memorial -- and together they raised $400,000.

At 11 a.m. Aug. 3 on the State Capitol grounds, across the street from the Centennial Building, the Workers Memorial will be dedicated and former Vice President Walter Mondale will speak.

Workers who died on the job in Minnesota and elsewhere finally will be honored.

Roe said that although Fridley won't be there, "his caring spirit definitely will be.''

• • •

Much has been done to preserve and use historic Minneapolis buildings since the unfortunate and downright ugly razing of the mighty Metropolitan building, and I am glad. At present, the so-called Swedish Castle on Park Avenue S. is in the spotlight. Yes, Swan Turnblad's grand mansion, now known as the American Swedish Institute.

Early next year there will be digging for a super-modern addition that will open in 2012. It will occupy the parking lot south of the castle.

The new building, a Scandinavian-style modern structure designed by HGA Architects, will include a green roof of plantings representing the old sod roofs of rural Sweden. The addition of about 30,000 square feet will include a 320-seat auditorium that can be used as a dining room.

It sounds splendid, but may I also say that I am delighted that a few perks are going to the castle.

Look for a new elevator tower and exhibition rooms, but no architectural funny business.

The castle is a favorite of mine. I am one-quarter Swedish in spite of my name, and after a grand Lucia Day reception at the castle I walked out the elegant front entrance hall and into the big, beautiful world.

In 1949, you see, I went to the Scandinavian countries, especially Sweden, and attended their famous Lucia Day events. There were five Lucia queens from the United States on the trek, including Corinne Nehrman of Minneapolis.

It was fun, exciting and at the Lucia ball in Stockholm's city hall, it was truly glamorous. Add unforgettable and you understand. The Swedish castle can produce magic sometimes!

• • •

On the subject of buildings in jeopardy, keep your eyes on Wesley United Methodist Church, next to the Convention Center downtown.

The red granite building needs a new use or it may be doomed.

For the record, the late J. Paul Getty, a Minneapolis-born billionaire, was confirmed there at age 12.

• • •

Now, if you cared about our town in the 20th century, read Iric Nathanson's new book, "Minneapolis in the Twentieth Century: The Growth of an American City.''

It is an easy-to-read look at just about everything Minneapolis -- from Kid Cann to the razing of the Gateway and the marvel of the Minnesota Twins, not to mention the Vikings.

• • •

Coming out in October is a new local cooking guide, "Shefzilla: Conquering Haute Cuisine at Home'' by Stewart Woodman, aka Shefzilla. Last February, Woodman was honored by the James Beard Foundation as a best chef. Later that month, his very special restaurant, Heidi's, burned down.

So cook from his grand cookbook and know that he will return. Count on it.

Finally, on July 15, the Nicollet Island Inn on Nicollet Island will have a Wine and Words' dinner to launch the new Nicollet Island book. It is "Images of America: Nicollet Island'' by Christopher and Rushika February Hage. And they will be there to talk about it.

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