But the year isn't over yet:
Good grief! Peter's Grill is celebrating its 96th year in Minneapolis. So, make it a happy one for the Grill and yourselves. Stop in for a piece of apple pie or the rhubarb, my favorite.
A salute to the Minnesota Twins, their brand new stadium and their cozy old stadium, the Metrodome. It must be saved, renewed and used for the Minnesota Vikings.
And how about all of those great family shows now showing up on downtown Hennepin Avenue, such as "101 Dalmatians,'' which scored at the Orpheum Theater and with avenue pedestrians for all those paw prints on the sidewalks. A splendid promotional idea, right?
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When I wrote about macaroni and cheese sweeping New York City, I did not know that Minnesota had a hand in it, namely, the gifted, talented and hilarious Jim Smart.
Smart operates Smart Associates in Minneapolis, a design firm that specializes in retail stores and restaurants. Among their local recent creations are moto-i, at Lake St. and Lyndale Av. S., and Ginger Hop in the former Times Cafe on E. Hennepin.
Now, it turns out that Smart and colleagues are behind two new S'Mac stores in New York, the new spot for superb mac and cheese.
Smart said, "Wouldn't you just know that it was a nice little design firm in Minneapolis that designed the leaders of the pack in NYC? We were hired to help do some remodeling to the original S'mac in the East Village and to design a new store on the Upper West Side where we put two food concepts together, S'mac and a pizza by the inch called Pinch. We nicknamed the project Pinch and S'mac and our clients liked it so much they decided to call it that.''
May I add that in the Wall Street Journal mac 'n' cheese sweepstakes, S'mac won the day with a "masala'' version that the newspaper credited with "breathing a complementary whiff of India into the classic mac and cheese without taking it over.''
Remember Cedric Adams? Well, he wrote THE column for this newspaper for more than 30 years, read the radio news on WCCO Radio and entertained VIPs aboard his boat on Lake Minnetonka. He was Mr. Minnesota.
One of his sons, Stephen Adams, a member of the 1959 class at Yale University, received the Yale Medal for distinguished service to the university last month.
The younger Adams, who made his fortune in several ventures, including Adams Outdoor Advertising, gave $100 million to the Yale School of Music. It provides free tuition for all students there.
Adams, by the way, is not a musician, although he did take piano lessons and believes he doesn't play too badly.
Asked by the Yale Alumni Magazine which music he might take to a desert island, Adams said he would choose a composer rather than a piece. And the composer of choice: Chopin.
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What I know and don't know:
• I know that Marv Davidov's new book, "You Can't Do That!" is a dandy, but I don't know who proofread it. You see, on page 10, Davidov remembers the "fighting Flannigan brothers,'' Del and Glen. Oh, those St. Paul gents fought, for sure, and they were good boxers. But their name was Flanagan, not Flannigan.
I know for certain because the brothers and I wondered if we were related.
• I don't know whose bid won the French Fries for Life from Café Lurcat offered by D'Amico & Sons at the opening of the MIA's Louvre Museum exhibit, but I do know they will love them.
• I don't know where I will celebrate New Year's Eve, but Whoopi Goldberg will be at Mystic Lake Casino and how about that?
• I know that the 5-8 Club, a former speakeasy at 5800 Cedar Av. S., is not only 80 years old this year, but is home of the Juicy Lucy hamburger. I did not know that it was bought in 1996 by the late Jim Emison and his wife, Jane, who added numerous design touches to the place, including the memorabilia.
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Lawrence Halprin, the architect who designed the memorial to Franklin D. Roosevelt in Washington, D.C., also designed our Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis. Halprin, who died at age 93 last month, was called "the tribal elder of American landscape architecture'' by the New York Times. "He used the word 'choreography' to describe his melding of modernism, nature and movement in hundreds of projects,'' said the Times.
Halprin was a delightful guy with lots of great ideas. Some were tampered with on the Nicollet Mall, but it remains his and I still love it.
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If you can't afford the house, buy the book. The new "Legendary Homes of Lake Minnetonka" by Bette Jones Hammel with photographer Karen Melvin was published last month by the Minnesota Historical Society. It is a gem.
Now, if the duo wants to do Lake of the Isles houses, let me recommend the 1896 Dutch Colonial on the east side of the lake. It was built by Mendon Schutt for his wife, Clara, and has been occupied by Schutt family members all of these years. The house, where I was a guest once upon a time, is a winner with a storybook view.
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Finally, start the new year by eating Eggs Benny at the Zumbro Café in Linden Hills. That is Eggs Benedict, silly, and it is superb.
As for me, it's time for my annual winter hiatus. See you in April!