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Clearance Clarence: Special bonus -- Outstate Diner of the Week

Posted by: Michael Rand under Food and drink, Vikings Updated: February 1, 2011 - 12:07 PM

Commenter Clarence Swamptown is here to delight you. As always, his opinions do not necessarily reflect those of the Star Tribune or RandBall. Clarence?

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*Outstate Bar of the Week:  The Corral Supper Club & Saloon, Nelson, Minnesota.

What is the bar famous for?  The Corral Supper Club & Saloon is one of two bars located in downtown Nelson, approximately 5 minutes east of Alexandria.  It’s a relatively large bar and they have a Saturday night prime rib special that’s pretty awesome, but the main attraction is their “Shoot the Minnow” promotion.  On Friday nights during the summer if you can drink a shot with a minnow in it, you win a free t-shirt.  I’ve done worse for less.
 
Can I watch the game there?  I think so. Truthfully, I don’t remember. I was shooting the minnow (not a euphemism).
 
Can I watch the NASCAR race there?  I have to imagine that you can. Pretty sure there was a Bud Light NASCAR hood hanging on the wall.  Or I might have been sleeping in the parking lot.
 
Do they have a website?  No.
 
What bar games are available?  I recall that they have a separate game room with darts and a pool table that may or may not spin in a circle.
 
* Country & Western Song of the Week:  In an effort to combine Randball’s terrific Page 2 Top 5 segment, the award-winning “Today’s Unimpeachably Great Song (TUGS)” on randballsstu’s Twitter account, and the decidedly average Clearance Clarence Country & Western Song of the Week, I have been asking various commenters to provide their Top 5 C & W songs of all time.  This week we feature darlosity, the Ron Wood of South Dakota:
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Via darlosity: Truth be told, I'm far from the biggest country and/or western music fan out there. I considered putting my own spin on the list by providing my favorite covers of country songs by non-country artists solely to pay homage to The White Stripes' rendition of Jolene, but, as someone with a limited knowledge of the history of country music, reverted to a more typical list. Here goes:
 
5) Misery Loves Company by Porter Wagoner. If you're thinking "Porter Wagoner? Porter [redacted] Wagoner?", then my answer is only "Yes, Porter Wagoner." I don't know why I have an affinity for this guy's music, but I do. I'm pretty sure it came from seeing those "Classic Country Collection"-type infomercials as a kid, played between the syndicated episodes of Batman and Gilligan's Island that I watched after Little League baseball practice as a kid. That has to be it. There is no other reason for this. Also, fans of Porter Wagoner will note that his suit in this video is safe for work.
 
4) Workin' Man's Blues by Merle Haggard. There was once a time when country musicians wrote songs about being down and out, about how hard life was, and about their wild times because they lived it, not because it sold albums. I mention this because, though I can't name many of them, today's country stars give me the feeling that they work out and go tanning in order to impress the ladies and get their pictures to appear in many a magazine. Not Merle. When he wasn't digging ditches, he was spending his time in prison. And, apparently, he had some time in the pen to practice his musical chops, as well. I think it paid off.
 
3) Wichita Lineman written by Jimmy Webb, but performed by Glen Campbell. Among the archives of Glen Campbell's body of work, I'm sure you could find plenty of other songs that sound "more country," but I'm including this one for two reasons: 1) It's awesome, and; 2) as someone who tinkers around with music myself and totally geeks out over guitars, I'd like to point out that, in the linked video (a performance on the Smothers Brothers show), Campbell is playing a Fender Bass VI, a kind of hybrid electric guitar that plays bass tones but has 6 strings and a tremolo (or "whammy") bar. That's worth a click right there.
 
2) I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry by Hank Williams.  In addition to hard livin' (see Merle Haggard), good ol' fashioned country music often carries its fair share of heartbreak. Hank crammed a divorce, personal and family health problems and struggles with drugs and booze into 29 short years; however, he was never married to Nicole Kidman nor starred in a Corona commercial. As it is, we have this song. 
 
1) Orange Blossom Special by Johnny Cash.  Folks have made justifications for their choices in past editions of the "Top 5" but (and I'm sure I'll get killed by Rocket for this) I'm in agreement with Stu's statement that you could pull the name of any Johnny Cash song out of a hat and you'd have the greatest country music song ever written. Stu named The Ballad of Ira Hayes and Fasolamatt named two Cash compositions, Tennessee Flat Top Box and Folsom Prison Blues. In our drawing today we have ... drum roll, please [reaches into hat] ...Orange Blossom Special.
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*Outstate Diner of the Week:  The Lanesboro Pastry Shoppe, Lanesboro, Minnesota.
 
What are they famous for? Located approximately 45 minutes southeast of Rochester, Lanesboro is a quaint Bed & Breakfast town nestled in the heart of Minnesota’s limestone bluff country. The Lanesboro Pastry Shoppe mirrors the town’s character.  If you don’t know it’s there, you might drive right by.  It only has seating for the few lucky dozen and it’s always packed with locals.  Don’t let the name fool you - apparently they make terrific pastries, but I wouldn’t know.  Their meat and potato lunches are the answer.  There are no menus because the food options change daily based on the will and whimsy of the backroom chef.  You never know what’s being served until you walk in the door and look at the chalkboard.  Sometimes he makes chicken, sometimes it’s pork, and sometimes it’s lobster rolls (!), but it’s always good.  They also have the free wi-fi for us fancy-pants 612ers.
 
What are the waitresses like?  Considering that the menu is constantly changing, the waitresses need to be sharp and on their toes.  They are.
 
How’s the food? Incredible. Possibly the best food in southeastern Minnesota. 
 
Do they have a website?  Nope.
 
Are they on Twitter?  No.
Anything else I should know?  My Aunt Pam is an incredible cook in the classical farm-wife sense.  Historically farms throughout the Midwest utilized what my German ancestors called der sommerküche (the summer kitchen), essentially the lesser known cousin of a southern outdoor barbeque. Cooking inside the main house in the summer heat was unbearable, so the wood stove was moved to a small outbuilding that served as the farm’s kitchen, dining room, and cannery during the summer months.  The Lanesboro Pastry Shoppe reminds me of Aunt Pam’s sommerküche.  It’s small and smells incredible and as my Uncle Dave would say: Don’t worry about what’s for dinner son, it will be good.  Sit down, shut up, and eat. The dinner table is for eating, not talking. People talk too {redacted} much yapping about this or that when they ought to be eating, working, or sleeping. In 1953 I punched a goat. The chickadee should be the state bird.  (Uncle Dave was prone to the occasional crazy rant). Anyway, the Lanesboro Pastry Shoppe has really good food and Lanesboro is a rock-solid day trip destination if you get the chance.
 
Your thoughts on Shooting the Minnow, darlosity’s terrific list, and lobster rolls are welcome in the comments below.

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