Come now, dear readers, did you really think I would be content with feeding you Chinese buffets, tacos from a stand no bigger than your dorm room, and steaks that cost less than the antacids which you will be forced to purchase immediately following your meal? This column wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t give you a picture of some fancier options as well.
A wise man once said something similar to this: “Everything in life is about food... except food. Food is about power.” Stalin used to invite all the leaders of the Soviet state apparatus to dinner parties at his country home that would go on until 4 in the morning. Knees trembling in fear, the guests would force themselves to laugh by playing tricks on each other; putting a tomato on the chair of a neighbor who stood to propose a toast, or secretly sprinkling salt in someone’s wineglass. Stalin sat and smiled, and the guests were glad: Stalin’s smile meant that he would not destroy them, for the time being...
Do such ghastly dinners take place in the corridors of power of the town of Northfield as well? We decided to find out, by dining at the favorite meeting spot of the Northfield Brahmin: the Northfield Golf Club. In order to inconspicuously infiltrate the bourgeois clientele, I donned a shirt that featured buttons, and was preparing to roll into the Northfield Golf Club in automotive style (in my 97 Subaru Legacy, currently approaching 230,000 miles on the odometer.) However, after looking up directions to get there, I was shocked to discover that the Northfield Golf Club is located less than a mile from campus. For those living on the east side of campus it is no further than walking to a business on Division Street. Needless to say, we ended up taking a walk, during which an ominous looking Bentley zoomed past us on the road towards the Golf Club. This was shaping up to be a promising dinner.
Our expectations were somewhat deflated upon reaching the entrance of the Northfield Golf Club, which probably resembles the entrance of your local YMCA. After entering the building we saw the entrance for the Spring Creek Grille (you can be sure that this place is a cut above Tokyo Grill because of the quaint way that they decided to spell “grille.”) The entrance was totally unmanned and strangely dark. Was this a trap? Had someone tipped them off that three college student spies would be coming on a reconnaissance mission? Upon proceeding further we saw a waiter. He looked at us, as we looked at him. After a tense few moments during which we inched towards a nearby table, he coolly told us to “please take a seat,” after we had mostly finished seating ourselves.
The menu at Spring Creek Grille is actually fairly reasonably priced, provided you avoid certain entrées such as the Grilled Sirloin, which costs the same as precisely 8.3 Steak Sandwiches from Farmington Steak House (just so you don’t get any ideas, 8.3 exceeds the median lethal dose for Steak Sandwiches.) We opted to order as an appetizer some “Tatar Tots,” which we guessed were nuggets made from the ground-up meat of the first-born children of some Crimean Tatars. As an insider tip, know that “Tatar Tots” can be substituted in place of fries on any entrée! Unfortunately, “Cheese Kurds,” which would be a reasonable complementary dish, were not on the menu.
As for the other food we ordered, I was pretty unimpressed. Mackenzie ordered the Spaghetti Jambalya, which in my opinion tasted like some dish from Noodles & Company. Erik ordered the Asian Pulled Pork Sandwich, which was just okay but did not remind me very much of the cuisine of my native land. I ordered the West Coast Burger, which was actually pretty okay. However, it came with a gazpacho that was shockingly bad. You know that nice smell that campfires have? Imagine concentrating that a hundred times, making a sauce out of it, and pouring that into an otherwise normal gazpacho.
And so, having paid our bill that was slightly more expensive than average, we left feeling a little unsatisfied. Nothing we ate was spectacular, and everyone else at the restaurant was very normal and middle-class looking, and nobody put tomatoes on our chairs, and no dour looking tyrant with a mustache watched from afar, puffing on his pipe... I guess this boringness is the price we pay for the privilege of living in the humane age of the present era, in a humane place like Northfield, Minnesota. So I would suggest forgetting all that stuff about food and power, and grabbing some tacos or Chinese buffet food or something instead.
(See Stalin by E. Radzinsky for the story of Stalin’s dinner parties, and much more.)