Yesterday I went to the 20th anniversary of the Minnesota Monthly Food & Wine Experience held at the Metropolitan and Legend’s clubs of Target Field. I loved the location choice and it was a surprisingly perfect fit for such an event with easy parking, beautiful views and vendors spread out enough to not feel obnoxiously crowded yet still maintaining the room energy.
The event boasts nearly 200 vendors sampling various wines, beers, and tasty morsels but of course the best part is the people watching.
As with all Minnesota events there was an abundance of the “passives,” the people that mindlessly follow the others content to politely wait their turn. Somehow lines just naturally form and they file in assuming eventually they will get that sip of wine or bit of cheese they didn’t know they wanted to sample. They take all the trinkets offered to them and work methodically from one end of the room to the other always being polite and orderly.
What the passives never realize is often their version of order just serves as a means to slow down the room, create traffic jams and block access to the goods.
Also present, but in less supply were the “aggressives,” the people that scoff at the order and just go their own way grabbing a sample when it pleases them. Some of the aggressives were seasoned tasting professionals with their snazzy wine glass holder necklaces and plates; they know how these things work and lines are for sissies. Others were just making sure they got their due; they keep a running tally of each sip and bite and ensure they consume more than the cost of a ticket.
If everyone at this sort of event behaved like the aggressives, the room would actually flow a bit better with less time stuck in a line going nowhere.
Watching the passives and aggressives interact at an event was fun as always, but it got even better when some native Minnesota “passive-aggressives” were unleashed.
The native Minnesota passive-aggressive is a wonder of evolution, forged from years of frozen winters, humid summers, long drives to the cabin and local pride. They have rules, opinions, love order and never, ever speak of anything directly often saying the opposite of their actual meaning. Their tools include hostility, rude tones, eye rolls and knowing glances.
The native passive-aggressive is usually disguised as a sweet, mild-mannered passive when in their dormant state. Their awakening can be imperceptible but once you feel the sting of their behavior, it is impossible to miss.
I witnessed the unleashing of a couple passive-aggressives when a rather boisterous man hit the cheese isle. We were mindlessly standing in a corner behind several pairs of other passives in what appeared to be a line to sample cheese. I had no idea what cheese, but I just knew cheese was somewhere ahead and cheese sounded yummy. Mmmm cheese.
The boisterous man came bounding up to the corner going on about his love of free cheese ensuring that everyone in the vicinity heard him. He cut in front of a couple older ladies (gasp) reached his arm through the crowd and grabbed some cheese samples. He continued to sing the praises of free cheese as he stuffed it in his mouth and bounded off to the next table.
The two older ladies turned and for a split second I thought I saw a glimmer of fangs. They glanced at each other with just the slighted squinting of their eyes and perching of their lips then simultaneously looked at the dude that had just insulted the known order. Oh, it was on.
The next person to attempt to sample cheese out of order was greeted with a syrupy “I’m sorry, was I in your way?” Of course the lady was not sorry and meant that the interloper was in her way and should get out fast. She did. There were a few snarky comments about clothing choice and other offenses just for fun.
The passive-aggressives did their best to regulate the room. They would stand in their lines ensuring that no one was snagging anything out of turn. If someone tried, they got a look, a shoulder and a barely discernable comment.
I enjoyed hanging back, sipping my wine, eating too much cheese that still makes me feel full and taking in the show. It is the simple things in life that bring happiness.
The event overall was a success and I am sure I will attend again.
I didn’t find a new favorite wine but I liked the Northstar Winery 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon enough to track it down. I discovered the Fulton brewery and their Lonely Blonde Pale Ale and I am thrilled Sunrise Creative Gourmet has a new market in St Paul with Potica bread available daily. I need to get to Pinstripes and have more of their short ribs and garlic mashed potatoes. And speaking of garlic, turns out I really like it in my cheese and was able to buy a wedge to enjoy later when I can stand the thought of cheese again.
- Never start at the front of the event, go to the back and avoid the crowds.
- Go on Sundays, there are significantly fewer people.
- Avoid taking trinkets you do not want, it is surprising how heavy they get and later you throw most of it away.
- Take time to note the food and drinks you enjoy, by the end of the event you won’t remember, as everything becomes a blur.