Sunday, November 2, 2008

Remember Supper Clubs?

We had our anniversary dinner at The Ranchero in Webster, MN - about the smallest town you could possibly imagine. Sure we could have visited some swanky eatery in the nearby Twin Cities but we'd heard this place was special. For my midwestern friends - remember the supper clubs of your childhood? Ever eaten at Nob Hill in Decorah Iowa during it's heyday? Well the Ranchero is JUST LIKE THAT and hasn't changed it's perfect ways since probably 1967.

The place was packed for one thing - lots of kindly old folks in nice sweaters and farmers with ruddy cheeks and white foreheads - waitresses in sensible shoes with heavy Minnesota accents - you know what I mean! Sadly, they didn't have the conga line pictured above, it was the only image I could find online, but I hear it's plenty rowdy for their Friday night fish fry!

We both ordered steak - hubby had NY strip and I had the filet. They were so tender and covered with the most amazing sauce and mushrooms. They also make all their own salad dressings - we had the "italian" stored in an old beer bottle - in one word: fabulous.

But my favorite part had to be the pre-entree relish tray. Remember relish trays??? I hadn't seen one since Thanksgiving 1972. A small platter filled with picked beets (my fav!), gherkins, radishes, canned black and green olives, crinkle cut carrots, and celery. That was sided with some barely-garlic garlic bread. But for this crowd it was an absolutely exotic level of garlic I'm sure. I got tipsy on the cutest little plastic single-serving size bottles of wine - who needs that uppity European stuff???. Apparently no one orders the wine - they just stick with the German import beer.

We staggered out full, feeling good, still in love, and happy. Hubby chuckled when he pointed out the idling diesel trucks parked out front, the one street light, and a nearby combine. Yep, small town for sure but it felt like home.


Bubs said...

That sounds wonderful in an especially earnest upper-midwestern way!

Happy anniversary!

michaelg said...

Do we need a special occasion to go? I want to go!! Do you remember Skyline Supper Club in Spring Grove? That's where my folks would go and we'd BEG them to bring back the fancy breadsticks in celophane.
So glad you had a marvelous anniversary!! Here's to many, many more years!

themom said...

Sounds like a blast. I'm all for comfort - does not have to be elegant to be the best! Are you broken hearted about the conga line??? Just wondering?

kirelimel said...

ooo- MG- I once got into a silly dress up situation with some friends- we were three gals and one guy and we ended up looking a whole lot like three hookers and a pimp by the end of our dress up time- so what else to do but head to the Skyline and order really bad Manhattans. We certainly gave the patrons a story to tell- we all remained quite in character and I'm sure they're still wondering where on earth those people came from.

Madame Leiderhosen said...

Awww, Man!
That sounds like a fantastic evening, right down to the dressing in the beer bottle. (I looooove relish trays!) Happy anniversary, Darling.

I am shipping you a conga line for the Holidays; they run wild in the sordid streets of San Francisco and they'd love a change of scenery to put some midwest roses in their cheeks.

tshsmom said...

I haven't thought of relish trays in YEARS! The first restaurant I worked at had relish trays, and that's the last time I saw one. :(

Missy said...

I have never seen a relish tray. :(

Happy Anniversary!

Shan said...

Awesome. And I want it known that in my family we have a relish tray at every Thanksgiving dinner. I grew up with relish trays. In my world, they are as normal as apple pie. My mom and other relatives typically do dill pickles, green olives, black olives, sometimes carrot and/or celery sticks, and sometimes other types of pickles like beets.

Dr. Monkey Von Monkerstein said...

Happy belated anniversary!

Mnmom said...

Bubs - thanks
MG - we NEVER need a special occasion. How about next Friday night, you spend the night, then we make fruitcake and cookies on Saturday?
themom - I am, so very broken hearted
kirelimel - not Nob Hill??!?!
Madame - that would be wonderful
tshsmom - I would have given you a big tip!
Missy - sad, your loss, and thanks!
Shan - Yoouuuu might be an upper midwesterner
Dr. MVM - thanks