So here we are in Fargo, 21 years old, middle of December freezing cold … My brother Alex had dropped Geoff and I off and left for the three hour drive back to Winnipeg. We were in the USA. No car barley any money, I do recall having a Sears card. We went to a hotel, grabbed a telephone book and started flipping through the used car lot telephone numbers. We found this dealership in Moorhead. The guy was absolutely fantastic, I told him we have no money, no credit but need a used car, I also told him we cant even drive to test drive cars because we don’t have a car to get there. So what does the salesman do… he brings a light blue Chevy Cavalier to our hotel. This was perfect for us. drove him back to Moorhead and filled out paper work. Now we had a car. Next thing was to find an apartment. We couldn’t spend another night at a hotel. We asked a Realtor that we to give us a referral for a apartment. Sure enough there were brand new apartments being built right on 35 Th st. We went to the rental office, and got all the paper work done. They wanted a month of rent up front, I explained that we were opening a Greek and Italian restaurant and every penny we had was going into it. We explained that we would pay the extra month as soon as we get up and running. They agreed. So now we had a car and an apartment. Can you believe we couldn’t even afford furniture? Remember I said earlier that I had a Sears card? We went to Sears and bought blow up mattress … Gosh, we could blow that thing up at night and by morning it would be flat as a pancake! But it too served us well. When Geoff had come to Fargo the first time with my father they had found a fantastic location for our restaurant on 13th ave. It was an old closed down Wendy’s, the plan was to open get some good exposure and expand… We went to the realtor and asked to look at the building. We walked through mocking up where tables and chairs would go, where we would put the server station and the bar. It was so exciting, the dreams were flying. We told the agent we want to sign a lease but not only a lease, we want to do a lease to purchase, he said OK. lets sit down to figure this out, in other words put in an offer. We looked at him and laughed. Then we said we have no money but we know our food is very good and people will go crazy over it. What we have planned will work. We told him we will have a busy restaurant here in Fargo but we need a chance to get opened. He said.. Oh boy… I must talked to the owner. We agreed to meet him, We went to the meeting bright and early. The owner took one look at us and said are you crazy? Do you think I will just let you take my building with out money or credit? We had to do it this way because we couldn’t go to a bank for a commercial loan yet. So Geoff and I put our heads down and left the meeting. I tossed and turned that whole night, couldn’t take no for an answer… How will we make this happen? Not only that.. we also had to deal with immigration and getting investor status, we had do find a contractor that would transform an old Wendy’s building into a up scale dining room. tbc….We
Well here we are in the big city on a Friday night… Not much going on, Guess tonight is as good night as any toÂ begin writing about how I came to the USA and some of the things I went through in the past 20 years… It all started with me graduating cosmetology school in Winnipeg. I was out looking for an electrolysis machine as I was planning on opening my own shop. My fiancee and my father along with my mother and another friend hadÂ gone to FargoÂ on a joy ride to get away, my father had always loved coming to the US. So… As I was in the middle of this equipment store I get the call that would change my life forever.. It was my fiancee, He asked me what I was doing and I said looking for equipment. His exact words were drop everything we have a change of plans… I had no idea what he was talking about. I met up with him to later find out that he found this awesome location for a restaurant! I was born and raised in the restaurant business unlike my other half who was a hockey player slash real estate agent slash bartender and server. I thought he was joking around but he wasn’t. I had never been to Fargo but loved going to Grand Forks just to get away. Something about the USA just made me warm and fuzzy all over! I was very interested in this exciting new venture… So here we wereÂ barley 21 years old,Â empty pockets andÂ nothing but a distant dream of owning a restaurant having lots of children and living the American dream! part two tomorrow……
I would haveÂ sayÂ a simple fresh marinara sauce would beÂ the first thing that pops into my head. I always prepare extra and keep it in the fridge for when that next craving for al dente spaghetti dinnerÂ comes.Â You know it really drives my crazy when I hear people say… Oh we are all so busy we never have time to cook so we just pick up burgers on the way home… Â I hear this story over and over, honestly people try this simple sauce, make extra and it takes all of ten minutes to boil any pasta.Â No excuses here …Â again keep in mind this is very easy… 4 cans of crushed tomatoes, 2 teaspoons fresh chopped garlic (buy already chopped in jars) salt, pepper, small bunch of fresh basil,Â small bunch of fresh parsley,one teaspoon sugar, 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil. When you are buying olive oil the greenerÂ in color the better (more pure).Â So we take 1/4 cup olive oil put into pot, add garlic, sautte for a couple minutes,Â addÂ the crushed tomatoes,Â sugar,Â salt and pepper. Keep on a low simmer. Finley chop basil and parsley, throw that in sauce as well. Just taste to make sure you haveÂ enough salt. Simmer on a low heat until your sauce thickens … about twenty minutes or so. Now remember you can have the best tasting pasta sauce in the world but if you over boil your spaghetti your dinner is ruined! Once your water boils add salt and pasta, usualy spaghetti is ready in 7-10 minutes, taste after 8 minutes. The Greeks say… throw the peice of spaghetti against the wall, if it sticks your pasta is ready!Â Strain and serve piping hot. Remember to drain immidiatly because pasta cooks even if you have turned stove off. A perfect pasta dinner is so simple and yet can be ruined by over boiling. The secret to healthy mediterranean cooking is simple fresh ingredients. We add the tiny bit of sugar to kill the acidity of the tomatoes. You don’t have to though. Also you can blend fresh tomatoes instead of caned. I’m a mom of four children a husband who is always traveling for work and three businesses to take care of so I take a few shortcuts… Just livin the American dream! I’m sure 99% of the moms and dads out there can relate.
Remember to always save a half cup of the yogurt you made for your next batch!
So… does anybody know how simple Greek Yogurt is to make? I make it once a week and keep in the fridge for the family to snack on. OK… so here is how to make it, Take a 2 Lt jug of milk, a small container of plain yogurt, a blanket, a strainer, a brand new pillow, and a pot. …. Put pot on the stove and heat up milk, very low so we don’t scorch as soon as milk begins to rise up take off heat. Let cool for a little while, just so when you put your pinkie finger in the hot milk you can count to ten without burning your self. Now add the little container of yogurt that you bought into the milk, stir it well. Cover the pot with tight lid. Wrap the pot up and let it sit on your counter over night. The next day take pot out of blanket and put in the fridge. One more day. Now day two pull pot out of fridge. Take strainer, put new pillow case in strainer, dump the yogurt into pillow case put strains in pot cover with lid and leave in fridge to strain. If you want thick yogurt like sour cream or ice cream pick a strainer with small holes. After strained you dump your thick Greek yogurt in a bowl, you can mix with honey and put any kind of fruit on top, it makes for the best snack ever. If you want you can use Greek yogurt to make Tzatziki, a Greek dipping sauce, you can use as a salad dressing, sour cream, dessert, what ever you want. It is a great alternative to high fat snacks like Ice cream, Ranch dressing or other dips we use every day here in the USA… Try this at home and your family will love it. I find that the family will eat what ever you have in the fridge as long as its easy access. When I buy fruit I wash it all right away and make small bowls up then Saran wrap each bowl, any time someone wants a snack they open the fridge and grab a bowl. Little simple things like this really keep the family in healthy habits, Funny thing is they don’t even know it!
So after years of begging from customers and staff, we finally decided to invest the time and money to install a patio at the restaurant. Of course, now our summer seems to not want to cooperate. Luckily, we’re in Fargo, and people will sit outside in 50 degrees, as long as the wind isn’t blowing. The patio came off without a hitch and I’m happy we did it. Now we just need some Mediterranean weather to go with the atmosphere!
OK world… Here I am, born in WPG Manitoba, moved to Fargo ND. at the age of 21. Twenty-one years later, 4 children and a bustling Greek and Italian restaurant in Norwegian country… Kind of crazy eh? Well crazy but true! As I recall walking through West Acres mall 21 years ago I made the comment to my husband… Is it me or does it feel like we are in the twilight zone? I was the only person in miles with dark hair, Fargo has truly come a long way since then with much more diversity and more choices for shopping and good food. Thank God for that! Well … what shall I blog about? Any suggestions out there world? We can talk food, wine, raising children and working, running a business, getting loans to start businesses, franchising, school, life in general… I’m listening….