Random photos from my new job

stone arch from wbob
east bank u of mn from wbob


Filed under Minnesota

Babani’s Kurdish Restaurant – St. Paul, MN

“There was, there wasn’t . . . In a land far away – a great and mighty Kurdish tribe called the Babanis. The Babani men were known throughout the land for their patriotic sentiments, their fierce fighting habits and their sexual prowess.  In contrast, the women were said to be kind, forgiving, hardworking and excellent cooks. In this respect the men and women were well suited for one another. And so as one may imagine the tribe flourished spreading children throughtout Kurdistan. In more recent years, the great leaders of this mighty empire could not contain the curiosity of young men whose desires to explore the treasures of exotic lands were insatiable. In keeping with their Babani male tradition, this especially applied to the wonders of women. So many as we say here in Minnesota, “took to the trials”. One exceptionally brave and handsome young man;

Jamal, son of Abdul Karim, Mohammed, Qadir, Gafur Fuad, was the first to leave his tribe. He made his way to the Americas where one day he heard some interesting news on the radio. The reporter was saying, “In Minnesota the women are strong, blond and beautiful . . . their children are far above average.” He needed no more cajoling (for he felt the news was directed at him) before he found himself among this mysteriously mild yet unsparing culture. And as he had hoped he soon met Gail, a most beautiful young blond maiden. Much to his delight he realized that she had many of the qualities of the women of his great Babani tribe. Still, he was unsuccessful in convincing his parents of this face. And Gail’s parents, Barb and Ed, were unimpressed by Jamal’s tribal ancestry. In spite of the many protests Gail and Jamal were soon to marry . . . And this is how the first Kurdish restaurant came to be in Minnesota . . . The End”

The story above is what you find on the front of Babani’s menu as well as their About page on their website.  I thought it was such a nice story that I had to share it with my review of this outstanding restaurant in St. Paul.  My friend at work (now my former job) asked me if I’d be interested in eating there and I’m always up for new food adventures so I said “Sure!” And we headed out into the cold with our boots and parkas on and made our way north and west to this small, charming place that is not attached to a skyway. A pleasant young man waits on the tables and he too is very charming.  That time we both had Chicken TawaChicken sauteed in lemon and other spices then baked in layers of potato, green pepper, onion, and dried limes.  Served with basmati rice.  The chicken was so moist and tender, it melted in your mouth and was heavenly.  We also split an order of baklava.  Oh my, yum!!

We went back to celebrate my new job. We chose other items from the menu and this time I took pictures.  We started with an appetizer called Bajan ReshkDeep fried eggplant covered with Jajic, cucumber, olives, tomatoes, lemon.  Served with bread.  Again, very delicious.

For lunch, my friend chose Kubay Brinj: this rice “dumpling” is filled with lean ground beef, special spices, olive oil and parsley, then quick fried to a crisp brown shell.  She enjoyed it immensely. I’m getting the impression that anything you choose on the menu is very good as she’s had 4 or 5 of the dishes from the lunch menu so far and sne’s enjoyed them all.  I had Bakla: Kurdish saute of mushrooms, broccoli, zucchini and onion in olive oil with pepper and other seasoning. Served with basmati rice.  It was really good albeit a little spicy, but not enough to make me stop eating it :) You have a choice of side dish and we both had the tabouli.  I used my friend’s photos, I liked them better:

I thought I could not eat another bite…..until my friend suggested the baklava again.  Such a sweet and nutty treat and something one should really have here.  It’s served warm and I had never eaten it this way.  But I gotta tell you: it’s the bomb!!   We were so anxious to eat it that I forgot to take a photo!  Until the last bite:

the last of the baklava

the last of the baklava









Other photos:

I highly recommend this charming downtown restaurant.  It’s cozy with friendly and quick service.  Do make a point of eating here, I’m pretty sure you’ll go away happy.


Babani’s Kurdish Restaurant
544 St. Peter St.
St. Paul, MN. 55402


Filed under Minnesota, Restaurant reviews

Weekly photo challenge – street life

These human statues certainly bring the streets of Spain to life.  From Barcelona:

In Madrid:

We also found street musicians everywhere.  Along the street by the alcázar in Sevilla:

In the park across from Sagrada Familia in Barcelona:

And this fun jazz band in Madrid:

In Málaga

On Larios Street:

On the street alongside El Pimpi:

To see other entries for the challenge this week, click here.  Enjoy!!


Filed under Challenges, Spain

On being positive

Being positive is one thing I have been trying to learn more about.  It’s been a struggle for me but I think I’m finally learning how to be more positive.  By no means am I an expert.  But I have learned some things along the way and would like to share.

When negative thoughts appear you should ask yourself if the thought is reasonable.  Indeed I’ve heard that about 98% of those negative thoughts never occur.  Here is an apt quote that tells it like it is:

“Some of the worst things in my life never happened.” – Mark Twain

Chase those negative thoughts away and replace them with positive thoughts.  An exercise I’ve found useful is affirmations.  They are statements you say in your head that reinforce what you actually are and not what your negative thoughts or fears suggest that you are.   Here’s a sample of some of the affirmations I say:

  •          I am smart
  •          I am confident
  •          I can learn anything
  •          I can accomplish anything I put my mind to
  •          I am organized
  •          I am detail oriented
  •          I am efficient
  •          I can handle whatever comes.
  •          I can choose a positive frame of mind.

I had two days start out completely different recently.  On the first day I awakened and decided to be positive, all day.  I laid in bed a bit before getting up for the day and breathed deeply: “peace and tranquility” breathing in, “I can do anything I put my mind to” breathing out.  When I got to work I was all smiles and greeted everyone I came across.  I had a great day!!

The next day I started the same way with breathing deeply for several minutes before getting up.  The difference was I wasn’t able to maintain it once I got to work.  The report I had done the day before had some errors in it and I let that be the start of my not so positive day.   I am somewhat of a perfectionist and was shocked that I had some errors in that report!!  I set to work figuring out what happened and I learned even more about the report.  So, in the end it was a good experience for me.

Also, I couldn’t stop thinking “what is my assignment?” I read a great blog post, What Is Your Assignment?, which is what prompted my question.  As I lay in bed the night of the not-so-positive start to the day I kept pondering this assignment question.  And an idea came to me to streamline this report.  This is one thing I’m good at and I set about improving that report’s process.  So, even though I started out in a negative vein, I ended the day on a positive note with my idea to streamline the report.  You see? You can turn a potentially negative event into a positive experience.  It’s all in your attitude.

Now, I can’t say that I’m positive every day.  Absolutely not!  But what I’m finding is that I am having fewer negative days.  It is hard work to become more of an optimist when I’ve been basically a pessimist for most of my life.  But, I know it can be done and I am not going to give up!! That’s what makes me so good at my job.  I don’t give up.  When I get stuck on something, I exhaust all my resources until I find the answer.  So it stands to reason I am not going to give up on myself.

I have found that on my positive days I am on top of the world, like anything that happens won’t phase me one bit.  Do you know what happens when you smile at and greet people?  They are generally very receptive and smile and greet you back.  It’s amazing!  Try it.  You might like it.  :)

Random beautiful flower photo:


Filed under Writing

Weekly Photo Challenge – Reflections

What an interesting theme for me this week as I reflect on my future.  I’ve accepted an accounting position with the University of Minnesota and this fulfills a dream that I’ve had for many years.  I have always thought it would be so cool to work for a school and I’ve applied for positions at the U of MN over the years.  And finally, the stars and the moon aligned just so and I had THE best interview experience I’ve ever had!  I am so excited and I wake up every day and wonder if it’s really happening.  Someone pinch me!

And I couldn’t pass up the chance to share some of my reflection photos too.  I have many but here is a selection of my favorites.

Sunrise in Florida

Sunrise in Florida

An egret and its reflection in the water:

Trees reflected in the water:

Sunset with clouds reflected in the water:

11th Crow Wing Lake

11th Crow Wing Lake

To see more entries for this week’s challenge, or to participate, click here.


Filed under Challenges

Weekly Photo Challenge – Inside

I had always felt odd about recycling photos in challenges. I don’t know why.  And recently I got a reply to a comment I made on another blogger friend’s entry for a different challenge that encouraged me to continue to recycle my photos.  It was something like “I don’t mind looking at your photos again”.  Well, gosh, how nice!!  And then I realized that there might be new people looking at a particular post who might not have seen the recycled photo before.  So, here we got with a few recycled photos for this week’s challenge.

From my recent visit to W. A. Frost & Company, a very nice restaurant in St. Paul, a view out the window from inside the bar prior to our meal in the adjoining restaurant:

the view out the window

the view out the window

From inside the Weisman Art Museum at the University of Minnesota, a view of downtown Minneapolis:

A couple of my favorite photos, from inside the skyway on a rainy day in downtown St. Paul. One focuses on the distance, the other on the raindrops on the window:

Fritz in a box

Fritz in a box

Inside the sky ride at the fair:

To finish, an oldie but goodie from my trip to Spain in 2010, from inside La Giralda overlooking Sevilla:

To view other entries in this challenge or to participate, click here and enjoy!!


Filed under Challenges

W.A. Frost & Company, St. Paul, MN – an anniversary restaurant review

It’s been a few years since we celebrated our anniversary at W.A. Frost.  It’s always a great experience so we decided to go back again this year.  It was a fabulous experience!  Come with me while I walk through our evening last night.

We always like to start the evening in the bar adjacent to the restaurant.  It’s full of character and the bartenders are great. We started with gin gimlets.  We ordered the Steamed Blue Mussels which are described thusly: coconut-green curry broth, cilantro, celery, Fresno chilies, grilled sourdough. They were excellent!  And hubby had their trio of Pacific Coast Oysters and enjoyed them.

We then took our seats by the fireplace.  I always love to sit by the fireplace.  While it was a relatively warm winter day here in the twin cities, it’s always nice to sit by a warm fire.  Here are two views from our table, one with the fire, one without:

Hubby decided that he really wanted the Chef’s Featured Charcuterie as he liked the way the bartender described it.  It was head cheese accompanied by veggies and some secret sauce that he really enjoyed.  He loved it!! Me, not so much.

As most fine restaurants do, W.A. Frost has their menu on the web and I had already decided that I was going to have their duck.  But just days before the menu had changed and the duck was no longer an option.  But I know their quality is always great so I kept an open mind and decided on the Truffle and Goat Cheese Risotto which is described: “beet marmalade, sunflower sprouts, pistachios, saba” and it was wonderful!  I also had their Roasted Mushrooms on the side which were also delicious.  Hubby had the Braised Pork Cheeks:  “celery root purée, sauteed rapini, curry-apple relish”.  He looked like he was in heaven it was so delicious.

Truffle and Goat Cheese Risotto

Truffle and Goat Cheese Risotto

Braised Pork Cheeks

Braised Pork Cheeks

It was another fabulous anniversary spent at one of the finest restaurants in St. Paul.  I highly recommend W.A. Frost to anyone that enjoys a fine dining experience.  The food is always excellent and the wait staff is superb.  You won’t be disappointed!

W.A. Frost & Company
374 Selby Avenue
St. Paul, MN 55102

W.A. Frost & Company on Urbanspoon


Filed under Food, Restaurant reviews