I have a theory… and it has to do with food, a favorite subject of many!
My theory is this: Though we eat multiple times a day throughout our lifetime, there are 10 meals we REALLY remember, a top 10 list so to speak.
Now I’m not talking about our favorite comfort foods as a kid, like mom’s tater tot hotdish or grandma’s lasagna. We ate those many times and, of course remember the nostalgia of that food as well as the positive emotions that accompany the memories. What I’m talking about are meals that you remember where you were, who you were with and how it tasted like it happened yesterday! You recall that even at the moment you ate it, you said to yourself, “this is a meal that I won’t soon forget.”
The number one meal on my list was eaten on the hills overlooking the beach in Ocho Rios when I was on spring break in college. Some buddies and I were on the beach and two Jamaicans approached us with a folded and tattered Xeroxed copy of a “menu” they probably had sent to them from a friend in the states. Winston and Harley were their names and they probably didn’t have the 10 cents it would have cost to make nicer copies. For $20 they would feed us fresh lobster in their makeshift “restaurant” carved out of the bush overlooking the ocean. They promised to catch it later that day right off the beach we were standing on. Looking back, most would consider it unwise for three inexperienced Minnesota boys to venture off alone in an unknown country with strangers and no one to know how to track us down. No cell phones, no friends to check on us. But we did what most 20 year olds would do… we went!
That fresh lobster cooked in a huge iron pot with melted butter, homemade bread and fresh fruit juice on mismatched plates and Tupperware cups tops my personal list. The setting made it taste even better of course, hearing the life story of some strangers we’d just met listening to the waves crash on the beach below. There have been others too, lobster on my honeymoon on Isla Mujeres, paella in Barcelona and the pork tenderloin at a café in Eldon, Iowa (it’s true!) Also on my list are fantastic meals my wife has made in our 20 years together, including a to-die-for fish soup... ahhh I can smell it now!
But why should my top 10 meals theory matter to you as a Stillwater resident? Because also on my top 10 list are two or three meals I’ve eaten from the kitchen of local chef and friend Mark Hanson. This is also significant because this spring, MARX is celebrating 10 years on Main Street as the hip place to go for fantastic food in Stillwater. My wife has worked for Mark and Lydia on and off for 15 years going back to when they owned and operated the Harvest Inn at the old Brunswick Inn building. One of the perks of her employment is I often get to share part of an employee meal or taste some other wonderful creation she brings home!
If you haven’t tried MARX, you must… at least once… and I’d wager it won’t be the only time you visit. Just two of his dishes on my top 10 list are the filet and “frutta del mare” when he offers it. I tell you… you will want to lick your plate when no one is looking! How awesome is it to have awesome restaurants such as MARX right here in our hometown?
As a gift to Mark and Lydia and the crew at MARX, I put together a little video of the happenings over the last 10 years including congratulations from customers, employees and family. I’ve posted just a small part of that video here… enjoy… and continue to support local small businesses such as MARX on Main Street!