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04 2017

THE (MUSIC) YEARBOOK: 2005

By Sean Calhoun

Last time around, I promised you more pop-punk. Well, this entry’s first album is one of the most successful albums in the genre’s history, by one of its most successful acts. It’s time to talk about…

American Idiot – Green Day

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There’s no denying that American Idiot was an almost absurdly successful album. It launched Green Day back into mainstream relevance for the first time in about a decade, generated a healthy amount of controversy due to its overtly political content, and was even adapted into a successful stage musical that continues to tour.

It’s a pretty darn good pop-punk album, too. American Idiot is either Green Day’s best or second-best album (depending on your feelings toward 1994’s Dookie) and one of the best and most thorough pop-punk albums ever made.

Frontman Billie Joe Armstrong is perhaps at his strongest on this album, delivering many of his vocal lines with just the right amount of righteous anger – enough to get the point across, but not so much that he becomes a parody of himself. He’s also not afraid to get more personal and less angry, as when he sings a memorial to his deceased father on “Wake Me Up When September Ends”.

While American Idiot ostensibly functions as a concept album about Bush-era America (and indeed, there’s enough of a story to the album to make the aforementioned musical make sense), its thirteen tracks function well on their own, especially singles “American Idiot,” “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” and the aforementioned “September,” the latter two of which are, at worst, two of the five biggest songs of Green Day’s career.

Perhaps the best track on the album, however, is “Jesus Of Suburbia,” a sprawling, nine-minute epic that solidifies much of the story of the album. With its multiple melodic and thematic twists and turns, it practically functions as the band’s “Bohemian Rhapsody,” with the bonus of contributing to a larger, overarching story. Armstrong carries a good deal of the song, but the hard-pushing accompaniment of Mike Dirnt on bass and Tre Cool on drums contributes a lot as well. The two halves of “Jesus” almost function as two completely separate songs, but there’s just enough hanging between them to allow the track to function as a cohesive whole.

The band is able to keep it up for the album’s full running time. There’s a lot of creativity, both musically and lyrically, on display here. “St. Jimmy,” a fast-charging punk number, and “She’s A Rebel” are also significant highlights, and the album closes with “Whatsername,” another excellent track and a fitting conclusion to the record.

An interesting coda – American Idiot only came into being because the master tapes for the album Green Day was intending to release – titled Cigarettes and Valentines – were stolen from the studio. While it would have been interesting to hear what the band had produced outside of the confines of the final record’s conceptual format, I think that it’s for the better that American Idiot – a bona fide pop-punk classic – was the final result.

Score, Adjusted for 2017 Ratings Inflation: 8.7/10

 

The next album for this year is by a band that has been a massive worldwide success for years. However, over that same time, they’ve had a very difficult time shaking off their reputation as a “boring” and “safe” band. No matter your opinion on the group, there’s no denying the success of…

X&Y – Coldplay

coldplay-x-and-y

I won’t deny that I’ve fallen into some of the easy Coldplay-hate tropes since I first heard their music. It’s easy to see them as a boring, lowest-common-denominator pop-rock group, especially when compared to acts like Muse and Radiohead.

However, I’ve grown to realize that this is a pretty unfair characterization of Coldplay. Chris Martin and company are talented musicians with a solid knack for spacious and accessible pop-rock songs, and X&Y is actually one of the standouts in the group’s discography.

The perfectionism of Coldplay as a group is apparent throughout X&Y. Every piece of every song snaps together in almost mechanical fashion, with nary a misplaced or unnecessary note. The music manages to be both spacious and economical, both easy to listen to and rewarding to a more discerning listener. It skirts the “boring” label by being impeccably performed and produced – even the more repetitive and uninspired bits sound pretty musically excellent.

As a former piano player, I’ve always appreciated Coldplay’s extensive use of the instrument. There’s quite a bit of piano peppered throughout this record, perhaps most memorably on hit single “Speed of Sound”, one of the best tracks on the album. Beyond simply the keys, the instrumentation on X&Y, which borders on electronic at times, is solid and accompanies Martin’s crisp voice and fluttering falsetto quite well.

Coldplay’s music may be somewhat unremarkable when compared to similar acts, but there’s a quality of sharpness and maturity that generally manages to set it apart. There are certainly moments on this album where Martin and the rest of the band sound pedestrian and less than exciting, but they never dive downward into banality or amateurism. It’s a professional album, and it sounds very musically good.

Perhaps the album’s most significant weakness – even then, not nearly as significant as it could be – is Martin’s lyricism. Too often, he resorts to empty platitudes or uninspired metaphors, and he has a tendency to fall thematically flat more often than the rest of the band. (At the very least, even his most uncreative lyrics are, for the most part, well-delivered.)

I can understand the typecasting of the group as “boring”, seeing as it’s a line of thinking I’ve often indulged in myself. However, if nothing else, X&Y is an album that deserves an open-minded listen – it just may have a couple of surprises in store.

Score, Adjusted for 2017 Ratings Inflation: 7.7/10

 

Related:

Meet the Interns: Sean Calhoun 

THE (MUSIC) YEARBOOK: 1996

THE (MUSIC) YEARBOOK: 1997 

THE (MUSIC) YEARBOOK: 1998

THE (MUSIC) YEARBOOK: 1999

THE (MUSIC) YEARBOOK: 2000

THE (MUSIC) YEARBOOK: 2001

THE (MUSIC) YEARBOOK: 2002

04 2017

Dining In and Out: Grille 26

One young foodie explores the local restaurant scene, bringing quality cuisine into your kitchen, sans doggie bag.

By Kaylyn Deiter

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Dining Out

Though its name speaks to its location on 26th and Western, Grille 26 is more than just a number in the Sioux Falls restaurant scene. Owned by the same company that runs Minerva’s, Grille 26 serves up home-style food with a professional flair. It’s a neighborhood restaurant with a decidedly metropolitan atmosphere.

“The general feeling we want to give people is that of a neighborhood place,” dining room manager Ryan Van Roekel said. “We’re more business casual, but we do have a really eclectic menu that people love for special occasions.”

One of the best things about Grille 26 is its commitment to quality—this is high end food minus the snobbish attitude that so often accompanies that mindset. It’s a restaurant built on passion and primed to serve anyone who walks through its double doors. Grille 26 is truly a neighborhood gathering place with hospitality at its core.

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Photo courtesy of onlyinyourstate.com

Speaking of doors, the ones that open into Grille 26 reveal an airy floor plan steeped in a soft golden glow, courtesy of both the lights and wooden accents. Pops of green complement the brightly lit interior, while a well-stocked bar area gives way to more intimate seating in the form of booths and small tables. It’s contemporary while still remaining cozy.

“The reputation of Grille is one of celebration,” Van Roekel said. “We want people to have a really good sit-down meal and the overall energy to be really happy and enjoyable for them.”

And we haven’t even gotten to the food yet. Grille 26 preserves that Minerva’s-style quality while making high-end dining accessible for the masses. What I mean is, yes, they serve mac & cheese, but this isn’t your typical box of Kraft (though I do love some good Kraft mac & cheese). Instead Grille 26’s mac & cheese is a combination of three different pastas, all made in house, mixed with a heavenly blend of white cheddar, fontina and gorgonzola cheese. It’s an upscale spin on a classic, something this restaurant does like no other.

 

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(Photo courtesy of grille26.com)

More high quality options litter the menu, from the famous honey almond chicken penne and brick oven salmon to the NY strip Michael and creme brulee, but its Grille 26’s commitment to quality service that pushes this neighborhood favorite over the top.

“From special occasions to just going out to eat with friends, our restaurant is all about making sure people have a great time, that they really enjoy their experience,” Van Roekel said. “It’s a welcoming atmosphere that people want to come back to again and again.”

Three reasons to eat at Grille 26:

  1. Homey atmosphere
  2. Diverse menu
  3. Excellent service

Dining In

Though Grille 26 is known for its hospitality, what’s more hospitable than your own home? Try out this simple roasted potatoes recipe courtesy of Jana Hurley, of Aberdeen. It’s the perfect side dish for your next steak dinner a la Grille 26.

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ lb new potatoes, cut into quarters
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-2 teaspoons fresh rosemary
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • Pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees
  2. Place potatoes in a mixing bowl
  3. Sprinkle on salt and pepper
  4. Add olive oil, rosemary and garlic
  5. Toss until potatoes are well coated
  6. Spread potatoes out on a baking pan
  7. Roast for 40 minutes or until potatoes are browned

Once they were done, we enjoyed these roasted potatoes along with steaks and fresh green beans. A restaurant-quality meal that won’t break the bank.

Three reasons to enjoy Grille 26 at home:

  1. Avoid the battle to find a parking spot.
  2. Feel accomplished by conquering steak on your own.
  3. Avoid the temptation of one of Grille’s delectable desserts.

Neighborhood friendliness is a major selling point for Grille 26, as is homestyle food with a high-end flair. Take one of their best dishes home by cooking up some steak, potatoes and veggies. This is one dinner you’ll want to share with everyone.

 

Related:

Dining In and Out: Crawford’s Bar & Grill

Dining In and Out: Crave

Dining In and Out: Oh My Cupcakes

Dining In and Out: Fiero Pizza

Dining In and Out: Phillips Avenue Diner

Dining In and Out: Mama’s Ladas

Dining In and Out: Ode to Food and Drinks

Web Extra: Ode’s Dirty Arnold

Meet the Interns Kaylyn Deiter 

 

04 2017

Locally Grown: Dennis (DJ) Smith

Interviews with South Dakotans finding success outside their college major by Kyle Hallberg.

Images submitted

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Growing up in a three generation home, playing football and soccer, and being avidly devoted to Boy Scouts, Dennis (DJ) Smith had a full schedule to keep up with. If that wasn’t enough, Smith ended his senior year with a gold medal at the national FCCLA gathering. By creating and implementing a project called “Doing More Than Writing Love On Your Arms”, based on the pay it forward theory, Smith was able to give some insight on suicide prevention, starting the national program known as Lost and Found, which was later picked up at the University of South Dakota.

Smith went on to join the Peace Corps, which is where things get even more interesting. Smith and I sat down to talk about his life after the FCCLA win, which was as full, if not more, of adventure, accomplishment and discovery.

Kyle Hallberg: After such a diverse high school experience, what did you do when you started college?

DJ Smith: When I first started as USD, I was double majoring in Theatre and Political Science. After finding out I would have had to do two completely separate degrees, I ended up switching to a double major in Political Science and English, which was okay since I was still able to take Shakespeare classes.

KH: At least you got to keep those theatre-esque classes. Is that when you decided peace corps?

DS: Have you ever read Perks of Being A Wallflower? There is one sentence in that book that talks about joining the peace corps – which started my two day binge on researching everything there is to know about the peace corps during my senior year of high school. Then in college, everything I worked on was to move me towards the peace corps.

KH: So, your interest was sparked in high school, and grew in college?

DS: Actually, one of my buddies had just gotten back from a tour in Afghanistan and we went out for drinks, which is where he convinced me to get up and actually do it, to join the Peace Corps. So I went home at 2 a.m. to apply, got an interview a week later, got nominated, and was appointed to Peace Corps Tanzania. I was extra excited because the Tanzania post was actually the first Peace Corps post set up by JFK.

KH: Wow, that’s a lot to happen while still going to school. What happens after you get appointed?

DS: After I was appointed, I spent the next year going to medical checkups and doing everything you need to do to go to a different country. In February of 2015, we flew to Pennsylvania, then to Tanzania where we met everyone and started our journey. Then, the next 8 weeks were spent doing language training, where we were immersed in Swahili.

About 5 weeks in, we were given our assignments and I was placed in the southern village of Mtambula. I was in the Health/Agriculture cohort, so I worked for three months to get to know my village and not early terminate. My friends, we were called the Goon Squad, spent every weekend together, and we were on our way to a lake when one of our friends was killed in a car accident. The Goon Squad was hit hard, and we were somewhat expected to early terminate, which none of us did. We wanted to do it for Robby.”

KH: I can’t even imagine going to through all of that, and still deciding to stay the full term. I’m sure it was difficult to go back to a somewhat normal life.

DS: Yeah it was hard. We all went back to our villages to continue to cope, which is where things get interesting. Each cohort has their own Facebook page to help each other out, which is where I found the love of my life. We started talking and I just knew things could only go up from here. So the next year of my life was spent doing projects in my village and being with Ben. We would try to see each other at least every other month, which was especially hard in a country where being gay is illegal. But, we made it work and we are doing exceptionally well.

Back in my village, I worked with mothers with HIV, built new water sources for the maternity wards to keep moms and new babies healthy year round. We were also in the process of building twelve wells in our village, which is based on a 12-week rotation to ensure the wells last longer. I was able to teach about gender equality, sex education and the LGBT community as well.

KH: That sounds absolutely incredible. I can’t believe that all of that was over the course of a year. Obviously you are home, so did your term end?

DS: Well, that’s where things get a little fun. It was during one of my LGBT training classes that I noticed my pupils were different sizes. The onsite doctor attributed it to my life-long battle with migraines, but suggested an MRI just to be safe. Another doctor came in and told me I had to go to South Africa to have a follow up MRI, which is when I found out I had a brain tumor.

KH: That had to have been quite the shock, especially since you were in a different country.

DS: Right. So I flew back to America, had a bunch of tests done, had a biopsy and discovered I had a grade two astrocytoma brain tumor in mid-June. Matter of fact, the pupil dilation had nothing to do with the tumor, but ended up being from my migraines. I was told that the chances of finding a brain tumor of grade two status is under 2.5%. Finding my tumor was by complete chance, we were beyond lucky. Ben came back to be with me during the biopsy, which was fantastic. After the biopsy, I had brain surgery on July 28th. They are pretty sure they got it all out, but I will go back for another MRI to double check before I fly back to Tanzania. Dr. Asfora saved my life, he is an excellent doctor and a really amazing person.

KH: Wow. How are you feeling? What is next?

DS: My memory is a little foggy, which will improve over time. Otherwise, I am doing really well. I miss Ben and my dog, but I also miss my village and the work I’m doing in Tanzania. I’m so excited to go back and resume my life in the Peace Corps. I have so much left to accomplish in my life, that I never had the time to think there was a chance the tumor would win.

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Related:

Locally Grown: Mari Ibis

Locally Grown: Ben Gertner

Meet the Interns: Kyle Hallberg

Locally Grown: Mato Jacob Standing Soldier

Locally Grown: Tevyn Waddell

Locally Grown: Kyle West

Locally Grown: Addison Avery

Locally Grown: Cassia McLoon

03 2017

605 Outdoor Wonders: Falls Park

By Anna Stritecky

Images courtesy of Siouxfalls.org

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The next outdoor gem to be explored is Sioux Falls’ own Falls Park. This park’s central feature is not only what gave Sioux Falls its name, but what has kept tourists coming to the city to see the rushing water flow down the rocks.

The Falls of the Big Sioux River have been a focus of life in the region throughout history. Native American peoples were the first to visit the falls and bring stories of them to European explorers. They have been the center of recreation and industry since the founding of the city in 1856.

Alongside the natural falls, there is a building that overlooks the water, originally the Queen Bee Mill. The quartzite building still standing on the east bank is the Sioux Falls Light and Power Company building, completed in 1908. The building housed three 500-kilowatt hydroelectric generators and used the dam and the millrace from the Queen Bee Mill. In subsequent years the plant added additional coal-fired steam generators. The plant was abandoned in 1974 and donated to the city in 1977. Before remodeling took place to create what is now Falls Overlook Cafe, the building was in similar condition as when it was first constructed.

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Even though I have been to the Falls, which now seems like hundreds of times, I took a trip downtown all by myself, hoping to take in something that I hadn’t before. Despite the beauty of the rocks and the calming sounds of the rushing water, I felt as if what the falls had to offer grasped the essence of Sioux Falls. Walking Into the visitor’s center you see nothing but the friendly faces of the employees, shortly before you climb the stairs and get easily one of the best views in Sioux Falls. These falls, even though what might seem as just another attraction, has the power of unity for the city it inhabits. Alongside that, the park itself carries many paths and trails that surround it allowing any tourist to appreciate the land.

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Related: 

605 Outdoor Wonders: Pactola Lake

605 Outdoor Wonders: Palisades State Park

605 Outdoor Wonders: Spearfish Canyon

605 Outdoor Wonders: McKennan Park 

605 Outdoor Wonders: Mary Jo Wegner Arboretum 

Meet the Interns: Anna Stritecky

03 2017

THE (MUSIC) YEARBOOK: 2004

By Sean Calhoun

Outside of Blink-182, I haven’t covered a lot of pop-punk yet on The Music Yearbook. That’s about to change in a big way, starting with this year’s first entry…

Under My Skin – Avril Lavigne

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As popular (and radio-friendly) as pop punk became in the first half of the 2000s’ first decade, it never seemed like there was a lot of room for female artists in a genre ruled by the likes of Panic! At The Disco, Fall Out Boy, and others. One major exception was (and is) Fall Out Boy’s Fueled by Ramen labelmates, Paramore, fronted by Hayley Williams, while another, perhaps more unique, example is Avril Lavigne.

Early in her career, Lavigne stood out as one of the few solo singer-songwriters in the genre, and her first album, Let Go, quickly catapulted her onto the scene behind the strength of hits like “Sk8er Boi” and “Complicated.” Under My Skin, Lavigne’s sophomore effort, unfortunately features nothing as distinctive as these hits.

It becomes apparent early on that Under My Skin is a change in direction for Lavigne, featuring heavier and darker musical themes and a general departure from the sunny skater-punk aesthetic of Let Go. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always work to her benefit, and songs like “Take Me Away” and “Slipped Away” bring to mind a bargain version of Evanescence’s Amy Lee (while “Bring Me To Life” is an absolutely ridiculous song, it stands out more than much of the music here).

In fact, even at her best, Lavigne on Under My Skin often lacks originality, mining the musical styles of more successful and established acts. “Don’t Tell Me” and “Fall To Pieces” bring to mind a slightly punk-ier Alanis Morissette, while “Who Knows” sounds like a Blink-182 b-side.

In fairness, there’s no denying Lavigne’s vocal talent. Her lines carry a lot of these songs (although they aren’t always able to overcome cheesy or just plain mediocre lyrics), and she’s got the Pop Punk Teen Angst formula down pat. “Nobody’s Home” is a genuine standout, and the Alanis-esque tracks are also solid.

In the end, however, there’s nothing particularly special here, just an album of pretty average and forgettable pop-punk tracks that fade into the background of what was a grossly oversaturated genre.

Score, Adjusted for 2017 Ratings Inflation: 5.5/10

 

One of the two artists featured in the next review will look very familiar to Music Yearbook readers; in fact, I just covered them in my last entry. However, the sheer inexplicability of this album’s existence meant that I couldn’t help but cover…

Collision Course – Jay-Z and Linkin Park

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Where do I even begin with this album? While Jay-Z and Linkin Park were both household names in 2004, this matchup couldn’t have made a whole lot of sense back then and looks even more inexplicable now (especially given the career trajectories of the two artists going into the 2010s).

While both artists are given equal billing on the album art and tracklist, it becomes obvious pretty early on that this is Jay-Z’s show. He dominates each of the EP’s six tracks, as well as significantly outclassing Mike Shinoda) and largely turns Chester Bennington and the rest of Linkin Park into a glorified backing band.

The formula behind Collision Course is rather simple: each of the six tracks is a mashup between a Jay-Z track and a Linkin Park song (with the exception of the final track). Some of the combos work surprisingly well – “Numb/Encore” (easily the best part of the EP) manages to improve both songs, recasting it as an inspirational track in the vein of T.I. and Rihanna’s “Live Your Life”, while “Dirt Off Your Shoulder/Lying From You” probably does the best job at shoehorning Bennington’s vocals into what’s essentially a two-man rap track – but just as much of the album falls flat.

For example, the EP’s final track, “Points Of Authority/99 Problems/One Step Closer” quickly becomes a hot mess, starting with the indefensible decision to turn “99 Problems” into a rap-rock song and going downhill from there. Shinoda’s verses are bad, the sound mixing is bad, and the vocal placement is bad, and it left a sour taste in my mouth as I finished my initial listen.

In the end, I think that Collision Course was a pretty dumb idea that lucked into a couple of solid tracks. Since its release, it has somehow become the highest-selling EP ever, perhaps out of sheer curiosity (or a deluge of tongue-in-cheek irony purchases). If anything, it’s a monument to excess, a messy wedding of two big names with the cynical knowledge that commercial success was all but guaranteed.

Score, Adjusted for 2017 Ratings Inflation: 4.3/10

 

Related:

Meet the Interns: Sean Calhoun 

THE (MUSIC) YEARBOOK: 1996

THE (MUSIC) YEARBOOK: 1997 

THE (MUSIC) YEARBOOK: 1998

THE (MUSIC) YEARBOOK: 1999

THE (MUSIC) YEARBOOK: 2000

THE (MUSIC) YEARBOOK: 2001

THE (MUSIC) YEARBOOK: 2002

03 2017

Dining In and Out: M.B. Haskett

One young foodie explores the local restaurant scene, bringing quality cuisine into your kitchen, sans doggie bag.

By Kaylyn Deiter

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Dining Out

Serving up homestyle breakfast in the mornings, deli-style delicacies during the afternoon hours and a three-course “Prix Fixe” meal on weekends, it’s not even cliche to call M.B. Haskett a local gem, because that’s exactly what this downtown deli is: an eatery with a local following as diverse as its menu options.

“We want to have that fun, neighborhood feel here at M.B. Haskett,” owner Michael Haskett said. “We love food and we love coffee, but what we really love is that casual atmosphere, serving people from all walks of life and having them mingle in our space.”

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(Photo courtesy of travelsouthdakota.com)

Locals love M.B. Haskett and M.B. Haskett loves the locals right back. The restaurant proudly serves Breadico bread and recently expanded its drinks menu to include a house blend featuring The Breaks Coffee Roasting Co, a locally-owned roasting company based in Sioux Falls.

(Photo courtesy of mbhaskett.com)

(Photo courtesy of mbhaskett.com)

But though its service is home-grown, the food at M.B. Haskett is decidedly more diverse. With Spanish, French and Mediterranean influences, this deli’s food is anything but typical. Patrons can take a taste bud trip to Paris with a breakfast of traditional French crepes, enjoy a Mediterranean muffaletta sandwich for lunch or stay true to their red, white and blue roots by starting the day off with the American Breakfast of eggs, bacon, ham and toast. Weekend dinners are always a surprise catered to the customer, but you can be sure that a variety of artisanal meats and cheeses will be a staple.

“We’re so fortunate to be in the middle of this downtown restaurant scene in Sioux Falls that’s just exploding right now,” Haskett said. “It’s been fantastic to be part of that and offer a variety of food to customers looking for that versatility.”

For all the diversity of tastes and styles present inside M.B. Haskett’s wood-paneled walls, the restaurant has an undeniable knack for making everyone feel at home.

Tables nestled elbow to elbow invite conversation with neighbors, making the space feel both communal and intimate. The picture window at the front of the shop provides an uninhibited view of Phillips Avenue, perfect for people-watching. And the rustic, wooden design choices and graffiti adorned seating area in the back alley transport you out of Sioux Falls and into a big, bustling city during the time it takes to eat your meal. But the warm hospitality and familiar banter between customers (along with the fact that there’s usually a dog or two in meandering around), gives way to a closeness that’s undeniably Midwestern.

(Photo courtesy of Kaylyn Deiter)

(Photo courtesy of Kaylyn Deiter)

M.B. Haskett is a lot of things—local staple, eclectic eatery, favorite Saturday brunch spot—but ultimately this is a deli with a lot of heart, and hearty flavors to boot. It’s a local restaurant so good, many have stopped to take notice.

Three reasons to eat at M.B. Haskett:

  1. Breakfast you can’t beat
  2. The Breaks Coffee Co.
  3. There’s almost always a dog there, what’s not to love about that?

Dining In

When M.B. Haskett is swamped on Saturday morning but you’re still craving a delicious breakfast, try out this strawberry-Nutella crepe recipe modified from juliasalbum.com. Though this Parisian staple may seem intimidating at first, crepes are a fun way to spice of breakfast (or any meal, for that matter).

Ingredients:

  • Batter
    • 2 cups milk
    • 4 cups flour
    • 1 egg
    • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
    • ½ teaspoon baking powder
    • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • Filling
    • Strawberries
    • Nutella

Instructions:

  1. Mix all batter ingredients in a large bowl and whisk until lumps dissolve
  2. Heat a frying pan on high and spray with cooking oil
  3. Using a soup ladle, spoon a small amount of batter into the saucepan as you roll the pan from side to side to cover the bottom with a layer of batter
  4. Let the layer of batter cook until surface is bubbly
  5. Flip the crepe and let cook for another 1-2 minutes
  6. Transfer finished crepes to a plate
  7. Once all the crepes are cooked, spread Nutella on half a crepe
  8. Arrange strawberry slices on top of Nutella
  9. Fold the crepe in half, then fold it again to form a triangle
  10. Top with more sliced strawberries

I have to admit, this was probably the trickiest meal I’ve attempted so far (not to mention I minorly burned my hand in the process). It took a couple crumpled up crepes for me to get the flipping technique down, but once I did this turned into a delicious dinner sweet enough for dessert.

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(Photo courtesy of Kaylyn Deiter)

Three reasons to enjoy M.B. Haskett at home:

  1. Beat the morning rush
  2. Conquer homemade crepes
  3. Strangers won’t judge you for eating five crepes

M.B. Haskett is one of Sioux Falls’ most beloved small restaurants. The local crowd makes this deli feel like home, while the food is quality enough to stand crepe to crepe with big city cuisine. In that same homegrown style, crepes make a delicious breakfast at home modeled after this little deli with big flavor.

Related:

Dining In and Out: Crawford’s Bar & Grill

Dining In and Out: Crave

Dining In and Out: Oh My Cupcakes

Dining In and Out: Fiero Pizza

Dining In and Out: Phillips Avenue Diner

Dining In and Out: Mama’s Ladas

Dining In and Out: Ode to Food and Drinks

Web Extra: Ode’s Dirty Arnold

Meet the Interns Kaylyn Deiter 

 

03 2017

Locally Grown: Courtney Albrecht

Interviews with South Dakotans finding success outside their college major by Kyle Hallberg.

Images submitted

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For most people, being a collegiate athlete, a Nursing student and still finding time to sleep would be a major accomplishment within itself. For Redfield native, Courtney Albrecht, the addition of raising feeder pigs was necessary for the summer to feel equally packed and busy.

In between the beginning of school and the selling of her pigs, Albrecht sat down with me, a self proclaimed city slicker, to explain to me the inner workings of balancing farm life and academic life, piggies and all.

Kyle Hallberg: What is your major?

Courtney Albrecht: I am going for Nursing.

That takes a certain kind of person. Have you always been into science and stuff?

CA: I guess you could say that. I like it more than anything else.

Nice. So besides school, what do you do when you are home or during the summer?

CA: Well I live on a farm just outside of Redfield, South Dakota. During the school year I am on the Track team, and I play a ton of softball during the summer, as well as taking care of my piggies.

Speaking of your piggies, can you explain to me what exactly that means?

CA: Basically, I buy little feeder pigs that weigh about 50 lbs, feed them until they’re around 250 lbs, and then I sell them as butcher hogs.

Interesting. Did this start as a family thing?

CA: No, my Dad raises cattle, so I’ve always been around livestock, but I wanted to do something myself. I originally wanted my own heifers, but the return of profit would be too long and my dad would end up taking care of them while I’m at school. Hogs don’t take as long, so it is something I can do during the summer while I’m home. I also really liked the idea that I could sell them all locally when they are ready.

So, you’ve grown up in the world of livestock sales. There is a lot more to it than I thought. How many pigs do you buy at once?

CA: Well, I only bought 39 pigs since it was my first time. But next time, I’d get at least 75.

That is a lot of piglets to take care of. Is this strictly a summer activity?

CA: Yes. I did that so I would be able to balance school, track and my hogs.

That’s a really smart idea. I feel like work on a farm is so time consuming, that it would be close to impossible to do both school and work. The one thing that I keep thinking about is getting attached to the pigs. Does that ever happen to you?

CA: I mean, I have my favorite, his name is Wilby. But with livestock, you have to remember that it is a business and as much as you love them, they are not pets.

Yeah, I think that would be the most difficult part for me. Do you think you’ll keep doing this after you graduate?

CA: I guess I haven’t really thought that far ahead yet, but I probably will. I love my piggies!

This is all pretty interesting to someone who has never lived on a farm. Do you think you’ll stick with hogs?

CA: I’m sure! It is kind of hard to explain to people who know nothing about livestock, so I hope I’ve done alright. But yeah, I think I’ll continue to work with hogs.

You have done a great job, don’t worry!

From running races all over the midwest, to raising over 30 piglets into fully grown feeder pigs, Albrecht has found the perfect way to balance two important aspects of her life, while still going to school full time to become a nurse. After speaking with Albrecht and discovering the ins and outs of feeder pigs, I realized that school, track and her piggies are all equally important to Albrecht’s future, an example of someone who finds success and achievement from multiple outlets available in her own backyard.

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02 2017

605 Outdoor Wonders: Sioux Falls Bike Trail

By Anna Stritecky

Images courtesy of siouxfalls.org

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Our next outdoor destination is not just one place in itself, but an entire trail that loops all the way around the city of Sioux Falls. The bike trail takes any traveler through 22 stops that compose Sioux Falls to what it is as a city. The trails are described as “home to connection of over 70 public parks. The centrally located Falls Park is the hub of the park system and connected to many of the city’s other parks via the bike trail corridor which encircles the city.”

The bike trail comes with many advantages, such as being able to individually explore each park that it connects. Whether it be stopping for a quick time on the swing set or a few games of sand volleyball, the trail allows you to ride right up to the parks around Sioux Falls.

Having lived in Sioux falls my entire life, I have always known about the bike trails because they were so popular amongst residents, but I didn’t fully take advantage of them until these last couple years. In my most recent experience, I set myself out on a mission to bike the entire trail straight through, finding beauty within the limits of Sioux Falls. I was able to see wooded forest all the way to the airport, all with the sun shining down on my journey. The bike trails take you along the scenic route of Sioux Falls, into many places that one wouldn’t see usually that included forest greens and the Big Sioux. As I was riding my bike, I also quickly realized that the trials were not just meant for biking, seeing that there were a fair amount of runners, rollerbladers, walkers, and skateboarders along the trail because it is so nicely kept and you don’t have to worry about car traffic.

Though the trails are manmade, one can see an entirely new part of nature, and Sioux Falls, along this concrete path.

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Related: 

605 Outdoor Wonders: Pactola Lake

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Meet the Interns: Anna Stritecky

02 2017

Dining In and Out: Spezia

One young foodie explores the local restaurant scene, bringing quality cuisine into your kitchen, sans doggie bag.

By Kaylyn Deiter

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Dining Out

Pasta, bread, wine, tiramisu, the list of mouth-watering Italian staples goes on at one of Sioux Falls’ premier Italian eateries: Spezia.

Though the restaurant is located in the midst of traffic-heavy Louise Avenue, Spezia itself is a welcome retreat from all the craziness—lights strung from the ceiling, traditional music playing softly in the background and wine flowing by the bottle—it’s all in the southern European style Spezia prides itself on.

“I like that you have the ability to see somewhat into the kitchen,” patron Mason VanEssen said. “It’s an entertaining atmosphere, being able to see where your food is coming from. Sitting around those big round tables, it makes me feel like I’m part of a big Italian family.”

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(Photo courtesy of speziarestaurant.com)

If a trip to the Colosseum isn’t in your near future, what better way to experience the wonders of Italy than through the food this country is famous for? Luckily, Spezia’s got you covered.

An Italian trademark, Spezia’s spaghetti and meatballs do the country of gladiators and vespas proud. But spaghetti isn’t the only thing this restaurant gets right. The pizza is top notch, the wine list is extensive (and authentic) and the bread is refilled constantly (though for a girl who has been to Italy, this is more of an American than Italian thing, but who’s complaining?). That’s not to mention Spezia’s weekly Sunday brunch buffet, aka feast, featuring the best the restaurant has to offer, plus its enviable list of Italian-inspired desserts. Giant tiramisu, anyone?

“The pasta was extremely rich, delicious and perfect,” VanEssen said. “I would order it again. I had no complaints”

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(Photo courtesy of speziarestaurant.com)

Although everyone seems to love Italian food no matter what, Spezia doesn’t bank on familiarity alone to keep customers coming back. Each feature is prepared to perfection, and it’s evident that care is taken to ensure the cuisine is as true to its Italian heritage as possible.

That attention to detail, and the delectable food, of course, make Spezia a delicious European transplant that’s here to stay.

Three reasons to eat at Spezia:

  1. Extensive list of Italian wines
  2. Interior that feels like you’re sitting on a streetcorner in Rome
  3. Tiramisu that’s the size of your face

Dining In

Want to try carb-loading the Italian way at home tonight? Look no further than this recipe courtesy of my mom, Jana Hurley of Aberdeen, SD. Warm up some bread, toss a bit of salad, and I promise you’ll be singing bella noche in 25 minutes flat.

Ingredients:

  • 1 package spaghetti noodles
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
  • 1 8 oz. can mushrooms
  • 1 lbs ground beef
  • Italian seasoning
  • Garlic powder

Instructions:

  1. Begin browning the hamburger in a skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Boil noodles until al dente, about 8 minutes.
  3. Once hamburger is fully cooked, add diced tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce and mushrooms to hamburger.
  4. Mix together and simmer for about five minutes, adding in spices as you go.
  5. Once sauce mixture and noodles are fully cooked, drain the noodles and combine the two in a pasta bowl.
  6. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and serve immediately.
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(Photo courtesy of Kaylyn Deiter)

I might be a little biased (after all, this is my mom’s recipe), but this is one of the simplest and best spaghetti recipes I’ve ever tasted. If you want your spaghetti more sauce-heavy, consider upping the amount of tomato sauce from 8 oz. to 16 oz. Otherwise, enjoy your pasta Lady and the Tramp style and see where the night takes you.

Three reasons to enjoy Spezia at home:

  1. Everyone loves pasta night
  2. Second helpings are a must
  3. Light a few candles, throw on some music and you’ve got a fine Italian dinner on your hands

Spezia is the ideal dining locale if you’re craving Italian comfort food with a touch of Roman style. Recreate that pasta-centric dinner at home from our recipe and we guarantee you’ll be planning your trip to Tuscany in no time.

 

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02 2017

THE (MUSIC) YEARBOOK: 2003

By Sean Calhoun

I’ve already covered some rap-rock on this blog (Rage Against The Machine, Korn), but there is one band that really shaped the genre in the early 2000s with their slickly produced, aggressively individualistic music. First up on this week’s Music Yearbook…

Meteora – Linkin Park

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If you listen to enough early Linkin Park, you begin to realize that just about every song fits into an easily defined formula. There’s a crunchy guitar intro, some singing from frontman Chester Bennington (often dripping with adolescent angst), an occasional Mike Shinoda rap verse, a chorus with some yelling and a message about individuality and “not needing anyone else”, all wrapped up in around three and a half minutes.

The formula worked to great effect on the band’s debut full-length, Hybrid Theory, and Meteora is more of the same. The tone is set early, and there’s nothing particularly unique about any of these tracks. Yes, there are singles – very successful singles at that – but if I hadn’t known which songs they were, I’m not sure if I could have picked any of them out, as just about everything here sounds the same.

“Somewhere I Belong” is the first single to appear on the tracklist (following an instrumental prelude and “Don’t Stay”). It’s perhaps the purest distillation of the Linkin Park formula, with Bennington disdainfully singing, “I will never know myself until/I do this on my own” and a number of similar sentiments over pretty basic backing instrumentals.

The need to “be yourself” is an oft-repeated theme on Meteora, and it becomes really tiresome after a few too many consecutive tracks concerning Bennington’s (and Shinoda’s) need to “break away” or “separate” from who I can only assume is an authority figure or parent (generally presented as “you” – see “the very worst part of you/is me” in “Lying From You”).

(On a slightly different note, it’s pretty easy to see how this album spoke so clearly to the suburban middle schoolers of the early 2000s – a rather profitable target audience if not necessarily a particularly artistic one.)

There are a couple of reasonably solid tracks on this album. “Breaking The Habit”, another hugely popular single, is the closest thing to a ballad in Linkin Park’s discography, and the production decisions and Bennington’s vocals at least allow it to distinguish itself somewhat from the rest of the record. For this reason alone, it stands out as one of Meteora’s top tracks.

The best of the album’s singles, however, is its final track, “Numb”. I have a relationship with this song that extends beyond the album – I first heard it as part of a mashup track (also featuring Genesis’ “Land of Confusion” and Pendulum’s “Witchcraft”, along with Rick James’ “Superfreak”) made by a Canadian DJ I was briefly obsessed with in high school – and it’s always been my favorite Linkin Park song. While it’s just as angst-filled and formulaic as most of the album, it’s a strong performance from Bennington and doesn’t lean too heavily on Shinoda’s rapping (honestly one of the weaker facets of the band).

In the end, it’s rather obvious that Meteora isn’t a particularly artistic or ground-breaking album, but it sold a ton of copies and went a long way to defining the second wave of rap-metal. There’s something here for the angry 13-year-old in all of us.

Score, Adjusted for 2017 Ratings Inflation: 6.5/10

 

2003 was the beginning of a trend that would quickly dominate American television for the next several years. With the debut of “American Idol,” the United States developed an obsession for musical competition shows, eventually spinning off into “The Voice,” as well as others. Here, I’ll take a look at the debut album from the show’s first champion…

Thankful – Kelly Clarkson

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Strangely enough, Thankful was only one of three albums by early American Idol luminaries to reach number one in 2003 (the other two being Clay Aiken’s Measure of a Man and Ruben Studdard’s Soulful). Kelly gets credit for coming first, though, and she’s certainly had more long-lasting musical success than either Aiken or Studdard (not to mention Justin Guarini, whom she beat out for the season one title).

Clarkson’s debut album is largely a transitional work – it’s the sound of a newly minted star finding her footing and making a few missteps along the way. As her career moved forward, Clarkson settled into a rock-influenced pop groove, as typified by some of her biggest hits (“Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)” and “Since U Been Gone” are two that come to mind). There’s definitely evidence of this direction on Thankful, but there are also a couple of songs that clearly miss the mark.

One example of this is the opening track, “The Trouble With Love Is.” Here, Clarkson is miscast as some sort of Mariah Carey-style R&B crooner – while she certainly has an impressive voice, the track is cheesy and wholly unremarkable. There are a number of tracks like this interspersed throughout the record, with “Some Kind Of Miracle” and “Thankful” serving as further lowlights. While these tracks are performed capably enough, they just don’t really fit.

Artistically speaking, Clarkson is far better served by songs like “Miss Independent”, where she can show more of an edge (both musically and lyrically). She delivers a serviceable Alanis Morissette impression on “Low” and “Just Missed The Train”, perhaps the album’s two strongest tracks. Here, Clarkson begins to show some of the raw power and artistry that would serve her well on later albums.

Overall, while Thankful is not a great album, it’s an album that at least provides some idea of what Kelly Clarkson would eventually develop into on her gradual evolution from “reality show winner” to “legitimate pop star”. Everybody has to start somewhere, and there’s no shame in taking some bumps along the way.

Score, Adjusted For 2017 Score Inflation: 6.7/10

 

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THE (MUSIC) YEARBOOK: 1996

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THE (MUSIC) YEARBOOK: 1998

THE (MUSIC) YEARBOOK: 1999

THE (MUSIC) YEARBOOK: 2000

THE (MUSIC) YEARBOOK: 2001

THE (MUSIC) YEARBOOK: 2002