Day Five took us to Fargo around lunchtime. Down the street from the Visitors Center was a restaurant that really spoke to us despite their authentic translator problems.
Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:
Each year from 2003 to 2013 my wife, my son, and your humble writer headed out on a long road trip to anywhere but here. Our 2014 road trip represented a milestone of sorts: our first vacation in over a decade without my son tagging along for the ride. At my wife’s prodding, I examined our vacation options and decided we ought to make this year a milestone in another way — our first sequel vacation. This year’s objective, then: a return to Wisconsin and Minnesota. In my mind, our 2006 road trip was a good start, but in some ways a surface-skimming of what each state has to offer. I wanted a do-over.
(Alternate titles for this entry include “Earth vs. the Frying Saucers”, “Battle Beyond the Starved”, and “This Island Fargo”.)
Before we looked it up, we were afraid Space Aliens would be Chuck-E-Cheese with worse pizza. There were games for kids, but we didn’t try the pizza, so we’ll never know for sure. They’re a small independent chain with two other locations in Bismarck and Albertville, MN. (Their official site lists a fourth location in Waite Park, but it closed at the end of July 2014.) Their theme is…well, duh.
Inside is…well, more bizarre than you’d imagine. For once this tinting isn’t the product of bad camera lighting.
The decor is a combination of art and artifacts. ’50s B-movie connoisseurs can nod knowingly at replicas of classic posters from sci-fi yesteryear.
Genre literature lovers can appreciate that books are included in the mix, quarantined behind glass to prevent contamination.
Western art lovers who can’t decide whether they prefer cowboys or aliens can have the best of both worlds for reasons beyond me.
And fans of alien autopsies learn to be careful what they wish for.
As for the food: what we had was what it needed to be. My wife’s BBQ baked potato was the tastier and more outlandish-looking of the two.
Frequently at restaurants I’ll order something that sounds creative and she’ll order something that sounds closer to ordinary. The dishes will emerge from the kitchen and hers will be twice the size of mine. Such was the case with her loaded space spud compared to my Cuban sandwich. The suspended sweet potato fries, though yummy, didn’t quite balance the scales.
The captions to each of our meal photos points to my chief problem with their establishment: 90% of their offerings are stuck with boring, non-themed names. The few exceptions include Martian Munchies (pork strips), Cheddar Cheese Rockets (jalapeno diced potatoes), the Planet of the Zombies Taco Burger, and the Skinny Aliens Veggie Pizza. Otherwise the dish names are interchangeable with those from any given Applebee’s. In a perfect geek restaurant, I shouldn’t have to name my own food. I should be wowed by the chefs’ imaginations, not my own.
But hey, themed decor, right?
I don’t know whether or not this location is the company’s best, but I’m sure their next one will be even better.
To be continued!
[Link enclosed here to handy checklist for previous and future chapters, and for our complete road trip history to date. Thanks for reading!]