Sven Sundgaard has mastered the microwave


Local weatherdude Sven Sundgaard is off your television screen and on vacation this week, enjoying the heat and hummus in Israel and Jordan. When he's not globetrotting, the active Sundgaard can most often be found at the nearest Thai food establishment.

1. You were the face of this year's Dining Out for Life fundraiser. How many restaurants did you hit that day, and was it a personal record? This year I think we almost got to 30--I do know we beat last year, I can't recall the exact number.

2. What makes Dining Out for Life such a success each year? I think because it's easy! You gotta eat anyway, and though you shouldn't very often, we all like to eat out. What better way to contribute to a great nonprofit organization? It beats "just" writing a check.

3. Which restaurants in the Twin Cities can count you as a regular? I revolve between a few Thai restaurants regularly in Uptown. Though I have a low threshold for spicy foods (Scandinavian bland palate) I love Thai food. Chang Mai Thai, Tum Rump Thai, and Amazing Thailand are all regular places I hit when in the mood for Thai. I also like to frequent my neighborhood cafe/coffee shop: Cuppa Java in the beautiful Bryn Mawr neighborhood of Minneapolis.

4. With a name like Sven Sundgaard, I have to ask: How good are you at cooking Scandinavian food at home, and what do you like to make? I'm not a good cook, at all, in general. Mostly because I don't try. My problem is when I'm hungry I want to eat now, and I hate planning ahead and preparing for something in advance when it comes to food. My microwave is used a lot, and my stove is used basically for making omelets--I do make those a lot, and a variety of breakfast food, but beyond that I'm a sorry cook. My mother and grandmother, however, are superb cooks, and even my dad's pretty good. Grandma and my great aunt Laura (102 years old!) are excellent at the Scandinavian desserts.

5. You're headed to Israel and Jordan on vacation this week. What local foods are you interested in trying? Well, I was in Israel and Egypt both last year--and have developed a love and fascination for that region of the world. Maybe because it's so different from my Scandinavian-Minnesotan background ... the diversity and friendly attitude of the Egyptians, Israelis, and I'm sure Jordanians also (that will be a new country to my list) are great. Their hospitality spills over into their amazing food. Falafel is amazing, and we're lucky to have some great places for Middle Eastern cuisine here in the Twin Cities, but there's nothing like eating it in the Mideast and on a warm desert evening!

6. Will you be heading back to the Dead Sea for another roll in the mud? I will not be making a return visit to the Dead Sea mud specifically. I'm trying to hit up new places for the most part on this visit. Despite being a small country, Israel has so much to offer. The one exception will be a return visit to Jerusalem--I don't think you could ever visit that city once and fully grasp all the sites and activity. I will see the Dead Sea I'm sure en route to Jordan or other places in Israel again, however. ________________________________________