My Continuing Love Affair with Minneapolis

I’m here to tell you that Minneapolis is an AMAZING city!!

Travel is my passion. Whether it be to lounge on a gorgeous beach and do nothing, hike to some secluded destination, eat my way across France, do yoga while peering into Santorini’s caldera, or jump off a bridge in New Zealand, I’m in. I don’t claim to be the most well-traveled person out there, but I’ve done my fair share of exploring. With that in mind, I want the world to know that Minneapolis (and St Paul, for that matter) is winning me over with each passing meal. And each street festival. And each walk around a lake. And each wonderful person I meet. The city has just enough hipsters, just enough trendy people, just enough tattoos to make me feel at home, all the while being friendly, gorgeous, clean, and full of fantastic activities. I may never leave. Seriously. Yeah, yeah, I know I haven’t lived through a winter, but that’s the beauty of being an independent contractor–I’m pretty sure I could take off one week a month to go somewhere warm, but I digress.

My platonic soulmate/life-partner-who-lives-on-the-other-side-of-the-earth/travel mate (See here, here, and here for prior adventures) came for a visit and left “loving it large,” as he’s known to say. We checked out a festival called Art a whirl

 

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Also a rosΓ© tasting event (my second since coming to the Twin Cities), put on by my new favorite wine shop–Cork Dork–but held at Italian Eatery.

Basically our friendship revolves around laughter and booze.

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We even ventured over to a St Paul Saints game. The stadium is great and we had a fabulous time.

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Fast forward a couple of weeks, and a few other adventures, and although I was getting over a deathly illness, I found myself at yet another festival called Northern Spark. This one started with the launch party in the ruins of an old flour mill on the most gorgeous night.

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They had a great jazz hip hop band called Doks Robotiks, small bites from several local restaurants, and (of course) a bar.

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After the party, the festival opens and runs all night. It was full of really cool stuff and really weird stuff that, collectively, add to the splendor that is this city.

 

My first stint here is about to come to an end, yet I love it so much I will be returning in August. I even went from a complete lack of interest in riding a bike to feeling like I MUST own one to ride around the Twin Cities. I mean, look at what it’s like…

My trip to Western Australia, Cambodia, and Vietnam is up next, but in all honesty, I’ll be ever-so-slightly missing Minnesota while I travel.

I’ll leave you with a little collage from pride weekend:

Minneapolis, I totally heart you!

Minneapolis restaurants. Oh, the restaurants!

I came here with exactly 1 friend in the Twin Cities. That beautiful woman has managed to see me about 10 times already, despite the fact that she has a toddler, infant twins, and works full-time. At the recommendation of my amazing friend and her husband, my mom and I made reservations at Spoon and Stable. I have since found out that we were incredibly lucky to get said reservation since most people book weeks in advance. It was either meant to be or someone cancelled at the last minute–probably the latter, but the end result was the same.

I’ve lived in some foodie havens–New York City, Charleston, SC, even Washington, DC is catching up–but I am so impressed with what Minneapolis/St. Paul has to offer. Like, seriously impressed.

Everything about Spoon and Stable makes it worth the trip. Each morsel that touched my lips was delicious. The One of the most important things to me about a meal is the wine that accompanies it, and they have many great options, as well as craft cocktails.

The restaurant is truly beautiful and has top notch service. I am anxiously awaiting my opportunity to return.

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delicious endive salad

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my pot roast was so good I forgot to take a picture

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for “special” occasions there is cotton candy

 

Don’t get me wrong, I loved Spoon and Stable, but I really LOVED Corner Table. I’m on a constant mission for restaurants that can be my place–ones in which I can go frequently and kind of be known. Corner Table is definitely more that than Spoon and Stable. It’s neighborhood-y, friendly, and completely fabulous. Unfortunately, I have no photos of my trip there, but I shall snap some on my next visit… and there will be many more visits. When I went, we asked one of the owners to pick our courses and pair the wine. OMG, was it fabulous! Not all of the wine pairings were what you’d traditionally receive. For instance, he paired a lamb dumpling with a really funky white wine (versus a red that you may expect with lamb) and it was glorious perfection. If I lived in their neighborhood, my waistline and wallet would be in big, big trouble.

You need reservations (unless going at some odd time and hedging your bets), so plan ahead. I have so many restaurants left to try, so bear with me. As of now, I absolutely love this place!

 

**Online dating update: The 1 guy, out of 4, that I liked, that I didn’t hear from after meeting, finally did reach out…

I’ll leave you with a pre-debauchery photo of my friend and me at the Solo Vino wine tasting event in St Paul.

aforementioned beautiful friend at the Solo Vino RosΓ© tasting

Minneapolis, City of Lakes

It’s been a long time since my last post and, like with most tasks, the larger-looming the more likely I am to procrastinate. So, instead of posting chronologically, I’m going out of order and jumping right into Minneapolis–my current residence. I’ve been living here for a little more than 3 weeks and although it has rained an awful lot, she’s really shown me a lovely side.

I arrived the day after Prince died, which sucks on several levels. The first being that I was just sure he and I would become friends and I would get to attend all the Paisley Park parties. So, for that reason, and that we lost yet another musical genius it was quite sad. Most people loved Prince, but the people of Minnesota, particularly the greater Twin Cities area, really loved him; he was one of them–having grown up and continued to maintain a residence here.

Naturally, I went to Paisley Park to pay my respects to the artist known once again as Prince.

Since my little rental cottage was not yet available, I spent my first night at an absolutely lovely hotel downtown called The Ivy.Β  Upon arrival, Bailey (my scrumptiously cute corgi) was greeted with a plush bed and bowls already in our room.

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If you want to win over a dog person, suck up to her dog.

We had drinks and delicious snacks in the hotel at Constantine Bar–the decor, ambiance, and abundance of real candles everywhere makes it worth checking out. The food, though really good, is definitely bar fare and not the best option if looking for something remotely healthy… like us after 2 days of the junk that a road trip provides.

Prince’s music was the only thing in the rotation for the evening and there was a small altar set for him. In the immortal words of Vivian (aka Julia Roberts), “Don’t ya just love Prince?” More than life itself, Vivian, more than life itself.

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I’ve started drinking eating my way through the Twin Cities and I have several restaurant recommendations coming your way. Stay tuned.

If you’ve been considering a trip to this part of the world and are a foodie, into biking, water (lake-type) activities, enjoy being outside (this time of year, anyway) and men with beards, you should definitely come here. Even though it’s 46 degrees right now, and 75 back in my native land of Virginia, I love it.

 

**Online Dating Update**

Just so my millions handful of followers can have a good chuckle, my aforementioned plan to “online date the shit out of the Twin Cities” has been quite amusing so far. I came here as an online dating virgin and decided to jump in with both feet. I’ve had a profile in the past, but have always been able to talk myself out of going out with anyone who contacted me. I’ve had 3 dates so far… 1 was terrible and I actually think I hate him, 1 was bad and lasted WAY too long, and 1 was good. 1 out of 3 isn’t so bad except the one that was decent never contacted me again. Perhaps my comment about our next meeting being somewhere with booze led him to believe I drink too much. Oh well, it’s probably for the best. I spent no less than 3 hours with any of these guys, so I’ve learned that I truly can talk to anyone, my instincts are usually correct, and online dating is exhausting.

To close, I’d like to leave you with a picture of Bailey in his new wheels (my guy likes to be out and about, but can only walk a block or two at his advanced age).

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