I'm in Minnesota way longer than I thought I would be, so now have to give some Minnesota love. I've been working like a dog to help my Mom out, battling insurance companies, being a ferocious advocate, and working on her house, so haven't been able to be out and about as much as I normally would be, but I thought it would be nice to shout out some of the highlight places I've been able to hit so far while I'm here. I like to look for the creative and cool stuff wherever I am, and Minneapolis people might not have found them yet in their busy lives, and Los Angeles people (and everyone world wide!) might like to hit them up the next time you visit. Let's start with the appropriately named Minnesota Nice Cream (reminding me of our departed Venice N'Ice Cream!).
This little spot in Northeast Minneapolis is a fun place to stop with the kids. The ice cream is just soft serve, but you can top it with a zillion things - including edible glitter!
I kind of thought it would be bright rainbow glitter, but it was more a subtle gold you had to search for, but still - fun! Right up Broadway is Spyhouse Coffee, a coffee shop so hipster it might as well be in L.A.
My brother and I do a lot of coffee research when we're both in town, and Spyhouse is in the Top Ten, if not the Top Five. The space is big and airy, and full of folks typing away on their laptops. There are five locations around the Twin Cities, but this is probably the one to go to for that Northeast vibe - plus it's walkable to the ice cream after.
Paul's favorite coffee this trip was from Northern Coffeeworks, on Washington Avenue in Downtown Minneapolis. It was pretty delicious, and they had a trail cookie that was pretty much a meal that was a real highlight for Paul. Not me (nuts. blech.)
MY favorite coffee so far this trip was found at Gray Fox Coffee & Wine. First, it's coffee AND wine. Let's go. I also dig their motto: "Be Swift. Be Clever."
Then, it's the most beautiful cup of coffee I've ever been served. I heard about Gray Fox from reading the City Pages Best Of lists, and Gray Fox won "Best Gimmick". That's because they use an espresso ink jet printer (!) to make gorgeous landscapes in your foam! I missed out on the Marilyn Monroe picture because I'm told it was just for Valentine's Day this year, but I'll take my sunshine and waves any day. That was a rainy, mentally hard day, and this lovely cup of joe really did help to make it better. (I know my friend Nicely at Menotti's in Venice would scoff at this, as he is the Latté art champion, and is a pouring purist, but this was still pretty dang impressive!).
I love a donut, and the best we've had so far this trip were from Sleepy V's Rebel Donut Bar in Northeast. Yum flavors on mini donuts, so you can try more than one! Plus the staff was fun and cool and get the little lemon poppy seed one. Mmmm. (There are still more to try, so this is not the final answer on donuts, just a shout out.)
Also in Northeast, Young Joni wins so far on the drinks front. Paul and I bellied up one afternoon to share one of the best Minneapolis pizzas, and extra creative cocktails that we would have tried way more of had we taken a car service. We'll be back. (But also shout out to Houlihan's in Richfield for your generous 2 for 1's!)
There is never going to be a burger that replaces Matt's Bar or The 5/8 Club's Jucy Lucys in my heart ... but MAN, is the burger at Bull's Horn Food and Drink ever something special. Honestly, one of the best I've ever had, with perfect McDonald's style fries, without the poison or whatever they fry those things in. SO good, and while I'll never order the fried bologna sandwich (yuck), my friend did and proclaimed it the best ever - and has already requested a return visit to chow that again.
A "new" dive bar, Bull's Horn is like being on the set of an old dive bar ... a little more polished, but still with "Meat Raffle" signs, neon beer signs, and deer heads like you'd find at a lakeside bar up North. I liked that there was a purple haired, nose ringed girl sitting at the bar next to an old man with a cane, easily in his 90's. It had that feeling like all are truly welcome here, hipster or oldster. Yes, we'll also be back here.
Back in Richfield, I was delighted to find that there is another new, non-chain restaurant besides Lyn 65. Local Roots has opened up across from the Ice Arena, and is a great place for locals to meet up for breakfast or lunch. Home grown and home cooked, the crowd reminded me of the old King Oscar's crowd ... old timers, neighbors, little kids zipping around in a play room ... all enjoying a hearty, delicious breakfast. I dug it.
There are so many wonderful things to do and see and eat in Minnesota in the Summer, so I'll keep investigating while I'm here, but if you do nothing else on your visit to the Twin Cities (or your free time if you live here), PLEASE go see the incredible show Hearts of Our People at the Minneapolis Institute of Art that I already gushed about. It is just so so wonderful.
Oh, and I can't forget the blast that was Prince Night at Target Field, complete with a Twins victory to keep them firmly in first place! A wonderful, gorgeous night celebrating our hometown hero.
I miss Venice terribly (especially missed the Neptune Parade this past weekend! Hail King Mike! Hail Queen Alix!), but the quest to find the new, unusual, creative, and excellent must continue, wherever I am. It's the (my) age old conundrum of lakes vs. oceans ... and I will always love and need to be near both. I hope you will enjoy some of my findings in Lake Country before I return to Ocean Pacific. And for now, LOVE to all, EVERYwhere!