It’s been a few years since Chris and I were last in Minneapolis. We were excited to visit again last month since his brother, Brian, recently moved out there after college. Chris’ dad, brother Mark, and grandma all joined us as well — so it turned into quite the family gathering! While the weekend was a little cooler and rainier than we would have liked, we had a wonderful time. We covered a lot of ground in a short weekend, and one of the main highlights for me personally was, of course, the food! We tried out two fabulous brunch places in particular:
- Birchwood Cafe – The line was long and the place was packed Saturday morning! (Part of it was probably that the rain nixed out the patio seating option.) Birchwood Cafe boasts local and organic food, with a down-to-earth, rustic vibe. Brian said he picked the place knowing I would like it — and he sure was right! You order your food at the front, a hostess (in our case, a very attentive/anxious hostess!) helps you find a seat, and then your food is brought over. We settled into the morning with some local Peace Coffee, which kept on coming throughout the meal. I tried the delicious Bacon and Egg Sandwich, because I love salty and savory breakfasts. Our table also ordered a Vegan Lemon Poppyseed Muffin, the F-Y-G (fruit, yogurt, and granola), and Pancakes.
- Blackbird Cafe – We had another great brunch on Sunday at Blackbird Cafe! This restaurant is more of a sit-down place, but the prices arestill very reasonable. A variety of antlers adorn the walls, giving the atmosphere a quirky, outdoors feel. I was having a hard time deciding on my dish, but made up my mind instantly when I heard the specials from the waitress. I went with the very unique Pancakes with Taleggio Cheese, Sausage, and Fig, which was maybe the most creative breakfast meal that I have ever tried! I am not sure that I would order the dish again, but I very much enjoyed trying out the unique combination of flavors. Other choices at the table included the Breakfast Burrito (not pictured), Sourdough Flapjacks, Isla’s Breakfast, and Huevos Blackbird.
Besides the brunches, we had a great time exploring Minneapolis. Due to the rain, we did some touring via car, but fortunately, everything cleared up by Saturday evening. What a beautiful city.
Of course, a big reason why Chris and I planned this trip in the summer was… baseball! He needed to cross the Minnesota Twins’ Target Field Stadium off his list of baseball stadiums left to visit. (By the way, the Twins’ logo cracks me up! I am very impressed with how much they incorporated their geography.) We had a great time at the game, and the Northstar Commuter Rail made transportation very easy. Thanks, also, to Brian for the Twins shirts!
I love to check out art museums when I am getting to know a new city, so I was pretty excited when Brian suggested that we stop by the the Walker Art Center. It was really neat to check out the special exhibit on Edward Hopper’s drawings and creative process. When I go to museums, I often relate to my high school art history teacher who would say that she felt like she was “visiting her friends” when she encountered works by artists she adored. I was instantly at home when I saw this Roy Lichtenstein outside of the Walker Art Center. Hello, my long-time friend!
Another noteworthy meal was Saturday night dinner eating neapolitan pizza at Pizza Nea. We kids went out on the town that night, and had a great time hanging out with some live music at Harriet Brewing Co. I had never heard of hammerschlagen before, but we tried it out at this brewery. The word means “hammer striking” or “striking hammer” in German, and it’s a game where you basically take turns trying to hammer your nail into a stump — one hit per turn. It’s harder than it seems! I personally feel that it is not a safe game to play while enjoying an adult beverage, but anyway…
The boys were thoughtful, and offered to try out Spill the Wine afterwards – a pretty solid wine bar in the area. It was a nice, quiet atmosphere to relax and finish off the night.
Chris and I didn’t get to go to the Mall of America last time we were in Minneapolis, so we made sure to finish out the trip on Sunday with a quick visit. My parents should be thankful that there wasn’t an American Girl doll shop near us when I was little — wow! My favorite part of the mall, however, was Legoland. The sculptures are truly amazing!
Minneapolis has thoroughly charmed me both times that I’ve visited! I realize that I haven’t been there in the height of winter yet, but I love the feel of the city and all that it has to offer. Minneapolis has been named the #1 Bike City by Bicycling Magazine, the #1 Healthiest, Fittest City by USA Today (D.C. is #2!), and has been credited with the Most Quality Park System, according to the Trust for Public Land’s “Parkscore” survey. It’s a great place to live and visit. I’m glad we have a reason to travel there right now!