The first four days of our trip were devoted to spending time with our nephews, they are 12 and 13. We haven't seen them in a year since we didn't get to come home for Christmas last year. It was pretty windy the first day so we had no choice but to rent a 4 person surrey. It was fun, but not sure it was the right activity for tweens who are brothers quite close in age, if you know what I'm saying. Tristan helped me make a batch of Toasted Marshmallow Ice-cream, which both boys declared the best ice cream they've ever had (not to brag).
My favorite day was when we took the boys kayaking on Lake Calhoun. I was in heaven. It amplified my homesickness by about 300%. The way the sun hit the trees made the leaves look like giant glitter flakes. After kayaking, we rented bikes and rode over to PUNCH pizza. We start and end each trip to Minnesota with a visit to Punch pizza (we would happily open one here in Nashville). Why do I love Punch so much??? Well, it is consistent, meaning everytime we've gone, I'm blown away. It is affordable AND you can wear workout clothes!! To end our time with the boys, we made a stop over at Half Price Books, and left with a giant stack of goodies.
We spent a majority of our week in Minneapolis close to Lake Calhoun and Lake Harriet. Never in my life have I seen so many wild flowers, not to mention monarch butterflies and bees!! (I haven't seen one monarch butterfly this year in Nashville!) The other thing that was quite notable, was how easy it is to be active around there. There are bike rentals in addition to lake rentals with paddle boarding, kayaking, sail-boating, canoeing, etc. The trails are super easy to access and they all connect. People of all ages and sizes visit the lakes for an opportunity to be active, and thats what is so great about Lake Harriet and Lake Calhoun.
The other common thread between our favorite spots, was the commitment to locally sourced goods and ingredients. Many of the restaurants served things they've grown themselves from rooftop gardens, or as you'll read below, their own 100-acre farm!
The area around Lake Harriet and Lake Calhoun in Minneapolis, make up my favorite place on Earth. Here are some highlights from our trip and also part of my campaign to get Chris to think about moving back to Minneapolis some day...
After passing under the hipster/preppy blue gingham overhangs, we started off our visit in the bar. It is perfectly approachable. The bar is open, clean, modern, and all-together perfect. Chris's drink was the most delicious of all; bourbon + lemon + honey. Like a toned down spiked lemonade. The dining area is warm and cozy, homey might be a good word to describe it! The cuisine is Nordic-inspired, which is evident by the presence of in-season greens, probably from the roof-top farm, and simple but satisfying options. Everyone devoured their meal, but our favorite part was the toast. We ordered the cow's milk (similar to ricotta), topped with spiced almonds, toasted seeds, honey, and black pepper and sweet corn with fried eggplant and pork bits. Contrasting flavors, but both outstanding. The toast arrives at your table in a dainty little toast holder.
When you close out your tab, or pay your bill at the end of dinner, they give you the bill in a small cardinal red moleskin-esque notebook. You are encouraged to write a little note in there before returning the notebook with payment. Here's what I wrote:
Roses are red, Violets are blue.
We want to move in, for a day or two.
+ Highlight: Our favorite part of the meal was hands down the toast.
+ Dress: Business casual/casual. I would guess dress code is a little bit looser at the bar. I probably wouldn't wear workout clothes here...
+ The Bachelor Farmer - 50 North 2nd Avenue, Minneapolis Minnesota (Technically, The Bachelor Farmer is a little bit outside of the Lake area we focused on for the rest of the post, but it was so marvelous, I couldn't leave it out!!)
HUNT AND GATHER ANTIQUES
A one of a kind experience. The store is curated beautifully. There are little sections of the store, it reminded me of going to the Holiday display on the 8th floor at Dayton's in downtown Minneapolis. Its like the Macy's windows at Christmastime, but each part is a little bit different. There are so many treasures here. It is definitely worth a look!
Hunt and Gather Antiques - 4944 Xerxes Avenue, South Minneapolis, MN 55410
WISE ACRE EATERY
Wise Acre Eatery is LITERALLY farm to table. Its actually like, seed to dirt to table, as in they have their own farm that supplies about 80-90% of the food for their restaurant. What a dream. Right across the street from Wise Acre Eatery, is a gorgeous garden shop called Tangletown Gardens. They have a 100-acre farm in Plato, MN (about an hour outside of Minneapolis). They are especially devoted to nurturing the soil so their plants are the most delicious and nutritious they can be! Here is an interesting anecdote I found in an article published in Midwest Home:
‘The farm runs on a four-phase rotational system. When a section isn’t in production for the businesses-ie. Growing food or ornamental plants- it’s being groomed for that purpose. First it’s planted with a cover grass digestable by the longhaired heirloom Scottish Highland beef cattle whose occupation of the field represents phase two, the grazing period. The cattle leave behind plently of manure, whose distribution is performed by the third-stage occupiers, Heritage chickens. Next come the Large Black and Berkshire hogs, which join forces to root up the soil, aerating and mixing nutrients as they explore for food underground.’ - Dean Englemenn
I am so enamored by this. It is a almost a closed circuit cycle; grown at the farm, served at the restaurant, composted to nourish the farm. We were there during 'Farm Hour' (3:00 pm - 5:00 pm) and enjoyed beet hummus with fresh crunchy vegetables and the fritter of the day, which was herbed meatball. We sat outside and it felt like we were sitting in a garden! They had the most beautiful container plants I have ever seen! There is no question we will be returning next time we visit Minnesota!
+ Highlight: Lovely interiors, fresh crunchy vegetables, huge selection of local beer, and a big dessert list that includes homemade frozen custard!!!
+ Dress: Casual
+ Wise Acre Eatery - 5401 Nicollet Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55419
BULL RUN COFFEE
I am not even sure how I stumbled upon Bull Run Coffee, its possible I first saw it on Instagram from someone's post. We drove by it several times, and then after we left Wise Acre Eatery, we needed a pick-me-up and decided to give it a try. I really enjoy good coffee. We both had iced coffees, and they DID NOT disappoint. It was the best iced coffee I have ever tasted. EVER. EVER EVER! Very smooth, carmelly, still dark but not acidic. I finished mine before Chris was even half way done, which is sayin' something! We also split a maple vanilla bean from Sift, which is a gluten-free bakery in Minneapolis. It was divine.
+ Bull Run Coffee - 4301 Nicollet Ave. S, Minneapolis MN 55409
BREAD & PICKLE
Housed in one of the antiquated pavilions, on the Northern end of Lake Harriet, Bread & Pickle serves locally sourced food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner! They have a great relationship with a list of wonderful local farmers who they credit with their success! I LOVE it when you can find fresh, healthy options that are convenient and fairly cheap! Vegetarians can get a bean burgers or veggie sandwich, and a big group of people can share a giant bag of warm popcorn for just $2. There are ice-cream cones, popsicles, and even the option to buy a bag of dog treats! How fun!!
+ Highlight: Vegetarian options and popcorn! For beer lovers, they have a big list of beer from local breweries! Also very kid friendly!
+ Bread & Pickle - 4135 W Lake Harriet Pkwy, Minneapolis, MN 55410
TURTLE BREAD COMPANY
Some of my favorite childhood memories involve walks or bike rides at Lake Harriet. Many of those trips were followed by a visit to Turtle Bread Company, located in the Linden Hills community, you can easily walk or bike here from the Lake! Our favorite treat was the chocolate sweet bread studded with dark chocolate chips. I snuck into the kitchen quite a few times for a slice of this stuff! Turtle Bread Company makes a wide selection of artisan breads every day. They also make some of the most gigantic pies I've ever seen, a wide variety of breakfast (or anytime) pastries and muffins, and best of all, they devote a whole table to COOKIES! This is my kind of place! Stop by for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and DON'T FORGET DESSERT!
+ Highlight: We had the most delicious Pain au Chocolat (chocolate croissant) we have EVER tasted at Turtle Bread Company! Next time we visit, I am going to need a slice of their pie. I'm not a super big pie fan, but their pie BEGS to be eaten!
+ Turtle Bread Company - 3421 W 44th St, Minneapolis, MN 55410
Where are your favorite places to go in Minneapolis?? What about St. Paul? Please share them with me by leaving a comment below! Or post a photo of your favorite place on Instagram, tag me @corrielanderson, and use #itsallofit.