My favorite piece at the art show honoring the late great singer Prince at the U of Minnesota’s Weisman Museum was a portrait by an apparently well-known Minnesota “crop artist” who used a variety of crops (bromegrass, grits, canola, etc.) as her medium. The show was only two rooms worth of stuff – a lot of photos, some painted portraits, a giant mural and some glass sculpture but always nice to wander through the bright high-ceilinged spaces of the museum, designed by Frank Gehry.
my favorite bachelor
Lunch was at the bustling Bachelor Farmer Cafe in the warehouse district where we had fresh-tasting squash soup and an very Scandinavian-feeling open-faced toasted sandwich. The cafe is at the front of the Bachelor Farmer Restaurant, where we had a great meal over Memorial Day weekend.
Nanook of the north here where it is decidedly snowier and colder in the Twin Cities than in Des Moines. Noah and Conor live in a sweet older apartment in the Uptown neighborhood of Minneapolis, which has a good selection of restaurants. We had excellent pulled pork with lime, black beans, chicken stew with green olives and capers and don’t forget the desserts (chocolate cake and flan) at Victor’s 1959 Cuban Cafe, a very atmospheric place, sort of a tar paper shack with the walls and seats covered in graffiti, including by another Betsy who sat in our booth sometime earlier in 2017.
Lunch was quiche and ham sandwich, (real ham on a homemade baguette) at Patisserie 46 (yes on 46th Street),which also has lovely breads, pastries and chocolates (which we did not try). We spent part of the afternoon at IKEA and then browsed at its price/aesthetic opposite — a hygge home goods store in the warehouse district called Foundry.
The drive here had more winter precipitation than I expected maybe because I looked up the weather for major cities between Dsm and Minneapolis (that seemed, and were, fairly dry). I ran into freezing rain and later blizzard-like snow in the sticks so maybe I need to look in the future at the weather forecast for podunk towns between say, Mason City, Iowa and Albert Lea, MN.
As can happen this time of year, the weather is turning from uncharacteristically dry and balmy to wet and cold on Thursday — just as I head north on a four hour drive to the Twin Cities to pick up my son, who is coming home for the holidays from law school. I’ll be watching the weather reports and promise to stop at the first sign of my least favorite form of precip: ICE.
A few things on my list:
– The exhibit on Prince – THE PRINCE – at the U of Minnesota’s Weisman Art Museum (designed by Frank Gehry). open 10-5
– IKEA. Because we need a cheap bedframe. open 10-8
– The Bachelor Farmer Cafe — loved the more formal but very “hygge” restaurant. Time to try the more casual cafe (where, I see, breakfast is served daily from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.) and explore a few shops in the Warehouse district (if the temps aren’t too frigid). Martin Patrick 3,” a seriously stylish men’s store” and the Foundry Home Goods
– Victor’s 1959 Cafe, for “revolutionary” Cuban food in Uptown, recommended by a friend. I’ve got a 7:45 reservation just in case.
– Winter at the Purcell-Cutts House Info here., which apparently is now owned/overseen by the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. I wrote about this gorgeously restored 1913 Prairie Style home maybe 20 years ago when it first opened. It will be decked out in period holiday decorations typical of an “upper-middle-class progressive lifestyle” and open for tours, alas on weekends only (when I won’t be there.)
If you’re looking for smoked whitefish in Northern Minnesota, here’s a travel story I wrote….
An Iowan takes in the region’s tourist basics, but it’s the taste of the fish that stands out.
Has it really been a week since we were hiking in Jay Cooke State Park, on the St. Louis River, in Carlton, MN? Not for nothing is this park reportedly one of the Top 10 most visited in Minnesota. It was a logical spot to stop on our return from the North Shore to Minneapolis because it’s about 10 miles southwest of Duluth. I was reminded of my beloved Ithaca when we crossed a suspension bridge over raging falls (although the water was an odd yellow-brown, reminiscent of root beer, which I later learned is caused by tannic acid, a natural plant compound used to tan hides – and make wine). We hiked on a muddy but scenic trail along the falls and into the birch and pine forest on a drier trail until a rainstorm suddenly blew in. Fortunately we didn’t get totally soaked. We found a shelter on the trail and the rain soon stopped but we ended up eating our picnic of smoked fish and cheese inside a rustic park lodge, completely with roaring fire! Nice touch!
Back in Minneapolis, we took “the kids” out for a quick Vietnamese meal at Quang, on “Eat Street,” aka Nicollet Avenue, which was packed with customers but the servers did their best to get the food to us quickly.
Another great Airbnb (unlike the one I booked in Minneapolis where the weird host cancelled at the last minute). We are in a airy blue-walled room on the second floor of an old wooden house in a neighborhood high on a hill above downtown and the blue waters of Lake Superior. Some nice touches including a Polaroid camera to snap a few shots (haven’t used one in years), a white noise machine, pretty botanical prints on the walls, a map with pins to stick in to show where visitors are from. (Other Des Moines residents had been here, as had visitors from Tehran and Hamburg.) We shared a bathroom with the one other room, which wasn’t an issue.
After a brief stop at The Minneapolis Farmers Market downtown on Lyndale near Twins stadium to pick up huge red dahlias, raspberries, strawberries, scones and banana bread to take to Noah and Rachel’s new apartment on Emerson Street, we drove two hours or so to Duluth (not too much traffic) and tried our first batch of smoked whitefish at Northern Waters Smokehaus, a hip, foodie sandwich shop inside an old brick warehouse renovated into a marketplace with nice shops. I ate the fish on saltines with a smear of cream cheese, as directed.
When we were riding our bikes along Nicollet Avenue near our airbnb in the Whittier Neighborhood (26th and Pillsbury Ave. S.), I noticed that there were a lot of restaurants but we needed an insider (albeit a fairly recent 20-something arrival, our pal Conor) to tell us the area was called “Eat Street.” (I had noticed earlier an office that read “Eat Street Dental” which I found curious.)
We had lots of options – especially ethnic, including one Vietnamese restaurant (Quang?) that I think we went to over a decade ago) but we settled on Malaysian food at Peninsula since I so rarely see or get that food. We counted on the server and a nearby table of what may have been Malaysian diners to figure out what to eat and it was good, especially appetizers (Malaysian pancake and sauce; spicy spareribs.)
Our local-in-the-know also took us to an artisan ice cream shop, MilkJam Creamery , nearby on Lyndale where we seemed to pick the few concoctions that didn’t feature coriander. (Cashew Ousside – malted sweet cream with caramel cashew bar and chocolate chips; Hard Knock Life – dark chocolate w/ salted pretzels, brownies, and chocolate fudge.) Also very good. We skipped the Doo Wop (avocado lychee.)