This past week I packed my belongings and said farewell to Los Angeles. I flew back to Minneapolis and met my family in Saint Paul, MN, which is where I grew up. My parents currently put the house up for sale, so I felt lucky to make it back to the Twin Cities and to the house for maybe the last time. I enjoyed the short visit seeing relatives and old friends, and experiencing my favorite things before my family and I headed north for our lake house on Madeline Island. Every time I am back in the Twin Cities I have a short list of food I must get or things I must do, which include cinnamon rolls, chocolate cake, burgers, beer and a day at the lake. These are all reason enough why anyone should make a trip to the Twin Cities.
Best time to visit
Maybe you enjoy snowy cold winters, but the time of year many Minnesotans live for is patio season. Once the temperature reaches 50 degrees, everyone is anxious to get outside. Yes, that’s 50 degrees. After an entire winter of subzero temps, you betcha people will be emerging from their dens to soak in the fresh air and warm sun.
I should get paid for how much I rave about this spot, because it has the best cinnamon roll I have ever had. I also love every single one of the pastries and breakfast paninis. Head to the Caribou on Grand Avenue near Victoria Crossing and make your way west down Grand to Bread & Chocolate for some pastries. Once you’ve finished eating, stroll along Grand Avenue and check out the sale racks at shops like J.Crew or Anthropologie. You can also walk a block to Summit Avenue and take a look at the beautiful Victorian styled homes.
Cafe Late, which is just kitty-corner (yes, kitty-corner not caddy-corner) from Bread & Chocolate, has a variety of delicious desserts. I have always been a fan of their cakes and I make sure to pick up a large slice of the Chocolate Chocolate Cake when I am in town. The German Chocolate and Tres Leche are also very good, but you can’t go wrong with any option.
If you are a fan of gourmet style burgers, cheese and interested in trying local brews, check out Blue Door Pub. The burgers, or better known as blucys, have gooey cheese stuffed inside!
I love the breweries in the Twin Cities and to this day my favorite beer is the Summit Oatmeal Stout. I have to get at least one every time I visit. Especially after living in California for the last eight months, which isn’t known for stellar microbrews, I was looking forward to a tasty beer. Take a trip to Summit Brewing for a free tour of the brewery and taproom where you’ll receive three generous samples. Urban Growler Brewing is one of the newer microbreweries that has popped up in Saint Paul and won me over with their rhubarb wheat beer. If you are interested in trying several breweries in close proximity to one another head to North East Minneapolis, the Brew District, and check out Surly, Dangerous Man, 612, and Indeed.
If you visit the Twin Cities, it’s a given you will find your way to one or multiple lakes. There is nothing better than jumping into brisk lake water on a hot humid day. My favorite lake in the city is Lake Calhoun, because I can rent a kayak and paddle to the other connecting lakes. Some of the canals connecting one lake to the other are quite beautiful with trees creating a canopy overhead. Even if you don’t make it into the water, just laying on the beach and feeling the cool breeze on your skin is amazingly refreshing.
If you happen to wander to the great state of Minnesota, make sure to try some of my favorite things. And of course let me know what you think!