Tuesday, September 8, 2009

What in the world is in Minneapolis?

Most people’s response to my trip to Minneapolis was “Why? What’s in Minneapolis?” But there was a glint of hope in the few encouraging words from a fellow travel junkie who said "That should be fun.” Having no idea what to expect from Minneapolis, I set out with an excited curiosity to discover the Twin Cities had to offer.

Where to begin?
Of course I tackled some of the commonly known landmarks like the Mall of America. I’m not even afraid to admit that I was a bit intimidated to tackle the world’s largest mall (known to have more than 400 stores). With many stores that most of recognize, DSW, H & M, Macy’s, Frederick’s of Hollywood and a few I haven’t seen before, like a cute, chic, home decorating boutique Afternoon, the Mall of America is unique in that it houses an aquarium and a full amusement park, which is what took the cake for me.

The Social/Nightlife
Within my short stay I got to see a bit of nightlife in Minneapolis: a fun night at Imperial Room, after which I caught a glimpse of the city life vibe throughout the streets of Downtown Minneapolis. I was even pleasantly surprised to find a full club on a Monday night at Envy. I also heard of a new club New York, who supposedly plays NYC music.

Although happy hour is pretty common, something about Minneapolis’ happy hour was special. The opportunity to indulge in several dishes and drinks for the price of an entrée always makes me happy.  The site with the happy hour info www.thriftyhipster.com/minneapolis/
Which brings me to my next very important point…

The Food (oh, the food)
If I share everything we ate, you might judge me. So I’ll keep it to the memorable/noteworthy experiences:
@ The Loop: Cappuccino Martini- best of both worlds: a drink and a dessert;
Chocolate chippers- fresh baked cookies: crispy on the outside, light and heavenly on the inside and served with ice cream
@ Hell’s Kitchen- Tequila Mockingbird- I think it’s the homemade grenadine that made it special
Fish and chips- local walleye and sweet potato fries; served with jalapeño tartar sauce and chipotle mayo
@ Sebastian Joes- homemade ice cream that comes in numerous amazing flavors including:
REAL Oreo ice cream- not vanilla ice cream with Oreo pieces, ice cream that is full of Oreo flavor in every spoon; mint Milano- with whole pieces of Milano; Pavarotti-banana nutty chocolate chip mix; Raspberry Chocolate Chip; Cinnamon (may be better alone); and Emmaculate Confection

Honorable mention:
@ The Weinery (as seen on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives)- sausage wrapped in a pancake
@ Red Dragon- Wondrous Punch
@ Good Day Café- spicy ketchup

But it doesn’t end there….(judge if you want) lol
The ultimate food experience happened at the Fair, which also happened to be my first chance to visit the twin city St. Paul. From battered potatoes, foot long hotdogs, tacos, flowered onions, pork chops on a stick and big fat bacon to deep fried candy bars, donuts, funnel cakes, chocolate covered fruits, buckets of fresh baked chocolate chip cookies and an endless milk stand, the fair was definitely a foodie’s dream come true.

Even beyond that, it was so beautiful to see what seemed like all of Minneapolis come out to enjoy the festivities. Definitely a family affair: all the ladies sounding like the mom from Bobby’s World, happy babies, and an overall vibe/feeling of happy in the air. Good clean fun, which I think is safe to say is a good representation of what I saw in MN overall. From what I saw the work/life balance is very important. And with such drastic winters looming in the near future, they show a sincere gratitude and appreciation for the summer months: lots of outdoor seating, enough bike riders to compete with car traffic and more lakes than one can imagine to choose from.

While there I learned so much that will stick with me much longer than any geography lesson I got in school. Now that I know what’s in Minneapolis I can tell everyone!

Who knew?
Minneapolis is the home of Target, 3M and General Mills.
The land of 10,000 lakes is where the L.A. Lakers started.

So much thanks to Toni for being such a great host and Tiffany for sharing all the Minne fun facts!

*This post also appears on Miss Journey's blog.

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