This weekend I had two of my favorite people visit me to celebrate my 27th birthday. My older sister Laura and my brother-in-law Ryan came into town Saturday afternoon and just left yesterday morning, giving us nearly 48 hours of fun and mischief in Minneapolis. Being a trendy urban couple from Chicago I had my work cut out for me when it came to impressing them but Minneapolis has endless amounts of cool boutiques, events and unique restaurants that kept them ooohing and aaahing all weekend long.
Here’s what the itinerary looked like: (More photos to come later, many are on Laura’s camera, so right now I’m working with my cell phone and a few on mine.)
5-8 Club for Juicy Lucy’s and the second half of the Iowa game. Although the Juicy Lucy’s are well-known, they left a little something to be desired on Saturday. But at least the Hawkeyes won!
Minneapolis College of Art and Design Student Art Sale was next on the list. I purchased the AWESOME lamp below for a great price and walked out with a big smile on my face. I can’t wait to hang it in my place!
Home for a brief stop to put our feet up and enjoy some of my favorite cupcakes brought all the way from Chicago, Swirlz! My favorite is vanilla frosting on a vanilla cupcake – sounds boring but it’s a delicious interpretation of a classic.
Then we were off down the street to 50th & Bryant to Shoppe Local and Patina, which I talked about in another post. Although I wanted to buy everything that I saw, I walked away with a cool poster from Shoppe Local. From the artists: “This poster was a collaboration between Jamie Paul and Natalie Schaefer, made for an AIGA poster event called 35W Collapse and Recovery. The posters created were auctioned and proceeds went to help those affected by the bridge collapse. It’s a simple poster with custom typography. After these were screen printed we torn them apart, just as the city of Minneapolis was torn apart when the bridge collapsed and putting the pieces back, they are sewn together again.” You’ve gotta love great art with a cause! You can purchase your own on Etsy.
On our way home we stopped by the new candy store Sugar Sugar on 38th & Grand. Picked up a few pieces of my favorite B.T. McElrath chocolate (dark or milk chocolate with toffee and sea salt) and then it was home to get ready for dinner and a night of celebrating!
For dinner, we checked out new restaurant GingerHop in NE Minneapolis, an Asian-fusion restaurant with an extensive beer list. We had great service, good food and FANTASTIC cocktails! Plus I think we’d all agree we were fascinated by the row of Asian-inspired ceiling fans in the cool lounge decor.
After that, it was time for what we believed to be karaoke downtown at Grumpy’s. Turns out it was Rock Band karaoke, which left us a little disappointed. But that doesn’t mean we didn’t make our own fun. I’m lucky to have had more than a dozen friends (and boyfriends, girlfriends, husbands and wives of friends) come to celebrate my birthday as well. In fact, I may have celebrated a little too hard because Sunday’s activities were a little rough for me at times, to say the least. But I couldn’t let that stop me from showing my guests all that they deserved to see.
Sunday morning was breakfast at Town Talk Diner, a local hotspot with smart food and fun atmosphere. Ryan had been hoping to go there since seeing it on “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” on the Food Network. We enjoyed eggs benedict, bananas foster french toast, sausage, eggs, potatoes – and a German Chocolate Cake “adult malt”. YUMMM!
Like I said, I was a little fuzzy on Sunday so I made Laura and Ryan return to my house for a quick nap before continuing on. But that wasn’t going to keep me from taking them to one of my favorite Minneapolis stops, introduced to me by the lovely Quirky Katie – Hunt and Gather on 50th & Xerxes. An antique store with something for anyone and everyone, Laura and I immediately darted to the jewelry case and it was merely moments before we both picked out something to be set aside. (I’d love to show you but I think I sent it home with Laura and Ryan accidentally.)
Of course, all of the shopping made us hungry so I took them to Galaxy Drive-In in St. Louis Park for an afternoon snack. I’d never been there but last week when I was driving down Hwy 7 and saw how awesome its Christmas decorations are I nearly drove right off the road staring at it. Oversized gift boxes with giant evergreen trees, large ornaments, icicle lights, bulb lights, flocked garland – literally every inch of this place is decorated. They even had fire pits and s’mores kits for snuggling up to enjoy the chilly ambiance. We walked around, took it all in and enjoyed some time by the fire before heading out. (Unfortunately since service was really, really slow we didn’t even eat anything.)
We did a little more shopping before hitting up one of my all-time favorites, Broders Pasta Bar, located on 50th & Penn. I’ve never had a bad or even mediocre meal there and they’re always spot-on with seasonal ingredients and fresh pasta. We were seated at the center bar where the chef is standing in this photo, right in the heart of the action. (And can I just say, who doesn’t love colanders as light fixtures?!)
After dinner our feet were tired, our tummies were full and it was time to head home to crash. Ryan was the ultimate good sport, patiently hanging out while I put in the DVD Twilight and Laura and I painted our nails. I didn’t mean to torture him with such activities, I just couldn’t help myself!
Monday morning before they headed out we made sure to squeeze in yet another meal into the itinerary. (In my family, 75% of vacations revolve around restaurants and food. The only way to go!) We went to Edina Grill, one of the many wonderful Blue Plate restaurants, and in one of my favorite neighborhoods – 50th & France. (Has anyone else noticed a pattern here? All of my favorite places run along 50th Street – Patina, Shoppe Local, Hunt & Gather, Broders and Edina Grill. Best street in Minneapolis in my opinion!)
I had the breakfast pizza with grilled marinated chicken breast, chorizo sausage, scrambled eggs, basil pesto, Tillamook cheddar, mozzarella, oven dried tomatoes and fresh basil. It’s one of my favorite breakfast dishes I’ve ever had! I definitely recommend it.
Sadly, it was then time for my guests to leave and for me to return to work. I had such a great time with them as always and it meant so much to me to have them here to share my birthday with me. I realize the play-by-play of our itinerary got a bit long but hopefully it will give you an idea of a new shop, restaurant or dish to try!