I’m not sure what I thought Minneapolis was supposed to be like, but after locating it on a map (just kidding, not) I decided it would be cold and also full of cheese and sausage and beer. And then I realized that’s Milwaukee. So in a rather convoluted, roundabout way, I landed in Minneapolis with no expectations whatsoever. (Except for it to be cold because my mom emailed me and reminded me to bring a sweater.)
What I found was pleasantly surprising. Here’s a taste of my trip via Instagram…
[Photos: 1 – oatmeal with strawberry-basil chutney at HLS; 2 – breakfast beer in Cleveland airport; 3 – conference fajita lunch with spicy tofu; 4 – public art; 5 – smoothie samples at HLS; 6 – I do not actually heart meat; 7 – ominous view from Loring Greenway; 8 – chocolate black pepper cake at HLS; 9 – First Ave 7th St Entry (where they filmed Purple Rain); 10 – roasted beet, goat cheese and arugula salad with house-made veggie burger at Mason; 11 – Minneapolis Sculpture Garden; 12 – sunset from The Guthrie]
I was in town presenting at the Healthy Living Summit. This is my third time at the event, second time speaking and least prepared I have ever been in my life. I booked my flight less than two weeks out and the hotel I’m sitting in right this second… about 10 hours ago. Anyway, I made it. I’m here.
Minneapolis is a delightful city and, yes, I do know where it is and how to tell it apart from Milwaukee. I’m a Midwest girl after all. It was my first time here, though, and I will confess I had some assumptions about it being cold, dreary and depressing. (It’s possible I’ve been down South too long.) It is not.
Most surprising to me about Minneapolis was that despite a population half the size of Charlotte, the city feels physically and energetically (yoga talk) much larger–bigger buildings, more neighborhoods to explore, public transportation lightyears beyond anything we have at home, art and open green spaces at every turn… cronuts.
(Disclaimer: Rumor has it Charlotte got a cronut-making bakery that opened the morning I flew to MPLS. So I will award it one extra point.)
To recreate this trip: prepare for absolutely nothing, fly by the seat of your pants and hope for the best. Or try out some of these spots…
Angel Food Bakery – Super cool little hole-in-the-wall bakery on 9th. Seating is limited to a bar overlooking the pastry-making operation, which is 100% not a problem with me. Free WiFi. Great coffee. CRONUTS.
Mason’s – Eco-friendly, local food-sourcing hot spot masquerading as a humble sports bar in the heart of the theater district. Highly receptive to and accommodating of our group of vegans, vegetarians and severe nut allergies. Thumbs up on the house-made veggie burger.
Jerusalem’s Restaurant – I will seek and find falafel anywhere. Jerusalem’s has pretty rough reviews online, but it all seems to hinge on the lackluster service. Solution? Order delivery. I used Bite Squad to send a slammin’ sampler of falafel, baba ghanoush, fried potatoes and Jerusalem salad to my hotel. Problem solved.
The Local – When’s the last time you had quinoa and tofu in an Irish pub? Exactly. I dropped everything and scampered over to this popular bar the second I saw THIS on the menu: tri-colored quinoa with spinach, chiffonade basil, roasted sweet potatoes, steamed broccoli, capers, avocado and crispy fried tofu in a lime vinaigrette. Hello.
The Steepery – Cool little family-run tea bar off the beaten (downtown) path in the Lowry Hill East neighborhood. (Heads up: We walked 5 miles roundtrip for this. Don’t let anyone tell you it’s too far away.) Loose-leaf tea, bubble tea, cupcakes, smoothies, etc.