5 Twin Cities Dates to go on this Summer

So you found that special someone did ya? I bet you want to take them out on some great dates too! Not to worry, I’ve done all of the creative thinking for you. All you have to do is follow the instructions below and enjoy your date. Oh, and by the way, I will expect an invite to the wedding since I am helping you out after all ;).

1. Longfellow Neighborhood Date:

Start the evening around 5pm with a stroll by Minnehaha falls, and then take a swing into Sea Salt Eatery for some great food. When you are finished eating their scrumptious sea food, drive a few miles to the Riverview Theater to catch a movie. I’m a lover of all things vintage, and this is my favorite theater in the metro because walking in is like taking a step back in time. When we took my mom there for the first time, she said that it reminded her of the theaters she grew up going to. Another reason I like it is because it’s easy on the wallet. Instead of showing the most current films, it plays the most popular movies that just exited the regular theaters. So go ahead, get your special someone some popcorn AND a soda… You can afford it ;)! Finish out the evening across the street at the charming Riverview Cafe to grab a late coffee, tea, or wine at their wine bar. You might even be able to catch some live music before or after the movie! Check Riverview’s schedule to see who is playing when you are planning to go.

2. Downtown Minneapolis Date:

I can’t get enough of the beautiful weather in the summer, so take a walk across the Stone Arch Bridge. If you have the time, consider setting up a tour of the Mill City Museum as well. When you are ready to go inside, head over to The Dakota Jazz club for an amazing dinner and to listen to some tunes. You will need to reserve your table and tickets in advance. Do this by clicking here. This will be a fun & classy evening that anyone would enjoy.

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3. Uptown Minneapolis Date:

This is a great date to have on a Saturday afternoon. Head over to Surdyk’s in North East sometime before lunch. Take a look around their their deli and cheese shop to pick out the perfect picnic spread (including at least 1 or 2 of their amazing cheeses). I recently went here with a friend and accidentally spent over $20 on cheese alone. It’s all just soooo good. Take your food to go and drive over to lake Calhoun. Rent a canoe, enjoy a paddle around the lakes, and eat your lunch together on one of the more secluded lakes for a bit of romance.

4. Stillwater, MN Date:

Take the half hour drive east to Historic Stillwater. Wander down historic Main Street together and look in all of the shops. At your scheduled departure time, head south on main street to where the riverboats are docked. Have a great dinner and enjoy the sights as you boat down the river. Surprisingly, you can get both the boat ride and dinner for only $30 a person! Book your tickets here.

 

5. Edina, MN Date:

Centennial Lakes in Edina may be man made, but it has a certain charm to it. Walk hand-in hand around the lakes, play some mini golf, and then head up the stairs to Pinstripes for dinner. To extend your evening, schedule a game of indoor bocce or bowling at Pinstripes, or relax by either one of their 2 outdoor fire pits.

 

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The Ultimate Guide to San Francisco

The song lyrics “I left my heart in San Francisco” played on repeat in my mind as our plane lifted off the tarmac to head for home. It has been playing in my mind pretty much ever since. Minnesota has been home for my entire life, but San Francisco takes a close second. If a city could describe my personality, San Francisco does it well. It has a sunny disposition, lots of quirkiness, good fashion, a love for good food, lots of energy, with a little bit of brokenness mixed in (let’s just be honest… none of us are sunshine and rainbows all of the time). I identify so strongly with it, it’s no wonder that it feels like home!
I had been asking my husband to go back from the moment we left our first trip, and he made that dream come true last month (side note… I married a really good man, and I’m so thankful he makes such amazing gestures of love for me…. All my single ladies, wait for a fella like that). Anyway, having just returned home from our second trip, I decided to finally write a blog about my favorite city. I could go on and on, but I’ll keep it simple by just naming a few places you HAVE to go while in San Francisco!

 

The Top 10 Things to do in San Francisco

 

10. The Western Addition Neighborhood:

This neighborhood is located in central San Francisco, and has easy use of public transportation. This is where we always stay when we are in San Francisco. On this last trip we found a hidden gem called the Chateau Tivoli Bed & Breakfast. I HIGHLY recommend staying here. Although they are off the beaten track from where all of the other tourists stay, they are close to public transportation, in a safe neighborhood, and two blocks from Alamo Square park and “the painted ladies” AKA the Full House houses. If you like soaking in vintage claw foot tubs, sleeping in beds that look like they belong in a palace, eating AMAZING breakfast (they do smoked salmon and capers), and chatting with amazingly friendly staff, stay here.

 

 

Neighborhood highlights:

9. The Wharf

Yes, it’s touristy, but part of the reason why we all love San Francisco is because it sits on that beautiful bay! This is a bustling area on the bay filled with street performers, tourists, sea food stands, shops, trolley cars, restaurants, museums, and seaside beauty.


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Neighborhood highlights:

  • The municipal pier for great views of the Golden Gate
  • Pier 39 for the heart of the action. Jam packed with restaurants, museums, and fun! You can book city tours and adventures here.
  • Boudin, for their famous sourdough bread
  • Ghirardelle Chocolate Factory
  • The Ferry Building for food and boutique shopping. Also take a ferry to the sleepy little towns of Sausalito or Tiburon from here.

8. North Beach neighborhood

This neighborhood borders Chinatown and the Financial district. You can sit and enjoy a cup of espresso while pretending you are in Europe here. Sidewalk cafes line the street in this neighborhood with Italian food, drink, and people.


Neighborhood highlights:

  • Columbus Tower/Sentinel Building – 900 Kearny St. – Visit this historic building if you love architecture.
  • Caffe Greco – have a traditional Italian espresso on the outdoor patio while watching the people walk by
  • Washington Square park – Pack a lunch and enjoy this green space that faces the beautiful St. Peter & Paul church
  • Grant Ave. – Wander in and out of the shops on Grant Ave. which is the oldest street in San Francisco. There is a great shop with vintage maps and prints where you can get a unique keepsake from your trip to North Beach. We took home a reprint of a poster drawn by a local North Beach artist. He drew the poster for the neighborhood in the 1990’s and makes prints just for that shop.

7. Chinatown

This Chinatown is the BEST in our country. I love that it’s a place for tourists to hang out, but that Chinese people actually live in the neighborhood and do life there. Walk down some of the side streets to see their laundry hanging out their windows, and visit their grocery stores to see the unique items that they eat. You can’t go wrong with pretty much any of their restaurants for some authentic Chinese food.

6. The Haight

Step back in time to a neighborhood that’s stuck in the 1960’s free love era. This neighborhood is a great mix of everything. See old hippies, several vagrants, but also some of the most well kept homes in San Francisco, and upscale shops all mixed together in this eclectic neighborhood.

Neighborhood highlights:

  • Amoeba Music – If you like to spin the vinyl, check out this huge record shop.
  • Parada 22 –  Serves the best Puerto Rican food you will ever eat. Their most popular dish is a simple meal that is eaten in Latin America everyday, but they cook it the way that everyone else wishes they could. Think about pork so soft that it melts in your mouth, a hot red bean salad with the perfect mix of seasonings, fried plantains, and fresh greens. Please, do yourself a favor and go here. I have dined at many wonderful places in my lifetime, and this is still my favorite restaurant. They prove my theory that something doesn’t have to be complex to be good.

5. Hayes Valley

This is one of the trendiest neighborhoods in San Francisco right now. It’s still small, but is lined with independently owned restaurants, and pop ups. The vibe is small town charm meets the city.

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Neighborhood highlights:

  • Patricia’s Green park
  • Blue Bottle Coffee – This small coffee shop is moving worldwide. Their flagship shop is in a small alleyway filled with plants and murals. Try their iced coffee with roasted chicory for something new.

4. Japanese Tea Garden

If you love tea, architecture, and Japanese plants, pay the small fee to get into this section of the Golden Gate Park. They have an open air tea room where you can have traditional tea and sandwiches.

3. The Mission

This neighborhood still has some dangerous spots, and so you want to be careful about where and when you go, but it also has some of the most vibrant murals, people, and food in the entire city. During our first trip, we completely missed the Mission, and after our second visit we realized that this area is where we should have actually been spending all of our time.


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Neighborhood highlights:

  • Mission Dolores Park – This park sits on a hill and has some of the most spectacular views of San Francisco
  • The murals – Take a walk down 24th St. between Potrero Ave. and Mission St. to see some of the most vibrant and lively murals in the city. It’s not so cut and dry that all of the murals will be on this exact street, so be willing to veer off course a little bit, or walk through some of the alleys!
  • Dynamo Donuts – This shop has made from scratch donuts and an amazing outdoor patio in the back
  • La Palma – This Mexican restaurant will provide you with some of the best Mexican food in the city. Take it to go and sit in Mission Dolores Park

2. Muir Woods

The Muir Woods are about a 30 minute drive on 101 N over the Golden Gate bridge. If you are interested in getting outside in the beautiful nature surrounding San Francisco, this is a quick drive. There are miles of trails in this young redwood forest. Pack a lunch, put on some hiking shoes, and enjoy the tranquility here.

1.Marin Headlands

On your way back from the Muir Woods, take the last exit before you cross back over the Golden Gate for some of the best views of the bridge and bay area. There is a road that climbs the side of the cliffs next to the ocean where you can park at several stops to take pictures of the bridge and San Francisco. This is my favorite place to stop in the entire bay area. You will not regret stopping to enjoy the view.

 

Tips for planning your first trip to Paris

Most people won’t get to take more than one trip to Paris in their lifetime, so you want to make it good, right? Dan and I had the amazing opportunity to take a 2 week trip to Europe this past summer. Because we have family there, we started in The Netherlands, and then travelled on to Belgium, the UK, and finally to Paris. The trip was amazing, and it went so well because we took the time to plan out some of the important things beforehand. Below are some of the tips I have for planning your trip to Paris. Enjoy!

 

  1. Do your research 

This sounds really nerdy, but we spent months before our trip learning about Paris and the activities we wanted to do there. Read blogs, scour Pinterest, google up a storm, and buy a travel book or two before you go. Take the time to figure out what will be really enjoyable for you to do in the city. There is nothing worse than spending the money on a great trip to get there and have no idea how to take advantage of the opportunities surrounding you.  The Lonely Planet book on Paris was what we decided to buy, and we used it ALL of the time; both before and during our trip to Paris. The tips from it were really incredible. It gave us an idea of where to spend our time, but it also contained removable maps of the city, common phrases to use, walking tours by neighborhood, and explanations of the customs of the city.

Not only did we take time to figure out what would make our trip enjoyable, but we figured out what we didn’t want to do as well. Waiting in line for everything (like the thousands of other tourists around us) was one of the things that would make the trip stressful for us. We despise waiting in lines…. like really really hate it. In my opinion, there isn’t much in life that is truly worth a 3 – 4 hour wait. So, we figured out how to minimize our wait times. Just because I love you, here are the things I learned to keep the wait time at minimum:

  • Buy your tickets to the Eiffel Tower in advance: Everything I read before my trip told me to get in line to take the steps up to the first level of the Eiffel Tower to shorten my wait time, but at mid day when all of the tourists are around, you will still wait in line for at least an hour, and then have to climb A LOT of stairs. Just buy your tickets in advance to save yourself the wait. Unfortunately, we went to purchase our tickets in advance, but were too late (they sell out months in advance). This might be a tip, or we might have gotten lucky, but we decided to go up the Eiffel Tower at night instead, and there were only 10 people in line before us to do so. It was breathtaking to see the city at night. That might be something to check into if you missed out on the advance tickets like us.
  • Visit the Sacre Coeur for the best view of the city without a wait:  Everyone that comes to Paris wants to go up the Eiffel Tower, and you should at least once in life, but my favorite view of the city was at the Sacre Coeur. This beautiful church towers over Paris on a hilltop, giving you views for miles. Also, ask yourself this: what’s missing from a daytime view of Paris at the Eiffel Tower? The Eiffel Tower! As tourists, we LOVE looking at it, so when you are up in the Sacre Coeur, you not only get a beautiful city view, but unobstructed views of the structure we all know and love so much. When we got to the church, we realized that most people don’t know that you can actually go up into the tower of the church. Hundreds of people climb the hill to get to the church and linger on the steps outside it, but when you go around the right side of the building, and down some stairs, you can get in line to climb its tower. There was NO wait, and it was only 6 Euros a person (that’s a great price compared to everything else).
  • Buy your tickets to Notre Dame in advance. Churches are popular places to visit all over Europe. If you want to go to the most famous ones, either attend mass on a Sunday when they are free, or get your tickets in advance.
  • Get to the Musee D’Orsay in the morning: You won’t wait in line to buy your ticket at the door if you get there early enough. We arrived around 9 in the morning and spent about 15 minutes in line.
  • Buy a travel book to learn my FAVORITE no wait tip for The Louvre: You can sometimes have up to a 3 hour wait at the main doors of the Louvre. Read your travel book to learn how to skip the lines (Again… we bought the Lonely Planet one). It’s not a trick. It really works. I’m not willing to share the exact tip online, because I want you to do the work the reap the benefit of this tip (and if everyone finds out about it so easily, the wait time will no longer be short), but let me say that there was LITERALLY NOBODY in line where we got into The Louvre. It was so bizarre to me that nobody knew about the entrance, that I thought we had to be at the wrong place. Well we weren’t, and got in instantly! Score! This saved us a 3 hour wait, and we weren’t crabby by the time we got in The Louvre because we did our research.

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2. Slow down

Paris was our last stop on a two week trip around Europe, and needless to say, we wanted to see and experience as much as possible. I think that we are the worlds fastest travelers. Our vacation standard is that we start out exploring every morning at 8am and don’t get back to the room until around 10pm. The truth is, I usually end up breaking down to cry at least once on each trip because of our fast pace haha. I may cry because of how exhausted I am, but there’s no way I am wasting time in our room when I could be out exploring! I’ve just got to get the tears out of my system, pick my head back up, and keep on going. Anyways, Paris was initially a struggle for me because of this. When you get there, even though it’s a big city and you expect it to be bustling, the Parisians live life at a slower pace. They eat in parks, stroll along the sidewalks while window shopping, and spend up to two hours when they stop for coffee in a shop. Parisians SLOW DOWN, and therefore enjoy their lives. Do life at their pace, and you will get the most out of your trip to Paris. My favorite part of our trip wasn’t the amazing sights we saw (although they were amazing), but it was watching the Parisians and choosing to do life like them. We stayed in an AirBnB apartment in Le Marais, and toward the end of our visit we snagged a blanket out of the closet, grabbed some beverages and snacks, and layed on a blanket in a park called Place Des Vosges. We ate, drank, and enjoying the buzz of the people surrounding us. It was a wonderful experience. We were just one couple out of at least 30 others who were doing the exact same thing.

 

3. Find a balance between museums and experiencing the city for yourself

I like museums, don’t get me wrong, but if you spend too much time just learning about Paris through museums, you will miss out on the real heart and soul of it. So promise me that you will get out and experience Paris, but find a great balance between the two options. One museum I highly recommend (especially if you are into impressionist art like I am) is The Musee D’Orsay. You might be surprised, but I liked it more than The Lourvre (Gasp!). The building in and of itself is a piece of art, and they had some pieces that I had been dreaming about seeing for years. P.S. if you are into design, they have an entire section of the museum devoted to Art Nouveau ❤ ❤ <3!

4. Don’t just spend time near the tourist attractions

It can be a little scary deviating from the standard path taken in Paris, but get out of your comfort zone and get a little lost in the city. There are shops, restaurants, and businesses on every corner just waiting to be discovered.

 

5. Eat crepes at the Jardin Du Luxembourg

The Jardin Du Luxembourg is in the 6th district of Paris, and was created by the widow of one of the kings in the 1600’s. Today it serves as a park that’s owned by the French senate where the community can gather. It boasts immaculate gardens, fountains, statues, walking paths, and ponds. Imagine kids pushing their colorful sail boats out in a pond with wooden sticks with the backdrop of the Luxembourg Palace. Sunbathing locals line the concrete walking paths in the loungers surrounding the pond with the scent of crepes lingering in the air. You could be there, and you will want to eat the crepes. Trust me.

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6. Eat cheese at Les Deux Magots

Also in the 6th district of Paris is the famous restaurant named Les Deux Magots. It gained popularity because Earnest Hemingway, and other local intellects like James Joyce, and even Pablo Picasso frequented it. They were all brilliant and drank there, so there must be something in the water there, right ;)? I’m guessing they weren’t drinking water when they stopped here though. Anyway, the restaurant is exactly what you expect a Parisian restaurant to be like. The green awnings stretch out over the tables and chairs that spill out onto the sidewalks, and the waiters are wearing tuxedos. This is a perfect place to try that European cheese you have been hearing about. Order their cheese tray (it’s giant by the way) and enjoy it as the people of Paris saunter by.

7. Take the metro

The easiest way to get around Paris is on the metro. It’s the largest and most dense system in the world, but surprisingly easy to use (although I do think The Tube in London is set up better). We came into Paris on a Eurostar train and bought a Paris Visite Pass right at the station, which allowed us up to 5 days of unlimited use of the metro. You purchase it in either 1,3, or 5 day increments, and you can choose the pass that allows you to visit districts 1 – 3 which are popular, or the other that reaches out to more districts. If you read anything in my blog though, I highly recommend the latter option. Not only does it allow you to explore more, but you can take the metro to the airport when you are ready to go home. With that being said, if you flew in, you now know that you can purchase metro passes in the airport when you get there, take the train right into the city, and back out again when you are ready to fly home. Easy peasy. No setting up a shuttle, and in the long run it will save you money (If you use my first tip about doing your research, you will already have a metro map when you arrive because you bought a travel book. See how handy that is? We saved you so much time!)

Lastly, I wanted to let you know that the last train runs at roughly 12:40am in Paris during the weekdays, and until 1:40am on weekends. We just barely made it onto the last train to leave the station after lingering at the Eiffel Tower one night for a little too long. We don’t want you missing the latest train, and then spending a fortune on a cab to get back across town.

8. Visit Pere Lachaise Cemetery

This unique cemetery is unlike any you will ever see, and was a must do on my list of activities in Paris. The graves are more like mini mausoleums, and are incredibly ornate. Usually a cemetery isn’t a place that tourists flock to, but you will be surprised about how many people choose to spend time here. As you get closer to the cemetery, you will see flower shops pop up along the way, as it’s popular for the tourists to leave roses at the graves of the famous that are buried there. As someone with a B.S. in music, the most exciting thing that I could ever hear was that visiting this cemetery meant I could see Chopin’s grave. CHOPIN! In my opinion, his compositions are some of the most inspired in the history of our world. Other famous people buried in the cemetery are the author Oscar Wilde, and the Doors frontman Jim Morrison.

9. Use a combination of credit, debit, and cash for spending

Credit cards are widely accepted throughout Europe, and so use that for most of your spending. Before our trip we opened a Capital One Venture card because it was free to sign up for, has a 0% interest rate for the first year, has no foreign transaction fees, has a points system, and uses chip technology (which is absolutely vital for using a credit card in Europe). Most credit cards issued in America now have the chip technology, but in Europe they also have a pin number attached to their cards. We called and had pin numbers added to our credit cards before the trip, but once we got to Europe, we realized that’s not what they mean by pin. American credit cards are just different than European ones. With that being said, without that technology, sometimes your credit card gets rejected and you will want to have a back up just in case that happens. In addition to the credit card, we also opened up a new checking account with TCF Bank before our trip because their debit cards are part of the PLUS ATM network. Having a debit card that works within a European ATM network means lower foreign transition fees when you are withdrawing money. Cirrus and Plus are popular ATM networks throughout Europe, and it was easy to find them and take out the backup cash that we needed without being charged incredible oversea withdrawal rates. We used our credit cards throughout most of Europe, but then had our debit cards to take cash out of the ATM as necessary. We typically withdrew about 100 euros in each city we visited, which covered everything nicely for us.  Happy spending.

10. Have fun & don’t hold back

When it comes to traveling, we all have a budget of what we can spend, but I encourage you to not hold back on the trip. We spend our lives locked into budgets, and I view vacations as a time to let loose. Look at everything as an opportunity, and if you think you will look back at the trip someday and regret not doing something, then just go for it. I’m not condoning being financially irresponsible, but when in Paris, do as the Parisians do, right?

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Where YOU can find the BEST pizza in the Twin Cities

My love affair with pizza started in college. You move into your first apartment, don’t know how to cook, and suddenly you meet Jack. You love him instantly but wonder if there is something out there better. What are you thinking? Of course there is, because unfortunately Jack is cheap, and was found in the frozen pizza section. That’s all you could afford and that’s all you had time for at that point.

Luckily I have upgraded my tastes as I have upgraded my budget (although you will still see my freezer stocked with Jack’s Pizza at all times), and I’m on a never ending journey to find the best pizzas around.

The Twin Cities has an amazing food scene where you can find almost anything. I’m so thankful that gourmet pizza is included on that list. For me, ambiance is just as important as taste , and so listed below  are the restaurants I have thoroughly enjoyed in the metro that serve up a great atmosphere and a great pizza. The list is not in any particular order and I highly recommend you hit each place. Comment below if you think I could add to this list! We could add a part 2 to this blog if you give me more inspiration! Like I said, I am always on the hunt for the best pizza, so if it really wows me I will blog some more.

1. Roma

460 Stillwater Rd

Willernie, MN 55090

First of all, I love that this place is off the beaten track a little bit. It feels a little mom and pop-ish but classy at the same time. That is what makes it so charming in my opinion. The ambiance is made up of warm lighting, Italian decor, a beautiful bar, and a cute little deli off the dining room. They are perfect for a quiet date that shows you want to have a meaningful time without being pretentious. Our good friends introduced us to this place a couple of years back and I find myself thinking of Roma often.

They are a family run Italian place, but they also do wood-fired personal pizzas. The crust is thin and bubbles beautifully. You can get something standard if you would like, but go out on a limb and you won’t regret it. My favorite pizza there has blue cheese, prosciutto, figs, and fresh greens on top. The combination of the sweet fig and the savory prosciutto is what brings me back for more. One can rarely go wrong mixing meat (especially salty cured meat) and fruit together in the same dish. As far as price goes, you can spend a little there with pizza prices from $10-$18, or a bit more for an Italian dish.

2. Burch 

1933 Colfax Ave. S 

Minneapolis, MN 55403

  

Everyone is raving about Burch right now, and I’m raving right along with them. Their chef Isaac Becker won the James Beard Best Chef: Midwest award, and highly deserves it. Apart from Burch, he also owns 112  Eatery and Bar Lagrassa, both of which have served me some great eats. 112 was created to give the chefs of Minneapolis a place to go, so obviously the menu is fabulous and the atmosphere is understated. Their owner and head chef claims to hate concept restaurants but now owns 3. Thank goodness for that, because each serves some of the best food in our state.

When you walk into Burch it instantly feels high class. You have to valet your car because it’s Uptown and they have no parking, but that just adds to the experience. Burch reminds me of a restaurant you would find in NYC. Everything is chic and elegant but simple. Although the waiters look as if they would be cold and indifferent (because of how cool and hipster they are – it is Uptown after all) they wait your table with kindness and a vast knowledge of the menu. I can tell they really care about the food they serve.

The staples at Burch are steak, dumplings, and woodfired pizza. All of which I’ve had, and all of which were made with quality ingedients and creativity. You can obviously spend a pretty penny on their steaks, but their pizzas are reasonably priced at $12-$25 each. So don’t shy away thinking you can’t afford it. The object of my desire there is called the Coppa Cotta pizza. It has hazelnuts, smoked pork shoulder, roasted red peppers, and mozzarella balls. I mean seriously, who thinks to put hazelnuts on pizza?! They are fantastic and compliment the smokey pork shoulder well. I have yet to try their Tonno Diavolo with raw ahi tuna but in my opinion, that’s the stuff that dreams are made of. Raw fish + pizza = obsession. Your tastebuds will be amazed at the combination of flavors piled high on their soft fluffy crusts.

3. The Copper Hen Cakery & Kitchen

 2515 Nicollet Ave. S

Minneapolis, MN 55404

    

Opened in the spring of 2014 on Eat street (aka Nicollet Ave.), they focus on home grown flavor and well sourced products. A catchphrase they have adopted is farm-to-table. They serve breakfast, lunch, dinner, baked goods, and coffee. They even hold wedding receptions in their restaurant! They were partially funded by a Kickstarter campaign, and so you know the locals wanted this in the community. It did so well that they raised over $12,000 to be exact. I think it’s great to see the citizens rally around some people that have a great idea for a restaurant.

Upon opening, they did not disappoint. I am writing about them having only visited the restaurant once. That means I am very impressed. I have a lot more to try on their menu, but during my visit I ordered a lavender lemonade and the Chicken Coop pizza. I know this article is about pizza, but lavender lemonade is my new official favorite drink. They make it so the lavender doesn’t overpower, and really comes out as more of an aftertaste. Okay, now back to the pizza – The Chicken Coop features prosciutto, spinach, ricotta (REALLY good ricotta I might add), pecorino bechamel sauce, and two sunny side up eggs. I didn’t ever think of eggs on pizza, and after I had  this, I wondered why more people aren’t doing it! It’s great! The yoke and the bechamel sauce combine so well that it makes you feel like you are eating at grandma’s house. Their crusts are similar to Burch’s in the fact that they are fluffy, but there is a denseness to these that make them feel more like home. Their prices come in on the low end at $12-$16. Grab dessert at the end of your pizza dinner too, they are a cakery after all.

4. Broders’ Cucina Italiana

2308 W 50th St.

Minneapolis, MN 55410   

    

Take one step in the door and you’ll feel like you have crossed the Atlantic and landed in Italy. This restaurant has charm galore. When you first walk in, you can peruse the shelves filled with specialty Italian cooking items. Around the corner from the shop is their quaint dining room and deli. All food is ordered at the deli and you can get meats, cheese, pasta, salads, desserts, side dishes, and pizza to stay or to go. Of course, everything is fresh and hand made.

Since this article is specifically about good pizza, I will tell you why Broders’ Cucina is at the top of my list. It’s all about the meat. My favorite there is a good ole’ pepperoni and sausage. Their pizza is thin crust, with a light amount of sauce  (I hate too much sauce), piled with cheese, and topped with the best meat I have ever had on a pizza in my life. Their sausage is made in-house with high quality herbs and spices. Even though you can take your pizza to go, try and find a spot in their quaint dining room with the mural painted ceiling. Sit and enjoy your little Italy and savor their authentic flavor. The products on their shelves and the food from their kitchen is imported from Italy. You don’t get much more authentic than that.

Get their pizza by the slice for just a few dollars or order a medium or large to share. Prices for full pizzas range from $10-$20 and are shareable.

How Minnesotans Handle the Spring

It’s all relative. How we handle different experiences has to do with what we’ve already done. Sometimes you know how to navigate a situation like the back of your hand, and others leave you wondering how it will turn out. One thing I know for sure is that as Minnesotans we understand the cold. But something happens year after year leaving us unsure of what to do and how to act. It is spring! Spring isn’t a definitive time in Minnesota and it throws us all out of whack. Yes, all of us. How can I know that we ALL go through this strange and confusing range of emotions in the spring?  Social media. You can learn a lot about human nature from it ;)! So how confused are we? Scroll down to read about our varying actions and emotions regarding this confusing season.

1. We wear inappropriate clothing

One day it’s 50 degrees, so we throw on our Daisy Dukes and a pair of flip flops. Let’s be real here, in warmer climates 50 degrees is not shorts weather. The next day we assume it will be just the same and we look like a fool wearing those same shorts and flip flops in 20 degree weather. You reason with yourself, “but it looked sunny when I peaked out my window this morning!” Don’t worry Minnesotans, it’s not your fault, it’s the erratic weather’s. We’ve all been there and take pity on you.

2. We measure our snow. 

It starts to warm up just a bit and all the snow slowly goes away, but leave it to spring to pile it on us again. In the dead of winter the steady dumping of that white stuff aint no thang. It feels like an injustice in the spring though. To cope with it, we pull our rulers out and measure, post it on social media, and voice our opinions about the unwanted snowfall. It shouldn’t surprise us that it happened, because it happens every year, but this measuring thing is just one of the many ways we can feel like we have control about what’s going on.

3. We get nostalgic

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Winter Wonderland – You have to admit that it’s beautiful

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas comes back onto the playlist, and in between the rants and pictures of the snowfall totals, we see the overly romantic folks talking about the fluffy snow that’s hung lightly on the branches. When they wake up the next morning and realize the snow is still there, they pull out their rulers and post photos of that instead.

4. The Weather Nazi’s terrorize us into putting the flannel sheets on again

AKA the morning news anchors. They get us excited about our warm days and then use phrases like “it won’t stay long” or “beware of plummeting temperatures.” In reality it only goes back down to 20-40 degrees, but they have you so nervous about the plummet that you pull out the flannel sheets again. 35 degree temperatures and a  1″-3″ snowfall in the dead of winter would feel amazing, but they’ve got to build it up come spring time. Why not add on a winter weather advisory for the drama of it all?

5. We take spring break trips to make it through winter forgetting that Minnesota starts to warm up at the same time.

fl temp mn temp

We want to rub it in the faces of our friends that we are basking in the sun. We leave for our trips to Florida and then see pictures of people back home in Minnesota out on walks proclaiming the glory of 60 degrees. In reality, we probably booked that warm weather trip in January when we thought we couldn’t survive the cold temps a day longer. At that point we fail to realize that Minnesota DOES get some warm days by the time spring break hits. It may be warmer where you are, Spring Breakers, but not THAT much warmer. You only get small bragging rights.

6. Minnesotans who have moved away to warmer climates mock us.

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The abuse of winter haunts us years after we have moved away. If you have lived in Minnesota, you will never forget how cold it gets (no matter how many times your therapist tells you that you must). When you make the move, and experience 75 degrees and sunny in March, the sunshine feels like a victors prize that you can’t help but gloat about. You all know you would do the exact same thing if you moved away, so don’t condemn them too much ;).

7. We post TBT pictures to remind us of warmer times.

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We are all guilty of it… We open the shades the morning after a 60 degree day and see the snow falling again. We throw ourselves into a state of depression, snuggle under our electric blankets, and post TBT pictures of our vacations to remind ourselves that it won’t last forever. It can’t, right? RIGHT?

8. Ultimately we get over it, forget that time of year that we were so confused, and then do it all over again the next spring.

Good luck Minnesotans.