Hello Fellow Travelers:
Welcome to our world of business information, museums, adventure, birding, botanical gardens, good eating and fine wines. This newsletter provides you with “The Welge Report for Minneapolis/St. Paul.
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Recognition: We extend special thanks to the people who manage and/or own the institutions, museums and restaurants featured in our guides. In some instances we have relied on their descriptions and photos.
Birding Opps: Info for our birding friends. In and near Minneapolis you can see these species: Bald Eagles, Peregrine Falcons, Great Blue Herons, Egrets Owls, Woodpeckers, Swallows, Virios and Finches.
Here are “Six Spots to Watch Birds in Minneapolis-St. Paul” (http://mspmag.com/Out-And-About/Articles/Features/Best-Birding-Spots-in-Minnesota/)
Bob Ekblad’s (birding-minnesota.com/MN-Orgs.htm) provides a personal look at birds, bird lists and bird locations.
The St. Paul Audubon Society (saintpaulaudubon.or) has loads of information on building a community that values and protects birds.
Shopping: Everywhere you go in Minneapolis/St. Paul there are shops, boutiques, stores and galleries to tempt your indulgence.
Not far is the Mall of America that has earned a national reputation for entertaining guests.
From musical acts to celebrity book signings to fashion shows, Mall of America is the Hollywood of the Midwest.
It is located in Bloomington, southeast of the junction of Interstate 494 and State Highway 77. It is across the interstate from the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport.
Transportation: (You need a car for this trip)
Amtrak (www.amtrak.com) – Your connection to more than 500 stations in 46 states. For online information and train schedules visit www.amtrak.com or call 1-800-USA-RAIL (1-800-872-7245)
Day One: Check out The Minneapolis Institute of Arts – Tu-Sa: 10-5, Th: till 9, Su: 11-5, 2400 3rd Ave S, 612-870-3000
The Minneapolis Institute of Arts features a collection of 80,000 objects spanning 5,000 years. Its collection includes paintings, photographs, prints and drawings, architecture and decorative arts. The collections include African art, art from Oceania and the Americas.
They have a strong collection of Asian art. The Asian art includes Chinese architecture, jades, bronzes and ceramics.
Lunch today is at Tilia – L & D: Daily, 2726 W 43rd St, 612-354-2806
The beet salad with Skyre cheese, Persian sumac, serrano and greens is tempting or you may want to share the grilled octopus with romesco, salsa verde, arugula and hazelnuts.
The fish taco torta with pepper slaw, cilantro, lime and tortilla chips is tempting as is the lamb merguez sausage with panznella, cucumber, lemon verbena and yogurt.
Enjoy the ’08 Tenuta Sant Antonio “rispasso” corvine with these choices.
Let’s visit The Walker Art Center – Tu-Su: 11-5, Th: till 9, 1750 Hennepin Ave, 612-375-7600
The Walker’s collections reflect examples of contemporary artistic developments; concurrently, performing arts, film, and education programs.
The Walker Art Center is a catalyst for the creative expression of artists and the active engagement of audiences.
Adjacent to the Walker is the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, one of the nation’s largest urban sculpture parks.
The Garden’s centerpiece and most popular work is Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen’s Spoonbridge and Cherry (1985–1988), which has become a beloved symbol of the Twin Cities.
Enjoy dinner at Café Lurcat – D: Nightly, 1624 Harmon Place on Loring Park, 612.486.5500
For starters try the Hamachi with avocado, hearts of palm and dijon vinaigrette or the roasted wild mushrooms on brioche with camembert goat cheese and aged balsamic.
A glass of the Chenin Blanc-Viognier, Pine Ridge, California 2011 would go well with either.
For your main we suggest either the pork tenderloin with fig compote, roasted onions and St. Pete’s select blue cheese or the butter-poached blue prawns with sweet corn, kale and Nueske’s bacon.
The Pinot Noir, Saintsbury, Carneros, California 2009 is your choice here. And for dessert go for the pistachio crepe cake with blackberry ricotta cream.
Day Two: Start today with a visit to Al’s Breakfast – Daily: 6 AM to 1 PM, 413 14th Ave SE, 612-331-9991
At Al’s they keep things simple, like choose the stewed prunes or yogurt with your walnut or bacon omelet.
There is also the smoky cheese special omelet and you can get bacon, sausage or corn beef hash. Not to worry it’s all good.
Next let’s visit the Mill City Museum – Tu-Sa: 10-5, Su: 12-5, 704 South 2nd St., 612-341-7555 is a must.
From a Baking Lab to an 8-story elevator ride through an exhibit, Mill City Museum is an adventure for the senses.
Many features of the original mill, including flour bins, milling machinery, the engine house, rail corridor and a wheat house are intact.
New architectural features include an eight-story glass facade overlooking the Mississippi River. True-to-scale graphics of the milling machines are featured on the glass façade to give visitors an idea of how massive the milling operation was.
You get a great view of St Anthony Falls, long considered a sacred place, it is the only waterfall on The Mississippi River. Minneapolis and St. Paul—were created here as the result of a great collage of forces.
The spiritual regard for this location by the Dakota and Ojibwa people begins with the power and energy of falling water.
Lunch is at Butcher & Boar – L: Tu-Su, D: Nightly, 1121 Hennepin Ave, 612-238-8888
How about the stuffed jalapeno and the smoked olives or the wood grilled oysters for a starter with a glass of our favorite bubbly, Gruet Brut from New Mexico. Then try their house cured meats with mustard and pickles.
Consider sharing their chicken fried veal with fried egg, lobster mushrooms and tortilla gravy.
The Corsini Birillo ‘Cabernet-Merlot’ would go great with this.
Your next stop is at the Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum – Tu-F: 10-5, W: till 8, Sa,Su: 11-5, 333 E River Pkwy, University of Minnesota campus, 612-625-9494
Housed in a striking stainless steel and brick building designed by architect Frank Gehry, the Weisman Art Museum offers an educational and friendly museum experience.
The museum’s collection features early twentieth-century American artists, such as Georgia O’Keeffe and Marsden Hartley, as well as a diverse selection of ceramics and contemporary art.
For dinner we recommend Broders’ Pasta Bar and Cucina Italiana – L & D: Daily, 2308 W 50th St, 612-925-3113
For openers try the Sicilian green olives stuffed with fennel sausage, breaded & fried or the rosemary spiced almonds.
Your antipasti is fresh buffalo’s milk mozzarella with pineapples, sweet corn, arugula pesto, pine nuts & balsamic reduction or the salt cod fritters, olive oil poached cherry tomatoes, olivata & local micro greens.
Now for what made them famous try the pasta with local trout, sundried plum tomatoes, onion, vinegar and pine nuts or the carnaroli rice with shrimp, zucchini, arugula and saffron. And finally the pastry shells filled with Sonny’s caramel nut ice cream topped with homemade chocolate sauce.
The ’08 Valdisanti, Tolani would be a good wine selection.
Day Three: This morning pull up a stool at Hell’s Kitchen – B,L,D: Daily, 80 S 9th St, 612-332-4700
Your choices include: caramel-pecan roll, huevos rancheros, corned beef hash, lemon-ricotta hotcakes, steak and eggs, nearly-classic eggs benedict or bison benedict and the new favorite: fried plantains.
For an interesting Scandinavian experience let’s visit The American Swedish Institute – Tu-F: 12-5, W: till 8, Sa: 10-5, Su: 12-5, 2600 Park Ave S, 612-871-4907
The American Swedish Institute is a vibrant arts and cultural center and museum. The historic Turnblad Mansion first became home to the organization in 1929.
You can tour the Turnblad Mansion, enjoy exhibitions in the Mansion and Osher Gallery, experience contemporary Swedish and Nordic culture alongside Minneapolis history, find unique Nordic designed products in the Museum Shop, dine at FIKA, and share stories and experiences.
Next it’s back to nature at The Bell Museum of Natural History – Tu-F: 9-5, Sa: 10-5, Su: 12-5, 10 Church St SE, 612) 624-7083
The Bell Museum’s dioramas bring nature within your reach.
Two floors of dioramas display all of Minnesota’s habitats, along with the birds, animals, plants and insects that populate the state. Meet moose, elk, bear, beavers, cranes, fish, and more.
For a cross cultural experience visit The Museum of Russian Art – M-F: 10-5, Sa: 10-4, Su: 1-5, 5500 Stevens Ave, 612-821-9045
The Museum of Russian Art (TMORA), is dedicated to the preservation and presentation of all forms of Russian art and artifacts.
You can explore new perspectives on the history, heritage and art of Russia, a country with a recorded history that spans over one thousand years.
The museum has expanded its focus beyond 19th and 20th century painting to include exhibitions on Russian Orthodox icons, photography, printmaking, lacquer art, porcelain, Soviet stamps, textiles and Matryoshka dolls.
Today’s main meal is at Restaurant Alma – D: Nightly, 528 University Ave SE, 612- 379-4909
For a starter we suggest the glazed pork belly with kohlrabi, cabbage slaw and miso mustard or fennel and prawn salad with jalapeno peppers, grilled scallion and mint.
Enjoy a glass of the ’09 Mont-Marcal Cava Reserva from Spain with this course.
Next try either the crispy trout with snap peas, aromatic coconut milk and dill broth or the olive oil poached sturgeon with slow cooked summer beans and scallion pesto.
The ’10 Droin Chablis 1er Cru, “Vaillons” Burgundy would be a good match.
For dessert it hard to resist the sweet goat cheese tart with our friend Alan Benton’s smoked bacon, cherry tomato confit and ancho chocolate.
The Peller Estates Ice Wine, 08, Niagara Peninsula, Canada would provide a perfect finale for the Sites & Bites Mini-Holiday.
Until next time, best wishes and safe travels,
Dick & Dee Welge
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