F. Scott Fitzgerald House – St. Paul, Minnesota

I like a lot of authors but there has always been something about F. Scott Fitzgerald that has always made me especially curious. His writing wasn’t terribly successful in his time. Rather he and his wife were famous for their lifestyle and the friends that they had. They ran with a dream crew of creatives and thinkers, partying all night and dreaming up some of that centuries most creative works. It was a life that I don’t think the world will ever see again and for that I am infinity curious about all that went on during that time period.  Most of us are probably more familiar the ‘The Great Gatsby’ than any of his other works, if it is no longer on the required reading lists of graduating seniors the two movies based on the novel are surely familiar. My personal favorite of his has always been ‘Tender is the Night’ a horribly tragic work about a married man and a much much younger actress, and the personal fallout of his life after an illicit affair. It sounds more like a soap opera than it really is. If you haven’t read it I really do recommend it, but not the movie. That was a tragedy of a different sort.  At any rate the last in the Minneapolis area for work a good friend of mine and I had just finished dinner at Parlour in St. Paul. And he kindly obliged to my very weird request to drive by the F. Scott Fitzgerald House which is just next door to Minneapolis in St. Paul. It was getting dark and raining a lot but despite his trepidation he kindly did it anyway. I hoped out of the car and rushed over to get a good look, which again was fairly hard given how dark it was getting and how terrible the weather was. Location and History There isn’t much to see in truth. It is one among many of a long set of row houses built in 1889. They were built in the New York Style of the classic Brownstone apartment but with a Victorian flair. Fitzgerald parents moved into 593 Summit Ave in 1914 when he was studying at Princeton and then later in 1918 moved down to 599 Summit Ave in the same block of row houses. He lived here only briefly between 1919 and 1920 while writing the manuscript for ‘This Side of Paradise’. It was declared a historic property in the 1970s but still remains a private residence, as such you cannot tour the inside. Which is probably fitting given he is known to have hated the neighborhood and probably would have been appalled at a museum here in his honor. Parting Thoughts It was have been nice if the location were a museum of some sort. But I suppose again given F. Scott hated the house, it is more fitting that there isn’t more to see. Never the less it is quite lovely and the area itself is home to a very impressive amount of mansions. Though Frank Lloyd Wright is also known to have publicly criticized the area for being the “worst collection of architecture in the world”. Alas, despite the negative opinions I hope that next time I head back there the weather proves better and I can spent some time strolling around the area.
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Parlour – St. Paul, Minnesota

My favorite Minnesota haunt strikes again, this time with its second location in St. Paul. Parlour is a Minneapolis bar that I first visited at the behest of a coworker a few years ago while I was in town for work. Then the last time I was in town the same friend took me to the newly opened second location in St. Paul.

Dare I say I like the St. Paul location better? I think it is probably not surprising, while the original is dark and luxurious. Sitting in the basement annex of its larger parent restaurant in downtown Minneapolis it is velvet tufted booths and rich colors.  All of which I love. But for me, a large renovated turn of the century building with floor to ceiling windows is tough to beat. Plus I love the smaller town vibe of St. Paul over Minneapolis.

We brought a vegetarian friend with us, which is a bold move for a bar known for their not veggie burgers. But she ordered the cauliflower (above) which was almost better than the burgers. And their fries which this round were not pineapple and bacon but vegetarian served with a side of delicious dip.

And then of course for those of us who eat meat, the main course, the burger. Buttered non sesame bun, salty delicious patty, cheese and pickles it really cannot be beat. If you are in the area make it a priority you and even your vegetarian friends won’t be disappointed.

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24 hours in Minneapolis – Minneapolis, Minnesota

The final post in this edition of Minneapolis is a whirl wind and that is because the last leg of this trip was that as well. I only had 24 hours after my last meeting to experience more of the city than the skyway and my office building. And luckily for me the weather was incredible!

Shop: I Like You
It is a little like the Made in Oregon store but for a younger or perhaps just more kitsch. T shirts, cards, candles, jewelry, art, you name it they have it all handmade in Minnesota  and in some way touting the Minnesota theme. It was lovely and had I had a larger suitcase with me more people would have received Minnesota themed gifts that year.

Do: Minneapolis River-walk
The Twin Cities is built around the Mississippi river and as such there is a very impressive expanse of walking trains around the area. I had a friend as a tour guide so we just took off and start taking pictures of the lovely scenery but if you are looking some sort of guidance this walking guide is quite nice.  It is about a 3 mile loop in all, it took us a few hours because we stumbled on a farmers market.

Eat: Mill City Farmers Market
The market is only only open on Saturdays BUT if you happen to find yourself in the area on a Saturday it is a must eat. Tons of vendors from snacks to sweets to full meals. Everything smelled amazing, we couldn’t decide so we just ate a lot of samples.

Tour: Mill City Museum
Sadly I did not have time to go in, but the lobby of the Mill City Museum is impressive enough on it’s own for a stop through. The museum sits inside the ruins of what was once the largest flour mill in the world. Destroyed by a fire (did you know flour is explosive? I had no idea) the building was shored up and converted to a lovely history and art museum.

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Black Coffee and Waffle Bar- Minneapolis, Minnesota

The last time I was out in Minneapolis for work a friend and co-worker was kind enough to put me up for a night and show me around the town. I have been to Minneapolis plenty of times but have yet managed to really get a chance to see much outside the skyway area of downtown.

For brunch I was taken to a place called Black Coffee and Waffle Bar a small very Portland-esc café with an extensive waffle menu. I had the peanut butter and banana waffle because why on earth would you have anything else? Elvis would agree with me. But the peach pie waffle looked pretty stellar as well.

The lovely ladies at the coffee bar were not only incredibly kind and quick. They also made one of the best cappuccinos I have had outside of Europe. The medium was the correct size (in my opinion) a couple shots with a large amount of foam think and creamy toward the coffee and dry and fluffy toward the top. Perfection.

It was really nice after a week of being away from home, to not only pop in a place that felt more like the PNW but that which also offered lighter food. There is a large amount of really fantastic food in the Midwest, but many times I leave meals feeling heavy and tired. This was perfectly filling and light it left me ready to conquer a day of touring.

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