Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Summer Diversions

What’s not to love about summer here in Minnesota? It’s warm, but not too hot. There are an abundance of lakes for boating and fishing, 10,000 so they claim. Restaurant tables spill out onto their patio for patrons. Neighbors gather for a bonfire. The kids are out running around playing kick-the-can with their friends until it is too dark to see the can. Golf courses are packed. Farmers are selling sweet corn off the back of a pick-up truck. Lakeside cabins are full of family and friends creating new memories. If only a Minnesota summer would last just a bit longer.
WA Frost
The past few weeks have presented some of the best Minnesota summer activities for me. The Cathedral Hill neighborhood of St. Paul really comes to life in the summer with outdoor dining at Moscow on the Hill, and W.A. Frost. Moscow on the Hill offers a wide array of vodka selections as well as delicious and authentic Russian food. (Sorry but I cannot post their website link as it gave a warning that the link would destroy my computer. Do not want that to happen!)  W.A. Frost  is probably the most notorious and most pretentious Cathedral Hill eatery. I love the drink menu served under the canopy of trees in the outdoor garden/patio, but I’m not crazy about the food at any time of the year. Overpriced and just not very satisfying in my opinion. If you are interested in seeing their menu go to: http://www.wafrost.com 
Just down Selby Avenue is the Cheeky Monkey Deli (http://cheekymonkeydeli.com) which offers tasty and inexpensive sandwiches and salads for lunch. Forepaughs Restaurant is also nearby with an excellent new American menu, cozy bar, and outdoor seating on the verandah and upper balcony. For more information on this St. Paul classic, please visit their website at http://www.forepaughs.com.
Also worth a try is the Barrio Tequila Bar with locations in St. Paul’s Lowertown and on Nicollet Avenue in Minneapolis. Having tried both Barrios, I do prefer the food at the Minneapolis locale.  The newer St. Paul location has much more space but feels a bit too light and open and lacking the in dark, gothic details that the Minneapolis location offers. You will just have to try them both out for yourself. For more information on either Barrio Tequila Bar, check out their cutting-edge website at: http://barriotequila.com.
Nicollet Avenue in Minneapolis is a blog in itself as it offers numerous bars and restaurants as well as Sommerfest at Orchestra Hall with the Minnesota Orchestra’s free concerts (http://www.minnesotaorchestra.org). Having lived in the Twin Cities, I am almost embarrassed to admit that I had never been to Brits Pub until this past weekend. If you love English pub food, outdoor lawn bowling, or sitting on a rooftop patio sipping Pimms and Lemonade,  you will love Brits Pub. For more information, http://www.britspub.com.
Then there is modern art at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. I guess that I appreciate modern art because it makes me appreciate most other forms of art all the more. The permanent collection houses works by Yoko Ono, Andy Warhol, and all sorts of other modern artists whose names I cannot remember. I love the building design of the Walker and stumbled upon some really interesting bathrooms on our last visit. 
However, I am a true fan of the outdoor Minneapolis Sculpture Garden which is adjacent to the Walker.  What a great place for a picnic and an afternoon stroll around the park scattered with works by Henry Moore and Claes Oldenburg. Plus it is FREE!  For more information about the Walker Art Center and Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, visit http://www.walkerart.org.
And finally here at home. The backyard firepit has seen lots of use as the edges are splattered with dribbled marshmallow from many rounds of smores. The side yard has taken a beating from all of the kickball, baseball, and football games that have been held on its turf. Even taking the dog for his morning walk has been a joy given all of the birds, snakes, and other critters along the path.
I realize that I have just scratched the surface of summer fun in the Twin Cities. Let me know some of your favorites. Happy summer! 

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