Hip Zip 55102: Burn Unit: Coffee Ward

For awesome chai and killer cinnamon muffins (made fresh!), visit Burn Unit Coffee Ward 945 West 7th, St. Paul. :). Owner Christina Graham-Ziton creates an inviting space filled with art and cozy retro spaces (not to mention her fantastic baked goods). You can also sample Kava, a unique treat!

55101/ Part Two: Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar

Winter may be upon us but my pursuit of interesting places in the “hip zip” 55101 continues. Of course The Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar in Lowertown is on my list. A favorite of many since opening its doors in early 1998, it started out as a place for coffee and conversation and has grown to include a menu of fresh, local foods, wine, and a diverse presentation of art and music.

KarlDuring my visit today I met Karl Warnke, local filmmaker. He is currently working at Black Dog, noting that Sara Remke (one of the owners) is a true patron of the arts. Karl, a regular customer, worked for the Black Dog summers at the adjacent St. Paul Farmer’s Market and signed on 3 months ago as a manager. His true passion, film-making, was recognized at the 2013 Twin Cities Film Fest. The see Karl’s directorial debut, A Letter Home, and view his other work, visit Karl Warnke on Vimeo.

liam betterLiam Watkins, First Communion After Party  guitarist was also at Black Dog this morning and graciously agreed to a photo-op. Everybody has to check out the music video, Sleepaway– awesome!

Next stop for me? Who knows!

Fresh Grounds: Food and Community

Fresh Grounds Coffee Café on West 7th in St Paul, MN serves coffee, a variety of foods, AND dishes up a heartfelt mission. In partnership with the RS Eden Organization and Starbucks, which supports organizational efforts and supplies coffee at a super discount, Fresh Grounds seeks to help those who may need comfort, care and redirection. I am lucky to be part of the process, volunteering time and effort now and again. Oh, and I really like their take on oatmeal!!!!

End-of-Month Photo Dump: February

I am not being original…many of you do this. This time, Joe and Woe inspired me!

http://joyandwoe.wordpress.com/2013/02/28/end-of-month-phone-dumpth-february/

Weekly Photo Challenge: Forward

Forward! Charge! Full speed ahead! This is my interpretation. Life is a delightful whirlwind. Something new everyday. Yesterday ‘rock pictures’…today the lovely Katielyn and I met up again for a photo shoot at a local cafe. As she moves forward, so do I.

Thank you Katielyn, for being such a wonderful friend and model!

coffee kisscup Tabletop at Day by Day

Golden Thyme Cafe, Bouquets by Carolyn: A Selby Avenue Ramble, St. Paul, MN

The 920 block of Selby Avenue, in St. Paul, MN, is the heart of a neighborhood. Golden Thyme Coffee Cafe , Bouquets by Carolyn, and Obama Campaign Headquarters comingle in this short stretch of brick and mortar between Milton and Chatsworth. “Mayor” Mychael Wright and wife Stephanie, owners of Golden Thyme are prominent figures in the community. The Café is a meeting place and unofficial headquarters for the Selby Avenue Jazz Fest, started in 2002. Mychael has partnered with local organizations, businesses, and schools, offering space at the Café for everything from toy giveaways at Christmas to political stump speeches and African-American-themed movie nights.

Today, there are customers at every table. Two self-proclaimed regulars, Patrick and Henry, are seated on high stools at the front window counter. “Everybody feels relaxed here,” comments Patrick, “it’s a corner of America that is mixed and molded..middle of the road.”

Bob and Mary, from neighboring St. Clements Episcopal, incorporate Golden Thyme into their weekly routine and also that of their church. “We hold meetings here and have started a social action community task force…we want to find more ways for St. Clements to be part of the neighborhood. At one time we were a ‘commuter church’, but that is just not the case anymore- a church should be at the heart of its community,” observes Mary.

At the next table over sits Minnesota Stevie, a musician specializing in everything from jazz and R&B to rap and funk.

There is a steady hum of conversation, business and pleasure. People meeting, people who are neighbors, and those just stopping by.

Bouquets By Carolyn, just across Selby, has been in the current location since 2002, but a business for 22 years. It is the first African-American woman owned floral business in Saint Paul. Carolyn takes time out from a busy morning to chat. She says business is good, better now than during the period of recession. Her grandson is in the shop, helping with orders. She is also the proud grandmother of Olivia Bruce, 17, a student at Duke Ellington School of Art in Washington, DC. Carolyn shows me a photo of Olivia and her mom with President and Mrs. Obama. It turns out that Olivia’s artwork was selected to appear in a White House holiday tour book!

Right next door to Carolyn’s establishment is the temporary home of the St. Paul Obama Campaign. The office manager tells me that they are gearing up for Election Day- clearing space for all the supporters expected to descend upon the office. Volunteer phone banks are in full swing and the volunteer receptionist is a testament to grace under pressure.

In the space of a couple of hours I met over a half-dozen people and heard about neighborhood, family, and community pride. Blogging is a GREAT way to explore community and share what you learn- many thanks to all!

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