Take out in the neighborhood

We anticipated the opening of The Coffee Cup restaurant on Randolph and Hamline for months. Then…Covid-19 arrived.

However, many dedicated local businesses are providing wonderful take out service.

Upload the app Toast Takeout and you will find local restaurants, like The Coffee Cup. Very easy!

The Staycation is Winding Down

bridge

We have had a wonderful week enjoying local sights and tastes! A true “staycation”, we explored places in Minnesota and Wisconsin, including hiking in Carpenter Nature Center and trying out a new breakfast spot in St. Paul: Hope Breakfast.

Carpenter Nature Center has two campuses: the 425-acre Minnesota Campus with more than 10 miles of hiking trails and, just across the St. Croix river- the restored prairie and wooded bluffs of a 300-acre Wisconsin Nature Preserve. (Thomas and Edna Carpenter moved to the St. Croix Valley in the 1940’s and left their spectacular property for future generations to enjoy.)

This morning we wandered into downtown St. Paul where the brand new Hope Breakfast spot just opened. Yum!  Located inside St. Paul’s oldest firehouse, the restaurant is serving amazing food and will pledge 3% of its annual profits to neighbors in need.

The Intersection of Food & Art: Perfectly Plated at Sapor Café & Bar

boat on the nile

Drawing upon visual and culinary themes inspired by the textures and colors of Peru, Japan and India, ceramic and glass artists collaborated with Sapor Cafe & Wine Bar, in Minneapolis, MN, to blend art and food- and made a bold statement about the blissful collision of form and function in contemporary art and cuisine.

Nick Moen (Nick Moen Studios, Asheville, NC) and Kathryn Adams (Asheville Glass Center, Asheville, NC), collaborated with fellow artist, David Swenson, of The Northern Clay Center, and restauranteurs, Tanya Sienbenaler (chef and co-founder) and Julie Steenerson to create Pairing Pottery Dinner, held December 12th  at  Sapor Café and Bar in the North Loop Neighborhood of Minneapolis, MN. Other ceramic and glass artists who contributed to the event include: Hayden Wilson, Erin Paradis and Victoria Claire Dawes.

The artists and Sapor Café provided an unforgettable evening of art and food, blending the beauty of the work with fine cuisine. All food and beverages were plated and served in hand crafted, hand blown objet d’art.

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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Loring Park, Sculpture Garden, & Loring Kitchen & Bar: Minneapolis, MN October 2012

Playing tourist in one’s hometown can be an inexpensive and rewarding junket. On a recent October day, I decided to do just that!

My first destination was the Walker Art Center and Minneapolis Sculpture Garden.

Strolling through the garden, I checked out art I remembered and new installations of note. Perhaps most recognizable, and photographed, is Claes Oldenburg’s Spoon Bridge and Cherry. On this day I chose to photograph Spoonbridge from non-tourist angles!

Minneapolis Sculpture Garden: Spoonbridge and Cherry- a different perspective

Cherry reflecting: another perspective- Spoonbridge and Cherry

My favorite piece, an elaborate canopy of steel, bronze and ceramic, suspended on cast stone pillars, is entitled Prophecy of the Ancients (Brower Hatcher).  Standing beneath it, you are truly transported, from whatever angle you choose to view it.

Adjacent to the garden is Loring Park, easily reached by a walkers bridge that traverses Lyndale Avenue. This day the park was resplendent in October yellows and muted greens. Designed by American landscape architect, Horace Cleveland, the park contains a small lake, and paths for biking and walking. In the center is a wildflower garden, still vibrant, despite some frosty nights. Loring Park hosts a wide range of events, including Gay Pride, one of the largest Pride festivals in the country.

Loring Park

Surrounded by upscale apartments and condos, there are also coffee shops and restaurants within easy walking distance of the park. One of my favorites is Loring Kitchen & Bar. Situated directly across from the park, at 1359 Willow Street, LKB offers an outdoor patio and gorgeous, inviting space with seating for large and small groups. The wide bank of windows fronting the Park, flood the interior with light, yet the feel is all about rich wood and stone. The bar area affords patrons a chance to check out the park and sidewalk scene while enjoying a specialty brew (like local Surly Brewing) or wine from an extensive selection.

On this particular day, I was meeting a friend for lunch. We enjoyed Chipotle hummus and vegies and a delicious Basil Tomato pizza. Mmmm. Many thanks to Manager, Julian Menne, and Host, Lauren Miller for helping to create such a great atmosphere!

As for my next ramble- historic Selby Ave in St. Paul, MN!