The song began, “Who can turn the world on with her smile?” but the title character of the Mary Tyler Moore show was about a lot more than a smile. She was one of the first women in entertainment to be shown working a career — and have fun with life. And, she did it all in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
On a recent girlfriend getaway, my friend Jaimee and I had just 24 hours to check out Minneapolis. With the help of Kristen Montag of the Minneapolis Convention and Visitors Bureau, we were able to make the most of our time – or maybe I should say “taste the most!”
First stop was Zelo, a hot bar known for its Happy Hour crowd. It did not disappoint. I was excited to try the Apple Martini (with a cinnamon rim) and really enjoyed it. Jaimee went for an Irish Coffee and we both listened to Kristen talk about the town, wishing we had more time.
After our drinks we went to check into the Hotel Ivy, which is right next to the convention center. The lobby was impressive with a classy modern décor. The standard rooms, while a bit small, did have well-equipped bathrooms with a large soaking tub. I had heard the spa was fantastic, but unfortunately was not able to try it myself.
We took a cab (easy to get in Minneapolis) to dinner at one of Minneapolis’ hot eateries, Eat Street Social. Despite the crowd, we had wonderful service that included a chefs’ tasting menu prepared just for us.
Jaimee and I sipped some of the restaurants unusual cocktails (they make eight types of different bitters themselves) as our waiter brought out quite a selection of food.
The meal started with an amazing Duck Raclette in an Apple Reduction and was followed by a tender pork chop with sweet potato and a duck filet. We also enjoyed an apple upside down cake and sampled some of the house-made sodas (I loved the Pumpkin Patch).
We were thoroughly stuffed when we left Eat Drink Social, but stopped for a quick glass of wine at the Hotel Ivy bar before going up to the room. I took advantage of the large bath to wind down before bed.
Before we knew it, it was time to get up and taste some more of Minneapolis. Spoonriver, known for its local, organic use of produce, was the eatery of choice and I still remember that brunch well.
We started with their cocktails, including their infamous Bloody River, their vegetable-filled version of the Bloody Mary, and the Sorrento Scandal, Rosemary Infused Bombay Sapphire Gin, Strawberries and Balsamic. The scone of the day, a combination of cherry, banana and coconut, proved to be as irresistible as it sounds. It was a good thing we shared one as there was lots more food to come.
Our main courses were equally delicious as we ate an omelet with wild rice, squash leeks and cheddar and another with ham and roasted potatoes, as well as a serving of their incredible vegetable and potato hash browns.
As full as we were, it was hard to resist the desserts when we saw the tray, squeezing in a few bites before heading off to the Walker Art Center. This museum is worth a trip anytime you visit Minneapolis. The exhibits change often and while they lean toward modern, there was a wide selection to see when we were there.
It was nice to have a couple of hours to walk around before we went to our final restaurant of the trip – Prairie Kitchen & Bar at the Hyatt Minneapolis. Like many of the restaurants in this city, this one focuses on using locally sourced products. This causes the menu to change often. Judging by what we sampled, though, I’m sure you can’t go wrong with anything you choose.
For our meal, we had the Roasted Chicken & Herb Soup, Walleye & Chips and a Goat Cheese and Lingonberry Tart. It was a great combination of flavors, followed by Vanilla Pancakes, bananas and local cinnamon ice cream.
After lunch, we walked around downtown a bit more. I look forward to exploring more of the parks and outdoor activities in Minneapolis one summer. In the meantime, I did make sure to stop by and bid farewell to Mary, who forever throws her hat downtown in bronze.
After many years as one of the top tennis writers in the country, Marcia Frost now devoting most of her time to travel writing, with a focus on food, wine and spirits. She has her own blog at WineAndSpiritsTravel.com and does weekly columns for Inspirato on Sonoma and Paris (two locations she visits often). Marcia also freelances for many other outlets, including Yahoo!; AOL; Michigan Avenue; Rum Bum; Los Angeles Confidential; Travel, Food & Drink; and Air Tran’s Go! Magazine. She has been contributing to Girls’ Getaway since 2010. For more information on Marcia, visit her website MarciaFrost.com.