Tag Archives: Minneapolis

Downtown Minneapolis on a warm, late spring evening

We were meeting out of town friends for dinner at Hell’s Kitchen last night(I wrote a review of it last year so please do check it out at the link if you are so inclined. It’s a great place to eat!).  Since we had an 8:30 reservation, we decided to head downtown early and walk around, maybe get a drink before dinner.  Hell’s Kitchen is a block away from Nicollet Avenue, a popular pedestrianized street.  After we parked, we headed to Nicollet to see what we could find.  Both directions were filled with people enjoying the outdoor areas of all the restaurants.  We sat down at the first place we found that had open tables and that happened to be The News Room.  I don’t know much about it but it ended up being a great spot to watch the world go by as well as have a drink and an appetizer to tide us over until dinner.  Hubby had a beer and I had a very tasty Spanish red wine.  We also had their popcorn shrimp which hit the spot.

Of course I took a few photos and here are some that I liked.  I hope you do too :)

First, some downtown buildings:

Here’s our food and drinks:

Across the street was another restaurant full of people making merry:

Next door were two available bicycle carriages.  We didn’t do this and maybe should have but it looked like pedestrians could hire the bicycle carriages to take them from point A to point B.  I kept waiting for someone to hire one of these two alas, it didn’t happen. But we did see several going by with 2 or 3 people in them.  They are parked in front of another popular restaurant, The Local. We will have to return to try that one next.

Some more interesting things that I saw:

Then, check this out!!  An entire side of the Schmitt Music building painted with music.  This photo really doesn’t do it justice but you get the gist:

It seems appropriate to end with this photo.  The Foshay Tower on the right was once the tallest building downtown:


Filed under Food, Minnesota

Weisman Art Museum, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis

It was a perfect winter day to visit the Weisman Art Museum.  I have wanted to visit this museum for quite some time and today my husband and I finally went and it was more than I expected.  My only regret is that it was much too cold to get photos of the outside of the museum.  It was designed by Frank O. Gehry and is reminiscent of the Guggenheim in Bilbao, Spain.  I snapped this photo from the car so it’s not the best quality but it will suffice for my tale here.

It’s a small museum with all the artworks contained on one floor, but both hubby and I commented that it was just big enough.  Our eyes were “full” by the time we were done.  Most of what’s on display are paintings by American modern artists.  There are some sculptures as well and the museum is full of light and has rich wooden floors.  It was very warm and welcoming.


A view of those beautiful floors:

I loved this colorful painting by Kenny Scharf call Moda de Mangue.  The mangrove tree grows in Brazil:

In the same room were a handful of paintings by Orval Dillingham.  This one particularly caught my eye and reminded me of some Picasso paintings I have seen:

Just opposite this painting was a piece of art that took up an entire wall.  The artist, James Rosenquist, made his living as a billboard artist and I believe the art pictured here used to be billboards or parts of billboards:

In another room there was a public artwork space with installations by Diane Willow.  There was a sign on the wall that invited studio visitors to participate.  So, we took a stroll through this interesting installation that was hanging from the ceiling:

Another colorful painting by Jacob Lawrence entitled Dancing Doll:

Another room had many pieces of art by Charles Biederman.  Hubby really enjoyed the very colorful one with bits of squares and rectangles stuck together and jutting out from a canvas.

The Pedicord Apts. was an interesting exhibit.  Edward and Nancy Kienholz recreated a hallway of a run-down residence hotel in Spokane Washington.  The visitor stands close to each door and hears something different going on in each apartment. I remember hearing a child crying in one, a man talking with his wife in another and either a radio or television playing in yet another apartment.  The plaque on the outside of the exhibit mentioned that the hallway gets smaller the further you go in and suggested that one might feel claustrophobic. I didn’t feel that way but it certainly was an interesting exhibit.

And now the painting that piqued my interest in this museum.  I’m a huge fan of Georgia O’Keefe so when I read years ago that there was one of her paintings here, I knew I had to come see it.  And it did not disappoint. An interesting tidbit on the plaque next to this one was that it was originally hung vertically. But after some research it was discovered that it was painted horizontally so it was rehung.  I love the colors in Georgia’s poppies:

This impressionist view of the excavation for Penn Station in New York caught my eye.  The name of the painting is Excavation but I didn’t note the artist:

Another view of a room with Georgia O’Keefe’s painting in the background and another look at those beautiful wood floors:

There was a small collection of Korean furniture:

And this curious sculpture whose name I forgot to document. The view is different from each angle:

“Executive in red chair” is Mr. Weisman’s father.  I thought he was a real person!

Hubby was entranced by this one and at first glance it reminded me of a Bosch painting.  It’s called Protection of White Womanhood by Walter Quirt.  It depicts the trial of nine black men, known as the Scottsboro Boys, who allegedly raped two white women in Alabama in 1931.

I wish I had had more energy to watch some of the videos in this exhibit but this was the end of our tour and as I mentioned above, our eyes and minds were full.  I will definitely be coming back so perhaps next time I’ll visit this exhibit more fully. Here is the plaque on the wall that describes the exhibit and some of the portraits:

Frederick Weisman portrait by Andy Warhol:

The last thing we saw was the great view out the window of downtown Minneapolis and the Washington Avenue bridge:

I highly recommend this museum.  It’s free and there is a parking garage underneath which is very convenient but there is a fee to park there.  I imagine on warmer days one could find cheaper parking on the street.

Weisman Art Museum
333 East River Road
Minneapolis, MN 55455
(612) 625-9494

I’m also participating in my friend Marianne’s “one trip a month” challenge.  I have many places I’ve been meaning to visit and the Weisman museum had been on my mind lately so it was the perfect opportunity to participate.  Check out other trips at the link or participate yourself.  Enjoy!


Filed under Minnesota, Travel

Hell’s Kitchen – Minneapolis, MN

We sure have interesting restaurant names here in the twin cities eh?  Here’s another one that we tried almost a month ago when some friends were here from northern Minnesota.  It was also their 28th anniversary.  How nice of them to spend it with us (?). Ha ha. They came down to see their daughter sing in a performance of Carmina Burana and wanted to get together with us too.  It just happened to be their anniversary too.

I had heard of this place a while ago and when I learned they were staying downtown I suggested it and everyone was amenable.  It’s in the basement so you really feel like you’re descending into hell!!  Plus, the place is decorated with dark colors and wait until you see what they have in the bathroom!  I will get to that in a bit.  We parked in a lot that was conveniently connected so we only were outside walking to/from the car to/from the elevator.  I love that about our downtowns.  Both have skyways connecting buildings and parking lots and the saavy skyway walker never is affected by the elements.  And we have a lot of those elements during the loooooong winter months here.  Here’s the entry – Hell’s Kitchen Damn Good Food:

The view from the top of the stairs:

Once you descend the stairs you find the place to check in where they sell Hell’s Kitchen items:

I was able to make a reservation online earlier in the day.  They only had 5:15 or 8:30 so 5:15 it was and we all got there about the same time.  We had a nice corner booth and it was cozy.  Here’s the view looking out from our booth:

There was a fabulous jazz band playing too!  I found that unusual since it was so early.  Usually music doesn’t start until later in the evening, so that was a pleasant surprise:

Here’s the interesting thing in the bathrooms (hubby told me they had similar portraits in the men’s bathroom).  There were three portraits which I’m guessing were a mother, father and child.  When you moved you got a different view.  A normal view:

And then the hellish view:

IMG_1053Here are the happy couple and a couple of diners (hubby and another friend of ours):

Hubby couldn’t help but notice familiar paintings on the walls.   I wouldn’t have known this, good thing he tagged along ;) They had Ralph Steadman paintings on the walls near our table so I took a couple of shots of them.  Ralph Steadman was Hunter Thompson’s illustrator and lookie, he has a website.

I haven’t even gotten to the wonderful food!! Alas, I forgot to take photos of the food.  I don’t recall what everyone else had but I do know that everyone was happy with their food.   I remember what I had and it was hellishly delicious!!  They serve breakfast items all day long and I was intrigued by their juevos rancheros which is described thusly: A crisp flour tortilla with buttery hash browns, spicy black beans, soft-scrambled eggs and a 3-cheese topping, all baked to a golden brown. Topped with hand-chopped salsa and a dollop of sour cream.  MMMMMM!! YUM!!

I highly recommend this restaurant and if you’re in Minneapolis and staying downtown, high tail it over here for some good eats!

Hell’s Kitchen

Hell's Kitchen on Urbanspoon


Filed under Food, Minnesota, Restaurant reviews

Travel theme-Bridges

Ailsa’s(Where’s my backpack) theme this week is bridges.  Please check out more entries for this week at this link. There are some great ones again this week.  This was fun because I found some oldies but goodies!  

First one from the past is  Miss M and me on the bridge near our cabin in Akeley:

Sitting on the bridge

Another one from the past.  Miss M and me on the Stone Arch bridge in Minneapolis near my work place.  Hubby stayed home with her during her first year and they came to have lunch with me one day and we took a walk.  You can see the ill-fated 35W bridge through the railing in the distance, about 6 years prior to its collapse:

stone arch bridge

The Stone Arch Bridge:

stone arch bridge 2

The 3rd Avenue bridge and falls:

3rd avenue bridge, falls

Next, let’s go to northern Minnesota and one of our favorite places to camp, Jay Cooke State Park.  Sadly, the swinging bridge washed away last summer after torrential rains produced the worst flooding in the area in 40 years.

Yes, it was a huge amount of water to come up that high to take out that bridge!  We make reservations for a particular spot in their campground every year and there was so much damage that the park closed and everyone that had reservations got refunds.  We were very disappointed but of course we understood.  Hopefully we’ll be able to go this summer.  Here are a couple more photos of the swinging bridge from years past:



Filed under Challenges

A day at the art museum

On our recent trip to Duluth I saw billboards for the Minneapolis Institute of Arts along the highway.  The one that grabbed my attention said Picasso.  And I love Picasso!  And so here is an instance where marketing actually worked.  That billboard gave me the desire to visit this fine museum again.  I believe the last time I went was on a field trip with my daughter’s 2nd grade class.  She’s now in 7th grade so that tells you how long it’s been.  Alas, I saw no Picasso!  We will just have to go back again soon.  There is too much to see in one visit.  And since it’s free, all the more reason to visit more often.

Since it was noon we decided to have lunch in their restaurant, the Mezzanine before perusing the art.  We grabbed a museum guide so that we could decide over lunch what we wanted to see.  Here’s hubby waiting for lunch:

We each got their combo special today.  You had your choice of soup or salad, or soup and sandwich.  I had one, he had the other.  He chose the potato bacon soup with a half chopped salmon sandwich.  I chose the wild mushroom soup with their roasted beets salad.  We each had a cup of chianti as well. We were pretty happy with our choices. I definitely recommend this restaurant even if it’s on the spendy (that’s Minnesotan for pricey) side.  I took photos of our food but mine was too blurry so you only get to see his lunch:

Hanging in the entryway of the museum is a beautiful, bright yellow Chihuly sculpture which can be seen at the restaurant:


We knew we wanted to see the impressionist art but we were intrigued by the Prairie School Architecture and Design section that we saw on the map of the third floor.  Since it was on the way to the impressionism and we love Frank Lloyd Wright we stopped by this exhibit.  We were surprised and delighted to find such an interesting exhibit!  We saw models of Frank Lloyd Wright homes, chairs, a dining table and chairs, windows and doors.  One of the houses was demolished in 1972 and the bench seat was salvaged and rebuilt in the exhibit.  The house overlooked Lake Minnetonka and there is a large photograph behind the window to give the illusion of what it looked like within the actual house.  We spent about 20 minutes here, it was so cool!!  Here is a gallery of some of the things we saw.

I couldn’t resist snapping this great view of downtown Minneapolis:

Downtown Minneapolis from MIA with 24th Street below

Downtown Minneapolis from MIA with 24th Street below

On our way to see impressionist and other art I stopped to capture an architectural view of the museum from the inside:

The museum allows you to photograph anything as long as it’s not on loan and you cannot use a flash.  Luckily there is plenty of light that flash is not needed.  I was able to snap several pieces of art that I enjoyed today.  I hope you enjoy this mini tour of some of the art at the MIA.

Being full with many works of art we decided to call it a day.  On our way out I saw this huge picture of a man at the end of a few successive rooms and thought this was a pretty cool view:

And since we were so close to our favorite music store, The Electric Fetus, we decided to stop in.  I needed to buy the CD by the Grammy winning group “fun” and hubby always needs to check their used vinyl section.  He found two that he absolutely could not live without and I got the one I wanted plus Yo La Tengo’s latest.  Here he is with one of his “prizes” outside the front door:

It was a great outing complete with a nice, warm lunch, some great art and new music to listen to.  If you’re an art lover and live in or are visiting the twin cities, I highly recommend this museum.  What we saw today just barely scratches the surface of all the museum contains.  There is something for everyone here so do stop by!


Filed under Minnesota, Travel

Weekly Photo Challenge – Beyond

Oh boy, another photo challenge!  I have a few to share for this challenge.  To see more entries click here.

Look beyond the spoon and cherry at the Walker Sculpture garden to see a bit of downtown Minneapolis and the Basilica of St. Mary:

Look beyond in the distance to see a bit of the Badlands in South Dakota:

And look beyond the trees and rocks to find Mt. Rushmore:


Filed under Challenges

Pracna on Main, the oldest operating restaurant in Minneapolis

I recently had dinner with friends at Pracna on Main.  I had never been there before nor have I been to St. Anthony Main in quite a long time.  It was nice to be next to the river again after some 12 or 13 years.  I used to work just across the river and on occasion I would visit this area that has several shops and restaurants and a movie theater.  The last time I was there was when a friend was visiting.  We took the trolley tour and had a great time.  I recommend it highly. It’s a fun way to see the city of Minneapolis and learn a bit about its history.

One of the friends that I met works for the owner of the restaurant and recommended the mini corn dogs to start off.  They are made with sugar instead of corn syrup, and according to my friend, they are sweeter but I couldn’t tell the difference.  She also said that they flash freeze them so that the sugar doesn’t burn when they deep fry the corn dogs.  They were really yummy and they’re served with state fair mustard.

We all had something different.  One had the garlic cheese bread which is described like this: French bread with roasted garlic butter, & mozzarella, served with marinara. We saw a plate of them being served and she just had to have them. My other friend had their French onion soup and it looked delicious as well.  I had their grilled cheese sandwich with cole slaw.  Their version of grilled cheese had three different cheeses: provolone, cheddar and swiss and it’s served on seven-grain bread.  It was fabulous!  The cole slaw was also quite good and a bit sweeter than most cole slaws  that I’ve had.  We ended the meal with these teeny tiny sundaes with ice cream from a nearby shop.  Mini scoops of vanilla ice cream, a little hot fudge and then some caramel swirls on the plate the ice cream cup was on and they’re eaten with tiny spoons.  Oh yum!! It was the perfect amount of dessert and ended the meal very nicely.

The friend who works for the owner told us an interesting ghost story related to Pracna on Main.  Here are her words: “There has been a rumor for years that the guy who started Pracna (Frank Pracna)haunts the place. And for years (not sure if they still do this but it was a tradition for a while) after the wait staff would put up all the chairs and sweep and mop the floors, the manager would let them out to ‘lock up’ and right before he/she would leave they would take one chair from the same table in the front kinda spooky corner table with a view of the Mississippi, and turn it back down. They told the staff the ghost did it, and in the morning when they came in they would find that chair down and thought the ghost of Pracna put down the chair so he could watch the river at night.” She also told us that the area itself is said to be haunted and that there are tours one can take.  It’s true, I found the website!

I highly recommend Pracna on Main.  Their menu is basic but there is something to please everyone.  I sure left there happy.


Filed under Food, Minnesota, Restaurant reviews