24 hours in Minneapolis – Minneapolis, Minnesota

The final post in this edition of Minneapolis is a whirl wind and that is because the last leg of this trip was that as well. I only had 24 hours after my last meeting to experience more of the city than the skyway and my office building. And luckily for me the weather was incredible!

Shop: I Like You

It is a little like the Made in Oregon store but for a younger or perhaps just more kitsch. T shirts, cards, candles, jewelry, art, you name it they have it all handmade in Minnesota  and in some way touting the Minnesota theme. It was lovely and had I had a larger suitcase with me more people would have received Minnesota themed gifts that year.

Do: Minneapolis River-walk

The Twin Cities is built around the Mississippi river and as such there is a very impressive expanse of walking trains around the area. I had a friend as a tour guide so we just took off and start taking pictures of the lovely scenery but if you are looking some sort of guidance this walking guide is quite nice.  It is about a 3 mile loop in all, it took us a few hours because we stumbled on a farmers market.

Eat: Mill City Farmers Market

The market is only only open on Saturdays BUT if you happen to find yourself in the area on a Saturday it is a must eat. Tons of vendors from snacks to sweets to full meals. Everything smelled amazing, we couldn’t decide so we just ate a lot of samples.

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Tour: Mill City Museum

Sadly I did not have time to go in, but the lobby of the Mill City Museum is impressive enough on it’s own for a stop through. The museum sits inside the ruins of what was once the largest flour mill in the world. Destroyed by a fire (did you know flour is explosive? I had no idea) the building was shored up and converted to a lovely history and art museum.

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Black Coffee and Waffle Bar- Minneapolis, Minnesota

The last time I was out in Minneapolis for work a friend and co-worker was kind enough to put me up for a night and show me around the town. I have been to Minneapolis plenty of times but have yet managed to really get a chance to see much outside the skyway area of downtown.

For brunch I was taken to a place called Black Coffee and Waffle Bar a small very Portland-esc café with an extensive waffle menu. I had the peanut butter and banana waffle because why on earth would you have anything else? Elvis would agree with me. But the peach pie waffle looked pretty stellar as well.

 

The lovely ladies at the coffee bar were not only incredibly kind and quick. They also made one of the best cappuccinos I have had outside of Europe. The medium was the correct size (in my opinion) a couple shots with a large amount of foam think and creamy toward the coffee and dry and fluffy toward the top. Perfection.

It was really nice after a week of being away from home, to not only pop in a place that felt more like the PNW but that which also offered lighter food. There is a large amount of really fantastic food in the Midwest, but many times I leave meals feeling heavy and tired. This was perfectly filling and light it left me ready to conquer a day of touring.

Parlour – Minneapolis, Minnesota

I have mentioned my love of hamburgers many times over. And I have also probably mentioned I am not terribly discriminatory either. As long as it is totally not wretched I will enjoy it. But there is one hamburger that will live in infamy that all others are held up to, Au Cheval in Chicago. This is not about that burger, but it comes pretty dang close.

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Knowing my love of hamburgers and old fashioned a good friend and co-worker insisted on taking me to Parlour the lower level bar of the rather nice dining establishment Borough.

I was sold the second I walked in. The sub-street level establishment is somehow richly but simplistically decorated in leather and dark teal velvet, the open beams and concrete walls make for a prefect after work vibe.

We started out with the Pineapple Bacon Popcorn, which caused much debate for the rest of the week as no one could quite figure out how they managed to make popcorn taste exactly like pineapple without making it soggy. They did it and it was incredible and somehow (though not surprisingly) we managed to order more as the night progressed.

We also all started with their Old Fashions which matched those served at Au Cheval, one down before our burgers even came. Burgers were consumed, fries were consumed. The burgers as I said were a close second to Au Cheval if not a tie. It’s hard to tell without a side by side.

Shortly after burgers and a round of old fashions things got out of hand. Single old fashions turned into too many old fashions and somehow a member of our party got talked into eating 5 burgers in an attempt to impress the waitress. Needless to say the waitress was neither impressed nor single as it turned out. And only 4.5 burgers were finished by the challenged. When midnight rolled around and he taped out the rest of us descended on the remaining burger like vultures before we skipped on home for the evening.

All in all it was one of the best nights I have had in the Minneapolis area and would highly suggest stopping in if you are looking for a casual night out. The restaurant and bar are both clean, the wait staff friendly and helpful and the food and drinks were clearly superb.

Hilton Minneapolis – Minneapolis, Minnesota

The last time I was in Minneapolis for work I was put up in the Hilton Minneapolis downtown but toward the end of the skyway. It is the third hotel I have stayed in for work out there and by far my favorite.

Despite the lobby being torn up for remodeling and the fact that every single time I went back to the hotel via the front entrance (rather than the skyway) I had to go through a different door the experience on a whole was quite lovely. I actually didn’t even mind the musical doors, it just made me chuckle.

The rooms were simple, clean and well equipped. Complete with hair dryer, nice sample sized shampoo, coffee pot and a TV with normal channels. Have you ever been to a hotel where they have cable but they have the strangest channels accessible?! So strange. The shower did not make strange squealing noises which seems to be common for me, and the temperate control was actually controllable.

They also had a really nice dining room/bar area. A REALLY great breakfast buffet full of fresh cut, not wilted sad, fruit. Fresh pastries, oatmeal, hard boiled eggs, tons of cereal choices, bagels, fresh lox and GREAT coffee. The gym on the mezzanine level was also nicely equipped, clean, new and not stuffy. I didn’t try to pool but plenty of other people did and they clearly loved it.

In addition to all the other pluses and a must have for any hotel in Minneapolis if you are there for work, is the connection to the skyway. Never have I spent more time in a place with such changeable and challenging weather. And while I still find it odd in concept, I find the skyway a complete lifesaver when getting to and from meetings pretty much year round. No more worrying about wearing or carrying things that work for both subzero or crazy hot and humid PLUS office. You can get from hotel to office without ever leaving a climate controlled environment even if it is several blocks away. Brilliant.

The Greatest Restaurant That is No More 

**Stained glass in the balcony**

In the winter of 2016 I was sent to Minneapolis Minnesota for work. It was cold, horribly horribly cold, like negative 12 degrees cold. I was in the process of buying a house and moving with my husband and being sent out to what was basically Antarctica for my mild weather loving PNW self was not exactly what I wanted to be doing.

**Carved glass pendant lights**

 

But there was a small little beacon that cheered me up, a coworker who knew my obsession with Art Deco architecture took me the Il Foro. A newly opened Italian restaurant and bar in the historic Forum Cafeteria.

**Is that not the most beautiful thing you have ever seen?**

 

The Forum Cafeteria was originally built in 1914 as a part of the Sax Theater. The building continued to change hands over the years, in 1930 the interior was updated with a Minnesota themed Art Deco interior including pine cones, trees and waterfalls.

**Viking motifs painted on beveled wall mirrors**

 

I spoke with one of the employees at Il Foro and he mentioned that at some point in the buildings history the building itself was set to be condemned but the cafeteria interior and façade was already on the national historic registry.

**Carved bakelite wall sconces**

So before the building was torn down, a team was brought in the map and document every single bit of the interior, which was then carefully removed, stored and eventually rebuilt in it’s new location. The façade however, is still missing somewhere in a storage facility under the city.

 

**Onyx pillars and pine cone carved tiles**

 

 

**Look at the corner**

 

I was so in awe of the Bakelite wall tiles, carved motifs, matching wall sconces, chandeliers and beveled mirrors I spent the entire evening just wandering around taking pictures. Thank goodness it was a slow night, otherwise I would have been all up in everyone’s space.

 

**Look at all those lights!**

 

 

**Can we just get a little zoom on these bakelite tiles**

Sadly and perhaps because they were nearly empty on a Thursday night, Il Foro closed it’s doors recently. I honestly do not know why, the food and service were excellent. However I have read a few articles about the construction of the building exterior and seemingly non spectacular façade making walk in traffic low.

**Carved trees and pinecones in onxy bakelite**

I am sure another restaurant will open in the space, it is after all protected by the national historic registry and should remain safety preserved no matter what businesses fill it’s space.

**This is just the banister to the balcony staircase**

 

If you ever find yourself in Minneapolis and want to see if another establishment has opened in the location, you can find it a 40S Seventh St. Minneapolis Minnesota.

 

**Just one more time for good measure, I swoon**

 

Questions:

Have you ever had the pleasure of seeing the interior of this building. What iteration of it’s life was that? Or if not are there any amazing art deco architectural gems near you?