Minnesota Nice

Minnesota Nice

October 1, 2015


I stand beneath the massive sculpture, MOLECULE, by Mark Di Suvero,
at the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden.

Residents of Minnesota have a reputation for being nice, Minnesota Nice. Throughout a week visit with our daughter and her husband, Dale and I experienced much of the “nice” that the Minneapolis area has to offer. Not only did its residents radiate niceness, but we found plenty of “nice” things to see and do in the area, particularly eating at the array of regional restaurants. Among popular local items on Minneapolis menus are: Walleye, caught in the Minnesota lakes, Juicy Lucy Hamburgers, originating in Minneapolis, and Cheese Curds, from nearby Wisconsin.  All of these tastes of Minnesota, and more, left a “wonderful taste in our mouths”. :o)

A Few of Our Many Delicious Meals

Mike and Martese, our daughter and her husband,
eating at Big Bowl Chinese and Thai Restaurant.

Dale, Martese and I enjoy a beautiful evening at
McCormick’s Pub & Restaurant in cute Wayzata.
The BLT was delicious!IMG_7600IMG_7602.JPG

A stroll along Lake Minnetonka, after our McCormick’s dinner, allowed us  room for dessert, a Ben & Jerry’s ice cream cone. :o)

Good company and good food, lunching by Lake Minnetonka,
with our son-in-law’s family, at scrumptious Lord Fletcher’s .

This cute vintage display greets visitors to The General Store Cafe and Bistro.

Delicious and ginormous popovers, with honey butter,
are a General Store Cafe specialty.

 I bought this bag of Minnesota Wild Rice from the General Store,
next to the cafe,. (See the recipe that I use it in, below.)


 The Galaxy Drive-in was a fun place for a milkshake.
I even ran into Elvis there!




We paid a visit to the 5-8 Club, once a speakeasy,
and home of the original Juicy Lucy (a cheese-stuffed hamburger).
I happily devoured my burger, along with the Deep Fried Cheese Curds appetizer that we three shared.

 To read about the 5-8 Club’s history, click here.

Walking Along

With all of the yummilicious food that Dale and I ate on our Minnesota visit, some exercise was definitely required!  We chose to walk, and there were plenty of venues to do so.


Even at the age of 13, Jax still loves going on walks,
and joined us on several during our Minnesota stay.
Jax, was our family dog for over ten years.
When Dale and I left for overseas in 2013,

Jax got a new home with, then newlyweds, Martese and Mike.

Dale and I, and Jax, spotted swans and a muskrat (I think) on our walk in a pretty little park near our daughter’s home.

While taking a leisurely walk by Lake Minnetonka, we discovered the
Great Northern Depot and it’s fun Garden Wayzata Model Railroad that was operating that day!

For a glimpse of this model railroad on the move, click here.

Dale and Martese look around the historic Minnehaha Railroad Depot, nicknamed the Princess Station for its gingerbread trim.

To read more in-depth, and view some great photos, of this piece of history, click here.


We all enjoyed the beauty of Minnehaha Falls.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s famous poem,
The Song of Hiawatha,
refers to Minnehaha Falls. 

Hear a roaring and a rushing,
Hear the Falls of Minnehaha
Calling to me from a distance!

Interestingly enough,
Longfellow never actually visited the falls.
To read the complete poem, click here.

Culture, Entertainment, Family and Friends

Minneapolis is a pretty city filled with many wonderful restaurants, as mentioned above, cultural exhibits, and entertainment. We enjoyed these, plus enjoyed time spent with family and friends.


by Oldenburg and Van Bruggen, is the centerpiece of the Walker Art Center’s Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. This smile-inducing, oversized kitchen utensil, complete with a cherry on top, has become a Minneapolis icon.
In warmer weather, the artwork also serves as a mist fountain.


Martese and I were excited to be out for an evening of dinner and the theatre. Downtown’s Smack Shack served delicious seafood meals of
Lobster Roll and Shrimp Po’ Boy.

The humble beginnings of this trendy Minneapolis hot spot began several years ago in a food truck. 

It has since evolved into this popular eatery, even gaining notoriety by being featured on The Food Network’s Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.



A short drive from the restaurant, The Orpheum Theatre’s, bright lights proclaim the title of our show, Rogers and Hammerstein’s, Cinderella.

The Orpheum Theatre was once owned by singer/song writer,
Bob Dylan, who grew up in Minnesota and attended Minneapolis’s
University of Minnesota for a time.
Dylan rescued the old theatre building from ruins, and after nine years,
he sold the theatre to the City of Minneapolis.

For an interesting article about Dylan’s tenure as owner of the Orpheum, click here.

One of my favorites as a child, was the annual showing of
Rogers and Hammerstein’s, Cinderella, staring Leslie Ann Warren.
Later, as a mother, I watched it with Martese on video tape.
I recently bought this musical on DVD.



Seeing the performance of Cinderella with Martese was extra special .

An evening of playing Settlers of Catan with “the kids”
and their fun friends.
I did not win.  :o(


A special treat, while in Minnesota, was a reunion with
my former pen pal and friend, Caralee. Through the miracle of Facebook,
we found each other a few years ago, after losing touch for many years.
We discovered that Caralee lived only a few miles from my daughter,
so, when in Minnesota this trip, we met up at a local Panera.
Although, it had been over 40 years since we had last seen each other, it was
great to find that Carolee was still as sweet as I had remembered her! 

To read a blog post about my earlier visit to Minneapolis, please click here.


This Minnesota Wild Rice Soup recipe has been a family favorite for years. The original recipe was in an Iowa State Alumni magazine, The Iowa Stater, in May 2000, listing  several residence dining hall recipes, requested by alum. Wild rice, a key ingredient, is often difficult to locate in Maryland,  but thanks to the bag purchased at the Minnesota General Store, I was able to make this tasty soup as soon as I got back home.

Over the years, I have tweaked this recipe, to fit my family’s taste.
For the original recipe and more ISU residence dining hall favorites, click here.
Thank you to The Iowa Stater for permission to use this recipe!


Minnesota Wild Rice Soup

1/2 cup wild rice, uncooked
32 oz. box of chicken broth, or chicken stock
2-3 chicken boullion cubes
1 whole, peeled onion
1/4-1/3 cup carrots, diced
1/4 cup celery, diced-optional
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup flour
1/8 tsp. white pepper, ground, or black pepper
1 1/2 qt. skim milk
2.25 oz. almonds, slivered
1/2-1 pound ham, cooked and diced

Combine wild rice, chicken broth, bullion cubes, whole onion, diced carrots and if desired, diced celery.
Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 35 minutes, or until rice is tender. Melt butter. Combine flour and pepper; add to melted butter to make a roux.
Add half of the milk to the roux. Cook, stirring constantly, until thickened.
Add the remaining milk, and the rice/vegetable mixture to the thickened milk.
Continue cooking, stirring constantly, not allowing to boil.
Add the slivered almonds and diced ham.
Continue cooking until the starch flavor is gone and flavors have blended.
Remove onion, if desired.

Thanks so much for reading. :o)


I attempt to post my blog bi-monthly. Look for my next post around October 27.

A big thank you to all of my faithful blog followers!!!
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I couldn’t resist posing with this cardboard Chewbacca
during the Target (a Minneapolis based company)
Star Wars Force Friday Event. 

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13 Responses to Minnesota Nice

  1. Jennifer Sharpe says:

    Sounds wonderful Annette.

    Much love Jenny xx


  2. Mom says:

    Great pictures and blog. Made me hungry with all the food pictures. M


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