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2 July, 2012

Minneapolis Blogging: Lowry Hill and Final Food Destinations

Posted in : Coffee Shops, Dining in Minneapolis - MN, Restaurants, Travel, Travel Guide for Minneapolis, MN on by : The Gourmez

View of downtown Minneapolis from our hotel room. Click for a better view.

 

In the last Minneapolis Blogging post, we had some tasty treats on Eat Street after an afternoon spent at the Sculpture Garden. What could possibly be left to do in Minneapolis on this five-day trip? A stroll through Lowry Hill and around the Lake of Isles and a few more memorable meals, that’s what. Lowry Hill is an upscale and midscale residential district directly south of downtown, and I discovered quite a lot of lovely houses with gardens as I walked through it.

I love when ivy overtakes a home.

Wouldn’t you like that porch?

I also reached my brunch destination, the Lowry (2112 Hennepin Avenue).

They bill themselves as an urban dinner with a focus on burgers, whiskey, oysters, and eggs.

The décor was quite appealing—this is a cozy, swanky place arranged with two main rooms in a V pattern. Matchboxes and notepads decorate each table. Their drink list is full of appealing offerings, and I chose the passion fruit pisco.

Am I ever glad I did. Look at that gorgeous drink! Each sip was just as perfect as the appearance. It came out in three layers: foamed egg whites on top, then passion fruit pulp, and pisco with lemon juice and sugar syrup on the bottom. The taste was like fresh-squeezed lemonade jazzed up with passion fruit and tempered with the mild heat of the bitters. The cocktail had a lot of depth and was great fun to drink.

My food was just as good.

That was a spinach frittata, and it was full of surprises. The first was that all the mixings were piled artfully on top of, rather than cooked with, the egg. It was an unusual, but highly successful, frittata arrangement. The spinach and basil were shredded, which made them excellent for forkfuls, and you know you all like the texture of shredded iceberg lettuce. This was like that but with, you know, taste. Then there was the unexpected oven-roasted tomatoes full of warm, bursting flavor. The brie and parmesan added nutty, bold tastes that complimented each bite. I cannot recommend this dish enough. Even the hash browns were unique. The outer crust was perfectly browned, but the inside was almost creamy, and the seasonings were pulled off well, which is a harder feat for hash browns than you’d think. Only complaint? The sourdough bread had very little sour to it.

After that amazing meal, it was off to the Lake of Isles. I was unsatisfied with my earlier excursion to the Chain of Lakes, so I wanted to get to the waterfront again, and it’s only a few miles from downtown Minneapolis. I love walking.

Click on the panoramas if you want a larger view. The islands of the Lake of Isles are located in the middle of the images, and I found myself reminded of Tom Sawyer’s Island at Disneyland, wondering if these are nearly as fun. There is also a lovely waterway between the Lake of Isles and Lake Calhoun.

One of these days I’m going to try kayaking. But this day was not that day. Instead, I backtracked and found the Midtown Greenway path, one of Minneapolis’s millions of pathways, to take back toward downtown. I turned off it at Lyndale Ave., my legs telling me I had best head back toward the hotel soon. Luckily, a break was in sight at Caffetto Café (708 West 22nd Street).

That is my type of coffee shop—totally chill with a weird mismatch of decaying nautical imagery and bright, bold artwork that you know has been on one too many benders. The iced coffee was serviceable, but more imaginative offerings would have been appreciated.

After that refreshing pause, I continued back north toward the hotel and through a particularly beautiful and intriguing highway underpass.

Why hello, little fella. Why do you feel so blue?

And thus ended my jaunts through Minneapolis. Never fear! There were still two more meals to enjoy! That night, dinner was at Kieran’s Irish Pub (601 1st Ave. North), part of an end-of-conference party for the author wife of one of Ben’s conference friends.

The karaoke party was held in the poet’s corner room, which had nifty lamps emblazoned with images of various literary figures.

Foodwise, Kieran’s was a bit below average for me. The pretzel rolls were warm and delicious, but the stout cheddar cheese served with them was much like Velveeta with a mild tang.

The smoked sausage bites were sweetness and grease overload.

That’s bacon wrapped around sausage and served drizzled with maple syrup. Everyone else found them delectable. They thought much the same of the stuffed mushrooms.

As mushrooms are my worst rating, you can guess that I didn’t try them.

That last image is their macaroni and cheese served up with two large sausages. Ultimately, I think I just didn’t like their sausage. It was too much like breakfast sausage in taste and texture, which I do not enjoy. The macaroni and cheese was pretty good, and penne was a fun change from the normal elbows, though penne and cheese would be a more apt name. Honestly, I can’t blame them for that—people would probably have no idea what it was without macaroni in the name.

And because Ben can’t sing karaoke without me posting a picture, here you go.

Ben

New friends belting out a song together.

Breakfast our last morning was at the Keys at the Foshay, which was very popular on a Sunday morning with a fast wait.

Keys’s bakery case.

Look at that awesome whipped-cream-lumps design on the pies.

Keys’s interior.

 

Of course, I had to try their bloody mary. Some things are just required.

Props to Minneapolis for unusual bloody mary toppings (remember the Big Pickle last year?), but the drink itself was just okay. Nice seasoning-salt rim, though. Ben went healthy for his breakfast, choosing granola, fruit, and yogurt.

Then he went not so healthy with a side of cinnamon bread.

Don’t worry, that’s strawberry preserves, not ketchup served with it. I eschewed all things healthy and chose the Our Own Creation omelette.

It comes with sautéed broccoli, onions, moist pulled turkey, and thick, melted swiss cheese stuffed inside the thin egg layer. This is no reinvention of the wheel, but it is absolutely a satisfying breakfast that manages not to venture toward greasy—unless you count the wonderfully gooey cheese of course. Overall, Keys is a great destination for simple American breakfast fare, and I wish I had room for pie.

The reason I didn’t have room, though, was because I knew I wanted to hit the newly opened Angel’s Food Bakery and Coffee Bar (86 South 9th St.) before we had to set out for the plane. It’s located right above and connected to Hell’s Kitchen, which had some amazing lemon ricotta pancakes, if you remember from my previous post. Angel Food did not disappoint.

First of all, how much fun is it that Angel Food has an ultra-white palette when Hell’s Kitchen is all gothic red and black? Totally fun. The space is almost all bakery with just a small counter for about four people to linger over. We did just that with a well-crafted macchiato—

—and an amazing cookies and cream cupcake.

That cupcake was so worth putting off the pies at Keys. It was all chocolate on the bottom, and the top did a great job of mimicking Oreo’s cream, except with less preservatives, so BETTER!

I could not have found a more delicious way to bid adieu to Minneapolis this time. Keep on being awesome, fair city.

Thanks for reading the Minneapolis Blogging series, and if you want some more pictures from Lowry Hill and the Lake of Isles, click here.

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