Yeah, we’ve been back for several days, and I’ve been meaning to post something about our Minneapolis trip, but I just haven’t gotten around to it until now.

For the most part, we had a great time in Minneapolis/St. Paul. We arrived there just short of 13:00 on Saturday, found parking in a surface lot near our destination, and walked the two blocks to complete the journey. Sarah and I met my parents at Zelo (831 Nicollet Mall), which is in downtown Minneapolis on a pedestrian corridor named the Nicollet Mall. While we had the option of sitting outdoors, the skies threathened rain, so we chose to sit indoors.

The restaurant itself is easy on the eye and the food to price ratio is generally reasonable. Sarah had a pizza, I had risotto with mushrooms and chicken (good), my father had a tomato basil soup and a grilled sandwich, while my mom had a salad of greens, meat, and the like. I’d steer clear of the chianti they sell by the glass. It is thoroughly average, and not worth $9.00/glass. If you find yourself with just a touch of space left in your belly after a meal, try their gelato sampler for a great end to the meal.

After lunch, we found accomodation at the Marriot downtown. We first tried the Radisson across the street, but the Red Sox were staying there, and all their other rooms were booked. We decided that the Red Sox were staying there because of the number of autograph seekers waiting outside of the hotel at all hours.

After a brief rest, it was off to the Metrodome where we saw Brad Radke and the Twins defeat Derek Lowe and Red Sox in a close game. Doug Mientkiewicz, the Twins first baseman, had been traded to the Red Sox earlier in the day, so he started at first base for the Red Sox. The Twins won the game after Jacque Jones hit a solo home run in the bottom of the eigth innning to break a tie.

After the game, my parents returned to South Dakota. Sarah and I wandered the Warehouse District for a while, looking for a light dinner (as it was already 21:30, we didn’t want to eat a whole meal).

Eventually, we found a table at a restaurant named Bellanotte which is located across from the Target Center. What a weird place. The restaurant has this very nice pation with wicker sofas, coffee tables, a fountain, a bar, and the usual tables and chairs. It was staffed by people wearing the expected black wardrobe and was populated by many people clearly out to see and be seen. Over all of this, however, was blasting completely incongrous music. Occasionally, seventies funk, sometimes bad jazz, othertimes music that defied categorization but that was still really bad.

We had a light dinner and drinks there but would never go back. The food and drinks are wildly overpriced. And, while the patio itself could be nice, the music ruins whatever ambiance would normally exist.

Sunday morning, I made the completely unsurprising discovery the downtown Minneapolis is dead, dead, dead. Nothing is really open and there aren’t many people out and about.

Sarah and I found ourselves at Hell’s Kitchen for breakfast. It was there that I had the best pancakes I’ve ever eaten. They were light, golden, ever so slightly crunchy, and wonderfully flavored. Clearly, some mystery ingredient goes into the batter, but I couldn’t decipher what it was. In addition, I had a bowl of the Mahnomin Porridge – native wild rice with blueberries, sweetened cranberries, roasted hazelnuts, maple syrup and fresh cream. Really, really good stuff. Sarah had the bison sausage bread, which is a bread that has bison sausage, currents, nuts, cinnamon, and sugar baked into it. She said it also was really good.

If you go there, avoid the maple glazed bison sausage. They obviously make it in house and it was so awful that I couldn’t eat more than one bite. Maybe others who like really strong onion flavor and crunchy onion bits in their sausage will like it, but I found it disgusting.

In addition, if you go, make sure to get an order of toast. They make their own peanut butter and jams. I didn’t like the peanut butter very much (their secret is to add cinnamon sugar), but the jams were really, really, really good.

The staff at Hell’s Kitchen is funky, to say the least. They serve breakfast in their PJ’s and many of the staff have more interesting hair styles than waitstaff normally do in Midwestern restaurants.

After breakfast, we waddled over to the Twins game where we met our friends Sheri, Bryan, and Josh. There, we watched the Twins, behind Johan Santana, beat the Red Sox and Pedro Martinez in yet another close, exciting game where the deciding run was scored in the bottom of the eigth.

After the game, we visited Josh’s home to see his new dog, Carmen. No one knows exactly what sort of breeds make up Carmen, but our guess was that she is golden retriever and greyhound.

After a couple of hours there, it was time to hit the road and get back to Madison.