Downtown Dining

So, you’re visiting beautiful St. Paul and you’re downtown, at the Winter Carnival, say. It’s about noon, and you want a nosh. Where should you go? Here are some ideas.

The_St._Paul_Hotel_5

Right on Rice Park is the St. Paul Hotel, which has a couple of fabulous restaurants. The St. Paul Grill is the fancier (and more expensive) option, with a full bar, while the M Street Cafe downstairs is also very tasty, with the choice to order the buffet or off the menu. We highly recommend the scrumptious fried egg sandwich.

Landmark_Center_2012

Anita’s Cafe, also on Rice Park in the Landmark Center, serves breakfast and lunch, and has a daily lunch special. Their food is fresh and delicious (they’re also a catering company), and served cafeteria style so it’s quick. They’re also very reasonably priced. Yelp labels them as a Mexican restaurant, and they do serve some Mexican dishes, but their menu has a much wider range.

Pazzaluna-Exterior

Pazzaluna is a bit off Rice Park to the east, and a little expensive, but serves really good Italian food. We recommend going for happy hour if you want to enjoy the bar and sample their food offerings for a little less money. They recommend reservations.

Sakura

Sakura is a Japanese restaurant that serves excellent sushi, as well as other Japanese favorites like bento boxes (a personal favorite). It has a full bar as well as the sushi bar, and is open for lunch and dinner.

Meritage

Meritage, a fine French and seasonal restaurant, is also really close to Rice Park in the historic Hamm Building, and recommends reservations. Their food is as beautiful as it is delicious, and worth every penny. They have an outdoor terrace and an oyster bar, in addition to their lovely dining room.

Mickey's Diner

If you’re looking for something a little simpler, Mickey’s Diner has been offering diner food in an art deco dining car since 1939. It’s a St. Paul institution. Stop in for a malt or a meal and soak up the ambiance.

This is, of course, a mere sampling of the great dining options in downtown St. Paul, so you should explore on your own, but it’s a place to start.

 

 

Published in: on February 1, 2016 at 3:27 pm  Comments (2)  
Tags: ,

All Hail the Minnesota Winter!

A signature St. Paul event is happening this week – the St. Paul Winter Carnival.

The Winter Carnival, a tradition since 1886, is the oldest winter festival in the U.S. It was a response by local business owners to newspaper reports that the cold made the state virtually uninhabitable, and was designed to show off the beauties, and fun, of a Minnesota winter.

Boreas

The legend of the Winter Carnival centers around King Boreas, God of the Winds, and the Queen of Snows, who are holding court in St. Paul. They’re challenged by Vulcanus Rex, the God of Fire, Boreas’ implacable enemy. Boreas proclaims Carnival in St. Paul for ten days, and on the final day Vulcanus Rex storms Boreas’ ice castle. Not wanting to incite violence, Boreas retreats back to Olympus to dwell among the other gods there, and waits for ice and snow to enrobe St. Paul again next year.

Winter Court

2013-Vulcan-Krewe-thm

This story is acted out every year, with the courts of King Boreas, his brother winds, their princesses, and court officials, and Vulcanus Rex and his followers, and proceeds with the proper pomp and ceremony.

Ice sculptures

Ice Palace

The nexus of the carnival is Rice Park, located downtown St. Paul, where the ice sculptures are carved and displayed. This year there’s also a mini ice palace, made of 400 blocks of ice, an ice bar, and live music. Elsewhere are parades, the Snow Park with all sorts of fun family activities, the Disc Golf Ice Bowl, a snow plow competition, a cat show, and a winter run.

Medallion

And then there’s the Treasure Hunt. Daily clues appear in the St. Paul Pioneer Press, and if you decode them correctly they point the way to the medallion’s hiding place and a fair amount of money. Otherwise you get fresh air, exercise, and the joy of the hunt. This is a very popular tradition, with thousands of people participating and some very active online forums debating the minutiae of the clues. You can see evidence of the searchers’ enthusiasm in the missing piece of the Medallion above.

So come join the fun and help celebrate winter in Minnesota.

 

Published in: on February 1, 2016 at 6:54 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: