Author: Jeni (page 1 of 138)

Friday Lunch at the Russian Tea House: St. Paul, Minnesota

There’s an old house along University Avenue in St. Paul with a sign that reads “Russian Piroshki and Tea House.”

Since moving back o the Twin Cities, we’ve driven by the tea house often, curiously commenting that we’d like to visit sometime.

Linda and Nikolai Alenov have actually operated the Russian Tea House for over 40 years. Nikola’s brother Pete used to operate a famous guitar shop in the house, too, called Pete’s Guitars, until his passing in 1998. Bono, Alton Brown, George Harrison and Bob Dylan are noted as guests. According to this Citypages article, Alton Brown described the tea house as his favorite stop in Feasting on Asphalt: The River Run.

One thing to know is that the tea house is only open on Fridays between 11-3pm. 

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Contented Cottage Bed & Breakfast: Northfield, Minnesota

This Minne-RoadTrip series of posts is sponsored by Visit Owatonna, Visit Faribault and Visiting Northfield. A special thanks to Visiting Northfield for hosting this chapter. 

Bed and Breakfasts are my favorite places to stay on trips. Jake likes the complete anonymity of staying in a hotel. I prefer feeling like I’m staying in someone’s home. Bed and breakfast hosts have always gone out of their way to share hospitality and travel advice. I’ve also met some really interesting people around the breakfast table ranging from a pair of retirees chasing Frank Lloyd Wright architecture, a couple who just returned from serving in the Peace Corps, and an aircraft engineer.

During this Northfield leg of my fall Minne-RoadTrip, I spent one evening at the Contented Cottage Bed and Breakfast.

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Ode To Leeann Chin’s Cream Cheese Wontons

Leeann Chin was probably my first favorite restaurant. And Leeann Chin’s cream cheese wontons were one of my first true loves.

Back when I grew up, Leann Chin was a treat. I grew up in the southern suburbs which didn’t offer a large variety of cuisines. Restaurants were typically fast food or sit-down; fast-casual concept hadn’t gained momentum yet. Leeann Chin made it convenient and affordable to grab tasty Chinese food. I could usually talk my folks into visiting a Leeann Chin between their stops for burgers.

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The Food Post: Northfield, Minnesota

This Minne-RoadTrip series of posts is sponsored by Visit Owatonna, Visit Faribault and Visiting Northfield. A special thanks to Visiting Northfield for hosting this chapter. 

When my guide mentioned that Hallmark filmed a Christmas movie in Northfield last year, I was surprised but also not really surprised.

Northfield is a college town located about 40-minutes south of the Twin Cities. The picturesque campuses of St. Olaf and Carleton lie on opposite sides of the Cannon River.

The main street area is lined with independently owned shops, antique stores, and restaurants. One of Northfield’s claims to fame is thwarting a Jesse James bank robbery in 1875. You can swing by the Northfield Historical Society downtown and see part of the restored bank for yourself.

“Is Northfield like Stars Hollow?” a friend asked.

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Longfellow Neighborhood: Three Favorite Dining & Drinking Spots

Don’t ever refer to the Lake Street-Marshall Bridge as the Marshall Avenue bridge in the presence of Minneapolis residents.

Jake’s born and raised in St. Paul. He couldn’t imagine living anywhere else.

During my young adulthood, I lived in Minneapolis. I loved the lakes and the rose garden and how the streets predictably followed a grid. I never felt lost. Both of us spent most of our time in our respective cities and rarely crossed the river unless absolutely necessary.

Now we’re officially St. Paul residents who live here the Minneapolis-St. Paul border. St. Paul is known for being boring and wanting to stay that way. We find ourselves grumbling about our college student neighbors’ occasional late night bonfires and road construction detours routing too many cars down our quiet city street. It feels like a very St. Paul thing to do.

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