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.
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.
The Garden State soundtrack was the soundtrack of my young adulthood.
The movie and the music resonated with what my friends and I were feeling in college. It captured our coming-of-age angst, anxiety, uncertainty, and desire for something more. Whatever more was. We weren’t quite sure (and probably still aren’t). But we knew it sometimes felt like that Shins song or trying to let ourselves feel like whatever we were actually feeling, falling in love with our best friend, or screaming into an infinite abyss. Watch a clip of the movie scene here.
This Minne-RoadTrip series of posts is sponsored by Visit Owatonna, Visit Faribault and Visiting Northfields. This meal was hosted by Visit Faribault.
I’m dedicating this short post to one of the most surprising dining experiences I’ve ever had.
After enjoying peanut butter porter at F-Town Brewery, my Faribault guide Kelly took me to dinner at The Depot located a few blocks away.
The Depot restaurant is located in a historic train depot building. According to this document on the Minnesota Historic Society, the Rock Island Train Depot was built in 1902. This depot was the biggest in Rice County and the train line served to connect southern Minnesota to Chicago and St. Louis. Chef Jeff LaBeau, a well-known chef in the community, owns the restaurant. His website mentions that he taught at the culinary program at Minnesota State Community and Technical College. This is where I completed a year of culinary school before we moved to Iowa.
The Depot menu offers a variety of American comfort dishes such as burgers, walleye, flatbreads, and appetizers. They make their fried cheese curds with the popular Faribault Dairy curds that sell out each week at the Cheese Cave. Other items include the famous Amablu cheese.
Read my post about visiting the Cheese Cave here.
Where else is a flimsy paper thimble of frozen beans and rice entrée, a cracker, three fruit snacks, mini lunch meat sandwich, sip of energy drink, chocolate-covered pretzel, grape, dumpling, and a hair-skin-nails supplement gummy a meal?