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6 Petty Chain Restaurant Hills On Which I’m Willing To Stand (But Not Die)

If you invited me to meet you for lunch at a chain restaurant seven years ago when I first started my blog, I would have recoiled in absolute horror. I was a food snob.

Now, it’s not that I think chain restaurants are the pinnacle of dining, but I like eating at them from time to time. I just do and understand if you don’t. Also, I’ve grown up and learned it’s crappy to make some one feel bad about where they like to eat.

Variety is the spice of life. That’s my motto, anyway. Let’s begin with the hill I’d be more willing to die on.

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Visiting Louis Sullivan’s First Jewel Box Bank: Owatonna, MN

This Minne-RoadTrip series of posts is sponsored by Visit Owatonna, Visit Faribaultand Visiting Northfield

I used to think architecture was boring. This all changed during a North Iowa bloggers tour in Chicago. One of our scheduled actives was going on an architecture boat tour. I thought it was going to be really boring but it wasn’t.

Just like how food’s never really just about the food, architecture isn’t just about the buildings. Architecture is art. The stories of buildings are the stories of people and their eras.

Located minutes from I-35 traveling north and south between Minnesota and Iowa is architect Louis Sullivan’s first and well-preserved Jewel Box Banks built in 1908.

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Testing Kitchen Gadgets: Microwave Egg Cookers & The Instant Pot

I used to think cooking pasta dishes in an Instant Pot was ridiculous until my family gave me one for Christmas.

I’m always a late adapter to trendy things; from creating a Twitter account to using bath bombs to getting an Instant Pot.

This all changed last month when I was trying to prep beef stew in the crock pot before work. Nine hours later, that dreaded thing happened. I walked back into my house and didn’t smell a thing. Upon opening my front door, the hopeful waft of cozy, fragrant slow cooked beef didn’t hit my face. Just the normal everyday smells of our dog and traces of my hollyberry wax melt. Noooooooooo.

“That’s it” I exclaimed. “This would never have happened if I had an Instant Pot.”

People may make mock me for microwaving scrambled eggs in the mornings, but if I can’t remember to turn on a crock pot, I’m not sure I want to juggle a hot pan. Chef Mike is all I want to deal with at 5:30 in the mornings before running to the bus stop.

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This Is Sort Of One Of Those End-Of-Year Posts: Highlights, Lowlights, Current State

Confession: I hate gift guides but I enjoy reading everyone’s “Best and Worst” end-of-year recaps.

Usually I publish something along the lines of “The 10 best foods I ate this year” type of thing. This year I’m writing something a little different.

One year ago, I was wrapping up a temp job I began soon after we moved back to the Twin Cities from St. Louis, MO. The data entry assignment at an ill-fitting desk wreaked havoc on my body.  The problem was that I was too efficient and so they kept extending my end date. I was in constant pain day and night. In December, I got pushy about requested an assignment that aligned more with my career interests.

The next gig led to a permanent job and this fall I finally got hired as an employee. I’m grateful for this job opportunity and for every day that my body feels normal enough that I don’t even think about it.

Each morning, I hop on the bus at 6:45 a.m. that heads to downtown Minneapolis. I love looking out the windows at all of the glittering buildings and bridges as we cross the Mississippi river.

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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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