June 22, 2008

College Reunion; or, The many ice creams of the Twin Cities

I recently went back to the Twin Cities, Minneapolis/St Paul, Minnesota, for my college reunion. Now, it seems that many people (especially Californians, for whatever reason) are sadly ignorant of these wonderful cities. Here is a sample of some of the questions I've been asked by seemingly intelligent, well-educated Californians when I tell them that I went to college in Minneapolis/St Paul:

-Where's that?
-That's so far north. Doesn't it get cold there?
-Is St Paul a small town?
-Minnesota? Is that a city or a state?

-North of Iowa, west of Wisconsin...wait, you don't know where Wisconsin is either?
-Um, yes.
-No. It is the capital of Minnesota, and the Twin Cities metro area has a combined population of 3.2 million.
-For pete's sake people, did you not take 5th grade geography?!)

In any case, let's just say that Minneapolis and St Paul are delightful places and I will gladly take any excuse to go back and visit, especially during the early summer months, when the whole place is in bloom, the trees and grass a vibrant shade of green and the locals taking advantage of every minute of the nice weather, since they know it won't last.

In addition to reconnecting with long-lost classmates, I also spent much of the trip eating. In two short days I consumed an embarrassing amount of ice cream, which isn't all that unusual for me I suppose, but I had an excuse this time: 1) the Twin Cities have some great local creameries, and 2) Los Angeles, my current home town, has none, as far as I can tell (Seriously, if anyone knows of a great place to get ice cream in LA that is not a Pinkberry or Coldstone or other chain store, let me know).

Some photos from my trip:

Campus: The dorms I got stuck in definitely weren't this pretty.

College was such a blur... I can't believe I spent a whole year in this horrid room.

Spoonbridge and Cherry, in the Walker Art Museum's sculpture gardens

All that art made me hungry. Conveniently located a short stroll from the Walker, Sebastian Joe's makes some fantastic ice cream.

Cinnamon Crunch ice cream- cinnamon ice cream with graham crackers. Seriously good- I'm going to try to make this at home. The cone is a homemade waffle cone coated in chocolate and heath bits. The chocolate and heath went well with the ice cream, but the the waffle cone itself was so-so.

My favorite creamery in the Twin Cities- Izzy's in St Paul. I love everything this place does.

With every scoop you order, you also get a free "izzy"- basically a mini-scoop on top. This is "Irish Moxie" (irish cream and coffee ice cream with chocolate cookies and toffee bits) with a Norwegian Chai izzy. Don't know exactly what's in the norwegian chai - although it has a prominent cardamom flavor- but it's one of my favorites. The Irish Moxie was also fantastic.

While I didn't get a chance to visit it this time around, no tour of the creameries of the Twin Cities would be complete without the Grand Ole Creamery, a St Paul institution. Their ice cream is always superb and they make the best waffle cones, always with a malt ball in the bottom to prevent drippage.

Sebastian Joe's
1007 W Franklin Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55405-3138
(612) 870-0065

Izzy's Ice Cream
2034 Marshall Avenue
Saint Paul, MN 55104

Grand Ole Creamery
750 Grand Avenue
Saint Paul, MN 55105
(651) 293- 1655

June 10, 2008

Field Photos: San Luis Obispo County, Calif.

I'm on the road and working far away from home, so please excuse the lack of food-related content and enjoy these photos. Suffice it to say the work is not interesting enough to even describe, but the scenery sure is lovely.

Sunrise near Paso Robles, a lovely place to be.

He thinks he's a goat...

Shoe repair, anyone?

Farm near Paso Robles...lots of farms 'round here.

House fall down.

Port San Luis, near Avila Beach.