March 11, 2007

Life on the Road

Last year I travelled a lot for vacation: Budapest, San Francisco, St. Thomas... This year I seem to be travelling a lot for work, but the destinations aren't nearly as exotic: West Chester PA, Dublin OH, and I just got back from Minneapolis.

I actually had really wanted to go to the Twin Cities, mostly to see Mall of America. But I also had this idea that my hometown Syracuse was very midwestern and that I would feel at home if I visited some actual cities in the Midwest. I was wrong.

MOA yee-hawWhen I went to Colorado a couple years ago, I was struck by how western it was. I felt the same way about Minnesota. I'd been to the Midwest before, but mostly Chicago and Ohio and Detroit, which are more "mid" than "west." In Minneapolis, even in the Mall of America, I felt like I'd come home to the prairie.

I'm bummed actually because I'm a big follower of Laura Ingalls Wilder lore and I think my quick trip made me miss out on a bunch of stuff, but I'm sure I'll find my way back to Walnut Grove at some point (and South Dakota, and Wisconsin, and Wyoming...).

Even during a quick business trip, though, I had some good eats while I was in town. Immediately upon my arrival I bolted to Fuddrucker's, where I had the best burger of my life. The eating continued at the mall when I had a coffee-flavored peanut butter, marshmallow and pretzel pressed sandwich at P.B.Loco (which is kind of doing the same thing as Peanut Butter & Co). And I managed to save just enough appetite to have a good steak salad and the locally-brewed lager Leinenkugel at the Firelake steakhouse downtown. So much for detox. At least our waiter was dreamy.

My last night in Minneapolis we had a great business dinner at the city's best Italian restaurant, Zelo, whose architecture is particularly interesting with gothic arches in this old furrier's shop.

I really wish I'd had more time to check out the city but it was really all about running from meeting to meeting and then meal to meal. At least my hotel (the Millenium, which is a bit run-down but served its purpose) was centrally located on Nicollet Mall, so even though my early morning schedule kept me from really going out at night, I did get to see some stuff. Orchestra Hall looks beautiful at night with lots of twinkly lights (and the ice and snow that was left over from the area's last storm). Walker Art Center is a definite must-visit for next trip.

breakfast pizzaHad a bit of a hard time getting back last Tuesday, with high winds over LaGuardia causing many airlines to cancel flights. I was stuck in Chicago O'Hare for a bit, but I busied myself eating a breakfast pizza at Wolfgang Puck's. When in doubt, eat food you've never had before. Always entertaining.

So now I'm back safe and sound, and ready to head to Miami and OH next week. I promised myself I would take a vacation to Nashville this year...I hope I can stick to that plan...

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