Greeting Text

Following twenty years of farmer's markets selling locally grown vegetables, native fruits, and local honey Linda created Marianne's Kitchen in Shoreview, MN, an oasis of good food, conversation and laughter in a suburban food desert. Operating from 2011-2017 the cafe offered home made soups, fresh bread baked daily, great sandwiches and treats and a complete line of gluten-free soups, pickled products, jams, jellies, salsas and locally sourced soups, honey and grains.

The Marianne's Kitchen of sharing, conversation, and learning continues with ongoing commentary, food reviews and food finds as we grow, cook and eat our food and sample local restaurants.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Coffee Shop NE 1/22/2018...Well Run, Good Variety & Nice Ambience

A view of our leisurely lunch at Coffee Shop NE

We appreciate the variety on their menu---always several 'quiche of the day' options (today was turkey/spinach, & 3 veggie options) breakfast sandwiches, sandwiches, salads--today's side was chicken black bean & sweet corn (there were 3 other options)...& terrific cold brew

Good music. 

We also recognize how much they do in a postage stamp size prep space & with virtually NO equipment (Marianne's was a luxury kitchen by comparison).

...and having recently owned a food venue...we watched the owner take the shovel to clear the walk. Part of that benefit of being a biz owner. ....ahhh...& something we DON'T miss ; )

Lu's Sandwiches...2nd Visit & 2nd big "YES"

We wanted a quick, fresh, light dinner...some veggies, maybe some meat, maybe not.   Where to go, where to go?????

We headed down Central Avenue until we hit East Hennepin...then we circled a few blocks and decided that Lu's Sandwiches would offer something close to what we had in mine.  This is our second visit.

It's January, so no waiting.   Salads were calling both John and me.  I chose a chicken bowl with noodles, daikon/carrot slaw, mint (oh, that was
a good choice), cukes, lettuce, be topped with fish sauce (like a chicken Bun salad).  John opted for pork, lots of the same ingredients plus sliced fresh jalapenos (huh...I know that they leave the seeds and ribs in here...1 goes far enough).

I was exactly right.  The salads were great....light, very delicious and surprisingly ample meats, and just as I predicted...John started passing extra jalapeno
slices from his bowl into mine.   No worries...the way to handle these...pull out the seeds and ribs, cut into 3 or 4 pieces, and toss them around in your salad.   Just enough heat...but you still have the ability to taste the rest of your food.    And that fabulous fresh mint cools your palate after a spicy piece of jalapeno.

We give Lu's a big YES!!!

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Food Safety & Worker Safety & Water Quality At Risk

Marianne's Kitchen
Dara Grumdahl, local food critic, retweeted an announcement about changes in USDA food inspection in the pork processing industry.  It warrants your review as it essentially removes USDA inspection from the early stages of processing where the health of pigs is assessed.  Employees of the processing plant will determine the impact on hogs having parasites, diseases or cancer on your food.

Upton Sinclair's "The Jungle" alerted a nation which resulted in significant changes in meat processing.  Frankly, it's still a jungle and in many ways worse.

Marianne's KitchenGrowing up in Albert Lea it seemed that everyone had a neighbor or a relative that worked at "the plant,"  Wilson & Company.  Neighboring Austin was the home of Hormel and likewise a strong labor town.  For a good history, including the 1959 strike which resulted in a National Guard deployment I recommend "Packinghouse Daughter" by Cheri Register.

During my stint in "the plant" the meatpacking industry was on the cusp of many changes in safety, labor composition, farming and wages.

In the early 1970s wages were about $15/hour.  Fifty years later the national average is $10.48/hour.  During my time at Wilson's I believe the work force was 100% white.  Now it's 48% minorities, primarily Hispanic followed by Black and Asian.  Farmer's that raised a few hogs, living outside was pretty standard.  That's been replaced by large hog factories producing thousands of hogs per year.

Wilson & Company fell under pressure from newer, more automated plants and unfortunately burned to the ground.  Southern Minnesota and Northern Iowa have become the largest hog production areas in the country primarily due to I35 and I90 which lead directly to Hormel.

Early, Hormel was a leader in labor relations, and even in the 1970s the union held onto a one-year layoff notice for the workers.  Following the last of the family leadership Hormel began to meet the growing demand for meat in the American diet that escalated following WWII.  Automation allowed ever-faster "chain speed" the metric being the number of hogs processed per hour.

Ted Genoways' 2015 work, "The Chain: Farm, Factory and Fate of our Food" updates Sinclair's work
to today.  Not much has changed except it's much faster, still dangerous and producing consumer meat filled with antibiotics and hormones and dramatically polluting our drinking water because of huge hog operations.  Raised in containment buildings the waste is collected underneath the buildings and in massive manure pits.  In the spring and fall waste is dispersed on adjacent cropland. Runoff is unavoidable. In particular Northern Iowa and Southern Minnesota drinking water from streams and shallow wells ends up high in nitrates causing blue baby syndrome. 

Des Moines,  taking it's drinking water from the Des Moines River, now recognizes that communities must get aggressive.  While hog production defines the economy of the region much more than ever before, the pork industry continues to expand and directly and indirectly circumvent regulation, inspection and the protection of drinking water.

"The Chain..." also provides an update on pork industry labor, now dependent on a predominantly immigrant workforce and the dangers going to that $10.48/hour job.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Sikora's Polish Market & Deli in NE Minneapolis 1/20/2018

A little story about food...

Instead of patronizing corporate chain restaurants, I like to eat actual food (Panera Bread is now taking a cue from what I've talked about for years--they want the FDA to define 'egg'--because they, like Bruegger's and, yup, White Castle, are going to crack actual eggs. They want a leg up on all the chains serving the 17 artificial ingredient 'eggs' that are served ubiquitously across the U.S.).

But, I digress...

Sikora's is one of my places for food inspiration (& to practice reading my Polish). Today we picked up Gypsy Bacon & Ham plus sausages for grilling.  I can serve the sausages with the horseradish pickles I made on Thursday using the extra hot horseradish I bought on my last visit to
Sikora's (I made a batch for The Winkin' Rooster, too, because they were the #1 pickle I made at Marianne's. Ask Doug for some on Monday.).

For dessert, we can have some of the little pastries that Sikora's brings in or
a paczki--we're having the custard-filled today.

So we're going to have a day of food--not cancer-causing fries or a fecal beef hamburger made from chemically sanitized meat served on a bun devoid of everything except empty calories.

We started the day with an egg sandwich with tomato jam (the most overlooked product on the shelf at Marianne's & now at the Winkin' Rooster) and an egg bowl with sriracha sauce, potatoes & multi-grain bread-at MoJo Coffee and Gallery (since we were in the neighborhood).

Sikora's offers lots of traditional foods that have now found a new audience among local chefs & foodies who are addicted to eating & watching TV cooking shows.  My favorite example - juniper berry sausage. When I served anything with juniper berries at Marianne's 7 years ago, some Shoreview patrons took their 'I'm afraid of everything' one step back. Then a few brave souls took a chance & tried something unfamiliar. Guess what-- they liked it!

So, take a step out of your comfort zone--pick up one of the last jars of our tomato jam at the Winkin' Rooster & put it on a sandwich (or your darn hamburger!) or hop over to Sikora's & get a juniper berry sausage (there was only 1 left today).

Try something new, or something old that is new again & support a local business (the places that actually give you a choice instead of the 17 ingredient egg).

Enjoy some food today.

St. Agnes Bakery Closing...Here's Why

Here's the story--Update on the closing of the 20+ year old St. Agnes Bakery in St. Paul:

When ten of your bakers quit in fear, it's hard to run a bakery.  St. Agnes Bakery had ten bakers quit because of an impending ICE audit. 

One can blame all of the politicians who haven't been WILLING to write a current immigration policy for the United States of America...because they can continue to use it to manipulate voters...enough blame here to go around...and around...and around.

Shame on Congress.

As citizens who are paying Congressional salaries, we expect you to do your jobs:  Write a budget (we haven't had one for years)...short-term CRs that use children and immigrants and whatever other 'group' can be used as pawns is hateful.

Fix our infrastructure...we are starting to look worse than many 'third' world countries....commerce and communities are suffering (there are now MN communities without potable water); bad roads are bad for commerce.

Create an immigration system for the 21st century that allows for the orderly flow of and out of the country.

Provide health care, what other nations provide for ALL their citizens.

If our current President loves Norwegians...then he should encourage Congress to pass a law (which he should then sign) to turn over the profits from fossil fuels to the national government to provide benefits to our citizens who own and pay taxes for these resources...paid maternity/paternity leave, child care, education, ample vacation time...these resources belong to the citizens. Norwegians live an excellent lifestyle...based on years of wealth from North Sea oil. If we have 'great' resources, use them for the benefits of the American people for a change.

Congress...for once....put on your big boy (and maybe girl) pants and do your jobs.

Icing can be helpful for bakers. ICE, not so much.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Pizza Nea on East Hennepin 1/18/2018

A big shout out to Mike Sherwood, owner of Pizza Nea.   Here's a guy who knows how to run a business.

We recently had dinner at Pizza Nea...fairly late on a cold January evening.  We circled the block a few times looking for parking and lucked out when a spot opened up within a few feet of the front door.   There's lots of construction going on in the area, so parking is a bit tighter than usual.
With interesting art on the walls, one wall is exposed brick, comfortable cozy seating and overall great ambiance this is a delightful and comfortable space for a quiet intimate dinner.

Typically January evening is a quiet and tough month for restaurants.  Everyone spent their money on Christmas and have now opened their credit card bills.  Plus it's cold and icy...not the most desirable time of year to trudge out for a late dinner.  It was not surprising to see just two tables of diners on this particular evening.

Ian, our attentive host and server, seated us, and took our drink order.  John had a glass of cabernet sauvignon...a serviceable wine although we think it suffered from waiting for January customers just a little too long.

We decided to share a salad and pizza.   The Verde salad, with greens, a nice portion of proscuitto, pine nuts and two kinds of cheese had much more generous proportions of meat and cheese than a comparable Punch offering.  There were a few greens in the salad that should have been plucked out in the prep. It's common in mixed greens to have some deterioration in quality from being damp or stuck together.  Kitchen staff have to be vigilant to send out just the fresh ones.  The same quality issue applied to the bread which was was cold and stiff.   The proscuitto was excellent and abundant, and over all, the other ingredients were high quality.

Pizza selection was tough...there were many, many great sounding choices.  We settled on the eggplant pizza with peppers, onions, and two kinds of cheese on a red sauce.  Hands down this was the best neapolitan pizza we've ever had.  The crust was perfect.  If you've eaten other neapolitans, like Punch, you know that unless you ask for a few more seconds in the oven, the middle of the pizza comes out soggy.   Not so with Pizza Nea.  This crust was absolutely perfect...crisp, chewy, tender...a million texture experiences in the crust alone.   The cheeses were superb and the eggplant, relatively thinly sliced, came out of the oven with wonderful texture and flavor.  We thoroughly enjoyed each and every bite.

So, our review of Pizza Nea:   A great neapolitan pizza restaurant with an attentive owner.   We had a food safety issue with the preparation of our dinner, so we contacted the owner.  He immediately listened to our concerns, took them seriously, and reviewed food prep steps with all of the employees...not just the shift involved.   He kept in contact with us to update us so that we could be assured that the issue was resolved.  Then he offered us the opportunity to return to give them another try. 

The potential of our meal was all there....except for some problems in execution.   But the pizza was over the top fantastic---among the best pizza we've ever eaten.   The fact that it was vegetarian was an extra....a satisfying vegetable-based dish that was flavorful and interesting.  Our server Ian had a great sense of humor and we had a great chat after dinner.  Except for some problems with tonight's execution of parts of the meal, this would have been five star.  Abundant ingredients on the salad and a superb, colorful, pizza with an exceptionally good crust.

We'll be back to try it again when we can walk on Hennepin in warmer weather so that we can stroll without freezing.  We believe our next meal there will be a memorable one.

Powderhorn Park & May Day Coffee

May Day Coffee Powderhon ParkOne thing often leads to another...

A good thing leading to another good thing is great. Last Sunday we were loading up on caffeine (and carbs) and made a first-time visit to Matchbox Coffee Collective in NE Minneapolis. We shared (sort of) a slice of cranberry bread and a delightful savory scone. One of the workers mentioned that the baked goods came from May Day Coffee

Monday and Tuesday Linda vetoed my request to track down the great carbs but made my day on Wednesday.  

Location, Background and Name...
Located near 34th and Bloomington, May Day, like Matchbox is not your contemporary coffee shop, never to be confused with Starbucks, Caribou or Dunn Brothers.  This would fit right into the 1960s West Bank by the U.  May Day puts their hard work into great coffee, food and baked goods.  Clearly this is a community cornerstone, impossible to replicate.

May Day Coffee Powderhorn ParkThe nearby Powderhorn Park is the site of the annual Minneapolis May Day Celebration.  May Day is an ancient northern celebration of spring.  Perhaps our selection of a very mild January weekday to celebrate was a May Day warm up performance.  We did not sing and dance as is the holiday custome.  May Day also references international worker's day and the  Chicago's Haymarket Affair.   Minnesota has a long history of worker's and populist movements.  It's popular now to speak poorly of the labor movement but it's that to which we owe 40 hour weeks, workplace safety and benefits. Our daily lives, our experiences in food are most often embraced in corporate entities.  We like real peoples' stories.  On our next visit we'll pursue a deeper history.
 May Day Coffee Powderhorn ParkThe pursuit of good food and coffee sometimes leads to treasures other than food and coffee.  Powderhorn is an active community, evolving and developing, working through challenges as a community.  We scratched on that commitment to conversation, discussion and compromise at our recent Matchbox Coffee visit.  A gem found in this search was a community based photographic effort to document the daily lives of a neighborhood.  It's really good.  Check out

Food & Coffee...and Treats (of course)...

My first choice was the breakfast burrito.  The very polite counter person
May Day Coffee Powderhorn Park
explained that they were missing one component so I opted for  the spinach and cheese quiche.  Linda ordered the mixed greens and a chocolate croissant (that's a surprise...not).

We started with a cold brew coffee and a mocha, both excellent  May Day Coffee features fair trade organic coffee.  The chocolate croissant was as good as can be, delicately layered, very buttery with an adequate amount of rich dark chocolate.  We shared.  Our croissant litmus test is Trung Nam French Bakery on University Avenue in St. Paul.  This one passed.

The large serving of mixed greens was very fresh, a bit over-dressed.  Next time we'd order the dressing on the side.

May Day Coffee Powderhorn ParkThe quiche was a very thick and airy on a buttery crust.  While sharing the quiche Linda started to laugh and looked at the table behind me.  I turned and saw a young woman with a bite of Cinnamon roll on her fork and a smile that did not end as she said to anyone listening "This is so good."  I suggested she share with others.  She laughed but did not share... but I think she would have. It's a very friendly place.

It's nice.  It's community...

May Day Coffee Powderhorn Park
Customers were a mix.  A daycare provider had six or seven little kids properly under control.  They were very polite and made the rounds of the nearby tables.  Unlike many coffee shops people were actually chatting, having conversations.   Older grey-haired couples from the neighborhood, young couples clearly in love, friendships being renewed and made and individuals all casually acknowledging each other and sharing space at the limited number of tables.  It was not like Starbucks where 15 people with PC take up all 15 tables.  WIFI is available and a few people were working/playing on their computers but none of them had that glued-to-the-screen zombie look.

May Day Coffee is part of the community.  Our goal with Mariannne's Kitchen was to create the same friendly place, neighbors enjoying good food and with a good daily dose of heartfelt conversation, laughter and caring for each other.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Essentials of a Great Sandwich...Many Miss The Cut

Sub Sandwich Jimmie John's Subway Holiday Kwik Trip
Spicy Beef & Bacon...Not So Good & a Mess
Thinking about food, creating and producing salads, soups, baked treats,  pickles, jams, salsa and sandwiches was our focus for seven years. 

Customers can taste the difference and appreciate the quality, the balance of ingredients, the flavor and composition of the food, the textures from grilling bread and melting cheese and enhancing the food with  the best quality sauces. 

We take that experience, our yardstick of quality, with us as we visit other restaurants and sample sandwiches.

We reflected on our experience when we recently visited an unnamed, independent sandwich shop this week somewhere in the Twin Cities.  This is how we think they measured up.

  • The factory bread (A.K.A. bread out of a bag) disintegrated part-way through eating the sandwich.  The quality of the ingredients affects its' texture as well as taste.   
  • The sandwich was not sparse in the quantity of meat but it was cheap meat, low quality, stringy and salty.   
  • The cheese here, like at the ubiquitous Subway, is not cheese.  The 'yellow' or 'white' processed cheese is actually only 50% cheese and 50% miscellaneous ingredients...that's why it's cheap.
  • The remaining ingredients were piled partly in the bun, partly hanging out--generally making an unappealing mess on your hands.
We won't name the place.   They have consistently made this kind of sandwich for several years, and appropriately don't charge much.  You get what you pay for.

Here Are Our Sandwich Criteria

Bruegger's Delmar Sutton
A Great Bruegger's Veggie Sandwich by Del
1.  Use 'the best' bread. 
We were fanatics about good bread.  Nothing is worse than quality ingredients between pieces of bad bread out of a bag.   Bread made with quality grains and ingredients is more compelling.  Bread should showcase and enhance what's on it.  Tailor the bread to the sandwich components.

 2.  The meat AND cheese AND/OR veggies define the contents.   A sandwich on good bread with high quality protein outplays a giant portion of poor salty meat on an 'air' bun made of nothing you want to eat.  We'd rather have the smaller portion of decent quality meat and cheese at Jimmy John's (even though their cheese is ultra thin see-thru) than a big helping of Grade C meat from the other big chain.  Similarly, fresh, tasty veggies can create a compelling sandwich.

3Condiments.  Don't use cheap condiments.  Consider the composition of the sandwich and what actually enhances the overall flavor.  A sandwich should not be a buffet line where you jam as many conflicting contents as possible together.  This is also the pitfall at 'point and pick' places like Subway or Chipotle where people add everything to get their money's worth (big glob of ?).

4Be tidy.  This 'open and falling out' approach is unappealing.  it's a mess.  If you're in your nice business casual wear this is not going to end well.  The jalapenos, spinach and meat were falling out of the sampled sandwich.  The idea of a sandwich is that you hold it with the bread.  You should not have to use your fingers to stuff  INgredients back betwixt.

It should be obvious but sauces and condiments should be in the sandwich, not on the outside of the bread.  Nutmeg Brewhouse puts out pretty good sandwiches but regularly makes the 'outside' condiment error.

Jersey Mike's slices their own meats and cheeses but by the time you get it 'Mike's way' it turns into 'Mike's mess'  even when the sandwich maker is trying.  It's not a sandwich you'd eat in the car.

5. Get all the ingredients in the sandwich that are supposed to be in the sandwich.  The pictured spicy beef and bacon sandwich had one bite of bacon at the far right end of the sandwich, pretty much at the consumption point where I'd lost interest. 

A 'secret sauce' should not mean 'cannot find.'  At Agra Culture, for example, the sauce is so skimpy you won't taste it.  Firehouse Subs puts the entire sandwich into a heating device and the cheese vanishes.

The biggest problem with chain restaurants is that you have different people making the sandwiches...trying to get a lot of people to do something exactly the same way is not easy.  We'll give props to Jimmy John's - they seem to have the most consistent sandwiches we've seen.   We wrote off Pot Belly after getting the same sandwich with/without any number of ingredients time after time.  

6.  Cost/Value.  The sandwich at the independent sub shop was $6.50.  We'd call that mid-priced and poor quality.  At the lowest end of sandwiches you get the lowest quality breads and meats and processed cheese food.  Poor quality food factors into America's unhealthiness through excessive salt, ingredients filled with artificial additives served on zero value bread.  

7.  Speed.   Quickly preparing a sandwich, neatly, attractively and in an order that enhances the flavor experience is the goal.  No one wants to wait for a bad sandwich, especially on your lunch break.  Quick is good when all the bases have been touched.

So...what's your yardstick for a good sandwich?
There are many options ranging from the Holiday, SA or Kwik Trip 'grab and go' to low-end chains of low quality and taste to the more consistent and slightly costlier (our favorite in this range is Jimmy John's) to he one-off places with a focus on quality and speed. When in doubt, remember the line 'you are what you eat.'

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Cold Night Mojo 1/15/2018

Mojo Coffee Finding your MOJO...

For some, MOJO is a lucky charm carried in a small leather bag.  On a freezing January night in Minnesota our MOJO starts with mittens and a warm hat  followed by good coffee.

The absence of a pot of cold brew in the fridge was motivation enough to venture out into the cold, with mojo.

Mojo Coffee
John suggested a late afternoon stop at Mojo Coffee Gallery on Sunday.  After savory scones and cranberry bread with coffee at the Matchbox and a flight of Sleepy V's donuts, also with coffee,  I vetoed his whiny request  for a 3rd C & C (caffeine and carbs) on Sunday.

My previous visit to this location was a while ago when it was the Mill City Cafe.  Cafes do come and go.  John had never been there so Monday evening was a good time to see what's up at Mojo.

We clearly were in the minority of people out and about.  Mojo had only 2 other people when we arrived, providing a good opportunity to peruse and chat...and eat and drink.   A few more people arrived over the next hour, but during a friendly staff chat the barista said the low temps was making a slow night.

Mojo Coffee
We chose the Mojo Chili, a cold brew, and John chose a grapefruit sparkling water from the cooler claiming that the heavy caffeine Sunday had done him in.   Good cold brew...great chili...chicken chili with a nice degree of heat!  Most chili is simply bland...Mojo Chili caught your attention.  Thick, satisfying on such a cold night...and the bowl was more than enough for  both of us.  It's served with a nice pile of salty tortilla strip chips..I think I ate most of them without a moment of guilt about not was my mojo.  

Mojo Coffee
Surrounded by original pottery plus an assortment of 'antique' coffee pots.  I own a number of the same vintage.  Mine are 'classic,' not 'antique' because I am not 100, yet.
Mojo Coffee
You can purchase pottery and other original art to take home or just enjoy looking them over while having coffee.   Tables and chairs were a classic mish mash and the decor had a few kitchy signs but overall Mojo has a very calming atmosphere and amazingly iwarm for a high-ceiling warehouse space with lots of windows on a frigid night.

The barista was a one-man show tonight...made the coffee, served the food, had conversations with folks coming and going, did the dishes, restocked...he had everything under control.

Mojo serves breakfast and lunch, too.   We'll venture over on a nice sunny day, bask in the warmth coming through the windows, try a few dishes...and tell you about it next time.

Located in the NE Arts District, voted #1 art district  in the nation, there are many galleries, studios and family-run businesses to visit and patronize.  Along with more than 80 artistis, Mojo is located in the California Building, one of the first 'art' buildings in Minneapolis, renting to artists since 1991.  Art matters.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Pursuit of a C & C Sunday ... we found the elusive 3rd 'C' 1/14/2018

Primarily a C & C Sunday

It's been a busy life.  This has not stopped the need to eat and chasing great coffee.   Sunday we were off the clock and made it a two-stop day.  It's great, and unusual, to have the time visit new places that become favorites.

Such was today...primarily a C & C Sunday (caffeine and carbs).  We stumbled upon the long-lost 'C.'

We did it in 2 stops (but the day isn't over...who knows!!)

Stop #1
'Matchbox Coffeeshop is a worker-owned collective, founded and operating under the basic principles of social-democracy/democratic-socialism'.  When's the last time you visited a business with this 'business model?'   Founded in 1996 as a single owner business, it became a collective in 2003 under the guidance of 4 worker-owners.

Matchbox is everything that a collective coffee place located in Northeast should be.  Big as a matchbox, 60s throwback 'decor', a bar with about 4 stools and a long church pew and a short church pew with some well-worn pillows to lean on.  A decent mocha and pretty okay cold brew, made with organic fair trade coffee and very delicious bakery from Mayday in Powderhorn was a great time on a lazy Sunday afternoon. 

The savory scone and cranberry quick bread were over-the-top delicious. For a snowy day, there were many customers coming and going.  Books to read and a shelf of
clothing to swap and a great front window to observe comings and goings marks this as a neighborhood cornerstone.

The best part was the conversation (spoken like veterans of a place that encouraged conversation over electronic devices).  We chatted with a customer and the barista about politics, human interaction, and how to think progressively about tackling the problems that face our world.  

Today people seem to be confrontational and divisive which leads to difficulty in having an actual conversation...where you take turns speaking, share opinions and facts...and learn and compromise.  We need to get back to just being able to have civil 'conversations' - multi-faceted--not just shouting our views at someone who shouts back their disagreeing views. 

Matchbox is a cash-only place.  A worker-owner collective is NOT about supporting large financial institutions (credit cards).  Bring your dollar bills,  break away from corporate America, and make time for conversation and coffee.

But wait...John saw a 'donut' sign down the street.   
We'd just had lunch (yes, a savory scone counts as lunch...YES it does).  Dessert was in order...


Stop #2:
Sleepy V's donuts (formerly  Rebel donuts) is named after one of their bakers who is always sleepy.

It's a conventional layout with  bakery case when you walk in and a long bar to the left, with bright yellow metal stools...a place to stop for an espresso and a donut (they are small...plan on a few donuts).  White subway tile, the 'utility counter' surrounded by bright yellow re-purposed doors...even the bathroom is adorable.

We chose a flight of donuts and a cold brew to share.  The flight of 4 donuts is $5.  These are smaller donuts...but bigger than what you think of as Tom Thumb....which encourages you to try multiple flavors.

The flavor winner for us:  hibiscus pineapple...with bright pink but not heavy frosting....lots of pineapple flavor in the frosting.   We also tried the maple bacon, the blueberry chocolate chip pancake, and Snickers. 

I left for a second to photo the bathroom, and  when I returned the donuts were on a plate...but the maple bacon had no bacon.   I pouted and claimed that a squirrel had taken my bacon--the barista said they had an albino squirrel on the patio who loved their donuts---I pulled off John's hat and pointed to his 'albino fur'---the barista laughed and another donut appeared on our plate with 2 nice pieces of bacon.

The focus on mini-donuts to encourages people to get out of their comfort zone  and try things like a cajun apricot habanero donut.  Believe me, if that had been in the case today, I would have been all over it.  The selection changes daily, so stop in ...every day except Monday.

..and GLUTEN FREE CARBO-VORES...YES they have gluten free donuts....Thursday thru Sunday.   They're sold as assortments of 8 for $13.   So you can satiate your gluten free carb cravings with a variety of flavors kept separately in little kraft paper boxes to keep them away from that pesky gluten.  These are almond flour based, according to the barista...but they would give you more info about ingredients if you call.

2 C & C New Favorites in 1/2 Block
NE Minneapolis has it's draw when you can walk (can't really walk anywhere in the burbs) a short distance, sample two great C & C venues and stare in the window of Dangerous Man Brewing, a good stop for next time.

That Third, Elusive 'C'
The real highlight of our trip to NE and to Matchbox and Sleepy V's was the elusive third 'C.'  Conversation, dialogue, patron-to-patron and patron-to-staff makes a real difference.  We met great people.  Touching on a wide range of topics it's refreshing to find people who listen especially when your opinions differ.

That back-and-forth listening, talking and compromise...we'd like to package up that refreshing experience in NE and send it to D.C.