Ok, we’ll be honest. We went a little “Minneapolis heavy” with our first couple of posts. So we headed to the capital city of St. Paul on the other side of town that is sometimes, sadly forgotten. Minneapolis and St. Paul are often referred to as “The Twin Cities” but the truth is, these two cities are very, very far from being “twins.”
SW Craft Bar
Bridget – SW Craft Bar (SW = Senor Wong) offers a unique blend of Latin/Asian inspired cuisine. We started with their Wonton Poppers which were a perfect combination of crispy, deep fried deliciousness paired with a spicy chili sauce. We could have had about 8 orders of those. Kelley ordered 3 different tacos: tinga de pollo, barbacoa and carnitas. I went with the Bangkok Betty Burger. Essentially a “Juicy Lucy” topped with pineapple-lemongrass chutney, thai basil aioli and purple cabbage. I’m not a big burger person but the Bangkok Betty was superb.
An oasis of green grass, park benches and Pokemon stops in the Lowerton neighborhood of downtown St. Paul. A manmade stream cuts through the center of park and visitors are able to climb over and around it. Thankfully, neither of us fell in. Mears Park is a gorgeous break in the skyscrapers and concrete to hang out and catch some Pokemon like we did (when the servers were working)!
Bridget – A new addition to the downtown St. Paul restaurant scene and the Hog did not disappoint. Handsome Hog is all about barbeque, bourbon, and southern soul food with a sophisticated twist. My boyfriend Adam and I spilt their pimento cheese dip with Ritz crackers, sipped Summit IPAs and chowed down on their signature “pigwiches.” Adam got the Classic Cubano (ham, pork, dill pickles, yellow mustard and swiss) and I got The Handsome Hog–ham, pork, bacon, pickled veggies, spicy bourbon mustard and smoked gouda. The food was delicious at Handsome Hog, I definitely will be returning to try more!
Bridget – Mickey’s is one of the most famous diners in Minnesota (if not the most famous) so we had to hit up this iconic spot just a block away from the Xcel Energy Center. Pancakes, coffee and bacon were pretty basic but we HAD to stop here for typical tourist’s sake!
St. Paul Farmer’s Market
Right next to CHS Field, the St. Paul Farmer’s Market has an abundance of vendors selling fresh produce, flowers, baked goods and more! We easily spent a lot of money here in a short amount of time and it felt great to be supporting local farmers.
We had to. Cosseta is a staple of St. Paul, the establishment has 3 levels of Italian food heaven. Grab a fast slice of pizza or pasta from their Eatery & Pizza, pick up some groceries at their Market & Italian Grocery, taste a hand crafted pastry or gelato at Pasticceria, or sit down and dine at Louis Ristorante. You could get lost in a sea of mozzarella and tomatoes but you NEED to experience Cosseta before you leave St. Paul!
The Buttered Tin
Bridget – A charming bakery/cafe on the corner of 7th Street East and Wacouta, The Buttered Tin offers classic breakfasts and pastries galore. I opted for their delicious Orange Dream cupcake before we ran off to Science Museum. Not too sugary, perfectly orange-y. Yum.
Science Museum of Minnesota
Bridget – A perfect spot for a date (like I did) or bring the family, the Science Museum of Minnesota is both really cool and really fun. Dinosaurs, mummies, the Omni Theater, a fantastic tugboat overlooking the Mississippi River. What’s not to love? Lots of interactive fun/learning for kids and adults.
Tom Reid’s Hockey City Pub
Within walking (or as our father likes to say “stumbling distance”) to the Xcel Energy Center, this is a no frills, hockey memorabilia, pre-game or viewing spot for Minnesota Wild games. Before passing this off as a sticky-floored, over-sized man cave, there’s hints of Canadian cuisine and subjugated French on their menu. Try Canadian Poutine, Montreal Toastie, Canadian walleye and wash it down with a brew-ski before watching some puck (there’s my inner Minnesotan coming out).
Oxcart Ale House
Kelley – Kitty corner (or katty corner if you’re from the south) from CHS Field home of the St. Paul Saints is the Oxcart Ale House. We got a table on the newly opened rooftop bar with a great view of the skyline and CHS Field. I was pretty impressed with the variety of beers and food available on the roof. They even had my all time favorite fruity beer: the Stiegl Radler! Overall, great place to go before or after any St. Paul Saints game.
St. Paul Saints Game
Bridget – The minor league baseball team in town are the St. Paul Saints in their brand new stadium (CHS Field) in the Lowerton neighborhood in downtown St. Paul. We started by getting $7 standing room only tickets with the intention of walking around, snapping some pics, drinking a beer and people watching. But, when we struck up a conversation with Ed the usher we found ourselves sitting in the third row right off the third base line. Minnesota Nice at it’s finest. Thanks, Ed!
Kelley – Let me start off by saying, I love sports (shocker). Finally getting to go to a St. Paul Saints game was my jam. The atmosphere of the stadium was electric. It is not only a game but it was a show and crowd focused. Everyone was having a good time, the fans, the ushers, the entertainers and emcees. Love it!
Bridget – Little Mekong is an Asian business and cultural district outside of downtown St. Paul on University Avenue between Mackbiun and Galtier. Little Mekong has an array of restaurants, shops and other unique spots that gives visitors a taste of culture from Southeast Asia. The word Mekong comes from the river that flows from China through Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam.
Each summer the neighborhood hosts the Little Mekong Night Market, which several blocks are closed off and dedicated to food vendors, artisans, music, dancing, etc. We learned that night markets are a big deal in Southeast Asia, so we were excited to go to our first one!
Kelley – It was like entering a whole part of the Twin Cities that I had no idea existed. We went for pad thai, egg rolls and vietnamese tea. I wish we could have gotten some of the more exotic foods but the lines were huge! Next time we’re scheduling more time because I bet it is worth the wait! The Little Mekong Night Market was one of the items on our bucket list I wasn’t so sure about because it seems like I’ve been to a million street fairs. This was different. It expanded my view of the Twin Cities and I am so glad we went.
St. Paul, you surprised us. We found nooks and crannies and neighborhoods we didn’t even know existed. There’s a different vibe, a different pace and a different lifestyle on this side of the city. You’re not necessarily an identical but more of a fraternal twin of Minneapolis. Keep doing you, St. Paul. We’ll be back soon.
There’s only a few more weeks left of summer for Bridget and I to continue Rediscovering Home. And we’re always going to be hungry for more!