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True to Swedish Design, ASI Presents FIKA

19 Sep

{the new Fika restaurant at the American Swedish Institute, Minneapolis}

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À bientôt,

k.

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Taking ANOTHER Break: Break-fast

7 Aug

I know that’s a silly blog title, but seriously, I’ve been taking a break from more than just blogging.  This weekend I ignored my normal fairly healthy diet.  We were up at the cabin again, so we felt compelled to have a big Sunday brunch at Viddles & Joe, the local “Northwoods” (Minnesota’s northern woods, that is) diner.

{Breakfast #10: 2 blueberry pancakes + 2 poached eggs = $7.99}

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Just to clarify, the eggs are in the little cup in the upper-right-hand part of the plate.  The other gigantic white mass – on the plate – is butter!  Yes, I scraped that glob off of the pancakes before I dug in.

Late that afternoon, I went for a run.  Or tried to.  Digestive issues stopped me after a mile and a half.  The heat didn’t help, nor did the Baked Cheetos I snacked on.    After an evening of painful cramps, I’m back on the wagon and eating (somewhat) healthy.  Until next weekend ; )

À bientôt,

k.

Yippee…Skee Ball!

17 Jul

Nostalgic games.  They’re fun, easy and very trendy right now. It’s been a long time since I threw a Skee Ball at Chuck E. Cheese, but I’ve spent two recent evenings (thanks, Boops!) at a sweet little gastro-pub in Minneapolis. Pat’s Tap has great food (fish tacos are KILLER), awesome drinks and, of course, SKEE BALL!

{classic arcade games – yay!}

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{it took me many rounds of practice to get up to 170 points – pathetic}

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What will I take up next?  Darts, perhaps?!

À demain,

k.

The Randall Creamery, re-invented

11 Jul

{the Randall Creamery}

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There are few things that I like more than the comeback of small town America.  It often seems that the best days are behind them.  I will admit that I’m a proponent of forward progress, but I wonder, does progress have to come at the cost of country life?

I don’t have the answer, of course.  But I did have the pleasure this past weekend of discovering evidence of gentrification of a piece of property in a small town in northern Minnesota.  On County Highway 1, Randall, population 628, is about a two hour drive from Minneapolis.  It’s got a town hall, one grocery store, a gas station, a couple of cafés and plenty of open land.

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I’ve driven through Randall for years with my family on the way to our cabin about an hour’s drive further north.  Each time we cut through town, we’d pass a turn-of-the-century building that was once the town Creamery.  It’s a neat old brick building with plenty of charm.  For the last 20 years it’s looked abandoned.

When my mom and I drove through town over Memorial Day weekend, we noticed signs of life inside!  And we saw a sign hung on the building: “The Old Creamery Quilt Shop”.  We pulled off the road an into a parking area outside the building.  As we got out, we saw a man on a ladder painting one of the exterior walls.  When we couldn’t find an unlocked door, we asked him if the place was open.  “Nope,” he said, “not until June 1st.”  Bummer.  Next week.

July 4th weekend my boyfriend and I are on our way up to the cabin for a few days.  “Don’t forget to stop at the Randall Creamery,” my mom said as we were leaving to drive up north.

Stop we did.  The building has been restored, with the original tin ceilings in the main room, and the picturesque turret-like corner on the front containing bright quilting fabrics on shelving lining the hexagonal structure below the story-high windows looking out part of the town and the railroad tracks.

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My favorite part of the place is the coffee shop.  It was a perfect place to stop and get an iced coffee and escape the car for a few minutes.  While we were there, we scoped out the menu (Cappuccinos! Lattes! Freshly made sandwiches!) and noted the availability of free wi-fi.

Small town U.S.A.’s answer to Starbucks.  Hooray!!

À demain,

k.

Great Space (and Eats): Mari Vanna, NYC

12 Jun

My friend (and real estate agent extraordinaire) Lucie suggested Russian restaurant Mari Vanna when we met for lunch last Friday in New York.  She knows I love to try new places, especially those that feature “ethnic” food (I can’t eat salads or hamburgers every meal!) and have captivating décor.

When I walked into Mari Vanna on E. 16th Street, I fell in love.  Although I have to admit that I almost missed it – there are so many flowers outside that at first I thought it was a florist!  But venturing inside, it reminded me of the Swedish country interiors that I’ve blogged about on my vintage occasional sale blog The Occasional Saler.

welcome!

the main dining room

the grand table

love the hole in the wall (literally) and chandelier

corner table tucked away by the gorgeous vintage furnace

a sweet setting

place settings feature authentic porcelain dishes (nothing mass-produced here!)

the quaint front room, filled with Russian vintage trinkets and nostalgia

the bathroom follows suit with quirky décor

evening falls on Mari Vanna

Discovering Mari Vanna was such a nice surprise.  The atmosphere is warm and inviting (as is the service).  Equally pleasant is the feeling that you’ve escaped the hustle and bustle of Manhattan just outside the door.  Stop by on your next trip to NYC!

Mari Vanna ~ 41 E. 20th Street (b/w Park & Broadway), Manhattan, 212.777.1955.  Reservations by phone, email [marivannanyc@gmail.com] or on OpenTable.

All photos via Mari Vanna website

And be sure to catch Lucie on HGTV’s hit show Selling New York this Thursday, June 14 at 8PM, 7PM CT!!

À demain,

k.