Picking the place or thing and eatery for the blog was not easy last week. There were several cool places to visit for the blog. Among the top contenders were:
• The 19th Annual St. Croix Garden Tour (love flowers!)
• The Minneapolis Aquatenniel Festival (love sandcastles!)
• Restaurant Week (love gourmet dining!)
• The Air Expo (love the idea of riding in a zeppelin!)
• The Hopkins Raspberry Festival (been there before and loved it!)
On Saturday morning I chose the latter for a couple reasons – weather (mid-nineties and very humid forecasted), distance and ulterior motive.
Hopkins has an excellent Farmer’s Market on Saturday mornings, and I needed the fruit for my new recipe, Rhubarb and Raspberry Crostata. The market is a lovely little gathering of local foodstuff talent that I regularly attend. I mentally crossed my fingers, but was confident I would be able to procure both the rhubarb and the raspberries there. (I did, by the way and achieved my ulterior motive right at the beginning).
This year’s Raspberry Festival had vendor booths along both sides of the main street for at least six city blocks. That’s a lot of vendors, yes? Among the notables were:
• Secondhand Hounds
• Pam’s Pepper Jam
• And Shiznits – click on the link if you like to find unique and fun gifts for giving!
Then, while wandering the festival, I spied a “Munkabeans Coffee and Sunshine Café” sign, and decided to stop in, sit and sip there awhile.
I’ve visited many coffee shops, but Munkabeans was one with an entirely different point of view. The first thing that struck me was the decor. Think old time saloon meets fifties retro dining tables and chairs (remember the Cunningham’s kitchen on the TV show “Happy Days”?) The juxtaposition of the wooden walls and floors to the furniture brought me to instant attention. Funny, but I didn’t notice the reproduction of the “leg” lamp from “A Christmas Story” in one front window until much later. I did, however, notice the sign that warned, “unattended children will be given espresso and a free puppy”. This was my kind of place, definitely.
The tables don’t match, nor do the chairs, plates, cups or silverware. There are board games to play and books to browse, or you can shop for antiques and homemade crafts while there! You can belly up to a window front bar, sit on couches, tables or chairs – even lounge on the bench outside if you like. They offer events – a chess club, a book club, frequent live music, and an “open mike” night, too. Munkabeans is a coffee house to savor – sit, relax (alone or with family or friends) and enjoy on a regular basis.
And speaking of savoring, Munkabeans menu tempts mightily. Even simple sandwich names like “Apple Turkey”, “Savvy Vegetarian” and “Spicy Tuna” playfully beg for attention. There’s also the “Haddy’s Ham”, “Jaded Jewell”, “The Maxwood” and “The Triple C”. As a bonus, Munkabeans even offers a “PB&J”, an everyday yet edgy item to include on any menu. Ingredient combinations are “just” different enough, and you can opt to watch them make whatever sandwich, wrap or salad you chose. Bakery items are only mentioned on the menu, by the way. The baker chooses what she wants to offer daily. This day the choices were “Chocolate Raspberry Cream Cheese Muffin cake”, “White or Milk Chocolate Raspberry Scones” and “Raspberry-Orange Muffins” in honor of the festival, of course.
I learned three important things about being Divorced and Fabulous in Minneapolis that day. First, some “new” things turn out to be “favorite” things. The Farmer’s Market is a good example. Second, even though a place is not “new” doesn’t mean a “thing” isn’t. I had been to the Hopkins Raspberry Festival before, but there are new vendors added every year. I shared four that I enjoyed in this blog. Third, novelty comes in many forms, sometimes when you least expect it. Munkabeans Coffee and Sunshine Café was an unplanned aside that took me completely by surprise, and I’ll be going back for more.
What new places, things or eateries did you “do” last week? Have any upcoming novelty planned? Please share – I’d love to hear it!