05/20/12

Overnight in Minneapolis, MN

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The Electric Fetus
2000 4th Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55404

The Electric Fetus is widely regarded as the pre-eminent independent music store in Minnesota. Founded by four friends in 1968, partially as a cultural experiment, their website recalls a variety of stories from the past, including the “Streakers’ Sale” where customers could take all they could hold if they shopped in the nude. It’s a retail ticket outlet for many local venues and hosts in-store performances. There are also locations in Duluth and St. Cloud.

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Fasika Ethiopian Restaurant
510 North Snelling Avenue
St. Paul, MN 55104

Fasika Ethiopian Restaurant, located in St. Paul, was the perfect spot for a quick and delicious meal. I ordered the vegetarian sampler and was impressed by the varied and flavorful assortment of items. This is one of the better Ethiopian restaurants that I have visited in my travels.

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Located in historic Dinkytown, The Varsity Theater first opened as a vaudeville show house in 1915. The Varsity Theater has been through several changes with the most recent incarnation being a well-appointed photography studio.

The interior of the Varsity Theater is eclectically designed with immaculate attention to detail. The bathrooms are among the nicest and most unique I have seen. The space is intimate with various scaling configurations to appropriately fit their diverse programming.

05/13/12

Overnight in Los Angeles, CA

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Los Angeles, a massive and spawling city of over 80 districts and neighborhoods, is impossible to experience in one day. During this recent trip, I decided to spend a few hours in a neighborhood that I had never visited – Silver Lake. Located East of Hollywood, Silver Lake is known as a gathering place for the creative class, as well as some of the most famous modernist architecture in the United States. Silver Lake has also become the center of the L.A. alternative and indie rock scene, drawing comparisons to Williamsburg in Brooklyn.

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LA Mill Coffee Boutique
1636 Silver Lake Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA

LA Mill is one of the most decadently decorated coffee shops I’ve ever encountered. Red and black walls, ornate gold light fixtures and teal alligator skin chairs. The ambiance was otherwise laid back and service was friendly and genuine, even as I worked at my table for several hours. I’d describe my meal, but it was truly secondary to the amazing cup of coffee that I was served.

Extraction: Clover (brewed in specialized Clover vacuum siphon brew chamber)
Beans: Kenya AA Njuriga Estate

Yolk

Yolk
1626 Silver Lake Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA

Free range design! It’s the best part of the egg and clearly the best place for gifts in Silver Lake. In less than 30 minutes, I was able to find baby shower gifts, a souvenir for the house and an amazing vintage charm bracelet (75% off!) I loved the displays and almost all of the merchandise.

05/5/12

Overnight in Madison, WI

Madison is not only one of my favorite midwestern cities (second only to Chicago), but also my favorite city located on an isthmus! Madison is a progressive bike-friendly college town located less than three hours Northwest of Chicago. Many are attracted for education, but stay for the local food scene, outdoor activities, and strong ecological and historical awareness.

Next trip, I hope visit the Dane County Farmers’ Market. Located downtown around the State Capitol, it is rumored to be one of the largest producer only markets in the country.

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Weary Traveler
The Weary Traveler
1201 Williamson Street
Madison, WI 53703

After a long day of traveling to Madison from Nashville via Chicago, visiting The Weary Traveler was a neccessity. As a thunderstorm rolled into the East side, the dark interior with wood panel covered walls felt warm and cozy. Per many suggestions, I ordered Bob’s Organic Bad Breath Burger – Large Farms organic Wisconsin beef with cream cheese, green goddess dressing, caramelized onions, garlic, tomatoes and Pickapeppa sauce with a side of well done Yukon Gold potato crisps.

Barrymore Theatre

The Barrymore Theatre is Madison’s historic 850 seat venue. Opened in 1929, the venue has undergone several incarnations until it was finally renamed and refurbished in the 1980s by Richard Slone and Tom Peterson.

04/29/12

Overnight in Asheville, NC

Asheville is nestled between the Blue Ridge Mountains and Great Smoky Mountains in Western North Carolina. A breathtaking five hour drive from Nashville, Asheville is my ideal long weekend getaway. I look forward to further exploring the food and art scenes, as well as the unlimited opportunities for outdoor excursions in the future.

Tupelo Honey Cafe
Tupelo Honey Cafe
12 College Street
Asheville, NC 28801

Tupelo Honey Cafe is a unique Ashe-thentic creative Southern farm-to-table restaurant located in the heart of downtown Asheville. This restaurant is reasonably priced, exceeds the reviews and is worth the wait. I ordered the sweet potato pancake, goat cheese grits and rosemary peach lemonade. I was also served a warm biscuit with Tupelo honey.

Tip: I purchased the Tupelo Honey Cafe cookbook at Malaprop’s. Amazing food photography.

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Early Girl Eatery
8 Wall Street
Asheville, NC 28801

Early Girl Eatery is a locally inspired Southern comfort food restaurant. Serving breakfast all day, I ordered the waffles with raspberry compote and walnuts. The atmosphere was light and casual.

Malaprops
Malaprop’s Bookstore & Cafe
55 Haywood Street
Asheville, NC 28801

Malaprop’s Bookstore and Cafe is Asheville’s favorite independent bookstore. There are great local and staff picks sections and the cafe has a drink named after Walt Whitman! It was rumored that this store also possesses a “banned books” section and allows customers to browse and read with their dogs.

Screen Door
Screen Door
115 Fairview Road
Asheville, NC 28803

Screen Door is one of the hippest, most eclectic and unique vintage antique malls I’ve ever visited. The prices are competitive and there are numerous inspiring displays. Although I wanted all of the quirky objects on this table, I left with just the phrenology head pictured above.