Minneapolis vs. St. Paul scenes
- i_heart_mushrooms Feb 10, 2008 12:11 PM
Who doesn't like to start a good food fight? Now, I'm a Minneapolis city girl that tends to stay in the same safe scenes. Sorry to sound a bit ignorant, but when I get the chance to venture into in St. Paul here and there, it's a whole new cultural experience to me. Don't get me wrong, the local Southeast Asian tastes in Frogtown tend to find me as a regular, but would the 'real' St. Paul please stand up?
Is it just me or having the label "Twin Cities" really seems to be a curse to people like me, who never really discovered the little treasures of St. Paul? Now I'm hungry for more, but where in St. Paul do you think are the rest of the little treasures? Has anyone heard of the expected PR launch to separate the "Twin Cities" label? What sort of cultural implications do you think this means for us Minnesotans?
Here's a start. As a St. Paul girl, born and raised, there are some quintessential St. Paul places that are standbys. The Lexington--a classic supper club on Grand and Lexington. Mancini's steak house on West 7th. Ristaurante Luci on Cleveland near Randolph. W.A. Frost on Selby and Western. Moscow on the Hill, again on Selby and Western. Cafe Latte has become a classic in it's own right--Grand and Victoria. Cecil's Deli in Highland Park--yes, I know it's not like New York, but it's the reuben I grew up with. Khyber Pass on Grand and Snelling. Heartland Wine Bar is a favorite, as it's two blocks away from my house. The original (and best) Punch Pizza. Having listed these, I think the small Asian places on University and the Mexican-American restaurants and markets on the West Side are the heart of things.
Next person who I see recommending Savoys Pizza I think I might hurl. Ate there yesterday, and I can still feel that cardboard crust and too-spicey sauce cruising through my system. I woke with heartburn, and it may have taken my pizza appetite away permanently. But definetly St Paul is a different "flavor" of everything than Minneapolis. Thats what makes it great, having 2 cities like this so close together, is that they are different for different things, and we get to enjoy both. My personal favorite thing in St. Paul right now is the Como Park Conservitory Sunken Garden flower display. I'm here to tell you it is AH-MAZE-ING. Go there to get a little relief from this cold winter weather. You won't be disappointed. Then go eat pizza at COSSETTA'S !!
I would add:
- The Nook on Hamline & Randolph
- Aesops Table
- Day by Day Cafe
- Swede Hollow Cafe
- Big Daddy's BBQ
I would subtract:
- "Minneapolis vs. St. Paul" dichotomies. Perfectly fine topic for some other board.
I live on the border between the two cities, and I say it's about time they were treated as one. I've never understood the focus on the differences instead of the similarities. To me, it's just one big metropolitan area (though there is one huge difference - you can keep ferrets and honeybees in St. Paul but not in Minneapolis).
I see many more similarities than differences for dining - such as Asian (University Ave & Eat Street), Mexican (Cesar Chavez Blvd & Lake St.), yuppy hangouts (Grand Ave & Uptown), great breakfast joints (all over), and neighborhood bistros (scattered like jewels). It used to be there were more small bakeries in St. Paul than in Mpls, but that has evened out recently.
i_heart_mushrooms, if you want some "borderland" places to help ease into a St. Paul experience, try Birchwood, Cupcake, Obento-Ya, and Sea Salt (in Mpls), and Trotter's, Jay's Cafe, Muffuletta, and Izzy's (in St. Paul).
For help discovering more St. Paul treasures, check out posts by The Dairy Queen. She's a great St. Paul resource!
Having worked in both SF and Oakland (separated by SF Bay) and Minneapolis and St.Paul (separated by the Mississippi) I can't really see a reason to divide such an integrated system. Same vendors, same growing seasons, same food reviewers, same dining public. As there are neighborhood places in Minneapolis I will be unlikely to ever check out, there are also places over here you probably will never sample because they really aren't that outstanding or unique, they're convenient.
The idea of abolishing the term "twin cities" is valid not because they have such great separate identities, but because there are so many other "twins" across the country that it's not really meaningful or marketable. There's always rivalry and provincialism. The funniest crack in the Bay Area is a proposed "Bay Mirror Project" an installation of a gigantic mirror enabling San Francisco to admire itself. BTW the Bay Area is often confused with other Bay Areas too. Clearly the more glitzy town prevails and it is more accurately called the SF Bay Area. I'll never be able to stomach the Minneapolis Twin Cities.
The basic lay of the land is that there are conglomerations of restaurants as well as destination venues in both cities (ie: Eat Street and Uptown, Grand Avenue and Selby behind the Cathedral). Smack down time, which city is better (higher quality/more diverse)? People argue for their side of the street everywhere in the world. Why bother?