Places to eat around University of Minnesota - and candy?
This month, I will be attending a conference at the University of Minnesota. I will not have a car, so would appreciate suggestions that are near campus (I'll be at the East Campus) or accessible by public transportation.
In addition, I like to buy candy for my kids as souvenirs. So, I would also appreciate suggestions on local sweets.
Welcome to St. Paul. You picked a good time of year to visit as the weather is nice so it's easier to get around. (If you are a bicyclist, there is a NiceRide station right on campus.) In brief, Mim's Café (Middleastern) is right on campus. St. Anthony Village is a charming neighborhood within walking/biking distance and has some decent restaurants - Colossal Café, Finnish Bistro, and Mufalettas. On Snelling and Como is Café 99 (Chinese,) which has been getting some good reviews. You also aren't far from some decent Korean restaurants on Snelling, a lot of great Vietnamese and other ethnic restaurants on University (many believe On's Kitchen has some of the best Thai food in town,) and some decent corporate/chain type restaurants near Rosedale. Also, I assume you are looking for places that serve dinner, right? (Some of the places I just mentioned might only serve lunch.)
It would help to know what kind of food you are looking for. I see in a post of yours from eight years ago, a desire for Moroccan food. Hmm... Sorry, but I think you might be out of luck on that front. It also might help to know where you are staying as there might be better food closer to your hotel than near the Ag. campus.
For candy, Sweet Chocolat is on the NW corner of Larpenteur and Lexington. They have middle-of-the-road home made candy - mostly chocolate. It's OK. http://mysweetchocolat.com/home.php
As Brad says, The Commons is on the East Bank of the main campus. It is surrounded by three distinct commercial districts - Stadium Village, Dinkytown, and Cedar/Riverside (aka, the West Bank) all with interesting dining options. (You'll have to cross the Washington Ave. bridge to get to the West Bank.) The Commons is just a stone's throw from Stadium Village where there are many fine cheap eats up and down Washington Ave. (and extending to University Ave.) including, Abduls Afandy, Village Wok (some discussion about this place having recently gone downhill,) Little Szechuan, Punch Pizza, Hong Kong Noodle, and Tea House.
I assume you'll be taking the U's shuttle bus between the two campuses. Once you're on the St Paul campus, you'll have fewer choices within walking distance, so refer to the comments in my previous post.
I'm not sure where St. Paul comes in. The Commons is on the East Bank of the UofMN campus in Minneapolis. The St. Paul campus is no where near. The Commons, however, is on the Light Rail Transit corridor so one could easily go to downtown Minneapolis or St. Paul and any place in between easily and cheaply.
For candy, both downtowns have a "Candyland" store http://www.candylandstore.com/ They mostly carry popcorn and widely available gummies and such, but they do make their own chocolates and fudge in house. There are more upscale candy shops around, but they would be harder to get to via public transportation.
You are staying on the East Bank of the Minneapolis campus, so ChancesR's comments about places near the St. Paul campus will have to be reserved for another trip.
Your splurge option is Restaurant Alma (dinner only). Decent lunch can be had at the Loring Pasta Bar in Dinkytown (although you are staying closer to Stadium Village, which I don't know very well).
If you have plenty of time for lunch, I would catch a bus (or share a cab with others) and go to Kramarczuk's Deli. You will also find plenty of funky candy there.
re: Brad Ballinger
Also, if you're in Stadium Village, there's a Tea House (Chinese Restaurant) that's pretty good. Also in Stadium Village (though it's been a good 5 years since I've been) is Caspian Bistro. Persian food and grocery store. Lots of Persian sweets in the grocery. Pakoda in Dinkytown is pretty good for pan Asian. It's convenient, though not the best we offer for Asian in the Twin Cities. But it would be walkable.
Also, the Green Line (light rail) opens on June 14. It can take you from Stadium Village where you're staying to a lot of the places on University Ave in St. Paul. http://www.metrotransit.org/metro-gre... Mostly Asian: On's Thai Kitchen, Ngon Bistro, Little Szechuan (whoops--L.S. is closed for renovations right now. Don't go unless you've confirmed it has reopened), ipho by Saigon, Russian Tea House (open very limited hours mostly lunchtime during the week) and others. Lots of threads on University Ave in St. Paul. There are also Cub and Rainbow grocery stores if you wanted to buy the Pearson's candies mentioned below and are having a hard time finding them. You could probably also get to the Hmong market if you were determined, which is like a food court, farmers market and flea market all in one--you pretty much have to be there before during the day as everything is pretty much shut down by 5pm.
Really, the sky's the limit if you can take the Green Line because you'll have access (walkable) to all of Stadium Village and Dinky town (which are the neighborhoods around the campus), University Ave in St. Paul which has tons of little, indie ethnic places, and both downtowns (Minneapolis and St. Paul).
So, you might want to give us a price point or preferred cuisines so we can focus our recommendations. There's a world of difference between Alma, a restaurant by James Beard award-winning chef Alex Roberts and, say, Ai Hue Vietnamese Deli on University Avenue in St. Paul and Manny's Steakhouse in downtown Minneapolis, all of which would be reasonably accessible to you once the green line starts running. (You don't need the green line for Alma, though, as Brad points out).
If any of these places appeal to you, let us know and we can give you more specifics.
Assuming that you are coming after June 14th and if I am reading the map correctly, you are within walking distance to the East Bank station for the light rail green line which will take you to either downtown. I will defer to the downtown experts to provide restaurant options.