If you are a car lover like myself, I have something you should definitely add to your #mnbucketlist. The MN C&C (ahem, cars and coffee) is a monthly gathering of automotive enthusiasts for ooo-ing and ahh-ing. It’s hosted at the Auto MotorPlex in Chanhassen off Audubon, the first Saturday of the month from April through October. It’s kitty-corner from Paisley Park and usually a zoo. You can expect to see 500+ cars in almost every make and model. It’s a place for all motor sport aficionados, whatever their passion may be. Whether luxury, comfort, sport or brand – you’ll see it all. Each of the MotorPlex Condos are built to fit the personality and preference of the owners, and they really go all out [think ‘Mancave’]. My favorite is the 50’s, comic fuel station garage complete with a bat mobile, the green hornet and life size statues of #Batman and Superman. I was also really excited to see that my favorite car (Elon Musk’s Tesla) has an amasser there. But it’s more than a showcase, people from all over the state bring their cars, trucks, motorbikes, motorcycles and more to parade off the strip, giving the passerby and onlookers a front row seat.
More often than not, when I go in search of food, I look for comfort and generous portions. Well, Chuckwagon Charlie’s fits the bill on both accounts. While they are really known for their meats, fish and seafood (they even have BBQ and Pig Roast available for catering), I actually went for the corn on the cob and the mac and cheese, both of which were totally amazing. It’s a bar, so you get a heavy beer selection but you also get really great homey food, too. Win-win. It’s an easy place to just grab a seat and stay for a game or even a beer flight, if you’re in the mood. Oh yeah! see those little ninjas? They are their mascots. I even got to play with them, so be jealous.
Interrupting my summer road trip to bring you the most incredible mural of Prince that just popped up! Still being painted by the unquestionably talented Australian artist, Graham Hoete, it started this past Saturday and will conclude with a dedication ceremony held this Wednesday at 7pm. Everyone is invited. It is located on the south side of the Chanhassen Cinema building. And yes, I’m coming into town to be there. #purplerain
I love pizza so much that I drag (usually willingly) my closest friends and even my Mom, pictured above, to any place that gives me my fix. I can’t help it, I have a thing for a good Italian food. So when I found out that it was Davanni’s 40th anniversary this month, I was pretty excited. I mean, to be honest, I didn’t know it had been around that long and also I didn’t know that it started in Minnesota. And I really ought to know these things! Anyway, did you know that they were actually the first to offer hot hoagies in the Twin Cities? Originally called Pontillo’s Pizzeria, Davanni’s first location, off Cleveland and Grand in St. Paul opened October 1st, 1975, they later changed names in 1983. I decided to check out the newly remodeled Edina location, which will be having a Grand Re-Opening / 20th Anniversary celebration on this Saturday. If you want to go, you can meet the owners, get special deals, play trivia, lots of samples AND Indeed Brewing will be tapping a special cask ale from 5-8pm.
I went early so I could see their new bar (lots of craft beer and wine), the new renovations and the overall revitalization of their brand. Let me jump ahead, I was really impressed! It’s definitely not the dark walls, dim lighting and cramped quarters that I often encounter with restaurants that have been around forever (40 is forever for me). The design is bright, modern, and incredibly inviting. The staff was what really made the atmosphere for me, though. Attentive, friendly, great with suggestions and they actually like their jobs, which isn’t always the case in the industry. I’m going to attribute that to being a privately held company and constantly trying new ideas, from nutriment to innovation.
Now let me get into the food.
We devoured all different kinds of salads, sandwiches, beer and dessert. Hey! We are eaters, and also sharers, so we had to have a little of everything! And the pizza? Deep dish, flat bread, thin crust, white sauce, red sauce, you name it – we tried it. The crowd favorite was the Southwestern Chicken Salad, the Turkey Bacon Chipotle Hoagie and the Artichoke Chicken Pesto Flatbread (see, they are trying new things!). I was partial to the Veggie Hoagie and Garlic Cheese Bread. Needless to say, their Chanhassen location (their 22nd store) will get a little too much of my attention in the future. With the Twin Cities bursting with really great pizzerias, the new changes from layout to menu, to keeping the forever favorites like the New York style pizza and pasta and using their own bakery for bread and desserts, I know that Davannis will have a home here for at least another 40 years.
WANT A GREAT DEAL: When you order online, you can get a 10% discount when you use the code “ANNIVERSARY” at checkout through Saturday, October 31. Otherwise in-shop through the end of the month, a regular pop (it’s Minnesota, we say Pop) is only $1.
Up next is something brand new to the #mnbucketlist; fitness. I know, I know. I fill your feed with dives, bistros, eateries, saloons, chuck wagons and fanfare food, BUT this list really is all inclusive. Bring It Studios / CrossFit Chanhassen – I know some of you know this place, because one of the owners is a little famous (google it, look for Desperate Housewives) but there’s a lot more to it and my friend Chris, an instructor there let me in on all the cool things. Half Studio and half military inspired gym (they call it a CrossFit Box, that’s the lingo, he told me), just look for the open garage door. They have everything, no joke. With classes, coaching and personal training, there’s something for everyone (yeah, me included, who knew?). Since they have generally smaller classes (5 – 20), nutritionists you can speak to, offer childcare and classes for kids (boys and girls) ages 7 and up and let you drop in a class for $12, you aren’t really out anything if you try it. So their website is a little intimidating, I know, but I promise, take one of the classes – tell them I sent you.
Ordinarily, I try to write about the somber and the sweetness of cemeteries and graveyards but this one is a little bit different. St. Hubert in Chanhassen, erected in 1887, is adjacent to the St. Hubert’s Catholic Church. The reason it is dissimilar is because it’s filled with children, many of them unmarked. Being a researcher at heart, I looked into it and found horribly sad stories of lost records of children by the church. One story specifically, Bringing Maria Home. Because of this and that most hadn’t likely had a visitor, if ever, I brought roses for each marker. Quite possibly the most heartbreaking experience on the bucket list.
Next on the #mnbucketlist is a few short miles from my office; Lake Ann Park in Chanhassen. It’s a place where you can walk around the gorgeous and serene lake and lay in the sun without much distraction. Lake Ann is smaller but is just as beautiful as Lake Calhoun or Lake Minnetonka. Also one of the best places for fireworks over Fourth of July. Besides that, you can canoe or walk the dog, have a great little picnic or go see a game at the athletic fields. The best part? Its incredibly quiet because it has no motorized boats and is full of undeveloped shores, making it calmer and more relaxing.
One of the most important aspects of being part of a community is that you don’t just celebrate new locality and bask in triumphs, you help others graciously bow out when necessary. One of the very first places I reviewed was The School of the Wise in Victoria, after falling helplessly into a self-induced food coma over their asparagus-filled grilled cheese. It’s with a heavy heart that I post, in annulated fashion, that their sister restaurant, The School II Bistro and Wine Bar will be closing their doors tomorrow, the 29th. They featured dancing, live music, an extensive bar menu and were known for their welcoming arms. So as they bid adieu, I suggest stopping by to try them one last time.