Brix

While I’m still on my coffee fix, let me introduce you to another coffee-public-house-but-so-much-more stop on the #mnbucketlist. Brix in Woodbury, technically St. Paul, serves up coffee, yes, but also savory and sweet crepes and their delicious secret recipe for frozen custard. Less stepping away from their coffee roots and more stepping into limitless crepe combinations. Whether it’s the buttery sweetness that is the strawberry cheesecake  or the Nutella crepe or going for the savory heaviness that is the Norwegian, made with smoked Salmon, cream cheese, capers, and red onion with lemon or the Minnesotan, seasoned chicken, wild rice, kale, and mushrooms in a mushroom sherry cream sauce, you can’t really go wrong. But that’s not to say they’ve lost that coffee focus. One look at their Facebook page and you’ll notice all the coffee humor one could want. Complete with helpful service and a wide open but easy to relax in atmosphere, Woodbury is lucky to have it.

Acapulco Restaurante

Since it was just National Margarita Day, I thought I would give you a place to go that makes a pretty good one. Oh! Fun fact: this #mnbucketlist stop is also a favorite hangout for my Dad.  Acapulco Restaurante Mexicano, although sounds like a chain, isn’t. Owned by the Leon family, Jesus and Maria Leon and their nine children, Maria, Jose, Carlos, Alex, Sam, Veronica, Martin, Jesse and Lupita (I know, right?!), Acapulco has eight locations including Blaine, Coon Rapids, Maplewood, New Brighton, Ramsey, Stillwater, Woodbury and Ham Lake. They are known for their Chilaquiles and Churrasco Chicken but I went straight for the house made queso. I can’t help it, it’s one of the best. They are really fun too, and aren’t afraid to jump right in to conversation and keep you having a good time. All that, and margaritas the size of a fishbowl? I mean, what more can you ask for?

Davanni’s

Davannis MNBucketlist

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.

Davannis MNBucketlist

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.

 A few recent articles: Star Tribune + Minneapolis/St Paul Business Journal + KARE11

Les Miserable (Woodbury‬ ‎Community Theater)

Woodbury Community CenterToday’s ‪#‎mnbucketlist‬ addition is the ‪Merrill Community Arts Center‬, home of the ‪Woodbury‬ ‎Community Theater‬ as it is celebrating its 40th year. It’s an extra special place because all of the members are ‪volunteers‬. Every single person is there and part of the experience because they want to and they give up time and themselves to furthering their and the communities love of the ‪dramatic arts‬. This past ‪Sunday‬, I got to see their final ‪performance‬ of ‪Victor Hugo‬’s ‪‎masterpiece‬ turned ‪Broadway‬ sensation, ‪ Les Miserables‬. One of my favorite ‪musicals‬ of all time. Since one of my best friends is in the cast (see above), I was a bit of a‪ stage Mom‬, [overly enthusiastic, tears, etc] so a big ‘thank you’ to Jeanne for letting me steal these ‪‎beautiful‬ performance shots.