New Orleans: Fried dough and jazz

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I’ve found few cities elicit more, “omg you have to do/eat/see <insert>,” recommendations from people than New Orleans. It’s a city full of hidden food gems, raucous nightlife, eery old neighborhoods and the spirit of resilience. I’ve also found you can only eat and see so much in a short period of time. It’s a real problem I ran into during our recent visit.

We arrived on Saturday night, ready to escape our reality and get wrapped up in the sounds and tastes of the city. This was my first time in NOLA, but Huzzbot ventured there for his bachelor party and was able to serve as my quasi-tourguide through Bourbon Street – which was our first stop upon arrival. It was 6 p.m., and a beyond-tipsy little thing in a short dress was surrounded by concerned (and equally wasted) friends, barfing onto her heels and into the gutter. There are a few things wrong with this picture, but mostly it’s the attempt to wear heels on cobblestone streets.
Drinks!
We ate oysters, shrimp and gumbo, … Read the rest

Anoka – Halloween Capital of the World

I couldn’t think of a more appropriate time to visit Hans’ Bakery in Anoka than on Halloween. Why? Only because it’s the Halloween Capital of the WORLD!

Back in 1920, the good people of Anoka thought of a clever way to prevent those gosh darn kids from pulling despicable Halloween pranks. Civic leaders got together and threw a mega celebration, complete with a parade, to give the youth and their families something to do. Today the tradition has grown to include even more parades, costume contests, spooky tours, carnivals and other festivities.

The parade has happened every year since 1920, with the exception of 1942 and 1943 because of World War II. When Sissy, Cousin G and I arrived in Anoka, the sidewalks were lined for endless blocks with blankets, chairs and tarps saving spots along the parade route. It’s serious biz.

Before exploring town, we filled up on donuts. Hans’ Bakery is known for a couple key things – the Texas Donut (the size of an adult’s head), the Bee Hive, and its smaller … Read the rest

City Bakery – Fergus Falls

City BakeryAn image likely pops in your head when say I visited a bakery on a smallish-town’s Main Street. A modest, glazed-donuts-and-dinner-rolls place with pastry slingers who’ve been rolling dough since Nixon took office. Driving to Fergus Falls, I imagined this is what I’d get from City Bakery. I was so wrong.

City Bakery has mastered the juxtaposition of old-school bakery and youthful exuberance. The rainbow-colored cookies and immense selection of donuts and pastries in the expansive cases glimmer. The white-and-green-checkered floor matches the green walls, and chipper music fills the spacious room. There are plenty of booths and tables perfect for families sharing donuts on Saturday morning as well as for retired gents drinking coffee and discussing local happenings on any given weekday.

City Bakery has been around since 1919 and owners Lance Wells and his wife Lisa took it over five years ago, embraced the retro decor, added inventive pastry creations and have engineered a playful atmosphere redefining the hometown bakery experience.

Fergus Falls is home to just over 13,000 people, in the middle Read the rest

I’m so into gluten…mostly

I get annoyed at myself for posting pictures of tomatoes on Instagram, but they are just so GD pretty right now, I am powerless. I’m pumped to have so many farmers markets within walking distance – granted, I love a good journey and consider “walking distance” a five-mile radius around my home, so my market options are vast. August means my countertops are an explosion of produce and my body is buzzing from salads. I know you’re thinking, “But Patisserie Gypsy, I thought you only ate baguettes, pastries and cookies all day.” Well, I don’t. Usually. When I’m not eating all the bread and all the treats, I’m trying to be a giant bunny rabbit.Gluten-free donuts

The cool thing about my neighborhood farmers markets is the appearance of local bakers and bakeries each week. When it comes to baked goods, I don’t discriminate. This is why I was super excited to visit Sift Gluten Free at the Fulton and Kingfield Farmers Markets recently. One of the things that makes me most sad in the world Read the rest

Mystery Cave – the ocean’s basement

I’m constantly working hard to earn “wifepoints,” a recognition system invented by my husband that determines whether I earn his “Wife of the Year” award. I get points for thoughtful gestures like buying treats at the grocery store or bringing a beer to him on the couch. So far, I’ve always won the award, and though I’m the only one in the running, I don’t want to chance it by slacking off. Huzzbot has often talked about visiting Mystery Cave State Park in Preston, MN. He’s been weirdly fixated on it. I knew I’d earn a heap of wifepoints if I planned a road trip that included the cave.

Kolache from Daube'sNaturally, I mapped bakeries along the way. On our way south, we stopped in Rochester at one of Daube’s Bakery’s two locations. Daube’s has been around since 1987 and is known for their cakes – notably the carrot cake – fritters, cake donuts and kolaches. They also have irresistable, chunky loaves of rustic bread. I tested the chocolate covered cake donut and poppyseed kolache. I’m going Read the rest

Saturday morning in Prior Lake

Sissy and I took a sunny morning drive to Prior Lake to visit Edelweiss Bakery and check out the city’s Farmer’s Market. Edelweiss is perched on the corner as you approach downtown, and with the Farmer’s Market was right outside the door, they were steadily busy with lines out the door at times. The chipper girl behind the counter said the caramel roll was their best seller, so we naturally had to have it…as well as a couple donuts and a breakfast sandwich. Highly recommend!… Read the rest