Chasing the high in Mankato

I love getting out of town. I always stumble onto something unexpected and unforgettable. Escaping my usual surroundings refocuses my perspective, amplifies my curiosity and makes me feel brave. My addiction to this feeling keeps me irresponsibly booking vacations across the country and globe. But I’m becoming increasingly aware, it doesn’t matter what distance I travel, the magic of any new surroundings gives me the high I need.


I write this high on Mankato, a city in the Minnesota River valley an hour and a half southwest of the Twin Cities. After learning Mankato Ribfest was happening, Sissy and I embarked on a bakery/BBQ road trip fueled by Sirius XM’s 70s and 80s R&B station, The Groove. It always delivers.

We started at Friesen’s Family Bakery and Bistro, which opened just over a year ago and has exploded with popularity. We entered to find squishy bags of fresh rolls scattered on tables throughout the store waiting to be stocked. We walked slowly and admired each package as if in a museum, restraining from … Read the rest

Paczki Pit Stop

Heading to Twin Cities Polish Fest this weekend? After you fill up on pierogi, sausages and potatoes, polka it off and treat yourself to a Pączki. What’s a Pączki? It’s a jelly donut – Polish style. When I asked Julia, the sun-shiny young lady working at the U Babci booth, which of the four donuts I should try, without hesitation she recommended the rose-filled variety. “It tastes like roses and strawberries,” she said and was absolutely correct.

You know how when you smell a bunch of roses and they smell so elegant and decadent that you kinda want to eat the petals? That’s what this jam was like. The actual donut was a typical yeasty variety, dusted with powdered sugar, but the filling was a happy surprise. Julia is one smart cookie. And yes, I’ve succumbed to eating a rose petal.

Twin Cities Polish Fest runs Aug. 7-9, on St. Anthony Main in Minneapolis. Picturesque views, Polish food, polka bands, folk dance, vodka tasting and sheep dogs…I can’t imagine anything else you’d need.

 … Read the rest