Picnic lifestyle

Picnic friends

It was 93 degrees in Paris, and I was on day five of my solo European adventure. The romance of independent travel was wearing off and my simple desire for someone to talk to was setting in. I had been awake since 3 a.m., running face-first into a cruel series of travel-induced roadblocks, least of which was my laughable attempt at speaking French. I wandered “les rues” weary and wilting under the heavy air, desperately needing water, a functional ATM and a bathroom. And then there it was.

American in ParisWhen I was eight, I fantasized about seeing the Eiffel Tower one day. Europe seemed galaxies away – completely inaccessible to a country mouse like me. But 22 years later, the imposing icon was right in front of my face. My weariness turned into a whirl of giddiness and awe. I wanted to share this with someone. My eight-year-old self wanted to turn and say, “Can you believe we are here?! Do you see this?!” But everyone around me were strangers and seemingly unaffected.

To make matters … Read the rest

A Gypsy Brunch Picnic

With so few days of summer left, I needed to jump on the opportunity to get my friends together for a picnic. Everyone knows brunch is the most important meal of the week, and I decided to take it to the park for extra flair. Three hours of snacking and lounging in the late-summer breeze with good company is time well spent. Fresh fruit, baguettes, cheese, tomatoes, mimosas, animal crackers, pie…a perfect mish-mash of picnic fare was present. The highlight was Gwen’s blueberry crisp (recipe below).

Gwen’s Blueberry Stuff – She adapted it from a recipe she found online and used berries picked by Uncle Larry in Bayfield. I bet any kind of fruit would be outstanding.

1 c. butter           1 c. brown sugar           1 c. flour              1 1/2 c. quick oats

1/2 tsp. salt        1 qt. fresh blueberries mixed with 2 tsp sugar and 1 Tb flour (or a 15 oz can if you don’t have an Uncle Larry)

In a medium bowl, cream butter and brown sugar. Stir in flour, salt and oats … Read the rest

Breakfast at The Buttered Tin

Sunny side up!I’m one of those lucky people who is surrounded by brilliant friends. Like, legitimately brainy, Ph.D.-holding, well-read friends with unique hobbies, wild stories and boundless ambition. I love spending time with these people. Simply being in their presence increases my I.Q. Even more, I love spending time with these friends in the company of breakfast foods.

Last weekend, I met Summer, a former grad-school colleague and one of these aforementioned friends, for breakfast at The Buttered Tin. This bustling bakery/cafe is just blocks from the St. Paul Farmer’s Market in Lowertown. I’ve heard nothing but fantastic things about it, and Summer was equally excited about the prospect of eggs and confections.This will make your wait feel shorter

After stocking up on Heirloom tomatoes and cukes at the Farmer’s Market, I arrived at the restaurant. The place is hoppin’. At 8:20 a.m. there was a 20-minute wait, and chances are, you can expect a wait no matter when you go. However, if you stop by the counter to order a coffee and pre-breakfast snack from the pastry case, you won’t even notice Read the rest