Best of the Twin Cities 2011
Variety is the spice of life, right? Sure, but we think the wondrous mix of things to do, eat, drink, buy, and enjoy in the Twin Cities is better described as, well, pretty sweet. It’s a veritable Candyland out there, and on the following pages we highlight the things that make us feel good as gumdrops. The tastiest focaccia (the best Dara’s ever eaten). The hippest cover band (they know Weezer’s The Blue Album front to back). The most honest auto-body shop (they do exist). And, yes, the best candy store. Admit it, we’re spoiled rotten here. And that’s a good thing.
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Floral Design Classes
Amy Backman, Spruce Flowers & Home
Martha Stewart says you should always incorporate flowers into your home décor, but who really knows how? Amy Backman, owner of Spruce Flowers & Home, that’s who. Pull up a stool to her darling, diminutive flower bar and take a class or two, or just pick up an offhand lesson while you’re shopping. Either way, you’ll learn the art of arranging. Martha would approve.
☛ 4751 Chicago Ave. S., Mpls., 612-767-1101, sprucemn.com
All Things Diapers
Martin and Patti Cross want to save you money, reduce waste, and have your little bundle of joy potty trained by the age of two—using cloth diapers. Since starting All Things Diapers in 2009, the couple has expanded the business to include multiple delivery and laundry packages plus a store offering the widest selection of cloth diapers in the state. Not only is it convenient (they deliver and pick diapers up at your home), All Things Diapers is also eco-friendly: the Crosses make deliveries in a Prius, use energy-efficient washers, compost—even plant trees. Basically, they’re the diaper genies you’ve always wanted but never knew existed.
☛ 12064 Central Ave. NE, Blaine, 763-439-1973, allthingsdiapers.com
Bubbles & ECouture
Good groomers are hard to find. That’s why you must take your dogs to Bubbles & Ecouture. There, husband-and-wife team Frank Foo and Gladys Tay use all-organic products to indulge your pooch. Pamper your pup with a bath, groom, massage, and “pawdicure,” or go for the straightforward wash-and-cut. Foo and Tay know that dogs can be anxious, but they tackle tooth-brushing, aromatherapy massage, and, ahem, anal expressions with aplomb. To further reduce anxiety, dogs aren’t kenneled, but instead allowed to run and play or laze on couches in a gated area. The awesome retail selection includes collars, boots, food, and treats—all organic and stylish, of course.
☛ 883 Smith Ave., West St. Paul, 651-457-1815, bubblesnecouture.com
Janet Lawrence at Set To Show
When preparing to sell a house, one should: make sure it’s clean, highlight the property’s strong suits, and get rid of clutter (yes, that includes the magnet your three-year-old made). But to really guarantee a fast sale, call Janet Lawrence and her Set To Show crew—your house will be off the market faster than a Louis Vuitton purse on clearance. They decorate, buy furniture, and even provide live-in home managers to keep your digs ship-shape and ready for showings. What’s more, research shows 93 percent of staged homes sell in one month. Let the rearranging begin!
☛ Set To Show, 952-224-2131, settoshow.com
Moving is a pain. At least it is without Local Motion. The fastest-growing moving company in the Twin Cities, Local Motion has blossomed from its humble beginnings in 1994 to being the Twin Cities’ leader in technical innovation and storage. With dozens of trucks and such services as free storage, free boxes, and packing assistance, there’s a chance your next move will not only go smoothly, but be enjoyable to boot.
☛ 2700 Minnehaha Ave., Mpls., 952-474-6683, localmotion.com
Ruth Hayden was Suze Orman when Suze Orman was still waitressing and in debt. And she’s here in St. Paul, offering financial literacy classes, many aimed specifically at women, but also offering a couples-and-money class that frequently has a waiting list. Can’t wait? She has four award-winning books to dive into. So if you’ve ever been tempted to call Suze late at night and ask her if you can afford that new fishing boat, know that you have a local, reliable, whip-smart, non-sensationalized option, right here in town.
Cobbler and Leather Repair
They’re your favorite pair of shoes, broken in and as comfortable as comfortable gets. But they’re old and need new, well, everything. You can’t just throw them out, so what can you do? Take them to Fast Eddie’s. A staple of Dinkytown since 1971, and owned by Jim Picard since ’79, Eddie’s is a one-man shop specializing in repairing everything from backpack zippers to cowboy boots. Picard prides himself in carefully listening to and addressing whatever problem is ailing your beloved item—and returning it to you within the week.
☛ 1316 Fourth St. SE, Mpls., 612-623-4464, fasteddiesshoerepair.com
Hip & Modern
Bastian + Skoog
310 N. Second St., Mpls., 612-333-6450, bastianskoog.com
Cool & Unusual
Minnetonka, 952-237-7487, thistlefloral.com
1100 E. Franklin Ave., Mpls., 612-871-7080, rogerbeckflorist.com
Gorgeous & Gifty
4751 Chicago Ave. S., Mpls., 612-767-1101, sprucemn.com
Lush & Luxe
Indulge + Bloom
651 Nicollet Mall, Mpls.; 3054 Excelsior Blvd., Mpls., 612-343-0000; indulgeandbloom.com