The Ultimate MN Bucket List
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FOOD & DRINK
25. Snag one of the 14 stools at the counter of Al’s Breakfast in Dinkytown for a buttermilk pancake as big as its plate. Scooch down when the waitress tells you to. • 413 14th Ave. SE, Mpls., 612-331-9991
26. Enter the Izzy’s Ice Cream People’s Flavor Contest, or at least attend the every-other-year lick-off and vote for your favorite creation. • izzysicecream.com
27. Sample stuffed chicken wings, spicy papaya salad, and tricolor dessert at the Hmongtown Marketplace. • hmongtownmarketplace.com
28. Make a walleye shore lunch. City slickers, catch your dinner in the trout pond at Jax Cafe. • jaxcafe.com
29. Tour the Spam Museum in Austin. • spam.com
30. Eat everything on a stick at the Minnesota State Fair. • mnstatefair.org/find/food/
31. Take a pie tour of the North Shore: order the triple berry at New Scenic Café, raspberry cream at the Rustic Inn, coconut cream at Lemon Wolf, and chocolate coffee toffee at The Pie Place. • sceniccafe.com, therusticinncafe.com, lemonwolfcafe.com, thepieplacecafe.com
32. Indulge in the Grand Tasting Menu at La Belle Vie, 13 courses of bliss. • labellevie.us
33. Pick up a few pounds of the nationally famous cracked-black-pepper bacon at Thielen Meats in Pierz. • thielen-meats.com
34. Tap a tree for maple syrup.
35. Attend the American Swedish Institute’s annual lutefisk feed. (If you can’t stomach the lye-cured fish, try a booya feed instead.) • asimn.org
36. Order whatever Lake Superior fish is freshest—cisco, whitefish, lake trout—at the Angry Trout Café in Grand Marais. • angrytroutcafe.com
37. Learn to make lefse at Ingebretsen’s—or at least stock up on the feather-light Norwegian flatbread. • ingebretsens.com
38. Have a drink with iconic artist Scott Seekins at Café Maude at Loring. Every Thursday night he descends from his studio above the restaurant to hold court. • cafemaudeatloring.com
39. Order a Danish cream dessert in the Technicolor Native American splendor of the Naniboujou Lodge dining room. • naniboujou.com
40. Camp out for Surly Darkness Day at the Brooklyn Center brewery. • surlybrewing.com
41. Share a Bubbly Sex Pot punch at Prohibition, the onetime study of Wilbur Foshay on the 27th floor of his namesake tower. • thelivingroom-prohibition.com
42. Buy a share of the Fisher’s Club on Middle Spunk Lake in Avon; the supper club was once co-owned by Garrison Keillor and is the closest thing you’ll find to Lake Wobegon. • fishersclub.com
WHAT IT’S LIKE: To crowd surf with Mayor R.T. Rybak
By Duluth Mayor Don Ness
Last year, Trampled By Turtles had just come out with their new album and had a show at First Avenue. R.T. came up the idea that we would make a duel proclamation, declaring it “Trampled By Turtles Day,” which we did. So earlier that day, I was at R.T.’s State of the City address in north Minneapolis. He came to me and said, “We gotta stage dive at the Turtles show!” I’m like, “I’m not sure if that’s a great idea.” He’s an old pro at it. But I’m a lot bigger than he is. And sure enough, at my first true crowd-surfing attempt, I didn’t even crowd surf! I stage dived, but I didn’t surf. I just took out the first three rows of concertgoers.
Cathy Wurzer’s MN Bucket List
1. Pipestone National Monument.
2. Mystery Cave/Forestville State Park. The cave looks really cool. In fact, it is cool: 48 degrees all year.
3. Ice fish in an honest-to-God icehouse on Lake Mille Lacs, the tricked-out kind with beds, lounge chairs, a kitchen, and an entertainment center.
4. Eat at Valentini’s Supper Club in Chisholm, the Holy Grail of Italian food on the Range. Get the penne with homemade Italian sausage.
5. Take the Empire Builder train from St. Paul to Glacier National Park.
6. Ride on an iron-ore carrier—a laker like the elegant Edward L. Ryerson or the old Arthur M. Anderson—as you go under Duluth’s Aerial Lift Bridge.
7. Visit Split Rock Lighthouse in November, when the sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald is commemorated. (The beacon is lit and the lighthouse bell is rung 29 times.)
8. Tour the former National Farmers’ Bank in Owatonna, designed by Louis Sullivan in 1908. It’s a great American building.
9. Bloedow Bakery in Winona, at the southern end of Highway 61. Mondays are Bavarian Cream. Tuesdays: Lemon. Wednesdays: Apple. And that’s just the filled doughnuts.
10. Go fishing. “Still” fishing, not trolling or fly-fishing. Get a rod and bobber, and just sit on a dock or the banks of a lake or in an anchored boat. Put a worm or minnow on the hook, cast, and let the bobber sit there. It’s meditative until that bobber drops.
Cathy Wurzer is the host of Morning Edition for MPR News and the author of Tales of the Road: Highway 61. She also rides, trains, and shows horses, and fly-fishes for trout.