Our weekends in the Twin Cities feel bittersweet.
On the plus side, we've gotten to see our families more than ever since we moved to Fargo, ND. We've caught up and reconnected with old friends. We've tried new restaurants in the Twin Cities and returned to our favorites.
As minuses, we loathe packing and unpacking our bags multiple times each week and not having a steady home base. This will all change soon and we hope this was one of our last weekends in transit.
This past weekend, I worked my last shift at the food truck. I'm happy to get my weekend evenings back, but I enjoyed working with my family and enjoy a job that allows me to move around.
My past two jobs have introduced me to the world of serving. It's incredibly challenging. Unless your server is deliberately acting rudely, do your best to be gracious and don't be hesitant to be direct. There's so much that is out of their control. The servers I've had the pleasure of working with genuinely want to make their customers happy and are more so motivated by this than tips. That's all I'm gonna say about this for now. . .
Here are two things I enjoyed this weekend:
Popcorn At Bread & Pickle, Lake Harriet
I've always loved Lake Harriet. Growing up, we walked around the lake as a family and attended free bandshell concerts. My first apartment after college was located within walking distance to the lake and my mother's ashes are interned at Lakewood Cemetery, nearby.
My grand parents and great grandparents also spent time the lake. I just learned that my great grandfather, Christian Bossen, was the superintendent of the Minneapolis parks system from 1935-1945. When we were little, our parents pointed out Roberts Bird Sanctuary. Christian designated this land for the sanctuary and chose to have his ashes scattered there. There is also a Bossen Lane that leads through the bird sanctuary and Bossen Field Park in south Minneapolis near Richfield.
I'll always feel rooted in the beautiful Twin Cities parks.
Things have sure changed at the bandshell concession stand since my last visit. I attended the Capri Big Band concert, in which my friend performed. People filled the bandshell benches and sipped coffee beverages and beer from Bread & Pickle.
After the show, we shared a giant bag of popcorn ($5). This was no ordinary movie-theater style popcorn. It was salted and drizzled with enough real butter to satisfy even the likes of me. Some of the butter drizzles appeared to be browned. Whether or not this was intentional, it was an added bonus.
After one visit, I'm nuts about Ward 6.
Jake grew up in East Saint Paul and so did his parents. In fact, much of his immediate family still resides there.
Ward 6 is a restaurant and bar located along Payne Avenue near Bymore Taqueria and East Side Thai Restaurant. East Saint Paul offers a huge variety of eating and drinking establishments, but there's nothing else like Ward 6. From what I hear, it's one of the busiest places in the neighborhood with long waits for tables. On Sunday evening, we quickly found two seats at the bar.
Ward 6 offers thoughtful, homemade food, local beer, cocktails, and espresso beverages. It cultivates a hospitable atmosphere and serves a wide range of customers. Plus, they have a magical soft-serve machine.
The bartender poured us dirty martinis that ended up costing only $6 each at full price. Jake and I also enjoyed their Radler that combined Patersbier with Mexican grapefruit soda. I can't stand sweet beers like Summer Shandy or Schell Shock but this was not at all cloying.
Everything you hear about their Reuben is true. The house-cured corned beef is meltingly tender, the sauce is a little sweet and it puts all those lunchmeat Reubens to shame.
The fish & chips is one of the best versions I've tried. The flaky fish was coated in a light & crispy batter and accompanied by equally well-prepared fries and addicting garlic mayonnaise. I found malt vinegar at the bar. The fish and fries are fried in beef tallow. No wonder they're so good. For someone who's never eaten something fried in beef fat, I didn't find it to lend a strong flavor.
We hadn't eaten all day, so we also shared the veggie black bean burger. I wasn't crazy about its texture which I found mushy, but Jake really enjoyed it. The patty was well-seasoned. A little spicy a little sweet.
The bartender offered us the option of substituting fresh fruit or salad greens for fries in any or all of the dishes and we weren't even charged extra for the swaps. We liked both the vinaigrettes.
For dessert, we shared a piece of warm blueberry-rhubarb pie. The crust was flaky and tasted of butter and the filling was clearly homemade. None of that viscous canned crap here. Plus, it came with a little dish of soft serve.
Our bill was surprisingly affordable. Ward 6 is a fun addition to the neighborhood and it's exciting to see that block of Payne Ave, hopping. We're already planning a return visit.