Minnesota is a nice place, for the most part. I had a good time while I was there. People are mostly nice, especially outside of the airport. But man are they dumb on the roads! I several times had to dodge cars stopped at a green light in the center lane in downtown Minneapolis.
There are a lot of bums in Minneapolis. “Hey man, can you help me out?” They all asked me to help them out, which is a bit different than how they ask in most other places. None told me a sob story and some didn’t even ask me to help them out; they just said “What’s up man?” each time I passed them during the night. Strange.
“The Cities,” as the metropolitan Minneapolis-St. Paul area are called, are a sprawling pretzel of interstate highways. I-35, I-35 E, I-35 W, I-94, I-394, I-494, I 694. And there are a number of roads which, though not interstates, are large divided highways with limited access. Most of these become interstate highways off and on, but some just circle the city. All for a population of less than 3 million. Lots of pork barrel projects, it sounds like.
And their airport has two terminals separated by a few miles going by the signs on the road coming from town. But geographically they are much closer to each other. In fact, the road to each terminal lets you get to the other. So there is no point to having two separate exits. Especially when there is no indication of which airlines are served at each, which one has the rental car return, or any difference whatsoever between them. It’s madness!
For most of my stay, I was in a small town a couple of hours outside of the Cities. There, I found the food to be passable, but not great. And everything was covered in gravy. I only had two meals in Minneapolis, and they were a little better, but not a lot. Mainly they were different, which was good.
For dinner I went to a place called Club Havana. It’s a place on Washington Street in the strip club and sex toy district. But it’s a nice area. Strange. Anyway, I had one of their Cuban Martinis, which was really just a mojito with champagne and vodka instead of rum. It was mediocre and didn’t have the flavor coherence that the mojito has. It stimulated all of my taste areas, but didn’t blend them well. I’m not sure how to say it better than that. I had a salmon dish stuffed with avocado and crusted with crushed pistachios. The pistachios were too much and detracted from the flavor after several bites. The place won’t make you feel like you’re in old Havana town, but at least there was no Che memorabilia.
I should have eaten at a pizza place and bar called Pizza Lucé. The pizza smelled great, the beer was good, the ambiance and music were great (I heard The Black Keys and Manu Chao back to back!) and the service was overwhelmingly friendly. The patrons were similarly friendly and I met quite a few interesting and fun people. At around midnight or one AM, people came streaming in for pizza. They put up a rope barricade to keep the line from obstructing the rest of their business. In fact, people who were bar hopping came back at the end of the night to get a slice.
For breakfast I went to a little coffee shop that did some upscale breakfast thing. I had a glorified quiche with fruit on the side. The chile sauce they put over top was very nice and made the dish good.
All in all I like Minnesota. The people that I met there were all very nice and friendly. They felt very comfortable and no one that I met seemed the least bit pretentious. It’s a nice place to visit, but I don’t think I could live there.
From what I saw of housing prices, there’s no way I’d do that. A studio condo was going for $300k! I could get a house in Atlanta for less than that. Hell, I did! The condo didn’t even look that great, it was just another insta-building made to look like an old factory or warehouse. I can’t imagine what someplace cool would run.