A Guide to Backyard Camping & BBQ Tips n’ Tricks – Minnesota

A Guide to Backyard Camping & BBQ Tips n’ Tricks – Minnesota

                                  Photo by Pricilla Du Preez On Unsplash

S’mores Hacks and Campfire Stories Included….a night under the stars at home is easy with these backyard camping tips!

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Start by Taking a Hike

Immersing yourself in nature and breathing some fresh air will help inspire the camping mood. All state parks and nature centers are still open for use of hiking trails, although most park buildings are closed until further notice.

Top picks include the 18 miles of trails along the Minnesota River at Fort Snelling State Park and the multi-terrain loops through prairies and woodlands at Lake Elmo Park Reserve. (More beautiful hiking spots can be found here.) Plus, all state parks, along with other outdoor recreation areas, have waived their entrance fees during this time. Just be sure to practice social distancing while on the trails and call in beforehand to make sure that the park has not already reached capacity. Peak hours right now are 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekdays and all day on weekends, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. For the most up-to-date information, visit dnr.state.mn.us/covid-19.html

Set Up Camp at Home

  • Shelter: Head outside and search for a flat surface to unpack your tent. (With a little extra time to spare these days, now is the perfect time for everyone to learn exactly how to properly pitch a tent.) Make it comfortable with cushy sleeping bags, blankets, and pillows, and if you’re feeling more like glamping, add extra padding with air mattresses, yoga mats, or foam play mats. (Being only steps away from home means you don’t need to worry about how much you haul in.) If you don’t have a tent, opt for sleeping under the stars, in a hammock, or DIY a snug tipi sanctuary with blankets and sticks.
  • Ambience: String lights inside your tent, and if there are nearby trees, hang paper lanterns or twinkling lights.

Cook Outdoors (BBQ Tips n’ Tricks Below)

  • Dinner: Gather up some firewood and start a campfire. Roast hot dogs, bratwursts, burgers, or a slew of sizzling foil-packet dinners directly over the heat. Or, invest in a Dutch oven and cook delicious meals like chili, sloppy joes, or pizza.
  • Dessert: No camping trip is complete without roasting marshmallows over the campfire for s’mores. For a special twist, try a banana boat s’more. Simply slice open the peel on one side, remove some banana for room, add in your favorite s’mores toppings, then wrap it in foil and briefly heat over the fire. Another twist? Fill a waffle cone with mini marshmallows and pieces of chocolate, wrap in foil, heat, enjoy. (And be careful when handling the hot foil.)

Plan Activities

  • Campfire stories: Not all campfire stories need to center around frightening tales. After all, there’s nothing quite as relaxing as kicking back and conversing with loved ones over the warmth of a crackling campfire. Take turns exchanging favorite camping memories, or get the conversations started by playing games like Twenty Questions or Name That Tune. If the urge to spook arises, grab the flashlight and share scary classics such as “Bloody Mary,” or a more family-friendly legend, “A Grave Problem.” These campfire stories, plus many more, can be found here. (For a Minnesotan twist, local author Benjamin Percy recently released a book of spooky short stories, Suicide Woods.)
  • Stargazing: Take time to look up. If it’s a clear night, you can view constellations such as Ursa Major, which includes the famous Big Dipper. Look for the outline of a spoon or a cup with a long handle, and from there it becomes easier to see the image of the “great bear” it resembles. (The cup is the bear’s chest, and the long handle is part of the bear’s head.) Once you locate the Big Dipper, you’ll be amazed at how quickly the rest of the night sky comes alive. Use this guide to know what to look for.
  • Games: Board and card games are always fun, and now, only steps from home, it’s the perfect time to bust out the yard games. Bean bag toss, ladder golf, and Yardzee are favorites. For something a bit out of the ordinary, use yard paint to make your own outdoor Twister game. Or, take advantage of the night’s darkness and get clever with glow sticks, setting up glow-in-the-dark hopscotch or a game of ring toss.

Other Tips

Resist the temptation to go back inside. Pack everything you’re going to need, because to get the full camping experience, you’re going to want to stay outside and embrace nature. But if you need to make a snack run, we won’t judge.

Unable to camp in your backyard? Recreate nearly all these backyard camping tips right inside your living room or basement.

Have fun. Make the most of the inability to camp at a campground. Sure, it’s not exactly the same, but the uniqueness will create good memories during a difficult time.

BBQ Tips n’ Tricks

Fire up your grill, because our backyard bbq class with Stephanie March is in session! Learn how to elevate your ribs, which local sauces are cookout essentials, and the best classic salads from Minnesota delis to pick up for a side dish. Don’t forget to put a beer in your koozie as Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl crowns the king of summer beer styles, all in our August issue, on newsstands now! 

Mspmag

Walker Art Center: Arcs of “Double Curve” – Minneapolis

Walker Art Center: Arcs of “Double Curve” – Minneapolis

The two 18 foot, gently curving bronze arcs of “Double Curve” are instantly two-dimensional (viewed from the side, they almost disappear). Like the flat shapes in the artist’s paintings, they depend on their precisely controlled relationship to each other and to the surrounding area for their impact and surprising complexity. In all its minimalist simplicity, the monoliths appear to rise up from the ground. Its surface subtly changes throughout the day: rich brown in the morning light, a stark black silhouette in the midday sun. Taking into consideration the shapes and landscape visible between or around the arcs, a new vibrancy of space emerges, cut out from, or in rhythm with the surrounding environment.

Visit our website for more information. → https://walkerart.org/visit/

[Ellsworth Kelly, “Double Curve” (1988)]
Collection Walker Art Center

 

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The two 18 foot, gently curving bronze arcs of "Double Curve" are instantly two-dimensional (viewed from the side, they almost disappear). Like the flat shapes in the artist's paintings, they depend on their precisely controlled relationship to each other and to the surrounding area for their impact and surprising complexity. In all its minimalist simplicity, the monoliths appear to rise up from the ground. Its surface subtly changes throughout the day: rich brown in the morning light, a stark black silhouette in the midday sun. Taking into consideration the shapes and landscape visible between or around the arcs, a new vibrancy of space emerges, cut out from, or in rhythm with the surrounding environment. Visit our website for more information → walkerart.org [#EllsworthKelly, "Double Curve" (1988)] Collection Walker Art Center

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Walker Art Center

City Pages: Best of the Twin Cities 2020 Food & Drink

City Pages: Best of the Twin Cities 2020 Food & Drink

Noah Lawrence

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Best not sugarcoat this: Nothing about 2020 could be considered an “average” year, including
the realm of food and drink! Some of The Best establishments may be hibernating right now, while others have remained alive by shifting to service modes that don’t match the descriptions and categories in which they’re being recognized; still, so many (!) have stayed afloat, ready and waiting to share their (cited) hospitality with you.
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Only in a few gut-wrenching instances did we lose honorees entirely. These winners achieved a lot as they were, and we’re of the mindset that the work they put in shouldn’t – and won’t – go unacknowledged.

That said, all of this year’s Food and Drink winners have been recognized for the banner years and senses of place they contributed to long before some dude ate a mid-rare pangolin (or bat), the world went rogue, and dining rooms began closing and reopening, then closed again to deep clean so they could reopen again. Please check websites or call before heading out to visit IRL; things change hourly.

 

Best of the Twin Cities 2020 Food & Drink

Best New Restaurant: Demi

Best Restaurant in Minneapolis: Grand Cafe (yes, again)

Best Chef: Yia Vang

Best Restaurant in St. Paul: Magic Noodle

Best Restaurant in the ’Burbs: Vann 

Best Restaurant Worth the Drive: Lakeview Drive Inn

Best Fine Dining: Bardo

Best SplurgeShellfish Tower at 4 Bells

Best Italian Restaurant: Giulia

Best Latin American Restaurant: Mañana Restaurant y Pupuseria

Best Indian Restaurant: Namaste India Grill & Brew House

Best Mediterranean: Olive & Lamb

Best Middle Eastern: Afandina Cafe

Best East African Restaurant: Dilla Ethiopian Restaurant

Best Vietnamese Restaurant: iPho by Saigon

Best Chinese Restaurant: Grand Szechuan Restaurant

Best Korean Restaurant: Kimchi Tofu House

Best Thai Restaurant: Thai Cafe

Best Vegan: Fig & Farro

Best Vegetarian: Himalayan Restaurant

Best Restaurant for a First Date: Sandcastle

Best Restaurant for Romance: Gardens of Salonica

Best View: Aster Cafe

Best Service: La Tapatia

Best Place to Eat Out with Your Kids: Gandhi Mahal

Best Restaurant to Take Out-of-Towners: Sea Salt

Best Prix Fixe Menu: Restaurant Alma

Best Gluten-Free Menu: Colita

Best-Kept Secret: Savory Bake House

Best Dining Trend: Tiny Restaurants

Best Diner: Band Box Diner

Best Late-Night Eats: Flameburger

Best Airport Eats: Leeann Chin

Best Bagels: Asa’s Bakery

Best Bakery: Rose Street Patisserie

Best Barbecue: Smoke in the Pit

Best Bar Food: Iron Door Pub

Best Bartender: Our guardian angel, Eagles Club #34

Best Bar Trend: Non-alcoholic Cocktails

Best Beer: Lift Bridge Silhouette

Best Beer (Limited Release): Crankin’ Foamers from Fair State Brewing Cooperative

Best Beer Selection in a Bar: HopCat

Best Beer Trend: Brewery Collaborations

Best Biscuits: Standish Cafe

Best Bloody Mary: Icehouse

Best Breakfast: Al’s Breakfast

Best Breakfast on the Go: The Chewery

Best Brewery: Barrel Theory Beer Company

Best Brunch: Modern Times

Best Burger: Dipped & Debris

Lolli Morlock

Lolli Morlock

Best Cafe: Duck Duck Coffee

Best Candy Store: Candyland

Best Cheap Eats: The Fremont’s Two-Dollar Tuesdays

Best Chocolate: Legacy Chocolates

Best Cocktails: Travail Kitchen and Amusements

Best Coffee Roaster: Roots Roasting

Best Coffee Shop: Northern Coffeeworks

Best Cookbook: Fish by Jon Wipfli

Best Delicatessen: Sikora’s Polish Market & Deli

Best Dessert: Horchata Pot de Creme at Hola Arepa

Best Distillery: Dampfwerk Distilling

Best Dive Bar: Northeast Yacht Club

Best Doughnuts: Mel-O-Glaze Bakery

Best Drunk Food: A Slice of New York

Best Farmers Market: Midtown Farmers Market

Best Food Truck: Animales Barbeque Co.

Best Fried Chicken: Soul Bowl’s Big K.R.I.T. Sandwich

Best Fries: The Naughty Greek’s “Naughty Fries”

Best Gimmick: Extreme Christmas

Best Hangover Cure: Go dutch with your hookup at May Day Cafe

Best Happy Hour (After Work): Memory Lanes

Best Happy Hour (Late Night): The Lowbrow

Best Hot Dog: Uncle Franky’s

Best Ice Cream: Treats

Best Instagrammable Food: Black Walnut Bakery

Best International Grocery: United Noodles

Best Liquor Store: Morelli’s Market

Best Lunch: Zettas

Best Margarita: Centro at Popol Vuh

Best Martini: Meritage

Best Meatless Burger: Mac Attack at Trio Plant-Based

Best Mocktails: Marvel Bar

Best Neighborhood Bar in Minneapolis: Lakes and Legends

Best Neighborhood Bar in St. Paul: The Spot Bar

Best Neighborhood Grocery: Dragon Star Oriental Foods

Lolli Morlock

Lolli Morlock

Best New Bar: Meteor

Best New Brewery: Falling Knife Brewing Co.

Best Pancakes: Granola Cakes at Bryant-Lake Bowl

Best Party Bar: Honey

Best Patio/Outdoor Seating: Muddy Waters Bar & Eatery

Best Pho: Pho Pasteur

Best Pizza: Boludo

Best Pop-Up Restaurant: Queer Soup Night

Best Pub: The Prodigal Public House

Best Ramen: Zen Box Izakaya

Best Salad: Farmers Market Salad at Black Sheep Coal Fired Pizza

Best Sandwich: The Cubano at Manny’s Tortas

Best Seafood: Grand Catch

Best Skyway Eats: Afro Deli

Best Smoking Patio: 331 Club

Best Speakeasy: Volstead’s Emporium

Best Sports Bar: St. Paul Tap

Best State Fair Food: Jalapeño Cheese Curds at Miller’s Flavored Cheese Curds

Best Steak: Lindey’s Prime Steak House

Best Suburban Brewery: Lift Bridge Brewing Company

Best Sushi: Momo Sushi

Best Tacos: Tacos El Kevin

Best Taproom: Urban Growler

Best Tea Shop: Jinx Tea

Best Transformation: Revolution Hall to Potluck

Best Wine Bar: Bar Brava

Best Wings: Cedar Inn

Best Winter Drinking: City of Lakes Loppet Winter Festival

 

Click here to browse our entire Best Of issue

citypages

Really, is it called Soda or Pop? Spring Lake Park, MN

Really, is it called Soda or Pop? Spring Lake Park, MN

The Blue Sun Soda Shop founded in 2015 is Minnesota’s first and only gourmet soda shop and candy destination! We have candies and sweets to delight people of all ages, including dozens of root beers, cream sodas, and exotic flavors – many of which are exclusive to Blue Sun Soda Shop. We’re a great place to stop in for a quick drink, or to bring your family for a day of fun. With hundreds of varieties of soda available, there is something for everyone to enjoy.

Did we mentioned that we’re the largest soda shop in the world? But we’re also the number one destination for all of your favorite candy! Stop in and enjoy the finest candies and sweets that you won’t find anywhere else. And if you’re ready to try something new and exciting, stop in for one of our weekly soda tastings and find yourself a new favorite soda flavor!

 

 

The Blue Sun Soda Shop

 

The Sunflowers are really Shining Bright in Rush City, MN

The Sunflowers are really Shining Bright in Rush City, MN

Treasured Haven Farm is a Certified Organic Family Farm located near Rush City, MN. We raise organic hay, grains such as corn, oats, and barley, black oil sunflower seeds, and other crops. The farm is also raises chickens for meat and eggs, pigs, and beef, and produces organic maple syrup.

The farm began growing sunflowers in 2012, and ever since that time the farm receives an absolutely overwhelming number of requests from people that want to take their family, engagement, and children’s pictures in the sunflower fields. We now schedule open hours during the Sunflower Days each year to accommodate those wishing to do so. The sunflower fields are an actual farm crop on a working farm and are not planted solely for an attraction. They usually bloom in August and we update status on our facebook page with pictures and more info.

Beautiful sunny day here on the farm. The sunflowers are really shining bright! Come on out and enjoy the view. Also have a couple spots that overlook the creek. Concessions and gift shop will open on Saturday.

We are now open 7 days a week 10am-8:30pm. Treasured Haven Farm is located at 53407 Government RD Rush City, MN. There will be absolutely NO PARKING ON ROADWAYS by order of Rushseba Township! There is designated parking near the sunflower fields. Admission is $20 per vehicle with 2 or more occupants. $10 per vehicle with a single occupant. Large passenger vans and tour buses call for pricing and parking arrangements (651-208-4012). Walk-ins will also be charged admission. There is also a $25 licensing fee for professional photographer.

Do not cut sunflower heads! Please keep the field looking nice for the next person!

 

53407 Government Road
Rush City, MN 55069

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