This week, I decided to spice up my weekly restaurant review. I have gone to two popular restaurants in St. Paul, investigating what all the buzz is about.
This restaurant is known for being one of the best vegan restaurants in the Twin Cities area. It offers a multitude of options, as well as delivers on having fast service. When I went, we showed up at an extremely busy time (7pm), and the restaurant was pretty packed. Right after I ordered my food and found a seat, the line for ordering was almost out the door.
One of the items suggested to me was The Pizza Burger. It was a great burger, and the flavoring was impressive, but the bun was definitely a bit soggy. If I went back to J. Selby's, I would try something a bit more normal. I still would recommend going here and trying something new.
When I think of the opposite of a vegan restaurant, this is pretty much the image I get. Again, I arrived during a time where the restaurant was packed (9pm). The vibe Handsom Hog was very relaxed and comfortable, I enjoyed being able to have conversations with people. I had incredibly fast service and felt very welcomed as a new customer.
The Church Of Mocktology ($5.00) The Reluctant Sober Cab ($5.00)
As someone who still remains sub 21, it always excites me when I go to a restaurant with plenty of non-alcoholic drinks. Both of these drinks offer a unique, refreshing update to my favorite non-alcoholic drinks.
Hushpuppies are always a great, filling option to kick off a meal. As I began my meal, my server suggested these to me because I was discussing how hungry I was with him. They had a great crunch and came with a side of a sweet and sour sauce.
What is a great meal when you're tired, hungry, and just want to sleep? a half order of Baby Back Ribs! These were extremely tender and just melted in your mouth. Every bite you take of these, will leave you wanting more.
I have no idea how anyone could finish the full order, I felt stuffed just with my half order.
Total Meal Cost: $45.00 (including tip)
Both of these locations deserve chance to win you over. They offer many different options and no matter which one you try, I'm sure you can find something that will interest you.
This past Friday, I got the opportunity to go see Atmosphere (The rapper) at the Palace Theatre in St. Paul. The venue is an incredible mix of old and new. I was mesmerized by its beauty the moment I stepped inside.
The Palace Theatre may be a concert venue now, but it has a complicated past. At almost 100-years-old, the theater has been through a true metamorphosis.
Transformed, renovated, transitioned, and reborn.
Palace Theatre is located on West 7th Place, which is a pedestrian-only block right near Rice Park. The theatre was built in 1916 as a vaudeville theater. Many different people like; The Marx Brothers, Charlie Chaplin, and George Burns have all preformed on the original stage. Since 1977 the venue was closed and remained sealed, except for a short time in 1984 when it held Garrison Keillor's "A Prairie Home Companion."
This is a video I found showing the alterations they did to the current venue.
Of course just like every concert I have been to, I was under the speakers, which I do not mind, It just takes awhile for my ears to recover. Between the sound quality, ability to view the act, and security, Palace Theatre was an incredible location. I highly recommend that everyone go check it out if you ever get the chance.
I think It's very important that we do not let locations like this die or fade away. St. Paul is also home to the Xcel Energy Center, which is one of the largest venues around this area. It definitely is a beautiful venue, but we have to be aware of smaller venues like Palace Theatre, otherwise they will continue to fall away one by one.
- Do not be afraid to explore what is unseen by others -
Location: Landmark Center in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Inspiration: Always enjoy being yourself, even if it seems unexpected.
The Side Streets is a video of my friends and I exploring St. Paul at dusk. It was pretty cold when we filmed and we had a few changes that I had to deal with, but in the end, we had a fun time and it definitely shows.
Big thanks to Rachel Franc, Caitlin Johanson, and Connor Root for participating in the video.
Location: Rice Park, St. Paul, Minnesota.
Inspiration: Self reflection.
Location: Rice Park, St. Paul, Minnesota.
Inspiration: The old and the knew. Rice Park is a fantastic place to go! Wells Fargo opens up a skating rink every year to the public and everyone knows it as a prime location.
Location: North side of the St. Paul Landmark Center.
Inspiration: The St. Paul Landmark Center is a beautiful building and has a plethora of history lessons. If you are ever interested about the city, this is the place to go.
Location: Downtown St. Paul, right next to the light rail.
Inspiration: The skyway is one of the best ways to get around in St. Paul. You can easily cross the city in warmth and safety, even in the coldest conditions.
Down a random street on Cathedral Hill, you'll find this magical place inside a building which appears completely ordinary. But I guess we should not judge books by their covers, should we? Travel to a different time and experience the excitement that fills the historical space.
As far as restaurants go, this is one of the most diverse atmospheres in
St. Paul. It's great for either coming and getting some drinks with your friends, or having a fancy dinner with your relatives. Whether its 45 minutes or 2 hours, you can enjoy this place with your own style.
With options ranging from simple and modest to classy and upscale, you can easily find an option right for you. They have a number of non-alcoholic drinks, which are incredible, and also many different alcoholic options.
My personal drink of choice here is the Light & Stormy ($5.00)
To kick off the meal I decided to go with a favorite of mine, fried Brussel Sprouts. They had a tangy bacon sauce that was a great contrast with the sprouts. The portion was large, which definitely made them worthwhile.
With a menu with many expensive options, one of the options that stuck out was this bistro steak. Seasoned mashed potatoes and sautéed green beans came as sides to the steak. I had it medium-well and it was cooked to perfection, but I wish it was a bit larger.
The Commodore's desert menu is full of sweet treats that sound incredible. I ended up tied between the Spice Cake and the Semifreddo, but in the end, I had to go with the Semifreddo. With a unexplainable texture and flavor packed mystery, it is easy to see how this dish remains on their menu. My best description is this; Puff balls with soft insides and cookie crumb pants, dotted with lime zest dribbles.
I feel like The Commodore is an unexpected surprise every time you walk through the doors. This is one of the coolest and unique locations inside the St. Paul area. The only downside is that it is a great location, which means its usually busy most of the time. So do not expect a quiet little place, or you might be let down.
It is also pretty pricey! Just keep an eye on what you order and you can usually keep it at a nicer rate. My meal was not too expensive at
$47.00 (after tip.)
I believe this is a must, especially if you're in the area, why not go check it out?
So far this project has been a breathtaking experience for me. Being able to head into the St. Paul multiple times per week, just to gather content for this project, has been incredible. I've gained so much confidence in being able to go out and accomplish seemingly "abstract" goals.
This past week I have noticed that the project is not heading in my intended direction anymore. I want to create a page for the people questioning "what's out there?" in a city they are traveling to or live in. Not just for people looking for tourist attractions, but for people who intend to explore and adventure out into locations/events they haven't heard of before.
As of right now, I feel like this project is appearing to be more about documenting my photography skills. I want to shift things and make it more about the content and less about the creator. I am worried it might be recognized more as a public journal.
Through this next week you will see me try and slightly change course and try improving the project. I love St. Paul and want to help people learn to find things unique to their area. Travel By Month will broadcast the beginning a change for improving social awareness.
Location: Across the street from the Wells Fargo building, one of the most prominent towers in the St. Paul skyline.
Inspiration: Tree, flag, street, camera, boy.
Location: Downtown St. Paul under the skyway.
Inspiration: The drastic angles and clutter.