What? You want me to talk about pie some more?

I know you've been on the edge of your seats wondering how my Baker's Wife pie experience was this Thanksgiving.  Well wait no more.  Here are the results:

Cherry Pie

Good, but not as good as I remember it.  I think the novelty wore off.  Still a safe choice for the holidays.

Pecan Pie

Now we're talking.  I love pecan pie, so maybe this is irrelevant to those of you who don't like nuts.  But this pie was tasty.  The pecans were perfectly roasted.  I don't know if he cooks it longer, or hotter, or if he pre-roasts the pecans, but it works.  And to prove it was better, my dog Nigel took both half eaten pies off the counter while we were out.  He ate the pecan, and he left the cherry untouched.


Best Halloween Display in Minneapolis!

If you live in the Ericsson neighborhood, you've probably already discovered Polly and Gregg Hanson's annual Halloween display.  They (okay, mostly just Polly) have been growing and improving their "graveyard," as Polly calls it, for 10 years.

As the owner of Virginia Rose Estate Sales, the Hansons are in the perfect business for finding odd and discarded pieces add to the scenery.  Polly says that she tries to avoid store bought items, although with their reputation they often recieve gifts that do have commercial origins.  The hard work and commitment to producing something orginal that you can't simply buy at Menard's really shows.  Go check it out before the spooky season is over! 

The home is located at 4228 30th Ave S.  Enjoy the pictures:

      From street  

Big picture  Skelly 

 Mummy  Al frankenstein  Side of house

Nokomis and Longfellow Are the Best!

The editors and readers of City Pages agree.  The following local favorites made the the list for City Pages best of 2008.

Buster’s on 28th:  Best New Neighborhood Bar

Lake Nokomis:  Best Place to Get Away From it All Without Leaving Town

Minnehaha Dog Park:  Best Dog Park

Hiawatha Golf Club:  Best Golf Course

Sea Salt:  Best Seafood Restaurant

What?  You haven’t been to all these places and you live right here in Nomokis/Longfellow?  Unless you are deathly allergic to fish, phobic of dogs, or think fun is for losers…you have some catching up to do!

Blossoms Along the Parkway

The flowering trees along Minnehaha Parkway are in full bloom!  Take a detour this week to see the dozens of bright pink trees.  Better yet, take a ride along the Parkway the day after a storm or particularly windy day.  The fallen blossoms collect in mounds aside the curb like pink snow drifts.    Don’t miss them before they’re gone until next year!Blossoms_002

I Finally Made it to Buster’s on 28th

When the restoration of the Lake Inn was done, I was pleased to see a new bar with big windows.  I have a thing about dark bars with no windows–even in the door.  It means you have to walk in with no preview of what might be inside.  I figure there’s a better than fifty percent chance that a record will screech to a stop and a bunch of scary guys will stop their conversations and look at me.  Then one will threaten, "We don’t take kindly to strangers around here!"

With the new windows, I’ve been eager to step in.  I finally got the chance on Saturday, as my parents were watching the wee one for my birthday. 

I had previewed the menu on their website:  www.busterson28th.com.  I was eager to sample from their extensive list of fancy beers, but I was a little disappointed with their vegetarian selection.  They have a couple items, but no veggie burger.  And if I’m going to a bar for beers, chances are that’s what I’ll want to order. Fortunately, they were still serving the new brunch menu, which gave me several options (I went for the egg and cheese sandwich on a Baker’s Wife croissant).  Very decent sandwich, and very good breakfast potatoes.  The meat eaters were just as pleased.  The fish and chips got a big thumbs up.Busters

The server was very knowledgeable about the beer list and offered to bring a sample of anything I was considering.  I tried the Arcadia London Porter on a recommendation from a client (Nick).  He was right, very good.

I won’t be able to go back as often as I’d like, but I look forward to showing it off to some out of town friends next time they visit.  I told my friend Jeni that I was going to blog about it, but she didn’t believe me that I have a blog.  I captured her enjoying an Ace Pear Cider to prove her wrong.  Smile Jeni!

Lustron: The Home of Tomorrow (in 1947)

As the men and women who served in the armed forces and military hospitals came home from World War II, America faced a housing shortage.  At the same time, America had a surplus of steel because it was no longer needed for the war effort.  In 1947, behind the vision of Carl Strandlund, and with the help of tax dollars, the Lustron Corporation was formed in Columbus, Ohio with the plan to use this steel to mass produce prefabricated homes that would be affordable for every American family.Lustron_with_lady_2

Between 1949 and 1950, 2,498 steel homes were produced.  Then, a combination of changing market factors and political pressures put the Lustron Corporation out of business.  Today, many of these homes remain as a unique time capsule into 1950’s America.

A Lustron home is built completely out of steel.  The walls, ceiling, cabinets, and doors are all steel.  The exterior walls and roof are made of ceramic-coated steel tiles.  These are the same tiles used to build the first White Castle restaurants.  Liberty Frozen Custard in Tangletown was converted from an old Mobile gas station that is also made of the steel tiles. 

All the plumbing, heating and electrical were built into each home, which was then placed on a concrete slab.  Other than a few mechanical updates, and maybe new windows, the homes continue to function mostly unchanged – even in Minnesota.  Several Lustron homes remain in Minneapolis, including a handful in the Nokomis area.

Vacation in Sunny Nokomis!

While Minnesotans spend their summers retreating up North to the cabin and the lake, my new client is looking to retreat from the hot summer sun of Texas and to a cabin right here in Nokomis.  It got me to thinking, what are we retreating from? Nokomisbeach

When I go up North, I look forward to spending time walking along the lake, stopping periodically to skip some stones.  Before sunset I like to stop by the local shops to browse, and then leave with an ice-cream cone.  Then I take a seat and watch the sun dip into the lake.

I walk around Lake Nokomis all the time.  And while I was thinking about it as exercise, I saw a couple standing on the shore skipping stones.  Rarely do I stop by the shops at 50th St and 28th Ave to browse the local wares, or buy myself a Nokomis t-shirt at the Nokomis Shoe Shop.  I make a run to the grocery store for a gallon of ice-cream, but I don’t walk to one of the many local cafes or beach pavilions to get a cone.  And now with one of the Twin Cities’ best ice-cream stores (Grand Ole Creamery) opening a Nokomis location at Cedar and Minnehaha Parkway, what excuse will I have for not savoring a cone while I watch the sunset from the hill just east of the lake?

We should all take a cue from my Texan client and vacation right here at home!

Best Local Bakery Item…continued

My colleague has espoused the sugary goodness of the apple fritter from Mel-O-Glaze.  I’m sure it’s good.  But is it the best treat in town?

I say go North!..six blocks to A Baker’s Wife.  Located at the corner of 28th Ave and 42nd St.  If you don’t melt at the smell of Gary’s fresh lovingly prepared pastries perfuming out the door, you’ll make it your next obstacle–choosing which one to try!  If it’s your first start with the pear tart.  At first its size will intimidate you.  But you’ll soon learn that the best way to eat it, is to share.  That way you can pick out more treats to try and split them. 

Mmmmm…the light flaky pastry makes a nest for half of a pear swimming in custard.  It is simply the best Father’s Day gift you can get for under $2.00.

Cape Cod Style – 200 Years of American History

As settlers in New England started to build cities and permanent homes in the late 1700’s, they called upon the influences of the English style they were accustom to and invented the original American starter home.  They were economically designed and the steeply pitched simple roof lines and clapboard siding helped them hold up to the area’s notorious weather.

The homes made a comeback in the 1930’s when depression era economics made the affordable style more popular, but also satisfied the fashion of colonial revival.  Common features are decorative shutters framing the windows and coved ceilings in the living room.

Kane_front_2 Then in the late 1940’s there was a booming demand for easy-to-build small homes for returning veterans and their young families.  Entire communities and neighborhoods were built with nearly identical Cape Cod homes.  Levittown, New York being the most famous example.  You can find entire Cape Cod blocks in the Nokomis neighborhood. 

The home allows for expansion, either off the back or up into the half story with a variety of dormers.  Hundreds of once identical homes have since evolved to be as varied as the rest of the homes and the people of Minneapolis.

New Target and Home Depot Just South of Nokomis!


I for one can’t wait for the convenience of having these two big-box stores so close to my home.  I frequent them anyway, but my drive will be shortened and I won’t have to deal with any busy roads.  But I worry about the local businesses.  I love my local hardware store, but I only buy things there when I don’t feel like driving to Bloomington.  Even though the service at Hudson’s Ace Hardware is top notch, they just aren’t able to complete with Home Depot’s prices.  I’m afraid that I’ll be tempted to Home Depot more, and patronize Hudson’s even less. 

And what about Nokomis Food Pride?  What a convenience to have them in the neighborhood!  But will I make the trip to Super Target now instead?

I guess we will all have to think before we drive.  If we want local businesses to succeed, we are the ones that must shop there!

Stadish-Ericsson Businesses

Nokomis East Businesses