Tag: Pizza Luce
Ah, breakfast. Not only is it notorious for being the most important meal of the day, but – regardless of how late in the day you like to call morning – there always seems to be a place just around the corner waiting to satisfy your “pancake and bloody mary” cravings. This weekend, resolve to resurrect the classic Sunday brunch tradition with a great St. Paul diner that understand each and every one of your morning needs, whether they be caffeine or “hair of the dog” related.
Each of these St. Paul breakfast spots are bursting with local flavor and possess that certain “je ne sais quois” that set them apart from the ubiquitous breakfast chains. Because if you’re going to get up early on the weekend, there had better be some righteous perks involved.
Bread, Coffee, Cake (385 S. Wabasha St., St. Paul, 651.222.7608)
AKA BC2, this family-owned cafe is the Artisan baked heart of the West Side. Featuring environmentally-friendly Rio Lobo Coffee and a vast selection of homemade breads, baked goods, breakfast bakery sweets (including their famous Streusel coffee cake and caramel pecan rolls) and Blue Plate breakfast specials. BC2 is dedicated to bringing local hand-made goods to the Twin Cities and even sells their freshly baked items every Saturday at Downtown MPLS’ Mill City Farmers Market.
Note: BC2 is closed Sunday, so for a tasty weekend morning delight stop in Saturday.
Weekend Hours: Saturday 8 AM – 4 PM
Jerabek’s New Bohemian Coffeehouse and Bakery (63 W. Winifred St., St. Paul, 651.228.1245)
Who better to fry up a delectable morning course than a place that’s been in the business of breakfast for over a century. In addition to fresh brewed Dunn Bros. coffee, Jarabek’s also serves homemade quiche, breakfast burritos, pastries and a variety of vegan and vegetarian specialties, all reasonably priced. This local nook has been featured in the mag Midwest Living and voted “Best Coffeecake” by City Pages in 2001 and although they’ve come under new ownership in the last year, the delicious recipes and 32-year-experienced baker remain unchanged factors.
Weekend Hours: Saturday and Sunday 8 AM – 2 PM
Capital View Cafe (637 S. Smith Ave., St. Paul, 651.290.0218)
If you’re looking for a mom and pop breakfast diner feel, don’t head to Denny’s, Capital View Cafe has all the casual feel and generous portions you want but with a local, family-owned twist. Their American meets Tex-Mex cuisine definitely doesn’t cater to vegetarians, but if you’re a carnivore-loving breakfast seekers their served anytime breakfast menu looks mighty tasty.
Note: CVC doesn’t accept credit cards purchases under $50. There is an ATM at the restaurant, but I suggest coming with cash already in pocket.
Weekend Hours: Saturday 7 AM – 2:30 PM, Sunday 8 AM – 2 PM
The Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar (308 Prince St., St. Paul, 651.228.9274)
Known for it’s finest locally-roasted espresso and coffee selects for your weekend morning pick-me-up, Lowertown’s Black Dog is a mostly organic cafe with daily brunch specials and delicious weekend-only waffles. Grab some coffee, a quick bite to eat and then visit the St. Paul Farmer’s Market, which is just across the street.
Weekend Hours: Saturday 7 AM – 9 PM, Sunday 8 AM – 8 PM
Swede Hollow Cafe (725 E. 7th St. St. Paul, 651.776.8810)
Located in St. Paul’s unique East Side neighborhood, this late 90′s diner has a fantastic view of the downtown skyline and a perfect outdoor patio to enjoy it – and your meal – on. Their recently expanded Saturday Breakfast Special features daily quiches varieties, potato cheddar pie, French toast, strata as well as muffins, hash browns and boasts an “incredible” breakfast croissant sandwich. We hear that it is also home to a few attractive punky counter staff.
Weekend Hours: Saturday 8 AM – 2 PM, Closed Sundays
Pizza Luce (1183 Selby Ave., St. Paul, 651.288.0186)
Twin Cities infamous pizza parlor and hipstery hangout just got better, for St. Paulians at least. In addition to hosting local art and being a great place to grab lunch, dinner or late-night eats with friends, St. Paul’s Luce now offers a to-die-for weekend brunch menu from 10 AM to 2 PM every Saturday and Sunday which includes delights like the massive Breakfast Burrito and Brie Stuffed French Toast. Highlights: cage-free eggs, Fair Trade Peace Coffee, vegan and vegetarians items and $1 mimosas! Can’t beat that!
Chatterbox Pub (800 Cleveland Ave. S., St. Paul, 651.699.1154)
Served only at St. Paul’s Highland and MPLS’ Linden Hills locations, the note-worthy home to micro-brews and signature ales is now a yummy weekend breakfast hot spot. Beer promises to go great with any of the Chatterbox specials, including Steak & Eggs, Chatterbox Benedict or a plate of their made from scratch Old Fashioned Buttermilk Flapjacks. While you wait for your food, start your morning off right with a few rounds of their featured old-school Atari and Nintendo games.
Weekend Hours: Saturday and Sunday 8 AM – 2 PM
The Liffey ( 175 W. 7th St., St. Paul, 651.556.1420)
The local Irish bar turns family-friendly every Sunday morning serving classic breakfast from 7 AM to 10:30 AM. and then Brunc from 11 AM – 2 PM. Their brunch special features an “Eat Until You Are Full” breakfast buffet, A La Carte Eggs Benedict and a Bloody Mary Bar. For a bit of Irish culture flavor, traditional Irish musicians drop by the restaurant to serenade you while you digest.
All hail morning food!
Whether you suffer from celiac disease or you are cutting down on carbs, St. Paul has a whole host of gluten-free options to get you covered.
After a summer weekend spent carb-loading, mid-week is a good time to eat something healthy. Before you cringe at the thought of healthy food, hear me out: I’m talking carb-free pizza. That’s right – Every Tuesday and Wednesday, everyone’s favorite pizza hangout Pizza Lucé offers a gluten-free menu. Whether you can’t eat gluten or are just watching your carb intake, gluten-free at Lucé is the way to go. Check out the full gluten-free menu here. (1183 Selby Ave. 651-288-0186.)
You may not know it but beer is a no-no for those suffering from celiac disease because of its wheat content. Fortunately, St. Paul has a ton of gluten-free beer options. Pizza Lucé carries Redbridge and New Grist.
Another great gluten-free beer option is one made right here in Minnesota: Bard’s Beer. It’s available at a number of St. Paul liquor stores as well as Supatra’s Thai Cuisine (967 W. 7th St. 651-222-5859).
St. Paul’s gluten-free beer retailers:
Chet’s Liquor: 974 Sibley Memorial Hwy. 651-454-3227
First Grand Avenue Liquors: 918 Grand Ave. 651-227-7039
Thomas Liquors: 1941 Grand Ave. 651-699-1560
Midway Liquors: 1944 University Ave W. 651-644-7900
Big Discount Liquor 333 N Concord Exchange. 651-451-2186
Sharrett’s Liquor: 2389 University Ave. 651-645-8629
Haskell’s: 2221 Ford Pkwy. 651-698-8844
Liquor Village: 2289 Ford Pkwy. 651-699-7070
Gluten-free baked goods
If you’re looking for something sweeter, check out the Twin Cities’ premier gluten-free bakery, Cooqi Gluten-Free Delights. Everything in the shop are gluten-free and primarily organic, and they also happen to taste pretty darn good. They carry everything from cakes, bars, cookies, breads, frozen pizza dough, and wheat-substitute baking mix (2186 Marshall Ave. 651-645-4433). Two Smart Cookies at Selby & Snelling use all organic ingredients and have one gluten-free option, their delicious peanut butter cookie (181 Snelling Ave. N. 612-384-1069).
Also look for St. Paul’s first Trader Joe’s, which carries a huge variety of gluten-free offerings, to open by the end of the month at Lexington and Randolph.
I’m not one of those people who often enjoys the luxury of a vacation. My “freelancer” status usually prevents me from doing much aside from running around like a chicken with its head cut off, meeting deadlines, managing events and basically working seven days a week. I am constantly in “panic mode” and have become pretty much used to it. The last “real” vacation I took was in 2001. I went to Las Vegas to visit a friend, and as luck would have it, 9/11 happened while I was there, putting an obvious damper on anything “vacation” related. That’s just the way my life rolls.
Since then, aside from business trips, I’ve attempted a few weekend excursions that have always proven more distressing than relaxing, and the urge to jack back into my laptop to continue working has always been a sick addiction that I can’t quite kick. This weekend, however, I tried a grand experiment. I grudgingly left my laptop at home and made a leap of faith — I was going to try to relax.
This past Saturday I went all out, Saint Paul style. A STAYcation in the truest sense. My day started out at the Details Salon Spa in the Lowry Building in Downtown St. Paul. Greeted by a fleet of pretty girls and the charming salon owner, Brian, I was turned over to resident esthetician, Jodi, for a “refreshing facial.” Being the tightly wound beast that I am, it took a minute for me to let my stress-guard down, but eventually I succeeded, for the most part anyway. Jodi did a number of relaxation techniques on me that included massage and aromatherapy. She applied two masks to my skin, one for exfoliation and one to tone down the uneven redness that my pale, Irish complexion has a propensity towards. All in all, a calming experience that I came out of smelling wonderfully — as Details uses Aveda products almost exclusively.
Feeling refreshed and smooth skinned-ed, I strolled across the street to check into the historic Saint Paul Hotel. One of the most opulent hotels in the Twin Cities, The Saint Paul Hotel has an air of sophistication and old-timey charm that the newer, more contemporary hotels just can’t compete with. After an easy check-in, I made my way to the room which featured a big, plush bed, and a classic selection of decor (think dark woodwork, elegant patterns, and decadent fabrics) — not to mention, Aveda products in the bathroom.
After settling in, I ordered up a delightfully unhealthy lunch of room service from the St. Paul Grill, complete with an open faced steak medallion sandwich smothered in sautéed onions and bleu cheese, fries and a Coke. I ate less than half, and, acting like the rich person I was pretending to be for the day, I unceremoniously put tray back out into the hallway to be taken away. $26 well spent.
Next up was a spin through Rice Park to take in the Flint Hills Children’s Festival, which was positively teeming with, you guessed it, children. I milled around the plaza, listening to world music while dodging strollers and rampaging kids decked out in face paint. There were interactive arts activities galore going on all around me, and the adults seemed to be enjoying it as much as the children were. I was due back at the salon for a manicure so, I dipped out of the park, but not without feeling a bit of nostalgia for the good old days, when screaming at top volume in public was deemed “cute,” not “crazy.”
A hand massage and a few coats of dark burgundy polish later, I headed back to the hotel to meet my manfriend, who was to be my escort for the evening. We freshened up and hit the American Burger Bar just a couple blocks away. Still on my unhealthy, meat-fueled mission, I ordered the “Juicy Klucy,” the Burger Bar’s cheese-stuffed (and cheese-covered) half pound burger. My date went with the “Sliders,” a fancy platter of mini-burgers that included a selection of Angus and Kobe beef burgers and a shrimp burger displayed prettily on an oblong white plate along with a heaping basket of fries. The service was quick and friendly, and the burgers were delicious, though again, I wasted more than half of my huge meal — but hey, I was on Staycation, and Staycations don’t have time for doggie bags.
We met another friend down at the Northern Warehouse to take in a new art exhibit entitled Grey. Green. which featured artists Tim Armato, Mitchell Dose, Aaron Dysart, and Andrew Lange. The exhibit was an interesting, minimal blend of mixed media work and video art. One piece featured a white pedestal from which a bare tree branch sprouted, casting a shadow on the wall behind it. A projector was cleverly aligned with the tree’s shadow, projecting little animated leaves that would fall when you shook the actual tree branch. Other standouts included colored glue sculptures fashioned into logs and branches, and a 5 lb bag of sugar with neon green string tied around it that extended out of the window to a light pole across the street. Weird stuff to be sure, but weird has always been a favorite of mine.
A few blocks away, the Back Alley Gallery was having an opening for the collaborative exhibit, Naturally, featuring the art of longtime friends Dwitt and Christopher Bowman. A tromp down the stairs into the basement of the cool old building in which the gallery is housed brought us to a bright, colorful space jam-packed with hip art lovers and wall to wall paintings, prints, illustrations and mixed media work. Immediately grabbing a price list, we were pleased to see that all the work (over 180 pieces) was priced at $250 or less, much of it under $50. My manfriend picked up a couple signed, limited edition art prints at a mere $15 a pop while we mingled with the friendly patrons and partook in some wine and a few handfuls of gummi worms and spiders — an apt treat to go along with the whimsical and vibrantly-hued show. Naturally will be open this coming weekend, Saturday and Sunday from Noon to 5 p.m. as well, so stop in and catch a deal on some of this awesome art! Want to know more? Check out my interview wit Dwitt last week, HERE.
We decided we needed a few drinks to cap off the evening so we made our way to Camp, the newish gay bar on Robert Street. It was still relatively early for the crowds, being that it was only around 10 p.m., but we hunkered down in the back room where flashing lights and 80s videos were being projected onto a wall. Our bartender, Nate, was a true delight, creating specialty drinks for us that he had invented himself. One featured a pineapple juice, cranberry, vodka, and Triple Sec, and tasted nothing at all like alcohol, though we were assured the drinks were 75% vodka. Nate had been recently featured as Lavender Magazine’s “Bartender of the Week” and was happy to show off his drink mixin’ skills for us. He is also the only bartender at Camp who will let patrons do body shots off of him, as was proven when a shrill bachelorette party over-ran the bar around 11. Having heard enough drunken screeching from the contingency of 20-something girls, we headed back to the hotel. Along the way we ran into a very nice couple who had also been at Camp, and were, coincidentally enough, also on a Staycation AND staying at our hotel. Score for Saint Paul STAYcation!
Upon our safe return the hotel, we were surprised to find the lobby packed with exuberant, well dressed, (and well lubricated with alcohol) people, including a trio of costumed fairy-women. The piano bar was in full swing and people were merrily chattering and cheek-kissing all around us. After a day of not seeing a single person I knew, I was happily surprised to spot the one and only Robyne Robinson, Fox 9 News anchor and jewelry designer du jour. We had her up to our room for a night cap and some late night Pizza Luce delivery, and after she left, we fell asleep buried in high thread count sheets — and the warm, fuzzy feeling that only a successful day of relaxation and fun can bring.
All in all, my St. Paul STAYcation was a good time that I am eager to repeat, and that I encourage all of you to experience. See your city with a new set of eyes! We’ll be filling you in on all manners of fun activities and custom itineraries all summer, so check back often!