St. Paul Art Crawl - Part II, James Powell, St. Paul, MN

The second and final quick post from the cool art at the SPAC. 

James Powell had great art with energy and color. These simple ones grabbed me for more than a glance, plus I'm a sucker for anything StarWars. I thought he did a great job on all his displayed works (not just StarWars-based).


St. Paul Art Crawl - Part I, Michael McColl (Cup Faces), St. Paul, MN

If you can handle some local, pretty hardcore, art apprecition on a Sunday afternoon, I would highly recommend the St. Paul Art Crawl, held twice a year, in and around many of St. Paul's historic loft buildings. 

While everyone exhibting had talent, a few of the artists stood out to me. The first was Michael McColl, and which I will let you decide for yourself below. 


Cossetta, St. Paul, MN

Though I have been a Twin Cities resident for some time, I'd not yet gotten to enjoy the sights, sounds, and smells of this St. Paul "conglomerate". Now, they're not a true conglomerate, by any means, but they do seem to have cornered the market on great Italian fare in the St. Paul area. The buidling is quite large and includes separate destinations for take n' eat Italian favorites, packaged Italian deli, Italian desserts and pastries, and even a 3rd floor fine-dining restaurtant and patio.

I couldn't believe how much Italian goodness they pack into this building. To be fair, it's busy, big and always bustling... but it's hard not to fall in love with it, in all aspects. Don't take my word for it though, check out the picks below

Take a stroll in the market areas:

Mama Mia!

Gorgeous gift options

Take a drink upstairs, outside, with fine views:

Peroni on tap, of course!
Take in some Italian favorites:
Sausage Calabrese, and all entrees come with a side of Mostaccioli with Ricotta and garlic bread

And perhaps take dessert home (or eat it there like we did, mini chocolate canoli):

As if you still have any doubt, you gotta check this place out! Go!


You gotta try this...

...but ignore the fact that it makes people huge and has more sugar than anything else you'll eat or drink that day (maybe?)...


Seaside Beach, Seaside, CA

If you happen to travel from the Midwest to CA for work and find yourself up about two hours early each morning, a good way to use the time would be to walk a few blocks from your hotel to the beach. I planned this exciting excursion and made it happen the last day of the trip. Especially since I'd never been in any ocean... some "world traveler" I am.

The Flora:

The fauna-less beaches:

Downtown Monterey way over...there...

My own footprints, not sure bare feet were the best plan, but once numb they were fine

Lots of motion from the ocean this day...

I presume these were Jesus' footprints... he wears running shoes now


Barrio, St. Paul, MN

I'd go back in for their happy hour in a second. The food choices we made were delicious. The drinks were fair for an upscale Mexican-themed joint (e.g. they use orange soda in their sangria (?)).

A Mexican twist on BBQ'd pork sliders - delicious!


All Chocolate Kitchen, Geneva, IL

This is a not-to-be-missed place to get your sweet tooth fix in the western Chicagoland hamlet of Geneva, IL (not to be confused with the WI resort community of Lake Geneva). It seems the driving force of this establishment, without a doubt, is Chef Alain Roby - a world famous and renowned pasty, chocolate, and sugar expert.

We stopped in for $10 gellato pints, but they have something for all sweet teeth.

We chose "Cool Mont" and "Cookies n' Cream". The latter was out of this world.
Easily some of the prettiest truffles I've ever seen.

They have a pretty "sweet" tree sculpture in the middle of the place, made of chocolate. It's quite the sight, but not for eating... I learned the hard way and then they pointed out the sign below. Whoops!


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