After a five hour drive to Minneapolis on Saturday, September 6th, Michael and I checked into our hotel, the Radisson Blu Downtown, which he had selected. We parked at a self-parking garage connected to the hotel, and it is typically $20 for overnight parking but since we were hotel guests it only cost us $6 per night. Upon arrival we noticed the stark differences between Milwaukee and Minneapolis. This particular city had a more grandeur feel to it as it reminded us of a smaller version of Manhattan. From what we noticed in the few hours we were there was there was the strong presence of these skywalks that connected twelve city blocks that ran through one building to another. They are essentially walkways that pedestrians can use instead of walking on the streets.
We made use of the available fitness center on the 17th floor of the hotel that had many cardio machines, free weights, and a few different strength machines. We were the only ones utilizing the gym so it was nice to have that space completely to ourselves. After the workout, we both got ready for an evening out.
Michael made reservations at the Butcher and the Boar for 9:30pm. We were both looking forward to indulging in some high quality food that evening. All the reviews on Yelp really talked this place up, and we wanted in on the excitement! We started off with the sausage sampler which included three different ones. Michael really found two of the sausages to be very hot and spicy. But, I really enjoyed the bold tastes of the sausages. We both really took our time to enjoy the appetizer because we really did enjoy the dish, as the sausages were accompanied by various sauces and two slaws which helped to alleviate the heat and cleanse our palates.
I ordered the beef long rib, which was absolutely seasoned to perfection, with an accompanying slaw on the side. The slab of meat was literally the largest piece of beef and bone I had ever seen, as it was completely attached to the bone! Michael ordered the Berkshire pork spare ribs, and there were so much meat on those ribs. In addition, we ordered the skillet cornbread and the beer battered fries on the side. We both tried to tackle our meals, but it ended up that the food totally won the battle against us. We couldn’t even finish half of our dishes. The cornbread was so warm and delicious, and it was served with a maple butter with sea salt. We ended up spending a decent amount of time at the restaurant chatting away, and observing the amount of people the restaurant had employed. It was so cool that the floors were made out of pennies. Because we needed to digest a bit before ordering the dessert we felt as though we had so much to talk about even though we see each other 24/7. Our final dessert selection was the honey maple walnut cake for dessert. It was so delicious…definitely a great way to cap off the evening! It had a really nice milk ice on top of it to really balance out the sweetness of the cake.
The next morning we decided to place our mini Frisbee in a cache on a street a few blocks away from our hotel. It was really an easy find, and we were then off to check out the Mall of America which was 15 minutes away. It is located near the airport. We were not sure what to expect, but we were pleasantly surprised parking was free. We entered through Forever 21, and walked around to run a few errands: my running sneakers were falling apart as they had two small holes in them. The rubber was also peeling off the soles. Another item we needed to find was a magnet for our collection. Michael and I wanted to get some protein powder because we had run out too. However, upon entering we immediately got side-tracked by the Rainforest Cafe located inside the mall. Michael had never been to one before, so we decided to eat there. There were many fish tanks, gorillas, alligators, and thunderstorms that kept us busy. We thought that the food was not all that great however. And, it was quite a challenge to find nutrition facts and a menu with calories online or on MyFitnessPal. So, we decided to only eat less than half of the meals we got, especially since we had a large dinner the night prior.
Just walking through the mall we immediately noticed that this place is really huge! The Lego Store was filled with large already-made lego structures and art, which were so cool to see! We went to a few different stores after eating brunch, and we found a pair of sneakers that suited me at DSW. That mall was humongous and had several roller coasters inside. There were two souvenir shops we randomly came across so we bought our magnet and a Nut Goodies, a chocolate covered peanut and nougat (Made in Minnesota) and we were off to GNC.
After our food and shopping frenzy in Minneapolis, we are off to Medora, North Dakota to visit the Badlands at Theodore Roosevelt National Park.