Looking for some suggestions on what to do in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area? Well, lucky you, I have a few ideas.
Something to See: The Realish Housewives of Edina
This past weekend, my good friend Laura (from One Girl, Two Cities) organized a girls day to see "The Realish Housewives of Edina" playing at New Century theatre until November 15. I think she invited me specifically because I've been known to watch a Real Housewives franchise once in awhile (or all the time). Regardless, I'm so happy I got to enjoy this play.
If you have any familiarity with the Real Housewives franchise or reality tv in general, you'll enjoy this production. It has humor, love, betrayal, addiction, a super secret rehab facility, fights and the element no reality tv production would be complete without: the confessional interview. All of that mixed with local politics, places and people makes for a perfect parody.
Staged like a reunion show, the action changes from reflecting on the season to flashbacks of the events they are discussing. The host (Randy Bowen) is perfect as a self-absorbed puppet-master. The cast is made up of a baroness who's absentee husband is the cause of much speculation; a woman who's ridiculous business is her focus (and she brings it up enough so you never forget it); a fro-yo loving neck model; an ambitious former convict who gets right back into local politics upon her release; and the "perfect" housewife who has a "perfect" life and a "perfect" husband. Together they are...perfect.
I've decided Ravonka (the baroness) is my new role model. From commanding all the attention every time she enters a room to exalting such wisdom as, "the heart is like a liquor store, it's only useful when it's open" I have finally found who I want to be when I grow up.
Catch it before it closes, more info here.
Something to Do: Como Zoo
I love taking the kids to the zoo. The Minnesota Zoo is great, but we don't get down to Apple Valley that often and the price makes it a little tough for repeat visits. But that's ok, because we have Como Zoo.
Como Zoo (& the attached conservatory) is located in St. Paul and offers guests a donation-based day at the zoo. That's right, pay what you'd like. They have suggested donations listed at the entrance or you can become a member and help keep the zoo free. With a membership, you get free or discounted admission to over 400 zoos and botanical gardens nationwide (including 50% off of the MN zoo, which makes visiting Apple Valley much more affordable).
My kids love Como Zoo. It's not overwhelmingly big, they can easily walk/run around without getting too exhausted as we move from exhibit to exhibit. Monkeys, gorillas, giraffes, zebras, polar bears, tigers and lions are some of their favorites. The aquarium is fun, too, with many exotic fish and penguins.
My favorite time to go with kids are on off days. I love going when school is in session (sorry E, now that you're in school) or when it's rainy or cold. Might not seem pleasant, but the lack of crowds makes it easier to see the animals. Plus, every time we've gone on days like these, the animals are much more active. They like less crowds and cooler weather, too!
During the summer, Como Town is open and that's fun for the kids. Filled with rides, activities and food, there's enough there to keep you busy all day. But bring your money for that, rides are NOT donation-based.
More information on Como Zoo can be found here.
Something to Eat: Pizza Nea
I discovered Pizza Nea because of twitter. I started seeing my friends tweeting about this "delicious" pizza what felt like non-stop, especially during times when I was hungry. So basically all the time since I eat like a hobbit.
I started following Pizza Nea on twitter and began seeing even more pictures of pizza pop up in my timeline. Not that I was upset or anything...it just helped get me in to the restaurant to try a slice. Or a whole pizza.
While I was planning dinner one night (and by planning I mean staring at my phone while feeling very hungry but having no desire to cook), what should pop up but a tweet for Pizza Nea promoting their date night special. A couple pizzas, two glasses of wine for $30. Add dessert and make it $35. That was all the motivation I needed. I rounded up the kids and as soon as my husband got home for work, we went to Pizza Nea for "date night" (with a couple extra little people).
I met Mike (the owner) on our way into the restaurant and he's just as warm and wonderful in real life as he is online. He greeted me like I was an old friend and made sure to stop by our table throughout our meal to check on us. Not that he had anything to worry about.
Everything we had was delicious. We devoured (I'm not joking, there were no leftovers) the Salsicce (spicy Italian sausage, roasted red peppers, cracked red peeper, mozzarella and basil) and the Funghi e Prosciutto (mushrooms, prosciutto, mozzarella, parmigiano-reggiano and basil). The kids had little pizzas of their own but the highlight of their evening wasn't the food. It was the dough they were given to play with while we waited for our meal.
Support a local business and check out Pizza Nea the next time you're looking for some pizza!
And now I'm hungry. I wonder if I could convince Mike to deliver to me...
What's your favorite local spot to eat? Favorite thing to do? Share in the comments!
P.S. If you want to see other times I've written about places in and around the Minneapolis/St. Paul area, check out my "Around Town" page!