Our third and final full day (Day One and Day Two here) began with an early brunch at the absolutely adorable French Hen Cafe. Sharing a building is a darling floral shop - Fleur de lis - full of succulents, pots, and other lovely things I could only pine for. The menu next door didn't disappoint. I settled on a poutine and didn't want to stop eating. Hash browns, gruyere, sausage gravy, poached eggs...when can we go back?

After heartily thanking the chef, we headed to Lake Elmo Park Reserve for a spot of archery and a stroll - you know, how everyone walks off brunch. Josh and Linellis had bows and arrows and happily taught us the ropes. I played Robin Hood/Katniss Everdeen til my fingers were raw and then we walked down to the docks and listened to the birds. 

We headed to a gastropub in St. Paul - The Happy Gnome - for a delicious lunch we totally didn't need but happily ate anyway. My order? French toast with bacon and espresso whipped cream. *Happy place*

We sat outside despite the breeze and then headed down to the Cathedral of Saint Paul to take in the grandeur and sailing architecture. So big! So golden! So sacred. Breathtaking.

All of those calories meant it was time for a nap, so we went back to Linosh for a little R&R before the best coffee of the Twin Cities that is Five Watt. Oh. My. Word. We loved it so much we went back after dinner. Because it was necessary. Their coffee was that good. They use so many interesting ingredients - bitters and simple syrups they make from scratch, all in the most interesting combinations. Like, misted it on the top of mine so I could smell it while I drank it. !!! I got a Foxy something or other, which I think had orange and chocolate notes. It was incredible. 

Happy and caffeinated, we walked across the street to our dinner reservation for the evening: Kyatchi. Stellar sushi! Hot sake. Chirashi. Sake Oshizushi pressed with lemon. Nigiri. It was light and delicate and flavorful. 

Sushi segued into Round 2 at Five Watt, then THE MOST AMAZING ICE CREAM IN MINNEAPOLIS at Milkjam Creamery. Why did we wait so long to get here? It was simply the best, I would even say beating out Ted & Wally's in Omaha's Old Market. My scoops were Cereal Killers and Turkish Coffee Toffee and I was so bummed when I found the bottom of my cup. An old lady insisted we sit by her there and then proceeded to adamantly try to spoon feed JD and Josh (which they politely declined) and then railed against the bondage of marriage and scourge of men in between bites. She was memorable.

Glad to be gone but happily full, we went back to Lake Elmo to catch the last golden rays. The sun bathed the waters, trees and reeds in fire. That might have been my favorite moment of the entire trip. Exquisite.

Souls as full as our bellies, we enjoyed some cocktails at Linosh and prepped and packed for our last day in the Twin Cities.

Monday began with poached eggs and bacon (Josh & Linellis, I would rate you 5 stars so hard!) and we fueled up at Quixotic (blueberry latte) before arriving at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. What a beautiful, big, rambling adventure! The greenhouses were my favorite, but I couldn't get over how the grounds just kept going. Miles and miles of woods, then cherry trees, then a sculpture park, then a tulip mezzanine, then an actual maze with hedges, then and then and just kept unraveling more blossoms and bucolic delight. We dined al fresco - well, en auto - munching on a light picnic in the back of Josh and Linellis's SUV, cotton floating all around us. The perfect finale for our Minneapolis getaway.

Josh and Linellis, thank you from the bottom of our hearts (and bellies) for crafting such a wonderful vacation for us and being such generous hosts and friends. Awesome eats aside, it was staying with you that made our trip as great as it was. Can't wait to sip on Licor 43 with you soon :)

Enjoy the last set in this series!