Black Friday Alternatives: The MIA

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Morning at the MIA

So, it is the day after Thanksgiving, which, over the last few years, has become synonymous with overconsumption and consumerist lust, with stories of people being killed over cheap consumer goods, fighting each other for the chance for some paltry savings after bloating themselves on poultry. It’s all over the media, so much so that this year, my grandmother was literally frightened by these menacing reports on “Black Friday” and the violence that was sure to result as big box retailers goad people to buy. That much of this is over reported hype and the that real story may be the loss of family time as employees and consumers alike abandon the holiday early to work or buy in the big box stores. In the Twin Cities, there are strikes at WalMart and other retailers to rally for employee rights and higher wages, as exemplified by being open on the holiday itself. It is a definite good idea to stay in today, relaxing, eating leftovers, and doing some reading, and after all, the libraries are open!

However, for those looking for something else to do early on Friday the 28th, support local institutions on top of maybe getting a few savings on a gift, or just take advantage of cool stuff, there are definitely some fun things to do to avoid the crowds. The Minneapolis Institute of Arts holds a Black Friday event for an hour, from 6 am to 7 am, offering discounts on the museum store and free admission into the special event, this year the intriguing Italian Style: Fashion Since 1945.

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My sister and I showing off our fashion at the MIA. The hats were provided.

 

As one of my favorite places to explore in the Twin Cities, it was great to support them. Arriving before dawn, the museum building was lit up and the awakening skyline of Minneapolis glowed through the glass windows. With some complimentary coffee and cookies, we explored the beautiful and interesting fashion designs currently on display, chatting with a Star Tribune reporter interested on why people were here this morning, rather than Target. As we left, dawn was breaking and we had breakfast nearby at another favorite place, the French Meadow. Kind of an institution itself in the Twin Cities, the cafe and bakery is probably my favorite place to get breakfast, it offers plenty of vegan and vegetarian offerings for those who don’t care for bacon and eggs (though they do have those too). After a hearty breakfast we got back home before ten and have the rest of the day to relax. I would highly recommend this as a choice for next year!

 

Minneapolis Institute of Arts: 2400 3rd Ave S. MPLS, Tue-Sat, 10-5 (normally), Sun 11-5, admission free (except for special exhibit)

French Meadow Cafe and Bakery: 2610, Lyndale Ave S. MPLS, Sun-Thu, 6:30 am-10pm, Fri-Sat 6:30-11

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Snowy morning at the French Meadow.

 

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Indeed Brewing Hullabaloo 2014

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Enjoying some of Indeed Brewing’s many delicious beers, Indeed Hullabaloo 2014

November always strikes me as a strange month, a kind of dreary nether period in between Halloween and Thanksgiving that seems not to belong to any specific season. Not unlike March. The chaos of the “holiday season” has not truly arrived (try as it might), the trees are nearly bare. However, add a little snow and suddenly winter is here. Staying warm while I write, I’d like to recall a few more memories of my favorite season this year.

Now that it seems that winter has taken up full time residence in Minnesota, one can find themselves missing those fleeting, ephemeral days of fall, just a few weeks ago. As the snow to drift through the air on icy, grey afternoons (not unlike today), we can think back at some of those fun times back in distant October. Think back a few weeks ago, a sunny, breezy Saturday exhibiting the best of the Minnesota autumn. Temperatures in the 60s, trees in their full autumnal splendor. A perfect evening to enjoy the weather with some food and drink among friends; what better example than Indeed Brewing’s 2014 Hullabaloo?

A few weeks ago friend had her birthday at the Hullabaloo, Indeed Brewing’s free celebration of autumn (and their beers). It was definitely a good choice for a fun time. Indeed, one of the great, recently opened craft breweries in Northeast Minneapolis  has a great selection of brews, and, I guess it’s true, I tried a majority of them. The popular Blue Door Pub, known for trademark juicy lucies (spelling?) and brats was on hand to offer food. Crowded, but still easier to get into the Blue Door on a Saturday evening.

In the courtyard behind the brewery building, live music from a variety of local groups drifted through the milling crowd, mixing nicely with the occasional rumble of the NorthStar Commuter Line roaring by. The place was packed, and it was amazing how many people I knew we bumped into. The beers were all definitely worth checking out; the Rum King was debuted, an Imperial Stout aged in rum barrels for a rich, deep flavor. Of course, I had to have their Octoberfest as well, which was a very nice one as well. The sage infused Sweet Yamma Jamma, a special variant of Indeed’s popular sweet potato beer, which flavor melded well with the savory notes of sage, was probably my pick of the day, though

At one point, there was a movement to head over to the nearby Sociable Cider Works for some hard cider. Sadly, it was not to be. In spite of being just across the tracks from Indeed, whatever they’re doing on Central (seriously, it looks like they blocked the whole road, a solid wall right across it!) proved an impenetrable barrier without going ten or so blocks out of the way. Instead, we headed back to Indeed for another pint or two. Indeed’s Hullabaloo seemed like a good choice for an evening of beer tasting and food, and, while crowded, it was a lot saner than the madness happening across the river at the Zombie Pub Crawl, and a lot cheaper, too. Still, there were a few zombies wandering among the Northeast crowd, too. I would definitely recommend going next year, and maybe make it to Sociable as well.

Indeed Brewing, 711 15th Avenue NE MPLS

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Festivities continue at Indeed Brewing’s Hullabaloo into the evening.