It’s Monday of Aquatennial week….yes, the “Best Days of Summer” are upon us in Minneapolis. In the city and on your plate!
I was an Aquatennial Captain in 2008. I had the pleasure of being an escort for Aquatennial royalty (Queen of the Lakes and two Princesses) that year and traveling all over the state and country. It was one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve ever had (and let me assure you, if you think you’re busy in the summer now, try doing that!).
Our Aqua Family at the Uptown Diner in 2008
I’m now a volunteer with the Ambassador Organization and I help out the current Ambassadors during the festival, putting their schedule together and helping get them from place to place. It’s one of those things that you get involved with and then you can’t seem to get away from. And I mean that in a good way!
So, during a week in which we celebrate the “City of Lakes” and a festival that is now 71 years young, let’s celebrate some of the foods and restaurants we probably take for granted.
We are one of the luckiest cities in the country. I think sometimes we take for granted what a terrific bunch of restaurants and chefs that we can choose from. People like Tim McKee, Isaac Becker and Alex Roberts have been honored as some of the absolute best chefs in the country by the prestigious James Beard Foundation. And those are just three of many who populate our fabulous restaurants.
During Aquatennial, we welcome Visiting Dignitaries from several other festivals. They travel from Winnipeg’s “Festival Du Voyageur” to San Antonio’s “Fiesta”, to Pasadena’s “Tournament of Roses” and Macon’s “Cherry Blossom Festival”. They even cross the river from the St. Paul Winter Carnival to see what Minneapolis has to offer! We are thrilled to host some of the top business men/women and dignitaries from around the country and show them our city.
One of activities that we have planned for them this year is a progressive dinner. We’ll do this on Saturday (July 24th) before the Aquatennial Target Fireworks show (the BEST Fireworks show you’ll ever see by the way….at dusk along the Mississippi). We’ll take them to six different restaurants along the Nicollet Mall. It’s the first time we’ve tried this and we’re very excited about it.
The Nicollet Mall
Another stop for us, which is becoming an annual highlight, is Fogo de Chao. We’ll be having dinner there with our visiting festivals and also with the 44 candidates who have gathered from around Minnesota for the Queen of the Lakes Scholarship Program. If you’ve never been to or heard of Fogo, it’s a Brazilian churrascaria. What, that doesn’t describe it? Oh. Well, it’s basically huge cuts of meat; fire roasted on a spit, and then brought to your table where “gaucho chefs” slice it tableside. You basically eat until you pop (they have a great salad bar where you can make HUGE mistakes by filling up too fast. Avoid it). We’ll be there Wednesday (the 21st) before the Torchlight Parade which travels down Hennepin starting at the Basilica.
The Dining Experience at Fogo de Chao
The Minneapolis Downtown Council along with the Aquatennial Ambassador Organization spend countless hours visiting communities, planning events and making Aquatennial the best they can. Help us celebrate the “City of Lakes” this week and join us for the Best Days of Summer! And while you’re here, stop in for a bite. You won’t be disappointed.