Somehow, every year, we manage to be tied up in something the weekend of the Ethnic Enrichment Festival. This irritates me to no end, because it's a festival of food, for crying out loud. What could be more perfect than that?? One year we couldn't attend I managed to catch part of it on local television, which is the absolute worst way to experience a food festival, unless you attend the festival while fasting, which would just be plain stupid.
This year was no exception, with my cousin's wedding last weekend propelling us northward seven hours or so. The wedding itself was beautiful, with an outdoor reception overlooking the meeting of the St Croix and the Mississippi rivers from a hillside in Wisconsin - it was a perfectly clear and cool night with bright stars, an open bar, and a beautiful chocolate cake.
While up North, we got a chance to visit my Aunt's cafe and wine bar in Marine on St. Croix, Minnesota. Marine is a perfectly charming little town right along the river where we would always stop for ice cream when I was a little girl. My Aunt is a co-owner of the most lovely and relaxed little spot - a spot where locals stop to talk and drink strong coffee and eat freshly baked pastries. We had little individual hash brown quiches with slices of banana bread and fresh fruit with big cups of hot coffee. When we left she fixed us mango guava smoothies to go, which put each and every one of my smoothie attempts to shame. They were amazing.
We bought flowers, kohlrabi, onions, and tomatoes at the local outdoor market, and stopped in at the General Store for their freshly baked bread. The loaf of sauerkraut rye was pungent and perfectly soft. The car still smells like sauerkraut rye, so I guess I had a good food weekend after all.