Minnesota & Wisconsin

When we woke up the next morning for our first day in Minneapolis, we were hungry. Marlaina made a traditional #50infive breakfast – tortilla wraps with peanut putter, Nutella, walnuts, granola, with your choice of bananas and/or apples.

Next, we headed to the Mall of America, where we were all instantly drawn to the Peep store. Yes, marshmallow treats best known for during the spring time have their own store!

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After we were done in the den of treats, Ryan, DB, and Marlaina decided to ride on one of the rollercoasters in the mall. We opted for the Pepsi Orange Streak. It was fast enough and it took us around the entire Nickelodeon Universe, which was pretty cool.

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The coaster must have engaged our appetites because right after we disembarked, we headed for the food court. We all decided that Shake Shake was a good idea. Oh, and it was!

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After lunch, we walked around the mall and did some window shopping and a bit of real shopping.

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Marlaina bought a pair of shoes at Journeys and the clerk who helped her noticed that everyone else was busy playing Pokemon Go. He recommended we go to Centennial Park to catch some more virtual critters. When we were done at the mall we left for Centennial Park and realized that we had only been through 1/4 of the Mall of America… that place is huge!

We arrived at Centennial Park and Cheryl, DB, and Ryan immediately proceeded to catch Pokemon. Marlaina found herself a chair in the shade and did some people watching and stared out onto the lake in front of her. The shoe guy was right, there were plenty of Pokemon to catch there.

Once catching Pokemon drained the phone batteries of our favorite trainers, we headed for Minnehaha Park to check out the famous waterfall.

 It was a hot and humid day in the twin cities, and after all our exploring, we were pretty pooped. We decided to head back to the pad to get some rest before the Twins baseball game at Target Field later that night.

After our resting up, we headed back to the city and we stopped at the Target flagship store. It is housed in a huge and architecturally unique building, but we were not wowed by it as it did not stand out compared to other company’s flagship stores.

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When we were done at Target, we had a quick dinner at Qdoba, which is like a Subway of American style Mexican food, as in “build your own burrito.” If you are familiar with Chipotle, it is very similar.

As we made our way to Target Field for the Twins game, the clouds started to roll in. We found our seats at the field just in time to see the Star Spangled Banner performed. The Twins were playing the Yankees – a game of little consequence as both teams were not expected to be in playoff contention. However, only Marlaina was concerned with that.

We enjoyed some peanuts, some cold ones, and took in just over 7 innings of America’s favorite pastime, until it started to rain. The home team was losing and folks were starting to exit the field. We did the same and we rushed back to Becky in hopes of not getting too wet. All of us were ready for some late-night dinning and we ended up at a place our friend and food blogger, Nancy Kuy has had on her radar: Pizzeria Lola. We got the Forager and their famous Korean BBQ and we were all satisfied customers!

Upon leaving Pizzeria Lola we noticed that it was pouring outside. We were not prepared and we ran to Becky. Ryan, DB, and Cheryl were impressed with how heavy the rain was, the rattling thunder, and the startling lightning. Marlaina however, wasn’t too phased as she has experienced many mid-west rainstorms since she lived for a time in Illinois. She even had no problem leaving Becky’s comfort to fill her up at a gas station on the way back to the airbnb.

We got back to the pad and it was nice to fall asleep to the sound of rain.

The next morning we were out of the Airbnb before check out. We headed to a bakery called Salty Tart for some goodies for the road to Wisconsin.

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We made it to Maddison, Wisconsin in good time. We walked around the downtown area and the state capital building.

For our final lunch together with Cheryl and Ryan, we went to the highly reviewed The Old Fashioned. Ryan and Marlaina both got one of their signature Old Fashioned cocktails. We all LOVED the cheese curds with the paprika dipping sauce. DB and Marlaina shared a grilled veggie sandwich and the beer cheese soup.

After we were finished with lunch, we headed to the airport do say farewell to The Berries. Five states in five days was a success… even if they were exhausted lol. Ryan and Cheryl, thank you so much for joining us for part of our #50infive adventure!

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When we were finished at the airport, now Berrie-less, we checked into our cheap motel room on the other side of Maddison. We got settled in and rested there for a bit.

Once the sunset, Marlaina wanted to go back to The Old Fashioned for one of their epic beer flights we saw pictures of on Yelp. When we got there, the entire place was packed with people and it was loud; a very different experience from our quiet lunch there earlier in the day. Somehow, we managed to find two empty seats at the bar. A gentleman sitting next to Marlaina asked if she would take a picture of him and his wife and Marlaina obliged. We struck up a conversation with them and it turns out that we were at the very same Twins baseball game the night before!

Marlaina and Rick had a lot in common. It was kind of crazy how they were finishing each other’s sentences. We had a great time hanging out with them and we exchanged info. Hopefully, we will be able to hang out with them in their hometown in northern Utah when we make our way back to California in December.

Meanwhile, Marlaina really enjoyed her epic beer flight on a board in the shape of Wisconsin! All Wisconsin beers and all of them were great!

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When we were done at the bar, we left to find a quick dinner. We shared a bowl of noodles at Noodles & Company. It is an up and coming chain of higher-end fast food restaurants featuring noodle dishes inspired from different cuisine around the world. We shared the Japanese Pan Noodles with chicken and we were impressed with the flavor, freshness, and value. We would not mind eating there again for a quick and affordable meal.

Then we walked around the downtown area and checked out all of the cute and funky shops on their famous State Street. We then called it a night and went back to our motel to catch some ZZZZs.

We slept in and departed the motel right right at check out time. We had an early lunch at a crazy little place called Ella’s Deli. The food was pricy and the service was slow, but food and service were of little relevance to us. The lively, whimsical decorations are incredible. There is so much to look at and everything is cute and/or slightly creepy. We loved it!

Next, we headed to the National Mustard Museum (please check out the link and read about the history – pretty funny!) Admission is free and there are over a dozen sampling stations! Marlaina liked the place so much she bought a t-shirt. When you start seeing her wearing a purple shirt, just know that it says “Peace, love, and mustard.”

DB’s favorite mustard was the hot banana pepper and Marlaina’s was the dill and garlic.

Once we were finished at the mecca of mustard, we headed for our 16th state of the trip – Iowa.

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