Patrick’s Bakery- classic cafe in Edina, MN

Driving into the parking lot at an unassuming suburban strip mall, one doesn’t expect to find a quaint french cafe.  However, Patrick’s Bakery is all but what you’d think.  It has plenty of traditional french options, as well as more original ones.  Wether, you eat in or take-out (my favorite), you are in for a treat.  Not only is the food fabulous, but the deserts and pastries are just as, if not more, appetizing.

Patrick’s is a great place for a quick lunch and take out is super easy.  I highly recommend the quiches, especially the quiche Lorraine which is cooked to a perfect creamy consistency.  The tomato mozzarella sandwich is also great, thanks to the exceptional olive bread used, and you can’t go wrong with the traditional Croque Monsieur.

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The alluring desert case is filled with mouth watering delicacies displayed beautifully when you walk into Patrick’s.  

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The Croque Monsieur is very traditional but very good.  Every entry comes with a salad on the side.  The dressing is really delicious.  

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The tomato mozzarella sandwich along with a French Limonade, a soda made with different kinds of syrup.  This one here is raspberry.  

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A desert called an Abracadabra which is a sort of raspberry lemon tart with a mouse on top.  I find that the presentation is fabulous.  

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A tri-chocolate cake consisting of milk, dark and white mouse layered with cake and covered in a hard layer of milk chocolate.  This is another great and unique desert.  

Patrick’s Bakery: http://patricksbakerycafe.com

Southdale Square
2928 West 66th Street Edina, Minnesota

 

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How to make the most out of college tours

Visiting colleges is a big deal.  As a higher schooler, it is hard to figure out where you want to spend the next 4 years of your life.  At first it can be exciting, but as the novelty wears off, the tours can become a bit of a burden.  However, after a year of touring 16 colleges in different towns, I have figured how to make the most out of them and I want to share some of my insight.  For high schoolers everywhere, college tours don’t have to be dreaded.  The key is turning them into mini vacations of sort.  By taking time to explore a given town or area, you not only get to experience new places but also get to see first hand what life is like for students at a said college.

Tips-

  1. Stay somewhere near a school.  Sometimes, especially in bigger towns, the school could only be near a small part of town.  More often than not, that area is more charming and caters more towards students and a younger crowd.  Fun shops and cool hang out restaurants inhabit these areas, making the trip more amusing.
  2. After you tour a school, I highly recommend visiting the school chapel or church.  More often than not, a school’s chapel marks the peak of beauty at a school.  You don’t have to be religious to appreciate the different types of architecture these chapels have to offer.  Take some time to marvel at the beauty.
  3. However, don’t spend too much time on the campus.  Instead, make time to explore the local area.  When going to school, you’re living in that town.  Don’t feel as though you have to spend all day on campus.  Go explore and make it fun!
  4. Try to stay, if possible, in a local inn or bed and breakfast.  Usually, these types of places are more in the part of town where you want to be.  Also, they are fun and the people there really know the area well.  I recommend asking the inn owners about local places to eat and shop.  They often know a lot about the history of the area and such, so ask them to learn more about where you are.
  5. Now, if you are in a big city, that is different.  A good way to ask for advice on what to do is to ask the college themselves as they often want to show potential prospects the best of what is around.
  6. Eat at local places.  Different regions and places have their own specialities that are always worth a try and they help you really understand the area.  Don’t just eat at chain restaurants.  Have some fun eating at cool places!
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    Oysters in Connecticut

  7. See what other activities you can do in the area.  Visit a museum or do some site seeing.  Make the most out of where you are.

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    On a trip to New York State, we ventured to Niagara for a fun experience!

  8. Lastly, have a positive attitude and enjoy it.  You only go to college once!

St. Michaels, Maryland-Where charm and style meet

Some of my earliest and fondest summer memories involve Maryland’s eastern shore and the Chesapeake Bay.  My grandparents own a house right on the water and it is where I have enjoyed every single 4th of July of my life.  Maybe I’m bias and I’m certainly nostalgic, but, for me, the shore is probably one of my favorite places.  It is a place to have fun and relax while absorbing the summer sun and the quaint culture that occupies the small town of St. Michael’s.  Although I’m especially fond of the town, I believe that it is a great destination for a family vacation or a small weekend getaway.

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A beautiful sunset on the bay

Rural Maryland feels like a different world compared to bustling city streets and the everyday grind of daily life.  However, the town is situated only two hours from D.C and even less from Baltimore making it ideal for a quick trip. A tourist town at it’s finest, St. Michaels offers plenty of lodging options to take advantage of.  Spending the day boating and relaxing is easy.  Being right on the water, it is easy to access boat retails and such to enjoy the beautiful Chesapeake Bay.  Also, the harbor is great to check out since the docks are usually filled with yachts and sailboats alike.

 

The town offers many great shops and restaurants.  There are clothing stores such as “Knotty” and “Chesapeake Outfitters”along with jewelry stores offering a wide range in price and product.  In addition, there are many design stores full of trinkets and various art galleries.

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One of many great shops in St. Michaels.

 

In terms of restaurants, a town favorite, “Ava’s”, offers great stone-oven baked pizza along with pasta and sandwiches.  I recommend the “Chef’s speciality” pizza but you can’t go wrong with a classic margarita or a chicken parmesan sandwich.  Another place that is great for breakfast or lunch is “Crêpes by the Bay”, a crêperie with a menu consisting of breakfast, savory and desert crêpes.  I personally enjoy the smoke salmon crêpe but the bacon and egg breakfast crêpe is also a great option.  If you really want to experience Maryland culture, then visit the “Crab Claw” to eat the local speciality, blue crab.  You get the full experience since you are in charge of shucking the crab meat from the shells.  It’s a lot of fun!

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Who doesn’t love a good crêpe?

 

After eating dinner in town, be sure to save room for “Justine’s Ice Cream Parlor”.  In addition to their fantastic ice cream, this classic joint serves great sundaes and is home to an infamous “wall of shakes”.  Although the “dreamsicle” shake is definitely my choice, customers can choose from many unique kinds and flavors of shakes, contributing to a truly classic experience.

St. Michaels truly embodies small east coast charm while offering comfort and style.  It is great in the summer, especially over holidays such as the 4th of July.  Come and watch fireworks and celebrate while taking in the beauty of Maryland’s eastern shore.

St Michaels’ travel website: http://www.stmichaelsmd.org

Ava’s pizzeria: http://avaspizzeria.com/eats/

Justine’s ice cream: http://avaspizzeria.com/eats/