Munchies and More in Minnesota
I love surprises, especially when it comes to great food finds in out of the way places!
(“Mill Street Tavern” on a quaint American town main street. As part of their mission, they want every customer to feel at home. I like that!)
At a recent event in Cannon Falls, Minnesota, I encountered a few nice surprises. The first had to do with the event itself. My speaking engagements are generally initiated by parishioners who hear about Grace Before Meals on the radio, in the newspaper, or on TV. Then they usually have to “convince” the pastor to sponsor the event. And (if I do say so, myself) the pastors wind up very happy the parishioners suggested my name as a speaker or presenter. In this case, the situation was the exact opposite. This time Fr. Kythe, pastor of St. Pius V parish and St. Joseph parish in Cannon Falls, actually thought up the idea and had to convince his parishioners to come to the event, as he knew it would spiritually benefit them. And as we’ve come to experience, the people were certainly fed – body, mind, and spirit.
(Fr. Kythe, Pastor, and one of his parishioners, Chef Brady – a recent culinary school graduate.)
The other surprises had to do with two great food finds just around the corner from the parish church. The first was the Mill Street Tavern – a “pub-ish” type of restaurant with plenty of locals coming to dine on some of their hearty and flavorful foods. The lunch crowd for a Saturday afternoon was rather impressive, filling up almost all of the tables in the narrow bar room dining hall.
I ordered the house special – a cowboy burger – topped with a fried onion ring, bacon strips, melted cheese, and barbecue sauce. As a little bit of a “burger snob” I must say I was impressed with this messy, but delicious burger. The burger’s meat to bun ration was proportionate, cooked to my order, and slathered with a sweet, savory, and slightly smoky sauce. The chef may have been a little heavy-handed with the sauce for my taste, but it made for a great ketchup substitute for my crispy textured French Fries.
The rest of the menu offered enough variety that regular patrons would never be bored. And if a well-cooked burger is indicative of the type of foods served at this restaurant, then Cannon Falls residents can be thankful for that touch of gourmet flare found at the Mill Street Tavern.
(One word to describe this: Mmmmm)
It was such a nice surprise to find good-tasting food in a “tavern” style restaurant, I only give them 3 out of 10 Hail Mary’s, which translates to 4 out of 5 stars for this restaurant! The only penance I detected was a slightly messy men’s bathroom. And also the lack of soft textures in the room (with an impressive exposed brick wall), made it a bit loud – especially since they also had the TV going in the bar area. Other than that, this was a good find with friendly service in Cannon Falls, Minnesota!
I give this restaurant a “penance” of only 3 out of 10 Hail Mary’s (which is equivalent to 4 stars out of 5.)
Across the street from the tavern, I found another gourmet surprise: a local winery, Cannon River Winery. I picked a perfect time to visit, because to my surprise the area wineries were putting on a wine tasting weekend. This “winery walk” gave locals a chance to sip, sample, and savor some tasty blends. One particular wine caught my attention and my taste buds: St. Pepin. Wait! I just discovered another surprise in the faith and food connection! St. Pepin would be very pleased with the product that bears his name. This wine combines some balanced melon flavors with the crispness of a Sauvignon Blanc, along with hints of deep flavors from a Pinot Grigio. I enjoyed the ash scent that contrasted with the citrus and herbal tastes so much that I bought a bottle and gave it as a gift to Fr. Kythe. After all, it was his pastoral vision that brought me and the Grace Before Meals message to this quaint part of the world.
(The unassuming facade to the Cannon River Winery, but inside was a bustling crowd of wine and gourmet food enthusiasts!)
If you are ever in the area of Cannon Falls, you have two highly recommended spots for great food for the body: The Mill Street Tavern and Cannon River Winery. But the most impressive place is right around the corner – St. Pius V Church, where we celebrated goodness and feasted on foods that fed body, mind, and soul!
(A family that came to the Grace Before Meals presentation.)
Let Us Pray:
Dear Lord, thank You for these wonderfully surprising food finds! Thank You for the many ways that You graciously provide. May our world be transformed with an improved experience of culture through good food and drink, so that strengthened with bodily strengths, we may have the vigor and virtue to nurture and feed those who hunger for the blessings, which we so often take for granted. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
(Another satisfied taste-tester. That’s my sauce all over his face!)
Do you have a local winery or a great restaurant in your local area that you’d recommend? Do you know anything about St. Pepin? Do you have a restaurant close to your church that you would recommend to our subscribers? Your comments and responses are not only helpful to our subscribers, but they also motivate us to continue spreading the word. Post your comments and questions below.
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