While attending my class reunion we stayed with my friend Kathy. She and I were best friends in high school and have stayed in touch through the years. I moved to Minneapolis and eventually Wisconsin, while she returned to Park Rapids after college. I have always been a wage earner; she has always been an entrepreneur. I admire her greatly.
Her current venture is a small store and restaurant in Dorset, Minnesota, the self-proclaimed Restaurant Capital of the World. Population 22, six (6!) restaurants.
If you are ever in the area, check out La Pasta -- the food is wonderful. (Seriously. I'm salivating as I type this.)
Notice how it says "No substitutions" on the menu? She means it. Really, it is more than your life is worth to ask to change something. She may be my best friend, but even I know better than to ask to substitute. You will eat what is put in front of you and like it.
If you arrive during a busy time, which is pretty much anytime they are open, you may have to wait for a table. No problem, walk across the street to one of my favorite bookstores. Small, but good. All trade paperbacks; no mass market.
Pssssst. There's an espresso bar in the back.
If you still have time to kill, wander around back of the restaurant and stroll through the garden.
Kathy likes gargoyles, but they haven't all made it into the garden yet.
Have you ever been in the back storeroom of a restaurant? Lots of food.
This is northern Minnesota, so the General Store sells bait. Don't worry, this fridge is as far away from the kitchen as you can get.
The town has a number of little specialty shops -- stained glass, gifts, clothing, a scoop shop, a B&B -- plus it is on the 49-mile Heartland [bike] Trail. On the first Sunday of August every year the six restaurants cooperate for the Taste of Dorset.
If you go to Dorset before August 3, 2008, don't try to order the spaghetti balls. They won't be ready until then.
The only bad thing about Dorset? No LYS; in fact, I don't think there is one for 40 or 50 miles. A business opportunity awaits for one of you knitters out there...