Editorial Projects Director Lynn Ackerson coordinates the Photo Seminars for Traveler, which means she's jet-setting most weekends to host our photography workshops in cities across the country. But just because she's working doesn't mean she can't have a bit of fun. She shares her favorite spot from a recent visit to Minneapolis.
Sunday night is tango night at the Loring Pasta Bar in Minneapolis. What could be more fun than downing some pasta and then dancing it off? Since my job at Traveler keeps me on the road nearly every weekend, I try to find a surprise of a place to check out in each city I visit and Loring has become my Minneapolis favorite. Opened by Jason McLean in 2001 in the revitalized Dinkytown neighborhood -- a 'hood filled with funky, eclectic shops – the easily accessible location and reasonably priced menu draws locals and tourists alike.
While the outdoor dining area is relaxing and spacious, the real enjoyment of visiting the Loring Pasta Bar is the imaginative decor inside, it's a little like entering an Alice in Wonderland production. The recycled brick walls twist and turn in improbable curves that keep opening into new spaces. Near the entrance, a guardian eye watches over patrons at the bar while they enjoy a wide selection of boutique beers, good wine, or more fast-acting imbibables, and munch on salsa Italiano with sourdough crostinis. Swerve around a curved wall into the main dining room and more tempting smells waft out from the kitchen. Navigate the crowded room toward your table, where a sumptuous meal and great conversation await.
And just when you think it can't get any better, the first notes of live tango music from the Mandrágora Tango ensemble float across the room and suddenly everyone is up and out on the dance floor. And the nice part is you don't have to know what you're doing. Everyone dances and the rule is that even if you don't know how to tango you have to get up and move around the floor, while one of the more experienced dancers will gently guide you through the moves.
Unique finds like the Loring Pasta Bar make life on the road not only tolerable, they make it an adventure.
Read More: To get the scoop on Minneapolis, check out our online visitors guide, or read the "Conventional Wisdom" manual in the July/August issue. To get a taste of the Loring Pasta Bar, you can download a free CD of the band's tango music.
Photo: Tango night at the Loring Pasta Bar, by Lynn Ackerson