My Perfect Saturday

Star Tribune columnists and critics reveal their favorite restaurants, parks and art events — plus other weekend hangouts.

While I love grand adventures that take me new places, sometimes the perfect Saturday involves no innovation, unfolding along one mile-long stretch of Uptown.

9 a.m. I grab a book and go to Barbette (1600 W. Lake St., Mpls.), where I always place the same order: coffee and the quiche of the day.

10 a.m. I keep telling myself that stand-up paddle boarding on Lake Calhoun will be great for my abs. But not long after a friend and I rent boards from Wheelhouse Rentals (on Lake Calhoun) and paddle out, we lie down and float while studying the shapes of the clouds, nearly falling asleep. The real workout comes when the wind jolts us awake, and we get back up and row fiercely to shore.

12:30 p.m. I drop off the board and head to the Tin Fish (also on Lake Calhoun). The food line is always too long, so I grab an ice cream cone and gaze out over the lake for a while.

2 p.m. I’d like to bike to the Mill City Museum or go on a walking tour of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s old St. Paul neighborhood. But … well … hmm … texts are flying between some friends about sitting outside Bryant Lake Bowl (810 W. Lake St.), a favorite hangout on a warm day. So easy. So close.

2:30 p.m. As we crowd onto the benches, I announce that I will not stay too long because I have to do my laundry and grocery shopping, but I can have one or two beers. A Surly Furious, please.

3 p.m. In between amused commentary on the people walking by with their pets and paramours, we expound on politics to pop culture to religion to international travel. Did anyone see that article about traveling solo in Paris? Is Europe overrated? No, what about Italy? Which country are you going to next, India or China? What did you think of the White House Correspondents Dinner, when President Obama made a jab at Congressional Republicans for targeting House Speaker John Boehner when he joked that orange is the new black? Hey, when is the second season of “Orange is the New Black” coming out, anyway?

5 p.m. Still at Bryant Lake Bowl. I’ll have one more beer. Then I’m going. I’m really going.

8 p.m. Laundry and groceries are long forgotten. Attention turns to the online dates of the craziest friend of the bunch, and the ethics of his deceitful profile. A smartphone showing his potential dates and messages is passed around for constructive criticism.

8:30 p.m. Questions fly over whether online dating application Tinder works when a friend walks by with her Tinder date. She gives it a positive review. By this time, a guy we know has pulled up on his bicycle, happy and high, to say hello. An enormous man walks by with a T-shirt proclaiming that he offers free hugs. I hug him.

10 p.m. We leave Bryant Lake Bowl, but the day is not over. Who, I ask, wants to walk back to Calhoun and jump in?

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