10 best dinner parties in the Twin Cities
Twin Cities Pop-Up Dinners
Although it may seem as if the entire country is spending its free time making artisan jam and looking for ways to incorporate bacon into every recipe, there are still those of us who'd rather leave the cooking to someone else -- especially when it comes to a dinner party. Even if you're overcome by a feeling of dread at the thought of making skirt steak for eight, you can still be the host with the most if you get inventive with your dinner party ideas. So put down the fondue pot and explore 10 options in the Twin Cities that will have you doing what you do best: enjoying food and drink with friends (or strangers!) without all the fuss.
10. The Pop-Up Dinner Twin Cities
If you want to enjoy a pop-up picnic on a gorgeous summer night with 500 other like-minded souls, your ability to email ASAP counts way more than your ability to cook: This flash dinner picnic on August 16 is bound to sell out. The event is held at a location kept secret until just before it starts and it's BYOP (as in picnic; tables and chairs are provided) but plan on throwing a little something extra in the basket for all the new friends you'll meet while dining in the great outdoors. In keeping with the simple summer vibe of this party, picnickers are encouraged to wear all-white attire and you can get as fancy (there are no rules against candelabras and caviar) or as simple (bread and cheese, anyone?) as you like. The dinner, which benefits the Minneapolis Parks Foundation, is a "leave no trace" event, so pack up everything before you leave and slip, like ghosts, off into the night. Tickets are $35 per person; guests must e-mail email@example.com to receive an invitation to register.
Work off your meal with a walking culinary tour.
9. Twin Cities Food Tours
Who said you have to have a dinner party sitting down? Allow the folks at Twin Cities Food Tours to lead you and your group through Minneapolis's North Loop and Northeast neighborhoods at a leisurely pace while exploring the culinary scene. Tours combine stops for samples at local restaurants and specialty stores (regular stops include Local D'Lish, Kramarczuk's, Punch Pizza, Gorkha Palace, and Gardens of Salonica) with snippets of Minnesota history and cultural information. Best of all, comfortable shoes and clothing are encouraged (every Minnesotan's dream), and by staying on the move throughout the three-hour tour you're sure to burn calories while you eat. Private tours can be arranged for groups of six or more.
8. Progressive Dinner Tour
If being chauffeured around town in a private limo is more your style than walking, you'll want to check out the Progressive Dinner Tour offered by Gourmet Adventure and Renee's Royal Valet Limousine Service. Choose from a three- or four-course dinner and enjoy each course at a different Twin Cities restaurant. There are no predetermined packages here; every tour is custom-designed based on your group's style and taste. So while they do have a list of preferred restaurateurs -- Solera, W.A. Frost and Company, and Lucia's, to name a few -- it's really, truly all about you (Read: They are not above a stop at Taco Bell if that's what you want). They also do winery and brewery tours if you want to skip the food and have a built-in designated driver.
7. Wine & Canvas
We've all been to the awkward dinner party where a somewhat interesting conversation morphs to a 20-minute oration on city zoning ordinances or (worse) the details of someone's boring job. This is where Wine & Canvas comes in. You'll be having so much fun painting -- yes, painting -- that you won't have to worry if the fun chitchat takes a nosedive. This mobile business travels to local restaurants, churches, offices, hotels, and homes to accommodate anyone inclined to pick up a brush, no experience necessary. Artists instruct you step-by-step through re-creating a featured painting and, at the end, you take home a work of art. In addition to a full roster of events held at various Twin Cities restaurants each month, they can also host private events (for up to 80) at their St. Anthony studio, which features a menu of appetizers, pizzas, sandwiches, and, of course, beer and wine to get those artistic juices flowing.