Plaza Suite

          TABLEHOPPING

          CHECK FOR PULSE, HAVE YOU HEART? Looking to put your kind sentiments to use over the holidays? Volunteer some of your time to Kids Cafe, a collaborative effort of the Boys & Girls Club of Minneapolis, Second Harvest National Food Bank Network, and the Minneapolis Youth Coordinating Board, to serve hot, balanced meals to kids who need them. Kids Cafe is open to any child who wants a home-cooked meal, reaching out to those in Minneapolis whose parents cannot afford to buy groceries or who are working over the supper hour. Currently, the program serves between 80 and 100 kids a hot balanced meal four nights a week in a secure, nurturing atmosphere. This is no macaroni-and-cheese operation either: Sample menus include chicken gumbo, red beans and rice, tossed salad, corn bread, and dessert on Monday; and beef brisket, fried cabbage, boiled carrots and potatoes, biscuits, and dessert on Tuesday. Volunteers are needed to socialize with the kids and lend help as needed. Duties include seating and settling the kids, passing and refilling serving bowls, cleaning spills, and overseeing the clean-up process in the kitchen and the dining room. Meals are served family style, and everyone shares in food and conversation, not to mention the activities--like tutoring, basketball, and art projects--that are also part of the program. To volunteer at any of the locations (meals are served in Minneapolis and St. Louis Park, with plans to bring a Kids Cafe to St. Paul) or to get more information about the program, call the Boys & Girls Club of Minneapolis (872-3654), Perspectives in St. Louis Park (926-2600), or the Hallie Q. Brown Center in St. Paul (699-4376).

          THE ART OF BRUNCH: No matter what your ethnic heritage, you may well wistfully recall the famous Scandinavian brunches served by chef Soile Anderson at the Deco Restaurant in the Minnesota Museum's old Jemne Building. Anderson, who currently runs Scandinavian Catering, will reprise her traditional menu--including herring, smoked salmon, and lingonberry waffles--for the opening day of the Minnesota Museum of American Art's large-scale show, Norwegian Folk Art: The Migration of a Tradition. The art exhibit comprises four centuries' worth of Norwegian art in the form of furniture, ceramics, clothing, and toys from both the homeland and the U.S., and tells a subtle story about the changing of traditions as people migrate from one culture to another. These objects will be on display through February 2; however, Soile Anderson prepares brunch for one day only: November 10 at 10 a.m., in the Landmark Center (75 W. Fifth St., St. Paul). The $25 ticket includes an exhibition preview, live Norwegian folk music, and a folk art fair. Call 292-4362 for reservations.

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