Road Trip: Excelsior
Located on the south shore of Lake Minnetonka, Excelsior may not feel like much of a road trip--unless it's a human-powered one. Two regional trails make for a pleasant (read: flat) 20 miles pedal from Uptown Minneapolis to downtown Excelsior, where there are plenty of opportunities for the peloton to refuel.
Directions: From Minneapolis, take the Midtown Greenway to the Kenilworth Trail to downtown Hopkins. Roll up to 5th Ave. S and pick up the crushed limestone SW LRT Trail to Excelsior. Pit Stops 318 Cafe, 318 Water St. This coffeehouse-with-benefits has better-than-average soups, sandwiches, and salads, plus an impressive wine and beer list. Our faves were the four-cheese pizza with truffle oil and the turkey, apple, and Brie sandwich with honey-pecan butter. 318 has a small but pleasant patio and live music every Wed. through Sat. at 8 p.m.
Adele's Custard, 800 Excelsior Blvd. The 318 has a nice array of baked goods, such as the frosting-topped carrot cake the size of a paving brick, but in warm weather, it's hard to pass up Adele's. They serve chocolate and vanilla custard every day, plus a rotating assortment of flavors, from Fudge Brownie to Kaluha. Because it's made with egg yolks, frozen custard has a lucious, velvety, gelato-like texture.
Other possible stops...
Licks Unlimited, 31 Water St. The only way to taste the differences between custard and ice cream is to have some of each.
Jake O'Connor's Irish Pub, 200 Water St. Dermot Cowley, an Irish native and owner of O’Donovan’s in Minneapolis, recreated an authentic pub in a former hardware store with 16 beers on tap, shepherd's pie, and plenty of sidewalk dining.
Biella, 227 Water St. Elegant Italian fare served in a quaint historic building--probably not okay to show up in spandex, so make a reservation for another time.
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