Let's Go Crazy!
And that’s exactly what we did on a vegan food crawl through the city of Minneapolis. But before I talk about food, which gets me oh so excited, let me talk about my experience with the dearly beloved, Prince.
Paisley Park was not what I expected. I actually booked a tour date and time but didn’t really look at pictures of what his home looked like. If I was riding down that lonely stretch of four lane divided highway, I would keep driving and not give his home a second glance. I would assume someone is in the structure crunching numbers, working on a computer, holding a meeting or something of that nature. Business would be happening and money would be made. Well business was happening and money was being made in that structure. But also, food was being cooked, sleep was being obtained and some of the best music of our time was being created. There were no signs or glamorous arches to enter. Just a security guard present to let you into the parking lot.
So different than my expectations. We walk in and instantly there was an eery feeling. Like spiritually eery. As if Prince has never left his home. The music playing in the background sounded like we are walking into a funeral. There were his gold and platinum music plaques on the right wall perpendicular from where you checked in at the front desk. No phones were allowed. Once you walk in, all outside distractions are gone. You are there to experience Prince. There was a corner sectioned off with black fabric. That’s where our tour started. I later learned that was where Prince was found dead. How appropriate to essentially start the tour at the end of his life. If that wasn’t enough, the first stop on the tour was to view his urn, an exact replica of Paisley Park, which includes his ashes above the kitchen door. The kitchen was left how he left it. Gently used. It resembled an eating space at a diner.
But this is Prince. Of course he wouldn’t eat at a regular kitchen table. We saw all types of memorabilia from Grammys to special guitars he only used one time. We walked through his office. We visited a few recording spaces. We walked through a huge all black room. I would call it a venue.
Around the venue, there were stages set up with spotlights on each stage. On those stages were a set up of an entire Prince performance. It was what he wore, outfit and shoes. The guitar he played. His outfit and guitar matched. There were even other musical instruments on these stages, like pianos. The setting was so surreal that he could have come back to this life, slipped right into the outfit on the sewing form and started performing. He had full concerts in his home. The tour guide said he would send out random text messages last minute to the VIPs in his life, not necessarily celebrities. You would come and wait. And wait. And wait for him to perform. He would come out when he was good and ready. Sometimes that would be two in the morning after waiting 4-5 hours. But you waited. Because what you would witness with your own eyes would be nothing you could experience in this life or the next. I had that experience with seeing Prince when he performed at Essence in 2014.
I was close enough to feel how intensely magnetic he was. Not just with his music but his mere presence. Paisley Park felt like a maze. We did not see his actual living quarters, which was on the second floor. I imagine that he was on his way to his bedroom when he slipped into his afterlife in front of his elevator. This place was not opulent. But, it was fit for Prince. His stage life was over the top. But his real life was his version of simple. Everything he needed to be the creative and iconic musician and artist that he could be was honed in his own personal space. But oddly enough, I felt wrong while on this tour. This was his home. I felt like I invaded his privacy. I was not invited by his random text messages. I was not one of his VIPs. I was viewing hallways and recording studios that when he was living, the general public would never see. The tour was amazing. I will not take away from that. But just knowing how insanely private he was, I don’t think opening his home as a tourist attraction would have been his wish. Just my thought.
While there, we also visited The Purple Rain House where Prince lived during the movie. There were no tours. First Avenue, where some musical performances for Purple Rain were filmed. Electric Fetus, a record store, where shopped for music. Capri Theater, where he performed his first solo concert in 1979. And a Prince mural painted after he passed on the back of the Sencha Tea Bldg.
Now on to this food. Spectacular. The vegan food in Minneapolis will rival any other city you can think of. Starting with The Herbivorous Butcher, which is a vegan butcher shop. It’s not a restaurant. So you take everything packaged and to go. They have all kinds of cuts of vegan “meats” like ribs and steaks. They also have a selection of vegan cheeses such as cheddar, mozzarella and Gouda. And just as a bonus, they will ship their foods to you. But they were just the tip of the iceberg. We did a Vegan Food Crawl through Minneapolis. We visited Muddy Waters, French Meadow Cafe, Ginger Hop and J. Selby’s. Ready for the list of foods we indulged in? Mock Duck Tacos and Red Curry Garbanzo Bean Soup. Mexacli Not Dogs. Mock Duck Stir Fried Lo Mein. Ginger Stir Fry. Vegan Potsticker Soup. Tofu Scramble, Hashbrowns and vegan sausage. Vegan Nachos. Buffalo Cauliflower “Wings”. French Fries with Vegan Chili and Cheeze. Philly Chickin Cheeze Steak. Vegan Carrot Cake. Vegan Cheeze Cake. It’s a lot of food. I know. I’m exhausted reading the list. But goodness, I never got tired of trying their vegan foods. Standing ovation.
Minneapolis is a city I probably would have never visited had it not been for the passing of Prince. But, I’m so glad that he was the catalyst to expand my life to great vegan food and even better music. Would I go again? Absolutely.