Fall on Chicago Avenue at 48th Street

Historical European Martial Arts at Center for Blade Arts


I found myself visiting Kowalski’s, the one on Chicago Avenue they call the Parkview store, after a long absence. In those occasional rankings of local grocery stories, Kowalski’s comes out as a paradox. When considering prices, it is the most expensive chain of grocery stores in the Twin Cities (and this was partly why I stopped going there). But in another recent poll, it came in first for rotisserie chickens, ranked on a combination of tastiness and affordability. Kowalski’s whole chicken costs only a dollar more than a half chicken from my regular co-op, and yeah, it was good. So besides Kowalski’s being a fun place to shop, it’s also unionized and is open reasonable hours.

We’ll get back to food shortly, but first, let’s look at some of the fun places around Chicago Avenue and 48th Street, for shopping, for pursuing hobbies, or for pure entertainment, like films and music. The Parkway Theater has both, sometimes in the same show. Here are some (not all) of the fall entertainment jewels on the calendar at the Parkway:
• Friday, Sept. 8, 8 p.m. Crown Jewels, the nation’s premier Queen tribute band, plays a benefit for Northern Voices, a charity for young children with hearing loss.

A film + music upcoming event at the Parkway Theater

• Sunday, Sept. 10, 7 p.m. “Do Re #MeToo – Sexist Songs Reclaimed by Righteous Feminists” features a lineup of great local performers flipping the script on the patriarchy as a benefit for Abortion Access Front.
• Monday, Sept. 11, 7 p.m. “The Cartographer” (film, U.S. premier), plus live music from Nathan Stocker of Hippo Campus. “The Cartographer” is an eco-comedy, shot in Wales and led by a Minnesota creative team. Stocker did the musical score.
• Thursday, Sept. 14, 7 p.m. “The Breakfast Club” (1985), the second film in the John Hughes month series, with pre-film music by DJ Jake Rudh.
• Wednesday, Sept. 20, 7 p.m. “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” (1986), the third film in the John Hughes month series, with pre-film music by The Silverteens.
• Saturday, Sept. 23, 8 p.m. The Shabby Road Orchestra performs Abbey Road.
• Sunday, Sept. 24, 7 p.m. Paradox (a band from the 1970s) – a reunion of Washburn High School’s greatest ever band in a single performance.

The Parkway Theater’s classic interior

• Monday, Sept. 25, 7 p.m. “Not Forever, But For Now,” by Chuck Palahniuk, a book release celebration.
• Wednesday, Sept. 27, 7 p.m. “The Secret of Sleep” (1969 film by Spider John Koerner), screening followed by Spider John Appreciation Night featuring a band of Charlie Parr and four other talented and dedicated Spider John fans.

In future months, there will be such delights as a Dan Savage-curated erotic film selection; a screening of the silent classic “Nosferatu” with live accompanying music by Dreamland Faces; a Martin Zellar album release on two consecutive nights (one already sold out); a two-night run of jeremy messersmith and friends for All Hallow’s Eve; and a concert with

Paradox, the most famous ‘70s band from Washburn High School, reunites for one night only on Sept. 24 at the Parkway.

Judy Collins, who has produced a staggering 55 albums in her career.
If you prefer a more active type of fun, one possibility is to take up “blade arts,” i.e., fencing, or a less European version of swordcraft. The Center for Blade Arts (CBA) at 4744 Chicago Ave. offers classes in two Japanese types of swordplay, Kendo and Tameshigiri. Kendo uses bamboo blunt swords and padded armor and is a full-contact martial art. Tameshigiri, which is Japanese for “test cutting,” derives from the samurai methods of testing the sharpness and handling of a katana, or sword. In this form, actual katanas are used, which are razor sharp, and cuts are made on targets, usually tatami mats.
CBA also offers classes in two very different sword styles with European roots. One is the more familiar Olympic fencing. The other is Historical European Martial Arts, or HEMA. Their website (centerforbladearts.com) describes it thus: “CBA’s HEMA program focuses on swordsmanship from the 14th through the 19th century, emphasizing the German school of fighting. The main focus is on the traditions rediscovered and recorded by Johannes Liechtenauer, a 14th-century fencing master, as he traveled around Europe researching the techniques of various countries and cultures.” Very interesting.

Erin and Bob Walloch, owners of CannaJoyMN

Potato latkes for brunch at the Creekside Supper Club

For shopping, Chicago Avenue has the quirky and hyperlocal 14 Hill. Every time I go in there, I intend to buy nothing. About half the time, I emerge with two or three unplanned birthday presents, a little treat for myself, and a pair of irresistible socks. A new shop just soft-opened in the space previously held by the hair salon Rue 48 (in fact, the awning still says that). It’s called CannaJoyMN, a cannabis dispensary. Their website (cannajoymn.com) describes their business: “CannaJoyMN provides premium seeds, Minnesota hemp products, and a collaborative community for cannabis enthusiasts. We look forward to meeting you where you’re at on your weed and seed journey.”
Fun food places abound in the Chicago and 48th Street area. Two of them have made the Eater’s August piece “Hottest Brunches in the Twin Cities Right Now.” The Creekside Supper Club, 4820 Chicago Ave., has branched out beyond supper to add brunch. Highlights include both old breakfast classics like coffee cake, a Denver omelet, buttermilk pancakes, and a bacon-and-egg sandwich on Texas toast, but also modern twists such as a breakfast salad, a smashburger, smoked salmon hash, and avocado toast. And of course, breakfast cocktails.
The other hot brunch spot is Heather’s at 5201 Chicago Ave. Their menu changes weekly, and you can find such delights as quinoa breakfast bowls, open-face egg sandwiches with fancy trimmings, pineapple upside-down pancakes, crepes, and lemon-blueberry French toast.
Finally, a nod to my favorite ice cream place, Pumphouse Creamery, which just turned 20 years

The grab-and-go counter at Heather’s Restaurant

Delicious options abound at Pumphouse Creamery

old this year. Apart from carrying the best flavor of ice cream I’ve ever had (lemon-infused olive oil and sea salt), they are one of only two creameries in Minnesota that I know of to exclusively use and prominently label fair trade (child slavery-free) chocolate. (The other is the much more expensive Sweet Science.) This month Pumphouse will celebrate its own birthday by showcasing the 20 top-selling flavors of the past 20 years.


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