Day date-Mall of America
We have now been living in a COVID/"stay home" world for almost a year. Things are slowly starting to look up here. Our numbers are going down, and we are happy to slowly venture out from time to time. My husband and I had not had a date night in over a month. We were ready to venture out.
We also realized we wanted to celebrate Valentine's a little early. Our anniversary follows Valentine's Day by just a few short days. By the time we cram in family celebrations and an anniversary celebration, Valentine's Day as a couple can be overlooked easily. We truly believe in the power of dating to strengthen a marriage, so we didn't want to overlook it. It was also SO nice to go somewhere that had some life in it. Seeing people, being a nice mall, doing something "normal" on a Saturday. We are an introvert family, but we need stimulation too!
We decided on Mall of America as our destination. We live about an hour away, it has SO much to offer, and we hadn't been into the mall in over a year. I had always had a dream of creating my own stuffed animal at Build-A-Bear as a kid, and it just never happened for one reason or another. My husband kindly indulged this childhood bucket list item and we trekked to the Mall to check it off the list! It seemed like a fun day date activity.
As always, before going anywhere right now, we do a little research online. Masks are required in the mall, GREAT! I also checked about dining because in person/dine in dining just reopened in Minnesota only a week ago. Everywhere is different, so it never hurts to check.
The crowds were light and we found a great parking spot. I was so excited to go into Build-A-Bear and see great social distancing protocols in place. I had hoped to build a Winnie the Pooh character, but they were out of stock. I went with a Frozen II themed Elsa Bear and she turned out beautifully. The staff were all so friendly and kind and gave us a quality experience. I plan on taking my nephews here in March, so this was a great test run.
After the most wonderful time at Build-A-Bear, we walked, shopped, enjoyed the atmosphere and chatted about how much we had missed things like this in the last year. I will never stop believing in hope, and I do believe things will get better by the end of this year.
For lunch, we had reservation at Fire Lake Grillhouse and Cocktail Bar. We had done a little research beforehand, and we knew that due to limited capacity in sit-down restaurants at the moment, we needed a reservation. This spot made it easy with online reservations available, along with text reminders. This charming spot is a part of the Raddison Blu hotel in the mall, and we LOVED it from start to finish.
As you can see above, this place is STUNNING, and we felt like we had it to ourselves. It was so wonderful. They have an amazing full bar.
The seating area was also incredibly beautiful with a nice view. As you can see below, we weren't even within 20 feet of other patrons, so we felt incredibly comfortable. All servers were also masked.
For lunch, we had so many options, but I wanted a sandwich. My husband went with steak frites. Our fries were served poutine style with cheese and gravy and we have NO regrets! We had fantastic service during our whole meal as well.
This was truly a highlight meal. I would definitely return again, and I thought the prices were very reasonable considering all we got. 5 stars!
After lunch, we did some more mall walking and ended up at Carlo's Bakery for desserts. (This is the bakery of Cake Boss Fame). We got cupcakes for the kids and I got an M&M cookie which was divine. I want to return and try the cannolis which are one of my favorite treats.
All in all, this was literally the perfect day date. It seemed even more special because we have stayed home so much in the last year. I would highly recommend a similar experience for any couple of family looking to mix up the mundane nature of COVID life. We felt exceedingly safe and special the whole day, and I am so thankful we went.