I had so much fun last night! I hope you did too. Last night I helped host #MNBloggerBash with Linda from Garden of Eden and Alexis from myTalk 107.1 at Bread & Chocolate. It was just a night for bloggers to get together and talk. We rarely get to see the people we talk to on social media in real life and this was a great chance to do that. Plus, a few giveaways and a swag bag from Garden of Eden! Did you like your signature scent? I hope you were able to meet someone new that you didn’t know before and make this blogger community a little bit smaller. I think everyone did because there was so much energy in that room!
It was really fun to get to catch up with friends that I met when I first started blogging (Life with Levi, Katie Looking Forward, and Being Zhenya). But, I also met new people (HappyShoeDay, A Pinch of Lemon, Champagne and Macaroons, Wool and Whiskey, Some of the Flock of Broads, and so many others). I wish I had a chance to meet every single person that I didn’t know!
The feedback that I received from the event is that we need to do this again! We need to do it again just because I wasn’t able to meet everyone that was there.
The Blogger Bash was born out of wanting to get together with my blogger friends to just have some time to chat. I feel like the only time we get together is if it is educational or being pitched. Rarely, do I have the chance to get together with a HUGE group of bloggers where I just get to hang out. It was amazing to FINALLY meet bloggers I know only from our twitter relationship (Twila Dang)!
I want to send a BIG thank you to Alexis Thompson from myTalk 107.1 and Linda from Garden of Eden for being excellent hosts. I hope you liked the wonderful swag bags from Garden of Eden. Linda wanted to pick signature scents for each of you! It also contained Aromi Matte Lip Stain, Aromi is a local company that can be found at Garden of Eden. You each got my signature color Flamingo Red! We are thankful for all of the great local businesses and non-profits that could come: Plush Pumpkins, Hope Chest, Invision, Ten Thousand Villages, and Vine Park Brewing.
If you loved this event make sure that you don’t miss out on the Minnesota Blogger Conference. It happens in the fall and is one of the BEST events for local bloggers. I saw a presentation from Lauren Melcher that changed my life.
Give me a little time to recover and I will start planning the next Blogger Bash! If you are a blogger and would like to get an invite to the next event comment below with your email address. We will be limited again by whatever venue we choose so only limited amount of invitations will go out. You know that whole fire code thing.
Because we need to meet each other in real life!
What was your favorite part of MNBloggerBash?
I’ve been meaning to go here forever and finally made it out to Eastlake Brewery! I am a huge fan of the Midtown Global Market where it is located. I think it holds some of the best food found in Minneapolis. If you haven’t been to The Rabbit Hole or The Salty Tart yet, go there soon.
When you go to Eastlake Brewery come with an empty stomach because you can get food from the market and bring it in to the brewery to enjoy. The space is fairly big and contains a lot of natural light. It is also family friendly. When I was there, there were several families sitting around and having a meal together.
I wasn’t hugely impressed by the beers that I sampled other than their current sour brew Kirby Pucker and Belgian Pale Ale. They were a little too fruity and floral for my personal taste. I am the first to admit that don’t take my word on it. I love to drink beer. BUT– I think beer is such a personal thing that beers that I am not a fan of, others would like. Their current Saison with ginger and pink lemons was not my thing but I could see people who like fruity beers loving it.
With all that being said, I would come back even though I wasn’t a huge fan of their brews I tried. I didn’t get a chance to try their IPA’s since I got their lighter flight. I will be back to give those a try sometime soon. I went lighter because I was looking for a great summer beer.
I loved the space and it’s fun to bring food from any of the places in the market. If you are going to eat at the Brewery try Hot Indian Foods or Manny’s Tortas. Both are wonderful!
Overall, I liked this place as a perfect place to hang out and I’m excited to try some of their heavier brews next time.
because a great hangout and great food make a wonderful night.
What’s your favorite brewery to hangout in?
We have some talented folks here in the Twin Cities. Clearly, I am proud to call Minnesota my home and this is one of the reasons why. We have awesome people here. We have awesome people here who go after their dreams and create really awesome things.
Recently, I had these two Kickstarter projects come across my twitter feed and I couldn’t help but give them a shout-out (Holla). They seem like really great things that I would love to see funded.
1. Brewin’ USA
23 Days left to go and only a couple thousand left before it is funded. There are stretch goals too!
Fund this project here: Brewin’ USA
Do you love beer? Do you love board games? Well than you are going to want to back this project. This is just a really fun idea and I love a good board game. Don’t you? Made by a local guy named Adam who is an Engineer by trade that loves beer and games (my kinda guy). He also won some kinda contest with CAH- Cards Against Humanity so he has to be a badass.
This isn’t the board game you made in the fifth grade that was essentially Candy Land but with the Backstreet Boys*. Take a look at the Kickstarter website for all the game details and instructions on how to play. This is legit. It even uses bottle caps which is sweet.
This idea has to become a reality so you should back it.
2. Brooks High Beer Battered
They have only 5 more days and about $10,000 to go.
Fund this project here: Brooks High
Another food truck! Yes, another food truck. You just need to take a look at the pictures of their food on their Kickstarter page to know that if you are drinking a beer you want to be eating that freaking sandwich. They are doing something different by infusing local brews into their batter. Honestly, I don’t care. The food looks freaking good. I don’t need a reason to eat those glorious sandwiches other than the fact that they taste good.
You know I’ve been hearing some buzz in the food community about how we have too many restaurants and food trucks. Really? Yeah, I agree that there are a lot of them out there but why can’t we have more? This food truck will be serving food that I really want to eat when I go to a brewery. Many of my favorite food trucks such as Get Sauced, WSK, and The Moral Omnivore all stand up to the test. I even ventured on a 20 minute trip once this year to get food from a truck. I think these two will pull this off and I can’t wait to see them at any one of the local taprooms.
If you want to eat one of those sandwiches, back them today on Kickstarter.
If I had unlimited funds I would use it to make the dream of owning your own business a reality for people. That’s what I would do. Hey—if there is anyone out there that wants to give me a large sum of cash I will research and spend it on some awesome projects, ideas, businesses, micro-loans, and non-profits. Just sayin’ you could do that, if you want to do that.
We all can all make living in this city a better place by helping people live their dreams. If you can’t fund these projects, pass the word on. Sometimes, getting the word out can reach people who also want to fund this project and can do it with cold hard cash.
Because helping someone with their dream is cool.
*Side note: Don’t steal my BSB Candy Land idea.
Am I missing another great local Kickstarter? Tell me about it.
Recently, during a hideous Minnesota snow storm when the google maps was colored all red, I decided to just hang out on Grand Avenue for awhile. I say decided like it was a choice. Rather, I was stuck there for awhile until traffic cleared up.
Instead of wallowing because I was not able to get home. I decided to frolic on Grand Avenue. Usually, when I stop by Grand it is for a specific purpose. I stop at the store that I need to get something from and I get out of there. Parking can be a mess and I get stressed out about leaving my car. Was that really a parking spot?
While I was over there freaking out about parking I completely forgot to explore. I had no idea that I was missing a bunch of other stores that I never knew were there. This storm made me make my own fun. After stopping into a few stores by Grand and Victoria. I stopped into Salut.
I have been to Salut a few times and already knew I was a fan of their Pomme Frites and french food in general. I took a seat in the bar and had red wine and ordered some food off the happy hour menu.
I cannot tell you how relaxing it was to sit down and just eat some really good food, alone.
Everything I tried was delicious and the staff was more than accommodating by allowing me to hang out in the bar until I could get home safely.
Overall, the happy hour menu isn’t dirt cheap prices. But, would you really want to eat food that was that cheap to make anyway? I thought the prices were fair for what you got and I really enjoyed the glass of wine that I had.
Because stop in and explore Grand sometime.
What is your favorite store on Grand Avenue?
I love shopping at Patina. Every time I walk into this store I feel inspired and I know I will be able to find a perfect gift. Plus, they will wrap it for me.
Right now, they have a ton of great ideas for Valentine’s Day. I am not huge on giving gifts for Valentine’s Day but a nicely written card is some thing that I love. You’ll be able to pick up a really pretty card to write your own message in. Plus, they have a wide selection of jewelry. Many of the items are priced under $100 which makes them affordable and great as a gift.
I also enjoy their stationary section. I was able to pick up cute thank you cards that have quotes on them. They have a good selection of journals too.
I admire how many local products they feature in their store. I know if I am looking for a local gift I can find something that keeps me interested. I saw some great baby clothes that were made locally the last time I stopped in.
If you need a gift for someone and you are not sure what to get, you should try Patina. The staff is extra helpful and they will help you leave the store feeling like you’ve picked out the perfect gift.
Because gift giving is an art.
Where you do shop for gifts in Minneapolis?
Tria is a great place to get a meal during the winter in Minnesota, with the real fireplace and the warm staff it was just what I needed to escape the weather for a few hours.
I had been to Tria a few times before this visit and was not impressed. This place has had its ups and its downs, many different chefs have contributed to this. But, they must have gotten it under control. The food I had there was fantastic.
It was the first time in awhile that I ordered mussels and each one was opened. I cannot tell you how many times I have gone to restaurants, even “fancy” restaurants and have received unopened mussels in my bowl, even up to 1/3 of a bowl. Not only is it frustrating because you cannot eat them but, it is a health risk for someone who doesn’t know that they shouldn’t eat the unopened mussels. Frankly, I find it unacceptable to serve unopened mussels. It should be checked before the dish leaves the kitchen. #EndRant
I am glad to say that not only was I served opened mussels but they were tasty as well. The white wine, garlic, butter, and shallots were perfectly balanced. Plus the crispy bread that came with it was seasoned well with garlic. It was simple, but done well. In my view that is what makes a great dish. I would suggest though that they get rid of the variations of this dish. They offer a few variations of the mussel dish on the menu, just keep the one that is the best. No need to make it confusing.
I also had a bruschetta special that was good as well. The highlight of the dish for me was a tomato chow-chow. Obviously, tomatoes are not in season in Minnesota right now but the tomatoes were bright and sweet. It pared well with the garlic bread and had a lot of color.
Overall, the menu was very varied and offered a lot of options. Most of it was comfort food which fits perfectly for the vibe of this restaurant. I do suggest just like the mussel dish that you condense the menu a little bit because it is fairly overwhelming. Plus, I have no idea how your chefs turn out this many dishes in a night.
Another great thing that this restaurant does is offer a free bottle of wine for your birthday. It is equivalent to your age and good within 3 days of your birthday. Plus, a free dessert. It is a fun reason to go out and enjoy a meal for your big day. They have a wedding anniversary special too.
I wonder if this place will keep up the quality of the food that I had on my recent visit or if it will fall again. I guess we will see.
Because comfort food in the winter is the best.
Where do you go for comfort food in the winter?
Every single time I walk into The Rabbit Hole at the Midtown Global Market I cannot believe it isn’t packed full. This place has some of the best food I’ve had in awhile. Right now, they have a strong menu from start to finish with their Bop Bowls, appetizers, and burgers.
Not to mention really inventive cocktails and a great beer menu. These cocktails are much more costly than stopping by your local bar but, they are much more complex. The bartenders and staff are great at suggesting drinks for you, just tell them what you typically like to drink.
I typically order The Gene which is a rice bowl with beef. The spice is perfect and the pickled vegetables are heavenly. I could eat their pickled radishes with every meal. If you haven’t had Korean food before this is the dish to try. The soft poached egg binds the whole thing together in perfect harmony.
Also, don’t miss the fries. You can get them in the poutine which is a great dish to share with 4+ people. It is very rich but, oh so delicious. They know how to make the potatoes crispy and serve them with an aioli that cannot be beat. Trust me on this one, you need to stop in here if you haven’t yet. This is some seriously good food that comes with free parking at the Midtown Global Market (2 hours only). Plus, afterwards you can stop by the Salty Tart or one of the other various places to pick up food for tomorrow.
Because this is some seriously good food.
What is one of the best meals that you’ve had in awhile?
I eat a lot of sushi. Now, I am finally ready to do a post about one of my favorite places to get sushi in Minneapolis–Kiku Bistro.
Kiku Bistro, formally known as Mount Fuji in Uptown is one of my go-to sushi places. I was hesitant to share it until now because this is a place that I go frequently and sometimes I just want a place to myself, but that’s selfish. So, here we go!
Kiku is one of my favorites because they have a great menu that allows people like me who love any kind of sushi to get what I want but still has rolls for those people who aren’t avid sushi eaters. They have several rolls that have more flair and are great for the new sushi eater. This includes well prepared deep fried rolls.
I like it because I have always had fresh fish. There has never been a time where I have had anything taste a “bad” fishy (you know what I mean).
The happy hour is excellent too! With $3 wine and Sapporo and discounted rolls you cannot go wrong. Plus, there is really only one or two hours a night that they don’t have happy hour so you are bound to hit it. The rolls aren’t super cheap. If they were wouldn’t you wonder what kind of fish was in them? Just saying.
My favorite items to order:
Lake Calhoun- This has a lot of flair with special sauces and crunch. Not usually my style but it is very good. Great for the first time sushi eater.
Avocado roll- It gives you a break from everything else. It is fresh and filling.
Spicy California- Good clean taste and is priced right!
Vegas- Deep Fried. This has great flavor and is fun. I am picky about deep fried rolls and they get it right.
Uptown Roll- If you like fish only this is a great option! Good flavor but you only get 4 pieces.
Rainbow Roll- It’s your basic roll with many types of fish. It’s fresh and good!
Overall, if you are looking for a new sushi place to try this is a very good option. I love it and I hope you do too!
Because fresh fish is good fish.
Okay. Okay. I get it the Minnesota Twins are not doing the best this season. You do have to admit that catching a game at Target Field is fun regardless if the Twins win or lose.
I am impressed each time I go with the different food and drink offerings. Plus, I am a total sucker for helmet nachos.
I guess for me going to a game is about the experience rather than about how anyone plays the game.
So, if you are the opposite of me. Give my approach a try sometime. Maybe, just maybe, you’ll enjoy the experience more than you thought you could.
Give some of the items on my list a try:
1. Try some food you haven’t tried before. AZ Canteen or Turkey to Go are always on my list of places to stop.
2. Grab a drink in one of the many bars at Target Field.
3. Meet a member of the staff. There are some really neat people who work at Target Field. Get to know one or a few of them.
4. Try a new beer!
5. Walk around–There are always promotions and fun things to do around the ball park so stop and try one of them.
6. Start a conga line. Why not???
7. Play some TWINGO because it is fun!
8. Talk to the person next to you about the song that you would have during your at bat.
9. Bet on the character race. I bet my cracker jacks on Spot every time.
10. Enjoy the people that you came with!
Because if you are not having fun. Make your own fun.
What’s your favorite thing to do at Target Field?
There is nothing that brings people together like watching cat videos. In its third year the #catvidfest was back on the original stomping grounds of the Walker Art Center. Boy oh boy, did the cat people come out with an audience of thousands the cat video fest is one of the best attended free events that Minneapolis hosts each year.
The highlights always include the actual collective watching of the film, seeing the stars of the videos like lilbub, and just being amazed that there are that many cat people in one place at one time.
Also, you cannot miss the cat fashion!
The fest did not stop there though. You could also make your own GIF with the people from Animal Planet, write your own cat poetry, draw a cat picture, grab a cat themed beer from Flat Earth, and try out one of the food trucks. They even had Rudy Fig a local artist painting cat art!
The only large snafu was the screen that had a little mishap.
If you loved the #CatVidFest as much as I did make sure you help fund their Kickstarter. They want to make a book about it! Visit the Catstarter here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/301071279/catstarter
A few complaints were that there were not enough bathrooms, parking, and no where to sit (the fuzz had to do a little crowd control). Not sure how to remedy this for next year other than maybe trying to do it a few days in a row.
I advise that if you want to attend the event next year make sure you come early. Not only do they have a lot of fun activities that you can participate in but you will be able to get parking and a good spot on the hill.
Because cat people are the best people.