New Minnesota State Fair Foods 2015


Salted Caramel Puff Malt and Sundaes

One of the many delights of the Minnesota State Fair is trying all of the new foods! I was able to get a preview of some of the new foods coming to the fair this year. Every year there are some hits and some misses, but it is all a lot of fun in my book. From new foods on-a-stick to ice cream with a kick here are some of the new foods that I got to try!

One of my new favorites is the Salted Caramel Puff malts and sundaes at the Dairy Goodness bar! It’s sweet, salty, and perfect for a hot day. I am a huge fan of Old Dutch Puffcorn and adding the caramel and sweet ice cream to the mix made me jump for joy. Going to the Diary Goodness Bar is a tradition for many fairgoers and there’s a reason why, they have the best treats! This new flavor was chosen during the “Flavor of the Fair” contest. The contest is back this year and you’ll have a chance to submit your own flavor to become the next Flavor of the Fair next year. I’m going to enter–that’s some serious bragging rights.

Blue Barn Snickers Salad

I’m also a fan of the Blue Barn that’s part of the Blue Plate Restaurant Group. They bring food at the fair to a whole out-of-this-world level. They know how to serve food to large groups of people because they have the experience of doing it every day. I was able to try their new snickers salad which was refreshing and sweet. But, I am even more excited to try Pi their apple pie flavored beer. Hopefully, I can get a glass. I have a feeling that it might be one of the most popular items at the fair this year. Some of our favorites from last year will be back and there are a few more new items on the menu.

Maple Bacon Funnel Cake

The Maple Bacon Funnel Cake from the Funnel Cake stand in the food building was also really great. We already know those flavors are complimentary, but they somehow got them to work with a funnel cake too. If you are a funnel cake fanatic you should try this one.

Lulu’s Public House is my favorite place to grab a beer at the fair. They have a top deck which allows you to relax and do some people watching. I spent a lot of time here last year and I know I will be back again to enjoy it again this year.

If you are working at the fair, Mancini’s has a great pizza that is not your typical fair food. After working all day you don’t want the usual deep fried foods that people typically share. Give this a try this year! Not a new food, but a great one, there’s a gyro booth by the Giant Yellow Slide that has great gyros and salads.

Although, this is just a preview of some of the great new foods you’ll see at the fair I hope you are pumped to get out there and give some of them a try.

because going to the fair is a tradition!

@mplsgossipgirl

What food are you most excited to try this year?

Support Local Kickstarter Projects!


Kickstart

I am a huge fan of this whole crowd funding movement. It just makes sense for me to be able to easily give money to products and causes that are important to me. Plus, it is really cool just to see all the awesome stuff that people are trying to do.

Here are a few local projects that need your help to become completely funded:

ENDING SOON Appetite for Change –  is a social enterprise that hosts community cooking workshops, builds urban farms and engages community to build a community-based food system. This money will go towards training youth in their job program. You obviously don’t need me to tell you how important this is!

They have some amazing rewards still available for restaurants like Spoonriver, Burch Steakhouse, the soon to open Brut, and even a unique experience with Andrew Zimmern and Gavin Kaysen available. I totally volunteer to come to any one of these dinners!

Help them fund their project HERE

Bark and the Bite- Artisan Barbecue Truck serving Minneapolis with world class smoked meats, craft sauces, scratch sides, great vegetarian and gluten free options. This is from the team behind Sapor this food truck seems like it will serve some awesome food.

I love food trucks and I love BBQ. Naturally, I think it would be great to have another one on the road.

Help them fund their project HERE

Crapola- Awesome high-fiber breakfast cereal, which is named by playfully combining the words cranberry, apple, and granola. (Smart)

They want to move to a larger production facility.  “We don’t want to have to hire someone else to make our granola – we prefer to continue making our products ourselves.” – I agree!

Help them fund their project HERE

Omni Brewing- OMNI means “all, every, of every kind.” That’s a perfect summation of their vision – a beer for everyone. They serve a wide variety of interesting craft beers at our inviting taproom in Maple Grove. No pretense here. Just beer.

They are trying to make their taproom a comfortable place to be.

They will be using the funds to:

  • Build a great bar
  • Renovate the taproom area
  • Buy tables, chairs, and bar stools
  • Stock the taproom with games and entertainment

Although, they already hit their goal they are offering a new perk if they hit their stretch goal of $40,000.

Get some awesome perks HERE

because it’s fun to help people with their dream

@mplsgossipgirl

What’s the coolest perk you’ve ever gotten from a Kickstarter project?

Aromi – Matte Liquid Lipstick


Aromi Lipstick

I am not the type of person to normally wear lipstick. I am starting to get more into wearing lipstick after discovering the Aromi Matte Liquid Lipstick at Garden of Eden. I love the highly pigmented colors that you can get because it really pops.

The greatest thing about this lipstick is that is stays on! I call it my two beers lipstick because I can drink two beers without it all coming off. It is not permanently on your lips so it does come off with any makeup remover and if you are licking your lips a lot.

I wear the flamingo red which is more of a blue-red and cannot wait to see what new colors will be coming out.

Aromi is a local company that provides handcrafted cosmetics and fragrances that are formulated from scratch, handcrafted in their own laboratory, with great ingredients.  I first discovered them awhile back when I wanted to buy their solid perfume for travel purposes. It is also great and solved a problem that I had– I wanted to wear a fragrance but only wanted to bring a carry on bag. I ended up falling in love with their scents and I’ve bought many of the cologne solid fragrances for gifts.

The Founder Hannah, created Aromi out of a passion for chemistry and all things beauty products.  She is a chemist by trade and spent years working as a formulation chemist before finally starting Aromi. All the products are vegan too!

You can buy both the Matte Lipstick and women’s solid fragrances at Garden of Eden on Grand Avenue (Only some of the colors available).

Because it’s fun to wear lipstick

@mplsgossipgirl

Have you tried Aromi? What is your favorite color?

Disclosure: I bought by own Lipstick at Garden of Eden. These opinions are my own and when I find something like this I feel the need to write about it to let other people know. Plus, supporting local small businesses is my thing.

Eli’s East -Northeast Minneapolis Restaurant


Elis East Cocktail

I know, I am behind the times. This was my first time at Eli’s East and I loved it! It has a great casual atmosphere but with a great menu of supper club classics and new local dishes. It made me wish that I lived in Northeast so this could be my neighborhood spot.

I had a great cocktail to start the night with gin and a blueberry lemonade sort of thing. It was a great summer cocktail. I did see a bunch of people order a pink martini that I want to try next time. It must be very popular since they kept coming out of the bar. Don’t miss out on their wine specials as well. I thought they had a well curated wine list with many great options to go with their dishes.

Elis East Burger

I had a really hard time picking what I wanted for dinner. They had many items on their menu that appealed to me but ended up going with a burger. It was cooked perfectly to order and the fresh avocado on top was delightful. One of the highlights for me was their chips. No other place does homemade chips like they do. It was a nice change from the fries that you get everywhere else.

Elis East Coq Au Vin

I also was able to try the Coq Au Vin. It had great flavor and looked beautiful when it came out of the kitchen. The chicken was a little dry for my taste but overall it was a great dish and something that I want to try again in the winter. It was very comforting.

They have a great dessert menu that I didn’t get to try because I was way too full. Their portion sizes are a little bigger.

Elis East

They have an excellent outdoor patio and a parking lot which makes this a great place to go for smaller groups 8-12. Plus, a back area that many families with children were using. They give you a little bit more privacy which is great for those with young ones who still want a fantastic meal!

Because I love a good neighborhood place.

@mplsgossipgirl

Where else do I need to try in Northeast? Any places I should move to in Northeast?

MN Blogger Bash Recap!


MN_BloggerBash_V5

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!

Screenshot 2015-06-22 22.29.26

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!

IMG_1484

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)!

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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.

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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.

I will be posting the pictures on the Garden of Eden Facebook page later today! CLICK HERE!

Because we need to meet each other in real life!

@mplsgossipgirl

What was your favorite part of MNBloggerBash?

Eastlake Brewery


LynLake Brewery

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.

EastLake Brewery

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.

Current Beers at EastLake

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!

IMG_1254

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?

@mplsgossipgirl

Two Local Kickstarter Projects Need Your Backing


Kickstart

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.

@mplsgossipgirl

*Side note: Don’t steal my BSB Candy Land idea.

Am I missing another great local Kickstarter? Tell me about it.

Shopping on Grand? Stop at Salut on Grand


WIth the right sauce. Salut Grand

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?

Bar Salut on Grand

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.

Red Wine Salut

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.

Salut on Grand Ave.

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.

@mplsgossipgirl

What is your favorite store on Grand Avenue?

Patina: My Gift Store


Patina Minneapolis

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.

Patina Minneapolis

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.

@mplsgossipgirl

Where you do shop for gifts in Minneapolis?

Cozy Winter Restaurant in North Oaks: Tria


Tria Mussels

 

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.

Tria Chow-Chow

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.

@mplsgossipgirl
Tria on Urbanspoon

Where do you go for comfort food in the winter?

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