Archive | August 2012

#CatVidFest – @walkerartcenter


When cat-ladies and gents are called to assemble, they do. 10,000 people came out for the first Internet Cat Video Festival at The Walker Art Center last night. As part of their open field programming, people watched cat videos together laughing along at the hilarious kitties.  Seriously, what could be better than people watching internet videos communally in a shared experience?

The cat-lady-in-residence at The Walker couldn’t resist the idea of getting together her people to enjoy something together that is normally watched behind a computer screen when you need a break from that project at work that never ends.

Lots of other people liked that idea as well. Not only did this #CatVidFest get local attention from The City Pages, it got national attention from the Huffington Post and BBC news. My cat Nuggs loved going and getting attention from all the cat lovers in the audience.

It can be best described by me in one word: fun.  A group of women sitting by me were there to celebrate a birthday and had brought some snacks and boxed wine (don’t tell). There were children as well as older adults sitting by each other all  laughing at the funny things that cats do. It was a great event to go to on a Thursday night.

I hope that The Walker decides to do this again and does an entry for local cat videos. They also might want to think about more parking because of how popular this event was.

People are starting to discover the great programming that The Walker Art Center offers, for FREE. I can remember coming to the Walker Sculpture Garden as a child on field trips and being able to run around by Spoonbridge and Cherry. Not only is the Sculpture Garden free every day, The Walker offers free Thursday nights in the gallery and special events like Open Field and Free First Saturdays.

Open field is from June to September and offers a place for people to gather and exchange skills and interests in an informal setting. The Walker even has a tool shed with games and art supplies for people to borrow and create magic together.

Free First Saturdays have different themes and coming up tomorrow, September 1st, they will be hosting, “Get Up and Read.” If you read Nancy Carlson as a child, you have to bring your family to The Walker. There will be book readings from Nancy, activities from her books in the Sculpture Garden, a chance to make your own book, and an opportunity to put together your own healthy snack.

They also have a fabulous restaurant named Gather that is open on Thursday nights.  I go there often because it is an affordable luxury. They have guest chefs from around Minnesota come and create small plates.  The first Thursday of each month they offer a couple free dishes from the guest chef. Plus, the happy hour is to die for. It goes from 5-7PM and all small plates are 5 dollars and they have a seasonal cocktail for 5 dollars as well. I love the grilled cheeses and the bahn mi.  Keep a look out for the guest chefs in the coming months, I believe they are one is the most famous chefs to come out of Minnesota and has a restaurant near The Walker. I would make your reservations now.

I also have to throw in a shout-out to all the animal shelters in Minnesota. I adopted Nuggs at The Animal Humane Society and it was a great experience. They helped me pick out the perfect cat for me. I wanted an older cat who liked sleeping and cuddling. If you are thinking of getting a cat consider adopting an older one.

because being a cat lady is cool

@mplsgossipgirl

You can find more pictures of the event on my instagram account: mplsgossipgirl

or follow me on tumblr; mplsgossipgirl

Minnesota State Fair – 2012


The Minnesota State Fair is one of my favorite times of the year. I love everything about the fair from the donuts, to the roasted corn, and last but not least to the people watching. The fair is fun on a stick.

It is almost a right of passage for every young Minnesotan to work at the fair and for every other Minnesotan to visit at least once a year.

It is one of those magical places where you can go and be who you are and eat fried foods without judgement. Okay, maybe a bit of judgement, I mean really, did you wake up today and think today is the perfect day to wear my utility kilt.

Each fair-goer has their favorite things to do and eat at the fair. These are my favorites.

Deep Fried Candy Bars are always on my list of must haves. They are a great way to dive into the fried world that is the Minnesota State Fair. Warning: these are very rich! I would only get one to share for 3 people.

This is a deep fried Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. The breading is fantastic and fried to perfection. The inside is gooey, peanut-buttery, and chocolaty. I usually get the deep fried Snickers bar which is equally as good, if not better. I would avoid the deep fried Oreo’s. They are just not as good because they don’t melt like the other candy bars.

Although, you cannot eat the food on display. I love to go to the Creative Arts building to check out the prize winning foods and crafts. I am someone who believes in the homemade local foods movement and want to learn how to can food myself. It is amazing what some people can do.

It is my goal to at some point in my life win a baking ribbon at the State Fair. It would be even more kick-a** if I could win with a Vegan cake. It looks like I have some pretty stiff competition.

Need some “real” food at the fair? Try Giggles. It is the “La Belle Vie” of the Minnesota State Fair. This year their new food item is the Walleye Roll, which is pictured above. It is walleye mixed with mayonnaise and wild rice on a buttery brioche with fresh shredded lettuce. They also serve up other great items like the elk burger and walleye cakes.

You have to go and see the crop art in the Horticulture building. Many this year were political. I got a few good laughs from this cake which says, “Defending Marriage Sanctity” and then has names of several politicians who have had some “trouble”  in their marriage. It was all decorated with seeds. Also, stop by the Minnesota Craft Beer section as well. It is new this year and serves craft brews by some of my favorite breweries like Surly, Harriet Brewing, and Boom Island.

All of this eating made me thirsty. Thirsty for some local wines. This was a great new addition to the fair this year. Right outside the Horticulture building you will find Minnesota Wine Country booth. It is simply beautiful and it offers flights to try many different Minnesota wines. It even comes in the shape of Minnesota.

The Cannon River Winery had my favorite red wine with the Mill Street Red. The Minnesota Wine Country booth also had food available. I didn’t have any but the people around me looked like they were enjoying themselves.

If you need to cool off, you should head to the Fine Arts Building and the Eco Experience building. They are free to go in and usually there is some pretty neat stuff to see.

Time for more food. I wanted something healthy with some greens and choose this tabbouleh from the Pita truck it was delicious with the garlic sauce. It is outside the merchandise mart.

O’Gara’s is my favorite place to people watch at the fair. They have lots of tables outside and some inside as well. They usually have live music and during hot days the roof mists you to keep you cool. They have beer and a great food selection. I love the tater tots and the air conditioned bathrooms.

Last but not least, I had to have a final snack as I was leaving.

Because our state fair is the best state fair, don’t miss it, don’t even be late.

@mplsgossipgirl

What is your favorite food at the fair?

Vote No


If you have not heard, Minnesotans have the opportunity to vote for a constitutional amendment that would ban same sex marriage in Minnesota. This amendment defines marriage as between only a woman and a man. If you vote no, it does not mean that same sex couples will be allowed to marry it will just not allow this amendment not to pass and define the specific wording in the Constitution.

I am putting this out there as a conversation. So, that maybe someone in Minnesota will read this and think about how they want to vote on the amendment. I believe it is part of my civic duty to put myself out there and speak my truth.

For those of you who know me personally, you know exactly where I stand on this issue. Not only do I think that everyone should vote no on this amendment, I believe that Minnesota should allow same sex marriage.

Marriage to me is a lasting commitment shared between two people who love each other.

In the future,  I want to be married in front of all those who love me, friends and family, and believe that anyone who wants to enter into this commitment should be allowed to do so. Marriage is a way to publicly say that  this is the person that I want to spend my life with and is now part of my family.

I am someone who will not face the challenges that same sex couples face currently. When I decide to enter into marriage I will not have to worry if my employer allows my partner on my insurance coverage, I will not have to worry about having to pay lawyers fees to have my partner make medical decisions for me or if my partner needs to adopt my child/children, I will not have to fight to have my partner in the room with me when I have an emergency.

I do not want my friends, neighbors, family members, or anyone else have to struggle to have the same freedoms as I get to have without doing anything other then marrying a partner that is the opposite sex as I am.

because love is love, Vote No.

@mplsgossipgirl

Feel free to share your thoughts by leaving me a comment.

 

Amore Victoria


How great does that dish look? It was delicious. But, now I will tell you why I will never be back there again. The service was horrible.

Now, this has nothing to do with our actual server. Who was really nice talked to us about the dishes and was friendly.  After the meal she even apologized to us for the service that we got. I asked her how many tables that she had because it seemed like that might have been the problem. She had 7 tables outside plus another 4 inside with a huge group. Now, that is unfair to both the server and the diners. I hope this is not a normal occurrence but from how the sever handled it, it seemed like it was.

But that was after we got seated. The worst part of going there was before we were actually seated. First, we walked into the restaurant but it was a nice day so naturally we wanted to sit outside and asked if we could. The server inside told us that she did not know if they had any availability upstairs and told us to go to the back walk up the stairs to see the hostess there. She was rude, most likely because people are always asking this all the time and she has to tell them to go upstairs.

My question is why is there no communication between the rooftop and the restaurant? Shouldn’t they be able to  figure out some way to let each other know when they are full or not. I really cannot blame the hostess either for her rudeness because how frustrating must it be when there is no room between the door and the hostess stand, she cannot tell us if there is any availability upstairs, and everyone wants to sit outside.

Things got worse, as we were walking up the stairs there were two young girls who were trying to get up the stairs in their heels. We let them go first because they were struggling. They were seated and we waited for the hostess. We asked for a table for two and she said they were all full. Now, I am pissed.

I had to walk up these damn stairs, I have things to do and all I wanted was a good meal outside.

Unfortunately, I gave the hostess a piece of my mind. This is because we let those girls go before us, because there were at least 5 open tables left. Granted they were 4 person tables, but I think we could have sat there anyways. We were told downstairs it was first come, first served and they do not take any reservations. We were told to go downstairs.

Now, this is where I made a mistake. I should have left.

We went downstairs to be seated outside on the sidewalk. The hostess inside said she would follow us out to a table. She saw someone else and sat them first inside and then decided to come out and seat us. As we are sitting down they were clearing waters that were left at a table because some diners actually got up and left. It is never a good sign when people leave without eating.

Now, this is where I made a mistake again. I should have left.

All and all, the dinner was not horrible because the food was good. Service was painfully slow and dinner took over 2 and a half hours. Which is a long time when you have two people sitting by you discussing the dates they had met on okcupid and how they were sooooooooo in love but he was ignoring her calls.

The bread was wonderful and so were the pasta dishes that we ordered.

Look at this food. I feel sorry for the chefs because after my experience there. I will never be back. You have been blacklisted.

Because who the hell manages this restaurant? Yikes.

@mplsgossipgirl

Amore Victoria on Urbanspoon

Masu


Yum. This place reminded my why I love Northeast Minneapolis. Masu has a great late night happy hour and great food on that happy hour menu. All the rolls that you see above were from that menu. Plus, parking is free after 10PM. Right when the late night happy hour starts, coincidence, I think not. You do need to sit in the bar area if you want to take part in the drink specials. Otherwise if you are just there for the food, you can sit in the restaurant and pay full price for any drinks.

My favorite item at Masu that night was the roll topped with a jalapeno, I took the jalapeno off because they are a little too hot for me and just ate the roll. It was not too spicy but flavorful. Their California roll is the best that I have had at a Minneapolis restaurant so far.  This roll sometimes is done cheaply and sloppy because usually people who order these don’t know much about sushi. This one had real crab in it. Not that imitation crap.

I also liked the edamame it was salted and cooked correctly. I could have eaten an entire bowl by myself.

Next time I think I will skip the Miso Soup just because I didn’t need it with all the other items on the menu. I also would skip the Nigiri because it was really hard to eat and fell apart. It was awkward to eat at a table full of people watching you struggle. This place fills you up which makes it hard to try many things on the menu. There was so much more that looked interesting that I wanted to try. It gives me a great excuse to go back.

Masu has a great atmosphere with some odd art on the walls that adds to its charm. We also had great service and a server who explained to us what we didn’t know about the menus. It was helpful and not overbearing.  I am excited to go to the new location in Mall of America.

If you go there try the plum sparkling tea. It is non-alcoholic and out of this world.

because sometimes the real stuff is the best stuff

@mplsgossipgirl

Masu Sushi & Robata on Urbanspoon

Pazzaluna


Are you going to The Ordway for a show? You should stop at Pazzaluna for their happy hour beforehand.

They have a great happy hour menu with some delightful items on it. My favorite was the scallops. They were cooked perfectly and I liked the citrus that was used on the plate. (see below)

You cannot go wrong with any of the pizzas or the bruschetta. Both are delicious. This is because of good ingredients that are used well. Nothing ruins a tomato bruschetta like bad tomatoes. These were just perfect.  The photo at the top of the post is a chicken artichoke pizza and below is the tomato bruschetta.

I have to say that the service was not good. at all. But, it was not our servers fault. They has scheduled her for an unreasonable amount of tables in the bar area and outside during happy hour. She had about 13 tables in all, both inside and outside. There is no way that she could have given us good service because she was always running around. It was a shame. I think this would have made my experience here better. Hopefully, this was just a fluke.

I am hesitant on going back to order off their regular menu because it is a slight bit pricey for me and if I am not going to get good service it wouldn’t be worth it. Too bad because the food I had was good.

Because I love a good tomato.

@mplsgossipgirl

Pazzaluna Urban Trattoria & Bar on Urbanspoon

“Mama’s Good to You” “Chicago” the musical -The Ordway


With a system called rec-i-pro-city, “Chicago” was one of the most entertaining shows that I have attended at The Ordway to date. The Audience was engaged from start to finish, clapping, cheering, and I think I heard a few cat calls. I would suggest front row seats to get up close and personal with some of the dancers and their convenient shirtless costumes. Goodness gracious, if you need an idea for a bachelorette party this would be the show to see.

I now know why Broadway does practice runs of their shows in Minnesota. We are awesome audience members who love a good performance. I cheered along with the other audience members in the middle of songs because I felt connected to each and every character. It was a genuine cast who played their parts much closer to what I saw as the original meaning of what the characters were supposed to be like. Roxy Hart (Tracy Shayne) was not the shy, kind, and nice character that I have seen portrayed in the role before. She wants to be a star and will be ruthless to get to the top. Amos Hart (Ron Orbach) was hilarious, self deprecating, nerdy, and most importantly not boring. I dread the song, “Mister Cellophane” and think it is the worst song in the show. Not this time, I found myself laughing along and enjoying Ron Orbach’s choreography and movements.

The star of the show for me was Matron Mama Morton (Kecia Lewis-Evans) who stole the show with her voice. Mama knew how to work the audience with her tough love and introduced me to a new song called “Class” that I normally overlook.

Another standout performance came from Billy Flynn (John O’Hurley) who is famous for the role of  “J. Peterman” on “Seinfeld”. Other performances of “Chicago” that I have attended missed the boat on this character by putting in someone famous who couldn’t sing at all. When this happens, you lose the magic in songs like “We Both Reached for the Gun” and “Razzle Dazzle” and it ruins the show. This was not the case with John O’Hurley, who delivered a wonderful performance with stunning vocals.

I cannot say enough about the wonderful cast. As an avid theatergoer I have seen “Chicago” several times. This version was different because of a smaller cast, a smaller set, and less props. There was only one part in the whole show that needed a bit more dazzle. Otherwise, in no way did smaller mean less entertaining. In fact, the “Cell Block Tango” was enhanced without the stupid jailhouse props that are usually used.  The performers did not have to hide their voices behind any unnecessary props.

I am giving this version a round of applause because the second act did not suck. In the past, after watching the first act with most of the familiar hits in it, the second half seems boring and hard to stay awake during. The characters were witty and the humor carried me the songs that when listening,  I usually wonder when they are going to be over and changed it to I don’t want this to be over. The humor of the exit music and the interaction between the characters and the orchestra made the difference. It tied up the show with a big red bow or rhinestone buckled shoes.

“Chicago” will be running from August 7th-12th at The Ordway. You can go to their website to find out how to get tickets to this show and other shows for the 2012-2013 season. Bring all of your friends, your bachelorette party, and your mother to see this show and enjoy it as much as I did. Oh, and get those front row seats too!

Many thanks to The Ordway for letting me participate in Blogger Night.

The Ordway

because don’t you deserve a sure thing?

@mplsgossipgirl

Caffrey’s Deli


I can’t believe I lived in Uptown for a year and never discovered this place! On my way out of town on a recent trip a friend suggested we stop here to get a quick bite to eat. I had never been there before but I remember seeing their menus all around town. I thought it was actually called Laffrey’s because of the font of the first letter. On Lake and Lyndale, this place is now one of my favorites in Uptown.

Although, I have only had one sandwich so far, I would go back. It was a great turkey sandwich. I think if I still lived over there that I would have them on speed dial when I get to lazy to make dinner. They deliver!

Caffrey’s Deli  is old school and does not really have a website. They do have their menu online because a fan decided to put it online. Stop in sometime and have a sandwich. You won’t regret it.

Because there is something good about the old school way of doing things.

@mplsgossipgirl

Caffrey's Deli & Subs on Urbanspoon

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,267 other followers

%d bloggers like this: