Archive | November 2012

Family Friendly Restaurants in Minneapolis- Fudruckers


I hadn’t been to a Fudruckers in years until last week. Fudruckers is a burger place and can most closely be related to 5 Guys and Fries the 1990′s version. It is too bad that there is only one left in the Twin Cities. It may be because there is nothing truly good for you on the menu but it still is a fun place to go for families if you don’t want to go to McDonald’s.

No one looks at you funny when your kid throws a crayon or is impatient with you while they try to run away from you. It is expected that you are respectful to others with children.

They also have enough room to get a little wild and there are a few video games to play as well. This may not be necessary because the drink machine is like its own video game. You get to use a touch screen and have tons of options to choose from. My personal favorite was cherry Dr. Pepper. Although you can get as creative as you would like.

The burgers at Fudruckers are very good and come with your choice of toppings, you can put on as many tomatoes as you would like as well as your choice of condiments including nacho cheese. What I like most about the burgers are the buns that are perfectly cooked and fluffy.

The fries are seasoned well plus you get to choose your condiments. Do you want to dip them in nacho cheese or one of the other many condiments? I personally like a little bit of mayo and ketchup.

I think that I like this place because I went here as a child. I always looked forward to Friday nights where I ate a cheese burger, played video games, and purchased trinkets from the candy machines by the door.

You can find the Fudruckers website HERE. They are located near Southdale and parking is free and easy.

What is your favorite place to bring children in the Twin Cities? (always looking for suggestions)

because everyone likes nostalgia.

@mplsgossipgirl

Secrets of the City – Left Handed Cook


The Left Handed Cook is one of the best new restaurants in Minneapolis and is one of the secrets of the city. I cannot believe that this place does not have a line out the door every Friday and Saturday night. It is hip and they are making some great and unexpected food here in Minneapolis.

Located in the Midtown Global Market The Left Handed Cook brings a casual dinner to new heights.

It is a little intimidating for non-foodies. But, if you knew what was actually in the dishes I think you would like it. I watched many people look at the menu and shake their heads. A bip bowl and sandwiches with all of these fancy ingredients were too much for them to think about. I say give it a try you might like it.

I am sure that the owners and cooks would love to explain to you everything that goes into their dishes. It is just sad that one Yelp reviewer said they put a “raw egg” on their bip bowl, I think this person may want to learn how eggs can be cooked different ways; actually it was poached. If you never have had a poached egg before, you must try it. It is my favorite way to eat an egg.

The limited menu boils down to starters, sandwiches, and rice bowls.  I would suggest to order at least one sandwich with a rice bowl.  To start you off they give you a small snack of popcorn with hand mixed spices.

I ordered the soft shell crab sandwich.  The bun is likely from the Salty Tart.  For those with a sweet tooth the Salty Tart is a cramped bakery in the Global Market that creates some of the best baked goods in the city.  In between the bun is sauce,  fried crab pieces, and fresh greens.  The sweetness of the soft shell crab comes through the light crunch of the breading.  Oozing between the meat and lettuce is a brightly spiced sauce that provides some heat. The best part of the sandwich was truly the sauce that I wish I could have to put on everything in my own home.

On the side is a fresh roasted beet salad. My favorite part of the meal. There is something about a perfectly dressed salad with flavors that meld well that really makes me happy. This particular salad had cheese and a roasted nut with little bit of crunch that paired well with the greens and the dressing. I would eat that salad for lunch everyday.

I also ordered the pork belly rice bowl .  Steamed white rice topped with fresh lemon grass, kimchee, asian spiced vegetables, a poached egg, and a perfectly cooked portion of pork belly is what makes up a Bip Bowl. They have many choices for what meat you would like on top.

Overall, this is a great place to go if you are looking for something a bit off the grid. It really filled my need for really good food in a relaxed atmosphere. You don’t need to get dressed up to grab a bite here, come as you are and chow down on a bowl or a sandwich. I also must mention that you can park in the lot across the street for free when you buy something. Bring in your parking ticket and get it stamped by the business that you purchase your food from. It is easy to get in and out of the parking lot.

because good food does not require a fancy outfit.

xoxo

@mplsgossipgirl

Left Handed Cook on Urbanspoon

Thanksgiving Treats – Wuollet’s (and a contest)


On my Thanksgiving table there is usually an apple pie, a pumpkin pie, and a chocolate pie. Treats are always a highlight of the meal that comes an hour or so after the Turkey and a change into yoga pants.

I thought it would be fun to go in search of some new treats at one of my favorite local bakeries: Wuollet’s. I am usually found in Wuollet’s browsing the cupcake section for a co-workers birthday. My favorite is the red velvet cupcake.

Now, try to stop yourself from running from your desk to the closest baked good after looking at all these pictures. But, I thought it would be fun to share some new ideas for your thanksgiving table.

Why not try a special pie? Wuollet’s has a Pumpkin Chiffon pie that is out of this world. It is traditional but fancy at the same time.

Decorate your table with cookies with each attendee’s name on it for a fun way to show everyone where they are sitting. Wuollet’s will write the names on the cookies for you. If someone doesn’t show you can eat their cookie.

I love this idea because it is a fun way to decorate for this special occasion. I thought about my family and how we never know who exactly is coming to thanksgiving so we might do our last name or fun Thanksgiving words on each one. You could turn it into a fun way to sit by someone new by having each person draw one of those words from a hat.

Get a few dozen croissants or rolls to eat with your leftovers the next day/week. Eating a turkey, cranberry, goat cheese, and a little bit of stuffing sandwich as lunch for the week after Thanksgiving is a tradition for me. Make sure you clearly label your sandwich in the office communal refrigerator or someone may “accidentally” eat yours. Or I guess you could bring rolls and share with everyone, if you are nice.

If you don’t feel like a pie, get a cake. Wuollet’s has professional cake decorators that can make almost anything a reality. I mean seriously, a turkey cake? That is amazing!  If you would like a cake that looks like a perfectly baked turkey, cornucopia, or if you want your weird uncle Sal in a chefs hat eating a turkey leg made out of frosting on the top of a cake. I bet they could and would do it.

They have decorators who are professional artists, who have worked there over 30 years, and who are part of the Wuollet family. With all of that talent they can make cakes that should be in a museum.

You could also get a fancy cake as well, which you can find in the rotating cake case. I have had carrot cake before at Thanksgiving and that really hits the spot.

One of my favorite items at Wuollet’s is the cupcakes. Obviously. They have turkey cupcakes in their window that would be fun if you have little children in your family or if you needed something to decorate with. They can easily be eaten afterwards. They can also do cupcakes in the shape of a cooked turkey which are hilarious. So, if you often have trouble with the actual turkey you can bring the cupcakes out and show people how perfect you made the turkey this year.

The best part of all of this is that you can order it next Tuesday and pick it up on Wednesday. It is really convenient for me because I work downtown Minneapolis. I can easily stop by on my lunch hour on Wednesday and grab the items for the next day. If you do want a very custom order I would contact Wuollet’s a few days ahead of time to make arrangements. Since they are a full service bakery if you made a mistake and need to order something at the last-minute, they will do their best to get you covered.

For Thanksgiving they have these handy ordering sheets that you can pick up in any of the locations. It is easy, has all the prices, and takes the hassle and stress out of Thanksgiving. You can go to Wuollet’s website to see more information about their locations HERE.

Contest Time:

Mplsgossipgirl is putting on a contest.  The downtown Wuollet’s has a window where they display beautiful and creative cakes. They also help their clients design custom cakes for their special events, which is something I love about this local business. If you could have a custom designed cake at your Thanksgiving table, what would it look like?  The best ideas will win a cupcake.

Although, I am sure my crazy uncle in a chef’s hat eating a turkey leg is a great idea to put on a cake. I bet you can come up with some of your own cake ideas for Thanksgiving that will rock.

I will mail the winners a token to get a cupcake at any of the Wuollet’s Bakery locations. It is only open to those with an address in the Twin Cities in Minnesota. You do not have to follow, like, social media the heck out of me to win. This blog will never require people to do these things to enter a contest. I want you reading my posts because they are entertaining.

Here is how you enter:

  • Leave me a comment on this post describing your idea. (It is up in the black box in the left hand corner) If you don’t already subscribe to mplsgossipgirl right now would be a great time to do it and you can by clicking in the right hand corner of my blog. You will have to leave me a way to get ahold of you though, so please leave your Twitter handle and if you don’t have one of those if you are a winner I will comment on your post. So, make sure you have it set to notify you.
  • Tweet me @mplsgossipgirl. Tweet me your idea to #mplsgossipgirlcontest.
  • Most importantly, go to my Facebook page Mplsgossipgirl and comment under the picture of the Turkey Cake with your idea. While you are there like my page and share it with your friends too.

You can enter in all three places and more weight will be given to those who have the most likes/retweets/comments on them but ultimately it will be my decision. I am looking for really creative and fun ideas. Please keep it PG and PC.  Contest will end at Midnight on the 21st of November, 2012. Winners will be announced the next day, Thanksgiving.

As always, on Thanksgiving I like to remind those around me that if you are deep-frying your turkey, please make sure it is completely thawed and you are outside and not in the garage. That is my PSA for the day.

because a unique cake will be talked about for years to come.

xoxo

@mplsgossipgirl

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post.  All views and opinions are my own.

Give to the Max – Give MN


Tomorrow is one of my favorite days of the entire year. It is Give to the Max day! Last year with the help of Kare 11, I was able to give $1,000 to one of my favorite programs in the Twin Cities.

Whatever your favorite non-profit might be, tomorrow would be a great day to make a donation to them.  You can give as little as 10 dollars and 100% of it will go to your selected charity or non-profit.

The reason why you need to give during Give to the Max day is because every hour there is one Golden Ticket up for grabs. One person who makes a donation each hour will be granted an extra $1,000. One lucky donor chosen at 11:59 PM will also receive an additional donation of $10,000.  There are also bonus funds available to organizations that collect the most donations, no matter if they are $10 donations or $5,000 donations.

Here are a few local places that I think deserve your donations:

Animal Humane Society

ProjectSuccess

The College of Saint Benedict (or your local College or School)

Minneapolis Institute of Arts – They want to buy LED lighting for their galleries that will save them as much as $117,000 a year.

Make sure that you look up your favorite non-profits HERE and donate during Give to the Max day.

because giving feels good

x0x0

@mplsgossipgirl

Jake’s in Maplewood


I am always on the lookout for a good Applebees type spot. Why? Well, sometimes you need that sort of place when you have picky eaters, children, or a large group with you.

Now, I must start by saying that I do not like Applebees or Olive Garden because I tend to get sick from eating there. I think it may have to do with the fact that I usually eat unprocessed foods. Not that those places are bad, it just doesn’t sit with me well personally. They do offer some great deals and are a good option for those with young children.

Here is another option:

A great alternative to an Applebee’s type restaurant is Jake’s City Grille. I recently dined at Jake’s in Maplewood and was surprised by how good the food was there. They could also handle a large group and the menu is big enough that picky eaters can find something to eat.

The service was fantastic as well. I was there with a large group of around 10-12 for a birthday. My glass was always filled and Christy our server checked up on us several times during the meal.

We had several appetizers but my favorite was the brushetta. It was sweet from the balsamic, savory from the goat cheese and gorgonzola. It might not be the normal Applebees boneless buffalo wings type appetizer and it may not be everyone’s cup of tea but, it was great for me.

The salads there are also very good. They are huge. Many fresh ingredients and ways to make eating out healthy. They also have several less healthy items as well, like wings, hamburgers, and french fries.  The fish sandwich that my grandma had was enough food for 3 people. Be prepared for leftovers.

Everyone that I was with seemed to enjoy their meal and Christy even split our check for us. I think I am going to come back sometime and try the happy hour.

because having great service can really make an event even better.

xoxo

@mplsgossipgirl

Jake's City Grille on Urbanspoon

yumPower FREE Cooking Class


I love free stuff. I love cooking. This was the perfect pairing for me. I found this free cooking class after searching for this recipe that Andrew Zimmern had done on a local news station where he made quail.

Although, I never found the recipe nor did I learn how to make quail I did find a free cooking class hosted by yumPower and Cooks of Crocus hill. Score.

I went to one this past Wednesday and learned some healthy meals for families at the Shoreview Community Center. They taught us how to make hummus, turkey lettuce wraps, and mac and cheese (with cauliflower).

During the class they gave some helpful hints to start to try to eat more fruits and veggies. They suggested making foods ahead, “sneaking” in veggies, and doing one small change first. They also had some hints for picky eaters. They were suggesting the tips for the children but, I think they could be helpful for my family as well. “You just need to try one bite of this and see if you like it.”

So, now you need to get signed up for the next one. It is on aging and what you should eat as you get older. I think it would also be helpful if you are doing the cooking for older people.

This next one is at the St. Louis Park Rec Center on 27th registration from 6-6:30 class from 6:30-8:00PM.  The set-up of the class is great and you can see how everything is being done because of the camera work.

Also, you walk away with a swag bag. I also have to say that the cook book that they made has some good recipes in it. All of them have been tried as well, so you know they can be repeated. Many of the so-called healthy recipes I find on Pinterest (mplsgossipgirl) have not really been tested and either taste or look like crap.

Get out there, try something new for free. Click HERE to get signed up.

because food is fun.

xoxo

@mplsgossipgirl

mplsgossipgirl in Chicago (or what to do on your way back)


I apologize for my long absence. I feel like these last few weeks have gone by quickly and with the gray skies and dreary atmosphere in Minneapolis I really haven’t felt like being bubbly and writing posts about how much I love everything. Because frankly, I want to curl up in bed, order in take out, and nap for 75% of the day. I haven’t been doing that but have been very tempted.

My distaste of the inter webs may have also contributed to the bout of laziness because of  all the ignorance that I have witnessed on social media during the election. I had to shut it down for a while. Seriously, people, I can hardly stand the completely untrue statements on both sides of the aisle that are being made on social media. Please if you have not read an unbiased opinion, news article on a reputable website, don’t know that the New York Times has an online version, never been to politifact, please just don’t post it at all. I do appreciate witty banter and educated opinions. So, thank you to most of my facebook friends for that.

So, why would mplsgossipgirl spend the weekend in Chicago? Well, I was celebrating a friend’s wedding. It was a wedding in a beautiful old church with a beautiful bride. The reception had a candy bar and an open bar. Who could ask for more?

On my way to Chicago I made a stop at the newish Surdyks in the MSP airport. That is a bit of heaven in the busy bustle of the airport. I had a flight of spanish wines and pretzel before my actual flight. I sat by a family with younger children and the server was very accommodating of them and even gave the children a few candies for their flight. It was freaking cute. Surdyk's Flights on Urbanspoon

When I got to Chicago I made a big mistake of going to Eddie Merlots. I needed something quick and Rock Bottom looked busy, so I gave this place a try. I did spare you the picture of a hunks of fat on my black and blue pizza. Let’s just say I had a few bites and when I saw that I couldn’t eat any more. Plus we ended up at the bar next to some “regulars” of Eddie Merlots. Why somewhere that would serve that crap had regulars I have no idea. But, one of them couldn’t figure out why their college age child didn’t want to party with their parent, so maybe that explains something.

Then did the whole wedding thing.

After that was all over, I spent a little time in the actual city of Chicago, I did visit old town and had breakfast at Nookies. The omelets are huge, cute pumpkin pancakes, generous portions, and good company.

On the way back to Minneapolis and had to stop for cheese in Wisconsin. How do you drive through Wisconsin and not get some delicious cheese? Well, this girl couldn’t do it. I like the Carr Valley Cheese, personally. And made a stop in none other than Wisconsin Dells.

If you haven’t been to Wis. Dells the best way to describe it is: Waterpark Central.

After getting some cheese I was hungry, naturally, so I asked the cheese lady where I should go to get something to eat. I am glad that I did that. She directed me to a restaurant called the High Rock Cafe.

The High Rock is not your typical tourist destination restaurant. It actually has good, fresh food. There were people there during off-season on a Sunday night which is a good indcation that it can survive the off-season. I was pleased to see they had quite the beer selection and had a large menu. Whatever anyone in your family might feel like that night, I am sure you can find something to satisfy the need. I went toward the sandwiches because I felt like melty cheese.

I started with the soup which I could tell was made with real ingredients and did not come from a can or a bag. For potato soup it was light and fresh not too thick and creamy. Although, I like thick and creamy sometimes it can be too much.

I then ordered a sandwich off of the seasonal menu. I had never thought about putting squash on the sandwich. It was pretty good and the way that it was made it did not make the bread squishy. It was thanksgiving in a sandwich with turkey, squash, and some sort of jam.

But the best part of the whole meal was the broccoli salad. Right? It is strange.  It was perfect! The dressing and freshness of the broccoli that was used made this the best broccoli salad that I have had. I even ordered a side of it to go to bring as a lunch the next day.
High Rock Cafe on Urbanspoon

I also had a pumpkin ale.

It was just a nice stop about 2 hours away from home to sit down have some food and buy some cheese.

because sometimes you just need to stop when the sign says cheese.

xoxo

@mplsgossipgirl

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