Archive | December 2012

Top 20 New Things to Try in 2013 in Minneapolis


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Every year I try to make goals, usually they involve weight loss or cooking a meal so many times a week. This year I needed a change, I picked 20 new things to try for 2013. Goals should be fun and it should be fun completing them.

I encourage you to leave me comments or Tweet me (@mplsgossipgirl) to help me on my quest to complete my list. I am looking for suggestions, helpful advice, and items for my list for next year.

Top 20 New Things to Try in 2013 in Minneapolis

1. Brewing Beer- I love to drink it. I should learn how to make it. I would love to travel to  Vine Park since I am a bit low on space. Or even try to make my own at home with Midwest Suppy or Northern Brewer.  What do you think?

2. Go to a Pop music concert- I haven’t been to one in years but there is something about going to a Christina, Madonna, or Justin Bieber concert that makes your toes tap. Who is coming to town?

3. Take a Class at The Loft. Clearly, I like to write. I have been dying to take a class at The Loft Literary Center for a while. What were your favorite classes?

4. Find a new hole in the wall restaurant. And share it with all of you. Any suggestions are welcome and I am willing to travel anywhere in Minnesota to find a new favorite place.

5. Enter a baked good in the Minnesota State Fair. I love the fair and I love to make baked goods. I am hoping my grandma who is a ribbon winner will help me. If you have any suggestions of what I need to do as well. Let me know.

6. Travel somewhere outside of Minnesota. Love you MN, but I need to do some outside travel.

7. Learn how to can foods. I really like curried pickles which means I need to make them myself. Do you know where I can take a class? Maybe I will enter them in the State Fair too!

8. Discover a new thrift store. I am open to suggestions, please send them to me!

9. Go to a winery. Or maybe a winery tour of many wineries. Where have you gone? Have you been to Northern Vineyards, Falconer Vineyards and Winery, Cannon River Winery, Alexis Bailly Vineyard, or St. Croix Vineyards?

10. Go see an IMax Movie. I know that this is silly but I haven’t been to one yet.

11. Travel to a small town in Minnesota for a weekend trip. Any town suggestions?

12. Go to a Gopher Football game. I want to go to a game in the new stadium and cheer on the gophers.

13. Do live band karaoke. Where is the best place?

14. Run a 5K. Did I mention I cannot run. I prance. So I will prance the 5K. What is the best 5K in the Twin Cities?

15. Go to a show at 1st Ave. I think it would be fun to go and see a band that I might have never heard of. I am open to suggestions.

16. Take a walk over the Stone Arch Bridge. Sometimes it is nice to do something relaxing.

17. Visit the buffet at one of our casinos. Just for fun! What casino has the best buffet?

18. Dakota Jazz Club. I love jazz and I had some of the food from the Dakota Jazz Club at the Food and Wine Show last year and it was delicious. I need to get there. The whole needing to pay to get in to pay for dinner scares me a bit. But, I need to take a jump off the cliff and try it.

19. Go to the Opera! I am hoping to go see a show at some point this year with the Minnesota Opera.

20. Do something uniquely Minnesotan. I don’t know what this is particular goal is… but I will know once I partake in something uniquely Minnesotan. What do you think is something that every Minnesotan has to do?

because 2013 is going to be epic.

@mplsgossipgirl

A Wonderful Place to Take Your Pet- Lyndale Animal Hospital


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Many of my loyal readers may have noticed that I haven’t been writing much lately. This is because I recently lost a part of my family. Baby Nugget, my cat sadly is no longer with us. I was lucky to have her in my life to brighten my days.

Baby Nugget became part of my family when she was adopted from the Animal Humane Society. She was perfect for my home because she was independent and like to snuggle. She was a senior cat and even though she was a little bit slower than a kitten she was still ready to come and snuggle whenever I came home. Her favorite show to watch was Maury.

Baby Nugget’s favorite meal was fresh salmon.  Her personality of of external indifference was merely a cover for her warm cuddly soft true colors.  She would accompany me to cat film festivals, picnics in the park, and keep me company during flu season.

Baby Nugget

When I first brought Nugget home we brought her in for a check up at the Lyndale Animal Hospital. We went in on a weekend and met Dr. Koppy. Who did a short check up and talked to me about her care.

Dr. Koppy was also very helpful in treating Baby Nugget during her end of life and helping our family make decisions regarding our pets care. I cannot thank all of the staff at Lyndale Animal Hospital for all their help during this hard time.

The care, compassion, and empathy the entire staff showed during my time of need was truly appreciated.  Whenever Baby Nugget was brought in the staff always treated her as family member, because that is what she was to me.

Baby Nugget 2

@mplsgossipgirl

Top Holiday Treats from Wuollet Bakery


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I love this time of year and I love sugar. But, I am horribly unprepared for holiday gatherings this year. So, to make it easier on myself I thought I would go pick up some treats from Wuollet Bakery instead of stressing over making something sub-par myself.

Here are my top picks:

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Gingerbread houses are a fun project for families or as a secret team building holiday office party game. I love the cute houses that are in the window at the Downtown Wuollet’s. Since I don’t have the patience I would go for the already build one but, they do have several packages that include make your own gingerbread house or already built and ready to be decorated gingerbread houses. You choose.

Holiday Treats 3

Custom decorated cakes and cupcakes! Lavona who works at the Downtown Wuollets is an expert decorator, she has been working for Wuollets for 36 years. She can create any idea you may have for your holiday party or elf cupakes for your elf on the shelf to eat.

She also is an artist and made all of the cute Stanta’s and Elf’s in the downtown store. You can find her decorating in the window a few times a week.

Holiday Treats 4

The holiday Yule Log is basically a Hostess Ho-Ho but one that will not survive the apocolypse because it is made from all real ingredients. It is festive, delicious, and easy to share. It would be the perfect item for after your Christmas Eve meal to have with a cup of coffee.

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I cannot stop raving about the peanut brittle. This is a great price for handmade peanut brittle made by the owners of Wuollet’s.

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Last but not least, Opera Squares. They are a bigger version of a petit fours and is adorable. They would be a great fancy dessert at your Christmas Table.

Stop in to your local Wuollet Bakery or visit their website HERE. Most locations have special holiday hours, so if you need something last minute you can stop by.

because share the holiday and your treats with those you love.

@mplsgossipgirl

Sandy Hook – What Minneapolis is Doing Right.


As someone who used to work in a Minneapolis Public school this past friday’s events were profoundly disturbing. It was a reminder to me how random an act of violence can be.

My first thoughts were about my teacher-friends, people who have the gift of working with children and go into work each day trying to make a difference in each students life.

The one reassurance that I had was that my friends and their students would know what to do if an event like this would take place. Minneapolis Public Schools practices code red drills at least five times a year. Along with practicing these drills they speak with their students about why they need to pratice these drills.

When I remember back to doing these drills, the students, even the very young ones understood the importance of these drills. They hid and were quiet for up to 15 minutes at a time.

Anyone who has worked in a classroom knows how hard it can be to have silence in the room for more than 20 seconds. But, it is truly amazing how students understand how important these drills are to practice.

It is my hope that no one ever has to do what they have practiced in these drills, but it feels good to know they are prepared if something were to happen.

@mplsgossipgirl

Client Gifts for the Holiday Season


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One of the hardest gifts to choose is a gift to give to your clients or employees. If you are business owner you want to send something that is personal, easy to coordinate, and something that most people enjoy receiving.

I recently stopped in to the Wuollet Bakery in Downtown Minneapolis and they showed me some potential gift ideas. My favorite part is that you can completely customize your package to fit your needs. They work with all types of budgets and have some really great ideas to show your clients and employees that you care.

For those with a large budget, they make towers with many items inside. You can even top it with a cookie with your logo on it. (pictured above)

Woullet Christmas

One of the most popular items to give is the peanut brittle. Laura who works at Wuollet Bakery told me that the owners actually make it themselves. They are hands-on business owners. If you visit Wuollet Bakery’s facebook page it is rumored that there is a video showing how they make it.

Woullet Christmas 3

I also like the idea of including a cookie assortment. Your client can then bring them to a family gathering to share. Most are bite size cookies and come in all different colors. Also, if you need something to bring into your christmas party at work, this would be a great item.

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Another item that you could include gingerbread people, gingerbread snow people, and gingerbread santas. They are super cute!

Woullet Christmas 4

When you walk into the Wuollet Bakery in downtown they have a whole shelf with holiday items. There are many different items that you could include in your present. If you don’t see what you are looking for always ask. Wuollet’s can work with you to make sure your gift is perfect for your clients and employees.

You can call, stop in, or visit the Wuollet Bakery website HERE to order your holiday gifts!

because if I was your client I would be happy to get anything from Wuollet’s. hint hint.

@mplsgossipgirl

Casey Kustak – Mill City Nights


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My friend Casey Kustak will be performing his comedy routine this Saturday, December 15th. It is a great excuse to try out the new venue in town Mill City Nights. They are doing a night of music and comedy with headliners My Lady Four. Tickets are only $8 or $5 with a student ID.

The show starts at 8:30 but make sure you are there in time to see Casey who will be starting his set around 9:45PM. He uses his real life experiences as an inspiration and with two young children he has no trouble coming up with material. It is all written by him and is orignal.  Some material may be slightly offensive so prepare yourself. Casey grew up in Minnesota and now lives out-of-state but I know he keeps Minnesota close to his heart.

because laughter can be the best medicine.

@mplsgossipgirl

Minneapolis Snow Emergency


One of the worst parts of living in Minneapolis is that there never is enough parking. If you live in Uptown or Downtown, park on the street, and make it through an entire winter season without being towed, call it a success.

They do the plowing on the snow emergency routes to help emergency vehicles safely travel around Minneapolis. So, it does make sense. But, when you go out to find your car in the morning and have to taxi to the impound lot it might still make you mad.

Snow emergencies have been upgraded in the last few years. They now have an iPhone ap and also text alerts. If you have to park on the street make sure that you get these, you need both because the ap does not tell you when a snow emergency has been declared. It will save you a whole lot of money by avoiding the impound lot.

Also, if you own or rent a house make sure that your sidewalks are shoveled and ice-free, it is the law to keep them safe for walkers.

You can find all the important information HERE.

I hope you have a fun and safe winter season.

Because snow emergencies are just an excuse to walk to the bar and have a few drinks to warm you up.

@mplsgossipgirl

Elf – The Ordway


Elf

Elf is the perfect show to bring your family to this year. It is a fun and entertaining show for all age groups incorporating both child humor and adult humor perfectly. Despite the target audience being children there is enough in the story to keep adults attention. Plus, it is really wonderful to see their smiling faces.

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I was sceptical when I found out someone was making a musical based upon the movie Elf. Kind of like when you hear a book is being made into a movie. But, this musical combined all of the funny one-liners and new material.

This show does run about 2 hours which may be a little long for very young ones but I saw many 6 year olds in the audience watching Buddy intently as he joyfully bounced around the stage.

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Also, when you come to The Ordway you will be transported into the world of Christmastown thanks to Bachmans Floral who created a winter wonderland to the utmost detail. Believe me, it is magic.

The best part of all of this is that tickets start at 35 dollars making it an affordable holiday celebration.

Don’t forget that by coming to see shows at The Ordway you are helping them bring 50,000 students in to see shows each year. You never know what show will bring a spark into a child’s mind and help them become who they want to be.

because the best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.

@mplsgossipgirl

Best Free Services in Minnesota- MPR


Minnesota Public Radio is on my list of favorite things. Who said Oprah was the only one who can have a favorite things list?

I love MPR because it entertains me and teaches me at the same time.

I started to listen to MPR after I was forced into it. Why would anyone WANT to listen to talk radio? Apparently I do, and didn’t know it. It is one of those radio stations that grows on you and makes you pay attention to the world around you. If you haven’t given it a chance yet, I would give it a try.

Here are my favorite shows:

The Daily Circuit specifically with Kerri Miller. Kerri chooses topics that interest me and does a great job asking the right questions. What I mean by this, is that she doesn’t let guests get away with sweeping generalizations and always goes for the specifics. She does a great job picking guests who are leaders in whatever topic it might be.

Topics on this show range from how to deal with your family during the holidays to  Young Adult Fiction. They use their public insite network of listeners to help them come up with topics and participate in the show.  Topics that I think that I will not be interested in always turn out to be my favorites.

I always learn something or take something away whether it be a new book to add to my reading list or a new interest in a local nonprofit.

Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me is a news quiz show. It is part of the weekend broadcast and it is a whole lot of fun to play along with. It is great to put on during a weekend road trip. I am hoping to have Carl Kasell on my answering machine one day.

Car Talk, Tom and Ray are those crazy uncles who talk about cars. Their smart humor makes this show something I like listening to even though I am not a car fanatic.

The Splendid Table not only does this show talk food but they make excellent cookbooks as well. They would make an excellent present for the cook in the family this holiday season. Lynne Rossetto Kasper celebrates food  and shares her expertise.

A Prairie Home Companion is a Variety Show that features the famous Garrison Keillor. Keillor introduced us to Lake Wobegon, a place that is very Minnesotan. My favorite segment is Guy Noir private eye because it is very silly and I like the characters that come see Guy.

I love the stories that MPR tells on This American Life. I recently listened to Little War on the Prairie with John Biewen. It was about Mankato, MN and one of the most, if not the most historical moment that happened in Mankato that is never talked about: the execution of 38 Dakota Indians, the site of the largest mass hanging in U.S history. It is a heartbreaking story part of our history that we would like to forget but cannot. It will be replayed Tuesday, December 11th at 12:00PM and can be found online HERE.

MPR now plays a huge part in my life. Every weekday morning I am tuning in to the daily circuit and when I am in the car during the weekend I am playing along.

I do suggest that if you become a listener that you become a member and donate and help MPR continue to produce this quality programing. You can become a member HERE.

What is your favorite show on MPR?

Because educational can be entertaining.

@mplsgossipgirl

Gather Minneapolis


Gather Winter 2012

Seriously, Gather what were you thinking? After sharing my previous post you changed what I praised you for a great selection of 5 dollar plates for happy hour.

Not smart.

You can read my previous review HERE.

I really hate having to tell my readers about a change in a restaurant that I recently gave glowing reviews. I dread it. But, alas it has to be done. What I said then, now is not true.

I praised you for you happy hour of 5 dollar small plates. But, when I went there this thursday the menu was different and there were not the 5 dollar plates available (only the bahn mi and the peas and bread). It was disappointing. Especially since I had suggested this restaurant as a great meeting space where we could get happy hour appetizers to share. Please update your website with your current menu.

The British fare should have been done in addition to the regular menu. “My favorite restaurant serves only British food,” said no one, ever.

Thank goodness I was in the presence of fellow fantastic, fashionable, foodies who were able to find some other interesting menu items.

When we ordered I was asked if I wanted salmon on my salad. I said sure and the server had to check to see if they even had salmon. Why offer it if you don’t know if you have it? I did not feel well afterwards. The server could have told me that you did not have any fresh salmon and I would have been fine with that.

I was then charged for the salad and the salmon separately. Which ended up being more expensive than anything else on the entire menu. What? yeah. I know.  12 dollars for over salted salmon served on a small side plate. If I would have known this I would have never said okay to the salmon which came on the side and not on top of the salad.   A good rule of thumb is to only offer up-charges that are half of the price of the main order. My salad also did not have asparagus on it which is the second item listed with the salad on the menu. The salad was well dressed and the beets were tasty, it was just too bad there wasn’t asparagus on it.

The cocktail I had was poorly mixed. Not sure why you would do a vodka cranberry with a mint syrup. Also, when you have the holiday grog on your menu it should be available.  Do not act suprised when someone orders it and respond with a snide comment of, “it is not ready yet, it has to sit for a while” Honestly maybe you should have thought about that before you put it on the menu. College students plan better when making wops or jungle juice.

In one single night of a poor $40 dollar dinner you have disappointed me and embarassed me. Gather was one of my favorite spots in the city. I would love to hear what you have to say about my recent experience please leave me a message or email me. Bring back the good 5 dollar happy hour menu!

because if you have a good thing, don’t change it.

@mplsgossipgirl

Gather on Urbanspoon

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