This Thursday night is the perfect night to go out to eat. Each year over 180 restaurants in Minnesota participate in Dining Out For Life, this year it is on Thursday, April 25th. A percentage of proceeds from participating restaurants go to the Aliveness Project and RAAN that provide support for those living with HIV/AIDS.
It just makes sense to eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner out on Thursday. Not only do you get to eat great food, but you get to give as well.
Visit the website to see which restaurants are participating and at what level: HERE
Here are a few restaurants that I suggest that you should visit this Thursday:
- The Saloon – 100% of both Lunch and Dinner will be donated. Located in downtown Minneapolis, The Saloon is known for its billboard of gorgeous men.
- Rustica Bakery- 40% of breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Rustica is one of my favorite spots in Uptown. You can check out my recent review HERE.
- Acqua- 35% of dinner. This is one of my favorite hidden gems. Acqua just opened a new restaurant in Forest Lake. Read my review HERE. See photo above.
- Blackbird Cafe- 35% of breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
- George and The Dragon- 35% of lunch and dinner.
- Hazels Northeast- 35% of breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
- Herkimer- 35% of dinner. This brew-pub in Uptown is a great place to get together with groups. Good options for all types of eaters. Get together a group of friends and head out there on Thursday night.
- Moto-i - 35% of dinner. A sleek Uptown hotspot with a great variety of items on the menu. Try the ramen or the bibimbap Hopefully, the weather will be nice enough that people will get to enjoy the patio.
- Republic- 35% of lunch and dinner. I have been meaning to try this place.
- Spill the Wine- 35% of lunch and dinner. Now in a new location, this is one of my favorite places to go on a date.
If you are in Duluth, Sir Ben’s is giving 35% of both lunch and dinner.
I would highly suggest that you make a reservation at participating restaurants since it can get very busy!
because giving back is easy and delicious
This past Saturday I attended the HAMMS event at the old HAMMS Brewery Shipping docks in Saint Paul. It was a really fun time and I was able to buy a few items that I have been pining over including Dessa lipstick from the Elixery.
What made this event fun was that you actually could speak with the business owners and learn more about why they do what they do. Plus, it was dog friendly!
The event lived up to the title Help A Minnesota Maker Succeed. The event planners reached their goal to be able to give one vendor $5,000 to use to expand their business.
I shopped until I dropped on Saturday. The first item I bought was a glass water bottle from Moss Envy in pink. Moss Envy is now going to be my go-to place for gifts. They have many practical and usable items that people would love to get for a special event such as a birthday or wedding.
Moss Envy has a retail store near the Whole Foods in Uptown. If you mention my blog (mlsgossipgirl) and the HAMMS event Ryan the co-owner extended an offer of $5 off your $25 purchase.
The market baskets from Jeanne Beatrice were a hit. I received many compliments when I was walking around the event with my new La Vie Henna.
Jeanne Beatrice bags are the perfect summer market accessory. I cannot wait to bring mine to the Minneapolis Farmers Market once it warms up.
I loved these arm warmers from Float many of them are made with cashmere. They are a great item to keep in your purse for when you get cold. Plus, they come in many vibrant colors.
I was surprised by these game day lip tattoos from Violent Lips. I know some hardcore Vikings fans that would sport them proudly at each game.
These hilarious cards from Bruno Press had me laughing. They are the perfect cards for someone you know well enough that you can say offensive things in front of them.
These map necklaces from Larissa Loden are a great way to remember a special trip or a place that you lived.
I wish I was decorating something right now. I loved everything that Oh Dier had at this event. They had the cutest chalk boards for your cabin and blocks for a new baby.
Yum! Not only was there great shopping at the HAMMS event there was great food. Gastro truck had a large menu of delicious items to choose from and I couldn’t choose just one.
The first item I tried was a Beef Brisket sandwich. It was flavorful and I loved the aioli on top.
The best part of the lamb burger was the choice of all the homemade condiments that I could choose from. Pickled red onion and ketchup topped my lamb burger along with the feta and olive spread.
Hopefully, the HAMMS event is an event that is continued in the future. I am already looking forward to it and I think all the dogs that were there are too!
because I can’t think of a better way to spend a Saturday.
It is very important to me to shop local and to shop small whenever possible. That is why I enjoy events such as the HAMMS event where many local small businesses are in one space. HAMMS stands for Help a Minnesota Maker Succeed and aims to give up to $5,000 to one of the vendors. I am also excited to attend Saturday because there will be food trucks there!
Here are a few particular items that I am excited to see at the event:
- Glass water bottles from Moss Envy
I chose this water bottle because of the ease of use, both of the bottle and the sleeve can be put in the dishwasher. I also find that I do not enjoy the metal or plastic taste of other water bottles.
Moss Envy sells eco items for your home and life. They choose eco-friendly items to fill their store that you would use every day.
You can find more products on the Moss Envy website: HERE
- Turban from Kedrin
Kedrin sells beautiful handmade crochet goods. I love any fashionable item that I can wear during the winter months to accessorize my parka.
At the HAMMS event Kedrin is giving shoppers at least 20% off of items from her collection posted on her website HERE, and 10% off of pre-orders of new looks from her fall 2013 look book. VIP shoppers save even more!
- Market Bags from Jeanne Beatrice
Please read my post from Tuesday about Jeanne Beatrice: HERE. These market bags from Jeanne Beatrice would be a great Mother’s Day gift.
There will be many other vendors at the event that I am excited to see and learn more about their products such as: Worker b, Irley Intimates, Larissa Loden, Scrappy Products, and many more all featured on the vendors page.
The HAMMS event is this Saturday, April 20th at the old HAMMS shipping docks in Saint Paul from 10AM-7PM. You can even bring your dog to this pup friendly event! Tickets can be purchased online HERE until 10PM on April 19th for $10 or tickets can be purchased for $15 at the door.
because you should be there
On Saturday, April 20th I will be attending the HAMMS- Help a Minnesota Maker Succeed event at the old Hamm’s Brewery Shipping Docks. This event is for men, women, their dogs and those who like to shop local and small. A portion of the ticket proceeds will be awarded to one of the small businesses at the end of the event.
As a fan of fashion, I connected with the image on the website of a really cute Market Basket from Jeanne Beatrice; the perfect summer bag (pictured above). Everyone in Minnesota is ready for summer but it feels like it may never come with all the unseasonably cold weather lately. One of my favorite summer activities is going to the farmers market on a Sunday. There is something uplifting about spending the morning at the market in the sun and picking up fresh food from local farmers. Why not do it fashionably with a market bag from Jeanne Beatrice?
Jeanne Beatrice was started by Laura J. Benson a former Lawyer who created a business doing what she loved. The baskets are made in Morocco by local artisans. Each bag takes 6-8 hours to complete and each is a unique work of art.
I chose to feature Jeanne Beatrice because the Market Bags are affordable, fun, and a great way to help someone across the world. Also, they would be a great gift for a mother for Mother’s Day or a bridal party gift for your bridesmaids. The La Vie Shadow II is on sale for only $27.00 and with its steel grey or pink details, would be perfect for the beach.
My other favorite bags are the one featured on the HAMMS site called the La Vie Henna because of the stitching around the handles and the La Vie en Colour because they are traditional with a pop of color.
You can find all products from Jeanne Beatrice on the website, https://www.jeannebeatrice.com/, or in over 150 boutiques around the world. You can even come to the HAMMS event and pick one up there.
Laura thinks you should come to the event because it, “will be an absolute blast.” It will be a shopping event like no other because the vendors are interacting with customers in different ways and are encouraged to bring wine and appetizers. A fellow foodie, Laura is looking forward to the food trucks that will be there.
If you are someone who likes to shop local and support small business this is the perfect event for you. Tickets to the HAMMS Event on Saturday, April 20th from 10AM-7PM are available online at http://www.hammsevent.com/ until 10 pm on April 19 or for 15 dollars at the door.
because you can look good and do good at the same time.
On January 26th, 3012 the American Cancer Society Young Professionals will be hosting a masquerade charity ball at Aria at the Jeune Lune.
Tickets are $85 or $75 before January 18th. You can buy tickets online HERE.
This is a wonderful reason to get dressed up for a night and support cancer research, specifically cancer research in Minnesota. Also, this is a great opportunity to network with other young Twin Cities professionals.
Entertainment will include music, a photo booth, and also a CEO auction where you have the chance to bid on an opportunity to meet with a local CEO and pick their brain.
The American Cancer Society (ACS) of Young Professionals raise money for ACS and also to fund research at the University of Minnesota. They raised $55,000 last year and are hoping to raise even more this year.
You can even try one of the new businesses in Calhoun Square called For Tonight, they rent cocktail dresses. Also, if you need a mask both Halloween Express in Maplewood and Twin Cities Magic and Costume sells them.
because you can give back and have fun at the same time.
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.
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.
It is that time again! Restaurant week for Fall 2012 is October 21-26. For those of you who have never participated I will answer your burning questions and get you ready to start attending Restaurant Week.
What is Restaurant Week?
It is a week where restaurants put on a special promotion and offer Lunches and Dinners at a “discounted” rate.
Does Restaurant Week only happen in Minnesota?
No, many large foodie cities like New York and Chicago do them as well. They may not line up at the same times as ours do. I know that some people even travel to those cities during restaurant weeks to try the food at restaurants that they normally would not be able to afford. Contact Open Table if you want to make a trip of it sometime.
How do you find out about Restaurant Week?
Follow my blog… right up there in the right corner and you will see my picks for each Restaurant Week. Otherwise follow me on my new facebook page Mplsgossipgirl by liking the page. It is NEW so be one of the first people to like it!
What the heck is Open Table?
It is great! It is an online service where you can make FREE reservations and earn points towards dining certificates.
They also offer special events and even more events when you are a V.I.P. You become a V.I.P when you help review the restaurants that you have visited. This week I received an email promotion about visiting a few restaurants Monday-Wednesday and receiving a gift card for your next visit (some of them were $25)
Plus, it is a great way to give direct feedback to the restaurant and help you remember the places that you liked or disliked.
They are a sponsor of restaurant week and usually most of the restaurants on the list are restaurants that you can make reservations for on Open Table.
I have been using Open Table for years and love being able to use this FREE service. They do send you emails every so often about different restaurants in the area and deals. But, you cannot beat getting free dining checks from them and the other offers when you become a V.I.P.
How do I pick the restaurant I want to go to?
Read REVIEWS. More importantly, read my blog all of my past reviews are posted. Some of the restaurant week promotions are not “deals” at all.
Look at the menus that are posted by MSPMAG. If they are offering a $30 dinner when their entrée’s are usually only $10 on their regular menu. That is usually a red flag.
Also, decide what type of food you want. Do you want a steak dinner? Choose Capital Grille. Want to try something new? Try Cafe Lurcat. Want to go to Uptown? Choose Heidi’s.
Unfortunately, it always takes FOREVER to get the menus on the website. So, I suggest taking a look at the normal menu at the restaurant to decide if you want to make a reservation. Some reservations go fast.
Okay I picked my restaurant, now how to I get a reservation?
All you need to do is click on the make a reservations link on left side of the website next to the restaurant you want. If you do not have an Open Table account you will need to create one.
There are some restaurants that do not require reservations.
This is awkward, what do I say at the restaurant so they know I am there for restaurant week?
First, you can put it in the reservation under the special requests. You can just type Restaurant Week and then the restaurant will get that note.
Also you can let them know when you sit down that you are here for restaurant week. Most places are good at offering both their restaurant week menu and their regular menu.
Is wine included in the meal?
No, any drinks are separate. Although, some restaurants offer wine pairings with their menu with an additional charge.
Do I need to tip?
Yes. Please tip your waiter or waitress. It is not included in the price of the meal.
What is fun about Restaurant Week?
It is a reason to go out and try a restaurant that you have never been to before.
Once I saw a group of friends who schedule a fancy dinner on the Wednesday of every Minneapolis Restaurant week. Each person gets a chance to pick the restaurant and they each order different menu items and share.
They love the excuse to get together, dress up, and enjoy a fancy meal.
Where is mplsgossipgirl going this Fall Restaurant Week?
Look for future postings on my “Best Bets” for this Restaurant Week and during the week of October 21-26th to see where I go.
Here are my past postings:
Check out the MSPMAG for Restaurant Listings: HERE
Get an Open Table Account: HERE
because I love food.
Who actually offers cooking classes for free? Well, yumPower does.
Want to learn healthy recipes? Are you in a food rut and sick of making the same meals over and over?
There are free cooking classes with Cooks of Crocus Hill that are being offered in connection with yumPower! Go to the yumPower website and sign up. They are being held at both the Shoreview Community Center and the Saint Louis Park Rec Center from 6:30-8:30PM on a few dates in September-November. You can choose from the topics of Ditch the Diet or Family Meals in Minutes.
Along with walking away with new recipes and skills you will also get a swag bag for attending the class.
Remember those hilarious commercials with Andrew Zimmern from Bizzare Foods eating spiders with children during lunch? That commercial is part of the yumPower campaign to help people eat healthier. A topic that Andrew is passionate about. He decided to partner with Health Partners a health insurance provider in Minnesota who started the yumPower campaign and recently teamed up with Park Nicollet. But, you do not have to be a Health Partners member to go to the cooking classes or to use the website.
This is only one part of what the health insurance companies in Minnesota are starting to try and combat obesity. The yumPower website offers a restaurant locator which shows you healthier items on the menu and a My Kitchen section that offers healthy recipes.
because what is better than something fun that is free!