These are some chicken wings that you write to your Mom about. Seriously people, would you ever think of coming to deli inside a grocery store for awesome wings? To be honest, I didn’t. You’ll have to give them a try!
I had never been to United Noodles before and had no idea where it was. Turns out it’s right off Minnehaha Ave. in the Seward neighborhood. I worked in that neighborhood one summer awhile back and I had no idea what sort of places it held. I am just starting to discover the wonderfulness of the Seward neighborhood. Behind each place that I’ve been recently there is some sort of story and passion. This neighborhood boasts some of the best foods, if you take the time to search them out. They don’t boast– they just love what they do.
Although, it is tucked a little bit away, it is easy to find by the sign. They have ample parking and it would be a great place to stop after work or during your lunch hour if you are nearby. I know I will be. I crave ramen during the fall and winter and cannot wait to get my fix at Unideli.
They also have new specials each week. AKA- a reason to come back every week.
Let’s talk about these wings. You might notice that I rarely ever post chicken wings. They usually aren’t for me. I don’t like how most of the time you have to eat around them, sometimes there’s not a lot of meat, and other times they are just a deep fried meltdown. It also might have to do with the fact that a certain wing place that shall not be named that “makes” a bunch of types of wings ALWAYS makes me sick. For real, I felt sick after a salad there. All this has led me to not ordering wings off a menu. It’s not my thing.
BUT- these wings would be something I would order every-single-time. They were the perfect mix of salty, sweet, and spice. Plus, crisped up just right and great chicken inside. I am now a believer. Turns out that I just don’t like shitty chicken wings. I dream about these wings because of the mix that they are. It’s not just about how hot and spicy they are it’s really about how all of the flavors work so well together. It’s almost like they were best friends since childhood.
If you think I’m being a little brash, simply go try them. This is one of those things that I almost didn’t want to write anything about because I didn’t want the secret to get out and then I would have to fight with people to get some wings. Also, come early because I’ve heard that they sometimes sell out.
Best wings in Minnesota? I think so. I’ll see you soon my little nuggets of joy.
I’m going to be talking about more of the cool things that I discovered at UniDeli. Keep an eye out on future posts.
DISCLOSURE: I met with the team at United Deli and was given items from their menu to try. Also, I was given some foods from the grocery to try. In no way does that dictate what I write or how I feel about the food. This place is going to be one of my go-to places from now on and I was so thankful they invited me over to give it a try. Yes, I will spend my “real” money there. I never have time to get to every single place in Minneapolis. But, when I am invited to try something that I’ve never done before (going shopping with a master of pan-Asian foods) you do it!
Because sometimes you just need to try it one more time!
What places do you love in the Seward neighborhood? (I’m a huge fan of the Seward Co-op and Birchwood) What are your favorite chicken wings?
One of the questions that I get most is about which brewery is the best in the Twin Cities. I haven’t been to every brewery in the state and I like many different breweries for different reasons. This is one of very favorite ones because of the beer.
If you haven’t been out to downtown White Bear Lake recently, it is a hopping place to be. Excellent shopping, salons, and food are found in the small downtown area that is perfect for a weekend trip. Come in the afternoon to do some shopping, stay for dinner, and then some after dinner drinks at Big Wood.
I’ve had almost everything on tap at the brewery besides the winter brew that they have coming out. I’ve been very impressed by the full flavor of each brew. Two of my favorites are the Bark Bite and Drevo. You can get tasting flights and they always have 10 beers on tap.
The taproom is fairly small but it isn’t usually full. They have tables in the front room and in the back room where there is a table tennis table. During the summer they have outdoor seating as well. They don’t have their own food in the taproom but you can order in from many of the local establishments. There are two really really great pizza places nearby that you can order from called Olives Pizza Bar and Pezzo Pizza.
I highly recommend stopping out to Big Wood Brewery and taking in all that White Bear Lake has to offer.
Because I do it for the brews.
What’s your favorite brewery in Minnesota? Where do you go when you go to White Bear Lake?
I was saddened to hear the news of the closing of two of the great local establishments. La Belle Vie and Vincent A will be closing their doors by the end of the winter. There has been much speculation as to why and I don’t have all of the answers but my last experience at La Belle Vie might give you insight as to why fine dining is dead in the Twin Cities.
Recently, I went out to La Belle Vie to get a final meal. To say “Goodbye.” There’s really nothing like sitting down for a menu of food and wine that have been given so much love and attention. What ensued that night was a fine example of why we are the reason that fine dining is dying. Or already dead.
Many people have explained that the prices are unreasonable or that the cost of staffing is driving profits down. While both of these things may be true we are still missing one big part about fine dining that is in my opinion completely dead. Our ability to enjoy the meal for what it is. Time to enjoy the food and company.
That Friday, I sat down to eat the 8 course tasting menu with the wine paring in the exquisite dining room. The perfect lighting, the linen table cloth, and the way we were greeted were exactly what you would expect at a restaurant of this caliber.
At the table next to me sat a father and his adult daughter who had already started the tasting menu that I was going to enjoy that night. I ordered, eagerly awaiting the first course to arrive at the table. As I waited, my companion and I discussed our week and what we were doing this weekend.
I was struck by surprise when I heard a ringtone go off at the table next to us. Again. Again. It was a text message tone. The father then looked down and answered the texts while the course was being served to him. As the explanation of this fourth course he gazed down at his phone. Not even lifting his eyes to meet the person describing how the food was prepared.
I think this would be the only explanation necessary to illustrate how little this meal meant to him. Unfortunately, it got worse. In between the next course he decided to start watching YouTube videos with the sound on. Who needs to watch pan flute videos on YouTube during dinner? or anytime really? At least he somewhat involved his daughter halfway through the second video. His phone was out for the entirety of the dinner and he was on it for most of the time that I would think he would want to pay attention to the food and the drinks that were being served to him and his daughter. They maybe said a total of 15 words to each other the whole time I was there.
Not only did he miss the elegance of this beautifully prepared meal, he also missed a night spent with his daughter. It takes approximately three hours to do the full 8 course tasting with wine pairings and he couldn’t spare that much time away from his text messages and YouTube videos to have a deep conversation with his daughter.
We have literally killed fine dining with our inability to put everything aside and enjoy a meal with the people around us. How hard is it for us to put our phones away for 3 hours and hold a conversation with someone? I ask these questions because it occurred to me that while I was sitting there I had to check my phone. My work rarely allows me free-time away from my phone. How sad is it that I couldn’t part from it for three hours?
I also found myself asking myself realizing that I hadn’t spent 3 hours in conversation with anyone for a long time. Yes, I spend time away from screens but how often had I had a deep conversation in the last couple of months?
I am equally as guilty of not being in the present moment.
Fine dining requires us to leave our shit at the door. Your ability to enjoy the food and the company requires you to shut down the outside world and live in the present moment. For some reason, we have all decided that it’s not worth it anymore and that is sad. While we lose two of the fine dining players in Minneapolis we need to ask ourselves what part did we have to play in this?
We all need to hit the focus button.
My case for fine dining is simple. Having a meal like the one I had on Friday is meditative. It’s restorative. Shutting out the outside world and focusing on a meal with someone can center you again.
There is a place for fine dining here in Minnesota. It’s just that we need to make it a priority again. There has to be a sacred place where you can have a meal with people that matters enough to pay attention to the food and the company. Next time you go out to have a great meal try and leave your phone in the car, see if you can sit there for 3 hours, and genuinely be in the present moment.
I hope that we can have a place where we go to celebrate big life events with food and that we don’t kill them all.
because food is meditative and restorative.
You have no idea how excited I am about this! A few weeks ago my cousin and his wife were in town and they told me about this meal delivery service that they have in Milwaukee. They have fresh ingredients shipped to their home with recipes that they can make fairly fast. They like to cook like I do but since they have a new baby, time is not on their side. This is a quick way to get a healthy meal and still have the taste of a freshly cooked meal. All I thought to myself is— how do we not have this in Minneapolis?
I ran across Local Crate recently in my Twitter feed thanks to the awesome people that I follow. It looks like they are trying to make a go of this same idea but are sourcing local Minnesota ingredients.
Local Crate is a delivery service that sends fresh, local, portioned ingredients, and chef designed recipes to Minnesotans weekly making it easy for people to cook locally. Now, this is an idea that I can get behind! I enjoy eating out at restaurants but it is not something that I can do everyday. This would be a great fill in for the weeks that I am craving a home cooked meal and when I have commitments that don’t allow me enough time to get to the grocery store.
I usually only cook for two people and you usually can’t buy the ingredients for only two portions. This is a great way to get only what you need for the recipe and eliminates that one jam you needed for that ONE recipe that you made a year ago and it is still sitting in your refrigerator (not from personal experience, nope, not here).
Local Crate was started by the Kitchen Ninja and the Baby Kitchen Ninja AKA: Mike Stalbaum and Frank Jackman. They both were working for a large food manufacturer and realized that they could create a business around helping their community by working with local farmers and providers. They are passionate about changing the way that people eat and want to give back to our community. I am super excited to see where Local Crate goes!
The meals look great with options ranging from Spaghetti Carbonara to Shakshouka. Each recipe on listed on their website is something that I would enjoy trying. Also, they have enough variety that I don’t think I would get sick of the options. Each recipe comes with detailed instructions and a picture (this always helps me).
Currently, they are doing a Kickstarter project to raise much needed, cash flow for packaging, ingredients, cold and dry storage, and photo equipment. They have some great thank you gifts available and if you are interested in getting Local Crate I would suggest that you help them raise the $7,000 that they need to make their goal. I am clearly a proud supporter of this great idea so I backed this project! He
CLICK HERE to help them reach their goal!
Because this is a great idea and I can’t wait to try it!
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.
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.
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!
What food are you most excited to try this year?
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.
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.
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.
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.
Where else do I need to try in Northeast? Any places I should move to in Northeast?
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.
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.
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!
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?
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.
*Side note: Don’t steal my BSB Candy Land idea.
Am I missing another great local Kickstarter? Tell me about it.
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?
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.
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.
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.
What is your favorite store on Grand Avenue?
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.
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.
Where do you go for comfort food in the winter?