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Eastlake Brewery


LynLake Brewery

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.

EastLake Brewery

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.

Current Beers at EastLake

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!

IMG_1254

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?

@mplsgossipgirl

Two Local Kickstarter Projects Need Your Backing


Kickstart

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.

@mplsgossipgirl

*Side note: Don’t steal my BSB Candy Land idea.

Am I missing another great local Kickstarter? Tell me about it.

Shopping on Grand? Stop at Salut on Grand


WIth the right sauce. Salut Grand

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?

Bar Salut on Grand

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.

Red Wine Salut

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.

Salut on Grand Ave.

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.

@mplsgossipgirl

What is your favorite store on Grand Avenue?

Cozy Winter Restaurant in North Oaks: Tria


Tria Mussels

 

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.

Tria Chow-Chow

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.

@mplsgossipgirl
Tria on Urbanspoon

Where do you go for comfort food in the winter?

The Rabbit Hole: Best Food in Minneapolis


Cocktail Rabbit Hole Minneapolis

Every single time I walk into The Rabbit Hole at the Midtown Global Market I cannot believe it isn’t packed full. This place has some of the best food I’ve had in awhile. Right now, they have a strong menu from start to finish with their Bop Bowls, appetizers, and burgers.

Not to mention really inventive cocktails and a great beer menu. These cocktails are much more costly than stopping by your local bar but, they are much more complex. The bartenders and staff are great at suggesting drinks for you, just tell them what you typically like to drink.

Gene Bop Bowl Rabbit Hole Midtown Global Market

I typically order The Gene which is a rice bowl with beef. The spice is perfect and the pickled vegetables are heavenly. I could eat their pickled radishes with every meal. If you haven’t had Korean food before this is the dish to try.  The soft poached egg binds the whole thing together in perfect harmony.

Fries The Rabbit Hole

Also, don’t miss the fries. You can get them in the poutine which is a great dish to share with 4+ people. It is very rich but, oh so delicious. They know how to make the potatoes crispy and serve them with an aioli that cannot be beat. Trust me on this one, you need to stop in here if you haven’t yet. This is some seriously good food that comes with free parking at the Midtown Global Market (2 hours only). Plus, afterwards you can stop by the Salty Tart or one of the other various places to pick up food for tomorrow.

Because this is some seriously good food.

@mplsgossipgirl
The Rabbit Hole on Urbanspoon

What is one of the best meals that you’ve had in awhile?

Great Sushi in Uptown, Minneapolis – Kiku Bistro


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I eat a lot of sushi. Now, I am finally ready to do a post about one of my favorite places to get sushi in Minneapolis–Kiku Bistro.

Kiku Bistro, formally known as Mount Fuji in Uptown is one of my go-to sushi places. I was hesitant to share it until now because this is a place that I go frequently and sometimes I just want a place to myself, but that’s selfish. So, here we go!

Kiku Bistro Sushi Uptown

Kiku is one of my favorites because they have a great menu that allows people like me who love any kind of sushi to get what I want but still has rolls for those people who aren’t avid sushi eaters. They have several rolls that have more flair and are great for the new sushi eater. This includes well prepared deep fried rolls.

I like it because I have always had fresh fish. There has never been a time where I have had anything taste a “bad” fishy (you know what I mean).

The happy hour is excellent too! With $3 wine and Sapporo and discounted rolls you cannot go wrong. Plus, there is really only one or two hours a night that they don’t have happy hour so you are bound to hit it.  The rolls aren’t super cheap. If they were wouldn’t you wonder what kind of fish was in them? Just saying.

My favorite items to order:

Lake Calhoun- This has a lot of flair with special sauces and crunch. Not usually my style but it is very good. Great for the first time sushi eater.

Avocado roll- It gives you a break from everything else. It is fresh and filling.

Spicy California-  Good clean taste and is priced right!

Vegas- Deep Fried. This has great flavor and is fun. I am picky about deep fried rolls and they get it right.

Uptown Roll- If you like fish only this is a great option! Good flavor but you only get 4 pieces.

Rainbow Roll- It’s your basic roll with many types of fish. It’s fresh and good!

Overall, if you are looking for a new sushi place to try this is a very good option. I love it and I hope you do too!

Because fresh fish is good fish.

@mplsgossipgirl
Kiku Bistro on Urbanspoon

What bar should you visit when you are in town for the All Star Game in Minneapolis?


Bars, Minneapolis, Brits Pub
So, you’re in fabulous Minneapolis for the MLB All Star Game and you are thirsty. Where should you get a drink?
Top 5 Bars:
1. Butcher and the Boar
2. Solera Rooftop
3. Fulton Brewery
4. Marvel Bar
5. Prohibition
5. Brits Pub
(Yes it’s 6!  I couldn’t decide between the last two)
Best Family Bar:
Day Block Brewing
Ratings:
  • #Recommend – If my description sounds like something you would like then you need to try this place.
  • #Eh- This place is just okay. It would never be my first choice but it will work in a pinch.
  • #Avoid- This place is somewhere that I would have a really hard time going even in a pinch. If you go there I might judge you a little bit.
  • #4AM – It’s open late the day of the All Star Game
*Keep in mind these are all my own opinions.
Need a beer:
Brits Pub– They have lawn bowling on the roof and a good beer list. Food is eh. But, no one goes there for that anyways. If you are hungry go for the fish and chips, stay for the atmosphere. Avoid during any World Cup games. There are a lot of places to sit outside and service is usually good. #Recommend
Fulton Brewery– They have an awesome tap-room with delicious local beers and usually a food truck outside. It’s near the stadium and gives you a feel of what Minneapolis is really about. Need I say more? #Recommend
Day Block Brewery– Great family place! You not only get beer but some good grub including pizza and pretzels. This is a local place and a good place for groups. #Recommend
The Local– Do you love a good Irish bar? This is the perfect place for you. Try a Big Ginger made with Two Gingers whiskey! Don’t forget to take your sweetheart into the kissing room. Good tap list and some tasty eats. If it’s a nice day the patio is a great place to sit and watch people. #Recommend #4AM
Want something heavier?
Butcher and the Boar- Yes, they have bourbon and it is tasty. I highly suggest trying the beer garden out back. They know how to party with really good drunk food. #Recommend
Marvel Bar– Part of the Bachelor Farmer. This bar has some funky and fun cocktails. Go get it! #Recommend
Barrio– Is tequila your drink of choice.? This place is for you. #Recommend
Hells Kitchen– I had the worst cocktail of my life here.  It was so bad that it was the first and only drink that I have ever sent back. They have a great brunch with the lemon ricotta pancakes. Go for brunch. #Avoid
Lemme see that view:
Prohibition at The Foshay– My favorite view in town. Prohibition mixes great cocktails with a great view.  Plus, the history of this place makes it one of my favorite places in Minneapolis.  #Recommend
Solara Rooftop– Great sangria and good tapas for the adventurous eater. This is one of the lesser known rooftops right by the stadium. #Recommend
Crave Rooftop– Your run of the mill place. It’s a great place to go if you have a picky eater or drinker with you. They literally have everything. It has an awesome view but watch out for the dudebros. #Eh
Union Rooftop– Expensive drinks all for the sweet retractable roof. This place has great ambiance but I haven’t ever been impressed while I’ve been there. #Eh
Seven– Are you a creepy older man who wants to hit on young girls and buy them drinks? Ahhhh yes, this place is for you. You might run into a few celebrities too.  #Avoid #4AM
I am getting sloppy and I wanna dance:
The Pour House– This is a prohibition style bar with a hidden staircase. This place is a little trashy and you might feel a little old but if you want to get your groove on it is a great option. I think this is the best option in downtown Minneapolis if you don’t want to go to a gay bar. #Eh #4AM
The Saloon– Yeah, it’s a gay bar. But, they play great dance music and mix a strong drink. You might leave asking yourself what just happened. That’s part of its charm, right? If someone asks you to take a shower. Just do it. #Recommend
Brothers– Might as well be called bro central. #Avoid #4AM
Bar 508– Dancing, yes they have it. If the Poorhouse has too long of a line head here. It’s a great alternative. #Eh #4AM
I want a CHEAP beer:
Cowboy Jacks: Yeah, this is a pretty trashy place. If you want cheap stuff this is a great option. We don’t have cowboys in Minnesota only boys who like to wear cowboy hats and boots to pick up the ladies.  #Avoid #4AM
Travel to Uptown:
Stellas Rooftop– This place has a great rooftop! I am not a huge fan of their indoor space and the food. But, the ambiance makes this a great choice. #Recommend
Republic– In Calhoun Square this place has great food and $3 beers of the day. This place has a great local tap list and you can even get a walleye po’ boy. #Recommend
Williams– The peanut bar. If you want to drink beer out of a huge glass and drop peanuts on the floor, this place is for you. It gets really busy on weekends #Eh
Breweries outside of downtown:
612 Brewing– Not my favorite local brews but they have a fun tap-room for you to enjoy. #Eh
Dangerous Man– Try the chocolate milk stout. Great tap-room and a good atmosphere. #Recommend
Harriet Brewing– Really excellent beers with fun taste profiles. They usually have live music and a food truck there over the weekend. #Recommend
Because it’s time to say, “CHEERS.”
@mplsgossipgirl
Am I missing a bar that needs to be on this list? What do you think the best bar on the list is?
Make sure you tell me if you had a good time at any of these places by tweeting me @mplsgossipgirl.

 

Are people still eating there?


Quote Blog (1)

Where have you been eating lately?

I ask this because I was driving around the other day and spotted some chain restaurants with full parking lots.  I thought to myself about the last time I had eaten at one and why I ate there. I believe it was at an Applebee’s when I was meeting a group of people that I hadn’t seen in awhile.

Of course, they are much easier to go to if you have a large group, they will split checks, and you already know what is on the menu because they have burgers, sandwiches, salads, pasta dishes, and any other thing you could imagine under the sun to accommodate even the pickiest eater. And you know you are going to have to eat there when you are going out with coworkers or for meetings. (Yes, I know it’s a run on paragraph)

But, why not when you get to make the decision about picking a restaurant to go somewhere local with really good food? Not just a place where the microwave is the main form of cooking.

It can be hard to make that choice sometimes because what if one person doesn’t like the food choice? Or you don’t really know how to order at a tapas restaurant. Give it a try. Because what do you have to lose? You know you are not going to have the best meal of your life at a Buffalo Wild Wings. Although, maybe some people will disagree with me. I’m fine with that.

It’s okay if you like eating at chain restaurants. All I ask is that with all of the wonderful options there are out there, why would you choose to eat there? Why not go out and try something new? Take a chance. Go on an adventure. I am making a bet that if you try somewhere new, you will really like it.

Because it’s fun to eat new things.

@mplsgossipgirl

Do you agree/disagree with me? Are there any good chain restaurants? I can think of a few. Best place for someone to go to try something new?

Things to do on a beautiful day in the Twin Cities


Quote

Today is going to be one of those days. It is a day that most of us have been waiting for, for months. It is supposed to hit 70 degrees today!

Stop what you are doing and take a second to think about how you want to spend today.

“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

My suggestion is do something that you have never done. Explore some place you have never been to before. Try a food that you have never tried before.  Why? Because it might just put a smile on your face.

Here are a few things you could try:

– Pick up a picnic at a co-op, Maybe one that you haven’t been to before. I am a huge fan of Seward Co-op because they have many grab and go items.  Then head to a park that you haven’t been to before.

-Stop at a library and pick up a book that you have been meaning to read. Or ask the librarian for a suggestion. Take that book to a small coffee shop like Rustica.

-Cut out of work at lunch and take a day trip to Red Wing or Stillwater. Buy something for yourself.

-Head to the Walker Sculpture Garden and snap a few pictures. Then go to Gather and try out some of the items from chef Tyler Shipton from Borough.

-Go for a walk around Loring Park and stop by Brits Pub for a hard cider.

-Enjoy a meal outdoors on a patio or rooftop. Spill the Wine and Moto-i will have their outdoor sections open today! When you are there try something that you never have tried before such as a wine flight or a new kind of sake.

-Jump on the light rail and go exploring. Seriously, it can be a ton of fun.

because sometimes you just need to switch things up and disrupt your day to day routine.

@mplsgossipgirl

What adventure are you going to go on today?

Smack Shack- Why I love this place


Smack Shack

Isn’t it great that there is a place out there that doesn’t apologize for what it is? Smack Shack does lobster.

Smack Shack Lobster

They do lobster because it started as a food truck that sold lobster rolls. But, also because they built a custom tank to hold the lobsters. They also have a huge boiling pot where they cook the lobster. Basically, the whole restaurant is built around the lobster. They unapologetically do lobster well.

So, what should you order when you go here. I don’t know… maybe lobster.

Smack Shack Lobster Roll

I tried the lobster roll and loved it. As someone who tends to be not the largest fan of lobster, this sandwich just made me happy. The lobster was cooked perfectly and did not have that weird taste that I sometimes get from lobster that has been waiting around awhile to be cooked. It was just very fresh tasting and tastes great with beer.

It was kind of hard to eat, so maybe not a good first date meal. Honestly, I was just munching down on it without caring what people thought of me. So, there’s that.

Smack Shack Shrimp and Grits

I also tried the shrimp and grits. It was pretty good but I wanted the grits to be a little bit more creamy.  But, the shrimp was cooked well and I don’t have anything bad to say about it. Only that there are a few other things that after watching people order them, I really wanted to try.

Next time I come in I want to try a soup. Someone eating around me was raving about the soup they were eating. I also want to try the fried chicken and waffles. Not something I normally would get from a restaurant but the couple next to me was splitting it and I was extremely jealous.

I should also note that valet parking was only $5 and that made it easy to come and go. Also, make reservations. I was there on a Tuesday which is usually not a busy day at a restaurant. It was completely packed.

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There is just something great about places like the Smack Shack. They do lobster and they do it really well. They created this crave-able item that will be something that when I think about eating it, I will head directly over to the Smack Shack because they do it best.

because do something and do it well.

@mplsgossipgirl

Congratulations to Smack Shack for reaching their 1 year Anniversary! They are having a party tonight 2/10/14 starting at 4PM. 4-6PM they will have complementary hors d’oeuvres and mini daiquiris in the bar plus music all night.

Smack Shack on Urbanspoon

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