As a supporter of local business, I had to tell you what is going on in Wrenshall, MN. A business called the Locally Laid Egg Company is one of four small businesses in a contest with intuit to win an ad during the big game.
The only thing you need to do to support them is visit VoteLoLa.com and click the vote button everyday until December 1st. Thank goodness, finally a contest where you don’t have to like anything, give any information, or sell your soul to help someone out.
I think you should support LoLa because they are local, sustainable, and they have a really awesome product. You may have had LoLa eggs if you have eaten at Duluth Grill, GastroTruck, or Surdyk’s Flights. You can find a full list HERE. Many of the local Coops sell the eggs too. If you have eaten the eggs at any of these places or in your own home you know how delicious they are. There is a different taste to eggs that are local and come from happy birds.
The Amundsen family wants to win to get people talking about different kinds of agriculture and encourage others to get into farming. Jason Admundsen started Locally Laid after his second layoff from a non-profit grant writing job and has invested everything into this business. You can tell just by looking at the Locally Laid website and blog that they truly care about what they are doing and want to do as much as they can to give back, including planting a tree for every delivery.
So, tell your friends, tell your family, tell your co-workers, and tell the person sitting next to you on the bus to VoteLoLa. It is even mobile optimized.
because happy chickens make yummy eggs
I love to learn and take classes. If I was a billionaire I most likely would have been in college forever. Taking edX online classes helps fill that need for lifelong learning and they are free. That is the best part.
Edx is a non-profit started by Harvard and MIT and the goal is to bring the best of higher education all around the world. I think it is accomplishing its goal.
The class that I am currently taking is on Science and Cooking and to me it is unreal that this is offered on the internet for free. The first part that I am working on is heavily chemistry focused which is something that I hated in high school. I had a good teacher in college that did what this class does well, it uses real examples to demonstrate chemistry.
This class will add to my knowledge of food and cooking and make me a more inventive cook by having a better understanding of the science of cooking.
If Science and Cooking isn’t your thing, there are many other classes listed out there for you to try. There are several classes on poetry coming up soon. You could take a class on computer science or linear algebra. There is even a class about China.
Another thing that I like about edX is that it is completely on your schedule. Yes, when the classes offer certificates you have due dates but, this course seems to have a really great timeline to get it done.
If you are not working towards the certificate you can just have fun learning on the site.
You can find the website for edX here: https://www.edx.org/
because learning something new is always fun.
Have you taken any classes from edX? What did you think? Are you going to try it out?
This was quite possibly the worst happy hour food I have had in awhile. I was wondering why Rojo in the West End was packed while Figlio was mostly empty.
Now, I understand.
This place will not be open for much longer unless the food standards change dramatically.
Firstly, let me start out by saying that the space is beautiful. There is a large dining room and a nice bar area. Secondly, the service was great. They went out of their way to make sure that the guests were happy.
The only thing missing is good food.
The biggest disappointment of the night was the flatbread. I remember back when Figlio was in Uptown the flat bread and pizzas were all handmade with real dough and then cooked in a brick oven. You know having an open kitchen where you make the flat breads only goes well for you when you actually make the flat bread. Watching the ‘chef’ take out a pre-made hard flatbread out of a plastic package sealed it for me. Not to mention how the toppings were handled. Yuck.
Big mistake ordering the porchetta bruschetta and sliders. Same thing different bread. Both not great flavor wise.
The only two things that I liked were the fries and wings. Holy moly, the fries are great. Perfectly cooked and great with the béarnaise sauce. The wings were seasoned very well but I would have liked to have different sauce with it. The mustard and BBQ sauce did not do it for me. It was weird that I liked those things the best and neither of them were Italian which is most of the menu at Figlio.
My suggestions are to make your own dough and make quality flat bread and to take one or both of the Porchetta items off your happy hour menu. Make a new dish. Go back to basics and serve high quality real food even for happy hour. There are so many people like me rooting for Figilo from Uptown to be reborn. This is not quite it.
because pre-made is unacceptable
What was your experience here? Should I give it another try?
This is not your normal takeout. This this some seriously good food.
I was excited to hear that the pop up restaurant Umami would be doing takeout since I was unable to get a reservation these first few weeks. I do like this process of making a reservation online beforehand and just showing up for your dinner already pre-paid. This makes it easy and plans a date/get-together ahead of time.
The chefs from Travail clearly are loved because getting a seat was extremely hard these first couple of weeks. But, good news! They just signed a year long lease thanks to their large Kick Starter fund. I am hoping to get to eat in the restaurant soon, but loved that I was still able to try some of the food via takeout.
I ordered everything on the takeout menu and it was only $25. It was definitely enough for 2 people.
My favorite item was the Bun. I could eat them everyday for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It is that light fluffy pillow looking like thing on the left bottom of the picture above. Another favorite was the ramen. They will have this takeout menu until October 19th, then will move to their Dim Sum concept after that.
I can’t wait to see what the chefs will come up with next. I love that they are bringing some love and energy to North Minneapolis with their unique approach to food.
because you really need to give it a try!
I have been to the Cheeky Monkey twice in the last two weeks. I cannot stop myself.
There are two reason why I keep coming back:
1. fresh food
2. relaxed atmosphere
The Cheeky Monkey has a daily dinner special and two daily soups. These Fall soups are exactly what I was looking for on a chilly day. On my first visit I had a potato and leek soup that was creamy and earthy enough.
I paired the soup with a fresh perfectly dressed salad. One of my normal complaints is that restaurants over dress their salads. This one was flavorful but not dripping in the dressing which made the nuts and cheese hold up.
On my next visit I ordered a chorizo and white bean soup which was equally as good. They know how to build the flavors with these soups by adding in ingredients like kale and green onions.
With this soup I had a watermelon salad which was a summer dish and did not really go with the soup but still very good and exactly what I felt like eating. They also had the Surly Fest on tap which is the Octoberfest style of beer from surly.
because it is time to fall in love with Fall.
Today is dreary, yesterday I noticed all of the restaurant patios have been taken down, and we are now back to the time of leaving for work when it is dark and coming home when it is dark.
When this transition happens each year I feel my body want to go into hibernation. I force myself to make plans to accomplish something when I get off of work and ultimately they never happen. Currently, I have been organizing my recipes for three weeks.
I know I am not the only one who feels this way.
One thing I actually accomplish when I feel this way is making really good comfort foods. This includes thick soups, chili, and any type of squash I can get my hands on. Slow cooking foods and the smell that comes from them is rewarding. During the fall this is the type of food that inspires me.
I have been to the Cheeky Monkey in Saint Paul twice recently because their soup is exactly what fall tastes like. Don’t worry I will include them in a future post. Those soups have exactly what I need to warm my bones.
What other restaurants around the Twin Cities are making really good comfort foods? What foods inspire you when we lose our daylight time?
because sometimes I need to try something new.
Zombie Pub Crawl is tonight!
Are you ready? I love all of the pictures on Facebook and Twitter of the creative costumes that people come up with. Tweet me your pictures @mplsgossipgirl. Seriously, show me your creativity!
Don’t have a costume yet? Head over to GoodWill, Arcs Value Village, or your local thrift store. They have people there that would love to help you come up with a great costume for tonight.
If you have a big group of people Uber is doing a Zombie Bus that you can order on their application. Check it out.
If you need a ride home tonight Captain Morgan will be offering free rides home with Uber from 7PM-12PM at the Captain Morgan Tent on Portland and 5th.
Because be safe.
As you all know, I love the Minnesota State Fair. I wanted to share some pictures I took this year at the fair with all of you.
In other good news, I didn’t win a ribbon but I know my scones made it in the top 25 which makes me proud. Next year I might need to get some advice from a winning State Fair baker. I want to be in it to win it.
Check one item off the LIST.
I am going to go with the Heavy Table on this one. The gyro was my favorite food that I had at the fair this year. I did not get to eat all of the new fair foods and missed out on the fried olives but, I enjoyed the freshness of this gyro.
because summer is almost over
Get your tickets for the Minnesota Cheese Festival that is going on this weekend at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds.
On both Saturday and Sunday there will be two sessions, one from 10-1 and another from 2-5 in order to keep crowds small and give you an opportunity to interact directly with the Cheesemakers.
During the event you will be able to sample the best cheeses from Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Iowa. You can also attend demonstrations, seminars, and buy cheese from local Cheesemakers directly.
Redhead Creamery that I mentioned in my post yesterday about neat Minnesota Kickstarter Projects will be there. A few of my other favorite Cheesemakers such as the Caves of Faribault, Ellsworth Creamery, Shepard’s Way Farm, and Singing Hills Goat Dairy will also be there.
Support the Redhead Creamery project : http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/redhead/redhead-creamerys-cheese-needs-to-come-home?ref=home_location
You can get tickets: HERE
because I am not vegan anymore.
The fair can be expensive but you can still do and see some really wonderful things for free or cheap.
Here are a few of my FREE picks:
I love the DNR building. I can spend a good bit of time watching all the fish in the pond and in the new indoor fish exhibit. I hear there is a huge sturgeon in there this year.
You can also get a free lake map from the DNR. In the past, they have had someone outside at a little store selling fishing licenses but they will also give you a copy of a lake map if you know the name of the lake and the county it is in. Yes, there are 30 Long Lakes in Minnesota.
Head over to the Eco Experience building, they have many free demonstrations each day. I am interested in many of the topics such as vertical gardening, rain barrels, eco fashion, straw bale gardening, healthy local foods cooking demonstrations, and chickens in the city. I mean where else can you learn how to become an urban chicken farmer?
You can look at the full schedule at the Eco Experience HERE.
Minnesota Public Radio broadcasts from the fair and many times they have performances from musical artists that are performing later that night. P.O.S. will be at the MPR booth on August 29th at 4PM and the pre-show music-on-a-stick is from 3-5PM on August 30th.
See the full schedule at the MPR booth HERE.
There is free entertainment on many different stages at all times of the day. I think this is one of the best benefits of coming to the Fair.
Here are my picks:
Hanson- Known for their hit from the 90′s MMMBop, they are making a come back. August 26-27 at 8:30PM.
Jared Sherlock- Great for families, Jared is a magician who will surprise and amaze you. September 1-2 at 10:30AM , 11:30AM , and 3:00PM.
The Okee Dokee Brothers- Great for families, these Grammy award winners are fun and know how to get your children dancing. August 24-25 at 10:30AM , 11:30AM , and 3:00PM.
The full schedule is available HERE.
Always do the free park and ride or bike to the fair. It is way less hassle then trying to park at the fair.
If you volunteer at the fair usually you get in for free. If you have some extra time and know of a place where you want to volunteer, it is a great way to do something good and get in free.
You can listen to people sing “Call Me Maybe” at The Giant Sing Along for free or even sing along yourself. If you are into that kind of thing.
Not sure where this is at the fair, but the Boy Scouts have a climbing area for kids and it is free.
It is free to walk through the Fine Arts building. You will get to see art from local artists and the building is air conditioned.
If you are looking for free swag, don’t miss the Education Building where most of the colleges give away something such as the purple St. Thomas bag. All of the news stations and construction type companies give away stuff at certain times during the day. Stop by early on to see when you get in line for free stuff. KARE 11 is giving away blue sun glasses, Home Depot usually does make it and take it crafts, and Menards has nail aprons.
I also suspect the health fair will be giving away pretty neat stuff this year since MNSure is launching and Healthcare Reform is underway.
Gopher State One Call is giving away free bright colored yardsticks if you promise that you will call before you dig. They are located across from the Giant Slide. Give it to your favorite teacher as a beginning of the school year gift.
You can see a list of all the free items on this deal list HERE.
Here is a list of cheap items at the Fair:
Get an Apple Cider Freeze in the Ag/Hort building, they are only $1 and made from cider from the Pine Tree Apple Orchard in White Bear Lake.
Also in the Ag/Hort building you can get a Honey Stick from Mademoiselle Miel for only 50 cents. They have a smoked scotch version that I have to try. Plus, the money goes to benefit the University of Minnesota Bee Lab.
All you can drink milk for $1 is always a favorite of mine. I can taste the freshness of the milk and it actually is quite refreshing.
Because many of the best things in life are free
What is your favorite free thing to do at the fair?