Last week I Dined Out For Life to support the Aliveness Project that is doing amazing work with the HIV/AIDS community locally.
I am proud to say that I was part of the $15,687 that Pizza Luce donated that night.
Pizza Luce is a favorite staple for me in Minneapolis. It is a great place to go if you are eating with someone who has dietary restrictions like gluten-free or vegan. They are also a great place to order out from; you can do pizzas, sandwiches, or salads. Many of these items can be ordered with specific instructions for those with diet restrictions. It is all listed on the menu.
This particular night I headed out to the Hopkins location. It was my first time at this location and I know I will be back there again. I loved the size of the parking lot and the feel of the bar. They have a great tap beer selection as well.
I really need to try more appetizers on their menu because I havent yet. I always get a side salad. I mean look at it. This is the caesar salad and is exactly what a caesar salad should be. It has crispy lettuce, creamy dressing, real shaved parmesan, and delicious croutons.
I have tried many of the pizzas on the menu and this night I decided to try a sandwich from their new spring menu the “From Italy with Love.” I highly recommend it because is unlike any sandwich I have had before. There are layers and layers of flavorful ingredients.
I went home with The Classic pizza to eat as leftovers. My other favorite pizzas are the Pizza Athena and anything with mock duck.
Pizza Luce is one of those places that I appreciate having as a local brand. They use fresh, natural ingredients, they have options for those who are vegan and gluten-free and they have a great variety of healthy and flavorful items on their menu.
because real food is good food.
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.
Feeling down and out lately? Isn’t everyone. Mother nature has been playing tricks with all of our minds. It is supposed to be spring, right?
One of this ways to solve this mood issue is by snuggling up on the couch and watching movie. Since that is all that I have been doing lately, I needed a change. What else makes people intensely happy?
One of my favorite places to go grab a delicious sweet is Rustica Bakery. It is fairly easy to get to for Uptown standards and there is parking available. ahhh… it makes things so much easier.
I pointed to a chocolate brownie from the case and saw something else on the menu that perked my interest. As a frequest customer of the Tea Garden I consider myself to be somewhat of a tea connoisseur but I have never tried chestnut tea before. What is this mystical chestnut tea that you have?
The staff at Rustica know their products and were able to explain many of the different teas they currently have on their menu as well as how long the tea I selected needed to steep.
The chestnut tea was nutty and bit spicy and the brownie was rich. Both highly recommended for a winter that will never end. So, since you need to take a mental health break anyway, head over to Rustica to warm your soul.
because the ground-hog lied
These last few weeks have been brutal for Twins fans. It is not easy to sit in your seat and watch a game in your Sorel boots and parka when it is 30 degrees or colder. Along with many other fans, I opted to watch from under the heat lamps. The bonus of making this move was that I was closer to all the food and beer stands.
What I love about the new Twins Stadium is that they keep adding more and more local foods and beer. If I am coming to a game I want to be able to eat some really wonderful food. I did just that last night.
Although, I was not able to try every new food at the stadium, I did get to try the new burger from AZ Canteen. A company started by local foodie/chef/TV star Andrew Zimmern, this stand serves a lamb and goat burger that has been deemed by many to be the best new food in the ballpark. I cannot agree more.
AZ Canteen in Section 130 serves a food item with flavor. This burger was made right in front of me and topped with roasted tomatoes and onions. At $13.00 this burger is expensive and in my view is worth it. It comes with seasoned chips, is big enough for a meal and best when paired with an IPA.
Another favorite of mine is Turkey to Go found in multiple sections. At only $7.50 for a sandwich it is a steal. The turkey is always moist (I hate that word, but it is true) and you can top the sandwich with sweet and sassy BBQ sauce.
I had to get a huge hat full of nachos after watching people walking around with one. The hat is filled with taco chips, nacho cheese, beef, tomatoes, onions, jalapenos, and sour cream.They equip you with forks to get the job done. Not in the least bit healthy but tons of fun.
I hope that the Twins keep adding more local food and beer each year because it makes coming to a game also a great place to have a meal.
Because GO TWINS!
* you can also follow AZ Canteen and Turkey to Go on Twitter to see where their food trucks and restaurants are in the Twin Cities. @AZCanteen and @TurkeyToGo
I am not usually a fan of the All-You-Can-Eat type of places but I was pleasantly surprised by Aji Contemporary Japanese in Hopkins. They have a sushi bar that gives you a chance to try many different rolls at what I think is a reasonable price.
This isn’t a place that I would frequent all of the time. But, when I am in a sushi rut it is a good way to try something new. The chefs who work the sushi bar are friendly and will take requests, if you ask nicely. They can also explain the rolls that have already been made. If you really like a certain roll, you will know what to order next time. If you do not like a specific roll or ingredient you know to avoid it in the future.
I would suggest Aji for the more adventurous sushi eater. Someone who is willing to go past the California and the Philly roll and go for something with crispy skin or eel.
Eating sushi off a bar freaks me out a little bit. But, the ingredients they were using were fresh. I saw them cutting a fresh fish while I was there. The rolls go quickly as well, I was not worried about them sitting out for too long.
The Aji website is not clear as to how much the sushi bar is and when they have it open. It is not open all of the time. I know that the lunch is a bit cheaper than dinner and that Sunday is special. I would call ahead of time and ask some questions to make sure you are not disappointed.
because try something new!
Right off the freeway, India Palace may not exactly look like a palace. But, don’t judge this palace by its cover. The food is very good.
I am not an expert by any means in Indian food. But, I do know when something is cooked correctly. I had the Rogan Josh which is lamb cooked in a yogurt sauce and special spices. I thought the lamb was cooked correctly and fell apart when cut with a fork and I liked the spice blend that they used. It helped the cold that I had.
I also ordered Roti and garlic Naan. I liked the Nann better, it was a little lighter. Don’t forget the beer. I had the Taj Mahal which went nicely with the food. Not the best beer that I have ever had because it is lighter in nature but, paired well with the lamb.
Overall, this restaurant gave me the home cooked meal feel. It was warm and inviting. Be prepared to wait awhile for your food since the service is a little slow. It didn’t really bother me at all. They have several other locations in Minnesota as well.
In the future, I want to travel to India. Until then, I will have to do with eating at India Palace.
What is your favorite Indian restaurant?
because I like it spicy!
Crave is a great place to bring a group of people who may have many different requirements when having a meal. They have a very large menu with both sushi and american food. So if you have picky eaters in the group they are bound to find something that they like on the menu.
This is also the case with the Happy Hour menu. Crave is a great place for a large group during happy hour. The booths are big and it is not limited to just sitting at the bar. We ordered 8 items for four people and it was a little too much we were not able to finish it all. They also have many items on their happy hour menu, that way you can order a variety of different types of food.
I liked the mini burgers the best since I was only looking for a little bit of food and then was able to share the other burger with others. They were cooked well and I liked the small shoe string fries that were served with it.
Chicken sliders were good but a little bit dry I could have used a sauce to go with them just to add a little bit of moisture. A bit of something on the side would have been great. I needed something a little bit spicy and creamy. I would have done some sort of aioli.
I did not like any of the sushi we got off the happy hour menu. I am not a fan of a salad with my sushi mostly because it makes it very hard to eat. When you are eating and socializing it is nice to be able to pop in a piece of sushi. The rolls that we ordered had half of the roll with vegetables sticking out of them. After trying to eat some of them we gave up and left the rest on the plate.
I also had a roll that the seaweed wrapping was super dry and broke apart before even eating it. I think that with small improvements I would love to come here for happy hour sushi.
Overall, the service was great and the ambiance was nice. I really appreciated that the server came by right before happy hour ended and asked if there was anything else that we wanted before happy hour ended.
I will be back simply because this place has a menu that accommodates many different tastes. It a great choice if you may not know what your client normally likes to eat because they have almost everything on the menu here. Their happy hour also allows room for large groups.
because sometimes you just have to have a burger and some sushi.
French Meadow is seriously undervalued. This is on the top of my best of Minneapolis list for 2013. I have been here many times for brunch on weekends but it was only recently that I have visited for dinner. Wow!
I had no idea how wonderful dinner was here. Better than brunch. I am a huge fan of breakfast here but dinner is not as hectic as brunch can be.
The ambiance is completely different when you come at night. The lights are dimmed low and candles light each table. It is very romantic but still relaxed.
I started my meal with soup because they had excellent options. I had the tomato soup and enjoyed it because of the real tomato taste. The clam chowder was also very good and it was spicy. Both were perfect on a cold winter night.
For my entrée I had the walleye sandwich. It was crispy and served on a freshly baked bun. I forget how much of a difference that makes. The potatoes that come with it are seasoned well and the sauce that comes with it is light.
My favorite part of the meal was dessert. I wanted to try the bread pudding but they were out. Kudos to the server who warned me about this when I ordered it and explained that they make everything daily. That made me not upset when I had to order something else. I had the tres leches cake that was very good. All desserts are priced from only $4.00-6.50 and are not an after thought. They could stand alone. I am thinking of maybe doing a dessert party there sometime. Each person orders a dessert and then you share. That sounds like a happy hour I would want to go to. I would also love to see a sampler platter for around $10.00 because there were many items I wanted to try. It would be fun if it changed daily.
I like that they have many gluten-free and vegan options because I like to eat vegan sometimes. Plus, if you have someone in your party with dietary needs this place is very accommodating. Hats off to the chefs for creating a menu that has many options, is not too large, and has items with several price points.
When you go here be prepared to order an appetizer, drink, entrée, and dessert. Never skip dessert.
My only criticism is that I wish their happy hour went later. I will never be able to go to the happy hour because it is only Monday-Friday 3-5 PM. Most people are not done with work until 5 including this girl. It would be nice if one or two days a week you extended the happy hour.
because never-ever-ever skip dessert.