Tag Archive | Minneapolis

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?

So, you waited until the last minute to plan Valentine’s Day in the Twin Cities?


Valentine's Day, Twin Cities, Last Minute

Hey, it happens. I’ve been there.

Don’t fret because I have some ideas of how to wow your Valentine on Valentine’s Day. Which you must have just found out it was today.

My best suggestion is to quickly at least handwrite a card and go to the grocery and pick up dinner to make.

But, here are some other ideas too.

If you like to do things in epic proportions: 

Tell your partner to wear comfy clothes. Then head out to the Mall of America! Spend the night riding the rides and eating food at one of the local establishments. You could even go shopping for a gift while you are there. You will get 10 bonus points for creativity. Just remember to keep up the enthusiasm and pretend that you’ve had this plan for months.

If you will be watching House of Cards tonight on Netflix but you still want to impress your Valentine:

Go to a place that can help you with the meal like Surdyks. They will be able to point you in the correct direction.  You can make a cheese plate and a meal that is fancy with some help from your friends. Then, stop by Patina and pick up a gift.

If your Valentine thinks you are going out to dinner and that you already made reservations but, you didn’t:

Tell them that you heard of this really cool restaurant. But, they don’t take reservations. There are several places that don’t take reservations like The Sample Room, Brasa, or World Street Kitchen.

Play it cool like you had this plan all along. And buy a gift that can be used while you are waiting for a table or food.

If you want to have fun on Valentine’s Day and your Valentine is cool with having a relaxed night:

Go to a dive bar. Or a bar. They tend to not be very busy on Valentine’s Day because people go out to fancy restaurants.

You better have an awesome gift. Just sayin’….

If your single:

Order Toppers taco pizza and watch House of Cards. (Hey, it sounds like a great night to me.)

OR

Go to this event and support Secondhand Hounds with other singles. More information HERE.

Tonight, I will be eating a homemade dinner and binge watching House of Cards because nothing says love like that does.

Because it doesn’t matter what you do, it just matters that you make the person feel special.

@mplsgossipgirl

Add in your ideas. What are you doing for Valentine’s Day?

Isles Bun and Coffee


Isle Bun 1

Tucked into a small spot in Uptown, Isles Bun is one of my favorite places to grab a bite for breakfast.

They have the most delicious buns! You cannot go wrong with any of their variations. And don’t forget the cream cheese frosting that they keep on the counter.

Isle Bun 2

For what they lack in space, they make up for with how wonderful everything is. Even the coffee is excellent. If you are coming there on a weekend in the winter be prepared to take your bun to-go since space is so limited. During the summer they have outdoor seating.

If you want to be a hit at your next company breakfast, order buns from Isles. They have an order form on their website and you will be everyones favorite co-worker.

Because on a weekend, a sweet bun and a coffee can relax even the most stressed out person.

@mplsgossipgirl

Isles Bun & Coffee on Urbanspoon

It’s a Pre Fixe NYE


Happy New Year, Pre Fixe, Menu

Okay, don’t take this the wrong way. But, I am having a very hard time finding a place to eat dinner with a few friends on New Years Eve without a pre fixe menu. It is making me a little annoyed.

A pre fixe menu is a set meal with a set price. They usually are many courses and sometimes come with wine pairings. You normally see pre fixe menus at restaurants like La Belle Vie and restaurants that do farm to table.

I love a good pre fixe menu when it makes sense. Although, I don’t have a ton of cash this year to spend on a luxury dinner out for NYE. So, doing a pre fixe menu would be a stretch.

These are my ‘must haves’ for NYE:

  • A place where I can have a tasty meal.
  • A cocktail.
  • It doesn’t need to be fancy.
  • Quiet enough that I can have a conversation with my friends.
  • It fits in my budget.

Since I am on a budget, I cannot afford a $40 per person meal plus the cost drinks and a tip.  That turns very quickly into a $200 dinner with two people.

I am not a hater of pre fixe menus. When pre fixe menus work, they work. It works at restaurants that are used to pre fixe menus or are farm-to-table when they don’t know what ingredients they will have for the day until the farmer shows up. For example: I went to Saffron and had a pre fixe there and it was excellent. All the components fit perfectly together, it was just enough food, and I didn’t feel like I was being ripped off.

Saffron is doing a pre fixe menu for NYE at the restaurant and they are also hosting a last dinner meal with 6 courses and a location that you will find out 3 hours before the event. If that is not exciting I don’t know what is. Although, a bit unaffordable on my budget at $180 per person with wine parings, tax, and tip included.

My twitter follower @mspclothing suggested Piccolo  for a place with a good pre fixe menu.  I haven’t been to Piccolo yet, but it would make sense that would be great. Also, Veronica (@Andrjensn) suggested Restaurant Alma. Another good pick for pre fixe menus.

Now, my only annoyance with the pre fixe menu is when it doesn’t make sense. I can spot a restaurant trying to either save cash or turn over diners quickly from a mile away.

Is this what dining out on NYE has come to in Minneapolis? I hope not.

When I see restaurants with pre fixe menus that are priced way above what their normal priced menu item is–it does not make sense to me. You are loved for what you do day to day. Why not keep a good thing going? Maybe, add a special to your normal menu.

I completely understand that NYE is a big day in the restaurant business. But,  I don’t think the solution is an overpriced, not well thought out, and a quickly served pre fixe menu. If I am looking to eat at a place that fits my ‘must haves’ someone else must feel this way too.

Once place that reached out to me was The Butcher and The Boar. They will have their regular menu available for NYE. This would be a wonderful atmosphere to spend NYE with  friends.

Because it’s a New Year!

@mplsgossipgirl

Where do you think I should go on NYE? Do you know of a restaurant that has a great pre fixe menu? Or one that is affordable? Also, what places are your favorite for NYE?

UPDATE: Blackbird has a few specials but also will be serving their normal menu. Thanks @Andrjensn!

Umami Takeout


Umami

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.

Umami by Travail

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.

Umami Takeout

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!

@mplsgossipgirl

Umami by Travail on Urbanspoon

Zombie Pub Crawl: Be Prepared


Zombie Graphic

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.

@mplsgossipgirl

World Street Kitchen: Uptown


World Street Kitchen, Minneapolis Dining, Top 50 new restaurants

Recently named one of the Top 50 New Restaurants by Bon Appetit, World Street Kitchen is truly worthy of this title. Minnesota has not seen a restaurant like this before. Yes, they do sell 40 ounce bottles of Miller High Life.

There are many things that I appreciate about this restaurant such as ample parking on the side of the building, vegetarian options, and spice. It is really nice to have a place that doesn’t serve the same stuff as everyone else.

That being said, most everything on the menu is pretty spicy for those of us with Mid-Western taste buds. This is not a bad thing, I really like it. But, I feel as though people should be warned that most of the food is more spicy than what you can find at other restaurants.

Here are some of the highlights:

The Bangkok Burrito: I have tried the Red Curry Burrito. It is spicy, creamy, and flavorful. If you ever need to get your sinuses cleared out this will do it. Watch out Chipotle, this is going to be the new burrito roaming the streets.

Dips, Hummus, World Street Kitchen

Plate O’ Dips: As a fan of Saffron, I knew that the dips were going to live up to my expectations and they did. I would come here just to get this dish with pita. The hummus is so creamy.

YumYum Bowl, World Street Kitchen, Spicy

YumYum Rice Bowl: The short rib beef bowl was exactly why you come back to this restaurant over and over. That secret sauce and soft cooked egg make this dish one of the highlights of the menu. Just look at it.

Tacos, World Street Kichen,

Jerk Beef Tacos: Meh, these were just okay compared to everything else that I tried. One of my tacos had a huge chunk of fat in it that was cubed. After having that surprise when I chomped down on it I didn’t care to eat anymore.

Next time I want to try the MFC Biscuit Sandwich and a dessert. I have heard from multiple people that both are amazing.

I should also note that this is a get up and order yourself place. There are no servers and it has more of a laid back vibe. I was a bit disappointed in the service that I got from the person I ordered from. I said specifically that it was my first time here and that I was not sure what was good. She looked at me annoyed that I was taking too much time to order.  Remember you are a new restaurant which means that you might need to explain some of the menu to your new guests.

Because any place that serves forties is cool in my book.

@mplsgossipgirl
World Street Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Local Minneapolis Business: Joia Soda


Joia Soda

In the summer there is nothing like a refreshing soda on a warm day.  A local company, Boundary Waters Brands, started a line of all natural sodas called Joia. They have fresh flavors and add a bit of fun to a dinner party.

Joia Dinner

I decided to have a BBQ with my family and ‘share the Joia’ with them. I cooked chicken, corn, asparagus, and potatoes from the farmers market.

Joia Food

Before dinner I served a caprese type of appetizer. It is very easy to prepare by combining fresh cherry tomatoes, mozzarella pearls, and basil on top of a slice of a baguette then sprinkled with olive oil and balsamic.

Joia Corn

These sodas are much different than what was in the market before. With combinations like pineapple-coconut-nutmeg and ginger-apricot-all spice these drinks are a treat for your mouth.

Joia Grapefruit

My personal favorite is grapefruit-chamomile-cardamom because of the hint of cardamom that comes out. It is one of the best and most forgotten spices.

Boundary Waters Brands is based out of Uptown in Minneapolis and we are lucky to have a company here who is being innovative and producing a quality product.

Joia Soda Header

You can find Joia in local specialty grocery stores. Also, you can visit their website to ‘share the joia’ and host a tasting for your friends, family, or co-workers.

because fresh is in

@mplsgossipgirl

*disclosure: I was sent samples of Joia to try. All opinions are 100% my own.

Burger Jones Uptown


Beer Burger Jones

Sometimes, I feel like all I need is a burger. Burger Jones in Uptown is a great way to fill that need.

This place is very family friendly and has a nice outdoor patio that looks out on lake Calhoun. It also has an extensive menu with all different kinds of burgers, starters, salads, and shakes.

I would definitely come here again with a burger loving group. This place can cater to a larger group which makes it a good choice for group gatherings.

Gyro Burger, Burger Jones

I was a bit disappointed with my burger choice. Only because it was clearly on a sandwich thin and it was horrible. It tasted exactly like a sandwich thin that you can get out of a package at Target.  I think a better choice of bread for the gyro burger would be advisable.

Otherwise, the burger was good. I liked the lamb burger and the sauce. But, I would never order it again because of the bread.

Bison Burger, Burger Jones

I also tried the bison burger which I liked much more than the gyro burger. The bison burger is topped with gruyere cheese and red onion marmalade.

It was flavorful and the red onion really made the burger pop.

Order a side of the sweet potato fries and chipotle aioli because they are fantastic. I think I would go back just to eat the fries again with a shake.

because sometimes you just need a burger

@mplsgossipgirl
Burger Jones on Urbanspoon

What other burgers have you tried from Burger Jones? What do I need to try next time?

New Location: Spill The Wine Uptown


Spill The Wine

Spill The Wine Bar and Table may have changed locations but it is still just as great as before. Now located on Lake and Bryant in a new bigger location with lots of light, Spill The Wine is still one of those places that I love to go.

Okay, they could do without the hokey mason jar glasses but beyond that I recently had a great experience there.

One huge positive is the wonderful service. It isn’t uppity or pompous even though the food is upscale. They treat you with respect and are attentive.

Spill The Wine Kitchen

The servers know their stuff and can speak to every item on both the food menu and the drink menu. They can suggest and I would highly recommend going with one of their suggestions. Our server, Carli, recommended a wine flight and a certain dish that was a huge hit. The people dining with me that night will definitely be back because of the suggestions.

They also help you order the correct amount of food. They have a mostly small plates menu which is meant to be shared, Minnesotans don’t really like to share. However, they do a good enough job of explaining how to eat this way that even the most unlikely people buy into the sharing.

These dishes were some of the highlights from my meal:

Spill The Wine Lamb and Polenta

The lamb sausage and polenta. Holy moly, this is a must order. The sausage is made in-house and the polenta is nice and creamy. I could eat this every day and will be coming back to have this again. They should start selling the lamb sausage in local food markets.

Spill The Wine Rice Bowl

I enjoyed the Lap Cheong Fried Rice, it was a larger dish that everyone at the table got enough of to eat. My only wish was that the egg was a tiny bit more runny.

Spill the Wine Dish

A simple thing like bruschetta can taste very good. I really liked the two varieties served especially the olive tapenade. It was a great dish to break up some of the other ones.

Spill the Wine Beet Salad

The beet and goat cheese salad. This is fairly good but was very small. I am not sure if I would order it again since it was not enough to share with four people. I want more!

The fried blue cheese stuffed olives. A must order. These are fairly unique and I haven’t had anything quite like this before. They come out quickly and are a great little bite before the meal.

The Simi Estate wine flight. I highly suggest that when you go here,  get a wine flight. They are a great way to try new wines and get a fairly good deal. They say you only get about 1.5 glasses but I would say it is more around 2. Great wines at a great value.

Spill the Wine Dessert

Finish the night with dessert, the tres leches cake is delightful. The  fresh lime zest really added a nice touch and it was the perfect amount to share with four people.

I had no idea they did brunch until I was perusing their website. Huckleberry mason jar mimosas and some patatas sounds amazing. I would, however, suggest to Spill The Wine that they have so many of these items on their regular dinner menu that they need to expand the brunch menu. I want to see some new and fun stuff that is a bit different from your regular dinner menu items that you are experimenting with, please.

because sharing is caring

@mplsgossipgirl

Spill the Wine on Urbanspoon

What are your favorite items from the Spill The Wine menu?

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