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!
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
*disclosure: I was sent samples of Joia to try. All opinions are 100% my own.
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.
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.
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
What other burgers have you tried from Burger Jones? What do I need to try next time?
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
What are your favorite items from the Spill The Wine menu?
The Fringe Fest is going on right now and it would be a disservice to my readers to not mention Fringe for its final weekend. This is your chance to see some performances of some great artists.
Each performance was chosen by random selection, sort of like at a bingo hall, that way everyone gets a chance to participate. The core of the mission is that they believe everyone has the ability to create great art and more importantly they are given the chance to try.
All shows are 45-60 minutes long and every evening they have shows at different venues at 5:50, 7:00, 8:30, and 10:00. On Saturday and Sunday there are some afternoon performances as well.
On Sunday, the Audience Pick Awards preform at 8:30PM at each venue these are the performances that did the best during their run. It is your chance to catch the best of the best.
Otherwise, go online and read the audience reviews. They will give you a look into what the performance is like and if you would be interested in it.
If you want my suggestion: If You Give the Devil a Cookie is playing tonight at 10:00PM at the Cowels Center and involves a large baby suit. Seriously, you cannot go wrong with that.
Tickets are 12 dollars but you also need to buy a fringe button for 4 if this is your first show. So, 16 in total for adults. 5 Dollars for kids 12 and under.
because it’s time to try something new tonight.
As you know, I am a huge fan of French Meadow. Their menu incorporating all types of dietary needs was a lifesaver for me when I was a vegan and in a food rut. French Meadow makes amazing food for those who have dietary restrictions but without sacrificing taste.
I didn’t think French Meadow could get any better but it has.
Expanding their location on Lyndale Avenue, French Meadow opened a wine bar called Bluestem Bar and Table. If you are a fan of French Meadow you will love Bluestem.
They have an excellent menu with items that range from salads to burgers to pasta.
I always suggest eating off of the specials menu. When I went to visit it was a very hot day and the tomato gazpacho that was on the specials menu was perfect. Gazpacho is a cold soup and although it is very different from eating warm soup, if done right it is wonderful on a warm day and still has all the flavor that you need.
Other highlights from the menu are the fish tacos, raw kale salad, harissa chicken, and the beet carpaccio salad. If you are eating with a slightly picky eater they still have your basic hamburger or chicken and waffles as well.
I was very impressed by the wine menu. Absolutely get the first flight of Rose. As someone who is not usually a Rose person, this flight caught my eye. This is not your grandmother’s Rose, it is much more flavorful.
They also have a happy hour from Monday- Friday from 3-5 P.M. Also, a late night happy hour 10- close every night of the week. Although the happy hour menu is fairly small, they have mussels and the turkey burger for only 6 dollars each.
Need somewhere to go for your birthday? They have a few private dining options such as their tasting room which is a beautiful spot to host a party. As of right now, they have no minimums to rent the room, get in while you can.
The other little secret that I will share with you is that you can make reservations at Bluestem for breakfast on the weekends. No more waiting in line or waiting for a table if you prepare ahead of time. They have the same breakfast menu as French Meadow but with service and reservations.
I cannot wait to see what the future has to offer for this group of restaurants. They are living up to their values of offering good food that is local and organic.
Because a good thing, is a good thing
What is your favorite item on the Bluestem menu?
I could not believe it when I read it on the Solera website. All night happy hour on Thursdays and even on their rooftop. What? Is this real?
I had to go investigate. They sort of have a happy hour on the rooftop because it includes only drinks, none of the food was happy hour priced and it should have been clearly stated on the website.
But, it is worth it to see the view from their rooftop and sip 3 dollar sangria.
The sangria comes in both white and red and is refreshing on a hot summer day. It pairs well with most of the food and when it is 3 dollars you don’t have to stop at just one.
Solera is a tapas restaurant which means that they have small plates that are meant to be shared. I have had most of the menu and I would suggest this restaurant for an adventurous diner.
People who are used to the normal burger or steak joint will be thrown off by both the portions and the ingredients. Not that it is bad, it is different. They have rabbit, quail, escargot, and a few other items that you do not see on most menus. While this excites me, it scares some people who are not used to these ingredients.
If I am with a person like this, I order for them and then lie to them saying it is steak or something. Well, once they say they really like it, I tell them it is actually lamb. It is sort of like dining with children. I do not advocate doing this to someone who would actually be upset or someone who could inflict pain upon you. But, it is a fun way to surprise and delight a picky diner.
This night I had the cheese plate which had an Iberico cheese on it. It is sort of like a Manchego and made with sheep, cow, and goat’s milk and pairs well with a tempranillo. I had forgotten how much I like Iberico.
I was very impressed by my server who knew the menu very well. She explained dishes and offered suggestions. This is very helpful when the menu has some items that people don’t make in their home kitchens often. What is a croquette again?
If it is the perfect summer night the rooftop at Solera is a great pick.
because enjoying sangria with friends in the summer is on the top of my list
This Sunday, July 14 is Sister Cities Day in Minneapolis. It is a day to celebrate the connections Minneapolis has with cities all around the world. This Aquatennial event at Nicollet Island Pavilion goes from 1-5PM and there will be music and make your own ice cream sundaes while they last.
- Santiago, Chile
- Kuopio, Finland
- Ibaraki City, Japan
- Novosibirsk, Russia
- Tours, France
- Harbin, China
- Uppsala, Sweden
- Eldoret, Kenya
- Cuernavaca, Mexico
- Najaf, Iraq
There will be entertainment and activities for the entire family including performances by Ballet Folkorico Mexico Azteca, Finn Hall, a Traditional Japanese dance group from Ibaraki City, and many others.
Sister Cities International was started by President Dwight Eisenhower to foster mutual respect, understanding, and cooperation between one individual, one community at a time. It focuses on creating and strengthening partnerships between communities.
because learning about other cultures can happen here at home