The Copper Hen Minneapolis


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I’ve eaten at the Copper Hen several times over the couple of years that they’ve been open. The space is beyond beautiful and it is worth it for dinner just to enjoy the unique ambiance in the city.  It makes me feel relaxed.

Firstly, the cocktail menu is fun and so Minnesota which I happen to love. They have many classics with fun twists and many of them have local booze. Their beer menu is local and you’ll be able to find something that is what you are looking for and the wine menu is tastefully prepared. They have options for any price range from a glass of $7 Cava to a $10 glass of red both won’t disappoint.

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When you come, don’t miss out on the shareables side of the menu. They have so many great options and they are truly easy to share. I know that we don’t tend to like the tapas idea here but,  you can go with a date and pick out three of them or two of them and a pizza. I tried the pretzels and the crabby toast. Both were excellent. The pretzels and cheese were just what I felt like eating, perfectly warm and salty. The toast had all the elements I like: good bread, avocado, tomato, bacon, and a soft egg. Honestly, the tomato was the star because it was red, ripe, and tasted like a tomato should taste. Not that common right now especially in supermarket tomatoes.

Their entrees are great too, on several separate occasions I’ve tried the mac n’ cheese, chicken pot pie, and a few other items. All were good, come hungry. This time I tried a pizza and I enjoyed it because I always like lamb. It was a lot of salt flavor so make sure you are in the mood for that. Sometimes I am, sometimes I am looking for a light pizza. This one isn’t it. But, it’s good!

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Copper Hen is one of those places that you feel comfortable bringing family and friends to and even out of town guests because you know that they will find something on the menu that they like and you still get to eat really good food. Crave has an expansive menu that accommodates literally everyone but the food is not good. This is WAY better.

I haven’t been to the brunch before but, it sounds amazing and I cannot even imagine how pretty the summer morning light is as it comes through the big windows in the front. Plus, take a look at the description for their bloody mary. Yum!  The egg that was on my toast was cooked just right as well. So, I have confidence that their brunch is where it’s at.  Also, I’ve never tried a boozy dessert. But, that’s another reason to come back, right?

because beautiful things are worth it

Xoxo- @mplsgossipgirl

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5 Tips to Easily Brave the Cold in Minnesota


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It’s cold here this week. Like really cold. In the next 5 days, we won’t reach above 10 degrees in Minneapolis. I am not one to mind the cold but I was born and raised here in Minnesota. I think I am used to this kind of weather.  There are some things that we Minnesotans know about the cold that transplants might not think of doing on these types of days when we’d rather not get out of our warm and comfy beds. Not that I am saying you have to do that, because if you can, just stay there in bed.

These are a few suggestions that I have for my friends that aren’t from here and need to get up and do stuff on these hideously cold days:

  • Get the right winter gear.

These are two pants kind of days. What does that mean? Long underwear are a thing and you should wear them when it gets this cold. It makes everything more pleasant other than your pants feeling a little too tight. Just have one pair of jeans that are a size up from what you normally wear and wear long underwear under them.

Get yourself a pair of really warm boots. I’ve been wanting a pair of these Mukluks for years, but any pair of boots with real fur or shearling will work really good. Don’t buy fashion boots, they are no good for you. Get something that will be good up to -35 degrees.

Wool socks + wool sweaters are great for keeping you warm. I highly recommend getting a sweater and a few pairs of socks for cold days when you cannot get warmed up. They will help a lot.

Yeah, so we may not look like fashionistas on these days but, we are a hell of a lot warmer than you. Get yourself some gear and you can be warm too!

  • There’s a reason why we like “hot dish”

You should not start a diet in this weather. period. Get a hot dish recipe from a friend. Try this one that I like: http://pinchofyum.com/sweet-potato-tater-tot-hotdish

The hearty homecooked meals that make you feel full are just what you need to get through this cold. There’s something to be said about comfort food and these are exactly the type of days that comfort food is needed.

  • Grab a good book.

Time to get cozy! Grab a book from a friend, borrow one from the library, or even get them delivered straight to your kindle. Books are a great way to get through a cold night. I love getting home from work and snuggling up with my cat and a good book. I just finished a book by Ann Rule (very good) and I am just starting my book club book–I am Malala.

I am always looking for new book selections and my Goodreads account is super helpful. I can see what my friends are reading and what they liked.

  • Get the spray stuff that gets ice off the windows of your car.

Seriously– Do IT: Here

Baths.

Taking a warm bath after a cold ride in your car home is literally the best thing in the world. Buy yourself some nice bubble bath. This is one of the best simple pleasures in life.

Because you need to survive the cold…

XoXo- @mplsgossipgirl

What are your cold weather tips? Any books I should add to my list? Cold weather gear?

Guthrie Theater Instameet with MNCommunity


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I’ve always wanted to go behind the scenes at the new Guthrie Theater. I grew up as a theater kid trying unsuccessfully to be a triple threat. Acting was never my strong suit although people who know me will would say that I still have the flair for the dramatics. I did local community theater where I wore an epic fruit hat, starred as Robin Hood, and even once played an 8 year old as a high school freshman. In college, I had the BEST job ever working at the theater where I was able to see any of the shows for free while getting paid. That’s what I would call a dream job. So, you can see why I jumped at the chance to get a tour of the Guthrie Theater.

I knew this was going to be an epic tour when one of the people hosting the event from the Guthrie told us that she hadn’t even been to some of the spaces yet.

We took tours of where they build the sets, store the props, and even were able to play a little bit in the black box theater. One of my favorite parts was that I was able to see some of the props and set pieces from South Pacific. I got a good laugh when I saw the sign for Billie’s Shower above the special hazard eyewash station. Someone has a great sense of humor there. I also spotted some of the letters to Nellie, each one hand written with a lot of care. After seeing the Guthrie from another angle I am even more excited to get season tickets!

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All of us that were there last night are part of a group called MNCommunity. It’s run by a couple of cool cats that put together events around Minnesota where people simply meet up and take pictures. These pictures then get posted on the Instagram app under a specific hashtag. The one for the Guthrie was #mncomm_guthrie. What is great about this group is that it is just people who like to get together and be creative. Some are professional photographers, others are aspiring photographers there to learn, and others use only our iPhones. It’s awesome to get together with people to really highlight something amazing in Minnesota and see it pictured in so many different ways.

Thinking about coming to an event? Follow MNCommunity on Facebook and subscribe to their events. They are also out there on all the social channels.

Check out two of my favorite local instagrammers: @carterwdick and @papalando

Because getting together is good

Xoxo -mplsgossipgirl

Top 5 – Madden’s Resort in Brainerd MN


Each and every year I head out to Brainerd, Minnesota to Madden’s Resort. We’ve been doing it for years and it always is a highlight of my summer. I live for days at the pool soaking in the last of the summer. Here are my top 5 reasons why I love heading to Madden’s each year:

#5 Beaches and Pools

I’ve always loved the water but I’ve never lived on a lake or had a pool at my house. So whenever I have access to pools or beaches I take full advantage of it. My favorite pool is the one outside the club house. My family loves to congregate there after breakfast and spend the day hanging out. We read, we play in the water, and we may even have an afternoon cocktail. If there is unpleasant weather they have indoor pools available too.

#4 Nisswa

When I am up there I love going in to Nisswa and exploring Brainerd. They have 2 great breweries in the area Gull Dam Brewing and Big Axe. Plus, many great restaurants and some shopping within 15-30 minutes from Maddens.

#3 Planning and Snacks

One of the best parts of vacation is planning them! Each year I bring up snacks and a signature cocktail. I usually take quite a bit of time making sure I’ve picked my favorite snacks and a cocktail that everyone will like. This year it was a rum punch. If you need to pick up something on the way making a stop at the Saint Joe Meat Market for beef sticks and Bo Diddley’s Sandwich Shop for guac and chips will disappoint no one.

#2 Golfing

I love going golfing on the courses at Madden’s they are difficult but when you play a scramble tournament with your family, they are fun!

#1 Getting Away!

My favorite part of Madden’s is just getting away. Getting away from my job, the city, and unplugging for awhile just to spend time with the people around me.

because that’s what life is really about

Xoxo -mplsgossipgirl

Where do you go on vacation in Minnesota? Or if you are a Madden’s fan what do you love?

 

Why the column about Jana Shortal made me so upset


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Trending in Minneapolis today and around the country tomorrow was the story that a Star Tribune gossip columnist wrote about local journalist Jana Shortal’s pants. The “gossip column” asserted that jeans are not appropriate attire to wear when reporting on the Jacob Wetterling story.

Clearly, you know how I felt about it because of my headline. I was upset. I found the original column to be strange and unnecessary. Why would any news outlet publish a column about a journalists pants?  What made this absurd column even worse for me were the tweets and the non-apology “apology” put out by the columnist afterwards.

People are upset. Why? because everyone knows what it feels like.

I can’t say that I’ve never written words that were mean or said or done something hurtful to another human. But, I try to do better each day. AND if someone points out to me the insensitive words I’d written or told me when I did something hurtful I would sincerely apologize and try to do better.

When you create content, write stories, or are a public figure you need to hold yourself to a high standard. You have a platform and the means to tell a story. It’s a very important job and you should take pride in the work that you do. It’s not always easy but if you are good at it you should be able to tell yourself what is ready to share with the rest of the world. It also helps to have great Editors that guide you.

Lets be honest, as soon as you hit that publish button it it out there–there’s no way to take it back. Only apologize and try to do better when you’ve made a mistake.

Over and over again I’ve watched Jana tell the stories. Tell stories that are hard to tell and speak the truth about herself. That is why this hurts me. She got up that morning, went to work, did her job and was singled out. Who or what is next if this is fair game?

What should the Star Tribune do? That’s up to them, but they should hold themselves up to higher journalistic standards.

To the columnist– think about what you just did. If you don’t feel remorse that’s on you. But, be mindful that most of us out there wore an item of clothing and we were put down, made to feel less than, or down right terrorized because we were different or just the person to attack at that time. Most of us have been there. Most of us have worn those jeans.

Let me leave you with a little nugget that I keep at my desk:

“Before you speak, think–Is it necessary? Is it true? Is it kind? Will it hurt anyone? Will it improve on the silence?”

Because we are better than this

Xoxo – mplsgossipgirl

Jana would love if you donated to the Jacob Wetterling Foundation HERE

Revival – Fried Chicken has arrived in Minneapolis


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I am all about Revival. If there’s one place that I would recommend right now in Minneapolis this is surely on my list. From the lighting to the wall paper this place is exactly where I want to eat a meal with a friend. It’s comfort food done extremely well and can easily turn a frown upside-down.

You cannot miss the chicken. There’s a reason why they put it right in the center of the menu. Order it any way that you like because you really can’t go wrong with any of the choices that you make here. I can’t imagine how busy this place is going to be in the winter. It’s been busy this summer but fried chicken and warm sides are perfect for cold weather cures.

Fried Chicken Revival Minneapolis

Get a few sides including the biscuits with sorghum butter. If you want help choosing ask your waiter or waitress they can help suggest items that might be what you are looking for at that moment. Or just order all of them.

What you should know: It’s a pretty small space. Be prepared to wait for a table and be seated close to another group. I also wouldn’t suggest this for larger groups. Unless you want to rent out the entire restaurant (do they do that?). Sit at the bar, you get to talk to the bartenders and look right into the kitchen. It’s really amazing to watch.

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If you are looking for comfort head over there now. Did I mention they do takeout too?

Thank goodness they are opening another location in St. Paul soon because this place is the bomb.com.

because there’s never enough good food or fried chicken

XOXO

mplsgossipgirl

Have you been? What was your favorite menu item?

Minnesota State Fair Pictures 2016


As many of you know I am a fair fanatic. I would live at the fair if they would let me. Each year I go back to my fair favorites and then try a few of the new items if they sound appealing. These are just a few pictures that I took this year. I hope you enjoy!

Sky Ride Minnesota State Fair Entrance MN State Fair Blue Barn BLT Minnesota State Fair Crop Art MN state fair Mighty Midway State Fair Midway Lights

Always Stop at Surdyk’s Wine and Cheese Shop


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Recently, one of my favorite activities has been stopping at Surdyk’s to get cheese and a bottle of something to enjoy. I’d forgotten how great this place can be to stop in and learn something new and try something new too.

I highly suggest stopping in their cheese shop which is so much more than just a cheese shop. They have some grab and go items, meat from Red Meat Table Company, bread, and everything else you could possibly add to a sophisticated cheese plate.

What’s even better than the selection is the knowledge that every person working there has about the items that fill the shop. Ask and you will learn something new and most likely discover a new favorite. The other week I was looking for a brie that had a creamy flavor without too much funk and they were able to point me to a perfect selection. Not only a perfect selection but the perfect ripeness of the cheese. A combination that made the brie divine.

I’ve come in needing help picking out the right cheeses for a cheese board for people who don’t like blue cheese and also needing help picking out a wine for people who enjoy both Spanish reds and whites. How can you help me find something that people who you are hosting will love but something that they may not have had before? They seem to do it with ease and they make me seem like a thoughtful host with great taste. The great taste I have is that I know a place where they know how to amuse and delight my guests and well, amuse me too. I always get a little something. How can you not?

because if you ask you might just learn something new

Xoxo @mplsgossipgirl

What is your go to item when you stop at Surdyk’s?

Saturday Stroll- Minneapolis Farmers Market


Summer Farmers Market, Weekend Markets Minneapolis, Minneapolis Farmers Market

I am an early riser. I always have been. I am secretly jealous of people who are able to sleep in when they’ve stayed up the late the night before. Regardless of the late night I’ve had before I am usually up by 6:00am. One of the many upsides of being a morning person is that I am able to get things done in the morning before others have even woken up.

On the weekends I like to go and hang out with people who are up even before me. On either Saturday or Sunday I love to stroll over to the Minneapolis Farmers Market. Each week I like to stop by my favorite stalls and pick up an ingredient that I hadn’t even planned on buying and then I try and make a meal with that ingredient.

Radishes Minneapolis Farmers Market

This week I picked up radishes that I plan on quick pickling for tacos this week. I also picked up some spring onions that I put on a sourdough breakfast sandwich with an egg and goat cheese. That Rustica sourdough sandwich was delicious!

I really enjoy just strolling around the market and looking at what each stall has and planning menus in my head and getting there early helps me avoid the crowds that show up around 9:30am. Sometime this summer get out to the Farmers Market early in the morning pick up something special for yourself and enjoy something new on your table.

because a Saturday stroll can make your weekend delicious

Xoxo @mplsgossipgirl

What do you like to do when you wake up early?

The Duluth Grill Cookbook II


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The Duluth Grill is a must stop for me anytime I go up north. It all started on a camping trip that was supposed to be only in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan then turned into a Duluth adventure thanks to unpredictable weather. On that trip without a plan I found two amazing restaurants, a breakfast place in Michigan where they made their own bread and jam and the whole meal cost me five dollars, and a trip to Duluth where I was able to discover all the joints that the locals raved about including the Duluth Grill. Now, I’ve been known to make the trip to Duluth just to eat at the Duluth Grill and Northern Waters Smokehaus.

Once you go to the Duluth Grill you never really forget about the brightly colored cups, amazing choices on the menu, and the fact that it sits in a strange part of town but everyone seems to find it alright anyways. Who needs to be by the stinkin’ lake walk anyways?

One of the things that I appreciated most about the Duluth Grill is the attention to vegetarians and vegans- there was no sacrifice of flavor or heartiness that I see at more restaurants than I would care to think about. It was much more than a salad. Plus, you knew where many of your ingredients were coming from.

The Duluth Grill Cookbook and now the new Duluth Grill Cookbook II give you an even more in depth story about where the ingredients are coming from and how to make some of your favorite dishes at home.

The can’t miss section from this cookbook is the condiments and sauces. Every time I go to the restaurant I am blown away by how much detail is put into each dish and how each thing, even the sauces and condiments, feel like they are thought out and made with love. So, you can only imagine how great it is that they’ve revealed some of their secrets and we can now try and make it at home.

Sometimes we forget that the simple when done right can be just as beautiful. The Garlic Spread is one of those items with only 4 ingredients it lets the garlic be the star of the show and added to the right dish, it gives it the upper edge. I was very excited about the Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette, it’s easy peasy and tastes so much better than a store bought dressing.

I admit that as a home cook I sometimes struggle with Vegan recipes. I love cheese way to much. I’ve never even thought of using walnuts to make an alternative to taco meat. This recipe makes you feel like you can take on cooking this dish even if it is much different from the way that you normally cook.

If you are a fan of the Duluth Grill like I am, pick up a copy of both of their cookbooks, learn about the local farmers and the people behind the food.

As for me, I’m planning my next trip up north even if it’s just for a day.

because good food is found by the locals.

Xoxo- @mplsgossipgirl

Disclosure: I received an advanced copy of this cookbook.

 

 

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