Archive | July 2013

Bluestem Bar and Table

Bluestem, French Meadow, Lamb Meatballs

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.

Bluestem Soup

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.

Bluestem, French Meadow, Tacos

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.

Bluestem, French Meadow, Tasting Room

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

Bluestem Bar & Table on Urbanspoon

What is your favorite item on the Bluestem menu?


Solera Thursday Night Happy Hour

Solera Rooftop

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.

Solera Rooftop Sangria

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.

Solera Rooftop Cheese

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


Solera on Urbanspoon

Sister Cities Day 2013

Sister Cities Day, Meet Minneapolis, Minneapolis, Aquatennial

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.

Sister Cities:

  • 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


Reuters: 48 hours in the Twin Cities: What you really should do

Travel, Twin Cities, 48 hours

Reuters shared this article on their website about 48 hours in the Twin Cities and what you should do if you are traveling here. I honestly would suggest very little on their list and I am guessing whoever wrote this did a google search and did not actually come to Minnesota since Potbelly is not open for breakfast during weekends. It is too bad since we have some neat things going on in the Twin Cities.

Dear Mark,

We are all wondering who are these local Reuters correspondents who sent you to these places? You need some new friends in Minnesota.

I know you are catching a lot of flack from us local experts but we hold the Twin Cities very dear to our hearts and we are sick and tired of people telling us that this is not a place they want to visit. I know you tried to make it look great, but telling people about the tornado shelters and the ‘tram’ does not put the city in the greatest light. Can we really blame you for some bad advice from your correspondents? No.

I am sorry to tell you that you missed out on the best that the Twin Cities has to offer.

This 48 hour itinerary is what I would love to do if I were coming here to visit.

Here is what you missed:


5 p.m.- Head right on over to the W hotel in Minneapolis. It is located in the historic Foshay Tower. See if you can find the speak-easy bar.

7 p.m.-Go to the Smack Shack in the warehouse district and spend the night checking out the Marvel Bar and other hot spots in the area. It is the newest up and coming food scene in Minneapolis.

9 p.m.-If you are into music we have First Avenue, the Dakota Jazz Club, and many other places you can hear a good set.



9 a.m.-  Hells Kitchen is right by the W Hotel and has some awesome lemon ricotta pancakes.

10:30 a.m.- If you want to get some exercise Core Power Yoga is doing morning classes at Lake Calhoun during the summer for free.

11:30 a.m.-Take a walk around Lake Calhoun or Minnehaha Falls. If you are really adventurous take a bike ride with Nice Ride bikes that are located all over the city.

1:00pm-Eat lunch at one of the outdoor restaurants such as the newly opened Sandcastle or Sea Salt Eatery.

2:00 p.m. -If you really want to go to the MOA, I guess you could go there. It is a really big mall. I think the Mall of America is a whole day event and if you only have 48 hours here with good weather this would not be my first choice.

Instead you should go to the Como Zoo and Conservatory to see the new bonsai garden and gorilla forest. If you are looking to go shopping head to Grand Avenue in Saint Paul.

4:00 p.m.- Fulton Tap Room and eating from a food truck. Located near Target Field this is a must go to place before the big game.

6 p.m.- Walk over to the game. Find the AZ Canteen booth and get a burger.  Then pick up a Surly beer.

10 p.m.- After the game and when you have digested a little bit walk over to Butcher and The Boar. The beer garden has a wonderful feel and the food is excellent. This place is all about the atmosphere and the meat.


10 a.m.- Breakfast at Lucia’s in Uptown and get whatever is on special. Afterwards walk to one of the local coffee houses and explore Uptown.

1 p.m.- Either head to Secret Beach to enjoy some relaxing time with a good book or walk around historic Saint Paul and snap some photos.

3 p.m.- Grab and go at Cosetta’s in Saint Paul.

I would love if you would come to Minnesota and try some of the items on my list and tell me if you had a good time. I can guarantee that you will. (Reuters you should send him back with the company credit card and this awesome list)

because if you have 48 hours in Minnesota you should do what the locals do


What advice do you give someone who is coming to the Twin Cities and only has 48 hours to explore?

A Minnesota Celebration: Twin Cities Pride Parade 2013

On Sunday, many people participated in the Twin Cities Pride Parade and celebrated the passage of same-sex marriage in Minnesota including Chris Kluwe, Mayor R.T. Rybak, Representative Karen Clark, Council Member Diane Hofstede, MyTalk 107’s Alexis Thompson, and many local residents.

Pride, Parade, Politics


Chris Kluwe, Sparkle Ponies, Pride, Minneapolis








Alexis, FM107, MyTalk 107, Pride,

Because sometimes you just need to wear a rainbow tutu


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