Archive | October 2013

Science and Cooking Class for Free from edX


Edx

I love to learn and take classes. If I was a billionaire I most likely would have been in college forever. Taking edX online classes helps fill that need for lifelong learning and they are free. That is the best part.

Edx is a non-profit started by Harvard and MIT and the goal is to bring the best of higher education all around the world. I think it is accomplishing its goal.

The class that I am currently taking is on Science and Cooking and to me it is unreal that this is offered on the internet for free. The first part that I am working on is heavily chemistry focused which is something that I hated in high school. I had a good teacher in college that did what this class does well, it uses real examples to demonstrate chemistry.

This class will add to my knowledge of food and cooking and make me a more inventive cook by having a better understanding of the science of cooking.

If Science and Cooking isn’t your thing, there are many other classes listed out there for you to try. There are several classes on poetry coming up soon. You could take a class on computer science or linear algebra. There is even a class about China.

Another thing that I like about edX is that it is completely on your schedule. Yes, when the classes offer certificates you have due dates but, this course seems to have a really great timeline to get it done.

If you are not working towards the certificate you can just have fun learning on the site.

You can find the website for edX here: https://www.edx.org/

because learning something new is always fun.

@mplsgossipgirl

Have you taken any classes from edX? What did you think? Are you going to try it out?

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Figlio: West End


Figilo Menu

This was quite possibly the worst happy hour food I have had in awhile. I was wondering why Rojo in the West End was packed while Figlio was mostly empty.

Now, I understand.

This place will not be open for much longer unless the food standards change dramatically.

Firstly, let me start out by saying that the space is beautiful. There is a large dining room and a nice bar area. Secondly, the service was great. They went out of their way to make sure that the guests were happy.

The only thing missing is good food.

The biggest disappointment of the night was the flatbread. I remember back when Figlio was in Uptown the flat bread and pizzas were all handmade with real dough and then cooked in a brick oven. You know having an open kitchen where you make the flat breads only goes well for you when you actually make the flat bread. Watching the ‘chef’ take out a pre-made hard flatbread out of a plastic package sealed it for me. Not to mention how the toppings were handled. Yuck.

Figilo Sliders

Big mistake ordering the porchetta bruschetta and sliders. Same thing different bread. Both not great flavor wise.

Figilo Fries

The only two things that I liked were the fries and wings. Holy moly,  the fries are great. Perfectly cooked and great with the béarnaise sauce. The wings were seasoned very well but I would have liked to have different sauce with it. The mustard and BBQ sauce did not do it for me. It was weird that I liked those things the best and neither of them were Italian which is most of the menu at Figlio.

Figilo Wings

My suggestions are to make your own dough and make quality flat bread and to take one or both of the Porchetta items off your happy hour menu. Make a new dish. Go back to basics and serve high quality real food even for happy hour. There are so many people like me rooting for Figilo from Uptown to be reborn. This is not quite it.

because pre-made is unacceptable

@mplsgossipgirl

Figlio on Urbanspoon

What was your experience here? Should I give it another try?

A Foodie Halloween – Acqua Forest Lake


Halloween Acqua

So, I am not sure what you are doing on Halloween but this sounds like a lot of fun. Acqua in Forest Lake is having a ‘night of the living fed’ dinner party.

Acqua just opened its second location in Forest Lake. You may remember the original location that is on White Bear Lake near Tally’s. I haven’t been to Forest Lake yet, but the food in White Bear Lake is amazing.  I had a honeydew gazpacho there once that made me look at gazpacho in a new light.

This Halloween party is limited to 200 guests and costs $100. This includes a five course dinner, drinks, a costume contest and raffle prizes.The dinner includes a cocktail hour with passed hors d’oeuvres, salad with fried pork belly, roasted butternut squash soup, scallops, beef tenderloin and pumpkin tiramisu.  Drinks include, wine, beer, and select cocktails.

It sounds really great but I hope they know how to serve 200 people at one time. I think that will be quite the challenge. This is their first time trying an event like this, so it will be interesting to find out how it goes. If it goes well, this would be a great event to have each year.

They are giving out some big prizes. The prizes for the costume contest are $1,000 gift card, $250 dollar gift card, and a $100 gift card. It would be a great way to treat your family to a wonderful meal. Also, they are not stopping there, they are also giving out two raffle prizes, one is a dinner for ten including wine pairings prepared at your home. The other is a limo, wine tasting, and dinner for eight at one of the restaurants. Plus, chances are good since they limited the dinner to 200 people.

You can sign up to receive weekly emails from Acqua that tells you about the specials and events like this one on their website.

If you want to attend you can call Acqua Forest Lake at: 651-464-6130.

because it is better than eating all of that candy.

@mplsgossipgirl

Don’t worry, I am not affiliated with Acqua in any way. I got an email from them and I thought I would share this fun event with people who love food.

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

Cheeky Monkey Fall Soups


Cheeky Monkey

I have been to the Cheeky Monkey twice in the last two weeks. I cannot stop myself.

There are two reason why I keep coming back:

1. fresh food

2. relaxed atmosphere

Cheeky Monkey Potato and Leek

The Cheeky Monkey has a daily dinner special and two daily soups. These Fall soups are exactly what I was looking for on a chilly day. On my first visit I had a potato and leek soup that was creamy and earthy enough.

Cheeky Monkey Salad

I paired the soup with a fresh perfectly dressed salad. One of my normal complaints is that restaurants over dress their salads. This one was flavorful but not dripping in the dressing which made the nuts and cheese hold up.

Cheeky Monkey Chorizo Soup

On my next visit I ordered a chorizo and white bean soup which was equally as good. They know how to build the flavors with these soups by adding in ingredients like kale and green onions.

Cheeky Monkey Watermelon Salad

With this soup I had a watermelon salad which was a summer dish and did not really go with the soup but still very good and exactly what I felt like eating. They also had the Surly Fest on tap which is the Octoberfest style of beer from surly.

Cheeky Monkey inside

because it is time to fall in love with Fall.

@mplsgossipgirl

What food inspires you?


What food inspires you

Today is dreary, yesterday I noticed all of the restaurant patios have been taken down, and we are now back to the time of leaving for work when it is dark and coming home when it is dark.

When this transition happens each year I feel my body want to go into hibernation. I force myself to make plans to accomplish something when I get off of work and ultimately they never happen. Currently, I have been organizing my recipes for three weeks.

I know I am not the only one who feels this way.

One thing I actually accomplish when I feel this way is making really good comfort foods. This includes thick soups, chili, and any type of squash I can get my hands on. Slow cooking foods and the smell that comes from them is rewarding. During the fall this is the type of food that inspires me.

I have been to the Cheeky Monkey in Saint Paul twice recently because their soup is exactly what fall tastes like. Don’t worry I will include them in a future post. Those soups have exactly what I need to warm my bones.

What other restaurants around the Twin Cities are making really good comfort foods? What foods inspire you when we lose our daylight time?

because sometimes I need to try something new.

@mplsgossipgirl

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

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