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Always Stop at Surdyk’s Wine and Cheese Shop


Surdyks Cheese and Cider

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


FullSizeRender

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.

 

 

Chicken Wings at United Noodles


Best Chicken Wings MN, UniDeli

These are some chicken wings that you write to your Mom about. Seriously people, would you ever think of coming to deli inside a grocery store for awesome wings? To be honest, I didn’t. You’ll have to give them a try!

I had never been to United Noodles before and had no idea where it was. Turns out it’s right off Minnehaha Ave. in the Seward neighborhood. I worked in that neighborhood one summer awhile back and I had no idea what sort of places it held. I am just starting to discover the wonderfulness of the Seward neighborhood. Behind each place that I’ve been recently there is some sort of story and passion. This neighborhood boasts some of the best foods, if you take the time to search them out. They don’t boast– they just love what they do.

Although, it is tucked a little bit away, it is easy to find by the sign. They have ample parking and it would be a great place to stop after work or during your lunch hour if you are nearby. I know I will be. I crave ramen during the fall and winter and cannot wait to get my fix at Unideli.

They also have new specials each week. AKA- a reason to come back every week.

Let’s talk about these wings. You might notice that I rarely ever post chicken wings. They usually aren’t for me. I don’t like how most of the time you have to eat around them, sometimes there’s not a lot of meat, and other times they are just a deep fried meltdown. It also might have to do with the fact that a certain wing place that shall not be named that “makes” a bunch of types of wings ALWAYS makes me sick. For real, I felt sick after a salad there. All this has led me to not ordering wings off a menu. It’s not my thing.

BUT- these wings would be something I would order every-single-time. They were the perfect mix of salty, sweet, and spice. Plus, crisped up just right and great chicken inside. I am now a believer. Turns out that I just don’t like shitty chicken wings. I dream about these wings because of the mix that they are. It’s not just about how hot and spicy they are it’s really about how all of the flavors work so well together. It’s almost like they were best friends since childhood.

If you think I’m being a little brash, simply go try them. This is one of those things that I almost didn’t want to write anything about because I didn’t want the secret to get out and then I would have to fight with people to get some wings. Also, come early because I’ve heard that they sometimes sell out.

Best wings in Minnesota? I think so. I’ll see you soon my little nuggets of joy.

I’m going to be talking about more of the cool things that I discovered at UniDeli. Keep an eye out on future posts.

DISCLOSURE: I met with the team at United Deli and was given items from their menu to try. Also, I was given some foods from the grocery to try. In no way does that dictate what I write or how I feel about the food. This place is going to be one of my go-to places from now on and I was so thankful they invited me over to give it a try. Yes, I will spend my “real” money there.  I never have time to get to every single place in Minneapolis. But, when I am invited to try something that I’ve never done before (going shopping with a master of pan-Asian foods) you do it!

Because sometimes you just need to try it one more time!

 

XoXo @mplsgossipgirl

 

What places do you love in the Seward neighborhood? (I’m a huge fan of the Seward Co-op and Birchwood) What are your favorite chicken wings?

Big Wood Brewery – White Bear Lake


Big Wood Brewery

One of the questions that I get most is about which brewery is the best in the Twin Cities. I haven’t been to every brewery in the state and I like many different breweries for different reasons. This is one of very favorite ones because of the beer.

If you haven’t been out to downtown White Bear Lake recently, it is a hopping place to be. Excellent shopping, salons, and food are found in the small downtown area that is perfect for a weekend trip. Come in the afternoon to do some shopping, stay for dinner, and then some after dinner drinks at Big Wood.

I’ve had almost everything on tap at the brewery besides the winter brew that they have coming out. I’ve been very impressed by the full flavor of each brew. Two of my favorites are the Bark Bite and Drevo. You can get tasting flights and they always have 10 beers on tap.

Big Wood Brewery White Bear Lake

The taproom is fairly small but it isn’t usually full. They have tables in the front room and in the back room where there is a table tennis table. During the summer they have outdoor seating as well. They don’t have their own food in the taproom but you can order in from many of the local establishments. There are two really really great pizza places nearby that you can order from called Olives Pizza Bar and Pezzo Pizza.

I highly recommend stopping out to Big Wood Brewery and taking in all that White Bear Lake has to offer.

Because I do it for the brews.

XoXo @mplsgossipgirl

What’s your favorite brewery in Minnesota? Where do you go when you go to White Bear Lake?

New to #MNBlogCon? Read This!


Newbies MNBLOGCON

Congratulations! You got a ticket to one of the best events in town! The Minnesota Blogger Conference is something that I look forward to every year and this year is no exception.

Here are a few things that you might want to know if this is your first Minnesota Blogger Conference. I know these were the items that I worried about for my first year.

Be prepared to meet new people! This is one of the best parts of the conference, but it is best to be prepared for a day to step out of your comfort zone. Be ready to introduce yourself to new people and give a 10 second blurb about what your blog is about and why you are there. Also, don’t sit alone. If you don’t know anyone, go and introduce yourself.

Bring business cards! I enjoy giving out and receiving business cards each year.  It allows me to reach out to someone that I had a connection with or allows me to follow up and start reading a blog I might enjoy. I have a stack of cards that I’ve kept incase I want to connect a blogger to a business or if I need help with a project.

Seek out people that you’ve been meaning to meet! I love twitter and I’ve found some people on twitter that get me but we haven’t met in real life. The Blogger Conference allows me to meet some of those people that I’ve wanted to meet in real life.

Read up on some Blogs! Seriously, one of the best complements any Blogger or Writer can get is that you’ve actually read their work. It’s a great way to start a conversation too!

Be yourself! I was worried my first year about what to wear. I couldn’t decide between more business like or clothes that I really liked. My best advice is to wear something you feel comfortable in. I’ll wear a dress because thats what I like wearing. Don’t go too casual but formal attire is not necessary.

Ask questions! If you have a question, ask it! There is most likely someone else out there that has the same one. The more open that you are the more people that you will meet.  Your question might spur on a conversation that happens during the free time.

Be prepared to take notes! I take notes every year to remember everything that I’ve learned. Usually, these notes turn into my to-do list for the next year. Bring your electronics if you wish to do so. I do! Make sure they are charged ahead of time.

Prep your blog for the conference! People will most likely be looking at your most recent posts on your blog. Write a few more blog posts than you normally do. Make that change you’ve been meaning to do. The more you put into it beforehand the more you’ll get out of it afterwards.

Prep your Twitter for the conference! I suggest that you start following people that you know are going to be at #MNBlogCon. It’s a great way to join in the conversation while you are there and meet some new bloggers.

Plan your day! I am a planner but at the conference I tend to be more of a pantser. Have an idea of what topics that you are interested in but also be open to changing the session that you go to if you find something interesting. If you need any help choosing ask a volunteer or a blogger that has been to the conference before.

Go to the after- party! Why wouldn’t you? There will be beer!

Say, “THANK YOU!” to the amazing people who make this day possible! This event is something that is a labor of love from the people who put it on (THANK YOU JEN AND MYKL). Make sure you thank volunteers and the sponsors of this event too!

If you’ve been before, what’s your favorite part of the conference?

If this is your first one, what other questions do you have?

Because a gathering of bloggers is one of the best things in the world.

@mplsgossipgirl

 

 

New Minnesota State Fair Foods 2015


Salted Caramel Puff Malt and Sundaes

One of the many delights of the Minnesota State Fair is trying all of the new foods! I was able to get a preview of some of the new foods coming to the fair this year. Every year there are some hits and some misses, but it is all a lot of fun in my book. From new foods on-a-stick to ice cream with a kick here are some of the new foods that I got to try!

One of my new favorites is the Salted Caramel Puff malts and sundaes at the Dairy Goodness bar! It’s sweet, salty, and perfect for a hot day. I am a huge fan of Old Dutch Puffcorn and adding the caramel and sweet ice cream to the mix made me jump for joy. Going to the Diary Goodness Bar is a tradition for many fairgoers and there’s a reason why, they have the best treats! This new flavor was chosen during the “Flavor of the Fair” contest. The contest is back this year and you’ll have a chance to submit your own flavor to become the next Flavor of the Fair next year. I’m going to enter–that’s some serious bragging rights.

Blue Barn Snickers Salad

I’m also a fan of the Blue Barn that’s part of the Blue Plate Restaurant Group. They bring food at the fair to a whole out-of-this-world level. They know how to serve food to large groups of people because they have the experience of doing it every day. I was able to try their new snickers salad which was refreshing and sweet. But, I am even more excited to try Pi their apple pie flavored beer. Hopefully, I can get a glass. I have a feeling that it might be one of the most popular items at the fair this year. Some of our favorites from last year will be back and there are a few more new items on the menu.

Maple Bacon Funnel Cake

The Maple Bacon Funnel Cake from the Funnel Cake stand in the food building was also really great. We already know those flavors are complimentary, but they somehow got them to work with a funnel cake too. If you are a funnel cake fanatic you should try this one.

Lulu’s Public House is my favorite place to grab a beer at the fair. They have a top deck which allows you to relax and do some people watching. I spent a lot of time here last year and I know I will be back again to enjoy it again this year.

If you are working at the fair, Mancini’s has a great pizza that is not your typical fair food. After working all day you don’t want the usual deep fried foods that people typically share. Give this a try this year! Not a new food, but a great one, there’s a gyro booth by the Giant Yellow Slide that has great gyros and salads.

Although, this is just a preview of some of the great new foods you’ll see at the fair I hope you are pumped to get out there and give some of them a try.

because going to the fair is a tradition!

@mplsgossipgirl

What food are you most excited to try this year?

Support Local Kickstarter Projects!


Kickstart

I am a huge fan of this whole crowd funding movement. It just makes sense for me to be able to easily give money to products and causes that are important to me. Plus, it is really cool just to see all the awesome stuff that people are trying to do.

Here are a few local projects that need your help to become completely funded:

ENDING SOON Appetite for Change –  is a social enterprise that hosts community cooking workshops, builds urban farms and engages community to build a community-based food system. This money will go towards training youth in their job program. You obviously don’t need me to tell you how important this is!

They have some amazing rewards still available for restaurants like Spoonriver, Burch Steakhouse, the soon to open Brut, and even a unique experience with Andrew Zimmern and Gavin Kaysen available. I totally volunteer to come to any one of these dinners!

Help them fund their project HERE

Bark and the Bite- Artisan Barbecue Truck serving Minneapolis with world class smoked meats, craft sauces, scratch sides, great vegetarian and gluten free options. This is from the team behind Sapor this food truck seems like it will serve some awesome food.

I love food trucks and I love BBQ. Naturally, I think it would be great to have another one on the road.

Help them fund their project HERE

Crapola- Awesome high-fiber breakfast cereal, which is named by playfully combining the words cranberry, apple, and granola. (Smart)

They want to move to a larger production facility.  “We don’t want to have to hire someone else to make our granola – we prefer to continue making our products ourselves.” – I agree!

Help them fund their project HERE

Omni Brewing- OMNI means “all, every, of every kind.” That’s a perfect summation of their vision – a beer for everyone. They serve a wide variety of interesting craft beers at our inviting taproom in Maple Grove. No pretense here. Just beer.

They are trying to make their taproom a comfortable place to be.

They will be using the funds to:

  • Build a great bar
  • Renovate the taproom area
  • Buy tables, chairs, and bar stools
  • Stock the taproom with games and entertainment

Although, they already hit their goal they are offering a new perk if they hit their stretch goal of $40,000.

Get some awesome perks HERE

because it’s fun to help people with their dream

@mplsgossipgirl

What’s the coolest perk you’ve ever gotten from a Kickstarter project?

Aromi – Matte Liquid Lipstick


Aromi Lipstick

I am not the type of person to normally wear lipstick. I am starting to get more into wearing lipstick after discovering the Aromi Matte Liquid Lipstick at Garden of Eden. I love the highly pigmented colors that you can get because it really pops.

The greatest thing about this lipstick is that is stays on! I call it my two beers lipstick because I can drink two beers without it all coming off. It is not permanently on your lips so it does come off with any makeup remover and if you are licking your lips a lot.

I wear the flamingo red which is more of a blue-red and cannot wait to see what new colors will be coming out.

Aromi is a local company that provides handcrafted cosmetics and fragrances that are formulated from scratch, handcrafted in their own laboratory, with great ingredients.  I first discovered them awhile back when I wanted to buy their solid perfume for travel purposes. It is also great and solved a problem that I had– I wanted to wear a fragrance but only wanted to bring a carry on bag. I ended up falling in love with their scents and I’ve bought many of the cologne solid fragrances for gifts.

The Founder Hannah, created Aromi out of a passion for chemistry and all things beauty products.  She is a chemist by trade and spent years working as a formulation chemist before finally starting Aromi. All the products are vegan too!

You can buy both the Matte Lipstick and women’s solid fragrances at Garden of Eden on Grand Avenue (Only some of the colors available).

Because it’s fun to wear lipstick

@mplsgossipgirl

Have you tried Aromi? What is your favorite color?

Disclosure: I bought by own Lipstick at Garden of Eden. These opinions are my own and when I find something like this I feel the need to write about it to let other people know. Plus, supporting local small businesses is my thing.

Shopping on Grand? Stop at Salut on Grand


WIth the right sauce. Salut Grand

Recently, during a hideous Minnesota snow storm when the google maps was colored all red, I decided to just hang out on Grand Avenue for awhile. I say decided like it was a choice. Rather, I was stuck there for awhile until traffic cleared up.

Instead of wallowing because I was not able to get home. I decided to frolic on Grand Avenue. Usually, when I stop by Grand it is for a specific purpose. I stop at the store that I need to get something from and I get out of there. Parking can be a mess and I get stressed out about leaving my car. Was that really a parking spot?

Bar Salut on Grand

While I was over there freaking out about parking I completely forgot to explore. I had no idea that I was missing a bunch of other stores that I never knew were there. This storm made me make my own fun. After stopping into a few stores by Grand and Victoria. I stopped into Salut.

I have been to Salut a few times and already knew I was a fan of their Pomme Frites and french food in general. I took a seat in the bar and had red wine and ordered some food off the happy hour menu.

Red Wine Salut

I cannot tell you how relaxing it was to sit down and just eat some really good food, alone.

Everything I tried was delicious and the staff was more than accommodating by allowing me to hang out in the bar until I could get home safely.

Salut on Grand Ave.

Overall, the happy hour menu isn’t dirt cheap prices. But, would you really want to eat food that was that cheap to make anyway? I thought the prices were fair for what you got and I really enjoyed the glass of wine that I had.

Because stop in and explore Grand sometime.

@mplsgossipgirl

What is your favorite store on Grand Avenue?

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