Always Stop at Surdyk’s Wine and Cheese Shop
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
What is your go to item when you stop at Surdyk’s?
Saturday Stroll- 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.
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
What do you like to do when you wake up early?
The Duluth Grill Cookbook II
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.
Disclosure: I received an advanced copy of this cookbook.
Chicken Wings at United Noodles
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!
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?
I’ve been meaning to go here forever and finally made it out to Eastlake Brewery! I am a huge fan of the Midtown Global Market where it is located. I think it holds some of the best food found in Minneapolis. If you haven’t been to The Rabbit Hole or The Salty Tart yet, go there soon.
When you go to Eastlake Brewery come with an empty stomach because you can get food from the market and bring it in to the brewery to enjoy. The space is fairly big and contains a lot of natural light. It is also family friendly. When I was there, there were several families sitting around and having a meal together.
I wasn’t hugely impressed by the beers that I sampled other than their current sour brew Kirby Pucker and Belgian Pale Ale. They were a little too fruity and floral for my personal taste. I am the first to admit that don’t take my word on it. I love to drink beer. BUT– I think beer is such a personal thing that beers that I am not a fan of, others would like. Their current Saison with ginger and pink lemons was not my thing but I could see people who like fruity beers loving it.
With all that being said, I would come back even though I wasn’t a huge fan of their brews I tried. I didn’t get a chance to try their IPA’s since I got their lighter flight. I will be back to give those a try sometime soon. I went lighter because I was looking for a great summer beer.
I loved the space and it’s fun to bring food from any of the places in the market. If you are going to eat at the Brewery try Hot Indian Foods or Manny’s Tortas. Both are wonderful!
Overall, I liked this place as a perfect place to hang out and I’m excited to try some of their heavier brews next time.
because a great hangout and great food make a wonderful night.
What’s your favorite brewery to hangout in?
Patina: My Gift Store
I love shopping at Patina. Every time I walk into this store I feel inspired and I know I will be able to find a perfect gift. Plus, they will wrap it for me.
Right now, they have a ton of great ideas for Valentine’s Day. I am not huge on giving gifts for Valentine’s Day but a nicely written card is some thing that I love. You’ll be able to pick up a really pretty card to write your own message in. Plus, they have a wide selection of jewelry. Many of the items are priced under $100 which makes them affordable and great as a gift.
I also enjoy their stationary section. I was able to pick up cute thank you cards that have quotes on them. They have a good selection of journals too.
I admire how many local products they feature in their store. I know if I am looking for a local gift I can find something that keeps me interested. I saw some great baby clothes that were made locally the last time I stopped in.
If you need a gift for someone and you are not sure what to get, you should try Patina. The staff is extra helpful and they will help you leave the store feeling like you’ve picked out the perfect gift.
Because gift giving is an art.
Where you do shop for gifts in Minneapolis?
Are people still eating there?
Where have you been eating lately?
I ask this because I was driving around the other day and spotted some chain restaurants with full parking lots. I thought to myself about the last time I had eaten at one and why I ate there. I believe it was at an Applebee’s when I was meeting a group of people that I hadn’t seen in awhile.
Of course, they are much easier to go to if you have a large group, they will split checks, and you already know what is on the menu because they have burgers, sandwiches, salads, pasta dishes, and any other thing you could imagine under the sun to accommodate even the pickiest eater. And you know you are going to have to eat there when you are going out with coworkers or for meetings. (Yes, I know it’s a run on paragraph)
But, why not when you get to make the decision about picking a restaurant to go somewhere local with really good food? Not just a place where the microwave is the main form of cooking.
It can be hard to make that choice sometimes because what if one person doesn’t like the food choice? Or you don’t really know how to order at a tapas restaurant. Give it a try. Because what do you have to lose? You know you are not going to have the best meal of your life at a Buffalo Wild Wings. Although, maybe some people will disagree with me. I’m fine with that.
It’s okay if you like eating at chain restaurants. All I ask is that with all of the wonderful options there are out there, why would you choose to eat there? Why not go out and try something new? Take a chance. Go on an adventure. I am making a bet that if you try somewhere new, you will really like it.
Because it’s fun to eat new things.
Do you agree/disagree with me? Are there any good chain restaurants? I can think of a few. Best place for someone to go to try something new?
Punch Pizza on Grand Avenue in Saint Paul
What is better than a warm pizza on a cold day?
This was my first ever trip to Punch and I was not disappointed. Not only did it hit the spot but it was affordable as well.
On a side note, Punch Pizza set its own minimum wage at $10 an hour to provide staff with a higher wage to help gain loyal employees and keep them around. Kudos to local restaurants that are paying their employees well.
As someone who is a fan of neapolitan pizza I had a feeling that I would love Punch since they cook each of their pizzas in an 800 degree oven. I was right, the perfect chewy dough was just what I love about neapolitan pizza.
I had the basic margarita pizza which was very tasty. It is a simple but elegant pizza and the quality ingredients that are used make it stand out. I would order this again any day. But, it also made me want to try one of the more adventerous combinations.
They also have salads which I would recommend. I had the italian chopped salad which was very fresh and complemented the pizza well. I cannot wait to try the other salads. Sometimes at pizza restaurants salads are an afterthought. I think that the Punch salads could stand on their own. Although, I don’t think I would be able to go in there and not order a pizza too.
As mentioned above it was very affordable. My lunch bill for two people came to only about 20 dollars. I felt like I had a very high quality meal that I would have expected would cost much more than that.
My suggestion is to get a pizza and a salad to share. Don’t forget a local brew or glass of wine. If you are still hungry, order another.
because pizza warms the heart.
What are your favorite pizza places in the Twin Cities? What is your favorite item on the Punch menu?
Minnesota Cheese Festival 2013
Get your tickets for the Minnesota Cheese Festival that is going on this weekend at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds.
On both Saturday and Sunday there will be two sessions, one from 10-1 and another from 2-5 in order to keep crowds small and give you an opportunity to interact directly with the Cheesemakers.
During the event you will be able to sample the best cheeses from Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Iowa. You can also attend demonstrations, seminars, and buy cheese from local Cheesemakers directly.
Redhead Creamery that I mentioned in my post yesterday about neat Minnesota Kickstarter Projects will be there. A few of my other favorite Cheesemakers such as the Caves of Faribault, Ellsworth Creamery, Shepard’s Way Farm, and Singing Hills Goat Dairy will also be there.
Support the Redhead Creamery project : http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/redhead/redhead-creamerys-cheese-needs-to-come-home?ref=home_location
You can get tickets: HERE
because I am not vegan anymore.
Support Local with Minnesota Kickstarter Projects
Have I ever told you how much I love Kickstarter?
Kickstarter is a website where you can either go to fund a project that you want to see happen or try to get funding for your own project.
It is a great way to use your cash to fund a project that you care about.
Here are three current Minnesota Kickstarter projects that I think are really neat:
Travail: Democratizing Fine Dining: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/travail/travail-democratizing-fine-dining-in-robbinsdale-m?ref=home_location
Firstly, I am completely on the Travail bandwagon. The chefs who started Travail get it right, they know how to bring fine dining to a level where it makes people comfortable and they know how to have fun with it. This extra cash is going to help them be successful when they can open their new space. Plus it comes with some extras. One level of funding gives you the perk of being able to get a reservation at their restaurant where they don’t do reservations.
Help them reach their $75,000 goal! UPDATE: They are fully funded after only 6 hours on Kickstarter! On 9/11/13, they hit $140,000 which is way over their goal. Plus, they posted an awesome video on instagram find them at username travailkitchen.
The Rabbit Hole: A Korean Gastro Pub: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/783013016/the-rabbit-hole-a-korean-gastropub-in-mpls-yes-ple?ref=home_location
Brought to you by the crazy kids at Left Handed Cook, The Rabbit Hole is exactly where I want to spend a Friday night. What is a Korean Gastro Pub? I have no idea, but I know I am going to like it.
If you haven’t been to the Left Handed Cook in the Midtown Global Market yet, you need to give it a try. It is one of my favorite places to get a quick meal.
They are only looking to raise $10,000 and are almost to their goal. Help them reach it. They hit their goal on 9/11/13. Now let’s get Redhead Creamery Funded!
Redhead Creamery: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/redhead/redhead-creamerys-cheese-needs-to-come-home?ref=live
This farm to table creamery is exactly what I love about Minnesota. Plus, they are making cheddars. Yum! Help them build the space where they can create their food safely and right on their farm. Minnesota can always use more cheese.
They are on their way to their $35,000 goal but there are only 15 days left.
because when you back a Kickstarter you are telling that project we want you here.