In the summer there is nothing like a refreshing soda on a warm day. A local company, Boundary Waters Brands, started a line of all natural sodas called Joia. They have fresh flavors and add a bit of fun to a dinner party.
I decided to have a BBQ with my family and ‘share the Joia’ with them. I cooked chicken, corn, asparagus, and potatoes from the farmers market.
Before dinner I served a caprese type of appetizer. It is very easy to prepare by combining fresh cherry tomatoes, mozzarella pearls, and basil on top of a slice of a baguette then sprinkled with olive oil and balsamic.
These sodas are much different than what was in the market before. With combinations like pineapple-coconut-nutmeg and ginger-apricot-all spice these drinks are a treat for your mouth.
My personal favorite is grapefruit-chamomile-cardamom because of the hint of cardamom that comes out. It is one of the best and most forgotten spices.
Boundary Waters Brands is based out of Uptown in Minneapolis and we are lucky to have a company here who is being innovative and producing a quality product.
You can find Joia in local specialty grocery stores. Also, you can visit their website to ‘share the joia’ and host a tasting for your friends, family, or co-workers.
because fresh is in
*disclosure: I was sent samples of Joia to try. All opinions are 100% my own.
Last week I Dined Out For Life to support the Aliveness Project that is doing amazing work with the HIV/AIDS community locally.
I am proud to say that I was part of the $15,687 that Pizza Luce donated that night.
Pizza Luce is a favorite staple for me in Minneapolis. It is a great place to go if you are eating with someone who has dietary restrictions like gluten-free or vegan. They are also a great place to order out from; you can do pizzas, sandwiches, or salads. Many of these items can be ordered with specific instructions for those with diet restrictions. It is all listed on the menu.
This particular night I headed out to the Hopkins location. It was my first time at this location and I know I will be back there again. I loved the size of the parking lot and the feel of the bar. They have a great tap beer selection as well.
I really need to try more appetizers on their menu because I havent yet. I always get a side salad. I mean look at it. This is the caesar salad and is exactly what a caesar salad should be. It has crispy lettuce, creamy dressing, real shaved parmesan, and delicious croutons.
I have tried many of the pizzas on the menu and this night I decided to try a sandwich from their new spring menu the “From Italy with Love.” I highly recommend it because is unlike any sandwich I have had before. There are layers and layers of flavorful ingredients.
I went home with The Classic pizza to eat as leftovers. My other favorite pizzas are the Pizza Athena and anything with mock duck.
Pizza Luce is one of those places that I appreciate having as a local brand. They use fresh, natural ingredients, they have options for those who are vegan and gluten-free and they have a great variety of healthy and flavorful items on their menu.
because real food is good food.
This past Saturday I attended the HAMMS event at the old HAMMS Brewery Shipping docks in Saint Paul. It was a really fun time and I was able to buy a few items that I have been pining over including Dessa lipstick from the Elixery.
What made this event fun was that you actually could speak with the business owners and learn more about why they do what they do. Plus, it was dog friendly!
The event lived up to the title Help A Minnesota Maker Succeed. The event planners reached their goal to be able to give one vendor $5,000 to use to expand their business.
I shopped until I dropped on Saturday. The first item I bought was a glass water bottle from Moss Envy in pink. Moss Envy is now going to be my go-to place for gifts. They have many practical and usable items that people would love to get for a special event such as a birthday or wedding.
Moss Envy has a retail store near the Whole Foods in Uptown. If you mention my blog (mlsgossipgirl) and the HAMMS event Ryan the co-owner extended an offer of $5 off your $25 purchase.
The market baskets from Jeanne Beatrice were a hit. I received many compliments when I was walking around the event with my new La Vie Henna.
Jeanne Beatrice bags are the perfect summer market accessory. I cannot wait to bring mine to the Minneapolis Farmers Market once it warms up.
I loved these arm warmers from Float many of them are made with cashmere. They are a great item to keep in your purse for when you get cold. Plus, they come in many vibrant colors.
I was surprised by these game day lip tattoos from Violent Lips. I know some hardcore Vikings fans that would sport them proudly at each game.
These hilarious cards from Bruno Press had me laughing. They are the perfect cards for someone you know well enough that you can say offensive things in front of them.
These map necklaces from Larissa Loden are a great way to remember a special trip or a place that you lived.
I wish I was decorating something right now. I loved everything that Oh Dier had at this event. They had the cutest chalk boards for your cabin and blocks for a new baby.
Yum! Not only was there great shopping at the HAMMS event there was great food. Gastro truck had a large menu of delicious items to choose from and I couldn’t choose just one.
The first item I tried was a Beef Brisket sandwich. It was flavorful and I loved the aioli on top.
The best part of the lamb burger was the choice of all the homemade condiments that I could choose from. Pickled red onion and ketchup topped my lamb burger along with the feta and olive spread.
Hopefully, the HAMMS event is an event that is continued in the future. I am already looking forward to it and I think all the dogs that were there are too!
because I can’t think of a better way to spend a Saturday.
Feeling down and out lately? Isn’t everyone. Mother nature has been playing tricks with all of our minds. It is supposed to be spring, right?
One of this ways to solve this mood issue is by snuggling up on the couch and watching movie. Since that is all that I have been doing lately, I needed a change. What else makes people intensely happy?
One of my favorite places to go grab a delicious sweet is Rustica Bakery. It is fairly easy to get to for Uptown standards and there is parking available. ahhh… it makes things so much easier.
I pointed to a chocolate brownie from the case and saw something else on the menu that perked my interest. As a frequest customer of the Tea Garden I consider myself to be somewhat of a tea connoisseur but I have never tried chestnut tea before. What is this mystical chestnut tea that you have?
The staff at Rustica know their products and were able to explain many of the different teas they currently have on their menu as well as how long the tea I selected needed to steep.
The chestnut tea was nutty and bit spicy and the brownie was rich. Both highly recommended for a winter that will never end. So, since you need to take a mental health break anyway, head over to Rustica to warm your soul.
because the ground-hog lied
It is very important to me to shop local and to shop small whenever possible. That is why I enjoy events such as the HAMMS event where many local small businesses are in one space. HAMMS stands for Help a Minnesota Maker Succeed and aims to give up to $5,000 to one of the vendors. I am also excited to attend Saturday because there will be food trucks there!
Here are a few particular items that I am excited to see at the event:
- Glass water bottles from Moss Envy
I chose this water bottle because of the ease of use, both of the bottle and the sleeve can be put in the dishwasher. I also find that I do not enjoy the metal or plastic taste of other water bottles.
Moss Envy sells eco items for your home and life. They choose eco-friendly items to fill their store that you would use every day.
You can find more products on the Moss Envy website: HERE
- Turban from Kedrin
Kedrin sells beautiful handmade crochet goods. I love any fashionable item that I can wear during the winter months to accessorize my parka.
At the HAMMS event Kedrin is giving shoppers at least 20% off of items from her collection posted on her website HERE, and 10% off of pre-orders of new looks from her fall 2013 look book. VIP shoppers save even more!
- Market Bags from Jeanne Beatrice
Please read my post from Tuesday about Jeanne Beatrice: HERE. These market bags from Jeanne Beatrice would be a great Mother’s Day gift.
There will be many other vendors at the event that I am excited to see and learn more about their products such as: Worker b, Irley Intimates, Larissa Loden, Scrappy Products, and many more all featured on the vendors page.
The HAMMS event is this Saturday, April 20th at the old HAMMS shipping docks in Saint Paul from 10AM-7PM. You can even bring your dog to this pup friendly event! Tickets can be purchased online HERE until 10PM on April 19th for $10 or tickets can be purchased for $15 at the door.
because you should be there
On Saturday, April 20th I will be attending the HAMMS- Help a Minnesota Maker Succeed event at the old Hamm’s Brewery Shipping Docks. This event is for men, women, their dogs and those who like to shop local and small. A portion of the ticket proceeds will be awarded to one of the small businesses at the end of the event.
As a fan of fashion, I connected with the image on the website of a really cute Market Basket from Jeanne Beatrice; the perfect summer bag (pictured above). Everyone in Minnesota is ready for summer but it feels like it may never come with all the unseasonably cold weather lately. One of my favorite summer activities is going to the farmers market on a Sunday. There is something uplifting about spending the morning at the market in the sun and picking up fresh food from local farmers. Why not do it fashionably with a market bag from Jeanne Beatrice?
Jeanne Beatrice was started by Laura J. Benson a former Lawyer who created a business doing what she loved. The baskets are made in Morocco by local artisans. Each bag takes 6-8 hours to complete and each is a unique work of art.
I chose to feature Jeanne Beatrice because the Market Bags are affordable, fun, and a great way to help someone across the world. Also, they would be a great gift for a mother for Mother’s Day or a bridal party gift for your bridesmaids. The La Vie Shadow II is on sale for only $27.00 and with its steel grey or pink details, would be perfect for the beach.
My other favorite bags are the one featured on the HAMMS site called the La Vie Henna because of the stitching around the handles and the La Vie en Colour because they are traditional with a pop of color.
You can find all products from Jeanne Beatrice on the website, https://www.jeannebeatrice.com/, or in over 150 boutiques around the world. You can even come to the HAMMS event and pick one up there.
Laura thinks you should come to the event because it, “will be an absolute blast.” It will be a shopping event like no other because the vendors are interacting with customers in different ways and are encouraged to bring wine and appetizers. A fellow foodie, Laura is looking forward to the food trucks that will be there.
If you are someone who likes to shop local and support small business this is the perfect event for you. Tickets to the HAMMS Event on Saturday, April 20th from 10AM-7PM are available online at http://www.hammsevent.com/ until 10 pm on April 19 or for 15 dollars at the door.
because you can look good and do good at the same time.
For me, Valentines day is about treating yourself to quality time with someone who truly cares about you. It is a time to put a break in the normal routine of work, gym, eat, sleep, and repeat. Achieving this quality time means slowing down, building anticipation throughout the day, and trying something new together. All the while being reminded of how special I am to someone else.
To start this Valentines day out on the right foot I plan to stop by Woullet Bakery to grab a “different breakfast” from my usual with something out of this case for me and my co-workers.
Seriously they have some yummy heart doughnuts for only $1.65 which also makes it affordable. Why not brighten your coworkers day?
If this case of treats is part of your usual routine of coffee and donuts try something slightly different…
How about some XOXO cupcakes? These can boxed up for you in a nice package that will be an easy present for your special someone.
Each of these little morsels are hand-made with the love and kindness only a family owned and run bakery can deliver. They have many other flavors available even some with cherry butter cream.
Normally I would not go for anything but the cupcakes, but on a day of doing things different I may pick up some petit fours or the chocolate mousse for two. Both are ideally sized for sharing with a special someone, but nobody has to know if you are a bit selfish…
I suggest this Valentine’s Day you try something different for your special someone. Make a dinner at home and then surprise them with some sweet treats from Wuollet Bakery. If you don’t want to cook a meal Surdyks has some pre-made meals available as well. Whatever you choose, choose to make someone feel special.
If you forgot a gift for a special someone Wuollet is ready for you. You do not have to pre-order, just stop in and pick out the perfect treat.
Because this Valentine’s Day give your sweety, a sweet.
*disclosure: when I visit Wuollets I get to try tasty treats and bring some home too. I shared some XoXo cupcakes with the special people in my life.
French Meadow is seriously undervalued. This is on the top of my best of Minneapolis list for 2013. I have been here many times for brunch on weekends but it was only recently that I have visited for dinner. Wow!
I had no idea how wonderful dinner was here. Better than brunch. I am a huge fan of breakfast here but dinner is not as hectic as brunch can be.
The ambiance is completely different when you come at night. The lights are dimmed low and candles light each table. It is very romantic but still relaxed.
I started my meal with soup because they had excellent options. I had the tomato soup and enjoyed it because of the real tomato taste. The clam chowder was also very good and it was spicy. Both were perfect on a cold winter night.
For my entrée I had the walleye sandwich. It was crispy and served on a freshly baked bun. I forget how much of a difference that makes. The potatoes that come with it are seasoned well and the sauce that comes with it is light.
My favorite part of the meal was dessert. I wanted to try the bread pudding but they were out. Kudos to the server who warned me about this when I ordered it and explained that they make everything daily. That made me not upset when I had to order something else. I had the tres leches cake that was very good. All desserts are priced from only $4.00-6.50 and are not an after thought. They could stand alone. I am thinking of maybe doing a dessert party there sometime. Each person orders a dessert and then you share. That sounds like a happy hour I would want to go to. I would also love to see a sampler platter for around $10.00 because there were many items I wanted to try. It would be fun if it changed daily.
I like that they have many gluten-free and vegan options because I like to eat vegan sometimes. Plus, if you have someone in your party with dietary needs this place is very accommodating. Hats off to the chefs for creating a menu that has many options, is not too large, and has items with several price points.
When you go here be prepared to order an appetizer, drink, entrée, and dessert. Never skip dessert.
My only criticism is that I wish their happy hour went later. I will never be able to go to the happy hour because it is only Monday-Friday 3-5 PM. Most people are not done with work until 5 including this girl. It would be nice if one or two days a week you extended the happy hour.
because never-ever-ever skip dessert.
On January 26th, 3012 the American Cancer Society Young Professionals will be hosting a masquerade charity ball at Aria at the Jeune Lune.
Tickets are $85 or $75 before January 18th. You can buy tickets online HERE.
This is a wonderful reason to get dressed up for a night and support cancer research, specifically cancer research in Minnesota. Also, this is a great opportunity to network with other young Twin Cities professionals.
Entertainment will include music, a photo booth, and also a CEO auction where you have the chance to bid on an opportunity to meet with a local CEO and pick their brain.
The American Cancer Society (ACS) of Young Professionals raise money for ACS and also to fund research at the University of Minnesota. They raised $55,000 last year and are hoping to raise even more this year.
You can even try one of the new businesses in Calhoun Square called For Tonight, they rent cocktail dresses. Also, if you need a mask both Halloween Express in Maplewood and Twin Cities Magic and Costume sells them.
because you can give back and have fun at the same time.
On December 29th a large fire demolished a condo building in Uptown Minneapolis leaving the approximately 20 residents displaced. Many of them lost everything that they own. It is great to see a local restaurant doing everything that they can to help their neighbors get back on their feet.
Amore Victoria, a restaurant in Uptown is having a benefit and silent auction for the residents on January 9th at 6PM. They will be donating proceeds from everyone dining out that evening. They will also be offering $3 beers from Schell’s who will be there to promote their beer. Those who attend also have an opportunity to bid on silent auction items from local businesses.
You can go to the Amore Victoria event facebook page HERE, where you can find updated information on the event.
They are continuing to take donations from anyone who can offer a gift cards and are looking for donations from businesses for the silent auction at the restaurant. You can contact Amore Victoria on their website HERE.
You can also make a cash donation directly to the Uptown Condo Fire Fund at any Wells Fargo location.
Amore Victoria is known for their Italian food and has an old world feel. I hope you can get there early and support other fellow Minneapolis residents. You can make reservations for Amore Victoria on Open Table HERE.
because wouldn’t you want someone to help you if this happened to you.
Thank you @WShaneSchmidt for requesting this gossip.