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?
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?
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 was saddened to hear the news of the closing of two of the great local establishments. La Belle Vie and Vincent A will be closing their doors by the end of the winter. There has been much speculation as to why and I don’t have all of the answers but my last experience at La Belle Vie might give you insight as to why fine dining is dead in the Twin Cities.
Recently, I went out to La Belle Vie to get a final meal. To say “Goodbye.” There’s really nothing like sitting down for a menu of food and wine that have been given so much love and attention. What ensued that night was a fine example of why we are the reason that fine dining is dying. Or already dead.
Many people have explained that the prices are unreasonable or that the cost of staffing is driving profits down. While both of these things may be true we are still missing one big part about fine dining that is in my opinion completely dead. Our ability to enjoy the meal for what it is. Time to enjoy the food and company.
That Friday, I sat down to eat the 8 course tasting menu with the wine paring in the exquisite dining room. The perfect lighting, the linen table cloth, and the way we were greeted were exactly what you would expect at a restaurant of this caliber.
At the table next to me sat a father and his adult daughter who had already started the tasting menu that I was going to enjoy that night. I ordered, eagerly awaiting the first course to arrive at the table. As I waited, my companion and I discussed our week and what we were doing this weekend.
I was struck by surprise when I heard a ringtone go off at the table next to us. Again. Again. It was a text message tone. The father then looked down and answered the texts while the course was being served to him. As the explanation of this fourth course he gazed down at his phone. Not even lifting his eyes to meet the person describing how the food was prepared.
I think this would be the only explanation necessary to illustrate how little this meal meant to him. Unfortunately, it got worse. In between the next course he decided to start watching YouTube videos with the sound on. Who needs to watch pan flute videos on YouTube during dinner? or anytime really? At least he somewhat involved his daughter halfway through the second video. His phone was out for the entirety of the dinner and he was on it for most of the time that I would think he would want to pay attention to the food and the drinks that were being served to him and his daughter. They maybe said a total of 15 words to each other the whole time I was there.
Not only did he miss the elegance of this beautifully prepared meal, he also missed a night spent with his daughter. It takes approximately three hours to do the full 8 course tasting with wine pairings and he couldn’t spare that much time away from his text messages and YouTube videos to have a deep conversation with his daughter.
We have literally killed fine dining with our inability to put everything aside and enjoy a meal with the people around us. How hard is it for us to put our phones away for 3 hours and hold a conversation with someone? I ask these questions because it occurred to me that while I was sitting there I had to check my phone. My work rarely allows me free-time away from my phone. How sad is it that I couldn’t part from it for three hours?
I also found myself asking myself realizing that I hadn’t spent 3 hours in conversation with anyone for a long time. Yes, I spend time away from screens but how often had I had a deep conversation in the last couple of months?
I am equally as guilty of not being in the present moment.
Fine dining requires us to leave our shit at the door. Your ability to enjoy the food and the company requires you to shut down the outside world and live in the present moment. For some reason, we have all decided that it’s not worth it anymore and that is sad. While we lose two of the fine dining players in Minneapolis we need to ask ourselves what part did we have to play in this?
We all need to hit the focus button.
My case for fine dining is simple. Having a meal like the one I had on Friday is meditative. It’s restorative. Shutting out the outside world and focusing on a meal with someone can center you again.
There is a place for fine dining here in Minnesota. It’s just that we need to make it a priority again. There has to be a sacred place where you can have a meal with people that matters enough to pay attention to the food and the company. Next time you go out to have a great meal try and leave your phone in the car, see if you can sit there for 3 hours, and genuinely be in the present moment.
I hope that we can have a place where we go to celebrate big life events with food and that we don’t kill them all.
because food is meditative and restorative.
I know, I am behind the times. This was my first time at Eli’s East and I loved it! It has a great casual atmosphere but with a great menu of supper club classics and new local dishes. It made me wish that I lived in Northeast so this could be my neighborhood spot.
I had a great cocktail to start the night with gin and a blueberry lemonade sort of thing. It was a great summer cocktail. I did see a bunch of people order a pink martini that I want to try next time. It must be very popular since they kept coming out of the bar. Don’t miss out on their wine specials as well. I thought they had a well curated wine list with many great options to go with their dishes.
I had a really hard time picking what I wanted for dinner. They had many items on their menu that appealed to me but ended up going with a burger. It was cooked perfectly to order and the fresh avocado on top was delightful. One of the highlights for me was their chips. No other place does homemade chips like they do. It was a nice change from the fries that you get everywhere else.
I also was able to try the Coq Au Vin. It had great flavor and looked beautiful when it came out of the kitchen. The chicken was a little dry for my taste but overall it was a great dish and something that I want to try again in the winter. It was very comforting.
They have a great dessert menu that I didn’t get to try because I was way too full. Their portion sizes are a little bigger.
They have an excellent outdoor patio and a parking lot which makes this a great place to go for smaller groups 8-12. Plus, a back area that many families with children were using. They give you a little bit more privacy which is great for those with young ones who still want a fantastic meal!
Because I love a good neighborhood place.
Where else do I need to try in Northeast? Any places I should move to in Northeast?
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?
We have some talented folks here in the Twin Cities. Clearly, I am proud to call Minnesota my home and this is one of the reasons why. We have awesome people here. We have awesome people here who go after their dreams and create really awesome things.
Recently, I had these two Kickstarter projects come across my twitter feed and I couldn’t help but give them a shout-out (Holla). They seem like really great things that I would love to see funded.
1. Brewin’ USA
23 Days left to go and only a couple thousand left before it is funded. There are stretch goals too!
Fund this project here: Brewin’ USA
Do you love beer? Do you love board games? Well than you are going to want to back this project. This is just a really fun idea and I love a good board game. Don’t you? Made by a local guy named Adam who is an Engineer by trade that loves beer and games (my kinda guy). He also won some kinda contest with CAH- Cards Against Humanity so he has to be a badass.
This isn’t the board game you made in the fifth grade that was essentially Candy Land but with the Backstreet Boys*. Take a look at the Kickstarter website for all the game details and instructions on how to play. This is legit. It even uses bottle caps which is sweet.
This idea has to become a reality so you should back it.
2. Brooks High Beer Battered
They have only 5 more days and about $10,000 to go.
Fund this project here: Brooks High
Another food truck! Yes, another food truck. You just need to take a look at the pictures of their food on their Kickstarter page to know that if you are drinking a beer you want to be eating that freaking sandwich. They are doing something different by infusing local brews into their batter. Honestly, I don’t care. The food looks freaking good. I don’t need a reason to eat those glorious sandwiches other than the fact that they taste good.
You know I’ve been hearing some buzz in the food community about how we have too many restaurants and food trucks. Really? Yeah, I agree that there are a lot of them out there but why can’t we have more? This food truck will be serving food that I really want to eat when I go to a brewery. Many of my favorite food trucks such as Get Sauced, WSK, and The Moral Omnivore all stand up to the test. I even ventured on a 20 minute trip once this year to get food from a truck. I think these two will pull this off and I can’t wait to see them at any one of the local taprooms.
If you want to eat one of those sandwiches, back them today on Kickstarter.
If I had unlimited funds I would use it to make the dream of owning your own business a reality for people. That’s what I would do. Hey—if there is anyone out there that wants to give me a large sum of cash I will research and spend it on some awesome projects, ideas, businesses, micro-loans, and non-profits. Just sayin’ you could do that, if you want to do that.
We all can all make living in this city a better place by helping people live their dreams. If you can’t fund these projects, pass the word on. Sometimes, getting the word out can reach people who also want to fund this project and can do it with cold hard cash.
Because helping someone with their dream is cool.
*Side note: Don’t steal my BSB Candy Land idea.
Am I missing another great local Kickstarter? Tell me about it.
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?
Every single time I walk into The Rabbit Hole at the Midtown Global Market I cannot believe it isn’t packed full. This place has some of the best food I’ve had in awhile. Right now, they have a strong menu from start to finish with their Bop Bowls, appetizers, and burgers.
Not to mention really inventive cocktails and a great beer menu. These cocktails are much more costly than stopping by your local bar but, they are much more complex. The bartenders and staff are great at suggesting drinks for you, just tell them what you typically like to drink.
I typically order The Gene which is a rice bowl with beef. The spice is perfect and the pickled vegetables are heavenly. I could eat their pickled radishes with every meal. If you haven’t had Korean food before this is the dish to try. The soft poached egg binds the whole thing together in perfect harmony.
Also, don’t miss the fries. You can get them in the poutine which is a great dish to share with 4+ people. It is very rich but, oh so delicious. They know how to make the potatoes crispy and serve them with an aioli that cannot be beat. Trust me on this one, you need to stop in here if you haven’t yet. This is some seriously good food that comes with free parking at the Midtown Global Market (2 hours only). Plus, afterwards you can stop by the Salty Tart or one of the other various places to pick up food for tomorrow.
Because this is some seriously good food.
What is one of the best meals that you’ve had in awhile?
I eat a lot of sushi. Now, I am finally ready to do a post about one of my favorite places to get sushi in Minneapolis–Kiku Bistro.
Kiku Bistro, formally known as Mount Fuji in Uptown is one of my go-to sushi places. I was hesitant to share it until now because this is a place that I go frequently and sometimes I just want a place to myself, but that’s selfish. So, here we go!
Kiku is one of my favorites because they have a great menu that allows people like me who love any kind of sushi to get what I want but still has rolls for those people who aren’t avid sushi eaters. They have several rolls that have more flair and are great for the new sushi eater. This includes well prepared deep fried rolls.
I like it because I have always had fresh fish. There has never been a time where I have had anything taste a “bad” fishy (you know what I mean).
The happy hour is excellent too! With $3 wine and Sapporo and discounted rolls you cannot go wrong. Plus, there is really only one or two hours a night that they don’t have happy hour so you are bound to hit it. The rolls aren’t super cheap. If they were wouldn’t you wonder what kind of fish was in them? Just saying.
My favorite items to order:
Lake Calhoun- This has a lot of flair with special sauces and crunch. Not usually my style but it is very good. Great for the first time sushi eater.
Avocado roll- It gives you a break from everything else. It is fresh and filling.
Spicy California- Good clean taste and is priced right!
Vegas- Deep Fried. This has great flavor and is fun. I am picky about deep fried rolls and they get it right.
Uptown Roll- If you like fish only this is a great option! Good flavor but you only get 4 pieces.
Rainbow Roll- It’s your basic roll with many types of fish. It’s fresh and good!
Overall, if you are looking for a new sushi place to try this is a very good option. I love it and I hope you do too!
Because fresh fish is good fish.