I’ve always wanted to go behind the scenes at the new Guthrie Theater. I grew up as a theater kid trying unsuccessfully to be a triple threat. Acting was never my strong suit although people who know me will would say that I still have the flair for the dramatics. I did local community theater where I wore an epic fruit hat, starred as Robin Hood, and even once played an 8 year old as a high school freshman. In college, I had the BEST job ever working at the theater where I was able to see any of the shows for free while getting paid. That’s what I would call a dream job. So, you can see why I jumped at the chance to get a tour of the Guthrie Theater.
I knew this was going to be an epic tour when one of the people hosting the event from the Guthrie told us that she hadn’t even been to some of the spaces yet.
We took tours of where they build the sets, store the props, and even were able to play a little bit in the black box theater. One of my favorite parts was that I was able to see some of the props and set pieces from South Pacific. I got a good laugh when I saw the sign for Billie’s Shower above the special hazard eyewash station. Someone has a great sense of humor there. I also spotted some of the letters to Nellie, each one hand written with a lot of care. After seeing the Guthrie from another angle I am even more excited to get season tickets!
All of us that were there last night are part of a group called MNCommunity. It’s run by a couple of cool cats that put together events around Minnesota where people simply meet up and take pictures. These pictures then get posted on the Instagram app under a specific hashtag. The one for the Guthrie was #mncomm_guthrie. What is great about this group is that it is just people who like to get together and be creative. Some are professional photographers, others are aspiring photographers there to learn, and others use only our iPhones. It’s awesome to get together with people to really highlight something amazing in Minnesota and see it pictured in so many different ways.
Thinking about coming to an event? Follow MNCommunity on Facebook and subscribe to their events. They are also out there on all the social channels.
Check out two of my favorite local instagrammers: @carterwdick and @papalando
Because getting together is good
Each and every year I head out to Brainerd, Minnesota to Madden’s Resort. We’ve been doing it for years and it always is a highlight of my summer. I live for days at the pool soaking in the last of the summer. Here are my top 5 reasons why I love heading to Madden’s each year:
#5 Beaches and Pools
I’ve always loved the water but I’ve never lived on a lake or had a pool at my house. So whenever I have access to pools or beaches I take full advantage of it. My favorite pool is the one outside the club house. My family loves to congregate there after breakfast and spend the day hanging out. We read, we play in the water, and we may even have an afternoon cocktail. If there is unpleasant weather they have indoor pools available too.
When I am up there I love going in to Nisswa and exploring Brainerd. They have 2 great breweries in the area Gull Dam Brewing and Big Axe. Plus, many great restaurants and some shopping within 15-30 minutes from Maddens.
#3 Planning and Snacks
One of the best parts of vacation is planning them! Each year I bring up snacks and a signature cocktail. I usually take quite a bit of time making sure I’ve picked my favorite snacks and a cocktail that everyone will like. This year it was a rum punch. If you need to pick up something on the way making a stop at the Saint Joe Meat Market for beef sticks and Bo Diddley’s Sandwich Shop for guac and chips will disappoint no one.
I love going golfing on the courses at Madden’s they are difficult but when you play a scramble tournament with your family, they are fun!
#1 Getting Away!
My favorite part of Madden’s is just getting away. Getting away from my job, the city, and unplugging for awhile just to spend time with the people around me.
because that’s what life is really about
Where do you go on vacation in Minnesota? Or if you are a Madden’s fan what do you love?
Trending in Minneapolis today and around the country tomorrow was the story that a Star Tribune gossip columnist wrote about local journalist Jana Shortal’s pants. The “gossip column” asserted that jeans are not appropriate attire to wear when reporting on the Jacob Wetterling story.
Clearly, you know how I felt about it because of my headline. I was upset. I found the original column to be strange and unnecessary. Why would any news outlet publish a column about a journalists pants? What made this absurd column even worse for me were the tweets and the non-apology “apology” put out by the columnist afterwards.
People are upset. Why? because everyone knows what it feels like.
I can’t say that I’ve never written words that were mean or said or done something hurtful to another human. But, I try to do better each day. AND if someone points out to me the insensitive words I’d written or told me when I did something hurtful I would sincerely apologize and try to do better.
When you create content, write stories, or are a public figure you need to hold yourself to a high standard. You have a platform and the means to tell a story. It’s a very important job and you should take pride in the work that you do. It’s not always easy but if you are good at it you should be able to tell yourself what is ready to share with the rest of the world. It also helps to have great Editors that guide you.
Lets be honest, as soon as you hit that publish button it it out there–there’s no way to take it back. Only apologize and try to do better when you’ve made a mistake.
Over and over again I’ve watched Jana tell the stories. Tell stories that are hard to tell and speak the truth about herself. That is why this hurts me. She got up that morning, went to work, did her job and was singled out. Who or what is next if this is fair game?
What should the Star Tribune do? That’s up to them, but they should hold themselves up to higher journalistic standards.
To the columnist– think about what you just did. If you don’t feel remorse that’s on you. But, be mindful that most of us out there wore an item of clothing and we were put down, made to feel less than, or down right terrorized because we were different or just the person to attack at that time. Most of us have been there. Most of us have worn those jeans.
Let me leave you with a little nugget that I keep at my desk:
“Before you speak, think–Is it necessary? Is it true? Is it kind? Will it hurt anyone? Will it improve on the silence?”
Because we are better than this
Xoxo – mplsgossipgirl
Jana would love if you donated to the Jacob Wetterling Foundation HERE
I am all about Revival. If there’s one place that I would recommend right now in Minneapolis this is surely on my list. From the lighting to the wall paper this place is exactly where I want to eat a meal with a friend. It’s comfort food done extremely well and can easily turn a frown upside-down.
You cannot miss the chicken. There’s a reason why they put it right in the center of the menu. Order it any way that you like because you really can’t go wrong with any of the choices that you make here. I can’t imagine how busy this place is going to be in the winter. It’s been busy this summer but fried chicken and warm sides are perfect for cold weather cures.
Get a few sides including the biscuits with sorghum butter. If you want help choosing ask your waiter or waitress they can help suggest items that might be what you are looking for at that moment. Or just order all of them.
What you should know: It’s a pretty small space. Be prepared to wait for a table and be seated close to another group. I also wouldn’t suggest this for larger groups. Unless you want to rent out the entire restaurant (do they do that?). Sit at the bar, you get to talk to the bartenders and look right into the kitchen. It’s really amazing to watch.
If you are looking for comfort head over there now. Did I mention they do takeout too?
Thank goodness they are opening another location in St. Paul soon because this place is the bomb.com.
because there’s never enough good food or fried chicken
Have you been? What was your favorite menu item?
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?
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.
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?
You have no idea how excited I am about this! A few weeks ago my cousin and his wife were in town and they told me about this meal delivery service that they have in Milwaukee. They have fresh ingredients shipped to their home with recipes that they can make fairly fast. They like to cook like I do but since they have a new baby, time is not on their side. This is a quick way to get a healthy meal and still have the taste of a freshly cooked meal. All I thought to myself is— how do we not have this in Minneapolis?
I ran across Local Crate recently in my Twitter feed thanks to the awesome people that I follow. It looks like they are trying to make a go of this same idea but are sourcing local Minnesota ingredients.
Local Crate is a delivery service that sends fresh, local, portioned ingredients, and chef designed recipes to Minnesotans weekly making it easy for people to cook locally. Now, this is an idea that I can get behind! I enjoy eating out at restaurants but it is not something that I can do everyday. This would be a great fill in for the weeks that I am craving a home cooked meal and when I have commitments that don’t allow me enough time to get to the grocery store.
I usually only cook for two people and you usually can’t buy the ingredients for only two portions. This is a great way to get only what you need for the recipe and eliminates that one jam you needed for that ONE recipe that you made a year ago and it is still sitting in your refrigerator (not from personal experience, nope, not here).
Local Crate was started by the Kitchen Ninja and the Baby Kitchen Ninja AKA: Mike Stalbaum and Frank Jackman. They both were working for a large food manufacturer and realized that they could create a business around helping their community by working with local farmers and providers. They are passionate about changing the way that people eat and want to give back to our community. I am super excited to see where Local Crate goes!
The meals look great with options ranging from Spaghetti Carbonara to Shakshouka. Each recipe on listed on their website is something that I would enjoy trying. Also, they have enough variety that I don’t think I would get sick of the options. Each recipe comes with detailed instructions and a picture (this always helps me).
Currently, they are doing a Kickstarter project to raise much needed, cash flow for packaging, ingredients, cold and dry storage, and photo equipment. They have some great thank you gifts available and if you are interested in getting Local Crate I would suggest that you help them raise the $7,000 that they need to make their goal. I am clearly a proud supporter of this great idea so I backed this project! He
CLICK HERE to help them reach their goal!
Because this is a great idea and I can’t wait to try it!