Tag Archive | wine

mplsgossipgirl in Chicago (or what to do on your way back)

I apologize for my long absence. I feel like these last few weeks have gone by quickly and with the gray skies and dreary atmosphere in Minneapolis I really haven’t felt like being bubbly and writing posts about how much I love everything. Because frankly, I want to curl up in bed, order in take out, and nap for 75% of the day. I haven’t been doing that but have been very tempted.

My distaste of the inter webs may have also contributed to the bout of laziness because of  all the ignorance that I have witnessed on social media during the election. I had to shut it down for a while. Seriously, people, I can hardly stand the completely untrue statements on both sides of the aisle that are being made on social media. Please if you have not read an unbiased opinion, news article on a reputable website, don’t know that the New York Times has an online version, never been to politifact, please just don’t post it at all. I do appreciate witty banter and educated opinions. So, thank you to most of my facebook friends for that.

So, why would mplsgossipgirl spend the weekend in Chicago? Well, I was celebrating a friend’s wedding. It was a wedding in a beautiful old church with a beautiful bride. The reception had a candy bar and an open bar. Who could ask for more?

On my way to Chicago I made a stop at the newish Surdyks in the MSP airport. That is a bit of heaven in the busy bustle of the airport. I had a flight of spanish wines and pretzel before my actual flight. I sat by a family with younger children and the server was very accommodating of them and even gave the children a few candies for their flight. It was freaking cute. Surdyk's Flights on Urbanspoon

When I got to Chicago I made a big mistake of going to Eddie Merlots. I needed something quick and Rock Bottom looked busy, so I gave this place a try. I did spare you the picture of a hunks of fat on my black and blue pizza. Let’s just say I had a few bites and when I saw that I couldn’t eat any more. Plus we ended up at the bar next to some “regulars” of Eddie Merlots. Why somewhere that would serve that crap had regulars I have no idea. But, one of them couldn’t figure out why their college age child didn’t want to party with their parent, so maybe that explains something.

Then did the whole wedding thing.

After that was all over, I spent a little time in the actual city of Chicago, I did visit old town and had breakfast at Nookies. The omelets are huge, cute pumpkin pancakes, generous portions, and good company.

On the way back to Minneapolis and had to stop for cheese in Wisconsin. How do you drive through Wisconsin and not get some delicious cheese? Well, this girl couldn’t do it. I like the Carr Valley Cheese, personally. And made a stop in none other than Wisconsin Dells.

If you haven’t been to Wis. Dells the best way to describe it is: Waterpark Central.

After getting some cheese I was hungry, naturally, so I asked the cheese lady where I should go to get something to eat. I am glad that I did that. She directed me to a restaurant called the High Rock Cafe.

The High Rock is not your typical tourist destination restaurant. It actually has good, fresh food. There were people there during off-season on a Sunday night which is a good indcation that it can survive the off-season. I was pleased to see they had quite the beer selection and had a large menu. Whatever anyone in your family might feel like that night, I am sure you can find something to satisfy the need. I went toward the sandwiches because I felt like melty cheese.

I started with the soup which I could tell was made with real ingredients and did not come from a can or a bag. For potato soup it was light and fresh not too thick and creamy. Although, I like thick and creamy sometimes it can be too much.

I then ordered a sandwich off of the seasonal menu. I had never thought about putting squash on the sandwich. It was pretty good and the way that it was made it did not make the bread squishy. It was thanksgiving in a sandwich with turkey, squash, and some sort of jam.

But the best part of the whole meal was the broccoli salad. Right? It is strange.  It was perfect! The dressing and freshness of the broccoli that was used made this the best broccoli salad that I have had. I even ordered a side of it to go to bring as a lunch the next day.
High Rock Cafe on Urbanspoon

I also had a pumpkin ale.

It was just a nice stop about 2 hours away from home to sit down have some food and buy some cheese.

because sometimes you just need to stop when the sign says cheese.



Minnesota Monthly Food & Wine Experience

Today I attended the Food & Wine Experience at Target Field. I had a wonderful time sampling wine, beer, and delicious foods. It was put on by Minnesota Monthly magazine and supports MPR.

Here are some of my hits:

I hope that Top Chef comes to Minnesota for a season because it would be awesome to the see the chefs go head to head at this event. There were some definite hits in the food department from the Chow Girls, Seven, Faribault Cheese, Splendid Spreads, Just Truffles, Drooling Moose, and BelGioioso Cheese.

Firstly, everything at the Chow Girls table was delicious including the nuts. Let’s just say I would love to see them make a restaurant with these great appetizers.  Seven was also a hit. I even saw a line form there for part of the day. Rightfully so because the sushi was great and so was the beef skewer. The surprises in the food department for me was from the Cheese companies. A local cheese hit was the Faribault cheese caves. I couldn’t tell you what one was my favorite but I saw many of the men try a few of the chipotle garlic cheese curds. Also the BelGioioso spread was outstanding, it was easily missed because of the positioning of it but they had some wonderful examples of how to use their product. I got a recipe that I am going to try from Splendid Spreads. They had this 7 layer dip in a greek style that was yummy. I hope they didn’t mind that I took two.  The two hits for desserts for me were the Just Truffles and Droolin Moose.

Now lets get to the wine. I tried all the fancy expensive wines that you go to the event to try and found that I clearly have no wine experience and couldn’t tell the difference between them and cheaper wines other than some of these expensive wines were a little too aggressive and peppery for me.

But, the point of the event was to try something new, it was fun to try wines that I might not buy from the store. Here are a few that I enjoyed that might be different than what the judges picked. From Z wines the Landskroon Dry Chenin Blanc, I am not a huge white wine drinker but this one was good. The Monogamy Cab from the Wine Sisterhood. It was unexpected and good. Plus, these wines have fun names and would be fun to give as a gift and in a reasonable price range.

The beer. Wow, it was great to see the beer at this event, I had the most fun at Bells Brewery an employee showed me the Darth Vader a mixture of two of their beers. I loved it! You will have to ask them what it is because I think they keep it a bit of a secret. Plus, they had all their seasonal beers. I also enjoyed Surley as I always do but, I wish they would have brought all of their beers to try. They may have gotten a new lover of that beer. Shells Firebrick was an unexpected hit for me as well. My only note about the beer is that I did not want to put the beer in my wine glass. I hope that next year they all bring their own small cups to try with.

The best hidden gem of the whole experience was the Dakota Jazz room corner who had Jazz music playing, food, a wonderful drink, and sitting room! It was nice to relax there an actually be able to enjoy the food and drinks from them.

The not so hits:

It would have been nice to have more sitting areas. I noticed many older people complaining about their feet hurting myself included and having no where to sit. Also, more live music would enhance the event. I have to say that it was pretty awkward trying to carry everything, drink, and eat at the same time. They should also add an area with cigars. It would fit in perfectly with this event.

One of the most hilarious comments I heard during the day was, “holy crap there is more to this thing, we now have to go this way, this is soooooooooo great!”

It would have been nice to know that there were two ways to go when we got there. We were lucky we stopped a volunteer who told us to go a certain way go all the way back and travel down. Otherwise, I think it might have been a difference experience for me.

Spilling food all over myself over and over again was not so much fun. I was going to wear a white shirt. I am so glad that I didn’t. Most of the food places did not make items that were easy to eat. I should say easy to eat while holding a wine glass and a bag. They needed to channel top chef and the amuse bouche challenges. Where all you have is one bite to get all the flavors in.  Although, I think the sitting areas would make this easier and people wouldn’t look as stupid wearing wine glasses around their necks.

Overall, I loved this and will come back next year with more people. I also would recommend this to my friends as a great Valentines Day present. There is nothing like being at Target Field on a sunny day drinking and eating. It was a beautiful setting for an event like this. Until then I can fill my free wine glass with my favorite wines from this year.

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