Friday Favs #1

 Happy Friday! Today I’m trying out something new and linking up with Katie, Heather and Claire for Friday Favs. 

Here is a roundup of my favorite things from this week.

1) My new favorite boutique Primrose Park, that just so happens to be down the street from my place.  I’ve popped in a few times now and treated myself to a dainty bar necklace by Sbg Designs. I literally have not taken off my new necklace. Seriously, I wear it with everything, alone, layered, with my pajamas.. without pajamas….. and it only comes off to shower. TMI? If you haven’t been yet, head on over to Primrose Park. Let me know and I’ll meet you there, its way too close for my Mastercard’s comfort :)

2) Bryant Lake Bowl. Um somehow I’ve never been here before?! Hands down my new favorite date spot. Or brunch, or activity spot. Can I go again next week!?

FullSizeRender (14)

(Yes my jeans are too long and I had to roll them into my socks….AND I was wearing Christmas socks.)

3) This pasta dish: Trufled Cream with Langostine Lobster and butternut squash, Hello Broder’s Pasta Bar.

IMG_1021

4) Christmas table decor, because you know, its 9 degrees outside in November! I have to beat/try to enjoy winter somehow!

FullSizeRender (17)

Have I mentioned that Christmas does not help my ball obsession? Confused? Heres an explanation on my ball obsession…

5) This starter at Heartland. My Rainbow Trout love continues….If I could just eat about 5 more of these…

FullSizeRender (13)

Happy Weekend! What are your Friday Favs?

 

The Sauce Off

The office was full of talk for weeks. Good natured bantering, nonstop.

We were about to have a Bolognese sauce off!

Who would make the Bolognese sauce which would reign supreme?

The day of the sauce off arrived and I rushed to gather the essentials. Ok not rushed. I leisurely perused Whole Foods. I could spend hours there choosing ingredients. I’m available for hire, if you’d like a personal grocery shopper ;)

FullSizeRender (12)

My sauce sat and simmered for almost six hours. Its all about that simmer.

FullSizeRender (10)

Three other sauces arrived and we had quite the taste off. Every sauce was quite different. Mine swung more towards traditional. I cannot fight against my Sicilian Italian roots.

A little voting system was in order..

FullSizeRender (11)

Might I humbly say….. my sauce won!

Some argued Venue, that my hosting the completion had a sway. But the sauce SPOKE FOR ITSELF.

Thank you very much.

Have you ever hosted a sauce off or cooking competition?

Best Laid Plans

Sometimes the best laid ideas get sidetracked.

Inspiration that doesn’t come to fruition.

A blizzard of a storm and too much else going on.

(Side note: have I mentioned my ultimate dream is to live on a beach from December-March? Which could be why I purchased half the warm and fuzzy department of Target today….)

IMG_0978

Sometimes, an idea just needs to fester, grow and to develop into something more.

While that best laid plan gets put on hold, what could be better than popping into a new to me place?

FullSizeRender (9)

The Copper Hen.

FullSizeRender (8)

FullSizeRender (7)

What do you do when plans change? How do you foster inspiration?

I Like my Eggs Pink

Sometimes it is all about the hype I create for myself.

Reading the reviews. Anticipating the opening.

Putting the place on your must try list.

Lusting after it on the list… wondering…. when will I go?

And then finally, finally being able to cross it off.

Do you make lists? And get a rediculous amount of satisfaction from crossing something off that list? I make must try restaurant lists (we know this, unless you are new to these parts :)). I make lists at work. Lists of recipies to make. Lists of furniture my new place needs. List of make up to try. Places to shop.

Please never look at the notes app in my Iphone, it is an extravaganza of lists and makes me look like a crazy list lady!

Last weekend I was finally able to cross Tiny Diner off my restaurant list. ( Yes it fell into a carve out to the challenge!)

It had that Brasa-neighborhood-like feel. It was bigger than I anticipated, more like, “Medium Diner”? The monthly city focus on thier menu begs me to go back and try another month.

November is San Francisco, one of my favorite cities! Just having the city focus on their menu brings back memories of the wharf, eating chowder out of bread bowls, the smell of the water and the brisk wind on my cheeks.  The memories necessitated a bite of my dining partner’s softshell crab sandwich.

And these deviled eggs! I will be back for these eggs.. the Lake Superior smoked white fish, golden beet puree, horseradish yogurt and dill.

FullSizeRender (5)

FullSizeRender (6)

Have you been to Tiny Diner? Do you make lists?

xoxo The Crazy List Lady

Wedge of Simple, Good

Its the simple “good things”.

Like checking out a new to me cheese shop.

Learning about cheese, sampling, having the owner describe and select a few.

Sitting.. enjoying a dry cider and taste testing.

A simple, good thing.

FullSizeRender (2)

I would sit and eat cheese all day…. except for this lactose issue I’ve developed.

FullSizeRender (3)

But really, you would be hard pressed to find a better place to sit and sample than The Wedge & Wheel in dowtown Stillwater. The Wedge & Wheel holds classes, pairings and private events, should you want a group cheese sampling extravaganza.

I would also accept any platter or cheese board you might pick up for me :) I accept all gifts in the form of cheese.

(I must point out that despite my cheese sampling; I am still in line with my No Restaurant Challenge, as this sampling occured with my Aunt, who just happens to be a carve out to the rule :) )

I’ve wanted to check out the Wedge & Wheel for quite some time now, so I’m including this as a Treat Yourself Tuesday post and linking up with Becky.

Have you been to The Wedge & Wheel yet? Do you have a favorite cheese shop?

FullSizeRender (4)

Minneapolis Must Eats

While I happen to be on this no restaurant challenge…. how about a list of favorites?

A recap of some of the places I love. Places you must visit. Places to pencil in on your next Minneapolis trip :)

Here are a few of my favorites according to random category selection. You know, the categories my restaurant deprived stomach is yearning for. My list could go on and on, to the point you’d stop reading and never come back.

So here are just a few!

Small Plate Sharing Heaven

Victory 44

Rincon 38

Best Pork Tenderloin Ever

Café Ena

Pasta Inhaler

Borders

La Grolla (ok ok, I know this is St. Paul, but I’ll drive there for great pasta!)

Pork Belly Bowl Me

Left Handed Cook

Grits. Enough said.

French Meadow

Beyond a Sandwich.

Cheeky Monkey Deli (Don’t be fooled by Deli. Yes the soups and sandwiches are amazing, but I also had one of the best steak frites here in the twin cities)

Burger Battles

Haute Dish

Bulldog NE

The Kenwood

Minneapolis Neighborhood Feel, (I.e. were I want to buy a house/condo)

The Kenwood (and again. Brunch, dinner, burgers, just go here)

Tilia

Brasa

Wise Acre Eatery

Sushi

Wakame Bistro

Cold weather? Pho me!

Lotus

Curry me stat!

Gorkha Palace

I’ve Had One Too Many Beers and Need Some Lobster Mac

1029 Bar (PS sing a few songs and play the wheel while you’re here)

My Burning Love of Food Trucks

Hibachi Daruma

Simply Steves

WSK

FullSizeRender (1)

(and because every blog post needs a picture, here is the view from my grocery store, you know, because I cannot go to restaurants….)

What are your Minneapolis/Your City must eats?

Happy Weekend!

The No Restaurant Challenge

Have I mentioned that I do not like losing?

That I have a competitive side?

If you challenge me, it is difficult for me not to accept.  Cliffdog knows this. Which is why I think she presented the challenge. Cliffdog challenged me to a entire month of not eating out at restaurants. She was willing to give me four “cheat” days within that month, and a carve out for alcohol.

The purpose: Shed more light on my monthly food costs.

A month of no restaurants?!

I would fail. I literally could not do it. I will not take on a challenge I know I will lose.

But I will agree to two weeks. Two weeks of no restaurants. This is still a challenge for me, as I eat lunch out at least twice a week, and multiple dinners out.

And again, Cliffdog graciously is giving me carve outs. 1) I am allowed to eat out with my aunt who will be in town 2) If it happens to be a date

The challenge starts today. Heres to the menu planning!  Wish me luck :)

Have you ever given up restaurants for a period of time?

FullSizeRender

 

10 Reasons Iggy Makes Me Happy

Sometimes you go to concerts and only know like three songs.

Sometimes you don’t know much more about an artist, other than that she’s taught me…

I’m so fancy, but you already know!!!

photo (327)

And since I’m basking in my fancy concert afterglow.. here are a few reasons an Iggy concert makes me happy:

1. Overalls and plaid were everywhere. You will never again catch me in overalls but the whole return of the overalls provides me endless giggles. I just want to say Oshkosh B’gosh over and over again!

2. Men wearing overalls were grinding on hand rails. What?! The creator of overalls never contemplated this…. I’m sure.

3. Fanny packs. We wore these and it was normal!

photo (328)

4. Iggy brought back the movie Clueless for another generation. Pretty sure the freshman here were born a year after the movie came out?? #asif

5. Eddie Murphy clips during a concert?! Yes.

6. Plaid shirts tied around waists everywhere. Yes! I can totally hide the beer baby I have going on at this concert right now…

7. We are both all about that bass. Twerk, drop it low, booty bouncing love. For 45 minutes, she can make me feel the love for my pear shape :)

8. She just made me want to keep the party going… with strange hats that is…

photo (329)

9. The opening act was all hip hop from the late 80s early 90s…. My anaconda don’t want none… you know rest :) Middle school dances anyone?!

10. While the concert and this post were slightly ridiculous, I felt like a college kid all over again. And what could be better than reliving some of those glory days?

As it was such a blast and treat, I’m linking up with Becky for Treat Yourself Tuesday!

All About that Skyline…

No not the one outside my window.

The skyline I’m talking about, is meaty, noodle-y and spicy (sort of) with a hint of chocolate.

Confused yet?

I am talking about Skyline Chili.

If you are from Ohio, have gone to school in Ohio, or just have happened to be at the airport craving some chili…. you know what I mean.

There is something about pasta, drenched in chili, with shredded cheese and onions on top. Induglence with a side of extreme unhealthy. But hey, indulgence with a side of exterme unhealthy is warranted sometimes! It is especially warranted when JT wants to celebrate with nosolgia, i.e. Skyline Chili.

For good measure, heres a photo of Skyline, by the skyline :)

photo (325)

(Photo cred friend AT, though I wish I could take credit)

photo (326)

And a little indulgence should always be paired with Champange.

Because, why not?!

Now thats what I call a successful Wednesday night. Cheers to JT and cheers to Skyline.

Have you ever tried Skyline Chili?

Its a Small World After All

And now the Disney theme song is stuck in my head. I was actually afraid of that ride as a kid.

Those moving doll things and the boat ride, the dark lighting….. Something about it was OOO so uncomfortable for me. I’m quite sure even as an adult that ride may creep me out.

However, much of that saying, “Its a small world after all” is so so true for me. Having had the most amazing childhood, in multiple countries and states, I run into people from my past lives in the strangest places, and often times in places so close to my current home.

Last week I had the chance to have dinner with three other wonderful local bloggers. Turns out, one of them, Deepta, and I share a very similar moving background. She and I even lived in Singapore at the exact same time! My heart aches for Singapore in the best way possible, for some of my first and or deepest memories are there. If I find a fellow former Singapore expat, there is sure to be a common bond :)

Allison, Jen, Deepta and I met at Cafe Ena. Sister restaurant to Rincon 38 and La Fresca. (See my visit to Rincon 38 here) I had the Lechon, the prosciutto wrapped pork tenderloin, with a trio pepper risotto, black garlic sauce, and a roasted artichoke-pepper relish.

O. My. Delicious. This was hands down the best pork tenderloin I have had in a long long time. It was melt in your mouth, cooked to perfection. And that black garlic sauce! If I could just have a bowl of that and call it a soup!

Now my pictures did not really show up… but that just means you should go and try Cafe Ena for yourself!

photo (323)

You could not pick a better place to meet, eat, connect and discover how small of a world it really is sometimes.

Would you eat a sauce as a soup? No, just me? :)