Wedding #458

Wedding Number 458. That is officially the numbers of weddings I’ve been to in the last year and a half.

Well ok NOT 458 but it feels that way. People ask if we do anything else. Others ask if we TRY to get invited to as many weddings as possible.

As if its our hobby…

Nope. No sir, we do not.

It just happens to be an ongoing season of love, of two people coming together who happen to invite us. And you know, we go. We eat, we drink and we dance the night away. I am officially a wedding pro. I may be adding it to my resume.

Professional love fest aka wedding attendee.

In the spirit of adding to my resume, I’d also like to add Professional Foodie. Is this a thing? I am a phenomenal eater. I even practiced my skills at the new Pimento Jamaican Kitchen on Eat Street.

The space is bright, colorful and with the open garage style window, has a flowing breeze. All of which remind me of a previous Jamaican vacation, so my mouth just watered with anticipation and memories of jerk chicken. My hopes were high.

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My taste buds were ever so delighted with flavor, texture and spice. Man were they on fire after a few of those sauces! Gimme all the spice!

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I had to go with the One Love Special, a combo of the fire grilled jerk chicken and the slow roasted jerk pork.

Hello bowls of love.

AND the Jamaican pattie with spicy beef. (These brought me back to ALL those patties I ate at the beach…)

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Curried vegetables and other meats were ordered around the table. My nose may have been dripping from spice but my fork just was not stopping. Word of advice, just order another Red Stripe!

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I’d say my Professional Foodie skills were put to good use here.

P.S. This week I’m off to another wedding…. #459 😉

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Kiosk Universal: Barcelona Must Eat

Our Barcelona trip was full of must eats. The Tapas, duh. Jamon and queso, yum yes like three times a day.

Seafood? Seafood was required.

Some of the best seafood we had was at Kiosk Universal.

You can find Kiosk Universal in La Boqueria. La Boqueria is, no bias at all here, one of the best markets in the world. It is said that here, you can find a paradise for the senses. I strongly agree as my foodie desires were more than fulfilled perusing the stalls. We purchased a variety of olives to take back to our airbnb and sniffed out different fruits to try. Cheese and meats will be yours in abundance should you sample and purchase to take home.

We headed to Kiosk Universal on a tip from friends.

Where else can you sit and ogle razor claims, mushrooms, shellfish and fish piled all up in your face?

I mean look at those! So fresh the stall to your left, right, other side, front, back etc. is selling the freshest catch.

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Holy green sauce were said friends right. This place, its seafood and its green sauce are to die for. Order everything.

I was instructed to order everything, so I pass on the same sentiment to you.

tuna steak

Lick up that green sauce and enjoy!

Mussles

shrimp

Head to the back of the market. You’ll know it by the fact its packed. All the time. Elbow your way in and enjoy allll the delights.

Thank me later 🙂

Kiosk Menu

Rob with three desserts

The Best Meal in Barcelona

The best meal in all of Barcelona?  Quite the statement, I know.

Perhaps it was the magic of a two week trip winding down.

The culmination of the exploration and needing some place to top it all off.

It may have been built up by our wonderful airbnb host, who stated upon our arrival, that he himself as foodie considered this place the best of the best.

Barcelona is full of culinary delights… full of jamon and queso… full of pincho bars where one can toothpick their way through endless selections..

We ate and ate for two weeks.

Our last spot however has my heart.

On the recommendation of our host, we made it to Bar Canete on our last night. We perhaps should have made a reservation! But to our delight we were seated shortly after ordering a drink to wait with.

I had to start with oysters. Oysters and I are obsessed. with each other. And I get to eat them ALL as a certain someone claims he is allergic. (which I doubt based upon described symptoms…)

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The spicy clams came next.

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Rabbit cutlets to continue the meal..which were perfectly cooked and mild.

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As my main I had to order the wildly popular, seemingly social media classic, the Cannelloni of roast poularde and foie bechamel.  O my heaven in my mouth. It was meaty yet light, rich and creamy, scrape my plate delicious. I would have licked the plate had I have had another glass of wine..

Foie Canneloni

My dining parter aka world travel partner ordered the aged beef steak with foe and truffle sauce… perhaps we indulged a bit 😉

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And of course; no trip finale is complete without ordering half the dessert platter.

Because it is vacation of course.

Rob with three desserts

Orange dessert

Chocolate torte

If you find yourself in Barcelona, go go go go go here! I’ll just be over here drooling.

Perhaps I should have started this post with a, “hey we went to Spain” intro! Or started posting chronologically, depicting the places we went, things we saw, restaurants we tried… but no. This time I started at the end. The end which was the best capstone I could have asked for. Hopefully the posts to come fill in the gaps 🙂

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How to Beat the Bus Stop Blues

Well, those of you previously lamenting the warm winter temps… I hope you are happy. Winter is here and my morning bus stop is rough… You can find me cowering from the wind, desperately pushing the heat lamp button for relief.

Your snow, your wind and frost tipped trees appeared.

Winter is here.

Guess what winter does to me. It makes me crave all the carbs. All the carbs piled high in sauce.

Perhaps a creamy sauce, one with roasted tomatoes, slowly simmering away. Or a butternut squash sauce.. hmmm..  Topped of with parm and basil… fresh basil.

Like farmers market basil…. that I cannot access for another 5 months at least.  Instead I settle for the “living basil” at my local grocery store and gamble on its longevity.

So in order to beat my bus stop blues, I slice up a butternut squash, roast it away and pray it becomes the sauce my chilled soul is craving.

Sigh. But oo this pasta dish will do.

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So you winter people, join me in some carbs?

You will need:

  • 3/4 Cup of Veggie Broth
  • 1 Cup Heavy Cream or Milk
  • 1 Butternut Squash, Cubed
  • 1 lb Italian Sausage
  • Arugula
  • Handful of Parmesan Cheese
  • 3 Cloves Garlic
  • 1 Egg
  • Handful of Basil
  • 1 12-15 oz Container of Ricotta
  • Cooked Shell Pasta (1 package)
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper, Cayenne Optional
  • One Chopped White Onion

Preheat your oven to 400 Degrees. Throw the chopped squash and onions on a baking pan. Sprinkle with olive oil, salt and pepper.  Roast them in the oven for about 40 minutes. While the veggies are roasting, heat olive oil, onion and one clove of garlic. Once the onion has softened,  then throw in and brown the Italian Sausage. Once the sausage is cooked, add three large handfuls of arugula to the pan. This will cook down a ton.

Once the arugula has wilted, take the pan off the heat and set aside. In a mixing bowl add the ricotta, the egg and a touch of salt and pepper. Next add the sausage arugula mixture. Combine until evenly mixed.

Take your sausage ricotta mixture and stuff each shell with about a spoonful and a half.

Once your veggies have roasted, add them to your food processor. Add in cayenne to taste and two whole cloves of garlic, 3/4 cup of veggie stock and the one cup of milk or heavy cream.

 Blend away to a nice smooth consistency. Pour your now butternut squash sauce into the bottom of a baking pan. Place the stuffed shells on top of the sauce in the baking pan. Bake for 30-40 minutes, until the sauce is bubbling.

Once the sauce bubbles, remove and top with chopped basil and a handful of parmesan cheese.

Dig in, enjoy and forget about those howling winter winds, and tomorrow’s bus stop blues 🙂

 

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Slurping Away…

When we moved from Singapore to Tokyo, the city was in the throws of winter. The city was blanketed in its first measurable snow in quite some time.

Our family was not equipped for the seasons, having left behind our winter gear in the states. My long blonde hair sun kissed and skin about as tan as it will ever get… A stark contrast to our new home.

Tokyo’s winter was shock to me and my family. Although we new it would be there….

We used socks as gloves and had a little snowball fight outside our new apartment.  I’ll never forget that sock fueled snowball fight. My first memory of our new home. Our newly adopted country. Our second expatriate move.

A new culture for my childhood to explore, absorb and bond with.  The noodle shops quickly became our favorite stomping grounds.  How many bowls of ramen could my brother and I slurp away?  Who could slurp the loudest? And yes this is totally acceptable in Japan.  A noodle shop without slurping is a bad noodle shop… you don’t want to be eating it.

On home leave back to the states, mom had to remind us that slurping was not acceptable in the US.  Mind your American manners…

O how I miss those noodle shops, welcoming me in with their plastic bowls of food….. encouraging you to point and order. Those flavors, those sounds, the smells and the familiar feel of the shops are forever engrained in my mind. The one we went to every Saturday, where baby sister was so coddled by the owners. Treat after treat they would bring her, hold her as my parents ate.  We could only communicate in broken language of the other, but you were family here.

Lucky for me, a new ramen shop has opened in Minneapolis. One with hype around the block.

Within a couple weeks of the opening, we had to check it out.

Ramen Kazama.

I walked in with high expectations.  The way the menu is laid out brought back a familiar feeling. I knew this was going to be good.

We ordered the spicy pork and the chicken.

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The ramen broth here is some of the best. It touched a nerve, a feeling, a memory I haven’t had in a while.

This is the closet ramen to what I remember from Tokyo, that you can find in Minneapolis. You must go here.

When Minneapolis is in its throws of winter, there could be no better cure. It is truly delicious.

 

Philly and My Cheese Steak.

Each plane ride leads me to the next. Each trip, long or short, has me craving a new adventure.

I am always dreaming of that next departure.

I cannot be still and stay. My most comfortable place is the airport.

Last weekend was spent traipsing through Philadelphia with the one and only KB.

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Off we were to explore her new city and eat just about everything in sight. It was as we called it, a foodie weekend, with not much but food crawls on our  minds.

Naturally our first stop had to be a cheese steak.   I’ve had Pat’s and Geno’s on a previous Philly trip, so this time, we walked blocks and I mean like 6 miles to get to Jim’s Steaks.

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I made (yes made) KB order, as technically she had never ordered one before. Don’t worry, whiz was involved.

Our next stop was a jaunt to a pop up beer garden for happy hour. I could live in this pop up beer garden. Which by the way at the end of the season is stripped down to the bare parking lot that it came from. The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society puts these on and it may be the best summer activity ever. Beyond jealous one is not on my street. Ahemmm Minneapolis….

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Post beer garden, you should probably head to Tria Fitler Square for you know… carbs and cheese.  The perfect “beer-soaker-uper”. Get the Truffled Egg Toast with Fontina Fontal. O my god this is the best toast or anything else that you will ever put in your mouth.  We also had the Pistachio Herbed Ricotta with Lavender Honey Bruschetta.  I plan to recreate this at home very soon. SO good. The braised beef short rib gnocchi was also to die for. All in all, carb heaven.

Naturally the next morning, we had to start brunch on the same carb and cheese train. Because we totally did not have enough the night before. AND we had trekked all the way to the new Century 21, meaning we had burned off at least half of the night’s delights.

Check out Zavino Wine Bar for seriously the largest meat and cheese tray ever.

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After more walking, exploring and a daytime cocktail or two, our dinner reservation at Mercato arrived. I’m told you are not to take photos here, and as I do not break the rules, I refused to do it. However others were doing it and KB demanded documentation. Somehow, someone managed to take the below………..

 

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(Shhhh!)

With my stomach and carb love full, off we went to wander the picturesque historic streets. If anyone would like to purchase the below home for me, I’d greatly appreciate it.  Then I could spend more time traipsing through the city and sampling the restaurants to my heart’s content.

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While I’m over here already dreaming of the next trip, I left Philly happy at a friend’s new home, happy for her next adventures and delighted to have met some of her new people;  amazed at her already amassed knowledge of the city and passion to explore.

(I’ll be over here eating salad all week)

Have you been to Philly?

In a Blink

Blink and everything is different.

Things you’ve imagined, applied for, worked to achieve. A long drawn out path it seems…. and then you blink.

That which you dreamed, sweated over and stressed…. happened.

Do you ever feel that way? Something that seemed so far off, whatever it may have been… and all of a sudden it is here.

You’ve gone from shaking your fists at neurotic drivers, to walking 20 minutes to work every day.

It amazed me today, walking home, watching the river…. how fast things change.

And some changes call for celebratory dinners.

You could not find a better place than Borough to celebrate anything! It was the best meal I have had in a long time. I’ve heard rave reviews, but had yet to go.

I am ready to go back.

The potato leek soup was perfect and from now on I will need to top dishes with quail eggs…. (have I mentioned I normally hate eggs?)

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The Sweetbreads. My first time actually.

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AND that octopus was perfect. After so many disappointing octopus dishes lately, this one was a welcome treat.

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The duck with the Taleggio grits.

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Amazing. I further cleaned this plate.

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The dessert was beautiful. I’m not a sweets person…. but when celebrating… 🙂

How do you celebrate change?

Spoonful of Crudo

Hello Blog. Long time no see.

With Christmas, a faux-break from work, and being doused in cold meds for the last few days, this little space has been a bit neglected.

No fear, I am back…… though quite possibly still in a medicated state.

A few weeks ago I somehow got into Spoon and Stable, the new, everyone-wants-in-place. My actual reservation isn’t for another couple of weeks, (which I made a month ago!) However, during the middle of the week, we were able to grab a table in the bar. With the ability to order both the bar menu and the dinner menu here, I was delighted, feeling as though I had magically skipped the reservation waitlist. Almost as if I had won the reservation lottery.

Have you ever felt that way?

The restaurant deities were looking over me that night.

GET THE DAYBOAT SCALLOP CRUDO. Do not leave without it. It was the highlight of my meal and a dish I still dream about. I may order three of these next time…

Go with someone who wants to explore the menu.  We picked from multiple of the menu categories, though did not explore the options from “land” or “sea”.  Next time 🙂

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Have you been yet? If not, do not forget to order the scallop crudo….. otherwise those restaurant deities may come after you.. Be warned 🙂

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

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(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!

B.L.T.

There is something about that summer tomato.

You know… the real, fresh picked, not purchased in a chain super market, tomato.

I could never understand the person who despised the tomato. Until I moved to the Midwest… and our state lacks the real thing for half the year. The difference between the garden tomato and store bought tomato is mind blowing.

Yes I just referred to a tomato as mind blowing…

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Like summer’s candy.

And sometimes mind blowing summer candy makes you buy bison bacon.

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And then of course, you make BLTs…!

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AM I JUST A CRAZY TOMATO LADY?

ARE YOU?