Hopping on the Red Wagon…

As a kid, I had one of those red wagons, you know the one with the black handle?  That you would hop into and ride down the hill?

It was in a sense a mini rollercoaster, careening down the hill. Perhaps a friend or sibling or two grasping my waist and hanging on for the ride. Sometimes you tumbled off and others you almost swung into a tree.  I mean the handle wasn’t the best steering wheel; but it was o so fun!

The restaurant we tried on Saturday brought up all of those red wagon memories. And for obvious reasons.

Red Wagon Pizza Company was on our evening agenda. Red Wagon stated as a passion project at the Linden Hills Farmers Market. Today you can visit the brick and mortar restaurant in South Minneapolis off Penn.

The black and white vintage feel was an inviting haven from the pending thunderstorm…. I also wanted to run off with the roses next to us 🙂

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Bar chips were ordered to start the meal.

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Next was the arugula salad…. while normally it comes with strawberries, the pickled peaches were a welcome substitution.

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As it was my first time at Red Wagon, we went with the classic Red Wagon Pizza; house cheese, red sauce, homemade sausage, soppresatta ribbons, chili flakes and a tiny drizzle of fig balsamic.

When you use loved and fresh ingredients….. you can taste it. And Red Wagon for sure loves its ingredients… you can taste it in every bite.

I’m ready for another pizza pie please 🙂

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I’m disappointed the leftover pieces are in someone else’s fridge and not mine…. 🙂

I’ll be over here wishing I had another piece of pizza and reminiscing of wagon roller coaster rides….

Have you been to Red Wagon Pizza Company?

City of Crudo

I had to explain “hanger” to someone.

Hungry + Angry.

I’m quite certain I did not make this up. It is a term floating out there in the food universe.

A certain someone, upon receiving a possibly snarky comment from me, will ask if I am hangry…. if I’ve eaten yet that day…

And while hanger has nothing really to do with the below, it seemed a semi decent segway.

I mean, if I ever have a hangry episode, I know where I can go to cure it.

Monello.

Go to Monello.

Monello recently opened in Minneapolis and we were lucky enough to be invited to a soft opening. We spent the evening ordering half the menu, sharing plates and critiquing between the four of us.  Though might I say, no critique was necessary.

The plating was beautiful, the flavors precise and divine. The service on point and beyond.

I’m still dying over the Sea Bass Crudo.

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I consider going to get this crudo at least 4 days of the week. I could eat crudo at every meal. And Minneapolis is getting its fair share of crudo restaurants these days. Monello does it right.

I am not kidding when I said we ordered half the menu.

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We loved it so much, we went back just a week later…. And ordered the other half of the menu.

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There may be literally only two items we haven’t tried? I say, someone go back with me for those two dishes 🙂

Have you been yet?

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?

The Greenie

As Spring creeps in, the weekend days get longer.. and so does my appetite for adventure.

To explore and hop into places I’ve never been.

Northeast Minneapolis is full of such places.

Despite living so close to many of my “undiscovereds”only when the snow begins to melt do I get this re-energized need to discover.

Discover I did last weekend.

A group of us finally made to a legendary dive bar.

A dive bar known for its kool-aid-ish, make you crazy type of a drink. (Note I did not get crazy, merely craved some post drink late night scallops. Normal, right?)

I do not even want to know what is it in.  But post drink, that frozen pizza served all over the bar was smelling mighty delicious.  Like I was seriously tempted to grab a slice of that processed peperoni off of my neighbor’s (read stranger’s) pie.

The bar was hopping at like 5pm and the people watching was over the top.  The Greenies (and the Pinkies) were a flowing.

And I can finally say I’ve had the famous Greenie of Northeast at Tony Jaros River Garden.

 Nothing like a green drink to usher in my spring 🙂

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Have you been?

Waffle Batter Survival.

Happy happy Friday!

I’m only able to survive the lingering cold and 100 degree temp change (Cambodia humidity I miss you) because of the rumored forecast next week…. 50 degrees do not fail me now 🙂

Another thing amping up my survival skills? My return to exploring  new places around Minneapolis.

One place that’s been on my list for quite some time, I mean we are at inside joke status because we never end up going, despite numerous attempts……

Nightingale. (PS they have Happy Hour Daily.)

The interior is so charming I just want to curl up at their bar on the regular. It is inviting, its intriguing, I’ll just order oysters every so often and linger all day.

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The cheeseburger…. if you are craving an all American classic, go to Nightingale.  I’ll be there ordering extra sides of the herb aioli to smother my fries in.

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Another way to survive the (cross my fingers) last snowfall of March? Northbound Smokehouse. Brewpub.  When friend buys a house literally around the corner, how could you not borrow snowboots three sizes too big, and traipse through the unwanted inches towards a pint of Honey Wheat and waffle batter cheese curds?

Yes I said that right. WAFFLE BATTER CHEESE CURDS. You salty/sweet people would be remiss if a basket of these was not ordered.

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To me, the end of winter survial equals a basket of waffel batter cheese curds.

Waffel Batter Survival.

How do you survive the lingering cold?

Friday Favs #4

Its the weekend, weekend. Phew!

Who is ready for Saturday morning sculpt, family dinner and down time? This girl.

This week brought a weird mix of events and I am ready for a wind down.

However with the weird also comes the good.

Linking up with Katie, Heather and Claire for Friday Favs!!

1) With this weeks amazing (yes I mean 35 degrees!) weather, I went on a 1.9 mile run outside. Yep I just said that. Me, the “I hate running, maybe ill try it next year, I’ll stick to the elliptical”, self just said that. Mom, dad, are you on the ground right now in shock? Want to know what’s even more shocking? I liked it. Yes, liked it enough to agree to a 5k. Funny the things or people it takes to push you out of your comfort zone and try something knew 😉 Couch to 5k here we come.

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2) New fur friends. My friend Jen shared her lady crushes this week, and I’m hopping on the bandwagon, fur baby style.

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Best buds. Big and Little.

3) Disasters in the kitchen. Yes, disasters…. I do not recommend this “healthified” curry, whole wheat, all veggie mac n cheeses, not one bit. Though I still think in concept, it sounded delish! I love a good chopping\mixing/experimenting session in the kitchen…. even if it didn’t work out. Who has an actually good version of this veggie curry mac n cheeses?

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4) This bottle of wine. Pinot Noir like I like my Pinot. Full bodied but not too heavy…. 🙂 A 2012 Vaughn Duffy. Someone tells me there were only 99 cases made. Which totally means I’m headed to France 44 to purchase the remaining bottles. If you see these somewhere else, buy it! If not for you, for me…

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5) And as you read this, we are officially one week away from Vietnam! The bucket list trip is on the horizon and I’m ready to go!

Happy Weekend! What are your plans?

Unplugged

Could you do it? Could you go unplugged for a day?

Unplugged, as in only using your phone for calls and texts. You could take pictures, but not upload them; to ANYTHING. No social media, no games. Unplug, to purely the “dumb” functions of your phone.

I found myself wondering this same question a few weeks ago. I feel the need to on the regular, tweet my random thoughts, visually get lost in Instagram and constantly scroll Facebook for updates.

My hand almost itches to grab my phone every five minutes. That cannot be normal.

So when Alyssa reached out about the Unplugged campaign, on behalf of Creative Expressions, I said yes! (Creative Expressions is a women owned Utah business, specializing in promotional products. Check them out here.)

The challenge: to unplug for one day. To live one day without accessing social media, email, games, etc. To experience that one day with family/friends and not be distracted by my phone.

I have friends who live one day a week with “no internet day.” I’ve wondered for quite some time if I could do it… and here was my chance 🙂

Heres how I spent my day, resisting the urge to grab my phone every 5 minutes. First Stop, IKEA! The roomie and I have been meaning to go for quite some time, say like since September?!

Shameless Selfie in my Unplugged T: my skeptical, will I make it face?

(Forgive me for the selfies, if you are familiar with these parts, I never take them. So I had to include a classic bathroom selfie :))

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And another one: this is my, get me out of IKEA face, with my sanity still in tact. Seriously, who goes to IKEA on a Saturday morning?! Bad decision. The line for daycare was out the door.

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I finally found new throw pillows….  Yes mom I gave in to my pillow problem again 🙂 Confused? See here.

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Next stop, the Weisman Art Museum at the U of M, with Jen. It was here I struggled the most with the challenge.  I arrived early and could not play around with my phone. I could not scroll through Insta, I could not upload the gorgeous pictures of the view behind me…

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And I most certianly could not tweet about the woman walking around in numerous, almost uncountable furry items. I mean, I know it was cold, but she was almost unrecognizable as a human. Yogi the bear would have been a better descriptor.

My fingers were just itching to tweet something sarcastic.  Instead I enjoyed the comedy in that moment and had a good laugh to myself 🙂 People were probably wondering who the strange lady was, laughing to herself in the museum….

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I would like this lady in my apartment please 🙂

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(Photo cred Jen)

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How gorgeous is Minneapolis?! As I couldn’t upload these to anything, I spent more time standing and taking in the view, focusing on what was right in front of me, instead of finding the perfect filter….

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Overall I think the challenge was more difficult for me than expected. My phone/social media habits are quite apparent now, it was a very eye opening challenge 🙂

 Tell me in the comments how you would spend your day Unplugged and a randomly selected comment will win your own Unplugged T 🙂

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 🙂

Spread the Love

If I am passionate about something…

And then all of a sudden, you are too….

I’ve sucessfully spread the love.

Shared my joy, my fun, my enthusiasim for something…

That has, over time, been aquired by you..

We are both enjoying, both having fun, both being enthusiastic.

What makes spreading the love even more successful?!

When you are actually enjoying something you previously teased me mercilessly for. Beware of the teasing…. specifically of my food photos 🙂  You may just find yourself taking all the photos for me… sending me food photos… saying out loud, “Wait, Christina needs to photograph this first!”

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So for our holiday work party, I”ll let D and D take the credit for these photos 🙂 Have you been to Brasserie Zentral yet?

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Think Austria, comfort food, flavor and history. A perfect, hearty holiday meal.

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Just a smidgen of what was at our table 🙂

I’d say we treated ourselves, so I’m linking up with Becky for Treat Yourself Tuesday.

Not Dazzling

A couple phrases you probably don’t want to say just prior to walking to a first date…

“Off I go, bleeding zit and all!”

Word to the wise, don’t play with your skin 30 minutes prior to running out the door…

Or “Just noticed some sticky white stuff on my sweater….”

These are not dazzling.

 I did attempt to find some “dazzle” at the Minneapolis Holidazzle Christmas Village over the weekend….

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My croissant eating skills may need some finesse..

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I may be a Grinch, but I did not feel transported back to the German holiday markets I’ve experienced in my past…

It was more about the company, the exploration… and perhaps the cider beer at the bar across the street?!

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Tis the season though, to search for the dazzle, to enjoy your company, to experience. Perhaps as we get older, we need to remember, search a bit harder for the meaning, the magic, the feeling, the excitement.

So I will be over here, remembering not to pick at my face, prior to a date, and working on my croissant face shoving skills.

HOW WAS YOUR WEEKEND?