To Do In Philly: The Magic Gardens

On this 70 degree November day, my heart is happy. I’m jumping for joy and lifting my face upwards towards the sun. Give me all the rays!

I am one of those forever summer people; one who’d be pretty happy posted up on a beach for the rest of forever. So naturally I get the end of summer blues. At 30 I’ve finally learned the cure to such blues.

Fall travel!

The first such trip was to Philly in September. Have you been? I absolutely love Philadelphia. On this trip I wanted to check out Philly’s Magic Gardens. The Magic Gardens are a non-profit, visionary art environment. Its located within Isaiah Zagar’s largest public artwork. The gardens are an outdoor installation spanning half a city block on South Street. Isaiah used nontraditional materials to transform an empty city lot.



Walking through this beautiful mosaic garden, I felt almost transported back to Spain. It felt like a Gaudi masterpiece. There was so much to look at, so many colors, materials and sayings. As we perused the garden, the artist himself was even there, happily engaging visitors in conversations regarding his work.



I highly recommend you add the Magic Gardens to your itinerary. And after you’ve explored to your heart’s content, you’re going to need some afternoon wine and snacks. So make your way over to Tredici Enoteca.

The restaurant has a warm coastal feeling.


 No better place to Rose all Day 😉

To enjoy some oysters..


And to eat hands down, the best bacon wrapped stuffed dates ever!


I’d say this trip was a great fall blues cure.

Do you experience the same blues? How do you beat em?


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…)



The spicy clams came next.


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


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 😉


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 🙂

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.


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 #3

 Happy Happy Weekend! How in the world does 5 straight days of work feel so long? I guess thats what a faux-vacation will do to a girl.

So now, a roundup of my favorites from the last week.

Linking up with Katie, Heather and Claire!!

1) Oysters and Champagne- with friends in town and tastebuds numbed, salty foods are a girls best friend. Have you been to the happy hour at The Lowry?

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2) Introducing out of town friends to Punch Pizza. Because, you know, its accross the street and happens to be in my mind, the closest Neopolitan pizza I’ve had since moving out of Florence.

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3)Friends who come to visit and yet make you breakfast in the morning. And not just any breakfast might I add. CREPES. Homemade crepes. They were delicious, from what my numbed tastebuds could taste 🙂

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4)More dinners in.  With these frigid temps and wind chill nightmares, the last thing I want to do after work is head out to dinner.  Give me a bottle of wine and the fuzziest blanket please. Add my sweats, slippers and puppy on my feet to keep me warm.  Or fleece lined leggings, but I’ve totally been wearing those to work this week as tights……

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 5) Friends who drive five hours to see you. And put up with you blowing your nose every 2 minutes, leaking tissues out of every pocket and sounding like a very hoarse man. 🙂

What was your favorite from the week?

Oui, Brunch!

 And its back to the food posts, I’m sure there were a few sighs of relief 🙂

How about “A little piece of Paris in downtown St. Paul”?

We recently checked out Meritage for brunch. Having been to Paris once or twice, I felt a familiarity with the ambience and service. There was a classic feel from the moment you walked in.

Typical me, I had to test out the Bloody Mary.

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Conclusion: This is the best I have had since moving back, takes the top spot hands down. I guess I will be driving to St. Paul more often!

And like usual, I am seduced by the oyster offerings.

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My first Island Creeks. AND I will be ordering these again. And again. And again.

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Brunch had to be topped off with a bite of dessert.

I will be back. You should definitely check out Meritage.

Big plans for the weekend?

Catfish NYC

O Crown Heights, Brooklyn, how I’ve fallen for you and your food. With so many options popping up, last Saturday’s choice happened by chance.  A list of potentials….. a quick menu scan.. and off we were to the flavors of New Orleans.

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Catfish was packed, rocking to the sounds of the 80s and slinging back authentic looking bloody marys. I mean a real bloody mary seems hard to find in NYC!

But look at these Oysters!

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I had to cut an oyster in half. Because…… not even going to say it, as your response will be “that’s what she said!”

Post oyster demolishing, the second appetizer arrives…

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Hello baked crawfish mac n cheese….. yes that is a potato chip topping.

And the Finale…

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Jambalaya; full of flavor and the right amount of heat. Check out Catfish, you won’t be disappointed.

Tuesday Treats Lurcat Style

O hey, its Treat Yourself Tuesday again 🙂 Check out Becky’s blog here.

Treat yourself Tuesday is all about remembering to do something for yourself once a week. But if you can remember to do it more than once a week, I’m all for that too 🙂

This week I had to indulge at an old favorite that just so happens to be in my new neighborhood.  I know, dangerous….

Hello Café Lurcat.

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Nothing quite says treat yourself Tuesday like a little sparkle…

Or breaking out of your pinot noir habit and indulging in a week day cocktail..

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Then again, nothing says treat like a few oysters..

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I still remember my first Oyster.. and yes I blogged about it here..

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And yes, I’m back on the meat 🙂

I’d call that a successful Treat Yourself Tuesday meal.

Now don’t forget to check out Olives n Wine!