Category Archives: Minneapolis

Beer Fest and Block Party

A couple months back, there was a LivingSocial.com voucher for purchase that peaked my interest– Stanley’s 1st Annual Craft Beer Festival. I shot out a quick email to guage interest and quickly scooped up to admission vouchers for myself and my boyfriend. It sounded like a fun event and anytime I can be outside enjoying the summer weather, I’m in.

I woke up on Saturday, rearing to go only to find that my backyard was Lake 10,001 (usually grass). With the forecast not looking so good, we trudged ahead, picked up a hearty lunch and crossed our fingers that the weather would improve. Much to our surprise, the rain cleared (humidity set in) and the sun came out just in time for the gates to open.

There were over 100 different beers offered by tons of brewers. There was live music, Hammerschlagen, Stanley’s food truck, hand-rolled cigars, and more! Oh did I mention 1/4 pound hotdogs?!

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There were lots of interesting and exciting varieties from the Chocolate Milk Stout from O’Dell’s to Crispin’s Fox Barrel Pear Cider my senses were satisfied. Other than getting an entire beer spilled down the front of me by a very excited (extremely drunk) patron, I had a great time.

The beers were ice cold, the turn out was large, the bands were great, and the energy was awesome! After the festival ended, the street remained closed, the block party began and Orange Whip took the stage– nothing like a good ol’ street dance. Stanley’s did a killer job arranging the 1st Annual Beer Festival and I can’t wait to go back next year!!

Check out their website for details!
http://www.stanleysbarroom.com/artawhirl-beerfest/

Cheers!

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Bunny’s & Blue Door Combo

Last Saturday I celebrated my birthday a day early and had two firsts; Bunny’s breakfast and Blue Door Longfellow.

I began my day with my boyfriend at Bunny’s Bar and Grill in St Louis Park for a hearty breakfast of Eggs Benedict. In all honesty, prior to us dating, I could not tell you the last time I had Eggs Benny; maybe a couple times in my life. But when he told me that this is one of the best in Minneapolis, I could not pass it up.

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While this may not appear to be the most appetizing picture, I have to admit (the boyfriend was right) this was some great Eggs Benny. The english muffin was crisp, the egg cooked to perfection and the hollandaise had just the right amount of lemon kick. And the hashbrowns were cooked to perfection; cripsy on top and nice and light on the bottom half.

After such a large breakfast I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to stomach much for lunch. But thankfully lunch was late and once I laid eyes on the menu at the Blue Door Pub-Longfellow it was all over.

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Seriously, everything looked delicious. After some deliberation, I decided on the Horsekick Blucy with my Fulton Lonely Blonde (of course).

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What is that you ask? According to Blue Door:
HORSEKICK BLUCY :: Hold on to your hat, pardner! Our own horsekick sauce makes a rowdy appearance with a bleu cheese and cream cheese blend infused with horseradish. We add onion strings for some extra giddy-up.

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This is hands down one of the best burgers I have ever had. The combo of bleu cheese, horseradish and cream cheese tastes like… heaven. And how did I forget, Blue Door has AMAZING cajun tots– do not pass them up. I repeat, do not pass them up.

It was such an awesome day to start my birthday celebration, good food, good people and good fun!

Cheers!

Bunny’s
http://bunnysbarandgrill.com/
The Bloor Door
http://bluedoorlongfellow.com/

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Tequila! (Come on channel your inner Pee Wee)

Saturday night I ventured to Barrio in Edina for some pre-dinner drinks to celebrate my boyfriend’s little sister’s birthday (don’t worry she is of age). Even though there are 3 locations in the cities, I have only visited the Minneapolis watering hole.

The large open space echoes many of the aspects you find at the downtown location. Similar decor, energetic atmosphere, and the same awesome menu.

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Initially I was going to go the standard margarita route and order the Trinity. But then I spotted it, Enter the Dragon.

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Yup, you read that correctly. Passion fruit and Fresno peppers… yes, please!

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I am uncertain how to perfectly describe this drink. Honestly the first thing that came to mind was Hawaii. “This tastes like Hawaii in a glass”. But that does little good for you as a reader…

The front end of this drink has a smooth creaminess that you may come to expect of the passion fruit, while the back end provides the kick you would know is coming with a fresno pepper. This drink has perfect balance as there is just enough spice begging you to take another sip but not so much so that you want to slide it back to the bartender and ask for something else.

Honestly, the only thing that could have made this better would have been sitting on the patio, in the sun, wearing a dress, and wedges. Mother nature did not work in my favor but this drink was divine. I will be heading back for this drink and maybe some fresh made guac and chips!

Want check out Barrio?? Click below!
http://barriotequila.com/barrio/#!/CocinadelBarrio”>http://barriotequila.com/barrio/#!/CocinadelBarrio

Cheers!!

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Raku for You?

A few months back I purchased a Groupon for Raku Sushi & Lounge at West End in St. Louis Park and as with many Groupons don’t remember to use them until close to expiration. In this case, the very last day. Thus, last night I made my first visit to Raku.

The outward appearance of the joint gives you very little to go on. But as soon as you enter the front door you are greeted with a vibrantly lit host stand and a very polite host. We were seated immediately at a high-top table near the also vibrantly lit bar and sushi bar. While the bright lights and decorations were somewhat reminiscent of bars in Japan, I don’t recall ever go to a sushi bar like this.

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I guess that is neither here nor there. Anyway, there was an incredible array of white acrylic fish dangling and dancing from the ceiling throughout the entire restaurant.

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And killer little “traditional” Japanese tables (also brightly lit) where you sit in the floor; looked like a cozy place for a little gathering.

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While the St. Louis Park location boasts itself as a sushi and lounge destination, they also have a rather extensive menu of options outside of the sushi family. I love the idea that I could go to Raku with someone who may not like sushi but that they would have options that would fit their taste.

That being said, I myself, am not going to a sushi bar and not ordering sushi. So my date and I opted for 3 rolls (after edamame of course):

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The idea of having a sushi roll sans rice was intriguing. This literally melted in my mouth. The combination of the mild fish, along with the crunch of the asaparagus and the kick of the wasabi sauce… I died. Y.U.M.

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He went more “standard” with Captain Crunch accompanied by a California Roll. He stated, “I’m impressed, I would come back!” WIN!

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With little competition in the St. Louis Park area, I think Raku Sushi & Lounge will quickly become the sushi place! The atomosphere, attentive service and extensive menu will entice people to return over and over again.

Check out their website and if you aren’t near St. Louis Park they have a location in Edina as well!

http://www.rakumn.com/

Kampai!

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Braver than I

A couple weeks back I was lucky enough to be invited to the opening night of Brave New Workshop’s Lance Armstrong’s Steroid Pumped Comedy Review: A Cheater’s Guide to Winning. Having never seen a show at the Brave New Workshop, I was really excited to see the show as well as explore their new downtown venue.

Located in the heart of downtown Minneapolis, you cannot miss this place!!

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Bright lights greet you and carry through the box office, right into the bar area; coincidence? I think not.

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After a cocktail had been ordered (you get rewarded right away-love that) we were ushered upstairs to take our seats.

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My first thought was, “Awesome, right up front!” The thought that followed soon after was, “Shit! I hope they don’t pull me on stage!” The latter lingered longer than the first.

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One of the first in the main room, I was excited as the seats began to fill and the room was buzzing with energy.

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It was announced there was a packed house, brief introductions and history and then the show was off and running. To be completely honest, I am often skeptical of comedians but somehow love sketch comedy. This show did not disappoint. The actors were energetic and spot on in their performances. They were engaging and owned the stage and their characters.

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The show was fast-paced and kept your interest throughout. You did not want to look away an miss any cue or mannerism or God forbid be pulled on stage… hold your breath… they pulled someone on stage… still holding?

NO! It was not me! Thank goodness but it was so fun to watch the audience involvement and the actors engaging the crowd. I was so impressed by the talent and the abdominal workout they gave me… dang! You could not pay me to jump on stage and improv… anything. But you can bet that I will be going back to watch the professionals in action. And you should too!

Check out the website for more on the show, the actors and to get your tickets!
http://theatre.bravenewworkshop.com/NowShowing.aspx

Cheers!

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Mr. Butcher, you have my heart!

Last week was a rough one and it seemed only fitting to round it out on a positive note. With tickets to opening night of Brave New Workshop’s Lance Armstrong’s Steroid Pumped Comedy review I felt it most appropriate to grab drinks and dinner beforehand. So, I booked a reservation at Butcher and the Boar just down the street (let the salivating begin).

To be totally transparent, I have been to Butcher and the Boar before. That being said it was for a very special birthday dinner and thus, no pictures were taken. Since then my dinner date has a better understanding of the blog and has grown accustomed to my frequent picture taking. I took full advantage of this increased understanding and documented this visit!

We started with the pickle plate and opted to add Beef Heart and Eggs (it was the right decision) along with the Stuffed Jalapenos. I take that back– I started with a Ketel Dirty on the Rocks… Bleu Cheese stuffed olives. Divine. THEN the apps followed.

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The pickle plate was incredible. I honestly never knew you could “pickle” so many things but apparently the options are truly endless. The stuffed peppers provided a bit of a surprise as the jalapeno was delicately filled with a very light, fluffy peanut butter. The juxtaposition of the spicy and sweet was very intriguing though not my absolute favorite.

Our selection for entrees varied slightly from our last visit. He went to the Berkshire Pork Chop and I for the Flatiron Steak.

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You read that correctly– he got the pork chop, I got the steak. Hold your breath… he is not a huge steak fan. I know, mind.blown. For the a la cartes we ordered Chive Mash and Cedar Plank mushrooms. Unreal.

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I think I can speak on behalf of myself and my dinner date– this may be the best meal in Minneapolis. Our steak and pork chop were cooked perfectly. Butcher and the Boar has gotten it all right! The atmosphere, the food and service are spot on. I absolutely did not want this meal to end. I will return time and time again to indulge and enjoy.

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612 Brew

Over the past couple years Minneapolis has seen a surge of local breweries and I feel inclined to try them all. A couple weeks ago 612 Brewery was on the docket for exploration. I checked out their website, gathered some friends and made plans to meet on a Friday afternoon.

My first thought– “Holy smokes… this could be dangerous… I live in walking distance… bring on the warm weather!” My second thought was “slow your roll sister, let’s make sure you like the joint first”. Sometimes I can get ahead of myself.

Anyway, I arrived around 4pm on a Friday to find the place bustling and filled with energy.

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The Stanley’s food truck was parked outside and already had me lusting. Then I checked out the beer list– serious decisions to be made, and boy did they make it difficult. Lucky for me, I had all the time in the world. So why not try a few!?

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I just couldn’t get enough of her!

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Though all of the beers were delicious in their own right, my favorite by a landslide was the Main Stage. Just as the description stated, the caramel had me falling in love. Slightly hoppy without being overpowering this was just the right balance for my palette.

The vibe and the energy in the brewery was awesome. I hope that at some point mother nature will decide to wake from her Tundra Slumber and give us some warm weather. A great feature of 612 (besides the killer crew) is a large garage door that I can just imagine being thrown open with seating outside for those hot days when all that could possibly quench your thrist is a cold 612 brew. Without a doubt, this is one of my new favorites in the Twin Cities. If you have not been #1 you are crazy #2 get your butt over there ASAP!

Cheers!

Find out more about 612 @ 612Brew.com

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Help! What the heck is this?!

So, I was recently at the grocery and I love perusing the produce section to see if there are any fun items I have never worked with before. It didn’t take long before I spotted this little guy…

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Ugh! I have absolutely no idea what it is!! It was about the size of a buckeye and approximately the same weight. But as you can see, was covered in little “tentacles”. I know for certain it is a fruit as it was grouped near the papayas and mango. Unfortunately for me, there was no sign stating what it was and my Google searches have been less than fruitful. Does anyone have a clue what this is?

Cheers!

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Avocado…Cheese…Black beans…drool…

A couple weeks back my younger brother was in town visiting and was dying to try Bryant Lake Bowl for lunch. He had already scoped out the menu and this guy was on a mission. Now, I have only been to BLB for brunch (not my favorite) or a night cap (surprisingly large array of options). Needless to say, I was somewhat on the fence about lunch but I had to indulge his cravings!

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Apparently mid-day drinking is not his thing (even when on “vacation”) so we skipped the libations and dove right into the menu. Being that he had already memorized the menu, he was set on the Black Bean Burger. I on the other hand vacillated between the Bad Breath Burger and the Red Barn White Cheddar Grilled Cheese; tough choices!

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I waited until the waitress came to make the final decision under pressure. She suggested the grilled cheese plus avocado and fresh garlic. Drooling commenced. I was sold. Though busy, it was only a short while before our food was served.

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The grilled cheese was toasted to perfection. The creaminess of the cheese and avocado were puncuated with the spicy kick of fresh garlic. I loved this– I think the only thing that could enhance this sandwich would be bacon. That being said, I would add bacon to just about anything in order to reach “peak flavor”.

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Al’s black bean burger was INSANE! The patty was made up of black beans, corn, peppers and had a spicy kick to compliment the creamy avocado and cilantro aioli. Somehow no matter what my brother orders, I always end up coveting his meal. The burger was served with a mixed green salad with a very light yet tasty peanut dressing.

With the combination of efficient and friendly service accompanied by each of us enjoying our meal I am pretty certain I would re-visit Bryant Lake Bowl for lunch or dinner. But next time, I think I am going to have to go for the Bad Breath Burger!

Cheers!

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CariWHAT?

Ummm have you been to Caribou lately? Obviously living in Minnesota, they are EVERYWHERE. Anyway, last Thursday I went to a Caribou in St. Louis Park to work on a group project for school. I knew that I could not do coffee (I would be up all night) and I was surprisingly lusting after something cool (I am in the mood for spring). I was thrilled to see there was a Smoothie menu and was even more enticed by their offerings. Once I spotted the White Peach Berry smoothie and I knew it had to be mine!

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Warning… not healthy but I justified by letting it serve as my dinner. I will seriously be getting this again soon. I imagine it could be very refreshing after a long night… of drinking.

Cheers!

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