I'm back from a wonderful trip to see my uncles in Minneapolis with my bff Caroline...the best part about it, was my Dad flew out to surprise me! We had been planning a trip for him to come out in September, but he showed up on the doorstep of my uncles' house (after we had passed him in the car, much to the dismay of my uncle who quickly took a left). Fantastic surprise, you got me family members.
So even though I'll have to run 10 miles everyday for my poor swollen stomach, the food was amazing and so were the cocktails. It was four days of drink, food, and catchphrase. With a little Taboo and Cooking Scrabble (the tiles are in a grocery bag!).
To begin our journey, we arrived at the Town Hall Tap. I had been to this restaurant before with Steve last summer, and had to get the brie cheese curds with blackberry chipotle jam. AMAZING.
Caroline and I also split two chicken sandwiches, one chicken salad and one chicken something or other. I apologize if I forget some vital ingredients, this food coma has made everything seem like a blur.
Now normally I don't like to double dip (get the same thing I've ordered before at a restaurant), but I couldn't help it. the chicken salad sandwich comes on a pretzel roll, and the sweet potato fries are sprinkled with parmesan cheese. Say no more. Thanks Town Hall Tap!
We visited the Guthrie building and had a lovely view of the city, before returning to the house to play catchphrase and start in on the cocktails. The uncles' have an amazing restaurant called Wise Acre right across the street. They get all their food from a local farm. We walked there for dinner and started with a couple appetizers. The homemade chips were served with a caramelized onion dip and fresh veggies. Not bad at all.
We also ordered the gouda nettles. I am still not quite sure what this was, but after looking it up, I believe nettles are an herb that is added to the cheese and it was served with bread. Very flavorful, and I always love me some gouda.
Caroline and I split a tomato basil pie. We split many things so that these food journeys did not end up in vomiting and a comatose state. The pie was my favorite part of the meal..the crust was flaky and delicious, and the basil and tomatoes so fresh. It was served with grilled summer veggies, the perfect August evening meal.
We finished off the meal with a sampling of custard with amazing toppings. I slept well that night, fo sho. Our evenings usually ended with more booze and the olympics. Friday morning we had a late start, and ventured over to the Colossal Cafe, a dive featured on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives. I had seen this episode, and knew exactly what I wanted to get. It was the only breakfast dish featured on the show: Pancakes with apples, walnuts, cinnamon maple sugar, and brie. That's right, brie. Cheese for breakfast?! Most people from Wisconsin would say, "umm..yeah..and? Your point?". However, I have never heard of such nonsense. When I saw a picture of the pancakes, I thought there were two sticks of butter on top (puke). They were amazing! Caroline and i split them with a breakfast sandwich (fatties) that had prosciutto, sundried tomatoes, fried egg, and swiss.
We had a post-breakfast stroll around Lake Nokomis, one of Minneapolis' 10,000 lakes. One of the things I love about this city, is people are always out and about, running and biking. It's fantastic. Caroline and I went for a run around Lake Harriet, and the creeks and bike paths are just amazing. The run was well needed and in no way makes up for my stretched-out stomach...perhaps I am preparing for Thanksgiving.
We have now come to my favorite meal, Friday night dinner. It was at a newer restaurant called Eat Street Social. The area it's located in is called Eat Street, and they have another one in a different part of town called Northeast Social or something like that. It was a pretty trendy atmosphere, and the menu and cocktails were creative. We were on our way to a play at the Open Eye theater, a tiny local not for profit theater where we saw a friend of the uncles' perform a political piece. So we ordered appetizers. The scallops were PHENOMENAL. Might be the best I've ever had. They were served with a corn puree and potato salad...and you all know how I feel about potatoes. But this one is one for the books.
I had this with the gazpacho, which was super fresh and had just the right amount of spice. The cocktail I had was the coolest one I've ever ordered, called the Jackson Pollack. I'm not sure exactly what they used for the splashes of color, but I think there was cayenne aioli and basil oil involved. Count me in. Caroline had an amazing salad with peanuts and duck! She's usually not into duck, but it was tender, light, and melted in our mouthes. Delightful.
The play was good...the producer and main actor, Kevin Kling, was friends with my uncle Ricky and is now close with Doug and Charlie. He was born with a birth defect in one of his arms, and lost feeling in the other arm after an accident. He has produced many plays, and written three books, and his talent is beyond words.
The next morning, we went to the Mill City farmer's market. It's one of the best ones I've gone to, and we got small donuts from a food truck that was voted one of the top 10 most creative food trucks in the U.S. The menu looked awesome, with items like sweet potato tacos yummmm. We found ingredients for the dinner that we cooked Friday night. I love farmer's markets.
For lunch we went to another Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives spot called Psycho Suzie's. The food was okay, but the decor and atmosphere would keep me coming back. It's a motor lodge full of tiki decorations, outdoor seating, and a bloody mary bar. We ordered a bunch of appetizers: cheese curds, fried asparagus, pickle pinwheels, bourbon maple bacon wrapped smokies, and deviled eggs. I also made a bloody mary based on a recipe found by the bloody mary bar. It had sriracha among other ingredients, which I decided to spill all over our table, so that was also fun and not embarrassing.
This was the kick start to our cocktail hopping, which took up the rest of the day. It's a hard life, eating and drinking your way through vacation. I'm pooped.
First we went to the Red Stag, a supper club opened up by two strapping Wisconsin gentlemen in Minneapolis. Even though I just couldn't eat another bite, we ordered the fried smelt, which is a small fish. They were delicious, and I would've eaten more if I wasn't bursting to the brim with fried food. I had a lemon basil cocktail, which was a bit harsh, but I do love that combination.
Next we come to my favorite venue, W.A. Frost and Company. It was located not far from the UMinn campus. Complete with an outdoor garden, the inside had an amazing dining room, and the basement can be likened to a castle den. AMAZING. This was also the location of my favorite cocktail, a peach violette. Beautiful color, beautiful flavor.
And now comes the final meal of Minneapolis: home-cooked. After days of stuffing myself full of amazing cuisine and fried delights, it was nice to have something that we made all on our own. The menu was a flank steak in a whiskey balsamic marinade, panzanella salad (italian bread salad) with cherry tomatoes, mozzarella, corn, and basil, and grilled corn on the cob. We finished off with rolo fudge brownies, which were blow your mind amazing, but super rich.
Recipes for the steak marinade and brownies can be found here:
After an amazing trip, I left with a full belly and a smile on my face. With my Dad, who came back to Milwaukee with me :) I had a wonderful time sharing good eats and drinks with friends and family. Now, it's time for boot camp and non-fat yogurt. Happy eating!