A Weekend in Minneapolis: Fun, food and beer in less than 48 hours

A Weekend in Minneapolis: Fun, food and beer in less than 48 hours

My husband recently had to go to Minneapolis for a business trip and seeing that I have a major case of FOMO (fear of missing out) and I am trying to visit all 50 states before I am 50, I flew up and met him after his meetings on a Friday evening. We only had until Sunday to see what the city had to offer but if you know me, that fact wasn’t going to stop me from seeing everything on my to do list, which when I travel is usually beer, food, and anything I can take a picture with. Sure I may miss out on some of the so called must sees but I always have fun and Minneapolis was no exception, in fact it was one of the best weekends we have had in a long time.

First stop : Beer. I was thirsty after traveling and we needed to come up with a game plan, we were staying downtown and there was a bar called The Local (931 Nicollet Mall) that was close by and served craft beer, sold. We stopped in here for an appetizer and a few pints. They had a decent beer selection as well as a full bar. It’s an Irish Pub and the food while decent was nothing to write home about but we met some locals and talked to the bartender, they were all friendly and gave us some suggestions on what to do and see while we were there.

I had googled and locals had suggested Butcher and The Boar, so we knew this had to be on our list and that we may need a reservation, we called from The Local and the only time we could get in was in about an hour. No problem we are nothing if not adaptable when we travel, time for a quick change and a brisk walk and a picture with the Mary Tyler Moore statue.

A Weekend in Minneapolis: Fun, food and beer in less than 48 hours

Luckily our table was not quite ready when we got there, this gave us a chance to check out their Beer Garden out back.

A Weekend in Minneapolis: Fun, food and beer in less than 48 hours. Butcher and the Boar Beer Garden

 We had a local beer while waiting for our table, they also serve house made sausages if you need a bite. We waited for the real thing inside and I am glad we did, the menu is divine and the food is awesome. We ordered way too much, but loved all of it. Some highlights were the Beef Long Rib, House Pickle Plate, Homemade Braunschweiger, Blackened Cauliflower, oh and anything on the menu.

Butcher and The Boar Minneapolis, Beef Long RibIButcher and the Boar House Pickle Plate and Smoked Olives

With our bellies full of beer and food we walked back towards our hotel and checked out the sights. We had big plans of maybe going somewhere else but we were tired and did I mention full, so we decided to get some sleep and get an early start on tomorrow.

We woke up and headed down to the local Mill City Farmer’s Market. I think this is always a great way to get to know a new city and this was no exception. Quirky food trucks, local produce and flea market finds, I even got a cool vintage apron for only $10. The nice thing about this market is that it is right outside the Mill City Museum and has views of the Mississippi.

A Weekend in Minneapolis: Fun, food and beer in less than 48 hoursA Weekend in Minneapolis: Fun, food and beer in less than 48 hours: Mill City Farmers MarketA Weekend in Minneapolis: Fun, food and beer in less than 48 hours: Mill City Museum A Weekend in Minneapolis: Fun, food and beer in less than 48 hours

From there we walked along the Mississippi, across the Stone Arch Bridge and down Main Street. Great sites, relaxing parks, and lots of history. Again now we are thirsty and what is a girl to do? Find a local Brewery. The closest one according to our map app was Dangerous Man Brewing, it was a bit of a hike but it was a beautiful day so we did it and it made our liquid reward that much sweeter or should I say hoppy. There was a line to get in when we arrived so we knew we mad a good choice. We tried several different brews and they were all great and the staff and atmosphere was friendly and inviting.

Dangerous Man Brewing MinneapolisA Weekend in Minneapolis: Fun, food and beer in less than 48 hours: Dangerous Man BrewingA Weekend in Minneapolis: Fun, food and beer in less than 48 hours

Guess what, I’m hungry again, big surprise. So we are off to try the legendary Jucy Lucy. We decide on Matt’s Bar, their are local disputes on who invented it or who has the best one. Well I am not sure if this is the best one because it is the only one I tried but I can tell you that it is delicious. So simple, yet so good. Who knew just putting the cheese inside the hamburger would change it into a must have before you die food. This place is cash only and small so if you go right at a meal time be prepared to wait. Also please heed the warnings of letting your Jucy Lucy cool before biting into it, yes it is torture, but will save your mouth from 3rd degree burns.

A Weekend in Minneapolis: Fun, food and beer in less than 48 hours: Matt's BarA Weekend in Minneapolis: Fun, food and beer in less than 48 hours: Matt's BarA Weekend in Minneapolis: Fun, food and beer in less than 48 hours:Matt's Barr Home of the Jucy Lucy

Ok now I have to admit my biggest disappointment with Minneapolis is that there is no Prince Museum or Purple Rain Park, no purple motorcycle tours, or no Morris Day and the Time Grill. Being a child of the 80’s and from Florida my only images of Minneapolis are from that movie. So my only opportunity to recreate some “Doves Crying” magic is to check out First Avenue (your downtown danceteria since 1970). So we get down there and of course the show is sold out which happened to be Tina and the B-sides, so I didn’t get to go in but did get to see it and all the stars on the wall with the bands that have played there which is a most impressive list. Bonus, I found the one of my favorite band ever and there is a bar right next door.

A Weekend in Minneapolis: Fun, food and beer in less than 48 hours: First AvenueA Weekend in Minneapolis: Fun, food and beer in less than 48 hours: First AvenueA Weekend in Minneapolis: Fun, food and beer in less than 48 hours: First Avenue

So now the only place left is Nye’s Polonaise, I will admit we had actually been here earlier in the day and had a great discussion with our bartender, I instantly fell in love. This place was opened in 1950 and hasn’t changed one bit. The decor, the people, the piano bar are all amazing. I knew I had to come back that evening when they were serving food, had the polka band that dresses up like Kiss playing and the sing along piano bar was full of locals crooning out the hits. I was expecting greatness and I got it, it was everything I had ever hoped for. It was like stepping back in time, well except for the college aged hipsters in fedoras, but even they seemed to work in this atmosphere. Also while your there, try the Polish Sampler Platter, great homemade food including locally made sausages. This is a national treasure and should not be missed.

Nye's Polonaise:A Weekend in Minneapolis: Fun, food and beer in less than 48 hours

A Weekend in Minneapolis: Fun, food and beer in less than 48 hours: Nye's PolonaiseA Weekend in Minneapolis: Fun, food and beer in less than 48 hours: Nye's Polonaise

A Weekend in Minneapolis: Fun, food and beer in less than 48 hours: Nye's Polonaise, Polish Sampler A Weekend in Minneapolis: Fun, food and beer in less than 48 hours: Nye's Polonaise

We stopped at another couple of bars before calling it a night, there was great karaoke at Otter ‘s Saloon and a sign that beckons, You Otter Stop Inn.

We had to leave early the next morning to catch our flight so we just grabbed breakfast at the hotel. Now I know we probably missed tons of cool places, in fact we didn’t even get to see everything on our list but I have to say that Minneapolis was a great time and I think we utilized all of our time wisely. Now I dare you to have more fun than that in less than 48 hours, good luck and have fun trying.

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Thats What Friends are For: Hedy Goldsmith’s Basil Panna Cotta with Berries

Basil Panna Cotta with Berries

It always happens, you can go for weeks with nothing to do, and then you plan something and there are a million things to do on that same date. My husband and I planned our 20th anniversary trip to Iceland so I could see the Northern Lights, a bucket list item for me. It was a gorgeous, awesome, romantic, fun and adventurous trip. Everything I could ever hope for. But at that same time here in my home town was Food and Wine’s Buick Discovery Tour with my Simon LeBon of chefs Hugh Acheson. What, how could I miss Hughnibrow, the funny judge on my favorite show Top Chef?  Never fear, I have the greatest best friend in the world. She went, she’s not really a foodie but I think she’s converting, and guess what she got me.
Hugh Acheson

Look he even spelled my name right! She gave me all her recipe cards (equivalent of baseball cards for foodies) from the event, including this delicious Basil Panna Cotta from Hedy Goldsmith. I love Panna Cotta and the addition of basil added a fresh and yummy flavor, I would also like to try it with mint some time. I did not make the Strawberry Consomme, we had some delicious fresh berries in the fridge so I just threw those on top, still tasted fantastic. Here is the recipe, the only thing I changed was the vanilla bean, I did not have one so I just added 1tsp of vanilla extract instead. One thousand Thank Yous to Hugh and my Bestie, I think I will frame my recipe card and put it next to my framed Madison Square Garden Duran Duran ticket.

Hedy Goldsmith's Basil Panna Cotta

Scan 20

Basil Panna Cotta with Berries

Happy Duran Duran Appreciation Day !

 

So many holidays lately, but of course this one is made for me! Today, August 10th, is Duran Duran Appreciation Day, but which day isn’t? I am getting excited for an upcoming trip to Biloxi to see them, and will probably have a Duran Duran dance party tonight with my bestie to celebrate.

So all you Duranies, break out the old albums, buttons and t-shirts and maybe make a Duran Duran themed vegetable platter.

 

or a Cherry Ice Cream Smile

Enjoy!

 

 

Olympics, That Sounds Like a Reason to Party

I will find any excuse to dress up or have a party, but this was a good one. My favorite band, Duran Duran was doing an Olympic concert, my birthday was a couple of days away and the opening ceremonies were on TV. Unfortunately the concert was not televised but that didn’t stop me.

First the decorations, I decided to go international, I made some easy flag centerpieces from styrofoam and dollar flags from the party store.Cover 2 rectangular styrofoam blocks with colored paper. I cut the paper and used tape at the joints so it would bend around the styrofoam so I could reuse them for another party.

I also painted the olympic rings onto the paper using a top to a pill bottle and paint and then stamping it onto the paper.

Paint around or dip the bottle top into paint and then use like a stamp.

insert your flags into the styrofoam and then you could pour colored glass or pebbles over the top of the styrofoam to cover it ( I forgot to do this step on mine). Paper crinkles would also work.

Use paper flag toothpicks for appetizers or sandwiches

Spell out your favorite team (or band) with vegetables.

Serve Olympic themed desserts, My friend used mini M&M’s to make the olympic rings on her coconut cake

or try the Olympic Fruit Tart

We played lots of silly games, like Olympic Themed Pictionary (divide into 2 teams and draw different events, countries, athletes, or London landmarks or traditions), Minute to Win It’s “How’s it Hanging“, and Diving for Cherries ( put a maraschino cherry in a bowl cover with whipped cream and using only your mouth try to get the cherry, whoever gets it first wins)

and of course there were costumes and medals. Buy some at the dollar store or make your own with paper circles, glitter and ribbon.

Dress as your favorite athlete, event or country and have fun!

Cherry Ice Cream Smile, and a Small Duran Duran Obsession

Ok if you got the title of this post then you already know I am a Duran Duran Super Fan. It’s not something I am necessarily proud of, but it is who I am. I got their cassette for Christmas when I was 10 or 11, and immediately I fell in love. I plastered my walls and ceiling with their posters, bought every book, video and record they sold. Made people drive me by Simon’s mom’s house, I was lucky enough to live in the same city as she did (but I bet she didn’t feel the same way). Every thought and action in my pre teen life revolved around the fab 5 in some way or another. I was what you might call obsessed. Every day I would watch MTV hoping to catch a glimpse of Simon’s baby blue eyes, listen to the radio trying to get any kind of tidbit of gossip about themand all of my friends had to like Duran Duran or they were traitors in my book. Then slowly there became a time when I sort of left them. I cheated on them with The Smiths, The Cult, The Pixies, I traded my jazz shoes for Doc Martens, I even got married and had two kids. They were always my first love though, the one I could never forget. Once my kids started to get a little older and I could stop listening to Disney songs for entertainment, I came back. It started slowly, I would listen to a CD here and there, google them on the internet, download the dance mixes onto my Ipod, and well then it kind of got out of control. I like to think that it doesn’t rule my life like it did when I was 12 but there is evidence to the contrary. I follow, John, Simon, and even Simon’s dog on twitter (it is the only reason I signed up for the service). I plan many trips around Duran Duran concerts. I will think nothing of leaving my husband and kids if I get good seats in another city, state, or even country. I still scream like a 12 year old girl when I see them. I will push my old and decrepit body all they way to the front row every time, pushing the young whipper snappers out of my way in the process. I have even climbed over walls and across seat backs in heels to get there. I justify it by my age and commitment, I have earned front row seats even if my ticket says otherwise. I am 40, the ushers don’t scare me anymore. (And by the way front row at a sold out Madison Square garden concert is totally a bucket list moment.) Pictures are worth a thousand words right,  this was my Halloween costume last year.

So it was only a matter of time before I brought it up in my blog, I had cherries and I had ice cream, I was already singing the song in my head, the recipe just had to be created. Cherry Ice Cream Smile

1c pitted sliced fresh cherries

3T sugar

1/4 c water

2T spiced rum

pinch of salt

Ice Cream

Add cherries, sugar and water to a small pan, bring to a boil and simmer until cherries start to soften and liquid becomes syrupy. Add rum and salt, bring to boil again and then turn off the heat.

Serve over ice cream with whipped cream and nuts if desired.

and just because… I love you Simon, Bahamas 2008