Monthly Archives: June 2014

King’s Place

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One Sunday afternoon, Rob I were in search of a late lunch South of the River. Originally, Rob had chosen White Castle in Apple Valley; but I objected! Instead, I suggested Vivo since he hadn’t been there yet.

We pulled up to the bar (our favorite place to sit) and ordered a drink. This is where I had that wonderful Pomelo Margarita!

Pomelo Margarita - sauza blanco tequla, fresh grapefruit, st. germain, agave

Pomelo Margarita – sauza blanco tequla, fresh grapefruit, st. germain, agave

I inquired about their menu. Unfortunately, they were serving only the brunch buffet until 4pm. So we brainstormed where to go instead. Rob was trying to recall a good burger joint that he knew was further south. He couldn’t remember exactly where it was or what it was called. He texted his co-worker and we asked the bartender, as well.

We finally discovered it was King’s Place in Miesville.

I had no idea where Miesville was; so we plugged the address into KITT (as our GPS is affectionately named) and drove the 25 minutes further south in search of these burgers.

You can’t miss King’s Place as you pull into Miesville, population 105. And the place was packed… at 2:30 in the afternoon! People were waiting outside with beers in hand. Luckily, we were able to grab two seats at the bar. Most of the people seated at the bar were waiting for tables. But they handed us a couple of menus.

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I was overwhelmed by the number of burger choices! Here are just a few:

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The prices are very reasonable. Burgers come à la carte.

You can add an appetizer as a side, if you’d like.

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More burger choices!

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There are hot dogs, too…

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After we ordered, we saw this on the wall. Rob decided to give it a try…

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No, not the Fireball! The Cabin Fever Maple Whiskey. I took a whiff and it smelled incredible! We may have to find it and bring it back for my dad come Christmastime…

So what did we ultimately choose?

Rob:

Shortstop Burger - bacon sauerkraut, cheddar cheese, sour cream

Shortstop Burger – bacon, sauerkraut, cheddar cheese, sour cream

Carrie:

Slugger - American cheese, lettuce, tomato green pepper and homemade horseradish sauce.

Slugger – American cheese, lettuce, tomato green pepper and homemade horseradish sauce.

The burgers were very, very good. I’ve never had a burger with raw green pepper on it like this. And I always forget how much I love horseradish sauce until I have it again!

We both were happy that we went. We agreed that we probably wouldn’t make the trek out there purposely again. But if we were in the neighborhood, maybe on the way back into town or golfing nearby, it’d be worth a stop.

What’s your favorite small town joint?

Cheers~
Carrie

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It’s Been A Week + Recipe Arsenal

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It’s been a week since I posted. Where has the time gone?

But I did put together a new Recipe Arsenal on the site. Sure, many of these recipes are pinned, but I wanted to share them with you and introduce you to some of the places where I find recipes. These particular links are my tried and true go-to recipes.

And I really do need a list like that this week!

planning

I don’t have anything planned for cooking this week because we are prepping for vacation. {No, it’s not time for Australia, yet! But I have been busy planning that, too!} This list will make it easy to pick things out of my pantry when I need to throw something together this week.

And as for fitness, we are still running.

carrie

What’s in your recipe arsenal?

Cheers~
Carrie

 

Grapefruit + Tequila = Summer

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I’ve just discovered one of the most refreshing cocktail combinations that I’m going to declare as my Summer 2014 cocktail of choice!

Grapefruit + Tequila

Why have I never thought of this before?

After I earned an all-expense-paid trip to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico through The Traveling Vineyard, I came back swearing I’d never drink a margarita again. But I still love tequila. And after a tequila tasting there, I found what my true preferences are. So occasionally, I’ll have an Añejo on the rocks with a splash of cointreau and squeeze of lime.

That was until we visited Boneyard Kitchen and Bar {Restaurant Impression to come!}, a newer restaurant in Uptown Minneapolis which is housed in the old Old Chicago space. I don’t know why, but my eyes were immediately drawn to this drink:

PALOMA – cabrito tequila, grapefruit soda, fresh lime
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I failed to take a photo; but it was one of the most refreshing drinks of my life. They used Cabrito Tequila, which I hadn’t had before. I’m sure it’s a good value one; but what is more important is that it is 100% de agave. It was excellent in this mix. And I was soooo thankful that they did not use Jose Cuervo Gold!

Tequila Tip: When buying a tequila, look for 100% de agave on the label. Jose Cuervo Gold is 51% agave, 49% carmelized sugar. What a rip off!

The other great thing about this recipe is that it is sooooo quick and easy!

Paloma

Ingredients:

  • ice
  • 2 oz tequila (reposado)
  • 1/2 ounce lime juice
  • pinch salt
  • grapefruit soda (approx 6 oz) – {We prefer San Pe, but you can also use Jarritos, Squirt or a some grapefruit juice mixed with lemon-lime soda}

Method:

  • Combine tequila, lime juice and a pinch of salt in a glass.
  • Add ice.
  • Top with grapefruit soda.
  • Stir.
  • Garnish with lime or grapefruit wedge if desired.

~

Then, a week or two later, I discovered this beauty at Vivo Kitchen:

Pomelo Margarita - sauza blanco tequla, fresh grapefruit, st. germain, agave

Pomelo Margarita – sauza blanco tequila, fresh grapefruit, st. germain, agave

Okay, so I didn’t think to share it with you until it was half gone. Sorry. Because of the addition of St. Germain and fresh grapefruit, it tasted different than the Paloma. But it was just as refreshing. I loved it.

You can do a search online for Pomelo Margarita recipe. Note: A pomelo is similar to a grapefruit – maybe a bit sweeter. But as Vivo did, you can substitute grapefruit if you don’t have access to a pomelo or pomelo juice.

How did I not discover grapefruit and tequila until now?!

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Now it’s time for:

planning

Food

Dinners:

  • MondayGrilled Kielbasa with Sauerkraut  – Do you have any good ways to season sauerkraut? I am not making mine from scratch. My cousin canned some and gave some to me!
  • Tuesday – Painting Night! I have been going through withdrawal. It’s been a while! We will be dining at the Med Cruise Cafe before pulling out our brushes.
  • Wednesday Pork Chops with Roasted Vegetables and Best Oven Fries
  • Thursday – Leftovers
  • Friday – TBD
  • Saturday – Happy Fun Day Saturday! We are joining some friends at the NE Social and Dangerous Man Brewing (Beard, optional.)
  • Sunday – Brunch in the am, dinner TBD.

Lunch:

Breakfasts:

Fitness

  • Monday – 2-mile run
  • Tuesday cross train/yoga
  • Wednesday – 1.5-mile race-pace run
  • Thursday – cross train/yoga
  • Friday – REST
  • Saturday –2.5-mile run
  • Sunday – Walk

What is your favorite cocktail this summer?

What is your favorite grapefruit cocktail?

Cheers~
Carrie

 

 

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Summers are for Rooftops…

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Rob and I are so grateful for Living Social, Groupon, AmazonLocal and those sorts of deals. Without them, we would have never discovered certain restaurants, nor explored particular parts of the Twin Cities. Having a voucher with an expiration date makes us very likely to patronize a business. {As much as I’d like to, there is a reason why I haven’t been to La Belle Vie or Saffron yet.}

That’s how we ended up at the Union Rooftop.

We went on our favorite day to visit downtown Minneapolis: Sunday. It tends to be a little sleepier and laid-back. We arrived a little after 5pm and walked into the Union Restaurant, where no one was seated, not even at the bar. It made sense. It was a lovely day. I wouldn’t sit inside either. I mean, who wouldn’t want to sit up on the rooftop? We were just hoping we could get a seat outdoors. The Union’s rooftop is covered; so it can be used any time of year – perfect for Minnesota. Check out photos here.

First off, how did I not know this was here?

Union is in the theater district, on the same block as Maruso’s… have I been blind??

We got into the elevator with two other young women and proceeded upstairs. When we got out, we really weren’t sure where to go. So we took the small half-staircase up to the next level. It seemed like the most logical thing to do. But when we got to the top, it was the spitting image of the bar below.

That’s because it was the bar below!

We were on street level again. It sure did feel like we went up a floor. So we all had a good laugh about it and got back into the elevator where we made sure to push the correct button.

Then, on this glorious, breezy, warm, but not-blindingly-sunny day, we realized that The Rooftop glass roof is retractable and the entire rooftop patio was exposed to open air.

YES!

As a couple get up , we snagged a seat at the bar where Rob’s Dangerous Man “Ecuadoras” hat became a conversation starter with our barmates. Being from out-of-town and beer lovers, they were surprised that they hadn’t heard of DM yet. You better believe it’ll be a stop on their radar next time in town {when it isn’t a Sunday}.

I wanted to start with a cocktail and chose the Aviation. It had been a while since I’d had one. I just love this photo. That cherry is so perfectly placed and doesn’t even look real.

Aviation - Tanqueray, Luxardo, Crème de Violette, Lemon

Aviation – Tanqueray, Luxardo, Crème de Violette, Lemon

It wasn’t the best Aviation I had, but I’m not complaining.

Rob wasn’t too enthused about ordering the bartender’s recommended Stone Self-Righteous. Rob was surprised by the rating when he looked it up on Beer Advocate. But it was the taste that the bartender pushed on him that won him over.

Stone Sublimely Self-Righteous Black IPA

Stone Sublimely Self-Righteous Black IPA

As for food, the menu looked great online. Union is known for their seafood. So I was eyeing the Scallops with Shellfish Risotto in a fresh herb pesto.

But then I spotted it:

Caprese Salad yellow beefsteak tomatoes, basil, burrata 9.95

Caprese Saladyellow beefsteak tomatoes, basil, burrata 9.95

I rarely pass up on an opportunity to indulge in burrata.

Those tomatoes were perfect with just the right amount of olive oil, balsamic and basil, as well as seasoned with salt and pepper. Oh, how it reminded me of Italy! But that burrata… oh, that burrata. It was delectable, with it’s creamy, mouth watering center. I would order that again any day. It comes in a close second with Tangiers. But I think that is only because Tangiers had a lot more going on on the plate.

And you, guessed it – Rob ordered the burger:

All American Double Patty Cheese Burger 12.95

All American Double Patty Cheese Burger

This burger was HUGE! But what do you expect when you order a double? Rob thinks that there had to be a pound of meat on that thing. He thought he might even get the meat sweats. 😉

And look at this cheesy goodness:

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Oh, how I love natural sunlight! It makes me look like I’m a semi-decent photographer, even with my iPhone pics.

Will we return to the Union Rooftop? Well, what do you think?!

What’s the coolest rooftop you’ve experienced?

Please take advantage of every patio you can this summer!

Cheers~
Carrie

Ward 6

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My husband says that he really misses my Restaurant Impression posts. So I’ll to crank a few long overdue ones out for you all.

Ward 6 was my chosen brunch spot after Rob’s first 5k last month. I remember that after my first 5k, we had trouble finding an open restaurant nearby serving lunch or brunch. To avoid all of the driving around when we’d be hungry, I did my research in advance this time. I found two or three new-to-us brunch places within just a few miles of the race site that also had items on the menu that Rob would enjoy.

I’d seen the name of this restaurant buzzing about the web for a while now; so I was naturally curious to find out what we were missing.

ward 6

Ward 6 is located on the east side of St. Paul in a neighborhood to which I’d never been. Per our usual, we pulled a couple of seats up to the bar. It’s a cozy little place and I immediately loved the vibe. Then we received the menus.

Oh the menus!

First let’s start with the Morning Drinks:

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I love that they make espresso drinks! Too often, I’ve been disappointed by sludgy coffee when I’m out when all I want is a good cuppa joe. And Ward 6 gets extra points for serving our local Surly Coffee Bender beer for breakfast. And adding an extra dose of espresso to it is just pure genius.

In addition to the Surly Coffee Bender, they have a nice varied selection of Minnesota brews on tap:

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In fact, they strive for all local beers on tap! I love the philosophy.

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I also love a beer list with a date at the top. This means that the establishment changes their beer selection often. Both The Happy Gnome and The Lowry do this. To me, it’s a sign of a great place to enjoy craft beer.

They also have a well-stocked bar, with some unique and even house-made liqueurs:

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The brunch menu suggests some breakfast cocktails:

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But I chose to order outside the box as soon as I saw the regular cocktail menu:

Bayona – Absolut Hibiskus, St. Germain, Creme d’Yvette, lime and prosecco

You know how I love my St. Germain! Let me tell you, the cocktails at Ward 6 can give any craft cocktail joint a run for their money. I was so impressed that I later ordered another off the cocktail menu – The Ward 6.

The Ward 6 - With cilantro, ginger, vodka, St. Germain, lime juice, chili and lychee juice

The Ward 6 – With cilantro, ginger, vodka, St. Germain, lime juice, chili and lychee juice

The combo sounded a little strange to me, especially with the chili. But I was feeling adventurous! It ended up being an utterly sublime cocktail. It was well-balanced in every respect; but you could still taste a little bit of every flavor. It didn’t sound good to Rob, but I forced him to taste it. And he concurred that it was not only unique, but very tasty. It’s a cocktail that I can’t imagine you can find anywhere else, so we’ll have to come back! {I have a feeling trying to recreate this cocktail might be more than a tad difficult.}

But we didn’t spend the entire morning boozing! We needed to refuel after the 5k. Whether or not it was appropriate refueling food is another matter.

I had heard that the burger at Ward 6 was sensational. So when I was doing my brunch research and found that the burger was on their brunch menu, I knew it would be a perfect post-race brunch spot for Rob.

And I was right. He ordered the burger:

Burger 10 Local grass-fed ground beef; cheese if you like ($1). - See more at: http://ward6stpaul.com/content/breakfast#sthash.WIJeAAvN.dpuf

Burger – Local grass-fed ground beef with cheddar added

Of course, that photo does not do this burger any justice. Rob absolutely loved it. The quality of all the ingredients was top notch. Learn why in the box on this menu:

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Do you remember my first time at Groveland Tap when I skimmed over the Welsh Rarebit, thinking that it was made of rabbit? Well, Ward 6 has actually named this dish Welsh Rabbit. See the listing in the in the box above!

And that is exactly what I ordered:

Welsh Rabbit 6 No rabbits are harmed in the making of this tavern dish-- cheese sauce on toast, simple and satisfying. Served with a slice of tomato and a fried egg.  Eric likes his with bacon (+$2). - See more at: http://ward6stpaul.com/content/breakfast#sthash.WIJeAAvN.dpuf

Welsh Rabbit – Cheese sauce on toast, served with a slice of tomato and a fried egg

I was a little leery about the “cheese sauce” when ordering, picturing nacho cheese from a can. But I was pleasantly surprised. This tasted a bit like a Croque Madame with more of a béchamel sauce. It was a small dish (and only $6); but it was very filling with plenty of caloric value!

Before we left, I had to check out the dessert list. I had been considering an espresso drink to-go. But I loved the listing of after dinner drinks, as well as the descriptions!

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But what caught my eye was the Affogato. That’s just right up my alley. And homemade soft serve? SOLD!

House-made soft serve ice cream “drowned” in a shot of espresso. - See more at: http://ward6stpaul.com/content/dessert#sthash.Iafu14Oa.dpuf

Affogato – House-made soft serve ice cream “drowned” in a shot of espresso

We absolutely adored Ward 6. Rob and I decided that this is a place we’d like to take out-of-town guests. We’d also like to go back in the evening to try their dinner menu. But really, you can come any time of day. They begin serving coffee and espresso drinks at 7am on weekdays, then start breakfast at 8am. And they serve food straight through lunch and dinner, generally closing between 11pm and midnight.

Or just stop by for an Adult Milkshake!

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I loved the how laid-back this place was, while sporting a varied and entertainingly unique menu. The cuisine we tried was above-average diner fare that left us satisfied. The drinks – perfect. The servers were even taste-testing a few of the new wines on their menu and discussing them. I like an informed waitstaff. I tend to ask a lot of questions. 😉

What’s your favorite espresso drink or dish?

Cheers~
Carrie

 

Mexican Power Bowl

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I’m no where sick of the Mediterranean Power Bowls I’ve been eating three times a week. But I’m out of goat cheese medallions. So it’s time to start using other items in my pantry and fridge. This week, I’ll be making some of these instead:

Quick Mexican Power Bowl

(makes 3 bowls)

Ingredients:

  • 3 handfuls spinach
  • 1 cup precooked rice
  • 1 – 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 bell pepper (any color), julienned or chopped.
  • 1 – 15 oz can seasoned diced tomatoes, including juices (You can substitute fresh tomatoes, of course. But for my quick-and-easy-pulling-from-the-pantry purposes here, the canned ones are quick, readily available and already seasoned!)
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar or Mexican-blend cheese
  • My favorite Salsa-Ranch Dressing a la Biz

Method:

Divide ingredients among three containers and refrigerate. If you’d rather use the salsa-ranch as a cold dressing, rather than a sauce, be sure to put the dressing in a separate container. At lunchtime, heat your bowl (slightly covered) in the microwave for 1 and 1/2 to 2 minutes. Stir. Add dressing if you didn’t include it. Optional, but not required for a tasy bowl: Add a dollop of sour cream or guacamole.

Easy Alternative: Convert this into an easy cold taco salad by substituting the spinach for iceberg, romaine or other lettuce and disregard the heating instructions.

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Now it’s time for:

planning

Food

Dinners:

  • MondayMediterranean Pork Chops with Garlic Green Beans and Best Oven Fries
  • Tuesday – Beef Stir-Fry with carrots, asparagus, onion and mushrooms
  • Wednesday Grilled Kielbasa with Sauerkraut and Best Oven Fries
  • Thursday – Leftovers
  • Friday – Dinner out at Peninsula Malaysian. What would you order here?
  • Saturday – Three-Course Dinner with Wine Pairings at Basil’s.
  • Sunday – Treating my Pupper Dawgs’ daddy {bna Rob} to a walk of his choice in Minneapolis with food truck eats and Izzy’s Ice Cream.

Lunch:

  • Mexican Power Bowls (see above!)
  • Leftovers
  • Snacks – fruit, nuts or string cheese and dark chocolate

Breakfasts:

Fitness

  • Monday – Walk, yoga or recumbent bike
  • Tuesday 2-mile run
  • Wednesday – cross trainYoga
  • Thursday – 1.5 mile race pace run
  • Friday – REST
  • Saturday – 3-mile run
  • Sunday – walk

What are you eating this week?

Cheers~
Carrie