Monthly Archives: June 2015

Are You Hungry?


Sophie and/or Shamrock Saturday

Sophie is always making weird noises. It’s not always barking or whining. She often makes little – what we call – Ewok noises. It makes sense because depending on the length of her coat at any given time, she kind of looks like an Ewok.

When we ask her if she is hungry, she does a little back-up dance, too. So let’s ask her and see what we get:


I’ve yet to get THE video with more of those noises, but this will give you an idea for now.

And the answer is, “YES! Sophie Jean is hungry!”

Happy Saturday!


North Shore Brewery Tour – Part II


Happy Thirsty Thursday!

Last week, I started to tell you about the North Shore Brewery Tour I surprised my husband with for our 5-year anniversary. I want to let you know all of the details because the Get Knit company who organized it truly thought of everything down to the last detail. You can read more about them and our first brewery stop here in Part I of the North Shore Brewery Tour recap.


2) Canal Park Brewing

After spending an hour over at Blacklist Brewing {enlightening experience!}, our bus took us off to lunch, where I had chosen to have a…


Canal Park Brewing is a brewpub that offers your standard styles of beer along with American pub fare. Everything went seamlessly upon arrival. Because of the size of our group, they had our samples waiting for us at our tables. Let’s get right down to business!


My fave of this bunch was the Nut Hatchet Brown Ale.

Our food came out immediately, too. We were both so glad we didn’t get the burger! As those were being delivered to our table, they did not look good at all. Rob ordered a Brewskie; with which he was not exactly thrilled. Look at that dry bun.


Brewskie – Grilled Wisconsin-made bratwurst topped with beer-braised onions, served on a bun with IPA mustard

My Hot Chick – a buffalo chicken sammy topped with blue cheese – wasn’t even worthy of a photograph. It was all {ciabatta} bun which made it taste dry. After one bite, I took off the top bun and just ate the {also dry} chicken. The flavors were pretty muted for buffalo and blue cheese.

I did learn a thing or two at Canal Park though!  Here’s why all pubs should use 20 oz “pint” glasses…


And I love this advice…


Overall, we weren’t impressed with the food nor the beer at Canal Park. I’d recommend skipping it if you are doing a brewery tour on your own; but the view from their patio can’t be beat! And on a brewery tour, you need to eat sometime…


For the record, I love porters but couldn’t finish this one. It just Was. Not. Good.


3) Lake Superior Brewing


Next up was Lake Superior. Our tour guides said we’d get an interesting view on brewing from these old-school guys. Rob and I are familiar with Lake Superior Brewing because we’ve seen them around for quite some time. They have been brewing since 1994, before I could even drink beer. 😉


Rob has always chuckled at the labeling of one of their beers:


Black India Pale Ale Ale is a little redundant, no?

They are Minnesota’s oldest micro brewery.


One of the nice things about our Lake Superior stop is that we could sample several beers.

The thing that surprised us most was in what small of a space Lake Superior still operates.


Still bottling six at a time…

Some of the people in our group had become a little tipsy at this point.

Our Brewer/Guide only had a small fraction of our group’s attention…


What interested me most is how jaded the brewer seemed. Jaded and exhausted. I got the feeling as if they’ve been doing this so long and they are still waiting for the money to come in. They only have about six employees and some of them have other full-time jobs! The brewer described brewing as 80% janitorial and 20% inspiration. Our visit to Lake Superior Brewing Company was eye-opening in how much it takes for a brewery to operate.


Will this be some of our other young brewers in 20 years? Does starting a brewery take wealthy investors to grow quickly? Will all the brewers we’ve met over the past couple years during this craft brew craze lose their passion? I’m not sure that I want to know the answer to that.


4) Castle Danger Brewery


I am so glad we made the trek up the North Shore to Castle Danger Brewery in Two Harbors. If we were to put together a beer tour ourselves, we would have not even considered this one because we try to arrange brewery crawls so that the locations are close in proximity to each other. This was a good 20 minutes or so north along the coast; but it was well worth it.

Because it was my favorite brewery of the tour!

Upon arrival at the brewery, we were told that we’d be given samples and then could take an optional tour. The taps were ready for us and I thought I heard the tapper say “bourbon barrel” something or other.

Um.. what?

Yes, they age their George Hunter Stout in Jack Daniels whiskey barrels, which technically isn’t bourbon; but I don’t care. Of course, that is the first thing I asked for as my sample! You know me!


I also love the name: Gentleman George Hunter. Appropriate for a barrel aged beer, no? They also had a Sommelier George Hunter available. Can you guess what that stout is aged in? You got it – red wine barrels!

I politely pulled our tour guide aside and asked him if we could skip the tour and spend some money in the taproom. This was not a problem!

After a few purchases…


We barreled (no pun intended) our way to the bar to buy a beer.


Team Danger took care of us.


I noted the wi-fi password, too.


That Sommelier George Hunter was excellent. I would need to have the Somm & the Gentleman side-by-side to explain the nuances, but Rob said he liked the Somm even better.

Rob disappeared for a bit to get us some nachos from the Taco Box food truck outside. It looked good, but I wasn’t entirely impressed. Your basic nacho chips out a bag.


Instead, I just sat back and sipped that red-wine-barrrel-aged stout in all its glory. Yes, Yes. This is what makes beer so interesting. And I have to agree, Castle Danger does have some:


One thing I really enjoyed about this North Shore Brewery Tour is that the breweries were so different from each other. You’ll see next week why the last two stops on the tour were different as well!

Do you like barrel-aged beers?

If so, what has been your favorite?



SW Craft {Closed}


I would have never known about SW Craft Bar had I not seen it on Groupon. I had never known there was a craft cocktail, beer and burger bar in Lowertown St. Paul. We absolutely love The Bulldog Lowertown, known for its excellent selection of craft beer. But it’s nice to know that there are some other options in the area, too.

So when I saw the Groupon offer for two flights of beer and two burgers (or sandwiches), I thought that the deal had Rob’s name written all over it! I snatched it up.

There is a good reason why there is a Groupon out there for SW Craft Bar. It needs a little advertising because it isn’t very well marked. It’s located in the Kellogg building and we had to walk around a bit to find it after parking.

The interior surprised me, too. It was about 5:30pm on a sunny summer afternoon and it was so dark inside! There were very few people there, too, despite that it was Happy Hour, which I’d like to point out includes more than your average bar food! Check out the online menu.

Another thing to note is that while SW Craft Bar may not have the as many craft beers on tap as, say, the Bulldog Lowertown or The Happy Gnome, they do have a varied selection. There weren’t a lot of my favorite styles on tap, which forced me to order outside the norm and try something new! It wasn’t until now that I realized how the growth of my beer palate has stunted. {Huh?}

Here were the selections available when we were there:

{The beer list is ever changing. I love that!}


I love when bars list what is “on deck” so you know what kegs are waiting to be tapped. It’s a great way to bring customers back to try something new. Every single one of those craft cocktails {to the right} looked mighty interesting to me, too!

Here was the flight I put together and my thoughts on each beer:

  • Square Mile Dry Hopped Cider (OR) – I was a little iffy about ordering this because of some of the cider-beer hybrids I’ve had at our local Sociable Cider Werks; but I gave it a shot because it was new to me. I’m so glad I did! It had a ton of apple flavor going on and I’d easily order it again.
  • Millstream Brewing Bitter End Imperial Brown Ale (IA) – This was a pretty decent brown, but nothing screaming, “Special!”
  • White Birch Brewing Son of Ned the Red Flanders Red Ale (NH) – The bartender warned me that this is a sour. I’m glad he did because I’m still working on acquiring a taste for sours. In fact, that is why I decided to give it a try. Still, this one was a little too much for me. It didn’t taste very balanced; but I know nothing about sours, so I can’t really make that call.
  • Rodenbach Grand Cru Sour Red (Belgium) – Yes, another sour! And do you want to know something? I loved this one. It was a bit sharp on the palate for me at first, but it continued to grow on me. I will definitely order this again. This must be a good example of a well-balanced sour because Beer Advocate gives it a 95 (The Bros-100)!

Here is where I’d normally suggest that if you are doing beer flights with someone else that you select all different beers so you can double the number of beers you get to taste! But there weren’t eight beers I wanted to try. And I think we were both feeling a bit selfish.

For that reason, you’ll see two repeats in Rob’s lineup:

  • Northgate Brewing Parapet ESB (MN) – I was surprised Rob ordered this because I thought we had tried it when we went to Northgate and weren’t all that thrilled. During this taste he said it was fine.
  • Square Mile Dry Hopped Cider (OR) – Rob was in agreement with me on this one.
  • Local Option Sweet Lief Biere de Garde (IL) – I was also surprised Rob ordered this one, but he didn’t mind it.
  • Millstream Brewing Bitter End Imperial Brown Ale (IA) – Rob said he’s had Millstream beers in the past and hasn’t been too impressed. This one shows improvement by leaps and bounds! I think it was his fave of the four.

Our deal included a choice of a burger or sandwich.

Rob, of course, chose a burger!

el presidente angus beef patty, refried beans, chihuahua cheese, caramalized onions, roasted sweet peppers, sauteed mushrooms, mayo, crispy bacon, house-made adoba bbq sauce

el presidente  angus beef patty, refried beans, chihuahua cheese, caramalized onions, roasted sweet peppers, sauteed mushrooms, mayo, crispy bacon, house-made adoba bbq sauce – $10.95

All sandwiches are served with a side salad with a choice of ginger vinaigrette or spicy sesame dressing. You can upgrade to fries for just a buck, which is exactly what Rob did here. The fries were pretty basic, but well-seasoned. Rob finished them all before moving on to his burger, which he said wasn’t really seasoned and that the flavor was in all of the toppings. That kind of makes sense because if you read the description, there is a lot going on there! The bun was nicely toasted, too.

One thing that I didn’t realize until his burger came out was that he was never asked how he wanted it cooked. It looked almost well-done to me, but Rob said it was about medium. {We both prefer medium rare.} For the record, Rob did not get the refried beans on his burger because he is allergic.

All of the sammies sounded so flavorful, that I couldn’t decide at the moment. I enlisted the help of our bartender. He noted two of his favorites and I chose one.

torta de carnitas slow roasted pork, chihuahua cheese, refried beans, guacamole, tomatos, pickled red onions, cilantro, arugula

torta de carnitas – slow roasted pork, chihuahua cheese, refried beans, guacamole, tomatoes, pickled red onions, cilantro, arugula – $9.95

I loved this sandwich! My bun was perfectly toasted, to the point where it was crunchy without being hard. Rob took a bite. Whoops! I forgot there were refried beans on this sandwich until I started writing this post! However, that night I did note that they looked like black beans {which he can eat} rather than the usual pinto beans that are often assumed when I read “refried”.

He didn’t think the pulled pork had any flavor or seasoning; but I disagree. It was juicy and tender and not as salty as how mine tends to turn out at home in the crockpot. And I loved the mixture of flavor from the toppings. This one was right up my alley! I ate the entire thing.

Rob finished off the night with a glass of the Odell Stalwort English Strong Ale, which neither of us have had before. In fact, after tasting how smooth {and dangerous at 11% ABV!} it was, we looked it up on both Beer Advocate and RateBeer, neither of which have ratings yet. We’d give it a high score if we were so inclined to post on those sites.


I could see SW Craft Bar as a great place to get a beer {or flight!}, cocktail or bite to eat before after an event in Lowertown. In fact, their website boasts free shuttles to events at the Xcel Center, Ordway or Fitzgerald Theater. {Just call in advance for times.}

It would also be a great alternative to other establishments in downtown St. Paul when everything seems a little too packed. Just be willing to walk a bit or take said shuttles. You just might try something out of the ordinary!

Do you like to do flights of beer, wine, cocktails or bacon?

If so, how do you choose if they aren’t pre-determined?


What our kids did…


Sophie & Shamrock Saturday

While we were on our North Shore Craft Brewery Tour last Saturday, we were so lucky to drop off the dogs at the Buggles‘ house for an overnight stay! Sally and Ryan were more than happy to watch them. I am so grateful that we could make this long day trip happen because of them!

This was Sham & Sophie’s first overnight trip chez Cleopatra and Da Vinci; but they’ve been there before on occasion.

Like that time when Sophie was eyeing me…

FullSizeRenderBecause she wanted the wine!

FullSizeRender (1)

Wait… How did she get up there?

And they did just fine {or so I’m told!} while we were gone. I truly hope that they behaved! Sally sent some photos during the day. They has just as beautiful of a day as we did up north!

Sophie played guard dog…


{photo by Sally & Ryan}

 And Sham made friends with Clea out of her kennel. 😉 He also learned hot o open the gate himself!


We always call Sophie the smart one. But it turns out Sham is smarter than we thought!

Thank you so much for taking care of our fur children, Sally and Ryan! Thanks, too, for sending the photos. We were relaxed all day knowing that they Sham and Sophie were with you and the Buggles.

But it sure was strange waking up on Sunday morning and no dogs around…

Happy Saturday!




Thirsty Thursday: North Shore Brewery Tour – Part I


Happy Thirsty Thursday!

For our 5-year anniversary, I bought my husband a little surprise… a brewery tour of Lake Superior’s North Shore!

We went this past Saturday and I must tell you, I can’t thank the Get Knit crew enough. Well, sit back because I’m going to recap here whether or you like it or not. Maybe you’ll discover a little day tour for yourself!

I had been eying this tour for a long time. I didn’t actually sign up for it until after our anniversary in April because it wasn’t until a few weeks later that everything just fell into place.

What? You mean the traditional 5-year anniversary gift isn’t beer?!


Rob and I have been talking about doing a tour of breweries in Duluth on our own for a while. There are some great up-and-coming breweries there. It wasn’t until a couple months ago that we had our first taste of a Bent Paddle brew when a friend brought over for their Cold Press Black Ale to our poker night and left one for us to try. {Thank you, Chief Bieber!} We know. You’re jealous. Come to poker and you’ll get your own nickname, too.

There were a few reasons why we hadn’t made that trip to Duluth yet.

  1. Dogs – We’d have to ask someone to watch them or bring them with us. Sham has not yet been in a hotel room and is very barky at every noise he hears. Not putting fellow guests through that!
  2. Cost – For one night up there, we’d have to pay for a hotel room, gas, dog sitter, beers, food… We are looking at least $300 – $400 for a one-night trip.
  3. DD – How would we decide which breweries to hit and who would do the driving?

Enter Get Knit Tours!

I can’t quite remember how I discovered Get Knit because I subscribe to so many local newsletters; but I’m glad I did. They are a tour and event company whose premise is to bring the people, local businesses and community together. They offer day long trips like this or other local events throughout the Twin Cities. I wouldn’t hesitate for a second in recommending them.

For just $119 per person, the North Shore Brewery Tour included:


Yes, we got the Special Edition Ticket for May 30th:


I’d call $119 per person a steal for a full-day trip to breweries where everything is included!

Let me just tell you… Get Knit thought of everything for this event, right down to the smallest detail.

The morning of the event, I was debating whether or not to stop and get a good coffee on the way to the Roseville Park & Ride where we were meeting. I’ve been on enough tours to know that the hot water with mix-in instant coffee packet doesn’t cut it for me. (SNOB!) But then I worried about the two hour + drive north and thought about how I would have to peeeeeeeeeeeeee…

Instead, we dropped Sophie and Sham off at the Buggles’ house before heading to the meeting point. Upon arrival, we checked in and… Wait a minute! Two of guides were the same two that did the Living Social Beer Trolley Tour back in 2012! After Living Social Adventures went defunct, a bunch of those who worked for them branched off to create their own local company. We knew we were in good hands.


Breakfast was included in this tour and included bagels and coffee. The bagels were not set out piled on a platter, but put into individual bags, labeled and pre-sliced. All one had to do was slather on cream cheese if they so desired.

Here’s my last bite, ’cause I know you wanted to see it.


Coffee was from Five Watt in Minneapolis. This coffee made me feel spoiled!

{aka… This is how every tour should start.}


About a half hour or so on the road, the crew came around to pour us more coffee. Isn’t that sweet!?

did help myself to that second cup. This was all because this bus had a restroom on board. Oh, and did I mention there was free wi-fi? Yes, they thought of everything.

Here was our itinerary for the day:


I felt like I was on vacation.

There were no cares in the world, nothing to worry about… just time to enjoy ourselves. Rob said he wished he would have brought a book for the ride up. Most people were chatting or playing around on their cell phones and tablets. I didn’t want to waste precious battery life because I knew I had a lot of pictures to take. {Little did I know that there were outlets to plug in devices throughout the bus!}


1) Blacklist Brewing

Our first stop was a brand new brewery to the tour. I’m so glad we stopped there! Blacklist is known for their artisan ales which clock in around 9-10% ABV. Boy, were we starting off strong! They had beer waiting for us…


One of he things that made this brewery special to us is that it’s a place we would have never considered if we had put a trip like this together ourselves.

Here’s why…

  1. Because they are located in a garage. There is no taproom… yet.IMG_3020
  2. Because they focus on Belgian Beers.


Rob has never been a fan of Belgian Beers, with the exception of Kasteel Rouge and anything that Dangerous Man produces. So it is rare that we go to breweries that specialize in Belgians. But, oh, was he surprised by this one! I absolutely loved this flagship Belgian Style Ale called Or de Belgique {Gold of Belgium}. When I expressed to Rob how much I enjoyed it, he confessed that he truly did, too!

We also tried their Imperial Hefe. I didn’t like it quite as much, which surprised me because I love wheat beers. But perhaps the two should have technically been served in the opposite order. I really don’t know. Still, I completely understand why we had the Or de Belgique first. Who wouldn’t want to open with their flagship beer?!

The Or de Belgique is the base of nearly all of their beers with which they experiment and add flavor. They let us take a look around their space and we found some very exciting, interesting, new-to-us beers that we’d love to try!

I’m a sucker for a good Lambic, but honeysuckle? Am I dreaming? IMG_3023

Have you ever had a beer brewed with makrut lime leaves or rhubarb? Me neither!


Or how about one brewed with green tea, lemongrass and honey?


We had to ask about this one… because, well… Coconut. Cocoa Nibs. Rum Barrels


The brewer wished us luck with finding it because they like to age their beers (like wine!) and he doesn’t even have any for his cellar.

Another beer that interested Rob, but of which we did not get a photo was their Imperial Spruce Tipped IPA with Fennel. Rob inquired about this one and we were told that they are getting ready for their next batch to come out this fall because they just picked their spruce tips.


Yes, they do everything themselves, including distribution.

But Brian the Brewer said that spruce tips cost $70/lb! There is no way they were going to pay that when they could pick it themselves. Then he showed us to the freezer and pulled some out.


Break the Big Beer Model! Beer brewed with quality, creativity and culture in mind. Small, hand-crafted batches utilizing traditional techniques.

That’s the way Blacklist is described on their website.

“So why Blacklist?” was my question to the brewers.

They answered me thoroughly; but my memory failed me to describe it so eloquently as they did. Luckily, I found them quoted on Duluth News Tribune:

The beer changes over time. We use artistic elements and are inspired by a lot of things to produce our product. There is a brewer’s legend: if you brewed with a wild yeast, different organisms, or ‘bugs’ for mass production, then you would become blacklisted from stepping into a big time brewing production because of this contamination.

So, we called ourselves Blacklist based on this.

Who can’t love that philosophy? They are always brewing small batches. And to be quite honest, in my experience, those breweries that do tend to brew the best beers.

Their beer locator is the best I’ve seen. Not only can you search for Blacklist beers by zip code, but you can also specify product. {The Coco Noir pulled up nothing. 😦 } It’s time for Rob and I to get experimenting with these Belgian brews. Please bring more to the South Twin Cities Metro, Brian and Jon!

We had a lot of time to talk to the brewers and sip what they had poured for us. But we couldn’t buy anything because they are not yet a taproom.

Some unsuspecting brewer’s equipment:


There was also time to get a selfie with the beautiful Lake Superior in the background. Or not…



Yes, we are huge fans of Blacklist Brewing now and all that they represent. Their vision is to have their own space to host parties and such because there beer is s celebratory experience meant to be shared. I remember the first time I went to Belgium thinking, “Wow, the Belgians treat their beers like the French treat their wines!” I feel like Blacklist wants encompass this tradition, yet experiment and keep the beer, well… crafty. It’s something unique that I haven’t seen any brewery do before. I love it.

And that was just one stop of our North Shore Brewery Tour! Since this post is getting a little long, I’m breaking it up into three parts. Come back next Thirsty Thursday for Part II!

Do you like Belgian Beers?

If so, what’s your favorite?

If not, what’s your favorite style?


Cheeky Monkey! {Closed}


I would have never known about Cheeky Monkey in St. Paul if it hadn’t been for a half-off deal that made its way into my inbox. Even if I had would have driven by Cheeky Monkey and noticed it was there, I probably wouldn’t have stopped when The Happy Gnome is practically right across the street. {It’s perhaps The Best Place for tap beer selection in all of the Twin Cities.}

Cheeky Monkey is British slang used for someone who is a smart ass. Their Facebook page indicates that they are an “American Restaurant · British Restaurant · Bakery.” However, they seem to have a little bit of everything, focusing mostly on comfort foods. Cheeky Monkey appropriately describes itself as a “Deli by Day” {counter service} and “Bistro by Night” {table service}.

You’ll find Cheeky Monkey in the Cathedral Hill neighborhood of St. Paul. For those of you not local to the Twin Cities, Minneapolis and St. Paul cover a huge area, so we like to refer to specific neighborhoods.

Inside, Cheeky Monkey’s walls are adorned with a list of the neighborhoods of London and one of those of St. Paul. I am guessing you can figure out which is which in this photo. 😉


We did not visit the Deli by Day, but opted for the Bistro by Night on both of our visits. Cheeky Monkey offers a selection of wines by the glass and bottle as well as bottled beers and other non-alcoholic beverages. Some wines are even offered by the half-bottle.


We got there a bit early on our first visit. Dinner wasn’t quite ready to be served yet. So we settled in with an appetizer.

Here is what I put on my plate:

Housemade Salt & Pepper Chips 4.5 bleu cheese dipping sauce

Housemade Salt & Pepper Chips with bleu cheese dipping sauce

Housemade chips and dip have sort of become popular all over the Twin Cities. We are rarely disappointed! These chips hit the mark… and that blue cheese sauce is over-the-moon delicious. Do not skip the blue cheese sauce if you are going to Cheeky Monkey. You can thank me later.

Rob got the burger. (Are you surprised?)

Cheeky Burger 12 grass-fed beef, caramelized onion, brie, toasted ciabatta roll, bistro fries

Cheeky Burger – grass-fed beef, caramelized onion, brie, toasted ciabatta roll, bistro fries – $12

I do remember that he enjoyed this burger; but it wasn’t quite seasoned enough to his liking. Who doesn’t like some good melty brie on a burger?! That’s some nice crusty bread there, too. The fries were just okay in his book. So there is really no reason to to upgrade. Stick with the housemade chips!

My comfort food choice:


Mac & Cheese – chicken, montchevré goat cheese, rosemary – $12

What a nice flavorful crock of mac and cheese! Next time, I’d get it without the chicken because it tasted like it came out of a can. I don’t mind canned chicken for certain purposes. It just didn’t work for me here.


Just before our second visit, I read somewhere that Cheeky Monkey had one of the best Cubans in the Twin Cities. I knew before our arrival that that is what I’d be getting!

Cubano Sandwich – cumin pork, smoked ham, swiss, pickles, mustard, mayo, ciabatta roll, pressed warm – $13

Forgetting all about CM’s chips, I upgraded my side to the Herb Roasted Mushrooms with butter and chives. They were a delightful alternative to the normal side, but somewhat rich that I could not finish them all.

Maybe I didn’t get the same sammy that others rave above because I was not all that impressed with my Cuban. There was crusty pressed bread, yes; but the sandwich itself wasn’t very well balanced overall. IMHO, they overdid it on the mustard. But here is why CM’s should be a great Cuban, according to Heavy Table:

…they cure and smoke their own meats, bake their own breads, and make their own mayonnaise and mustard.

Perhaps I don’t have the palate for a good Cuban. But I keep trying them anyway! I swear I had one I loved once. But that was pre-blog, so how should I remember where!?

Surprisingly, though, this was the star of the show for us that night:

Meatloaf 12 cheddar, bacon, spicy mustard, giardiniera, english muffin toast

Meatloaf Sandwich – cheddar, bacon, spicy mustard, giardiniera, english muffin toast – $12

We both wouldn’t consider that English Muffin toast; but truly, what would we know? What we did know is that, English Muffin toast or not, it was perfectly buttered and toasted, the meatloaf a nice little change from the normal sandwich filling. I thought I tasted a hint of horseradish, though the menu says this sammie is spread with mustard. So while I wanted less mustard on my Cuban, I would have gladly taken more on Rob’s sandwich!

While you are at Cheeky Monkey, you need to stop in the restrooms to check out the wall paper:


The walls are lined with pages of old books, most of them British. Since these loos are one-stallers, that wallpaper has the potential to hold up a line if someone really wanted to start reading the walls in depth. 😉


Cheeky Monkey describes itself as a “chef-driven restaurant” with “fresh, local, seasonal fare”. Many items on their menu are already gluten-free or can be made gluten-free, too. CM boast’s a patio in the back which I didn’t know existed until I read their website. It’s tucked away from the street, which is always nice. Even when it’s a nice day, Rob refuses to eat outdoors if a restaurant’s patio is just a little sidewalk off a noisy street.

If you do get to Cheeky Monkey, I’d recommend the Meatloaf Sandwich with Housemade Chips. Ever since the Burnsville Ale House closed, we hadn’t found anything close to their Meatloaf Sliders. Until Now. Oh! And don’t forget to ask for a side of the Blue Cheese Dipping Sauce, you little Cheeky Monkey!

What’s your favorite meatloaf recipe or way to eat meatloaf leftovers?



The Leftovers.


Hey is that show coming back? I really enjoyed The Leftovers on HBO. At first, I found it to be very Lost-esque; but by the end of the season, there was very little payoff! It sounds like it has been renewed for a second season. But now that we no longer have HBO nor DVR, it’ll be a lot longer until I check that one out.

Let’s talk about leftover food today.

When my husband was out of town a couple of weekends ago, I was determined to use up all of the leftovers in the house – a half cup of veg here, a half pound of meat there…

I assembled a nice hot meal, loosely based on this Power Bowl formula I often use to make lunches during the week. I also wanted to finally action a Green Sauce recipe I’ve been eying. So I did pick up a few ingredients.

And here were the results… Maybe not the prettiest, but it sure was tasty!


Hot Plate with Green Sauce

{Makes 4 servings}


  • 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 lb ground beef
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1 – 2 Tbsp granulated garlic
  • 5 to 6 cups vegetables
  • 2 large handfuls spinach
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup Green Sauce {You can make ahead or while your vegetables are cooking!}


  • Heat olive oil in a large skillet on medium to medium-high heat.
  • Add chopped onion. Cook until translucent.
  • Add 1.5 pounds of any combination of ground beef and turkey.
  • Add 1 to 2 Tbsp of granulated garlic or garlic powder.
  • Cook meat through until there is almost no pink, breaking up the pieces.
  • Add some salt and pepper, to taste.
  • Add vegetables little by little, stirring in those that cook longest first and those that don’t take very long to cook last. For example, I had some leftover asparagus and broccoli that I had frozen that went in first. I added my sliced mushrooms and chopped tomato last.
  • Add some more salt and pepper (or more garlic, if you wish!) to taste.
  • When vegetables are nearly cooked to desired texture, add spinach and stir in until wilted.
  • Serve immediately and drizzle with desired amount of Green Sauce.

You could even serve this over rice or pasta if desired.

I hate wasting food. It has taken me several years to realize that I don’t have to let my produce go rot in my fridge before throwing it out. Don’t waste your leftover vegetables! You can just put them all in one dish. Add a protein and a little sauce and you’ve got a tasty, healthy meal.


How do you use odd amounts of leftover food to avoid waste?

Feel free to share your favorite recipes!