Tag Archives: crepe

That time I had a crepe at a bar…

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It’s that time of year!

We soon will start making wine with some of our friends again! How did last year’s wine turn out? Well, we aren’t 100% sure yet. The first wine, a Pinot Noir that was supposed to be ready in three to six months isn’t very good. I’d take Black Box wine over it any day!

No worries, though, I’ve used our first wine to make some tasty mulled wine this winter. And it’ll make a great sangria this summer. You can always make a bad wine good {unless it has gone bad.}.

We’ve tried two of our other batches, a Shiraz and an Amarone, which aren’t quite ready, and we think they still have potential. But what do we know?! The others won’t be ready until October or November. We are having a tough time with all of this waiting!

That is why we went to Midwest Supplies

and picked up a white wine kit this time around!

WorldVineyard-Washington-Riesling

Rob refused to do a white wine last summer, but after we tasted one of our friends’ Rieslings, and it was ready in a just a couple months, we decided this might be the one for us to sip this summer while waiting for our reds.

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But a trip to Midwest Supplies in St. Louis Park also means an opportunity to try a restaurant in the west metro, like we did here. Although, I have been eyeing this little place called Bunny’s right across the street from Midwest…

Bunny’s it was!

My impression before going is that this was kind of a divey sports bar that’s been there for a while. But I was surprised how big this place was when we went inside…
IMG_6448That^^ is only one half of the bar area and there is also regular seating/tables all around. {There’s also a lovely outdoor patio.} So, not so tiny as I’d thought. And Bunny’s Bar & Grill was named Minnesota’s Best Sports Bar this year.

It was almost noon on Saturday. I was happy to sip on a Bloody Mary while Rob was pleased to find one of his favorite local IPAs on tap – Steel Toe Size 7 IPA, which hails from St. Louis Park.

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There tap list appears not to be one that is ever-changing like so many these days. But they do offer two beers of the month and always list them on their website, too.

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The menu is pretty large, and as always, hard for me to make a decision. But why would I not order this?

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Our bartender was not the chatty type; but he was also very busy. He really seemed like he did not want to be working there. That is probably why, when I ordered a bloody mary, he didn’t try to upsell me on the Bunny Mary

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Oh, yes, you get a paper placemat like that^^ at the bar! {Maybe at the tables, too?} Funny thing is, when the food arrived, the runners didn’t even attempt to place the plates on the mats.

Garlic Cheese Bread A 1/2 loaf of grilled French bread brushed with garlic butter, topped with mozzarella cheese & baked. Served with marinara sauce for dipping. 7.95 Add sausage or pepperoni for 1.95

Garlic Cheese Bread – 1/2 loaf of grilled French bread brushed with garlic butter, topped with mozzarella cheese & baked. Served with marinara sauce for dipping – $7.95  Add sausage or pepperoni for $1.95

Rob had ordering remorse once he saw my dish! But I have to say that Garlic Cheese Bread with Sausage was some good bar food. Still, neither of us had a Lunch of Champions that day…

Crespella Black forest ham & melted brie cheese wrapped in a house made crepe, topped with sautéed mushrooms, with an asiago cream sauce & toasted garlic crostini. 9.95

Crespella – Black forest ham & melted brie cheese wrapped in a house made crepe, topped with sautéed mushrooms, with an asiago cream sauce & toasted garlic crostini – $9.95

Rob stole one of my crostini immediately, thinking I had won the food lottery over him this time around. However, don’t let those Garlic Crostini fool you. They look better than they taste. The Garlic Cheese Bread was much better. This crostini, imho, is just a vehicle to get that sauce down the gullet…

… ’cause it was soooo good. There is a crepe under there, but you can hardly tell from the photo because there is so much sauce. It had a little more ham than I like, but I’m strange. Most sandwiches have too high of a meat ratio for me; so it’s just the same for me here. And those mushrooms – so tender and tasty! Maybe I could get less ham, more mushrooms next time? Not that it really matters. It was still way too much food. I just made sure to eat all the mushrooms and leave the crostini behind.

We’ll go to Bunny’s Bar & Grill again if we’re at Midwest Supplies and in a jam for a meal. But we always like to try out other west metro restaurants if we aren’t in too much of a time crunch.

Do you have any recommendations?

What’s your favorite type of crepe – sweet or savory?

Cheers~
Carrie

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Spooning the River…

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I never did post on the time we had a girls’ night dining at Sea Change, a restaurant known for its sustainable seafood and one of the Top Chefs in America last year. Maybe it’s because I was savoring a rare evening dining at a seafood restaurant. Or maybe it’s just a given to dine there. It’s a well-known, top Minneapolis restaurant and perfect if you are seeing a show at The Guthrie Theater {affectionately just called The Guthrie around these parts} and want a nice, swanky night out.

But if you are looking for a place that is just as tasty, but more casual, head yourself across the street to Spoonriver. Located just next to the Mill City Farmers Market, Spoonriver is a restaurant serving local, organic and sustainable fare with lots of options for vegetarians.

Even after the few times I’ve walked past the place, it took us a Groupon Living Social deal to get us there. Truth be told, I wasn’t really sure what the place was about. The deal prompted me to visit their website to read more about them and check out the menu online. I was sold.

What really took me by surprise was the list of craft cocktails at Spoonriver. I knew I’d be ordering one, but which one to choose? I narrowed it down to two: the Pear Ginger Martini (house infused ginger vodka, La Poire Grey Goose, Cointreau, Domaine Canton, Prosecco) and the Elderberry Negroni (Miller’s Gin, MN Elderberry juice, Campari, sweet vermouth.) {Yes, I bypassed all of those St. Germain cocktails on the menu. I wanted something different!}

Our knowledgeable bartender noted that the Pear Ginger Martini would be a sweeter and the Elderberry Negroni would be tart. So what did I do? Since Rob was driving, I sipped on the Elderberry Negroni before dinner and had the Pear Ginger as dessert! {At the advice of our bartender again, of course. I know, she twisted my arm.}

Elderberry Negroni

Elderberry Negroni

I have to say that the drinks were beautiful! Since we were sitting at the bar, we had the opportunity not only to see all of the cocktails being made, but also smell them! I kept thinking, “I wonder what that is? It smells so good!”

Rob’s choice was the Ophelia – Tanqueray Gin, Grand Marnier, Creme de Violette, lemon.

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Ophelia

Have you ever had Creme de Violette before? We’ve tried it once, in an Aviation at the old Nick & Eddie. {Oh how we miss that place!} Creme de Violette made from very specific violets and is very hard to find. So when Rob saw a cocktail with it on the menu, it was an easy choice.

We got to Spoonriver early, but the place started getting busy quickly. The restaurant is long and narrow, which gave me the impression, at first, that it was bigger than it really is. Make sure you either get there early or make a reservation.

For a moment, I felt like I was at the airport, because I noticed a kiosk with items available to-go. These are perfect for impromptu picnics along the river! What a fantastic idea. But who knows about these?

The food really does shine here, too. Rob found his Grass-Fed Burger quite tasty and impressive, despite the tortilla chips on the side. Not only did I find my Savory Crêpe Special of the Day delicious, but beautiful, too. Inside was warm goat cheese goodness with some veggies and flavorful herbs. I didn’t think to snap a picture until I already dug into this delight that reminded me of France:

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Apparently, during the Farmers Market hours, Spoonriver has an outdoor stand where they offer their sweet and savory crêpes as well. I wouldn’t turn one of those down.

One of the things I like about Living Social, is that sometimes after you’ve redeemed a voucher, they send an email asking what you thought of the restaurant. I gave the restaurant a “Thumbs Up” and commented, “The most colorful plates I’ve ever seen. The food was superb and love the cocktail menu! Thanks.”

I think this is the first time I ever got a reply from the restaurant!

Thank you for your kind words, Carrie! We’re happy to hear you had a positive experience dining at Spoonriver & enjoyed our creative plating :). I’ll pass along the compliments about our cocktails list to our Bartenders as well. We hope to see you again soon! Sincerely, Katie, Manager  

I don’t know whether the name Spoonriver was given because the restaurant is off the Mississippi {just a short walk!} or because you’ll be  spooning up some yummy goodness along said river in Minneapolis. Or maybe it’s for another reason entirely. All I know is that high quality, affordable, delicious meals and cocktails can be had here, whether you are taking a walk along the river, enjoying the Farmers Market or are off to a show.

Tip: Arrive early for dinner and then take your chances on “rush” tickets at The Guthrie!

 Question for you:

Crêpes – Sweet or Savory?

Cheers~
Carrie

Post-Op Foods & Saga Hill Cooking Class

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I’m putting together a grocery list of items I need to buy to have on hand after my surgery. They are warning me that the pain killers are going to have some side effects, in which plenty of fruits and vegetables should help do the trick. 😉 Also, since my husband does not cook, I want to have some easy, fast – meaning 5 minutes or less! – healthy go-to meals and snacks so he doesn’t bring me take-out every night. {Although it’ll be nice a couple of times!} I may be off of work for up to two weeks; but even if I’m not, I want some easy things to grab so that I don’t make any poor choices out of inconvenience. Planning ahead and taking out the guesswork, ya know?

I do know that I could do a few make-ahead meals, but with the pain I’ve been in, it just sounds exhausting at the end of the day. Even after sitting all day, my legs feel like they can’t take any more. I have been cooking a bit, but not enough to put that much effort into it.

Here is my list of meal and snack ideas and the corresponding list of groceries that I will need to shop for since they are not currently in my pantry:

Meals & Snacks

  • Egg Bagel Sandwiches {aka 90-second Breakfast Sandwich}
  • Lean Cuisine Frozen Entrees  – I always have a few of these in the freezer. I don’t eat them everyday, only when I’m in a pinch. My favorite? Salmon with Basil!
  • Chipotle Black Bean Burgers – Currently in my freezer. I can just pop them between a bagel thin and or smear on some guacamole.
  • Healthy Choice Country Vegetable Soup – I know that we are talking a lot of sodium here, but it’ll be an easy way to get in some needed veggies
  • Peanut Butter Toast
  • No Hassle Fruits – see grocery list below.
  • Magic Smoothie
  • Fiber One Brownies
  • Veggies and hummus
  • Chocolate
  • Nuts
  • Hard-boiled eggs

Grocery List

  • Bananas
  • Grapes
  • Clementines
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Carrots – cut and put in baggies or containers
  • Cucumbers – cut and put in baggies or containers
  • Bell Peppers – cut and put in baggies or containers
  • Hummus
  • Spinach
  • Eggs
  • Lean Cuisines
  • Healthy Choice Country Vegetable Soup
  • Wholly Guacamole or Avocado

To prep

  • Make sure dishes and ingredients are reachable from hip to chest level
  • Cut veggies
  • Hard Boil Eggs

That should be it! This also serves as a reminder if I find myself thinking that there is nothing to eat in the house. I can come back to this past to read about my available options!

But of course, Rob, I won’t mind a little takeout now and then, or even a little ice cream. 😉 I’m just trying not to go overboard while I’m immobile!

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Food Journal for Thursday:

Breakfast

I was running late, so I made a 90-second Breakfast Sandwich to take in the car (not pictured because, uh, I was running late). But if you want to see a photo or learn how I heard about these, click here. Approximately 300 calories with blueberry bagel thin (sweet and savory sandwich!), one egg, and one ounce cheddar cheese.

At work – 2 cups of black coffee with a piece of Dove Dark Chocolate (the one with almonds). Isn’t this message appropriate right about now?

Thurs-Choc

Lunch

Salad

Salad with mixed greens, grape tomatoes, chopped carrots & celery, chopped almonds and avocado

I put the avocado in the container the night before and squeezed a bit a lime juice over it, but it still browned. It tasted fine, though. And that little jar is leftover from a Love with Food sample. Guess what I put in it? Leftover Balsamic Glaze from my Avocado-Bruschetta-Mozzarella Chicken dinner. I used it as my salad dressing!

Afternoon Snacks

Banana (not pictured).

Peanut Butter and Dark Chocolate Kind Bar courtesy of my February Foodie Penpal. 😉

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Peanut Butter and Dark Choclate Kind Bar

Last night, I went to a Saga Hill Cooking Class with some friends. Knowing that we probably wouldn’t eat until later, I snacked again after work. I had an apple with some Biscoff Spread. Then I went to a small wedge of double cream brie. It could have turned into an all-out binge, but I stopped myself and called my mom instead.

Dinner

When we arrived at cooking class, we poured ourselves some wine. I started with a glass of white, but it was too warm, so I switched to red. For $15, wine is unlimited for the evening. My friend Jen was driving and I could no longer be on meds before surgery, so I took full advantage! Actually, I was a little apprehensive on how I would hold out for the evening. By this time of night, I’m usually just wiped. Luckily, from where I was sitting at our table, I could sit on the stool or stand up whenever I needed to.

I lost count of my wine, but I think we concluded that I had five of their bar-sized glasses. This is equivalent to probably 2 and 1/2 to 3 glasses the size that I would have at home.

In the past three classes I’ve done at Saga Hill, we usually don’t eat until she’s done her explanation of what to expect and have cooked our first item. However, this time she served us little dishes of jambalaya right away!

Jambalaya with Smoked Sausage

Jambalaya with Smoked Sausage

This class was All About The Pig. I thought this would be a good one to give me some ideas and what else I could make for Rob. We learned about pre-packaged bacon versus pork belly. We cut the pork belly into lardons and sautéed them in a little oil. We then learned how to make scrambled eggs the correct way! You should not beat the crap out of thembut should be patient and guide them to ebb and flow in the pan. We finished the eggs with some chives and butter and served them with the bacon and toast:

Scrambled eggs with lardons and toast

Scrambled eggs with lardons and toast

I don’t know if I can ever eat packaged bacon again! Next up, we made our own sausage. Chef Marianne taught us that sausage is made of one-half pork belly and one-half the middle section of the pig (the loin). We each got some raw ground pork and were able to make our own sausage in a way that could easily be replicated at home. We were given ingredients such as thyme, fennel, cayenne, nutmeg, maple syrup, chedder, etc. and were told to be creative. My sausage included fennel, cheddar {like I would have done anything else!}, with a pinch of cayenne, and some salt and pepper. We rolled them in plastic wrap and poached them for four minutes in boiling water. While that was going on, we were served some pork carnitas on a small baked corn tortilla. (Not pictured, the wine must have kicked in at this point.) The carnitas had a great warmth of spice and were uber-flavorful. They were topped with some sour cream and cilantro.

After our sausages were poached, we browned them in a little bit of oil:

Medley of Sausages

Medley of Sausages!

Since there were six of us at our table, we cut each sausage into six pieces to try a little bit of each creation! Here is what my plate looked like:

Sausage bites with potatoes

Sausage bites with potatoes

To be honest – I loved all of them! Each sausage had a very distinct, unique flavor! And each time we tasted one, we could figure out who made it. It was a fun guessing game and a test of our taste buds.

Then we finished off with dessert – which had nothing to do with pork. We learned how to section/supreme citrus. We put Lynn at our table to work and they turned out beautifully!

Thurs-Citrus

One of the chefs gave her the wonderful compliment that in all of his years as a chef, he’s never seen in any kitchen a more beautifully sectioned/supremed selection of citrus!

We each had to make and flip our own crêpe. For some reason, this was a challenge for me. I could get it out of the pan, but not flipped over. One of mine landed on the floor. I guess I just don’t have that flick of the wrist! The citrus {lemon, clementine and grapefruit} ended up in the pan with some sugar and after reducing, some brandy was added to flambée the mixture. We topped our crêpes with the sweetened and flambéed citrus, folded them up and sprinkled with powdered sugar.

Thurs-Citrus Crepe

Overall, it wasn’t a low-calorie day. However, I’m glad that our portion sizes were small enough at the cooking class that we didn’t get overly stuffed. And it was still enough to feel like you’d had a good meal!

When I got home, I started to eat a double cheeseburger because Rob had brought home an extra and I didn’t want it to go to waste. WHAT?! What kind of thinking is that? I had already had plenty of food. Lesson learned. I have to eliminate that kind of thinking.

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What easy, fast, healthy ingredients, snacks and meals would you add to my post-op lists above?

Cheers~

Carrie