Tag Archives: cupcake

The Mason Jar

Standard

You may have thought this post was going to be about Mason Jar Salads… or all of the non-traditional uses of a Mason jar.

But it’s not.

Au revoir, Pardon My FrenchCupcake has taken your place. And who knew that inside a Cupcake, you’d find a Mason Jar?

I came upon The Mason Jar by accident, so I decided to surprise Rob with dinner there before our movie on Friday. Usually it’s he who surprises me with new-to-us restaurants like he did here and here.

My turn!

The space in Eagan which once housed Pardon My French has not changed a whole lot. But they do try to distinguish somewhat of a separation between Cupcake and The Mason Jar. Cupcake is adorned with whisks, while you’ll find at The Mason Jar… Yeah, you guessed it… Mason Jars.

photo(1)

Mason jars line are found on every table and it’s how you’ll receive your silverware:

photo 3(6)

But I’m not sure what else Mason Jars have to do with the place. They menu includes a lot of comfort foods. Perhaps they are connecting Mason jars with comfort food?

Speaking of the menu, there are absolutely none online for The Mason Jar at the time of this writing. Cupcake’s first location, which opened in 2004, has exploded into four after its exposure on the Food Network’s Cupcake Wars. The Cupcake-Mason Jar location in Eagan, though, has only been open about a month or so.

Also, at the time of this writing, there is only a Facebook page for The Mason Jar. But there is no official website, nor is there any mention of it on the Cupcake website. So there was not a menu to be found! I snapped a few shots of the menus put in front of us to share with you here.

We arrived during Happy Hour and took a seat at the bar.

photo 3(5)

There were a few craft beers on tap, including a selection of local beers, as well as wines on tap sold by glass, carafe and decanter.

photo 1(9)

They also have a liquor license, so cocktails are offered as well.

photo 1(8)

We had to take them up on their 1/2 off beer and wine Happy Hour! They were out of the Bad Weather Ominous (a new local fave of ours, but only on tap), so we decided to try the tap wine.

What I like about the wine here is that it isn’t as generic as you find other places when it comes to house or bulk wines. All of the wines come from specific regions, not just a particular state. Generally speaking, it means the wines are better quality than a wine, say, just from California or Washington.

In the Midwest, it’s hard to find a wine from the Finger Lakes region of New York. So I had to opt for that wine when I saw it on the menu:

photo 4(4)

I tend to prefer drier, Alsatian Rieslings and I knew this would be nothing of the sort. But I had no idea when I’d have the next opportunity to try a Finger Lakes Riesling! My next glass was the Cab from Monterrey County, which I have to say that for a wine-by-the-glass, was pretty darn good.

We learned of the four pizza specials of the day and decided to go with that $6 Happy Hour pizza deal. It was only after we ordered that we discovered this menu for even more Happy Hour snacks:

photo 5(4)

Our pizzas arrived and they were pretty good. However, we thought they were worth about the $6 we paid, not $10 – $13 quoted on the regular menu. Save those pizza dollars for Pizzeria Lola.

Toadstool – mushrooms, mozzarella, thyme, cream sauce, kale, basil oil

Blue Cheese Burger – seasoned ground beef, blue cheese crumbles, red sauce, blue cheese dressing

Rob liked the mushroom one better, but the mixture of fresh and rehydrated mushrooms threw me off a bit. I thought the blue cheese on the burger pizza was good. But to me, it seemed like the meat was unseasoned, despite that I could see what looked like a sprinkle of oregano on top.

Rob’s crust ended up in the crust graveyard…

photo 3(3)

Personally, I liked the doughy crust; but it would be even better if it was brushed with olive oil and/ or some seasonings. Or if diners were given a little of dish of olive oil for dipping, like one is given for bread at some restaurants. We probably wouldn’t get the pizza again. There is so much comfort food to try on the Late Night menu!

photo 2(5)

And although The Mason Jar claims to serve breakfast, lunch and dinner, they weren’t seating tables until 5pm. Huh? It also appeared that those who were seated at tables after we arrived may have received different menus. Much to learn!

And despite the fact that we had this dessert menu in front of us…

photo 5(3)

We couldn’t possibly order from that… Especially when meany these cupcakes were at our disposal.

My choice compared with Rob’s choice:

I loved my cupcake and so did Rob. We tried each others’ found that neither had cupcake remorse because we liked our own cupcakes better!

Although I loved my cupcake, I personally think I like the cupcakes at The Bulldog NE better. When I said this to Rob, he looked at me with wide-eyes and said, “Uh… I doooon’t knoowww…”

Here are the differences:

  • I kind of like the fact that the cupcakes at Cupcake are a bit smaller because they don’t make you feel so guilty.
  • But the Bulldog NE cupcakes are always filled, so they need to be bigger to get a taste of that filling.
  • Cupcake has many, many flavors, so you  have a lot of options!
  • Whereas, NE Bulldog only has two to three flavors each day.

That being said, I would try another of Cupcake’s cupcakes, without a doubt. It’s kind of dangerous how close we live to this place…

What is your favorite cupcake flavor or the best cupcake you’ve ever had?

Cheers~
Carrie

The Bulldog Northeast

Standard

Who knew that I could get the best burger, the best cupcakes and an excellent tap beer selection all under one roof?

NE4

As many times as we’d been to Northeast Minneapolis with Groupons to Butcher Block, a couple trips to Nye’s Polonaise Room, a pint or two of cider at Keegan’s and even a food tour of the area, we never stopped to check out the Bulldog NE.

I did step inside the joint once, just to get some change for the parking meter out front. I remember it being very busy and thought of it as nothing more than a college sports bar, despite the fact that I don’t even think there is a college in walking distance of the place.

Then a friend recommended it. We were surprised. Rumor had it that the tap selection was good if we liked beer. And guess what? We do. So we decided to check it out.

Now it’s one of our favorite places to go in the Twin Cities.

While this is the Bulldog in Northeast Minneapolis, a mural of Amsterdam {where the original is located} is proudly displayed. It’s large enough that, if I zoomed in, it could have appeared that this person was sitting right inside the window of a café on the streets of Amsterdam along a canal.

NE12

There are a few “Bulldog” restaurants throughout the Twin Cities; however, my understanding is that they are no longer owned by the same entities and thus are not affiliated at all. Tap selection styles and menus are different. {Although, I will say that I had some satisfying food at the St. Paul location. But that’s for another post.}

I find the menu here at the Bulldog NE to be, well, gourmet. Well, maybe pub food, even sports-bar food gone gourmet. The burger here makes Rob’s Top 10 Burgers in the Twin Cities list. The burger apparently made the City Pages‘ Top 10 Burgers list as well.

NE5Nearly every time we’ve ordered a burger here, the lighting has been too dimly lit to do it justice. But when we finally captured the shot, it still doesn’t scream how nearly perfect this burger is. Top it off with some truffle tots on the side and you’ve got yourself a gourmet meal in a basket:

Truffle Burger - topped with brie and truffle oil on an English muffin with Parmesan truffle tater tots

Truffle Burger – topped with brie and truffle oil on an English muffin with Parmesan Truffle Tater Tots

Of course, as suggested by our friend, the tap selection is fantastic, focusing on Belgians. You can read all about them in their menu book.

Still, there’s a lot of variety, including local brews, with several taps with rotating offerings to change it up for you.

And even though Rob’s least favorite style of beer is probably Belgian, he has found one he adores!

(For the record, I love it, too!)

Kasteel Rouge

Kasteel Rouge

They also offer firkins, which are often limited release, specialty beers. We almost always try the firkin, even if it sounds strange. We’ve found that it’s usually the strange ones we love {Green Tea!} more than the ones we think we’ll love {pomegranate ale}.

And who doesn’t love a patio that allows dogs?

NE17

Your pooch will get a water bowl and some treats to snack on while you linger…

Not only have we been to the Bulldog NE for dinner, but we’ve also shown up during brunch and lunch on the weekend.

NE3

This basic Bloody Mary was okay, but it was nice to have a decent beer chaser!

I found the Chicken and Waffles to be too rich for my blood on one occasion, but I had a fantastic breakfast sandwich and salad after our LOST Station 4 – Flame 16k virtual race.

 Ham and Egg Sandwich Alemar's Camembert style cheese, Canadian bacon, Egg and Gruyére mornay on croissant bun. $12.00

Ham and Egg Sandwich – Alemar’s Camembert style cheese, Canadian bacon, egg and Gruyére mornay on a croissant bun

It was completely satisfying, but not as wonderful and perfect as the breakfast sandwich at The Happy Gnome. But you can’t beat the beer selection there either.

But lastly, would you expect the best cupcakes to be served at a place that serves beer and killer burgers? Not me. On a whim, on one visit, I inquired what the Cupcake of the Day was. It was called the Elvis – something with chocolate and bananas.

It was one of the best cupcakes I could ever remember.

I’ve since tried several unique flavors. I mean the Lemon Lavender Blueberry Cupcake? Come On! Crazy good. The cupcakes are almost always filled. And the frosting is perfect – never overly sweet and gritty, but more creamy and luscious.

I would say that they have the best cupcakes in all of the Twin Cities, but it wouldn’t be fair because I haven’t been to any cupcake shops nor have I ordered them at any bakeries in the area. I don’t care, though. I rarely eat cupcakes and if I’m going to have one, I want to have one I know I’ll love. So it’ll be at the Bulldog NE.

Tell me about the best Beer, Burger or Cupcake you’ve ever had…

Cheers~
Carrie

Foodie Penpal from Colorado

Standard

This month’s Foodie Penpal box came from Kelly from Colorado. She told me this was her first month with Foodie Penpals and asked me for some tips as well as my preferences.

She more than exceeded my expectations!

photo 1

Kelly is a cupcake blogger over at High Altitude Cupcakes. {Love that name!} As I drooled over the photos of her creations, I knew there was no way she could send me a cupcake without it flattening in transit. Or, if she had perfected cupcake shipment, she would more likely have to send only cupcakes, which could be a beautiful thing. But it also could be bad thing if all cupcakes were consumed {by me} in one sitting! But as I suspected, cupcake shipment still proves difficult. In fact, when I wanted to send last month’s Foodie Penpal some banana chocolate chip muffins, I opted to send her the dry ingredients along with the recipe instead.

photo 2

Her beautiful, hand-written card was fitting and adorable!

photo 3In this note, Kelly went into detail on each item she sent and why.  She carefully selected some items from her beloved home state as well as some of her own favorites.

photo 5Clockwise from the Cupcake note:

Doxy’s Smoky Chipotle Starter – Aurora, CO | This is the only item I have not yet tried. It’s a packet of natural herbs and spices that can be used to make salad dressing and dip or to season fajitas or pasta. It will not go to waste!

JJ Sweets Cocomels – Boulder, CO | Oh, Cocomels! Thank you for making another appearance in my life! I was first introduced to these when a sample arrived in my monthly Love with Food box. I once again adored these cream caramels made with coconut milk.

Justin’s Organic Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups – Boulder, CO | I’m familiar with Justin’s Nut Butters, but I wasn’t aware that the company also made peanut butter cups! And with dark chocolate? There was no way that this could go wrong. And it didn’t. Each cup made it into a day starring as my daily piece of chocolate. Mmm.

Chuao Chocolatier Chocolate Covered Potato Chip Bar | I adore this chocolatier! Kelly just discovered it and with my love of chocolate, knew that she had to share.

Homemade Peach Jam | This is the best jam I’ve ever had! I am dead serious about this one. It’s made from Colorado’s famous Palisade Peaches. What I adore most about this jam is that the beautiful peach flavor shines through. It is not overly sugared. In fact, I told my husband that it kind of tasted like mashed fresh, ripe peaches. Beautiful and refreshing.

Clark’s Wildflower Honey – Fort Lupton, CO | This honey is produced from wildflower and bees out of Fort Lupton. I had recently run out of honey and always like to replace it with a new one from a local producer often found at the Farmer’s Market. Getting some from a Foodie Penpal is even better! I love the Wildflower variety of honey, too.

Homemade Fig & Olive Tapenade | Kelly sent this to cater to my love of Mediterranean inspired food. She said that she also shares that love. Of course, I’ve had  tapenade before, but I’ve never had it made with figs, which are something else I really love, but rarely ever get to enjoy here in Minnesota. And let me tell you, this tapenade is divine! It’s so versatile, too.

asdfa

Kelly suggested that I spread the tapenade with goat cheese on sliced French bread.

Perfect suggestion. This was an excellent way to enjoy it. I truly believe that if you are not a fan of olives, combining it with the figs mellows those distinct olive flavors out a bit with just that hint of sweetness. It also went perfectly with the honey ale above, which you’ll hear more about at a later date.

But then I got some ideas and enjoyed this beautiful Fig & Olive Tapenade in other ways!

with sliced tomato!

I added sliced tomato!

Yes! Yes! Yes!

Drizzled with the wildflower honey!

I drizzled it with the wildflower honey!

Why didn’t I think of this sooner?!

Tapenade (4)

I put it in a salad!

I made a simple salad for a work lunch one day which included fresh farmer’s market greens, tomato, goat cheese and the Fig & Olive Tapenade. At work, I drizzled a little lemon grapeseed oil over the top to dress it and topped it off with a few sliced almonds for some added crunch. Highly satisfying. It reminded me of sitting in the sun at a café in Provence. {I smile as I sigh here…}

Thank you, Kelly, so much for this beautiful box of lovely treats.

I can tell that you put a lot of thought and heart into it.

Everything has won me over!

I shipped a box of Foodie Penpal goodies this month to Maggie in Georgia, who is a big lover of Cheez-its. Let’s just say that she set me up to send her some of the cheddar variety of our local Pop’d Kerns. 😉

If you’d like to participate in Foodie Penpals, here’s the best part:

You don’t need to have a blog to participate!

Here’s how it works:

1. Sign up by the 4th of the month that you want to participate.

2. On the 5th of the month, you are assigned a Foodie Penpal.

3. You communicate with your penpal about any food allergies or preferences, as well as where to ship the package.

4. By the 15th of the month, send $15 worth of food to your penpal that may include homemade goodies, local treats or just some of your favorite discoveries that you want to share! The box must also contain something handwritten.

5. You’ll receive a package from another Foodie Penpal, who was assigned to you.

6. If you are like me, you squeal with delight when your package arrives.

7. You enjoy said goodies, which you may have never known about otherwise.

8. If you are a blogger, you post about the package you received on the last day of the month – Reveal Day! {If you are not a blogger, you do not need to do anything, but thank your Penpal, of course! However, if your Penpal does blog, you can choose to write a guest post, if you so wish.}

What is your favorite food from your neck of the woods?

Cheers~
Carrie

Puppy Cake!

Standard

The morning that I baked scones that my Foodie Penpal sent me, I decided to bake for our pooches, too! It was about time to make the Red Velvet Puppy Cake that our pooches received in their Holiday Barkbox. I had intended to make them for Sophie’s birthday earlier in January, but that day came and went. She is now an eight-year-old pooch! I can hardly believe it. Some days, she still acts like a little puppy. She still loves to play!

Puppy Cake batter

I just added egg, oil and water to the mix to make the batter.

out of the oven.

Immediately after removing them from the oven, I popped them out to let them cool.

What makes them red? Beet powder!

Once cool, I just added water to the "frosting" mix to turn them into frosted cupcakes!

Once cool, I just added water to the “frosting” mix to turn them into frosted cupcakes!

All natural, human grade ingredients!

I love this short list of human grade ingredients.

The cupcakes are wheat-free, making them easily digestible for dogs. And yes, because they are made of human grade ingredients, I just had to take a bite to taste one. Of course, they weren’t sweet like a true cupcake. And there was a very strong beet flavor. So, nothing I’d really enjoy, but they weren’t meant for me… So it was time to see what the dogs thought.

After I served Rob and I our scones, I put one cupcake on a plate for Sophie and one for Benny, knowing that as soon as I put them on the floor, they would devour them. Just as I suspected, Benny put his mouth around it and put the whole thing in his mouth! It was gone in seconds. Sophie, on the other hand, daintily licked all of the frosting off before biting into her cake! It was very difficult to get photos of all this in action, but I tried:

~

I think by the fact that they finished their cupcakes in seconds and that they accepted pieces of the cupcakes as treats throughout the week with no problem, I would have to say that Puppy Cake was a winner. You can find out more about Puppy Cake products on their website.

Do you cook for your pets?

If so, what are your favorite recipes?

I still want to make these Peanut Butter Dog Cookies made my volunteer for the Wags and Whiskers 5k!

Cheers~
Carrie