Tag Archives: local beer

Day Block Brewing

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Well, you might be anxious to see pictures and hear all about Australia. Don’t worry. They will come!

If I had to put it into one word, I’d say Australia is… well…

Otherworldly.

I’m still downloading pictures and collecting my thoughts. But for now, let’s just say it was an extraordinary trip that I can barely even believe happened.

Coming back…

A whole different story. The jet lag was more difficult coming back. And after 24 hours of traveling, I went to work the next day. I mean, would sleeping during the day really get me back on track anyway? I think I’ve finally fully adjusted and I’m starting to get caught up enough at work.

In the meantime, Rob and I came back to the realization that we had several Groupons expiring before the end of the month!

One of those Groupons took us to Day Block Brewing. We had been holding on to this Groupon Living Social voucher for a while because every time we checked their website, not many of the beers looked appealing to us. But it was about to expire on September 30th. So off we went…

First, we started with a flight of beers.

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Here is a list of the samples we received of all the beers on tap that day:

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I am really glad that we did the flight! It’s been a while since I’ve done one of those. By now, you’ve probably learned that I’m an IPA-porter-stout-anythinginfused kind of girl. But the one I really loved out of this bunch at Day Block?

Frank’s Red Ale

What?

I KNOW!

I was so surprised that I enjoyed this beer more than the Porter (which was solid – well, not literally) and the Double IPA (made with Amarillo hops), that it was what I ordered for my pint included in the deal.

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Then there’s the food…

OH! The food!

Because Day Block Brewing is a brewpub, you don’t have to order in from a restaurant down the street or hope that there is a food truck parked outside like you’d have to do at other breweries. And it’s not just your average fare here either.

Take a look at some of the offerings that beautiful Saturday!

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 If only I had seen this board before I ordered. I would have gone with some Burrata!

We started with a bacon flight.

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You all know by now how I feel about bacon. I like it by itself, NOT in dishes. I thought I might be okay with these because the focus is bacon, not a dish that is supposed to have bacon IN it, but then that’s all I end up tasting.

Here are the flavors of the day that we tried:

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Oh that Pineapple Jerk Bacon!! Who would have known? The Thai Peanut Bacon was our second fave. And the other one just tasted like those times you get your bacon mixed in with the syrup from your pancakes or French Toast on your plate. These flights change daily; so there will always be something new!

We then ordered a little lunch. We must have been craving Mexican/Tex-Mex/Southwestern fare that day because we chose similar dishes.

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Mexican Pulled Pork {Lunch Only} – Cemita Bun, Braised pork, red onion, avocado, cilantro, jalapeno, cheese

Oh this pork! It had the perfect amount of heat for me. For those of you who are looking for Minnesota spicy, this might be a bit over the top. But I loved it! The bread is made in house, too.

Taco Truck Pulled Pork, Radish, Cilantro, Pickled Jalapeno, Onion, Cotija, Tomatillo Salsa Verde

Taco Truck Pizza – Pulled Pork, Radish, Cilantro, Pickled Jalapeno, Onion, Cotija, Tomatillo Salsa Verde

This dish was similar to mine. Rob commented that he didn’t usually like this style pizza. {I think he said that after taking one look at the crust.} But he was pleasantly surprised. Although this was also made with shredded pork, the flavors were a bit different from my sandwich due to the salsa verde sauce and the cojita cheese. It was just as yummy and a little less spicy.

Day Block Brewing is the perfect place to take a friend that might not even drink beer, too. In fact, at the time of this writing, there is a Living Social deal that includes Bloody Marys. They have a liquor license. So they can do other cocktails and wine, as well.

The other Living Social deal at present includes a bacon flight, a Growler and a t-shirt. We’ve purchased that one, so we’ll be going back!

Ever try a bacon flight before?

What is the most interesting flight (samples) of something that you’ve ever tried?

Cheers~
Carrie

 

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Dangerous Man

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Two beer posts back-to-back? What is this blog coming to?

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It was a cool, brisk March Saturday afternoon, the kind that makes you believe that spring has arrived until you realize it was all a tease when it snows again the following week. Rob and I had intended to spend our Saturday in Northeast {aka Nordeast} Minneapolis using one of our Groupons. On our whim, we detoured…

because there is a

 Dangerous Man

in Nordeast Minneapolis!

Dangerous Man Brewing is located in a historic bank building at the corner of a fairly residential neighborhood. There’s a lot of street parking. We arrived  about 3pm that Saturday afternoon. We walked in and to us, the place looked packed! All of the tables were taken and the bar seats filled. It was standing room only. We had to wait in line for a beer.

I loved the decor with the copper and metal backsplash and the display of Growlers from other local breweries.

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Little did we know that the place would fill up to capacity. When we departed, there was a line out the door and people smiling that two of us left so that two more could step inside! {Beard = optional. It is not required for entry. 😉 } Originally, we had planned to go with a group. But with how packed and how long of a wait there may have been, we are kind of glad we didn’t. If we do in the future, it’ll take a little more planning on our part. {Aka, get there early.}

 The beers available are constantly rotating. Here were the ones on tap that day:

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The one I was excited to try: The infamous Chocolate Milk Stout!

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It was good, but I found it to be a bit too cold and a little over-carbonated. But what did I know? I was coming off a beer on nitro from the night before. I think my expectations were too high. Kind of like when you are the last one to see That Epic Movie and you think, “I don’t understand the hype. It’s good and everything, but…” I just wanted it to be a little creamier. You know, like chocolate milk.

That being said, I had no trouble finishing this bad boy!

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Don’t you love that glass?! Rob and I try to pick up a pint glass at every brewery we visit. We’ve got a nice collection going, but we completely forgot to get back in line to get one here. They aren’t prominently on display to remind you to buy. Although, they do have a variety of items in their store online. Also, no food is served, but there is usually a food truck parked outside or a special event that will provide some nosh.

I was driving, so I just had a few sips of the beers Rob ordered while we were there.

Triple IPA - 12% ABV / Hazelnut Porter - 6.6%

Triple IPA (shown right) – At 12% ABV, this IPA is Dangerous, Man! It’s so smooth and delightful. But because of that, I think it’d be easy to drink it too quickly. Why is it that double and triple IPAs nearly always seem smoother than the standard ones to me?

Hazelnut Porter – Now this is the one that wowed me. I’ve never had anything like it before. There was so much flavor there! The aromas of hazelnut alone were transcending. It smelled like they had been toasted. The flavor was just as good. And we declared it the favorite of the day.

But alas, because gear and such wasn’t prominently displayed to remind us to buy, we completely forgot to get a Growler to go. But there might be a reason for that. Today I read their website:

Beer sales are flying through the roof; they’ve busted up some cumulus and are now on their way into the outer atmosphere of the Earth.

An unfortunate side effect of this is that we have to reduce our growler sales. Why? Because our production level needs to be balanced with our demand and most importantly of all — we need to have beer in our taproom.

Currently, we are selling 20-30 growlers a day – 1 per customer. Being present when the taproom opens is your best bet. We apologize for this inconvenience. We are currently working on increasing production which will allow us to sell more growlers. More than anything we’d like our beer to go home with you.

So my tip for you. Go early. Like, when they open.

The thing I love most about Dangerous Man Brewing is that  they don’t distribute.

The thing Rob likes least about Dangerous Man Brewing is that they don’t distribute.

You can only get their beer at their taproom. This keeps the beer made in small batches and makes it a true destination brewery. Rob declared it his new favorite in the Twin Cities. So we’ll be back. And we’ll plan to go early. Want to join us?

Do you drink local?

Cheers~
Carrie

 

 

Vivo

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Yes, our once-per-month girls’ dinners out are the best because we rotate who chooses the restaurant. It’s almost always something new to us. In January, Kim chose the Mill Valley Kitchen. In February, Jen suggested Vivo in Apple Valley, which now occupies the old Enjoy! digs.

What does Vivo mean?

From their website:

In a home, the kitchen is the spot where families gather, parties migrate, and food draws friends around. That’s also the spirit of Vivo kitchen: we are a place to come as you are. We use local, seasonal ingredients to prepare food that’s delicious without being mysterious.* Vivo translates as “life” — and that is what we want every guest to experience to the fullest. We look you in the eyes, care for you personally, and make you feel as welcome as if you are in our home. Because, for us, a kitchen is the heart of a home — and great hospitality is the heartbeat.

The space was only updated a bit. Gone was the Tuscan feel of the restaurant. In were shapes and flowers. It’s a little strange; but I always love the concept of fresh, seasonal and local ingredients.

Jen tried to make a reservation, but there weren’t any available. We decided to meet at 5:30 on Saturday night, intending to wait at the bar if need be.

But there was an hour and a half wait!

Boy, was this place popular. And I don’t think it had even been open for a full month! The bar was completely full, too. The only thing we could find was a table top with an awkward pole in the middle of it, which made it hard for the three of us to even talk face-to-face. We barely ordered our drinks when we saw three seats at the bar open up and snagged them as quickly as we could.

It was Happy Hour (every day from 3p – 6p), so a cocktail was in order!

4 or A nge b L ossom sparkling wine, orange bitters, st germain elderflower liqueur

Orange Blossom – sparkling wine, orange bitters, st germain elderflower liqueur

I never go wrong with a St. Germain – bubbly cocktail! We also ordered an appetizer from the Happy Hour menu to start. It was highly recommended by our bartender.

Ahi tun A crisps spicy mayo, avocado, sweet soy, sesame

Ahi Tuna Crisps – spicy mayo, avocado, sweet soy, sesame

He was right. They were soooo good! But don’t be thrown off by the “mayo” in this dish. You’d be surprised how many dishes these days have mayo “sauces.” Here, they just didn’t use the fancy buzz word: aioli. And people, don’t be fooled. Ail is the French word for garlic. Aioli is just garlic mayo. Get it? Got it? Good. The mystery is forever solved.

Jen started with a the side salad version of my dinner (see below) and then chose this flat bread:

Wild Mushroom mozzarella, gruyere, brie, truf e oil 11 Flatbread

Wild Mushroom Flat Bread – mozzarella, gruyere, brie, truffle oil

I tried a piece and loved that the flavors were so subtle!

Kim’s dish:

Pesto Crusted Seabass white & wasabi mashed potatoes, crispy fried onions, thai chili beurre blanc 28 Ciao Baby organic greens, pine nuts, local goat cheese, balsamic vinaigrette 6 / 10

Pesto Crusted Seabass – white & wasabi mashed potatoes, crispy fried onions, thai chili beurre blanc

The mashed potatoes aren’t pictured in the photo because Kim substituted a Ciao Baby Side Salad with organic greens, pine nuts, local goat cheese and balsamic vinaigrette. The seabass was perfectly cooked and seasoned. Kim loved it!

I was in the mood for a salad:

Rocket apples, arugula, spinach, lavender vinaigrette, spiced pecans, local blue cheese 7.5 / 13 + grilled chicken breast 4

Rocket Salad – apples, arugula, spinach, lavender vinaigrette, spiced pecans, local blue cheese {I added grilled chicken breast}

This salad had everything I loved, but they may have sold me on the lavender vinaigrette. But it was a bit overdressed. The chicken was the perfect addition to the salad.

Believe it or not, we didn’t have room for dessert.

I’m looking forward to going back again because there are so many interesting things on the menu I’d like to try… Not only the dishes, but I’ve been wanting to learn about Bourbon. And they have a Bourbon Flight. I think that’s a great place to start.

When a new restaurant opens up are you the first to give it a try or do you like to wait until they have their “kinks” worked out?

Cheers~
Carrie

A Dozen Reasons Why I Love The Lowry

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We’ve been to The Lowry in Uptown Minneapolis countless times now. I’ve been collecting photos from each visit for probably the past year and a half. Yeah, I know I’ve said it before, but this post is long overdue.

I didn’t really hit me until recently, but The Lowry is probably one of my favorite places to eat in Minneapolis when it’s just the two of us. When Rob suggests it, I never turn him down. It’s casual, there is an excellent beer selection, the food is comforting and the service is great, too. We always try to get a seat at the bar in possible. This means though, that we have to go at “off” times of the day. It can get pretty busy.

The Lowry,

Oh, how I love you… Let me count a dozen ways….

1) The LOCATION ~ We’ve timed it and even living South of the River, it takes us only approximately 15 to 17 minutes to get there sans traffic. 

2) The BEER ~ The beer selection is superb. The Lowry has made our Top 10 Beer Selections in the Twin Cities list.

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Even if we don’t love everything on the list at a given time, there is always a good selection and wide variety to please pretty much any palate. The taps are ever changing. When we sit down at the bar, we get the lastest list on a clipboard like this:

The every-changing tap menu is updated often

The every-changing tap menu is updated often…

We enjoyed quite a few Pumkings here this past season!

We enjoyed quite a few Pumkings here this past season.

3) The WINE ~ There are not a lot of wine options, but it’s not usually why we’re here. In fact, the number of wines on the list has decreased since we started visiting The Lowry. Like its sister Blue Plate restaurant, Scusi, they once used a wine dispenser system:

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It is no longer used for wine, but for their Whiskeys! {Learn more about the different styles of whiskey here.} However, the wines offered are decent if you are not a beer fan or are just in the mood for a glass. But for me, its the Mimosa Service that takes the cake.

Mimosa Service = bottle of Proseco + carafe of OJ

{mix your own to your liking!}

4) The FUN COCKTAILS – If you aren’t really in the mood for beer or wine, there are some unique cocktails as well, including a cocktail of the day. Of course, I love anything with St. Germain. But Rob was draw in by the eggnog-type drink over the holidays!

5) The HAPPY HOUR – The Lowry has an incredible Happy Hour. It’s also one of the only places we go to that allows us to order from the Happy Hour Menu when using a voucher or gift certificate.

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While we usually go for the entrees, we have had a few of the appetizers off their Happy Hour Menu. The Chicken Potstickers I only ordered on a whim… Because the people next to me at the bar ordered them and they smelled so good! And they are…

And nearly all of the beers on the incredible and ever-changing beer menu are $3 – $4. You can tell if a beer is available at Happy Hour pricing by the HH at the end, followed by the Happy Hour price:

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6 ) The PEOPLE – This is a place for Hipsters, although we don’t consider ourselves such. Take a look around at the clientele. It makes for great people-watching! But you’ll find people of all ages and types here, too. Don’t be afraid to stop in if you don’t think you’re hip enough… 😉

7) The SERVICE – We love sitting at the bar because of the exceptional service. It just feels like home to me. Is that weird? It doesn’t feel like I’m at home, just comfortable and relaxed.

9) The SALMON – I am so sad that they are replacing one of my favorite preparations of salmon EVER. It reminded me of the Mediterranean.

Salmon - with fingerling potatoes, tomatoes, olives, asparagus and olive oil

Salmon – with fingerling potatoes, tomatoes, olives, asparagus and olive oil

I have yet to try the replacement, but with “artichoke, tomato, asparagus, pickled onion, arugula and basil oil,” it’s not likely that I’ll be disappointed!

9) The STEAK – On our very first visit, I ordered the Steak Salad. It was highly seasoned and oh-so-good!

STEAK ancho-rubbed, charred corn, tomato, red onion, queso fresco, avocado, tortilla, creamy chipotle dressing

Steak Salad – ancho-rubbed, charred corn, tomato, red onion, queso fresco, avocado, tortilla, creamy chipotle dressing

Every time Rob orders the Steak and Pierogies, he declares his love for them and asks me to remind him to order them again next time:

STEAK & PIEROGIES marinated steak medallions, onion- cheddar pierogies, fried shallots, horseradish sauce

Steak & Pierogiesmarinated steak medallions, onion-cheddar pierogies, fried shallots, horseradish sauce

One item of note: I usually order my steak medium rare. At The Lowry, I’ve learned to order it medium to get my desired doneness. Please know that Sul Lago is still my absolute favorite for steak in the Twin Cities. But The Lowry prepares their steak comfort-food style… with flavor. And I think the steak dishes are a a steal for the price.

10) The BREAKFAST – Many of the breakfast items on The Lowry’s menu are served all day. But go early because it can be hard to get a seat if you are wanting brunch. They do not take reservations, but you can call ahead to get your name on the waiting list. But don’t arrive too early either, or you won’t be able to take advantage of the Mimosa Service, a Bloody Mary or the exceptional beer list.

I believe that in Minneapolis, restaurants can only serve alcohol after 8am Monday through Saturday and after 10am on Sunday. If you do arrive earlier than that, you’ll probably need some coffee anyway.

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I love that The Lowry uses a collection of mismatched mugs. It makes me feel like I’m having coffee at a friend’s place.

When the time comes, you can order that Bloody Mary with your chosen beer chaser:

Bloody Mary and an IPA - my perfect combo

Bloody Mary and an IPA – my perfect combo

I love eggs, so there’s not much that can go wrong with a breakfast menu like theirs. Rob found a favorite in the Shirred Eggs!

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11) The HOURS – The Lowry is open 6:30am until 2:30am every day. Seriously. We love that you can go there during pretty much any waking hour! And many menu items are available all day. Since it gets very busy on the weekends at brunch-ish time, we like to go earlier in the morning or later in the afternoon.

Happy Hour is from 4p – 7p and 10p – close every day. And the kitchen is open until 1am! There is also a Breakfast Happy Hour on weekdays from 8a – 11a. Not sure there are many individuals who have the freedom to partake in that, though.

What really impressed us, though, was that The Lowry opened on Christmas Day at 5pm. We had just returned from Green Bay and didn’t have anything nor want to cook. Upon arrival, we ordered one of the most comforting dishes on the menu:

BEEF STROGANOFF chive sour cream, fried shallots, pappardelle noodle

Beef Stroganoff – chive sour cream, fried shallots, pappardelle noodle

That dish is seriously good. It’s not a traditional stroganoff to me, but the fresh herbs in the dish drive me wild!

12) The FOOD – There are so many great items on the menu that make our bellies happy. There’s always something new to try, especially now that they changing up their menu a bit. We’ve very rarely been disappointed. Here are some thoughts on a few of the other dishes:

Lowry12Grilled Cheese – It has great cheese, but the sauce inside was weird. It is described as a tomato chutney, but it tasted more like you put ketchup on my grilled cheese! NOOOOO!!!  But the tomato soup shooter with pesto was to die for.

Lowry3Burgers – Guru Rob was not a huge fan of the burgers and fries here, rating them as average. But there are plenty of other places where we can find stellar burgers and fries. Besides, there is too much other yummy goodness on these menus.

Turkey Burger – On the other hand, I love the turkey burger here. It’s essentially the same as the one at their sister restaurant, Groveland Tap.

Mac & Cheese Lowry7Rob described it as having great flavors of swiss and smoked gouda. He thought it was creamy and cheesy and said he’d definitely get it again. I took a taste and thought there was a hint of bacon, although there was no bacon in the dish. I think it’s the smoked gouda that gives it the smokiness reminiscent of bacon. You can order this with ham and tomato, if you so desire, but Rob would never do that.

Oysters – Well, these are a no brainer. If you like oysters, knock some back. They’ve recently added fried oysters and an oyster sandwich to the menu!

Poutine Lowry8– Rob absolutely adored the poutine here, when it was made with beef. They recently changed  it up to pork belly. He was worried that it just wouldn’t be the same. Truth is, I think he liked it even more!

Lowry11Cheese Curds – These went away for a brief period of time and Rob was so bummed! But they are back on the menu. They are jalapeno cheese curbs with a side of blueberry ketchup. Sound strange? Maybe. But it really works! The sweetness in the blueberry flavor balances out the spice.

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When The Lowry first opened it was advertised as:

The LowryBurgers | Whiskey | Oysters | Eggs

I thought the combination sounded odd the first time I heard about this restaurant. And now that we’ve visited, I’m not sure that I’d describe it that way. Sure, all of those things have a presence on the menu, but not a big one (except maybe the eggs). And there is no mention of beer with their great beer selection! I have noticed that on their makeover menu, they how describe it this way:

The LowryAn Urban Diner

I think that fits a little bit better.

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What are your favorite comfort foods?

Has a restaurant ever taken one of your favorite comfort food classics and made it even better?

Cheers~
Carrie

The Mason Jar

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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

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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:

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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:

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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…

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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!

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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…

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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

Eating & Drinking in St. Augustine

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Yes we did make it to the Old Town on the days that we didn’t golf while we were vacationing in St. Augustine.  Those were some chilly and cloudy days for Florida. Take a look!

And just like when we were in Las Vegas and Kaua’i, I didn’t snap photos at every place where we ate or imbibed. But I’ll list some of the places we tried anyway. When we go back one day, we’ll have an account of where we’d like to return {and what to order!} and where we can skip.

A1A Rail Works

A1A – Beach Front Avenue!” Did I just do that? Oh, yes, I did! And we did it all trip, too. I mentioned that the only real craft brewery in St. Augustine is the one we visited – Mile Marker. However, when Rob inquired about places with lots of tap brews at check-in, A1A was mentioned. It’s actually a brewpub and they do brew their own beer. But they do not distribute. Think Rock Bottom Brewery, or for those of you in the TC Metro, Town Hall Brewery. It was late afternoon of the day of our arrival. And it was chilly.

We settled in for some of the best beer cheese soup we’ve tasted: A1A Ale & Cheese Soup – Red Brick Ale blended with aged cheddar and pepper jack cheeses, caramelized onions and roasted barley.

And these didn’t suck either. {Actually, rather addicting!}–>: Blue Cheese Chips – Fresh, housemade chips and blue cheese cream sauce topped with scallions, smoked bacon and blue cheese crumbles.

The beer was good, but not outstanding. It’s what we expected. But I’d like to give a shout out to Terri’s Skinny Cocktail {under 125 calories}: Strawberry Soda – Cruzan strawberry rum, sugar-free triple sec, fresh-muddled mint and strawberry topped with soda. Mmmm…
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JP Henley’s

Just behind A1A is JP Henley’s, which boasts over 70 beers and many wines by the glass. We loved the selection and ordered a couple of apps. We were served plastic forks and knives, so I felt like we were in an airport. And the food wasn’t anything special. If I were to visit JP Henley’s again, I’d go for the beer and then head over to A1A for the food! It’s smallish inside, so I can only imagine what it’d be like when it’s packed.

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Murray Bros. Caddyshack

Yes, you guessed it. Bill Murray and his five brothers opened this place. And the location was perfect in that we had finished a day golfing and happened to be staying at the World Golf Village. But the food – not so much. Between our Cheeseburger Pizza, Pork Chops and Fiesta Salad, nothing was that great. There isn’t really a reason to go back when there’s so many other places to try in St. Augustine. However, if you are a Caddyshack fan, check it out. This place could be a museum with all of the memorabilia on the walls!

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Milltop Tavern

After our stops at Mile Marker Brewing and the San Sebastian Winery, we parked near the old town. As we were walking around, we stopped for a coffee to warm ourselves up. Were we really in Florida?

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Then we made our way down the pedestrian-only St. George Street.

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It was late afternoon and time for some food! We hadn’t had lunch so we w climbed the stairs of the Milltop Tavern to the second floor where live music was thriving. We found a seat at a little table top against the wall. The heaters were on, but this place has to be open to the outside in nicer weather. This is a great place for local music, but the food was so-so. I had some black bean nachos while Steve & Terri ordered the black bean soup. They must like their black beans there! {For the record, I do, too.}

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The Prince of Wales

We wandered off St. George Street hoping to explore further and maybe find another place to stop. And it was this “Taste of England” joint that was chosen. It’s basically a very small one-room restaurant with a handful of tables inside an old house. The bar seated maybe two people. When I walked through the door, my face felt instantly greasy. Maybe this is the British Equivalent to a greasy spoon? We stopped for a drink. Then Rob decided to order some onion rings, which the group seemed to love; but I was too full from my earlier nachos. The room was small enough that you could talk with everyone in it. And we kind of did… Someone was looking for prime rib in town for later that evening. We couldn’t give any advice, but the locals on the other side of the room overheard and offered theirs.

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Barley Republic

We found an Irish Pub! This is a tradition Rob and I have that my friend Jen and I started when we spent ten weeks backpacking Europe after college. We just had to stop. And we are so glad we did. They offer over 70 beers, ten of which are on tap.

Rob peruses the menu, while Steve checks out the malt vinegar while the musician sets up for set!

Rob peruses the menu, while Steve checks out the malt vinegar while the musician sets up for set!

But the best find? They had the Southern Tier Pumking on tap! Rob and I spotted it at the same time. But we were worried. How could they still have it on tap? Would it have gone bad? We decided to chance it. We were still teaching Terri about beer outside of the light stuff! A round was ordered. We found out later that they’ve had it for a while, but just tapped it the week prior for the first time.

With the Pumking, Irish music and good friends, we felt like we were home. Well, not at home, but relaxed and content. We stayed for quite a while, some of us enjoying Pumking after Pumking {10 ouncers were only $4.50!} But Steve was eyeing the Bangers and Mash that others tables were ordering. Let’s just say he ended up getting a to-go order. And he loved it. Good food, good beer and good times. Win-win-win.

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King’s Head British Pub

On our last day, after a long day golfing at King & Bear, we weren’t really up for going back to Old Town, so we did a little search for something not too far from the World Golf Village. We ended up at another pub! Who knew there were so many in St. Augustine? I was really not feeling like going for more greasy food, but I had no other options to offer.

Adorned with twinkle lights, it seemed to be in the middle of nowhere, except for the fact that it was right off of a highway.  When we walked in, it immediately felt like a traditional British Pub to me with its dark wood, patterned red carpeting and tap handles. And despite the fact that I was originally looking for something a lot healthier, I opted for the Fish and Chips. I know. Grease. What I said I Didn’t Want. But they were the best I’ve had since Anchor Fish & Chips in the Twin Cities. I was fulfilled. And the guys enjoyed the Pasties they ordered, too.

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It was kind of cool that we didn’t always have a real lunch so that we could jump around and have a few apps here and there to try a bunch of different places. Next time, I’d love to try some St. Augustine restaurants on this list and give the Savory Faire Food Tour a try…

What’s your favorite item on an Irish or British Pub menu?

Cheers~
Carrie

Mile Marker Brewing – St. Augustine, Florida

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Before we left for vacation, I did a little research to find out if there were any local breweries we could hit. We were flying into Jacksonville, where there seemed to be a few. However, our destination was St. Augustine and I only found one real brewery there:

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Steve and Terri are new to the craft brew scene, but were willing to adventure out on a rainy afternoon. As per the usual, this craft brewery was a bit out of the way in an industrial park. They often brew out of a garage. This was a new experience for Steve and Terri!

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Mile Marker Brewing is named for St. Augustine being a mile marker off of U.S. Highway 1, which starts at zero in Key West. They also seem to love dogs here, which is evident by the other sign I saw and posted a couple of days ago. I also like their Hurricane Evacuation Plan:

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They have a lot of offerings, including a few guest brews…

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I was glad that Steve and Terri got a sampler so that they could try out a few to learn their tastes:

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Steve’s favorite was the Blonde Ale and Terri’s fave was the Coconut Porter, which is also what I ordered. Rob enjoyed the IPA.

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I just love their logo, which was designed by a local artist:

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All of the games are free at the brewery! We decided to play a game of darts. I don’t think I’ve ever played on an a traditional cork dartboard where we had to tally our Cricket score on a chalkboard. Loved it!

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After we played the best out of three and it seemed to get too hot indoors; we made our way into the garage where we decided to compete in a triathlon! Darts was the first leg. We’d play a game of Cornhole and Pool to finish it off.

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Let’s just say that I have no skill at cornhole. I didn’t think it’d be that hard because I’ve played a game like this with bean bags when I was a kid in grade school. But I was pretty much useless. On the other hand, Steve and Terri are pros!

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We thought we’d finish up with pool; but do you notice the ping pong table in the background? We had to finish off with that and make it a quadrathlon! I mean, why not? {Did I mention that it was free to play all games?!}

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Rob’s a ping pong master. During our turn, Steve and I just tried to keep the volley going and not keep score. Not a true game, I suppose. But it was a great way to spend a rainy afternoon. And it was only the beginning of our adventures that day. Come back tomorrow to find out where we went next!

Where is your favorite place to play bar games and what games do you like to play?

Are you in a league for any of these games?

Cheers~
Carrie