Tag Archives: pizza

Pizzeria Lola

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In December, I chose Pizzeria Lola for our girls’ dinner night out. The girls were kind enough to let my husband crash, too. I’d wanted to try Pizzeria Lola for a while, but I knew that I didn’t want to go with just Rob. A pizza place like this calls for a group so that you can try several pies!

*A special thanks to my friend Jen for the photos. I forgot my iPhone that night, so we used hers instead.*

We arrived pretty early on a weekend night and the place was already packed. Lola does not accept reservations nor call ahead seating. But they do deliver! We were led to the bar area where we could order a drink while we waited.

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There wasn’t a seat available, otherwise we would have eaten at the bar. The tap selection isn’t big, but the majority offered that night were local brews!
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There’s a very nice selection of wines, too.

It was hot in there with the pizza oven going full force in the middle of the room. At least we had a ledge to set our beer and/or water down while holding our jackets.

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Quarters were cramped standing near the bar as people made their way down this hallway to get to the photo booth:

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For $3, you can get a ticket for a three-shot strip printed in duplicate – one to keep and one to hang on the wll at the pizzeria:

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We really didn’t wait that long. But even if we had, it’d be worth the wait! As we perused the menu, all of the pizzas sounded absolutely delicious. We finally decided that we would each select a different pizza, so we would have the opportunity to try four different ones.

I loved that we all had different mismatched plates, like the coffee mugs at The Lowry:

 

And now the reason we were there – The Pizzas:

My Sha-Roni!* house red sauce, mozzarella, natural-casing pepperoni & house-made fennel sausage 15

My Sha-Roni! – house red sauce, mozzarella, natural-casing pepperoni & house-made fennel sausage – $15

The Forager crimini, shitake, and portabella mushrooms, taleggio, fontina, tarragon & truffle oil 15.5

The Forager – crimini, shitake, and portabella mushrooms, taleggio, fontina, tarragon & truffle oil – $15.50

The Iowan La Quercia prosciutto, ricotta, mozzarella, garlic confit & arugula 15.5

The Iowan – La Quercia prosciutto, ricotta, mozzarella, garlic confit & arugula – $15.50

La Creme Italian red sauce, shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano, cream, olive oil & basil 11

La Creme – Italian red sauce, shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano, cream, olive oil & basil – $11

Every pizza was excellent and worth the price {unlike the ones we tried at The Mason Jar}. But, by the far, the favorite of the group was the La Creme. You can’t go wrong with that one!

We loved Pizzeria Lola so much that when Rob and I hosted New Year’s Eve at our place, Kim had the brilliant idea of ordering some Lola and picking up the pizzas to-go on the way over to our place. GENIUS! Happy New Year to us.

Oh… and don’t forget dessert. Kim was recommended the house-made soft serve drizzled with extra virgin olive oil by a friend. I thought it sounded weird…

 

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House-made Soft Serve – Featured Flavor – Mexican Chocolate (left) and Vanilla with extra virgin olive oil and fleur de sel (right)

But it was soooo good! You must order it!

You won’t be disappointed if you visit Pizzeria Lola, even if you have to wait. Which, undoubtedly, you will.

Tip: It’s hot in there. But I’m sure the “No Shoes, No Shirt, No Service” policy applies. So dress in layers. I’m a freeze baby. But even I would consider wearing a tank top here in winter.

Over the few years it’s been in business, Pizzeria Lola has receive quite a few accolades. Best pizza in the Twin Cities? It has my vote. It doesn’t hurt that owner Ann Kim named it for her dog, too. 😉

What’s your favorite specialty pizza?

Ever have olive oil on your ice cream?

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

Townline – Green Bay

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Although we had a Green Bay address growing up, we lived on the outskirts, near the villages of Howard and Suamico. There wasn’t much nearby. We couldn’t even get pizza delivered. But the area has grown and expanded, so there’s now even a gas station less than four miles from my parents’ home.

You’ll also find a little pub and grill nearby called Townline. It was erected not long after I moved to Minnesota. What’s fun is that while the building is new, the tavern isn’t. You can read about the history here.

Because it’s so close, it’s a place we can easily get some grub and a pint when we are in town. I wasn’t intending to ever talk about it on the blog. But why not talk about an old (or newish, depending on how you look it) standby?

Our experience on our trip over the holidays was actually what prompted me to write this one…

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What completely surprised us is that Townline is open 7am until midnight every day. {But somehow I think that just means food. My guess is that they stay open until the usual 2am bar time for drinks.} And they have free Wi-Fi. The Monday morning before Christmas Eve was the perfect time for Rob to log in to work and put in a few hours. And we could order some breakfast! That’s something we hadn’t done at Townline yet. Mostly, because we had no idea that they served it!

Since I wasn’t the one working, I ordered a Bloody Mary. I was asked if I wanted the Breakfast Mary. Can you believe I ordered it after I was told it was made with bacon-infused vodka?

Breakfast Mary with bacon-infused vodka, cheese, beef stick, pickle, two slices of bacon, hard boiled egg and a beer chaser

Breakfast Mary with bacon-infused vodka, cheese, beef stick, pickle, two slices of bacon, hard boiled egg and a beer chaser

I usually don’t like bacon in things. I only like it by itself because in dishes and on foods, I feel it tends to overpower the other flavors. But this bacon flavor was subtle and well-balanced in the Mary! I would highly recommend it. Rob took my brother there the next morning and JR said it was the best Bloody Mary he’s ever had. I loved that a hard-boiled was part of the garnish. However, they must be either pickled or preserved somehow, because the egg had a strong vinegar flavor. Not my style.

I love eggs and omelets, so I couldn’t go wrong with my breakfast:

Omelet with sausage, onion, mushroom, tomato and cheddar served with hashbrowns and wheat toast

Omelet with sausage, onion, mushroom, tomato and cheddar served with hash browns and wheat toast

Rob went out on a limb and tried something he’d never had before – a Monte Cristo:

Breakfast Monte Cristo made with sausage and served with strawberry sauce

Breakfast Monte Cristo made with sausage and served with strawberry sauce

It was rich and so much food that he only ate about a quarter of it!

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But enough about breakfast. There are over 50 beers on tap here; but we don’t get too excited about that anymore. There’s rarely something new and interesting to us. That sounds completely snobby, but we’ve just had most of the selections available and know our tastes. But hey, we come from an up-and-coming craft brew mecca. And we understand that Townline needs to offer what suits their clientele. But, if there’s a local brew that is new to us that we can’t find in MN, we give it a try.

The menu at Townline is huge, but I’ve learned what I like to make a quick decision.

My two favorite things to order are:

~ Cajun Chicken Salad with Cajun Ranch Dressing

~ Friday Fish Fry {if we are in town on a Friday!}

Rob’s favorites are:

~ Lonely Guy Burger – fried onions, pepperjack cheese and enough garlic to clear the room on marble rye
*They also make a Lonely Guy Pizza and a Lonely Guy Omelet for breakfast!

~ Howard-Pulaski Burger – burger topped with a slice of kielbasa!
*Rob is saddened that they no longer have this burger. He thinks because kielbasa is no longer on their menu. He may just have to try the Howard-Suamico next time which is made with a brat patty!

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If you are in town for a Packer game, the Townline is a bit out of the way. I’d hop over to Kroll’s for burgers and fried-anything for a side. It’s across the street from Lambeau and you can’t miss it. It’s kind of an institution that you just shouldn’t miss!

Northeastern Wisconsin

I thought I’d take this opportunity to talk a little about the culture that is Northeastern Wisconsin, while I’m at it. It’s funny that it took me moving out of the area to realize that these things were uniquely part of the culture there. To me, while living there, it was just normal!

~GO PACK GO! Nearly everyone supports the Packers. On game day, everyone breaks out their Packer gear. Solidarity. No matter if we are sucking or not. Whether there’s a home or away game, the mall will be dead. Many streets will be, too. While there are some diehard Viking fans in Minnesota that I highly respect, most are fair weather fans, if at all!

~German and Polish influence – That’s why you see us on TV cooking up brats and kielbasa while tailgating at Packer games! Don’t forget the sauerkraut.

~Friday Fish Fry – You’ll find this at nearly every restaurant that isn’t a chain – every Friday. Not just during Lent. And it’s almost always is perch. I’ve never seen a fish fry made with perch in Minnesota. {Though I’ve had some of the better fish and chips in Minnesota than I’ve had elsewhere!}

~Chili with noodles – Really, it wasn’t until college that I realized chili was ever made without noodles. My mom always made it with spaghetti, right in the pot! I see that Townline offers it on their menu with or without.

~Double Bubble – This is the term for Happy Hour. It technically means that you can buy two-for-one cocktails, but is often used synonymously with Happy Hour now.

~The Old Fashioned – My mom has ordered Whiskey Old Fashioned Sours for as long as I can remember. It’s only been recently that she’d be able to order one in the Twin Cities and get someone who can make one that she deems worthy!

~Bubbler and Tyme Machine = Water Fountain & ATM. I once asked for a Tyme Machine at a movie theater in MN. (Before you could use a credit card to buy a movie ticket!) Yes, they looked at me like I was crazy. Especially because I kept saying it louder because I thought they couldn’t hear me behind the glass… I’m more careful about that one now. 😉

What are some parts of your local culture that you didn’t realize until you traveled or moved elsewhere?

Cheers~
Carrie

Redwood Room – Rochester

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I can hardly believe that it was July when my friend Stacy and I dined at the Redwood Room in Rochester. In this post about Pinot Gris, I told you to “stay tuned tomorrow!” to hear more about this gem of a restaurant. Then I wrote nothing about it.

Well it’s time.

Because this place deserves some recognition.

You can dine at the Redwood Room either casually or if you are celebrating a special occasion. The dark interior and lighting give the basement venue a special sort of ambiance that might even make for a great first date. Better yet, they also have LIVE music nearly every night of the week. Although, on this trip, we dined too early to see any of that. I am not sure what time music generally starts. The online calendar just lists the date and name of the musician(s) that will be performing, but not what time they are expected to begin. I’d recommend calling for details and then making a reservation to ensure you get seating!

I remember being intrigued by the cocktail list online, but not finding those that interested me on the menu upon arrival. No matter. As I mentioned here, we happened upon a particularly delightful Pinot Gris:

Four Graces Pinot Gris - Willamette Valley {pronounced will-AM-met, damn it!}, Oregon

Four Graces Pinot Gris – Willamette Valley {pronounced will-AM-met, damn it!}, Oregon

We were brought some bread, which I remember as delightful as well:

543We started with an appetizer to share:

Risotto Fritters Spheres of Arborio risotto with a gooey center of smoked mozzarella and a crispy exterior of panko breadcrumbs . Served with a creamy artichoke tomato sauce. $8. 95

Risotto Fritters
Spheres of Arborio risotto with a gooey center of smoked mozzarella and a crispy exterior of panko breadcrumbs . Served with a creamy artichoke tomato sauce. $8.95

They were tasty; but we both agreed we would try something else next time. They were nothing like the risotto cakes that we were blown away by one New Year’s Eve at Sul Lago.

Stacy already knew what she wanted as her main course:

Shrimp Risotto Arborio rice cooked in our house made chicken stock tossed with Black Tiger sh rimp, sweet corn, pancetta, cream and fresh basil . $1 7 .95

Shrimp Risotto
Arborio rice cooked in our house made chicken stock tossed with Black Tiger shrimp, sweet corn, pancetta, cream and fresh basil. $17.95

The dish was just devine. Look at all of that fresh basil!

I was in a craving salmon that night. When I saw this entree for just $16, I was shocked. In the Twin Cities, you’d find a dish like this {and probably the risotto above} for at least $22. What a steal! Only an hour and a half south of from The Cities, Rochester offers some more affordable cuisine without sacrificing quality.

Cracked Pepper Salmon Fresh Atlantic salmon filet brushed with ro semary & garlic infused olive oil. Served with a creamy dill sauce and Redwood Room house rice. $1 5 .95

Cracked Pepper Salmon
Fresh Atlantic salmon filet brushed with rosemary & garlic infused olive oil. Served with a creamy dill sauce and Redwood Room house rice. $15.95

So good. For appearance purposes, the sauce could have been thinned a bit. But it tasted just fine. I love me a good creamy dill sauce and this hit the spot!

We did take a look at the dessert menu, but opted to pass, if only because our bellies were way too full.

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I guess we were in a seafood-kind-of-mood that night. But now I’m curious about those gourmet pizzas on the menu….

What’s your favorite seafood dish?

Have you found a restaurant that seems to be a better value for the quality than others?

Cheers~
Carrie

Gladwin Menus

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It’s finally time for me to recap our Restaurant Impressions of our Michigan travels this past July when I felt like a kid again. A couple may be repeats from last year – but with a twist. And if you don’t live in Michigan or don’t plan on going anytime soon, please… stick with me these next couple weeks while I throw these posts in here and there.

You just may be inspired to do or make something!

Or you just might find our experiences funny.

Laugh if you want, but many people find my blog by searching for a menu of restaurants in Gladwin, Michigan. Why? Many restaurants in Gladwin County do not post their menus online. Some don’t even have a website or online presence! It seems sooooo 1980s. But it some ways, it’s refreshing. In other ways, it’s just darn annoying when you want to remember what you ate there or what was in a dish you had when you are trying to blog about it. {Oh wait, am I am the only one?}

But for those looking, you may have come to the right place today!

If you live in Gladwin, you can actually find a whole slew of menus in the local Buyers Guide!

Menu

While I tried to photograph as many menus as I could before ordering without being looked at too strangely, I felt like this guide was a good supplement to anything I may have missed.

And so we begin…

Mr. M’s.

Mr. M’s is a restaurant we visit at least once each time we are in Gladwin. The food is comforting. You can’t really go wrong. But their menu is HUGE!

Menu3Yeah. A bit hard to read in that photo of the Buyers Guide menu. Here are some closeup photos:

Although, for some reason, I didn’t take a photo of the pizza menu! We love the Mini Pizzas here. They remind me of the Personal Pan pizzas I’d get for free as a kid from Pizza Hut during the Book It! program. The crust and topping ratios are perfect. So is the size!

Finally got photos of those pizzas because I didn’t last year. However, I didn’t get a photo of that salad I love there because we didn’t go back this time. But I did find a description of the contents! It’s the Mr. M’s Chicken Signature. Yum!

Menu - M's Salad

And they have a nice pile of nachos!

Plug for the Gladwin County Carriage Festival! Woot! Woot!

Plug for the Gladwin County Carriage Festival! Woot! Woot!

Despite this note on the menu below, we don’t go to Mr. M’s for the drinks. Read more about why here from last year.

Mr M's Menu2We did stop for drink for fun one afternoon… on the bar side. Which also seems stuck in the 80s and still reeks of smoke despite the fact that smoking has been banned in restaurants in Michigan for a few years now. At the bar, I saw a sign that kind of confused me:

Pale-

Pale-o Beer?

With all of the Paleo-hype these days, I was thinking that this was a Paleo-friendly beer, which I did not know existed. And it actually sounded strange to me in a small town where you hardly even see things advertised as gluten-free. Then I realized what they were trying to advertise…

A PAIL o’ beer!

A bucket of five bottles of beer for just $10. It’s a deal, but it’s funny how a little spelling error can confuse little old moi. I told you that you’d see some funnies if you kept on reading!

Instead, I think we’ll cross the road for a beer

Which restaurant do you prefer to dine, but not really drink?

Cheers~
Carrie

How Mellow Are Those Mushrooms?

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While BBQ sauce is something I didn’t grow up with, and it took until approximately 15 years after college to find one I like, mushrooms are another story. I did grow up with them.

And I hated them.

However, they were the canned kind. The slimy ones that have that distinct smell. Ewwwwww! Whenever we’d have frozen pizzas in our house, my mom would amp one of them up, even if it was already a pizza with “the works” on it. She’d add fresh onions, fresh green peppers, canned mushrooms and extra thick slices of cheddar cheese on top. It was for this reason that I always thought I hated mushrooms! Although, thinking back, adding that fresh stuff and extra cheese was such a creative and easy way for a full-time working mom to better a frozen pizza. Too this day, I love fresh onions, fresh green peppers and thick slices of cheddar cheese!

I’m not sure when in my adult life that I discovered that I absolutely love mushrooms. All I know is that the discovery was made when I had fresh ones… when they were sauteed in olive oil and imparted such a wonderful earthy, sometimes even meaty, flavor. To this day, I’ve been known to ask that they’d be added to pasta dishes, even if they aren’t already in the dish. They happily oblige at Sul Lago, a fave local restaurant of ours, where they stock more than just your average button.

And when I order pizza now,  I always order mushrooms as one of the toppings. But I always ask, first, if those mushrooms are fresh!

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Side note: A couple of years ago, at a local pizza place, I asked if they had fresh mushrooms. The server said, “Yes, we can do that!” When my pizza arrived, it had raw mushrooms on the top. The server was so proud. She said, “Good. They put the mushrooms on fresh at the end for you!” I didn’t have the heart to tell her what I really meant. 😉 Now I ask if the mushrooms on hand are fresh or canned.

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So, when we were visiting friends in Charlotte, North Carolina, last weekend, and they mentioned that their favorite pizza place was called Mellow Mushroom, Rob and I were on board! Yes, this place is a chain, but mostly in The South and nowhere near where we live. Anyone want to sponsor us so we can open up a franchise hear in the Midwest? 😉

Mellow mushroom

Mellow Mushroom has a sort of psychedelic feel, even though they don’t serve that kind of mushroom!

The first thing that was of note to us was their extensive beer list:

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I first tried the Triple C Brewing Cajun Stout. I liked the little kick of cayenne in the finish. It was unique, but not overpowering. There were a lot of new-to-us beers to try that night! In fact, I learned something new. Check out the note on the side:

ha;dlj

We soon learned about all of these craft breweries in North Carolina! Stay tuned next week….

There were also unique-to-us southern cocktails on the menu:

If

Cocktails with Moonshine? If I wasn’t too busy trying beers, I would have tried the Reggae Moon or the Bloody Moon!

The four of us started with an appetizer:

Muffaletta

Muffaletta Cheese Bread – French bread topped with freshly made three-olive tapenade, melted mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses and baked.

We decided we would also try share two medium pizzas. To decide, Tay and Brendan told us that their latest favorite was the Holy Shitake Pie. After we read the description, it was a no-brainer that that one would be our favorite too!

holy

Holy Shitake Pie – Olive oil and garlic base with Shiitake, button and Portobello mushrooms, carmelized onions, mozzarella and Montamore cheeses and drizzled with garlic aioli and black truffle oil, garnished with fresh chives and shaved Parmesan. Duh!

Brendan also suggested that to even things out that we order our second pizza with protein. Good idea. We decided on:

meat

The Mighty Meaty – Red sauce based with mozzarella, pepperoni, sausage, ground beef, ham and Applewood smoked bacon.

Oh. Dear. God. Were these pizzas delightful. Tay had mentioned that the crust was out-of-this-world. However, when she said that it was a whole wheat, I knew Rob would be skeptical. In fact, if I’m using whole wheat pasta, I don’t tend to tell Rob, because he’ll have the preconceived idea that he won’t like it. So I was ecstatic when he agreed with me that this is probably one of the best pizza crusts that either of us had ever had! We can’t stop thinking about that Holy Shiitake Pie.

We thought back to what our favorite pizza place would be in the Twin Cities and nothing in particular crossed our minds! Isn’t that sad?

We want more! (I keep thinking of that AT&T commercial where that little girl wants MORE!) All I can say… is that Tay and Brendan have great tastes and really know where to take out-of-town guests!

What is your favorite local pizza joint?

Name something you eat now that you didn’t like as a kid.

Cheers~
Carrie

Losing Weight (or Maintaining) without Exercise

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It can be done.

Although, if you can exercise, you should. That cardiovascular exercise is good for your heart and lungs. But if you can’t, that’s no reason to give up.

I feared gaining weight back when I stopped running (and working out at all, for that matter) in December due to back problems. But I’ve been mostly maintaining. I’ve been fluctuating between the same five pounds back and forth.

Without exercise, I need to be more diligent about what I eat. Sure, in less than a week and a half, I’ll be having surgery on my back. So I could just give up for now and say that I’m gonna “start again” when it’s over… or once I’m off pain medication… or once I’m feeling better… or once I can start running again. We can always say that we are going to start over “when”.

But this is my life, not a diet. I’m not on a diet. I’m learning to make healthy choices every single day. And for me, a healthy choice is sometimes an indulgent one. I believe anything can be enjoyed and fit into a weight loss program if not consumed in excess. It was when I had the all-or-nothing mentality and was totally restrictive that I failed.

So for the days leading up to my surgery, I’m going to document what I’m eating… Good and bad. Not for you to analyze, but for me. I can analyze when I’ve made good choices and when I should make better ones. I’m finding that I’m more aware of what I’m eating when I have to take a picture of it, too!

And since I’m still getting used to this plan to document my meals for about a week, I’ve forgotten to take a few photos but that’s okay.

And with that, here are Sunday’s eats!

Breakfast

Fiber One 90 Brownie

Fiber One 90 Brownie

I also had a banana (not pictured). Oh and I had a few sips of Dr. Pepper before I stepped out the door. {For the past several months, I’ve had very little pop, er… soda, whether it be regular or diet. It’s something I’d like to cut out completely, or at least keep to a very minimum.}

Lunch

I met my friend Sally for lunch at Cafe Latte in St. Paul. We each ordered a pizza. I didn’t take a photo, but you can check out what they look like on their website. I think they are about 8 or 9″ pizzas. I got the Sonoma Pizza, which was made with basil marinara sauce, spinach, mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, feta and mozzarella. If you make homemade pizzas at home, I highly encourage you to combine these toppings! I ate a little more than half of the pizza.

Dinner

Yes, I went out again for dinner. While we do eat out often, it’s generally not twice in one day. Rob and I dined at The Lowry in Uptown {Restaurant Impression to come soon!} I sipped on a Surly Abrasive, a local Double IPA. (not pictutred). It’s quite hoppy and I always feel like DIPAs whet my appetite. Then, I devoured this salmon dish:

Salmon

Salmon fresh Scottish Fillet, oven-roasted asparagus, potatoes, tomatoes & olives

It’s some of the best salmon I’ve had in a really long time. It was seasoned perfectly and I loved this combo of vegetables! I would get this over and over again when I go to The Lowry, but there are too many other things on the menu I’d like to try.

Dessert for me was a Founders Breakfast Stout. This stout is bigger and has much more flavor than a Guinness and gets it name from it’s upfront coffee flavor.

Founders Breakfast Stout

Founders Breakfast Stout

Snack

With all that dining out, I probably didn’t need an evening snack, but I’ve been pretty good about taking a little wedge of the Double Cream Brie leftover from my canceled Open House, rather than eating the whole wheel.

DCB & Crackers

What are Ancient Grains, you are asking? Here’s what the box top reads:

Ancient Grains

These crackers are delicious and we have a big box of them {leftover from the canceled Open House}. I really have to pay attention to the number of cheese and crackers I eat because I’m a cheese fanatic. {Hey, it’s a given. I grew up in Wisconsin!} So I made my snack into a pretty plate and even got inspired by the picture on the box:

Ancient Grains Crackers topped with Double Cream Brie and tomato

Ancient Grains Crackers topped with Double Cream Brie and tomato

I estimate that snack to be close to 300 calories (the size wedge I cut was about two servings). That’s a little much for a snack, but better considering that I could have just brought the wheel of cheese, box of crackers, a plate and a knife into the living room to sit in front of the TV.

Overall, the day wasn’t perfect, but I’m glad I got some fruit, veggies, protein and Omega-3s in there!

What’s your favorite way to enjoy salmon? If you have a recipe, please share!

Cheers~
Carrie