Tag Archives: steel toe

Patty Melts & PumpKing

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One late Sunday afternoon, Rob and I decided to have an early dinner at one of our favorite Hipster joints – The Lowry. {Yes, I know. We’ve been there soooo many times and I still need to post about it.} However, forgetting that the Vikings’ game was in town, we ended up in the throes of traffic. Before we got stuck amidst it all, I called an audible {get the football reference?!} and told Rob to exit. We headed over to St. Paul to another Blue Plate restaurant – the Groveland Tap.

We had only been there once before. This time, we were able to pull a seat up to the bar. We were happy to see that one of our favorite Twin Cities breweries – Steel Toe – was featured on tap with their Size 7 IPA. And it’s always nice to see the local Surly representing, too.

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But we just had to have a bit of PumpKing since it is our favorite pumpkin ale and it was on tap. We wanted to make sure we didn’t miss out on the last of it. It’s probably one of my Top Ten Favorite Beers, if I were to have such a list… Hmmm…

We also tried a the local Lucid Seasonal which was pretty good, too. If I remember correctly, it was even on Cask. Wait, it was! I just found a photo I took of the board that listed all of the beers: Lucid Amber with Pumpkin Spice & Clove.

002I was indecisive on what I wanted to eat and eventually ordered the Turkey Burger because it sounded similar to the one I love over at the Lowry, a sister restaurant. There’s no photo here, but rest assured I devoured it and a had few of the Cajun fries that came with it. It was very good, but not exactly the same as what I remembered from Lowry. But here’s the other thing eating that turkey burger reminded me to do:

Learn to make poblano pesto!

It’s what they put on their turkey burgers and I love it. There’s something about poblanos that I’ve learned from cooking out of The Homesick Texan, that gives Tex-Mex its flavor without being spicy like, say, a jalapeno. You know me, all about flavor.

I thought Rob would go with a Juicy Lucy, since he loved it last time. But he decided to go with the Patty Melt, instead, and this time with Parmesan-Garlic Fries.

001So, while the photo does this burger no justice {it was an afterthought}, at least I snapped one. Rob said this Patty Melt has usurped his best Patty Melt at Harry’s Café! It sounds like it’s time to update the Top 10 Burger List! And those parmesan-garlic fries put the cajun ones to shame.

So this is our formal personal reminder note:
Get the parmesan-garlic fries next time we find ourselves at the Groveland Tap.

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I mentioned that Groveland Tap is part of a group of restaurants owned by Blue Plate. Normally, I’m turned off by chain restaurants. It’s not a chain per se. Each of these restaurants has its own unique menu, character and overall feel. And the food is really good. We’ve been pleased every time. I liked this sign outside of Groveland tap that describes each restaurant:004And a quick skim of the Blue Plate website indicated that a new restaurant called the Freehouse is opening in December. I think we’re going to have to check that one out!

What are your favorite burger toppings?

Have you ever topped with poblano pesto?!

Cheers~
Carrie

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Living Social Beer Trolley Tour

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Last night I spent the evening wrapping gifts and talking with my mom and my 5-year-old nephew on the phone. I wished I could hug him right then and not have to wait until Christmas when we go back to visit.

Although I mentioned it in my post on the Top 5 Gifts for the Hard-to-Buy-for Person Who Has Everything, I fell like that now, more than ever, giving the gift of your time is one of the most precious things you can give.

For my husband’s 40th birthday, I threw him a “40 days before your 40th” surprise party {time with friends}. Then, on his actual birthday, I had 40 little gifts wrapped. The first one was a timer set to 15 minutes because the intent was for him to open a gift every 15 minutes so that he’d be opening them all day long! I also gave him the freedom to watch football, uninterrupted, all day long {time for himself}, though it was nice to reconnect with him every 15 minutes so that he could unwrap the his next gift. “Hurray!” he’d shout. I’d swear this man had not just turned 40!

One of those gifts was a gift of experience, but he would have to do it by spending time with me!

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As I may have mentioned a time or two, we’ve been blessed with new craft and  micro breweries popping up all over the Twin Cities metro since the Surly bill was passed a little over a year ago. Having lived in Seattle for a good five years, my husband is a fan of such beers and has turned me into somewhat of a beer snob.

So when I received an email from LivingSocial with an offer for a Beer Tasting Trolley Tour, I knew I had to snatch up a couple of tickets and put them in Rob’s birthday box. I didn’t know how good the tour would actually be, but I thought getting him to Lucid Brewing {one of his faves} with perhaps an opportunity to talk with the brewers would be a gift in and of itself.

Our tour included:

  • Lunch at Pizza Lucé with a Pint of Beer
  • Guidance by LivingSocial Adventure Staff
  • 12 Tastings of Local Craft Beers
  • Tours of 4 Local Breweries
  • Take-home LivingSocial Pint Glass
  • Round-Trip Transportation Aboard Vintage Trolleys

There were 60 of us in our tour group, split up onto two trolleys.

Trolley

It didn’t feel like that many people; however, except at the beginning, while dining at Pizza Lucé. We sat there for a good 20 minutes or more before someone came to take our beer order. It was sort of frustrating because we knew that the pizza wouldn’t be out right away, but it would have been nice to have something to sip on while we were waiting.

On top of that, the server was so unfamiliar with the beer menu. He couldn’t tell the difference between an IPA and stout. When he finally came back to the table with our beer, he said that he had three Surly Furious IPAs, but it was obvious that two of the beers were darker and were the stouts Rob and I ordered. He was so confused and had to go back to the bar to find out what was wrong. Seriously, if you are going to serve good local brews at your restaurant, train your staff already. {He wasn’t the only one clueless.}

This was our first time enjoying Summit Oatmeal Stout on Nitro!

Rob and I have concluded that we aren’t fans of Pizza Lucé crust. There is just no flavor there. Season It Already!

But truly, that was really the only complaint of the 5 and half hour tour. There was much fun to come! Our first stop was at Excelsior Brewing Company in Excelsior, MN:

Soup of the Day = Beer & Jumbo Jenga at Excelsior Brewing

Soup of the Day = Beer & Jumbo Jenga at Excelsior Brewing

We really *wanted* to like this place. But we just weren’t that impressed with the beer. Their new Summer Solstice was very strange, too. It had an aftertaste that I couldn’t place. Later, I realized it reminded me of a wine I once had, with an overwhelming eucalyptus finish.

After our three tastes there, we bought a glass of their Porter. Even that fell flat for us. There were many people who enjoyed the beers, though, and even bought Growlers for the trolley ride. {Yes, we could drink on the trolley!}

Don’t worry, we’ll still give Excelsior Brewing a chance. They are still very new. I believe their opening week was only back in July. I still really want to like the place.

Our next stop was at Lucid Brewing where they also share the facility with Badger Hill.

Lucid & Badger Hills on tap from this cooler!

Lucid & Badger Hill beers on tap from this cooler!

As expected, Rob loved being able to talk with the brewers at Lucid. {Another gift SUCCESS!} We had time to chat with the gal who owns Badger Hill as well. We talked with them about our favorites and at what restaurants we like to enjoy a pint or two of their beers.

Our favorite samples:

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Lucid Foto IPA – The dry hoppiness is something we both love in our beer.

Badger Hill Foundation Stout

Badger Hill Foundation Stout

Rob emptying sample number, uh... ??? while sporting the pretzel necklace we were handed upon entry. GENIUS!

Rob emptying sample number, uh… ??? while sporting the pretzel necklace we were handed upon entry. Genius!

They even tapped a firkin for us!

They even tapped a firkin for us!

At this point, Rob could have cared less if we hit another brewery. He was content. However, the next stop was Steel Toe Brewing in St. Louis Park. We had just tried the brewery’s Dissent a couple weeks prior at the Pig & Fiddle and were quite impressed.

Steel Toe’s facility was small enough that they only wanted one trolley-full of people in their facility at a time. Our LivingSocial tour guides were fun and sociable. They had trivia and prizes prepared for us on the trolley while we waited for the first group to tour. I learned a thing or two! Like…

Did you the official national alcohol of the United States is Bourbon?!

I had no idea! It sounds like “they” are trying to get that changed to beer. The U.S. does has more craft breweries than any other country.

We loved the time we had talking with the brewer at Steel Toe. He was a laid-back-down-to-earth guy. But come to think about it, really, they all were. I think it’s a requirement to become a brewer.

Steel Toe Brewing.

Steel Toe Brewing

We came away from that place with two Growlers: one of the Dissent Darlk Ale {really, a stout} and another of the Steel Toe Size 7 IPA. Guess that means that we’ll be back! {Every time you purchase a Growler somewhere, you pay a deposit for the glass jug. You can come back for a refill any time!}

Upon arrival back at Pizza Lucé, the LivingSocial staff came around the trolley, offering to take our information down and call cabs for us. Talk about prepared! They wanted to make it very easy for us to get a ride if we needed one.

We had such a good time that we would highly recommend a beer tour with LivingSocial. In fact, I’d recommend any event they offer. Most people think about the half-price restaurant and salon deals, but they really do put together great events. {I did a Champagne pairing dinner once and the food and pairings were incredible!}

We thought that this would have been even more fun if we had invited friends to join us. However, I bought the tickets on a whim the week prior and had no idea that it would be as good as it was. Now we know!

It took one little email offer to find the perfect gift for my husband. One where we could spend time together enjoying a fun experience. Thank you, LivingSocial!

What is your current favorite local brew where you live?

Cheers~
Carrie