Archive for March, 2008

flowers and sun

I’m heading west for a conference so things will be quiet here until I return next week. I plan to eat well, stick my feet in the ocean and learn a bit about sustainable design. See y’all next week!

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We grabbed lunch last weekend in the quaint town of Stillwater at a new-ish wine bar called Marx. They focus primarily on Pizzas and Pastas, but also have a large selection of salads. I started with a small spinach salad, and while the spinach and (chunks of) parmesan cheese were right on, the apples were actually burnt. You can see the blackened fruit in the photo. And while I like my toast burnt, I learned I do not like my apples burnt.


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Chicken Salad Sandwich

Met Jen and Anna for happy hour last week at a favorite new haunt, the Common Roots Cafe. They were hosting a free tasting last week with cheese from Pastureland, wine from Etica, Peace Coffee and homemade desserts. The place was packed. Fortunately, I got there early and was able to get part of a table. Anna was brave enough to hit the line for the samples and kept the pairing list so we’ll be able to recreate it at a pARTy.

As for dinner, always important, I had a sandwich of chicken salad with craisins and pepitos. It was really fabulous. Not too heavy, or creamy like chicken salads can be. I could taste the heartiness of the chicken as well as the sweetness of the craisins.

Jen had the cauliflower sandwich. I’m not sure what else was in it, but it was beautiful. Anna had the gnocchi, which looked more like a short pasta than the round little nubs we’re used to called gnocchi, but the garlic wafting from her place smelled really great and it was hard not to dig in.

But the best was really the dark chocolate espresso truffle (see it there in the background?). Just melted in my mouth. Yum.

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I just finished this book, The Ungarnished Truth, by a recent winner of the Pillsbury Bake-off, Ellie Mathews. I first heard about this book on another food blog (and I can’t remember which one) and I tore through it in record time. Ms. Mathews is honest and down to earth and wrote a really lovely, though like her personality, not too dramatic, account of winning a million dollars.

She writes of entering a number of contests and creating a number of dishes, including her winning entry of Salsa Couscous Chicken. It sounds easy enough, and flavorful enough to even try. I’ll post about just as soon as I get around to making it. Maybe I’ll even enter a contest!!

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Note: This is an old post that I wrote a number of weeks ago, it’s still relevant, but now it’s warmed up to the 30s, the snow is melting, and the sun is out. Enjoy.

Actually, just the Midtown Global Market

It has been so blazing cold here. Really, really cold. So cold I can’t (or shouldn’t) use the adjective I’d really like to use. So cold that my sister says if I complain about it one more time she’s not ever moving home. She lives in the snowbelt of Colorado, so this is big.

So this past Sunday, when the temperature topped out at about -10 (that’s a negative symbol, folks) I still had to go out to get groceries. But instead of braving the regular market with carts and long lines and huge parking lots, I went to the Midtown Global Market. The market has been open a little over a year and is finally beginning to pick up. The Market is full of ethnic fast food booths, boutiques and a few markets. But I don’t mean fast food like nasty fast food, but just real food served up fast. I’ve had an amazing Mexican sandwich called a Torta, a tasty and fresh spring roll, fish tacos, the list goes on. This is also the first place I was able to find Dulce de Leche and really good, really cheap Mexican chocolate.


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I met Jen and Anna for Art Lunch again yesterday, and we ate at a lovely little cafe called Moose and Sadies. Years ago I used to live across the street from the place and it was a hip, smoky coffee shop, full of writers and designers. A few years ago they redid the place and while smoking is no longer allowed, it’s still hip and full of designers and writers. They also revamped their menu and added a chef. That’s a bonus.

eggs and toast

I was fighting off a flu thing, but the friendly staff was willing to make me just some plain toast and an over-hard egg. thanks for that. Everything else on the menu made my stomach turn, which is really unusual for me.


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I’ve Been Tagged

Jen, over at Painted Fish Studio tagged me, so here goes:

4 jobs I’ve had: short order cook, cocktail waitress, dressed as the Easter bunny, hockey model

4 favorite movies: Legends of the Fall, Ratatouille, Breakfast Club, Outsiders

4 places I’ve been: St. John, USVI for my wedding, Estes Park, CO for my sister’s wedding, Napa Valley, CA for waterski school, UPPer Michigan for girls weekend

4 places I’ve lived: Minneapolis, MN, Bloomington, MN, Duluth, MN, St. Paul, MN (maybe it’s time to move?)

4 favorite tv shows:-Top Chef, Iron Chef America, Lost, Jamie at Home (I like the food network)

4 favorite radio programs: This American Life, Splendid Table, Satellite Sisters, Wait Wait, Don’t Tell Me

4 favorite foods: Butternut Squash, Cookies, any kind really, Sushi, Anything Curry

4 places I’d rather be: Sitting on a beach in St. John, Sipping wine in Napa Valley, Napping with the sun on my face in my backyard, Snowshoeing in Alaska

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Nothing says St. Patrick’s Day more than a pint of Guinness. But what if it’s a cupcake that’s made with Guinness and looks like a pint of Guinness? Oh, and did I say it has chocolate in it as well?


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Yes, I’m Irish, in fact, my grandfather came over from Ireland in 1918 when he was 11 years old, so there. So, in honor of my Irish heritage, I made a Guinness Braised Beef for dinner. The first couple times I read the recipe I didn’t realize that it would take 3.5 hours. Good thing I read it through one more time, or we would have been having beef for breakfast. It sounds like a lot of work, but really, once it’s in the oven, there’s really nothing to do. To begin with , I browned the beef, made a quick roux, added beef broth, red wine and Guinness. Then over the next 3 hours garlic, bay leaves, mushrooms, shallots, rosemary, carrots, parsnips and potatoes are added. Cook it until everything is tender and you’re done.


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Indian Plate

I met a friend for lunch the other day at another favorite restaurant, Cafe Brenda. And I noticed that I’ve been spending a lot of time at Cafe’s named after women. That’s just fine with me. It’s better than eating at placed with no history in their names, like Applebees, TGIFridays, Outback Steakhouse. You get it.

But anyway, we had a delightful lunch in the the bright, sunny dining room. I had one of the daily specials, the Indian Plate. It included Black Bean Dahl, Jasmine Rice, Yogurt, Chutney and Green beans. Sticking out of it was a crispy Papadum. The whole place smelled like curry when I walked in so I knew it would be a good choice. I was right.

Brenda Burger

My friend ordered what she always orders, the Brenda Burger. It’s a burger made of brown rice and nuts. It looked hearty and really delicious. I didn’t dare ask for a bite.

After eating there, I looked back at my posts and realized I hadn’t reviewed Cafe Brenda yet. I have reviewed her other restaurant, Spoonriver, a number of time, but never the original. So here you go. They’re both fabulous, each with their own personality. An ideal day would be lunch at one, dinner at the other. Takers?

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