Monthly Archives: October 2010

A meal unlike any other.

Saturday afternoon I drove (back) to Minneapolis with my mom and aunts Jean, Phyllis and Ruth.  We were heading over to meet up with my Uncle Wally and Aunt Denise, and their son Mike, who is the Sous Chef at Barbette in Uptown.  We didn’t have a clue as to what was in store for us.

Leaving a bit late, and running into a bit of presidential traffic, we drove directly to the restaurant.  Our reservations were at 5 pm, so it was still fairly empty in the dining area.  Cousin Mike arrived, followed by Wally and Denise.  We sat down to visit and looked over the menus, when we were informed that the head chef was preparing a special tasting menu for us, and to sit back and enjoy what would be served.  We quickly handed back the menus, with excitement and anticipation.  Even Mike didn’t know exactly what would be arriving at our table.  I don’t have any pictures.  This is when I craved some high quality equipment that could shoot without a flash in the dark.  Everything was beautiful and incredible.  I jotted down a few notes, but know I didn’t write down everything correctly or in perfect detail.  We relied on Mike and our waitress to describe each extravagant course to us.

First Course : Scallop Tartare  with Lemon and Truffle and a Celery Salad and Toasted Brioche

Second Course: Steamed Mussels served with a Chipotle seasoned stock and French Baguette

Third Course: Seared Opa over Smashed Cauliflower, Confit Tomatoes, a Saffron Foam Sauce, and Baby Basil

At this point the waitress appeared carrying a heavy skillet, and announced the Chef wanted us to see our next course before it was portioned.  It looked amazing.  It is probably the most amazing thing I’ve ever eaten:

Fourth Course: Foie Gras with Roasted Fingerling Potatoes, Carrots, and Onions on Toasted Brioche

Again, before the next course, a waiter brought out the roasting pan to show us what was coming, and heads throughout the restaurant would turn to try to get a glimpse as to what they were bringing to us:

Fifth Course: Braised Veal Shank with Braised Cabbage and Crisp Polenta Cake

Sixth Course: Baked Brie en Croute, served over Microgreens and Aged Balsamic Vinegar


Chocolate Bread Pudding with Peanut Butter Mousse and a Chocolate Almond Tuille

Chocolate Lava Cake with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream and Salted Caramel Sauce

Vanilla Bean Creme Brulee

Apple Five Ways: Apple Cakes with Dried Apple Slices, Dried Caramel Apple pieces, Apple Reduction Sauce, served with a Hot Apple Cider shot topped with Star Anise Foam

I cannot describe how unbelievably good everything tasted.  It was such a fantastic experience to enjoy with family, though I wished Justin could have enjoyed it with us (he was attending his grandfather’s memorial service, who passed away earlier this week, in Cincinnati with his family).  The entire meal took almost three hours, which fairly flew by as we chatted and visited in between courses.  We are already planning on going back again very soon.

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Posted by on October 24, 2010 in Family, Food, Julie



Saturday morning was a bit cloudy and rainy.  But friends Amy & Stephanie pulled into the parking lot at 7:55, ready to walk in the door when we opened at 8 am.

While not without its hiccups, the morning went incredibly well.  So many of you stopped by to say hello and buy a treat!  Besides lots of friends, quite a few people that walked through the door were people I didn’t recognize, or didn’t hear about us previously.  Only a few people walked out without a bag of cookies or a box of cupcakes in hand.  The Cinnamon Chip Scones were especially popular.  We are feeling encouraged and well received.  Already looking forward to, and planning what to bake for this coming Saturday!

Thank you!


Posted by on October 24, 2010 in A Dash of Delicious, Julie


It’s really Real.

Oh My Goodness.

What a humongous huge ginormous amazing difference the signage makes!

I love it love it love it.  And we open in less than 12 hours!


Posted by on October 22, 2010 in Building, Julie


Sufjan Stevens @ the Orpheum Theater

In addition to going to Las Vegas and opening a business this week, we also had tickets to see Sufjan (pronounced Soof-yon) Stevens at the Orpheum Theater in downtown Minneapolis.  We originally were planning to go with our friends Doug and Rachel, but their daughter’s sudden illness required Rachel to stay home. To fill in for Rachel, we invited Maureen to join us.  And though she had never heard of Sufjan Stevens, she jumped at the chance to go to Minneapolis with three adult friends, and her first big concert.

We parked across the street from the theater, and then walked to The Local for a bite to eat.  The Local is set up like a traditional Irish pub.  It is a massive restaurant, with tables, chairs, and booths set in all sorts of nooks and crannies, accentuated by heavy, dark, ornately carved wood.  They have a wide selection of beer on tap and the food is pretty delicious.

After dinner we walked back to the Orpheum and waited a bit for the doors to open and get our seats.  Our seats were in the second balcony.  While pretty far away from the stage, they still offered a remarkably good, clear view.  The concert was pretty incredible.  Sufjan had a wider variety of multimedia aspects added to his music, and his current album is overflowing with originality and electronics.  No picture we took could do it justice, but here is a pretty good Youtube video of one of the songs (“Too Much”) he played (this was filmed at an earlier concert in Toronto).  We arrived home around 3 am, exhausted, but all glad we fit this into our busy schedules!

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Posted by on October 21, 2010 in Activities, Friends, Julie


And we’re back.

Building Exterior on Oct. 1, 2008

Building Exterior (& new camera) on Oct. 16, 2010

Painting is 99% completed!  We noticed a few details that need to be painted dark gray, but for the most part, it is done!

Next week the perpendicular hanging sign and the name for the front of the building will be installed!  There has been another delay with the doors (grumble grumble grumble) and they should be here in the next week (or two).  Whether we have new doors or old, we’re still going to be open on Saturday, October 23rd!

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Posted by on October 16, 2010 in Building, Julie



Our last two days have been spent in the TopCoder Open competition arena.  Justin (Ghostar) has been blogging for the TCO and covering the programming competitions, and I have been busy with the All In Challenge, helping to organize games and scavenger hunt-type races.

One thing the competitors have enjoyed is the Minute to Win it game as part of the All In Challenge.  Every few hours we hold a different game, taken from the Minute to Win it television show.  In this challenge the competitor had to hold a piece of spaghetti in his mouth and pick up six pieces of penne pasta with it in 1 minute.  Very fun, and lots of laughs.


A Knish, from Carnegie Deli. Delicious!


In addition to the Minute to Win it challenges, and an Amazing Race event held on Tuesday evening, we are tweeting clues on twitter, getting competitors to race around The Mirage and take pictures of different locations.  It has been fun watching some of the competitors see a new tweet, and then race down the hallway to be the first to solve the clue.  One of the clues was the picture above: What is that? And where can I get one?

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Posted by on October 14, 2010 in Julie, Las Vegas


Las Vegas Favorites

Our day was mainly our own today, apart from a few meetings to prepare for the start of the TCO.  We spent several hours walking outside and through a few of our favorite spots, as well as exploring a few new ones.

Breakfast this morning was an easy choice.  We walked across Las Vegas Boulevard to The Venetian to the Bouchon Bakery.  We found this spot last year, and will always make a point of stopping there at least once from now on!  We selected a few breakfast sweets, including a cheese danish and this cinnamon bun.

After losing $5 on quarter slots in the Venetian Casino (Justin forced me, though I didn’t put up too much of a fight 😉 we walked over to The Bellagio.  The Bellagio atrium garden is always one of our favorites.

Every year that we have come it has a different theme and we always spend some time marveling at the plants and decorations.  There were five or six GIANT (real) pumpkins displayed, as well as some impressive curly trees and gorgeous glass leaves hanging from the ceiling.

From the Bellagio we continued walked and found ourselves at the new Tram Station to the brand spankin’ new City Center complex.  We had a few minutes to wait for the Tram, and I have photographic proof that my husband can smile normally into a camera.  🙂

We exited the Tram at the Crystals and Aria station, and walked through the shops and up and down escalators through the new spaces.  Really, I enjoyed walking around the exterior a bit more – it seemed more impressive from the outside than from the inside, but these water tornadoes were fun to watch for awhile.

Dinner was a special event that was planned ahead of time – reservations at Bouchon.  And it was exceptional.  Delicious.  Fun.  New.  Amazing.



Salmon Rillettes. A mixture of butter, fresh salmon, smoked salmon, lemon and creme fraiche. Totally did not know what we were ordering, and were rewarded with an amazing starter.



My dinner - Gnocchi with spinach, tiny tomatoes, and sweet peppers. sooooo goooood.



Justin's dinner. Pan seared Day Boat Scallops with Jura poached Fuji Apples and Meyer Lemon Beurre Blanc. Close-your-eyes-and-moan good.



We only come here once a year. No joke we're ordering dessert! Profiteroles with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream and Valrhona Chocolate Sauce, and in the background, Chocolate Bouchons with Banana Ice Cream and Caramelized Bananas. Worth it.


After dinner we enjoyed walking and talking with people at the opening reception of the TopCoder Open.  The competitions and events start first thing tomorrow morning!


Posted by on October 11, 2010 in Julie, Las Vegas