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Monthly Archives: July 2012

Minneapolis Weekend – days of fun and fine eating

On Sunday morning, Julie and I traveled over to Minneapolis for a couple of days of mini-vacation.  We ate at a couple nice restaurants, caught a Twins game, and even dealt with a somewhat flat tire and a trip to Ikea.

We left early Sunday, parked the car at the hotel, and walked over to Target Field.  We met my parents there an hour or so before the game and walked over to a nearby pizza place for lunch.  If you are in the area, Black Sheep Pizza is a highly recommended spot.  Great pizza, perfect crust, and not at all expensive.

We then went over to the game and got baked in the sun for a few hours.  I have to start remembering that day games have extra considerations for seating vs. night games.  The Twins won, and I think everyone had a good time, so in that regard the game was a success.

Target Field

 

Mini-mascots helping with the T-Shirt cannon.

After the game, my parents went back to their campsite and we walked back to the hotel to check in.  I normally just get nice downtown hotels via Priceline, usually at ridiculously good prices.  This allows us to try all the different hotels in the area.  The W Hotel was definitely on the nicer end of where we’ve stayed.  The hotel was almost too hip for us – with giant pink lighting in the lobby and lots of dark paints in the room.  There was also a window from the bedroom into the shower, which was a little strange.  Overall though, the room was super comfortable, well laid out, and Julie says it had probably the best toiletries of just about any hotel we’ve stayed out.  It’s not a big hotel, with only about 10 rooms on each floor, but I’m hoping Priceline will come back with this one again on a future visit.

The outside of the hotel

Quite the mini-bar. There was a whole drawer full of snacks

Frosted window from the bedroom into the shower

After cleaning up, we headed over to the Bachelor Farmer for dinner.  They do a Sunday Supper, which is 3 courses, served family style.  They don’t accept reservations on Sunday, and you don’t really have a say in the food, unless there are dietary restrictions.  We had a similar meal at Niche when we were in St. Louis last year.  We found the restaurant just fine, and were impressed with the decor.  They did a great job of transforming what appears to have been a warehouse space into a very cool, comfortable restaurant.

The door to the restaurant

Me, waiting for food

Julie, waiting for food

 

The first course was fried squash blossoms with roasted zucchini and foraged chanterelle mushroom stuffing, Bibb lettuces and Champagne vinegar.  I wasn’t sure what to expect when they brought it out, but the stuffed squash blossoms were awesome, and the lettuce had a great flavor, even on its own with just the vinegar dressing.

Squash blossom and lettuce

The main course was whole roasted chicken, new potatoes, caramelized cauliflower, and basil-marinated cherry tomatoes.  Very simple, but everything was cooked and seasoned perfectly.  It was a lot of food, but we polished it off happily.  The bannock that came as the bread was one of our favorite things.  Super buttery and rich and it went amazingly well with the honey butter they provided.

Chicken and bannock

The last course was orange granita, crème fraîche ice cream, Cointreau strawberries, vanilla bean hardtack.  We didn’t seem to grab a picture of this, but it was a nice, refreshing finisher to the meal.

Overall, if you have a chance to go on a Sunday, or otherwise, we heartily recommend the Bachelor Farmer.

Monday, we decided to take it easy in the morning and headed over to the Midtown Global Market around 11:00 or so.  The market houses the Salty Tart bakery, which is one of my favorite bakeries (after A Dash of Delicious, of course).  We had a few items, but my favorite thing is always their pastry cream filled brioche.  Sweet brioche muffin, filled with pastry cream, and then rolled in sugar.  Nothing not to like.

Stuffing a pastry cream filled brioche into my face

We grabbed lunch at a very good Mexican restaurant in the market and then headed over to Ikea to pick up a few minor things on a list.  On our way there, we ended up going through some heavy construction and hit a pot hole with a huge amount of force.  I don’t know that I’ve ever felt a jolt quite like that in a car before.  We didn’t notice anything amiss, but when we got out at Ikea to inspect, I noticed that our right front tire had a pretty good size bubble / bulge in the sidewall.  I’d never seen anything like that before, but after a quick Google investigation, it turns out that this is not a good thing and requires the tire to be replaced.  Luckily the car was still drivable, so we called over to a Tires Plus and they got the tire in while we shopped at Ikea.  Replacing the tire took about 45 minutes and we were back in business.  Not an ideal situation, but it could have been much worse.  I take full responsibility for tempting fate since I was talking about making sure we get the spare tire checked before we drive to Montreal this fall.

After getting the tire fixed up, we headed over to Piccolo for our normal, spectacular Minneapolis dinner (the highlights of which are below) and then drove home.  Couldn’t ask for a better 2 day getaway.

Chilled sweet corn soup with buttered popcorn, hearts of palm, and cornsilk

Watermelon “gazpacho” with chevre, radishes, chervil, and olive oil jelly (a favorite of the night)

Burrata with compressed oranges, celery, wild fennel pollen, and chili oil

Slow cooked veal heart with canned Italian tuna, lardo, and capers

Scrambled brown eggs with pickled pig’s feet, truffle butter, and Parmigiano

Potato gnocchi with Swiss chard, anchovies, and soft cooked duck egg

Spanish octopus with heirloom tomatoes, squid ink tortellini, black olives, and dill

Hamachi poached in ham hock stock with squash blossom, zucchini, and bay leaf gel

Callistor Farms chicken, veal brans with spruce pain perdu, fennel, and fig and lemon jam

Quail with pickled cherries, tarragon bread pudding, San Marzano tomatoes, and pistachio puree

Lamb breast with watercress, caramelized lemon, artichoke puree, and chèvre

Duroc pork belly with asparagus, green apple puree, and parmesan pudding

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on July 31, 2012 in Justin, Mini Getaways, Minneapolis

 

Wait – you’re moving?

As you may have heard (also on the front page of the Wausau Daily Herald, which was silly), Julie and I are closing down the bakeshop and moving about 30 miles north to Wausau.  For Julie, she will be selling A Dash of Delicious treats at Downtown Grocery, and also working for them a couple of days a week.  This is a great move for her, allowing her to be able to focus more on what she has found she loves to bake, and giving us a little more flexibility to travel and do the things we love to do, without worrying about the bakery building itself as much.

The past month has been a crazy flurry of answering questions, putting the building up for sale, and general stress over the normal “I have to sell a building / house” stuff that goes on.

That being said, we are both very excited and looking forward to the move.  Wausau has an awesome downtown area, and we are going to be right in the middle of it.  Our apartment is in the Heinemann building, between the Palladian and Washington Square.  A few pictures are below.  After owning and maintaining a house and building (including over a year of both at once), I’m really looking forward to not having to maintain a space.  It’s a little less flexible than owning a spot, obviously, but I think the tradeoff in less stress is going to be totally worth it.  If we don’t like it in a year, I’m sure there will be another post like this one detailing where we’re moving to in Wausau 🙂

Our new apartment is a two story townhome, starting on the second floor, situated over Coldwater Creek.  We get access to the Jefferson Street Inn pool and fitness area, and we’re within walking distance to a bunch of different restaurants, the mall, and all the stuff at Washington Square, not to mention the 400 block.

We’re really looking forward to having all that Wausau has to offer so close.  I drive up at least once or twice a week to golf, and we go out to eat and visit family a lot, so it will be nice to be much closer.

Entry way

Our outdoor space

Kitchen and stairs to the second floor.

Much bigger bathroom than our current spot

 
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Posted by on July 4, 2012 in Justin