Restaurant Recommendation: Burch

Pieorgi

Only one more week until soccer starts (can you tell I’m excited?!). This week the bf and I finally made it out to the Walker Art Center for their artist-designed mini golf. Super fun, and super cool! If you’re ever in Minneapolis in the summer, it’s worth checking out. We took full advantage of our last night free before soccer/football officially starts….

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That’s me, inside one of the holes. It’s supposed to be an optical illusion with two people, however, without someone behind to take a picture it doesn’t look too crazy! :)

Afterwards we hit up a relatively new restaurant in the area called Burch. It’s a steak and pizza joint, owned by the same guy who owns 112 Eatery and Bar La Grassa (We have been to 112, and it’s amazing! The bf has been to BLG and is also a big fan.).

We were a little hesitant at first as we weren’t feeling the fanciness of a steak house (or the prices!). And not to mention, I don’t even like steak. However, they also do pizza, and have a great little lower level that is beautiful (and a bit more casual than the upstairs!). So we decided to try it out. And with an owner whose restaurants we like? It doesn’t take that much convincing :)

Here’s a look at their wood-burning oven:

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We had front row seats to all the cooking, fire-burning, deliciousness-making action :)

And as for what we ordered, it went a little something like this:

1st – Wood roasted mussels with BLG (Bar La Grassa) italian sausage

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I love mussels. And the broth with these was to die for. Not to mention the moist, perfectly seasoned italian sausage. Oh and who could forget the spinach (the only “vegetable” I consumed all night!). Such a nice compliment. Winner!

Second – Potato pierogi with golden raisins and poppy seeds

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Soft, delicate pierogi with delicious flavor combinations. So smooth and creamy, it melted in our mouths! Loved it.

And lastly – The Aragosta Pizza with lobster claw, mint, chili flakes, and taleggio

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I had to look up what taleggio is (it’s a type of semi-soft cheese). However, even before knowing that, it sold me with the lobster claw. I love lobster. And this pizza had plenty. You know when you order something with a more expensive ingredient and they skimp on it?! So frustrating. That definitely wasn’t the case here.

All in all it was a fantastic experience. Great ambiance, friendly service, and delicious eats. We will surely be back again!

Check it out if you’re in Minneapolis. You won’t be disappointed, and that’s a promise!

http://burchrestaurant.com/default.html

Also, on a side note: As I’ve eaten out oh-you-know, only like 5 times this week (Panera, Burch, Chipotle, pizza, and fettuccine alfredo at my conference – and it’s only Friday!) and was up north all last weekend (drinking beer, eating brats, you get the picture!) I am doing a one-week cleanse starting Sunday to get myself in tip-top form before the craziness of coaching begins. Only whole foods, no wheat, added sugar, or animal products. This should be interesting! Follow how I’m doing on Twitter @nicholsk13 :)

 

 

Restuarant Review: Wise Acre Eatery

Wise Acre Eatery

This week has been crazy (or cray-cray as my students say  – sometimes their vocab rubs off on me, just ask the bf!). Anyway, I’ve literally had something going on every day/night this past week/weekend (thus why I haven’t been blogging!). And I have eaten out 5 out of the past 7 days – bah! So unlike me, but I’m not complaining too much. I’ve had some good food :)

It all started on Tuesday night when the BF and I celebrated my birthday (it was in March – but I was out of town during the actual day of). We went to dinner at a place called Wise Acre Eatery in Minneapolis. Most all their food comes from the Tangletown Gardens in Plato, MN. On their website it states that “80-90% of what we serve is sustainably grown on our farm, less than an hour away- something we can all be proud of”. How cool is that?!

Needless to say we had heard good things, and thus decided to check it out. It doesn’t take a lot of convincing us to try out a restaurant that uses local fare :)

Wise Acre is in a little bit quieter part of Minneapolis, away from the hustle and bustle of Downtown, Uptown, and Dinkytown (for those of you familiar with MPLS!). The interior is small, but hosts a nice size bar and a case full of some local goodies ready to purchase. Clean and classy, but not up-tight, is how I would describe it. In fact, it’s a pretty laid back atmosphere. The food and drink specials are up on a blackboard, and they even have a “living” wall filled with green plants.

The food was pretty darn delicious as well. Before we even ordered, we were brought a nice lil sampling of seasoned popcorn (from the farm of course!). We also had a sampling of local cheese curds and summer sausage to start (can’t go wrong there). For main dishes, the bf ordered the East Meets Midwest, an 11-spice half-rack of ribs with sesame-ginger bbq, ham hock fried brown rice, and sweet-n-spicy sugar snaps. Oh that fried rice! I was such a fan. The eggs in it were so light and fluffy, and the flavoring of the rice just delicious.

I myself ordered the It’s Back, a dill pickle fried chicken. I don’t even like dill pickles (or pickles at all for that matter!). But it sounded good, and that is was. The chicken definitely was not your typical greasy fried chicken. Actually, it wasn’t greasy at all. It was perfectly dry and crispy on the outside, and moist and delicious on the inside. It came with wild rice slaw, and summer potato salad. Not your typical potato salad. The potatoes were cooked perfectly, and dressed just right. Not to mention the flavoring. So fresh! This picture does not do the dish justice. Partly because I took a few bites before I was like “Ahh! I should take a picture!”. And so there you have it.

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If you’re from the Minneapolis area, or your stopping by for a visit (or you want to plan a visit now that I’ve convinced you of how great a place it is!), Wise Acre Eatery is definitely a unique dining experience. A unique local dining experience. And it doesn’t get much better than that.

http://www.wiseacreeatery.com

Restaurant Recommendation: Midtown Global Market

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Ok so this is not necessarily a restaurant per se, but rather a collection of unique ethnic restaurants (and shops!) all in the same place. It’s located in South Minneapolis, in the old Sears building (for those of you who have the luxury of living in the Mpls/St. Paul area!).

Picture courtesy of ndc-mn.org

The boyfriend and I visited (or as we like to say, went on an adventure!) one afternoon to this little gem of a place. And oh what a wonderful little adventure it was. Due to extreme hunger, we decided to start at El Burrito Mercado where we ordered one cheese and one pork pupusa. Quite honestly, I just wanted to try it because of the cool name :) So what exactly is a pupusa? A pupusa is a thick masa tortilla filled with cheese, pork, and/or beans, served with a cabbage slaw and tomato salsa. Not bad for the first thing we tried. However, nothing compared to what we had next.

Next stop was a place called Sonoma Grill. We ordered a skirt steak taco. And oh-my-goodness was it delicious! The best taco the boyfriend has had in a looonng time, and that’s saying a lot :) The meat was wonderfully juicy and tender, cooked to perfection. Topped with cilantro, jalapeño, and lime, and served on a flour tortilla. So simple, the flavors just popped. We wanted to eat more there, but had to move on as there were too many other choices we wanted to try!

The last stop was Taqueria Los Ocampo. Voted “Best Mexican Restaurant” in 2012 by City Pages (the go to for finding great restaurants in the Twin Cities area). We ordered a shredded chicken taco. Soft corn tortillas (my favorite!) topped with cilantro, radishes, and lime. The chicken had a nice spice to it, however, it not quite as good as the skirt steak taco from Sonoma Grill.

So, we went back to Sonoma Grill and ordered four tacos to go. A chicken verde, tongue (scary!), carnitas, and one of the skirt steak. I have never had tongue before, but honestly, it wasn’t that bad! Kind of tasted like corn beef, but mushier. After trying each (all of which were delicious), the skirt steak was still our favorite by far.

And of course I couldn’t leave the place without buying some treats from Salty Tart (which won “Best Bakery” in City Pages for 2012, by the way). I ordered a flour-less almond cupcake, whole wheat peanut butter cookie, and a savory tart with caramelized onions with goat cheese. Had half the savory tart on the way home, and man was it good! So buttery soft, with such great flavor. Doesn’t hurt that I love goat cheese either :) And as for the whole wheat peanut butter cookie, it was probably the best peanut butter cookie I’ve ever had. And I don’t even like peanut butter cookies that much. As for the flour-less almond cookie however, it was ok, but not my favorite. I’ve decided I like my desserts with flour, and that is that.

One regret from the day’s adventure, I didn’t take one single picture of all the deliciousness we encountered! So you’ll have to use your imagination, and of course, get there to try for yourself if you can. 

http://www.midtownglobalmarket.org/

 

Places we visited (Sonoma Grill does not have a website, unfortunately):

http://www.elburritomercado.com

http://www.saltytart.com

 http://www.losocampo.com

 

Restaurant Recommendation: A to Z Produce and Bakery

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OK, so you can hardly call this a “restaurant”. It’s a farm that serves pizza. But still, it’s a pretty awesome concept.

I first heard of A to Z Produce and Bakery in the City Pages, but it was also ranked in the top 3 “Restaurants Worth the Drive” in Minneapolis/St. Paul Magazine. Sounded worth checking out, so the boyfriend and I made the trek (it’s an hour and a half drive from the cities!) to Stockholm, WI last week.

The story behind this place goes like this: On Tuesdays, the family behind A to Z make pizzas from the ingredients they’ve grown on their farm the other six days of the week. They open up the farm to the public and take orders between 4:30 and 8:00 p.m. Upon arrival to the farm you get in line, order your pizza (or pizzas!) off the blackboard menu, and then get a number and the approximate amount of time it will take (ours took about a half hour).

While you’re waiting you can check out the farm animals (we only saw a couple cows but they have pigs, sheep, chickens, and goats too!), buy some homegrown bread or cage-free eggs, and plop down on a piece of their land to enjoy the adult beverages (white wine is a good choice!) and appetizer (we had caprese salad) you brought.

Side Note: We also stopped in downtown Stockholm to pick up some pie at The Stockholm Pie Company (winner of City Pages ‘Best Pie’ in 2011) to enjoy after pizza. We went with a piece of Triple Berry and a piece of Apple. Although apples aren’t in season yet in Minnesota, the apple pie was pretty good. The Triple Berry however, was outstanding. If you’re a dessert person, a stop here before you get to A to Z (they are only open until 5:30 on Tuesdays) is a great idea!

Now back to the pizza. After a bit of debating, we went with a Garden Vegetable pizza and a Spicy Bacon pizza. Although we only needed one, we decided to order two – variety is the spice of life! (And not to mention, I love leftovers.). I didn’t think to take a picture of the pizzas before we dove into enjoying them, but here’s what the deliciousness looked like:

Garden Vegetable Pizza

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Spicy Bacon Pizza 

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Garden Vegetable pizza ingredients included eggplant, heirloom tomatoes, bell peppers, zucchini, onion, and kale. The Spicy Bacon pizza was loaded with jalapeños, bell peppers, onions, heirloom tomatoes, and the thickest most delicious bacon I have ever tasted! All pizzas are made on their delicious homemade crust (wheat, no preservatives, so soft and chewy!), cooked in their outdoor brick ovens, and then served in pizza boxes. A to Z functions like a state park, you bring everything else you might need (utensils, plates, napkins, etc.) and take all garbage out with you.

I wish I had pictures of the view, but imagine a scene from Little House on the Prairie (if you remember that show!). A quaint little farm down a dirt road. Farmland as far as you can see. Cute little white church down the way. And on the way down you pass Lake Pepin, which is beautiful in and of itself:

Lake Pepin

(photo courtesy of www.lakepepininfo.com)

 A to Z is a fun, unique place for a group gathering or date night. If you live in the area (or even a bit of a drive away!), it’s definitely worth checking out.

A to Z Produce and Bakery

Open Mid-February through November

Tuesdays only, 4:30 to 8:00 p.m.

 N2956 Anker Ln. Stockholm, WI 54769

http://atozproduceandbakery.com/

Restaurant Recommendation: Be’Wiched Deli

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This past Sunday the boyfriend and I were in downtown Minneapolis over lunchtime. Not sure of where to eat, but having heard good things and driven by several times, we decided it was the perfect day to try out Be’Wiched Deli.

Be’Wiched Deli uses sustainable, natural, and local food whenever possible (right up my alley!). They also cure their own meat in-house (not that I eat a lot of meat, but still, that’s pretty awesome). And not to mention, they made Bon Appetit’s Top 10 Sandwich Shops in the U.S. – very cool!

The boyfriend had the signature Pastrami and Egg sandwich, with roasted peppers (see below). It was featured in Food Network Magazine’s ’50 States, 50 Breakfasts’ as Minnesota’s best breakfast. Now that’s saying A LOT in my book. I had a bite, and yes it was delicious. Not usually the biggest Pastrami fan (again, don’t eat a whole lot of meat!), but theirs was very tender, and nicely spiced. The sandwich also had a bit of a kick from the peppers…mmm good.

Excited that they served brunch until 2:00 (breakfast is my favorite meal), I ordered the quiche with harvarti cheese, roasted red peppers, and fennel. I have never eaten a quiche with such a flaky, buttery crust. So good!

Next time you’re in downtown Minneapolis in search of a great deli with delicious food, check out Be’Wiched. I promise you won’t be disappointed!

Be’Wiched Deli

800 Washington Avenue North
Minneapolis, MN 55401
T: 612.767.4330
F: 612.338.2108

http://www.bewicheddeli.com/

MON-FRI 8-8
SAT-SUN 9-5