CURRENT FAVE EATS

I feel like I haven’t blogged in forever. To be honest, I haven’t been in the mood. I’ve been busy with other things & just really have needed to rest in my spare time. But I did want to do a post today with some MPLS restaurants that I’ve been digging or plan to try in the near future. You all know how I love me some good food. #foodie

There’s been a lot of turnover in Minneapolis lately in regards to restaurants. I revamped my ongoing food list when I moved to another area of the city in August. I’m more NE and DT now so some of these may be old news, but new to me! I’m going to do a little run though of my thoughts & if you’re looking for some good local MPLS eats, try something from my list below! Going to try & highlight places that I haven’t blogged about before! I have a few random pics to accompany my thoughts but I’ve been so bad @ taking food pics … need to stop just inhaling first – HA!

PIZZERIA NEA: so sad to report that after 17 years they closed a couple weeks ago! Bummer since it’s right out my front door. I did get to try it before they closed their doors & it was amazing.

STRAY DOG: aka my new hangout. This is literally 20 steps out my front door. They also have an entire vegetarian menu! My favorites include the house baked soft pretzels & cheese dip and the vegetarian nachos!

MACS: never eaten here but did have some drinks & watched a vikings game. Another one right out my door. Seems like pretty basic bar food.

SAVOYS: has been a fave for years but now I’ve got one a block away! Green & black olives are my go to toppings!

SONDER SHAKER: I was so excited to try this one & it didn’t disappoint! The loaded fries were on point! They have a new fall/winter menu out that I’m excited to try. This one is about 2 blocks from me! Yay! They also have crazy good fancy drinks!

GINGER HOP: I was sad to move away from Amazing Thailand but now I’ve got this! Thai style fried rice is my jam.

BLACK COFFEE & WAFFLE: the Como one isn’t far from me & I’ve fallen madly in love with the strawberry cheesecake waffle. I’m heading there this weekend with my girlfriend & we plan to try the new pumpkin waffle & the apple one that I’ve been eyeing up for awhile now!

ASTER CAFE: haven’t been here recently but it’s not far from my place & I’ve had it in the past and loved it. Nestled right down by the river & Stone Arch Bridge too! I want to go one night when they have live music!

R TACO: another walk across the street gem. If you’ve never tried their tacos, you must do so. They are on my foodsby app @ work too … very tempting to eat tacos 24/7!

HIDEAWAY BURGER BAR: went here for a Vikes game & got a burger, which looked so good online but I would say it was a so/so burger … really greasy, very little flavor & not much there. I’m gonna stick to Shake Shack or Five Guys for my burger cravings!

WILDE CAFE & SPIRITS: breakfast gem! I love their breakfast & brunch food. Down by the river with cozy vibes.

KEYS FOSHAY: another breakfast gem & a classic. Everything they serve here is so delish. Mushroom omelet has been a fave in addition to the French toast!

MUCCIS: before moving out of Uptown, you bet I tried this new hot spot! It lived up to the hype for sure! Tried the pizza, garlic montanara & rigatoni. Everything was awesome!

HERBIVOROUS BUTCHER: interesting concept, was sort of weirded out by the look & texture of the “meat” … but my sandwich did taste like a normal Italian sandwich.

CHEESE LOUISE: this is a southwest mpls gem. The grilled cheese was some serious comfort food. The bread was so soft & the combo of cheeses was perfect. Also fell in love with the parmesan truffle fries. Who doesn’t love fries!?

LIST TO TRY:

FIRST DRAFT TAPROOM: been here several times before but they recently added more food to their menu & the pics make my mouth water every time!

TARACCINO COFFEE: across the street & it looks like they have some good breakfast options in addition to fancy coffees.

TRIO: this one is back in good old Uptown. a plant based vegan restaurant! The food looks seriously bomb.

BARDO: fancy date night spot right out my door! I’m waiting to see their winter menu!

BACON SOCIAL HOUSE: this is next on my list … need to try a bacon flight!

PRACNA: don’t know much about this one. Just saw it down by the river & thought it may be a good one to check out.

GRAZE: a new North Loop Food Hall! Exciting! It appears to have awesome DT view too.

JEFE: Mexican food … right next door to Aster & Hideaway. Good HH!

SAMPLE ROOM: NE … don’t know much about this one either but would like to check it out as I’ve read good things!

RED RABBIT: this one has been on the list for awhile & it just never works out to go. I think my problem is that I compare it to my real fave Italian spot & don’t even give it a shot! (see below)

SNACK BAR: not sure this is even open yet … was slated for October. Small bites, wine & pizza in North Loop, what’s not to love?!

GIGIS: another one back in Uptown that I never got to. A little neighborhood cafe.

BOLUDO: EMPANADAS! YUM!

AND OF COURSE MY ALL TIME FAVE PLACE & LAST MEAL PICK …. would be @ the one & only BAR LA GRASSA. I’ve posted about BLG before & I honestly can’t get enough of it. It’s been a once a month affair for awhile now! Planning to go back in 2 weeks! HA! Highly Highly recommend if you want AUH-MAZING Italian.

GRILLING

A short & simple post from me this week. It’s been a busy week and I have just been living in the moment, enjoying these last warm days we have had in Minneapolis. My new place has three grills on the 7th floor rooftop area. I was craving some grilled veggies this week and the weather cooperated for a little grill sesh. I did a very simple, yet delicious, mix of mushroom, onion, red pepper, potato and zucchini. I marinated the mixture for a couple hours in balsamic vinegar & oregano. I also found this nifty little grill basket from Target. It makes grilling veggies SO simple & they cook much faster. I’ve also seen them at Home Goods & TJMaxx. I would highly recommend.

view from the 7th floor patio/grill area

Coming up: September favorite finds, an update on my MBA plan and an update on my doctor’s appointment that I have next week!

DAILY HARVEST

If you follow me on IG you probably saw on my stories that I was greatly anticipating my DAILY HARVEST delivery this week. I have been seeing these beautiful little cups on social media & was highly intrigued. Basically, it’s a meal delivery service that provides you with fruit & veggie vegan meals that are completely ready for you. There is no cooking or chopping involved. I have tried other meal delivery services such as Hello Fresh & Blue Apron. While I liked not grocery shopping, I can’t say I was super impressed with the quality, variety & price of these services.

I looked into what these bowls actually were and I was pleasantly surprised with what I found. The company itself is committed to finding the best fruits & vegetables and preserving the nutrients until they make it to you! They are also committed to producing less food waste, which I like. They are able to take produce that usually is tossed because of its appearance and freeze it and you’d never know the difference. Each meal is frozen and will serve 1-2 people. The current options include snack bites, smoothies, harvest bowls, soups, oat bowls, chia bowls & lattes. Depending on what cup you order, you may need to add a liquid, blend, heat or refrigerate overnight. Everything comes frozen. By freezing the ingredients they are able to lock in freshness, even months after harvest, giving you access to summer’s best produce, even in the dead of winter.

Now you may be thinking why would you purchase pre-made fruit & veggie cups when you can easily go to the store and get the stuff yourself?! Well, I will give you my top 3 reasons why.

First, TIME & CONVENIENCE. I am at a point in my life right now where I want easy & convenient. I don’t want to go to the store and purchase several bags of frozen fruit and veggies and come up with combinations myself. Sometimes the store doesn’t have a great selection to offer either. Also, half of the time the fresh produce I buy goes bad because I don’t eat it in time.

Second, NUTRITIONAL VALUE. I want to have healthy options on hand that are super easy to throw together when I am on the go. These definitely satisfy that requirement. They are 98% organic and have a commitment to preserving nutrients and providing you with a quality healthy product.

Third, COST. When I do the math, these cups are worth it for me. They are a cost-effective way to have fruit & veggies but not have to worry about them going bad and buying several different kinds at once. You can choose how often you want these delivered. You can also choose how many you want. For my first time, I ordered a 9 pack. My thought was that I could see how I liked them and then stock up every couple of months and keep them in my freezer. I do not anticipate ordering these weekly. The smallest order is 6 cups of anything you want from their menu. That runs about $48 and it’s your lucky day because they gave me a $25 off coupon to share! So that brings you down to $23 for 6 cups. So roughly $3.83 per cup! When I get smoothies or healthy bowls from local health/wellness places they run me anywhere from $7 to $11. So to me, that speaks for itself. I will add the code down below if you want to try them out. There are no obligations and you can immediately cancel or choose to skip weeks.

I also found some really interesting information on their website about traditional fresh produce vs the daily harvest way of doing things. I made a little chart below with what I found:

I wasted no time digging in & trying some yesterday! They were really as easy as they claim. I dumped the frozen fruit into my blender, added some almond milk & bam! I had a delicious smoothie in a matter of seconds. I ordered 8 smoothies & 1 harvest bowl that I am excited to try as well.

If you want to give it a try, you can use my code for $25 off your first order. You can customize your package any way you want! If you do try it, be sure to let me know what you think! You can order on their website or download the app for easy access!

CODE: RE-LG37M47

HEALTHY SNACKS

I am an avid snacker and am always looking for new options. I eat pretty healthy most of the time and try to pay attention to labels/ingredients. I’m human though, sometimes I throw down a bag of Blaze Doritos guilt free! Everything in moderation, right?! Here are my go-to snacks:

↠ Fruit (blueberries, banana, peach, mango, kiwi)

↠ Almonds (more recently the Skinny Dipped chocolate peanut butter ones)

↠ Protein Bites (I make a cookie dough version weekly … Pinterest has tons)

↠ Hummus (with veggies, peppers, crackers)

↠ Kashi Bars (lately I have been obsessed with the Chewy Nut Butter Bars “Salted Chocolate Chunk”)

↠ Roasted Chickpeas (favorite brand is Biena “Habanero” flavored)

↠ Guacamole (I have a bomb homemade recipe if you need one)

↠ Olives (stuffed garlic are where it’s at)

↠ Cheese (Kerrygold “Dubliner” is my fave)

↠ Apples & PB (either sliced or I make into “nachos” and drizzle with melted PB and add mini chocolate chips)

↠ Cashew Queso (Siete makes some BOMB chashew queso to dip tortilla chips in)

↠ RX Bars (I have had a few flavors and liked them … good for on the go)

↠ Kale Chips (Pinterest)

↠ Parmesean Crisps (basically just bake shredded parmesean cheese and add any seasonings … I usually add italian seasoning)

↠ Kodiak Cake Cups (another good on the go one … microwave for one minute and boom you have a little mini muffin or pancake in a cup)

↠ Mini Dark Chocolate Chips (I always keep a bag of these in my pantry so when I have chocolate cravings … a few of these and I am good)

My snack rotation is forever changing, so please drop me some new ideas to try!

TOP TEN FAVORITE RECIPES

You’ve probably caught on by now, to the fact that I love food! In addition to checking out local gems, I really enjoy cooking! I make most of my meals at home during the week and faithfully meal prep every Saturday or Sunday. I am always down for trying new recipes and have some favorites that I go back to again and again.

When recipe hunting I usually start with Pinterest. That is also where I keep my recipes organized. I have tried printing them out and three-hole punching them to store in a binder, but it’s just so much easier to just pull it up on my phone when I am in the kitchen. I always scan over the recipes to make sure most ingredients are clean and usually end up modifying most recipes to make some clean additions.

As I mentioned in my TOP EATS post, I have only eaten meat a handful of times in the last six months. I have felt this clean and lean feeling inside since removing meat from my diet. I love it! So most of my recipes are vegetarian-friendly. If I find a recipe that calls for meat but it sounds super yummy, I usually just substitute for a meat-free option. I love using beans, mushrooms, tofu, quinoa, and cauliflower to make meatless meals.

I am going to post below ten of my all time favorite recipes. The link to the actual recipe is linked in the heading … so just click on the name of the recipe and it will take you to a new website/blog to read the entire recipe. I will add any notes to indicate if I modified anything. In no particular order … my top ten favorite recipes:

1. MUSHROOM LASAGNA: This is an easy go to mushroom lasagna that tastes so cheesy and amazing! I usually get 4 large servings out of this recipe. Modifications: coconut or almond flour for the all purpose flour and almond milk for the heavy cream.

2. WILD RICE SOUP: I was obsessed with this soup this winter. It was a weekly staple in my life. It has a thicker consistency that regular soup and is just packed full of healthiness! You can be as creative as you’d like with this soup. Modifications: coconut or almond flour for the all purpose flour and almond milk for the regular milk.

3. SPICY VEGAN JAMAICAN JERK CAULIFLOWER TACOS WOTH MANGO SALSA:Who doesn’t love tacos?! There are so many variations that you’ll never get tired of them. These were my first cauliflower tacos I made and I quickly became obsessed. The jerk seasoning is awesome and you can make with the mango salsa mentioned in this particular recipe or just add your own toppings! Modifications: NONE!

4. QUINOA TACOS: I told you I love tacos! HA! These literally taste like regular ground beef tacos. They have that same cumin flavor going on. The texture is also really similar to beef. Modifications: NONE!

5. POTATO SOUP: This was also a winter staple for me. I had never really tried potato soup and then after making this one I was hooked! It literally tastes like mashed potatoes! It is a little thicker than a regular soup I would say. I liked that there was no heavy cream involved – just some cream cheese instead. I also loved how this was a crock pot recipe … score! Perfect for simmering on a Sunday. I used an immersion blender for the first time when making this and I was in love with that thing too! HA! Modifications: NONE!

6. SPICY THAI NOODLES: This has been one of my go to recipes for several years now. I never get sick of it. I also make homemade wontons (upper right photo) to go along with this dish. I did try making this once with chickpea linguine noodles and it didn’t go too well. It was so thick and it just didn’t taste right. I would stick to regular pasta noodles for this one. Modifications: liquid aminos for the soy sauce.

7. ROASTED RED PEPPER RIGATONI: I came across this recipe more recently and have already made it four times. You could easily add in a protein but I have enjoyed it as is so far. It’s so cheesy and has a unique sauce taste. Modifications: almond milk for the half and half.

8: VEGETARIAN CAULIFLOWER WINGS: I have tried to make cauliflower wings a few times in the past and I just wasn’t sold, until I found these babies! These are also made weekly in my kitchen! They are so easy and SO good. Modifications: coconut or almond flour for the all purpose flour, almond milk for the regular milk and I split the sauce 1/4 cup buffalo and 1/4 cup bbq.

9. SPCIY SHRIMP TACOS: Wow, tacos made the list three times! Not surprised. They are just so easy to make during the week and meal prep for work week lunches. These are awesome because of the creamy sriracha sauce and cilantro lime slaw! It claims it will serve four people but I would say more like two in reality! Modifications: NONE!

10. TOASTED GNOCCHI: This is another more recent find that I can’t get enough of. It’s super easy and quick to throw together on a week night. I personally can’t get enough when it comes to gnocchi and mushrooms … so this is a match made in heaven! Modifications: NONE!

I will update you all in a couple months with some new finds but for now, enjoy these! Let me know if you try any of them!

TOP EATS IN MINNEAPOLIS

I totally became a real-life foodie when I moved to Minneapolis. I have always loved me some good food but once I moved here I started finding the true gems. I am sort of a foodie snob sometimes to be honest. One of my dream jobs is actually to be a food blogger! That would be so amazing.

Minneapolis is filled with great food spots and I have made it a point to try as many as I can. I narrowed it down to my top 15 … there are some other ones that were close to making my list but these top 15 have been tried, again and again, proving to be the best of the best! I’ll share my favorite dishes/orders from each too! (Side note: I have only eaten meat a handful of times in the last 6 months … so some of my choices may change now that I am sticking to a more plant-based diet, but these are my original favorites).

In no particular order here are my top 15 eats of Minneapolis:

#1: Zelo (Downtown) – Italian food is probably my favorite type of food and Zelo never disappoints. It’s cozy, intimate and beautiful inside! Top favorites include the parmesan crusted shrimp appetizer and this amazing fettuccine alfredo below (spinach, almonds & light cream sauce).

#2: Bar La Grassa (North Loop) – Hands down my favorite Italian spot in the city. It is dark inside with a grown and intimate vibe. They have some really unique dishes on the menu but my favorite dish is below … “MUSHROOM & TALEGGIO AGNOLOTTI” … It’s SO rich and filled with fresh mushrooms! My mouth is watering just looking at that picture.

#3: Rise Bagel (North Loop) – This little gem is the best breakfast bagel shop around. I went searching for bagels like I had in Seattle and wound up here. There’s tons of natural light inside and it’s a perfect little bagel/coffee shop. Any of the breakfast bagels are amazing. This one is my new fave … classic egg, cheddar & vegan sausage on an everything bagel.

#4: Crisp & Green (North Loop & Dinkytown) – Where do I even begin on this one?! This has been my go-to place the last few months. They have locations in the burbs too but these two are nestled in Minneapolis. Literally everything I have tried has been amazing. They make fresh salads and grain bowls right in front of you and switch up the menu every new season. My forever favorite is pictured below … The Chef Curry 2.0 bowl. I could seriously eat this every single day. A MUST TRY.

#5: Lago Tacos (Uptown Lyn-Lake) – The best authentic tacos around in my opinion and they also have the BEST queso dip I’ve ever had. There’s a super cute and cozy enclosed patio out back right on Lyndale. Oh yeah! Awesome HH margaritas too! My beloved queso is pictured below. I have not had any vegetarian options here, just different meat tacos and all of them were amazing!

#6: Young Joni (Northeast) – I don’t make it to NE very often but this place blew me away. It has a cozy hipster vibe inside where you can just be yourself. My two favorite pizzas are the Korean BBQ and the Tavern Pie (pepperoni, jalapeño, honey). I know the honey sounds weird but trust me, it just works!

#7: Cocoa & Fig (Downtown) – My cousins got me onto this place at our family Christmas. I have been a serious macaron snob, searching and trying literally all of them in the city and I keep coming back to these babies! They are so fresh and flavorful. Vanilla, Salted Caramel and Pistachio are my favorite flavors.

#8: Manny’s (Downtown) – One of the best meals of my life. Not even kidding. I don’t think you could order a bad thing off the menu. Pictured below: creamed garlic spinach, manny’s brownie, loaded mash potatoes, lobster cakes, and filet mignon. This is definitely a more high-end dining experience but totally worth it.

#9: Red Wagon Pizza (Southwest) – This is seriously a neighborhood gem. It’s just a couple blocks from the school I work at, tucked right into the neighborhood. They have a nice patio to enjoy too. This was the “Red Wagon Pizza” … crispy sopressata ribbons, banana peppers, and sausage … finished with chili flakes & fig balsamic. AMAZING.

#10: Glam Doll Donuts (Eat Street & Northeast) – If you’ve never experienced Glam then you are definitely missing out! They recently opened their second location in NE but I still frequent the original Eat Street location. They have literally every type of donut you could imagine. I am a cake donut girl so lots of times I simply go for one chocolate and one vanilla of the “Darling” donut.

#11: Stellas (Uptown) – An Uptown classic! If you’re in the mood for anything seafood related, this is your place. They have an amazing rooftop which they recently revamped. I think it’s the tallest rooftop in Uptown too. They have a great daily HH where you can get this “Lobburger” … which is seriously delish. And my all time fave is the “Cape Cod Roll” which is a warm lobster roll. There are huge pieces of lobster and just the right amount of butter. The bread is buttery and amazing too. I am super picky about lobster rolls and this is hands down the best in the 612.

#12: Hola Arepa (35th & Nicollet … south of Uptown) – The best Latin food around! The vibe is super laid back and they have a cool patio to enjoy during the summer months. They also have some really unique and fun drink options. My favorites include the chorizo arepa, black bean & queso fresco arepa and the yuca fries. Can’t forget about those yuca fries … so good!

#13: Sleepy V’s Donuts (Northeast) – I was skeptical after being a Glam Doll fan for so long but I was pleasantly surprised! I have only tried their mini donuts and they were awesome! I love that you can try 4 different kinds and it really only equals like one regular donut! I was really surprised that my favorite one is the pink one below … the “Homer” … pineapple-hibiscus icing! WOW.

#14: Copper Hen (Eat Street) – My favorite brunch spot. Not only do they have amazing brunch options that are all from local farms, but they also have bottomless mimosas. Um, HELLO, YES PLEASE. The inside is super unique/rustic and they even do weddings and receptions. It’s not very large so I always do reservations online ahead of time to ensure we get a spot. They now have a sister restaurant in Minnetonka called The Copper Cow … have yet to try it but it’s on my list! I have also had dinner here and love the homemade chicken pot pie. Pictured below was my own creation: scrambled eggs, bacon, blueberry pancakes with cinnamon whipped cream and of course that mimosa!

#15: Amazing Thailand (Uptown) – I am blown away that I don’t have any pictures of my Amazing Thailand food! What in the world?! I searched through all my old pictures with no luck. I literally have been eating here the last 5 years consistently. It must be so good that I don’t have time for pictures, I just gotta chow down! HA! Authentic Thai a few blocks from my place … what more could a girl ask for?! It is sort of dark and mysterious inside so I get it to go a lot of the time. My favorites include the jalapeño cream cheese wontons and the Thai style fried rice. Can’t get enough.

So if you’re ever in Minneapolis or you just can’t decide on something new to try, definitely try something on this list. If you are looking for something specific reach out to me as I certainly have lots more suggestions!