Posts Tagged ‘Food’

Dining Out for Life

April 27, 2011

Dining Out for Life Minnesota is tomorrow – Thursday, April 28th.

Go out to any one of a gazillion and ten participating restaurants, and the restaurant donates a portion of your food bill to The Aliveness Project, a local nonprofit agency which each year serves one out of four people living with HIV/AIDS in Minnesota. The Aliveness Project offers an on-site hot meals program, food shelf, integrative therapies, case management, holiday baskets, HIV educational services.

I’m getting up early to have breakfast at Anodyne Coffeehouse in South Minneapolis before going in to work.


And for dinner I’m going to Joe’s Garage in Loring Park with a bunch of friends.

There’s an entire list of restaurants throughout Minnesota that are participating in Dining Out for Life.

Where are you eating?

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Cuzzy’s Brick House Restaurant

March 21, 2011

My work group went out to lunch today, and I found another place that serves gluten-free pizza!

A wood-fired Brick House Pizza – Pepperoni, Sausage, bell peppers, red onions, mushrooms & black olives all served on a gluten-free crust.

For those of you used to paying top dollar for gluten-free alternatives at Pizza Luce (a small Classic costs $12.59. The same pizza with a GF crust is a whopping $5 extra at $17.59), Cuzzy’s Brick House is a breath of fresh, oregano-scented air. Their small Brick House (shown above and pretty much the same as Pizza Luce’s Classic) is $12.99, and they will sub in a GF crust at NO additional cost.

Cuzzy’s Brick House is located in Chaska, MN. It’s a bit of a haul if you’re coming from Minneapolis or the east suburbs (oooo..take THAT St. Paul!)  However, their menu is phenomenal and I could see making the occasional special trip out here with friends. Cuzzy’s is several steps up from your average soup, salad and burger joint. I mean sure, you can snag any number of variations of hotdog or cheeseburger if that’s what you’re craving, but they’ve also got appetizers like Portabella & Brie Bruschetta, pastas like the Butternut Squash Ravioli, entrees like the Cabernet Mushroom Chops and a desert menu that will add a couple of pounds to your bottom just from seeing it as the waitress carries the tray across the room.

Burgers and sandwiches run in the $8-10 range and the entrees are around $10-18. Their drink prices are reasonable, and the open, classy interior makes Cuzzy’s a great place to have happy hour. Also, I’ve been told that they throw a mean weekend bar night!

Cuzzy’s also has a restaurant in downtown Minneapolis (but doesn’t show pizza in the online menu), and The Victoria House in Victoria, MN is in the same family.

2880 Chaska Blvd., Chaska MN
website: http://www.cuzzys.com/
phone: 952.448.5594
email: brickhouse@cuzzys.com

The Emperor’s New Dinner

February 28, 2011

Soooo…here I am making dinner*. I’ve got some tilapia, I’m not really sure what I want to do with it** and so I’m looking for a jazzy new recipe online. I’m a very visual person when it comes to recipes – I want to see the finished product before I decide if I’m going to invest time and ingredients, hopes and dreams and all that. I’m thinking some wine, some capers and I come across this:

What the… Food photo cheat! And then I realized that it’s a Weight Watcher’s recipe, so maybe it’s some sort of new-fangled diet tilapia meal in which the portions are really, really, really small.

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Here’s how the real dinner turned out. I ended up throwing some garlic, salt, pepper, dried chives, “italian herbs”, red wine, olive oil, lemon juice, capers, green olives and  white onion in a bag, tossing it around a bit, then throwing the whole mess into the oven at 350F for 20 minutes. Nom nom nom. I made broccoli and cheater-rific Trader Joe’s pre-made risotto as sides. Nom nom nom.

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* Cuz if there’s one thing we young things know how to do, it’s make some dinner.

**I mean, I know what I want to do with it; I want to eat it. I’m just not sure how I want to prepare it.

Not for the faint of tastebuds

October 27, 2010

Yeah, this had “I have a bad feeling about this” written ALL over it.

Me: Hey, what should I make for dinner tonight?  Hmmm…I love tacos, and I love crab meat – hey, I should combine the two!

Me to Myself: Ummm…are you sure you want to do that?  You might ruin perfectly good crab meat, or perfectly good taco seasoning mix.

Me to Me to Myself: But, I like fish tacos.  And I like shrimp tacos.  So crab tacos would probably be tasty.

Me to Myself: You’ve only eaten seafood tacos made by professionals.  In restaurants.  Have you ever attempted to make any sort of seafood taco with canned seafood meat?

Me to Me to Myself: No, but I have eaten canned crabmeat and it’s pretty tasty.  And how hard can it be to make seafood tacos?  It’s the same thing as beef or chicken tacos, except with seafood. 

Me to Myself: Have you ever used a pre-made taco mix on any seafood before?

Me to Me to Myself: Well, there was that one time with the shrimp…

Me to Myself: You were drunk, you don’t even remember what that tasted like.

Me to Me to Myself: True…

Me to Myself: Soooo?

Me to Me to Myself: You know what?  I’m going to try it anyway.

Some time later…add a little lettuce, tomato, a dab of sour cream.

Me:  Here we go!  Canned crab meat tacos! [eating commences – nom, nom, nom – a slowing of chewing, a hard swallow and a pause] Ugh… this is horrible!

Me to Myself: *sighs* You never trust me.

Me:  I hate you.  [Mumbled grumbling.  Chew.  Swallow.  Repeat.]

Fresh Pesto and Tabouli

September 23, 2010

September 22nd marked the official first day of Fall, and I (admitted defeat, bidding a woeful adieu to summer) celebrated by cutting all of my basil, parsley and chives down to the ground.  When one has grown a ton of basil and parsley over the length of an entire summer, it only makes sense to prep some pesto and tabouli.  A few glances at the interwebs and a quick dash to the Wedge Co-Op for fresh tomatoes, garlic, green onions, some walnuts and quinoa, and I was ready to begin.

Pesto

First I made the pesto.  I stripped all of the leaves from the stalks and chopped the leaves using my mini Cuisinart food processor, then I chopped the walnuts, crushed the garlic and shredded the parmesan-reggiano.  I mixed everything in a big glass bowl and then added half a cup of olive oil.  That’s it!  It was lover-ly.  For more blow-by-blow, this is the recipe I used from Simply Recipes.

The big white pieces are broad, flat shreds of parmesan…mmm… A little pesto goes a very long way when mixed into pasta.

Tabouli

I used this recipe from greatpartyrecipes.com to make the Tabouli, but I made a couple of changes.   Instead of the gluten-containing bulgar I used quinoa, I skipped the mint because it was exorbitantly-priced, and I left the cucumber out because I somehow lost it between the checkout line and home, and I didn’t feel like going back out to buy another.

I started cooking the quinoa and then chopped the parsley – stems and leaves – in the food processor.  I diced tomatoes, minced the garlic, and sliced the green onions.  Once the quinoa cooled a bit, I mixed everything together and finally added the olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper.

It was also lover-ly and simple.

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Afterwards, the kitchen looked like this.

I was done with cooking for the evening, so I threw a little of the extra quinoa on a plate, mixed in some pesto, added a side of tabouli and had a loverly (if quite herby) dinner.

Perugia: Saturday Morning

July 28, 2010

The city of Perugia has installed several public scala mobili e ascensori (escalators and elevators) around the city to make navigating some of the steeper hills easier.  One of  the neatest set of escalators that we’ve found are those that start at the Bus Station (Piazza Partigiani) and go up under the city to end inside the Rocca Paolina, a gigantic fortress built in the 16th century and situated in the middle of the Centro Storico in Piazza D’Italia.

  

Stairs at the Piazza Partigiani, Second entryway to the scala mobile, Mom on the steep escalator.

Inside the Rocca Paolina:

The last escalator ends in a cavernous section of the Rocco Paolina.

One of the now empty underground rooms of the fortress.

As we left the Rocco Paolina we were delighted to discover that Piazza D’Italia and Via Vannucci had been taken over by a street market!  We wandered around the park and up Vannucci admiring the drawings, jewelry, antiques, purses, sundresses and other wares being peddled by the vendors. 

Along the way home we stopped for lunch at Gus, a trattoria and sushi joint.  We had the yummiest seaweed salad before the main sushi plate arrived.  It was this good: 

And finally, after our busy morning it was back home to the apartment for the traditional Italian mid-day rest.

Perugia: Gluten Free Dining

July 21, 2010

Yesterday we meandered through the San Pietro area.  One of the highlights of the trip was finding this random crepe kitchen, Le Cre.  It was tucked near the end of a tunnel-like alley next to the Pozzo Etrusco, an ancient Etruscan well.

I noticed the word “glutine” in a few places around the shop and then I saw a newspaper clipping with the words “gluten free” in the title along with a picture of the place.  The bar tender saw me pointing and saying “gluten free” and she nodded.  She pointed up and at the ceiling and in that moment I learned one of the loveliest phrases of my trip thus far: Senza Glutine.  Directly translated it means “without gluten”.

She spoke a fair amount of English, and was able to explain that the senza glutine side of this particular kitchen has been dedicated to gluten-free food preparation.  She told us that there were a few GF restaurants in the area, and that they were very prevalent in Southern Italy.  So it was that I enjoyed a crepe in Italy.

We nom nom nom on a nutella e crema senza glutine crepe

On Wednesday we ran across another luncheon place that had a senza glutine section on the menu, so I was able to enjoy PASTA in Italy 🙂

Thatsa lotta pasta carbonara – and it’s gluten-free!

Tonight (Wednesday evening) we stopped back at Le Cre for one final crepe dinner.  The owners close up Le Cre for the summer on Friday, so even though we’re surrounded by bars, paninitecas, pizzarias, tavole caldas and ristorantes, we decided to vist them one more time. 

One of the cafe staff makes my senza glutine crepe

Salami, cheese, whole marinated “spicy” button mushrooms, lettuce, mayo on a GF crepe

Mom said she needs a short break from “Italian food”.  Tomorrow night – sushi!

Uptown Cafeteria and Support Group

July 17, 2010

Uptown Cafeteria and Support Group Brunch Experience

The Uptown Cafeteria and Support group, or “The Cafeteria” is located in Calhoun Square, right across from Stella’s Fish Cafe.  The Hubby and I decided to make our first visit to The Cafeteria on a lazy Sunday morning when we could have the place to ourselves.  The Star Tribune recently did a piece on this trendy new Minneapolis hotspot and everytime we’ve driven by the place has been packed!  The rooftop – SkyBar – is supposed to be excellent in the evenings, but we didn’t get a chance to explore upstairs at brunch.

The cafeteria has garage-door windows that are raised up in nice weather; diners are inside but exposed to the sidewalk and the Uptown crowds walking by.

The picture above is from our table by the windows- it really was empty when we stopped by!  The food was simply alright.  Our eggs, bacon and toast were typical fare, and the potatos were too oily and heavy to be enjoyable.  On the plus side, the servers were very pleasant and attentive.  But there’s no doubt that The Cafeteria’s main attraction is its unique style.

This close-up photo of the bar really doesn’t do it justice – the bar is very long and has room for a lot of patrons.  I like the combination of liquor bottles and beer taps, top-shelf liquor cabinets and fancy flatscreen TVs set against a greasy spoon-style countertop and chairs.

The hallway to the bathrooms and kitchen is “wall-papered” with actual cafeteria trays.

The bathroom decorations are fun.  The Hubby took the picture on the left and the pic on the right is from the women’s room.  I think the women got cheated – we should have pictures of cafteria men or women glaring at us on the backs of bathroom doors while we pee!

I did not get a picture of the booths or the awesome walls covered in shag carpeting.  As I said earlier, our food was just meh.  But I love the ambiance and I’ll be back to try their evening fare, and definitely to check out the rooftop bar!  The Cafeteria seems like a great place to bring some friends for before or after dinner drinks!

What: Uptown Cafeteria and Support Group
Where: 3001 Hennepin Avenue Minneapolis, MN
When: Quiet brunch on the weekends, trendy crowds and yummy drinks in the evening.
Website: http://www.uptowncafeteria.com/

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Uno giorno fino a Italia!

One of the gorgeous cities of Cinque Terre

I’m going here, to Perugia

Time is way too one-directional.

June 30, 2010

This was my To Do List last night.

Make dinner.

I made this – Fancy Hot Dog Stroganoff from simplyrecipes.com.  I substituted quinoa for the egg noodles and added spinach.  This picture is from that site – My dinner was so yummy that it was all gone before I remembered that I wanted to snap a photo.

Change the litter box.

Blech.

Research wireless routers and make a decision on which one to purchase.

Ah, technology.  How I take you for granted until you break.

Transplant my tomato plant, and also the parsley and chives.   Plant new lettuce and spinach seeds to replace the ones that drowned in last week’s summer deluge.

Done!  I can’t believe how much the tomato plant exploded!  This is my tomato plant on April 17th:

Practice my Italian.

Aprenda a hablar italiano.  Verb book, flashcards, iPod Italian language apps, Easy Italian workbook.  Crappy, blurry photo.

Update the biodork blog with Sunday’s Pride Parade post.

See this big empty rectangle?  That’s my Pride Parade post – no Pride pictures for you!   You get this post with me whining about how busy I was last night instead.  But I’ll have Pride pics on Thursday.

Start rereading Terry Pratchett’s The Color of Magic and be done in time for CONvergence on Thursday.  Come up with some costume-ish thing for Saturday night at CON.

240 pages – no problem!

Plan rail transport from Rome to Perugia for 7/19, book my scuba dive in Sorrento, go to the bank and let them know that I’m going to be using my credit card overseas so they don’t shut down my account while I’m in Italy, figure out where/when to exchange USD for Euros, figure out how to pack enough clothing for two weeks (allowing for trips to la lavanderia) in my tiny little backpack, and…and…

Okay, that last one was really all about making the list, rather than accomplishing everything on the list.

Phew!

Local Books and Food

June 25, 2010

I don’t always read the Minneapolis Star Tribune’s Metro section because it has a tendency to be depressing.  It seems like a lot of the stories are about local people involved in drunk driving crashes, child abuse cases, murders, robberies, scandals,  etc.  Yeah – go neighbors!

However, yesterday’s Metro had two inspiring stories – one on the James J. Hill Library in St. Paul, and the other about EBT being used at the Midtown Farmer’s Market in Minneapolis.

In the James J. Hill Library story, author Jean Hopfensperger introduces us to the James J. Hill library.  For some of her readers I’m sure it was a re-introduction, but I had never heard of the JJH Library in St. Paul.  And I love libraries!  Especially old libraries with leather chairs and lots of wood and marble accents like JJH Library has.  Look at how gorgeous this library is (source):

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The library’s board of directors is renting out the space for conferences, music and art exhibits and weddings.  I found these pics in a google image search – gorgeous!


I can’t wait to get over to St. Paul and check this place out!

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The other article was by Gail Rosenblum and it was all about the Midtown Farmer’s Market, located by the intersection of Lake Street and Hiawatha in south Minneapolis, and “Market Bucks” available for users of EBT.  EBT is what they used to call “food stamps”.  The USDA defines EBT as “an electronic system that allows a recipient to authorize transfer of their government benefits from a Federal account to a retailer account to pay for products received.”

So low income families can go to Minneapolis Farmers’ Markets and use their EBT to buy groceries, just like they can at most retail grocers.  The Minneapolis and Northeast Farmers’ Markets also accept EBT, but Midtown is offering an additional benefit: For the first $5 spent in EBT, a user will be given $5 additional “Market Bucks” that they can use to purchase additional food!  The program isn’t funded by taxpayer money, but by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota.  From the article:

Blue Cross is funding the Market Bucks pilot, using proceeds from its 1998 Big Tobacco settlement. The effort is one of many created by Blue Cross (think “Do” campaign) to get all Minnesotans to eat better and fight rising obesity rates.

I think this is an excellent use of Big Tobacco money!

I mentor a teenager whose mother uses EBT.  One time several months ago I offered to take her to the Minneapolis Farmer’s Market on Lyndale and she told me that she didn’t have the money to shop there.  I can’t wait to tell her – I hope it will give her an opportunity to enjoy the Market and have a unique shopping option.

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The vegetable photo above is not from the Midtown Market, but I thought it was a very pretty composition and it does resemble the open air atmosphere of Midtown.