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Food Lifestyle Travel

What (and where!) to Eat in Minneapolis, MN

August 3, 2017
What and Where to Eat in Minneapolis

Hello all! If you didn’t notice, I was away last week in Minneapolis, MN seeing sights and participating in the best wedding ever attended. Seriously, these people know how to get married!

Since we were already going to Minneapolis for a wedding, The Hubs and I decided to make a whole trip out of it. Minneapolis wasn’t on either of our short lists for cities to visit, but now that I’ve been there, I’d totally go back! We had so much fun checking out the beautiful landscape, the Mall of America, and stuffing our faces. They have some good food up there in Minneapolis! If you find yourself in the areas, here is my food guide:

The Ju(i)cy Lucy Debate

What and Where to Eat in Minneapolis - Matt's

Californians have tacos, Texans have BBQ, and up in Minnesota they have the Jucy Lucy! While it goes by different names at just about every restaurant, the main concept is the same. It’s a hamburger patty stuffed with melted cheese. The most common cheese is american, but some restaurants allow customization like pepper jack and bleu cheese.

What and Where to Eat in Minneapolis - 5-8 Club

 

 

There is some debate about the origin of the Jucy Lucy, which two different bars claiming to have invented it. Matt’s Bar calls it the Jucy Lucy, while the 5-8 Club claims the Juicy Lucy. Because I love you, we tried both.

What and Where to Eat in Minneapolis - Matt's

 

Matt’s Bar is about as dive bar as they come(in a good way). Their simple menu consists of the Jucy Lucy, fries and beer. (Okay, you can get a regular burger too, but why would you??) You seat yourself (if there’s not a line) and you pay with cash (they have an ATM in the bar). Personally, I preferred the Jucy Lucy at Matt’s Bar. It had a great flavor that was just a liiittle more nuanced than 5-8 Club. That being said, I also spilled molten cheese on my thumb and that was not fun. Definitely let this burger sit for a minute before you eat.

What and Where to Eat in Minneapolis - 5-8 Club

Where the 5-8 club stands out is with it’s options. You can customize your Lucy with different cheese and fixings. It’s still a bar, but has a little bit more of restaurant feel to it. My favorite part of the meal at The 5-8 Club was the sweet potato fries. Not only were they a lovely combo of crispy and soft, but they came with this amazing marshmallow bleu cheese dipping sauce. Amazing! Go just for the fries! Honestly, just go to both Matt’s and 5-8 Club. They’re both excellent greasy bar food.

If you’re not looking for American gastropub food, don’t worry! I have a slew of other suggestions.

What and Where to Eat in Minneapolis - Holy Land 1

Holy Land

Holy Land is both a restaurant and a small ethnic grocery. (Side note: The grocery is a great Whole 30 option for meats!) They’ve been featured on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, which is how we heard about them. They’re a Middle Eastern deli with a huge array of options. I got the gyro, and a side of hummus and pita, and The Hubs got a chicken and lamb gyro meat combo platter.

What and Where to Eat in Minneapolis - Holy Land

First of all, let me say that the portion sizes are HUGE. Like massive. I felt bad because we didn’t even make a dent in our meals. I made 2 gyros out of the one they brought me and still had a ton  of meat left! Second, I will say that everything was delicious. Their gyro meat was already delicious, and the added cucumber sauce knocked it out of the park! The hummus was great and their desserts opened up a whole new realm of food options. The Hubs is obsessed with honey cakes now!

What and Where to Eat in Minneapolis - Holy Land

If you’re in the area, I definitely recommend Holy Land. Bring a friend and an extra stomach!

What and Where to Eat in Minneapolis - Kramarczuks

 

Kramarczuk’s Deli

Kramarczuk’s came highly recommended by some of The Hub’s coworkers who used to live in the area. They touted it as having the best sauerkraut anywhere. Now, I don’t really eat sauerkraut much(ever), but I have to agree. Kramarczuk’s knows what they’re doing! We got bratwurst, pastrami, perogis and of course, lots of sauerkraut. It’s also a deli, so you go down the line cafeteria style with a tray and find your own seating. We went for lunch and it wasn’t terribly crowded. You will probably have to pay to park near Kramarczuk’s, since it’s semi-downtown. We parked in a nearby underground lot and I think we paid about $3. It’s well worth the experience. 

What and Where to Eat in Minneapolis - Kramarczuks

Everything was delicious. Then there was dessert. Their cannoli was excellent, and we got a cream puff for the road, which was still delicious after riding around in the car for an hour or two! I may have a soft spot for cream puffs though…

What and Where to Eat in Minneapolis - Kramarczuks

We didn’t realized it before we went, but Kramarczuk’s has also been in Diners, Drive-ins and Dives! It’s good to know that we have good taste. I’d love to go back and try one of their GIANT meatballs or cabbage rolls, and of course, more of their desserts…

What and Where to Eat in Minneapolis - Victor's 1959

Victor’s 1959 Cafe

Victor’s 1959 is a is a Cuban cafe with some serious brunch vibes. The Hubs is half Cuban, so we couldn’t turn down a chance to try this quirky Cuban cafe. People have signed and left notes on just about every square inch of Victor’s 1959 Cafe, which makes for some interesting reading material. And it’s good to have reading material because you’re going to be waiting for a while! We got there for lunch and the place was packed! 

What and Where to Eat in Minneapolis - Victor's 1959

I ordered the ranchero cubano, which was a breakfast dish with eggs and black beans (delicious!) and The Hubs went straight for the Cuban sandwich. This is usually his litmus test for how accurate the Cuban food of a given restaurant is. Everything came out fresh and hot, but again, it took…a while. Still, the sandwich was authentic and I’d wait as long as it take to get my man some Cuban food if he wants it! 

What and Where to Eat in Minneapolis - Victor's 1959

If you’re like The Hubs and you need some Cuban fare in your life, Victor’s 1959 is a fun place to go. Bring a few friends and get ready to settle in, and look forward to that food! It’s going to be great!

I have to stop talking about food now, because I am getting hungry. Any favorite in the Minneapolis area that I missed? I’d love to hear about them, or listen if you want to weigh in on the ju(i)cy lucy debate!

Lifestyle Seasonal Tutorial

Pink Elephant Baby Shower: My Favorite Things

July 20, 2017
Pink Elephant Baby Shower

You will recall that I recently completed a pink version of the Elijah pattern for my upcoming niece. The pink elephant was by design, since I knew I was going to be throwing a baby shower. What better theme for a little girl than pink elephants? Somebody described elephants once and the reincarnated souls of some really decent people and I’d have to agree that I think that elephants are some of the most caring, intelligent animals out there. Those qualities are a great thing for a little girl to strive for, so I thought elephants made a great theme. 

I decided to make the theme a little bit more fun by incorporating the pink into the elephant idea. I normally don’t go for hardcore gender stereotypes for babies but:

1. I had just finished my pink Elijah.

2. I had pink tablecloths leftover from my wedding.

3. The mom likes pink. I like pink. Pink is cute.

Because I live in a teeny tiny apartment, my mother graciously allowed me to use her house to host. This meant that I had lots of room for fun decorations and activities. Here is some of what I did:

Baby Elephant Guest Book

Pink Elephant Baby Shower - Baby Elephant Guest Book

I owe most of this guestbook to AJ at Aspen Jay. She has made this adorable elephant print available online here. Perfect for my pink elephant theme! It’s a 11 x 14 print, which we were able to print at home. You can also have it printed a Office Depot for less than $2 (I checked.). You can customize it to be blue, pink or yellow and it can say the babies name or just “welcome little one”.  I picked “welcome little one,” because I don’t wanna cramp the momma’s style by tying her down to a name too soon. I cut out different shades of pink paper using a 1 inch Circle Punch Tool. Guests signed a circle and stuck it to the print using scrapbooking tabs. After the shower, I just moved the glass to the from of the frame and voila! Easy nursery decoration!

Pink Elephant Baby Shower - Photo Booth

Baby Shower Photo Booth

I used a pink tablecloth and some mylar balloons to create a quick and easy photobooth! The mylar ballooons were bought at Michaels are were totally easy to use. You just blow them up with a straw and they seal shut. The balloons I got even had pre-made little tabs to string them up with. (Otherwise, I’ve heard that you can tape a straw to the back and thread string through that.). To go with my DIY photo booth, I added a foam board Polaroid frame (I just eyeballed the dimensions and my dad cut it out with an exacto blade and a straight edge. Along with that, I cut out some shapes (found here) and glued them to little sticks that I found at the Dollar Store. I’m really happy with how it turned out!

Pink Elephant Baby Shower - Baby Headband Station

Baby Headband Station

I was afraid about how this was going to work, but it turned out to be a lot of fun! I bought several packages of fabric flowers from Hobby Lobby (on each day with a 40% off coupon.) and used these Elastic Baby Girl Headbands from Amazon. The rest is everyone’s creativity! We set up two hot glue guns (on plastic placemats, to protect the table and tablecloth) and a sign and everyone just went from there. The baby headband holder was made from an oatmeal container, painted white and then covered in fabric, hot glued to a candlestick! I’m really pleased with how it turned out!

Note: If your shower has little kids in attendance, you may not want to have the glue guns left unattended. Ours was adult only, and therefore I figured everyone could handle a glue gun.

These were my three major DIY efforts for the shower. I have so much  more that I didn’t get good pictures of. It went by so fast! Not picture are a LOT of pink chocolate drizzled rice krispie treats (so many…) and pink chocolate dipped nutter butters, both of which turned out really well. (Pro tip: apparently you can thin colored candy melts with shortening, which would have made my life so much easier.) There was also cake, and fruit, and I even made 7 layer dip and queso for the first time ever! We decorated the mantle and a special chair for the new mom and also made really cute favor bags for my circus animal cookie favors. Whew!

I feel so accomplished. 

I had a lot of fun to planning and throwing this baby shower. I’ve realized that I really like planning things like this and I can’t wait to do more in the future! I can’t wait until I have a home of my own to host in too. Have you thrown a party recently? What was your favorite part of it? Any recommendations for new things to try? Let me know in the comments!

 

Food Lifestyle Travel

One Day in Denton, TX

July 6, 2017
One Day in Denton

The past weekend, The Hubs and I traveled up to Winstar Casino in Oklahoma to see Vince Gill. We spent the night in Gainesville, TX and on the way back we stopped to hang out in Denton. Home of both the University of North Texas (where I almost went to school) and Texas Women’s University, Denton has that cool college town feel, while being totally approachable for a quick day trip. Thinking about driving up for a day yourself? Here’s what you shouldn’t miss:

One Day in Denton

Recycled Books

If you love Half Price Books, you’ll love Recycled Books. Residing in the old Opera House in Denton, It’s a used book store with a seventies vibe and serious amount of stock. It’s winding and maze like and boasts several levels. It also has a pretty sizable record section as well. The Hubs and I had fun poking around the children’s book section with my mom. Their prices are pretty darn reasonable, and their stock has a good mix of both current and classic books. They also have a super cool section up at the front that features local authors! Perfect for any traveler trying to get the feel of the place!

One Day in Denton

Mad World Records

I’ll admit, the only reason I can remember the name of Denton’s Mad World Records is because I sing the song to myself to remember. When we went to see Sierra Hull she did a great cover of “Mad World” using a Fender “Mandocaster” that sounded seriously cool! Mad World Records is seriously cool as well. They have a good mix of contemporary and older vinyl and their layout is nice and open. It’s easy to sort through records and never feels overwhelming. Some record stores get too tiring to look through, but Mad World Records doesn’t make me feel this way at all. They also sell little band pins, if you’re into that kind of thing.

One Day in Denton

Atomic Candy

Colorful and quirky, Atomic Candy is the type of store that your inner child will love. It’s a good, old fashioned candy store stocked with everything from gummy colas to jelly beans to salt water taffy. The also have a nice selection of obscure sodas. My dad, who is a huge root beer connoisseur, had a whole case to poke around in and was able to find some new brands he’d never seen before. It’s a seriously tempting store, so watch out! I had to pace myself because the Hubs and I had out hearts set on…

One Day in Denton

Hypnotic Donuts

Now, we have a Hypnotic Donuts in Dallas too, but it seems to attract a much larger crowd than the one in Denton. That means that the things we always want to try are sold out by the time we get there (The Hubs is not an early riser on days off.). The Hypnotic Donuts in Denton is tucked a little bit further back on the square and seems a little quieter, but specializes in the same quirky donuts. The best part? They had blueberry fritters in stock! We’ve been trying to get a blueberry fritter for The Hubs since we heard that Hypnotic made them and we finally got to try it! (Spoiler alert: It was delicious.) If you’re in the area and have a hankering for some donuts, get yourself to Hypnotic Donuts!

One Day in Denton - LSA Burger

LSA Burger Co.

LSA Burger Co. was a total instagram find, but also came highly recommended by some friend of ours. It’s right on the square in Denton and has a cool upstairs patio where you can see the sights. I mostly wanted to go because of their mini margaritas. They come with “loaders” so you can add flavors and since they’re mini, you can try a few different flavors without getting totally sauced. They even sell margarita flights with all 6 flavors! We tried the pomegranate, strawberry, white peach and prickly pear flavors and they were all delicious. The Hubs and split the Ready Freddie burger, which comes with BBQ sauce, grilled onions, bacon, cheese and pickles. I mention that we split because we also got sides of their delicious garlic herb fries and (cue the angels singing) macaroni and cheese! It was good mac too…mmm, I want to go back and eat more. The fries come in small and large sizes and the portion is generous. We easily split the large fries between 4 people. I’ve got to stop typing because I’m making myself hungry, but you’ve definitely got to stop by LSA Burger Co. if you’re in town!

Did I miss any of your favorite? Any place I need to go back and try? Let me know in the comments!
One Day in Denton