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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!

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

Lifestyle Seasonal

My 2017 Summer Reading List

June 1, 2017
2017 Summer Reading List

I mentioned recently that I was getting inspired by everyone’s summer reading lists. So inspired, in fact, that I decided to make my own summer reading list! I’m only showing you the first 10 on my list because 1. The later books are not set in stone and 2. When I put all of them on this list it felt like a lot and I started freaking out a little. Just these 10 books feel a bit ambitious. I used to read 10 books a semester for just one class, but now I barely read any books. Possibly because I was very burned out… Anyways, I’m hoping to wake up those reading muscles and actually finish some books again! Here’s what I have planned…

 

 

1.The Woman on the Orient Express by  Lindsay Jayne Ashford

I actually already finished this book for the summer. I had gotten it when it was cheap on Kindle, thinking that it sounded interesting. The Woman on the Orient Express follows the story of Agatha Christie herself on the Orient Express as she grapples with her failed marriage, finds friendship, and gathers writing inspiration. It was a pretty entertaining read, though there were a lot of characters to track with in the beginning. It got a little confusing at times, but it was still fun. This book inspired my #2 Summer Reading List pick:

 

2.Murder on the Orient Express – Agatha Christie

Once I read The Woman on the Orient Express, I immediately wanted to read Murder on the Orient Express. I feel like every summer reading list need a good juicy mystery. My choice was also inspired by the fact that there is a movie version of this book coming out in November with a very exciting looking cast. The costumes look good too, so I know I’ll want to see it, and you know I have to read the book first!

 

3.Hannah Coulter by Wendell Berry

Practically every Christian female writer who inspires me has great things to say about this book. Tsh Oxenreider featured it on her Summer Reading Podcast and so I figure it’s about time that I read it. I’m going in blind on this one, because I have no clue what this book is about, except probably a woman named Hannah Coulter. I have, however, heard that the writing is beautiful, so I’m excited to finally check this off my book bucket list.

 

4.For the Love: Fighting for Grace in a World of Impossible Standards by Jen Hatmaker

I love Jen Hatmaker. She makes me want to invite my friends (if I had any) to my patio (if I had one that would fit more than two people) to eat sustainably grown food and engage in “fellowship” (if I knew how). I love her combination of humor, quick wit and raw honesty. My mother and I both read 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess in quick succession and loved it. I’m eagerly awaiting her latest book Of Mess and Moxie, but in the meantime I need to work through For the Love. 

 

5.At Home in the World by Tsh Oxenreider

Like Jen Hatmaker, Tsh Oxenreider also makes me want to eat good food on patios. But, like, patios in other countries. She also makes me want to sell all my belongings and live out of a suitcase. If you’re a traveler (or wish you were), Tsh is your girl. At Home in the World is her latest book, which follows her experiences as the travels through the world. I love her thoughtful, deliberate style of writing, and the wisdom that she weaves into her books, so I can’t wait to get my hands on At Home in the World. 

 

6.Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J.D. Vance

I’ve been hearing a lot of buzz about Hillbilly Elegy lately. It reminds me of the kind of book that we would read in my history seminar courses in college. Being a historian, I tend to lead towards memoirs. I feel like the stakes are higher with memoirs, and they’re less predictable than novels. I’ve been curious about Hillbilly Elegy since I first heard about it, but it never seems to go on sale (come on, Kindle deals!). I might have to bite the bullet for my summer reading list, but I’m hoping that it will be worth it.

 

7.The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery

This is another Summer Reading List book that I have finished already. That’s because it only took 1 day to read! Also, I was able to find it free online through Project Gutenberg Australia. This is just a sweet, satisfying little book from the author of Anne of Green Gables. I was never able to get into Anne of Green Gables (she talked so. much.), but Valancy, the protagonist is very easy to like. During the novel, she switches from Scared of Everything to Taking No Shit, which is a transition that I can get behind. Also, the imagery in this book is simply beautiful. This would be a great vacation read.

 

8.Chasing Slow: Courage to Journey Off the Beaten Path by Erin Loechner

I used to make fun of my mom for reading all her self help books. Now, I read them too. The Hubs and I have been in a rut where we feel like life is passing at an incredibly rapid pace, and we’re just barely hanging on. I’m hoping that this summer I’ll be able to slow down, unplug and find a little peace. I’ve heard great things about Chasing Slow and so I’m hoping that it can help. 

9.In Praise of Women’s Bodies by Gloria Steinem

I’ll be honest, this one was a case of “It was cheap and I was curious.” So much of my women’s studies literature in college focused on the Victorian Era, that I didn’t really read a lot of more modern feminist books. I’ve recently been doing a lot of research into the purity culture that I was brought up in and how it affect women and how they view themselves, and so I though that this would dovetail nicely with that research.

 

 

10. The More of Less by Joshua Becker

I am an avid reader of Josuha Becker’s Becoming Minimalist. When I found out that he had written a book, I knew I had to read it. Living in a tiny apartment with The Hubs (who gets a whole entire closet for his guitars) I am often confronted with the sheer number of things that we own. At the same time, I have trouble reconciling my minimalist and crafty sides.  Still, minimalist books always inspire me, so perhaps this will help me to find the right balance.

That wraps up the top ten on my summer reading list this year! I have more books, lined up, but I can’t decide if they’re going to make the summer reading list or not. There’s always a little wiggle room right? For sale books and stuff..

What are you planning to read this summer? Does anything on your list match up with mine?