msp food adventures

Hi, all! Last weekend I took a nice trek down to Minneapolis/St. Paul to spend time with some of my best gal pals. I have some friends who are true foodies like myself and they knew that I wanted to hit up some great places during my visit. They did not disappoint and I did some of my best eating in MONTHS. I always enjoy sharing travel and food snippets with all of you so here is my food diary from last week including pictures of every last thing I ate! Enjoy 🙂

Nice Juicery – Alexandria, MN

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On my way to the cities I made a quick pit stop to stretch my legs and I decided I wanted to check out Nice Juicery for the first time! I had heard of this place before and had never had the opportunity to stop and I’m really glad I did. It’s a locally owned cold-pressed juice shop that sells juice by the bottle in about 15 different combinations. You can buy bottles individually or you can choose to buy 1, 2, or 3 day cleanses.

I decided to buy one juice to enjoy in the shop (how cute is that hexagon planter wall!!!) and then I bought a 1 day cleanse to bring back home with me to have on Monday following my full weekend of eating! Each of the juices I had was delicious and you would definitely appreciate the freshness if you try for yourself someday. The one I had during my roadtrip had cold brew coffee mixed in with a hint of mint and it was divine and refreshing.

All Square – Minneapolis, MN (Minnehaha Ave)

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I heard about All Square through a Minneapolis eats/foodie Instagram account that I follow and I’m so glad I suggested to my friends that we check it out. They serve exclusively grilled cheese sandwiches but in a ton of varieties (including options for dairy-free). I went with the charcuterie grilled cheese – brie cheese, onion jam, prosciutto, and crushed almonds. It was HEAVENLY. Especially for someone who is as big of a brie-lover as myself. It was a difficult choice because the whole menu looked wonderful.

The atmosphere of the restaurant was funky and simple. They had a blue-light effect which is why my food photo looks like I had a green sandwich! I am even more glad I chose the restaurant because of what I learned when I was there: All Square is staffed entirely by formerly incarcerated employees. This allows them the opportunity to get back into the working world and provide amazing service to the people of Minneapolis. All of the employees who helped us at the restaurant were so friendly and as mentioned before the food was to die for. Please stop by to support and check it out if you’re a Minneapolis resident or plan to visit.

Muddy Waters – Minneapolis, MN (Uptown)

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After our dinner we got a wonderful wine nightcap in the Uptown neighborhood at Muddy Waters which is a favorite place that holds memories for my friends. The atmosphere was really moody and comfortable. We sat in a characteristic booth and enjoyed quite possible the best plate of fries I’ve ever had. These were on the appetizer menu and reminded me a lot of “fresh cut fries” from the MN State Fair. That perfect crispy on the outside but soft on the inside texture. The seasonings were perfect and they were serve with an aoili that was light and refreshing. The perfect compliment to a glass of red wine.

Cafe Astoria – St. Paul, MN

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I almost feel as though I don’t even need to say anything about this latte from Cafe Astoria in St. Paul because it certainly speaks for itself….but I will anyway. This is another Instagram find and when I saw there was a place to get a rainbow latte I couldn’t pass it up. This little cafe in St. Paul (near the Xcel Energy Center on Grand Ave) is a sweet spot to enjoy a baked good and a great cup of coffee. They have a lot of fun specialty lattes on the menu – this rainbow latte is made with peppermint to give it a nice refreshing taste. Some other top contenders that I saw on the menu – a campfire smores’ latte and one with gold foil on top to make you feel extra extra! We didn’t enjoy any baked goods because we were headed off to brunch but what I observed of them they looked like they would not disappoint!

Nightingale – Minneapolis, MN (Uptown)

Nothing says a Saturday morning brunch like bottomless mimosas. Nightingale was such a fun place to enjoy brunch in uptown. The atmosphere was fun as the restaurant was full of groups of people enjoying the weekend together. I indulged in the mimosas and for my food I went with a cornmeal style waffle at the waitress’s recommendation. I really enjoyed the texture and the fact that it was savory versus sweet like a regular waffle. It came with pineapple on top which was a good offset to the cornmeal taste. The bacon was an A plus too! When we walked into the restaurant I couldn’t help but think how fun it would be to dine there during the nicer months of the year – they have a beautiful outdoor area that would make for great people watching 🙂

Nolo’s Kitchen – Minneapolis, MN (North Loop)

Nolo’s was far and away the best meal of the weekend. I am still salivating just thinking about my food from here!! The 4 of us enjoyed red wine paired with a delicious cauliflower and brussel sprout medley as an appetizer. The herb dressing that topped the vegetables was too food for words. We asked the waitress to share the secret but unfortunately we came away empty-handed!

When it came time to decide what I wanted for my main course something about pasta was attractive to me and in the big open concept restaurant I saw the station where a chef was making fresh pizza dough along with fresh gnocchi. That made my decision really easy because I am in love with gnocchi and I can truly say that this meal change my life. The photo on the right doesn’t do it justice at all because of the lighting in the restaurant but the colors were beautiful. It was the handmade gnocchi with butternut squash, a brown butter sauce, and hazelnuts for additional brunch and flavor, and some sage and parmesan cheese. Next time I am in Minneapolis I will certainly be going here to have the exact same meal again.

I also wanted to mention the atmosphere – North Loop is a really fun neighborhood to explore in MSP. Nolo’s was a big open concept space with industrial looking white pillars and white washed brick walls. A nice mix of tables and booths around the edges and the large circular bar in the middle. It’s a trendy place to be and I’ve also heard great things about their brunch menu!

Pizza Luce – Minneapolis, MN (Uptown)

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Not much explanation is needed for a 2 AM slice of pizza. It is never a bad idea…especially when it’s Pizza Luce. All 4 of us grabbed a slice and enjoyed it sitting cross-legged in the appropriately dubbed “pizza corner” of Rose’s living room in our pajamas. The perfect way to end the night. The pizza itself – I went with classic cheese and it was delightful. What was equally as good was the Italian cold noodle pasta salad with mozzarella and pepperoni/hard salami.

Gigi’s – Minneapolis, MN (Uptown)

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For my parting breakfast on Sunday morning we found ourselves in the neighborhood of Uptown again only a few minutes’ walk from my friend Rose’s house. They had told me lots about the neighborhood cafe, Gigi’s, so I was expecting great things and I was certainly not disappointed. It’s such a sweet local place with great coffee and even better breakfast food. I enjoyed a bacon and egg scramble with breakfast potatoes, and toast. The portions were just right and it was the perfect meal to share great conversation over.

By the time we were wrapping up our breakfast it was crazy to see how the cafe had completely filled up all the way with people of all ages from around the neighborhood who were enjoying the best breakfast around!

Bogart’s Doughnut Co.Minneapolis, MN (Uptown)

Last but certainly not least was the final pit stop I made before getting in my car to start the drive home. Just down the street from Gigi’s you will find Bogart’s Doughnut Co (BoGoDoughCo) where you would be crazyyyy not to stop for a doughnut. I went with the glazed brown butter option (obviously the theme of the weekend!) and it was so dang good. All of the options looked so fabulous but I knew better than to pick multiple to “bring home” which I knew would turn into “bring into the car and eat all of them during my drive home”.

I hope this gives you all some inspiration for great food stops next time you find yourself in Minneapolis/St. Paul. Have a fabulous week and thanks for reading 🙂

#sugarspiceandstylethatsnice

xoxo Jen

the year of bold

Happy 2019, my sweet friends! I apologize for my few week hiatus from writing blog posts – I was soaking in the holiday time with family and enjoying a few week break off of class. Everything kicks back in next week so I’m getting back in to my work routines and preparing for my last semester of grad school as well so it’s time to get back on track 🙂

I don’t tend to be someone who makes really specific New Year’s resolutions but last year for the first time I decided on a word for the year and what the meaning behind that word and focus meant for me. 2018 was “the year of calm” and you can read all about that in this post linked here. I found that my focus on rest and calm in 2018 brought me a lot of good lessons and I do feel I made a lot of positive strides throughout the year. There is still much more to be done but I feel happy with my progress and looking forward to continuing to prioritize rest in the coming year, especially once my final semester of school is complete.

When sitting down to think about my word for this year I had a lot of thoughts. One thing I discussed quite a bit with one of my best friends was “boundaries”. Up until a couple of nights ago I was certain that was going to be my focus for the year but as I was continuing to brainstorm on my couch the other night it just hit me all of the sudden: bold. Bold is what I want to focus on this year and I wanted to explain my thought process behind what that means to me and my thoughts for the coming 12 months.

As soon as the word entered my mind I began doing some searching on quotes about boldness and the definition of the word bold. Bold be defined in two ways:

  1. (of a person, action, or idea) – showing an ability to take risks; confident and courageous
  2. (or a color or design) – having a strong or vivid appearance

As I read these two definitions it became even more clear to me that this is exactly where I want my focus to be this year. Those that have followed along with me for awhile (especially on Instagram) know my love for color and how much I like to incorporate it into my daily wardrobe and in the decor in my townhouse. When I read the definition of bold surrounding color or design I look at it through the lens of personal appearance. I want this year to focus hard on having a strong and vivid personal appearance that incorporates the first part of the definition: confidence and courage.

Working on self-love and self-acceptance when it comes to my body image has really been strengthening these last couple of months and I want to continue on that path. I want to remind myself that I am bold and confident in my appearance just as it is now. That doesn’t mean I don’t embrace the continued changes and journey of becoming more healthy but it will also remind me that it’s OK to exude confidence in the state that my body is in now (and the state it will be at in April, and July, and October…)

The first part of the definition is one that will be the most difficult for me: “showing an ability to take risks”. Even though I am an extroverted and mostly confident person I find myself to be someone who tends to stay in a comfort zone, especially when it comes to certain areas of my life. I’m hoping this year to find that level of courage to take some risk in those areas where I’ve stayed closed in and comfortable for a long time. I don’t see myself turning into someone who takes risks freely and easily, but I know I have an opportunity to create more space for the unknown and be willing to give things a try that I have always counted out in the past.

I also want to focus on adopting bold in my professional life. As a younger female in the workforce I can often feel the subtle (or not so subtle) discounting of my ideas or abilities at work because of my age and experience level. I hope this year to work on comfortable pushing the envelope when it comes to my courage and confidence level at work when I’m met with resistance or find struggles when working with others.

When I was looking up the definition for bold I found some great quotes that really embody what I’m looking to accomplish this year as well

 

I chose “fortune favors the bold” to be my first quote of the year on the new wooden letter board I got for Christmas from my brother. I displayed it on my dining room table and hope to use that as a daily reminder of my word of the year. Throughout the year I will work to update it with new quotes that continue to keep me focused on my goal for the year.

I’m looking forward to another great year ahead on the blog and I’m so thankful to each of you that follow along with me. I hope you had a wonderful New Year and that you’re feeling refreshed and ready for what 2019 has in store for you. Cheers!

#sugarspiceandstylethatsnice

xoxo Jen