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Borough Begins Happy Hour

Credit: Borough 

Credit: Borough 

By: Katie Fraser

For many, happy hour is the highlight of the work day.

Not only is it a break from the stress, but it’s often a cheaper way to try out some of the cities trendiest restaurants.

Now, another hot spot is adding a happy hour to their offerings.

Starting Monday, Nov. 13, Borough in Minneapolis’ North Loop will host happy hour.

Available at the bar from 5 – 7 p.m., guests can enjoy half off select beer taps, $1/ounce pours of select wines and $6 craft cocktails. There will also be a special happy hour food menu.

Borough is located at 730 North Washington Street, above Parlour and next to Bar La Grassa. Happy hour will be available Monday through Friday. For more information, visit Borough online.

Cocktails, Arcade Games, Vaudeville – Oh My!

Can Can Wonderland and Bittercube Bitters team up for a theatrical experience

Credit: Can Can Wonderland

Credit: Can Can Wonderland

By: Katie Fraser

Since its opening nearly a year ago, Can Can Wonderland has aimed to amuse and delight guests.

For those unfamiliar, the St. Paul spot features fantastical cocktails, carnival food, arcade games and mini golf.

Now, Can Can Wonderland, together with Bittercube Bitters, is adding theater onto their list of offerings.

On Saturday, Nov. 18 the Cocktail Theater Performance will take place on the Indeed Brewing Company stage.

The performance will feature puppets pouring, machines mixing and fire and ice.

Doors open at 8 p.m. and the show starts at 9 p.m.

Tickets cost $25 and can be purchased online.

For more information, visit Can Can Wonderland online.

Bittercube Bitters, Marvel Bar Create ‘Marvel BarBitters’

Credit: Bittercube Bitters

Credit: Bittercube Bitters

By: Katie Fraser

There’s something new brewing in Minneapolis.

Two Twin Cities powerhouses have paired up to create a new concoction, and after two years of tinkering and toiling they are finally unveiling it.

Bittercube Bitters and Marvel Bar have come together to create Marvel BarBitters.

Known for their avant-garde cocktails, Marvel Bar had been blending different variations of libations and bitters to achieve the perfect rum Old Fashioned.

After several attempts, they approached Bittercube and the partnership began.

For two years, they worked to create a blend specific to Marvel Bar’s needs.

Now, it is exists.

Marvel BarBitters is a mix of Korinji and Saigon cinnamon aromas paired with saffron, ginger and cardamom notes, and dill and chocolate flavors. Dry to start, it finishes textured and light.

The two teams suggest the bitters pairs well in Old Fashioneds, rum cocktails and whiskey cocktails.

A 5 oz. bottle cost $22 before tax.

To learn more about where, and how, you can try Marvel BarBitters, visit Bittercube online.

Soul Bowl Pops Up In North Minneapolis

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By: Katie Fraser

There are few things foodies pride themselves on more than their knowledge of exclusive dining experiences.

Now, there is one more to add to their lists!

Saturday, Nov. 11, Klassics is hosting its third pop up – Soul Bowl.

Klassics, the side project of Chef Gerard Klass the regional chef for Kaskaid Hospitality, started as a way to bring together the love of cooking and culture.

Klass’ latest project highlights his West Indian and African American background while reimagining classic soul food.

Soul Bowl is a quick service restaurant featuring southern style food made healthy.

“Neo Soul Food,” as Klass defines it, features staples such as fried chicken, collard greens, black-eyed peas and corn bread but with a healthy twist.

Using the build-your-own model, guests can customize their dishes to fit their diet as needed.

Diners start with a base of cauliflower, mac and cheese, dirty rice or common cornbread dressin’ – a mix of Holy trinity, sage, cornbread and bread crumbs.

Then, guests choose from veggies, meats and sauce. Mix sweet corn with smoked turkey or black-eyed peas with fried chicken and top it with cranberry sauce, Cajun gravy or bourbon barbeque.

Finally, finish it off by making it soul style – adding beef bacon, Parmesan, lemon zest, chives and breadcrumbs.

Guests can also choose to enjoy the AA Sandwich, fried chicken collard greens, mac and cheese and hot water cornbread. Sides include smoked devil eggs and corn bread muffins.

For dessert, there’s sweet potato pie,  Red Bottoms – red velvet and tiramisu mixed together – and Pam Grier – a mixture of peaches, bourbon, cornbread, apple chips and salted whip cream.

To recognize dietary needs of all groups of people, there is no pork or alcohol on Soul Bowl’s menu.

“I wanted this pop up to give you a look into the future of soul food,” Klass said.

Soul Bowl will be open from 5 – 9 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 11 and 12 – 5 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 12 at New Rules in North Minneapolis.

The best of Neo Soul Music will act as the soundtrack to the event.

Guests are invited to share the experience by eating together at the communal style tables and sharing photos of the event at the selfie wall using the hashtags #soulbowl and #saygrace.

So, foodies, mark your calendars because after next Sunday Soul Bowl will be no more!

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Soul Bowl will be popping up at New Rules in North Minneapolis from 5 – 9 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 11 and 12 – 5 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 12. New Rules is located at 2015 Lowry Avenue N. 

Northeast’s Sen Yai Sen Lek Makes Thai A Neighborhood Staple

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By: Katie Fraser

Disclosure: Fraser is a contributor to Eat.Drink.Dish.Mpls, who sponsored the event at Sen Yai Sen Lek.

As with many places along Northeast’s Central Avenue, blink and you could miss Sen Yai Sen Lek’s storefront.

Seated just around the corner from Lowry Avenue, among a sea of Mexican restaurants, its red awning and warm lighting glow invitingly yet unassumingly.

But don’t let this lead you to believe their flavors are the same.

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Nine years ago, husband and wife team Joe and Holly Hatch-Surisook decided to take the plunge and open their own restaurant.

The pair had met while working in restaurants and, as many in the business do, would often talk about what they would do different if they owned their own spot.

They soon got married and got out of the business. Holly went on to work at the University of Minnesota and Joe became a stay-at-home dad to the couple’s two children.

But Joe’s drive to own a restaurant stayed, and he continued to curate recipes from his mother and create new dishes.

Finally, 12 years after they left the industry, Holly decided it was time.

“I was working late one night while at the ‘U’ and I thought, ‘If I’m doing late nights while doing this I might as well be doing it for our own business,” Holly said.

Thus, Sen Yai Sen Lek was born.

“My son, who was 5 at the time, had a different take,” Holly laughed. “He would say we opened because ‘My dad didn’t have a job so we had to open a restaurant!’”

Of course, it wasn’t quite that easy. The pair threw everything they had into the costs of location, construction, food and décor. 

Additionally, at the time there were no other Thai restaurants in Northeast Minneapolis.

Luckily for them, they found a welcoming community eager to have them join their neighborhood.

“When we opened, someone brought us an orchid and left it our doorstep with no note. Just saying ‘Welcome to the neighborhood!” Holly said.

They landed on the two-door store front in Northeast where they currently reside today.

At the time Holly felt it was too much space, but now they feel its just right.

Joe handles the menu and cooking, while Holly does front of house. 

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Their second room is often used to host events, where, on Tuesday, Eat.Drink.Dish.Mpls held their latest Exclusive Foodie Dinner.

The evening, which also included a pairing from Sociable Cider Werks, featured six courses, four Instagram contest winners and a visit from local artist Dylan. 

Joe greeted guests by sharing how he used recipes he learned from his mother to help create the restaurant. He then explained he crafted the evening’s menu using dishes that were both on and off the menu and really showcased traditional Thai cuisine.

Guests were greeted with a sampling of Sociable’s Training Wheels, a scrumpy (unfiltered) cider.

The first course was, as Joe described, quintessential Thai street food. Kanom Pang Naa Moo, which roughly translates as “pork covers toast”, was a pork toast with cucumber relish.

While seemly simple, the dish was layered with flavors and texture. The body of the toast soaked up the fattiness of the pork, becoming soft and doughy, while the crust stayed crispy. The softness of the toast and pork were offset by the crispiness of the cucumber, and the salty, fatty pork was cut with the tart vinegar from the vegetables’ marinade.

Next course was Laab Pla. As Joe explained, this is a salad commonly served in northeastern Thailand, often with chicken, pork or beef.

For Tuesday’s dinner, Joe decided to serve it with fried catfish.

Tossed in a fish sauce, along with lime juice, cilantro and mint each bite was filled with crispy, citrusy and earthy flavor.

This was paired with Sociable’s flagship Freewheeler, a dry cider made from a combination of Harrelson, Honey Crisp and Sweet Tango apples.

The third course was Tom Leud, a soup meant to act as a palate cleanser.

Joe explained that Thailand borrows several of its flavor profiles from the surrounding countries, like China, India and Cambodia. He said the soup’s name, Tom Leud, means “boil and bland,” but that bland in Thailand often just means “not very spicy.”

The daikon radish soup was made with fried garlic, a garlic broth, black pepper and a hint of Thai chili.

It served as the perfect bridge between the citrus, vinegar flavors of the appetizers and umami, rich flavors of the entrées.

To pair with the richness of the entrées, Sociable served its Hop-A-Wheelie cider. A dry cider brewed with hops to add a tart, grapefruit note to the apples.

The fourth and fifth courses were a noodle and curry dish respectively.

The Pad Kee Mao was made with flat, wide rice noodles mixed in a light soy flavor with mushrooms, chicken, onions and a light spice.

The curry, perhaps the spiciest dish of the evening, was also the least Thai inspired.

Highlighted as one of the dishes that borrowed the most from neighboring countries, the curry was made with coconut milk, pork belly and morning glory.

Served with rice, it created the perfect bite of creamy, crunchy, spicy and fatty.

Finally, the dinner was capped with sankaya and Rusty Chain cider.

Sankaya is a traditional dessert made of kabocha squash, steamed pandan custard and coconut sauce. 

The pairing, Rusty Chain, was a tart cranberry cider, whose tartness offset the silky sweetness of the coconut and custard.

While many of the dishes were exclusive to the event each was comprised of flavors found on their menu and in Thai tradition, something Joe and Holly pride themselves in.

“We wanted our restaurant to feel welcoming, like home.”

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View More Photos below > Photo Credit: Asha Belk

Sen Yai Sen Lek is located at 2422 Central Avenue NE in Minneapolis. For more information, call 612-781-3046 or visit them online.

Do-Not Wait Any Longer - Rebel Donut Bar Now Open In NE

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By: Katie Fraser

The Twin Cities donut game is strong.

From Glam Doll Donuts to Bogart’s Doughnut Co. to Mojo Monkey, there are endless places, and flavors, to choose from.

Now, foodies can add one more to their list – Rebel Donut Bar.

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Rebel Donut Bar, now officially open in Northeast Minneapolis, first started in 2016 in the home of Vince Traver and Kiah Gumeringer. Looking for a new challenge, Traver decided to turn his half-baked idea of owning a doughnut shop into a full baked reality.

The pair each took a role, Traver as the baker and Gumeringer as the marketer, and began creating their product. Inspired by breweries, Traver and Gumeringer knew they wanted guests to be able to try a variety of flavors. Like a flight of beer, they decided they would offer flights of doughnuts.

By offering mini donuts, Traver and Gumeringer could create more flavors and diners could enjoy a larger selection of their doughnuts.

Thanks to the Cottage Food Laws, which are laws that allow small food producers to use appliances in their homes to make and sell their product, Traver and Gumeringer began to bake and sell their doughnuts at local events.

They started small, offering their desserts at breweries and art shows. Then, thanks to word (and taste) of mouth, it soon grew to include weddings and other large scale events.

Finally, in April 2017, the pair decided it was time for a brick-and-mortar store.

They launched a Kickstarter campaign to earn the money they needed to open their location and in just five days they reached their goal.

Next, they began to scout for a location.

While it was clear there was a demand for their product, finding space proved to be a bit more difficult.

Soon, they landed a building that shared a kitchen with Cry Baby Craig’s hot sauce in Northeast Minneapolis.

Finally, all that was left to do was wait for the city of Minneapolis to approve all their paper work. 

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Two weeks ago, the store held an early launch party, and shortly after they opened to the public.

The store’s menu includes single mini doughnuts, flights of four minis and regular sized doughnuts. Gluten free options are available as well. However, Rebel does warn that the gluten free options may not be celiac friendly as they share a kitchen space with their neighbors.

Aside from delicious flavors, some of which include lemon poppy seed, chocolate chip cookie dough, caramel apple and strawberry granola, what sets Rebel Donut Bar apart is its delivery.

The mini is the perfect bite of dense cake, creamy frosting and sweet toppings. It’s just enough to indulge without feeling guilty.  

Rebel Donut Bar is located at 1226 2nd Street NE. It is open Tuesday – Friday 7 a.m. to sellout and Saturday – Sunday 8 a.m. to sellout. For more information, visit Rebel Donut Bar online

North Loop Gains New Restaurant, Basement Bar

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By: Katie Fraser

Minneapolis’ trendy North Loop neighborhood just got a bit hotter.

On Monday, Oct. 9 new restaurant NOLO’s Kitchen & Bar will open its doors to the public.

Located in the Gardner Hardware Building, the new restaurant owned by three Minneapolis restaurateurs, promises Midwest comfort with a hint of sophistication.

“This is a place where neighbors become friends, and someone knows your name when you walk through the door,” head chef Peter Hoff said in a recent press release.

Hoff, joined by Marty Collins and Brett Johnson, is Minnesota born-and-raised. Meanwhile, Collins and Johnson both have history in the Minneapolis dining scene – particularly Johnson whose family has owned The Hilltop Restaurant, formerly the Eden Avenue Grill, for the past 40 years.

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For the menu, Hoff brings his local upbringing and blends it with his classic training to provide diners an upscale Midwest dining experience.

“NOLO’s is all about being comfortable and casual with a touch of sophistication, just like our menu – approachable Midwestern cuisine with a twist,” Hoff said in a recent press release.

NOLO’s featured breakfast, lunch, dinner and weekend brunch. Midwest-inspired menu items include the walleye fingers and sandwiches, vegetable hotdish and milk and cookies.

Following NOLO’s, the Basement Bar will open a few weeks later.

Located just below NOLO’s, the Basement Bar blends games, music and nightlife.

Like the restaurant, Collins, Hoff and Johnson said they wanted to the bar to offer upscale drinks in a homey environment.

An opening date for the bar has yet to be announced.

NOLO’s Kitchen & Bar and The Basement Bar are located at 515 Washington Avenue North in Minneapolis’ North Loop. For more information call 612-800-6033 or visit NOLO’s Kitchen & Bar online.

Foodie Giveaway: Dunn Brothers Coffee

Every so often, Eat.Drink.Dish Mpls gives its foodie followers a chance to win some swag from a local restaurant.

For National Coffee Day, we partnered with Dunn Brothers Coffee.

We asked what your favorite drink or food item at Dunn Brothers is.

Here’s what you had to say!

Out of the 118 people that responded, the iced nirvana was by far the most popular, followed by cold press and  drip coffee. 

Nearly 40 percent of people said they loved the nirvana beverage. The top choice was iced vanilla, with chocolate steamed coming in as the second preferred flavor. Other flavors mentioned included white chocolate pistachio and coconut iced.

Next, nearly 22 percent said they preferred plain coffee, with 21 people saying they liked it in iced form and 6 preferring drip coffee.

After that, lattes and Americanos were mentioned the most, with 9 percent mentioning lattes, including a tiramisu flavor, and 4 percent mentioning iced and hot Americanos. 

Other drinks mentioned included coconut milk coffee, dirty chain, almond steamers, London fogs and kombucha. 

Finally, when it came to food 14 percent of you said you like to get a treat with your drink. The most mentions? Breakfast sandwiches. 

Thanks to Dunn Brothers for partnering with Eat.Drink.Dish Mpls, and thanks for sharing your favorites!

 

 

 

Black Sheep Pizza Brings Pizza Back To Its Roots

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By: Katie Fraser

Disclosure: Katie is an affiliate of Eat.Drink.Dish.Mpls, who was paid to promote Black Sheep Pizza with the Exclusive Foodie Dinner event.

Hand-tossed, deep dish, thin, wood-fired, personal – when it comes to pizza the options are endless, and one Twin Cities’ staple is hoping you’ll add one more option to the list: coal-fired.

Black Sheep Pizza opened in Minneapolis’ North Loop neighborhood in late 2008, when the area was still transforming from the Warehouse District into its current trendy state.

Owner and chef Jordan Smith wanted to bring what he considered “traditional American” pizza to Minnesota by opening Minneapolis’ first coal-fired pizza restaurant.  According to Black Sheep, coal was the main source of heat used to warm ovens, and thus make pizza, in the early part of our country’s history.

The pizzeria was immediately popular, and in 2012 was voted the best pizza in the state by Food Network.

Black Sheep quickly expanded with a second location in St. Paul, just outside of the  then up-and-coming Lowertown neighborhood, in early 2011. Then, in 2014, a third restaurant was opened in the old Azia location along Eat Street.

But, as locations and menu items were added, Smith, and his co-owner Colleen Doran, stayed true to their mission – bringing pizza back to it’s coal-fired roots.

On Tuesday, several Twin Cities foodies were given a taste, and a bit of a history lesson, with an Exclusive Foodie Dinner.

In Black Sheep Pizza’s North Loop party room, kitchen manager Alex served diners four courses and endless facts.

To begin, diners were served a Sparkling Margarita, paired with a trio of salads: traditional chopped salad, seasonal asparagus and potato, and Moroccan.

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The light cocktail was a bit overwhelmed by the flavors of the salad, but provided a good break in between each bite.

The chopped was tart and lemony, with bold, spicy Italian sausage bites mixed in, while the Moroccan was full of spice, muted with creamy goat cheese and crunchy chick peas.  But the star of the salads was the seasonal asparagus and potato salad. Large stalks of crunch asparagus paired with tart arugula, smooth roasted potatoes and creamy green goddess dressing. Rich, filling and light, it was the perfect early fall dish.

Following the salads, diners were given a taste of Black Sheep’s signature kabobs.

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The dish included grilled shrimp, steak, onions, tomatoes and red, orange and green bell peppers. This came paired with the spicy Segundo's Siesta, a tequila-based cocktail made with a hint of chile pepper. A fun experiment, but beware if you don’t like heat!

Finally, diners dove into Black Sheep’s pizza.

Guests were given a trio of pizzas: the No. 4, No. 5 and No. 9.

The No. 4 , the favorite of the night, was topped with juicy meatballs, fluffy ricotta and large garlic slices.

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The No. 5, the restaurant’s most popular, was the fennel sausage, hot salami, onion and cracked green olive pizza.

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And, last but not least, the No. 9 was a vegetarian, topped with fresh tomatoes, crunchy green peppers and bold Kalamata olives.

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As Alex explained, each handmade pie was cooked for 2- 3 minutes in the coal oven, heated to 550 degrees, giving it a crispy outside and soft inside.

The meal ended with a homemade ice cream sandwich, made with creamy vanilla ice cream and chocolate chip cookies from the Cookie Cart.  

A simple dish elevated by fresh ingredients and detailed preparation, something Black Sheep brings to all it offers. 

Black Sheep Pizza is located at 600 N Washington Street. It has two other locations in St. Paul and along Eat Street. Call 612-342-2625, or visit Black Sheep Pizza online for more information. 

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Feast on the Field: Schwan's Chef Collective takes US Bank Stadium

In 1952, a little Dodge van drove down the streets of Marshall, Minnesota, carrying ice cream treats. In 2017, a similar truck stood proudly on the field at US Bank Stadium during Schwan's Feast on the Field Event.

On September 14, Minneapolis socialites and foodies gathered on the field at the new US Bank Stadium (and soon home to the SuperBowl LII) to enjoy a meal together cultivated by the Schwan's Chef Collective.

The Collective includes local chefs such as Jamie Malone (Grand Cafe) and Ann Kim (Young Joni), chefs from across the country like Adrienne Cheatham (Red Rooster in New York), and even a few chefs from TV-- we’re looking at you, Jet Tila.

Members of the Collective are integral in the process of creating new dishes and products for the Schwan's company, making sure to fuse innovation with ease, and taste with excellence.

The evening began with a social hour, with Bittercube-advised cocktails and chef-inspired appetizers. Cocktails inspired by the seasons made for a wide range of choices, and each paired well with the fun, upscale comfort food. A four course dinner followed, featuring a venison tartar and pan seared duck breast. Dessert followed with the ever-popular ice cream treats and a DIY s’mores bar.

Food aside, and future forward, the event also served as the launch point for a $150,000 donation and charitable partnership between Schwan's and the Minnesota based non-profit, Youth Farm.


To learn more about Schwan's History and the Chef Collective (and where you can eat these delicious treats), visit their website:www.schwanscompany.com/schwans-chef-collective

 

Words and Photos by Lauren Cutshall

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