St. Paul Hotel
St. Paul, MN
Sadly, I have never been to Europe. I think it was a cosmic mistake I wasn't born there.
Last summer my friend suggested we go to Polish Fest. I think that I have said this before. I lived in Milwaukee. I been to a lot of Fests. I have high Fest standards. And I highly recommend Polish Fest in Minneapolis. It's clean, accessible, the food is good and not overpriced. Also, it's not too big. A hidden secret. And the world-reknowned polka band Doctor Kielbasa plays. what more could one ask for?
Anyway, we went and last year I signed my father up to be a member of the Polish American Cultural Institute of Minnesota. Last month, he got the invite you can see in the above photo for the pre-Lenten Carnival Ball. My parents didn't plan on going, but the night my friend H and I went to Revival, I broached the insane idea of us going. And so we did.
Because, as you can see, the Polish do raffles right. I might suggest this for a school fundraiser.
Of course, the food was superb. But what really struck me, was the feeling of being in what I imagine is old-world Europe. The Polish Dancers performed, then they brought the crowd onto everyone onto the dance floor during one of those dense, Slavic songs that make me believe I was in eastern Europe. It didn't hurt that many people there were fluent in the Polish language. Everyone was dressed to the nines also. It was at the St. Paul Hotel for goodness sake. I so rarely go to anything fancy, much less formal attire required, that between getting all gussied up and doing valet parking by myself for the first time, it was definitely a night to remember. And even though I'm not part of the Polish community per se (maybe gotta change that), everyone was so welcoming. Like the gal we met whose mother is one of the key organizers. She had the best line of the night with "I work at Paisley Park. 90% of my job is telling people they can't sit on Prince's piano." You see? Always a good story comes out. Hopefully next year I'm going and bringing the family. Hope my dad brushes up on his Polish.
St. Paul Hotel
St. Paul, MN
I get that Monday is a day many restaurants close for good reason. But what do you do on Presidents Day when you are off work and want to meet your parents for lunch in Red Wing. Fortunately, the Liberty House is open 7 days a week and is the perfect place to linger over a meal. And it's only a block away from the Red Wing Confectionery. It has every kind of chocolate at small town prices, not big city prices. Here in t he Metro, you can pay around $10 for a fancy chocolate bar. At Red Wing Confectionery, you can get a piece of chocalote bark that is just as big if not bigger and just as good if not better for a partly $3.75. All made in house. They also have ice cream, coffee drinks and locally made products such as champagne jelly (of course I had to buy that).
Red Wing Confectionery
323 Main Street
Red Wing, MN 55066
ww.nesbittsnursery.com (nope, not a typo)
It was inevitable. All this eating out has not been doing wonders for my baby belly. So I started logging my food on MyFitnessPal. I now know A. Why there are bear boxes at campsites and B. How to annoy my coworkers by incessantly telling them how hungry I am while on MyFitnessPal.
The only upside that I can see, beside a couple of pounds lost, isn't that I've had to start making meals that aren't Stouffers, but that I have an excuse to buy. more. stuff. Like the gorgeous greeny-blue pan you see for the sausage, mushroom and potato au gratin above.
And the hoisin, the chili garlic sauce and a new bottle of crushed red pepper you see above. For me, buying exotic spices and oils and whatnot to prepare food is addicting.
Unfortunately, for all the prep that goes into the meals. This ends up being the size of my meal. On the plus side, hopefully I'll fit into a dress from the old days for the Polish Ball next weekend. Stay tuned for that....
The other day, I gave my brother crap for frequently going to Oceanaire when he's in town. Then I had to backtrack since my son and I have now made three visits to Stewart's. I say it 's because it's convenient to swim team practice, my son says its because he loves the food. He's really not wrong.
128 Cleveland Avenue N
St. Paul, MN 55104
If you want a place with every. single. type of hot dog or sausage in the universe world New Bohemia is your place. They even have the vegetarian kind by our own Herbivorous Butcher. Elk, alligator, venison, cow pig, they've got it in multiple combinations. And lots and lots of microbrews if that's what you're into. They do have wine if you are like me. The casual atmosphere with TV's playing all sorts of sports makes the place packed on a Saturday. The cheese curds, however, made it all worth it.
Six locations in the Twin Cities, one in Mankato and a food truck.
The one I went to:
2730 Snelling Avenue N.
St. Paul, MN 55113
I don't have a lot of exposure to southern food. Fried chicken, okra, green tomatoes and pork rinds are just not interesting to me. And I don't understand the current fried chicken and waffle craze going on right now. Apparently, I'm in the minority because the new location of Revival in St. Paul was getting packed at 4pm on a Friday. My dining partner and I ended up sitting at the bar even though we had reservations solely for acoustic purposes. The place was wall-to-wall people by 5. I ended up ordering the chili dog, which was quite good. But the real converting piece you can see in the top picture, to the left of the okra, was the pimento cheese. I could eat this on toast all day long. I can't believe I've gone my whole life without being aware of its existence. I'm going to have to have a get-together just so I can make it.
525 Selby Avenue
St. Paul, MN 55102
Also in Minneapolis:
4257 Nicollet Avenue
Miineapolis, MN 55409
A Minnesota native returns after 13 years away discovering a whole new food landscape.