When life gives you blackberry syrup instead of black currant syrup, you use it in your sparkling wine to make your own version of a Kir Royale.
Because Andreas Viestad used black currant syrup for his glogg recipe but I could only find blackberry at Caspian and the weather was too bad that day to trek to Sikora (who does have black currant syrup).
Why this obsession with glogg? Because my mom & I saw it on New Scandanavian Cooking, of course. Naturally, my new year's resolution is to watch more TV. Who's up for getting all of this show on DVD for me?
I took the past week off of work. By Thursday, my biggest accomplishment was watching General Hospital and cleaning out the humidifiers. But as it got close to Christmas, I felt that it was time to do something out of the ordinary. And I had just watched New Scandanvian Cooking's episode on Christmas and my buddy Andreas Viestad was making Glogg, which is similar to mulled wine. FIKA, the restaurant at the Swedish Institute, has Glogg in the winter, so I thought it would be fun to check out the holiday decorations, eat, and drink.
Each of the rooms were decorated for a particular Northern European country. Most of them had a fully decked out table and decorated Christmas tree. This is the Sweden room above. The Finns (below) had to be dfiferent by only incorporating a scene with a legend regarding the Deer Mother who holds the light of the sun in her horns during the winter.
I needed some Red Glogg after seeing the Deer Mother.
White Glogg and Gravalax. The glogg didn't seem to be as alcoholic as you'd think if you looked at a recipe. One recipe I looked at had two bottles of white wine, cognac, and elderflower liquer. But I was free to try both and be able to drive home.
Cardamom Bread Pudding with Brandy Sauce
Dinner was as fabulous as it looked. Trouble is, I think that the folks of Northern Europe have such a long winter that they don't eat much. So, we had to have dessert because the portions were on the small side according to American supersizing. I highly recommend FIKA, because there is zero lack of flavor in everything.
FIKA at the American Swedish Institute
2600 Park Avenue
Minneapolis, MN 55407
Abi's Cafe is an unusual place. She was recently featured in many news stories for giving a man a job who came into her restaurant asking for money. I think her words were something along the lines of, I don't get anything for free. But she gave him a chance to work and though he no longer works at her cafe, he does have new job more in tune with her skills. Abi is pretty ballsy for a young girl from Ecuador to own a restaurant with her native food on Lake Steet in Minneapolis. She does make a good Pan Con Pollo (chicken with bread) though. I'm not a slaw fan, so the veggies surrounding the chicken dodn't completely eaten. Nor did the bread as most westerners regard white bread as tantamount to poison. The chicken was perfectly cooked and juciy though. I am going back soon for breakfast because I saw a she has an omelette with avocado, beans, cheese, sour cream and plantains. Gotta be good, right?
1532 Lake Street East
Minneapolis, MN 55407
Arancini, Breaded and deep fried rice balls formed with marinara and mozzarella cheese. Served over a bed or marinara with pesto drizzle. I love it. I order it wherever I go. (If I can).
My bestie & college roommate Sarah knows me too well. She recommended this place in Robbinsdale and boy, is it ever a hidden gem.
Nonna Rosa's Ristorante Italiano
4168 West Broadway Avenue
Robbinsdale, MN 55422
I think I have mentioned that I don't like beer. But Urban Growler Brewery advertised a barleywine that was made from plums from my old stomping grounds, southeastern Minnesota. Alas, by the time I had time to go there, they had depleted their stock. So I had to settle for a beer, and I forget which kind. I'm really not a beer fan. BUT I would go back for there for the food. For eaxmple, these are the pork nachos and they are wonderful. I would go there anytime for a meal. Especially on their outdoor patio. (In warm weather, obviously)
The Urban Growler
2325 Endicott St
St Paul, MN 55114
You know I'm always on a quest for a hole-in-the-wall Mexican joint. Catrina's is close, but it misses the boat because it doesn't have margaritas. But is comes close. And additional plus is that it seems healthy. Savory cooked meats plus an array of fresh veggies. And I didn't see any refried beans when I was there (gasp), I'll have to check on that.
Catrina's Cerveza & Grill
2510 Kenzie Terrace
St. Anthony, MN 55418
My son said this one-of-a-kind grilled cheese sandwich tasted like pizza. That's a clear endorsement.
I miss living in St. Paul. Every time I'm in the Macalester Groveland area I see the same restaurants that I have yet to darken the door to. Khyber Pass, Everest on Grand, French Meadow, Grand Central, the list goes on. I'm working on it, though. Even it means grabbing sandwiches from St. Paul Cheese Shop. Personally, sandwiches are my favorite food. The guys at this place has a huge array of different types and they will custom edit them for you. Like the grliied cheese my son had. Places like this really make me think that cooking at home is underrated.
St. Paul Cheese Shop
1573 Grand Ave
St. Paul, MN 55105
For a state with a rich cultural background from the Native Anericans, I realized the other day how little I knew about them as my LO and I took a walk around TCF Bank Stadium and the Minnesota Tribal Nations Plaza. There are 11 markers for each of the nations in the state including infomation and the tribal flags and/or images.
Although things like wild rice are at the forefront of many Minnesota recipes, there are few restaurants that showcase indigenous cuisine. After driving by the Minneapolis American Indian Center 87644641 times in my life, we stopped in after seeing the restaurant sign. And boy, the service can't be beat. They were attentive without being annyoing. You could tell they had an immense pride in their work and they would bend over backwards to make it the best experience for you. I had the Sweet Potato Hash and my son had the The Corridor Breakfast complete with eggs, sausage, fruit and wild rice bread.
I'm not sure when I've had something that was so healthy.
Minneapolis American Indian Center
1530 East Franklin Avenue
A Minnesota native returns after 13 years away discovering a whole new food landscape.