18200 Kirby Ave South Hastings MN 55033
Yes, I know where all the popular wine regions are. France, California, the list goes on and on. How about Hastings, Minnesota? I'm bound to get some eye rolls. But during July and August, you can take a day trip from the Twin Cities or SE Minnesota on Sunday afternoons and hear live jazz from your picnic blanket or lawn chair while drinking wine or playing bocce ball. It's surprisingly family-friendly, with the kids playing tag in the sculpture garden and jumping off the low stone garden walls, using their imagination like the days before electronic devices. It is what I imagine people did 100 years ago on weekends. This is true leisure time. Bring your embroidery, your deck of cards, your reading material or the art of conversation. And enjoy the wine of those poor grapes who suffer in our harsh Minnesota climate. They have a small deli selection of cheeses, crackers and beverages in case you've forgotten anything essential.
Alexis Bailly Vineyard
18200 Kirby Ave South Hastings MN 55033
My brother mentioned coming up to visit me from Rochester today but I'm still waiting. I guess he and his bride got distracted here at Salem Glen Winery in Rochester.
And here at Osaka for Sushi.
And here st Sonte's.
Last I heard they were at Dooley's obviously celebrating St Patrick's Day. With bagpipes. Never made it out of Rochester. I'm bummed because I get out so rarely and I was hoping to dine somewhere new and blog about it later. Instead, I am munching on hot bar food from the co op and exploiting my bro's pics for my own ends. So Readers, if you have been to any of these places, let us know in the comments. I seem to be always behind the eight ball, or rather behind The Heavy Table when it comes to discovering new restaurants, but SE Minnesota seems to be untapped by the Twin Cities food critics. Do you have a favorite SE MN hangout?
I've said it before, it's important to promote the good places especially in the small towns otherwise they don't last long and we are left with chain-type places full of processed food with absolutely nothing to distinguish them. Let us know.
5211 60th Ave SW, Rochester, MN 55902
2043 Superior Dr NW, Rochester, MN 55901
4 3rd St SW, Rochester, MN 55902
255 1st Ave SW, Rochester, MN 55902
Ahhh, fall is in the air...
For the past couple of Novembers, we have been making a trip out to Rapid City, South Dakota, to see one my favorite people from my college, Kevin. Kevin works in an amazing local art gallery (complete with a John Mayer sighting) and is himself a fabulous artist. Last fall, his work was chosen for the label for the Pumpkin Bog wine bottle. (See, amazing). Aside from watching my father make wine, I am no expert on this, BUT I do seem think that cold climates tend to mix their grapes with other local fruits and end up with a sweeter product as they often need to add more sugar and make fruits such as rhubarb and cherry more palatable. Or consider the grapes for ice-style wine which has become popular as a sweet dessert which do well growing in the Midwest and the colder regions of Europe. As it goes, I like a hot-weather grape. Some of my favorite wines are from the Temecula Valley in California. And just made out of grapes. I get a little scared when I'm reading the back of a wine bottle and think that I accidentally wandered into the Bath and Bodyworks fruit-scented hand lotion section. So I was a but skeptical when we drove out to Prairie Berry Winery in the Black Hills to see Kevin's handiwork last year. That changed quickly. First of all, the day before it had snow. All the atmospheric aesthetics were there. So, it was a gorgeous sunny day with just a bit of chill in the air to keep the snow pristine. The Winery itself has not only a tasting area, but a Euro-deli with appetizers, sandwiches and pizza. Sadly we did not eat there, but I was able to pick up a variety of the jams, honeys and mulling spices that they also make. That particular day that we were there they had a string quartet playing. I mean, life really doesn’t get better when you have all of that going. And, I am happy to announce, they had an awesome red wine. Phat Hogg Red. A light (but not too light) Corot Noir/Pinot Noir dry red wine. Just grapes and just fantastic. Like I said, I'm not good at describing the aromatics of the wine, or comparing it to chocolate or describing it's oaky flavor. To me, it just has a damn good flavor. And I must know a little bit, because the wine won a silver medal from the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition. So please, if you are heading out to Rapid City, bring me back the Phat Hogg Red. And make time for lunch there.
Prairie Berry Winery (Since 1876!)
23837 Hwy 385 Hill City, SD 57745
A Minnesota native returns after 13 years away discovering a whole new food landscape.