Quote of the Week

The two most important days of your life are the day you were born and the day you find out why. - Mark Twain


Quote of the Week

"If you always try to be normal, you'll never know how amazing you can be" -Keoni Hudoba


Libertine (Uptown), Minneapolis, MN

I have had this restaurant on my short-list since it opened in the former Cafeteria (and Figlio's) space at Calhoun Square in Uptown. I'd also recently seen it on a top new restaurants list. With all that in mind and a 40-degree December day, I thought timing couldn't be better. After an afternoon of window shopping and online work, I walked in to Libertine around 6pm and sat solo at the bar. Mind you, I wasn't the only patron at the bar, far from it. They already had almost all the stools filled with people grabbing happy hour cocktails (on a Saturday night?!) or having a drink before their table reservation.

I was in the mood for a drink and some dinner. After getting the female bartender's attention (seemed like an on-going issue on this very first visit), I was able to decide on a short (8oz.) beer and take a better look at the menu. 

The menu isn't massive and it's laid out in a relatively simple manner. See...

I liked the way the meats are arranged by animal and they even left a spot for "Not Animal". I was all about animal on this visit, so I decided on the Merguez sausages (under Lamb for those playing along at home) and a side of their baby potatoes. Though it was warm outside by normal MN-winter standards, my brain is still well into winter mode - meat & potatoes do nicely in December. When I placed my order, the bartender also mentioned and made sure I would be ok with the sausages as they are produced in house and are a very "fine grind, almost like pate". I asked if they taste good, to which she replied positively - so I stayed with that choice. I couldn't wait.

When my plate and cast-iron skillet arrived I was pumped! I couldn't wait to dive in... so why would I? I gently cut a round off the first link I got my fork into and moved it to my waiting agape mouth. It was good. But the grind wasn't fine, from what I know about cased meats at least. I grabbed a bite of the potatoes, also delicious. I got the bartender's attention to mention the sausage grind she warned me about and as soon as she saw the plate, she knew she had ordered me the wrong sausage. I wasn't eating Merguez, I was enjoying their house-made Chorizo (from the choice that changes often and one I wasn't told about when I was given the menu or at ordering).

Oohh-kaayy. I'm fine with Chorizo and it really was delicious. So, I tucked back into my meat and potato, even though she offered to place the right order for me (who wants to wait again?). In the middle of the meal, I ran out of my short beer and wanted to pick a different one (the genius of the short pour, IMO). It took about 3-4 minutes to get the bartender's attention this time. It seemed like the bar staff was more interested in updating each other on their current events than paying attention to the patrons, but I guess that happens. Maybe the management of Libertine doesn't treat or train the bar staff the same as the servers. Maybe they don't tell them to go over specials when someone asks for a menu, or pay attention to the customers eating at their counter.

In any case, I got my second short beer order in and when she delivered it, she let me know it would be free, as a way to make up for the mistake on the sausage order. I'll take it.

Despite some interesting service, I would go back to Libertine for another try. You could see the quality, time, and care in the food I ate, and I'd like to sit at a normal table, see how their servers perform, and eat some of the dang Merguez!


Quote of the Week

"If going to church makes you a Christian, then does going to the garage make you a car?" -seen on a bumper sticker


Cecils Delicatessen, Bakery & Restaurant, St. Paul, MN

This is my worst restaurant post ever, but I have what I feel is a valid excuse. The food, smells, people, and sights were so memorizing that I didn't have enough concentration to take more photos. Do us both a favor and visit for yourself.

I'd recommend that you go early to beat the weekend dinner crowd, as we did...and order off the hot sandwiches side of the menu, also like we did...get a phosphate or egg cream (if you don't know what that is, we may have to stop being friends), yep, we did this too...and finally, spend time in the deli/bakery and take some fresh goods home.

Note: I did not get the chance to find out why they leave the apostrophe off their menus/name, but it's hard to care with a mouth full of lean corned beef & brown mustard on fresh baked rye.


Chicago's Christkindlmarket (Daley Plaza), Chicago, IL

This was a chilly, outdoor treat on a sunny Tuesday. We avoided the after work rush and shopped in the afternoon. Though I hadn't been back in at least a decade, I was pleasantly surprised by the offerings and amount of handmade items, many from Germany (as the name of the market would imply).
If you have a chance or desire, go check it out. You'd certainly place some gifts under the tree that someone will cherish.


Kyatchi, Minneapolis, MN (Kingfield)

After a quick stop at the chiropractor  (aka, back-cracker), I needed to delay heading out in rush hour traffic and decided this 9-month old newcomer would fill the bill.

I don't have the whole story, but one of the brother-sister co-owners, Sarah, gave me a good amount. She was very conversational, like I've never experienced in the Twin Cities before. In the long run, Kyatchi is hoping the neighborhood's face lift helps lift the commerce all around.

I don't know about that, but I can say for sure that I loved everything I tried and NEED to go back.

The menu sticks to the Japanese theme of their name and offers a wide variety of dishes, including: sushi/sashimi, yakitori, donburi, and even their take on hotdogs (recently awarded best dog in town).

I loved the menu and had a hard time picking just a couple items. I settled on two yakitori (traditional Japanese grilling) items and a donburi (rice bowl). I had Japanese peppers and beef on the grilled skewers, then light a fluffy chicken meatballs in the rice bowl. It was all delicious.

As a small thank you,  I also was given two saki tokens for my next visit - who wants to go?


The World's Best...lipbalm

It's hard to explain why... wait, I can explain why:
- Smaller height to fit better in pocket/purse, but wider at the same time to cover lips fast
- Pleasant, non-gender specific, non-cloying scent, almost unscented but not quite
- Twist mechanism is pretty hard to twist... which is perfect so it doesn't spin up in your pocket while walking
- Smooth formula that goes on easy and lasts
- It has a cool Euro-vibe

See, it's true. It also helps to have friends in Scandinavia, which is where it's sold. Tack så mycket.


"Metamorphosoup" / Bare Bones Puppets, St. Paul, MN

It's a little hard to explain, but in a nutshell, each Halloween local puppeteers, artists, musicians,  performers, and volunteers spend three months putting together a performance celebrating the changing of the season and remembering loved ones lost.

Is held on the St. Paul side of the river front, south of Minnehaha Falls. It's all outdoors, with straw bales for seating and the night sky for added ambiance.

This was a sight to behold and pleasant music for the ears. I tried my best with the pictures, but I'd highly recommend going instead.

Nothing like a little fire on a Saturday night...

This was a portion "in the deep sea", with the little bit of light only coming from those creatures that made it themselves - it was really cool

Do you see the man in there?
There's two men in the Triceratops
Yeah, they kind of fought each other
Add caption
These guys were maybe 8-12' tall, on stilts, on uneven ground
Can you make out the stag? Kinda?

You can learn more about attending or being involved HERE.


The last Halloween in Delano, MN

The friends that have hosted me many times now are moving back towards the cities... this was the last Delano Halloween for now. We did it up right, including "pregame" food, decorations, tally sheet, and even fire color packets. I think the 108 trick or treaters appreciated the efforts. I know I did.

Beans fortified with more beans, bacon and hotdog pennies


I have heard simple copper powder will provide this effect


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