A quick summer update. . .

Baby’s actually sleeping well! Work is stressful, but you can’t say they aren’t giving me learning opportunities. I haven’t gotten to watch anything good on TV but I did read Killers of the Flower Moon in a single weekend because I couldn’t put it down.

The toddler is as busy as ever. Last night she ate half my bowl of spicy Desert Fire from Green Mill. I was too impressed to be mad.

We’ve been eating out less and grilling more.

I made this Spicy Pork Bulgogi marinade and it was fantastic –  worth the work. I bought most of the ingredients from Seoul Foods in Fridley.

Jake got his first smoker and we made barbacoa for a family picnic.

We eat a lot of Kowalski’s rotisserie chickens – they are the best, other than Cub. We had an amazing dinner at Juche in East St. Paul. It is amazing to stumble into a cool Korean lounge from Payne Ave. I also got to try Kusina on the drive up to my friend’s cabin.

Brunson’s, East St. Paul

The East Saint Paul food scene is underrated. Jake grew up in East St. Paul and we go there every day since our family takes care of the kids during the week.

There are a lot of restaurants located along Payne Ave including Brunson’s.

We’ve heard a lot of good things about Brunson’s but had never visited before. During our week off late this spring, we visited before picking up the kids. The inside has a cool, old school bar feel – outside is a shady patio.

We tried a few dishes and drinks. The seared tuna appetizer wasn’t my favorite.

But, the cheese curds served with balsamic aoli and sambol honey stood-out. 

Minnesotans are forever chasing the high of our State Fair’s cheese curds. Usually they fall flat.

No matter what anyone else says, Mouthtrap’s are the best. 

Brunson’s are really close. The batter is light, crisp and fantastic. Just look at it – it almost looks like Mouthtrap, too.

About as good as you’ll find outside of the MN State fair.

I should add – they had some afternoon drink specials – the Moscow Mule wasn’t the typical watery drink in a copper cup, but a comically (though respectfully) strong cocktail form.

Coastal Seafood Cafe

We’re hopelessly landlocked as Minnestans.

When my friends from North Carolina came to visit, I thought about taking them to Sea Salt. The novelty of affordable, fresh seafood! Oh wait. . . they have that there lol.

For the freshest, most affordable seafood without the winding line, I would recommend the Coastal Seafood Cafe at their Minneapolis location.

Of course the best seafood market in the Twin Cities serves affordable, fresh seafood.

They might not have alcoholic drinks – I think I remember seeing cooler with NA beverages. My friend and I were also impressed with their impressive condiment shelf which included different types of hot sauces and even smoked soy sauce.

I tried the hot Nashville-style softshell crab. It’s been a really long time since I’ve tried soft shell crab and what I’ll say about it is that to enjoy it fully, you must be into a certain amount of crab goo.

Enjoy your meal outside on their patio out front and then do some shopping next door at United Noodle. This is definitely the pro move.

My husband tried the hot, buttered lobster roll and proclaimed it the best he’s ever had. Theirs costs about $25 – we’ve found tinier and more expensive versions at other places in Minnesota. It’s a sandwich I never order anymore here, because of that.

He was thrilled with Coastal’s and would order it again.