Author: Jeni (page 2 of 154)

Boston: We Missed The Sam Adams Tour But Ate The Best Pasta

We tried to go on the Sam Adams brewery tour but failed.

Somehow we got lost walking to the brewery even with our phones. And then when circled back to the brewery, we learned tours aren’t offered on Sundays.

The taproom, however, just opened so we had a drink.

It turns out that mostly tourists arrive at 10 a.m. to drink at the taproom on Sundays. Jake tried a flight of the more unusual beer flavors. I tried to order the lightest, fruitiest beer. They’re always too strong.

Still, I had fun sipping a beer and flipping through books about Boston. The taproom offers many books about Boston’s history and Samuel Adams + board games.

Our day was full of eight hours of walking between visiting the brewery and Museum of Fine Arts. We welcomed an early dinner by the time we got back to our Airbnb.

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Maplewood Mall Food Court Chowdown

Your childhood mall will always hold a special place in your heart. The Burnsville Center is mine. The Maplewood Mall is Jake’s.

Our childhood malls feel kind of dead now. Not in the modern “haha I’m dead,” way, but in the empty storefronts except for a Victoria’s secret and GNC sort of way.

When I read about Victoria’s Secret closing stores, I’m just like “MAYBE DON’T PUT TWO IN EACH MALL?”

The thing about the Maplewood Mall is that it has a really interesting food court. Sure, there’s a Charlie’s Grilled Subs and Subway, but there are also shops offering cabeza tacos (at least Maya Cuisine was on this day), boba teas, tricolor dessert and papaya salad, pho, Gyros, Mexican-Korean fusion dishes, and burgers with Hmong peppers.

On this visit, we ordered the latter two.

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Good Food & Perfect Patios: Three Minneapolis Restaurants

Our summers are short but we never take them for granted.

As soon as it’s remotely comfortable enough to eat or drink something outside, restaurants set out their patios. You can find us here in our winter hats and sweatshirts until it snows.

Here are three patios in Minneapolis that we’ve enjoyed a meal at recently:

Birchwood Cafe

Birchwood Cafe has been serving organic, local, farm to table food before it was cool (1926 to be exact). In addition to operating the restaurant, Birchwood cultivates community by displaying local art and coordinating events like farm visits and monthly peace-building films.

My friend used to work here and spoke highly of how the owner made employees feel valued and provided health insurance and staff meals.

Weekend brunch is very popular. Be prepared for a wait if you arrive closer to lunch. It had been years since I’d last visited. We enjoyed our first summer meal on a patio here and everything was lovely.

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Feeling Old AF: College Then & Now

College is frequently on my mind, as we live near a campus. There are actually a lot of colleges in St. Paul – St. Paul College, St. Kate’s, St. Thomas, Macalester, Hamline, Concordia, part of the U of MN campus . . .I know I’m missing more. A trio of college student DJ’s actually moved in next door and there’s a frat house behind us in the alley. We joke that all of the activity keeps us young.

A lot has changed since I was in college in the early 2000’s. Technology advanced and the world feels smaller. Here are some things that I would imagine would make college different today:

  • Smartphones and knowing how to find your friends

Smartphones make it easier to find your friends. Near the end of my college years, our phones could text (companies often charged by the text sent and received). Internet access was so slow and expensive, no one had it.

We hung whiteboards on our doors and wrote where we were headed – e.g. the cafeteria or library. It wasn’t unusual to call people’s actual dorm landlines. A lot of times you would simply wander over to your friend’s room or dorm without any notification.

In college student fashion, we flexed our abilities to articulate thoughts and make sense of the world. We constantly argued and debated. But, not online. In person. This was before Reddit and Facebook. Sometimes we debated issues for hours. If your friend made an outrageous claim, you couldn’t just fact check them on your smart phone. You had to wait until you got to a computer.

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Trying the Beyond Burger

My fake meat bar is set low.

With the exception of mock duck and tofu, my criteria for fake meat products is “Does this taste gross?” No?! Then I guess I like you, I think.

Jake recently got a charcoal grill. We’ve been having a lot of fun grilling on the weekends. He chose an assortment of turkey burgers and brats from Costco. I decided to try grilling Beyond Burgers, a hyped-up vegetarian meat substitute free from soy or gluten and high in protein.

Dietician Abby Langer wrote a recent post about Beyond Meat that caught my eye. She discusses whether or not it’s a “healthy” choice and examines the ingredients, some of which include pea protein, canola oil, coconut oil, rice protein, mung bean protein and methylcellulose (a soluble fiber).

The closest grocery store to us that sells them is Lunds & Byerlys. I knew this product cost more than real meat, but was a little taken a back at the price – inside of the package ($5.99) which I would normally expect to contain a pound of ground beef held two little patties.

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