Sunday Brunch

Sunday Brunch: Moose & Sadie's

Once upon a time, the ladies formerly of Book Club (where we never actually read the book, we just drank wine and talked about boys, BASIC) decided to go to sunrise yoga at Lake Harriet on a Saturday morning. It happened to epically thunderstorm that morning, so we naturally couldn't go to sunrise yoga and hot-routed to the next best option: BRUNCH, DUH. 

Anna and Caroline had church in the North Loop, so Hannah and I met them and we checked out Moose & Sadie's, a spot that's been on my list for actual years. 

Location/Ambiance: 

Popped in the North Loop right next to Martin Patrick 3, Moose & Sadie's has all the charm and trendiness one would expect from the neighborhood. Exposed brick, giant windows and pretty outdoor seating set the vibe for a great casual girls' brunch. 

Score: 7/10

Beverage: 

Ginger mint limeade. I repeat, ginger. mint. limeade. Excuse me while I wipe the drool off my chin at the mere memory. It was so fresh and SO refreshing. Very different, very flavorful, very intense...Anna and Hannah ended up cutting it with a little water, but I, being a champ, chugged it. 

Score: 10/10

Food: 

Enjoy that close-up of the banana chocolate chip muffin that I shamelessly housed. (Hannah and I split one, to be fair.) It was dense and rich in ways I didn't know a muffin could be those things...I feel like I'm not even making sense in describing it because it was just that good. 

I ate about 3/4 of this giant omelet with caramelized swiss chard, goat cheese and pancetta before I had to call it quits. I get really weird about omelets...sometimes they're disappointingly sparse on the filling, which is the whole point of an omelet anyway...the egg is legit just there to wrap it all up. This omelet totally satisfied in that regard, and left me a very happy camper as a result. Totally recommend the feature omelet, for those picky people with really high brunch standards like me. 

Score: 9/10

Check out Moose & Sadie's for yourself here...it's a great spot to start a day of North Loop exploring! All the rest of the brunch dish here, as usual, obviously. Happy dining!

Sunday Brunch: The Bachelor Farmer Café and Amsterdam Bar

Did you think brunch and I had broken up? I wouldn't blame you...I haven't chronicled a date with my favorite mid-day meal for almost three months at this point! Although I'm making a point to try to eat at home more often, I've still explored plenty of the Twin Cities' best brunch destinations, and am simply shamefully behind in actually ranking them and adding them to my list

Case in point: when Laura came to town and we went to Crashed Ice and the symphony way way back when Minnesota was covered in snow, we brunched TWICE and I have totally failed to even mention it, almost six months later. FAILSAUCE. What better excuse to eat out than a foodie, coffee-loving friend visiting?! 

On Friday of her visit, we had a lazy morning of catching up at the Chateau de Liz and headed to the (then) brand-new Bachelor Farmer Café! 

Location/Ambiance:

Don't go in these doors. 

No, seriously, don't. These are the doors to the real Bachelor Farmer, and I only took photos because I just love that brick and those awnings and that door. Generally aesthetically perfect. 

Instead, go around the corner and go in HERE! 

Just as playful and bright and airy as the regular restaurant, with bright tile, ample seating and high ceilings. I fell for it right away...it's definitely one of the more Instagrammable brunch places I've eaten at lately, if that's your thing. (It's kiiiiind of mine. Oops.)

Score: 9/10

Beverage: 

As mentioned, Laura is a HUGE coffee addict/snob, so we were delighted when these beauties came off the coffee bar to us! 

Hi, be prettier, lattés. They were delectable, and we spent way too much time oohing and ahhing over how lovely they were while waiting for them to cool down from tongue-scalding to just-right piping hot. See below for the face of a coffee-lover in bliss. 

Score: 10/10

Food: 

The café had just rolled out their "closed" sandwiches, as opposed to "open-faced" which, to my understanding, are just toasts. We tried two...a goat cheese-and-roast beef with perfectly spicy horseradish and mustard, and a pickled-coleslaw and cider-braised pork shoulder. Both were incredible. Had I written this up closer to when we actually dined, I might remember what that tempting cookie was, but I've forgotten everything except that it was really good. 

Based on skimming Yelp reviews, it sounds like the full sandwiches, coffee, and pastries are the way to go, and the toasts are underwhelming. I would have to say I thought everything we ordered was lovely, and would urge any future visitors to follow our lead in ordering. Note that the menu IS seasonal, and what we ate in February is almost for-sure not an option in July. 

Score: 9/10

The score for a precious Lizzie-Laura selfie, below? 10/10 of course, who wouldn't give us a perfect ranking? 

On Sunday, we headed over to St. Paul in an icy sleet storm for a totally different experience! Amsterdam Bar is the polar opposite of the Bachelor Farmer Café. It is not Instagrammable or light or airy. It IS, however, host to Sunday Brunch Trivia, and we could NOT pass that opportunity up. 

Location/Ambiance: 

Pro: It's near my office, I guess. Not that I'm ever in the office on a Sunday morning...this ain't EY, campers. 

Con: pretty much everything. This is not the place to go if you want a stereotypically Millennial, pretty brunch experience. It's quite apparently a bar and music venue that also happens to serve brunch on Sundays. 

Score: 2/10 (it was clean and perfectly presentable!!) 

Beverage: 

While we both had mimosas, the real write-home-to-Mama drink was the perfect French press coffee. Laura was pleased. I was pleased. We had a second press's worth. Entirely lovely. 

Score: 8/10

Food: 

We started with a Dutch baby, which was practically perfect in every way. For those unfamiliar, a Dutch baby is a hybrid of a pancake and a really puffy crepe that one consumes topped with powdered sugar and lemon juice. We were impressed...it was REALLY good and the perfect little munchie to get us through the first rounds of trivia. 

Amsterdam Bar is known for their breakfast hashes, a concoction of potatoes and a ton of toppings all blanketed with a fried egg and served with a ton of side sauces and toast for sopping it all up. I had the "Himalayan Cream," which featured goat cheese, sausage and onion, and Laura went with the vegetarian "Lebanese Red," which was spicy and looked amazing. We both practically mopped the paper-boat containers clean. The food, despite the weird ambiance, was AMAZING. 

Score: 10/10 - don't judge this book by its cover. 

Trivia was a hilarious fail, in which we got our butts totally kicked. While I knew all the state capitols and we dominated that round, certain other answers got us legitimately laughed at - Desert Fox, for example, and not actually knowing where the Golden State Warriors played. A lot of our answers ended up being total shots in the dark that ended up being unintentionally hilarious. And that in and of itself made that brunch a total, unmitigated win. 

To visit the Bachelor Farmer Café, head here, for Amsterdam Bar, here, and for a plethora of other brunch places and/or to organize and plan our next outing, head here, naturally - who's up for bottomless mimosas asap?! 

Sunday Brunch: 4 Bells

My parents and I celebrated Mother’s Day yesterday with my favorite thing ever…brunch! Especially necessary after hardcore Derby debauchery on Saturday, our trip to 4 Bells in Loring Park officially added a new destination to my list every time someone I love comes to visit.

4 Bells is the sister restaurant of my beloved Butcher and the Boar, and the similarities between the two spots became apparent the moment our server mentioned that fact. With a focus on Southern/Lowcountry seafood, however, 4 Bells takes quality dining in a totally different direction than B&TB. Without further ado:

Location/Ambiance:

Tucked away off Loring Park in the old Joe’s Garage space, 4 Bells captured my heart immediately with their sunny yellow patio chairs:

And further cemented its place there with a sexy, Edison-bulb-laden bar, high ceilings, cushy booths and sleek, stripped-down décor.

Their roof is apparently amazing as well, and I can’t wait to go back with friends and sip cocktails overlooking the park as soon as possible.

Score: 10/10

Beverage:

Like I mentioned, I Derby’d way too hard on Saturday…and found myself unable to handle alcohol at all on Sunday…not even Café Lurcat’s delicious pink champagne, which I valiantly tried to conquer before Mass with Jodes and Dick. Given that embarrassing fact, I stuck to bottomless coffee, served with real sugar cubes and a tiny pot de crème, and left the boozing to the experts.

Dad went with a Bloody, which was served in a Mason jar and left my basic-girl self all happy and pleased with the presentation, and Jodester toasted Mother’s Day with a Bellini Crush, a lemon-and-peach concoction that looked like the most heavenly adult slushie. I’ve never regretted too many mint juleps more.

Score: 8/10 (based on parental feedback)

Food:

Well, we were a bit embarrassed when, after ordering, our spread ended up looking like this:

Actually, no shame. It was 100% so worth it. Jodester and I both went with the chicken and waffles, which were served with two kinds of syrup and a generous smear of honey lavender butter. HONEY LAVENDER BUTTER. Excuse me while I go wipe the drool off my chin. No exaggeration: if I could, I would smear the honey lavender butter all over everything I ever eat again in my entire life. The chicken itself was just the right amount of crispy and salty, and the waffle was an herb-laden, light and fluffy dream. I could practically feel each bite soaking up the residual bourbon residue coating my insides.

image3.JPG

Sides of note were a serving of deliciously sweet-and-spicy Butcher and the Boar sausage served with pickled onions…

..green chili-potato “hash” that wasn’t actually hashed but was delicious anyway…

…and feather-light, melt-in-your-mouth biscuits with a side of fruit compote and MORE HONEY LAVENDER BUTTER. We cleaned our plates with embarrassing speed and unabashed delight in the process.

Score: 10/10

A further note: our server, Erin, was an absolute delight. It’s always a joy when we dine somewhere and the server makes honest and candid recommendations, plays along with my dad’s somewhat ridiculous sense of humor, and takes the time to really go above and beyond. Erin and the 4 Bells team did that, and it was a pleasure to dine there, even in the midst of an utterly punishing hangover.

To check out 4 Bells for yourself, head here, but only if you’re going to call me and invite me along. I promise I won’t eat all the honey lavender butter myself! Otherwise, let’s check another spot off the list together. Happy patio brunch season, campers! 

Sunday Brunch: Hola Arepa

I’m not going to lie, I’ve majorly slowed down on the brunch front these past few months. Part of my recent decline in activity was driven by my month off from eating out in January, and I’ve continued to try to stay in, eat healthily and not spend so damn much on mimosas and eggs Benedict. (My back-to-back Fridays at Spoon and Stable and Marvel Bar, on the other hand…yikes.)

That said…I can think of few better winter brunch destinations than Hola Arepa. At one point, I think I actually closed my eyes and imagined I was back in Mexico…it was the perfect escapist hour and a half. I met Hannah and her lovely mom there and we had so much fun…it was great to see Hannah, not to mention how delighted I was to get to see so much of what makes Hannah who she is in her mother. Isn’t it funny how we all grew up afraid we’d turn into our moms, and now it seems like the best thing ever?

Location/Ambiance

Like I said, Hola Arepa feels like a little slice of perennial summer. It starts with the bright, poppy turquoise of the exterior and sign, and carries through the inside…the lengthy bar, splashes of color and light, and plethora of green growing things just made me feel like I was hiding out at some very sophisticated beach shack in the Caribbean.

I have to throw in a plug for the patio…I’ve spent MANY a summer afternoon wasting way too many hours out there taste-testing tequila drinks and snacking on small plates. Hannah and I had a five-hour happy hour once (or twice)…and I met up with ND band friends there one evening when I was living in Lakeville and ended up staying out til almost midnight. On a work night. Go me. Go Hola.

Score: 10/10 (for the patio’s sake!)

Beverage:

While I’ve worked my way through Hola’s beverage offerings more comprehensively than I care to admit, I always come back to their creative and innovative daily sangria offerings. I’ve had cucumber-jalapeno white sangria, raspberry-pomegranate, even hibiscus-lime…and they’re always outstanding (if sometimes a little weird). The day we went, they were pouring a blood-orange cranberry sangria that, no lie, made me so insanely happy I debated offering the bartender a non-essential organ for the recipe. Cranberry has been one of my favorite flavors since the college dining hall days, when I’d get cranberry juice and add a splash of Sprite as a dinnertime treat like…daily, and “blood orange” is a buzzword that instantly settles me on whatever dish includes it these days. The combo of the two PLUS red wine and a little spice made me fall in love hard and fast.

Score: 10/10 (also don’t miss their bottled offerings, I love the “Que Pasa Martinez?”.)

Food:

I’m a sucker for an eggs Benedict any day, but I kind of burned out on them because, realistically, how much can you change up an English muffin, ham, egg, and hollandaise? Hola proved me wrong in a big way, swapping the muffin for arepas (a griddled cornmeal cake), changing out the ham for chorizo, spicing up the Hollandaise and adding a sweet-and-tangy guava sauce to the whole thing. They top it off with chicharron, a crackly bacon-type deal, and serve it with a side salad. Um, hi. I could have licked my plate clean with very little shame.

Score: 10/10

To check out Hola Arepa for yourself, head to www.holaarepa.com. Then call me and let me know you’re going so I can arrange a designated driver and work my way through the cocktails with you, mmk?

More brunches here, duh. 

Sunday Brunch: Ike's

One of Erin's only requests for her time in Minny last weekend was to do brunch, and I, obviously, freaked the eff out with excitement. Erin's read this blog for longer than most people other than my mom, I think, and I was so thrilled to officially loop her into the Brunch Tour! 

We went with a true Minneapolis classic, Ike's downtown...

Location/Ambiance: 

Ike's is located on 6th Street, right in the heart of downtown, and has long been a Schwegfam favorite for its cute, retro bar vibe and adorable signage. Fun fact: my grandparents used to come here for date nights! We still have photos floating around the house somewhere of them all dolled up and out on the town. It just has that vibe to it, I think...

...a place where you want to go out with people you enjoy and just socialize and people-watch and read the quotes on the walls and have a generally delightful evening. 

Score: 9/10

Beverage: 

You mix your own mimosa with a split of champagne and a tiny carafe of orange juice. Excuse me while my inner control freak runs a victory lap. This is the best idea ever. 

Score: 10/10

Food: 

Absolutely obscene in volume and quality. For starters, about five seconds after we sat down THIS monster was brought to our table: 

That, friends, is about a quarter-pan's worth of giant, hot, syrupy caramel roll with melting whipped butter all over it. Please note there are multiple forks stabbed in the top, as if to encourage you to just throw all decorum to the wind and essentially faceplant into that thing. I honestly could have had this as a meal and still had leftovers. 

Ike's brunch format, though, guarantees leftovers no matter what. You pick your eggs (breakfast quesadilla, Benedict or omelet, or prepared any which way), and then your table gets this giant, bottomless platter of pancakes and hash browns and sausage and bacon. IT'S BOTTOMLESS. It gets refilled. This would be the perfect place to bring like...a team of hungry high school athletes or that guy from Man Vs Food or something. Erin and I were out of our depth in a big way. 

I did the breakfast quesadilla and it was FANTASTIC. My hangover go-to meal is cheesy eggs with salsa, and this was like that, plus a tortilla, minus a hangover. So great. 

Full table shot! Corner of the caramel roll, our GIANT PLATTER OF SIDES, Erin's scrambled eggs and toast, and of course champagne, because what brunch is complete without it?! We barely dented this spread. I had leftovers for days, folks. 

Score: 10/10, for sheer volume. Also, for deliciousness. 

To check out Ike's for yourself, first assemble a team of at least five others, preferably who have been wandering in the woods without food for like a week and are optimally hungry. Then go to http://ilikeikes.com/. If, on the other hand, you don't have an army of ravenous friends, find somewhere else to brunch right here. Happy dining!