On The Great Minnesota Get Together

Last year, the husband and I decided to skip Minnesota’s state fair and actually check out Colorado’s. It … was disappointing, to say the least. So, this year, we went back out to Minnesota. Much better.

It was actually a fairly simple trip, as far as fair visits go. Didn’t really try much new (except the apple version of the Minneapple pie), but enjoyed our favorites.

mn_state_fair3
Love the pepper building … even if I’ve never tried their food.

mn_state_fair4
Never ever knew the Fair had a grocery store, but it is a cool little place.

mn_state_fair6
I love cheese curds, but even I don’t think I could eat a family-size bucket of them … *urp*

mn_state_fair7
Scarecrow as part of an exhibit in the Agriculture building.

mn_state_fair9
Agreed.

mn_state_fair13
The fair had these guys around the fairgrounds to take selfies with. We did not.

mn_state_fair14
Because it’s not a fair trip without chickens.

french_meadow_dough-sant2
Mmmm, dough-sant.

fair_corn_dog_smoothie
Tried a smoothie. It was okay. B might be switching up his corn dogs …

mt_cheese_curds2
Not a bucket, but a boat of curds.

fresh_french_fries2
Realized I needed a photo halfway through snarfing these.

fair_fries_shake
Because french fries and chocolate shakes are a fantastic pairing.

minneapple_pie
Our deep-fried pumpkin and apple pies. I loved the pumpkin last time, but having the two together made me like the apple way better.

Advertisements

Dining in Boston: Part Three

Also known as the other stuff we ate. I didn’t remember to take pictures of everything, but I got most things.

Day One, if we recall, started out at the hotel for breakfast (and a stop at Dunkin’ Donuts), with Union Oyster House for lunch. Dinner that night was at my favorite Thai place from college, Brown Sugar Cafe.

brown_sugar_lemon_chicken
Brandon had the lemon chicken.

brown_sugar_thai_fried_rice
I still dream about this fried rice. I cannot find ANYTHING like it here in Denver. I’ve tried recreating it in the kitchen with no success. I adore this dish so much.

Afterward, we went to Angora Cafe for the best frozen yogurt around. Most places have x amount of machines with flavored yogurt. Not Angora. Angora has a plain yogurt that you can mix in whatever flavor you want. I want coffee? They mix it together with ACTUAL coffee. It’s amazing.

angora_frozen_yogurt
Brandon’s Oreo on the left, my coffee on the right. Perfect way to end the first day.

Day Two we mostly talked about in the previous two posts of the series, but we had a bite at Anna’s Taqueria with friends (I ate a chicken quesadilla) and we also split a delicious Oreo cannoli at Mike’s Pastry.

mikes_cannolis3
Oreo is the way to go.

Day Three we tried Sunset Cantina on the BU campus for lunch, but it was a strong disappointment. I remember it being loads better. Maybe our mistake was going there as opposed to Sunset Grill and Tap (same company, about a mile up the road), but it was a lunch of disappointment after a race of disappointment and preceded my alumnae game of disappointment.

Day Four started off with the strong breakfast game, got a bit weaker as we quickly snarfed a mushroom cheesesteak from D’Angelos before we went to Blue Man Group, but the night picked up with delicious dinner from T. Anthony’s.

tanthonys_meatball_sub
Brandon had a meatball sub.

tanthonys_chicken_parm
I had the chicken parm, which is just as amazing as ever and is still (in the humblest of opinions) the best chicken parm on the planet.

Day Six, Marathon day, was a lot of grazing (really not a lot of eating), but we did hit up Spike’s for their amazing poodle fries with cheese. I snarfed most of them before I realized, crap, photo:
spikes_poodle_fries
Oops.

Day Seven saw us split another Oreo cannoli from Mike’s, and we also tried their cheesecake.

mikes_cheesecake
It … wasn’t bad, but I believe I’ve had better. Maybe it was because we’d been carrying it around half the day before we finally dug into it.

As this was also the disappointing lobster roll and dill chowder day, we decided to end Boston on the highest of notes with another stop at Brown Sugar for Thai fried rice, Angora for more froyo, and T. Anthony’s for a slice of the reason I don’t really eat pizza in Denver.

tanthonys_pizza

Boston, you have spoiled me, food-wise, for so many things. Never, ever change.

Root Down DIA

Back in July for my birthday, Brandon surprised me with a quick jaunt to Vegas. I was totally cool with this … if we got to the airport early enough so we could head over to Concourse C and get breakfast at Root Down.

If you recall, we tried their main Denver location back in March (blogged about it in April). So, since I had heard decent things about their breakfast, we decided to take the time and do it.

root_down_dia3
Entrance.

As it should be, the decor/design of the DIA location is very similar to the Denver location in that it’s all been repurposed from something else – most of it with an airport vibe.

root_down_dia
Globes hanging from the ceiling. Totally cool.

A menu doesn’t really exist online for the DIA location, but I took pictures of our food anyway.

root_down_breakfast
Brandon’s meal. Simple scrambled eggs, bacon, croissant and roasted potatoes. Including purple potatoes – so awesome.

root_down_breakfast_sammy
My meal. This was very similar to the breakfast sandwich off their brunch menu, which is:
Fried Egg Sandwich: Croissant, Romesco sauce, Grilled scallions, Iberico Cheese, Avocado and Tomato

Mine didn’t have the scallions and it came with bacon. I also asked for none of the sauce, because according to the waiter’s description, it was spicy, and I don’t do spicy. It was absolutely delicious and TOTALLY better than Brandon’s breakfast. I highly recommend this sandwich.

DIA has breakfast options. There’s Pour La France!, Einstein’s, McDonald’s, Jimmy’s, Caribou, Timberline Grill … and most of them aren’t terrible. But if you’re going to choose to sit down at a place anyway, get to the airport a bit early and head to Root Down. It’s about the same, price-wise, as Timberline Grill or any of the other sit down places, but you know you’ll be getting high quality food that’s insanely delicious.

root_down_dia4
Restaurant logo on the water jug.

Book Review: The Botany of Desire

I first read Michael Pollan this past year when I picked up The Omnivore’s Dilemna. It was a book both Brandon and I had been thinking of reading and then watching “Food, Inc.” just solidified our desire to read it.

The Omnivore’s Dilemna was awesome … and I may read it again just so I can review it here. However, this isn’t going to be about that. It’s going to be about another tome of Pollan’s, The Botany of Desire.

Brandon checked out The Botany of Desire from the library and I stole it from him because it sounded interesting. Take the synopsis from the back of the book:

Every schoolchild learns about the mutually beneficial dance of honeybees and flowers: The bee collects nectar and pollen to make honey and, in the process, spreads the flowers’ genes far and wide. In The Botany of Desire, Michael Pollan ingeniously demonstrates how people and domesticated plants have formed a similarly reciprocal relationship. He masterfully links four fundamental human desires – sweetness, beauty, intoxication and control – with the plants that satisfy them: the apple, the tulip, marijuana, and the potato. In telling the stories of four familiar species, Pollan illustrates how the plants have evolved to satisfy humankind’s most basic yearnings. And just as we’ve benefited from these plants, the plants have also benefited at least as much from their association with us. So who is really domesticating whom?

As with The Omnivore’s Dilemna, I really enjoyed The Botany of Desire. I adore Pollan’s writing style, particularly his knack of turning a phrase.

My two favorites:
“Sweaty, vegetal, and sulfurous, the place might have been a locker room in the Amazon.”
“… equally disreputable tomato.”

The last one mostly because I love tomatoes and thinking of them as disreputable amuses me highly.

If you want to know about corn sex, go read The Omnivore’s Dilemna. However, if you want to learn any of the following, go pick up The Botany of Desire. Now. For it contains:

– the history of the apple
– the TRUE story of Johnny Appleseed (far cry from the Disney cartoon of yore)
– why tulips became so damned popular
– the answer if you ever actually truly wanted to know what a meme was or how it came about
– the effects psychoactive plants may have had on culture/history of religions/etc.
– how forgetfulness may actually be a *good* thing
– more on how now, after I’ve read The Omnivore’s Dilemna and seen “Food, Inc.”, any time I see or hear “Monsanto Corp.”, I want to stab something (like hearing how if he wanted to replant his super-special potato sample, he’d be breaking federal law
– why mashed potatoes are all a body needs to survive
– how potatoes were once vastly inferior to wheat
– and so much more

I’m typically a fiction girl (I blame reading too damn much boring non-fiction in college), but I’m really starting to like non-fiction books as they relate to food … particularly if there’s a bit of history involved (marginal history nerd). The Botany of Desire is one such book.