b*daily :: life lately looks a little like this…

the cottage is decked with cheer

wrapping up eight projects this month. feverishly creating.

gingerbread latte at my favorite coffee shop. perfection.

dashing through st. paul in a two-reindeer open sleigh.

friends who are more like family filling the cottage with warmth.

under the mistletoe. love.him.so!

candles lit. feet up by the fire. a beautiful rarity.

tradition! holidazzle parade and a stop at macy’s candy counter.

keeping it real. time to fold clothes. ahem.

holiday parties are not complete without a cheese spread.

b*local :: loring kitchen & bar AND masu sushi

Surprise! I’m back with more great local eats. This time we’re heading to Minneapolis. First up, we’ll hit the west side of downtown, specially, Loring Kitchen & Bar.

Located on Loring Park, this place easily combines the vibe of a neighborhood eatery with one of a slick, urban destination. It’s both polished and inviting. It’s the place city dwellers gather for Sunday brunch or a late night drink with friends and neighbors. They are open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and have a full bar. Every single thing I’ve tried is delicious. Their cuisine is contemporary American, with a few surprises thrown in. I love the pizzas and desserts (pictured above is nutella gelato and a house-made cheesecake), had the walleye in the summer (fantastic!), and have heard rave reviews of their mini burgers. Every time I go, I get the sweet potato fries. They literally melt in your mouth. Perfectly crisp on the outside and soft on the inside, they are worth a visit all on their own.

LORING KITCHEN & BAR :: 1359 Willow Street, Minneapolis

When it comes to food, sushi is one of those things I enjoy with great naivety. I know very little about it, but I find it entirely intriguing. My rule of “I’ll try anything once” comes in very handy when reaching for an eel roll, or some such thing. Last week, I headed to Masu Sushi and Robata for some adventurous eating with a few friends. We crammed six into a booth for four, and proceeded to down sake, beef udon, tonkatsu curry ramen, and four sushi rolls, including a dynamite, BLT, California and firecracker roll. The atmosphere of the places is energetic and fun. It’s Northeast location attracts a young crowd, and it’s open sushi kitchen makes for great chef-watching. Ask your server for recommendations if you are a clueless sushi-eater (like me). Our dude was super helpful, and definitely pointed us in the direction of some tasty selections!

MASU SUSHI AND ROBATA :: 330 East Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis

Happy Friday!! Go. Eat. Well!

b*local :: broder’s & paper hat

Broder’s Pasta Bar. It is one of my favorite places in the city. It’s intimate, rustic, good Italian food. Their house-made pastas are truly some of the best around. Their sauces are exquisite. Their food is prepared with quality ingredients and great care. I’ve been going there for years, which is saying something because I love trying NEW places. It takes something special to bring me back over and over again. Broder’s has that something.

I recently visited for a food tasting. The “Fresh Off the Boot” tasting featured meats, cheeses, antipastos, wines, oils, vinegars, sweets, and more, all straight from Italy. On a normal visit, however, I head to the Pasta Bar for something like the tagliarini di Locanda del Lupo, which is a housemade pasta with prosciutto di Parma, truffle pesto and cream. Yes, it’s quite nice. Beyond, really.

If you are in the mood for something more casual, however, you can head over to Broder’s Cucina Italiana. This deli-style eatery is also owned by the Broder’s family, and is just across the street. The Cucina features grab-and-go salads, sandwiches, meats, cheeses and pizzas. Their store is also jam-packed with all the awesome stuff I wrote about on Tuesday.

Yes, if you like Italian food, you must go to Broder’s.

BRODER’S PASTA BAR & CUCINA ITALIANA:: 5000 Penn Ave, Minneapolis | Final notes: go to the Pasta Bar on date night, and the Cucina with the family • stock up on Italian provisions at the store • eat on the patio on a summer’s night • buy a bottle… their  wine list is impressive! • save room for dessert

If you happen to visit Broder’s during normal business hours, I’d encourage a stop into Paper Hat Co. just next door. This brand new shop is something like a brick and mortar Etsy. It features made by hand goods that are original, fun, and totally fresh.

b*chic :: for the feet

I know I’ve mentioned it before. But in case you are new, I’ll admit it again. I love shoes. So much, in fact, that my mom calls me Imelda Marcos. With winter now here to stay, and Christmas just around the corner, I’ve been thinking about cozy boots and smashing heels. Sparkly flats and pumps for parties, fur-lined boots for sledding and tall, leather (or herringbone!) boots for concerts and church and festivities of all kinds. Delicious, and so merry!

Sorel 1964 Leather Boots from J.Crew ($130)  |  Jane Tall Cuff from Frye ($388)  |  Herringbone Boots from Anthropologie ($258)  |  Quail Boots by Naya ($265)

Sterling Kitten Heels from Anthropologie ($148)  |  Kamea Peep-Toe Pump from Banana Republic ($59)  |  Satin Bow Peeptoe Heel from White House Black Market ($98)  |  On-Your-Toes Flats from Anthropologie ($138)

b*loves :: gift guide – to eat

On Saturday I went to a food tasting at small, locally-owned Italian Restaurant. I’ll mention the place in my b*local post later this week. For now, however, let me just say that it was a wonderful experience, and from it I gleaned more than just a tasty lunch. Based on the food from the tasting, I’ve put together a gift guide. These are the provisions that I (ahem) LOVED. Out of the tables of tasty trifles, these are my faves. So, if you need to pick up a gift for a host or hostess, why not grab something from this list? Each item is totally unique and surprising and flavorful and delicious and…well, you get the idea.

If you are local, go to Broder’s Cucina in Southwest Minneapolis to purchase these items. Otherwise, check out their online store for these and many other awesome Italian eats.

1…Casa Forcello Raspberry Rose Petal  |  2…Casa Forcello Pear “Mustard”  |  3…Casa Forcello Cherry Balsamic  |  4…Dolcetto di Dogliani “Papa Celso” 2007  |  5…La Medina Pomordoraccio Semi-Dried Tomatoes

1…Olli Berkshire Proscuitto  |  2…Stickney Hill Cheese (any variety!)  |  3…Miragallo Sun-dried Zucchini  |  4…Olli Salami – Nappoli  |  5…Fig Salami  |  6…Miragallo Onions

Happy (and tasty!) gift-giving!

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