Saturday, June 18, 2011

A Mini Apple Weekend

Before we left for Europe last month (posts to come sometime this year) we spent a quick weekend in Minneapolis. Sadly it was for the burial service of Dayne's aunt Sue who passed away last winter. But looking on the up side it was a chance for me to see parts of Minnesota where Dayne's family have lived and get a chance to meet his cousin's aunts and uncles.

We stayed in downtown Minneapolis at the newly opened Kimpton Grand Hotel. This is a fabulous hotel right in the center of things. And on top of the rooms being so awesome The Six15Room is arguably one of the best bars in town. I don't even have a picture of it as I was always holding a cocktail while in it but take my word and stop in if you are ever there.

Our first night in town we checked out another of the city's best bars (I think there are only 3) called Bradstreet Crafthouse. The decor is a bit Moroccan and the cocktails were fantastic. The bar (again in a hotel) started us off with a small amuse drink while we perused the large menu, I'm a sucker for that!
seemed in focus when I took it ;)

Dinner that night was at Haute Dish, how could I resist the name? The restaurant serves takes on... you guessed it! Both my Tater Tot Haute Dish and Dayne's Lamb X 5 were excellent. It's casual and upbeat, housed it what seems to be an old tavern.
We had a 2 hour drive out to Kettle River the next morning for Sue's service. Let me just go on record saying that there is very little to see between Minneapolis and Kettle River. I didn't take a picture but the cemetery is a tiny little square of land right on the edge of town. Sue's family still lives in the area and there was a very nice family lunch at her sister's house after. Lots of stories of small towns and families. Very nice.

After the 4 hour round trip drive we were happy to get back to the Kimpton and enjoy a Mint Julep while watching the Kentucky Derby.

Dinner that night was at the much lauded Restaurant Alma. One note, we were offered and took the Kimpton town car service to dinner which ran us $20. A cab back was $10. I don't really mind that except the town car guy told us it would be the same price, boo! Anywho the dinner was good but maybe not all together memorable.

The next day we drove to St. Louis and saw the King Tut exhibit at the Science Museum (thru Aug). I had never seen it and I thought it was awesome! Unfortunately no photos were allowed so I don't have anything to show you, but if you haven't seen it and you come across it somewhere go! It's worth the (expensive) ticket price.
Photo by fmerenda via Flickr

Monday, June 6, 2011

Vancouver Weekend Getaway

Since Dayne wasn't able to attend "Mini Tales" with me in March and I still had a fantastic Living Social deal for the Pan Pacific we headed north Easter weekend just to do a little eating and drinking.

We checked in to the Club Lounge and they upgraded us to a Harbor View room which was very nice. The weather was looking awesome for the entire weekend and the views of the mountains, sea and city were gorgeous!

First stop for the weekend was L'Abattoir where we met friends for a few cocktails before having an outstanding dinner. I ate here on my last trip also and just loved it! A definite favorite in Gas Town. L'Abattoir does a couple of barrel aged cocktails which I was excited for Dayne to try but unfortunately none of them were ready when we were there. Next time!

Cocktails continued at Calabash Bistro where the drink menu boasts some seriously delicious rums from Puerto Rico, Trinidad, Cuba, etc.  I had the Cohiba Rakston which was the clear winner of the evening! Havana Club 7 year old, coco nib infused Appleton VX, Late bottled vintage port, agave syrup and bitters, stirred and strained into a chilled glass coated with Cuban cigar and vanilla pod tincture. Thanks to Shawn at Clive's for the tip on this spot!
Making our way back to the Pan Pacific we noticed PourHouse was still open and for the first time since our initial visit 3 years ago it wasn't packed. We stopped in for a very nice nightcap and enjoyed the near empty bar.

The next morning, as we were heading out of the elevator, we ran (almost literally) into Rod Stewart! I never recognize stars but there was no mistaking the aging crooner. Star sighting! :)

We spent our day poking around the Vancouver Flea Market, checking out Vancouver photographer Brian Howell's "Shopping Cart" exhibition at the Windsor Gallery, eating poutine at Fritz and drinking beers at Granville Island Brewery and then walking it all off with a stroll around the sea wall at Stanley Park. It was just perfect weather to be out and about (Canadian accent please).

We started our evening with dinner and drinks back in Gas Town at Boneta. Another cute little place doing both cocktails and food excellently. We really enjoyed it here but both of us thought we liked L'Abattoir a bit better overall.

A quick taxi afterward to China Town and we bellied up to the bar at The Keefer. Quirky, dark and a tad mysterious the drinks were delicious here as well. We both loved the apothecary ambiance, grim x-rays, test tube lights, house made tinctures and infusions. This may be my favorite bar in Vancouver right now.

No weekend in Vancouver would be complete without soup dumplings at Lin Chinese on Broadway (for me at least!). We met our friends there the next morning for a delicious brunch of green onion pancakes, Beijing meat pastries, soup dumplings & honey prawns.

Love Vancouver!

All photos here