MaltTees

A few weeks ago, I posted about my affinity for online deals. This may be becoming more of a problem as my enthusiasm for such deals begins to border on fanatical.

But, I did hear that the people who get the most pleasure out of spending their money are those who spend money on experiences rather than things. According to that logic, my Groupon fanaticism will make me a happier person in the end. Fine by me. 🙂

The latest deal I purchased was for a place in Richfield called MaltTees Mini Golf and Malt Shop. This deal was clearly not to be passed up given that drinking milkshakes and playing mini golf are two of Noah’s and my favorite pastimes. The deal was almost too good to be true! For $20, you get two rounds of mini golf, a surrey rental, $5 credit towards the malt shop, and two pumpkins. Whaaaaaat a deal, right?!

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MaltTees is located within Victory Memorial Park, and we enjoyed a thirty minute bike ride to get there. After arriving, it was straight to the mini golf course:

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Since we were keeping score, things got pretty serious:

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Noah took home the win this time due to some mental lapses on my part….to be avenged another day!

By the end of the round, we were ready for a snack. Due in part, I’m sure, to some not-so-subtle product placement within the course:

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The malt shop offered a basic menu of concessions-style food as well as several malt/shake varieties:

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Although tempted by the pumpkin flavored malt…

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…we settled on oreo and m&m:

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After the shakes, it was on to the pumpkin patch:

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As you can tell from the bouncy houses in the background, we were a bit older than the average consumer of this deal. #kid.at.heart

Although we were entitled to two pumpkins with our deal, we realized that we only had my bike bag to transport things home in, so we were limited to one small-ish pumpkin. We found the best one in the whole patch:

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and then nestled it cutely into the bike bag:

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All in all, this was a great activity and we had a lot of fun. If anything, we would have liked more time to walk around the park, but we had to get home for other things.

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It’s a Deal

As evidenced by my past enthusiasm for Groupons and free stuff, I am a sucker for a good deal. Is it necessary to receive multiple emails daily from Living Social and Groupon? No. Is it necessary to treasure my Costco membership as though it were the last water bottle on a deserted island? No. But I do, because I love getting a deal. Costco, here I come!

But in all seriousness, I do not feel guilty about the $$$ I spend through Living Social and Groupon. One might think I am encouraged to spend more money by receiving these tempting deals direct to my inbox multiple times each day, but it is my firm belief that they both save me money and provide me with experiences I might not otherwise pursue.

For example, I am going to take my super cute bf on a date once in a while, AND I love finding fun new places for us to try/explore. Online deals make it easier to do the former on a budget and the latter without putting in a ton of time researching. I don’t just buy any deal that comes my way, but when I see something that looks good or I’ve been wanting to do, you can bet I scoop it up right away!

Over the summer, these are my deal highlights:

1. Eat Street Social

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Noah and I had wanted to try this place after reading about their specialty cocktails on a number of occasions. As fate would have it, Living Social was offering a deal for a three-course meal for two plus a bottle of wine for the low price of $30. I’ll take it! We chose a chardonnay for the wine…

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…and the meal included a caprese salad:

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mushroom risotto (this was my favorite course!):

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and steak with mashed potatoes and asparagus:

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Unfortunately, dessert was not one of the three courses provided (a clever trick indeed), so we ordered our own – an ‘oreo’ sandwich and chocolate torte:

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2. Barre Bliss

I first tried barre classes last spring as part of a different deal (I don’t think I blogged about it unfortunately) and was immediately intrigued. Barre is a group fitness class that is fast and furiously gaining popularity. The workout has its foundation in yoga and dance conditioning. It targets muscles through isometric movements common in ballet. The classes are called ‘barre’ because they are done with a mat at a ballet barre.

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I don’t think these classes are high-impact enough to be a sole form of exercise (you will work hard and sweat a little, but it doesn’t give that post-run/spin class feeling). I will admit, though, that they really work your muscles. I might not be covered in sweat head to toe and heaving for breath after barre, but my legs start doing that crazy shake thing when you can just.barely.hold.on.

Anyway, Groupon was offering a deal for 10 barre classes at a place called Barre Bliss a mere 6 blocks from my house. Full price classes can be anywhere from $12-20 for a drop in, and this deal was 10 classes for $49. What a steal!

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3. Minneapolis Bike Tour

Noah and I were already interested in participating in this Minneapolis bike event before a Living Social deal came out offering registration at two for the price of one. Perfect!

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The Minneapolis Bike Tour is a recreational ride for people of all ages around the Grand Rounds. There is the option for a 14-mile ride or a 36-mile ride, and proceeds were used for bike safety, education events, and trail improvement.

Riders needed to start the bike tour between 7:30-8am, so we got there bright and early! The start was on Kenwood Parkway, very near the sculpture garden, and there were A TON of people!

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We milled around the various vendors to kill time before the start. There were free bananas, so we couldn’t complain:
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Once the riders got going we spaced out almost immediately. About 5 miles in was the first rest stop, located on the shores of the scenic Lake Harriet:

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I don’t know how many participants there were, but people kept pouring in our whole time at the rest stop – and we were there for a good amount of time considering how many snacks we had to choose from:

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Due to time constraints, we were only able to do the 14-mile ride this year, but it was a great route and I would love to do the longer route in the future! Plus, they gave us cool bike lights:

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As you can see, these daily-deal purchases have done little to deplete my savings and allowed me a number of fun activities throughout the summer. Moral of the story is, get your groupon on.*

*disclaimer: this advice only applies to people with a healthy level of self-restraint and no history of shopping addictions. 

Bowling at Memory Lanes

Groupon has been running an amazing deal for 2 hours of bowling at Memory Lanes (pizza and two pitchers of soda included!) for only $30. A friend of mine bought this Groupon a week or so ago, and a group of 4 of us used it this weekend. Memory Lanes is in the Seward neighborhood, and the exterior has a very retro feel:

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Inside, the bowling alley is huge- there are 30 lanes! The retro feel ends as soon as you walk inside and are greeted by black lights and music:

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#1 essential for bowling alleys: BRING YOUR SOCKS!

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Things were off to a great start, but there was a slight hiccup when we found a bone next to the table at our lane:

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This was hilarious disgusting. We debated telling the server about it, but we thought it would be too uncomfortable to say, “um, excuse me…there’s a bone under our table. Do you think you could get rid of it?”

Fortunately, it didn’t deter our enjoyment for too long since our pitchers of diet pepsi and iced tea soon arrived:

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A pizza was also included with our deal, and we had our choice of three toppings on the pizza. We went with green peppers, onions, and tomatoes:

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Two hours of bowling is a lot of bowling. We bowled 5 games – the last one with our left hands since our wrists hurt too much!

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Overall, Memory Lanes was a great time. The music and atmosphere was really fun, and it seemed like they have a lot of interesting events going on throughout the week (rock and roll bingo, live music, and Sunday night trivia – to name a few). I would definitely return here for another bowling excursion…or maybe even Rock and Roll Bingo!

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Wuollet Bakery

Wuollet is a local bakery chain with six locations around the Twin Cities area. I’ve been there a couple times in the past and primarily remembered their chocolate dipped macaroons. My most recent visit to the shop was spurred by the fact that a friend bought a Groupon deal for the store. Even though I didn’t get anything, I can give a general report of the selection.

The bakery has all the essentials: cookies, donuts, cupcakes, and breads. There’s also a limited menu of tortes and pies. Here is the cookie case:

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If I had been in the business to buy a treat, I would have preferred something with a more unique selection (I generally prefer an exotic cookie combo over a simple choco chip!). But, if snickerdoodles or other standards are your thing, then you would probably do just fine. The real show-offs of the display case were the cupcakes, coming in flavors like red velvet, lemon drop, and caramel salted almond. My friend ordered a pink lady cupcake:

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It looked adorable and tasted – I was assured – delicious. If you are a cupcake or traditional cookie lover, I would say to go here. For myself, I think I’ll stick with the desserts at Cafe Latte.