Out to Breakfast

A meal out for lunch or dinner with friends or a hot date (read: my fabulous and fun bf) is not so unique for me. Obviously, as evidenced by my extensive list of restaurants visited around the Twin Cities area. A breakfast out though…now that’s something special!

Over the last couple months I’ve gone out to breakfast not once, but twice! IT’S A RECORD!

My first breakfast out was at the Uptown Diner

Uptown Diner is – you guessed it – a staple of Uptown. It serves breakfast and lunch Monday-Wednesday and then stays open all night long Thursday-Sunday. Read: it gets the brunch crowd and the bar-close crowd. Because who doesn’t want a juicy burger and fries and a malt after bar-close? Really though, I wouldn’t know.

I do know, however, know that their hash browns are bomb.

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As is the veggie omelette with fruit:

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And the french toast with fruit and nuts that my friend got looked superb:

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If you want large portions and hearty food, this is a good bet for any meal of the day.

The second breakfast out I enjoyed was at Hazel’s Northeast

Another restaurant with a neighborhood association, Hazel’s is an icon of the Northeast neighborhood, and weekend waits can climb to close to two hours. Luckily we went on a weekday and avoided a rush (but the restaurant was still almost full!).

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We were seated near the open kitchen and were immediately overwhelmed by the multitude of good-looking options presented by the menu:

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The choice was made for hot cocoa, pico omelette, and drunken banana french toast (warm bananas, rum soaked raisins, caramel, and toasted pecans).

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Everything was great!

Both of these locations are top-notch breakfast eateries, and the lines out the door prove it. If you go on a weekend, go early or expect to wait.

Brasa

Brasa is a family-style rotisserie restaurant in Northeast Minneapolis. They describe themselves as serving ‘comfort food inspired by the creole cooking traditions of the americas and caribbean.’

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Sounds good to me!

In addition to 112, this is a restaurant I had wanted to try for a while. I had been holding out since the restaurant is family style, and I thought it would be best to go with a larger group, making it a perfect place to go with my family after coming home from the boundary waters. Brasa doesn’t take reservations, so there was a bit of a wait when we got there:

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We were seated before too long and then began the challenging task of deciding what to order. There are basically two sections to Brasa’s menu: meats and sides. You order both meats and sides as either a small, medium, or large portion. The menu gives suggestions for how many people each size will serve to help, and they suggest that a meal for one person be one serving of meat and two side servings.

For meat, we settled on rotisserie chicken and smoked beef:

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We went a little crazy with sides (they all looked so good!) and ended up ordering several. We got yellow rice, black beans, fried plantains, crispy yuca (my favorite!), and cole slaw:

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Everything was delicious! Between the five of us, we finished off all the sides and had just a little meat leftover:

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Brasa was great and will also be added to my list of favorite restaurants. I do think it’s best to go with a large group though – it would be way too hard to order only a couple of things. 🙂

Surdyk’s

Surdyk’s in Northeast Minneapolis is undeniably a specialty-shop gem. The highlights are wine and cheese, but the deli, chocolates, spreads, and other odds & ends are definitely worth nothing.

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Having heard about Surdyk’s in various Twin Cities publications since moving here, when I passed by the shop I couldn’t resist going inside. Although I didn’t purchase anything, the inside view was enough to tell me this place is GREAT. And I wanted to purchase everything. Yes, everything.

First up: chocolate (naturally).

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An entire display was devoted to pretty much every variety, flavor, and cocoa concentration you could imagine. This was all high quality melt-in-your-mouth stuff: the real deal. No Hershey’s to be found. 🙂

After tearing my attention away from the chocolate, I checked out the dessert case:

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Cakes, bars, tortes…enough said.

Moving on to the deli case, there were several types of sandwiches (a turkey panini looked especially delicious!), cold salads, and a selection of soups:

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Last but not least, the cheese. Oh, the cheese.

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More cheeses than I knew existed (there’s cheddar and swiss, right?). Surdyk’s is serious about their cheese. Not only do they have literally hundreds of cheese options, they can ship anywhere in the world and there is always a cheese consultant at the counter to help you. Yes, cheese consultant is a job.

Next time I’m having a picnic, I’m stocking up here. 🙂

Art-a-Whirl

Art-a-Whirl is an annual studio tour event that takes place in Northeast Minneapolis. The event is in its 18th year, and it’s the largest open studio tour in the country.

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Not knowing much about the event besides that you could look at art, I decided to check it out with a friend. There was a huge variety of art and exhibits! There were the things you might expect like pottery:

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wood carvings:

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photos:

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and paintings:

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But there were also a lot of nontraditional forms of art. Like these crazy stuffed monsters:

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and this monkey chair:

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and this awesome lego exhibit:

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Art was displayed in studios, galleries, restaurants, and businesses. Almost all of the art was for sale, and it would be a great place to get a gift! I bought a pair of earrings that were packaged with a nice quote:

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My favorite piece of art was an interactive exhibit about people who did crimes they got away with.

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The exhibit was a display of the remnants from a literary party held in the space a few weeks prior. At the event, partygoers listened to recorded stories of people talking about crimes they committed and got away with. Later, they shared and recorded their own crimes. At the exhibit, I could listen to the original stories, the stories of the partygoes, and see pictures scattered around the floor from the event. There was a notebook where viewers of the exhibit could write their own confessions.

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The stories were really interesting – ranging across everything from stealing money to lying to a teacher to attempted prostitution. It was fascinating and forced the viewer to consider the fact that we are all – in some way – criminals. If so, what is the real distinction between us and what we consider more traditional criminals?

While exploring Art-a-Whirl, a caffeinated pick-me-up sounded good, so we decided to check out Diamonds Coffee Shoppe.

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Although likely due in part to the art festival, the line out the door indicated this is a popular spot in the Northeast neighborhood.

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They had a surprisingly extensive menu of soups, salads, sandwiches, and appetizers. As well as a nice looking array of baked goods:

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They had traditional coffee drinks as well as smoothies (which, I noticed, were made with real fruit!) and loose leaf tea.

I decided to try something different and got a blended iced latte:

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Oh my goodness. It was SO GOOD. My friend got a blended iced mocha and said it was the best thing he’d ever tasted (disclaimer: he is a bit prone to hyperbole).

If this were in my neighborhood, I would definitely go there at least quasi-regularly. Alas, it is not – but I would recommend it to anyone near Northeast, and I will enjoy it vicariously through you!