Since this week marks the anniversary of J and I’s first trip to the Nook three years ago, I figured the Nook makes for an excellent Tasty Thursday post. We saw it on a Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives marathon and figured we should check it out the next day. That might not have been our best strategy — going at about 5 PM on Saturday night the day after it was highlighted on TV.
The place was packed out. And we had the age old dilemma: stick around and wait or look for dinner elsewhere.
We waited. It was worth the wait. Every. Single. Minute.
By now, most of you faithful readers know that I gravitate toward local and non-chain places for coffee and well, food in general. I’ll make do with Caribou and Starbucks when necessity strikes, but my preferences lie elsewhere.
And I’m so grateful that the Twin Cities abounds with fabulous coffee shops! Since my November coffee shop post, I’ve checked out a few more places round Minneapolis and St Paul. Also since that November post, I found my new favorite coffee shop, which is included in the list below.
Growing up Sunday dinner meant one of two things: going out for lunch after church or fried chicken and mashed potatoes. Most commonly, heading to the family restaurant not far from the church. It wasn’t a fancy affair, but it was routine. I discovered a deep love for Melba toast crackers tucked in the bread basket; add a little butter, and those things are amazing!
My last Tasty Thursday post touched on restaurant highlights from J and I’s summer road trip, but I had too many Nashville highlights to include in that post. So, Nashville’s getting its very own Tasty Thursday post. And a culinary theme from our Nashville eats might be pimento cheese.
J and I took a road trip this past summer: Wilmington, NC to Charlotte, NC to Asheville, NC to Nashville, TN. Yup, that’s right. We went to both Asheville, NC and Nashville, TN. Random trip, but we had loads of fun. If you’re scratching your head about logistics since we live in Minnesota, we flew into Charlotte at the start of the trip, rented a car, and then flew from Nashville back to Minnesota.
One of my favorite parts of traveling is sampling different restaurants and flavors. We have a multi-tiered approach to restaurant hunting: searching online for best places in a city to eat, wandering around neighborhoods and popping in to places that just look fun, and asking locals for recommendations. When it comes to asking locals, that’s usually something J does. I recognize the value; I’m just on the shy side, so that part is a little more awkward and painful for me. As a result, I avoid that one.
Here’s a few of our favorite meals from the first part of the trip. Nashville picks will show up in another post, since we had loads of memorable food moments there — particularly ones where I took pictures.
I love afternoon tea. J and I both do — for which I’m deeply grateful. We find places for tea even while we’re on vacation; the picture here is from tea with my dad and sister the day before my brother’s wedding.
Maybe my love for it began with an affinity for British historical dramas a la Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre, Downton Abbey, or Persuasion. The affection was cemented with my first real tea experience at Brit’s Pub in Minneapolis.
Sipping a hot cup of tea and sampling fancy little finger foods while communing with family and friends is a delightful way to wind down an afternoon.
And so, here’s a list of our favorite places to go for afternoon tea in the Twin Cities. Sadly, my favorite places don’t appear to have gluten-free options. However, there are a couple of places that do (The Mad Hatter in Anoka and Lady Elegant’s Tea Room in St Paul).
If you’ve got other suggestions for where we should check out, leave a comment and let me know.
I need a break from serious and depressing thoughts this week. Thus, I’m doubly glad it’s time for Tasty Thursday.
This week’s pick: Bread and Chocolate over at Grand Ave and Victoria in St Paul. If I ever move away from the Twin Cities, this would be the place that I miss the most. For over ten years, it’s been one of our favorite places to go and consistently the number one place I tell people they have to visit when they’re in town.
It’s a cozy spot to hang out and chat or read. If you like free wi-fi (as I do), you’re out of luck. But it’s still a great spot to work on your laptop or write if you’ve got a personal hot spot. Or if you need to focus without the distraction of the internet.
Skip the paninis, and go straight to the pastries. Paninis are fine. Pastries will spoil you. I have yet to find any place that does croissants better than here. And believe me, I have tried. Getting to St Paul from my house is a hike. But, it’s worth it. Trust me.