Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Great Nights Out in 2010 - Post #3

So we've set up a "late night date night" trade with our friends Heidi and Chank, where we'll stay with their son occasionally after he's asleep, and vice versa. Not that we've actually held up our end of the bargain yet, but Heidi came over last night; though we were initially thought we were way too tired to go out (Beatrix kept us pretty much all night the night before), we're glad we did.

We had initially thought we would get our free "Vikings lose" pizza at Punch, but the line was too long, so we headed down the street to Salut. Absolutely brilliant move.

Mondays are $10 wine nights, so we ordered a bottle of cabaret sauvignon and some pomme frites. And you know, for $10, that was not a half bad bottle of wine! We hung out for a couple of hours in their dark leather, club-like bar, drank the whole bottle of wine, snacked, and talked about bigger things (like Where Our Lives Are Going) than we normally get a chance to. It was a lovely date night.

A few more evenings like this and I'll start feeling human!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Great Nights Out in 2010 - Post #2

King's Wine Bar and Piccolo

So the things I miss most about our pre-baby lives (other than sleeping through the night), is going out to fun, quirky, local restaurants. A wanna-be foodie, I love experiencing new places, checking out new places to eat, trying new things, and people-watching. King's Wine Bar opened some time ago, and everyone has been raving about it — I've been dying to go.

So our wonderful friends Geri and Brian (and Ravi) gave us an incredible date night — a gift card to King's and Beatrix-sitting for the night. We were sorely in need of a date night, and as we walked up the snowy path to King's, I was hoping it was as good as I had been told.

It wasn't. It was better.

First of all, the atmosphere is lovely, simple, golden and glowing, with excellent people-watching to meet my pre-reqs. We ordered a bottle of Spanish "Luzon" organic wine which was nice for the price point — slightly dry, but a little spicy, kind of licorice-mint. We coupled that with the to-die-for specialty appetizer, homemade tater tots with a gruyere sauce (they put the bacon on the side for us). I then had a lovely grilled cheese sandwich that was the epitome of simple good, and Patrick had short ribs with a port wine sauce (served with fries and fried shallots on top), which he reported was rich and tender, a perfect winter dish. My favorite kind of food — American comfort food with a twist.

It was the opening night for Piccolo, Doug Flicker's new place at 43rd and Bryant. Since we still miss Auriga, we decided to go check it out for dessert, thus getting in a few foodie street-cred points. The desserts were incredible; Patrick had a silky-smooth chocolate terrine, which I traded bites of my almond cake for. The "small plates" looked equally delicious, and there's a lovely little wine list. It's a tiny little storefront, which makes you feel all the more special for getting in.

Meanwhile, I think Beatrix and Ravi also enjoyed themselves:

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Great Nights Out in 2010 - Post #1

Gandhi Mahal

It's been a hard week without daycare and with a lot of work deadlines, so by last night, we really needed to go out. Our friend Kate, the best amateur restaurant critic I know, had just mentioned that she had eaten at Gandhi Mahal, located in the old Midori's Floating World space, and they had replaced the sushi bar with a kids play area. Beatrix was stir crazy, we were hungry and in the mood for Indian food, so we headed out.

Our evening was, in a word, perfect. There's a table right next to the play area, and Beatrix was immediately thrilled. Baby dolls, a "Doba" (Dora) play kitchen, a little bed area with stuffed animals, a place where she could play on her own and then bring things to share with us — she was in heaven.

As for us, we were soon in heaven too. We started with micro-brews from the great beer list, then papadams with chutney and samosas (easily the best I have had in the Twin Cities.) Then chicken tikka masala and my all-time favorite, alloo gobi. The service was impeccable — from unfolding the napkin and placing it on my lap to constantly refilling the water to checking on us, and when I mentioned my dish was a little hot, bringing some complimentary raita for it. And we have leftovers!

A we were getting ready to leave, Beatrix became transfixed by a picture of the Taj Mahal and told us that a king lived there (who was I to correct her?) We certainly felt very king-ly. It's not the cheapest food ever, but especially given no need for a babysitter, and for a really nice meal out, it's worth its weight in gold. We'll be back!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Waseca

Spent the day researching down in Waseca, and then presented the work we've done so far to their Historic Preservation Commission. It's a fascinating little town, full of history and interest, and I really like working with them.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Neil Gaiman, In Support of My New Years Resolutions

See what happens when you follow someone who prodigiously tweets? They let you know you're on the right track (ok, this was not personally directed to me. But still!)

"May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you're wonderful, and don't forget to make some art -- write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself." Neil Gaiman

Friday, January 1, 2010

So Far

So far in 2010 I've:

- sorted and organized the flatware (a task I've been putting off for forever)
- sorted through a ton of clothes (mine and Beatrix's)
- called a good friend
- run a P&L statement
- posted some items on CraigsList
- thoroughly cleaned the 3rd floor with Patrick
- attended three very different New Year's Day parties — one hosted by artist friends, another by theater friends, and another by neighborhood friends — all of which were lovely in very different ways, and all of which had great food
- heard endless cries of "AppyNiuYe-ah" from a delighted toddler

So far, 2010 has been lovely!