Four Meals and a Beer

One of those weeks where I feel very lucky to live where I do….

On Saturday, Patrick was looking very dapper. and I had a new haircut, and I like to go out and celebrate haircuts. So with some last-minute babysitting help from our friend Sherry, we headed out to dinner at Public, where we had only been previously for drinks. And drinks we had again, lovely, flavorful cocktails. We split a salad, a side, some had-cut lobster tagiatelle, and a lovely little chocolate dessert. We people-watched, and talked about grown-up things. We had some of the best service I have had in a long time. And as we looked out at the beauty of Mears Park, I was thrilled that this place existed in Saint Paul (and even mores, not in Minneapolis, or we would never be able to get a reservation!)

I tried that "sampler menu" theory two other nights this week, with my two BFFs (I don't even remember that last time the three of us had dinner together two nights in a row!). Elaine was in town for wedding dress fittings, so in between Joy Noelle and Fluevog and lots of other errands, we needed some nourishment!

Monday night we hit Blackbird, where we hot upon the sampler menu idea. An order of mussels, of "fish on fire," cauliflower steak, and shaved brussel sprouts later, we know that was the right move. Plus, lots of girl talk!

The next night, on Joy's advice and to my secret delight, we went to Grand Cafe. Again, we chose to sample — a winter salad (on the advice of our amazing server), amazingly tender octopus, ravioli that were perfect little pillows, an incredible almond carrot cake and pudding-like chocolate amazement — all of it a complex mix of flavors and senses (plus a lovely rioja!). As we gushed about the food, our server invited us back to meet the chef, Andrew Craft, who is fairly new to the place and could not have been nicer (I'm afraid I was a little starstruck. Celebrity chefs, eat your hearts out, you don't hold a candle to this man!). It was another perfect night, made even better by the warm and cozy, candlelit spot. I want, so badly, to have a Grand Cafe just down the street from me…

Sunday brunch, in contrast, was all about the glam. We met our friends Rebecca and Jason (and their daughter) at Betty Danger's Country Club, which was all about pink and green, and margaritas the size of birdbaths, and dun food, and irreverence. It was not the culinary genius of the other places, but it was an amazing Sunday brunch of delicious food, of girls goofing around on the animals in the mini-golf course, and of great friends. Highly recommended.

Ended the food overload with beers today at Bent Brewstillery, thanks to a Christmas Groupon. We split a flight, got a growler, and generally enjoyed an hour of hanging out together on a taproom. Plus, our awesome new car repair place (Foreign Service) is right next door, so I know where to go to drown my sorrows the next time the Audi needs a repair.

We are SO lucky to live here…

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