Flower Power

Because it was Patrick's birthday weekend, we were able to have a little time just doing some fun things, including two excellent meals!

On Saturday, while Beatrix was at a Twins game with friends, we snagged a last-minute reservation to Hyacinth, which opened in mid-August in the old Golden Fig space. We love the idea of a chef-driven, small, New York style place within walking distance (oh, how we miss you, Zander!), and this did not disappoint. Our cocktails (he had the red wine punch, I did the Honey and Spices) were the perfect fall drinks. We had a fantastic delicate squash crostini and a shaved fall salad before each having a lovely pasta. It certainly lived up to our expectations, and I am excited to go back!

Tonight, for Patrick's birthday we went to In Bloom, the new restaurant at the Keg and Case — we did not have enough time to walk around and explore the market but hope to return soon! In Bloom is a great concept; everything is cooked over a big, open hearth, so you get a great, Minnesota campfire smoky sense that really makes the flavors distinctive. Their meats looked fantastic, but obviously not for me and Patrick is trying to eat less meat, so we had a fantastic sampling of items that all paired perfectly: langoustine, roasted carrots, an incredible mushroom dish, hearth-baked bread, and even roasted romaine hearts (sounds odd, but delicious!). My friend Emily's husband is the executive chef so we already know we like him, but all of the staff were fantastic and friendly, and the space was gorgeous (Patrick got to look out and do more people-watching that I did, but I got to view a funky mural painted above his head). There were some timing hitches, so it took quite awhile to get our food, but I would expect that's an issue with an open hearth, and it worked out — just for now, maybe leave yourself a little extra time for dining so you can have a relaxing evening.

Both these places are real neighborhood gems, the kind of place that is great for a special night out but also where you can pop in for something to make a random weeknight turn out a little nicer as well — and I sincerely hope that's how people attend, so that business is always lively and thriving!

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