Eastlake Brewery & Taproom Opens in Minneapolis Midtown

This post originally appeared on Minnesota Beer Activists.

Eastlake Brewery & Taproom opened Thursday in the Midtown Global Market after a busy preview night. Wednesday was full of energy with staff and neighboring businesses passing out hearty food samples to accompany the beers. IMG_0370.PNGManny’s Tortas, anyone? Owner Ryan Pitman was running around pouring, bussing and welcoming friends. I was lucky to get a few minutes with him to talk about his venture which has been in the works for a year.

The taproom is perfectly positioned on the south side of the building with windows facing Lake Street so there is no missing that a good time is being had inside. Long tables and ample bar and window seating make the space very welcoming. This bodes well for Eastlake as they are probably the only business that people can see from outside.

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Eastlake Brewery opened with four taps out of eight: Saison, American Rye Stout, Belgian Pale Ale, and a black IPA. Ryan says he definitely has an affinity for Belgian beers as we can see from his taplist. An American Pale Ale and a Belgian IPA will be on tap next week and the additional two will follow. I asked him about what style he wants to put on the map, Ryan says it’s the Nicollet Mauler, the Black IPA. He is particularly fond of his recipe because of its maltier backbone and his use of rye. Continue reading

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Everyday Vegetable Soup

When Rich and I started cooking together, my soup technique freaked him out because I never used a recipe (he likes rules). I use recipes as guidelines and wing it most of the time because it’s fun. These are the reasons I don’t (can’t) bake. Soups are especially fun to wing it with because the possibilities are endless, I doubt I’ve made the same one twice. I like to throw in whatever veggies need to be used and voila! Soup! I am happy to say that Rich is now soup recipe-free and we can make fast and delicious soups anytime.

So here is my standard brothy tomato based veggie soup, the ingredients may change a little, sometimes it’s vegetarian, sometimes it’s not,  but whichever way you look at it, it’s a go-to healthy soup. I’ll share with you the one I made yesterday because I finally remembered to take pictures. If you choose to make this with meat, brown your protein, drain, then add the onions. I like to make this with cut up chicken breast so it’s like a chicken chili of sorts.

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Bitter Melon – What is that thing?

IMG_4828Yesterday’s chilly weather called for oven-dried tomatoes, so I popped into the Minneapolis Farmers Market for a bucket of Romas. “Just ONE bucket of tomatoes!” I told myself.  Of course I wandered around and ended up purchasing a bunch more produce. I really can’t help myself.

The most exciting find was bitter melon, that bumpy, cucumber looking, vegetable thing that is actually a gourd. In researching recipes, I learned that bitter melon is used widely in Asian cooking, including beverages. The most surprising detail was that it is used in beer as a bittering agent in place of hops in China and Japan. Not surprising, after tasting a raw piece. Continue reading

Stuffed Jalapeños and Squash Blossom Appetizers

I’m making this one short and sweet. The market is out of control so you have to cook fast or that produce will go bad! I found these great squash blossoms and had a ton of jalapeños so thought “appetizers!”

I am convinced that frying things in the house is not for me so I decided to bake stuffed  jalapeños wrapped in prosciutto (inspired by Amanda Paa) and breaded squash blossoms stuffed with goat cheese. Here is a visual guide.

Preheat the oven to 400.

Slice and seed the jalapeños. Slice the cheese into long pieces. I used smoked Gouda. IMG_4356

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Spring at the Farmers Market

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Radishes at the Kingfield Farmers Market

You may or may not know this, but I am a OBSESSED with farmers markets. I have been a volunteer at my local market for over three years (since I moved into the neighborhood) helping people get set up and most recently, helping with the operations committee. It’s naturally a great place to get fresh produce and local products, but also a place for people to come together and have a great experience.

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Dreaming of Puerto Rico

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One of my favorite things in life is traveling to new places. Learning about a culture first-hand through their history, traditions, and food is just fascinating and pure joy for me. I was glad to tag along on Rich’s business trip to Puerto Rico for a little relaxation after a crazy couple of months and a bad case of cabin fever.

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Bust out the grill, it’s taco time!

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I have been meaning to tell you about these tacos for several weeks, but life has been a bit hectic. I recently quit my job and have been pretty ambitious in efforts to find my place in this little world. More about that later, back to those tacos…

At the end of March we had an amazing sunny 70 degree day during this neverending winter. If my memory serves me correctly, we also had a snowstorm shortly after in true Minnesota fashion. So what do you do on an amazing day?

Bust out the grill! Continue reading

Happy Hour Nibble – The Bulldog Northeast

Ah The Bulldog Northeast, one of my favorite places to get a drink and nachos. Known for their array of beers, especially of the Belgian variety, this is a great place to eat, drink, and watch a game. There are four Bulldogs in the Twin Cities, but this one is the best in my opinion because of the ambiance and food menu. The stainless bar is the center of the bright space with over 20 taps that rotate frequently.

Victory DirtWolf Imperial IPA

Victory DirtWolf Imperial IPA

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Schell’s 30th Anniversary Pilsner Series

I was able to try the Schell’s Pils series ahead of its release and write about it for Minnesota Beer Activists. Read the post.

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Beer Dinner – A Night in Belgium

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Rich and I finally traveled to Belgium last year after dreaming about it for about a decade. Craft beer has been my drink of choice since college, but Belgian beers have always held a special place in my heart above others. So after talking about traveling to Belgium every time we drank a Le Chouffe or Chimay, Rich and I finally bought two tickets to beer paradise (cheesy, I know, but it’s true). We were on the pursuit of beer, the rest would fall into place.

I have a couple of friends who spent some time in Belgium and graciously shared maps and stories prior to our trip so thought it would be fun to have a Belgian beer dinner to celebrate Belgium? Or Beer? Either way, it is so cold in Minnesota right now that some rich Belgian food alongside some delicious beers would do the trick to warm us up.

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