Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Birthday Celebration(s) and Trip to Minnesota!

As I mentioned in my last post, last week was my Birthday. My Birthday celebrations started out with a nice dinner with my friend Jennifer (another Minnesotan turned Kansas Citian) at Gram and Dun on the Plaza. I love this place not only for the food, but for their fun and interesting drink selection. I never thought I would be a fan of bourbon drinks until I had their Smoking Dun. Amazing. The next night Joe and I went out for drinks at my favorite restaurant in all of Kansas City, Garozzo's. If you love Italian Food, and are ever in Kansas City, you need to go here. The Tortellini Gina will change your life. Unfortunately, we are still on that Success Meals diet, so we couldn't partake in the food. But the old school Italian atmosphere that their downtown Kansas City location provides was reason enough to go there.

The next day, we had another celebration at Joe's parent's house. Joe's mother had called me a few days before and asked what I wanted her to make for dinner. Being that everything she makes is amazing, and there wasn't one specific thing I wanted, I chose Joe's favorite meal, her lasagna (this either means I'm a really good wife, or I need to give "The Feminine Mystique" another read through). She also made this amazing lemon cake (considering I gave up chocolate for lent). I am truely blessed to have such great inlaws.

This past weekend, Joe and I made our way up to Minnesota to celebrate my birthday with my side of the family. Because one weekend of celebrations just isn't enough :) We started the weekend at my sister's home. Before we told her we were coming up that weekend, she had planned a brunch and play date with some friends who were coming in from out of town. Joe and I were given permission to crash this party, and the next day spent the morning with a whole bunch of babies and alot of good food. Hillary made her famous chicken salad (which I hope to one day share with you if she'd let me) which is so good that when we got to her house at midnight the night before, I found it in the fridge and ended up making myself a bowl. Because waiting until the next morning was far too long. Hillary had also made a quiche and had supplied the fixings for Bagels and Lox, knowing that that was one of my favorites. I wish I could eat like that every morning.

The only issue of the day was that, since there were more people over, I had to share access to my nieces Lily and Anna. They are getting so big, and are starting to develop their own distinct personalities. Lily has also started dancing when you sing to her, which may be the cutest thing I've ever seen.

Later that night, my family went out to dinner at 112 Eatery in Minneapolis. It was one of those places I had always wanted to go to, but never did. I had always heard it was great, and I was not let down. The food at this place was amazing. We started out our meal with the 112 steak tartar (courtesy of my friend Adrianne's recommendation) along with the lamb scottadito with goats milk yogurt appetizers. I could have eaten both of these as my meal. Incredible. For my entree, I ordered the nori encrusted sirloin with ponzu (I may be a red meat fanatic, and tend to order steak wherever I go).

It was unlike any steak I've ever had (in a good way). I regret waiting until I was halfway done to try the wasabe that was provided with the steak. It took the flavors to a whole new level.

After dinner, Joe and I spent the rest of the evening at my friend, Marissa's, house that she shares with her fiance, Jason. You know you are getting older when, instead of wanting to go out and get crazy with everyone else celebrating St. Patrick's Day, all you want to do is stay at someone's home and play board games, which is just what we did. We had so much fun, and I am attempting to get one of their guest room labeled as the "O'Connor Room". If anyone sees a sign that says such a thing let me know.

The next morning, before we trecked back to Kansas City, we met up with my family for brunch at another restaurant that I had wanted to go to and never did, Haute Dish. In case you don't get the name, a Hot Dish is what Minnesotans basically call a casserole. I didn't realize that name was unique to Minnesota until I went to college, and no one knew what I was talking about. I would consider tater tot hot dish a Minnesota delicacy (which Haute Dish has on their menu).

Going along with this Minnesota theme, Haute Dish offers what they call "New Midwestern Cuisine" which is basically the food we Midwesterners grew up with turned trendy. To illustrate, my mother ordered the Chicken and Waffles. The "bacon maple syrup" on the chicken and waffles is in the form of ice cream that actually tastes like maple bacon.

They have also been named the Best Bruch in Minneapolis. The Bloody Mary alone is enough to go there.

Because I like my bloody Marys hot, I had ordered the "House" Bloody Mary, which is mixed with sriracha, and that behemoth of a skewer that came with it is called the "chefs skewer". Yes, that is a chicken wing on top. It was almost a meal in itself.

As my main meal, I ordered the Ropa Vieja, which is beef brisket on top of sweet potato hash with a side of avocado and pico de gallo, and topped off with a couple of poached eggs. It was to die for.

If I have anything to do with it, Haute Dish will be a frequent stop when we are in Minneapolis, and I wish I would have discovered it when I lived there.

I'll leave you with some really cute pictures of my nieces :) Because who doesn't love pictures of cute babies.

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