Category Archives: Restaurants & Cafes

The Farm To Fork Project: How We Can Work Together To Achieve Sustainability

“If you just think exclusively about what would be the best tasting or most profitable, you’re just not seeing the big picture”

~ Dan Barber

Sustainability. What does it mean? And why is it so important?

You will get a multitude of answers to the above questions depending on who you ask. It can vary based on a myriad of factors including the environmental, social and economic conditions in a given region.  

The EPA’s formal definition of sustainability is:

“The idea of sustainability—commonly defined as the ability to maintain or improve standards of living without damaging or depleting natural resources for present and future generations—was ingrained as a foundation of environmental law with the signing of the 1969 National Environmental Policy Act.Jun 26, 2018″   ~ United States Environmental Protection Agency

What I know for certain is that instituting sustainable living habits into our daily lives is crucial to our future, and we need to work together to achieve long-term sustainability.

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When Ramen And Michelin Stars Intersect In Tokyo, Japan

“The ultimate ramen is something that exists perfectly in the moment”

~ Quote from the Ramen Heads documentary

On November 29, 2017, Nakiryu was awarded its first Michelin star.  Nakiryu is only the second ramen restaurant in the world to receive this prestigious honor.  Tsuta was the first and they are both located in Toshima, a Tokyo Prefecture.  We visited Nakiryu in early October of 2018.

To be awarded a Michelin star and ultimately be listed in the Michelin Guide is no easy accomplishment.  There are no specific guidelines available for restaurants regarding how to obtain this level of recognition.  Some known objectives are the chefs ability to achieve the highest levels of mastery in terms of flavors and cooking techniques.  Consistency in regards to the food and dining experience are also key.  If the first visit by the anonymous Michelin Guide inspector is favorable, a second visit will take place approximately one year later. The road to a Michelin star is not a rapid one.  Receiving one star is not a guarantee that more stars will be awarded in the future, and restaurants can lose stars if they do not maintain the Michelin standards. The most stars a restaurant can be awarded is three.

At Nakiryu there was a clear reverence for the ingredients and the noodle preparation.  The way the ramen noodles were expertly and visibly laid out on the counter waiting for their arrangement in the bowls elevated our anticipation.  From the precise placement of the noodles, to the ladling of the broth, to the moment the bowl is handed to the customer, there is a sense of ceremony.  This was my maiden voyage to Japan as well as our first visit to a Michelin star restaurant.

There is no question in our minds as to why Nakiryu received their star.  For us, the taste of the ramen and the moments we spent there were impeccable and we won’t ever forget it.

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Empty Nester Adventures in Italy: A Photo Gallery of Our 5 Day Visit to the Amalfi Coast

“Italy is a dream that keeps returning for the rest of your life” ~Anna Akhmatova

The hills of the Amalfi Coast are steeped in romance and tradition.  As a travel enthusiast I’m extremely grateful to have the had the opportunity to visit many unique and beautiful destinations.  This particular area of Italy holds a special place in my being that keeps calling me back.  I am of Italian descent so maybe that’s why it feels so much like home every time I return.

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Travel Minnesota: 24 hours in Shakopee

“Every Hundred Feet The World Changes” ~ Roberto Bolaño

There’s something to be said about taking the scenic route, in both life and travel and the lesson here is, you don’t have to trek very far to find an adventure.  John and I had the opportunity to experience a brief but action packed 24 hours in Shakopee, MN last weekend. This historic city is just across the river from our home in Chanhassen but other than our outings to Canterbury Park, or the occasional trip to Valley Fair when the kids were young, we haven’t had the opportunity to spend much time there. The essence of discovery is something that we embrace so we really looked forward immersing ourselves in this mini-vacation.
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Food Month In Review: March 2018

“One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating”

Lucky for those of us living in the Twin Cities; we are provided with seemingly endless opportunities to not only eat, but to do so abundantly well.  I field frequent inquiries from friends and family regarding restaurant recommendations and I love sharing my culinary experiences so I decided to create a new feature.  It will be a brief overview of our culinary adventures from the prior month.

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The Twin Cities Restaurant Scene: Eating and Imbibing During The Week Of The Big Game

The pinnacle of football game days is almost upon us and the anticipation has been building.  There are throngs of exciting events surrounding this colossal affair.  The Bold North is ready! We’re bursting with immense cultural activities, tremendous musical talent, ice bars aplenty and of course bounteous opportunities for dining and imbibing.

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Twin Cities Burger Tour: A Photo Gallery

 

“We all need to make time for a burger once in a while”  ~ Erica Durance

In the past 2 years John and I have devoted a plethora of time to searching out as many mouth-watering Twin Cities burgers as possible.  Sometimes we enjoy the company of friends and/or family on these outings, other times it’s the two of us.

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