Thursday, April 29, 2010

Takeout from Broders Cucina

I'm fortunate to live near Broders Pasta Bar, which - as most MSP-ers know - is one of the best Italian restaurants in town. But for some reason, I hadn't yet visited Broders Cucina Italiana, the takeout/deli-style arm of the very popular SW Minneapolis restaurant.

This all changed one recent Saturday evening when I decided to stay in and watch a movie and couldn't motivate myself to cook dinner. So I set off for the cucina in search of some delicious Italian takeout.
The space was bright and filled with a handful of tables, most of which were occupied. There is a cafeteria-style line with a large menu board and people on-hand to take your order. The entrance is filled with tempting treasures, like chocolates, oils, noodles and sauces, to distract people waiting for their orders.
I selected the lasagna siciliana dinner with a side salad and bread from the takeout menu. All three of the items were quite delightful. The lasagna came in a good portion size with Italian sausage, egg noodles, tomato sauce and layers of cheese. The bread was soft, fluffy and well-seasoned, and the salad came with croutons and Caesar dressing.

Also note that I did allow myself to be tempted with one extra item...I couldn't resist a can of the San Pellegrino Limonata. Love that stuff.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

New Art, Tulips and a Cupcake

I'm excited to report that I made my first original art purchase! I discovered a Canadian artist on eBay with a gallery of contemporary, abstract, surrealist and cubist art, and I immediately fell in love with her work. I spent a few weeks stalking her cherry blossom trees before I turned a complete 180 and went with the abstract work above. I'm very pleased with my final selection as it fits perfectly in my bedroom. And one of the things I like most about the painting is the three canvases coming together to make a whole.

My room is now complete. This new piece rounds out four framed black and white photographs of New York (taken from my 2009 calendar of the city)...
And, my two favorite works of all time. Monet's "Dusk" and Dali's "Butterflies." Some might question the pairing of impressionism and surrealism, but I think they go together perfectly :)
In other news, yesterday I purchased some beautiful tulips at Lund's. They were $6.99 and too gorgeous to pass up. Tulips are my favorite part of spring (I'm not big on all the mud or other treasures winter leaves behind as the snow melts away), so I'm trying to get maximum exposure to the lovely little bursts of color.
Also at Lund's, I made my first purchase from the always-tempting dessert case. I ordered the chocolate cupcake with chocolate frosting and a cream-filled inside. I was in heaven. So good.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Dina Temple-Raston Event at St. Thomas

Last night I attended the Minnesota Public Radio Broadcast Journalist Series with NPR's counterterrorism correspondent Dina Temple-Raston at the University of St. Thomas in Saint Paul. The event was moderated by Tom Crann, host of MPR's All Things Considered.

Spanning more than an hour, Temple-Raston engaged the audience with a fascinating and thought-provoking discussion about terrorism - both on American soil and abroad. She provided an insightful look into the reporting process - from working with government agencies to interviewing members of militant groups to the evolution of a story as more facts and details unfold.

I was so impressed by her presentation as a speaker that I went ahead and purchased one of her books: The Jihad Next Door. I'm hoping I'll be just as impressed by the written word.

The ability to attend community events of this nature is one of the things I love most about MSP. While no longer a student, I still always have the opportunity to learn and challenge my perceptions and understanding of the world.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Easter Dessert

Okay, so I've been holding onto this one for a little too long. I'm not sure whether to be impressed or embarrassed with myself ;)

My mom randomly assigned me the responsibility of bringing dessert to Easter dinner this year. I thought long and hard about what to bring. One part of me wanted to wow everyone with a home-baked wonder. Another part of me wanted to rush out and buy my favorite, oh-so-expensive but oh-so-good classic vanilla cheesecake from Cafe Latte (pictured here).

In the end, my roommate inspired me with the idea of making Easter bunny cakes with my almost four-year-old nephew. Her idea won out.

I decided on two bunnies: one chocolate with chocolate frosting and one lemon with white frosting.
Neither of them came out looking as though they were made at the hands of a professional, but they were cute nonetheless. My nephew helped paint the green grass on each of the serving platters, but I'm pretty sure most of the frosting made its way into his mouth/all across his face.
Of course this experience wasn't without its drama. I neglected to purchase an adequate amount of frosting for either cake. Thankfully, my mom had extra chocolate frosting (although clearly not the same shade of brown as evidenced above), and my grandma made a pit stop at the grocery store for more butter cream frosting before coming to our house for dinner.

And, my mom was none to impressed with the mess I left in my wake. She might have gone so far as to suggest that I just be in charge of buns and milk next year to avoid making a mess of her kitchen.

In the end, everyone seemed pleased with the dessert options (it's pretty hard to screw up boxed cake) and at least a little bit humored by my creativity.

Dinner at Flame

A recent weekend evening found me at Flame in Roseville with friends for dinner. The restaurant was part of Rosedale Center's recent lifestyle center type expansion that brought a movie theater and several outdoor-facing retail stores and restaurants.
I was immediately impressed by the ambiance and decor within the restaurant, which was also much larger than I had anticipated. There was also a large, exposed, surrounded-by-flames kitchen.
I ordered the Rotisserie Wrap, filled with rotisserie chicken, Monterey jack cheese, bleu cheese crumbles, fresh tomatoes and basil, spring greens and balsamic dressing. It was phenomenal. The highlight was, of course, the chicken which was very juicy and delicious. And the other ingredients were well-combined to bring out the flavor. It also came with tasty french fries and a pickle.
I was very impressed with my dining experience at Flame. I really didn't go into it with any expectations, but left very happy with our decision to give it a try. Definitely recommended for a nice restaurant in the 'burbs.