Monday, July 15, 2013

Love is all around...

This week I'm doing double duty in Minnesota and Wisconsin. 

I was in Minneapolis today and completely fell in love with it.  It's the kind of town I could live in!  Well, in the summer anyway...not too sure about those MN winters.  I spent some time in the area called Mill City along the banks of the Mississippi River.  It's an old industrial area that's seen a renaissance and renovation over the last few years.  I strolled across the lovely Stone Arch Bridge, which is exactly what the name implies...a bridge across the Mississippi made of granite and limestone consisting of 23 arches.  It was built in 1883 for the railroad, but today it is a pedestrian and bicycle bridge that crosses just beyond St. Anthony Falls.

I then went into the middle of the city to search out the location of one of the most iconic scenes in television history.  The title of this blog is a hint...can you figure it out?  If not, the pics below will give it away for sure!

I learned today that Minneapolis has more theatre seats per capita than any other city in the US besides NYC.  Who knew?  This is the big one in town: The Guthrie Theatre along the bank of the Mississippi River.

This is the Stone Arch Bridge.

You may have to zoom in to see it, but I love that they left the crumbling ruins on an old mill building around the newer, sleeker building inside.

The mighty Mississippi.

Most of the old mill buildings still have the original signage on top.  Very cool!

We don't have these signs where I come from!

Here she is!  This statue was erected on the very spot where Mary Tyler Moore stood and threw her hat joyfully into the air in the opening of one of the best shows ever on television (in my humble opinion).

The plaque at the base of the statue.  I sooooo wish I had worn a hat.  I wanted desperately to stand there and throw mine into the air, too!

The downtown area of Minneapolis is clean and lovely...made all the more so with these huge flower arrangements that are on every street.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

A gem in central Maryland...

I'm currently working in central Maryland, and staying in Frederick, MD.  It's a lovely little town and boasts some great eats!  Tonight I had the chef's tasting menu at Bryan Voltaggio's restaurant, Volt.  It was so good that I had to blog about it and post some pics.  For those who watch the show Top Chef, Voltaggio was the runner up in season six, placing second to his brother Michael.  The food was absolutely delicious!  Every plate was a fabulously complex blend of complimentary flavors.  If you're ever in central Maryland, it's a MUST!
Here are some pics of the town and my entire meal...

There is a small waterway that runs through the middle of town with several cool walking bridges.

A duck in the waterway.

Pretty church on a side street.

This place offers ghost tours and witchy souvenirs.
This is the exterior of Bryan Voltaggio's restaurant, Volt, on Market St. (the main thoroughfare in Frederick)
They have a formal dining area, a patio, and these tables in the kitchen where you can watch the chefs in action.

This plate is a "welcome" from the chef.  From left to right - a beet macaroon filled with fois gras mousse, beef tartare on a broccoli gratin with a truffle cream, and a fried pickled ramp with tomato coulis.  All delicious, but the macaroon was, literally, melt-in-your-mouth fabulous.

This is a beet salad with mulberries, a homemade cocoa "soil," and Greek yogurt frozen in liquid nitrogen.

Morel mushrooms with steel cut oats in kombu and brown butter, sea lettuces, pickled ramps, and an emulsion of beer and fresh yeast.

Arctic char over wilted green cabbage and wild mustard leaf, turnips, and a Spanish sherry and chorizo vinaigrette with pickled mustard seeds and green apple juice.

Corn dumplings with fish pepper, charred leeks, fava beans, gulf blue crab, and purslane.  This was one of the BEST things I've ever put in my mouth! 

Katahdin lamb braised with barley roasted in the drippings, lamb loin slowly cooked and basted with rosemary and garlic, fresh chickpeas, flash-fried kale, and a sauce finished with juniper and laurel.

Ruby beet sorbet with roasted sunflower seed granola, cocoa, goat’s milk powder, and scattered petals of wild violets

A finishing plate of petit fours.

And finally, a coffee cake gift to take home.