Morning Delight 2017 Release

Morning Delight 2017 package | Kale and Ale

 

Saturday I went 3 hours away to the beautiful town of Decorah, Iowa. For about 2.5 hours. And then turned around and came home. All in the same day. It takes a lot for that to happen. And the reason was a beer release. Not just any beer release, but Toppling Goliath’s Morning Delight beer release. This is consistently one of the highest-rated and most anticipated beers in the world, and I couldn’t pass up the fact to experience it.

Valerie Morning Delight 2017 release | Kale and Ale

When I saw the lottery was open to win a ticket to attend the release, I registered. And I won! I would have the opportunity to purchase a 4-pack of 12 ounce beers and two glasses. Morning Delight is an imperial stout brewed with coffee and balanced with maple syrup. It has a great, thick mouth feel and is nicely balanced. Not my typical type of beer, the fact that I won a spot to receive a package of the beer and experiencing the release was enticing, but it really is a good beer.

RELATED: Road trip to Decorah, Iowa, for a weekend.

I haven’t been to many specialty beer releases, but this is run about as smooth as one can expect. Winners have to bring cash and two forms of ID, and come at an assigned time. Parking was easy, it was clear where to go and the event was organized. I got my beer, sample and extras that were for sale (in my case, Supa Sumo, another fantastic beer that is only being sold in Northeast Iowa) and was in and out in less than 30 minutes. I know it takes trial and error to get to that point, I’ve heard about past Morning Delight days and, having lived in Florida, have heard how Cigar City’s Hunahpu’s Day has evolved, so I appreciate the process.

Morning Delight 2017 Toppling Goliath | Kale and Ale

The big learning experience between going to Decorah on Saturday and even my experience at Surly’s Darkness Day in 2015 is to learn how much you can about what’s going on for the event. In Decorah, bars and restaurants were having special releases and concurrent events for people who didn’t get Morning Delight tickets or who were waiting for the brewery to open after the release. One bar had seven pours of rare and special release kegs for $25. A great, fun deal if we didn’t have to turn around and drive home.

Point is, find out as much as you can about the release, any food trucks or special releases, etc., you can before you arrive. I would make an overnight trip of it next time, and even if you don’t get the special release of Morning Delight, you can still get to town and try it (as I could when I went to Darkness Day). Find someone who has been there before, check the internet and message boards, ask on social media, etc., to “know before you go” so you can roll into the event like and experienced fan of the release.

Have you ever been to a specialty release? What was your experience like and what tips do you have?

CSA Update: Halfway Through 2017 Season

Hello! Want to share a quick update on where the CSA is. We are about halfway through the season and getting a great variety of things. Recently we have had some amazing corn and tomatoes, lots of different kinds of peppers, green and wax beans, kale and, new this week, melon.

CSA week 8 2017 KaleAndAle.com

Week 8 of our 2017 CSA. Lots of good variety of foods!

As usual, my favorite thing is to eat the veggies fresh at their peak, but I’ve been making a lot of veggie burgers or freezing vegetables. I really want to consume them fresh, but then in the winter, it’s so hard to eat store-bought vegetables, so I’ve been doing a better job of preserving them to enjoy later in the year.

RELATED: Ways to preserve food to enjoy all year long.

The garden (not pictured) is growing well, but ALL the tomatoes get big and green and aren’t turning red. It’s like it reaches a certain point and stops. Have you ever experienced that? Is it the soil? Did some weather event occur that has stunted growth? The herbs are alive and well, and really that’s where the best growth is coming from this year.

What fresh local food can’t you get enough of right now?

Twin Cities Vegetarian Restaurants

Twin Cities Vegetarian Restaurants | Kale and Ale

Photo by Markus Spiske/Unsplash

I’ve wanted to write about my favorite vegan and vegetarian restaurants in the Twin Cities area (Minneapolis, St. Paul and beyond) in one spot for a long time.

Recently, the Eater article “18 Essential Restaurants for Vegetarians in Minneapolis and St. Paul” was published, and featured a spot with steak in the name. Reading the name on a list aimed at vegetarian spots was a disappointment and gave me a long pause, so I decided it is time to finally write my post about my favorite veg-friendly spots. Whether you are visiting from out of town, new to eating a plant-based diet or are looking for somewhere different to eat, think of this as a good starting point.

Below are restaurants I recommend along with a short reason why it’s included. To be on the list, the restaurant need not be plant-based, but must focus on plants, seasonal and local food, and have veggie options very clearly marked. These are restaurants I’ve been to myself that I would recommend, listed in alphabetical order. This post will be updated as I try new spots, as I don’t eat out often so I’m slow to try new restaurants.

What restaurant would you recommend I eat at and add to this list? Leave a note in the comments below.

Note: I’m professional writer, editor and content creator; if Eater or anyone is looking for a vegetarian to write about hot or new Twin Cities spots or plant-based trends, contact me for writing opportunities at Valerie@KaleAndAle.com.

Agra CultureThis fast-casual restaurant features healthy, simple food where meals are built a la cart and protein can be substituted.

The Bad WaitressThe menu at the two locations varies slightly, but both have a good variety of solid diner food that can be made vegetarian or vegan and is clearly marked.

The Depot TavernA solid choice if you are downtown or before a show at First Avenue, you will find classics like burgers and sandwiches with fries, tots or salad, that will keep you full through the encore. Tip: You can request half fries and half tots as your side, and the veg BLT is very filling.

French Meadow CafeIt focuses on special diets and local, fresh and organic food. I have been here for dinner, and I know breakfast and the airport location are both very popular options.

Hard Times CafeThis might be my favorite veggie restaurant, everything I’ve had is good and I can’t stop thinking about it. It is very no frills (I don’t think they have a website and only accept cash, how punk of them!) It’s just greasy spoon food, my favorite kind. What’s good? Everything I’ve had!

The Herbivorous ButcherNot a restaurant, this vegan butcher offers meat-free meats and cheese to go, and features sandwiches, soups and a nice selection of shelf-based treats. Read my recipe for Herbivorous Butcher pulled pork stuffed avocado.

Hola ArepaFresh, Latin food found in Minneapolis. Simple dishes that are clearly marked what are or can be made vegetarian or vegan.

J. Selby’sThey make the food meat-eaters crave, but are all plant-based. Popular items include are soyclones and cauliflower “buffalo” wings (a dish I can’t stop thinking about).

Milkjam Creamery: An ice cream shop with unique flavors where the owners are lactose intolerant, so there are always a handful of dairy-free options. Tip: Each scoop is very filling.

Pizza LuceService salads, sandwiches and pizzas, where many can easily be made vegetarian or vegan. It has unique combos, a seasonal menu and a solid brunch. It took me about five visits before I even had a pizza because the salads and sandwiches are so good.

Pizza NeaNeapolitan pizza with lots of ingredients, including many veggie meat options from Herbivorous Butcher, and vegan cheese so everyone can have what they want.

ReverieFlavorful dishes line the menu where ingredients are prepared in-house daily. They can run out of popular dishes, so it’s a reason to return. Read my review of Reverie Cafe + Bar dinner and breakfast.

Seward CafeVery no-frills cafe with flavorful food, a classic spot.

Spoonriver: Higher-end vegetarian restaurant serving contemporary food in a nice setting.

Triple Rock Social ClubVery veg friendly to grab a bite of classic bar food before a show or when you are out and about in the neighborhood. I have heard great things about breakfast but haven’t had it.

World Street KitchenA food truck and restaurant that focuses on world food, it features fresh flavors and veggie options.

What restaurant would you recommend I eat at and add to this list? Leave a note in the comments below.

Garden and CSA update: June 2017

It’s an exciting time in Minnesota, as the days have gotten longer (and now shorter again already) and things are in bloom. That includes our garden and now our CSA!

CSA week 1 2017 | Kale and Ale

CSA 2017 Week 1

Regarding the CSA, week one started. Although it’s small, I know the amount of food will grow soon, and I’m excited for nice greens and radishes. Next week peas will be added to the mix. I probably say this every year, but I just love when I don’t need to rely on the grocery store for all my produce, but can get most or soon all of it from the farm. It also makes menu planning so less stressful, as I have food given to me and I have to use it in the next week.

Related: Garden and CSA 101-Getting Started

June 2017 garden | Kale and Ale

June 2017 garden growing update

A few weeks ago we got hail, and the garden took a little bit of a beating but, except for the broccoli, it’s doing OK now. Broccoli was our “new to us this year” food we are growing, so we have no idea what to expect, which is a bit of a risk and part of the fun. (If you have any hot broccoli growing tips, send them my way!) Otherwise, carrots are starting to come up, a few tomatoes and peppers are beginning to show and the chives are growing as strong as ever. I highly recommend them!

What are you growing this year, and how’s it going? Let me know in the comments below.

FOLLOW ALONG: To see how my garden is doing and what I’m getting in my CSA, be sure to follow Kale and Ale on Instagram and Facebook.

Garden: 2017

Garden 2017 planting day | Kale and Ale

Tonight we planted our garden. Every year it’s an exciting day: The possibilities are endless and there are no failed plants at this point. Everything is cute and small, and the yield and hopes are great.

We like to try some standbys and some new things. This year we are trying broccoli for the first time, wish us luck. (Disclosure: The last minute thing we try usually doesn’t do great.) Now in our third year, Aaron and I tried to plan for how big things get, how much sun they get and how much space they need. Each year we learn a little more and take that into consideration.

RELATED: Tips for first-time gardeners

This year, we went to the University of Minnesota Master Gardener sale, where they sell what they have grown, which often means unique or heirloom varieties of food. The garden has:

  • Sugarsnax carrots
  • Rosemary (in a pot)
  • Apple mint (in a pot)
  • Packman broccoli
  • Basil
  • Peppers:
    • Marconi
    • Serrano
    • Carmen
    • Chocolate beauty
  • Tomato:
    • Martino’s roma
    • Lemon boy
    • Tumbling Tom (in a hanging pot)
  • Chives (already had)

For reference, read my post of what I planted in 2016.

What will you be growing this year? What is your favorite thing about gardening?