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Hell’s Kitchen (Minneapolis)

I love meeting other bloggers in person (though sometimes it does smack a little of blind dates… It’s weird meeting people you *think* you know from reading their blogs.  Remember when I met all those fabulous bloggers at the Foodbuzz First Annual Blogger Festival last year, or when I met Evelyne in Montreal or Véronique and Kate in Paris?

Well when I found out that I was going to Minneapolis for a conference, I immediately thought of meeting up with the elusive Tracey from Tangled Noodle. (I say “elusive” because try as I might, I couldn’t find out what she looked like through her site and actually had to ask her to email me a picture of herself so I might recognise her!).  Since much of my time in the city was taken up with the conference (with the odd trip to Target!), brunch before I flew out on Sunday seemed like the best option.  Tracey was excited to suggest Hell’s Kitchen, a Minneapolis landmark restaurant with an extremely interesting and lengthy menu that I pored over for ages online yet was still unable to make a quick choice come ordering time!!!  Everything sounded so tempting.

(logo courtesy HK website)

We met in the lobby of my hotel (gee, this really does sound like a dating story!!!) and thankfully, she looks exactly like her picture.  She immediately recognised me – I don’t know if that is a good or bad thing ;-)  Conversation flowed easily as we walked to the restaurant and I am sure we were both sighing with relief that we would not be stuck for something to say!  (ahem – THREE hours later, we only parted because I had a room to check out of and a flight to catch!).

Hell’s Kitchen is quirky to say the least.  Servers were dressed in their pajamas (apparently it’s a Sunday thing) and there was live music in one part of the cavernous underground restaurant.  There seemed to be endless rooms and we were seated in a room full of people yet it wasn’t noisy and you could easily have a conversation without raising your voice or straining to hear  (yes, Dad, those observations are for you.  We would be able to go there with you!).

It must have taken us a good half hour to decide on what we were ordering.  Actually it took ME a good half hour – Tracey had already decided on the Lemon Ricotta Hotcakes “made with freshly grated lemon zest and whole milk ricotta cheese, served with fresh berries and pure maple syrup” ($9.25).


Beautiful presentation and enough to share, this was scrumptious (I had a few bites!).  Light and fluffy, they made a nice change to regular pancakes and I loved the zesty lemon flavour!

Me, I hesitated between a number of dishes but ended up settling for two that our server heartily approved of as being representative of the restaurant.  First up, Toasted Sausage Bread. Yes, you read it right – sausage bread.  Described as “a deliciously dense bread made with [their] own bison sausage, toasted walnuts, black currants, black coffee and spices.” ($3.25).  This was out of this world.  Dense and moist and sweet and salty all at the same time.

I savoured it by itself, then with some whipped butter and figured things couldn’t get better until I tried Hell’s Kitchen’s Homemade Peanut Butter.  Oh. My.  Gourmet Magazine raved about it on National Public Radio, according to the menu, and I can see why.  This was quite possibly the best peanut butter I have ever had.

Look at it up close…

Tracey encouraged me to try the Mahnomin Porridge, described as “native, harvested wild rice from the Leech Lake Band of Ojibway.  Served warm with roasted hazelnuts, dried blueberries, sweetened cranberries, heavy cream and pure maple syrup.”  I had the cup (about an actual cup’s worth) for $3.75.  I really enjoyed this – definitely an unusual choice for me since I am not really into big dairy at breakfast (much less heated dairy products) but I found it very refreshing and loved the crunch of the rice combined with the soft sweetness of the berries.  Not sure I could have managed a whle bowl of this but I loved the cup’s worth!

And so over coffee after coffee, we sat and chatted. And chatted some more.  We could have gone on chatting for a lot longer too, I suspect!  it’s great to meet people who not only share your interests (food and writing) but who can also understand the things all food bloggers think about. Stats, readership, the tech side of blogging, posting, commenting etc..  All that good stuff bloggers love to chat about when they get together!

Thanks Tracey for a fun brunch – what a nice way to end my visit!  Readers – if you are ever in Minneapolis, you should definitely get in touch with her – she is as sweet and smart as she sounds on her blog and then some!

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52 Responses to Hell’s Kitchen (Minneapolis)

  1. Christine @ Fresh Local and Best March 8, 2010 at 06:03 #

    Isn’t it wonderful all the kind people you meet over the blog world? The food looks wonderful, especially the homemade peanut butter over toast.

  2. Divina March 8, 2010 at 07:37 #

    Everything looks good. Finally, I know what Tracey looks like and we can meet up when you come home to the Philippines. Mardi, it’s nice that you were able to meet up with her. :D

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite March 8, 2010 at 08:58 #

      Yes we also chatted about you Divina (as being the “big blogger” in the Philippines!!! You’re famous you know!

  3. Mr. Neil March 8, 2010 at 07:57 #

    Maybe I should resurrect my blog so I can go on blind dates with friendly, charming women as well…. :-)

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite March 8, 2010 at 08:57 #

      Haha! Well considering the meal you had on Friday night, I think you don’t need a blog to have a good time ;-)

    • Geoff March 8, 2010 at 16:57 #

      Mr Neil
      I’m not sure your white cane will do the trick…

      • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite March 9, 2010 at 07:42 #

        Well if you read what a spectacular dinner Neil threw when I was away today you will see he clearly doesn’t need to be a blogger to have a good time!

  4. Tangled Noodle March 8, 2010 at 08:15 #

    I can’t tell you how excited I was to meet you! That we got along so famously was the frosting on the cake. So pleased that you enjoyed HK and I’m hoping that you’ll be back in Minneapolis again; otherwise, I may just have to come knocking at your door (I want that gnocchi!)

    Thanks for this great re-cap – I’m getting hungry all over again!

  5. Simply Life March 8, 2010 at 08:27 #

    wow what a delicious meal and fun meet-up!

  6. Tokyo Terrace March 8, 2010 at 08:54 #

    You were in my neck of the woods! Looks like you ladies had a fabulous meal in Minneapolis :) Next time, the 3 of us should meet up!

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite March 8, 2010 at 08:56 #

      Yes, we actually talked about you – did you feel your ears burning? ;-) All good, of course! I doubt I will be in Minneapolis again soon but you should definitely connect with Tracey next time you are home!

  7. Dawn Brister (Whineaux) March 8, 2010 at 10:15 #

    Come to Orlando!

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite March 8, 2010 at 10:17 #

      Would love to – unfortunately I tend to go where conferences dictate… Will definitely look you up if I am ever in Orlando!

  8. 5 Star Foodie March 8, 2010 at 10:15 #

    Oh, how fun that you got to meet Tracey (and thanks for posting a picture)! And your brunch looks so delicious!

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite March 8, 2010 at 10:18 #

      Haha! Yes, her cover is blown!!!! Brunch was delicious and we also chatted about how we wish we could develop recipes as well as you!!!

  9. Lori Lynn March 8, 2010 at 10:33 #

    How fun for the two of you!
    That sausage bread sounds amazing.
    Love the final pic.
    LL

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite March 8, 2010 at 10:35 #

      Yes the sausage bread was incredible. Tracey has the cookbook and I think I might have to get the recipe from her!

  10. Martha March 8, 2010 at 11:07 #

    What a fantastic breakfast! Wayne would really like the sausage bread.

  11. Conor @ HoldtheBeef March 8, 2010 at 12:10 #

    I’m already so suspicious of sausages already, without people going and sneaking them into bread as well. Having said that, it does look damn good although they have missed an alliteration opportunity by not calling it Bison Bread.

    We have conferences in Perth too, you know.

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite March 8, 2010 at 14:50 #

      HAHA! Yes, I know you have conferences in Perth but it’s a bit far, no? And seriously – can I still call you my friend if you are suspicious of sausages? What’s that all about then? You would have LOVED this… And yes, they missed an excellent alliteration op!

  12. Tasty Trix March 8, 2010 at 14:37 #

    I want to go on a blogger blind date, you lucky girl!

  13. Natashya March 8, 2010 at 14:48 #

    Wow! How fun to travel and meet some of the people behind the blogs! Wonderful.

  14. tia March 8, 2010 at 15:49 #

    there’s a hell’s kitchen here in Vancouver BC too!

  15. Nicole @ Making Good Choices March 8, 2010 at 16:30 #

    That is SO fun you had a little blogger meet up. looks like you guys had a delicious meal and great company! so fun! :)

  16. Delana March 8, 2010 at 16:51 #

    I love Hell’s Kitchen and I too can never decide. But I am quite able to put down a bowl of their porridge…anytime! Glad you had fun in my old stomping ground.

  17. Jen Laceda March 8, 2010 at 17:16 #

    Hi Mardi,
    I didn’t even know you moved your blog to WP. I was wondering why my reader was “out dated”. Good to know you’re still blogging!!

  18. mademoiselle délicieuse March 9, 2010 at 02:06 #

    That peanut butter is so chunky it looks like satay sauce!

  19. citronetvanille March 9, 2010 at 02:36 #

    What a cute story! It does look like a blind date though :o) – I’m glad you had a good time, because it can be odd, very unusual meal, quite curious about the sausage bread…

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite March 9, 2010 at 07:40 #

      Yes it can be weird meeting people that you “know” from online but every single blogger I have met has been wonderful!

  20. Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella March 9, 2010 at 02:42 #

    Hehe that’s so true about it being like a blind date! :D Mmmm it sounds wonderful and I love the sound of the sausage bread! :o

  21. penny aka jeroxie March 9, 2010 at 04:56 #

    That is awesome! I love the look of that pancake and don’t mind trying Mahnomin Porridge.

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite March 9, 2010 at 07:39 #

      Yes the porridge was pretty amazing actually – and I am not really a porridge kind of girl!

  22. Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction March 9, 2010 at 14:56 #

    I always enjoy meeting bloggers who I “know” online! Loved reading all about Hell’s Kitchen. You have me wanting to go hop on a plane so that I can be there for breakfast tomorrow!

  23. Krissy @ The Food Addicts March 9, 2010 at 18:15 #

    i actually really enjoy meeting fellow food bloggers. it’s great to put a face to a blog! and we’ve created some great friendships through meeting them. the foodbuzz blogger festival was fantastic. i’m already set to go again this november! hopefully we’ll get to meet and chat this time around :)

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite March 9, 2010 at 20:52 #

      Hi Krissy – I really hope I get to come to the FBZ festival again this year… Would love to meet you!

  24. Marisa @All in Good Food March 10, 2010 at 22:18 #

    What a wonderful post. I could tell you enjoyed yourself. The food look wonderful I wish I could have reached in to taste it. Also you are right Tracey does seem like a very nice person.

  25. Fuji Mama March 12, 2010 at 18:32 #

    I am SO jealous that Tracey got to meet you in person and you got to meet her! Sigh. Someday. The restaurant sounds fabulous!

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