Candyland Chicago Popcorn Mix

Candyland popcorn

A little background

Candyland started in 1932 under the name Flavo Korn on Wabasha St. in downtown St. Paul. In 1938, Arnie Kelsy took over the business. By 1950, he added a more extensive line of candies and renamed the store ”Candyland”.

In 1981, Arnie sold the business to Doug and Brenda Lamb. It was a natural transition for Doug to take over the store, since he had already worked there for many years.

In 1988, Brenda and Doug created the Chicago Mix® blend of popcorns which has become a favorite, not just in the midwest, but throughout the United States.

A lot of time has passed since Candyland started as Flavo Korn, however, the recipes have remained the same. Candyland still believes in excellent customer service and the “mom and pop” atmosphere.

Want to find a Candyland near you?
Check out their website to view locations in St. Paul, Minneapolis, and Stillwater.

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Chicago mix popcorn

 My thoughts

Thanks to the awesome recommendation by the staff of Candyland, my husband and I, much to our delight, were able to enjoy a gallon tin of their Chicago Mix ®.  I couldn’t help but smile at our good fortune.  My husband and I were getting ready to host a football party, which is pretty close to every weekend, and we were looking for something unexpected to nosh on instead of the standard chips and dipping sauce.  Hello Candyland Chicago Mix ® to the rescue!  The Chicago Mix ® is an even blend of Candyland’s traditional seasoned popcorn mixed with a sweet caramel popcorn and cheesy popcorn. Normally, I wouldn’t have thought of adding a popcorn mix to the game day spread, but after sampling the Chicago Mix ®, how could I not make this a standard for our parties?  Really, it’s that good, just take a look.

chicago mix popcorn; candyland

Now, I’m sure I’m not the only one who can’t stand the fake taste of cheese powder that often covers chips or similar snacks.  Let me assure you, I had no complaints with the cheesy popcorn included in this mix.  I don’t know if what Candyland’s secret is, but I didn’t get the impression that they skimped on the flavor and quality of this popcorn in the slightest.  The whole mix was so good, we became addicted by the first handful.  We later discovered that Candyland makes their popcorn fresh every day in-house, which, I’m sure, added to the punch of flavors we so adored.

Why was this a perfect snack on game day?  For starters, you get a lot of bang for your buck when you purchase one gallon worth of the Chicago Mix ®.  We had a group of six at our place (mostly guys) and everyone was able to have a bowl full.  Like I figured, it was a smash hit and left the chips and salsa high and dry.  Is it ironic that we were munching on the Chicago Mix ® while we were watching the Chicago/Steelers game?

I mentioned that we had a gallon tub of the Chicago Mix ® and one of the first things that crossed my mind was wondering what I was going to do with the tin tub once we were finished with the popcorn.  Having a background in public relations and learning the basics of graphic design, I didn’t want to simply toss the tub out.  So what did we do?  I decided to fill it with ice and shove a couple beer bottles in, that’s what I did!

Candyland Ice bucket with Grain Belt and Summit Beer

Worked like a charm too.  No one had to miss a play or wait for the commercial breaks to get their beer thanks to our new ice bucket.  Thanks Candyland!  As for the beer, we kept things local with Grain Belt and Summit.  This is a blog about all things Minnesota, would you expect anything else?  I didn’t think so.

On top of being a great way to change up your game day snacks, Candyland has a wide variety of designs on their tubs to fit most holidays and occasions.  I’m considering getting a tub around Valentines day.  Yes, it has hearts on the tub; yes, I’m going to chill wine in it.  Probably this wine from Sovereign Estate Winery.  Don’t judge. 🙂

The perfect blend crafted to satisfy both your sweet and salty cravings, Candyland’s Chicago Mix ® is my choice for a game day hit or as a warm wishes during the holidays.

For a full view of their popcorn mixes, check out the link below:
Popcorn Mix


Barbette – Dinner Time

A little background

Barbette is a casual, eclectic French Bistro located on the corner of Lake Street and Irving Ave. S. in Uptown.  The owners of Barbette are a collaborative bunch.  They work with local farmers, organizations supporting local and organic agriculture, local brews and spirits, and other restaurants supporting local foods.  It’s because of these relationships that Barbette is able to provide its guests with an incredibly fresh menu that changes with the seasons.  Chef Sarah Master’s background in French bistro cuisine and skills in “nose-to-tail” concepts with meats and produce contribute to success and outstanding creations of Barbette.

In addition to creating a menu with selections that are out-of-this-world good, Barbette is heavily involved in the arts and culture scene in Uptown.  The inside walls are used to display the work of local artists.  Stop by, take a look, and you won’t be disappointed.  In addition to supporting the arts, Barbette throws a huge bash every year in between Lake Street and Lagoon in Uptown to celebrate Bastille Day.  (Of course a French restaurant should throw a party on this day!)  They invite vendors and pretty decent musicians to come out and join the festivities.

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 My thoughts

I’ve got to let you know, this wasn’t my first time visiting Barbette.  Since stopping there for lunch, a few months ago, I’ve become a repeat customer and fan of the thriving atmosphere they cultivate in all of their endeavors.  Since my last post on Barbette, I’ve participated in Bastille Day festivities and their course night (more to come on that in a different post).  I’m going to give credit to one of my closest friends, Sarah, for this visit.  She gave Tony and I gift cards to some of our favorite places and Barbette happened to be one of them.  We decided to go for dinner, yes married people still know how to have awesome date nights! Here’s what we got:


I went for the Shrimp with Sweet Corn Risotto (sweet corn, peas, pea tendrils, and parmesan crisp).  Tony ordered a full entree of the risotto and, to be honest, that was a smart decision.  The risotto was probably the most delicious dish I’ve had in a very long time.  The risotto was very creamy with a subtle sweetness thanks to the corn and peas.  Both Tony and I couldn’t help gobbling this up in a hurry, concluding that we have to reorder it the next time we are in.  Yes, the risotto is that good.

Now that I’ve gushed about the risotto, I’ll touch on the shrimp.  Yes, the shrimp was fantastic as well.  I actually loved the smokey flavor to complement the sweetness of the risotto.  They came out nice and hot and were easy to take out of their outer shell.  The chefs at Barbette definitely know their stuff!

If you couldn’t tell, I would highly recommend going here and ordering this dish.  Trust me, you won’t go wrong with Barbette’s Shrimp with Sweet Corn Risotto.  Top this off with a glass of wine and you’re all set!

For a full view of their menu, check out the link below:

Breakfast and Lunch
Dinner and Dessert
Late night

Best Wings in MSP – Runyon’s

Beer and interior decor at Runyon's

A little background

Runyon’s Bar is a diamond in the rough hidden in the architecturally interesting Warehouse District in Minneapolis.  Being away from the downtown of Minneapolis, it’s quiet and offers a good space for conversation with friends.  As you can see from the picture above, the decor and atmosphere look very dive-bar-ish, but done in a classy way.  From what I’ve found, every spot you find has that one menu item that is a smashing hit.  Runyon’s specialty just happens to be their buffalo wings.

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 My thoughts

My husband and I were introduced to Runyon’s through a few close friends of ours.  This is practically the regular venue of choice for everyone at the Sartell Group.  I can definitely see why.  It’s nice to get away from the busy bars and lounges of downtown Minneapolis in favor of quieter, more relaxing happy hour.  This place is ideal for larger groups.  They have huge booths and tons of space to fit everyone in your party.  Game time hangout anyone?

So about our order…

basket of fries and a double order of wings

This trip that I’m writing about wasn’t our first time there.  Runyon’s Honestly, some of the BEST wings you will ever have in your life.  Not only do these wings pack a lot of meat, but they are rich flavor.  The wings come in three sizes: 10, 20 or party size.  Tony and I always order the double size (20 wings) and a basket of fries.  To be honest, this would definitely serve three people.

Now, I must highlight their dipping sauce.  The signature sauce is an especially tasty blue cheese.  Also, I’m not typically a fan of blue cheese dipping sauces, but Runyon’s knows how to do things right. Runyon’s doesn’t skimp on the sauce.  It’s thick and  actually loaded with nuggets of blue cheese.  It’s the perfect complement to some buffalo wings!

close up of Runyon's chicken wings

On top of awesome wings, they have a great staff who really try to get to know their customers. There is a reason why my friends and I have become repeat customers.

If you’re looking for buffalo wings that are out-of-this-world delicious and a solid beer selection, Runyon’s Bar is the quiet gem you are looking for!  Just remember, try to get there early on game days.  Without an official lot to park in, it makes things difficult when searching for a parking space.

For a full view of their menu, check out the link below:
online menu