Millner Heritage Winery

Milliner Heritage Winery wine bottles

A little background

Located just seven miles south of Kimball, Minn., you’ll find Millner Heritage Winery, which specializes in the production of Austrian-Hungarian style wines.  Their website offers a fascinating review of their family history and how they got their foot into the wine making business.

Better yet, follow them on their Facebook page for real-time updates about their winery and seasonal specials.

My Thoughts

Not too long ago, I had the pleasure of coming to Millner Heritage Winery as part of the bachelorette festivities for one of my close girlfriends.

I was surprised to find such a large winery tucked away in the rolling hills of farmlands just 7 miles outside of Kimball. I grew up around this area (okay, maybe an hour north of this area) and I’m delighted at anything that allows me to boast about my small corner of the world.

So when the bridal party made it’s way out to Millner Heritage Winery, the anticipation of learning more about this place just about killed me and it did not disappoint.

The winery itself is a site to behold when you’re driving down its narrow gravel road through rows and rows of budding groves of grape vines to the main building.

Our visit began with a detailed tour of their family vineyard/winery, which consisted of an informative, tractor-drawn trolly ride through the vineyard rows. On this tour, the owner Jon described in detail the process of growing a vineyard and described the grape varieties grown on their land.

To tour the winery and learn about wine-making, you’ll have to sign up for a separate tour, but it’s worth it. To date, this was the most in-depth winery tour that I’ve had the pleasure of participating in. Our tour group was walked through every step in the wine-making process from harvest to bottle. If you’re considering taking this tour, make sure you bring a jacket. It got quite cold in there.

Millner Heritage Winery owner,Don, demonstrates wine making process
Millner Heritage Winery owner demonstrates how the grape skins are separated from the rest of the fruit.

Our tour ended with a sampling of 14 of their 16 wines. On this day, they didn’t have their Nordsuss or Gemutlichkeit wines available for sampling. If sipping 14 wines in one sitting seems like a little much, they offer a variety of sampling levels at various prices. Since many of our party were not from the area, we took the opportunity to sample all of the wines produced at Millner Heritage Winery.

I would recommend getting a cheese plate to go with the samplings to enhance the flavors of their wines.

Millner Heritage Winery wine bottles
Beginning our wine sampling at Millner Heritage Winery

I SO appreciated that visitors are given a wine list that details what grapes each wine contains, what barrel they were stored in, how the wine was produced, and what flavors you’re likely to experience when tasting.

It became apparent quickly that anyone could find a wine that they enjoyed here. Out of the 14 that we sampled, I easily could have brought eight of these home with me (and if I had the funds to do so I would have!). What kept me from enjoying a few of their wines was the notes of apricot in the wine. I’ve never been a fan of apricot, but the other women on our tour adored those wines (apricot lovers rejoice!).

In the end, I went home with two wines: the Rona and Mullner Nice.

*Descriptions below are from their wine list.

Rona (red wine): This is a poetic term for the Great Hungarian Plain in eastern Hungary where Jon’s wife Annamaria grew up. This wine is moderately tart, thus it is often nice to pair this wine with food that is seasoned a little heavier or a bit spicy.

Mullner Nice (white wine): Made from pressing frozen Frontenac Gris grapes to concentrate the sugar, acid and flavor compounds, roughly about 40% concentrating the juice. The resulting wine has a tremendous amount of flavor (they’re not kidding on that point) and sweetness.

Cheers!

Enjoying our wine tasting at Millner Heritage Winery

Advertisements
wine bottles lined up

Why Wine Lovers Should Visit Stillwater, Minn.

wine bottles in Stillwater, MNSo I’m a little ashamed to admit this, but I just had my first visit to Stillwater, Minn. It’s surprising, considering I’ve grown up in Minnesota and I like to explore. I didn’t really know what to expect from this sizeable town, better known as the “Birthplace of Minnesota.” What I found, is that it’s a foodie/wine lover’s paradise!

My husband and I stumbled across our first gem when taking a self-guided, historic walking tour of Stillwater. We couldn’t help but notice a miniature castle carved from the limestone bluffs. Housed within this castle is Luna Rossa Wine Shop.

Luna Rossa Wine Shop in Stillwater, MNUpon opening the door, we were immediately welcomed in and asked if we wanted to participate in a wine tasting. Of course we said, “yes!”

Tony and I have been to our fair share of wine tastings. They’re a great way to sample many varieties of wine that you normally wouldn’t try. It’s wonderful to discover what you truly enjoy so you can avoid wasting  your money on something that doesn’t delight your palette. Tony and I agreed that the woman at Luna Rossa Wine Shop not only selected a stellar set of wines to sample, but also provided an incredibly educational experience for the participants. When presenting each wine, she detailed it’s creation from where it was grown, the variety of grapes, the process it undertook, how it should properly be served, and what pair each wine with.

When the sampling concluded, we were able to walk around their cave-like shop and look for the wines we sampled.

Head down the main drag and you’ll get to Northern Vineyards Winery, which is a cooperative between vineyards across Minnesota and Wisconsin. It is also one of the oldest wineries in Minnesota and one of the first wine cooperatives in the United States.

Northern Vineyards Winery wine glassesThe staff was incredibly knowledgeable about all of their 30 varieties of wine and they were always willing to tell us more about their co op, the types of grapes they use (varieties that can withstand the cold), and what foods would make excellent pairings for their wine. So why should you stop here? If the fact that this is a grassroots co op hasn’t piqued your interest, then maybe appeal of sampling ten wines at once will change your mind. Yes, Northern Vineyards Winery offers the largest sampling that I’ve ever been to. They guarantee that visitors have the opportunity to sample a wide range of wines to truly discover their personal favorites. At $5 a sampling, this is the best deal you’ll get in town.

Here’s a rough picture of our sampling menu. As you can see, we sipped everything from white and sweet to spicy and red. This is a MUST  when you’re visiting Stillwater, MN.

FYI: My favorite was the Yellow Moccasin.

Northern Vineyards Winery Wine Menu in Stillwater, MN

Here’s another piece of advice, when in Stillwater, make a point to stop at Domacin Wine Bar. This little wine bar was actually featured in Travel+Leisure Magazine as one of “America’s 25 Best Wine Bars”. If that doesn’t excite your tastebuds, I don’t know what will. Unfortunately, we were visiting when it was closed so we didn’t get to go, but you better believe we’ll be taking another trip to Stillwater ASAP!

Mozza Mia

Mozza Mia in Edina Minnesota

A little background

Mozza Mia is a spacious, lively Italian restaurant located in Edina’s trendy downtown.  What makes Mozza Mia unique is their devotion to fresh ingredients, which starts with their house mozzarella.  They prepare a few varieties every morning out of whole milk curds. When completely finished, the mozzarella does not need additives, other than a little olive oil, to bring out its full flavor.  When we went, they had just started making their own pastas also.

It makes sense that Mozza Mia is smartly designed and has a menu that suites a wide range of tastes.  It’s owned by the same family that runs Chino Latino, a highly successful restaurant in Uptown.  My buddies and I have went to Chino a number of times so we were excited to stop in to this Italian treat.

Social Media
Twitter: Click here!
Facebook: Click here!

 My thoughts

Italian Caprese Salad from Mozza Mia in Edina, Minnesota

Since Mozza Mia makes their own mozzarella, we had to order up their Mozzarella Caprese with vine-ripened tomatoes, basil and a drizzle of olive oil.  Like I mentioned before, the mozzarella doesn’t need much to have a great taste.  Everything was fresh and made for a great starter before our entree arrived.  What did we think of the mozzarella?  It was fantastic!  It was smooth and easily could have worked on any dish that could use a pop of cheese.

Italian Fig and prosciutto pizza from Mozza Mia in Edina, Minnesota

Now, Mozza Mia has a great selection of pasta dishes,  but I really wanted to try one of their creative pizzas.  I’ve listened to a few of my coworkers rave about them so, naturally, I had to see what all the hype was about.  I was in an adventurous mood so I went with the Fig and Prosciutto pizza upon our waitress’s recommendation.  I absolutely loved it!  In addition to the sweet flavor of the figs and the saltiness of the prosciutto, this pizza came with caramelized onions smothered in gorgonzola cheese.  I was love at first bite and there was no way this pizza survived on my plate for long.  What was I to do?  Let it go cold?  For this magical pizza that was not an option.  I will highly and emphatically suggest ordering this at your entree.

Overall, two thumbs way, way up for t Mozza Mia.  The owners have done it again and created an Italian restaurant that I will certainly return to.

For a full view of their menus, check out the link below:
Lunch & Drinks
Dinner & Drinks
Happy Hour
Desserts

Honeymooning in Ireland!!!!

After six years of dating and a year of wedding planning, Tony and I said “I Do” this past August. (Have you noticed I started saying “husband”?  We both cannot believe that it’s been almost two months since we “tied the knot” and we know things can only get better…says the woman who’s in the “honeymoon” phase of married life.

Speaking of honeymoons, Tony and I are getting pretty excited to go on ours…FINALLY!!!  We decided to go to Ireland, a long awaited trip for both of us.  We leave this Friday and we’ve begun counting the hours.  When I get back, I’ll make a special exception to the rules of my blog and write about what delectables we’ll get to nosh on there!  Stay tuned!!!

Also, my apologies for deciding not to post any new content for the next couple weeks.  Seriously though, it’s my honeymoon.  Can you blame me?  🙂

Stay Hungry!

Stella’s Fish Cafe

A view from inside Stella's Fish Cafe.
A view from inside Stella’s Fish Cafe.

A little background

Stella’s Fish Cafe & Prestige Oyster Bar is a contemporary seafood restaurant located on the cross roads of W Lake Street and Grand Ave. S. That would be in the heart of the Uptown Neighborhood in Minneapolis. With a roof-top bar four stories high, it’s definitely the place to be on a warm summer night kicking back a specialty cocktail and noshing on fresh seafood. In addition to your traditional seafood fare, they also offer sushi!

Social Media
Twitter: Click here!
Facebook: Click here!

 My thoughts

In case readers haven’t caught on from my previous posts, I keep saying fiance. Well, it finally happened. Tony and I are finally married! YAY! As part of a bridal shower gift, our friend Sarah gave us a gift certificate to a couple different restaurants for our future “date nights.” This wasn’t my first time here, but Tony had never been so he was very excited to check it out. With roof top seating and a well-stacked menu, we couldn’t wait to use this gift card!

Coconut Shrimp with a pineapple and coconut marmalade.
Coconut Shrimp with a pineapple and coconut marmalade.

With my taste buds craving something with a tropical influence, I had to go with the coconut shrimp. Deep-fried, but not greasy, these shrimp hit the spot! I was impressed with their pineapple and coconut marmalade dipping sauce. It was a refreshing addition to an already light entree. With the shrimp, you also get a side of coleslaw with garlic and chive mashed potatoes. Let me digress, I’m not a mashed potatoes kind of girl, but I will always make an exception for theirs. Their garlic and chive mashed potatoes will be an instant hit for anyone looking for some soul food.

Beer Battered Fish and Chips.
Beer Battered Fish and Chips.

My husband decided to try Stella’s fish and chips because it’s a standard dinner served in many places around the Twin Cities. He wants to see which restaurant has the best fish and chips in the metro area. Hand’s down, he claims they are the best fish and chips he’s eaten since moving to the Minneapolis area. Congrats Stella’s, you’ve won yourself a title on my blog. When I asked him for the reasons behind his decision, here’s what he had to say:

  1. The pieces of fish were hearty. You can expect to get large pieces of fish and nothing skimpy.
  2. The Icelandic haddock (the type of fish) was very fresh.
  3. He loved the beer batter recipe used to coat the fish.  Tony mentioned that “…it’s crispy, but, surprisingly, isn’t that greasy for being fried.”

If that’s not a good enough description, I don’t know what is.

Stella’s Fish Cafe is definitely a “must-do” when looking for a place to dine in Minneapolis. If you are looking for a well-rounded menu, the Twin Cities’s best fish and chips, and some of the freshest seafood in the Metro, you’ve found the right place. Thanks for the gift card Sarah!

For a full view of their menu, check out the link below:
Lunch Menu
Dinner Menu
Beverage
Dessert Menu
Gluten Free Menu

Marla’s Caribbean Cuisine

marlas

A little background

Marla’s Caribbean Cuisine used to be the former Jamaica Jamaica restaurant until owners Marla and her husband Ian bought it out and renamed it Marla’s Caribbean Cuisine. After taking care of others as a nurse for 18 years, she is now working in her restaurant full time. According to her website, Marla has “reached Nirvana.” For their customers craving Creole, Indian, and Latin flavors, Nirvana can be found here. Both she and her husband have roots from Trinidad and Tobago, which means more authentic entrees for us Northerners!

It’s no surprise that Marla and Ian’s delightfully spiced entrees have gained solid recognition among the foodie culture in Minneapolis. This became especially apparent when Marla’s was featured on the Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives” with Guy Fieri. Check out the video below.

Social Media
Facebook: Click here!

 My thoughts

Let me just take a moment to highlight their decorations. The walls of Marla’s are plastered with fun posters with a distinctly reggae flare. This makes perfect sense given that this is supposed to be a Caribbean inspired restaurant. Can you spot Guy Fieri? My fiance and I had a blast looking around at all the posters and decorations.

inside 2

inside 1

Okay, to kick things off we had to get an order of fried plantains.  For those of you who haven’t had these babies before, please, order them the next chance you get!  If you’d rather stay in, these are extremely easy to make as well.  All you have to do is go to the grocery store and buy plantains. Then you need to heat oil in  a pan until it’s good and hot. Now, you can choose to slice the plantains and fry them or you can fry them whole if they are smaller. Either way, just stick them into the pan of hot oil and wait until they are brown on the outside and even have a slight crisp. You can eat them with either sea salt or a little bit of sugar and cinnamon.

Long story short, we order these every time … seriously, every time. Just get them.

edited plantains

One of the best features of Marlas is that you know are getting a fresh, home cooked meal. Literally, they make everything to order and not a minute before. It’s like going home and having mom and dad cook you amazing Caribbean food! For my main meal of the night, I went with Channa and Potato Roti, which was featured on the Food Network.  What you get is a whole lot of chick peas, golf ball-sized potatoes and onions all seasoned with curry. Served is a soft, flakey and warm roti. I highly recommend this one, but be sure you read their menu for their spicy levels. Medium is very hot and Indian hot is just ridiculous for someone not used to it!

edited chick peas

edited bread

Tony went with the Caribbean jerk. When we were here a couple months ago, a friend of our ordered this and Tony was determined to order it the next time we went. He got his wish and was definitely pleased. I can see why. The slight char on the chicken really gives it a smokey flavor that is only enhanced by the spices the meat absorbs while cooking with the peppers and onions. The jerk is served with white rice. Beware, this dish is HOT!

caribbean jerk

Thank you Food Network for finding this place. Tony and I continuously enjoy coming to Marla’s Caribbean Cafe to spice up our dinners in the week. You can always expect a great, friendly staff and food that is both filling and unique. Two things are certain, we’re positive that we are going back soon and we’ll be starting our meal with an order of plantains. We hope you enjoy Marla’s as much as we did!

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

Yum! (More Updates)

… Yum! Cafe and Bakery Continued:

At this point, I hope someone has caught on to the fact that I post a lot about breakfast foods.  There is a good reason behind this habit of mine.  I, simply, adore breakfast!  Hands down, it is by far my most favorite meal of the day.  Not only do I need to have breakfast to get through the day, but many of my favorite foods are served: coffee, eggs, french toast, eggs benedict, specialty pancakes, muffins.  The list could go on and on.  I hope it would come as no surprise that my updates from Yum! Cafe and Bakery heavily focus on their breakfast menu.  Sadly, they don’t have this menu posted online to look at so you’ll have to make due with my experiences.

I had a day off of work so I decided to head over to Yum! to grab a good breakfast and catch up on the news from the StarTribune, the largest newspaper in Minnesota.  I went with the Spinach scrambled eggs because, 1. I love the taste of spinach and the amount of iron it contains and 2. I wanted something cheesy, and 3. it came with breakfast potatoes!  This one was a winner!  I would highly recommend this one for anyone in need of a filling and hearty breakfast.  P.S. their breakfast potatoes are amazing.  They are always soft, well seasoned, and never greasy.

Scrambled eggs with spinach, diced ham, cheese and topped with bean sprouts.
Scrambled eggs with spinach, diced ham, cheese and topped with bean sprouts. Served with breakfast potatoes and a side of toast.

I love when my friends come to town and spend the night (Garrett, I’m talking about you) because we always end up stopping at Yum! for brunch.  On our last excursion of Yum!, we decided that life’s too short to wait for dessert (What movie? Scroll to the bottom to find out!) so we had it first before our breakfast came.  For me, one of the necessities of summer is having a slice of key lime pie.  I don’t know what it is, but the flavor always reminds me of summertime; thus, I can’t properly say “it’s summer” without a bite out of this pie.  Yum! did not disappoint.  Just look at the heaping topping!  Complete with a graham cracker crust and a lime filling that was silky smooth, it’s safe to say that this did not last long between the two of us.  I’d like to meet someone who didn’t like this pie.

Key lime pie
Yum!’s delightful key lime pie for two.

During that same visit, I went with the Southwestern eggs scrambled as seen below.  Overall, I thought it was okay.  To be honest, I wasn’t the biggest fan of having the tortilla chips mixed in with my eggs.  Since my buddies and I were having casual drinks last night and munching on tortilla chips, I didn’t really want more of them in my breakfast.  In reality, the chips didn’t hurt the flavor of the meal, but the texture was off in my opinion.  This morning, I most enjoyed the potatoes.  Hats off to the cooks because their breakfast potatoes are always cooked perfectly and complete my breakfast cravings.  These potatoes were cooked up with peppers and onions.  Of course I love them because the peppers added a little “kick” to the overall flavor.

southwest, eggs, tortillas, breakfast, minneapolis minnesota
Yum!’s Southwest scramble is tossed with tortilla chips, onions, and topped with fresh salsa. Served with breakfast potatoes and a side of toast.

Remember my reference to eating dessert first?  The reference was from the movie “Remember Me“, starring Robert Pattinson and Emilie de Ravin.  Kudos for any of you movie buffs who got that right!  If you enjoyed this post and would like to read about my other visits to Yum!, check out my last blog post here.