The keys to our (coffee) hearts.

You know, we live in Northeast Minneapolis: land of Greenies, <a title="Psycho Suzi's Motor Lounge. Tiki drinks, Nye’s jumbo cocktails… are you noticing a theme here?

I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’m the #1 fan of our uniquely NE bar scene, but what about when you get up in the morning and are nursing that dull ache that comes after one too many ______ (fill in your favorite Northeast adult beverage here)?

I mean, if the ibuprofen and Gatorade aren’t cutting it for you, you need a cuppa.

Java, Joe, coffee, kids.

When I lived in Linden Hills, I could wander over to Rustica/Java Jacks. If I happened to land in Uptown, Muddy Waters was right there (OK, it’s not in the same place anymore, but it still EXISTS).

Here? Eh, not so much.  We’ve taken to making coffee at home anyhow, being grown up, frugal, and whatnot… so my search has turned from, “Where can I get a double to-go?” to, “Where can I get beans that blow my mind at 7am when I hop in the car for my commute?”

Let me tell you: we lack serious beans in this corner of town.

I’m a big fan of Bull Run. And by big fan, I mean I’ve considered setting up a restaraunt LLC just to be able to buy their beans wholesale. I beg my uptown-dwelling friends to bring me coffee when they come up my way. It’s the Official Bean of Girls Weekend. God, I love that stuff.

Also: I will beg, borrow, and steal for Dogwood beans. Perhaps I’m driven to Dogwood because they are embedded within Rustica (and honestly, the chocolate/pistachio pastry and a latte? This is clearly what God will put on my breakfast table daily when I get to heaven). They also have their roots deeply embedded with Bull Run. Anyway, I love how seriously their baristas take their coffee. If you are going to drink something, you may as well be an expert about it, and these guys are the experts.

Both of these options, however, are inconvenient. My convenient options include picking up beans at the grocery store (ick), chain coffee shops (double ick), or a couple of indie coffee shops that don’t do their own roasting (mostly, meh).

So, imagine my delight when our lovely local corner restaurant, Hazel’s, offered to sell us a bag of True Stone roasted Costa Rican beans.

I brewed up a pot this morning, with a sweet tension headache brewing, and to my surprise, I actually had to pull the package out of the cupboard to ensure Dave hadn’t, in fact, purchased Bull Run beans. Yum! And walkable! Be still my Northeast heart, there is caffeinated salvation to be had in my neighborhood.

If you haven’t yet visited Hazel’s, especially for brunch, get it on your docket. It’s so good: warm, friendly, casual, delicious food served simply and without pretense. Have a couple of cups of coffee when you’re there, and take home a bag of beans to try for yourself.

I raise my travel mug to better-tasting caffeination. Cheers!


sunshine is fine.

It’s shaping up to be an idyllic week here in Northeast Minneapolis… and waking up to find this delicious lemonade recipe in my inbox (courtesy of a fabulous little hotel in New Prague MN called Schumacher’s — which, by the way, we highly recommend; excellent food, amazing accomodations, and a great bartending staff)… well, it’s just sort of the inspiration I needed to get this summer started.

Thanks, Schumachers Hotel and Grill 212!

Summertime Lemonade Recipe from Chef John

Chef John's Summertime  Lemonade RecipeThis is a refreshing summer treat. There’s lemonade, and then there’s Lemonade! Guess which one this is?

Lemon Base
2 cups sugar
1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
Grated peel of 2 lemons
Lemon Cubes
1 1/2 cups freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup lemon base
3 ice cubes
1 lemon cube
8 oz. cold water

  1. For Lemon Base, combine sugar, lemon juice and lemon peel in large saucepan; heat to a boil 3 minutes. Remove from heat; cool to room temperature. Store in refrigerator in covered glass container until served.
  2. For Lemon Cubes, freeze lemon juice in ice-cube tray. When frozen, transfer to resealable plastic bag.
  3. For 1 tall glass of Lemonade, combine base, cubes and water. As cubes melt, they keep each drink full of flavor. For pink color, add a little cranberry juice to lemon juice before freezing.

10 servings.
Preparation time: 10 minutes.
Ready to serve: 1 hour, 10 minutes.

• The most important part of this Lemonade technique is to remove all white membrane from lemon peel with a potato peeler. The white membrane will make the Lemon Base bitter.