A Foodie’s Guide to US Bank Stadium-Home of Super Bowl LII

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The glass walls of US Bank Stadium reflect the glistening Minneapolis skyline in the background while entrapping the sheer excitement of fans.  Even on a normal game day, the atmosphere is one of grandiose amazement.  I can only imagine what the stadium will be like on February 4th.

While the newly completed stadium is a sight to behold, the experience of attending a game is not second best.  Local eateries and chefs have put in a great deal of effort to curate to fans for the ultimate game day experience; one that is still overpriced, but one that will not make you feel like peeling over from eating too many crappy nachos at the end of the game.  One thing is certain, the stadium and the NFL will be pulling out all the stops for the big game.

Most older stadiums tend to serve only overpriced deep-fried American “classics” which don’t always settle well in the stomach.  While chicken fingers and nachos are typical, and they are available at US Bank, most of the food in the stadium is thankfully pretty gourmet and tasty.  With changing eating habits and an emphasis on healthier foods, American fans are sick of the classic hot dog and beer combo.  Celebrity chef and Minneapolis native Andrew Zimmern, who is revolutionizing game-day food through his successful restaurant stands in Minnesota stadiums, said that “People expect better food these days” and “We put our best foot forward, not despite the fact that it’s a stadium, but because it’s a stadium” (The Star Tribune). It’s true.  The food is still overpriced, but I know that I’m personally much more willing to pay more for something that I’d actually like than something that I’d never eat out of a stadium.

Here are some of the best foods found at US Bank Stadium.

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The roasted chicken sandwich at AZ Canteen.  This booth is one of Zimmern’s ventures and serves up many different carnivorous options that are sure to delight any meat lover.  The chicken was juicy and tender while tasting great with cajun spices.

 

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Smoky Chicken Nachos from Twin Cities Foodie.  These serve as an upgrade to the fake cheesy classic nachos that seem to have embedded themselves into stadium fare.  They are spicy but flavorful.

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Fried Chicken Sandwich from Revival.  I guess that chicken seems to be a common theme, but it is so good at the Stadium.  Revival is a popular Minneapolis-based southern fried chicken restaurant that has transferred their well-known chicken sandwiches to the football stadium.  This was my favorite as the fried chicken was paired perfectly with mayonnaise, tomatoes, and pickles.  Also available in Tennesse-style hot (tasty but a challenge to finish).  Delicious!

 

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Frozen Hot Chocolate from AZ Canteen.  This unconventional desert is a must try for a chocolate lover.  I would describe it as a frozen chocolate mousse paired with white chocolate covered cereal on top.  It is sort of like ice cream, but better than what stadium ice cream is usually like.

 

 

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Bomboloni from AZ Canteen.  Ok, this canteen place is really good.  I feel like anything there would be worth a try.  Before the game, my family shared these beignet-like donut holes for breakfast.  They are just as good as they look and sound!

Overall, the best places…

  • AZ Canteen:  Gourmet meat sandwiches and bbq along with unique desserts and drinks.
  • Revival Fried Chicken:  Fried chicken exemplar, enough said.
  • Minneapolis Foodie:  Focuses on gourmat food options that are targeted to more sophisticated fans.
  • 612 Burger Kitchen:  A classic burger stand serving well-made burgers with fries and tots.
  • Curds ‘N Cakes:  If you really want to pig out, indulge in some fabulous beer battered cheese curds.

Find out more here

 

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January Picks

January can be one of the most un-motivating and dreary times of the year.  After the high of the holiday season, it can be difficult to decompress, detox, and move-on.  Here are 8 items, ideas, and inspiration to help with the mid-winter slump.  Disclaimer, affiliate links included.

  1. Hand Lotion- AHAVA Mineral Cream
  • The current cold weather is the WORST for skin, especially hands, resulting in me desperately putting on a thick hand cream every couple of hours to prevent the dreaded cracked and burning skin.  This Dead Sea sourced AHAVA cream is a great water-based formula that moisturizes well and smells great.
  • Find it on Amazon by clicking on the image.   

2.  Body Lotion- Brazilian Bum Bum Cream

  • Again, the dry and cold weather is dreadful for skin, meaning that a good body cream is a must.  This Bum Bum cream is amazing.  It’s nourishing, makes your skin shine, and smells like a legit beach.
  • Find it on Amazon by clicking the image, or at sephora.
     3.  Resurrect your hair with a nourishing hair mask- Nelson Argan Oil Mask
  • I find that during these crazy weather months, my hair suffers.  It becomes super staticy and I tend to develop more split ends that usual.  I recently found this product that infuses moisture into hair while helping to repair damage.  It is super easy to apply and does not take up much time.  My hair has been so much better since getting this!
  • Find the hair mask on Amazon by clicking the image.

4.  See an Oscar season movie in theaters

  • So many great movies come out in December, and while many plan on seeing movies around the holidays, they are still around after New Years.  This year was espically good with movies such as “The Darkest Hour” and “I, Tonya” which are both historical biopics complete with great acting.

5.  Get intrigued and spooked by the latest season of Black Mirror

  • Black Mirror has to be one of the most intriguing shows out there right now with its complicating plotwists, unique story lines, and disturbing themes.  Each episode of the show is entirly different, meaning that each episode has completely different characters, settings and even time periods.  They explore different distrubing realities and mostly focus on the dark side of technology.  While sometimes freaky, Black Mirror is so fascinating, and the new season on Netflix does not disappoint.

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6.  Shop for early Spring Break clothing on sale online

  • Ok, so you might think that it is too early for spring shopping, but Spring Break is coming up fast, and why not treat yourself to clothing you can look forward to wearing in a couple of months.  Many online retailers are having massive sales on Resort collections right now.  Find great deals at Shopbop, MyTeresa and Net-A-Porter.

7.  Invest in some stylish and durable winter boots to get you through the rest of the winter

  • I confess to really not liking typical winter boots.  I don’t mind the look; it is just that I feel bulky wearing them.  However, I finally realized my need for them, and found a great pair of Sorrel’s from Nordstrom that are cute and not too blocky.  I love them because they are unconventional and stylish.  There are so many unique options out there that help keep winter chic!

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8.  Discover winter’s newest late coming color trends

  • Black and White:  Fresh out of Paris Haute Couture Week, the classic combo is suddenly being revitalized and it’s bolder than ever.  The look is a great way to brighten up winter while still staying with darker tones.
  • Pink:  Millenial Pink is hotter than even with the subtle shade being wore all year round.  The sweet color looks bright and refined while still making a statement.

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    Skirt: See by Cholé.  Skirt: Milly.  Shoes: Schutz.  Sweater: 3.1 Phillip Lim

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Inside the Newest, Most Insta-worthy Twin Cities Coffee Shop- Cafe Astoria

Not even established enough to have its own website, Cafe Astoria sits at an unassuming street corner, across from a hospital on St. Paul’s Grand Ave.  However, Cafe Astoria isn’t your typical independent neighborhood coffee shop that tends to inspire the basic minimalistic cup of a Millenial’s dream.  The coffee, which is the farthest thing from minimalistic, is attracting people from all over the cities (particularly teenaged and young adult girls) with its golden, rainbow, over the top creations that scream “I have to post this on my Instagram story!”.

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The café opened this past spring, intending on becoming just a small local shop for the downtown St. Paul neighborhood.  When pictures of the coffee started to surface on social media, everyone started to head to St. Paul to check out the hype.  The place is perfectly made for social media, and from a marketing standpoint, platforms, such as Instagram, have worked wonders for the shop, skyrocketing its popularity while continuing to curate towards the internet.  They have already needed to expand the shop to fit the overflow of customers.  Cafe Astoria has a typical menu of artisan drinks, both cold and hot, but then, there is the secret menu which contains creations such as the 24K Gold Latte, the Campfire Mocha, the Rainbow Matcha Latte, the Crême Brulé Latte, and the Rainbow Mint Mocha.  All amazingly beautiful; it is difficult to take the first couple sips of the drinks out of sheer fear of messing up the designs.  However, the taste of the coffee and the subtle sweetness allow for a very enjoyable experience.

  • Rainbow Matcha Latte: A nice sweet mix of warm green tea and milk.  The colors of the rainbow drinks change every day, so one day the drink could be blue like mine and pink the next day.  Either way, they are beautiful and unique.

  • Campfire Mocha:  Just imagine a s’mores turned coffee and you have a Campfire Mocha!  Great for chocolate lovers and anyone craving something fun and sweet.  Just look at that giant marshmallow!

  • 24K Gold Latte: A wonder to behold.  I mean who doesn’t want to drink eatable gold leafs?  Boujee and beautiful, the 24K Gold Latte is what made Cafe Astoria into what it has become.

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Coffee aside, Cafe Astoria has a great insta-worthy and trendy menu that is perfect for both breakfast and lunch.  The signature smoothie bowls are swoon-worthy art-pieces full of fruit, seeds, and great flavors.  Healthy and delicious, they have 4 different kinds ranging from “Beehive” to “Berry Berry”.  In addition, the café offers both savory and sweet crêpes which truly makes the place feel like a modern Parisian café.  They are very simple but definitely hit the spot for a quick meal.  There are also homemade pastries, including great scones, as well as sandwiches and an elaborate list of funky oatmeals.

  • Smoothie Bowls:  Full of fresh ingredients and nutrients, these bowls are just as pretty as the coffee at Café Astoria.  The super trendy health craze is thanks to a lot of Cafe Astoria’s popularity (other than the coffee) since people are clamoring to try the newfound smoothie bowl concept.
  • Crêpes:  Try classics such as banana with Nutella or any of the delicious savory sandwich-like options.  Make the trip down to St. Paul to relax, drink a fancy-schmancy coffee, eat a crêpe and a smoothie (if you really want to go all out), and enjoy.  Instagram crazy or not, either way, Cafe Astoria is a greatly enjoyable experience where the visible appeal of the food is just as important as the taste.


 Address: 180 Grand Ave
Saint Paul, Minnesota 55102

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CafeAstoriaSaintPaul

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9​ Items that I Didn’t Think of Bringing to College

I have now somehow successfully completed my first semester of college.  The transition was not as difficult as I had imagined even though I was practically moving everything and myself across the country, but there were many things that I had not thought through before moving to college.  Packing my whole life up was a hectic process that could never in my dreams have gone perfectly.  Looking back, these are 9 items that I didn’t bring originally but realized I definitely needed later on.  Affiliate links included

1.   A sleep mask

Having a roommate is definitely one of the most challenging adjustments for new college students.  It would be almost impossible to go to bed at the exact same time as your roommate every single night, so to make those nights when you yearn for sleep easier, a sleep mask is an essential.  I never thought to get one before college, but I learned the need for one very quickly, and it has definitely helped with the adjustment.

 

I recommend a Slip sleeping mask since the high-quality silk prevents bags and eye wrinkles in the morning.  Click the image below to buy.

2.  A yoga mat

Working out in college isn’t that hard, but for those days where it’s pouring rain or 0 degrees outside, good luck trying to drag yourself across campus to the gym.  A yoga mat is a great way to help you exercise, relax and let off steam right from your room, in addition to being a great weapon to beat that dreaded freshman 15.

Lululemon has a great collection of cute and stylish yoga mats that can be easily stored in a dorm.

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3.  Crappy shoes that I’m not in love with

Parties in frat houses or other theme houses are a great part of the college experience.  However, they are also disgusting.  The last thing you want is to ruin a cute pair of shoes by getting them soaked in a gross mix of liquids that typically cover a frat house.   It’s gross, so shoes that can be gross are an essential.

Converse shoes are great to wear out because they are comfortable, versatile, and can get gross.  Order some by clicking the image.  

4.   Small folding desk mirror

With limited space in a dorm room, it is important to maximize the space that you have to work with.  With that being said, you cannot just have mirrors laying around everywhere.  A folding mirror that you can prop up on a desk is perfect for doing hair and makeup and can be put away easily to open up space on a desk.

5.   A stash of kleenex boxes

I swear I always had some kind of cold or allergies throughout my entire first semester.  The speed that I went through a box of tissues was insane and I didn’t totally realize the need to have whole a stash.  You honestly cannot have too many boxes of kleenex.

6.   Paper towels

Believe it or not, paper towels are hard to come by in college and should definitely not be taken for granted.  It might seem slightly ridiculous, but colleges cannot supply students with possible every need.  I learned quickly to have a roll of paper towels in my dorm for whatever I might need it for (because who wants to clean up a mess with toilet paper?).

7.   A large supply of Emergen-C

As I said before, getting sick in college is inevitable and thus makes Emergen-C your new best friend.  I’m practically reliant on the nasty vitamin powder to keep me moderately healthy especially during important times such as exams.  Taking Emergen-C at least once daily is a great habit for anyone in order to promote immunity and overall health.

8.   A soap container

This one is totally on my lack of thinking prior to me moving into my dorm.  I was dumb enough to not realize that I would need something to hold my bar of soap while taking a shower in the communal bathrooms.  College showers are outright disgusting, so it is best to keep everything together and sanitary.

9.   An air filter

Living in such tight spaces results in a not so great air quality, and dust is likely to easily build up in tiny dorm rooms.  To prevent illness and make my room more comfortable, I bought a small and easy filter.  It really helped my sleep quality and the atmosphere in my room.

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