Bar Brigade - St. Paul

The weather was just turning it's corner into fresh air and open window inspiration when we received an invitation from the new restaurant, Bar Brigade, tucked away in the Highland Park neighborhood of Saint Paul.  We had heard rumblings of a new spot that offered french inspired food and maybe even Rose on tap - we didn't hesitate to accept their invitation. 

We were greeted with vigor as soon as we passed through the threshold - the small, familial team in place at Bar Brigade embraced it's first diners like we'd all known each other for a good long while. Without the stuffy informality that would be expected at any restaurant serving such pretty plates, our dining experience was earmarked by warm conversation and enthusiasm with our servers, bar managers and the head chef himself J. D. Fratzke. It didn't go unnoticed or unappreciated. 

We explored the Bar Brigade menu and found a similar genre within their food - romantic, tasteful and relatable. Between a handful of Oysters and Warm Rolls to start alongside champagne, we were pleased at the fluidity of our courses - the space, the food, and the atmosphere all spoke to a comfortable intimacy. It also invites to to stay longer, try more. 

The show had officially started when our entree plates arrived, including an exquisite Boar Bourguingon and Grilled Trout. Each of our choices danced together perfectly and didn't fail us in combination with Potatoes with Chevre and more champagne. There's no rush at Bar Brigade to finish your last bite and we certainly weren't looking forward to when that time did arrive. 

A Pear Tart and Nutella Crepe capped off our meals exactly how they should - perfectly sweet and without ostentatious fussing. The team in place here has already guaranteed you a memorable meal - we hope you find yourself at a bar seat of theirs soon, and hopefully with a Pear Tart in your company. 

IMG_6155.JPG
IMG_6156.JPG
IMG_6160.JPG
IMG_6157.JPG
IMG_6161.JPG
IMG_6162.JPG
IMG_6159.JPG
IMG_6164.JPG
IMG_6158.JPG
IMG_6163.JPG
IMG_6165.JPG
IMG_6167.JPG
IMG_6166.JPG

Texas, Forever - Four Days in Dallas

Took a short break from the Midwest fall to head south for a four day trip to Texas.  Dallas holds all the promise of dry heat, Tex-Mex barbecue, and hopefully some wistful cowboys in dark bars. The city itself is south meets industrial, very much delivering on the promise of everything bigger. The interstates and freeways that run through downtown are an homage to six flags, towering over you, with your fellow drivers cruising at a cool 95 mph with no intention of steadying. The warm air alone is enough to push you into a state of meditation, delivering an easy intention of exploring anywhere at a slow pace. We split our days between Dallas proper and a few outbound trips, which in full rounded out to be a great four day option that i'd highly recommend taking with a few friends.

IMG_6124.JPG

SOUTHFORK RANCH / HIGHLAND PARK

IMG_6123.JPG
IMG_6122.JPG

 We meandered through Highland Park and Downtown on our first day. Soaking in the smell of tall grass and warm stone was enough to woo any midwest native into staying put. Southfork Ranch and the Presidential Library were pretty destinations that are worthy of some vacation time. Regardless of political preference, the Presidential Museum was an architectural daydream in the sunlight, and allowed the privilege of actually being able to touch some of the metal beams that came from our Twin Towers. If you head to the museum, I'd recommend picking out a cute breakfast or coffee stop in downtown before heading in - no amenities like food or beverage are allowed in, and their outdoor cafe provides generic coffee and prepackaged snacks at best. Being an eater before anything else as a human being, I was desperate for some Texas fast food, and indulged at the Plano Whataburger with a sandwich the size of a steering wheel. Oh, and Big Red. South Fork itself is both retro and stunning, with about a mile long paved entrance flanked frees out of a southern fairy tale. 

IMG_6117.JPG
Dreamy Southfork Ranch Entrance

Dreamy Southfork Ranch Entrance

Whataburger.. no joke

Whataburger.. no joke

Sweet hacienda horses at Southfork Ranch

Sweet hacienda horses at Southfork Ranch

IMG_6126.JPG

WACO, TX / MAGNOLIA MARKET & THE SILOS

IMG_6121.JPG

Magnolia Market - the mecca for moms and daughters, the Joanna Gaines followers of the world. Whether your style is modern or you bask in the glory of farmhouse chic, we knew that the Silo's were a destination for us on this trip. Waco is an interesting place, with Fixer Upper leaving out the shotgun houses falling down all around and dilapidated shopping centers that randomly spot the area.  Driving out to Waco was a highlight - stretches of Texas farmland and small town names like Waxahachie and Corsicana realized all of my Friday Night Lights daydreams. We obviously stopped at the Waffle House in Waxahachie, because life without a Wa-Ho stop isn't a life at all. 

IMG_6127.JPG
IMG_6120.JPG
IMG_6129.JPG

The Silos themselves were the major hotbed of activity in Waco, offering trolley services to and fro their spot outside of Baylor University. Bad vibes are banned as soon as you cross their grass threshold by the corner bakery. As a retail merchandiser it's hard not to feel affectionate towards the open farmhouse shopping set-up, dusted with neutral paint colors and fresh air. The Silo's are well worth the day trip. It's very clear if you're able to drive through the slowly gentrifying neighborhood that the Fixer Upper houses stand out like a sore thumb amongst the crumbling surroundings. Kudos to the show for making some valiant efforts to make Waco a more walkable destination. 

IMG_6115.JPG
Pumpkin Pie Milkshake at Health Camp

Pumpkin Pie Milkshake at Health Camp

IMG_6114.JPG
IMG_6111.JPG

FORT WORTH, TX / STOCKYARDS

Coopers Pit Barbecue outside the Stockyards

Coopers Pit Barbecue outside the Stockyards

IMG_6112.JPG
IMG_6135.JPG

Our third day may have been the pinnacle of our Texas sojourn for me. We made the short drive to Fort Worth to get a taste of what's described as the most "true western" of the northern Texas neighborhood. Locked, stocked and loaded with barbecue pits, bars, and of course the Stockyard itself, Fort Worth is special. We didn't make it into one of my preferred stops at Jimmy T. Garcias, which is listed as one of the best Tex-Mex spots in the state - by 11 a.m. the line to enter wrapped all the way down their outdoor stairs and around the block. Fort Worth is also home to one of the best dive bars listed in the U.S., The Lonesome Dove. We happened to be there on one of the only days that the Longhorn stockyards were hosting an open auction, with cattle ranchers from all across the south driving in to buy prized steers. I didn't mind at all chatting with a rancher in a fresh white button down and a Stetson that cost more than a year of my college education - the buyers were as friendly as your neighbors despite the predilection for extremely expensive cows. We capped our day at the San Antonio Rodeo, where I realized they're are not joking when they say bull riding is the worlds deadliest sport. 

IMG_6109.JPG
IMG_6104.JPG
Nachos at the Loveshack in Fort Worth

Nachos at the Loveshack in Fort Worth

IMG_6113.JPG

DEALEY PLAZA / BISHOP ARTS

IMG_6118.JPG

Our last day yielded one of my favorite historical destinations and favorite meals. We hopped off of Elm Street and into Dealey Plaza to spend the next few hours in the Sixth Floor Museum. Time very well spent on a sunny Sunday morning, and impactful to move through time suspended on that sixth floor. Pecan Lodge in Deep Ellum was at the top of my list for food in Dallas, and it was worth every penny spent and minute in line while we decided how many meats we were able to eat in one sitting. Turns out, a lot. 

IMG_6107.JPG
IMG_6106.JPG
IMG_6133.JPG
Pecan Lodge Barbecue in Deep Ellum - one hundred percent worth the wait.

Pecan Lodge Barbecue in Deep Ellum - one hundred percent worth the wait.

Delicacies Jewelry

As self proclaimed foodies, we absolutely adore the idea behind Delicacies, a jewelry line designed for epicureans. Minnesota native Nicolle Nelson created the line from a literal daydream in which she envisioned the idea of a jewelry line depicting the key ingredients that speak to individuals and the food that they love. Each lovely silver charm is fastened to a skinny leather cuff, meant for stacking or wearing alone. There are also stunning 14k gold pendant necklaces that speak to the most feminine of foodie souls. Our favorite part of the venture is the promise of giving back to the community; each year three amazing chefs (think Gavin Kaysen and Andrew Zimmern) chose a charity working towards minimizing hunger and food insecurity. A portion of the proceeds of each pieces of jewelry goes towards supporting a chef's chosen charity and helping to eliminate hunger around the world. 

Luckily, we were able to partner with the Delicacies line to create a full meal, pre-dinner drinks included, featuring many of the sweet ingredients featured at Delicacies which you can view below.

xo Emma & Emily

image.jpg
image.jpg
image.jpg
image.jpg
image.jpg
image.jpg
image.jpg
image.jpg
image.jpg
image.jpg
image.jpg
image.jpg
image.jpg