A couple of years ago, I wrote about how one of my favorite things to do when I travel is visiting grocery stores. Obviously, the past ten months haven't involved much travel (thanks, COVID) but I have been able to assuage my grocery store wanderlust with regular trips to United Noodles.
Because I write my annual best foods post as the year unfolds, this one started on a pretty typical note, with an ice cream date, an event at Como Zoo, and a pastry I ate on vacation. Then COVID happened, and along came takeout, contact-free pastry pickups, and patio meals with face masks and hand sanitizer. 2020 was a difficult and uncertain year, and I was incredibly fortunate that it also included some really good food.
After a summer and fall spent sipping cocktails on Twin Cities restaurant patios, the weather has gotten colder, COVID-19 cases are surging, and restaurants and bars are closed to in-person service. As I did last spring, I've been turning to cocktail kits and the grocery store to create some happy hour escapism at home—here are some of my latest finds.
The Twin Cities restaurant community has given me so much over the past several years, professionally and personally. At this unprecedentedly difficult time, I want to use my small platform to support this creative, generous, and hardworking group of people as much as I can.
There are certain recipes that I am fairly confident in at first glance: they contain a favorite ingredient (portobello mushrooms, asparagus, chocolate) or riff on a classic flavor combination (olive oil, rosemary, and garlic). But my favorite new recipes are the unexpected wild cards.
Lately, I've turned towards entertainment that transports me to somewhere (anywhere) away from the current stressful reality. During the Depression, people found respite in frothy Technicolor musicals; my escape is Netflix reality shows and Agatha Christie. If you're of a similar escapist mindset (and share my penchant for mysteries and melancholy folk rock) here's a list of what I've been watching, listening to, and reading.