A couple of weekends ago the hubby and I took a day trip down to New Ulm, in southern MN. We were going to the soft opening of Lola's Larkspur Market, a new restaurant started by my old friend, Lacey (and named after her adorable daughter Lola!).
Although the soft opening was a little rocky, the place is awesome and the food was fantastic! For those of you familiar with Cafe Latte in St. Paul, the Larkspur is very similar - soups, salads, paninis, pasta salads, yummy desserts, full coffee bar, plus wine and beer. For the warmer months, they have what looks like it will be a pretty great patio area.
As an added bonus, while we were in New Ulm, we went to the Schell's brewery to do a tour and tasting. Although you don't get to see much of the current brew house, you get a lot of information about the family history behind the brewery - which is even more interesting considering it's the 2nd oldest family owned brewery in the nation, and next year they will be celebrating their 150th anniversary. They just built a new hospitality building, including a museum, gift shop, and tasting room. I had to pick up a little something at the gift shop, so I purchased a Grain Belt hoodie (shocking, I know). The tour only cost $3, but you get to sample a wide variety of beers, although I do have to say that the tasting part was a bit rushed and at times we were confused about which one we were tasting. This seems to be due to the fact that they do 4 tours every Saturday afternoon, so the next tour group comes in as soon as they can get the previous group out. I have actually been to the brewery once before, when my dad told us kids that we were going after church one Sunday morning - we saw the brewery, including the gorgeous peacocks that are residents of the 'campus' and then drank lots of 1919 rootbeer. I have to admit that tasting the actual beer (and understanding a bit more about the brewing process) made this trip even better!
I think we'll have to do another day trip this summer, when we can enjoy a cold Schell's brew out on the patio at the Larkspur - maybe with some friends??