Tuesday, June 29, 2010

pop tarts and pasta.

minneapolis restaurant powerhouses' have struck gold again.
parasole with their uptown darling CAFETERIA and d'amico & partners with the suburban star, PARMA.

cafeteria's official name is UPTOWN CAFETERIA AND SUPPORT GROUP.  funny.  located in uptown across from stella's and adjacent to calhoun square, it is kitschy, in a cool way.  staff uniforms are tees with their job descrips:  "serve", "work" and "pour".  school lunch trays adorn the walls.  on each table, a caddy of mrs. butterworth's, siracha, soy sauce, ketchup and mustard.  top-notch breakfast (house-made pop tarts, caramel pecan french toast) and cafeteria classics (fried chicken, hot tom, crinkle fries and beef stroganoff) and with names like "the brainerd" (walleye) and "employee meal" (who knows), ordering is fun.  take the SKY CAR and sit up top.  do not miss the communal sink + vanity (a la chino).

an AMATEUR pic (i.e., from my phone) but i wanted you to see the cool wood tables

i am going to preface my review by saying that northern italian cuisine is my ultimate fave.  so excuse the prejudice, please.  PARMA 8200 is restaurant perfection.  that is, aside from the  obscure suburban location in bloomington in the normandale lakes development (landmark:  kincaid's).  from the dark, sexy decor (damask covered lampshades, croc pillows on leather armchairs with rustic wood coffee tables and hollywood regency-esque mercury mirrored walls) this place evokes italian glam.  its comfortable but glamorous and not at all intimidating or stuffy.  this is all before the 3,000 square foot patio has opened!  said to include three fireplaces, an outdoor pool table and lounge furniture to seat 118, sure sounds fab to me.  time frame for the patio opening is about two weeks.  menu highlights are the cheese tasting (you pick three), blue prawns served en papillote, linguine with white wine, clams and garlic, chocolate panini with vanilla gelato.....i could go on forever.  there was not one thing on the menu i would not order.  the cocktail list is cool too.  i had the italian soda which featured prairie vodka, a vanilla bean soda and campari to create a bubbly, peachy-pink soda.  the gin cocktail with tomato water and goat cheese stuffed olives sounds like what i will order when i am back for the patio opening.

both having opened in the last week or two, do not be surprised to experience crowds.  but once you have a table, i think you will find that both were well worth the wait.

lindsay piram, 

event designer

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

more than chips and dip.

summer equals 104 excuses to have a party (ps, there are 104 DAYS of summer).  for my non-local readers, let me explain to you what i call the “minnesota summer guilt” effect.  if it is nice out, and we do not go out and enjoy it, we feel guilty.  we survive brutal winters and so when summer does finally arrive, we better be ready to relish it.  no “housewives” marathons here.  if the sun is out, then we are in it.  a rainy day is sometimes welcome....at least we can get our laundry done.

some summer entertaining ideas we love:

hot diggity dog

chicago dogs are what i call “salad on a bun with a side of hotdog”.  sport peppers, celery salt, pickles, sweet relish, tomato wedges....a good mix of sweet and spicy.  lunds & byerly’s catering is offering a chicago dog spread for 25 people at $205!  pick it up, spread on your center island or picnic table out back and you have all you need for a quick and easy way to entertain.

pizza pie on wheels

so, thyme to entertain, a great local caterer, did the impossible (or what i thought was).  they bought a 1972 fire engine and stuck a wood fire oven on it.  think punch on wheels.  i am not sure i could have thought of anything better myself.  i am dying to use it.  basically, they pull up with the bright red beast (sirens off) and start slanging pies.  pair that with the great salad and side menu they have created to finish off this summer menu.  the novelty of it all would be worth it alone, but with thyme to entertain you know it will taste as cool as it looks.
call nate @ 612.871.2199 to get the dish

twenty-six feet of tacos

the set-up:  you invite your pals over and you are all relaxing and sipping margs and corona with a lime.  around the corner comes what looks like a tour bus.  your guests are on the edge of their lawn chairs in excitement....is bret michaels about to emerge?  nope, no bret....but TACOS instead.  yep, you read that correctly.  twenty-six feet of tacos = a taco truck.  and a BARRIO taco truck at that.  big and black and full of their yummy mexican goodies and i am assuming their tasty tequilas too.  
for more, check out:  

and barrio's web-site:  http://www.barriotequila.com/

mpls is admittedly behind the 8 ball on street food but catering on wheels seems to be on the rise.  we only have 104 days where we can get from our door to the door of the latest and greatest food cart without a parka, lets enjoy it while we can.

to summer soirees,

lindsay piram

event designer

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

runway to reality. and even events.

recently, amy zaroff events + design worked on a fashion event with the style experts from styledlook and styledlife.  a fashion event would not be complete without a runway show but this event had that and more.  the concept was to educate, in a fun and cool way, how to pair closet classics with elements of todays trends.  trends can be overwhelming and when we see them on the runways of milan and paris, at times its more theatrical than practical.  we all could use a few pointers on how to add animal print without looking like an animal and how to wear the seasons relaxed silhouettes without looking frumpy.  also, when and where these trends apply to our LIFESTYLE, for instance taking your basic trench and transitioning it from day to night to sport, etc.  
for me, as someone who styles events, i see the same applications for fashion AND events.  the way you belt a dress, is how i tie a sash to a chair.  mixing modern elements with vintage pieces is not only a fashion secret, it is an event styling standard.  and accessories?  the statement earrings are my statement vase.  a simple black dress with bright jewelry is no different than an understated table linen with the pop of color from great flowers in a striking container.  
tips from the pros, our friends @ styledlook and styledlife:

think about pairing casual white items with dressy items for casual elegance
pair metallic with white for a fresh look
do not forget about white accessories like jewelry, sunglasses and scarves
look for patent and shine, especially in bags and shoes

long over short and short over long for new silhouettes
fedora hats
accessories with ruffle elements
polka dots

clean lines and all-ages appropriate
look for trench inspired dresses
pleated skirts give the same great silhouette
different belts reinvent the same piece


lindsay piram
event designer