New Orleans: Fried dough and jazz

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I’ve found few cities elicit more, “omg you have to do/eat/see <insert>,” recommendations from people than New Orleans. It’s a city full of hidden food gems, raucous nightlife, eery old neighborhoods and the spirit of resilience. I’ve also found you can only eat and see so much in a short period of time. It’s a real problem I ran into during our recent visit.

We arrived on Saturday night, ready to escape our reality and get wrapped up in the sounds and tastes of the city. This was my first time in NOLA, but Huzzbot ventured there for his bachelor party and was able to serve as my quasi-tourguide through Bourbon Street – which was our first stop upon arrival. It was 6 p.m., and a beyond-tipsy little thing in a short dress was surrounded by concerned (and equally wasted) friends, barfing onto her heels and into the gutter. There are a few things wrong with this picture, but mostly it’s the attempt to wear heels on cobblestone streets.
Drinks!
We ate oysters, shrimp and gumbo, … Read the rest

A Gypsy Brunch Picnic

With so few days of summer left, I needed to jump on the opportunity to get my friends together for a picnic. Everyone knows brunch is the most important meal of the week, and I decided to take it to the park for extra flair. Three hours of snacking and lounging in the late-summer breeze with good company is time well spent. Fresh fruit, baguettes, cheese, tomatoes, mimosas, animal crackers, pie…a perfect mish-mash of picnic fare was present. The highlight was Gwen’s blueberry crisp (recipe below).

Gwen’s Blueberry Stuff – She adapted it from a recipe she found online and used berries picked by Uncle Larry in Bayfield. I bet any kind of fruit would be outstanding.

1 c. butter           1 c. brown sugar           1 c. flour              1 1/2 c. quick oats

1/2 tsp. salt        1 qt. fresh blueberries mixed with 2 tsp sugar and 1 Tb flour (or a 15 oz can if you don’t have an Uncle Larry)

In a medium bowl, cream butter and brown sugar. Stir in flour, salt and oats … Read the rest

I’m so into gluten…mostly

I get annoyed at myself for posting pictures of tomatoes on Instagram, but they are just so GD pretty right now, I am powerless. I’m pumped to have so many farmers markets within walking distance – granted, I love a good journey and consider “walking distance” a five-mile radius around my home, so my market options are vast. August means my countertops are an explosion of produce and my body is buzzing from salads. I know you’re thinking, “But Patisserie Gypsy, I thought you only ate baguettes, pastries and cookies all day.” Well, I don’t. Usually. When I’m not eating all the bread and all the treats, I’m trying to be a giant bunny rabbit.Gluten-free donuts

The cool thing about my neighborhood farmers markets is the appearance of local bakers and bakeries each week. When it comes to baked goods, I don’t discriminate. This is why I was super excited to visit Sift Gluten Free at the Fulton and Kingfield Farmers Markets recently. One of the things that makes me most sad in the world Read the rest

Chasing the high in Mankato

I love getting out of town. I always stumble onto something unexpected and unforgettable. Escaping my usual surroundings refocuses my perspective, amplifies my curiosity and makes me feel brave. My addiction to this feeling keeps me irresponsibly booking vacations across the country and globe. But I’m becoming increasingly aware, it doesn’t matter what distance I travel, the magic of any new surroundings gives me the high I need.

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I write this high on Mankato, a city in the Minnesota River valley an hour and a half southwest of the Twin Cities. After learning Mankato Ribfest was happening, Sissy and I embarked on a bakery/BBQ road trip fueled by Sirius XM’s 70s and 80s R&B station, The Groove. It always delivers.

We started at Friesen’s Family Bakery and Bistro, which opened just over a year ago and has exploded with popularity. We entered to find squishy bags of fresh rolls scattered on tables throughout the store waiting to be stocked. We walked slowly and admired each package as if in a museum, restraining from … Read the rest

Female Seeking Croissant

This past spring, I took a Sunday morning walk to Rustica to enjoy a latte and chocolate croissant. I sat near the window and took out my journal for the usual scribbling and daydreaming. Halfway through a sentence, I wrote, “Yum. I should really be documenting these.” Over the next three weeks, I sampled 10 unique chocolate croissants comparing flakiness, chocolate flavor, density, size and shape. I have notes jammed in the margins like, “very puffy, like maybe too puffy,” “top like plastic,” “not too much chocolate to be annoying.” Profound stuff.

During this time, I researched pain au chocolat (its fancy name) and studied recipes detailing the intensive rolling, chilling and waiting process involved in producing them. I learned one very important thing – I’m not interested in baking them myself. I’m simply interested in eating them, finding ones that taste great and sharing my discoveries with you.

If I were to put an ad in the personals, it would look like this:

Married 30-something female seeking a crispy-topped, structured, flaky pastry with a

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