dining in duluth

with our recent move to duluth, one should not be surprised that phillip and i have started exploring the nearby food scene.  your typical chain restaurants are easily accessible, but we like to try and keep it local when the opportunity presents itself.  here’s a quick overview of the spots we’ve tried so far!

one of the firsts was sara donuts, which was recommended to us by our friends bank and liz.  it’s quite close by, so one morning after my eye appointment i stopped in for a couple coffees and picked out a little sampler.  the traditional glazed donut was pretty solid, but i think i liked the chocolate glazed cake donut better.  i believe my response to the first bite was “ooh, yum.”  i saved the sausage roll for last, to which i commented “yep, that’s good, too.”  you can bet we’ll be regulars at sara’s soon enough.

keeping with the breakfast theme, valentino’s bakery was a fun adventure into authentic venezuelan cuisine.  i wasn’t really sure what we were ordering, so the customer in front of us helped translate so that i could make some choices.  first was a cute box of assorted cookies, and then we tried the cachito, which basically was a tastier version of a hot pocket.  we did eat up just about everything, and i’d like to go back and try the pressed sandwiches some day.

only one more breakfast stop (for now), and i promise we’ll move on.  the maple street biscuit company was our first visit to downtown duluth, and we met our friends grant and tabri there for a sunday brunch.  we started with an order of biscuits for the table, which were deliciously buttery and extra tasty with a dollop of jam.  phillip and i split the grit bowl, which unfortunately looked better than it tasted.  from what i know, tabri enjoyed his picks, and i know grant liked his firebird biscuit sandwich, which might be what i get next time.

bizkits for everyone!

as for good lunch spots, i don’t think you could go wrong with either armando’s caribe (another recommendation from bank and liz) or armando’s taqueria.  the former is a sit-down spot with delicious cuban sandwiches while the latter is a bit more fast-casual with a nice variety of street tacos.  i wouldn’t recommend the tamales (not much flavor) but know phillip would love to tell you about the cow stomach taco he tried!

tacos from the taqueria.

if you’re lazy like we sometimes are, you can order a gyro plate from opa! to be delivered right to your house with doordash.  phillip and i both liked the gyros, which were busting at the seams with creamy tzatziki sauce and meat.  however, we agreed this meal would be better at the restaurant, fresh from the kitchen.  guess we’ll just have to go there!

our first fancier dinner out was at roma italiano ristorante.  it’s an intimate spot with friendly service and delicious dinner rolls.  you know we love our carbs!  phillip started with a cup of wedding soup, perfect on a winter night, while i scarfed down a wedge salad.  our entrees included the fettucine alfredo with grilled chicken and spaghetti with meatballs and marinara.  although maybe not my first choice for italian in our city, i wouldn’t complain if someone suggested it for a meal.

now, i believe i may have saved the best for last.  i don’t know what drew us there, but one night after a workout, phillip and i wandered into the halal guys.  why do i suggest it is the best of what we’ve had so far?  it could be because phillip ate his queso and lamb filled burrito so quickly i couldn’t even get a picture of it!  i myself munched on french fries with the white dipping sauce along with my falafel platter.  although the healthier choice, i’ll admit i was a little jealous of phillip’s burrito – i only hope it is not a limited time item so that i can go back and try it also!

so, there we have it.  our first batch of duluth eats in our first couple of months.  if you have any other must-try (or don’t-try) spots in our new neighborhood, please let us know!

the wedding chronicles | decision #9

THE CAKE

in addition to being very dedicated to picking out a great photographer, phillip was also very excited about working together to pick out the perfect cakes for our big day.  now, you might be curious when i say “cakes,” as in multiple cakes and not just one, and you are reading correctly.  not at all modern-day weddings but at many it is a popular trend to have the standard wedding cake and now also a groom’s cake.  a groom’s cake, what is that?  well, it’s exactly what it sounds like it is:  a cake the groom gets to pick and decorate all to his liking.  now, this isn’t to be said that a bride and groom are incapable these days of picking a single cake together (which phillip and i definitely were able to do), but it’s just another fun thing (essentially another cost, if we’re being very honest) that helps to represent the coming together of two individuals into a single marriage.  and, if you’re like phillip and me and planning on only having one wedding day, then why not!  the more cakes the merrier.  🙂

although several bakers were recommended by the wedding coordinator, we decided first to try out a local baker near and dear to the davis family.  sister’s sweet creations has been baking cakes for years in peachtree city, and of all those bakes they have baked, several include countless cakes enjoyed at davis family birthday parties, events, and occasions of all sorts.  and so since cathy (the lead baker at sister’s sweet creations) already had a special place in phillip’s heart, we figured we’d start with her and go from there.  so, phillip, his mother michele, and i met up on a beautiful thursday afternoon to press our luck at sister’s sweet creations.

the bakery has a tiny storefront, but right in the middle they’d put together a couple of tables with a generous spread of freshly baked cupcakes, cookies, and all sorts of frostings.  i think i could get used to this kind of service!

cathy first asked for all the “vitals” – the wedding date, location, number of guests, so on and so forth.  we were in luck that our wedding date was available and, better yet, that she and her crew only commit to one wedding per day.  i definitely liked that answer, knowing that our cakes will be her primary focus.  so far so good, and we hadn’t even taken a taste!

we then also started talking design.  for the wedding cake, we hadn’t yet pinned down a particular style or color or theme, but the good news is that sister’s sweet creations has a lot of experience with many different techniques.  we together scrolled through their gallery online as cathy pointed out different trends and ideas, and even though we didn’t finalize anything for the wedding cake, i do think we got a better of what will work for us and our venue.

now as for the groom’s cake, phillip had a very specific vision in mind.  i don’t want to spoil the surprise, so all i’ll say is this:  phillip’s cake definitely represents who he is and the things he loves.  i highly recommend you check out his cake (and the wedding cake, too) before dinner is done at the reception.  we think you’ll love them both!

at this point you’re likely thinking to yourself, “kelsey, it’s great that you’re going with a local baker and we can’t wait to see these stunning cake designs, but what about the flavors?  what do we have to look forward to in five months?”  well, i’ll start by saying that all the cakes and frostings and buttercreams we tasted at sister’s sweet creations were delicious.  but, of course, having all of them in one cake or even two might be a little much.  so, if you insist on knowing, we were able to narrow down the delicious flavors as follows.  first, the groom’s cake will be a combination of chocolate cake and peanut butter frosting (we highly recommend getting a slice of this one when you’re there).  and as for the wedding cake, it will be three tiers, one with the bakery’s signature flavor called “strawberry champagne,” one with a classic and delicious white almond, and a third with dangerously sweet white chocolate raspberry.  i expect it will be grand and rich and the perfect treat to satisfy your sweet teeth.  we of course hope you love them as much as we do, but if not, then more cake for us!  🙂

#cheersbitches

okay, i don’t typically prefer to swear on my public, social media, but this post is the exception because we were celebrating kari’s bachelorette-ness this past weekend.  she’s marrying my older brother kyle in a short 53 days, and labor day weekend was the perfect time for the bachelorette party.  plenty of time to relax and recover after the fact.  i wish i could share all the shocking and juicy details, but some things are sworn to sisterhood.  thankfully most of the weekend was g-rated, so i’ll let you in on the fun.

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