June Coffee Date - 2019 - Skillful Cook
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June Coffee Date - 2019

I have thoughts, okay? It's hot, it's sunny, and I have thoughts. But first, let's address the what's-in-your-summer-cup question.

Tree with sunshine.

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I have thoughts, okay?

It's hot, it's sunny, and I have thoughts.

But first, let's address the what's-in-your-summer-cup question.

This morning: iced coffee (details will be discussed, just you wait). Currently: coconut water with lunch. Last night: a Rowdy Uncle beer, from Insight Brewing, split with Bjork, to complement the carnitas and fried fish tacos from the takeout place by our house that were laced to perfection with lime and salsa verde. Yeah. It's definitely summer, and did I already mention? I have thoughts.

What are you drinking? I am craving bubble tea right now. Someone please tell me you're drinking a bubble tea.

Grab your glass and read on. It's time for a few words about June!

Summer Is Fun

Lindsay and Solvi outside.

I just want to take a moment to say that summer is my favorite. I love it. I want it to always be summer except for literally two out of 365 days which are Thanksgiving and Christmas, during which I'd like it to be fall and winter, respectively. And spring - let's just skip it and get right to the good stuff. Is that so much to ask?

This morning I opened the door to let Sage out, and I felt a nice wave of heat already at 6am, and I know some of you love to hate, but man, feeling that sticky air was like getting a big hug. My shoulders relaxed, I took a deep breath, and felt the little sweat droplets dripping from glass of iced coffee to my bare feet, and put on my shorts and t-shirt to go out for a hazy, sweaty, early morning run with Solvi in her little sparkly heart sunglasses, and just all the yeses for this.

I live for summer.

What's your favorite season and please don't even say winter.

Minneapolis Summer Passport

Dishes from Hai Hai on a table.

I bought a Minneapolis Summer Passport for, well, for Bjork, for our anniversary, but technically it's for both of us because it's a book for two-for-one deals that only works with two people. What do they call it again? A gift for the giver? One of THOSE kinda gifts.

Usually my problem with a lot of these deal things is that you get them and then you're like... eh... I actually don't want to go to any of these places.

But this one has an awesome list of places for us to check off the list this summer in Minneapolis and St. Paul: Revival, Hola Arepa, Lat14, Lyn65, The Hewing, Hi-Lo Diner, Birchwood Cafe, The LynHall, Nico's Tacos, Pajarito, Tattersall, Black Coffee and Waffle, and more.

Also: Hai Hai, which is what is pictured above! Balinese chicken thigh with coconut rice, Thai basily gin and tonics, larb with so much chile, lime, and lemongrass that it should be worn as perfume. SO YUMMY.

If you are local, what are your favorite Twin Cities restaurants to hit up? And you know I'll love you if you are very specific - like, where to go but also what to order, because these details are important.

The Iced Coffee Drink That Is Making Me Swoon

Cold brew pitcher.

Alright. Here we go.

  • Fill half a mug / pitcher / whatever you want with cold brew.
  • Fill the OTHER half of your mug / pitcher / etc. with oat milk. Oat milk is important. The flavor and creaminess are perfect for iced coffee, better than any other nondairy milk I've tried.
  • Add a fast but steady pour of maple syrup, and a tiny sprinkle of sea salt.

How I Make Cold Brew: The coffee lovers may have opinions for me but I am zero percent precious about how I make cold brew. I just use this thing* and I fill the middle filter piece with ground (decaf) coffee, and then fill the pitcher with water. I let it sit in the fridge for 24 hours (maybe 18, maybe 36 if I forget - told you, not precious) and then I take the filter out. The end.

Office Remodel Update! Whee!

Office remodel finished.

We are *thisclose* to moving into our semi-finished office!

Remember how it looked before? This has truly been a total transformation.

The kitchen isn't done - actually isn't even started. And the rest of the offices are just big empty rooms right now. But THEY ARE ROOMS. And they are finished as in, like, we're ready to put furniture in them! And they are so, so lovely.

Our friend Melissa from The Faux Martha is working with us to design a space that's cool and functional and just very us. She is a genius. Stay tuned!

Back To Audiobooks

Digital Minimalism audiobook.

It's been a year or so, but I restarted my Audible subscription this month! Yay!

15 minute commute x 2 x 4 days / week = 2 hours / week = 1 (audio)book every two weeks! Not bad, considering I've read exactly... zero books in the last 6 months.

Currently I'm reading the book Digital Minimalism which, honestly, is super boring, so I'm not necessarily recommending it as, like, a fun beach read. But it IS really fascinating and thought-provoking and challenging in a good way for me.

What books are you reading this summer? Boring ones are okay, fun ones are better.

Sagey Says

Sage with dog twin.

Sage wants you to know that she met a furry little someone at the park the other day WHO HAPPENS TO BE HER DOGGO TWIN! Look at these two!

Sometimes it's easier to just stay home (okay fine it's ALWAYS easier to just stay home), but Sage says: get out there! You can do it. Sometimes it's scary, but stay open, stay brave, try the new thing, go to the new place... because look at who you might find when you venture out into the wild.


I mean, you just never know.

You guys are the best.

Thanks for sharing your summer (AHEM BEST SEASON EVER AHEM) with me!

Filed Under: Life

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  1. Skillful Cook Logo

    As a teacher/ football coach I can’t wait for summer all year long. But when it gets here im reminded of how hot it is. My favorite season (other than football season) is any day we can get with a high below 80.

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      YES! The anticipation of summer for teachers is so great! Those last few weeks of school for me always felt like a lifetime.

      1. Skillful Cook Logo

        It’s been 2 years since I was last in the classroom but I was only this morning thinking about how great I always felt the last few days before summer break. That’s one of the biggest things I miss about teaching LOL. Kind of the equivalent of winning a big lottery every single year.

        But then I also remember the anxiety I felt every September (Labor Day weekend is just the WORST) and I’m happy once again to be on leave.

        Teachers are a special bunch ☺️

    2. Skillful Cook Logo

      Most teachers have it good during Summer months because they still get paid even when they’re not working.

      1. Skillful Cook Logo

        I, as a teacher, have never understood why the general public believes this “teachers have it good because they get paid in the summer even though they aren’t working” fallacy. Yes, teachers get paid in the summers. Yes, they aren’t officially working in July and August (I say “officially” because most teachers are doing some kind of teaching-related work for some of the time during both those months). But they aren’t getting paid for having “summer vacation”. Teachers’ salaries are divided up amongst 12 months rather than the ten months they are working, so instead of getting their full pay for the ten months they are at work, they get slightly less pay for those ten months so they can still “get paid” during the two months when they aren’t at school. It’s not as if you had an office job where you work five days a week and then suddenly took two months off and still got paid for 40 days of full-time work even though you weren’t actually working; it’s like you worked twenty days a month for ten months of the year, but only got paid for sixteen days each of those months, and then got paid for the extra forty days YOU ALREADY WORKED in the last two months of the year.

        1. Skillful Cook Logo

          thank you for all that you do as a teacher!!! you are so much appreciated! – mom of two 🙂

  2. Skillful Cook Logo

    Fellow lover of summer and heat. I’m on board with 363 days of summer in Minnesota! But then tons of people would move here so I guess the cold weather keeps us a hidden secret? But since we are imaging impossible things, I could get on board with 184 days of summer, 1 day of winter, and 180 days of late-September fall weather.

    I didn’t know about the summer passport. That is a cool gift idea!

  3. Skillful Cook Logo

    team summer over here as well!!!

    I live in PA and winters are rough for me (…I realize Minnesota is a whole other ball game) , so I LIVE for hot, humid days and will never, ever complain about it. Give me hot and humid over frigid and snowy ANY DAY!

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Yes I am with you. Although, to be fair, when we lived in the Philippines I would have given anything for a cool-ish (or even cold) day. That was a whole nother level of hot and humid. Minnesota hot and humid, though? That I can do.

  4. Skillful Cook Logo

    Love reading about you and yours ! I live in monroeville, Alabama ! Google it. Very interesting town. We have amazing cooks here. Good food and friendly people ! I wish you an awesome day! God bless you and your family…that includes the fur babies!!💖🌴💖

  5. Skillful Cook Logo

    Books- Garlic and Sapphires by Ruth Reichl,
    The Tattooist of Auschwitz,
    Where the Crawdads Sing
    Those are my recent reads!
    Love your blog!

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      I LOVE “Delicious!” by Ruth Reichl. I’ve listened to the audiobook 2 or 3 times. I guess I need to check out some of her other books!

  6. Skillful Cook Logo

    I have been thinking of getting that passport….the list of restaurants was awesome! I have a PubPass though (one free beer at lots of bars/taprooms) and that’s good enough for me.

    Fave MSP restaurants lately (used to be very into this and then had 3 kids and so it goes) Young Joni, just did the Kua tasting menu at Travail and it was amazing (also did the umami one last winter – everything they do is mind blowing and I don’t use that phrase lightly). Their casual space, Pig Ate My Pizza, is definitely more my speed and I love their piggy pie, and I think I also had the hot ghandi which was great too. Ngon is one of my faves, they have a great patio and awesome cocktails. Love their spring rolls but really the Southern Bo Kho entree is among the best things I’ve ever eaten. Pork Pasta also good but I think they changed it up slightly for the warmer months and I preferred the winter version. I assume you’ve been to Delicata because it’s right near you but that place is lovely and their mushroom pizza is great. I guess really I just like pizza. There is a restaurant near the U of M called Korea Restaurant (clever) and that is consistently awesome (SUPER casual though). Assume the takeout you had was from La Tapatia?? BIG hearts to that place, although they used to have nachos and they inexplicably disappeared from the menu? I could go on, but I’ll stop. So much good food, so little time.

    Books – I love a good YA romance to get me right in my feelings – favorites have been the To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before trio, fangirl, and Eleanor & Park.

  7. Skillful Cook Logo

    I’m in total agreement with you, Lindsay! SUMMER is the BEST season!!! I live in “lake effect” country in NW Indiana and love your idea about just skipping Spring altogether!! I’ll be trying your cold coffee recipe ASAP. Enjoy your summer with your beautiful family and continue to listen to Sage and get out there!! 🌞😎

  8. Skillful Cook Logo

    I love summer if I can be outside enjoying it, like at the beach, pool, etc. Otherwise, I am not a fan of the heat! My poor French Bulldog isn’t either. I love the overall calm, relaxed feeling of summer though and how it is light for so long. I can’t wait to try that iced coffee. Sounds so delicious and creamy with the oat milk! Wilmington, DE

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Delaware is in the house I see. It’s rare for Delaware peoples to comment on blogs. Good to see someone from Wilmington here,. 🙂

  9. Skillful Cook Logo

    I WILL be drinking a bubble tea tonight (and will cheers you!) at the summer Porter Flea market here in Nashville from Bubble Love Nashville. SO GOOD. Reminds me of my years growing up in Hong Kong. Happy FRIDAY!

  10. Skillful Cook Logo

    Yo if you’re not drinking cold brew w oat milk and maple syrup are you even living?! So. Good. Of course rn I’m drinking celery buzzed w lemon, Apple, and a few green grapes in the vitamix 😬 might be a kombucha in my near future but probs no coffee for a few days. This’ll be my go to next week,though! Thanks for the inspo and the love, as always ✌❤🌈

  11. Skillful Cook Logo

    Love the monthly coffee date posts! As a fellow Minnesotan (I live in NE Minneapolis) I understand the love of our short summer. One of my favorite restaurants is Chimborazo, an Ecuadorian restaurant on Central. Their green sauce is THE BEST!

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Oh my gosh we have a gift card for that place! I can’t wait to check it out and will definitely load up on green sauce!

  12. Skillful Cook Logo

    I can totally get on board with summer all year thing! Except I might give 2 weeks for Winter around Christmas and New Years so we can ski and have an excuse to drink hot chocolate and wear all the wool in my closet and then go back to Summer. I live in the mountains in CA though… so our winters might not count 😉

    I can’t believe the office transformation! It looks great! And I just picked up Oatmilk for the first time this week so will try that coffee this weekend!

  13. Skillful Cook Logo

    You sold me on that cold brew pitcher last summer and I LOVE it! Our seasonal thoughts are similar though I could do with about a week of fall come October/November a day or two of winter near Christmas. The rest of the time bring it on summer!

  14. Skillful Cook Logo

    Hai Hai! Yum. Also, try El Centro for tacos in NE! And get thee to Lat 14. Similar to Hai Hai but a different vibe (and takes reservations). Also, Just finished The Silent Patient. I listened on audible and finished it in less than 2 days because 1) it’s short and 2) I couldn’t stop. Perfect summer read. xo

  15. Skillful Cook Logo

    The coffee looks good! 😀 We have a place down the road from where I work called Locally Social and they ONLY do drinks (coffee, tea, smoothies) and my “usual” is an iced coffee with a splooch of half and half and some VT maple syrup, so pretty similar 😉

    I gotta say Fall is my favorite! I just can’t function when it’s above 75 degrees (especially when humid) but luckily it doesn’t happen THAT often here in Northern VT but, also, Fall also has my birthday, Thanksgiving and our wedding anniversary so there is that too 😉

  16. Skillful Cook Logo

    Summer is the best! You need to go to Hola Arepa and order the Arepitas (say YES PLEASE to fried goat cheese) and brussel sprouts! The shredded beef and sweet plantain Arepa was also amazing. Revival calls for hot chicken, grits and pickles. It’s my husband’s favorite! Enjoy patio season! 🙌

  17. Skillful Cook Logo

    Girl. Audible is fabulous, but get yourself on Overdrive! You get audiobooks (and ebooks) for free via your public library! It has been life changing.

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Agreed on this! Our library has both Overdrive and Hoopla and I use them both all the time.

  18. Skillful Cook Logo

    yes girl! I feel the Exact. Same. Way. about summer! It’s my favorite and my body is just so happy in the heat (and even in the humidity)

  19. Skillful Cook Logo

    I’m drinking water–a girl’s gotta stay hydrated!

    Fave season: summer! But I like fall & yea, winter too (although I obv get sick of winter when it hangs around too long!)

    Favorite local hangs:

    Young Joni (share it all–pizza, sweet potato, cauliflower, whole fish); don’t forget to start with a drink in the speakeasy in back

    Sea Salt Eatery (ahi tuna sandwich, crab cakes, calamari tacos, blackened catfish po’boy)

    Colita (corn elote, mushroom tlayudaalso, lobster tostada, also the guac has peanuts on it & I liked that unique twist)

    Bar La Grassa (scrambled egg & lobster brushetta, foie gras tortelini, mushroom & taleggio agnolotti)

    Mucci’s (the Camilla pizza is the bomb)

  20. Skillful Cook Logo

    I’m sorry, but fall is the best season! Or more specifically, that golden week or two of transition between summer and fall…
    Hai Hai has been on my list for a while. The spread in your picture makes me want to drop everything and go right now! We just moved to the east metro and are slowly checking out the neighborhood restaurant offerings.

  21. Skillful Cook Logo

    OMG Solvi is getting so big!!! so fast!!!

    I love summer too, laying in the pool and slurping white sangria’s!

  22. Skillful Cook Logo

    So…right…this picture is me in winter! And I do love winter (thankfully, living in VT). But I also love summer and the slow start this year made me sad to be missing out on my lake days. Hubby is not so into the mess of kids at the beach, but I have convinced two of three kiddos to be on my side and jump right into cool water. And yay for maple syrup! We used to tap our sugar maple tree growing up in MN, and VT has awesome maple syrup. Although, I could never get into cold coffee. So maybe winter isn’t so bad.

  23. Skillful Cook Logo

    I live on the west coast of Florida. The humidity is low, and you can get summer all the time!! I would gladly trade with you for 4 distinct seasons, like my youth in Connecticut. Any time!!