Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Sugar Sugar

After a very busy summer, I'm trying to get caught up on my posting. I visited Sugar Sugar, a candy store in south Minneapolis devoted to old-fashioned, gourmet, and hard to find candy. You must think I spent the whole summer going to candy stores (I wish) but my visit to Sugar Sugar was way back in July. The shop itself is super cute and the proprietor, Joni Wheeler, is both friendly and knowledgeable.

I tried to limit myself to just a few treats but it was difficult! I ended up focusing on chocolate, which is funny because it was (no joke) 100 degrees the day I visited. Holy Smokes! No problem, though, as Joni thoughtfully packed my chocolates with some little ice packs to keep them cool on the ride home.

I ended up with two Komforte brand chocolate bars (Ramen Noodle and Tortilla Lime), a bag of sour gummy worms, a Bing Cherry treat, a bag of chocolate-covered caramel bites, and a bag of chocolate-covered ginger.

Of the two chocolate bars, I was expecting to really like the Ramen Noodle and wasn't sure about the Tortilla Lime. As it turned out, the Ramen Noodle was nothing special, really - the chocolate was delicious but the noodle part really added very little but crunch. The Tortilla Lime, though....mmm-mmm, the flavors were all perfectly balanced.

The gummy worms were another surprise. I wasn't even thinking of getting any until Joni offered me a sample. Delicious! Perfect gummy consistency (not hard on the outside like some gummies) and, again, perfect balance of sweet and sour. I'm pretty sure I ate half the bag before I even got home.

The chocolate-covered caramels and ginger were both delicious - obviously made with high-quality ingredients. The cherry candy was a little strange - a chocolate covered cherry with nougat and peanuts. Not really my thing but still pretty good.

If you're looking for something quirky, something nostalgic, candy from other countries, or candy for a gift, I'd recommend Sugar-Sugar, for sure.
Address: 3803 Grand Ave S., Minneapolis, MN 55409

Friday, September 9, 2011

Jim's Apple Farm (a.k.a. Minnesota's Largest Candy Store)

Road Trip Time! I got an unexpected 3-day weekend over Labor Day weekend (typically, I never have two weekend days off - that's the food biz, for ya) and may or may not have whined about how, "I never get to go anywhere!" My sister agreed we should get out of town for a day and let me pick our route and destinations.

First on my list of day trips: The Largest Candy Store in Minnesota.

So, True Fact - the largest candy store in Minnesota is called Jim's Apple Farm. Ha! That's probably to trick your parents into taking you there. The kids are all like, "Mom, can we go to this place, Jim's Apple Farm?" and the moms are like, "Sure, I love apples and they are SO healthy." It isn't even really a lie because there are bags of several different kinds of apples right as you walk in the entrance!

Okay, first thing - breeze by those stupid apples so you can get to the good stuff! Just kidding (sort of) but apples are NOT why we are here, right?

Jim's also sells pies that are made on the premises. I didn't try any but they look delicious! I also love the sign below....

Also available are many, many different kinds of soda (or pop, if you are from Minnesota). Many are small and/or regional brands. I got a sarsparilla and a birch beer from a company called Sioux Falls but there ARE tons of different kinds, especially root beer! If I had more money, I would have gotten one of each of the root beers and had a Root beer Tasting party. Next time!

Okay! Now let's check out the candy, right?

Old fashioned candy sticks!

... a lollipop Indian!

Ginger chews in all different flavors!

A shelf of circus cookies!

Ribbon Candy!

They have 56 kinds of licorice. I kinda hate licorice. Sorry, licorice-lovers. You'll have to check it out yourselves. But I did admire the cool licorice pipes below...

They don't just have old-fashioned candy, though. They have tons of gross-out novelty candy to please the kids!

It's gross (shaped like a toilet - REALLY?) and it's sour. Kids will love it! Hopefully it comes in blue flavor and then you have the trifecta!

Meatball bubble gum, anyone?

"Mints" of all flavors - including garlic and corn dogs. Uh.... yum?

I need this gum!


There are tons of other things that I didn't show. Of course there is a whole chocolate section with lots of gourmet flavors. I didn't feature it because you can get most of the brands here in the cities at food co-ops and high end grocery stores. It's convenient to have it all in one place, though!

Jim's also sells tons of puzzles for people who apparently have way more patience that I do (and no cats who just stubbornly sit on the pile of pieces while you're trying to puzzle!)

In addition, there are jams and jellies, gourmet soup and dip mixes, sauces of all kinds, beef jerky, cheese curds, and a variety of other delights.

Jim's Apple Farm is located right off a highway and, as you can see, is a bright yellow barn with a bright yellow fence. You can't miss it! Seriously- if you miss it then you have no business driving and please give me a call when you're going to be out on the road so I can stay home.

Jim's Apple Farm is located between Jordan and Belle Plaine off Highway 169. Here is the actual address:

17365 Johnson Memorial Dr

Jordan, MN 55352

(952) 492-6380

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Vintage Circus

There is the cutest little vintage place within walking distance of my house. Dangerous! I decided to go for a walk yesterday and my feet just automatically took me there :)

I pretty much always find something I need (okay, "want") when I stop by. Yesterday I got these wonderful vintage elephant salt and pepper shakers and this little circus book. I won't even tell you what a steal they were but I will say the total was quite a bit under ten bucks. The prices are like thrift store prices, seriously.

I think I am going to make these guys into Christmas ornaments as I don't really need or use salt and pepper shakers. I love to repurpose things like this!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Minnesota State Fair

I got to the fair very early this year. Most of the buildings were not even open yet! The great part about it was that it was so much easier to take good pictures! Normally, it is practically impossible to get a pic without a random head or arm sticking in front of it. I got some good pics of the carousel before it was turned on. Cool!

I always try to do a little research before I head out to the fair (yes, I am a Fair Nerd and I take my visit seriously). This year, I decided to try the Sweet Corn ice cream (new this year at the Blue Moon Diner).

I had a hard time deciding what topping to get and limited funds. I finally went with blueberry but kinda wished I had decided on the honey butter bacon because the blueberry was delicious but overpowered the delicate corn flavor of the ice cream. It was still delicious!

I also caught a couple shows, including.....

Street Corner Symphony! Did anyone else watch The Sing-Off on tv last season? I started watching because Ben Folds was one of the judges (love him so much!) but was very impressed with all of the singing groups. I kinda wanted to get my picture taken with them but was too shy :)

I got to the "Miracle of Birth" barn right when it opened at 9am. I am a sucker for the piglets, lambs, and kids!

My nephew played a little pinball, which was pretty awesome (and one of the few things open before 9am). I didn't play the Guns 'N' Roses pinball, shown below, but it looked pretty awesome.