Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Perfect Non-Boozy July 4 Treats + June-only Hotel Deals

When the world heats up, you need something to cool you down. 


Who loves supporting #Minnesota business? 

One of the joys of being a blogger is that occasionally someone offers to send you product samples. These can be hit or miss, but there have been a few I've tried in the past few months that have been really special, and I have to share them with you! I have vetted each of these brands and they are things that I love to support with my own time and money, so know that I'm not schilling any weird stuff that I don't actually use. As a disclaimer: all products were initially sent to me free to try, but all opinions listed here are true and are my own.

Popsicles - Jonny Pops

First up: Jonny Pops. I am not a dessert person, not by a long shot - I'll take a cheese plate over a piece of cake every day of the week. But I got a few different boxes of these to try and let me just tell you they are GOOD. Really good. Each popsicle is creamy, smooth and bursting with flavor. The ingredients are quite clean for treats; for example, the list on the Strawberries & Cream flavor includes strawberries, heavy cream, cane sugar, purified water and salt - that's it. They're great for portion control (if you want that kind of thing), but you'll probably just end up bingeing through a box at a time because they're too delish to put down. My resident chef is as much (or more) a fan as I am, and we've become lifelong customers since trying them.

Honestly these are SO delicious. I cannot rave enough #sorrynotsorry.

Even better? The Jonny Pops brand is 100% local to Minnesota, so by buying a box you'll be supporting the local economy and gaining a fab new dessert all at once. Each popsicle stick is stamped with a positive message that you can read when you finish the popsicle portion, which makes eating them super fun, and the mission behind the company - to pay it forward in the world by spreading more kindness, love and cheer to all - is one that I can 100% support. These are great for all ages and events, and I definitely recommend you pick up a box (or three). Surprisingly my favorite flavors are the fruity ones; I'd go straight for the Mangoes & Cream, Strawberries & Cream, or the Cherry Chocolate & Cream for a perfect summer treat. I've bought many, many boxes of these since my initial sample, so trust that these are worth having. The Jonny Pops website has a fab tracker to find their products near you; you can click here to access it and get a box! 

Cold Brew Coffee - Blackeye Roasting Co.

I also had the opportunity last spring to tour the new roasting and canning facility for Blackeye coffee, which was not only fun but really informative. Since their process is proprietary I wasn't able to take photos or videos to share, but it's a really innovative process that keeps the coffee super fresh and single-sources the process. As these coffees are bottled hot you can drink them right off the line, or wait until they're nice and cold for a chilly caffeine jolt that's perfect for hot summer days. I will add a disclaimer that the caffeine content of these bad boys is no joke, so definitely pace yourself as you work through each flavor. Flavors include White Chocolate, Nitro Cocoa, and plain ol' Nitro Cold Brew. I found the Nitro Cocoa to be the most palatable, but they're honestly all good (even a little dessert-y).

I sure hope they offer these sample boxes to the public because this was so fun!

One of my favorite parts of touring Blackeye's facility was getting to meet the founder of the brand and hear his clear vision for Blackeye. This is one smart cookie, and the way he is scaling and expanding is truly impressive. In the few months since I toured they've expanded from convenience store markets to Target - no small feat - and demand seems to keep on growing. They've got a crack team and I definitely recommend getting a tour if you're ever able to squeeze one in. Blackeye has a single skyway level storefront in downtown Minneapolis that's fun to visit and learn more about the brand, and is now sold in stores throughout the Midwest including Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Tennessee, Kansas, Missouri, Indiana - so if you're hoping to get a summer road trip under your belt, make sure you grab a few of these to stash in the car on the way.

Blackeye is already being sold in Target, so make sure you grab some cans next time you're there!

Blue Velvet Cake - Radisson Blu Bloomington

Finally, the Radisson Blu - Bloomington is celebrating their fifth anniversary in business this June and has all sorts of crazy deals on offer. First it was a $5 hotel room flash sale (yes, you read that right); there have been all sorts of other special offers available throughout the month, and you still have time to check them out! Follow them on social media (Twitter or Facebook) to stay in the loop. And if you happen to be dining at their excellent on-site restaurant (a long time fave in both the Bloomington and downtown Minneapolis locations, I've had countless happy hours at both), FireLake Grill House & Cocktail Bar, you'll want to grab some of their blue velvet cake in honor of their fifth birthday. It's probably the most over the top cake I've ever had and the buttercream frosting is as authentic as it gets. For the smurf in your life, consider getting a slice before the end of June and the special is no longer available. 

#buttercream, #amirite?
From their press release: Radisson Blu Mall of America is calling all guests to join in the 5th Birthday celebrations with its “Celebrate Your Unbirthday with Blu” package available for booking now through Saturday, June 30. The package features a number of party favors to help guests create their own birthday or unbirthday celebration in room, including two slices of FireLake’s Blu Velvet Birthday Cake for a sweet treat; a present-shaped piñata; birthday hats; and additional party flare and room décor. The package starts at $209 per night plus tax and is available for booking on Radisson Blu Mall of America’s website.

For more information or to make a reservation, guests are invited to visit: https://www.radissonblu.com/en/hotel-mall-of-america. For more information regarding FireLake Grill House & Cocktail Bar, please visit: http://www.firelakerestaurant.com/.