Twin Cities Elites brought out their ukuleles this week for a summer stunner of a party—Yelp's Luau!
Our hosts at United Noodles pulled out stop after stop for this party, but it was definitely the personalities behind the store that brought the experience to life. Open since 1972, United Noodles is a family-owned business and the Upper Midwest's largest pan-Asian grocer, stocking more than 10,000 products from 15 countries. It's a little-known fact that United Noodles is also one of the only places in town where you can find legit Hawaiian groceries too. The more you know…
Once a year, UniDeli (the in-store deli) celebrates their own summer luau and features a selection of amazing Hawaiian specialties. These Hawaiian eats will be available at the store's luau this August, but they were previewed exclusively for the Elite Squad yesterday, along with some of the other United Noodles favorites.
There were no fewer than a dozen delicious delights on the spread from Chef Kosuke, including Spam musubi, kalua pork, agedashi tofu, Hawaiian fried rice, takoyaki (Japanese octopus dumplings), lumpia and carved char siu pork… oh yeah, and the whole pig.
John C says, "Imagine a roasted whole pig, that's been cut up into small rectangular size pieces, just like you would cut up a sheet cake at a birthday, but instead of gingerly lifting light pieces of airy cake onto your plate, you wrestle chunks of succulent meat (bone and fat and all) off of the carcass of recently deceased mammal. That was SOME PIG. We thank you pig, where ever you are today."
Yelpers were also treated to brews from Lift Bridge Brewing by CEO Dan himself, including their tasty Chesnut Hill Nut Brown Ale and famous Farm Girl Saison (which basically tastes like summer feels). If you find yourself in Stillwater, go say hello at the tap room or sign up for a free tour of the brewery!
Cider enthusiasts partook in Crispin Original and Fox Barrel's Blackberry Pear. Chris from Crispin also brought along their special Cho-tokkyo, which is fermented with authentic sake yeast—a great pairing for rice dishes.
After everyone had a chance to sample the feast, the chef gathered everybody together for a fun sushi demonstration where he guided us through cutting techniques and the secrets to perfect sushi rice. More than a few party-goers left with bags full of nori, so we can't wait to see the results of this tutorial!
Always the life of the party, Melissa from Snap Yourself brought her state-of-the-art booth to aisle 9, complete with grocery cart, pink flamingo, sriracha bottles and grass skirts. And viking hats, because hey, why not? Check out those photos here.
If you still aren't convinced that this was the luau of the century, you're welcome to read the rave reviews on Yelp (or write one yourself if you were there—just remember to hold off on your reviews of the participating businesses until you've had a more typical customer experience). Make sure to check out all the party pics on Flickr (thanks to the lovely Jenna Klein Photography!).
Thanks so much to everyone who attended and everyone helped make this crazy event one of the most unique Yelp parties to date, especially Eric, Ramon and the whole United Noodles staff, Adriane from Harvest PR, Dan from Lift Bridge, Chris from Crispin, Melissa from Snap Yourself and my lovely assistant Caroline. Annd congrats to our raffle winners Sarah S, Travis B and Michael Z. They each won a $75 United Noodles gift card to play Supermarket Sweep whenever they want.
Wanna snag yourself an invitation to future Yelp events? Check out the Yelp Elite Squad to learn about our exclusive monthly Elite events and apply online if you think you have what it takes to be part of this extraordinary league of urban explorers!