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[MSP] Wine bar at Heartland (St. Paul) --and "every day" dining

The Dairy Queen Mar 6, 2007 03:31 AM

Churchka's quick report in a thread about Craftsman restaurant (http://www.chowhound.com/topics/375200#2356186) started me thinking (once again), about places I need to try, or that I should frequent, well, more frequently. When we're looking for an affordable spontaneous meal, we usually end up at a burger joint, like the Nook, or at one of the Longfellow/Highland siblings. But, even at Longfellow, you're going to drop $9-$11 for a burger or for a salad. http://www.longfellowgrill.com/menu.htm While I think these places do a fine job for what they are, I think I could eat better, particularly if I wanted to place an emphasis on meals prepared with locally-sourced, artisanal ingredients.

So, what's the best way to do that, but still stay at the $12 and under price range for your main dish?

Churchka mentioned having just the burgers at Craftsman because of wanting to keep the meal affordable; when I looked at their menu online, I saw they offered pizzas for $10 and under http://www.craftsmanrestaurant.com/dinner_03.html. The burgers and the pizzas are in the $10-$11 range--and these are prepared using locally-sourced, often organic, ingredients.

112 Eatery has several dishes (mostly sandwiches) under $10, the bacon egg & harrisa sandwich and the gougère & fried mortadella sandwich, and, of course, the burger. http://www.112eatery.com/menu.htm But, it's hard to get into 112 Eatery without a reservation, though, you could try getting there early and eating at the bar.

The wine bar at Heartland offers charcuterie in the $10-$12 range, and salads for only $8 http://www.heartlandrestaurant.com/ (click on "view bar menu" nearish to the lower left hand side of the page) The wine bar seems to be trying to appeal to those who aren't up for the full fine dining experience, but still want to have a meal prepared from locally-sourced ingredients. I like this idea, that in the Wine Bar, they have a specific focus on serving smaller plates at reduced prices, specifically to serve the casual, more "every day" market.

So, if you know where and when to go, and what to order, you could eat this way "every day." Does anyone have more ideas of fine dining restaurants, or restaurants focusing on the highest-quality organic and locally-sourced, artisanal ingredients where one could go in the Twin Cities for every day dining, without planning ahead so far that you'd need reservations, but at the low-end of the price scale, say, $12 and under for your main dish? When are the best times and days of the week? Maybe they offer specials on their slower nights? (Please add your comments to the secrets of dining at Heartland, 112 Eatery and Craftsman, as well as others I haven't mentioned). Places where they welcome having you order the smaller, less expensive dishes as your meal?

Ideas? Thank you, as always, for sharing your thoughts and experiences.

~TDQ

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  1. bob s Mar 6, 2007 07:14 AM

    Our usual spur of the moment place is either Lucia's Wine Bar (if we want a drink) or Lucia's Bakery (if not). I think everything on both menus is under $12. Sometimes, I'll get a salad and a small plate of something. Other times, it'll be one of the entrees.

    You can also get a soup or salad, along with a ginormous serving of frites at Cafe Barbette.

    2 Replies
    1. re: bob s
      The Dairy Queen Mar 6, 2007 08:25 AM

      Lucia's --great idea! http://www.lucias.com/main/main.htm

      I haven't been to Cafe Barbette yet, another one for the list! http://barbette.com/menu.html They mention on their website that they offer an inexpensive prix fixe menu on Mondays. Bob, can you (or anyone else) comment on that?

      ~TDQ

      ~TDQ

      1. re: The Dairy Queen
        d
        dotMac Mar 6, 2007 09:05 AM

        I don't know about the prix fixes Mondays, but I know they have some pretty good happy hour food from 3-6pm which includes the awesome fries bob s mentioned, a fruit & cheese plate, and some other stuff all at $5 each.

        My fiancée and I ate there (Barbette) a few days ago and had the pomme frites (with an addictive saffron aioli), a croque monsieur (with greens and amazing homemade potato chips), a buckwheat crepe with tons of yummies inside (came with greens, too), a mammoth slice of carrot cake, and two iced teas all for something crazy low like $36. The most expensive item was the crepe at about $10. The whole meal was great. I even heard the word "authentic" from her lips.

        I took a few camera phone photos. We were towards the back away from the windows, so my apologies:

        pomme frites:
        http://img411.imageshack.us/my.php?image=dsc00037rp8.jpg

        her crepe:
        http://img405.imageshack.us/my.php?image=dsc00039ex5.jpg

        my croque monsieur:
        http://img117.imageshack.us/my.php?im...

    2. s
      St Paul Susie Mar 6, 2007 03:20 PM

      TDQ - the bar at heartland can be crowded at times - & there isn't a good spot to wait since you are "in the bar" were people should be waiting for their tables. I do think you can reserve a table in the wine bar section.

      Barbette is now on my list too!

      1. RedPepper Mar 6, 2007 05:56 PM

        Keeping it in my neighborhood, Barbette was right on my lips but everyone already covered that. I also think that the pizzas in JP's excellent lounge are a nice option at 10-12 dollars. Bryant Lake Bowl's menu is also focused on organic/fresh and is very reasonably priced at all hours - morning, noon and night.

        1. l
          Loren3 Mar 7, 2007 07:34 AM

          Cafe Brenda specializes in vegetarian/seafood and local/artisanal. They have some $8-12 apps and a la carte items including the Brendaburger for $9.50.

          1. Foureyes137 Mar 7, 2007 09:25 AM

            Some of our favorites have already been mentioned (112, JP), but we also enjoy

            -Bar Lurcat (hanger steak and salad can be shared, plus you've plenty of dough left for fries)
            -LBV Lounge (Lamb burgers and a salad can be shared with bread left over for a cheese plate)
            -Masa has a great happy hour taco special,
            -We like the sandwiches and half priced wine at Mairin's Table
            -AYCE maki at Martini Blu on Sundays

            All of these are dependent on not getting drinks to stay in the "everyday affordable" range (for me at least).
            Must of these selections

            5 Replies
            1. re: Foureyes137
              Foureyes137 Mar 7, 2007 01:05 PM

              Since i can't edit, I will add:

              Wilde Roast fits the bill.

              1. re: Foureyes137
                AnneInMpls Mar 7, 2007 01:10 PM

                I thought I'd be the first to mention Mairin's Table, but you beat me to it. According to their web site, they have a deal on wine and "small plates" from 1-5 on Saturdays. Sounds perfect for a leisurely lunch!

                http://busy-kids.com/mairins/index.html

                Anne

                1. re: AnneInMpls
                  d
                  dotMac Mar 7, 2007 07:22 PM

                  I've always wanted to check them out. is it hard to get a table?

                  1. re: dotMac
                    Foureyes137 Mar 8, 2007 05:30 AM

                    Not on weekdays (when we've gone). We just did walk-in.

                    However, from what we've been told, the Moraccan nights the first Saturday of the month fill-up.

                  2. re: AnneInMpls
                    d
                    Danny Apr 3, 2007 06:23 AM

                    It does make a very nice leisurely lunch. And no, it isn't hard to get a table. The two Saturdays we were there there was only one other table occupied.

                2. The Dairy Queen Mar 7, 2007 12:50 PM

                  Lots of wonderful ideas in here, folks. Thank you.

                  It's not fine dining, but they do try to use local ingredients from the St. Paul farmer's market, so I thought I'd mention Tanpopo. http://tanpoporestaurant.com/t_about.php Black Dog Cafe around the corner from Tanpopo is a nice stop for food prepared from organic and locally-sourced ingredients. Soups, sandwiches, salads, and pizzas. Stuff like that.

                  Does anyone know of any other places in St. Paul that fit the bill as far as finer restaurants where you might works the menu a bit to get a more inexpensive meal? Does Barbary Fig fit in at all?

                  ~TDQ

                  1. s
                    St Paul Susie Mar 7, 2007 01:10 PM

                    Not 100% in the original point of your thread.... But good to try.....

                    Downtowner woodfire grill might be pushing the price a bit (depending on if you plan on drinking with your meal) but you can certainly work it - esp if you aren't dinng solo. split a salad & a pizza. Or get a burger.

                    What about Matty's ? http://www.mattybs.com/menus.htm - looks like the entrees are all out. but could easily make a meal out of an appy or salad.

                    1. s
                      St Paul Susie Mar 7, 2007 02:06 PM

                      What about Al Vento not too far from St Paul. - lot of options in the appy/salad/pasta areas

                      1. j
                        janiceh Apr 1, 2007 09:36 AM

                        Ok, so this is my goal to find places where you can get a good meal for $12 and under and also a nice glass of wine. I do like Gigi's in mpls but I'm looking for something similar in St. Paul. Great topic-J

                        1. j
                          janiceh Apr 2, 2007 03:55 PM

                          Hi again. Another place I thought of for outside dining (even though it might be a few days with 2-5 inches of snow coming tomorrow) is WA Frost. We had a wonderful night there last summer with great cheeseburgers, wine, cheese plate and it didn't break the bank. What a beautiful patio-J

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