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MSP - Mid Month Update - Post a Review of places you've dined at in MARCH 2007!

Please take a moment and reflect on the last few weeks.

Where have you been & how was it?

Take the time to share with your fellow chowhounds!

Susan

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  1. This month hasn't been as restaurant heavy as other but since I've been posting since the new year, I'll go through this month so far:

    Tum Rup Thai - I posted this in Feb. but we ate there in the beginning of March. Very good, fresh food, we were just disappointed that when we ordered things hot they came out maybe medium. It's still my favorite uptown Thai spot.

    Holy Land - got takeout for dinner twice, it's absolutely the best takeout in town. $9 for a whole chicken dinner which is so wonderful. I do wish their spinach pie was more like spanikopita - I'm not crazy about the dough-ier crust and the spices they mix in with the spinach.

    Tiger Sushi - posted this in the sushi thread. I finally got husband to go to dinner with me in MOA (I had to promise to buy cute pajamas while we were there :). Very fresh fish, nice service, but the pieces were small and easily fell apart.

    Jasmine Deli - picked up bahn mi and spring rolls one day for lunch. Delicious as always.

    Stella's - I met a friend in Uptown and she was craving fish so we went here. I hadn't been since they first opened and our first visit back then was subpar but our second was quite good. We split a salad that had beets (I LOVE beets - Town Talk Diner has the best beet plate) and it was good but had an odd fishy flavor in the salad dressing (not anchoives, I wouldn't have minded that). Then I got the blackened grouper with a fruit (mango?) salsa and rice and beans. It was quite good - spicy which I liked but didn't expect. One major downside was that the busboy was very aggressive and tried to take our plates twice before we were done. Also, I didn't realize they're not owned by Parasole anymore and when we tried to pay w/ a Parasole gift certificate the waiter seemed confused.

    Turtle Bread Co - husband and I popped in there late one night for a light dinner. We both tried to get soup and salad but they were out of salad by 8pm. I love their tomato basil soup, husband got some kind of bean soup and wasn't crazy about it. I wish I loved this place since it's around the corner from us but it's just missing something.

    So that's it. I've been on vacation in Florida since Tuesday so that's curtailed my eating out in Mpls a bit. I started craving Ethiopian last night so we'll probably head to Fasika as soon as we're back in town.

    1. Let's see...

      Little Szechuan was decent but I didn't find as much to rave about as others have. I will say the Dan Dan noodles were stellar. I need to go back and see if I just ordered poorly.

      Asian Infusion on Grand Avenue. Very average food. Probably won't be back.

      Carry out from Shish Cafe. Very good lamb burger and chicken schwarma wrap. Fries were only ok. Nice to have this as an option in the neighborhood. I feel a bit dopey that I hadn't seen it previously.

      Cafe Latte for a quick salad and soup one night. No change. Solid upscale cafeteria offerings. Actually, check that, I often think their soups are a bit bland.

      Had a carry-out Adriatico from the Saint Paul Punch one night. Fantastic as always.

      A great meal at New Delhi. Garlic Naan. Jheenga Vindaloo (shrimp). Murgh Tandoori (chicken). And Palak Khumba (spinach, mushroom). Everything was well spiced and expertly prepared.

      So far I'm not holding up my New Year's resolution to cook at home more. Next month. I promise.

      5 Replies
      1. re: SLBunge

        I agree about Little Szechuan, had take out tonight from Tea House and it was great. All the things that I hoped for at LS but didn't get. Would go to the Tea House any day of the week. Also went to Stellas for Friday nite happy hour and had a great time. Craftsman last night exceeded expectations. Great lunch at South Asian Foods

        1. re: SLBunge

          I'm sorry you were disappointed at Little Szechuan--I've had some fantastic meals there, though I still grumble about the service and the limited wine menu. I still think we're lucky to have it in St. Paul. I think, like many places, you need to choose carefully (and luckily.) Make sure you have the black, "authentic" menu.

          We always order the fish fillet and tofu in spicy tasty broth. It's my favorite dish there, although, be prepared for the layer of chili oil that sits atop the "broth," which is not at all a broth because it's not something you'd ever eat with a spoon. Too oily and too spicy/hot.

          I also really like the stir fried green beans in special sauce, although, be forwarned that the sauce is not very saucy. Not everyone thinks they are as fantastic as I do, but I still love them and recommend them. I, too, like the dan dan noodles.

          The other dishes I've really liked, but have only ordered once so I can't comment on consistency, are the beer duck, the szechuan ma po tofu, the stir-fried spicy cucumbers, and the chung king spicy shrimp.

          Avoid the big sister style rabbit--I don't think anyone at the chowdown, including me, liked it. Also, the consensus was that the pork with spicy sauce wasn't as good as the fish fillet and tofu in spicy broth, even though the "sauce" with the pork seemed identical to the "broth" for the fish.

          ~TDQ

          1. re: The Dairy Queen

            It may be the best the St. Paul has to offer but my money is going to be spent at the Tea House. Only 15min further than LS. I have had 5-6 meals at LS, only one was one that I thought was OK.

            1. re: ibew292

              Just curious, what dishes did you order that you found not "OK" and why? I can understand if you found the dishes not "outstanding" or if you like Tea House better, but not even okay?

              ~TDQ

              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                Kung Pao Chicken,Double Cooked Pork,Crispy Duck (All seemed overcooked and under spiced) don't remember the rest because they didn't in my opinion have merit to remember. Nothing I had at LS tasted anything I had in China. I realize that China is a big place and has different tastes but LS didn't seem authentic to me, seemed bland missing something. I'm glad that that you Chowhounds like the place so I can have the Tea House for myself. Everybodys taste differ, that what makes eating so special.

        2. Went to Kincaid's in Bloomington---did the happy hour thing. Their happy hour deals are amazing! we ordered 5 appetizers, ended up with leftovers to take home and enjoyed my favorite restaurant in Bloomington, without completely breaking the bank. The macadamia nut encrusted brie is fabulous every time, the teriyaki steak tips, fire prawns....definitely made my day.
          Had a burger craving and went to Fuddruckers, but not impressed. Ordered a burger medium and it was ready before we got to our tables, and ended up more on the well side. Think they have started pre-cooking vs. cooking to order. Won't be going back.
          Went to Houlihan's in Richfield for a work lunch, and had their jumbalaya. Not a completely authentic way of serving or cooking as the rice was cooked separately and then the sauce was poured around the dish afterwards. Flavor not so bad, though.
          Also had the chicken curry at the Safari restaurant in the Global Market over on Lake. No spice to speak of, but good flavor. Good for something that came from a steamtable.

          Oh, can't forget Ike's in downtown MPLS for brunch on the weekend. Best brunch I have ever had, bar none! My husband's eyes were as big as a dinner plate when he saw the carmel roll come out to the table! The breakfast quesadilla was fabulous as well!

          1. Let's see if I can remember...

            Beef "Patty" with cocobread & Ginger beer at West Indies Soul food at MGM -Thumbs up! Jerk chicken -thumbs down

            Peanut Curry & Pad Thai & apps at Sawadee uptown It's ok I really don't know why Sawadee gets such a bad rap here. My friends and family said they weren't dressed well enough for Chang Mai or Tum Rup

            Buffet at Falafel King uptown -It's my 9 year old's favorite and I I could eat gyros and Meze until I explode.

            Chinese at least once at Red Pepper. Reliable and not bad.

            Bought $50 worth of cheese and salami at Bill's (that's a lot at Bills!) You should try the Beretta brand salamis. Better than Boar's head for 1/2 the price. They also have 2 year old Tillamook for like $4/lb!

            Also was out in the Exurbs and tried to give Joe's crab shack a chance. I thought I saw that Jeremy Iggers said it was his favorite suburban chain but it was soooooooooo baaaaaaaaaaad. I wish I had gone to Red Lobster!

            Zen Box and Uncle Franky's for lunch. Always winners but Uncle Franky's was out of Chili.

            Not an exciting month so far but London and Paris starting on 3/31, so that should make up for it.

            1 Reply
            1. re: mnitchals

              Sawadee isn't bad; other places are just better.

            2. Well, a few hits and misses for me........

              Wasabi on Washington Avenue - mostly fine, crazy service, awful cocktail - I ranted a bit in an earlier post. The actual fish was wonderful unfortunately, everything else was woeful. http://www.chowhound.com/topics/379401

              Quang's Deli - Nicollet Avenue - well, Jasmine Deli was closed (Monday) so we went to our next best thing and had a nice lunch. I prefer the spring rolls at Jasmine - the wrappers at Quang were much "tougher" and chewier, not as delicate as I prefer but we ate them all down. For lunch, I had #407, the carmelized lemongrass chicken which is my favorite. It comes w/broken rice, salad - it was as perfect as I remembered. My lunch companion had vegetable stir fry with tofu but it seemed to lack much tofu which was a bit disappointing.

              Pi - bar/restaurant at 25th/25th in S. Mpls - had a burger and tater tots and great cocktails. Plus, a trio of desserts that reminded of me of updated Mcdonald's apple pies - but we LOVED THEM.

              I won a Lund's/Byerly's gift basket (HUGE) plus a $200 gift card so I've been enjoying take-out sushi, take-out salads plus lots of great cheese and fresh fish! The basket included a 12-quart sauce pan (Encore) and then ALL of the Lunds/Byerly's signature products! I can never again say "I never win anything."

              1. Craftsman- Harissa Burger and Fries. The burger was cooked to perfection. Great taste and very jucy. Fries were great too and they have a great beer list.

                West Indies Soul in MGM- I don' t know why I keep going back. The rib tips were okay, the greens were okay, and the sweet potatoes were just way too sweet. All they have to do is put food on a plate, but they never seem to have their act together. It took way too long for 2:30 in the afternoon on a Monday.

                Rainbow- Singapore Chow Mai Fun. Take out. Very good, but I wish it were a bit more spicy/curryie.

                El Pariso (or something like that)- It is my new favorite restaurant. It is a Mexican Seafood Place on 35th and Nicollet. We've been a few times and it is just excellent. The seafood cocktails are huge. The ceviche is fresh and tasty. My favorite is a fish fillet with a tomato based sauce of mussles and clams (I think clams.) Comes with beans and rice. I love it. And live music on Saturday nights.

                Casey's- Across the street from El Pariso. Great little beer/wine bar. We got hamburgers and they were a lot better than we expected. We expected Cisco pre-made patties, but these were definately hand pattied. I wouldn't acutally recommend this place to anyone, it is too mediocore, but it is two blocks from our house, so we are happy.

                1 Reply
                1. re: churchka

                  I agree about the service at West Indies Soul in MGMkt. I never understand what all of those people, and they always seem to have several, are doing back there behind the counter, if it's not serving meals.

                  ~TDQ

                2. I wish I'd gone to PI for pi day (3/14, of course :-), but I didn't. Instead, I went to Cupcake for a roast beef sandwich with caramelized onions, cheese, and apple slices. Very tasty! And of course I had a cupcake - Lemon Blueberry White Chocolate. This might just be my favorite cupcake flavor of all time.

                  Safari Express at the Midtown Global Market for lunch. I must have been there on a different day than nieves, because my chicken curry was quite spicy. I had it over the special rice, which was overkill because the rice dish is also full of chicken (and spicy in a different way). But I loved the food and would order either of these dishes again, just not together. I also liked their spicy green sauce. My mom had the Veggie Delight over plain rice, and was very happy with it - she loved the coconut-milk sauce. Frugal diner note: you get a TON of food for $8 - I ate the rest for dinner the following night.

                  True Thai for Laab and Papaya Salad and Pad Thai. Delicious, as always.

                  Punch for a take-out salad and pizza (eggplant, goat cheese, and olives). Fabulous, especially after I heated it in the oven to crisp up the crust - and darken the burned spots (I love those burn spots!).

                  And, of course, our almost-weekly takeout dinners from U Garden (orange chicken, chinese brocolli with tofu) and Bona (letters M and Z5 - I don't know the real names anymore). I got some flan this week as a treat - it's not the best flan in town (it's kinda bubbled on the edges, which means they overcooked it) but it makes a fine breakfast the next day.

                  Anne

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: AnneInMpls

                    Wow, I thought my nerd friends (and I) were the only ones who celebrated Pi day by eating pie! (This year I had Haralson apple from Lunds.) Don't tell me you also celebrate "Talk like a Pirate Day!?" :)

                    This month we have only tried a few new places:

                    Duplex -- Went there for dinner one weekday night. I had the homestyle fried chicken and potatoes "small plate" and the green salad. I was extremely impressed by the potatoes and the house-made barbecue sauce that came with them. The sauce was sweet and tangy, not overly smokey, with some small chunks of tomatoes -- just the way I like a good BBQ sauce. The potatoes were sliced into wedges, cooked to perfection to provide a soft but still firm-enough interior, and they seemed to be lightly battered and cooked after baking. The chicken was good and fresh-tasting, but the breading was a little lacking in flavor. The "green salad" (a name which I typically associate with a simple salad of lettuce and maybe a few extras) actually had more extras than greens, but it was also surprisingly good.

                    Riverside Cafe -- I had to stop here for coffee and free Wi-Fi after reading about it on other threads. Good coffee, friendly atmosphere, but there's something about the layout of the main room that kind of irks me. I can't put my finger on it! The wine bar seemed really hopping, so I'd like to go back and try that one night.

                    - Great Wall @ 44th and France. We have been desperately trying to find good Chinese takeout in South Minneapolis, and this was our most recent attempt. Mixed results, but generally not so great. We didn't see too many "authentic" options on the menu, but that wasn't a big deal for this criteria -- just some convenient takeout comfort food was all we were after. The veggie lo mein was pretty good. Tangerine beef was not bad, but I've had much better. The wonton soup was a big turn-off -- thick brown beef broth, ick.

                    - Restaurant week night at Vincent's -- I posted a quick review about this on the Restaurant Week thread.

                    -- Chris

                    1. re: Chris Mitra

                      You are only really nerdy if you figure out how to celebrate 6.02 (Avogadro's Number Day). Maybe something in mole sauce?

                      Try Red Pepper for chinese take out in the area (66th and Xerxes).

                      1. re: mnitchals

                        mnitchals, eating mole sauce on Avogadro's Day is pure GENIUS. LOL.

                      2. re: Chris Mitra

                        I'm just a nerd-wannabe, and I only learned about pi day on Tuesday (from chowhound, of course!). I tried to get my co-workers to join me in a pi dance, but they're programmers so they wouldn't.

                        And I didn't manage to have pie at all that day. Instead, I had Pad Thai, because the first and last letters spell "pi."

                        mnitchals, I *love* the idea of mole for Avogadro's Number Day! I gotta remember this.

                        Anne

                    2. Shish (on grand ave) dolmas! Excellent – Prior poster mentioned the fries – I had a few of my kids and I was really impressed….

                      Damico & sons – salad – fresh, good

                      Sisu – on snelling ave – awful – stopped for lunch and threw out my entire salad. Wasn’t edible. Wasn’t even close to ok. I’m surprised I didn’t get sick from the raw chicken.

                      Modern – Yes! It was excellent! So glad I listened to the board. Mussels & pot roast & red wine. Can’t wait to return!

                      Midori – take out sushi. Heaven.

                      I Nonni – dinner – excellent. Love it. Makes me sad IVVesco isn’t great for food. A misstep or 2 for the group, but not with what I ordered, but I should have ordered the gnocci full size for my dinner!

                      We were also lucky enough to have “won” a dinner prepared in home by Chef Justin from the Grand Café – wow – it was truly amazing & we plan on visiting the Grand Café before the end of March.

                      1. Just want to chime in and say I "LOVE" this updates on where people are eating - gives me great ideas! Yeah! Which is I Nonni and I Vesco? I mean which one is in St. Paul vs Lily Dale? I get them confused ... I have only been to the deli and beautiful wine store in Lily Dale but we did not eat at the adjoining restaurant. I was terribly disappointed to see the pottery for sale at the Italian market was actually made in China.

                        1. I love these updates too! Il Vesco Vino is St Paul, I Nonni is Lilydale.

                          1. I haven't been out locally much, with a fair amount of travel out of state.

                            Salut Bar Americain -- lunch/brunch. Had a burger with pesto. It was OK but too wet. The fries were good. I think breakfast and light snacks are where they shine. Entrees and sandwiches tend to be weak.

                            Sawatdee on Washington -- takeout spring rolls and fried rice. Perfectly fine for lunch, not fabulous, not awful.

                            Town Talk Diner -- Great, as always. Renee & Steve's review of this place mentioned hospitality as well as service. I have to agree. The staff all seem to recognize us when we're threre, even though we're infrequent guests. Last night, it was me, my wife, and our 18 month old. The waiter got the baby an off-the-menu mini-pancake, which he brought out before our food came. This kept her happy and kept the meal pleasant. I had the kitchen sink burger with the garlic fries. This may be the best burger in town. It's not incredibly complicated or frou-frou, just a burger with a slight upscale twist, done very very well. (With skill and ingredients, I mean ... I ordered it medium rare.) My wife had the monkey business adult malt (a really gigantic malt -- suitable for two -- made with chocolate, bananas, caramel, and bourbon) and the chopped salad, which had a nice combination of fava beans, roasted squash, marcona almonds, manchego cheese, nice greens, and a bacon-buttermilk ranch dressing, topped with house-smoked chicken breast. Good flavors.

                            1. Jordan - I'm planning on that salad next time I go to TT. Sounds great & a good option to bring kids as well.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: St Paul Susie

                                Monkey business shake and a chopped salad, your wife and I would get along well, Jordan :). I got the chopped salad last time at Town Talk and loved it. The variety of textures is awesome. I would recommend asking for the dressing on the side (I got the bacon dressing also, you could also get I think a vinegrette). It was delicious but just on the verge of too much dressing. With it on the side you could control it a little better.

                              2. Month's only half over, though!

                                Let's see--
                                Started the month with a bowl of lobster bisque and a glass of wine at Muffuletta in St. Paul. The bisque was so hot (temperature) I burned my mouth because I was wolfing it down. So I guess it was good? I'm a little dazed. In any case, I love eating there and I hope to get back soon.

                                I've managed to lunch at Fugaise, which was stellar. The parsnip veloute they had was loverly, like a creme brulee soup. Seriously! It really moved my spirits. I was literally the only person there from 1pm to 145 on a midweek afternoon. The skatewing flavor was divine. I'd never had skatewing, so I was eager to try it and had been hearing things about it at Fugaise. The texture seemed varied, like part of it was a little tough. Generally speaking it was superb. They're doing something with butter lettuce at Fugaise that I've not had before, where it's placed in hot dishes. It wilts, but the flavor is there, totally right on, and it's like bright grassy butter, wonderful! The sauce and the use of salsify were delightful. Just very complex and loverly.

                                The family goes to Punch in NE pretty regularly and they've been pretty good. I think they're starting to really hit their stride on the bambini pizza--our kid loves it, see, but it often comes out so hot and we have to wait a few minutes. It looks like they cooked it just a little less than the regular pizzas and maybe they finished it First so it would cool, because our 4 year old was able to enjoy her pizza with minimal waiting the last couple times. Very cool. They've switched out one of the taps recently, and it's Sam Adams White Ale right now. I hope they bring the Surly Bender back soon. If you haven't added Mt. Vesuvius tomatoes to a pizza there, I highly recommend it. They're really sweet tiny tomatoes that make my day with every bite. Mmmm.

                                There's a new place by my house, North End Deli on Lowry at Penn. It's Hmong and Vietnamese. The pho was tasty, though the seafood they used in it was pretty cheap looking and tasting--salad shrimp of questionable sources, for example. Love to have them in the neighborhood. I couldn't help but laugh due to the hand lettered signs on their door "NOT CHINESE" and "NO REFUNDS." I asked if they'd taken some heat from the locals because they're not Chinese. I guess there's a dearth of pan-asian type places on the North side. That'll change soon enough. I just hope they stay open and people start to come there, just to give the neighborhood a little extra oomph in that department, cuz I begin to feel a little run down with convenience store after convenience store.

                                The Bulldog NE. Man, they gotta get the service thing or line issues or whatever worked out in a hurry. It took 45 minutes before we were eating. This is over <em>lunch</em>, when I don't have much time to waste. Not fun. The fish n chips I had was tasty, but I think the chips we got were the end of a batch or something because I watched plates come out after ours that had some awfully good looking fries on them and I'd heard so much about these Bulldog fries that I was ultimately let down. I'll give them some more chances, but the timing is soooo long. Grrr.

                                East River Asian over on E. Hennepin was tasty the other day, the ginger tea is still the tops. My wife had the special which was curry chicken and I stuck with the mai fun which is also kind of curry-powered and man that's good. It tastes like ...I don't know...a Malay version of mai fun? Our dining friend enjoyed her hoagie but reports that that place down on Nicollet with the 2.50 hoagies sets the bar so high for flavor and so low for price that it's very hard for anyone else to hit the sweet spot, especially these ~$6 ones at East River.

                                Had some very good espressos this month at Taraccino and at Kopplin's Coffee in St. Paul, along with the bestest cup of coffee I've ever had. Not kidding at all. It was this Columbia Tolima from Paradise Roasters and O.M.Geeee it was fantastic coming out of those clover machines. It was like a coffee revelation, deep and sweet and rich and complicated! You might have missed it. If you did, sorry to hear. But Kopplins is still the best spot.

                                Cali's Vietnamese on Broadway, in the spot where Vo's used to be. Yay! It was really good, reasonably priced, and excellent service. The appetizers are very interesting, with some of these little combo platter deals that have seafood and fried stuff that kind of feels like street food. Had the tofu pho which I loved, the broth was so spot on!

                                Very enjoyable food at Banh Thai in Plymouth. The egg rolls have the texture of someone's home made. Their pad thai leans toward the swee-and-smokey end of the spectrum and is good. Their green papaya salad is flat awesome, fiery, sweet, tangy, and did I mention hot?

                                Mac's Industrial has fiddled with their menu a little and was a real good spot for lunch. Had a tuna salad sandwich that was very chunky. Good, but I had a little trouble keeping the filling in the bread. Their fries are really really good. Maybe a little too salty, but who am I kidding? I love the salt.

                                Had some sushi at Kikugawa -- do you get the sense I work in the heart of Nordeast? I do, right over by Nye's. I was a little disappointed. I like Kikugawa for its convenience and frankly, especially when I'm hungry, their portions are bigger. It's fun to eat big chunks of sushi. Their tuna, beni toro most especially, was quite nice, as was the lobster. But the sake, unagi and saba were just a little fishy. This is dismaying. Is it a sign? Or was I just in a sensitive period? Time will tell.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: burnunit

                                  I want to commend you, burnunit, on a tremendously excellent post! Keep on reporting in, please, because you made me laugh a lot and also made me put some places on my list of joints to try. You are a true chowhound. Thanks.

                                  1. re: mcgeary

                                    Thanks. It was my first, so I was concerned for length, but I intend to keep playing.

                                2. Ok, let me jog my memory...

                                  WA Frost, the night of the big snowstorm (3/1). Sat at the bar with my husband, had great cocktails, did the crossword, watched the snow come down. We shared a really nice orange and fennel soup, kabocha squash ravioli and braised beef short ribs with mascarpone polenta. Overall, great!

                                  Take out from Cheng Heng, I can't get enough of their curry chicken noodle soup, with really snow cooked chicken, carrots, onions, etc. Fabulous!

                                  Krascmaruk's (sorry about the spelling!). We always share a sampler plate with extra sauerkraut or red cabbage, some soup, and Russian beer (#9?). The perfect take out for a wintery night at home.

                                  Bulldog NE Bar. Late afternoon on a Saturday, post-Surdyk's wine sale. Really good margarita, charcuterie plate was amazing, shared a junk burger and fries. I would go back!

                                  112 Eatery, sitting at the bar as usual. Detect a theme? Popped in on a whim early on Sunday, and had some of our usual favorites: sweet and sour crab salad, prawns, the new stracchi pasta, brussel sprouts, cherry dessert. Perfect, as always.

                                  The Muddy Pig, one of our usual haunts for everyday food. Goat cheese and tapenade toasts (good, but mine at home are better!), pulled pork sandwich.

                                  Il Vesco Vino. Another spot we can walk to, but usually go just for drinks, apps or dessert. I really like the zeppoli donuts with mascarpone and marmalade. I could pass on most of the menu and be very happy with a bowl of pasta fagiole, bread, wine, and the zeppoli.

                                  20.21. That's dinner tonight! Have always had a good experience there, looking forward to more of the same...
                                  :) dahlsk

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: dahlsk

                                    Please tell us how 20.21 went. I have a gift cert and I need to get in there!

                                  2. Biaggis in Eden Prairie Center... Chicken with veggies... I didn;t like the veggies not cooked anought by the chicken and the sauce were good
                                    Red Stone in Eden Prairie... Fondue... Forget it.. It was a cheddar cheese sauce
                                    Kallyste in Signal Hills West St Paul... Lobster sandwich.. Great !

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: andrea_c

                                      Hey, I had a lobster sandwich at Kallyste too! It was fabulous. Can't remember what all was in it besides tender lobster and tender thin slices of leek on a very good french baguette.

                                    2. I had bad sushi at Kikugawa several years ago and stopped going even though it is walking distance from my house.

                                      1. I hit Pad Thai in SmallPaul after yoga one night last week. We sat at the bar and were asked if we'd like to order by EVERY person that walked past the bar. ;) Service was enthusiastic if unpolished. Loved the decorating inside. I had the Tofu w/spicy green beans and mixed veg (can't remember the Thai name, sorry). It was good, a little skimpy on the sauce and tofu, though. I'd go back to try their namesake to see if it's as good as my favorite @ KinhDo.
                                        For Thai, I'm still in love with TumRup in Uptown. Service = hit-or-miss. Food = totally outstanding. The Vegan tofu soup cures what ails ya!

                                        1. Hi Everyone,

                                          Unless Gatorade and Powerbars count, I don't really have anything to add. I just thought I'd pop in and say hello as I received a "concerned" e-mail from a moderator. The photos below sum up my "March Update". The first is the "before" photo -- taken on a bike ride this past week. The second hints at the "reward" for my effort and hopefully makes this post "on topic".

                                          (click on the photos to enlarge)

                                           
                                          8 Replies
                                          1. re: MSPD

                                            Envy envy envy. I wish we had In n' Out up here.

                                            1. re: MSPD

                                              HIJACK THAT TRAILER! Just attach the hitch to your bike and use the power of a double double animal style to push you back to the midwest!

                                              1. re: MSPD

                                                Hey, MSPD, Great to see you back here, even just for a brief pop-in. Would love to hear more about your healthy eating adventures, or, at least, your adventures in "eating to cycle" in the Twin Cities. I could use more inspiration.

                                                ~TDQ

                                                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                  Hah. I'm not sure I'm any good for "inspiration". I made my 6 a.m. spin class today...does that count?

                                                  Like I said, nothing too much to talk about. I can scrape together a couple of highlights:

                                                  Most recently, Bagu Sushi (47th and Chicago): Everything very, very good and a great time with a friend at the sushi bar. Everything shared, mix of traditional and Americanized, nothing really unusual (more in the mood for "comfort food" if that makes any sense in terms of a sushi place) and not in this order: Crunchy spicy tuna roll, French kiss roll, #9 roll. From the a la carte: Toro (fatty tuna belly, they serve it minced up and mixed with green onion), tobiko (flying fish roe) two ways -- plain and wasabi marinated, and aji (jack mackerel) sashimi (off the menu) served with shiso leaf, sprouts and the head/skeleton deep fried. Aji and saba (mackerel) are some of my favorite fishes, especially in sashimi and Japanese preparations. I love this dish. Reminded me how long since I've had the saba teishoku at Tanpopo, right up there with my favorite foods in MSP. This was my first time at Bagu and I enjoyed it as much as Origami, my longtime favorite for sushi. Nice atmosphere, excellent/gracious service from the chef (OK, I suck at names. I asked and immediately forgot. I will recognize him. It was not Raul, who was the second itamae on duty. For some reason, I'm thinking Paul although he is Japanese.)

                                                  Shamrock's (W 7th at Randolph): 2nd location of Casper & Runyon's Nook if you're unfamiliar. Nookie Supreme Burger is unbelieveable as always, as were the fries. Thankfully, this place has much faster service than the Nook -- I can get in and out over a lunch hour although this kind of meal is a rare treat nowadays.

                                                  Marisas Bakery #2 (37th and Nicollet): Been a few times for snack/lunch -- fresh tortillas, carnitas, tamales (not all at once...small portions ya know)

                                                  Raising Cane's (Apple Valley) with the family: Don't bother.

                                                  Kabob's (78th and Portland, Bloomington): Excellent lamb kabob, bland rice.

                                                  Chambers Kitchen (www.chambersminneapolis.com): Not thrilled, but I'll go back.

                                                  Luxury Sweets in Apple Valley (www.luxurysweetsonline.com): Took the boys for a treat -- I really like their gelato there.

                                                  Not in MSP, but I was at Joe Tess Place in Omaha for some carp on my way out to Las Vegas earlier in the month. A tasty treat, although I wouldn't probably eat it very often and not for those that don't like fish that tastes like fish (if you love walleye you'd hate carp).

                                                  I also had a runza (another Nebraska specialty) on the trip which was fine. Go get a piroshki (not to be confused with pierogi) at the Russian Tea House on University and you're experiencing a nearly identical food to a runza, though much tastier in my opinion.

                                                  I don't know if it was March, but I tried the place in the old Tamalandia space on S. Robert St -- "something de Mexico". Decent huaraches.

                                                  Finally, my wife and I had an outstanding experience at Cooks on Grand -- "Town Talk Diner Visits Cooks". Chef Vlach from Town Talk Diner put on a really wonderful exhibition and shared some great stories about his experiences at French Laundry, Aquavit in NYC and Town Talk. It was quite educational as well. I really enjoy classes at Cooks and would recommend them for a non-traditional night out of dining.

                                                  That's about all I can think of right now aside from baked goods (my dietary downfall). Nothing new, but I still love Cupcake, Rustica, Jerabek's, Turtle Bread Co, Blondie's, Franklin St., My-T-Fine Cafe, and I'm sure others I'm forgetting. Also been popping into Valley Natural Foods (right by my house in Burnsville) for some great muffins and scones. Again, all in moderation and followed by a ridiculous workout.

                                                  1. re: MSPD

                                                    I'm glad to hear Shamrock's burgers are as good as the Nook's, although, I can't remember having had the supreme burger (just the lodge burger.) Might have to try it one of these days.

                                                    We were talking about runzas at the Mai Village Chowdown--still on my list of things to try someday.

                                                    Great tip about Cooks on Grand. I have seen some interesting classes on their schedule. Lucia taught one recently, I think.

                                                    ~TDQ

                                                    1. re: MSPD

                                                      Bagu is my favorite sushi place and I love to read good reviews for them. I think the chef you are trying to remember is Paul. He is the owner and is Thai and not Japanese; although he works with a Japanese finesse and I can see how one would think he's from Japan. I am sorry to report that Raul is no longer there. He was a wonderful sushi chef and I will miss him. The other primary chef, Joe, is excellent, too.

                                                      1. re: mustangwoman

                                                        Mustangwoman...thanks for confirming the name and that he's not Japanese! He either has a grasp of the Japanese language or is a good actor and has memorized enough to have fooled me (which is probably pretty easy in most cases).

                                                        By the way, have you checked out their new patio? I'm assuming it's open and was wondering what it's like.

                                                  2. I went to Keegan's Irish pub for some "Steak and Guinness pie" and a pint of Guinness. I love Guinness but I don't know about it being cooked into food. I enjoyed the pie but my $0.02 would be to make it with gravy instead of Guinness. It came with "chips" which were french fries. Their fish and chips and corned beef looked good. Their tomato soup looked really good.

                                                    I also went to Panchero's which is a quick service taco place in Block E. We were going to catch the movie "300" and wanted some cheap eats in the area so this place fit the bill. Not bad for a place in a mall. They have different types of tacos, burritos, quesadillas, etc. The shrimp tacos looked good but they didn't have fish. I enjoyed my steak quesadilla and my girlfriend liked her chicken tacos.

                                                    I went to Holy Land on Central Ave. Wow, Central Ave is pretty ethnic, and Holy Land in particular looks promising. I had a gyro and it was definitely the biggest gyro I've ever had. Filled to overflowing with delicious meat and little bit of vegetables and cucumber yogurt sauce. $6 for that and it was more than enough to fill me up for lunch.

                                                    I checked out an Indian store down the street from Holy Land but didn't get anything. They have a satisfactory selection of sweets, probably more than the other Indian stores in this area. But most of the sweets are from NYC and didn't appear very fresh. Hmm...my options for Easter sweets seem kind of limited: either get them shipped up from Sukhadia in Chicago, or come back to this store to get their NY-made sweets. My parents are going to India around Easter and I wish they were going to an area that has sweets, but they're not. damn

                                                    1. Rainbow on Nicollet. Terrible service. Not much finesse on the plate either. Had a big bowl, pork, octo, concoction that ate like a train wreck.

                                                      Server refused to acknowledge that we'd asked for a booster seat for our well behaved four year old on three occasions. Finally the host came through when asked once.

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: Karl Gerstenberger

                                                        Sven and Oles, Grand marais - Pizza was so filling - great crust.

                                                        Betty's Pies - Had the great lakes crunch pie - delicious as always.

                                                        Harry Singh's - Great food - ordered the classic curry chicken roti which tasted great and was delicious, except I made it a little too spicy by adding a little too much hot sauce!

                                                        Christos on Eat Street - shared the dip sampler and veg sampler (falafel and moussaka) with my boyfriend. The service was excellent and the food was even better. Loved it! Favorite meal of the month.

                                                        Thai Spice in Dinkytown - went there for book club group. I was pleasantly surprised. I had the pad woon sen with tofu, ordered it medium and it tasted great!

                                                        Glockenspiel - St. P - Super busy there (we were there during AYCE fish fry night) but they were very accommodating. I had the weisswurst which was two pork sausages with mustard, a pretzel and red cabbage (LOVED the cabbage!).

                                                      2. D'Amico and Sons (Uptown Mpls) - lasagna was cold in the middle (thus *possibly* confirming my suspicion that they plate the pastas, refrigerate them, and then microwave them when you order) but they comped a nice ricotta cheesecake dessert, which made up for it. When I asked for iced herbal tea, a server gave me the regular stuff; when I reiterated herbal, he insisted that the red stuff I wanted (iced Mighty Leaf Island Breeze) was not "herbal" tea because it was fruity, and the standard iced tea was actually "more herbal." But at least he then gave me the red stuff. We don't go there much anymore after the pizzas went downhill and then they took the stromboli off the menu.

                                                        Gigi's (36th & Bryant) - my god - 1st visit there, I ordered the spaghetti special... I have never had noodles with a texture like that: simultaneously rubbery, grainy, and mushy. Meatballs were cold in the middle (and strikingly reminiscent of the frozen meatballs I used to buy once in a while at the supermarket). When I sent it back, they brought me back the same plate, apparently microwaved, because the meatballs had those dense dark chewy spots that you get when you over-microwave ground beef. My dining companions loved their chicken curry, which I didn't care for. Thai red curry sauce without any sugar to balance out the flavors is not my idea of good eats. I've seen positive notes about this place and am mystified.

                                                        Barbette - 1st visit - happy with the steak au poivre. A little chewy, but IIRC it's grass-fed, so rather lean. Nice classic sauce. The fries were a bit stubby, but that sauce for the fries, wow! (Aioli?) Lemony and garlicky and addictive. Service was pleasant and attentive, which I particularly appreciate when dining alone. I am dying to go back to Barbette.

                                                        McCoy's (St Louis Park) - enjoyed the "Real McCoy" burger with their standard Merkt cheddar spread and bacon added. Subbed some salad for the fries, which the menu says are rough-cut but in my experience are just standard (frozen?) fries. Service was quick and friendly.

                                                        2 Replies
                                                        1. re: fendel

                                                          You probably had the saffron aioli with the fries at Barbette. Yes, it is addictive.

                                                          1. re: fendel

                                                            Re: D'Amico: The lasagna is cold and re-heated (not sure if it's a microwave...I hope not) however since it was cold in the middle, they might have warmed it in the brick-oven. I don't order lasagne out for this reason as it would be rather difficult to prepare fresh when ordered, what with the baking involved.

                                                            If you ever return, might i suggest the linguini with mushrooms and pancetta? It is defintely cooked fresh and is good. Same goes for the penne with sausage and cream.

                                                          2. Well, here are a few updates to share since my earlier post.

                                                            Rix - in Camden - had the Sesame Chicken Salad - looked great, the chicken was moist and flavorful however the dressing seemed to be all vinegar - I had the puckers all through dinner - seemed to miss a beat. My dining companion had the Blackened Chicken and Veggie salad - it was sooo spicy she needed an emergency beer - she loved it.

                                                            Bulldog NE - finally made it. We ordered the nachos - which were heavenly. They make the chips in house, - light, crispy and layered with queso fresco, chunks of meat. We had the "junk burger" which was quite tasty - but the fries with truffle oil were tremendous! Long slivers of hot, tasty potato followed by gulps of cold ale - dee-licious. The only thing we were disappointed in was the Cesaer's Salad which sounded promising with smoked anchovies -but it was boooring! Sigh.. The place is extremely loud - and it was strange to be in the place after it's run as Boom. The bar looked the same but the faces were different!

                                                            PIE - my friends brought us banana cream pie from Norske Nook in Hayward, Wisconsin - we were very very happy!

                                                            3 Replies
                                                            1. re: Abacus

                                                              Los Ocampo in St. Paul several times. Always great.

                                                              Kallyste also excellent, had the lobster sandwhich special.

                                                              Sea Salt several times for the grilled catfish po'boy. Alway excellent.

                                                              Little Szechuan for several meals and takeout. Always excellent. have yet to have a bad dish. Of course I only eat veggies and fish so that limits what I order.

                                                              Amazing Thailand which was anything but. Very boring and full of filler like red cabbage. Their veggie spring rolls had nothing in them - nothing. C'mon, take a look at what Jasmine does.

                                                              Margueux always good for a veggie sandwhich at the bar.

                                                              Christo's St. Paul takeout, what the hell did they do to the spanakopita? It used to be good, now it's like they're using bad mozzrella or something. The milopita was good.

                                                              Babani's to refresh my memory on why I don't go there. Now I remember, nothing interesting for vegetarians. There is a lot of fun vegetable cooking in kurdistan (I used to frequent several kurdistani places when living abroad), but none of that here.

                                                              Had lunch and a salad at the little laoatian place on University kitty-corner form LS. Can't remember the place. Nice papaya salad.

                                                              Betty's Pies? You're kidding, right? The most overrated over priced place on the North Shore.

                                                              1. re: misterpatrick

                                                                >> Had lunch and a salad at the little laoatian place on
                                                                >> University kitty-corner form LS. Can't remember the
                                                                >> place. Nice papaya salad.

                                                                Misterpatrick, might this possibly be "Va Lor Super Excellent Papaya Salad"? I love their sign. And I've been wondering how their papaya salad is. :-)

                                                                Anne

                                                                1. re: AnneInMpls

                                                                  That's it, Va Lor. The papaya salad is fine. Not the best I've had, but the staff was friendly and they kept giving me other things to try. The black rice was excellent.