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Apr 1, 2007 06:25 AM

End of the month UPDATE MSP (March)

Where have you been since

Tell us everything! Raves, downhill alerts, new spots, old favorties, etc.

Happy April Fools Day Everyone!

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  1. I was out of town a bit this month.

    But I did make it to Shish a few times. Excellent. Highly recommended and the staff is very friendly!

    Downtowner woodfire in St paul for dinner - I had the beef kabobs (persian roasted) and a salad, a few beer, great food, great service and well priced

    Went to the Grand Cafe in Minneapolis last night. Food was excellent - I had the roasted beet salad and the kobe pot roast. I plan on returning soon. Good price points for food and wine.

    1. Nothing new, really. Matty B's for lunch; Town Talk for dinner and brunch ... but I've posted about both of those places before.

      We did hit an old favorite for breakfast -- French Meadow Bakery. They've still got it. The "basic egg breakfast" is a simple plate of very good bacon, crispy hash browns, an egg cooked to your liking, and two slices of excellent French Meadow toast, with butter and strawberry jam. We had a waffle of the day, which was topped with too much of an excessively sweet raspberry sauce and a giant scoop of very dense fresh whipped cream. The French toast was a better choice -- very thick slices of sourdough boule. Coffee was very good. Even better, refills are now free (although you still must get your own).

      1. We were on vacation in Florida for a week but did try two new places this month we had not tried before. Willie's Wine Bar. Loved the jazz combo playing and had some great wine. Had a scallops appet. but thought the scallops were much better at Margaux's. I had a pizza (wasn't wild about the crust) and husband had salmon (??) which was great. Will probably go back. Last night went to Il Vesco Vino in St. Paul. Great atmosphere, lots of energy. Had the salami/cheese appet., very good. Then we each had a pasta. MIne with shrimp, his with seafood. Liked both. Flourless choc. cake for dessert-good. Great wine. Will probably go back in summer when new patio opens and wood oven pizzas are available.
        As posted on another thread, still trying to find a good winebar/bistro where you can get good wine, appies, pizza, pasta, with meals around $12 a person. (especially around St. Paul). Love Gigi's in Mpls but would love to find something similar nearby St. Paul. J

        1. Alright, I've been keeping track this month:

          JP's - Husband has been wanting to go for a while so we went there on a Wednesday night. The waiter was very friendly but gave the same exact shtick to the table next to us. I had a foie gras appetizer and 1/2 of the gnocchi entree. The foie gras was good but came with a very plain salad along side. The gnocchi was weird - it was supposed to have a sauce with blue cheese which I guess it did but the flavor wasn't very strong and the sweet candied nuts on top totally dominated the dish. Husband had tuna tartare which was excellent and then I believe roast pork which was a bit dry, but came with a fantastic polenta on the side.

          Mediterranean Cruise Cafe - this is our new go to spot when we're by MOA. Although the belly dancing bugs me, the food is fantastic and the portions are so huge you'll easily have 2 more meals left. I got the lamb with couscous and besides being a little fatty, it was fantastic. Their hummos is wonderful too.

          Fasika - I was having a craving and husband and I hadn't gone anywhere that weekend due to house painting. It was great as usual and the Ethiopian beer was surprisingly good. We got the veggie platter and a chicken dish and between the 2 of us only finished about 1/2 of both. Great deal.

          Bagu - we went late one rainy evening. It was fine, although I got the sashimi platter and the bowl of rice that came with it tasted off - not too much vinegar like others have reported about the sushi rice, just too dry or something. The salmon was fantastic but the tuna was a little too tough and fishy.

          Holy Land - I picked up takeout and got the sauteed chicken and veggies for myself. Absolutely fantastic and had tons of leftovers for the next day.

          Kabob - We headed down there this past Friday because of the reviews on here. We decided to get takeout because the restaurant was freezing cold. They were out of what we first wanted so we had to modify our choices a bit. Husband got one of the beef kabobs which came totally cold - it was very strange. It was really dry also, we ate 1 of 3 and tossed the rest. We got the goat biryani weekend special which was fine but nothing great. There were big pieces of bone in the rice which was unappealing. I got the chicken tikka masala which was nicely spiced. We ordered everything hot, the owner looked at us funny, but then we explained that we're not from MN and he agreed to make it hot ;) It was the perfect spice level. I don't think we'd go there again though because the kabobs were so disappointing and the other entrees nothing special.

          Hell's Kitchen - I just returned from brunch there and got a cup of the porridge and the sausage bread. I'm totally stuffed and only ate 1/2 the bread. It was all good, but not as mind blowing as I remember.

          Tonight we're going to King's with some family that live up near there. I'm very excited for the bi bim bap.

          2 Replies
          1. re: katebauer

            Wow Kate, I am surprised by your experience at Kabobs. Every time I went the food was piping hot and the right spice level. I was not impressed with the biryani, which I thought the rice was too dry. But the other stuff was always good. Sometimes I just get some naan to go and eat it with something I make myself. The beef samosas are good, very few places have them. Yup, it's definitely a takeout place.

            I agree with you on Fasika and Holy Land. Awesome stuff.

            1. re: IronLionZion

              We did think the naan at kababs was good - fluffier and softer than some other places. So the kabobs are not supposed to be cold? We thought maybe that's how they were supposed to be and we missed something. The owner (?) who helped us was very friendly and the order took 20 minutes to put together so we assumed what needed to be cooked was cooked.

          2. India Cafe on Portland and 494 - I've been wanting to try this place and my new girlfriend is a vegetarian. I had the Mysore masala dosa. It was good stuff. I think a better value is Sambol's lunch buffet because then you can get as many masala dosas as you want. A dosa at India Cafe will run you around $6.

            Sambol in Eagan - I came here only because I wanted the masala dosas during the Saturday lunch buffet. Good stuff as always. This is probably my favorite Indian restaurant in the twin cities but I haven't been to that many. The buffet on Saturday is something like $11.

            Tum Rup Thai - My girl's favorite thai restaurant. I went here for the first time and got chili cashews with beef. Good stuff. I got spice level 3 and thought that was the right amount. She got green curry with tofu and that was good too. I prefer the spicy stuff. The portions were large, so we took it home and got a few meals out of it.

            Ketsana's - This place was awesome. I had the panang beef at spice level "hot" and this was absolutely amazing. Panang is probably my favorite Thai dish, but very few places have it. It has coconut milk, peanuts, lime, chilis, and I don't know what else. Unfortunately they give very little of this and everyone wanted some so it went quickly. The dishes with vegetables or noodles are a lot more substantial if you're very hungry. I've been looking for a Thai eggplant curry but I haven't seen it anywhere here. I don't know what it's called. If anyone knows where to get it, let me know.

            Cafe 28 in Linden Hills - interesting stuff, supposedly very "natural" and "organic". I had the fish special. It came with some sort of pureed vegetable and asparagus. It was good but the portion was very small. My buddy got the pork dish where you wrap it in tortillas. That was good stuff and the portion was bigger. What really looked awesome was the "chocolate decadence" dessert. That was a very rich chocolate cake of some sort with ice cream and more chocolate. Someone got it and I so wanted to try a spoonful but I gave up sweets for Lent. Damn.

            Yup, Happy April fools day!

            2 Replies
            1. re: IronLionZion

              I have to mention the fried smelts on the happy hour menu at Vincent's. Met a friend
              there Friday, first time at their happy hour, went at 5 as advised- fills up rapidly after
              that- pleasantly quiet which is important to me- didn't think the chickpea fries were
              anything great although they sounded interesting- they ended up looking like fish sticks
              and had a very smooth creamy filling, not very interesting. Good deal on the famous
              Vincent burger- my friend loved hers, and I scored one yummy bite- half price at happy
              hour. But try those smelts, they reminded me of going camping and frying up some
              fish we caught- tiny though, with a nice homemade tartar mayo.

              1. re: IronLionZion

                I'm glad Ketsana's is back. They closed for a while for "renovation" and right after they reopened it was abysmal. But I always loved their curry duck and the green papaya salad.

                I don't think I would drive across town for it, but I work near there and love it for lunch.

                Thanks for the post. Now I know I can go back!