All posts filed under “Restaurants

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The Spoon and Stable Restaurant

Spoon and Stable, Minneapolis

Spoon and Stable, Minneapolis

For Christmas last year, we received a very large gift certificate for the Spoon and Stable Restaurant in Minneapolis.

We decided to go for brunch one very cold winter Sunday. Reservations HAVE to be made online and they are normally booked a couple of months out.  Brunch was amazing!  Everything was fresh and they try to accommodate any special requests such as a side scrambled egg that I wanted.

Since brunch was so wonderful and didn’t use anywhere near the amount of the gift certificate, we reserved a couple of spots for dinner.

The inside of Spoon and Stable is very open and has high ceilings which can make for a noisy dinner.  Fortunately, our reservation was for when the restaurant opened, so they sat us in a nice quiet corner near the cooking station where we could see the chefs at work.

I didn’t get pictures of everything we ate but here are three.

Belgian Endive Salad, Spoon and Stable

Belgian Endive Salad, Spoon and Stable

The Wild Mushroom Soup below was superb, and I don’t like mushrooms (my friend ordered this).

Wild Mushroom Soup, Spoon and Stable

Wild Mushroom Soup, Spoon and Stable

Everything was simply superb!  From the service to the food ~

Sweet Potato Agnolotti, Spoon and Stable

Sweet Potato Agnolotti, Spoon and Stable

Dinner is a LOT more expensive than brunch.  The $150 gift certificate we received would have paid for dinner and a tip but since we used part of it for brunch we wound up having to pay a little out of pocket (mainly the tip).

This is definitely a place we would like to return to ~ IF we can get a reservation.  Hmmm … maybe I’ll reserve now for my birthday this summer.

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Cinco De Mayo Restaurant

On our travels back and forth to Chicago, we try to find new restaurants to check out to to break up the mundaneness of this oft taken trip.

On this occasion, we stopped in Mauston, Wisconsin at a restaurant called Cinco De Mayo. The place appeared to be a hoppin’ with locals and when you enter, directly in front, is the bar area.

We were seated right away but it took awhile for a server to come to our table. Then, once we got our drinks, we had to ask for the free chips and salsa after ordering.

The decor here is very “Mexican” with beautiful colors throughout.

Cinco de Mayo Restaurant, Mauston, Wisconsin

Cinco de Mayo Restaurant, Mauston, Wisconsin

Sad to say, the decor is probably the best thing, in my humble opinion, that this restaurant has going for it. Well, unless you don’t have much experience eating authentic Mexican food.

The menu ~ what can I say? What a disappointment to find spelling mistakes throughout the menu. In this day and age, spell check is so common that I don’t understand why there should be spelling mistakes.

Cinco de Mayo Restaurant, Mauston, Wisconsin

Cinco de Mayo Restaurant, Mauston, Wisconsin

Cinco de Mayo Restaurant, Mauston, Wisconsin

Cinco de Mayo Restaurant, Mauston, Wisconsin

I know, I know, we don’t eat the menu but … it’s still disappointing.

The food was barely okay. My husband had the Carnitas platter which had quite a bit of fat in it. Very unappetizing. I’d never seen this before.

Carnitas

Carnitas

I had a chicken enchilada platter which didn’t have much chicken in it.

Enchiladas

Enchiladas

The reviews on Yelp for Cinco de Mayo are at a 3.5. One recent review talks about the possibility of the restaurant having new owners or cooks as the food was tasteless.

I don’t know what the reasons are for the food not being up to par, but this is not a restaurant that we would return to ~ unless something changes and the reviews show a big improvement.

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Thai Cuisine – Brooklyn Park

In a little strip mall, tucked away on 85th Avenue North in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, is a quaint restaurant called Thai Cuisine.

A friend and I went here for lunch midweek and there were probably two other groups there – one large and one small.

Thai Cuisine, Brooklyn Park, MN

Thai Cuisine, Brooklyn Park, MN

We were seated right away by a young woman who later told me that she would be leaving her employment here to go to school full-time.

Since my friend had been here before, they recognized him and when his meal — a fish entree — was delivered to our table, she told him that the cook had given him the largest fish he had.  And it was quite big – head, tail and all!

Fish Entree

Fish Entree at Thai Cuisine

I had a simpler dish — chicken with cashews and vegetables.  Simply Delicious!

Chicken Entree

Chicken Entree

After we finished our meal and were getting ready to pay for it, the cook came out and greeted us.

It was a refreshing experience for me — great food, great service and a touch of humanity.

If you’re in the area, I strongly recommend this restaurant.

 

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La Cocinita Mexican Restaurant

Not too far from Lake Elmo, tucked away near the St. Croix River, is a small town called Bayport.

My husband decided to find a new restaurant and, because he’s a Mexican food lover, he chose this place.  No — it is absolutely not paleo. No where near — not even a hint of paleo. Remove the word paleo from your brain.  This is more than a “cheat” — this is Mexican food.

The restaurant is small on the inside and I  imagine it can be quite noisy when it’s full of people. There was only one other couple there when we arrived.

The sign on the outside said they were looking to hire a bus “person,” waitress and dishwasher. In spite of that, we were greeted and served right away.

They serve chips and salsa — the salsa was really good but you have to pay for more than one bowl (not that we needed or wanted more than one).

The food was — well, to be frank, it was quite cheesy.  I ordered the White Sauce Enchilada and it had more cheese than anything else.  Too much cheese and I was a cheese lover before paleo entered my life.

I had to order the black beans instead of the refried beans because the refried beans are made in lard (ugh!).  Not having had beans in ages, I didn’t like them but that could be because my taste buds have changed.

Here’s a picture of my meal –

La Cocinita Mexican Restaurant

La Cocinita Mexican Restaurant

So — we won’t be heading back to La Cocinita.  We’ll have to find a simpler “cheat” for our paleo palettes.

 

 

 

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Las Teresitas Mexican Restaurant

We recently had a relative come through the Minneapolis Airport with a 3 hour layover before heading on to their next destination.

Hmmm … what should we do with that time with them?

We decided to head out to a late lunch/early dinner with them. At first we thought we’d eat at the airport but it didn’t appear there were many options outside of the TSA security line.

There were a couple of options at hotels near the airport but they were a bit pricey.

So — we decided we’d go Mexican. It’s not often we have Mexican food as it’s not paleo friendly what with all the cheese they use — and who can pass up the nacho chips and warm tortillas? This was definitely going to be a “cheating” meal.

The restaurant is only 10-15 minutes from the Minneapolis airport. It looks small on the outside but has a good space on the inside.

Las Teresitas Mexican Restaurant, Minneapolis

Las Teresitas Mexican Restaurant, Minneapolis

We were waited on promptly so the service was good. There is a salad bar (see picture below) but none of us tried it so I’m not sure if it was good or not.

Las Teresitas Mexican Restaurant, Minneapolis

Las Teresitas Mexican Restaurant, Minneapolis

Besides booths, there are tables and the restaurant feels “open” and not crowded.

Las Teresitas Mexican Restaurant, Minneapolis

Las Teresitas Mexican Restaurant, Minneapolis

I had the Huevos Rancheros — it’s always a “safe” meal to have.

Overall, Las Teresitas is a nice restaurant with pleasant folk.

Here’s a link to their website:  Las Teresitas

And here is their address and phone number — just in case you decide to go try it.

5748 34th Ave S, Minneapolis, Minnesota – 612.727.1791.

Enjoy if you go!

5

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Once, The Broadway Musical

Earlier this year I had asked my husband what he wanted for his birthday and he told me he wanted to go see the Broadway musical called Once which was playing at the Orpheum Theatre in Minneapolis.

“Once” features actors who are also musicians and play their own instruments.

So, we waited until the “day” and headed to downtown Minneapolis to get a bite to eat before we went to see the musical. There are a lot of parking lots around the Orpheum Theatre although you have to pay for parking.  Once parked, we walked around to find a place to eat.

We were surprised when we tried to get into a restaurant about 1 block from the Orpheum only to be asked “Do you have reservations?” We, unfortunately, did not have reservations so we walked across the hallway from that restaurant and headed into the American Burger Bar.  No reservations were needed here (although about a half hour after we arrived it got quite busy).

The food was pretty good.  I had the Philly Cheesesteak with skinny fries and my husband had the Meatloaf which he said was really good.

Meatloaf at the American Burger Bar, Minneapolis

Meatloaf at the American Burger Bar, Minneapolis

Philly Cheesesteak at the American Burger Bar, Minneapolis

After dinner we walked around the downtown area and found that they had a lot of skywalks that connected all the buildings so we went sightseeing to get out of the cold until it was time to head to the theatre.

When we finally arrived at the theatre, I was immediately disappointed for a couple of reasons — 1) there is no picture taking, not even before the show or in the lobby and 2) the seats are crammed together.  The Orpheum is an older theatre so perhaps that’s the reason while the seats are so crammed but they should have looked at that when it was renovated in 1993.

The theatre seats 1500 on the main floor and 1100 on the three level balcony.

Prior to the show and during intermission, audience members were able to go onstage and talk with the actors/actresses. Now, that was a nice touch!

The musical “Once” is about a Dublin street musician who is just about ready to give up on his dream of being a musician when a beautiful young woman takes an interest in him. There is a musical romantic connection between them although she is married and he has a girlfriend in States. Eventually they realize it will not work between them and they go their separate ways.

The singing is very nice along with the playing that the musicians do. I was a little disappointed towards the end when a couple of curse words were thrown out as it was not needed and didn’t add to the storyline in a good way.

Overall, the musical was very nice.

Once, The Musical, Playbill

Once, The Musical, Playbill

 

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The Red Rock Grill Restaurant

Once a week, we head out to try out a new restaurant. One we always drive by, but have never tried, is the Tavern Grill. The parking lot is always super busy and we don’t want to have to wait “forever” to be seated.

However, next door to this restaurant is The Sheraton Hotel (in Woodbury) that has a restaurant called the Red Rock Grill. The parking lot is not very full here so it would lead one to believe that the restaurant is not very good.

But — you would be wrong.

Upon entering the hotel, the restaurant is straight ahead right past a fireplace. There were few people in the restaurant when we arrived at approximately 5:30 p.m. The hostess seated us right away and was very pleasant.

It was still “happy hour” so we ordered the Truffled Pommes Frites (french fries). Very very good. (On a paleo diet, we don’t normally eat potatoes — except for sweet potatoes — but we make an exception when we go out to eat.)

The entrees come with “sides” that are shared by everyone at the table.  We chose the green beans which were scrumptious.

Sheraton Restaurant - Green Beans

Red Rock Grill Restaurant – Green Beans

There were three entrees that we ordered but I only took pictures of two of them.

Red Rock Grill Entree

Red Rock Grill 16 oz Grilled NY Strip Entree

Red Rock Grill Entree

Red Rock Grill Minnesota Walleye Entree

I had the Tenderloin Medallions which (even though I requested them well done) were quite tender. I was very surprised as normally when I request meat to be cooked well done, it tastes tough.

Overall, we were very pleased with the Red Rock Grill’s service and food.  I believe we’ll be heading back sometime soon.

 

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Restaurants and Secret (Hidden) Menus

A recent article in the U S News paper talked about different restaurants that have secret menus.

It’s true! Even before the article came out, my family was looking at what the menu possibilities were at Panera (a bakery/restaurant) and we happened to come across their secret menu or as they call it, the “hidden” menu.

There aren’t too many options but enough to hopefully satisfy a paleo diet.

Here are the menu items they currently have:

For breakfast there are two: Power Breakfast Egg White Bowl with Roasted Turkey and Power Breakfast Egg Bowl with Steak

For lunch/dinner there are four: Power Mediterranean Chicken Salad, Power Mediterranean Roasted Turkey Salad, Power Chicken Hummus Bowl and the Power Steak Lettuce Wrap

My son and I stopped at Panera’s recently and decided to try a couple of their lunch options. We settled on the Power Mediterranean Chicken Salad and the Power Steak Lettuce Wrap.

Ordering was simple enough but we had to wait awhile to get our to-go meals. It appeared that the “cooks” weren’t familiar with the items we ordered but eventually our items were bagged up and ready to go.

The meals come in a box and we were given a plastic fork and knife for each meal.

Panera Hidden Menu

Panera Hidden Menu

Here’s the Steak Lettuce Wrap which at $7.99 seems a bit high for the amount of food you get (a LOT of lettuce). I was disappointed in the presentation and the quality of this entree. The pesto sauce, what little there was of it, had almost no flavor. Everything else just seemed to be plopped together on top of four large lettuce leaves. Not quite what I consider a “wrap.”

Steak Lettuce Wrap

Steak Lettuce Wrap

My son didn’t seem to have any complaints about the Mediterranean Chicken Salad which was also $7.99.

Mediterranean Chicken Salad

Mediterranean Chicken Salad

Well, at least they’re trying, right? Perhaps we’ll go back to see if there’s any improvement.

 

 

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Downtowner Woodfire Grill

After having our taxes done this year, we settled into a local St. Paul, Minnesota restaurant called the Downtowner Woodfire Grill.

Downtowner Woodfire Grill

Downtowner Woodfire Grill

Upon entering, we were seated almost immediately by a hostess who would become our waitress. She was very efficient at her job and served us our drinks/water immediately and then took our orders.

The restaurant has a quiet ambiance and I especially liked the fire that they had going. It made it seem relaxing to me — almost like I was at home.

Our food came quickly and looked quite scrumptious until I took my knife and cut into the sirloin steak that I had ordered. Unfortunately, as seems to happen more often than not, it was not well done as I had ordered. So, the steak went back and they returned it in a timely manner.

It’s always uncomfortable for me when this happens as I sit there and eat what’s left on my plate — in this case, it was garlic mashed potatoes and veggies. The feeling is one of incompleteness which I guess shouldn’t be an odd feeling since my meal is incomplete. (Is there a philosophical sentence in there?)

Anyway … everything tasted pretty good. My husband had Pork with Basmati Rice and Vegetables …

Pork with Basmati Rice

Pork with Basmati Rice

My son had the Tenderloin Filet with Horseradish Mashed Potatoes and Vegetables …

Tenderloin Filet with Horseradish Mashed Potatoes

Tenderloin Filet with Horseradish Mashed Potatoes

I’m not a big fan of horseradish and had never heard of it being added to mashed potatoes, have you?

I had the Sirloin Steak with Garlic Mashed Potatoes and Vegetables …

Sirloin Steak with Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Sirloin Steak with Garlic Mashed Potatoes

The steak does look a little overdone on the outside, doesn’t it? It actually tasted a little charred but good.

We would definitely eat here again if we’re in the area. It is a little pricey though — the Tenderloin Filet was $29.95.

The mashed potatoes were a treat for us because we’re not eating potatoes on our paleo diet — unless it’s sweet potato or yams.

They sure tasted good!

 

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