All posts filed under “Restaurants

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The Space Needle Sky Restaurant

The first time I went to the Space Needle restaurant was over 20 years ago and it was expensive but not impressive. One time was enough until recently when friends of mine decided to take my husband and I along with another couple to dinner. This restaurant would not have been my first choice but since they were paying for everything we went along.

Parking in the area is available at the many pay-by-the-hour parking lots but we decided to splurge and have the Space Needle valet service make the parking spot hunt non-existent. We were not disappointed. At $8 (for those who are eating at the restaurant) it was a bargain. The valet service starts at the entry to the Space Needle.

My husband and I, along with one couple, arrived 45 minutes early and we were not allowed to check in until all six of our party was accounted for. Checking in was a breeze at that point and we were handed a “buzzer” that would alert us when our table was ready. Until then, we headed up to the observation deck to take in the views.

Lake Union View, Seattle, WA

Queen Anne Neighborhood View, Seattle, WA

Another view of Lake Union

The day was quite cloudy — a typical Seattle day, although being July I expected sunshine.

Puget Sound, Seattle, WA

After 20 minutes or so, our buzzer went off and we headed down one flight of stairs to the restaurant. When we arrived the hostess was bustling around trying to find a table for us. My friend had requested a table by the window and they didn’t have any available.

Normally this would not have been an issue but an elderly woman in our party was using a walker. They bustled us to one place, then another and then … I got annoyed. All the movement was not good for our physically challenged friend. Then we waited. And waited. Another 15 minutes.

We finally were seated next to a window and our waitress gave us the menu. She was polite but I could tell she was in a hurry. My guess is that she had too many tables to wait on. Oh well …

We ordered Martinelli’s Sparkling Cider so we could toast this occasion — a 50th wedding anniversary (3 years late), my 55th birthday (a few days early) and a goodbye to our friends who are moving to Arizona.

I was in for a pleasant surprise when I tasted the Martinelli’s. It was delicious! Normally I don’t like sparkling cider because there is too much carbonization but that was not the case. Can cider become better with age or what could be the reason this one tasted so good? My family usually had cider for the holidays but the taste of this Martinelli’s surpassed any I’d ever had.

Next we ordered two appetizers. One was a salmon “crab” cake which was more like a salmon loaf and the second was the Rustic Flat Bread which was delicious.

Rustic Flat Bread

And then we waited for the entrees to come. And waited. One thing I have learned in my almost 55 years of living is that the “finer” restaurants allow you to take your time at meals. But this seemed a little longer than what I expected.

By the time the food arrived we were ready to devour it. When the waitress put the plates in front of each person I could see disappointment in one of my friends eyes. Portion sizes were really small. The beef tenderloin that my friend ordered tasted wonderful but the baby carrots were a disappointment. There were, maybe, 5 little tiny carrots. The same was true with most of the other entrees in terms of the vegetables.

The portion size was enough to fill you if you weren’t overly hungry. I was happy with my entree — the Anderson Ranch Lamp Chops. Not much meat on the bones but it sure was tender. I had to pick the bone up though and bite the small bits of meat off or I wouldn’t have had much of a meal as the knife would not cut into the corners very well. (Yes, not proper etiquette but I was a hungered! laughing)

Anderson Ranch Lamb Chops

Perhaps the reason they don’t give you too much food is so you can have some of their yummy dessert! I can’t remember the name of mine and it’s not on their website but the inside had a chocolate filling and the outside tasted very light and it all melted in your mouth. My mouth waters just thinking about it.

Sky City Restaurant, Space Needle dessert

We had a good time even though service was a bit slow. I was chagrined to see that the Sky City Restaurant has a minimum food and beverage charge of $35 per person. I guess it doesn’t matter since the cheapest dinner entree I could find was $38.

Well worth it though. A definite five star dinner but three stars for the service.

[amazon_link id=”B001SAWNWE” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]S. Martinelli & Co. Sparkling Apple Cider, 8.40-Ounce (Pack of 12)[/amazon_link]

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HOMI Mexican Restaurant

Found: A good Mexican restaurant. The HOMI in St. Paul, Minnesota is on University Ave W tucked away with a group of smaller businesses. When my family and I went University Ave had quite a bit of construction happening so there was no on-street parking.  The restaurant though has parking in the rear.

The restaurant is family owned and the son and stepmother were both hosts and cooks.

HOMI Restaurant, St. Paul, Minnesota

We were the only patrons there when we arrived. The restaurant seems to have a lot of “take-out” business. Because …. the food is good!

HOMI Restaurant

We started with chips and salsa and were offered (at an additional cost) fresh guacamole dip. We accepted their offer and were very pleased.

Chips with fresh Guacamole

Three people = three entrees …

I had the Torta Mexican sandwich. The breaded meat was not tough so I was happy that it was not overcooked.

Torta Sandwich 

Can you guess what the other two (2) entrees are? They are shown on the HOMI website —

The stepmother came out a couple of times to make sure the meal was okay. They seem to take pride in the food they serve.

I would definitely recommend a trip to the HOMI Restaurant if you’d like some good Mexican food.


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Los Andes Restaurant

On a recent search for a new Mexican restaurant, we came across Los Andes Restaurant which is a Columbian and Ecuadorian restaurant near downtown Minneapolis.

There were many locals already seated when my family and I arrived.

Los Andes Restaurant, Minneapolis

One of my favorite foods was on the menu, maduros, which are ripe yellow fried plantains. Instead of slicing them in smaller pieces, this restaurant cut the plantain in half, fried it and then served it so it looked almost like a whole plantain.

In Puerto Rico, the plantain, both the green and the ripe yellow, is served at all restaurants and at dinner time (most of the time).

Another item I was familiar with is the drink called Malta. This is a barley drink that I enjoy on an infrequent occasion mainly because I don’t want to get sick of it. The one they served at Los Andes tasted a little bit different than the one I’m used to — it was less sweet. My mother normally has these on hand when I visit her. Some say the barley taste is acquired from when one is young but I know older people who have tried it and liked it.

Malta Drink

We ordered the corn cakes with cheese as an appetizer and were not disappointed. They were very tasty.

The steak at Los Andes was tender which surprised me as most of the time when I order a steak at a Latin/Hispanic restaurant I have been disappointed as they are normally tough or dry to eat.

Bistec a Caballo (Sirloin)

Plato Montanero (Sirloin)

Carne Asada

The service was good and the people were friendly. Portion sizes were huge! Next time we go I think we’ll order one entree and share it.

Want to know what the most interesting item on the menu was? Roasted guinea pig. I had never seen it served anywhere before and the menu said you need to order it ahead of time because of the time needed to cook it. No worries. I never would even consider trying it. For some reason it disgusts me just to even think about it. But, that’s me.

Roasted Guinea Pig

So, if you’re looking for a new restaurant to try, you might want to go to Los Andes. Make sure you go hungry as you’ll have enough food to fill you for a couple of meals.



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Cracker Barrel

A recent trip back to Minnesota from Chicago had my family and I stopping in Janesville, Wisconsin for a late lunch/early dinner. The Cracker Barrel Restaurant sign could be seen while driving on the highway and as I had never been there and my son raved about it, we decided to stop.

Upon entering, there is a country-style store that has lots of neat items to buy. From Amish looking (and inexpensive) quilts to homemade jam and fudge, I made sure I browsed after we had lunch.

A sign that said “Hostess” was above an area where a young man waited to show us where to sit.

The restaurant itself is decorated with country items.

Cracker Barrel, Janesville, Wisconsin

Cracker Barrel, Janesville, Wisconsin

One of the items that I hadn’t seen in awhile sat on each table of the restaurant — do you remember playing this game when you were a kid?

The purpose of this game is to keep you occupied while waiting for your food. It served it’s purpose well. There is one hole that is empty and has no peg in it. You “jump” the other pegs and try to get rid of as many pegs as possible. If you only have one peg left then you’re a genius! Unfortunately, I was not a genius on this trip.

The personality of the waitress was neutral as she was neither friendly nor unfriendly but simply business-like. Our orders were taken and served to us quickly. I had the Blueberry Maine Pancakes and they were absolutely delicious. They came with a small bottle of blueberry syrup. I would highly recommend these pancakes as they were so moist and had real blueberries in them.

Maine Blueberry Pancakes

Maine Blueberry Syrup

The two other entrees that my family tried were the Chicken and the Meatloaf. Both were good although the honey corn muffins weren’t as good as others we’ve had at other restaurants.

Cracker Barrel, Meatloaf

Cracker Barrel, Chicken

I thought it was quaint to see this table set up for someone to sit and play checkers at.

Cracker Barrel, Checkers Table

I think we’ll have to stop here again on the way to/from the Chicago area. Good food!

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McCormick & Schmicks

On a recent trip to Minneapolis to see the Minnesota Orchestra, we had dinner at McCormick & Schmicks. The restaurant is an easy walk from the Orchestra Hall, we got seated immediately and the food was good.

When you first enter the restaurant, the doors you enter look quite impressive with the leaded glass. You might think that you need to dress up but lots of people were in jeans.

McCormick & Schmick's

McCormick & Schmick's Entry

It is a bit noisy though. I’m not sure if it’s because the ceilings are high and the noise bounces back to the floor but if you’re looking for a quiet romantic evening this probably isn’t the place to go to. Although — they do have rooms that close with curtains so perhaps those rooms would be more intimate.

My husband had the Palm Beach Mahi Mahi that came with crab potato hash and sweet corn bisque. He said it was “pretty good.”

Palm Beach Mahi Mahi

I decided to try the Salmon over Pasta that came with a Spinach & Vegetable Orzo and Sundried Tomato Pesto. It was okay. The orzo was greasy and the salmon didn’t taste any better than the one I had made at home that week.

Salmon over Pasta

It wasn’t bad but I guess my expectation was that it should taste better than what I make at home. Is that an unrealistic expectation?

Overall, the dinner was good and its a good place to eat before heading to a concert.



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The Holy Land

On a recent trip to Minneapolis, my son and I stopped at the Little India store to see if we could find sumac for a recipe we were trying out. Unfortunately, they did not have it. The kind woman told us we needed to go to “the holy land.” She pointed in a direction which in my mind I took to mean east. (I’m not very good with directions though so it could have been west, north or south.)

At the counter, my son showed the cashier a picture of what sumac looked like to see if he could determine if they carried it. He told us “You  need to go to the holy land” then pointed in the same direction as the woman had pointed.

I figured we were out of luck in getting this spice. My son, a more resourceful fellow, checked his iPhone to see that there was a store 6 blocks away that is called The Holy Land.

Holy Land, Minneapolis

(I didn’t tell my son about my misunderstanding until much later in the week when I could look back and laugh at my ignorance.)

We were able to find the sumac at Holy Land. They have quite an array of Mediterranean spices and food. There is also a meat counter and a deli.

Much to my delight, one of my favorite cheeses called Kasseri (which is really hard to find) was looking straight up at me as I checked out all the cheeses. A small chunk came home with me.

While we were here, we stopped for gyro sandwiches at the deli. They were delicious and very large. The french fries were “okay.”

I’m finding that Minneapolis is quite diverse. So far we have been able to find every spice we’ve been looking for. And the neighborhood near the India Store and Holy Land have lots of different types of restaurants, ie Afghanistan, Mexican, Salvadoran, etc.

Holy Land is located at 2513 Central Avenue Northeast in Minneapolis.

[amazon_link id=”B000QNQZM8″ target=”_blank” container=”Sumac” container_class=”” ]Sumac 4.0 oz by Zamouri Spices[/amazon_link]


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Sgt Peppers Grille & Bar

Last evening we went to Sgt. Peppers Grille & Bar in Oakdale, MN.

Sgt Peppers Grille & Bar

It was around 5:15 p.m. and we were seated right away in a booth next to the front door. The woman who seated us brought over a bowl of popcorn and set it on the table. Oh! I love popcorn. This popcorn though was quite salty. Not good for someone who has high blood pressure. Perhaps they should allow people to add their own salt at their table.


The waitress came right away and offered us drinks. I asked for a root beer with just a little ice. She came with a glass of root beer filled with ice. I tried taking the ice out and putting it in another glass but the cubes were quite large and they started falling on the floor. Oh well … when the waitress came back, I asked her if she could take some of the ice out. She whisked my drink away and brought me another one.

We had three items from the menu:

  • Chicken Rice Soup
  • Chicken Pot Pie
  • Gyros (beef and lamb) with french fries
My husband said that the chicken rice soup was not as good as the one I make at home. Not bad but not very good.

Chicken Rice Soup

The chicken pot pie was “weird” — my husband’s description. It had mashed potatoes in it and “I wished I would have ordered something else.” Not good. It did come with garlic bread though.

Chicken Pot Pie

Next there was the gyros entree. It actually was pretty good although it didn’t have the usual feta cheese crumbled on it.

Gyros Sandwich

Lastly were the french fries. They would have been good but were doused in — salt! Again, if they would just leave the salt out then more of this visit would have gone well.

French Fries

I could hardly eat them and left more than 3/4 of them.

The atmosphere was noisy but that’s to be expected because there’s a sports bar connected to the restaurant. The waitress had no animation and just seemed to go through the motions.

Ahhh well, we’ll continue looking for restaurants in the area.


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Nacho Mamas

Heading back through Stillwater across the bridge from Wisconsin after an errand, we stopped at a small restaurant called Nacho Mama’s.

Nacho Mamas Restaurant

One would think, by the name, that they served mainly nachos and that the prices would be inexpensive. Not so.

The sign as you enter warns of large portion sizes — “Where the small is big and the large is huge.”

The menu is quite varied and a tad bit expensive during the lunch hour.

My husband had the Chipotle Steak Sandwich which he said was rather good.

Chipotle Steak Sandwich

I had tacos. Three tacos. The first bite caused me to reach for my water glass. Not a fan of spicy foods, I was rather shocked that they did not list the fact that this was a spicy dish.


When I mentioned the spiciness to the waitress, her response was “All of our foods are spicy. I can’t tell every customer that.”

That was disturbing to me and I should have sent the tacos back but instead I muddled through and ate the rice and beans which were pretty good.

Nacho Mamas — you really should make a note on your menu that all of your entrees are spicy. You may lose some customers but at least you won’t have any unhappy ones.



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The Green Room

The Green Room is a very nice restaurant in Stillwater, Minnesota. It has entrances in the front and the back. We entered through the back entrance this time.

The Green Room, Stillwater, Minnesota

My husband started his meal with the Minnesota Salad which includes mixed greens, blueberries, hazelnuts, a wild rice waffle and turkey confit with Maple Syrup Vinaigrette. It was very delicious.

Minnesota Salad

Then my husband had the Grilled Mahi Mahi which again he thought was delicious. It came with a mango chutney, turmeric potatoes and had a spicy red curry on it.

Grilled Mahi Mahi

I started my dinner with the special of the day: Salmon Chowder. I was a little disappointed as it was kind’ve oily. Instead of the salmon being chunky, it was more shredded-like.

Salmon Chowder

For my entree, I had the oven roasted half chicken. The chicken was cooked well and tasted good except that it had too much salt. I couldn’t finish it. This entree came with sage and squash bread pudding which was a little dry.

We came to this restaurant once before and all of the food was delicious. The presentation is always good and the service is excellent. Hopefully they will work on the flavorings to get them “just right.”

Click here to go to the Green Room website and see their menu.





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El Amanacer Restaurant

The El Amanacer restaurant in St Paul doesn’t look like much from the outside but the food is really delicious. It’s a good 20-25 minute drive for us to get to it but the sacrifice is worth it.

El Amanacer

The inside of the restaurant has both booth and table seating. Murals on the wall give the restaurant a very authentic feel.

We had a cheese quesadilla as an appetizer.

Cheese Quesadilla

I had the burrito which was huge and came with rice and beans. Unfortunately they did mess up my order by giving me the wrong kind of meat but it tasted good anyway.

Burrito with Rice and Beans

El Amanecer Restaurant is located at 194 Concord St in St Paul, Minnesota. A good place to eat.



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