1st- dino's gyros, shakopee
3rd- bloomington park tavern, bloomington
7th- crossroads deli, minnetonka
14th- red pepper, richfield
16th- solera, minneapolis
17th- buca di beppo, eden prairie
28th- big 10, hopkins
29th- pablo's, shakopee
1st- dino's gyros, shakopee (a)
i go here more often then i write about it (usually once every other week), just because it seems odd to write about it so often. it's my favorite place to eat near work. which doesn't mean they are always perfect, but they have it all over other fast food chains in the area (for my tastes), and most other places i can get to and from eat at in half an hour (el burrito mercado and a few other places excepted. i need to find a good indian restaurant in range. that would be nice...).
falefel sandwich and fries. tasty, tasty fries. i go in there often enough so that as a regular ('here comes a regular....') that now and then it seems i end up with an more generous that usual portion of fries (making the portion hugeass- literally and figuratively, heh- so sometimes i have to take 'em with me for later). i did tell one of the people there of my adoration of them (and have turned my coworkers on to them). mmmm, fries with that. (blah blah blah. sometimes i wonder why i am so obessed with fries. then i get distracted by shiny things.)
and someday i may learn to eat the sandwiches without overflow. it's good to have goals.
3rd- bloomington park tavern, bloomington (d-)
the first bite of my chicken salad half-sandwich contained a frilly toothpick. you know, the one that is supposed to be going through the sandwich from top to bottom, not side to side. (my guess is that it got in the middle when they cut the thing in half...)
yes, i was with mr. bad restaurant karma, of course.
so my dining companions finish their dinner while i wait for the server. and wait for the server. and of course, wait for the server. yes, it was the same one as before.
the server appeared, of course, after they were done eating. and after i had explained the toothpick in the food, and my not wanting to eat any more of it after that ('i have no idea how it could have gotten in there, it's usually in the top of the sandwich,' was the comment when i showed the mayo-laden pick) i was asked if i wanted a replacement. i said no, as i didn't want to make the people i was eating with wait any more for anything else.
then i was told that my meal would be free. since we had a two for one (and the other people split theirs) mine was going to be free anyway. i asked if they would just comp their sandwich. the server checked with the manager, who said fine. (saving them from the f... not that it matters in the long run, anyway. i should have had the usual catfish sanwich. ah, well.)
so i went to bk and had a bbq chicken sandwich, would could have used more (any? some?) bbq sauce. but had no wood in it. it was decent for bk food (which i usually don't like at all).
7th- crossroads deli, minnetonka (c+)
weirdly (without realizing it), i ordered the same thing i had here last time. no skin on the salmon, but they randomly put roma tomatoes on it before they baked it. not sure why, except maybe for decoration. everything was still mostly ok, though i was not fond of the random sauteed veg. too many carrots for my taste.
14th- red pepper, richfield (b)
between the patrick's french bakery a few doors down and this place, it's a pretty good strip mall to eat it (ignore the fast food-ish chain between the two, though). if you can get past the elevator muzak and the lack of decor. it's buffet-free, if that matters to anyone.
cream cheese won tons to start. good, though could have used a bit more cream cheese. i had the cantonese-style duck, which had a large pile o'duck in it with crisp skin and was tender inside, duck-wise, and came with lovely veg with lots of ginger. it was large enough to either split, or take another meal home. the veg could have used a bit more chopping, for those who like to eat delicately (and probably with more manners, for that matter).
the seafood imperial thing (i wish i could remember stuff...) had lots of shrimp and scallops that were not pencil-eraser sized. i can take or leave chicken chow mein, but it wasn't a bad rendition, according to mr. bad restaurant karma.
the meal came with a pot of tea, water glasses were refilled without asking (and often, verging on 'take two drinks get a refill' often, but not quite). service was efficient, and food got to the table quickly. and hey, mr. bad restaurant karma didn't hate it, so we may be back.
16th-solera, minneapolis (a)
a late dinner. the ultimate in tasty tapas. what else would one expect from the la belle vie folks? ok, im not like a tapas expert, but i know tasty.
i wish i could remember more of the menu details. but here goes seafood and cheese croquette things (ok, poppers, they were poppers, but unlike any poppers you ever had) with aioli melted in the mouth. tender rabbit on a raft of tender asparagus (less it fall in treacherous waters?) with a butter sauce . and the best calamari i've had bar none, done with an amusing presentation featuring olives.
my favorite (which i was happy i didnt have to share too much of, i'm evil like that ) was the wild mushrooms with poached egg. (tiny complaint- like many dishes on the menu, it had ham sprinkles, or whatever the much fancier name of them is, on it and if i recall correctly, this was not mentioned in the menu ingredients. since i really wanted those mushrooms, i scraped it off.. i don't eat ham. for more on that, see below. then again, my memory is shaky, so i will give them the benefit of the doubt and other cliches.). mmm, fungus. the yolk of the poached egg is broken and mixed with the sherry sauce to provide extra tastitness. it was on the tasting menu, not the regular one, but we asked anyway, and since the hour was late we were able to acquire it.
if your personal beliefs include not eating pork and/or not eating beef, your selection is someone limited here. if you dont eat any meat or seafood, even more so. so if you go with others (which is good for the whole tapas experience) you end up missing many passed plates (serrano wrapped breadsticks with machengo cheese flakes, sausages, salamis with a nice selection of olives, and scallops with those ham sprinkles which wouldnt scrape off are some of the things i missed, but they were reportedly pretty authentic and tasty, especially the sausages) and maybe end up nibbling on corn nuts. they do have some veggie selections though, and the one i tried (goat cheese stuffed pepper) was all good.
since i didnt know what we were having before i got a beverage, i went with the cava (spanish-style champagne), which they have by the glass. it went nicely with everything, but was not quite sweet enough for my taste, girl-drink person that i am. wasnt bad, though.
staff worked in teams to keep the food paced nicely, so our table (we were in the lobby/bar area) wasnt overwhelmed. they explained what needed explaining. the kitchen was so fast that some of the goodness got to the table before our plates and silverware did. no spoon, though. it would have been nice to have one, or a bread basket, get at the last bits of the sauces. (i've mostly stopped licking plates in public... at least in the nicer joints in town... though i am not above a finger-swipe or two in special circumstances when i pretend no one can see me...)
the setting reminds me of ikea, yet less scandinavian, with cool tile, pop-arty furnitures (some of the chairs do look like insects....), purples, and metallics. at 10:30 pm or so it was mood lighting time and they turned down the overhead lights, which made eating in the lobby bar area a bit more adventurous (we couldnt see the food details so well). and ill just say the restrooms needed tidying and leave it at that.
17th- buca, eden prairie (b+)
garlic mashed potatoes are the one thing have to have here no matter what else i'm ending up with (i still wonder about my potato fixation sometimes...). bunches of other things were ordered. garlic cheese bread, calamari (not as good as solera, but since that's my new standard, so no one is...), salad. the non-meat stuff i had was chicken saltimboca (a ham removal procedure was done), chicken marsala, shrimp scampi, and pasta 'frutti de mare' (or with shrimp, squid, and mussels in a red sauce). dessert was tiramisu and strawberries with lemon ice. this is the fourth time i've been here in bite me history, and the times have all run either a- or b+. it's one of the more solid places to dine with a large group.
28th- big 10, hopkins (b)
i've been to this place 4 times in bite me history. 3 b grades and a c-. so yeah, turkey half-sub and fries. sandwich is not bad, not great, fries still ok. service was a bit better than usual, as a lot of people were outside and the indoor people had less ground to cover. not much else to say right about now.
29th- pablo's, shakopee (c)
so the food's on par with last time, but i wanted something mild, warm, and squishy to have for lunch and to not have to go too far (the mild part letting out my favorite el burrito mercado foods), so i got the five layer dip here.
not seven, five. those two extra layers would have been confusing, perhaps. strangely, there was no salsa in it, and the tomato layer was not so much a layer as a sprinkling. well, everything but beans was really underrepresented as a layer.
but it was warm and squishy. not flavorful, or anything, salsa was still watery. the chips still out of the bag. but the fried chips served with the dip improved them slightly, and the presentation in a tiny taco shell was more than i expected. it's a relatively inexpensive place to go for a sit-down lunch, too.
the service was a bit slow for the small number of people there with two servers. i had my own room in the place. odd again, given the small number of people there.
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