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ISO date night spots

Been to Al Vento and we weren't particularly impressed. But, that was six-ish years ago, so maybe its time for another try.

ISO date night spots

Date night deals aren't a necessity, as we're willing to spend $100+ if the food/drinks are good. And, since we're trying to enjoy an evening without our own kid, we generally don't go places that are kid-friendly.

We are also looking for a less formal atmosphere but one where we can talk with each other without having to yell or feeling like the next table is right on top of us. (One of my on-going issues with Bar La Grassa.)

Pre-kid, we ate out much more frequently and kept abreast of new restaurants. Now, my list of new places is so long that its just easier to default to old stand-bys. But, that get's boring.

I'm thinking Foreign Legion or Haute Dish might be options.

ISO date night spots

We haven't been to Terzo yet. Do you recommend it?

ISO date night spots

I'm looking for some new spots for date night with my husband in St. Paul or Minneapolis. Our usuals are Broders, 112 Eatery, Heartland, Alma, the now-closed Heidi 2.0.

Possible options are Heydey, Burch Steakhouse, Borough. Thoughts on these places or any other suggestions?

Fun dining with kids

Midtown Global Market has Family Nights every Friday with music and activities.

Toronto Trip Report Sept. 2014

I certainly don't fault the recommendation for Actinolite. I knew what I was getting into, and I knew it would outside my usual comfort zone. Turns out that it just wasn't for me.

I would like to visit Toronto again. With so many places to choose from with a limited amount of time, it was hard to choose. There's certainly many more places I would like to try.

Toronto Trip Report Sept. 2014

I tried Edulis but alas, no openings on the nights we were in town. I went back and forth between Bar Isabel and Actinolite and chose Actinolite. Also, we spent the night in Chicago before flying in to Toronto and ate at a recommended tapas place there, so that also factored into the plan.

Toronto Trip Report Sept. 2014

Yes, I would go probably go to Carousel Bakery again and my husband, a meat lover, was an enthusiastic thumbs up. If I lived in the area, I don't see making the trip just for the sandwich but I could see shopping at St. Lawrence Market fairly regularly and I could see my husband going just to get a peameal bacon sandwich. Kind of like enticing your kid to go to the grocery store with the promise of a treat.

My favorite meal was Adega.

Toronto Trip Report Sept. 2014

I just got back from a long weekend in Toronto. Since I asked for help (see link below)and did much Chowhound research before my trip, I thought I should give the trip report.

Link to question thread:

Bahn Mi Boys on Yonge St. - Thursday night quick and easy dinner after arrival. I had the grilled pork and DH had the duck confit. The sandwiches were good, not great, in my opinion. We have very good Vietnamese options in Minneapolis, MN, and this sandwich suffered in comparison to my local fave in terms of bread quality and lack of pate in the filling. However, like I said, it was good, plus quick and fairly cheap, so it served its purposed.

Mother's Dumplings - stopped for some dumplings and pork buns on the way to Kensington Market. Both seemed freshly made but neither blew us away.

Seven Lives Tacos and Mariscos - Baja Fish and Gobernador. I really liked the Baja Fish taco, fresh tasting and not to heavy on the fried fish. I left the smoked tuna in the Gobernador was little heavy and overwhelmed the taco after a few bites. I also thought $5 per taco was kind of expensive, again compared to local options back in Minneapolis.

Carousel Bakery (St. Lawrence Market) - Peameal Bacon sandwich. Good soft bun (not dry) and nicely cooked peameal bacon, not to chewy, not too crisp. I liked it.

Eve's Temptation (St. Lawrence Market) - pecan butter tart. Mehhh -it was cold, like it had been taken out of the freezer and hadn't warmed up to room temperature yet (at 11:00 in the morning). Also, the filling was overly sweet.

Adega - Split Petisco platter (cheese, sardines, sausage, squid, gravalax, prosciutto). I had the Seafood Saffron Risotto and DH had the Linguine with Tiger Shrimp. We both very much enjoyed the platter, especially the different seafood options. This is not something we would find back home. DH also liked his entree. Mine, the risotto, had a lot of seafood, which was good, but I felt the whole dish was somewhat lacking in flavor.

Actinolite - chef's menu with wine pairing. This meal was outside of our usual comfort zone, which I knew when booking. Unfortunately, it did not impress. I felt like there was too much going on with each dish (various oils, garnishes, etc.) and the flavors did not meld well to form a cohert flavor profile. Some dishes left a bad aftertaste. I think there were two dishes out of the seven that I thought were very good; the rest were misses. Maybe it was just the particular menu. I can provide more detail on the specific dishes if you would like but overall, a very disappointing experience.

Thanks for all your help and for such active posting. I really enjoyed the diversity of Toronto and would love to return.

ten top MSP breakfasts

+1 on the Mahnomin porridge

Advice for upcoming visit: Portuguese, local Ontario fare, tasting menus, etc. - research done

Sushi-omakase is likely a no-go. Although my husband likes sushi, I have yet to convince him to do omakase anywhere! Would you recommend Yasu for a sushi option anyway?

For whatever reason, we are just not that excited to hit up Shoto or any of the other Momofuku outposts. I have no good explanation other than that nothing screams "must go" to me..

Advice for upcoming visit: Portuguese, local Ontario fare, tasting menus, etc. - research done

Thanks to everyone for the suggestions - this is what I was hoping for. Actinolite looks intriguing, as does Bar Isabel. I think I will dropping Canoe from the list.

Hopgood and Big Crow also pique my interest as having things I don't typically see at home.

I read another post somewhere on Chowhound about ordering from the bar menu at Chiado rather than the full restaurant experience - any thoughts?

Advice for upcoming visit: Portuguese, local Ontario fare, tasting menus, etc. - research done

The malt vinegar comment reminded me of my first trip to Canada when I was around 10 to Thunder Bay. I could not wrap my head around malt vinegar on fries rather than ketchup. That said, Penrose sounds like a good option.

Advice for upcoming visit: Portuguese, local Ontario fare, tasting menus, etc. - research done

My husband and I will be visiting Toronto in mid-September from Minneapolis, MN. After doing some research, I'm looking for some guidance from the local 'hounds on a couple of meals.

A couple of notes: price is not an issue, likely staying downtown by Eaton Center, willing to take public transportation or cab, not looking to dress up (suit and tie for husband, e.g.). Not really interested in Mexican or Vietnamese (good stuff at home) or Italian or steakhouse (can find elsewhere in travels or at home).

1. Portuguese: what's the best place for a first-time Portuguese experience? Its not readily availble where I live. Should I go high end with Chiado/Adega or go to a churrasquierra? What about a place like Amadeu's?

2. Local food: any recommendations for places that specialize in local food - i.e., the locavore movement, not necessarily Canadian or Toronto specialies like buttertarts or peameal bacon sandwiches. I'm wondering how different your "local" fare will be from Minnesota.

3. Tasting menus: Right now I have Canoe and Edulis for possible higher end meals. Any other recommendations? Trying to decide between Canoe and Edulis.

Some other places I am considering for eating: Bannock, Caplansky's, St. Lawrence Market, fish n chips places.

Any and all suggestions, advice, critiques, would be great.

Ice cream cake, with actual cake?

Izzy's might be a good place to check out.

Hot beef sandwich

Mavericks in Roseville.

Happy Hours in Saint Paul

Thanks for the recs. I didn't know that the Blue Door had a happy hour. Is it hard to get a table? I generally only go at random times (like Tuesday at 2:00) because its so packed at peak hours.

MSP Hound visiting end of June - Rec's needed

Fellow MSP traveler here. I went to PDX last October. Two places we went that I do not believe have MSP equivalents are Roe and Whiskey Soda Lounge/Pok Pok.

Roe was the highlight of our trip. The restaurant is quite small so the atmosphere doesn't suffer from not sitting at the chef's counter. DH and I each did a 5 course tasting menu; you could select what you wanted for each course from about three to four different options.

Also went to SE Wine Collective for wine twice during our trip. It gave us the opportunity to try many different wines made by members of the collective that we would never be able to get in MN. Decent small plates/snacks/cheese - fairly standard pairings for wine, nothing too exciting but perfectly adequate. I believe you can also get a pizza from a nearby place too.

May 13, 2014
eajohnso2000 in Metro Portland

Happy Hours in Saint Paul

I was searching for new St. Paul happy hour options to try and I came across this old-ish thread. Anyone have any updates? I can add Ward 6 to the list.


I get it at the St. Paul Farmer's Market. Grass Roots Gourmet in the Midtown Global Market carries their products, as do various co-ops, I believe.


I've been getting Prairie Pride bacon for the past few years. I rarely get any other kind, maybe once in a while when it is on sale. The usual store brands don't compare at all. PP has a nice smoky flavor and has a good fat content so you can either keep it chewy or crisp it up.

Broder's Recommendations?

+1 on the tagliarini. My husband gets that every time we go and I usually get the other dish he wanted to try but fears doing so because it won't be as good as the tagliarini.

Trip Report Oct. 3-6

I used Chowhound quite a bit to plan a recent trip to Portland, so I thought I would return the favor by posting a trip report. DH and I spent a long weekend in Portland. Our appetites were somewhat stifled by lingering colds but we enjoyed our trip nonetheless.

Coffee: I'm not a huge coffee drinker but I did sample a cappucino at Spella, Public Domain and Stumptown. Spella was far and away the best.

Food Trucks: This endeavor was limited by our lack of appetite and that we thought the trucks would be closed on Saturday...many were open. I got dumplings from The Dump Truck: sweet potato curry, portabello mushroom, pork and ginger. The sweet potato dumplings were the best. DH got tacos and tamales from La Jarochita. These were both not good at all. They had no taste and the spice level was just heat with no flavor.

Wine: We took one day in the Willamette Valley and went to Arborbrook, Trisaetum, DePonte and Beaux Freres.

We visted the SE Wine Collective on SE Division Street in Portland proper. We loved this place and went twice. We even got to watch as grapes were being delivered and they started to sorting process. Our favorite wine from SE was a 2011 Pinot Noir from Vincent Wine Company.

We went to a small wine bar called Oregon Wines on Broadway. We really wanted to like this place. We really did. They had many wines from places we weren't able to visit in our limited time in Willamette: Patricia Green, Soter, Stoller, Brick House. Unfortunately, we felt somewhat ignored in favor of a group of about 10 or so regulars. The service and atmosphere was lacking. We ended up leaving after only a couple of tastes.

Whiskey Soda Lounge: The wait for Pok Pok was 2 hours on a Saturday night so we went with the first come, first serve lounge. We ordered the Ike's Wings, deep fried anchovies with sricha sauce, dry-roasted peanuts and Jin Tup Roht Dii (flank steak with a chile-galangal dipping sauce). We liked the steak the best. Both DH and I could only eat two of the wings; they were really salty. We weren't blown away by this meal. Maybe we should have waited for Pok Pok instead.

Lardo: Lardo Fries, Pork Meatball Bahn Mi, special of the day Turkey Dinner sandwich (turkey, stuffing, cranberry spread). I thought the pork meatballs were too sweet in the bahn mi, but that is probably just a personal preference. The turkey dinner sandwich was fine, nothing special. DH and I frequent a sandwich shop at home that does a turkey/brie/cranberry combo that is much better so I think Lardo suffered in comparison.

Pine State Biscuits at PSU Farmer's Market: The Chatfield (fried chicken, bacon, cheese, apple butter). I really liked this sandwich. The apple butter cut the grease and fat of the bacon and chicken to make a nice sweet and savory combination. Note on the biscuits: I read about the Lauretta Jean v. Pine State debate on this board. I did not try Lauretta Jean but I did note walking by that their biscuits were much fluffier and had more layers than the flatter Pine State biscuits.

Roe: Far and away the best meal in Portland and one of the better meals I've had in the past few years. DH and I did the "Guest's Choice" menu and each got something different from the four courses. I meant to take the menu with me but forgot...probably the result of the wine pairings. The best bites, however, were an appetizer that involved big eye tuna sashimi and a second course with shrimp. Sorry I can't be more descriptive. Overall, just an excellent meal.

Thanks again for all the postings. It was a great help in planning the trip.

High Tea in Minneapolis?

Lady Elegant's in Como in St. Paul...I've never been but passed by it a few times visiting a bridal shop that is no longer in business (Milton's).

City Pages "Restaurant Guide"

Actually,I think Sea Salt in the summer is very kid-friendly. You have the whole park to wander around in while waiting for food and sitting outdoors lessens the impact when, say, your two year old decides to shriek at the top of his lungs.

Anyone been to Ward 6?

I went to Ward 6 this weekend for brunch. I had the bloody Mary, the Welsh Rabbit and the table split the beignets. I liked the bloody Mary. They infuse the vodka with garlic, horseradish and black pepper, so it had a nice kick, which I like. The garnishes were nothing special, however, especially when compared to a place like the Bulldog NE with Kramarcuk's beef sticks.

I have never been to New Orleans but I really enjoyed the beignets. They came still warm and three were enough for our table of four to share.

The Welsh Rabbit was two pieces of wheat toast, broiled tomato, fried egg and cheese sauce. I have never had this dish before so I have no basis for comparison. The fried egg seemed more like it was scrambled and it got really soggy in the cheese sauce. I liked the cheese sauce alot and wished I had some hashbrowns or fries to sop it up.

The portions were smaller, both from what I had and what I observed. I liked not having a big greasy brunch plate. I also thought the prices seemed in line with portions. This was just for brunch, mind you, and they did not have any other menus available at the time.

I don't think I would necessarily make a special trip to Ward 6 but would consider it for a drink and a bite if I needed a place to meet on the East side.

Ramen - Minneapolis-St. Paul Dish of the Month (Dec 2012)

I had the pork belly ramen at Masu last week. This was my first experience with ramen that wasn't of the 25 cents per package variety. So, I am not really sure what I should have been expecting.

I really liked the noodles, nice and chewy but not gummy or soft. I also liked the greens.

The pork belly and shoulder were both fine, nothing out of the ordinary.

I was diappointed with the broth. It did not have as much flavor as I would have liked, in fact, I thought it was rather bland on its own. Maybe the broth is supposed to be as such but I would have preferred a deeper flavor, something more savory that you could consume on its own.

While the ramen was fine, I would try other ramen before returning to this one.

Personal "go to" place shares.

+1 for Cleveland Wok for American Chinese delivery.

Personal "go to" place shares.

Sea Salt for calamari and a pitcher of Surly
Shamrocks/The Nook for burgers
Broders for the taglairini di Locando del Lupo
NE Bulldog for the Venezuelan Hot Dog (me) and the Truffle Burger (husband)

Gift ideas

I gave coffee from local roasters one year that went over well. Especially popular - not for the politics but for the flavor - was the Obama Blend (half Kona, half Kenyan) from J&S Bean Factory in St. Paul.

Also, I just found out that Legacy Chocolate (used to be open on Marshall Avenue in St. Paul) is now back with some items at the Haskell's in Highland Park. I recall they had a good hot cocoa mix and this liquid chocolate stuff that was awesome.