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U of MN TC recs - March 2015

I don't think the cool decor at Loring Pasta Bar makes up for the mediocre food. Don't go there.

Kitchen towels - am I just being OCD about this?

Did they have separate rocks for underwear and kitchen towels?

Weekend in Austin

The Doubletree is nice but not walking distance to any recommended restaurants. They have a decent breakfast but not any other meals in house.

You won't be able to get a cab or reasonably priced Uber during SXSW. But you are there during the pre-music part of it so that might work in your favor. The Doubletree also runs a shuttle. They will tell you it is first come first served but with a little sweet talk they will help you out.

I live in Minneapolis, grew up in Houston, my husband and I went to UT. A friend went for a visit with her daughter last month and her daughter loved Chuy's. It is a chain but the original is on Barton Springs Road. It is fun and kitschy.

My oldest is in Chicago at DePaul (because he didn't get into UT). Have a fun visit.

Feb 28, 2015
suburban_mom in Austin

When do you plan dinner?

I'm a mom of 2 busy kids with a busy husband. On a good week, I start with a meal plan based on our weekly schedule. So far this school year I haven't been successful with that and usually plan day of or a day or so ahead. My meals are totally planned around the time I have to prepare a meal and whether we can eat together.

Jan 14, 2015
suburban_mom in General Topics

March vacation with good local produce?

We hit an awesome farmers market on the North Shore of Oahu late March/early April. We had a rental house on the Banzai Pipeline. We got some awesome Ahi Tuna, lovely fresh veggies and some crazy fresh fruit (rambutan among more pedestrian offerings). We ate most dinners at our rental utilizing the grill.

Jan 05, 2015
suburban_mom in General Topics

Victor's Excelsior

We ate there last night. Didn't have a reservation but found a couple of seats at the bar. We shared the beet salad. Red, gold, and chioggia beets, ricotta, candied walnuts and wonderful microgreens. I had the trout - perfect salty crispy skin, flavorful lentils, some sort of cooked greens. It was really good. My husband had the chicken breast - boneless, skin on juicy with lots of flavor. He said the artichoke heart served with it was really good. We finished with the almond pudding. It was topped with "boozy" cherries and had shortbread and ricotta on the side.

The service was wonderful and attentive. The staff is friendly. The atmosphere is beautiful. At 7:30, the restaurant and bar were packed except for the 2 open chairs at the back corner of the bar. The GM pointed them out to us and told us to grab them before someone else got them.

small dinner rolls?

Kings Hawaiian Rolls?

Dec 06, 2014
suburban_mom in Austin

I can't believe anyone hasn't posted about #grapegate yet

I'll take the bait.

You are talking something like this: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=7tWuG2o... . I think if the NYT had posed this recipe, no one would have complained.

American South or Southwest Christmas appetizers or sides

It is ALL wrong. Have you not read the comments?

Nov 19, 2014
suburban_mom in Home Cooking

I can't believe anyone hasn't posted about #grapegate yet

This is a fun one. What do you think about it: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/20...

Here is Dara Moskowitz's rebuttle: http://mspmag.com/Blogs/Dara/November...

I have lived in MN for over 25 years. I traveled extensively in outstate MN for one of my jobs and went to countless small towns. Never have I run across grape salad.

Waconia! Who knew?

Yes, it is true. I'm on their email list and FB page and I heard it from them. My husband secretly hopes they move to Chanhassen.

Victor's Excelsior

2 friends of mine went with husbands and a big group to a preview on Wednesday night. They sat right next to the kitchen. They said the restaurant is beautiful. The sound levels are awesome. They were right next to the kitchen and didn't have a problem hearing everyone at the table. They tasted almost everything on the menu and said nothing was disappointing. They kept going on and on about how amazing everything was. It sounds like it was worth the wait.

For a while there were rumors there would be a roof top patio. That won't happen. For some reason the Excelsior city council has an issue with them.

Need quick advice for Victoria/Waconia area for this weekend

My friends with kids like Victoria House in Victoria. Lola's Lakehouse in Waconia is kid friendly. The food is one step up from better chains.

You're leaving Austin for good, take one taco with you and tell us why.

Slowcooked -

I'm from out of town and there is a lot of taco exploring for me to do. In October, I had the Pork Belly taco from TacoDeli and I had the grilled bacon wrapped jalapeño stuffed shrimp taco from Turf and Surf.

That pork belly taco was pretty amazing.

Nov 07, 2014
suburban_mom in Austin

You're leaving Austin for good, take one taco with you and tell us why.

I am so glad you Austin CH's have had your meet up. Every time there has been a new post on this thread I've been salivating thinking someone is telling me about a wonderful tasty taco.

Now, get back to business.

Nov 05, 2014
suburban_mom in Austin

Aleppo pepper

Penzeys

Nov 04, 2014
suburban_mom in General Topics

One more time! Weird shirts, merch, coffee, doughnuts, meat, and booze in Austin, go!

Also on South Congress, South of Guero's, there is a cute craft market. I'm looking at one of my dogs wearing her cute made in Austin collar right now. Crooked Tail Dog Collars. She makes bandanas too. Quite a bit cheaper than the $500 frames.

Oct 23, 2014
suburban_mom in Austin

One more time! Weird shirts, merch, coffee, doughnuts, meat, and booze in Austin, go!

Where are you staying and how do you plan on getting around?

I don't live in Austin but I was there last weekend with my family. We had a great meal at Jacoby's on East Cesar Chavez. Great southern style food. Kids had burgers - no complaints (they are 13 and 15 so no complaints is HUGE). I had the quail - 2 grilled quail, braised greens, sweet potato mash and (my favorite) fried okra. It was divine - perfect combo of flavors and textures. My husband had a sirloin with jalapeño grits and grilled endive, He says everything was cooked perfectly and was happy with his meal. They have a cute mercantile attached to the restaurant. We took Uber to and from so while we were waiting for our car we shopped.

Definitely get a reservation. We were there on Friday night. There was a woman with a party of 9 who wasn't happy that they couldn't get in (what's up with that, is she clueless?).

Unfortunately In 'n' Out didn't work into our plans. My husband's sister lives in Southern California so we hit it regularly.

Oct 22, 2014
suburban_mom in Austin

Best chili in the Twin Cities?

I'm a native Texan and I always put beans in my chili. Mostly because I like beans. My mom is a native Texan and her "chili" is nothing like chili (more like soup) so sometimes I question this whole notion of "Texas" chili. Of course, she admittedly hates cooking.

Visiting Austin for 3 1/2 days for my birthday - Dec 3rd -7th

RE the Skip UCHI recommendation. I disagree. I do agree that it isn't the place for sushi.

Go to UCHI get the 6 or 10 tasting menu. There is no sushi on the tasting menu. I had the 6 course menu on Friday night. It was amazing. Lovely crudo. The pork belly was unbelievable. How did they come up with the idea that raw maguro and goat cheese would be amazing? Yellowtail with yucca chips and marcona almonds - hello! Umami laden fried rice whoa! And the desserts are the perfect finish.

Oct 08, 2014
suburban_mom in Austin
1

Can I substitute celery root for celery?

So, should I use the same quantity chopped celery root as celery? That is what I'm trying to figure out.

Sep 28, 2014
suburban_mom in Home Cooking

Hillstone/Houston's -- excellent service

My husband's and my first date was at the Houston's location on Kirby in Houston Texas. Since then we've been to other Houston's (all Houston locations plus Irvine), the Rutherford Grill in wine country, Hillstone in San Francisco, R+D Kitchen in Newport and Gulfstream in Newport - all multiple times. I only recently realized that Bandera in Chicago is a Hillstone restaurant so that is on my list since our son is in college in Chicago.

I LOVE the grilled artichokes! I think for a chain their consistency can't be beat.

Sep 28, 2014
suburban_mom in Chains

What's your favourite or most useful, kitchen item?

I was given flack when I put this on my wedding registry in the late 80s and even more flack when I replaced it in the 00s:

My favorite kitchen item is my Salad Shooter. Probably the most "un-chow" thing I own but I love that thing.

Sep 28, 2014
suburban_mom in Cookware
1

Can I substitute celery root for celery?

My kids will probably not eat the celery in the soup so I think the celery root would be to flavor. Thanks for your input.

Sep 28, 2014
suburban_mom in Home Cooking

Make-ahead appetizers / snacks to be served at room temp for 25, including vegetarians

My pimento cheese recipe:

8 oz sharp cheddar cheese (must be orange) - shredded
2 oz jar chopped pimentos - drained
1 pressed garlic clove
dash of cayenne
mayo (no measurement)

Mix cheese, pimentos, garlic and cayenne with 1/2 cup mayo. Add more mayo until you get to the consistency you want. Chill for a couple of hours before serving.

I'm from Texas and my friends in Minnesota request this recipe when we have an appetizer potluck. It has become my signature app. I bring celery sticks for dipping.

Can I substitute celery root for celery?

I want to make chicken noodle soup tomorrow. I don't have celery but I have celery root. Can I use the celery root instead? Does anyone know if the ratios are different?

I will go to the store if necessary but would rather use something I already have in the house.

Thanks!

Sep 28, 2014
suburban_mom in Home Cooking

Suggestions of what to make with 3 pounds of shredded cabbage

This is a recipe I make often. It is a tasty easy meal.

Sep 23, 2014
suburban_mom in Home Cooking
1

Waconia! Who knew?

For those asking. No set menu. It changes daily. They usually have a few appetizers - we've have everything from mussels to blood sausage. Salads are fresh and seasonal. Entrees usually include - a steak, poultry, pork, lamb (if you are lucky), fish and something vegetarian.

The waitstaff describes each dish to you. There is a chalk board that states what I said above but the details are verbal.

Desserts are house made.

My kids haven't ever been there because of the menu. You don't know exactly what is on it until you get there.

The staff is extremely knowledgable. It is owned by Craig who is cooking and Tracy who runs the front of the house and makes the desserts.

Entreees run $20-$30 (I'm probably on the high side). If you want slow, locavore food, this is where you should go. Salads are in the $8 range and easily shared. Appetizers are probably $10 ish (give or take). Entrees are a complete meal - no supplement sides.

I should shut up so I can still get a table when I want.

Waconia! Who knew?

This is one of my favorite restaurants. We've been going there since the beginning.

The Tyranny of the Home-Cooked Family Dinner  

The one thing was always my approach when my kids were little (and sometimes now too).

I also think kids can do WAY more than parents think. My daughter has been scrambling eggs herself since she was probably 8. I had friends who were shocked that I let her use the stove by herself. This summer, she taught her college aged brother how to cook a few things since he is now in apartment. She is 13.