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Seattle Food/Happy Hour recommendations with specifications.

I stayed at the Georgetown Inn. it was okay. There'sa medical marijuana plant next door, so the smell of weed permeates the place pretty strongly. It's also an industrial area, and about a $20 cab ride to downtown, or a 35 minute bus ride. The rooms are small, basic, and clean.

The Space Needle is right next to the Chihuly Glass Museum, which we visited. We didn't have any desire to actually go on the Space Needle though, so we just looked at it instead.

Fitness/fatness? Do you mean, are there more fat people in Mpls than in Seattle? Coming from a bona-fide fat person, I'd say I probably pay no attention to those things.

Mar 28, 2014
greenidentity in Greater Seattle

Seattle Food/Happy Hour recommendations with specifications.

Anyone who is curious about what I did, here it is. Keep in mind that most of these visits ended up being due to location, as we did not have a car and at the end of the day, just wanted to sit down and relax somewhere close. In chronological order:

The first place we visited was Smarty Pants in Georgetown, because it was close to out hotel. I had a pretty good club sandwich, and my companion had a pulled pork sandwich, which was delicious.

Next was Le Pichet. Except there was a 30 minute wait, and we were not in the mood to be seated right next to people. So we went off to Cafe Campagne, where I had the half bottle of Les Violettes Cotes Du Rhone, and Duck Confit. We split a Creme Brulee as well. I've never had Duck or/Confit before, and it was a little dry, but overall very nice and had a nice quaint feel to the place.

Then off to the Zig Zag Cafe, which I found a little overrated. A bit trendy for my tastes I suppose. I had the Eastside cocktail (vodka, lemon, mint and sparkling wine.) It was ok.

The next day, after visting the EMP Museum we went to the 5 Point across the street, where I had a really spicy bloody mary. For dinner, we ended up at Seatown Seabar, where I had my first raw oyster. A Malaspina, it was small, mild and sweet - a great first try and I will be trying other varieties for sure!

Later, I went to the 9 lb Hammer just for drinks and get in my dive bar groove. It was within crawling distance of our hotel, which was much needed later.

Hangover food the next day had to be at the Square Knot Diner. Since I wasn't very mobile yet, it also was within crawling distance. I had Buffalo Wings, which were very plump, but the Frank's sauce was just subpar. I also got the cheesy fries, which were surprisingly bland. Even the shake we got was just so-so. And I had a hangover, so I wonder how the food really tastes?!

Later, I pulled myself up by my bootstraps and made the trek to the Ballard area to visit Gainsbourg. There, I got the Olive melange, and we shared a Croque Monsieuer. I also had a drink called the Lemon incest, and despite the underwhelming reviews, I loved this place and everything I ingested while there. Dark and funky, not fussy, but not too-cool-for-school either.

Next day was the big day at the Pike Place Market. We stopped at Le Panier, where I got the best pastry I've ever put in my mouth - the Feullietes with tomato, cheese and herb filling. Later, we went to Jack's Fish bar where I tried a raw Quilcene Oyster this time, and though it was larger and more briny, I really liked it. We also visited the Gum Wall, which is skeevy but cool to see nonetheless.

Later, we went to 13 Coins because our other 2 choices: Ristorante Machiavelli and Hudson Public House were closed. It was my least favorite, with an overpriced chicken dish and the blandest deviled eggs I've ever had. My companions steak was great, however.

Our last meal there was at Via Tribunali, where they make simple, delicious Neapolitan pizza. I had the Salsiccia, and my companion had the Quattro Stagioni.

All in all, I'd gather that Seattle has a super excellent food scene. A lot different from Minneapolis, where I'm from - lots of Mexican/Middle Easter/Asian food. Seattle has a much more European feel to it, being close to Vancouver I suppose. I really enjoyed it. And the people are cool. Notice how I don't say NICE, because being from MN you learn the important distinction between Nice and Cool. Bon Appetit!!

Mar 27, 2014
greenidentity in Greater Seattle

Seattle Food/Happy Hour recommendations with specifications.

Hello from Minneapolis! Me and a guest will be visting Seattle next month, so I am requesting restaraunt and/or happy hour recommendations. Here's what I am specifically looking for, so if you have any recommendation matching this criteria that would be great!

-A lot of recommendations I've already researched are $$$ or more. Since we already have a few fancier places carved out, I am looking strictly for $$ and under.

-Something with a funky, romantic, darker vibe is best. We aren't seeking elegance or white tablecloth.

-Things I look for in a Happy Hour: later time frames (i.e. 5-7) although that is not a strict requirement. I also tend to seek places that have good deals on food/cocktails I otherwise might not be able to afford. I generally like small plate offerings for food hapy hours, rather than whole meal discounts.

-Here's a short list of places I've seen that we are thinking of going. If anyone has an opinion on any of these, please share!

-Luc
-611 Supreme
-Gainsbourg*
*(finding a nice little French place is a priority for us.)

-Japonessa Sushi
-Zig Zag Cafe
-Delancey
-Luna Park cafe
-The Blue Glass
-Square Knot
-Machiavelli
-A Terrible Beauty Irish Pub

-Lastly, we will be staying in the Georgetown area, but of course will be doing some touristy things downtown and in Chinatown as well.

Any recommendations or opinions are greatly appreciated!

Feb 13, 2014
greenidentity in Greater Seattle

Looking for suggestions during my vacation to Portland.

Aye. Anyone I talk to either likes it, or hates it. My only interest was for the mac and cheese, personally.

Dec 05, 2011
greenidentity in Metro Portland

Looking for suggestions during my vacation to Portland.

Greetings! I've been back a month now, and have finally gotten together my report on Portland. Enjoy!

Firstly, my hotel was fine. It isn't in the greatest area, and there are a lot of cheap motels around there. I found The Monticello to be clean and spacious, with little to no extras (no lobby area, coffee, breakfast, internet e.t.c.) It is however, within 3 blocks of the MAX station, which was beneficial.

My 2nd day in Portland, I headed downtown to wander, and eventually go to the Chinese Gardens. I stopped in for lunch at the Morning Star Cafe, and ordered a vanilla latte (my first in Portland, and it was gorgeous) and the Felipe sandwich (turkey, cheddar, stone-­ground mustard, cilantro, onion and tomato $8.00) which was tasty. It was not at all dry, and the hint of cilantro with the mustard was a lovely assertive pairing. I fueled up for my trek through old Chinatown, and for the Chinese Gardens!

Meeting up with a friend of mine later on, we chose 50 Plates. It was on my list as a good happy hour spot, so we went around 10 pm to take advantage. 50 Plates is quite trendy and modern. We sat at the bar, and got our own glass bottle of water, adorned with the 50 Plates logo. Very nice. For the happy hour, I ordered a modified version of the Dark and Stormy (dark rum, ginger beer and lime. $5) and opted for vodka instead. My company opted for the regular Dark and Stormy. Both cocktails were excellent, and served in a solid short glass, with rocks of ice. I was drinking in style. Our bartender was very friendly, humorous and knowledgable. Off the happy hour menu, we ordered Hush Puppies ($2) and the Cheeseboard ($5). The Hush Puppies were soft, savory and very comforting, and the Cheeseboard was refined and share-able. After that, we ordered an Old Guardian Barley Wine (him) and a dirty martini (me.) We left there a whopping $28 lighter. Afterwards, we stopped into the Rogue Distillery and Public House, and then onto the upstairs bar at Touche, for some drinking.

The next day, I had crepes on the brain. Chez Machin was on my list, so I headed downtown, and then got a Radio Cab to the SE quadrant. One problem with my list of places is that many of them were in that area, and that ended up being a bit far from my hotel. I found the surrounding area to Chez Machin to be quaint and nice, with a ton of little cafes and such. Inside Chez Machin, I ordered the french onion soup ($4, cup) and the La Percheronne (Black forest ham, brie, avocado, mushrooms & crème fraîche $10.) The french onion soup was excellent, very savory and cheesy! I did not care for the crepe, unfortunately. I found the mushrooms and brie to be overpowering, and the creme fraiche on top added nothing. The crepe itself was a little bland, and not as soft as I thought it could be.

Afterwards, I decided to head back downtown for some happy hour at Clyde Common. I'm the type of person who wants a happy hour that offers something I normally would not be able to afford to drink, and Clyde Common meets that criteria. After a 20 minute search by foot (the only time I got a little turned around in Portland, a miracle for me), I found they were closed, due to what seemed like a wedding party. No one was inside, but there were people outside in wedding attire, having pictures and video taken. I wasn't too crushed, as Clyde's looked very upscale, which isn't my thing anyways.

In need of something close, a drink, and to sit down, I ended up around the corner at Mothers Bistro. I found Mothers to be very organic feeling, earthy and refined. I ordered a Moscow Mule, and then a Vesper (Aviation dry gin, Crater Lake vodka & Lillet Blanc, served up with a twist.) The bartender suggested a drink in between, which I received and did not care for. She happily offered to make something else. very classy, and friendly.

For my farewell lunch, my friend and I went to Mio Sushi. Mio is a cute little sushi place, and it felt very inviting. We ordered a coffee (that comes in your own little french press), the Shumai/Gyoza appetizer ($4.50), a spicy salmon and unagi nigiri (2 for each of us), and a Super Eel roll (Crab, cucumber, avocado inside, eel, sesame seeds, unagi sauce outside -$8.95). I was overall not impressed, and thought the sushi tasted too fishy. The shumai and gyoza were fried, which caught me off guard, and were a little bland without the dipping sauce.

After we ate, we stopped at a place for some coffee that I cannot remember the name of! It's a little coffee place across/down the road from Miho Izakaya on Interstate. I bought some Be Bop biscotti to take home, and my friend and I sipped and reminisced. Does anyone know the place I'm talking about?

I didn't get to do even a fraction of the things i wanted to. Unfortunately, many of the restaurant in my list were in the SE area, which was a bit far from my hotel, requiring cabs, or many MAX and bus transfers. My biggest misses were Le Montage Bistro, Gold Dust Meridian, Pok Pok, The Art Museum, Ground Kontrol (the arcade), Tasty N Sons (which I was going to go to, but they were closed due to a shooting of Good Eats...), and I never did get to eat any Mac and Cheese! I did get to spend a few hours strolling through the entire Saturday Market, which was a highlight of my trip! I loved the festive and funky environment. I walked past a street performer who was singing my very favorite Sublime song. I bought a few little things, and got to see the food truck scene booming in front of me. I didn't get to eat any food truck fare, but the variety and choices are dizzying! Reindeer sausage! Porketta! Pho! Oh my!

I did walk past Powells and Voodoo Doughnut. Voodoo Doughnut seems to be just..a bakery. Which would mean more to me if my sweet tooth were a little stronger, I suppose! I walked by Pause and Saucebox, but never got to go in.

Overall, Portland exceeded even my highest expectations for it. I felt comfortable, happy, and was able to get around with little to no problems, which surprised me because I am very directionally challenged! I liked the weather (remember where I am from), the funkiness, the cleanliness (first dual flush toilet I've ever seen!), and of course the plethora of places to eat and drink! Most of all, I really liked the people. The people were friendly, genuine, and open. Being a Minnesotan, I am used to niceness. But it is more a passive and non-confrontational niceness that sometimes doesn't seem genuine. Portland didn't seem like that to me, and no one was bothered about the fact that I was just visiting. I personally felt I experienced a lot of happy coincidences. I intend to make this a yearly (at most) vacation spot, and will consider the possibility of moving there someday.

I still miss Portland, even a month later.

Thank you for all your suggestions!

-----
Clyde Common
1014 SW Stark St, Portland, OR 97205

Voodoo Doughnut
22 SW 3rd Ave, Portland, OR

50 Plates
333 NW 13th Ave, Portland, OR 97209

Touche Pasta Pizza Pool
1425 NW Glisan St, Portland, OR 97209

Chez MacHin
3553 SE Hawthorne Blvd, Portland, OR 97214

Mother's Bistro & Bar
212 SW Stark St, Portland, OR 97204

Chinese Gardens
410 SE 162nd Ave, Portland, OR 97233

Mio Sushi
1255 NW 185th Ave, Beaverton, OR 97006

Gold Dust Meridian
, Portland, OR 97201

Tasty n Sons
3808 N Williams Ave, Portland, OR 97227

Dec 04, 2011
greenidentity in Metro Portland

Looking for suggestions during my vacation to Portland.

I think I pretty much have everything in order now. There is no way I will be able to do all this stuff, but at least I will never run out of things to do or places to eat/drink! So far on the list:

Miho
Food carts, either at SE Belmont, or near the hotel at Killingsworth and Greely
Le Bistro Montage
Chez Machin
Gold Dust Meridian (happy hour)
50 plates (happy hour)
Clyde Commons (happy hour)
Oregon Wines
Tasty N Sons
Por Que No (I anticipate a taco craving while I'm there.)
Voodoo Donut (I may as well stop in and at least look at it.)

Sort of an ambitious list, but those are some of the ones that stand out so far. Also on the list is Produce Row, Mother's Bistro, Pok Pok, and Tabla. I can't afford anything much over $$, so these all seem appropriate. Any more suggestions on happy hours would be nice too, as I am looking to be as thrifty as possible.

The trick will be to see if I can find some of these places in close proximity to one another, so I can do a bunch of stuff in one big swoop...

Thanks for all the suggestions thus far, guys!

-----
Clyde Common
1014 SW Stark St, Portland, OR 97205

Pok Pok
3226 SE Division St, Portland, OR

Le Bistro Montage
301 SE Morrison St, Portland, OR 97214

Por Que No
3524 N Mississippi Ave, Portland, OR 97227

Produce Row Cafe
204 SE Oak St, Portland, OR 97214

Gold Dust Meridian
, Portland, OR 97201

Oct 26, 2011
greenidentity in Metro Portland

96 hours in Portland: quick itinerary review

Hey Windy - I saw the wine tasting pic, and am curious as to where that is? I definitely want to get to a good wine bar, or anywhere that offers flights/tastings.

Oct 25, 2011
greenidentity in Metro Portland

Looking for suggestions during my vacation to Portland.

Very helpful porky pine, and those are definitely going on my list in case I have a "lazy day."

Oct 23, 2011
greenidentity in Metro Portland

Looking for suggestions during my vacation to Portland.

Very helpful, thank you! Also - any opinions on Le Bistro Montage? I spy looots of mac and cheese there...!!

Also, there are SO MANY thai places! Any other suggestions besides Pok Pok?

-----
Le Bistro Montage
301 SE Morrison St, Portland, OR 97214

Oct 22, 2011
greenidentity in Metro Portland

Looking for suggestions during my vacation to Portland.

Oh, thank you pleen! I had planned a food cart afternoon for myself, and WAS planning to go to the 10th and Alder area. Going off the beaten path is much more my style. Also, if there are long waits for Pok Pok, doesn't it have an adjoining restaurant? Are they separate?

dinwiddie - any happy hour suggestions?

-----
Pok Pok
3226 SE Division St, Portland, OR

Oct 22, 2011
greenidentity in Metro Portland

Looking for suggestions during my vacation to Portland.

Thanks you guys! Things that stand out to me so far are Tasty N Sons, Chez Machin (I LOVE crepes, and they have a fine looking dinner menu also), Toro Bravo and Pok Pok. Voodoo Doughnut is an obvious choice, but not one I am so sure I want to make? Thanks again for your suggestions!

-----
Pok Pok
3226 SE Division St, Portland, OR

Voodoo Doughnut
22 SW 3rd Ave, Portland, OR

Toro Bravo
120 NE Russell St Ste A, Portland, OR 97212

Oct 05, 2011
greenidentity in Metro Portland

Looking for suggestions during my vacation to Portland.

Ahoy from Minnesota! I am going to be visiting Portland in November, and being that I have never been there before, I am asking around for suggestions. I will be visiting a few friends, but half of my trip will be solo. So I get to do whateeeever I want.

A few things:

-I am staying for 5 days, 4 nights.

-I don't have a ton of money. Looking for $-$$$ (tops) places to eat. Areas of interest: steak and sushi. But other suggestions are good.

-I think I will be staying at The Monticello Hotel at 4801 North Interstate Ave, which I hear is close to transit. Since I will be relying on transit, location is important. I considered the Days Inn or Best Western, but from what I hear the Monticello has the best location, plus clean rooms.

-Besides restaurants, I am looking for suggestions on things to do. I am probably more attracted to things a bit off the beaten path, although I fully intend to see the Art Museum. Does Portland have an aquarium? Things I am interested in: gardens, wine, art, (cheap) shopping. Mostly things in the cultural/dining/entertainment department.

-Suggested transport from the airport? I am trying to avoid taking a lot of cabs, and plan on getting a 7 day Trimet pass.

Any suggestions/opinions/information would be very helpful! Thanks!

Sep 13, 2011
greenidentity in Metro Portland

Worst Meals of 2010

Kip's Irish Pub. Just terrible. Also, Stanleys Northeast Bar Room (albeit they had just opened) and Solera (reeaally underwhelmed, especially considering all the hype.) I have done reviews on all 3 places.

-----
Solera
900 Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55403

Kip's Irish Pub and Restaurant
9970 Wayzata Blvd, Minneapolis, MN 55426

Jan 05, 2011
greenidentity in Minneapolis-St. Paul

French restarunts in MSP/ Surrounding <$30?

Thank you all for the suggestions! Db - Volnay is close to home and one of our favorites for lunch, but have never tried the dinner...And Cave Vin has been on our minds a lot, along with Chez Daniel - but now I will have to consider Meritage! Decisions! Well, we still have a week to decide!

May 27, 2010
greenidentity in Minneapolis-St. Paul

French restarunts in MSP/ Surrounding <$30?

Me and Mr. H are looking for a nice French place to go for our anniversary. It looks like there are many that I can't afford. We are looking for somewhere where we can get a substantial meal and experience in the $$-$$$ (tops) range. Any suggestions?

May 23, 2010
greenidentity in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Va Bene Berarducci's Cafe - Duluth, MN

Bellisio is our usual go-to romantic spot in Duluth, but I did some research and stumbled on Va Bene. I'm not one for relying on reviews, but I have yet to see one bad review for Va Bene. So we decided to swicth it up, and off we went Mr. H and I!

Va Bene really doesn't look like much from the outside. It's a small little cafe type of place, so I wasn''t sure about the atmosphere. Upon walking in, I felt comfortable right away. The decor is cozy and not fussy. The vibe is laid back and lightly romantic. The kitchen is literally in the open, behind the bar area and to the right. There are about 10 tables in a small dining area that boasts a nice fireplace. Looking beyond, you see a glass enclosed patio area about 30 feet off the ground, overlooking lots and lots of lake. We waited about 5 minutes, and were seated in the next open table in that area on the patio. It was a small, narrow space, but somehow it doesn't seem cramped at all. The only gripe I have is that the wood accents/construction that runs along the windows are RIGHT at eye level...so you can see the water, but the wood blocks your view of the shore along with it, so it's like looking at half a painting.

As we looked over the menu, we ordered a 1/2 price bottle of wine (DiGiovanna Nero d’ Avola.) They have a small but very nice wine list. The cheapest wine by the glass on the red list is a Pinot Noir(Cesari Due Torri =$6.50). That's unheard of! We recieved our bottle of wine in minutes, and it was lovely; light but well balanced and lush.

As we perused the menu, we saw many delicious things and wanted all of them. I was happy to see crostini's, so we ordered the prosciuotto gorgonzola crostinis ($8.50.) The entrees are mostly pasta dishes, and they also have a build your own pasta, where you can choose between the 3 types of pasta (fettucine, jumbo shells or penne, which are the 3 varieties they serve in all), a sauce, and then up to 3 additional items. The ingredients are stored inside a cooler, where you can pick what you want and watch the cooks make it for you right there. It was tempting, but we decided on the Amatriciana with fettucine for me (A zesty pancetta, red onion, and tomato sauce, topped with Pecorino Romano cheese. Just like in Roma! = $14.75) and Mr. H on the Pesto Frutti Di Mare (Sautéed shrimp and scallops served with our creamy house-made sundried tomato pesto sauce. = $14.75.)

The crostini's came in about 10 minutes or less, while we thoroughly enjoyed our wine and were feeling a bit romantic. I bit into the crostini, and was a little sad that I was having trouble eating it properly. For one, I could not just bite "through" the proscuitto. It wasn't tough, but it's more sturdy than ham. So I found myself getting a huge bite of proscuitto + like 3 gorgonzola crumble in one bite. Plus, there was waaaayy too much fig jam. Fig jam is very sweet, and it also got all over my hands and table. I found myself removing half of it with my knife before eating the next one. One the good side, the crostini's themselves were perfect.

Our food came about 10 minutes later (i loved the timing of the service here) and looked and smelled wonderful. I took a bite of my dish, and it was heavenly. The tomato sauce was abundant, slightly spicy, tangy and garlic-ey. And not all at once, but in simple, light layers. The pecorino romano on top added a little kick and salt to the dish, which rounded it out well. I am pleased to say this was not too rich or too salty. This is the kind of dish I had hoped for at Rinata, or even I Nonni, but never got. My only gripe is that the pasta was a bit soft - I could have used a little more bounce off my teeth.

Mr. H's dish seemed a little more suspect, as do many seafood/ pasta dishes. I took a bite of his, and immediately wanted more...LOTS more. The scallops were soft and buttery, the shrimps were meaty and succulent, the penne was firm and chewy, the sauce was creamy, smokey and rustic, without ever being too rich. I would have sang if it weren't for the bitterness of food envy I was feeling.

Somewhere in between there, we were served focaccia bread with oil. And really - when is that NOT good??

When we were done and I was full, I was sad. Sad that I could not continue eating, and sad that we probably had to leave pretty soon. We talked a bit with a (different) waiter who informed us they had been there for 4 years now, but they have been revamping so many people think they're new. We told him how much we loved it, and he sincerely thanked us and seemed proud of our compliments.

I will be searching for a place in Minneapolis that can hold a candle to this one. Any suggestions??

Greats:
-Laid back vibe
-The Ameritriciana
-The Frutti
-The wine

Not so greats
-The lake view
-The crostini
That's it!

http://www.vabenecaffe.com/va-bene-ca...

May 04, 2010
greenidentity in Great Lakes

Best Sushi/Sashimi in Minneapolis/St. Paul?

I hear that a lot, but I have never had to wait for one.I'm a sushi beginner, so I apologize if my sushi palette isn't as refined.

Apr 04, 2010
greenidentity in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Best Sushi/Sashimi in Minneapolis/St. Paul?

Not ONE mention for Obento-Ya? Well, I suppose it's best to keep places like these the truly hidden gems of the city :-)

Mar 28, 2010
greenidentity in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Restaurants You Love - And Nobody Talks About

I can't say, as I have never been to Chez Foley. I would not say Volnay is completely French (they have a chicken ranch wrap there?!?!) but they do boast 2 chefs from Brittney, and it is quite quaint and lovely.

Mar 15, 2010
greenidentity in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Restaurants everyone loves--except you

Oh yea - and Black Sheep. Always too crowded for dinner, with mediocore pizza.

Mar 14, 2010
greenidentity in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Restaurants You Love - And Nobody Talks About

Enjoy! - I am the only person I know who has been to this place.

Obento Ya- maybe not super obscure, but definitely blows any other sushi joint out of the ocean.

Golden Nugget - Standard 'burb joint, but with some surprisingly great dishes.

Volnay - Had my first trip there today. It's in Wayzata, so I'm not too surprised it isn't well known, but it should be. Quaint, lovely, affordable and the Bochee a la Reine was delicious!

Casablanca - I asked around about this place tirelessly before I visited it, and got maybe 1 response. My visit there was a collection of misses, and some total hits. The ambience is very nice and modern, but it's the insane variety of food that will keep me going back.

I must say, there isn't a great variety of places I've NEVER heard of in this thread. Bacio? BRASA?? Easy to find a number of write ups on all these places. Then again, I'm sure I'm just a pig. :-)

Mar 14, 2010
greenidentity in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Anyone been to Honey?

From my blog:

I was able to get a special trip to the my old 'hood last weekend, and I've been wanting to check out Honey pretty bad. For those of you who are curious - Honey is the old Jitters, beneath the new Ginger Hop (and the old Times) in Ne Mpls. The space, like Ginger Hop, is quite similar to the old Jitters but with some new twists. After walking down the flight of stairs, you're met with a wall of candles. They painted the walls bright colors and texturized them as well. There's art hung around, and a crazy metal chandelier thing that hangs really low above a flat cushion-bench, running the length of some opposing booths and tables. Overall, it's a slightly cramped space, but they've done well with the remodel.

When we arrived, the plan was to check it out and have a drink. I was hungry, and heard they have small plates, so I wanted to try at least one. It was pretty busy, and the bar doesn't have any seating. Fortunately, we found a small round table and tucked away in the booth area behind it. They were playing hip hop music (I heard A LOT of Q-Tip) and the crowd overall was your typical trendy crowd. As we perused the drink and food menu, and I found a lot of things that interested me. I was somewhat on a budget (when am I not??) so I couldn't get one of their signature cocktails (they are anywhere from $8 and up.) which includes Absinthe infused concoctions. The food menu has a small selection of some small plate type things, and a few entree's good until 9 or 10 PM. Some selections are: bruschetta, red beet salad, and a chocolate flight! They also have different individual chocolate truffles as well. I can't remember the exact flavors and I couldn't take a pic, but I remember there being some quite unique creations.

I opted to order the crostini (with goat cheese, olive pate and tomato jam- around $7), and I couldn't resist getting the fries (with truffle salt, and red pepper aioli - about $5.) We waited approx 15 minutes, and the food (and my next drink) finally came. The crostini plate is an appropriate size for a small plate, There are 6 crostini, and 3 dabs of each spread right on the plate. There was nothing I didn't like about this. It was gorgeous. The olive pate was luscious, sweet and salty. The tomato jam is unlike anything I've tasted, but was also delicious. A tangy tomato taste, with the sweetness of jam and hint of basil. The goat cheese was just that, in all it's glory! My biggest praise however, will go to the crostini. They were toasty, but NOT HARD or crusty at all! My mouth incurred no injuries, and I found myself mixing all the ingredients together quite often.

The fries were of a generous portion, but really just look like McDonalds fries; skinny and limp. Regardless, I ate a mess of them! They were so good, but I'm not quite sure why. I really liked the red pepper aioli. It was kind of mayonaise-y, but the red pepper flavor came through well, as did garlic. The fries were hot, salty, and just really good. I've never had truffles, and I don't know that truffle salt is, but I feel this added a depth of flavor that "Mcdonalds fries" lack.

Overall, I liked it and will defintiely go back, even if for the crostini plate alone!

http://www.honeympls.com/

Mar 14, 2010
greenidentity in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Restaurants everyone loves--except you

Il Nonni. Can't say I've been there more than once, because I can't afford it.

Azia - overpriced, and the worst sushi I've had.

I'll chime in on the Matt's, 5-8 bandwagon. Every tim I've had a Jucy Lucy, the cheese in the middle just...liquifies. I've never gotten that ooey goey thing that others seeem to get, or boast about. I go to Taco Bell for that sensation!

Town Talk Diner. Just overall not impressed.

It's Greek to Me. I used to like this place, years ago before I developed a palette. Went there a year ago, and it was just terrible in many ways.

Mar 14, 2010
greenidentity in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Casablanca on the U of M East Bank, MSP

After much delay, Mr. H and I finally hit up Casablanca. I was surprised to see this little hidden restaurant is actually quite beautiful. Nestled besides the Profile Room building on the East Bank, Casablanca is a cozy little eatery with lots of modern, sleek touches. Pretty lights, sleek bar and flowers, and comfortable seating (double bonus.) The menu offers African, Middle Eastern and Somali cuisine, along with burgers, pasta's and crepes. This mish-mosh can be a little scary in restaraunts - but off we went!

They don't serve any alcohol at Casablanca, so I had an African tea. It was way sweet and cinnamon-ey, but comforting on the cold night. For our appetizers, we ordered the Sambusa (A favorite Arabic, Turkish, and Somali pastry, similar to a turnover or spring roll made with ground beef, onions, garlic, cilantro, and tomatoes. Two pieces - $3.95) and they were out of the spinach crepe, so we got a chicken crepe instead.

Sambusa
These are pretty similar to the Indian samosa. Meat inside of pastry. This was beef, and was pretty simple. There was a kick of spice, but it could have used a dipping sauce to enhance the flavors.

Chicken Crepe (Chicken and mushrooms with veloute sauce- $5.95)
This thing was weird. The crepe itself was fine. But the cream sauce was like cream of mushroom soup, and the interior appeared to be frozen veg from the bag thrown in with some shredded chicken. Not great.

They have about 87 things on the menu I want to try. I tottered between the Kay-Kay (something I had years ago, and isn't an easily accesible Somali dish) and a chicken entree. As much as I wanted to try the Kay Kay again, I opted for the Chicken Sonoma (Chicken breast stuffed with goat cheese, feta cheese, mushrooms, topped with cream sauce, and served with soft saffron basmati rice - $11.95), regardless of the fact I was told it was "pre-stuffed" when I asked for no mushrooms (yikes?) Mr. H ordered the Goat (Slow cooked goat meat caramelized with onions and cilantro - Served with basmati rice or pasta - $9.95.)

Chicken Sonoma

As you can see, they give you a gigantic mountain of saffron rice. This rice is soooooo good. Nice and saffron-ey, with raisins and not overcooked at all. I want to create this at home so I can take bowls of rice with me to work several times a week, maybe mixed with some protein or an addition of vegetable. I was a bit apprehensive when I approached my chicken, but was pleasantly surprised! The chicken was moist and tender and had great flavor. When I got to the middle, I became confused. I was seeing (and tasting) some sort of filling with sun-dried tomatoes, no real presence of cheese (or mushrooms.) The cream sauce was out of this world good, but there was so little of it. It was rich and buttery and deep. I wanted more! I also wish I had more cheese. I got no flavors of goat or feta cheese at all.

Goat
Mr. H also got the same huge pile of rice, with what looked like little "nibs" of goat meat, on the bone. I've never had goat outside of sauce. These were plain, and cooked well. But the taste was certainly different. The texture was either slightly fatty, or like roast beef, and I struggle to describe the flavor. It was decidely more "gamey" than what I am used to. I am not sure how goat is SUPPOSED to taste, but this really tasted like... an "animal." Not dirty at all, just a bit different from what I am used to. I'm not explaining it well - it's hard to describe.

After we were finished, I asked to see the menu again, due to my confusion over my dish. Upon my questioning, our server (who was great) mentioned the filling was supposed to have sun dried tomatoes in it (before I even mentioned what it was), and that they must have accidentally left it of fthe description. Not complaining though, because the sun dried tomato was delicious with the chicken. But that's a distinct flavor, so I do hope they correct the menu description.

Overall, I really liked Casablanca and will definitely go back. I am intrigued to try their pasta dishes (just to see, yknow?) and the Kay Kay. Bonus is that they have coupons on restaraunt.com - I got a $25 gift certificate for 8 bucks. There are a few conditions (minimum of $35 purchase, and mandatory 18% gratuity) but it still comes out to be a good deal!

Greats
-Nice atmosphere. Very cozy, but modern
-Chicken Sonoma
-Chicken Sonoma sauce OMFG.
-Saffron rice!
-Our server was really well spoken and pleasant
-Restaraunt.com makes it possible to get a crapload of stuff without breaking the bank!

Not so greats
-The chicken crepe
-The goat, but maybe I just don't like goat
-African tea, but that's just because I don't like cinnamon!

http://www.casablancadiamondrestauran...

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Casablance Restaurant
2630 University Ave SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414

Mar 06, 2010
greenidentity in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Casablanca on the U of M East Bank, MSP

Has anyone ever been here? I find it difficult to get any reviews. I want to try it out, but sometimes places with such mixed cuisine can be a total miss. Any opinions here?

Feb 20, 2010
greenidentity in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Caspian Bistro - MSP

Exactly - my description of "standard" was to represent what is more standard to see on menu's around HERE. I already clearly stated I know very little about the authentic cuisine, and I apologize, as I did my best to describe what I was eating fairly.

Feb 19, 2010
greenidentity in Minneapolis-St. Paul

NE restaurant wait times

Definitely Emily's, but it is a tight space. How about Whitey's? They are quite spacious, with cheap, great food and a nice atmosphere. I find this place is rarely mentioned, but it's been in NE for many years. Psycho Suzi's is a lot of fun, but gets quite packed on weekends.

Feb 16, 2010
greenidentity in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Rinata

Mr. H decided to surprise me with a dinner on a holiday. This being Valentines Day, and the place being Rinata. Rinata has been tops on my list to visit for months now, so I was glad to check it out.

Our reservations were for 4:30, and we were running a bit late, so we called and asked if we could bump them to 5 PM. We knew we were risking losing our reservation, since this is a busy time. They said they could get us in, but couldn't sit us at the table they wanted to. Fine with us. So off we went to the ghost of Giorgio's past in good old Uptown Minneapolis.

We arrived around 5 PM to an almost completely empty restaurant. Rinata is a nice space, if a bit tight. The bar area is in the middle as you walk in, and is nice and modern with tall tables. There are two opposing rooms with somewhat standard table seating. We checked in, and hostess guided us to a table/ bench combo (a personal dislike of mine) about 3 feet away from one of the 3 couples in the entire place. We immediately asked for different seating. I understand that they have a structure to seating and reservations, but there were at least 2 dozen other places to sit, so I'm not sure why she sat us there. Anyhow, we were seated elsewhere and it was fine. Our waitress was stellar. She made the food sound irresistable, and was very charming and professional - not at all stuffy, arrogant, or too "soft." She gave us 2 wine samples and explained the specials and half price wine deal until 6. Mr. H opted for a vodka and lemoncello martini, and (surprising myself) I ordered a bottle of the 2007 Ali Sangiovese, which clocked in at $15. The drinks came, and were lovely. His martini a hint of sweet and sour, not curling or coating your tongue with either. The wine was rustic; slightly dry, and berry spiced. It was perfect with our meal, which made me extremely happy since I have trouble finding a satisfactory wine lately.

We opted for the appetizer special (the bruschetta with salmon,goat cheese and fresh dill) to start off. Shortly after ordering, we received bread paired with olive tapenade on top of a nice pool of olive oil. The bread was nice and soft, but also substantial and honest in foccacia roots. The crust was a tad salty; a minor offense that the tapenade and olive oil made up for. After about 10 minutes, our appetizer came:

Bruschetta:
The portion size was perfect. the presentation simple. I took a bite and immediately thought two things: gosh this bread is perfectly crispy and then...KABOOM. Garlic punch to the FACE. Hey I love heavy garlic, but my tongue burned if I put it directly on the bread. It wasn't terrible, but I couldn't continue (rare rare rare for me.) Mr. H happily gobbled them up. The other components were fine, but the garlic put my tail between my legs.

We finally decided on our entree's, Mr. H ordered the Ziti (Ziti with tomato white wine braised pork shoulder and swiss chard - $14.75) and I the Bucatini (Bucatinni alla Amatriciana with pancetta chili flake and tomato $13.50), with no hesitation. I have never had bucatini and was eager to experience it.

Bucatini:

The plates were brought out by who I assume to be the owner. Nice steaming hot plates of appropriately portioned pasta. I was pretty excited just looking at the stuff. It looked wonderful. I let it cool a few minutes, and dug in. First lesson: you really CAN'T slurp bucatini! These udon-resembling noodles were very al dente and toothsome. I wouldn't say they were tough, but they were chewy. I think I prefer my pasta a touch more soft, but maybe my palette isn't refined enough.I do know though, that my palette is refined enough to recognize a saltosphere. I'm not nay-saying this though, because it seems the perfect thing to eat when you WANT something salty. I'm sure the pancetta aided and abetted in this partial aus-salt (!!) as it was abundant. The tomato sauce was tangy, garlicky and spicy, which rounded out the entire palette of bold flavors and sturdy pasta.

Ziti
I tasted a few bites of Mr. H's ziti, and I experienced the occasional food envy. *sigh*. It was a direct flavor contrast to mine; savory (pork), rich (sauce made from braised pork, garlic, tomatoes) and earthy (swiss chard.)

We decided to splurge and order molten chocolate cake for dessert (literally, $7.75.) I've never had molten chocolate cake before, and maybe I expected too much (ooey chocolatey goodness oozing out of a rich cake??) and got the reality (dark chocolate brownie with a soft kinda gooey middle.) The vanilla gelato was surprisingly good - sweet and creamy with little flecks of vanilla.

Rinata wasn't a complete success, but it intrigued me enough to go back. They have a great looking gnocch,. and a super deal for course meals every Sunday (Sunday date night 4 course meal $20 per person!.) When we left, the place was about halfway full, steadily filling up as we ate.

Greats:
-Wine specials (half price bottles until 6 PM)
-Bread and tapenade
-Stellar waitstaff
-Ziti
-Wine glasses (i know this sounds weird, but I am all about proper drinkware - these glasses made even a schlub like me feel a bit elegant.)

Not so greats
-Tight seating
-Bucatini wasn't a "not great" thing, it was just VERY flavorful (salty, spicy, tangy, garlic)
-Molten cake

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Rinata
Minneapolis, MN, Minneapolis, MN

Feb 16, 2010
greenidentity in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Nick and Eddy - never again (sorry, long rant)

I don't understand how anyone can like the place. The stress vibes are high, and when I go to a restaurant, I prefer to have my waitperson be at least NICE to me, and if they aren't, the food better be damn good (it wasn't.)

Feb 16, 2010
greenidentity in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Caspian Bistro - MSP

How do you eat the grilled tomato Anne? Just on it's own?

Thank you for your insight - I will definitely try the crusty rice next time around!

Feb 16, 2010
greenidentity in Minneapolis-St. Paul