p

Prairie Gal's Profile

Title Last Reply

Which is better French: La Belle Vie or Vincent's? Please weigh in...

Oh, no...my daughters are the Hipsters. We're the Hippies.

Sep 02, 2010
Prairie Gal in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Which is better French: La Belle Vie or Vincent's? Please weigh in...

This all sounds very promising. We wanted elegance with substance, if you catch my drift. No point in fancy decor if the food is mediocre or the staff treats you like dirt.

A few questions: is a tip rate of 20% adequate? How much does one tip a valet when they retrieve your car, if one already pays for the service? We have some decent clothes (my all-purpose party/wedding/funeral black dress) and plan to wash the car to get all the Iowa bugs off, before arriving. :-)

The weekend is shaping up nicely: got 5th row seats to the Scottsboro Boys at the Guthrie, plan to tour the Walker, may go to the Ren Fair...thanks to Chowhound, am finding good suggestions for low-end ethnic restaurants and definitely want to go to the Global Market downtown, as well.

Sep 02, 2010
Prairie Gal in Minneapolis-St. Paul

What does 'organic' mean with regards to humanely raised animals?

It's hard to know for sure, alas. Although regulations do tend to cover not just feed, but also care, they are vague and can easily be subverted. The Cornucopia group--an organic watch dog agency--released a now famous (or infamous, depending ;-) report exposing various large organic dairies that did NOT treat their cows humanely, for instance:

http://www.grassrootsnetroots.org/art...

It's best to go as local as possible. All my pork, beef, chicken and eggs (and now milk) come from local farmers either fully certified organic or using organic practicies. I've visited every one of their farms and "met" the animals under their care.

Aug 23, 2010
Prairie Gal in General Topics

Which is better French: La Belle Vie or Vincent's? Please weigh in...

That's a good idea. I think for the Big Night we want to go all out, over the hill "gosh, dang it! Ain't this just grand, Pa!" luxe...but I wanted GOOD FOOD first and foremost. Maybe Vincent's would be good for some soup after the show, which is on a different night.

In any case, you've all made me comfortable that La Belle Vie isn't just frou frou and fancy--I wouldn't want to end up at--in the immortal words of Calvin Trillan--"La Casa de Maison House."
:-D

-----
La Belle Vie
510 Groveland Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55405

Aug 20, 2010
Prairie Gal in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Which is better French: La Belle Vie or Vincent's? Please weigh in...

Thank you...We've had good years, dull years, bad years, and great years. Somehow, though, we always sign on for another year, no matter what. I can't imagine life with anyone else, any more.

Aug 18, 2010
Prairie Gal in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Which is better French: La Belle Vie or Vincent's? Please weigh in...

Oh, thank you so much! All of you, actually!...but having someone help us expand our "fantasy" is especially appreciated. The last really good croissant I had was at the communal breakfast table of a $5 a night (the franc was cheap) Bohemian hotel on the West Bank, in 1976. That was, in fact the first and only time I've been to France, but the memories are still vivid. Glad to have my inclination to be *really* indulgent and do the Room Service Than authorized. ;-)

I'm about to decide and I'll be sure to let everyone know how it goes.

Aug 18, 2010
Prairie Gal in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Which is better French: La Belle Vie or Vincent's? Please weigh in...

Hello,

Hubby and I can't afford to go to France for our 30th wedding anniversary, but we're going to pretend for a long weekend: staying at a 4 star French-owned hotel (Sofitel), going out to the theater (Guthrie), and having a romantic dinner, pulling out all the stops, at a French restaurant. This will be a big deal to we Country Mice, and a hit to our modest budget, so we don't want to make a mistake! We want to have a wonderful time and wonderful memories....

So...I can't tell which restaurant to choose. Both seem to be in the Tops in the Twins category, but we're looking for the *best* food first, then atmosphere and charm. We also would appreciate feeling welcome and not snootified because we're aforementioned Country Mice. Your opinions--or suggestions of an alternative--greatly appreciated.

Thanks!

-----
La Belle Vie
510 Groveland Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55405

Aug 18, 2010
Prairie Gal in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Hot Chili Peppers on your hands

I found a milk bath did the trick, once, too.

Aug 11, 2010
Prairie Gal in Not About Food

Mom's 70th Birthday Dinner at restaurant w/ friends. Who pays the check?

Take the above advice and THEN SPRING FOR THE DESSERT. That'll sooth any ruffled feathers, I bet. After all, it *is* a Birthday Party and they need cake and ice cream. ;-)

Aug 11, 2010
Prairie Gal in Not About Food

All Clad?

Never understood the "handle fuss" and I've been using and loving All Clad for ten years...Then I went out and picked on up and realized that they must be for "Girlie Girls" because we all Pitch Underhand. ;-D I palm it and wrap my fingers around the top....feels great! If you are an Overhand Grabber, they might, indeed, feel uncomfortable.

Aug 09, 2010
Prairie Gal in Cookware

As a cook, what do you love or hate about your kitchen?

My kitchen is woefully inadequate (three upper small cabinets, three lower, 1940's pine) with about 4 feet of laminate counters...and the refrigerator door knocks the cook into the stove, when opened. And the damned fools who lived here before us carpeted it!

So, I guess I hate all of it that came with the house. I love almost everything I've added (my 40's and 50's posters, kitchen doodads, my bright yellow chrome/formica dinette set, my all-clad and le creuset, etc. etc.)....but as to the actually kitchen, I just dream about $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ and the day I can gut it.

Okay, I thought of one thing: the window over the sink looks out on my flower beds, the white birch currently filled with goldfinches, past the 50 foot Norway spruces, and off, off, off across the Iowa countryside.

Jun 02, 2010
Prairie Gal in Cookware

What five cookbooks would you keep?

Ah, Anna Thomas....How did I forget? I was living on my own, in my own apartment, in the Hippie Dippie region of the city, when this book came out. My room mate and I entertained all our hairy, bearded, barefoot young male "conquests" with food we learned to cook from this Joy for the Counter Culture set.

The first meal I ever cooked for the man who became my husband years later, was from this book. The first meal I ever hosted for my parents--after moving in with said man, in a cockroach-ridden, run-down, Art Deco, so-damned-cool-and-awesome apartment building in the Fan District of Richmond, VA, was from this book. And it was a disaster:

I had no sense of "balancing" the elements of a meal, so I blithely made this godawful, heavy, "walnut balls with bechamel sauce" thing and combined it with something equally righteously stodgy (lentils? wheat berries? ) and I swear, I think I served peanut soup, as well! My kitchen was the narrowest of galley kitchens, it was hot as HELL in the apartment from the July weather and the oven, we had to sit on crates and eat off a card table, and my parents--very uncomfortable with our "sinful" unmarried arrangement, but trying desperately to appear nonchalant--were completely done in by having to pass through our bedroom (which had almost nothing in it but the one, Indian-print festooned, SINGLE BED we shared in our illicit bliss <g>--to get to the bathroom.

I remember everyone valiantly trying to eat all these damned NUTS in sweaty silence....to their credit, my parents never said a cross word, left quickly, and then we all laughed and laughed about the entire Incident over the many (married ;-) years that followed.

Our 30th wedding anniversary is coming up this August. I think I need to cook some lovely, heavy, fatty foods from Vegetarian Epicure, eat them in sweaty happiness, toast my parents' memory, and remember that summer of our carefree youth, when love triumphed over 105 degree days and even an army of cockroaches.

May 20, 2010
Prairie Gal in Home Cooking

What five cookbooks would you keep?

Hah! The last time I had "chicken a'la kind" was indeed in the '70's--1974, to be precise. I was the guest of an entire roomful of sweet, blue-haired old ladies, as one of their "Optimist Club's Senior of the Year" award members. We met at the
Roanoke, VA, country club: the room was a sea of white table cloths, flowery hats, silent (and uncomfortably servile--I was a child of the Civil Rights Movement) African-American waiters at the ready, pitchers of iced tea, and rigid traditionalism.

I was completely out of my element and amused at "passing" as a Sweet Young Lady for the afternoon (ah, if they only knew... :-) but also slightly terrified and a bit bored, at the same time.

Of course we were served chicken a la king. Those Ladies fell to their dinner like field hands! I was astonished to see the gusto--all conversation ceased, all pretense at decorum ceased, and they just GOBBLED up that patty shell like they'd been starved for days...

May 20, 2010
Prairie Gal in Home Cooking

What five cookbooks would you keep?

Happy to hear your support of "Key To..." I was musing over it recently--I've had it for decades?--wondering if I ought to upgrade, wondering if it wasn't as good as I'd heard or thought (I don't have much basis to judge, as I can't seem to get the hang of most Asian cooking techniques, oddly) and wondering why it wasn't indexed on Eat Your Books. Given my ineptitude with this style of cooking, I'd say that any book that can save me from failure MUST be great but it's good to hear a similar opinion.

May 20, 2010
Prairie Gal in Home Cooking

What five cookbooks would you keep?

Oh, love the "books are sacred" phrase. Hate the packing of books, though--my sympathies, buttertart. The last time we moved--a long, painful, do-it-yourself move--JUST OUR BOOKS filled almost an entire 25' Uhaul truck. That day's packing happened to fall on Thanksgiving Day (the move required four or five trips with truck) and all the day consisted of was up and down stairs, one heavy book box after another, over and over and over....then, reverse at the other end! But did we consider lightening our load? Never! ;-)

May 20, 2010
Prairie Gal in Home Cooking

Food Adventure Help!

Jerusalem artichokes, which actually are the starchy root of a kind of sunflower.

Jan 07, 2010
Prairie Gal in Home Cooking

What is your favorite new item of cookware this year?

I re-discovered cast iron, this year, and went a little nuts. But, I'm happy, too. I've acquired a nearly complete set of large logo, smooth bottomed vintage Griswold skillets (sizes 3 thru 10), lids for the #8, 9, and 10 skillets, a nice, long Griswold griddle that fits the long middle burner of my new (YES YES FINALLY!!! GAS) stove, a #7 and a #10 Griswold "tite top" dutch oven, and--a gift from a collector friend--a beautiful but possibly not particularly useful Gris cast iron waffle iron.

And a pretty decent MIU stainless steel mandoline.

Jan 07, 2010
Prairie Gal in Cookware

Sioux City?

Hi,

I've eaten Thai food all over the country and am astounded at how good the food at Diamond Thai is! It's crafted with a subtlety and care that elevates it about the usual...and there are many, many unusual items on the menu, as well. We've eaten there at least six times since they opened and always have a marvelous meal.

Da Kao, right down the street, still maintains its high standards in Vietnamese food, as they have for at least 15 years, as well.

Feb 24, 2009
Prairie Gal in Great Plains