m

marknavoski's Profile

Title Last Reply

What's good at the Capital City Grille (Mpls)?

Have a work celebration there tomorrow and would like to live it up a bit (it's well deserved). Any recommendations?

Jun 18, 2008
marknavoski in General Midwest Archive

MSP- Greasy Spoon Breakfast in Bloomington-Richfield?

The donut shop is now a gyro joint ("gyro-opolis" or something). If they can wait for lunch, Wally's has a great blue plate special.

Jun 18, 2008
marknavoski in General Midwest Archive

Good Asian food in the Minneapolis skyways?

Not to beat a dead horse, but Zen Box is your best bet. The owner (at least I think she owns it) believes that a Japanese lunch should be quick, affordable, neatly packaged and delicious. The only request that I still have (and I understand why they can't accomodate) is a lack of street-style ramen and donburi dishes which you can get for about $5 outside of most train stations in Japan. The limited menu is sufficient to keep me going there 1-2 times a week though.

Half price Sushi at a little place outside of the TCF Tower (name escapes me) after 5pm. Not a bad snack before heading home.

Other than these two, I have completely given up ... I spent too many years in St. Paul and was spoiled by the University haunts.

Good luck and let us know what you thought (or if you found anything else).

Dec 31, 2007
marknavoski in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Minneapolis-Cheap but Unique

Great point about going down Lake Street for Mexican. One place that is a little cheaper than the Midtown Global Market and much more unique is Mercado Central. Parking and seating can be a bit of a challenge, but the food and atmosphere are authentic. The MGM is easier to park at and much easier to move around, but Mercado Central has a much more authentic feel.

Dec 31, 2007
marknavoski in General Midwest Archive

Minneapolis-Cheap but Unique

Very good to clarify! As a former St. Paulite, Babani's express is strictly for a gyro, fries and coke. The restaurant is unique, but if you are only in town for the weekend, I'm not sure if that is where I would go.

Here are my suggestions:
Get a Juicy Lucy at Matt's Bar at 38th and Cedar. My brothers-in-law from San Francisco have marked this as a must-stop when they are back in town for the holidays - they have joked about starting their own little bar which serves the same.

If you are on the St. Paul side I'd try one of the great Vietnamese restaurants on University mentioned in this thread already -- for Chinese I really like Little Scezchuan which is on the same strip as the Vietnamese places (Western and University).

In Minneapolis, MGM is a fantastic place to spend an afternoon sampling a lot of great food - highly recommended.

If in Downtown Mpls, 112 Eatery is a little pricy for your request, but worth every penny - I'd make reservations now though! The same said for Luci (not Luci Ancora) in St. Paul -- best food I've ever eaten at a restaurant with a Pabst Blue Ribbon sign outside.

The Eat Street suggestions are dead on as well.

Dec 31, 2007
marknavoski in General Midwest Archive

Moose & Sadie's Mpls

Prior to kids and hitting 30, we used to spend way too much time there killing time by drinking coffee, playing cribbage and of course smoking. Perhaps it is worth trying again for breakfast? So if it was changed by a former Birchwood chef, how do the two compare? We are about 6 blocks from the Birchwood so trying to determine if it is worth the trip?

Apr 14, 2007
marknavoski in General Midwest Archive

Midtown Global Market MSP - It's Up To Us

Good to know about the outdoor farmer's market in the summers. In regard to my 2-year old, the play area is great, but he is a much bigger fan of the live music. I think the biggest asset the MGM has is its ability to serve a diverse crowd. I mean, some of my grilled cheese friends from Orono could even find something they like. I've talked it up a bit and plan on bringing them to it. As a Lake Street resident, I hope it makes it.

Jan 07, 2007
marknavoski in General Midwest Archive

Midtown Global Market MSP - It's Up To Us

Let me explain myself better:

The Produce Exchange feels like the produce section at a grocery store to me and I've never seen Bill's (I'll look next time). I mean I can buy a crate of clementines or "Naked Juice" there for the same price and use my credit card at a checkout line. When I think produce market I think of 2 or more vendors where I give the guy/gal a $5 bill for two crates of something better than I can get at the store. I guess I just get this good feeling when I'm buying something in cash from what appears to be the owner like at the farmer's market. It's probably a perceived value, but perception is reality. I simply wish there were more vendors in smaller stalls.

Come to think of it, I have seen the seafood vendor, but it wasn't too memorable. I'll seek them out next time.

The experience I hoped to get was something that can be replicated by just going over to 26th and Minnehaha and driving to a few places:
1. United Noodles (they have a satellite at MGM, but the real store is an amazing place)
2. Coastal Seafood (the best selection of seafood in the city)
3. New French Bakery (great prices right from the source)
4. Seward Co-op (everything in between)

In short, my expectations are probably higher than can be accomplished as the MGM is new and it is trying to quickly accelerate the many great things that other sections of town that provide its many vendors accomplished over time (e.g. Nicollet/Eat Street, East Lake Street, East University, Central Avenue). I hope it works out and I will continue to be a patron.

Jan 07, 2007
marknavoski in General Midwest Archive

Midtown Global Market MSP - It's Up To Us

Out of pure desire to make it succeed, I have been trying to go at least a few times a month. The big issue I run into is that I pass Mercado Central, Heart of the Beast, etc... on the way and I actually like the Bloomington-Lake location better. I mean, if my family is in from the burbs or out of town I'll go to MGM, but if I want to get really good food and a true market atmosphere, I just love Mercado Central.

Some of my observations:
1. Parking has never been an issue (get a ticket in the East Ramp and exit without paying)...they could offer more explanation
2. I agree 100% with La Sirena Gordena being the place to eat first! Incredible food.
3. They need seafood, fresh bread, fresh produce and other aspects of a market ($600 cowboy hats like at MC) to make it feel more hopping. I went this morning with my 2 year old and we had the run of the place. Good for us, bad for businesses.

Jan 06, 2007
marknavoski in General Midwest Archive

Good Asian food in the Minneapolis skyways?

Zen Box is probably the best followed by the sushi place between the TCF Tower/Baker Building (can't remember the name) after 5pm as it is half-priced. A nice little appetizer before heading home.

I have not had good luck with Royal Orchid. St. Paul beats Minneapolis in this category.

Jan 03, 2007
marknavoski in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Is Peninsula on Nicollet in Mpls good?

Thanks all. satay2go may be worth the trip it sounds... If we decide to go to Peninsula, we'll post our review.

Dec 20, 2006
marknavoski in General Midwest Archive

Take Out/Delivery (Not Pizza/Sandwiches/Chinese) in Minneapolis

Ted Cook's 19th Hole BBQ is very good and I have heard that the Colossal Cafe has take-out that is quite good (haven't tried it). Both are in South Minneapolis in Nokomis.

Dec 19, 2006
marknavoski in General Midwest Archive

Is Peninsula on Nicollet in Mpls good?

My wife and I have a babysitter for both kids for about a three-hour window and have wanted to try Peninsula since it opened. Is it worth us spending this rare opportunity or will be sorely disappointed? Could we actually bring our kids, thus leaving this an option for another night?

For some background, our experience with "real" Malaysian food was actually in Singapore for a week when we frequented the many hawker stands. So, you could say that our tastes are limited. Open to any suggestions on what to order or what not to order.

Dec 19, 2006
marknavoski in General Midwest Archive

Most Controversial food opinion MPLS/St. Paul Edition

My theory on why Mpls/St. Paul will never stack up to cities famous for cuisine is one of geography, lifestyle choices, and memories.

As soon as an area starts to receive adequate traffic, rents rise and the local restaurants that made it so appealling are replaced by chains. That's why I cringed when my home street East Lake started to get its makeover.

A second point about geography is that everything is too spread out which favors chain restaurants...I mean, people go to Southdale for "good food."

The lifestyle comment is from direct experience. Family and friends that opted to live and settle in places like San Francisco and Manhatten are in no hurry to have kids and have a lot more time and money to spend on eating out. It's not that we don't have tastebuds here or don't know what good food is, we just don't have the demand to keep the really great food around. I know that the only time I get a chance to eat at a "nice" restaurant is for business and it's tough to take chances when you are trying to please about 10 different viewpoints...hence you settle for safe. The best food I've had is in obscure restaurants on University or East Lake or in random strip malls with cheap enough rents to allow family-run restaurants to survive. If I want fine cuisine, I'll go on a trip without my kids.

The last point about memories is just from personal experience. Having lived in Japan for a year, I'll never like the food here as well as I did there because it doesn't satisfy my other senses in thee same way... Also, the first time you try something that blows your mind it sets a standard that will never be met...

Dec 17, 2006
marknavoski in General Midwest Archive

kid-friendly place w/good food? (MSP)

My wife and I had a great experience with our 4 mos. old on our anniversary (the grandparents took the 2 1/2 year old, but weren't ready for both) at the Birchwood Cafe in the Seward Neigborhood. The food is fast (kind of like cafeteria style), but very, very good. We had the two pizzas and bottle of wine for $25. It's loud enough that you don't have to worry about bugging your neighbors, but its an adult hang out. You know, it's not Chuck-E-Cheese...

The Longefellow Grill and Maria's Cafe are also good for breakfast or lunch.

You've tried Quang's which is one we also really like. Various spots on University also work such as Saigon.

Dec 17, 2006
marknavoski in General Midwest Archive

Colossal Cafe, Minneapolis MN

I read a review in the local Longfellow Rag and was under the impression that it was take-out only. My wife has insisted they serve breakfast and I didn't believe her until she showed me this posting.

They do take out as well, right? I want to prove that I am not totally wrong. Only mostly wrong.

Irregardless, we're going this weekend so I hope you all stay at home so we can get a table.

Dec 07, 2006
marknavoski in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Downtown St. Paul lunch, walkable? Cheap and quick a big plus

How about Christo's in the Depot? The buffet is about $10 if I remember correctly. Very good salads and incredible soups. Actually, this may sound strange, Pino's (pizza by the slice) has a pretty good Caesar salad for a cheap place. A slice, salad and soda for under $5 I think. The fish at Cajun is a must, but if you are watching your weight, you may want to hold back.

Nov 14, 2006
marknavoski in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Vietnamese Run down in Minneapolis and St. Paul - Where to go for the best of the best?

Thanks for the info about Mai Village. I had eaten there for lunch and must have only been given the lunch menu. This is worth checking out at night again. I'll check out Pho 79 as well.

Oct 28, 2006
marknavoski in General Midwest Archive

Downtown St. Paul lunch, walkable? Cheap and quick a big plus

I spent six years in DT St. Paul and since I have left to the Mpls side, the only place I crave is the Cajun Grill in the world's cruddiest looking food court in the old Norwest Center. Get there right at 11:15 AM and order the blackened fish, your favorite rice dish, and the mixed vegetables. 5.80 and oh so good.

Micky's is quaint, but a grease pit. I'm sorry, but, Cosetta's is cool and everything, but a little over priced. Just grab a two slices and a soda at Pino's (same food court) for an even $5.

Now, if you can drive up to University some day, then we've got some suggestions....

West Indies Soul, Saigon, and a host of others I still miss...

Oct 28, 2006
marknavoski in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Vietnamese Run down in Minneapolis and St. Paul - Where to go for the best of the best?

I've tried Saigon on University many times and am left only really liking the sandwiches (banh mi?) and the rice noodle salad. I found another place called Trieu Chau had the best soup (Pho) of my life. Recently I ate at Que Nha and had a rice dish in a clay pot (can't even remember the name) that was excellent. My experience at Mai Village was all right...I liked the indoor koi pond better then the food.

My issue is that whenever I deviate from my favorite at any of these places I am hugely dissapointed. Does anyone out there have any other suggestions? I have heard rumors of places where you can "cook at your table,"

More specifically, are there other Vietnamese Restaurants to add to this list? If so, what do you recommend?

Oct 28, 2006
marknavoski in General Midwest Archive

Midori's Floating World Cafe - MSP

My wife and I were regulars of this neighborhood haunt and were at first so impressed by the personal service. You couldn't help but pull for it (not only because we want that corner of Mpls to succeed) because you felt like you were intimate with the staff. As of late, we've noticed the same thing... The service has been slower and since we have two kids, we have pretty much opted for food we know we can get quickly before any meltdown approaches by the little ones.

A similar Mexican restaurant is right up Lake Street (El Norteno). Certainly not the best Mexican food in town, but a great place for a beer and some home style food on the patio served by the owners themselves.

You've all encourated me to give Midori's another try...we'll hope for the best.

Oct 28, 2006
marknavoski in General Midwest Archive