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The Bachelor Farmer - who has been and can comment

four of us went there the night before the review; good luck, i think. we started at the marvel bar and i had the oliveto. one of the best and most interesting drinks ever. foamy, creamy, citrusy, deliciousness. we ordered a $1 glass of cheetos and tho we laughed, i was pleasantly surprised at how nice they were with our drinks. then upstairs to the bachelor farmer where we each ordered an app and a popover. i had the scallops on the potato pancake with saffron mayo and it was splendid. the scallops were sooo tender. the pancake was a tad oily but still mighty fine. and how can one not love a popover with honey butter? our server was helpful and charming. we loved the atmosphere, the lighting, the whole ambience and the friendliness of all who worked there. when deciding i wanted a second drink (the oliveto again), we were told we would need to be escorted down to the marvel bar because it is locked from the bachelor farmer stairway. it was worth the trek downstairs (and the pricey $12 charge for the drink). there is a bar at the bachelor farmer, but it doesn't have the scope of beverages as does the marvel bar.

we'll be back for more!

Nov 12, 2011
carolita in Minneapolis-St. Paul

best Twin Cties brownies??

the plain and cognac brownies from surdyk's are delectable. i've taken them to phoenix when visiting my mother and we cut them into
small pieces and savor every bite. she is a fabulous bar maker and thinks these brownies are the best (me too!)

Nov 04, 2011
carolita in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Psycho Suzi's Brunch

had to laugh at your description of the view and the parking lot, etc. we've been a few times this summer and with the right table, drink and eats (i go for the solo pizza with sausage and the scorpion drink), it can be great fun. we went on tuesday, one of those perfect summer days, sat under a thatched roof with a view of the river and all the crud on the other side, had good enough service and we delighted our daughter, sil and two grandchildren with the fun of it all. they could move around, i could feel a bit of paradise after the scorpion drink, and we enjoyed the overall kitchiness. forget getting the hamburger, we tried it twice and it was a dry, tasteless hockey puck.

Aug 24, 2011
carolita in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Asian Deli at 388 Western - What a GEM

this place is indeed a gem! six of us stopped by for lunch yesterday and were the only customers. our waiter (owner?) was most accomodating; we were two couples and two active young children. i won't go into details of all we ate other than to say the food was superb and generously portioned. two of our group got the iced tea and passed it around, it was so delicious. we can't wait to go back (my daughter and son in law were with us, visiting from spain, and were so thrilled to find such luscious asian food.) i understand the place is not very busy now; partly because of the state shutdown....come on foodies, check this terrific place out and keep it in business.

Jul 15, 2011
carolita in Minneapolis-St. Paul

MSP - Who's got the best mac and cheese?

oh yes, haute dish. we shared it; a large tubular pasta, tagliasomething cheese, chunks of crabmeat and little red pops of a fish roe about the size of poppy seeds that just popped in the mouth. it was truly scrumptious.

Nov 18, 2010
carolita in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Best Bakery -- not refined, not French, just good donuts

we love byerly's old fashioned chocolate covered donut at byerly's roseville. crispy outside, soft inside and good solid chocolate icing. also are very fond of their poppyseed kolaches which are just loaded with a moist poppyseed filling.

Nov 18, 2010
carolita in Minneapolis-St. Paul

State Fair 2010 Reviews!

we always have to have the honey ice cream sundae. tho good this year, we were disappointed because there was so much ice cream that we hardly got any honey so the proportion was just wrong. so went to the older man of the bunch and asked for a little more honey after we ate most of it and he gave us the tiniest squiggle of honey. not to complain about too much ice cream, but the honey topping is a big part of the pleasure of the sundae and we missed that this time.

other favorites from our sampling this year that we enjoyed were the breakfast burrito at tejas. they offer a free cup of coffee if you get it before 11 am. a great value: the burrito was like a delicious denver sandwich in a wrap and the coffee was quite good.

the corn dog at the elk burger place in the food building was delicious and also a great value to boot. it had wild rice in the middle and the coating was wonderfully crisp and corn bready. my favorite corn dog thus far.

and that $1 cup of 1919 root beer was perfect. the young girl serving it filled it to the top and her big brother said "don't fill it so full", but i reaped the benefit of a big luscious cup of thirst quenching root beer.

Aug 29, 2010
carolita in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Need a Twin Cities Gelato Roundup

after reading about this, i tasted then bought a pint of the salted caramel this morning. mmmm....delicious! between the gelato, the dragonwing begonia, other plants and maple syrup from the st. paul farmer's mkt., it's been a fine day already.

May 02, 2010
carolita in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Where can i buy the best prosciutto in the Mpls-St. Paul---cities or 'burbs?

thanks for the info on the bucatini. i saw it at cossettas yesterday, but at nearly $10 for a pkg,, i passed on it. later i was at the roseville cub, and voila, there was the bucatini by culinary circle ($1.59) yes, a m a z i n g.. had you not told me about it, i would have missed it, so many thanks. haven't tried it yet, but will soon.

Feb 07, 2010
carolita in Minneapolis-St. Paul

BEST cup of coffee in the Twin Cities??

i'll add lori's coffee house at 1441 no. cleveland, st. paul across from the st. paul u of m campus. love funky individually owned places and i think their coffee is some of the best. friendly place and oh those cardamom iced cookies when they have them are such a treat with a cuppa joe there.

Jan 31, 2010
carolita in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Spanish Style Chorizo in Twin Cities

we tried the spanish chorizo from the u of m meat lab and it was nothing like the real thing. sorry to say we did not like it at all. our daughter lives in spain, so we get a chance to taste it when we visit. we have seen it at byerly's.

Dec 30, 2009
carolita in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Where can i buy the best prosciutto in the Mpls-St. Paul---cities or 'burbs?

do you know where to buy bucatini in the twin cities?

Dec 30, 2009
carolita in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Bank Restaurant and Charlie's? (msp)

perhaps the restaurant your grandfather is thinking about is the old schiek's (sp?) which was in the former federal reserve bank building. i think it turned into a "gentlemen's club" much later on.

i too miss charlie's - long gone. charlie's was a really beloved restaurant and i have what is believed to be the charlie's potato salad recipe. for it's time, it was swanky, elegant and always it felt like a special occasion just to walk in the door.

Getting psyched for the Fair (MSP)

oh,one more delicious item: the white (or is it yellow?) cupcake with loads of buttercream frosting (just the way i like it) with a few sprinkles of dried lavendar on top. purchased at the french meadow bakery building. i took it home to share - put it in the refrig first - and oh so good!

Sep 02, 2009
carolita in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Getting psyched for the Fair (MSP)

i continue to love the honey sunflower ice cream sundae with honey. i especially enjoyed it this year as it seemed that the sunflower seeds were a tad crispier and saltier as a perfect counter to the sweet creamy ice cream. love how the honey gets nice and hard on the ice cream. we sit outside on a bench near the christmas trees and across from the sunflowers to eat our sundae then mosey thru the christmas tree exhibit and drink in the smells and feel like "ah, this is the state fair we know and love" - tradition!

we didn't eat as much as usual, but really enjoyed what we had:

coconut macaroons from the little salty tart stand outside the agriculture building. at first i thought "what, 3 of those little things for $5??!!" but then i remember, no bargains on food at the fair, but where else do you get the memories and atmosphere that come with being at the fair? so i bit and so glad i did. they are scrumptious - hard and crispy on the outside, soft and coconutty on the inside and with a little salt tang. best macaroons i've ever had.

a big cup of summit october or octoberfest beer at the bonnie raitt grandstand show was just the ticket to enhance the night air, music, crowd, experience of watching the evening sky, feeling of community and all that an outdoor concert can bring.

had a dish of fried green tomatoes. i liked the coating, but thought the tomato was tasteless and the ranch dressing did not enhance it. wanted to like it, but thought it was a waste of money and fat cells.

after two days at the fair this year, i'm probably done, but can't wait to experience it again in 2010.

Sep 02, 2009
carolita in Minneapolis-St. Paul

mai village - msp

thanks dq and karykat for your thoughts. we did go to mai village monday night because my brother and his asian wife had enjoyed it years ago on their last visit to town. she had spoken with the owner and he showed her some of the beautiful things he brought from vietnam and she was hoping to see more again. it was a lovely evening. andrew ordered the 7 courses of beef - we shared - and tho i'm not a big beef lover, it was all quite tasty. i got the curry chicken and the other two got bun salads - one marinated pork and the other beef and shrimp. we were all happy puppies with our food and service. good, not great, but worth it for the price and the atmosphere. the food is served on pretty celadon green dishes, our server was cheeky in a pleasant way (she suggested a change in original order as she thought the selected dish would be a little boring.) we spoke with the owner after dinner. he was very gracious and showed us some of his beautiful artifacts from vietnam. he had been very ill with cancer 4 years ago and given 6 months to live, but he's doing well 4 years later. he sat in a healing chair made out of a beautiful and exotic wood and he attributes his recovery partially to that. the arms of the chair are so smooth and beautifully turned that it was probably soothing and thus healing. i think mai village is on the upswing and we will return after our fine experience on monday. it may not be the most hip or interesting in their food, but the beauty of the place (the koi pond, carvings, etc.) add a worthwhile dimension to the experience.

mai village - msp

is mai village any good these days? used to love it, then a couple years ago or so, it seemed dirty and just not as good so we quite going there. my brother and his wife are in town and want to treat us to dinner there tonight; anyone been there lately? if so and if you like it, food recs?

MSP - Sea Salt Eatery

love this place, even tho there is a long line, but it just ramps up the anticipation. here we are at a beautiful old park in the midst of a crowd of: moms, dads, babies, grandparents, couples, families of all stripes and colors, groups of friends, together savoring the beauty of a public park, waterfall, bandstands, bikers, good food and drink. lots of fun and laughter. i took my husband for his first visit on sunday and it was a hit. i went over and ordered a surly bender beer, sipped it as we waited and went over the choices. we then split the oyster po'boy, took a seat on the pavilion near the falls where we could hear the rush of water, had it delivered to our table and with each bite "oh boy, this is so good". feeling pleasantly satisfied, we walked the whole area, remembering the many years we did the "get in gear" race that started at the park, and thought how lucky we are to live here and be able to enjoy this perfect sunday afternoon.

if you need dessert, try any of the sebastian joe flavors - we like the old favorites of raspberry choc chip or pavarotti.

MSP: Tam Tam's African Restaurant

loved your review and it was a lovely coincidence because i was looking up info on tam tams for our next book club meeting as we are reading an african novel and i wanted to discuss it at a place with african food and decor to keep the mood going. then suddenly i see your review on chowhound. so a friend and i checked it out today.

we met for a light lunch and to test the atmosphere and service as well as the food and it ranks high on all counts. we shared the tam tam stew with chicken. tho my friend normally prefers white meat chicken and the stew contained drumsticks, she agreed that it was delicious. for side breads we got the uguali - our lovely waitress said we could get it with half chapati so we did. the chapati was perfect dipped in the stew. the greens were good, interesting, looked like spinach but i think they were collard greens.

we also shared an appetizer of a ground beef samosa. the beef mixture had a lovely spiciness to it.

i had their chai tea which had delectable spices in it.

then the mango ice cream - mmmmmm.. with that elusive mango flavor and so creamy once we did our back to our childhood stirring of ice cream to make it soft and melty. perfect.

i look forward to a return visit to try more items on the menu and i'm sure our book club is going to enjoy it too.

we talked with steven, the owner, before we left. very warm and welcoming with a beautiful lilt to his accent. the whole experience made for a pleasant interlude on a
sunny and summery sunday.

bonus is that there is free parking and the lot is across from freewheel bicycle so i'm getting my old bike all rigged out and ready for many more miles.

a good day indeed.

French Door, Bottom-Freezer Refrigerator - New Owners, Please Post

i'm new to this post and am looking for similar info. we have a 25 yr old basic ge refrig which we will soon replace. other than having trouble opening the crisper door on the right side because of space issues, it's been just fine. we are thinking of a french door bottom freezer and wondering if this is a good idea, as i understand we lose space. we like BASIC - NO icemaker, NO water dispenser. we love usability, well designed shelving, reliability, energy efficiency, long life. do you have such a refrigerator in your life? what is it? we're now considering ge profile...we're open to going back to the top freezer mode too. i've spent too much time looking at consumer research, consumer reports, etc. without getting a real fix on it. thanks!

Apr 03, 2008
carolita in Cookware

MSP: Greek Yogurt?

mmm...love greek yogurt. when we were in seville, spain, where our daughter lives, it was easy to find. even dannon made great greek yogurt.

i like the fage brand here. i find it in 2 sizes at whole foods on fairview in st. paul. they have 2% and nonfat and also sell it with honey. and a pleasant surprise is to find it at the target in roseville, only in the small size. i love to mix it with blueberries and cereal or oatmeal for a super breakfast.

and speaking of blueberries, the best i have found when i have to buy them frozen in the winter are those from whole foods.

Spanish Style Chorizo in Twin Cities

i have found and purchased it at byerly's - both hot and mild - from spain. it's usually in a compartment by the olive bar close to their better cheeses. at least that's where i find it in the roseville store. good luck.

Feb 03, 2008
carolita in Minneapolis-St. Paul

True Chicago style pizza in Mpls?

the roseville rainbow near me carries the very small version of the gino's east pizza. i used to get the big ones(6 servings rather than 2) while cub carried them.any other rainbow carry the larger size gino's east? if so, i'll make the trip.

Chicago style pizza in MSP?

oh darn. was just at the roseville cub for another frozen gino's east chicago pizza and none there. my produce mgr. friend checked it out for me and the distributor is no longer carrying. so i got the davanni's deep dish sausage and pepperoni. disappointment - oh so salty!

Nov 01, 2007
carolita in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Best sandwich I ever invented

tomato, avocado and fresh mozz. in pita or on whole wheat toasted bread - maybe a little mayo and sometimes cucumber too. i could eat these for lunch 5 days a week without getting tired of them, especially during good tomato season.

Nov 01, 2007
carolita in Home Cooking

st paul breakfast places for book club

thanks so much, tdq and others for your suggestions. i have to agree with both of you who discussed how crummy it is as a patron to have to put up with a somewhat loud group when you're there to welcome the day with coffee and the paper! having been on both sides of that, i am sensitive to that aspect. that's why a private room or corner where we could hear and not be too greatly heard is also what we're looking for - pretty tricky. you all made some good suggestions that we will check out.
if i had my druthers, we would convene at maria's on franklin and i would dive into those yummy corn pancakes with cheese. it's such a convivial place, but the noise factor pretty much rules it out. i'm afraid this is as much about space and noise as chow.
our group has mostly had late afternoon/early eve meetings. last one was in the private room at common roots cafe on lyndale. nice room, great vibe and delicious, mostly locally sourced food. that rosemary toasted bread with roast beef, blue cheese and carmelized onion sandwich was a hit, as was my surly beer with a somewhat chocolately aroma. normally not a roast beef lover, but this sandwich really came together.
-funny, i freak out a bit when i see a large group of smart talking people at a table most anyplace i go and will go to lengths to avoid sitting near them, and yet like pogo, i see the enemy and he is me. because being part of that group can be great fun when the talk and company is good. uhoh, a bit off subject here.
-i like nina's coffee shop, right about gk's common good book store. may look at it again for space configuration. sometimes they have cardamom cookies with white icing that are oh so delicious. thanks for reminding me of the place.
-interesting that you bring up the loft coffee shop - we had our formative meeting there almost 4 years ago.
-will check out el patio, sounds interesting.
-i promise not to even think of al's or coffee news cafe.
thanks again.you are such a fount of info and this chowhound group is a definite part of exploring the delights of this tc area.

st paul breakfast places for book club


as a frequent reader of this board, i appreciate all the great info and have used it to enjoy croissants from truong nam (sp), bahn mi sandwiches from saigon also on university ave,
ordering lamb riblets from firelake rest. in mpls, little szechwan chinese, kopplins cafe on hamline for great coffee, etc.

our book group of 5-7 women is always in search of good places to gather. this isn't completely chowish, but has the earmarks in that we enjoy good food and drink with our book talk. we are now trying some saturday morning breakfast meetings and are looking for likely spots in the st. paul area that have either a private room or a quiet space (that will become loud once we start talking) with good food, coffee and maybe availability of bloody mary. places that occur to me are the downtowner woodfire grill and maybe st. paul hotel m street cafe. any other ideas?

thanks, gang!

Chicago style pizza in MSP?

another source for frozen gino's east pizza is cub (at least the cub in roseville). they usually only have a few but boy are they good! we like the sausage pizza. this from someone who usually prefers neopolitan style or very thin crust pizza. since i cook most evenings, it's a double treat to know all i have to do is fire up the oven and have a little taste of chicago.

Sep 15, 2007
carolita in Minneapolis-St. Paul

party room in ne mpls for 30th birthday?

my nephew is planning a 30th b'day party for his wife in a couple weeks and would like it to be in the ne mpls area. he wants a fun, lively place and would like a separate party room or space for 1-the elders (parents, aunts, uncles - we're quite a crew )and 2- later-the friends who enjoy partying. he figures a space that holds about 30 people would work.
he's considered elsie's bowling, maybe erte, the times.....would any of you smart chowhounds have other suggestions? doesn't necessarily have to be northeast - just an area that's somewhat central. thanks!

Minnesota State Fair foods?

just got back from day one of the fair. ricardo and i go every year - sometimes twice. he's watching his weight, so we share everything.
1 - sunflower honey ice cream sundae with honey on top - always a treat. this is the only place you can get it....the fair. makes it all the more special. we then sit and eat it next door and breathe in the aroma of all the christmas trees...and complain that pretty as they are, they are too full and thick. (we like charlie brown trees:))
- also love corn dogs even better than pronto pups. got a coupon book this year and got a big dog which could be dangerous as it's very l o n g and on a pointy stick and we had to push it up so we didn't do throat surgery. wouldn't do that again. will try the corn dog booth by the horse barn next time as suggested in another post here.
- used our coupon book at bridgeman's and got a turtle sundae (sans muffin). ricardo said we were splitting it, so the disher kindly gave us two containers to keep the fighting down - it was delicious. nice toasty pecans and lotsa topping, just right. a true ice cream day.
- used to always get peter's hot dogs, but we remember when they were a dime, so we went without this year - i think they are at least two bucks. i used to sell scotch heather perfume for friends in the grandstand (back in the early 60's) and lived on those hot dogs which were also infused with the perfume essence, never to be duplicated again, i fear.
- kinda miss the old food building before they jazzed it up - especially the chocolate eclairs that are no longer there - ricardo thought about them all year and was disheartened to see them no longer around.
2 - only newish food was a sample of the nitro ice cream - very good, but we saved ourselves for the honey sunflower ice cream.
3 - healthy foods - some looked good but we in our dotage have come to this: we park inside the fairgrounds, even tho 9 bucks per car and put water, coke and fresh fruit in the cooler. when we are tired, we go back to the car, roll down the windows, do the crossword puzzle and drink and eat our grapes and blueberries. our plan is to go back to the fair, refreshed, but then we decide "let's go home", stop at cub and get either fresh fish or ground bison and have a semi healthy dinner of bison burgers and chopped salad after out little nap. yes, we are exhausted after the fair and we love going so we can come home and veg out.
--loved all the other suggestions from this post and last year's, so i'm ready to go back and sample the pork chop on a stick, the lamb in the food building and something from giggles....and maybe those kool aid pickles.

Aug 23, 2007
carolita in Minneapolis-St. Paul