This trip was especially disappointing, not because of the food. But, because our server clearly had not been trained. It took the attention away from celebrating a birthday to dealing with trying to get our food and drinks.
I did appreciate that our server let us know right at the beginning of the meal that she was new and that it may take her a little longer. I actually don’t blame her at all. I blame the restaurant for putting a server on a shift when she was clearly not ready.
We started by ordering our drinks. I ordered a bottle of wine from the wine menu and others ordered beers. After about 15 minutes of waiting around our server came back to the table to let us know that they did not have that wine anymore and asked if I would like to pick out another. Unfortunately, she did not have a current list of wines to know which wines on the menu were no longer available.This all would have been solved if there was an updated wine list.
It took over 30 minutes to get the wine but thank goodness I did pick one that was on the current wine list.Unfortunately, our server did not know how to open the bottle of wine. I gave her and everyone at the table a tutorial on opening a wine bottle. I really like wine.
We also recieved one beer but it was not the one that was ordered. The other beer never came. We asked the hostess if she could go get them for us. She replied with an answer of no and walked away with no explaination. We went to the bar and picked them up ourselves.
Just as this was resolved our food came out. It was a bit confusing because we had ordered an appetizer and salads for before the meal. We had to explain that we never got them. Other staff then brought out the salads after the main course was served. It was clear that food was not fired properly. We gave up on the appetizer that we never recieved.
As always the food was great! It was just too bad that everything was over shadowed by the server who needed more training. We felt horrible for her; she was almost in tears because so many things were going wrong at her tables because of things she simply did not know.
I beg you to please train your employees! You can have wonderful food and still lose customers after experiences like what happened to our celebration. This is a restaurant that I want to stick around, please, please, please update menus and make sure your employees know your menu and procedure before they are working a busy shift. Your fans are begging you to do so.
because it is important to train your workers
Last week I Dined Out For Life to support the Aliveness Project that is doing amazing work with the HIV/AIDS community locally.
I am proud to say that I was part of the $15,687 that Pizza Luce donated that night.
Pizza Luce is a favorite staple for me in Minneapolis. It is a great place to go if you are eating with someone who has dietary restrictions like gluten-free or vegan. They are also a great place to order out from; you can do pizzas, sandwiches, or salads. Many of these items can be ordered with specific instructions for those with diet restrictions. It is all listed on the menu.
This particular night I headed out to the Hopkins location. It was my first time at this location and I know I will be back there again. I loved the size of the parking lot and the feel of the bar. They have a great tap beer selection as well.
I really need to try more appetizers on their menu because I havent yet. I always get a side salad. I mean look at it. This is the caesar salad and is exactly what a caesar salad should be. It has crispy lettuce, creamy dressing, real shaved parmesan, and delicious croutons.
I have tried many of the pizzas on the menu and this night I decided to try a sandwich from their new spring menu the “From Italy with Love.” I highly recommend it because is unlike any sandwich I have had before. There are layers and layers of flavorful ingredients.
I went home with The Classic pizza to eat as leftovers. My other favorite pizzas are the Pizza Athena and anything with mock duck.
Pizza Luce is one of those places that I appreciate having as a local brand. They use fresh, natural ingredients, they have options for those who are vegan and gluten-free and they have a great variety of healthy and flavorful items on their menu.
because real food is good food.
This Thursday night is the perfect night to go out to eat. Each year over 180 restaurants in Minnesota participate in Dining Out For Life, this year it is on Thursday, April 25th. A percentage of proceeds from participating restaurants go to the Aliveness Project and RAAN that provide support for those living with HIV/AIDS.
It just makes sense to eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner out on Thursday. Not only do you get to eat great food, but you get to give as well.
Visit the website to see which restaurants are participating and at what level: HERE
Here are a few restaurants that I suggest that you should visit this Thursday:
- The Saloon – 100% of both Lunch and Dinner will be donated. Located in downtown Minneapolis, The Saloon is known for its billboard of gorgeous men.
- Rustica Bakery- 40% of breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Rustica is one of my favorite spots in Uptown. You can check out my recent review HERE.
- Acqua- 35% of dinner. This is one of my favorite hidden gems. Acqua just opened a new restaurant in Forest Lake. Read my review HERE. See photo above.
- Blackbird Cafe- 35% of breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
- George and The Dragon- 35% of lunch and dinner.
- Hazels Northeast- 35% of breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
- Herkimer- 35% of dinner. This brew-pub in Uptown is a great place to get together with groups. Good options for all types of eaters. Get together a group of friends and head out there on Thursday night.
- Moto-i - 35% of dinner. A sleek Uptown hotspot with a great variety of items on the menu. Try the ramen or the bibimbap Hopefully, the weather will be nice enough that people will get to enjoy the patio.
- Republic- 35% of lunch and dinner. I have been meaning to try this place.
- Spill the Wine- 35% of lunch and dinner. Now in a new location, this is one of my favorite places to go on a date.
If you are in Duluth, Sir Ben’s is giving 35% of both lunch and dinner.
I would highly suggest that you make a reservation at participating restaurants since it can get very busy!
because giving back is easy and delicious
This past Saturday I attended the HAMMS event at the old HAMMS Brewery Shipping docks in Saint Paul. It was a really fun time and I was able to buy a few items that I have been pining over including Dessa lipstick from the Elixery.
What made this event fun was that you actually could speak with the business owners and learn more about why they do what they do. Plus, it was dog friendly!
The event lived up to the title Help A Minnesota Maker Succeed. The event planners reached their goal to be able to give one vendor $5,000 to use to expand their business.
I shopped until I dropped on Saturday. The first item I bought was a glass water bottle from Moss Envy in pink. Moss Envy is now going to be my go-to place for gifts. They have many practical and usable items that people would love to get for a special event such as a birthday or wedding.
Moss Envy has a retail store near the Whole Foods in Uptown. If you mention my blog (mlsgossipgirl) and the HAMMS event Ryan the co-owner extended an offer of $5 off your $25 purchase.
The market baskets from Jeanne Beatrice were a hit. I received many compliments when I was walking around the event with my new La Vie Henna.
Jeanne Beatrice bags are the perfect summer market accessory. I cannot wait to bring mine to the Minneapolis Farmers Market once it warms up.
I loved these arm warmers from Float many of them are made with cashmere. They are a great item to keep in your purse for when you get cold. Plus, they come in many vibrant colors.
I was surprised by these game day lip tattoos from Violent Lips. I know some hardcore Vikings fans that would sport them proudly at each game.
These hilarious cards from Bruno Press had me laughing. They are the perfect cards for someone you know well enough that you can say offensive things in front of them.
These map necklaces from Larissa Loden are a great way to remember a special trip or a place that you lived.
I wish I was decorating something right now. I loved everything that Oh Dier had at this event. They had the cutest chalk boards for your cabin and blocks for a new baby.
Yum! Not only was there great shopping at the HAMMS event there was great food. Gastro truck had a large menu of delicious items to choose from and I couldn’t choose just one.
The first item I tried was a Beef Brisket sandwich. It was flavorful and I loved the aioli on top.
The best part of the lamb burger was the choice of all the homemade condiments that I could choose from. Pickled red onion and ketchup topped my lamb burger along with the feta and olive spread.
Hopefully, the HAMMS event is an event that is continued in the future. I am already looking forward to it and I think all the dogs that were there are too!
because I can’t think of a better way to spend a Saturday.
Feeling down and out lately? Isn’t everyone. Mother nature has been playing tricks with all of our minds. It is supposed to be spring, right?
One of this ways to solve this mood issue is by snuggling up on the couch and watching movie. Since that is all that I have been doing lately, I needed a change. What else makes people intensely happy?
One of my favorite places to go grab a delicious sweet is Rustica Bakery. It is fairly easy to get to for Uptown standards and there is parking available. ahhh… it makes things so much easier.
I pointed to a chocolate brownie from the case and saw something else on the menu that perked my interest. As a frequest customer of the Tea Garden I consider myself to be somewhat of a tea connoisseur but I have never tried chestnut tea before. What is this mystical chestnut tea that you have?
The staff at Rustica know their products and were able to explain many of the different teas they currently have on their menu as well as how long the tea I selected needed to steep.
The chestnut tea was nutty and bit spicy and the brownie was rich. Both highly recommended for a winter that will never end. So, since you need to take a mental health break anyway, head over to Rustica to warm your soul.
because the ground-hog lied
These last few weeks have been brutal for Twins fans. It is not easy to sit in your seat and watch a game in your Sorel boots and parka when it is 30 degrees or colder. Along with many other fans, I opted to watch from under the heat lamps. The bonus of making this move was that I was closer to all the food and beer stands.
What I love about the new Twins Stadium is that they keep adding more and more local foods and beer. If I am coming to a game I want to be able to eat some really wonderful food. I did just that last night.
Although, I was not able to try every new food at the stadium, I did get to try the new burger from AZ Canteen. A company started by local foodie/chef/TV star Andrew Zimmern, this stand serves a lamb and goat burger that has been deemed by many to be the best new food in the ballpark. I cannot agree more.
AZ Canteen in Section 130 serves a food item with flavor. This burger was made right in front of me and topped with roasted tomatoes and onions. At $13.00 this burger is expensive and in my view is worth it. It comes with seasoned chips, is big enough for a meal and best when paired with an IPA.
Another favorite of mine is Turkey to Go found in multiple sections. At only $7.50 for a sandwich it is a steal. The turkey is always moist (I hate that word, but it is true) and you can top the sandwich with sweet and sassy BBQ sauce.
I had to get a huge hat full of nachos after watching people walking around with one. The hat is filled with taco chips, nacho cheese, beef, tomatoes, onions, jalapenos, and sour cream.They equip you with forks to get the job done. Not in the least bit healthy but tons of fun.
I hope that the Twins keep adding more local food and beer each year because it makes coming to a game also a great place to have a meal.
Because GO TWINS!
* you can also follow AZ Canteen and Turkey to Go on Twitter to see where their food trucks and restaurants are in the Twin Cities. @AZCanteen and @TurkeyToGo
I am not usually a fan of the All-You-Can-Eat type of places but I was pleasantly surprised by Aji Contemporary Japanese in Hopkins. They have a sushi bar that gives you a chance to try many different rolls at what I think is a reasonable price.
This isn’t a place that I would frequent all of the time. But, when I am in a sushi rut it is a good way to try something new. The chefs who work the sushi bar are friendly and will take requests, if you ask nicely. They can also explain the rolls that have already been made. If you really like a certain roll, you will know what to order next time. If you do not like a specific roll or ingredient you know to avoid it in the future.
I would suggest Aji for the more adventurous sushi eater. Someone who is willing to go past the California and the Philly roll and go for something with crispy skin or eel.
Eating sushi off a bar freaks me out a little bit. But, the ingredients they were using were fresh. I saw them cutting a fresh fish while I was there. The rolls go quickly as well, I was not worried about them sitting out for too long.
The Aji website is not clear as to how much the sushi bar is and when they have it open. It is not open all of the time. I know that the lunch is a bit cheaper than dinner and that Sunday is special. I would call ahead of time and ask some questions to make sure you are not disappointed.
because try something new!
I love the North Shore in the wintertime. Yes, it can be bitter cold. But, it is simply beautiful as well.
On the way up to the North Shore I always stop in Duluth to get a bite to eat. I can never wait long enough to make it to Two Harbors, so Duluth it always is.
My stop in Duluth included a trip to Duluth Grill. I have been talking up this place with many friends and on here after my summer trip. You can read about it HERE.
Duluth Grill serves really good food. The portions are huge and there are so many options I think it would take me a year to eat all of the combinations. I stopped here for dinner this time and because it was a Friday they had fish specials. I tried both the meat loaf and salmon. Both were delicious. I cannot remember anything that I have ever had there that I did not like though. The salmon came with smashed sweet potatoes that were cooked just right with a bit of brown sugar on top. The service was great and made me sad that we don’t have a Grill in Minneapolis. Hint, Hint.
Another stop I have to make is in Grand Marais at the Fish Market. I always pick up fish to make during the trip. It is always fresh and cooks up quickly. I also like the salmon dip from here as well. It is a wonderful appetizer for a wintertime party (see below). I have never eaten at the Fish Market because it does close after New Years for a bit and by the time I get there they are done serving food. I am going to make it a stop on the next summer trip I take.
Also in Grand Marais I like to stop in all the local stores especially the Sivertson Art Gallery with work from artists like Dave Gilsvik and Jim Brandenburg. It is fun to look at all the different artwork and sip tea. Many of the artists live in the North Shore and their art reflects many of the sites of the North Shore. It would be like taking a piece of the shore home with you.
In Grand Marias I also enjoy the trading post because of all the great brands that they have there. I can always find something to use. This year I bought a pair of gloves with fur that are missing the fingers. I like them when it is not too cold outside because it is easy to grab my bus pass.
We always stay in a VRBO rental (Vacation Rentals By Owner). It is a great way to do a vacation with a larger group or if you like to cook. This year we stayed in Tofte, MN. I liked Tofte because there are a few shops and gas stations not too far away for supplies. I haven’t stayed in any of the hotels in the area but, I am curious as to what they are like as well. I am a sucker for a pool. Also, stay on the lake because the views are breathtaking.
If it is not too cold out, take a hike. There are so many places to hike in the area. If you have snow shoes there are cleaned paths that you can take as well. Many of the local gas stations and stores have maps. My best suggestion is to ask a local.
On the way home I stopped at Sir Ben’s. Deli by day, bar by night. I love the relaxed atmosphere and the beer selection. It is a really fun place to be. Try whatever their special is that day or whatever on the menu speaks to you. I have yet to be disappointed.
because you gotta get, get, get away.
Right off the freeway, India Palace may not exactly look like a palace. But, don’t judge this palace by its cover. The food is very good.
I am not an expert by any means in Indian food. But, I do know when something is cooked correctly. I had the Rogan Josh which is lamb cooked in a yogurt sauce and special spices. I thought the lamb was cooked correctly and fell apart when cut with a fork and I liked the spice blend that they used. It helped the cold that I had.
I also ordered Roti and garlic Naan. I liked the Nann better, it was a little lighter. Don’t forget the beer. I had the Taj Mahal which went nicely with the food. Not the best beer that I have ever had because it is lighter in nature but, paired well with the lamb.
Overall, this restaurant gave me the home cooked meal feel. It was warm and inviting. Be prepared to wait awhile for your food since the service is a little slow. It didn’t really bother me at all. They have several other locations in Minnesota as well.
In the future, I want to travel to India. Until then, I will have to do with eating at India Palace.
What is your favorite Indian restaurant?
because I like it spicy!
For me, Valentines day is about treating yourself to quality time with someone who truly cares about you. It is a time to put a break in the normal routine of work, gym, eat, sleep, and repeat. Achieving this quality time means slowing down, building anticipation throughout the day, and trying something new together. All the while being reminded of how special I am to someone else.
To start this Valentines day out on the right foot I plan to stop by Woullet Bakery to grab a “different breakfast” from my usual with something out of this case for me and my co-workers.
Seriously they have some yummy heart doughnuts for only $1.65 which also makes it affordable. Why not brighten your coworkers day?
If this case of treats is part of your usual routine of coffee and donuts try something slightly different…
How about some XOXO cupcakes? These can boxed up for you in a nice package that will be an easy present for your special someone.
Each of these little morsels are hand-made with the love and kindness only a family owned and run bakery can deliver. They have many other flavors available even some with cherry butter cream.
Normally I would not go for anything but the cupcakes, but on a day of doing things different I may pick up some petit fours or the chocolate mousse for two. Both are ideally sized for sharing with a special someone, but nobody has to know if you are a bit selfish…
I suggest this Valentine’s Day you try something different for your special someone. Make a dinner at home and then surprise them with some sweet treats from Wuollet Bakery. If you don’t want to cook a meal Surdyks has some pre-made meals available as well. Whatever you choose, choose to make someone feel special.
If you forgot a gift for a special someone Wuollet is ready for you. You do not have to pre-order, just stop in and pick out the perfect treat.
Because this Valentine’s Day give your sweety, a sweet.
*disclosure: when I visit Wuollets I get to try tasty treats and bring some home too. I shared some XoXo cupcakes with the special people in my life.