Archive | January 2013

Cheeky Monkey

Cheeky Monkey Salad Beets, Goat Cheese

If I didn’t live in Minneapolis the Selby/Dale neighborhood would be high on my list because Cheeky Monkey Deli is located there. Cheeky is one of my favorite places to get a casual meal. To date I haven’t had anything on their menu that I haven’t liked.

This place has a neighborhood feel and is the perfect place to meet an old friend for dinner. I love sitting by the fire-place and keeping warm. During the summer you can even sit outside on their back patio.

If you are sitting down for a meal expect it to take a little bit more time. The service is a little slow sometimes and the food takes awhile to prepare. It is fresh and I am okay with waiting a little longer for my meal. Our server Amanda let us know if we needed anything we could flag her down. It is more relaxed than your typical restaurant and has a unique atmosphere. It makes you want to have a long discussion about something deep.

For an appetizer order the salt and pepper chips the blue cheese dip is creamy and delicious. For an entrée choose anything from the menu, it is all good. I have had many of the sandwiches and salads. This time I had the beet salad with goat cheese. It was large and I had enough to take for lunch the next day. I also enjoy the fancy grilled cheese and the salmon salad. Don’t miss the sides at the bottom of the menu. The kale and brussel sprouts are cooked correctly and a great way to add another vegetable to your meal.  This is a place I enjoy to linger and stay for a while with a glass or a few glasses of wine or beer.

Cheeky Monkey is doing a prix fixe valentine’s dinner for $60 a couple which includes three courses and a bottle of wine. That sounds like a sweet deal to me.

Cheeky Monkey Menu and Outside

When you go there make sure that you stop at the wine store next door to the Cheeky Monkey. They have a good selection. They told me they do a wine event for mother’s day which sounds like the perfect event for wine lovers.

because it is fun to get cheeky.


Cheeky Monkey on Urbanspoon


Crave – Downtown Minneapolis

Crave Downtown Minneapolis Sushi Burgers

Crave is a great place to bring a group of people who may have many different requirements when having a meal. They have a very large menu with both sushi and american food. So if you have picky eaters in the group they are bound to find something that they like on the menu.

This is also the case with the Happy Hour menu. Crave is a great place for a large group during happy hour. The booths are big and it is not limited to just sitting at the bar. We ordered 8 items for four people and it was a little too much we were not able to finish it all. They also have many items on their happy hour menu, that way you can order a variety of different types of food.

I liked the mini burgers the best since I was only looking for a little bit of food and then was able to share the other burger with others. They were cooked well and I liked the small shoe string fries that were served with it.

Chicken sliders were good but a little bit dry I could have used a sauce to go with them just to add a little bit of moisture. A bit of something on the side would have been great. I needed something a little bit spicy and creamy. I would have done some sort of aioli.

I did not like any of the sushi we got off the happy hour menu. I am not a fan of a salad with my sushi mostly because it makes it very hard to eat. When you are eating and socializing it is nice to be able to pop in a piece of sushi. The rolls that we ordered had half of the roll with vegetables sticking out of them. After trying to eat some of them we gave up and left the rest on the plate.

I also had a roll that the seaweed wrapping was super dry and broke apart before even eating it. I think that with small improvements I would love to come here for happy hour sushi.

Overall, the service was great and the ambiance was nice. I really appreciated that the server came by right before happy hour ended and asked if there was anything else that we wanted before happy hour ended.

I will be back simply because this place has a menu that accommodates many different tastes. It a great choice if you may not know what your client normally likes to eat because they have almost everything on the menu here. Their happy hour also allows room for large groups.

because sometimes you just have to have a burger and some sushi.


Crave on Urbanspoon

French Meadow

Tres Leches Cake , Dessert, French Meadow, Minneapolis

French Meadow is seriously undervalued. This is on the top of my best of Minneapolis list for 2013. I have been here many times for brunch on weekends but it was only recently that I have visited for dinner. Wow!

I had no idea how wonderful dinner was here. Better than brunch. I am a huge fan of breakfast here but dinner is not as hectic as brunch can be.

The ambiance is completely different when you come at night. The lights are dimmed low and candles light each table. It is very romantic but still relaxed.

I started my meal with soup because they had excellent options. I had the tomato soup and enjoyed it because of the real tomato taste. The clam chowder was also very good and it was spicy. Both were perfect on a cold winter night.

For my entrée I had the walleye sandwich. It was crispy and served on a freshly baked bun. I forget how much of a difference that makes. The potatoes that come with it are seasoned well and the sauce that comes with it is light.

French Meadow Fish

My favorite part of the meal was dessert. I wanted to try the bread pudding but they were out. Kudos to the server who warned me about this when I ordered it and explained that they make everything daily. That made me not upset when I had to order something else. I had the tres leches cake that was very good. All desserts are priced from only $4.00-6.50 and are not an after thought. They could stand alone. I am thinking of maybe doing a dessert party there sometime. Each person orders a dessert and then you share. That sounds like a happy hour I would want to go to. I would also love to see a sampler platter for around $10.00 because there were many items I wanted to try. It would be fun if it changed daily.

I like that they have many gluten-free and vegan options because I like to eat vegan sometimes.  Plus, if you have someone in your party with dietary needs this place is very accommodating. Hats off to the chefs for creating a menu that has many options, is not too large, and has items with several price points.

When you go here be prepared to order an appetizer, drink, entrée, and dessert. Never skip dessert.

My only criticism is that I wish their happy hour went later. I will never be able to go to the happy hour because it is only Monday-Friday 3-5 PM. Most people are not done with work until 5 including this girl. It would be nice if one or two days a week you extended the happy hour.

because never-ever-ever skip dessert.


French Meadow Café on Urbanspoon

Rojo Mexican Grill


Rojo has really good margaritas. They are expensive at $9.00 each but you only need about half of one to feel it. I did some shopping after the lunch that I had at Rojo because I needed to walk it off. It was well mixed because I didn’t taste the strong-ness of their margaritas.

I had the lunch special of a torta. I chose the chicken torta with a chopped salad. I made the wrong choice on the salad. It was really not good. But with a few improvements could be good. Firstly, it was made with only arugula which is really strong. Then there were noodles on it. They were like cold Chinese noodles. It was interesting and not a good interesting. It did not add anything to the dish but the addition of the texture of  a wet noodle. I do have to say that the dressing was really nice and I liked the avocados that were sliced in it. Good news, Rojo is coming out with some new salads. I am excited to try them.

The best part of this meal though was that the sandwich came with fries as well. It was a nice surprise. We also had chips and salsa to start the meal. This is a nice touch because even if the service is a little slow you have at least something in front of you to eat.

Overall, Rojo is a bit expensive. But, I would go back for the $9.00 margarita. Since it makes me feel like I had a little bit of a vacation. The food is just okay but this is a posh place and I think it would be fun to do a birthday here.

because you should go for the margaritas


Rojo Mexican Grill on Urbanspoon

Tony Bennett at the State Theater

State Theater

Tony Bennett is truly a master of his craft. I have been a fan of his music for as long as I can remember singing along with classics that stand the test of time.  I am not sure why I was 20 years younger than anyone else in the audience but it could be because my generation does not know what a real voice sounds like anymore. We are used to hearing people who have been auto tuned or not singing at all. Remember when Paris Hilton put out a single and Beyonce lip-synced at the Inauguration? Listening to Tony Bennett sing the words, “fly me to the moon,” without a microphone and projecting all the way to the back of the State Theater was a stark reminder of how much talent he possesses. If you ever have the chance to get a ticket to see Tony, do it.

because he melts my cold, cold heart


CURE Gala : ACS CURE Presents: The Black and White Ball

On January 26th, 3012 the American Cancer Society Young Professionals will be hosting a masquerade charity ball at Aria at the Jeune Lune.

Tickets are $85 or $75 before January 18th. You can buy tickets online HERE.

This is a wonderful reason to get dressed up for a night and support cancer research, specifically cancer research in Minnesota. Also, this is a great opportunity to network with other young Twin Cities professionals.

Entertainment will include music, a photo booth, and also a CEO auction where you have the chance to bid on an opportunity to meet with a local CEO and pick their brain.

The American Cancer Society (ACS) of Young Professionals raise money for ACS and also to fund research at the University of Minnesota. They raised $55,000 last year and are hoping to raise even more this year.

You can even try one of the new businesses in Calhoun Square called For Tonight, they rent cocktail dresses. Also, if you need a mask both Halloween Express in Maplewood and Twin Cities Magic and Costume sells them.

because you can give back and have fun at the same time.


Dino’s Gyros


I am not a fast food person. The fastest that I do is Panera and Subway on occasion.

Dino’s is the exception to the rule. This place has some really great Gyros. It is sort of half restaurant and half fast food because they bring the food to your table but you can also do take out as well which makes it “fast”.

This is one of my favorite “fast food” places because they are who they are. They do Greek food, only Greek food (well other than the ice cream machine and the beer).

What they do, they do well. My favorites are the gyro (the normal plain one) and the pita chips and spicy feta dip.  It is excellent because they make the gyro eatable with the right amount of meat, tomato, onion, and cucumber sauce (tzatziki). It is all about ratios. It rolls up so you can bite into it without it going everywhere. Not to mention the pita is perfectly soft.

The spicy feta is something that cannot be missed as well. It really adds that kick to the meal and the pita chips that come with the dip are freshly made. I had enough to bring some home to have for lunch the next day.

Dino’s is a great place to go to grab a quick meal. It is good food quick.

Because good food can be fast food.


Dino's - Falcon Heights on Urbanspoon

Best of Netflix – Jiro Dreams of Sushi

I usually don’t share what I am watching. But, Jiro Dreams of Sushi is one of the best movies I have watched on Netflix On Demand for a while. This documentary follows Jiro and his eventual heir in the process of making sushi. For my fellow foodies this movie is an explanation of why we search out places like Sukiyabashi Jiro.

This documentary shows what a perfect meal can look like and what it takes to make that perfect meal.

because being a master of your craft is a lifelong process.


Uptown Condo Fire Benefit at Amore Victoria

On December 29th a large fire demolished a condo building in  Uptown Minneapolis leaving the approximately 20 residents displaced. Many of them lost everything that they own. It is great to see a local restaurant doing everything that they can to help their neighbors get back on their feet.

Amore Victoria, a restaurant in Uptown is having a benefit and silent auction for the residents on January 9th at 6PM. They will be donating proceeds from everyone dining out that evening. They will also be offering $3 beers from Schell’s who will be there to promote their beer. Those who attend also have an opportunity to bid on silent auction items from local businesses.

You can go to the Amore Victoria event facebook page HERE, where you can find updated information on the event.

They are continuing to take donations from anyone who can offer a gift cards and are looking for donations from businesses for the silent auction at the restaurant. You can contact Amore Victoria on their website HERE.

You can also make a cash donation directly to the Uptown Condo Fire Fund at any Wells Fargo location.

Amore Victoria is known for their Italian food and has an old world feel. I hope you can get there early and support other fellow Minneapolis residents. You can make reservations for Amore Victoria on Open Table HERE.

because wouldn’t you want someone to help you if this happened to you.


Thank you @WShaneSchmidt for requesting this gossip.

Peninsula Eat Street Minneapolis

Peninsula 2

I always like to go on eating adventures. Eat Street in Minneapolis is one of those places that I like to drive down and pick a place to eat. I like to think of it as dating.

Sometimes I am wonderfully surprised and have found a place that is not on the normal best places to eat list. This time I made a bad choice. Peninsula was like a bad first date.

I was first drawn in by the outside. Malaysian Cuisine, what is that? I must try it. Sort of like online dating, I was drawn in by the idea of this restaurant. It boasts about having the best Malaysian chefs in the country. What could go wrong?

Well, much like the two dates going on next to us, this place bombed. Talking about having relations with your ex while on a first date is usually not a very good idea. Ordering the salted fish and noodles dish also not a very good idea. With 220+ items on the menu I had no idea what to order, but man I really did a horrible job. The server was no help and said that everything was very good. Not true or helpful. What I ordered was not edible.

This is the first time I have been at a restaurant in Minneapolis and after having a few bites not being able to tolerate any more. It tasted like someone had taken a bottle of fish sauce and mixed it with some over ripe fish and put it on a plate with noodles. It smelled like rotten fish that had been left out in the sun. This was nothing like what was described on their eharmony profile.


If this was a date I would have pulled the “oh crap, I have an emergency!” trick and would have run out of there as quickly as possible. Which is exactly what each of those people on the dates around me should have done. But, just like me they sat because there were so few people there and because I couldn’t understand the server very well, I did not send it back or leave. I felt too bad.

I really wish this place would have been better because it has the bones of being a good boyfriend. It just had a really bad first impression oh and the food was bad. It is a great space and the beer was cold. I think if I were Peninsula I would start with a new menu. I would limit it to a few items that I could do very well because over 220 is too many.

I hope this place makes a come back and finds the customers of their dreams.

because who doesn’t love a fairytale ending?


Peninsula on Urbanspoon

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