Wednesday, April 22, 2009


Hoban: Round 2
We were back again. For awhile I think it was at least a monthly ritual. When Mr. B still lived in Ames the first place we would usually go when we met up in Minneapolis was Hoban. This was our first visit of 2009 I think. Good for us!

Wait...I take that back, we were here with Chris before he moved to California...

Anyways, we were back yet again and I had camera in hand this time. I finally convinced myself to go with the Kimbap, so that was exciting. Sharon did the always delicious dolsot bibimbob and Mr. B went with (what I think is his favorite) kimche bokum. As usual the meal was awesome, we ordered too much, the staff was friendly and we were left happy and already thinking about our next visit.

Have you tried this place yet??? I'm about to eat them out of business, so GET ON IT!

DolsotKimche Bokum


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Summer Means Grill Time and Hot Dogs!

Hot Dog season is upon us and no one could be more excited than me!!! Unfortunately I'll be restricted to an electric habachi since I live in a little suburban apartment, but if and when I get out of the house there will be charcoal, oh yes. Hot Dogs, sausage and burgers...Oh my.
More to come.


Amazing Thailand

Amazing Thailand
3024 Hennepin Avenue
Minneapolis, MN 55408

While the food and such is decent it brings nothing super special to Uptown. The happy hour apps and drinks are great, so that's usually all we go for. The wait staff is pleasant and the amosphere is laid back. They also have a patio on the side if you enjoy dining outside and plenty of seating indoors (we've never had to wait for a table). Also, if you visit Amazing Thailand you will never be dehydrated! Everytime I took a sip of water a young gentleman would come and fill it up again. It was sort of nice. I hate dry mouth.

There is also a small bar near the entrance to the left. As I mentioned the HH is great and you don't have to be sitting at the bar or in the bar area to partake. AWESOME!

Here's the HH breakdown:
$3 taps, rails, house wines and apps EVERYDAY from 4pm - 6pm
Check out Thrifty Hipster for more HH deals at Amazing Thailand


An Unexpected Surprise From Sushi Tango

I've said it, but I'll say it again...I love sushi! BAHHHH!!!!

So anyways, I've been to lots of sushi places and I've visited Sushi Tango several times. I guess it wouldn't be considered my favorite place for sushi in the Twin Cities, but it's decent and reasonably priced and I enjoy the Uptown area. Oh! Also, it looks like they're moving across the hall to a space with windows and a patio! Don't know when it's going in, but the plans are hanging on the wall in Calhoun Square and the awnings are already up. Side note: I was super confused as we were walking in because I saw the awnings. My first thought was "did they always have windows and a patio and I just never knew it?". Dur.

Back to the reason I logged on...the unexpected surprise! My sister, Mr. B and my friend Chong visited last week. We did a little of the usual; Sapporo, spicy tuna, edamame, etc., but then Chong ordered the oysters, which I had never tried or even thought of trying before. This is weird because I think oysters are the best!

These were particularly awesome because they reminded me of the live ones I had at Samurai in Des Moines. At Sushi Tango you get 5 in an order for about $10, which is reasonable, but they are super good because of the sauce they come in. We ordered them spicy. Delicious! I think the sauce is a mix of soy, maybe a little vinegar and/or sesame oil? Cilantro and Sriracha sauce. The oysters are on the half shell and the shell acts as a little bowl for all the juice and sauce. And although I shouldn't be surprised by a sushi restaurant serving good oysters I usually have tuna or other fish with fins on the brain.

Next time you're in the market for some good oysters check out Sushi Tango.

Thanks Chong!


Monday, April 13, 2009

Rosemary Garlic Pork Roast


Again, this is super simple (I'm all about the simple food). This was also on our Easter menu. The first Easter dinner I've ever cooked, so I was proud. Sorry, this one got eaten before we took a picture. Turned out juicy and really well seasoned, I was even impressed.

To perform this cooking task successfully:

For the roast part:
3 lb pork roast
10 red potatoes
1 medium yellow onion
1 package baby portobella mushrooms
2 tbsp of garlic (I use minced, but you can use cloves. If you use cloves up the anty to about 4 since you don't get all of that good excess garlic juice)
1 tbsp dried rosemary
olive oil
black pepper
coarse ground salt
chicken stock

Other things:
Roast pan
plastic wrap
tin foil
skillet (?)

Prepare the roast the night before to allow all the flavor to fuse with the meat.

First, cut the potatoes into quarters. Slice the onion, thicker pieces hold up better and won't make a mushy watery soup around your vegetables. Cut the mushrooms into halves. You can mix all of the vegetables together and/or just mix them together when you start adding them to the pan.

Add a layer of potatoes, onions and mushrooms to the bottom on the roast pan (use about half of the veggies to layer the bottom of the pan). Next dress your pork. Drizzle olive oil on the top (about 2 tablespoons). Sprinkle the top with the rosemary and garlic. Be liberal with the coarse salt and if you're like me and like pepper add lots of black pepper too. Now it's time to get dirty. Rub the olive oil and seasoning all over the pork. Make sure to give the meat a good massage. You want all the flavor to get in a deep as possible.

Stick the roast in the pan on top of the veg. Add the remaining veg on top and around the roast. Cover with plastic wrap and stick in the fridge.

When you are ready to cook add a little (1/4 cup) of chicken stock over the top. This should help the vegetables soften up, plus adds a little extra flavor.

To cook you have a couple options:
1.) You can stick the pan in the oven at 450 (preheated) for about 10 to crisp up the outside and keep the juices in. Then, after that 10 minutes is up reduce the oven temp to 250 and continue cooking for 50-80 minutes (until the internal temp reaches 150-160 degrees).
2.) Heat up a skillet with a little olive oil and pan sear the outside of the roast to lock in the juices. Then stick in the oven at 300 for 50-80 minutes or until the internal temp reaches 150-160 degrees.

Make sure you let the meat rest when you remove it from the oven. Take the roast out of the veg mixture and set on a cutting board. Cover roast with tin foil. Poke the potatoes to make sure they are done. You can stick them back in the oven if they need a little extra time.


Deviled Eggs


This is a no brainer here folks, but maybe something you want to try. Plus, I made them for Easter so they are on my brain and I wanted to share my photos.

Makes 24

Here's what you do:
1. Fill a large pot with room temp/cool water
2. Take 12 large eggs and place them in the water and bring to a boil
3. Once the water boils take the pot of the heat and let the eggs sit in the hot water for about 10-15 minutes
4. Drain and let cool completely (you can put them in the fridge and leave them overnight)
5. Remove shells, cut eggs in half lengthwise and remove yolk
6. Put yolks in a bowl (I used a emulsion blender for this. Works really well for a smooth filling)
7. To the yolks add 4 Tbsp mayo, 2 Tbsp mustard (I used spicy brown, but you can use anything), 1/2 tsp of garlic salt, and salt and pepper to taste (you can also add a bit of finely minced onion if you like a little extra texture)
8. Blend yolk mixture until creamy, fill pastry bag (use a plastic sandwich bag and cut the tip off if you don't have a pastry bag) and add desired amount into egg halves
9. Top with parsley and paprika and a little more black pepper (other ideas: chives, bacon bits, red pepper flakes or anything else you have lying around)

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Sir Ben's Gets a Sad Face

Sir Ben's
805 E Superior St
Duluth, MN 55802-2211
(218) 728-1192

We arrived in Duluth late one weekend evening and needed a place to eat. As we sat in the hotel scanning through the restaurant list in the welcome book we finally came to the conclusion of Sir Ben's. It was too bad that we did.

On the outskirts of downtown Duluth Sir Ben's is a small hole in the wall 'dining' and drinking establishment. Usually I am all for the locally owned, not much to look at place with great food. However, sometimes that isn't the case.

I liked the inside. Very laid back, small bar, enclosed patio and small stage for local performers. Unfortunately, the bar and food selection were a different matter. There were only a few beers on tap. I had seen some people boast of their huge beer selection (bottled beer) on other blog and rating sites, but aparently these people haven't been outside of Duluth. The drink selection was minimal as was the food. A small menu of sandwiches, a couple soups and a salad were written in chalk on one wall. When I asked the bartender if we could still order food he replied 'yes', but then walked away and didn't come back to us for the whole night.

He served us one beer. It appeared that he was also the only one working the whole place, so I understand that he might be busy, but the bar literally sat 8 people and he wasn't tending to anyone.

Even if the live music is good it's not worth the awful service, food, drinks and prices.


Pho 79

Pho 79
2529 Nicollet Avenue
Minneapolis, MN

As I sit here at my desk eating my cup o' noodle instant lunch I find myself reminiscing about Pho. No, Pho is nothing like a cup o' noodle, but I imagine if it were I would be a much happier person right now.

Pho is a relatively new discovery for me. I've known for quite a time what it is, but up until now it's just been a passing thought when considering nourishment. Damn, 24 years wasted...Pho-less. I guess I'm just making up for lost time now because I find myself in love, in love with Pho. I wonder if there's a psychological order or support group that deals with this matter and if there is I should probably look into getting help. Or I could continue dropping pocket change on this awesome meal. I choose addition. I usually do.

Pho 79 is the first Pho-centric restaurant I've been to in Minneapolis. With 20 variation to choose from it wasn't a bad start to my affair. I did have Pho at Bahn Thai a few weeks back (see the Bahn Thai review) and it was super good, but was it the best? All things sushi on hold for a moment...Pho is my new food quest. My favorite Vietnamese restaurant was The Saigon off of Grand, but unfortunately it closed. There is also a Saigon restaurant on Lyndale near Uptown and while it is technically the same place it just isn't the same. Alas, no more Saigon lemongrass chicken and vermicelli salad for me.

Pho 79 is located on the always wonderful Eat Street of Minneapolis. Although it may not look as inviting as some of the other joints on the street, I'd say the food and the price are worth it. Just remember if you come in wearing a tux you'll look like an ass, don't do it.

Cha Gio (pork egg rolls) $2.95
I was super happily surprised by these egg rolls both in taste and price. Just like Saigon fried egg rolls. They come either vegetarian or pork. The pork variety is stuffed with thin slivers of carrot, ground pork and black pepper. Were there rice noodles in them? Sister says yes. This is pretty typical stuffing for a Vietnamese restaurant style egg roll. Each order includes 2 and is served with fish sauce for dipping.

Bi Cuon (fresh spring rolls) $3.25
Being the spring roll fanatic that I am these were great for a little over 3 bucks. Filled with the traditional pork, shrimp, lettuce and rice noodles. Not the best I've had, but certainly not the worst. I won't rant here, because I'll do it on a separate posting, but recently I had the worst spring rolls ever at Big Bowl. So, although these guys are simple they can be screwed up, no doubt.

14. Pho Chi'n Nam Ve Don $6.75 (mine)
All Pho here is served in the same tradional beef broth with thin rice noodles. They are accompanied by a plate of fresh bean sprouts, Thai basil, jalapenos and lime wedges. Also on the table are Hosin sauce, Sriracha sauce and fish sauce. This particular Pho includes beef brisket, flank and skirt steak. Red meat is awesome, I'm just glad I didn't watch Bourdain in Argentina before I ordered this dish...I would have probably gone vegetarian. Lucky for me I didn't and I was able to enjoy this dish. I'd have to agree though with another fellow blogger that the meat didn't make the dish by any means. You have this very basic canvas and you can create whatever you want depending on what you put in it. While the meat wasn't at all bad, I will continue to explore my Pho options next time. This dish was topped with green onions, white onions and a little cilantro.

16. Pho Ga Dai $6.75 (sister)
Same beef broth, condiments, etc. This Pho however features shredded chicken. It looked awesome, but soon turned bright red as my sister pilled on the chili sauce. Good work. Again, the soup and protein are basic, but chili sauce (or whatever else) makes it awesome, hot and unique. It also makes you sweaty.

30. Mi Tom Cua $6.75 (mum)
A noodle soup (un-Pho because it comes without the fresh sides and is not served in beef broth) containing egg noodles, shrimp, crab claw and imitation crab. Served in a giant bowl. Mum added some chili sauce as well and my Dad chucked a few jalapenos in there too when she wasn't looking.

A. Vietnamese Spicy Chicken $6.95 (the dave)
One of the 'Special combination dishes' which are all served with steamed or fried rice and one of their pork egg rolls. This chicken is stir fried with lemon grass sauce and white and green onions. Dave enjoyed. Again, lots of food for your buck.

K. Chicken Garlic Sauce $6.95 (pops)
Also one of Pho 79's special combination dishes. Spicy dark sauce (oyster sauce?) covers chicken, green and red peppers, brocolli, bamboo shoots and water chestnuts. The veg looked fresh and crunchy, the sauce not overly spicy and there was plenty of chicken. Pops says yay and so do I. Not the best pictures in the world...sorry.

# of People: 5 (Mr. B missed out)
Reservations: Didn't need 'em, plenty of space or you can get take out.
Day/Time of Visit: Monday, April 6th @ 6:30pm
Will I be back: Of course! I have 19 more Pho bowls to tackle!
YAYs!: Good variety, good prices, casual, $2.50 Sapporo, friendly and quick service.
Nays: Not great ambiance (but good food trumps ambiance any day if you ask me).
Notes: I usually find it easy to write about a place I really enjoy. This one was easy to write about.


Monday, April 6, 2009

Bluefin Grille

The Bluefin Grille
Tofte, MN

Nothing better than a serene view to accompany a amazing dinner. If you've been to the North Shore or anywhere along Lake Superior then you know what it's like. During the summer it's almost like an ocean, minus the Hawaiian t-shirt wearing tourists and plastic women. But even during the cold season there is something wonderful about the shore. I'm not a ski rabbit so the snow games are beyond me. The peace though, I can deal with.

Maybe even if the food was bad I'd still pay a visit to the local restaurants just for the scenery. I guess it's just my luck that the Bluefin Grille serves up great dishes with a perfect view of the shore. Right out the large windows is a beach (currently snowbanks) and waves. People happily run along through the snow ignoring the bitterness of the cold (ignoring the fact they could fall to their death through the snow and ice into a freezing cold lake?) and the grayness of the sky. It's a comfort like home.

The Bluefin Grille serves up local fish, pasta, ribs, steak and burgers. The menu is constantly changing and there is always specials to try. For example, they had marlin last time we were there.

Pan-Roasted Walleye with Dill Cream Sauce $23.95 (mine)

Really great. The only negative was the potatoes were a little cold. The walleye made up for that however. The dill cream sauce was light and had great flavor. The breading on the fish was fried to perfection. There wasn't too much batter and it wasn't greasy at all. The fish inside was moist and flakey. The red peppers were crisp and bright. The squash and aspargus were a little squishy, but not bad. Plus is looks great, doesn't it?

Tomato Basil Gnocchi $15.50 (Mr. B's)

The starter here on the far left is a roast duck wild rice soup. AWESOME! I liked the soup way more than the entree. When I read 'Tomato Basil Gnocchi' I imagined a red/pink or green gnocchi that was flavored like tomato basil. Instead, this was more like a caprese salad with gnocchi mixed in. The gnocchi was well cooked however, not too hard and not too pasty. There was a lot of olive oil going on however. I wish they would have picked a heartier sauce to cover the gnocchi. The little dumplings sort of slid around instead of mixing well with any other elements of the dish.

There are lots of good options on the menu. I recommend sticking to their specialities (ribs, soup, smoked fish) and the fresh fish! I will always go back to the Bluefin Grille whenever I'm in Tofte, you should visit too.


The Vanilla Bean Cafe

The Vanilla Bean Cafe
812 7th Ave
Two Harbors, MN 55616


On our way to Tofte, once we made it to Two Harbors, we decided to grab a bite. The Vanilla Bean Cafe is right on the main street as you drive through the town near the North Shore so you can't miss it. I've driven past several time, but never stopped. Fortunately we had a really great experience and will definitely be back on our next trip up north.

The inside is very simple. A few tables, a register and a swinging door that leads into the kitchen. There were a few tables filled with who I assume were locals. Engaged in pleasant conversation, sipping on coffee and enjoying a casual breakfast.

The menu is simple with a couple interesting items including wild rice porridge. Otherwise you have your general pastries, omelets, pancakes and sausage. Considering my abnormal love for breakfast foods everything looked good. I was especially excited for Mick's Favorite, which is what Mr. B and I both ended up ordering.

Mick's Favorite - One (GIANT) pancake topped with 2 eggs prepared anyway you like (we went sunnyside up) and served with a side of bacon, ham, sausage or sausage patties.
Check out their website for more information and coupons!

Mmmmmm, delicious!


Vanilla Bean Bakery & Cafe on Urbanspoon

Friday, April 3, 2009

Big Bowl

Big Bowl
The Galleria
3669 Galleria
Edina, MN 55435

I wanted to talk a little about Big Bowl. There are some definitely positives and negatives from what I've experienced. I'm sad to say that my most recent visit was not the best and it seems to me there has been a downhill trend (at least at the Galleria location). I do however admire the restaurant's ambition to bring Chinese-American and Thai-American food to the Edina/suburban public of Minnesota.

Pomegranate ginger ale - really delicious and fun drink. Never had or found this anywhere else.
Atmosphere - nice dining area, open kitchen.
Bao - good steamed pork buns. Can't find bao at a lot of restaurants like Big Bowl.
Spice levels - they make their spicy dishes actually spicy if you want them that way.

Spring rolls - some of the worst spring rolls I have ever had. They were poorly constructed and the presentation was awful.
Service - I waited for about 15 minutes for my entree while the other 2 had already recieved theirs. When our waiter came back (he didn't deliver our food) he asked if I had got my soup...nope.
Noise - on a Monday afternoon you would expect this place to be a little more laid back. I think the acoustics in this place might just be bad.
Lemon Grass Soup - Mr. B had this. It was way too peppery, in fact the whole top was just covered in floating groud black pepper. I realize lemon grass soup is supposed to be peppery, but this was just too much.

Visit: Monday, March 30th 12:00 noon.

That is all.


R.I.P. Golooney's

Say goodbye to old Golooney's. If you had the chance to visit you probably know the good and bad of it...but one thing is for sure, they had a damn good cheese steak. Greasy and full of meat, just like America...I mean a cheese steak should be.

Don't fret however, there will be a replacement for that glorious corner in Uptown and a lot sooner than you think. Savoy (also a pizza joint) is projected to open the 1st of May ( I personally don't know a lot about this place, but I intend to read up. They already have 3 other Minnesota locations in Downtown St. Paul, East St. Paul and Newport. Their menu expands a little further than the Golooney's menu, but I've noticed there are no cheese steaks. We'll see Savoy, we'll see.

Check out Savoy opening sometime in May (*crosses finger*)
2329 Hennepin Avenue
Minneapolis, MN

You can tell me how it is and if it sucks I will not waste my time...just kidding.

Plymouth Thai Secret

Bahn Thai
4108 Lancaster Lane North
Plymouth, MN 55441

Open weekdays from 10:30am to 8:30pm
Fridays til 9:00pm
Saturdays 11:00am to 9:00pm
Closed on Sundays

I don't find myself in Plymouth too often. CNNMoney tells me it's the number 1 best place to live (2008). Don't believe me? That's okay, I don't believe me either, but see for yourself:

I've heard Plymouth is stabby. I also know that their traveling girls soccer team is awful. Awful in the sense that their team color is teal and it just so happens that all of the parent's have teal mini vans to match (I may have been ejected from a few games back in the day). Despite the rumors and their unusual obsession with a horrible shade of green, Plymouth might not be so bad after all. And if you're from Plymouth and reading this, please don't hurt me.

May I introduce to you Bahn Thai restaurant. Located in one of the many failing strip malls of this beautiful state (4-seasons mall), Bahn Thai is sort of a hidden secret. Luckily my dad works near by and knows what's going on. We've now been a couple times, have been served by the same waiter and also delighted with some delicious food. Everything is very affordable, plus they have daily lunch specials if you're extra thrifty. The restaurant is small, but pleasant. Decorated with gold lucky cats, bamboo, paper screens and brown tables like something you would find at a church luncheon, Bahn Thai is simple and casual.

Spring rolls $3.95
Me eating spring rolls, nothing new here. But for four bucks? Best deal in town hands town. You get 2 per order and they are big. Fresh and delicious. Stuffed with shrimp, lettuce, carrots and rice noodles. Served with a fish sauce.

S24. Guiy Teaw (Pho) $7.95 (seafood)
Best Pho I've had. The seafood version is served with large shrimp and squid. There is also a beef and meatball one if squid isn't your thing. The soup is a mild broth filled with wheat noodles, shrimp, squid pieces (no legs though), cilantro and green onions. On the side comes fresh bean sprouts, basil, lemon, jalapenos, Hoisin sauce and Sriracha sauce to adjust to your taste. This soup comes in a huge bowl and definitely can work as a meal. I thought I was going light by eating soup...I was wrong.

ps, don't be worried about ordering by the numbers.

E33. Pad Ped Puck Curry $7.95 (tofu) for le Sis
Big bright pieces of vegetables (red peppers, napa cabbage, broccoli and carrots) served with your choice of meat, in this case it was tofu. Served with rice. The portions were all huge. Everything looked very fresh and everyone seemed to enjoy. I was busy trying to finish my soup so I didn't try anything else. Oops. She says "get it, say DELICIOUS! cause it was".

E39. Gaeng Massamun (Massamun curry) $7.95 (chicken) for me Mum
This curry looked especially awesome to me. It reminded me of the curry served at Peninsula in Minneapolis. A thick coconut milk based curry served with your choice of beef or chicken and potatoes. Almost like a stew and while the meat and potatoes are simple the flavors from the spices are dynamic. Served with rice. My Mom was actually just looking for something with potatoes in it. The server suggested this dish and it was a hit.

I think I'll have to research/write about curry. Mr. B asked me what the difference was between green, yellow and red. I sort of know...but then again I don't.

F44. Gaeng Ped Pla $7.95 (catfish) Dad's
A fish fillet deep fried served with coconut milk, red curry paste, kaffir lime and basil leaves. Finding a good fish dish at a little place like Bahn is pretty surprising if you ask me. My Dad has had fish here several times and really enjoys it. I guess all I can say here is if you like curry and fish this is a good bet.

# of People: 4
Reservations: Nope, you probably don't need them especially during lunch. They also do take-out.
Day/Time of Visit: Tuesday, March 31st at 12:00 noon.
Will I be back: I already have been. Too bad it's in Plymouth.
YAYs!: Huge selection, very reasonable prices, friendly server, everything we've tried has been great. $4 spring rolls!
Nays: Not a great location.
Notes: Plenty of parking because there is nothing in the 4-seasons mall. If you have a question about the food just ask!


Thursday, April 2, 2009

Psycho Suzi Won me Over

Psycho Suzi's Motor Lounge
2519 Marshall Street NE
Minneapolis, MN 55418

Psycho Suzi's Motor Lounge on Urbanspoon

Happy Birthday to me, Happy Birthday to me...

And Happy Birthday to the Sister as well.

A Birthday is a good excuse to try something a little different; to go out and have a good time and maybe even splurge a bit. Psycho Suzi's met that criteria...the menu is actually very reasonable, but when your goal is to try as many of their tiki drinks as possible you may end up splurging a bit. I have to admit that when my sister suggested Psycho Suzi's I wasn't totally sold. It's a tiki/motor lounge/pizza joint in NE Minneapolis...Interesting? Yes. Also scary? Maybe. I had also been warned that it gets busy so I was worried we wouldn't get a table (they do not take reservations). To my surprise this place was awesome and I will definitely be back and/or name drop and suggest this place to friends.

I didn't get a full look around, but the inside is small. Good for ambiance, not so great if you go on a weekend and don't get a table in time. A grass hut surrounds a big grey steel entrance door which reads something like 'kids not allowed after 9'. No kids? This is not your family Perkins which to me equals awesome. It's not that I don't like kids, but excessive amount of rum + kids = __________ (insert adjective here). There is also a large patio out back which is open year round. Seriously.

The inside is dimly lit with large black leather booths and bamboo curtain dividers. My mom got a kick out of the 'Chicks' and 'Dicks' sign on the bathroom doors as well as the very nostalgic 50s era lamps. It was noisy, but a good noisy like everyone was having a good time. I also saw the best mullet I've seen in a long time. It literally could have been Billy Ray Cyrus himself. (ps, don't correct me if I misspelled his name. I often look up words or people's names if I'm unsure, but Billy does not warrant me wasting that sort of time).

Back to the tiki. You get two menus, a food one and another dedicated strictly to booze, CHA-CHING! The booze menu is also bigger than the food menu which caused my mom to look repeatedly through the beer and cocktail list before saying 'I can't find the food!'. Good work Suzi. The food menu is simple with sandwiches (some hot and some cold), pizza, a few salads and an interesting assortment of appetizers or as they call them 'pu-pu'.

Red Rockets $6.45
Had to order these: 1. because I love all things hot dog, 2. because they have a horrible name. If you do not know what this means go ask an adult. These are 'fresh' (because, com'on, what about a deep fried hot dog is fresh), maybe homemade is a better word, mini weenies dipped in batter. Not that thick corn batter, beer batter like you find on cheese curds. Served with mustard and a pamphlet about heart disease. Kidding about the last part.

Beer-battered cheese curds $6.95
If you're from Minnesota these need no explanation. Just like the Fair. Golden. Served with marinara sauce because you need a little veggie with your fried cheese.

Pepperoni Pizza Packages $6.95
If an asian person tried to interpret pizza rolls. These were my least favorite, but still decent. They were actually wonton skins folder in half, filled with pepperoni and sauce, deep fried. Craziness. You like wonton? You like pizza? Problem solved.

Suzi Supreme $15.85
Pepperoni, sausage, onion, green pepper, black olive, mushroom and cheese pizza. Nuff said. Fifteen bucks is for the medium, which was still 8 slices of plenty big pizza...ness. The crust here is also spectacular. Not too much sauce and tons of toppings and cheese. Who wants a pizza swimming in sauce? You do? You're gross.

Suzi Quattro $15.85
Apparently our method was to order everything with the name 'Suzi' in it. It has to be good, right? Well, actually it was. So good for us. The Suzi Quattro is topped with spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, roughly chopped pieces of roasted garlic, mozzarella and their white-wine sauce. This is one of the best pizzas I have probably ever had and I'll be safe from vampires for weeks. Also medium sized.

They also have make your own pizzas where you can choose from 4 different types of sauces, traditional or deep dish, and over 30 different toppings (some of their toppings include: rum-soaked raisins, goat cheese, pine nuts and soy). However, my very frugal boyfriend pointed out that it's a better deal to go with one of their specialty zas.

Spinach Tornado $7.65
If you enjoy tornados, you'll love this salad! If you do not love tornados, you'll love this salad! I felt like Chris Rock there for a sex in the champagne room. This salad was all spinach tossed in a herb vinaigrette topped with warm roasted vegetables (peppers, onions, some zuchinni maybe?) and baked goat cheese.

Pontiac $7.45
A spicy bbq pulled pork topped with lettuce and crispy onion strings. Served on toasted ciabatta bread with chips or tater tots for a little extra. Huge sandwich, looked good, but what do I know. Dave seemed to enjoy it. He couldn't finish it, but he enjoyed the part he ate.

I would tell you all about the drinks, but I think you should go experience them yourself. The ones we had were good, but there is a lot of rum going on. All regular sized tiki drinks are $7.95, each comes in a different mug that you can keep for $5 extra. The One Eyed Willy is probably not one you want to start out with...I made that mistake. In addition, they have a large selection of bottled beers, plus a few on tap, wines, liquors and even champagne and a couple ciders.

# of People: 6
Reservations: They do not take...get there early.
Day/Time of Visit: Wednesday, April 1st @ 6:30pm
Will I be back: Definitely! Gotta try some more tikis!
YAYs!: Good quality food, reasonable prices, patio (which I will have to partake of soon), lots of fun drinks to choose from, interesting decor, mullets. They serve food and drinks until 2am everyday!
Nays: Our waiter forgot our water a couple times before we finally gave up. Oh well. Depending on how busy you may wait/not get in. For families: this place turns into a bar after 9, so no kiddies!
Notes: Happy Hour from 4-6 (I think) and daily drink specials after 10pm.


Last Huntington

16060 Beach Blvd.
Huntington Beach, CA 92647

So we are on our way out trying to enjoy the last bit of sun that we can. We needed a quick easy meal if we were going to make it to the airport ontime. Who am I kidding, we weren't in any rush. Back to downtown Huntington one last time. We walked up the block and decided on BJs. A chain, yes, but outdoor seating, big menu and laid back.

The one thing I have to say about this place is the service is least ours was. If you're reading this waitress lady, you rocked! Thanks for your hospitality. BJs also has a great lunch menu selection and huge selection in general (check out the menu). You may be a chain restaurant, but I still love you.

I'm not going to go into a whole lot of detail here. BJs features your regular beer/sports joint food - sandwiches, pastas, pizza and burgers. Still, everything we had was great and as I mentioned before the lunch menu was super affordable with lots of options.

If you're looking for a quick and simple lunch with a great view give BJs a try next time you're in downtown Huntington. Right on the corner near the pier, not to shabby.

Day/Time of Visit: Wednesday, March 11th @ about 1:00pm


What's Shabu Shabu?

Tuesday, March 10th @ 7:00pm

We visited a place not to far from Huntington Beach called Sakura where the house specialty was the Shabu Shabu. It was basically a Japanese hotpot. And while it was good (because I enjoy anything soup especially when you can cook it yourself) it wasn't anything to write home about. Awful pricey too if I remember right.

I waited a long time to write about Sakura, maybe because there wasn't anything overly fantastic that I was itching to write about. Anyways, if you want good Japanese food in So-Cal you might want to do a little research. I personally wouldn't recommend Sakura.

Maru Sushi

Maru Sushi

Monday, March 9th @ 8:00pm

I don't know if I have much to say about Maru Sushi. I've been thinking for weeks now about what I could write, but keep coming up short. The fact is we went for the all you can eat sushi.

It's hard to find non-fresh fish in California, so Maru wasn't bad. However, when you factor in the all you can eat part you know that it's lots of cheap sushi, but not a lot of wow. We had rolls and nigiri mostly. There were some interesting specialty rolls on the list including one that Mike ate which featured baby lobster. All of the specialty rolls though were California roll fillings on the inside and then assorted things on top.

Chris and I tore through the nigiri like there was no tomorrow. There was eel, tuna, ebi and more. It basically came down to us seeing how many pieces we could eat. I'm ashamed to admit that Chris beat me by one.
And the winner: Chris with 25 pieces. I came in second with 24, then Mr. B and last Mike. I think the baby lobster roll did him in. The final word about this place - good if you want lots for little, but if you're looking for a little higher end (which you will easily find in SoCal) research your options.

Amazing Korean BBQ on the West Coast

Seoul Oak
8295 Garden Grove Blvd
Garden Grove, CA 92844

So if you haven't noticed yet - I am a fanatic for all things Asian (food wise that is) but I have a serious devotion to Korean food. I am a die hard Hoban fan for life and feel lucky to have a place like that close to the Twin Cities. I also make frequent trips to United Noodle (I'll tell you more about this later) for fresh Kimche and rice patties and do some Korean cooking of my own. I wouldn't call my versions authentic necessarily, but a Korean person cooking Korean food from a Korean cookbook is pretty close. So there's no real reason to go searching for much more...what can I say? I'm not a complainer. However, during my trip to California I knew I'd be in for a whole new world of Korean and Asian food options.

One-third of the nation's 14.9 million Asian Americans reside in California according to the US Census Bureau. That's a lot of good cooks, food and tradition! I don't know how I feel about looking like a cheeto 24/7 and spending a $75 on a t-shirt, but I almost considered moving after we hit the restaurant scene. Ever heard of Koreatown? Also known as Heaven to some...

But I digress. Seoul Oak was new to all of us (even our hospitable friends from HB). We basically just googled 'Korean bbq' and drove around til we found something that looked good and we ended up striking gold!!! The restaurant was decent sized and filled with a lot of Koreans - a good sign.

Each table has a small pit in the middle where the grill is eventually placed and the meat is cooked. Fellow adopted Korean Chris and I were asked if we spoke Korean (we do not) and while communication wasn't simple, we were able to get our orders in and got them correctly.

At Seould Oak there is an all you can eat special, about $20 a person for all you can eat meat and banchan. Collectively as a group we chose 3 meats: short ribs, beef and bulgogi (marinated beef). I think we got our money's worth even though we only had one plate of meat.
As you can see in the photo above: the pit (the grill hasn't come yet) and the large amounts of food that has already filled our table. We did not order any of these things, they just come with the meat! Way to go Korea.
Okay, I'll try to point a few things out here. We got a large plate of salad (mostly romaine lettuce) lightly dressed with a mixture of sesame oil, cracked pepper and maybe a little salt. Also on the table are salted dried sardines, rice noodle wrappers, kimche (of course), fresh tofu, chap chae, radish slices with wasabi, pickled spinach and even Korean mashed potatoes! Everyone also got dipping sauce for the meat and steamed rice. The banchan keeps coming too. Once a bowl empties another one magically appears. Notice too the black bowl - a hot egg poridge of some sort? really good!

Now to the important stuff. Here is our meat plate being dished onto the grill. They leave the plate of raw meat and you watch your own as it cooks on the grill to your exact liking. Too bad they don't trust us midwesterns with open heating apparati. Why is that?
I would go back to California literally just to visit Seoul Oak again. If I was a millionaire that is...And if there wasn't any layovers...

# of People: 4
Reservations: No need.
Day/Time of Visit: Sunday, March 8th @ 7:00pm
Will I be back: DEFINITELY!
YAYs!: Everything, what more can I say.
Nays: I read a few other reviews where people had complained about the service. I would disagree. I think that sometimes there is a cultural difference to food service. Here they bring you your food, they don't act like they're trying to sell you anything, you just sit back with your friends or family or whoever and have a good time.
Notes: When you are in So-Cal check this place out! Also, feel free to invite me along.