Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Places to catch that last ray of sun

If you're like me you're thinking, "hey, summer is almost over, better get outside while I can!"

Yes, the best and worst part of Minnesota dining is patio seating. Best because it is beautful and despite popular belief we do get a few warm days here and there. Bad because, #1 it ends, #2 when it actually does gets warm patio seating is hard to get without a reservation. So, with summer coming to a close and the MN State Fair here to distract a few people, get outside and eat! Here are a couple of suggestions where patios are plentiful.

1. Cafe Maude located on 5411 Penn Avenue South in Minneapolis. Chic, hip, French.

2. Grand Cafe located on 3804 Grand Avenue South in my old Kingfield hood. Neighborhood gem, a bit pricey, but quiet and maybe even a little romantic?

3. Sea Salt Eatery on the Minnehaha Parkway (4825 Minnehaha Ave). Seafood and scenery. I love this place!

4. Town Talk Diner is funky and fresh on Lake Street (2707 1/2 E. Lake Street) in Minneapolis. Fun and energetic, they put a unique spin on diner food. A little spendy, but I would say worth it.

5. Ba-gu Sushi on 4741 Chicago Avenue located across the street from another favorite, Turtle Bread! Ba-gu placed in my top 3 sushi places when considering price, quality, ambiance, and HH specials. Cute patio out back.

6. Kings Wine Bar is new to the neighborhood. Give it a try. Sidewalk and patio dining. A little loud, but not too bad. If you don't fancy wine bars, try Cafe Ena across the street. Both are located at in 45th & Grand the Kingfield neighborhood of South Minneapolis.

7. Brit's Pub located on Nicollet Mall in Downtown Minneapolis. Rooftop lawn bowling, outdoor bar and large patio. Fun and different.

There is lots more, just keep your eyes open. This first weekend of September should be a glorious 80 degrees, so get out there and soak up the sun while you still can. See you on the patio.


OPEN: Kings Wine Bar

I should explain, if you'll take a look at the comment below. Yes, I was cheering for these guys, but no, this was not the most spectacular meal I have ever eaten. In fact, there were a few things that I may have failed to mention because I want neighborhood digs to thrive. In the end though the meal was sub-par. To keep my integrity as a "food writer" I will add a few notes. Our service was pretty poor and it took them a good amount of time to figure things out. There was lipstick on our water glasses and it took forever to get a replacement glass. Since our visit I have had more than one rude encounter with the manager/owner and that has basically killed any desire for me to return. Sorry Kings, I will not be positively advertising for you any longer.

Kings Wine Bar
4555 Grand Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55409

I remember when this corner was a convenient store and a video and tan. Obviously not as swanky as what it has become today, but still very homey. In recent years this corner on Grand Ave has become very quiet. Old buildings remained, but nothing moved in. Finally, Café Ena brought some life by totally revamping the convenient store into a fabulous restaurant. The recently opened Kings will hopefully follow suit.

Locally owned and run Kings is an interesting mix of deli sandwiches, wine bar, French cuisine, and a sort of Minnesota tapas. A small patio out back and sidewalk dining makes Kings very inviting and a great addition to the neighborhood. It feels like a community. This is how a neighborhood should feel. The inside is dark and modern and although the food is reasonably priced this could be an intimate location for a date.

There is a different menu for breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner as well as dessert and a wonderful (and giant) wine list. We indulged in a number of ‘small bites’ including Fried Stickey Hill goat cheese fritters, lox on rye toast, and house made tater tots with bacon and gruyere cheese sauce. The goat cheese fritters were definitely the stars! For dinner we all did small things. Soups, salad, sandwiches, etc. The small bite appetizers were the highlight though. Pair those wonderful little guys with a bottle of Chilean wine and a couple beer and you have yourself an evening my friend.

Sure, there were a couple suggestions I might make, but what I hope and want is for Kings to come into its own. They have all the time in the world to work out the kinks. I have no doubt in my mind that Kings can become a successful business and a neighborhood staple and I’ll be back to make sure that happens.

Tot with bacon and gruyere sauce
Why Hello Tot, I'm Lox
Lox on rye w/dill cream
Goat cheese fritter
Trio of Small Bites
Tomato basil sandwich
Spinach/goat cheese/spicy almond salad

I'm hungry.


Monday, August 24, 2009

Some photos from: Sushi Tango

I just recently got over my phobia of being seen as a big weirdo freak while taking pictures of my food. Lots to share, here's a taste.

L to R, Top to Bottom: Uni Nigiri, Uni/Tekka/Spicy Tuna, Hamachi, Dynamite & Happy Nigiri, Happy Nigiri & Caterpillar Roll. This was my first time trying Uni and I am now officially in LOVE with it!!!! Also, since their move across the hall Tango has revamped their menu. They now offer hibachi as well as some great HH items such as Happy Nigiri. Yay!

Food ala Blog is Getting a Makeover!

Hi anyone and all:

I've neglected my own blog for far too long so I'm doing a major revamp! Look for fun new information in my MN Food News Section as well as some great recipes and of course restaurant reviews.