Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Dinner at Cafe Twenty-Eight

I recently had dinner at Cafe Twenty-Eight, a darling little place in Minneapolis' Linden Hills neighborhood. We were on the hunt for a new restaurant to try and stumbled upon it while driving aimlessly around some of our favorite neighborhoods.

I love the way the restaurant looks from the exterior (above), offering an inside glimpse of the cozy space. Here's a shot from just inside the doorway with the bar/seating to the right (weird shot, I know. Not sure what I was thinking with that one).
I was excited to learn about Cafe Twenty-Eight's commitment to sustainability and its partnerships with local farmers for organic, locally grown food. I was equally excited in my follow-up research to discover that the restaurant maintains a blog. Woot woot.

I had a tough time deciding what to order but landed on the pan-roasted organic chicken breast, which came with celery root, truffle butter and green beans. It was delicious. The chicken was fresh and flavorful and the green beans still firm and slightly crunchy. I'd never had celery root before and found it to be quite interesting. It reminded me of stuffing.
For dessert, we went with the banana cake. I'm not exaggerating when I say that this may be the best dessert I've ever ordered. The cake was warm, rich and moist. The homemade Dulce de Leche was perfect. Literally, it melted in my mouth. I'm craving it all over again just thinking about it.
I highly recommend visiting Cafe Twenty-Eight (if nothing else, just for dessert!). The space is small-ish, so it might be a good idea to make reservations. Happy eating.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

TNDAH: Chicken Breasts with Zucchini Pappardelle

This TNDAH selection is actually from last night (I must have instinctively known I'd be too lazy to make dinner tonight). While grocery shopping last week, I decided to cruise the Epicurious app on my phone for a tasty-looking dinner recipe.

After browsing for what felt like hours through several grocery aisles, I came across this recipe for Chicken Breasts with Zucchini Pappardelle. I was intrigued by the 'zucchini as pasta' prospect and the total prep time of only 30 minutes.

Here's a look at the 'zucchini pasta.' It really is impressive to see what you can do with a zucchini and a vegetable peeler. Looks so fancy.
Here's the chicken sauteing. The recipe called for chicken with skin, but I went with skinless instead (didn't seem to make much of a difference to me). I also replaced the water with chicken broth based on a couple of user reviews I read (very good choice).
And here's the completed dish with a side of garlic mashed potatoes and wheat garlic bread (that's right, lots o' garlic!).
I must admit, this turned out quite delicious and was very well-presented if I do say so myself. The broth, basil and garlic brought out great flavor in the chicken, and the zucchini was a light and refreshing addition. Given all of my experimenting in the kitchen as of late, it was great to finally make something that was spot on. Two cheers for me ;)

Monday, March 8, 2010

Dinner at Amazing Thailand

We celebrated a friend's birthday at Amazing Thailand in Uptown a couple of weekends ago. I like to think of myself as a local Thai restaurant expert of sorts, so my first visit was probably long overdue.
I was impressed with the restaurant's decor and the spacious layout that easily accommodated our large group. I'm also easily amused by lights that change color (like the blue ones above).
To drink, I went with The Phuket (go ahead, say it out know you want to...actually, and not surprisingly, that's not how it's pronounced). Regardless, it was tall, bright blue and divine.
My roommates and I opted to share the cream cheese won tons (yum!).
And the spring rolls, minus chicken (eh...they were fine).
I went with shrimp Pad Thai for the main course. I usually go with chicken, but being a Friday during Lent, I found myself with shrimp for the very first time. While the shrimp were large and delicious, it was a slight nuisance to have to pick them out and remove the tails. I also could have done without the tofu. O-well. Overall, I thought the Pad Thai was decent, and I'd definitely try it again. Perhaps a B on my spotty yet oh-so influential made-up rating scale.