Friday, May 28, 2010

The Bad Waitress: A Love Story

It seems I've fallen a bit in love with The Bad Waitress on Eat Street in Minneapolis. In fact, I found myself there twice in May alone. There's just something about the eclectic atmosphere, lively ambiance and organic-driven menu that brings me back again and again (despite its cheeky moniker that sometimes proves to be true).
The bright red walls are covered in super hero memorabilia and other kitschy items, and the retro booths give you the instant old school diner feel. And, in my experience, there's always a steady flow of people.
On my first visit, I ordered the $10 burger and beer special (Thursdays and so worth it!) - the Hollywood Burger and a Stella. The grass-fed beef burger came with lettuce, tomatoes, onions, avocado and mayo, as well as tortilla chips and salsa. I, of course, added cheese. I really enjoyed the burger. Cooked very well and piled high with vegetables, it was quite delicious. Plus, it's hard to go wrong with avocado on a burger. The chips and salsa were also very good.
My second visit was for lunch on a bustling Saturday afternoon, and I came armed with a "50% off your entire order" coupon from the Blue Sky Guide. I felt that warranted a the form of a root beer float. Recently and inexplicably, I've become obsessed with root beer. I hated it as a child, so I find this new addiction quite peculiar. Oddness aside, it was fantastic; so good that it was already gone by the time I received my food.
To eat, I had the Avocado, Turkey & Bacon sandwich on rosemary onion ciabatta with American fries. The sandwich came with lettuce, tomatoes, Dijon mustard, mayo and choice of cheese. Much like the burger, it was fabulous. And filling. I took half the sandwich home with me, which could have been partly due to my pre-meal root beer float indulgence. But who doesn't like to start with dessert every once in a while? :)

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Brunch at The Happy Gnome

The Selby-Dale area, all the way down to the Cathedral, in Saint Paul is one of my absolute favorite areas in all of Minneapolis-Saint Paul. With a plethora of wonderful dining establishments, cool coffee shops and beautiful architecture, it's a must-visit destination in Saint Paul.

I recently visited one such dining establishment - The Happy Gnome - with friends for brunch. Probably best known for its beer selection, I've also always quite liked the desserts and patio. This was my first brunch visit.

I ordered the Skillet Scramble, made up of eggs, bacon, asparagus and fontina cheese, and served with a side of American fries. I really enjoy scrambles, so it should come as no surprise that I also really enjoyed this one. A healthy portion size at a reasonable price...and of course, bacon (did you know there are more than 500,000 people on Facebook who like bacon? Not Kevin Bacon, not a particular brand, just plain old bacon). And so continues America's love affair...

Of course, the potatoes were good too - crispy, well-seasoned and hearty.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Mexican Night at El Tejaban

I'm not always a very spontaneous person. So I like to think that what I lack in my everyday life, I more than make up for in my dining adventures. It is that culinary spontaneity that led me to El Tejaban in Richfield recently for dinner. We'd never heard of it before but discovered it during an online search for a new Mexican restaurant to try.
I must admit, I was a bit apprehensive when we discovered it was located within a strip mall. But after stepping inside and finding a bright and pleasant atmosphere - complete with live music - and friendly staff, I put my pre-judgements aside and happily ordered a drink.
I went with the strawberry margarita on the rocks, which was very sweet but still quite good.
Our chips came with two types of salsa - a traditional red salsa and a second yellow-colored salsa. We weren't quite sure what it was made of, but it was slightly spicier and my favorite of the two.
I ordered one of the combination plates with a chile relleno, chicken enchilada and beef taco.
Not to mention a second plate of rice and black beans.

I was a bit overwhelmed by all of the food, and a little bit nervous about the relleno, since I'd never had one before. But it was pretty good...I could have done without the seeds that were still on the inside, though. The enchilada and taco were both excellent, and the rice was good, too.

I was impressed with our experience at El Tejaban - it offered satisfying, reasonably priced food, with speedy service. If I remember correctly, they have a pretty good happy hour, which I look forward to checking out soon.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Summer Planning

Yikes - it's been too long since my last check-in! I don't really have an excuse other than that things are busy, busy, busy. Plus, the rainy day blues here in MSP aren't inspiring me to do much other than surf Netflix or read (I just finished The Time Traveler's Wife, which was fabulous. Slow start but hard to put down once you get into it. And, deeply moving...I probably went through at least five tissues while finishing it.).

With that said, I have been doing a few fun things/checking out a couple of new restaurants, so I'm committing myself to follow up this weekend with at least two new updates.

Other than that, the gloomy weather has me thinking about all the things I want to do this summer. I'm thinking a list is in order. Here are some initial thoughts - what are some other fun things I should add?
  • Take a trip to Valleyfair with my nephew
  • Attend a Twins game at the new Target Field
  • Have friends over for a BBQ and use our deck for the first time
  • See Sex and the City 2 on opening night (okay, technically this is still in May, but I'd be remiss not to include it)
  • See A Streetcar Named Desire at the Guthrie
  • Take a mini weekend road trip somewhere in greater Minnesota with fun local attractions
  • Tour the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit at the Science Museum
  • Visit the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum for the first time
  • Run a 5K

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Art in Bloom at the MIA

This weekend marks the annual Art in Bloom festival at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. Celebrating its 27th year, the Art in Bloom exhibit takes over the museum with more than 150 floral arrangements standing alongside the pieces they interpret.

This year's theme is "Hello Tokyo!," and visitors are greeted by a number of large-scale, amazingly fragrant and beautiful, Japanese-inspired masterpieces surrounding the entrances to the MIA.

Then wandering among the many collections we've all come to know and love - from Impressionism to Ancient Art - and moving from room to room, art lovers discover many of their favorite works transcended into striking floral illustrations.

Here's a sampling of my favorite pieces, the first of which was my absolute favorite, and totally took me by surprise because the painting isn't one I usually give much notice to when I visit the MIA. But the floral artist's interpretation of this piece was just so good that I now have a new found appreciation for it.

This is one of my all-time favorite paintings at the MIA, and I love how the floral arrangement perfectly captures the colors that make this piece so memorable.

This is another one that I just love because of the floral interpretation. The flowers capture the essence of the little old lady so flawlessly.

Art in Bloom is free and runs through tomorrow for those of you who are as excited about spring and fresh flowers as I am :)