Category Archives: Restaurant reviews

Caffe Biaggio, St. Paul, Minnesota

Friday night we had dinner for the second time at Caffe Biaggio located 15-20 minutes away from our house.  We decided to splurge for a change.   Another new favorite of ours, to be sure.  I can’t say enough good things about this place.  We asked for the same waiter that we had the first time we had dinner there.  Adel is a fine waiter indeed. After asking for a wine suggestion, he asked what I liked then offered a wine from northern Italy called Valpolicella. It was exquisite, I had two glasses!  I don’t always do that but this wine was soooooo good! And the food is delicious.  Hubby had their special, a Sardinian paella but substitute the rice for cous cous.  He looked to be in heaven eating it.  I got their lamb shank, the meat easily fell off the bone and it was served with an orzo pasta and a tomato sauce.  Oh. My. Goodness. It was luscious!!! So delicious, out of this world delicious.  I did not eat it all and had the leftovers for lunch the next day. It was just as good as the night before.  Wow. We also had the calamari appetizer and we split a Mediterranean salad, complete with arthichokes, two different kinds of olives and an Italian dressing.  Delish, all of it!!

I love the welcoming atmosphere of this outstanding Italian restaurant.  The food is fantabulous. It’s conveniently located on University Avenue in St. Paul close to Highway 280.  You must go.  Check out my gallery of photos and enjoy!!

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Muffuletta, St. Paul, Minnesota

I have wanted to try this restaurant for many years.  The biggest thing it had against it is the parking.  I thought that the only place to park was on the street but I recently discovered there is a parking lot behind it, thanks to my employee.  When going west on Como Avenue, turn left onto Carter Avenue, the parking lot is on the left. We did that our first trip and it worked great. We got there at 11:30 just before the lunch rush begins.

We’ve been there for lunch twice now and the trips were about three weeks apart.  Hubby enjoyed it so much the first time he wanted to take me to lunch on another day that he had off.  We sat in a cute and small corner booth the first time we went there and that added to the charm for our initial visit. Both times they served us a free appetizer consisting of a garlic puree along with a bread basket.  YUM!!! The food is great here!

On our first visit I had the beet salad which looks small but it turned out to be just the right portion.  Hubby had a ham and cheese sandwich but the cheese was on the outside of the sandwich? He had to eat it with a fork but he said it was delicious.  The second visit I had their three course meal.  You can see most of the menu from my photo below.  It was great too but I didn’t have room for dessert so took it home with me. And hubby had the Muffuletta described thusly on their website:  Smoked pit ham, Italian meats, pepper-jack and provolone cheese, olive relish, sesame bun.  Except it looks like ciabatta bread and not a sesame bun. Either way, he loved it!!

The staff is very friendly and quick.  I recommend this restaurant highly. Come have a look see at the photos I took of the restaurant and our food.   We both loved this place so much, we will definitely go back.

Here’s a little ditty from their website:

Winter at Muffuletta
Let our heartiest cooking sustain you on these cold, dark days. Now is the time to crack a bottle of red, rediscover our classic beer-cheese soup, and cast your eye to our daily specials, beckoning with winter stews, roasted root vegetables and Minnesota game.
Located in Milton Square
2260 Como Avenue
St. Paul, MN
Reservations 651-644-9116

 

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Another review of Hell’s Kitchen, Minneapolis

It’s been a few years since I wrote my last review of this fine dining establishment so I thought I would create a new, birthday version this time.  When I made the reservation to celebrate my birthday at Hell’s Kitchen they asked if we would be celebrating something so I answered “birthday”.  When we checked in the hostess noted that we were celebrating a birthday and seated us with a little something with “happy birthday” on our table.  This was to alert the wait staff to offer a special gift.  I didn’t know they offered anything special but our waitress gave me several options of items that were on the house as their way of saying happy birthday.  Well, how nice! I decided on a house wine to have with dinner.  Perfect!

I always get the same thing when I come here because it is absolutely wonderful! At Hell’s Kitchen they offer breakfast items all day and the huevos rancheros are to die for!  Here is how they’re described on the menu: A crisp flour tortilla layered with buttery hashbrowns, spicy black beans, soft-scrambled eggs and a 3-cheese topping baked to a golden brown. Topped with hand-chopped salsa and a dollop of sour cream.  You can add all sorts of things like guacamole, bacon or avocado but I think it’s perfect without anything extra. Both Miss M and myself had the huevos rancheros while hubby had their French dip: This isn’t a standard deli-sliced French dip sandwich. At Hell’s Kitchen, we slow-roast a prime rib for hours until it’s so tender, it falls apart with a fork. We’ll serve yours piled with mounds of thin slices on a grilled ciabatta bun with plenty of roasted garlic au jus for dipping.  He doesn’t get the same thing every time like I do and he’s always enjoyed every meal we’ve had there.  I’m including a few photos from the great time we had last night.

After dinner we walked across the street where the famous music mural resides on the side of the building of what used to be Schmitt Music’s headquarters.  You might have seen the photo of Prince posing in front of it in the 70s, the same photo that is part of the place mats at Hell’s Kitchen in my gallery above.  The music is by Ravel and according to Miss M, it’s the hardest piece to play on piano.  I found another story online with more informaiton on the mural and it mentions this fact as well.

It was such a nice evening with great food and company.  Once again, I highly recommend Hell’s Kitchen.  And if you’re celebrating something, do mention it and get your freebie.  They really treat you right here and I will continue to visit.  Thanks Hell’s Kitchen for a wonderful birthday dinner!

I’ll leave you with a photo of downtown Minneapolis.  Enjoy the weekend everyone!

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Oyamel Cocina Mexicana and Navy Memorial, Washington D.C.

I had a most delicious lunch at Oyamel Cocina Mexicana last week after visiting the National Gallery of Art.  I met my blogging friend Cathy of nomad, interrupted at the museum and we had a fun time viewing all the impressionism.  Please check out my post on that at the link.

For lunch we opted for this great Mexcian place just a couple of blocks from the museum.  We felt a little awkward when asked if we had a reservation.  Luckily they did have a table for us.  Our waiter advised us on how to order our meal. They feature antojitos, or small plates of food.  It is suggested that you get 4-5 antojitos to share then each of us choose a protein from the other side.  We opted for two items to share and we each chose an item from the other side of the menu. Everything was fantastic!  Come along and see what we had for lunch that day.  First some restaurant scenes:

We chose Frijoles refritos con queso: Slow-cooked refried beans stuffed with melted Chihuahua cheese, served with Mexican cream and fresh tortillas and Papas al mole: José Andrés’ favorite potato fries in a mole poblano sauce of almonds, chiles and a touch of chocolate, topped with Mexican cream and queso fresco.  I loved both of these!  Cathy chose a shrimp dish and I had a chile relleno but I’m not finding either on the menu online so I can’t copy the descriptions here. They were both very good! Albeit a little spicy. I didn’t get a photo of Cathy’s shrimp but here’s the rest of the food:

The rest of the photos in the restaurant were of the ceviche bar.  I’m not sure how it works but it sure was pretty!

On our way to the metro station we bumped into the Navy Memorial.  There were these 3D sculptures coming out of the wall that caught my eye.  I’m so glad we went that way or we’d have never seen this memorial.

It was a wonderful day in D.C. and I packed in a lot in a few short hours.  It can be done!

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Cheesecake Factory – Pembroke Pines, Florida

I just spent 10 days in Florida packing up my mother’s apartment with my sister and daughter.  Mom is nearly 92 and can no longer be on her own.  She is now living with my sister which gives me much comfort knowing she is no longer alone.  We had a most awesome team, my sister, my daughter, Mom’s aide and me.  We decided to keep Mom’s daytime aide so that we could concentrate on the sorting, tossing and packing and I’m so glad we did!  I am quite sure we would not have made the deadline if we hadn’t.  Merline was such a great help and we are all so thankful for the nearly three years of care she gave to Mom.  She was there the last day too and said “Well Goldie, do you have anything to say to me?” Mom said no.  “What?? You mean after almost three years you have nothing to say to me?” Then Mom said “I love you!!” So darn sweet.  We were truly blessed hiring Comfort Keepers and Merline.  I would not hesitate to hire them in the future.  We had such a good experience.

After I took Mom and my sister to the airport, my daughter and I had a few more things to take care of before we headed back home. I am writing this on our final night here in southern Florida from our hotel room.  And by the time you read this I will be on  my way home, finally.  We donated many  things to Salvation Army and the rest was picked up this morning by Hands on Property Services.  And I was so impressed with them.  I was given a quote over the phone and he ended up taking much more than what I told him I would have and he was going to charge me the same amount!  So I said “are you sure?” and then he added only $25 more!  Wow.  So if you’re in southern Florida and need junk removed, don’t hesitate to contact this company.  They were on time and just plain awesome.

So back to the restaurant review that is the title of this post.  My daughter and I decided to dine at the Cheesecake Factory in Pembroke Pines last night.  We had such a good meal that we decided to go back tonight!  Last night we both chose pasta dishes.  Miss M had the Four Cheese Pasta: Penne Pasta, Mozzarella, Ricotta, Romano and Parmesan Cheeses, Marinara Sauce and Fresh Basil.  And I had the Garlic Noodles with shrimp:  Spaghettini, Fresh Asparagus, Shiitake Mushrooms, Oven-Roasted Tomatoes and Parmesan in a Delicious Garlic Sauce.  I did not get photos of our meals but they were both fabulous!!  And there’s always room for dessert right? Heh, almost.  A friend had recommended the Reese’s Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake Cheesecake and said it was to die for so that’s what I had.  He was SO right!!  Miss M had the Godiva Chocolate Cheesecake, also very yummy!  But we could not finish them and took them back to the hotel with plastic forks.  We attempted to finish them later last night, however, they were just too rich!! So our desserts were finished in three sittings, the last one earlier today.

Tonight’s meal was equally delicious!!  Miss M had their Margherita Pizza: Fresh Mozzarella, Basil and Tomato Sauce.  And I had the Grilled Steak Medallions from their Skinnylicious menu:  Certified Angus Beef® Served with Fresh Asparagus, Shiitake Mushrooms, Sauteed Cherry Tomatoes, Crushed Croutons, Mashed Potatoes and Madeira Wine Sauce.  Outstanding!!  I’m so impressed with the great selection, excellent food and service.  This time I got photos of our meals.  We chose to dine on the patio and had the perfect spot just outside the door where waiters were coming and going so every so often we felt a nice, cool wave of air mixed with the breeze of a warm, southern Florida evening.  It was perfect!

We were truly blessed and managed to get just about everything done by the deadlines.  We had one snag today with turning off the water. I didn’t realize that I had to do it in the apartment so Miss M and I went back to do that this afternoon however it was not to be.  For some reason, today the deadbolt would not budge.  We used it the entire time we were there.  Two nice gentlemen tried to help by spraying WD40 in the lock and then using a tool to try to pry the deadbolt out of the door jamb, to no avail.  One of them said he thought the pin broke.  The management company is going to get in there on Monday to turn off the water for us.  Thank goodness because I’m not sure I’d be able to sleep tonight.  Other than this last snag, everything went fairly well.  We had awesome people along the way, from the lovely folks at the UPS store to the funny guy at the U-Haul place, the awesome Salvation Army team who took many things that we donated and finally the great company that hauled away the damaged furniture that Salvation Army didn’t take.  And Mom is safe and happy in Virginia with my sister and her family.  Finally, I’d like to share a photo of Mom and Merline, her aide of nearly three years.  This was her last day in Florida.

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Boca Chica restaurant, St. Paul, MN

Recently we dined at this great restaurant just over the river from downtown St. Paul.  One of our favorites as we always have a great meal and leave satisfied.  We started off with some margaritas.

Next was the soup and then our entrees. We both had their delicious tomato soup with what looks like small pieces of spaghetti and fresh cilantro on top, oh yum.  Hubby had the tamales, their grandmother’s family recipe described like this “Two fresh tamales filled with your choice of pork seasoned with chile ancho sauce or chicken seasoned with salsa verde, then wrapped in a plantain leaf and steamed to perfection. Served with chile gravy and sopa.”   I had Los Dos Amigos: “Two handmade thick corn tortillas topped with refried beans, green chile sauce, onions, queso fresco and cilantro. Served with sopa and any one enchilada.” Hubby ate both his tamales and I took home most of his beans and rice and had them with the other half of the two amigos the next day for lunch.  Yum!!

The walls of the restaurant are decorated with interesting murals and we sat by the fireplace this time which was nice on a cold, winter evening.

If you’re in the twin cities you really should have a meal here. I’m pretty sure you will leave happy.

Boca Chica
11 Cesar Chavez Street
St. Paul, MN 55107
651- 222-8499

Boca Chica Restaurante on Urbanspoon

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Stella’s Fish Cafe – Minneapolis, MN

Hubby’s favorite place to eat in the twin cities.  And it is very fine.  Every time we go, it’s another great experience. And so it was again last weekend.  Hubby loves oysters and this place does them well, apparently.  I am not a fan of this seafood.  I do love their peel and eat shrimp and the champagne mussels however.  So we got those and hubby had his oysters.  I also had their beet and pear salad which is light and refreshing.

If you’re a fan of oysters, this is the place to get them. Hubby leaves happy every time.

Stella’s Fish Cafe & Prestige Oyster Bar
1400 West Lake Street
Uptown Minneapolis, MN 55408
612-824-8862

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