Thursday, December 25, 2008

Kikugawa - Christmas Edition

Okay, I've been doing the Christmas sushi for a number of years now. But this year completely topped any sushi of years past. Seriously, I have *never* had sushi as good as the sushi I had at Kikugawa tonight.

Salmon just like butter. Tuna as perfect as perfect can be. And then tuna that was more perfect, as the "super white tuna" had this undertone of *vanilla* to it that was just divine.

And then, unagi that *melted* in my mouth.

I'm serious. Best. Sushi. Ever. And warm sweet sake. And just yum...

Now I go to roll over and watch the new Dr Who.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Hell's Kitchen

To my friends who are Hell's Kitchen fans (the Mpls restaurant, not the myriad of other places):

If you have not been to the new location and have not had their dinner menu, Go. Immediately. Seriously, I love it all even more than I could have possibly loved the last place.

We went at 6 last night with no reservation, were seated immediately, had a fantastic and unusual cocktail (I had the Love Letter) and dinner was as delightfully divine and decadent as their breakfast and lunch have been in the past. And they're also available.

Everything I have ever had here has been made of awesome. The only thing I wish is that their eggs were a smidge more cooked.

Not to mention, there's parking right there that you take to the basement where it is and it's all curvy and labyrinth like in there and the decor makes me squee.

When I talk about Rudy's or Christopher's from Camberville as restaurants that I truly miss? If ever I move from Minneapolis, Hell's Kitchen will be that place I talk about from here.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

On the road: Snippets from St Augustine

Anyway, then to lunch. I ate at what is perhaps the most schwanky place in town according to my mom, 95 Cordova at the Casa Monica. Really damned good crab cakes they were. And delightful decor.


Headed towards the inter coastal area then, and had a pomegranate martini at the Tini Martini Bar and spent time relaxing and reading a book. That sadly wasn't so phenomenal as to be worth what I paid for it, but I relaxed for a while outside with a drink and that was okay.


Parents also took me to a delightful little restaurant called Raintree. I had a northern atlantic salmon that was cooked to absolute perfection, and split a bottle of white wine with them. Definitely, if you ever make it to this cute little town this is a bistro not to miss.

Monday, November 24, 2008

In Short

Friday night was a date night with PiC. I introduced him to the thai place around the corner from me, Vinh Loi. Noticed for the first time on their menu that they have listed for the cream cheese wontons that they are "6 wontons of awesome" or something like that. I giggled so much I insisted that we have them for an appetizer. Nummy mock duck pad thai for me, and green curry for him. And some really good hot jasmine tea because I was cold cold with a side of cold.

ETA: Sadly, they haven't seemed to have been open yet since the new year. I hope they haven't completely closed. That would be sad. I liked them.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Rapid fire reviews

Masa - Upscale Mexican on Nicollet Ave downtown, in one of the Target buildings. I had lunch here with GM a while back. If you can imagine mexican food being done in a light fashion, this would be the place for it. I found it delightfully refreshing for lunch, and I highly recommend it. I'll probably try their dinner sometime in the not too terribly distant future as well as I'm on a mexican food kick lately. But as it's upscale, it's a bit on the pricey side. If you're looking for large portions (and not as light), you're better off going further down Nicollet to Pancho Villa.

Musashi - Had lunch here with EK a while back as well. Ignore the fact that Musashi was a swordsman and not a sumo wrestler. Just don't pay attention to their logo. :) The lunch here was a fabulous chicken teriyaki bento box. It's not crowded for lunch, and it's right by my work. Also came with pickled things, hot little crab cake like things, a maki roll... Probably something else I'm forgetting. Also pricey for lunch, but MMMMMM bento. :)

barrio - I'd been excited about a potential tequila bar, even if it was downtown. Unfortunately I was focused more on the concept of the tequila and not so much on the bar. This place is definitely a bar in attitude, even if they're trying to up the quality of the bar food. And they do have a lovely selection of tequila. It was just over noisy and crowded with work folks (mostly Target since it's right across the street it seems) at happy hour to be enjoyable. I was very sad about that. The hunt for a Rudy's like place continues.

Jade - Went here for PiC's birthday, located in Midtown Global Market. I think in part my opinion of this place was clouded by the fact that I was feeling like utter crap. I wasn't particularly impressed though. And my kung pao chicken tasted a distinct taste of off. He got to have lobster and sushi though, so that was a win for him. Maybe trying again in the future, but it's not going to be at the top of my list.

Alas, not all restaurants will be hits. I think next time eating out though is going to be Hell's Kitchen in the new location for dinner. :) They've moved to the old space where Rossi's used to be, and I'm hoping that means there's a ton more room, so easier to get in and YUMMY yummy food to boot with fun boozes.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Khyber Pass

Tonight, I headed to Khyber Pass as I knew it was open and still have to clean my kitchen to cook and I've been trying to get there. Rugs everywhere, on the walls, on the ceiling, nice music piped in as well but not too loud, and the feel of the place was very light and airy even with all the rugs everywhere.

The meal started with half of a whole wheat pita and their cilantro/walnut chutney. Tangy and complex. I loved it.

Then they brought me my meal, a vegetarian platter with a spinach curry and a small curried potato next to each other on a bed of basmati rice, with a tomato and cucumber salad on the side. The spinach was cooked whole and texture wise like any other curry, but the flavorings were definitely not Indian. The potato reminded me of something my mom would make from childhood, but I couldn't quite place it. It was like a vague hint of a memory. Both were quite tasty and unique though.

Unfortunately, I think one of their key ingredients in their curries is yogurt, though not always listed out. I only have the way that my body is reacting to the food that I ate to point to that suspicion, unless I have an allergy or intolerance I don't know about.

So while I positively loved the food here, and would recommend it to anyone else, I'm not sure I'll be returning any time soon. ETA: I did go back, and had something without yogurt. And it didn't make me sick. I think it was just that one ingredient.

Gardens of Salonica

Thursday, dinner was had at Gardens of Salonica in NE Minneapolis. Wrought iron and earth toned art decorates this lovely little spot. It's a little noisy, but still mostly enjoyable.

Our waiter we think had had a bit to drink. He was spilling things, forgetting things, and we did witness him drink a glass of wine at the bar.

But the food was quite delightful. I had a chicken souvlaki, tzatziki sauce on the side. It was cooked and spiced rather exactly and I enjoyed it. The tzatziki even had a bit of a spicy tang to it that was unusual and lovely.

PiC had the lamb souvlaki and seemed to enjoy his as much as I enjoyed mine. He also had the octapodi and loved it as well. To my eyes it looked a bit odd, complete with the suckers, but so long as he enjoyed it who am I to judge? :)

Dessert was one very small fig that had been braised in a port wine reduction. A simple bit of joy to end the meal. Mmmmmmmm fig.

This will definitely be a place for repeat business.

Monday, August 18, 2008

True Thai

Introduced PiC to True Thai last night, my favoritest thai restaurant in the Twin Cities. We had what I can only call "thai nachos", fried wonton sheets cut in triangles, and drizzled with sriracha, egg, bean sprouts, tofu, and cilantro. It was an unexpected presentation and delightful, actually, from when we ordered it.

And then I ordered my favoritest fried rice, the chili tamarind fried rice. And he agreed, it was the best he'd had. Om nom. I will have an awesome dinner again tonight with the leftovers.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Barbary Fig

Dinner was at Barbary Fig. Now, had I been there before I wouldn't have suggested it PiC's current state; he sprained his ankle a couple days ago. Because it would seem that most of the seating is upstairs. And outside. So we sat outside, even though there were periodic sprinkles. It amused me at least, and the umbrella was sufficient for keeping us mostly dry during the sprinkles. :)

I had the most awesome red wine from Algeria that they tell me I can't purchase anywhere. It breaks the little Tegan-heart. I may just have to go back again.

My dinner was a lamb/yam/fava bean/saffron rice dealy. His was a lamb sausage/yam/carmelized onion/couscous dealy. And we both liked what we had, though my dish could have used a little bit of salt. OH! And a delightful appetizer of roasted eggplant and feta cheese in a filo dough like shell. Kinda like a quesadilla. But not.

Thursday, July 17, 2008


I tried Somalian food for the first time at Safari on Nicollet. I got a dish called "chicken fantastic". It was kinda like a Navratan Korma, sort of, but the sauce was a slightly different consistency and of course the spices were different. Chicken and veggies though. And over their delightfully spiced rice. To be honest, I've never run across such a mild tasting clove when I bit in to them. That was odd but good.

And apparently one of the things common there is that they mash up bananas into their rice and eat it that way. I didn't, because I had Stuff on my rice already. But it made for a nice fruit dessert. :)

I will be intrigued to try this place again with a different dish so I can really delve into the spices. I loved the meal, it's just I was missing this; the really starting to grok what the spices are that are common to the culture. Which is not to say I didn't continue to nibble until we got the check. PiC was lucky there was enough for him to take for lunch today (since I rarely eat my own leftovers, esp dairy based leftovers).

His roasted goat cutlet looked intriguing. I'm just sad that I was too full for even a taste.

ETA: Sadly, this restaurant is closed. However, you can still eat their tasty food at Midtown Global Market at Safari Express.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


Wednesday night after the SCA meeting, we headed to another restaurant I hadn't been to before, Figlio's. PiC was right in that it's a restaurant that is everything that was trendy about 10 years ago.

But really, the reason we were there was for the dessert and drinks. My pomegranate margarita was... I dunno, it just missed the mark some how. I also learned that really, 12 year old scotch is too young for me as I like my scotch smoother. :)

Other than that, we split red velvet cake, which was PERFECT because I've been having this atrocious craving for cream cheese frosting, of the variety that I had talked myself out of going and buying a can 'for old time's sake'. No need, this was exactly the right answer.

And they have creme brulee on the menu. I think next time I have a hankering, there will be going there. :) Just no scotch, and a different mixed drink.

Harry Singh's

I waited far too long to go to Harry Singh's for the first time. Which I went on Wednesday.

Never had had Trinadadian cuisine before. OMG the NUM. Well, I have a deep fondness for Indian food. And key to what people tend to get there is the roti, a sort of heated flatbread, but here, it's wrapped around a delicious curry that is like Indian but with a twist to left. I cannot tell you what it is that that extra spice was or spices were.

All I know is that for the first time in a long time I had a hard time stopping eating because even though I was full I still wanted to taste the food. That never happens to me anymore. I got the lamb roti. Mmmmmmm lamb. I managed to stop myself with enough for breakfast the next morning.

This was really rather dangerous for some definitions of dangerous. :) Huge amount of food, not too expensive, and om nom nom nom. There will be going back for sure.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Caspian Bistro

Tonight instead of cooking, PiC and I went to Caspian over on University. Nummy nummy Persian food.

If you've never eaten here (and are local), it is a place for distinctly subtle yet intriguing flavors. The dolmeh we got for appetizers were *warm* instead of chilly like it usually is in greek food and far less dense. Also the saffron flavored sugar cubes.

For entrees, we both ended up with a form of kabob, mine chicken, his filet mignon and a ground beef/lamb kofta thing. Both quite delightful. They gave us PILES and piles of rice, some flavored with saffron on top, and butter. But *mine* had barberries on it as well, fabulous dried berry. It's like a sweeter, smaller cranberry. With a little bit of lemon on top... Mmmmmmm.

Dessert was nummy little balls that tasted like they were soaked in honey, rosewater, and made with a little bit of pistachio. The underthing that was kinda like sugar soaked funnel cake was tasty, but a little too sweet.

OH! And the drinks! PiC was not so fond of the yogurt drink he started with, sadly. However, I suggested to him that he try the sekanjabin. *evil grin* Totally won him over with that one. I may make some syrup tomorrow to bring to WW if sewing goes better in the morning. Me, I had a delightful quince/lemon drink that is made with syrup in a similar way as the sekanjabin. Ooooooooooh I'm in love with the flavor of quince. What a woefully underused fruit in American society.

None of the flavors for all they were unusual, especially in their combination, to the American palette were in your face though. Very subtle. Makes you pay attention to your food and have a intimate conversation with it as you learn every vibration of taste.

Friday, June 20, 2008

The Dakota

The Dakota... Tasty, but not really worth the price for the amount of food. Made almost reasonable by the fact that we got a discount for being Target employees. We wanted to eat outside. It was the only place with seating by the time that we left our building.

Today's dish - Yucca root gnocchi with a green chile pesto, peas, and about 4 small shrimp.

ETA: I take that back. Not even an hour after I finished eating, and I'm already hungry again. Not worth the price. It was good, it just wasn't good enough to justify that.

Thursday, June 19, 2008


Babani's? AWESOME food. Love it there. Love me some Kurdish lemonade. Apparently they dry their lemons in the sun for a while and the juice ends up being sweeter and brown like iced tea.

Tried the Chicken Tawa and it was yummy, though a little too stew like for me; but light and lemony and tasty. So I switched with PiC and tried the kubay sawar (breaded beef dumpling like thing) and that was divine.

Also their baklava is not too sweet. OMG I didn't think it possible. Definitely worth the drive over to St Paul for.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Lucky didn't make it home last night

Tonight, OSO, PiC and I went to Chino Latino and tried the guinea pig for OSO's birfday.

That was certainly interesting.

Nothing I need try again, because really, the little head and feet disturbed me a little. But it was fun. And now I can say I've done it. :) Of all the things I would have thought I'd have tried in my life... Whee! It tastes a little like greasy chicken.

This is the second time that I've been to this restaurant, and I have to say I'm just not all that impressed. Sure I love the cosmopolitan that has the dry ice in it. But the food just seems too overpriced and trendy. Like the trendy is more important than the food.

On top of that the restaurant is just LOUD. Can't hold a decent conversation pretty much ever.

I'll go again. But only if someone else pays.

Monday, April 7, 2008


Oooooh, dinner was a good thing. I went to Christos down the street and they are definitely made of yum.

I got a sampler plate to have three different meals. Spanakopita, mousaka, and dolmathes. All are small versions of larger dishes and they were perfectly balanced. Retsina was the main (white) wine, with its lightly pine flavor, and I ended the evening with chocolate mousse and a mavrodaphne, which is a sweet red wine.

What a perfect dinner to have to celebrate my own birthday. Happy 31st, Tegan. You deserved it.

Everest on Grand

I treated myself to a massage early this morning, lunch at Everest on Grand (the Yak Momos are YumYum), and renewing my driver's license that thankfully did not take long.

Nepali food is like a cross between Indian and Chinese, but less... spicy. If you had to climb down a mountain to get your spices, you'd use them sparingly as well. And yes, I really did have yak meat for lunch. It's like beef, but... leaner.

Now to figure out what I'm going to do for the rest of the day.

Monday, February 18, 2008


I want to remind myself that at some point soon, I want to go to Cecil's.

Cecil's it would seem makes knishes locally. And a good simple potato knish just sounds delightful.

I'm kinda in the wrong area of the country to find those easily. At least I don't think Kramarczuk's has them. They're Eastern European, but I'm guessing not Jewish. And I'm not so sure of other places that could possibly carry them.

Growing up in NJ, we used to be able to get like a three pack of these square knishes in the deli section of the grocery store (Pathmark). I could toss one in the toaster oven to heat them up and just nom nom nom...


Anyway. I should not be looking at food websites when I'm trying to motivate myself up off the couch to make myself some foods.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Relax is still not Yummy

I think I posted long ago once that the restaurant Yummy, well, wasn't. Well, that restaurant is about one of the closest restaurants to me, so I decided to give it another shot.

In that time, the name has changed to "Relax: Exotic Chinese Cuisine". The menu doesn't look all that different. I will give props to the cream cheese wontons (a weakness of mine) which were fresh and amazingly *light* for being deep fried. But the Kung Pao Chicken... It left me just kinda meh.

Its not the worst I've had, but it's also just not good enough for the money IMO. Maybe it's that Little Szechuan has ruined me for all other Kung Pao with how fabulous it is. I just don't feel that I should pay that much for a dish that ends up being mostly water chestnuts and bamboo with a sprinkling of chicken and peanuts.


There are enough Chinese restaurants almost as close that I can keep trying until I find one that I'm fond of.


Went to Avenue Q with K and had an incredibly awesome time. Afterward we headed to Solera for happy hour and to spend a gift certificate K had.

It's on Hennepin. And it has downtown prices. The decor is adorable and much my style. The seating arrangements are interesting... definitely suited to mingling, but I'm not so much about the bar scene.

The food was good, interesting twists on classic things. But I doubt I will think about it that much because it's really expensive to eat enough feel like you ate a meal.

The drinks... well, the drinks are drinks and I'm kinda not that much more coherent now. :)