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Erte Restaurant
323 13th Avenue N.E.
Minneapolis Mn 55413
(612) 623-4211

January 18, 2010

The New Year found our girls off on yet another food adventure, and this time – not a diner, drive-in, or dive in site!  The first stop on the 2010 restaurant tour: Erte Restaurant. (YES! We picked a nicer restaurant!)

As many dear readers have come to know, our girls love food and love sharing food experiences with others.  So with the New Year comes new foodie friends! Jenn, a past guest and avid seafood lover joined along, as well as a gentleman fondly referred to as ‘Diner X’.

The girls converged at Claire’s crooked house, got dolled up (Thanks for doing our make-up Jenn!) and set off to meet Diner X at the restaurant. After a few miscalculated turns and extra stoplights [really, do you expect anything else with us?!] (Ok, this story has to be told the right way. There were 3 girls in the car who had 3 cell phones with all 3 opened to Google maps giving driving directions and we still get lost. How is that possible!?!?! For some reason we crossed over 94 and Claire and I thought that we had crossed over a river and then somehow we ended up on the other side of where we were supposed to be, it was just a huge mess!) [Geeze, Han…I…didn’t think…94 was a river…geeze…wha….okay, I did…] Hannah, Jenn, and Claire rolled into a nearly empty restaurant.  Moments later, seated snug in the corner, drinks and appetizers were ordered and the dinner began. [We know how to eat out – Martin Luther King Jr. Day, not a diner in site!]

Jenn got us all dolled up!

Yup, greatest park-job ever!

The Meal:

ERTE’ PLATTER – Chef selections of assorted artisanal cheese and meat, accompanied by fruits served with crusty bread. Great appetizer for sharing!     $13.95
Diner X:
There also were walnuts that were coated with Indian spices – extremely addictive.  The plate was a good amount for a table of four.
Hannah:
Well really how can you go wrong with a plate of cheese! The different types of cheeses were varied from tangy, to smooth and they went great when paired with the different little bites that they served with the cheeses! And the nuts were so wonderful, we could not quite put our fingers on the spices but they were truly fantastic!



BREAD PLATE –
with herbed butter, add a dish of assorted olives, marinated artichoke hearts and pepperoncini.     $5 w/extras $6
Jenn
: Bland by itself but LOVED it with the herbed butter! I had three slices of bread and butter before I even thought about tasting my drink and that was only because Claire asked about it.

Claire
: Agreed, the herbed butter was addictive!


HOUSE SALAD or SOUP –
Diner X:
Salad was a simple greens salad.  There was a little too much blue cheese dressing and it was heavy on the garlic but it was nice and chunky.

Jenn
: The Blue Cheese and Potato Soup was really good! It did dry my mouth out a bit, but the combination of the blue cheese and creamy potatoes was just right. Blended together perfectly!
Claire
: I went with the House Salad, having shied away from anything blue cheese…big mistake!  The sip I had of Han’s soup was enough to convert me to a believer.
Hannah: Holy Cow!! The blue cheese soup was absolutely fantastic! It was very creamy and there was a slight taste of blue cheese but there was no tang or overpowering taste. It was creamy yet not heavy and was a spectacular start to a wonderful dinner!



BRISKET –
Angus beef, baked for a day with garlic, mushrooms, onions & spices, cooled, sliced and roasted again ‘til it’s fork tender – served with honey bunny carrots and le smush potatoes … grandma’s proud of this one! $16.50
Jenn
: Definitely my favorite meal on the table.  Surprising because I’m usually not a huge fan of meaty dishes.  But it was really tender and the sauce they used for it was perfect.  Very, very delicious!



BOWSTRING WALLEYE –
Memories of “going up north” fishing for walleye on bowstring lake brings back this favorite family recipe of sunflower seed crusted walleye, sautéed & topped with a sweet corn relish and served with sour cream and chive mashers and our homemade tartar sauce … this big one didn’t get away!     $18.00
Diner X
: The walleye was nicely cooked, perfectly flakey and the sunflower seed crusting was not too heavy but it did have a strong fishy flavor so I wondered about how fresh it was.  Nice sweet corn relish on top and the homemade tartar sauce was a real treat. Basic mash potatoes with sour cream and chive blended in were nice and rich. Portions were generous.



CHICKEN   SALTIMBOCCA  – This is not a dance – it’s a breast of chicken folded with prosciutto, provolone & herbs – finished with Madeira butter sauce and a dollop of sour cream and chive mashers … now start dancing!     $17.50
Claire
: Winner with this dish! The Madeira butter sauce (a Madeira wine based sauce with celery, scallions, carrots, and beef stock) was delicious.  Once again, I contemplated how appropriate licking the plate clean would be…


MAPLE LEAF FARM DUCK BREASTS –
Two sautéed duck breasts in a plus sauce with sweet potato mashers.  These naturally fed ducks have, what else, but naturally enriched flavor! …Don’t “duck out” on this one!     $20.00
Hannah:
These were pretty delicious, however I think my favorite part of it was the sweet potatoes! I think my favorite thing on the table for dinner was the Brisket. It was absolutely delicious and it melted in your mouth.


FUNKY MONKEY BREAD PUDDING

Jenn
: I thought this was yummy.  It tasted like the chocolate chips in a banana chocolate chip muffin had melted everywhere.  The whipped topping was a little boring and disappointing, but everything tasted better when paired with the delicious vanilla ice cream (ordered separately).

Claire
: Remember what it’s like taking a fresh, hot loaf of chocolate banana bread right out of the oven?  You know how you always dug in before it had time to cool and the chocolate was all gooey and melty and creamy?  Yeah, it was like that.
Hannah:
So good! It was gooey and delicious and it was just fantastic! We stole some of Diner X’s vanilla ice cream and the combination of the warm pillows of banana and chocolate and the cool melty ice cream was absolute heaven!



Orange Infused Martini –
Absolute Mandarin mixed with Grand Marnier and a splash of orange juice served with an orange slice.
Jenn
: OK.  Won’t get it again.  Especially didn’t like the fact that it was so strong that you had to sip it, not drink it.  I’m not a sipping kind of girl.

Claire
: Make note with this one friends – one drink only or you’re crawling home!  Hello alcohol!


For some thoughts on the restaurant itself:
Diner X:
Darker decor.  Walls used tan and maroon colors with black accents.  Romantic with candles and Jazz music.  Server was very attentive and made sure we were not rushed.  Good service but it was a very quiet night.

Jenn:
Surprisingly quiet and non-echoey for such a cavernous area. I give it 4 out of 4 ears!
Claire:
As we were, at times, the only folks enjoying dinner it was nice to see the dining area in its full splendor.  The evening would have had a much different feel if other guests were about.
Hannah:
The restaurant was very lovely and I really enjoyed being the only patrons in there! It was like we rented the whole thing out to ourselves! I would highly recommend this for dining of all types! We sat next to a walled mirror which was pretty cool. There was also an upstairs which, if it is indeed open for dining, it would be so much fun to dine up there!

Hannah, Claire, Jenn, and "Diner X"


Hannah and Claire’s Tasty Tip: I-94 is NOT a river.

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A big THANK YOU goes out to our pal Jenn for writing this up.  Our first guest blogger (of what we hope to be many)!!  As usual, our comments are added in for a little spice.  Me, in orange and Jenn, in blue.

 

Seattle, Washington – August 21, 2009

 

This is the story of Claire and Jenn’s foodie adventures in Seattle, Washington [Side note – at the time, Jenn was residing near Seattle and I ventured out west to visit some folks…why everyone I know moves to Washington is beyond me…].  Jenn was super excited to introduce Claire to some of her favorite places and Claire was excited about trying new food [correction – I was excited about food in general…] in the Pacific Northwest.

 

After a lazy start to the day, the adventurers headed off to Pike Place Market.  After several minutes of driving, and one super creepy parking ramp that had a handful of cars (one had a broken window!!), they found a reasonably priced parking spot and traversed the 3 short blocks to Pike Place proper.  The first stop on their list of things to see and do was a stop for food!  Jenn knew of this really yummy place called “Piroshky Piroshky”.  The name comes from the Russian word “pir” which means “feast”.  Sounds perfect for a couple of food-loving girls, right?

 

While standing in line on the sidewalk, Jenn filled Claire in on the history of this little family-owned Russian bakery while they watched the employees creating more stuffed pies for the delight of the customers crowding the counter [crowding is right…talk about a line, but talk about worth it!].  Back in 1992 when they were trying to open the restaurant, the family realized they were about $1,000 short of the funds they needed for their supplies and ingredients.  One morning when they entered their shop they noticed an envelope on the floor.  Inside was $1,000!  (I’m really glad someone donated that money so we could enjoy the awesome deliciousness of the piroshkies!!) They never found out who donated the money but they are still grateful for it now.

 

Anyway, by the time Jenn finished the story, the girls were in the tiny store and admiring the rows and towers of stuffed pies and second-guessing their choices.  In the end they bought a “Potato, Onion, Cheese Piroshky” and a “Cherry and White Chocolate Piroshky”.  (I liked the Potato, Onion, Cheese but not so much the Cherry and White Chocolate one.  My favorite of all of them is the Spinach, Egg and Cheese Piroshky.  Mmmmm!!!!) [I liked them all! This is why I like Jenn…I come in demanding we each get something different to split.  She doesn’t like the Cherry and White Chocolate, so I get it!  What a friend…] Since there is no seating in the shop and there was quite a few people pressing in, trying to get their bellies filled with the piroshkies as well, Claire and Jenn sat on a bench outside where they proceeded to tear the piroshkies in half, swap halves and then devoured the delicious Russian treats (Claire devoured.  I nibbled.  Daintily.  The way I do everything.  Just ask anyone.  Wait, don’t ask anyone that… lol). [I won’t answer that one!]

Piroshky Piroshky Claire with her Cherry and White Chocolate Piroshky Jenn with her Potato, Onion, Cheese Piroshky

 

The ladies then had to walk around Pikes Place to make room in their tummies for more delicious food.  Claire purchased kiwi, strawberry and peach fruit logs from a fruit stand and Jenn got some chocolate covered fruit to snack on later from the Chukar Cherries stand.  Claire has been working on a sort of bucket list lately and one of the items on her list was to try sushi!  Using the GPS in Claire’s phone [seriously, how in the world did I survive basic life functions without that phone.  I love you Google Maps!] the girls made their way to a reasonably priced sushi place which turned out to be more of a fast food type of place [Yes, warning bells should be going off here.].  After some debate it was decided that they would stay but sit in a place where the workers of the sushi counter would be unable to view them.  This turned out to be a good idea… (All I can say is YUCK) [Here’s a call out to any sushi fans – Jenn and I had no idea what we were doing or what we ordered!  We’re willing to give it a second go…but with guidance…].  Some of Jenn’s chocolate covered cherry assortment and many pieces of Claire’s breath freshening gum later, the taste was finally beginning to leave their mouths and they felt ready for the next culinary adventure at Slim’s Last Chance Chili Shack (Claire, HOW many times did you have to ask me that restaurant’s name??  HaHaHa!!). [Well it’s not one that roles off the tongue now is it?]

Our first attempt! Let's just see about this... Hmmmm....

No thank you! Not for Jenn! Failed attempt...

 

This restaurant, located in a slightly shady, Warehouse-district equivalent of Seattle, boasted “Burgers, Chili, Booze & Music”.  No more incentive was needed to get these two food-lovers in the door [Chili and Booze, that’s good enough for me!].  Considering the amount of food that had already been consumed, the logical choice was to split the meal.  While making that all important decision, Claire sipped on the house brew, that was served in an old-fashioned jelly jar and Jenn, who has yet to find a beer she likes, had a fruity concoction.  The girls finally decided to try the Texas Red, a traditional chili made with beef, and when the food came they were so glad they opted to share it.  It came in a huge bowl that had white cheddar grits covered with steaming hot, savory chili and topped with tons of melted cheese [White Cheddar Cheese Grits = Delicious].  The girls waited about 1.2 seconds to take some pictures before diving in.  (I was uncertain of how the chili was going to taste with the grits, never having had grits before, and it was soooo good!  Claire will concur.  I had to knock her fork from my half of the bowl quite a few times…) Waddling out to the car, the girls decided that, with the exception of the sushi, it had been a successful foody day.

Slim’s Last Chance Chili Shack A meal fit for two! Cheese is a good thing! I'm so fulllllllllllllllll!

 

Tasty Tip:  Never try sushi in a food court.  But if you do, make sure you have plenty of chocolate covered cherries and Trident gum for after!


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