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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.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

As 2010 rolled in, so did the cold weather. Those first couple weeks of January brought below zero temperatures, and with it the need for some homemade fondue!  And what goes better with creamy cheese fondue than a rousing game or two on Nintendo Wii?So Hannah and Claire called for a girl’s night!

Armed with pounds of cheese and bottles of frozen cider the girls set to work in Claire’s crooked kitchen grating cheese, chopping carrots, frying sausages, and slicing some baguettes.  With the cheerful notes of the Glee soundtrack playing in the background, the cheese bubbled and the guests showed up. Joanna arrived armed with a bottle of wine and Jenn with a dangerous version of  ‘Dance Dance Revolution’ for the Wii.

A few glow-stick necklaces and ‘Dancing with the Stars’ battles later, we were ready for round two.  No meal is complete without dessert and the chocolate fondue (see recipe below) was left to Hannah’s creation.  A little cream and a lotta chocolate!  Add some bananas, marshmallows, apples, and pretzels and that’s some good fondue!

Thank you to the Food Network Kitchens for the cheese fondue recipe!

Cheddar and Hard Cider Fondue

1 (12-ounce) bottle hard cider
¾ cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
½ pound Gruyere cheese, grated
½ pound sharp Vermont yellow Cheddar, grated
3 tablespoons corn starch
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
salt

Heat cider, broth, Worcestershire, and garlic over medium heat and simmer for 5 minutes.

Toss the cheese together in a medium bowl. Sift the corn starch over the cheese and toss to coat.

Slowly sprinkle cheese into warm liquid, continue until cheese is melted. Stir in cayenne and salt.

And thank you to Hannah for the wonderful Chocolate Fondue recipe!

Chocolate Fondue
So chocolate fondue couldn’t be more easy, If you remember to be careful and take your time.

12 ounces of chocolate, chopped fine
(Dark, milk, or any kind that you want!)
8 ounces of heavy whipping cream

Warm the cream in the microwave or on the stove until it starts to get little bubbles around the edge. Remove it from the heat and slowly add the chocolate while stirring. The heat from the cream should melt the chocolate thoroughly but if it doesn’t you can pop it in the microwave for A FEW seconds. Be careful because chocolate burns really easily. Once the chocolate is melted you can add any assortment of goodies that you want. Some people add Baileys or some other type of flavored liquor, you can add orange zest, cinnamon, nutmeg, peppermint extract or anything that you would like. Personally, I just like the straight up chocolate but whatever suits your mood! Just transfer your chocolate pot to your fondue stand and you are ready to go! However, as we learned quickly, don’t have the flame too big because, as I stated before, chocolate burns easily.  And there you have it! You can serve this with any assortment of goodies like fruit, pretzels, marshmallows, pound cake or angel food cake, or just dip a spoon in and go to town!

Yes dear readers, Hannah and Claire are still here!  After an inexcusable absence (Hannah has this thing called “college”…) we meet again for some food fun!  Our destination – Birch’s Restaurant in Long Lake.

The result:
 …Typical…

To our luck, the Peppercorn Grill was conveniently located across the street!

Off Old Highway 12 in historic Long Lake, the family owned Peppercorn Grill was a welcomed alternative.  We were hungry and needed to eat –  now.  To our extreme delight (and slight worry) we walked in to an empty restaurant.  Now, it’s worth noting that the bar side was occupied by some thirsty regulars.

We were quickly seated and took a scan over the menu, deciding on the Peppercorn Chopped Salad and the Tuscan Chicken.  The salad was an explosion of ingredients, containing everything but the kitchen sink…really… Including: Romaine and iceberg lettuce, bacon, turkey, ham, pepperoni, shrimp, provolone cheese, diced avocados, tomatoes, cucumbers, black olives, red onions, and red peppers tossed in the house peppercorn dressing.  To go with the salad, we split the Tuscan Chicken – chicken sautéed with asparagus, mushrooms, onions, prosciutto ham, and fresh garlic in a citrus butter sauce.  While a bit oily, still delicious.

          

Our final thoughts:
Good but slightly typical food.  The salad was too homogenized, too chopped with the Tuscan Chicken not striking.  HOWEVER – we enjoyed the restaurant as a whole.  The staff was very nice and very friendly.  As a family owned restaurant, it was clear to see they all enjoyed the work they were doing.  We were seated by the owner’s daughter and served by her brother (and had a nice conversation to boot!) 

The Peppercorn Grill is on our list to visit again, perhaps on a weekend for the House Ravioli!

Hannah and Claire’s Tasty Tip: Eat local. It makes you feel good and there’s nothing wrong with riding that high horse!

641 University Ave NE
Minneapolis, MN
612-379-4069
www.emilyslebansesdeli.com

August 26, 2009

Just in time for the end of summer, our girls finished their Twin Cities tour of Diner, Drive-ins, and Dives! After attempting to visit Emily’s twice before, turns out third time was the charm. Beyond hungry, Hannah and Claire speed-walked into the restaurant only to be stopped at the door by a building full of other hungry patrons.  Stifling a hunger-scream Hannah and Claire pressed again the wall to wait for a table to open.

Okay…okay…okay…we feel this post deserve a different tone. As excited as we were about Emily’s, we left with disappointment flavoring our palate.  Yes my dear readers, this may be the first (and hopefully last) time you hear us disappointed with a meal.

We arrived with bellies rumbling and left with bellies rumbling. Having limited knowledge in the world of Lebanese cuisine, we haphazardly chose dishes: Hummas and Baba Ghannui with pita bread as a starter and  ½ lamb kabob and baked kibbi to round out the meal. To be completely fair I did love both of these dips and the pita bread was delicious. I think we ate 3 baskets full and I may have occasionally taken a spoonful of dip and just eaten it. I really liked those two so that was a definite positive, unfortunately I am sad to say that that’s where the positives end.

We dived into the hummas and ghannui and patiently waited for the server to bring us some silverware and our drinks. After far to long the silverware arrived, and shortly after – our food. The service I am also sad to say was not wonderful. We were never asked for drink a order and practically had to stick a foot out to get the server’s attention. We sat for a long time before someone even knew we were there. It just added to our general negative experience. You know something is up when we lunge into our food and, between bites, stop and look at each other in disbelief.  It was not good.  Just plain not good. The lamb was overcooked with little to no seasoning. The kibbi…as Hannah said: “tastes like a whole head of garlic…” and Claire: “like garlic mixed with *crap* and flowers…” Just plain not good. It was dry, the portion sizes of lamb were tiny, the rice that it came with was gooey and had zero flavor, basically everything was unpleasant and difficult to eat.

We picked at the dishes and when Hannah asked, “Are you eating this cause it tastes good, or are you eating it because you’re that hungry?” we realized it was time to leave.  With a pain in our hearts, we left our half-eaten dishes on the table, quickly paid the bill, and ran out the door. Ok everyone I just want to point out what Claire just said because this is a rare occurrence: we left with half-eaten dishes still on the table!!! I can count on one hand the number of times we have done that.


A rumble left our bellies as we headed to the car. “Not fullllll….” we groaned. But what to do? A faint glow caught our eyes as we looked up to the glorious arches across the street. Rejoice! McDonalds – Our true friend that has yet to let us down! We zipped across the street and into McDonalds. A burger and fries later, all was well in the world! “Soooooo full!”

**As we believe there is good in everything, we are willing to give Emily’s another go.  Maybe we stopped by on an off-day, or there was a new guy in the kitchen, or the fresh food shipment had yet to arrive…either way we don’t want to discourage one from trying it out, but may we suggest not ordering the Baked Kibbi! We will definitely go back if anyone wants to be our tour guide and show us which day to go and what to order!

Hannah and Claire were disappointed with:

Hummus Bi-Tahini
fresh garbanzo bean dip made with
sesame paste, lemon juice & garlic…….3.75

Baba Ghannuj
baked eggplant whipped with sesame
paste & seasoning into a light dip…..3.75

1/2 Shish Kabob
chunks of lamb with onions & zucchini brioled
with garlic butter. served with rice……..7.25

Baked Kibbi (kibbi Bis- Soyniyyi)
ground beef, cracked wheat, & spices
baked around a layer of lamb,
onions and pine nuts…………………………..4.00

Tasty Tip: Don’t go to Emily’s Lebanese Deli if it takes you three times to get there – God does not want you to go! AND If it tastes disgusting on the first bite, it does not get better on the 16th or the 43rd.


Al’s Breakfast
413 14th Ave SE
Minneapolis, MN 55414
(612) 331-9991

August 5, 2009

Far out of character, we find our girls one early Wednesday morning [that is dedication right there folks…], piling into the Jetta and heading out to Dinkytown (The only possible thing that can get me up that early during the summer is food. If it is for any other reason, don’t even try… not even if the world is ending and the house is on fire. You try to wake me, I throw my alarm clock at you.) The destination – Al’ Breakfast.  Smooshed between two storefronts, so be sure to keep your eyes open or you’ll slide right by, is a tiny diner from ages past.  Our girls showed up just in time to nab two of the last stools left at the counter.  (Seriously there are maybe 15 stools along a bar and that is it so be prepared to wait and be patient! It’s worth it my friends.) With a steaming cup of coffee in hand [thank Jebus for coffee!] (Every time I went put my coffee cup down after finishing a cup the waitress was standing there waiting to fill it, it was basically my version of heaven and I had about 10 cups!!) and rumbling bellies, it was time to order: Eggs Benedict for Hannah and the Hawaiian Omelet for Claire, with a Whole Wheat Pancake to split.

The intimate atmosphere of the restaurant allows for plenty of opportunities for some friendly eavesdropping. Either you chat with the server behind the counter [which ours didn’t seem up for…], chat with the folks sitting next to you, or listen to everyone else. (I’m not much for conversations early in the morning so I prefer to listen. If you try to talk to me early in the morning you may get grunt or you may get something thrown at you…. It’s a toss up.) It’s clear to see that Al’s Breakfast is a home for the “regulars”.  As one conversation our girls overheard went:

Server to gentleman just sitting down: “Why, Hello Commissioner.”
Guy just sitting down: “Hello! What am I eating today?”
[And yes, he ate whatever it was they whipped up for him!]

It was during coffee refill #5 [HELLO AWAKE CLAIRE!] that the food appeared. Creamy, steamy, and smelling delicious it was a matter of minutes before Hannah and Claire looked up again.

[Now, I have mixed feelings about my omelet.  Good, but not enough flavor to entice me to eat the whole thing.  About ¾ of the way through, I’d had enough. Wheat Pancake on the other hand = delicious. I’m not writing off Al’s quite yet, I think there are some other gems on the menus that need to be consumed first!]

(Mine was quite freaking fabulous if I may say so! The hollandaise sauce was very unique and went wonderful with my eggs Benedict! However, I really want to go back and get an omelet with EVERYTHING in it. Yeah that’s right, I could take that on.  Claire’s was interesting to say the least. I think that it was just such a shock to my mouth and I am not a huge fan of omelets to begin with. But the unlimited amount of coffee will definitely get me back there. Also, because the place was adorable!)

With a steadily growing line of hungry patrons waiting behind , Hannah and Claire decided to quickly wrap up the food fest and open up their seats. (HA! That’s funny. This implies that we usually eat slowly which our usual readers will immediately detect as false. Yes we shovel food down like our lives depend on it and no amount of disgusted looks deter us form this. Take that Society!) After a quick stop at the cash register [mind you, they ONLY take cash…thank goodness for being a waitress and always having a wee bit of cash around!] our girls were back out into the sunlight and mumbling….”We’re…so…full….!”

Shout Out! Gotta give a quick shout out to Ed, who was heading home from working like an 18 hour shift as we were driving to breakfast!  Yay for the night shifts!

A breakfast feast for two:

Hawaiian Omelet: 2 eggs, smoked sausage, and Swiss cheese covered in sour cream and pineapple chunks. Served with rye toast.

Eggs Benedict: Sweet!

Whole Wheat Pancake: Huge and delicious!

Next time: Bacon Waffle [How in the world did we miss this?!] (Next time Claire, next time!)

Price – $22 (that includes parking…)


Hannah and Claire’s Tasty Tip:
If the food’s that good, it’s worth getting out of bed before 9 a.m. to consume and never deny free coffee refills!


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!


2707 E Lake St
Minneapolis, MN 55406
(612) 722-1312
http://www.towntalkdiner.com/


Round #5
– July 26, 2009 (This is out of order… we know… but things burrow into your computer sometimes and need to be hunted for through the cyber forest of gigabytes and megatrons.)

 

Hannah’s Note: I just want everyone to be aware that I don’t play favorites…. But this was definitely my favorite out of all the places we have visited. I am taking into account atmosphere, food, and the fun we had. This is just an all around wonderful place and if you haven’t been able to visit any of the restaurants so far, this is one that you just definitely don’t want to miss! And make sure you sit at the bar! It’s much more entertaining!

With the delicious memories of Victor’s 1959 Café still fresh in their minds, our two foodies venture towards onwards through the list Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. Next stop – Town Talk Diner.

Located off Lake Street in East Minneapolis, Hannah and Claire were familiar with the area – having visited the diner on numerous occasions only to find it closed…[may I remind you of a past Tasty Tip: Just because you assume that a restaurant is open does not mean that a restaurant is open.] Known as “The Finer Diner”, Town Talk prides itself as “a chef-driven, clever, creative, modern take on the classic American diner.  The menu features new spins on classic dishes like macaroni & cheese, meatloaf and fried chicken and all from local farmers for the ultimate in freshness, flavor and taste.(Just reading this makes me hungry! I love this place!)

Our girls slipped through the front door to find a near-empty restaurant waiting and a liquor-laden bartender holding a beverage asking: “you want something to drink?!” [Um, it’s free?! Yes please! And mind you, it was 3:30 in the afternoon on a Sunday, Hans and I know how to time our feasting…] (We sat at the bar, which I highly recommend because it was so much fun. The bartender was very excited and offered us a free drink. I not being 21 could not partake but the drink sounded wonderful, something along the line of herbs and mint or melon or something that just sounded refreshing!)

Having again familiarized themselves with the menu in advance, there was no time wasted on trying to decide what to order. However, with an unexpected joyful surprise there was 15 minutes left during Happy Hour and 1/2-off appetizers, a plate of Tempura Asparagus was ordered to munch while the meals were cooking. [And this is why you eat early dinners, not only are the restaurants near empty, but you have Happy Hour!!!] (Some may call us cheap, we prefer to think of ourselves as economical eaters! Hey, this way you can eat so much more!)

While waiting for the asparagus, Hannah and Claire sat at the bar and passed the time watching the bartenders (the bartenders were happy and laughing and taking the occasional shot and were quite the spectacle to watch) and laughing at the drink menu. Hannah’s favorite – The Panty Dropper, sorbet and sparkling wine ($6.50). [2.5 more years Han…2.5!] (I am not so sure that I want to drink this drink because I would like to keep my underwear where they are but it sounded HILARIOUS!)

When the appetizer arrived, the girls politely contained themselves from gnawing it down in one gulp and munched while the food cooked. (Lies! They were so delicious especially with the two sauces! I don’t remember what they were but they were delicious!)

(While we ate we listened to the conversations that happened around us and they were wonderfully entertaining! The Bartender was also the chef and while they chatted it up with those of us who were at the bar they would take shots in between. Yes my friends, shots of alcohol! To our right was a couple and one woman who quickly went from being strangers to sharing their drinks! The two people to our left were new to the establishment so the bartenders took it upon themselves to yell: “Virgin! Virgin! Virgin!” and shine the lights on them. Thank goodness Claire and I were spared.)

The food arrived [ps – my sandwich was HUGE!] and silence followed.  Hannah and Claire did the usual trade off, cutting each sandwich in half and swapping. (I just want to say that my burger was very delicious but Claire’s sandwich was freaking amazing! The chutney was the perfect balance of sweet and savory and the ham was nice and salty and it was warm and gooey. I could have eaten the whole thing and I probably would have if Claire didn’t beat me to it. All I can say is try it but whatever you get you will be happy. I promise!!)

With full mouths, they listened in to the conversations around them as the bartenders created drinks for other thirsty guests. [If you’re up for trying a new beverage, this is the place to go – A great drink menu and bartenders that will cater to your taste buds!] With empty plates and clean bowls [If I wasn’t in public I would have licked that soup bowl clean! I’d go back just for the Tomato Gorgonzola Soup. And mind you, I’m not a Tomato Soup fan…bad memories, but we won’t go there.  The Town Talk Diner found a way to combine tomato and cheese with just the right balance – creamy, cheesy, and just plain delicious.] our girls leaned back and heaved; “We’re so fullllllll…….!” (As we toddled out of the store the two gentlemen behind the bar called out to us “COME BACK WHEN YOU’RE 21!! Yes, my two dispensers of deliciousness, I will be back. Probably before I am 21 but definitely when I do! My friends if you take one thing away from this posting let it be this: GO HERE! You will have fun and you will get a great meal out of it! Sunday nights are super cheap for a feast and you can get some unique drinks. As the bartender said “You can’t get that at TGI Fridays!”) [Agreed!]

 

Tempura Asparagus – with Thai chili sauce, $6.50

Croque Monsieur – shaved ham, brie, pear and onion chutney, with a side of Tomato Gorgonzola soup, $9.75 (additional for soup [and worth every fricken penny!])

Kitchen Sink Burger – cheese, lettuce, tomato, bacon and kitchen sink sauce, $11.00

Watertight – Bacardi Watermelon Rum, watermelon juice, sparkling wine, basil, $8.00 [Perfectly refreshing!]

 

Hannah and Claire’s Tasty Tip: Never say no to a free drink…never.

Town Talk Diner