“When anybody asks, 'What are you writing about now?' if I try to reply, the book-in-the-works sounds so idiotic to me that I think, 'Why am I trying to write that puerile junk?' So now I give up; if I could talk about it, I wouldn't have to write it."
- Madeleine L'Engle, A Circle of Quiet


Restaurant Meme

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

I wasn't tagged for this, but I like stealing memes and it's been a while since I stole one. I stumbled upon this meme at Camy's Loft, and my penchant for thievery got the better of me.

Here are the meme rules:
*Link to the name of the person that tagged you

*Include state and country you live in

*List top 5 favorite local restaurants

*Tag 5 other people and let them know they've been tagged

And if you know me at all, you know I don't play by the rules when it comes to memes, so my standard rule applies. If you want to be tagged, consider yourself tagged!

We used to live in Minnesota until we moved recently. These are not all local restaurants, but they are a few of the restaurants I will miss most.

1) Buca di Beppo
Sure it's a national chain, but oh, what a chain. I love Italian food. Love, love, love it. My Geek and I talked for years about going to Buca before we ever made it there. When we finally did, we fell in love. The food is amazing, the atmosphere is fun and friendly, and I think I could eat there every night of the week. The Macaroni Rosa, with yummy marinara sauce, chicken, broccoli, mushrooms, and peas is perfection itself.

I'm in trouble; that was only the first out of five and I'm already drooling.

2) El Loro
This place is a chain, but I think it's only in the Twin Cities area. They serve authentic Mexican food. They have a great vegetarian menu too. In fact, that's all I ever ate there. When it comes to Mexican food, I'm all about the beans; refried, whole black beans, in a tortilla, on the side, I don't care. I just love beans.

3) Lotus Garden
I've only been to this place 2 or 3 times, but oh my, they make some good food. It's a tiny little Vietnamese Restaurant in a run-down little strip mall on Highway 65. From the outside it doesn't look like much. Inside it's decorated in a pretty typical Vietnamese restaurant style. But the really impressive part is the food itself.

When you order, they ask you if you want it mild, medium, or spicy. I asked for medium the first time I was there and the waiter advised I go with mild. I did. He was right. The food is very spicy, but ooooohhh so good. I challenge anyone to find a better eggroll than theirs, and the Vietnamese salad? To die for.

4) Athens Cafe
Teensy little Greek cafe in Robbinsdale. No atmosphere. Small tables. Order at the counter. Best dang Greek Vegetarian meal I've ever had. Their veggie combo is a heavenly plate full of spinach pies, falafels, and those grape leaf wrapped dill rice thingies that I can't remember the name of. (If you try it make sure to specify which veggie meal you want. They have one that is a plate of roasted veggies, also good.) It's all I ever tried there, because let's face it; when you find perfection you should not attempt to alter it.

And for dessert? My husband would recommend the baklava, which is good, but the pecan blossom makes me swoon.

5) Erte
I've saved the best for last. There is no place like Erte. It's a little corner restaurant in a not-so-great part of town, but there is nothing I don't love about this place. The atmosphere is slightly funky, but also very elegant. You can go in jeans and a sweater, or dressed to the nines, and you will not feel out of place. The staff is pleasant, professional, and helpful. They'll answer your questions and make it seem that doing so may just have been the highlight of their day.

And then there's the food. I've never had the steak, but my husband says it's the best he's ever had, and that's compared to some of the best steakhouses in Minneapolis. Personally, I have a whole perfect meal which I order every time we go there.

Start with the cheese platter. The cheeses change regularly, but there are usually four different types. The platter also has bread, grapes, sliced apples, and cinnamon toasted pecans. Mmmmm.

My drink of choice there is a Merlot from Chile. I can't remember the name of it, but if you like a good dry red wine, you would love this.

For the main course, Chicken Saltimbocca. It's so tender it melts in your mouth. I never have anything else; it's sad, I know, but it's that good.

And finally, for dessert, the creme brulee. The first time we had it, I think the Geek and I both almost cried it was so good. In fact, "so good" doesn't begin to describe it. Each bite is like a soft little cloud of heaven...edible heaven. With an angelic burnt sugar crust.

Erte is a little expensive (for the meal I described above – make it for two with him eating steak, and add a side or two – after tip, it runs close to $100), so it's where we like to go when we're celebrating something special. We plan to go when our old house finally sells. It will totally be worth the long drive back to MN. Oh lordy, I hope that house sells soon.

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At 1/16/2008 2:40 AM, Blogger Camy Tang wrote:

I'm all for thievery! LOL I'm completely drooling!!!!

At 1/16/2008 9:54 AM, Blogger Changes in the wind wrote:

I jumped on the train:):)


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