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Saturday, March 19, 2005

La Tapatia

We've eaten food from here a couple times. Usually we get it to go, but today we ate it there. We got these chicken gorditas & Tostada Ceviche. The gordita shell are homemade and everything in them is very fresh. If you have never had ceviche before (we first had this in Costa Rica and then again in Mexico & I've made it at home once) it is white fish that is soaked in lime juice and mixed with some onions & cilantro & whatever else you prefer to put in it. The acid of the lime juice "cooks" the fish. I am sure we will be eating a lot of this starting next week.

So, what does La Tapatia mean? I had to look it up and this is what I found:
La Tapatia is an endearing name given to the women of Guadalajara, said to be the most beautiful women in all of Mexico.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

TGI Friday's (Bloomington)

Day 2 of the conference, so day 2 of lunches out. The conference is at the Sheraton and this was right next door, so it was convenient and we didn't have to worry about losing our good parking spots.

And again I did the soup/salad/breadstick (yes, I wrote breadstick). For lunch they have this combo (I think it was $6.95) of soup (your choice), garden salad, and a breadstick. My soup was broccoli cheese. It was topped with cheddar cheese and was very rich tasting - so I loved it. The salad was good. It had a good ranch dressing (like I said, the dressing is important to me.) The breadstick was just ok. I dipped it in my soup. I don't think I would have eaten it without dipping it in anything, as it was kinda bland.

Misun ordered a side of breadsticks (she loves bread) and some French Onion Soup. It had so much mozzerella cheese on top that she had to eat it with a fork and knife.

I think if I compare Friday's to Olive Garden and had to pick one over the other, I would pick Olive Garden. I liked that their soups tasted more fresh and the breadsticks tasted better, plus it helps that it is a little cheaper and you know you can eat until you are full.

Olive Garden (Bloomington)

Misun & I ate here for lunch during the conference on Wednesday. We had the soup/salad/breadtsicks for $5.95 with unlimited refills. My soup was the Pasta e Fagioli. They served the soup in a bowl only half full, so of course we got refills on that. The salad was predictable and good, although they always put way too much dressing on it. The breadsticks were warm (I hate when they are not!) It was a nice comforting meal.

Da Afghan (Bloomington)

It's this little place tucked away and is a little difficult to find, but so worth the search. It was an adventure, as we had never had Afghani food before. We arrived just after 5pm for an early dinner on a Tuesday night and for most of our dinner we had the place to ourselves.

I like that is was actually owned by Afghani people. We were greeted, given suggestions, and given some flatbread and 2 types of chutney (one was kinda spicy and the other had a strong cilantro flavor). We started out with the appetizer cold spread sampler (which included more flatbread, hummus, and baba ganoush - it's basically like hummus but made with eggplant instead of chick peas.) We really liked the flatbread. Andy wanted to order the baba ganoush, just because it is fun to say.

We were served this soup, that was very good. It's hard to explain what it was, I guess the best way to say was that it was their version of chili.

I am not sure what the names of our dishes were, as I can't remember, but I will describe them. Each of our entrees was served with basmanti rice. The main meat in each of our entrees was lamb. Mine tasted like a beef mushroom stew, but with lamb. I topped it with the chutneys and found it to be very delicious and the lamb was very tender. Andy's was a bunch of other veggies and lamb in a curry sauce. Some of his meat pieces were chewy, but he stilled liked it.

For dessert we asked the server/owner what he recommended and he said "Heineken." Funny guy. He then said he doesn't eat desserts, but they make the baklava homemade there and people really like it. So, that is what we ordered. It was excellent. It was served warmed with honey on top. We split one. It was small, but cheap (I think it was $2.75. Next time I think we will each get our own. Although the amount of butter you can taste in it will probably clog my arteries, but it will be worth it.

I highly recommend Da Afghan. I know we will be returning.

Monday, March 14, 2005


We don't have any plans to go to Benihana's anytime soon. There is one in Golden Valley that we went to frequently in grad school. We went after every semester to celebrate. Now we only get there once a year. On there website they have recipes for their delicious food.

I think the favorite of everyone's is the Cream Sauce.

Benihana's Cream Sauce
2 cups soy sauce
1/3 cup ground roasted sesame seeds
1 cup whipping cream1 pinch garlic powder
1 teaspoon dry mustard dissolved in 1 teaspoon water

Combine ingredients in blender or food processor and mix together for 15 seconds. Pour mixture and one cup whipping cream into saucepan, stirring over low heat. Sauce may be stored in refrigerator for up to 3 days. When re-heating, add 6 tablespoons whipping cream and stir completely before serving.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

More posts to come

This coming week I will be having a birthday, which means dinner out. I am going to a conference (lunch is on your own, so I think I will check out a couple restaurants in the area) on 2 of the days, and one day Andy & I are meeting for dinner before I go to hangout with Jessi. So, I should have a minimum of 4 posts next week.

I think I will review the places we eat at in Costa Rica as well. It will be good to document what I thought of all those.

I'll try to provide links back to previous posts if I review a place again.

Timberlodge Steakhouse (Chain, Owatonna location)

We just got back from the Timberlodge.

We went there for a late lunch/early dinner. My birthday is next week and if you sign up for their birthday club they send you a coupon in your email. Last year it was BOGO free meals. This year it was $10 off your bill.

We arrived there at 3:15, which was was too late for lunch (15 minutes late) and Andy was bummed as he was hoping for some type of burger or sandwich. I already knew what I was going to have, the Soup & Salad Combo (it's actually a Soup, Salad, or Potato combo - pick 2 of them.)

Another thing to note is that from 3-6 pm daily, they have Happy Hour, which consists of 2fer's on tappers, bar pours, and house wines. Andy was not in the drinking mood, so he ordered a Coke. I ordered a House Merlot, which is actually pretty decent.

We then started out with there Paul Bunyan Onion. The dipping sauce was a little strong on the horseradish and I think it helped clear up my sinuses a little bit. It was good and we ate about 2/3 of it. We needed to save room for food.

We both ordered the soup & salad combo (wild rice soup for both of us, a spinach salad for me, and a garden salad for Andy) and it comes with their homemade wheat bread loaves too. My spinach salad was looking a little on the skimpy side, but came with plenty of very yummy dressing (usually it has some hot bacon dressing, but I asked for Ranch) and hard boiled egg and real bacon bits. Andy's salad was a traditional garden salad with a bunch of veggies and real bacon bits as well. I think we both enjoyed our salads. The soup was in a bowl and was very thick. We could not finish all our soup and brought them home (mmmm....lunch for me tomorrow.) The bread was served warm and with their herb butter. We got 2 loaves and only ate 1 1/3, so the rest goes with lunch.

We were about done, but the waitress was such a charmer and offered to buy me a birthday dessert. Wow! Such a sweetheart. Bring it on!

She asked if we wanted the strawberry cheesecake, something else, or would like her to surprise me. I went for the surprise! She came out with this HUGE piece of cheesecake with strawberries on top. It tasted like it was cream cheese whipped with Cool Whip and had a light graham cracker crust. It was very good. And FREE!

I would say that we come to Timberlodge for a meal 4-5 times a year and a little more often for Happy Hour. I don't think I have ever been disappointed in the food or the service. The price can get to be a little much, but when you get $10 off and a free dessert, the price is just right.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Shady Hill Grill (Rochester)

We at the Shady Hill Grille in Rochester tonight. We had never eaten here before. For drinks we started out ordering a Coke (nope, they have Pepsi products) and a Raspberry Ice Tea (nope again, they only have unsweetened ice tea). The restaurant is in a Best Western and I swear there were a bunch of kid parties going on and you had to go through the restaurant to get to the pool (this might not have been the case, but there was a bunch of kids in wet swimsuits running through the restaurant.)

We ordered our food Garlic Shrimp (for me) and Apple Cider Pork (for Andy). Each was about $13.00 and included the salad bar and soup. The salad bar was small but included quite a bit. They have a really good ranch dressing and having a good salad dressing can make a salad fantastic. They soup was a Ham Bean Soup and that was pretty good as well.

Our entrees came out and there were large baked potatoes on there and a huge helping of steamed green beans along with the meat. The beans were steamed/boiled too much as they tasted like they were injected with water. The potato was on the dry side. We went to put the butter on them (nope, it's margarine, that is a certainly a wait to ruin a vegetable) and the sour cream on the potato (nope, not sour cream, it was like in fake sour cream or a yogurt ofg some sort - not the rich sour cream I was hoping for.) My shrimp (6 large ones) was good, although it was odd that chopped garlic was just thrown on it. Andy wasn't as impressed with his pork. I don't think it was as he expected and intially thought it was processed pork (but it wasn't).

The service was just ok, nothing stellar. But the fact that yelling wet kids were running around really killed the ambiance.

Some one near by was having a sandwich with fries & it looked good. I might have gotten that, but I really liked the soup & salad bar (which does not come with a sandwich.)

I don't think we will be returning.

The Purpose

I am in no way a professional food critic, but we eat out often enough that I thought I might like to post a review of the meal, service, price, etc. I would say we eat out at least twice a week. We've been trying new places lately, so this could be kinda fun. Although keep in mind that I am very thrifty and usually use coupons. I choose to try to eat out for more often by eating cheaply.

This is My Restaurant Review website. But I think I will post recipes I like on here, just because food is so awesome and it will be easier to write about all the good food I eat here.