I have gotten myself in to an expensive habit.
I am going restaurant crazy lately! Dinner, brunch, happy hour, you name it. I would even say that dining experiences have become a hobby of mine. Great food and drink over great company - it's really all I want in life!
It is quite an expensive hobby for a soon-to-be college grad, though, so I am going to have to reign it in a bit in the next few months. I'd like to take this opportunity to share with you all the great eats throughout the Twin Cities!
Let's see...where to begin!? I'll start with the most recent.
Last night Sarah and I enjoyed happy hour at the Aster down on St. Anthony Main. What a hidden gem! Very urban with exposed brick but also intimate, and in my eyes, kind of sexy! Great date night. Another bonus about the cafe is its frequent live performances. Happy hour specials are very inexpensive - $3 domestic taps, $3 house wines, $3 cheese plates (Sarah and I got the Brie, bacon, and cranberry plate - FAB!), and $5 signature cocktails.
The Bulldog Northeast
This is my favorite and my go-to place for happy hour. I can never pass up a Bell's 2Hearted, and their fennel fries are fantastic. Great crowd, too. And I almost forgot to mention - homemade cupcakes!
French Meadow isn't too out of the ordinary. Over the years it has kind of become my friends' and my place for breakfast, although lately we have been branching out more. The past few weeks I have gone early on weekday mornings to relax and read over a nice breakfast. I have been getting the same thing, too - FM's daily fruit and nut pancake. This pancake has become my new pastry. Today it was apple pecan, last time banana pecan, and the time before that, raspberry and granola. So yummy.
Nestled in a quiet residential neighborhood in NE, this restaurant was abuzz on a Thursday night. The single-room dining space was so inviting, and I LOVED the navy blue walls. The bar is dark and Victorian-esque. Ultra cool. Great food, great wine, great service.
Not only is the food superb at this Latin American-inspired restaurant at the corner of 46th and Grand, the ambiance is perfect - warm and intimate with a definite South American feel. I had conchas - scallops served over a butternut squash risotto - so delicious. This night was the ultimate splurge (at least for a college student)! But totally worth it.
Even if the food wasn't great at the Blackbird, which it was, I would keep going back just for the atmosphere. Floor-to-ceiling windows cover the front and part of the side of the restaurant, filling the space with natural light. I am a total sucker for interior design and decor, and the Blackbird is so great - totally shabby chic. Tons of vintage mirrors cover an entire wall. I went for brunch with Emily and Sarah. We didn't get drinks but were admiring all of the fancy breakfast drinks they served! Be sure to order the hash browns when you go!
La Chaya Bistro
La Chaya Bistro sits in a cute little building on Nicollet right off 46th. (It is a bit hidden behind the BP on the corner.) Another hidden gem. Again, a great date place, and the food was truly fantastic. I had a chipotle-rubbed grouper served over roasted potatoes, broccoli, and zuchini. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. I had to savor every bite!
Best Indian food I've had (although I guess I haven't tried a ton of Indian restaurants). BUT, I did recommend it to a friend, and he said it's his new favorite, too. Their lunch buffet is very inexpensive and very good - make sure to try the veggie fritters and coconut shrimp curry. Also, they have a seasoned naan bread (I can't remember the seasoning) that is super delicious. Gorkha is a relatively new restaurant in NE that is a bit hidden but on the same block as Bulldog. Every time I go in I just think, I hope so much that your little business is doing well because it is so great! So, support Gorkha Palace!
Town Hall Brewery
Town Hall is my other favorite for happy hour. LOVE to bike there in the summer and sit out on the patio. TH has excellent beer - make sure to try the Cocoa Nut. Masala Mama is great, too!
Is that it for now?! I guess so! I will keep you posted on other great eats. At least I am putting my new expensive hobby to good use!