Corner Table, Minneapolis, MN

My second time, during restaurant week, just go...

Appetizer of smoked salmon rilette, very good with baguette
Main dish was the lightest gnocchi I have ever had, with Hen of the Woods mushrooms, a creamy Gruyere-based sauce who's origin I forget but loved the light green color
For dessert, they had me at "chocolate cake"... plus caramel, whipped cream, and some sort of burnt sugar brittle/meringue. Chewing the brittle basically fused my teeth together for a few minutes - like if you've ever bite down on a half-sucked Jolly Rancher
You're helpless to resist...

Terzo / T3RZO Vino Bar, Minneapolis, MN

A few pics from a quick, solo, weeknight dinner. I would love to take a moderate to big group here. The people are great, and the food and drinks follow their lead. 

I started with a drink, Indeed Brewing's Sweet Mamma Jamma
They do something nice with some of their beers by offering a 10oz pour. In some cases the ABV is so high that the city requires this smaller size. In my case, I like being able to have some of one and then some of another if I so choose
Each night they offer a different $1 bite of something interesting. If I recall, this was peppercorn whipped goat cheese, arugala, walnut and red grape. It usually does not disappoint, especially for a buck

The other side of the same spoonful
I had one of their porchetta sandwich selections that they do very well. This one was porchetta with truffled crimini mushroom and garlic-parsley aioli. Not BBQ or smoked pork either, but just really nice slow-roasted pork. They give all the sandwiches an Italian spin rather than anything with American flavors. I mean, this place is part of the Broder's family of restaurants (three kids, three joints).

While I ate, the bartender was nice enough to give me some drink samples too - I had 2-3oz of a great Dog Fish collabortion with an Italian brewery (now forgot which) and 2-3oz of a very nice Sangiovese-based red wine.

Though everything was pretty filling, I went whole-hog (pun intended) and grabbed a scoop of almond gelato to finish the meal.


Chef Shack, Minneapolis, MN (Cooper/Seward)

Have you heard of this place? I'm told it began life as a food truck and has now morphed into a kitschy little spot in Seward (plus the truck's still around too). We decided to hit it up on a Saturday night before heading out to a concert. Boy, was it a great idea.

It's a very unassuming decor allowing just about anyone to feel at home and comfortable. The menu is simply a board you read from, order at the counter, then sit down and wait for delicious to arrive. 

And did it ever. Fries with pulled pork, smoked meats, German potato salad, pickled vegetables, grainy mustard. It was awesome and that was just our appetizer and main. 

We could hardly stop our forks...

And now the best part - desserts! We ordered the Indian-spiced donuts and chocolate pot de creme. The latter was amazing. Like chocolate ice cream, but not frozen. The donuts were freshly fried and pillowy puffs of dough, but the spice was missing. We mentioned this to our hostess and as if to placate us, she said she could bring us a free creme brûlée.

"Excuse me, Miss, did you say free creme brûlée? I see. Yes, I think that will do nicely...and I love you."

I'm going to have to go back only to try the items on the menu I wanted to eat this night but couldn't fit into my stomach. 


Quote of the Week

Between the idea
And the reality
Between the motion
And the act
Falls the Shadow

- T.S. Eliot, "The Hollow Men", 1925
[the first page of the book I picked up today, Walking Through Shadows by Bev Marhsall]


Nelson Family Farm (Corn Maze+), Litchfield, MN

It happened again. No, not that. My coworker that lives in the "western suburbs" (aka, rural) of the Twin Cities texted me late at night. Ok, so it was the afternoon. In any case, he wanted to know if I was up for a surprise outing in his neck of the woods. At this point, there's almost nothing he can suggest that I won't do, so it didn't take much convincing for me to accept the invitation. I would meet them around 1pm on Sunday afternoon. I should dress to be outdoors and maybe not in the best clothes I own (aka, no tuxedo).

So, I did as I was told. I met them at their house and we took a relatively short drive from Delano, MN to Litchfield, MN (Google it, I dare you). We arrived at the Nelson Family Farm and were directed to find a parking spot...

Once we paid our $8 adults fee for entry, the world of fall fun opened up. We could do any number of activities... trebouchet spectating, rides, pet animals, corn maze, pumpkin shopping, almost a you-call-it of autumn fun. And we did almost all of it...

Rural "Energy Bar"? Yes

The "punkin' chunkin" was particularly dramatic, especially for a city boy like me. A large 16lb pumpkin wound up smacking right into a large tree - whammy! It had no chance.

Though I did take a hard look at the "Farm Hideout", I opted not to do this, this time... I'm already regretting it.

In one hole and out the other in total darkenss. Not for the faint of heart. Hopefully no kids are stuck in there either. Next year...

I did say yes to all this though...
Telephone pole balance beams? Yes

"Maze practice"? Yes

Snowless Tobaggan Ride? Yes.

Crazy, herky-jerky tractor ride? Yes... each car had a double hinge that made normal forward movement almost impossible, and more fun

That rear cars are the most fun, duh!
Animal petting? Maybe. You could pet til your heart's cow-tent

Jump into an old silo, just for fun

And another pitch-black maze thing... no thanks on this one ever

Farm humor!
Can you see me? I'm only two rows in on the maze trail
We wound up finishing off our day with the maze, then a pic or two on a huge, retired combine.

During much of the 2-3 hour adventure, I was surprised I'd seen no child get hurt on many many opportunities in this veritable rural obstacle course. Sure enough, I just had to wait until the last thing to see it. While I waited for my turn in the combine, we watched, in slow motion, a mother carry her 3-4 year old daughter out of the combine cab. With one hand on the ladder and one hand on the child she made it about one step down before she turned 180 degrees the wrong way on the ladder and dropped her daughter about five feet to the hard-scrabble farm earth below. The daughter hit with a limp thud and then began the tears (which I could not have held back myself if I were in her shoes). Before we could rush to help the young girl, her mom had made it all the way down the ladder and picked her up. Of course, we saw all of them on the way out a few minutes later and the little kid was already back to her normal self. Phew, a corn-miracle.

If I'm ever in the 'hood again, I'd do this in a heartbeat. Highly recommended.


Finally! Samsung Galaxy Alpha

It took some time, patiently waiting like Gollum in the dark, but it seems and feels worth it so far. Of course, I had to port my number back to AT&T and sign up for one of their new-fangled Next plans, but it's done. I'm back to a capable Android phone.

Some specs:
- 2.5Ghz Quad-core processor
- 12mp camera
- 32gb internal memory
- 4G capable
- super AMOLED screen
- Android OS, 4.4.4 KitKat 
132.4 x 65.5 x 6.7mm (quite thin)
Mine's actually one of the black versions (2nd image).

Now, I just have to deal with finding a case. Since it isn't a hugely popular phone, it doesn't have quite the "case-following" as others. I will probably wind up with two options - 1. sticky back wallet pocket from Distl Union that I can keep in the front pocket without another wallet and 2. a simple, snap-on case to protect it when held in the back pocket.

My precious.


Le Town Talk Diner, Minneapolis, MN

This may turn out to be one of my most unique restaurant posts, as I don't really have any pics of the food, and will likely not talk about it too much. In a nutshell, the whole trip to Le Town Talk Diner was good, maybe even better than good. Except, I don't know if it's the somewhat bleak neighborhood, the chilly air in the restaurant that night, or the semi-empty rooms, but it was missing something.

Even the decor is better than average, pretty cute if you have a group for the large round table, or want to tuck into a booth. Though, in the middle of this neighborhood, I found the French theme a bit out of place. I do understand that the owner(s) are from Marseilles, but the French music, menu, and drinks just didn't do it for me. That's not to say any of the fare was bad, again, it was all good, but I just didn't get it. Maybe I need to go back again or have this in my own neighborhood as my "go-to" spot. 

Here's the rundown of my food choices:
- ocktoberfest beer, amen 
- tomato soup with creme fraiche and chive, hit the spot on a chilly, windy October evening
- Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald porter, delicious
- a bite of a shared appetizer, tartine (a French twist on an open-faced grilled cheese with tomato and fennel)
- steak frite, was told at the bar it was 6oz, but it came out as 10oz. Alright. I ordered it medium-rare and it was just rare...I just ate it. The fries were thin and crispy.  
- for dessert we split their chocolate mousse, this had very little mousse structure, almost sticky, but did have chocolate and a warm spice/heat, and since another person in our group sent her under-cooked steak back, we got it comp'ed 

This tomato soup with creme fraiche did hit the spot after my first beer, while I waited for my fellow diners at the chilly bar

This round table would be fun for any group, no doubt

The menu is well laid out, relatively simple, and not overwhelming


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