Archive | August, 2009

Fuji-ya

27 Aug

For my 27th birthday, Lauren surprised me by organizing a dinner at Fuji-ya in Uptown with some of our closest friends!  I never suspected a thing, except for when Jason called me late in the afternoon for directions to the restaurant.

All sorts of deliciousness exploding into my taste buds.

All sorts of deliciousness exploding into my taste buds.

I admittedly am doing this review more than a month after the meal, so I can’t remember exactly what all I had, but I know one of the rolls I ordered was the caterpillar roll, one of my all-time sushi faves.  I had never even tried sushi until 2007, and even then it took a while to grow on me.  But since I met Lauren, we have been ordering sushi more and more often and now it’s among my favorites.

Fuji-ya is about as good of sushi as I’ve had in the Twin Cities.  I am a fan of Mount Fuji, Origami, Wasabi, and Kabuki as well, and at this point it’s difficult for me to differentiate much between the places.  I tend to prefer sushi with the crispy outers but not sushi with smushy insides.  Lauren’s meal wouldn’t have been as much to my liking.  But I snarfed mine down and washed it down with some warm sake.

Like I said, I can’t say for sure if Fuji-ya is any better than any of the other sushi places, but I’d recommend it!  4/5 Noms.

Liffey’s Pub

2 Aug

Today, Lauren and I visited St. Paul to tour the Titanic exhibit at the Minnesota Science Museum (I touched part of the Titanic), but before that, we stopped for a late lunch at Liffey’s Pub in St. Paul, right down near the XCel Energy Center.

I ordered the Shepherd’s Pie and a pint of Boddington’s.  The food was excellent.  I am all about thick gravy, meat, and vegetables, so this was right up my proverbial alley.  And of course the Boddington’s is always a favorite.  As my good friend Patrick once described it, “it kind of tastes like air.”

I ordered the Shepherd's Pie, which came with a side salad.

I ordered the Shepherd's Pie, which came with a side salad.

Lauren opted for the bison burger, which she enjoyed but wondered if it was as lean as it could have been.  She also sampled four half-pint glasses of Guinness beers, including the original, the 250 special lager, Harp, and Smithwick’s.

Lauren opted for the bison burger.

Lauren opted for the bison burger.

Lauren also slammed back sample-sized Guinness brews.

Lauren also slammed back sample-sized Guinness brews.

The real fun was dessert.  The waitress talked me into ordering a 3-dessert sampler, supposedly small portions of their three desserts.  I anticipated little shooters or something, but I was shocked to receive full-sized portions of chocolate cake, apple crisp with ice cream, and a carmel apple cheesecake.  This was definitely the highlight of my meal, and all for only $6.99!  I made certain to hit the gym extra hard that night to work off what had to have been a couple thousand calories.

This 3-course dessert could have fed a family, but I did it proud myself.

This 3-course dessert could have fed a family, but I did it proud myself.

Aside from the food, I enjoyed the quiet, empty atmosphere of the 2:40 Sunday crowd, and the attentiveness of our vocal waitress, who did an excellent job with recommendations.  We tipped her well for her efforts.

Lauren:

It’s impossible to dislike the Liffey. I love it when I get the option to order a salad with a burger, and out of the kitchen comes a pile of mixed baby greens. But the burger itself was, unfortunately, very forgettable. For supposedly being a bison burger, it was incredibly greasy! I didn’t quite understand how that happened, unless it had been marinated in butter. Blech.

The real highlight of our visit to the Liffey for me, was the four teeny Guinness beers on a tray. Guinness 250 has just come out, so as a long-time fan of the dark Irish stout I had to try it. My verdict? I prefer the original Guinness. The anniversary brew had too much sweetness for me. I had tried Harp and Smithwick’s before, of course, but I enjoyed drinking out of the teeny little glasses.

When we go out to restaurants, it tends to be Ryan who wants to order desserts. I am actually not a very big fan of most restaurant desserts. I’m not a huge fan of dense, fudgy chocolate concoctions, and most cheesecakes you will find in an average restaurant are grainy and worth neither the calories consumed nor the money spent.

However, I can rarely resist a tasty fruit-based dessert. Don’t be fooled that I am trying to be “healthy” if I ever order a fruit dessert in front of you – I simply prefer desserts that are centered around seasonal fruit! So it was with gusto that I tucked into the apple-pear cobbler portion (middle) of the ridiculous dessert trio that Ryan was convinced into ordering. Nothing speaks of the approaching fall (and our approaching wedding!) like a spicy, fragrant apple crisp. Mmmm.

Ryan: Overall, I’d recommend Liffey’s for food and drink before or after your next Wild game.  4.4/5 Noms + bonus points for atmosphere and staff friendliness.

Lauren: Our waitress was very friendly and attentive, talking to me about the new Guinness 250, but the restaurant was also empty but for us. I didn’t care for my burger, to be honest, but the Liffey is still a great place to grab a beer and an appetizer before a Wild game. 3.5/5 Noms.