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Peoples Organic Café

6 Apr

Peoples Organic Café
Visited Sunday, April 3rd, 2011

peoples exterior

Ryan
Minneapolis has to have the highest number of organic brunch joints per capita in the nation by a wide margin. Every few weeks Lauren has found a new organic/natural place to try. These places continually annoy me because of their poor price-to-portion ratio. But as long as Lauren was paying, I was along for the giving it a try.

I was pleasantly surprised first of all to find out that we wouldn’t be waiting in a line of any sort, and that there was plenty of open seating. I had in my head visions of Good Earth, where we wandered around the Galleria for 35 minutes with a buzzer in hand. This place was quiet with no wait time at all.

peoples mocha

I found an item on the menu, the Peoples Organic Breakfast, that looked like it would be filling and cost-effective. For just $7.95, I received scrambled eggs, bacon, breakfast potatoes, and ciabatta toast. It came out in fast fashion, everything tasted good and fresh, and I’ll be damned if I wasn’t full at the end of my meal!

classic breakfast

Not much else to say about Peoples Organic Cafe, other than it was good and I’d do it again.

ryan at peoples

Lauren
This past Sunday, on the heels of a marathon 8 straight days of working for my beloved, I suggested a trip to the suburbs for some brunch. I had to pull a few teeth, though, because Ryan senses danger whenever I suggest going to a restaurant that has even a slight natural/locavore bend to it.

Surprisingly, for around 10am on a Sunday, Peoples was empty save for about a half-dozen occupied tables. This was a very refreshing change from any other time we have tried to go to brunch at that time, ever. I wonder if they were expecting a larger crowd at some point because they seemed almost over-staffed for the number of patrons.

peoples inside

We entered from the parking lot side, which made ordering kind of confusing; had we entered from the Galleria we would have walked past the build-your-own yogurt and oatmeal stations and the deli case of sandwiches (which aren’t listed on the menu chalkboards). I found this confusing, but I located them eventually and ended up ordering the egg/bacon/swiss croissant, which came with a side of potatoes, and a coffee.

peoples coffee

I love the mug that my coffee came in something ridiculous. For starters, it’s a decent size, not so small that it’s two sips and done, but not so big that the coffee gets cold before you can finish. But I really love the handle! See how nice and substantial it is? It really felt secure as I carried it from the ordering station to the table. Note to self: Find mugs with thick, sturdy handles, and don’t bring them out when company comes over.

After only a few minutes of sitting and admiring the decor – I really liked it, kind of a pleasant cross between a Starbucks and French Meadow. I love the chartreuse green – our food arrived.

people breakfast croissant

My breakfast sandwich was pretty good. It was very rich; I think the croissant is overkill. For one thing, when a buttery pastry is topped with egg, rich cheese and bacon it naturally all sort of coalesces into one big pile of richness. I think something a little bit sturdier (and, therefore, easier to pick up) would be advised. The potatoes were a real disappointment. They were just, blah. A throwaway side dish.

For what it’s worth, I think Peoples should take note from its big sister French Meadow, and serve a side of lightly dressed greens with their rich eggy breakfast dishes. People in Minneapolis go bonkers for French Meadow’s quiche with spring greens and toast, would people in Edina react negatively to salad for breakfast?

We had a Groupon ***, so Peoples was worth a shot. I don’t see myself returning any time soon — there are too many better options.

Ambiance – Very cute, light and bright with lots of green + brown to reinforce the “natural” feeling. It was very quiet when we were there but I think it would be uncomfortably loud had it been busy; they have a ton of tables jammed into a pretty small space. If I was in the area and had time to kill I think it would be a nice place to sit with a cup of coffee (or a Surly, hello) and use the wifi.
Service – Not really much to speak of; like French Meadow, you order at the counter and your food is brought out to you. The guy who took our order was exceptionally cheerful and eager to help.
Food – So-so. My breakfast sandwich did have the hidden surprise of roasted tomatoes, which provided a nice punch between the rich cheese, bacon and pastry. More would have been better. I think with some small adjustments, it could be much better.
Overall experience – It was fine. I liked that it wasn’t super busy and that we didn’t have to wait to be seated, which is a small miracle on a Sunday. But perhaps everyone else already knew what we didn’t – that Peoples doesn’t quite stack up. It’s better than average, but when you’re asking the customer to pay the “organic” price tag, you have to really deliver on the food.

The Necessities
Peoples Organic Café
3545 Galleria, Edina, MN 55435
952.426.1856

Have you eaten at Peoples Organic Café? We’d love to hear what you think in the comments section below!

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Great Mandarin

12 Mar

Elsewhere on the web: As part of our partnership with FNS Delivers, Ryan & Lauren review Great Mandarin in Eden Prairie.

Ryan’s reviewLauren’s review

Note: Outside of the cost of food, we are not being compensated for our writing at this time. We have no financial interest or stake in FNS Delivers. FNS Delivers is a wholly owned subsidiary of BLACKSUN PRODUCTIONS.

Greek Grill & Fry Co.

19 Feb

Elsewhere on the web: As part of our partnership with FNS Delivers, Ryan & Lauren review Greek Grill & Fry Co in Eden Prairie.

Ryan’s reviewLauren’s review

Note: Outside of the cost of food, we are not being compensated for our writing at this time. We have no financial interest or stake in FNS Delivers. FNS Delivers is a wholly owned subsidiary of BLACKSUN PRODUCTIONS.

Announcement

10 Feb

We at Eating in Minneapolis are thrilled to announce that we have partnered with the great team at FNS Delivers to write reviews for featured restaurants in the Southwest Metro!

If you live in, work in or visit Eden Prairie and you get hungry, be sure to check out FNS Delivers for delicious delivery options beyond Chinese food and pizza. Their rates are insanely good!

See our review of Kabuki Japanese & Korean here: Lauren’s reviewRyan’s review

Note: Outside of the cost of food, we are not being compensated for our writing at this time. We have no financial interest or stake in FNS Delivers. FNS Delivers is a wholly owned subsidiary of BLACKSUN PRODUCTIONS.

Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grill

25 Jan

Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grill
Visited Friday, January 14th, 2011

Lauren

I’ve only been to Vegas once as an adult, but Ryan has gone a number of times for work and when we were there two years ago, he said we really had to go to Toby Keith’s bar because they had these huge drinks and it was fun and random and a break from all the Las Vegas-y glitz and glamor. I’m not sure if he knew there were multiple locations or if it was just me thinking that it was a Vegas-only thing. I just want to emphasize at the start that I’ve been to the Vegas location and had a lot of fun there.

Ryan was really excited when he found out there would be a location opening up in the Twin Cities, and me less so. Places like that, to me, are only fun when you’re on vacation and you’re not as freaked out over a $10 drink…you’re on vacation! Time to cut loose and enjoy yourself, fer chrissake! But when you’re just a few miles from home your tolerance for price gouging is a lot lower…as is your tolerance for self-important a-hole bouncers and the bros’n’hos cohort.

I was really kind of pissy about going to TK’s in the first place, as I’ve been to the St Louis Park location twice and haven’t had all that much fun…the environment, the crowd, I don’t find any of it enjoyable. But our friend Patrick was having his birthday there so I reluctantly accompanied Ryan there in the snow. We were both starving so we sat with the gang and ordered food, crammed into a tiny booth. To be honest, they should give up the idea of even having a “dining area” as it’s a joke, just a handful of tables crammed into a section that is still SO LOUD from the music, as they didn’t bother building an actual wall. In my opinion they would be better off just having a bunch of big picnic tables to accommodate big groups. They are clearly trying to be more about music than anything else anyway, why not just go with it?

On the advice of one of Patrick’s friends I ordered the pulled chicken sandwich, which was a HUGE DISGUSTING MISTAKE. It wasn’t “pulled” it was “chunks of nasty” chicken, like the icky bits you trim off of a chicken breast or thigh. It was supposed to be a sandwich yet the bun was absolutely soaked, but there wasn’t any discernible flavor from any sauce so I’m not sure what soaked the bun. So I ate what wasn’t disgusting with a knife and fork and the whole night I felt sick to my stomach that I even ate that horrible sandwich. Why didn’t I complain? Despite the fact that I doubt anyone working at TK’s gives a rat’s a** about what food they are churning out, I should have told them how disgusting it was, just to have made my voice heard. The upside, if there could be one, was that the pickle and the fries were decent.

image

Our server was well-meaning but pretty much incompetent. There were a ton of us crammed into a little booth so maybe that was confusing, but one of the guys ordered just drinks and his tab, and sat there for a long time after getting his drinks, waiting to pay. When she didn’t come back, he left the money with the group and went over to the bar area where some other people were. Some time later after we had all finished eating, she put his drinks on Ryan’s and my tab, because “you guys were the last ones to ask for your bill”. So…? The person who ordered those drinks had asked for his check long before that! Not sure what her logic was. We got it straightened out quickly but we were definitely annoyed.

In the final analysis, if I never return to Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grill, it will still be too soon.

Ryan
When I visit Las Vegas, one of my favorite places to hang out is Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grill in Harrah’s. They have these giant super strong mixers for $15 that are actually worth $15. The bartenders pour shots in your mouth whenever “I Love This Bar” plays. And there is a great country cover band every night that doesn’t completely drown out the place. So I was super pumped when we got our own Toby Keith’s in St. Louis Park in 2010.

Unfortunately, in my three visits there, I have been vastly let down. Maybe I had unrealistic expectations. The one in Vegas is so much more fun and infinitely more welcoming, but the one in our neighborhood is wildly trendy and whenever I’ve been there, I am made to feel like I’m in the staff’s way. I just constantly get this negative vibe from the staff. I have been scolded every time I’ve been there or conversed with them; from a manager telling me he is not interested in sponsoring my softball team and to stop wasting his time, to a waitress telling me I can’t sit in a certain booth, to a security guard angrily and forcibly moving me so there was ample walking room near the bathrooms. There is always a line to get in to Toby’s, and I think they plan it that way. Even when there is enough room inside, they still like to keep people waiting to create this aura of a trendy venue. This whole place is just one big joke; it could so easily be a fun country bar but they are trying too hard to make it the next big nightclub in the Twin Cities.

The drink hook at Toby’s is beer served in mason jars. Yes it is bigger than a typical beer, but the prices are kinda crazy. I paid $8 for a Coors Light and $9 for a Summit. I am fairly certain they don’t cost that much in Vegas. The food is a slight positive, in my opinion. Though nothing special taste-wise, the dishes are lightheartedly named after Toby Keith songs and are pretty sizable. I ordered the country fried steak and was pleased to receive a giant steak sitting on top of a bed of mashed potatoes. I also was allowed to choose two additional sides and received a big helping of sweet potato fries and broccoli. Again, I was plenty satisfied with my food and left full, but it was not very memorable.

image

I had such high hopes for Toby’s, but it has failed on many levels for me. I don’t plan to go there again unless it’s for a concert, a friend’s birthday party or some other special event held by a friend. If I was ever thinking of eating there again, I’d go in the middle of the afternoon on a weekday when maybe there is no line to get in, and maybe one of their very few tables is open. Toby’s serves food but it is definitely not pushing the restaurant part of the business; it seems like an afterthought after creating its elitist vibe. If I was still ranking all of the restaurants we’ve visited for this blog, I am sure Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grill would be in last place by a wide margin. I’m just seriously disappointed with this establishment.

(Lauren)
Ambience –
Terribly loud and unpleasant. Would perhaps be fun if you were extremely drunk or at a bachelor/bachelorette party. It’s the size of an airport hangar and every corner of it is blasting with music from the stage or speakers, making it impossible to hear people you’re standing right next to, the drinks are expensive, and the only thing the staff seems concerned with is making themselves feel important.
Service – The service we’ve received has ranged from incompetent but nice to intentionally rude.
Food – Seriously, sincerely, not even worth eating. If you must, stick to anything deep fried or impossible to screw up – like I said, my fries and pickle were decent.
Overall experience – We love Patrick and hope he had a great birthday (we were texted a pretty funny photo the next morning that tells us that indeed, he did have a great birthday). If I, Lauren, have any say in the matter, we won’t be returning.

The Necessities
Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grill
1623 Park Place, St Louis Park, MN 55416
763.450.9999

Burger Jones

15 Jan

Burger Jones
Visited December 9th, 2010

image

Ryan

At my company, we go through Medica health insurance, and Medica has this nice little program where they reward you for taking surveys and challenges involving your health. Super easy to do, well worth the effort. Anyway, I cashed in $105 worth of rewards on a $75 Target gift card and a $30 Burger Jones gift card. Score! So recently, Lauren and I went to Burger Jones to redeem my $30 worth of healthy behavior in 2010.

I am a big fan of hamburgers, probably because I grew up on a cattle farm where we had freezers stocked full of beef products. It has been a personal food quest of mine to scour the Twin Cities for the perfect burger. I’ve had dozens, from Matt’s Bar to The Nook to Green Mill to Fuddrucker’s, and while many of them were awesome, none stick out in my mind as being the great “go-to” burger I’m seeking. I had hoped Burger Jones could fill that void.

I started my meal off with an adult “hard shake” called the Georgia Peach that included ice cream, vanilla wafers, peaches, peach schnapps, and best of all Jim Beam. The $10 price tag seemed steep, but it was free to me! Mmmm-mmmm was it tasty! My only complaint is it wasn’t enough for me… for $10 I could have had two regular milkshakes and skipped the Beam.

Not being a big cheese guy, I opted for the build-a-burger once again, and chose a medium hamburger with jalapeños, mushrooms, and smoky BBQ sauce, with a side of thick-cut onion rings. Our food was out in less than ten minutes, and I dug right in to that beast of a burger, which was piled high with slices jalapeños. It truly was delicious, as well as I would expect from a restaurant with Burger in the name. However, I would still not say that I’ve had a hamburger at a restaurant that is better than a burger I could cook myself at home using authentic Grade A South Dakota Glanzer beef. To be honest though, the onion rings were among the best I’ve had. It was truly the shake and onion rings that stand out to me about this place.

Our waitress was very pleasant and attentive, the food was great, and we were served in a very timely manner. The food wasn’t outrageously expensive, and they had a lot of unique food and drink options. I really enjoyed myself and would go back again.

Burger Jones, Minneapolis

Ryan

Lauren

I was a little wary when Ryan told me he opted for a Burger Jones gift certificate as I had not heard the best things about it when it opened a year ago. But that husband of mine sure does love his hamburgers! I’m not as much of a meat eater. Oh, the things I do to keep that Ryan Glanzer happy. 😉

For some reason, I was in a rotten mood that night, and when we were originally seated at a table that was right in the middle of the server stations it did not improve. I swear that we were in the center of a triangle of the silverware and napkins, the register and the drink station. I was not having any of that so we asked our server if we could move, and she was fine with it.

They had a decent selection of tap beers but I opted for the cheaper but tasty Grain Belt Nordeast. For food I had for the Green Chile Cheeseburger, with cilantro, salsa verde and an onion ring, along with white cheddar cheese and a side of the maple-bacon sweet potato fries. Ordering fries in addition to a burger is a good idea, I would say, as frequently I can’t even finish a burger at a restaurant. But with most of the specialty burgers priced at $10 and fries for $2 or $3, it’s pretty spendy for a basic meal.

Having said all that, I was actually pretty pleased with the food at Burger Jones. The salsa verde on the burger was decently spicy and I really liked how it came out of the kitchen – the onion ring was a cute little bowl for the salsa. The burger itself was tasty, but given the way they rave about their special blend of different cuts of beef I didn’t find anything too extraordinary about it. The sweet potato fries were not worth the hype to me; the maple-bacon flavor was in the form of little crystals that had been sprinkled over the fries like salt and I thought that given the $3 price tag, the portion was small. For me, that was okay. If we were to go back, however, I would skip ordering fries entirely.
image
One thing that really annoyed me about Burger Jones was some of their menu items were priced strangely. For instance, Ryan ordered a side of onions rings for $3, which came with three onion rings. The appetizer portion of onion rings is $7 and comes with six onion rings. The appetizer onion rings come with a dipping sauce, but ordered a la carte the dipping sauces are $.50, so it still doesn’t make sense.

Our service was good – it took us longer to decide what to order than it did for the kitchen to whip up our food, but I suppose that makes sense when you’re just toasting buns, frying burgers on a grill and sticking fries in a deep fryer. Impressive nonetheless, though.

Ambiance – I was actually very impressed with what they’ve done with this former Applebee’s space. It was chic, which you don’t expect in a burger joint.
Service – Friendly and accommodated my request to change tables. Food came out very fast.
Food – It was good, but I wasn’t blown away. It wasn’t the best burger I’ve ever eaten.
Overall experience – I had a good time, and I could be persuaded to go back. Burger Jones seems to be more about style than substance, but based on other reviews from when they opened it seems like they have come a long way in a year and a half.

The Necessities
Burger Jones
3200 West Lake St, Minneapolis, MN 55416
612.746.0800
Hours: 11 am-11 pm every day

BD’s Mongolian Grill

22 Nov

Written by special guest blogger Alison Beno, who filled in for usual bloggers Ryan and Lauren.

BD's Mongolian Grill

For my trip to BD’s Mongolian Grill, I was excited to review and critique my experience.  I went with my husband and sat down right away, no wait at all.  We were greeted by a waitress following sitting down and ordered an appetizer and waters.  I was very hungry so I just decided to head straight to the dinner buffet area.  We got our meats and vegetables; BD’s had a great selection of meats and seafood depending on your appetite.  They also have an awesome selection of dressings!  If you are not sure what dressing would compliment your meats and veggies, don’t worry—there is someone standing there to help you!

As we stood in line for our food to be cooked I was noticing the crazy large foil hats that people were wearing—something I had never seen done before for birthdays.  A guy was wearing one that looked like he had crazy hair coming out of his hat, and the girls had the biggest bows made out of foil!  It was very cool.  The man on the grill was a lot of fun to watch, flipping his knives and doing tricks with his utensils.

The food was great—I love making my own concoctions!  My husband loved his as well, so much he went for seconds!  For our last part of the meal we chose a tiny dessert from a carousel!  For anyone out there watching their figure, these were the perfect-sized desserts to make you feel like you wouldn’t fall off the wagon.  I chose the Reese’s peanut butter cup mini.  SOOO good! It was just enough to give you what you wanted!

Overall, great food! We are definitely coming back for more!