Tag Archives: airport

Morimoto & Gene Simmons


This is not a post on Halloween costumes.

I am really am going to tie Morimoto to Gene Simmons in this post. Just read on…


When we stepped off the plane in L.A., I saw a restaurant called SKEWERS by Morimoto. As a fan of all things food television, I would have loved to try a Morimoto restaurant. Chef Morimoto is the man!

Why didn’t I do a little more pre-trip research?!

In any case, at the end of our trip, when we got back to LAX with plenty of time before our departure, we found that we were in the same terminal/gate area as that Morimoto restaurant and it was time for lunch!

As we made our way down to the gate area where Skewers was located, we noticed a huge crowd around another airport bar/restaurant. Camera flashes were going off left and right. With all that going on, there just had to be a celebrity present. I couldn’t see, so I asked someone in the vicinity who just looked like she would know…

What’s all the hype about? Who is there?”

“It’s Gene Simmons. This is a new restaurant in the airport and he’s here for the opening.”

Sure enough, Rob pointed him out. You could see the back of Gene’s head. The texture of his hair is unmistakeable. {And, no, I did not take a photo of the back of his head.}

The place was closed for a grand opening or something, so we ventured on to SKEWERS for lunch.

Holy busy and airport-like! The dining area was small. There was no room for us at the bar. The entire area was open to anyone for seating, not just for those dining there. Service was horrible, but it wasn’t the guy’s fault. He was the only server in the entire place. 113It took us a good 15 to 20 minutes to get him over to our table and take a drink order/get us a menu.

We chose the Kushiyaki and Kushisage, both with beef so that we could split them.

112To be honest, they didn’t taste much different from what you’d find in a food court. Ouch. The quality of the meat wasn’t very good either. But what should we expect in an airport restaurant? I’d once heard that you can’t really do much with airport restaurants because they are all run through one entity.

But then why is it that we’ve had decent, even excellent, food at other airport restaurants before?!

I’m quite sure Chef Morimoto would not be pleased that his name is on this restaurant. At least not by what we were served that day.

After that disappointing meal, I did some walking around. We still had a lot of time and I thought it would just be nice to have a cup of coffee or a beer at a bar and relax.

As I was coming back from a shop where I picked up a San Pe for me and a juice for Rob, I noticed that the Gene Simmons Rock and Brews restaurant was finally open for patrons! I walked in and found a couple of seats at the bar and texted Rob to leave the gate and join me. They had plenty of beers on tap.114

There are few interesting things to note about this place.

  • They really pushed the booze. I kept hearing the bartender ask if people were ready for a shot or wanted a shot of X for dessert.
  • They play old music videos! Instead of sports, you can watch old rock videos for hours on end. Okay, so they did change one of the tvs to a game, but without sound. The sound remained on the music videos! I loved that. It was nostalgic to watch old videos and talk about them. I wish more places did that.
  • The Hello Kitty Kiss dolls on the wall in the above photo.

Our bartender was Pawn Stars’ Rick Harrison’s doppelganger. And while he was trying to push the booze, I just really wanted an easy drinkin’ porter. “Just leave me alone so I can watch some videos!” I thought to myself. I wasn’t about to do a bunch of hard stuff and get onto a plane. Although, maybe that’s a rock star sort of thing?? He also liked to talk a lot and not really listen. Since our lunch at Skewers wasn’t really that filling, we ended up ordering a small flatbread. When the bartender asked if we wanted to add chicken, we explained that Rob was allergic. He added chicken sausage. I still don’t think he understood why we sent it back. We ended up paying $5 for the “added” chicken anyway.

No matter what, I thought the place was cool and I wish there were more places that played old videos like that! It would be a good change from Sports All The Time.


So, if you want a re-cap of our California Trip in the CORRECT order, here you go:

Before Taking Flight…


Beverly Hills

Malibu & Venice Beach

Old Town Temecula

10 Tips for Tasting Wine in Temecula

South Coast Winery & Resort

What We Learned about Wine in Temecula

PUBlic House – Temecula

Temecula Breweries

Where are you planning your next vacation?


Before Taking Flight…


I like Ike’s.

You may be surprised that I’m stating this, given that I’ve expressed my undying love to Surdyk’s Flights pre-vacay. Yes, SF still remains my favorite place to dine/sip wine before departing the MSP airport. However, our flight to LAX departed at 11:30am last Friday morning. At 10am, I wasn’t really fine the wine vibe. In addition, we’d be wine tasting half of the vacation.

I thought we’d grab something quickly at home and just pick up a good cup of Caribou Coffee before boarding.

Then I had an idea. I began to ask The Google what the best bloody mary was at the MSP airport. The Google couldn’t differentiate MSP with Mpls, so I got a list for the entire city instead. However, in that Top 10 was a downtown Minneapolis restaurant that has been around for years, one to which we’d never been. Not too long ago, they opened up a location in the airport.


We settled up to the bar at about 10am and I ordered The Weekender.

Look at all of the garnishes!

Look at all of the garnishes!

Then we checked out the breakfast menu. Ike’s has a breakfast burger! {Surprisingly, Rob didn’t order it.}

I went with the Key Wester.

006Normally, I prefer omelets with all kinds of veggies – spinach, tomatoes and fresh mushrooms being some of my favorites. But the Key Wester just spoke to me that day.

Rob tried Bill’s Corned Beef Hash.


Then my Weekender Bloody Mary arrived:

The Weekender

The Weekender

Yes, that’s a lot of garnishes! Garnishing is an art form when it comes to the presentation of a Bloody Mary. However, I am firm believe that doesn’t make one. Bloodies need to stand on their own! I’ve had plenty of bloodies that tasted like tomato juice melted down with ice.

This was not one of them!

It had a wonderful spice {not too hot} that made me crave a beer chaser. Since I was not offered one, I requested one. The bartender had no trouble retrieving one for me and even asked me what my choice was. Surly Furious was on tap. YES PLEASE! And she didn’t charge me for it. {Sometimes the chaser is included, but they add a surcharge more for a higher end beer.}

Yes, I was happy. Yes, I was pleased. What a way to start a vacation!

My breakfast was delicious, too:

The Keywester

The Key Wester

The hashbrowns were nice and crispy. Since there were two “pieces”, I slid one over to Rob’s plate. The toast was above average and the omelet nice and creamy, well, with that cream cheese in it and all.

Unfortunately, Rob was not that thrilled with his:


It was good enough for him to finish it, but he said it could have come out of a can. He’d order something else next time.

Our bill was a little high, but it is an airport after all:


But with my Bloody Mary, Rob’s two drinks and a breakfast for each of us, it was worth it. Maybe I’d order just a regular bloody mary {not The Weekender with all of the garnishes} next time.

Even better, our nearly four-hour flight would put us in LAX after lunchtime. We were full enough that we could just skip lunch and enjoy dinner when we met up with our friends.

Another great start to a vacation!

What are your favorite Bloody Mary garnishes?

What are your favorite omelet fillings?


Surdyk’s Flights – Getting to the Airport


We like to get to the airport early. I’m talking, at the very least, two hours before flight time. It’s not just to give us time to go through security. We know there’s plenty of time for that. But we don’t want to feel rushed. When we are going on vacation, we want to start our vacation right away. And for us, it starts at the airport, before we even leave the soil of our resident state.

I know a lot of people don’t like to dine at airports because they think it is too expensive. And it is. But there is something to be said about starting your vacation the minute you get through security. Sure, if I have a morning flight, I generally do eat ahead of time or bring a banana or Fiber One Bar or some nuts of some sort along with me for some a.m. fuel. Then, when I find the nearest coffee shop (be it Starbucks or Caribou Coffee), I get myself a nice, warm and happy medium Americano. {I especially do this if said flight is 7am or earlier!}

However if we are going to have a little lunch or dinner at the MSP airport, I insist that we go here:

Surdyk's Flights (source shopmsp.com)

Surdyk’s Flights (source shopatmsp.com)

Surdyk’s Liquor and Cheese Shop is located in Northeast Minneapolis and has been an institution since 1934. Not too long ago, Surdyk’s put a wine market and bar in the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport (Terminal 1, aka the Lindbergh Terminal). Cleverly named Surdyk’s Flights, it’s where I like to get a flight or glass of wine pre-departure… and not to mention, a little bit of grub!

The first time I discovered Surdyk’s Flights, I enjoyed a flight of wines with a salami sandwich. It was simple and delicious. This isn’t a fancy wine bar. There’s just a handful of two-person booths and a side counter that serves as a bar. The food menu is simple: cheeses, meats, antipasti, salads and sandwiches. That’s it. And if you are on the run, you can grab one of their pre-made sandwiches to go. And these aren’t your average airport-to-go sandwiches. These are made with high quality, fresh ingredients. Grab one for your flight and your seatmate will be soooo jealous.

I’ve forced Rob to try Surdyk’s Flights when we travel together. After the first time, I haven’t needed to twist his arm again.

When we flew to Las Vegas this past winter, we sat at the bar for lunch. After perusing the beverage menus, we decided on wine flights. I went with the Tiny Bubbles because bubbly is something that’s not often served by the glass. And getting Rob to share a bottle with me is rare.

Tiny Bubbles

Flight of Tiny Bubbles: Vinho Verde, Prosecco, Moscato d’Asti

Rob went with a flight of reds:

red flight

The Robust Reds: Desert Wind “Ruah”, Klinker Brick Farrah Syrah, Kenwood Jack London Zinfandel

I love the tomatoes behind the glass in that photo! Among that flight of wines, Rob actually ended up finding a new favorite that day…

Klinker Brick

Klinker Brick Farrah Syrah from Lodi, California

If you aren’t in the mood for wine, they do offer beer by the bottle and some fun cocktails…


I like the idea of the MSP Overshot! Remember when that happened? I love that they made a drink named after it.

That day, we ordered a cheese and meat platter:

meat and cheeses

Selection of Three Cheeses & Three Salumi – $16
with olives, cornichon, fruits, nuts and marinated vegetables

It may not look like much, but it was the perfect amount of food for two. Really.

On our next trip to Surdky’s Flights, Rob really wanted to get the wine he adored on the previous visit, since he hadn’t seen it since:


Here’s the cool thing… Since Surdyk’s Flights is also a wine shop {you’ve already gone through security, so you can purchase wine to take aboard your flight}, when you order a bottle of wine, you pay for the shop price of the bottle – not the double or triple retail price you see at most restaurants! SF-Klinker BrickTherefore, the cost of this bottle was only $17.99! That’s virtually unheard of in a restaurant. However, if you want to order a glass of this wine at Surdyk’s, you’ll pay $11. No kidding.

passport book and cigs. drress

I love that your check comes in a little passport book with some candy cigarettes…

On this occasion, we decided to on just the cheese:


Selection of Three/Five Cheeses – $12/$16
with quince paste, fruits and nuts

And although they aren’t pictured, I’d highly recommend the sandwiches… especially if you don’t get to the airport early enough to sit down and have a pre-vacay beverage.

I adore Surdyk’s Flights. And there’s got to be a reason why it’s rated one of the best airport wine bars, even though it doesn’t really have a bar feel.

How early do you get to the airport?