Tag Archives: apple valley restaurant

Vivo – My Happy Hour


I don’t know why I forget to make Vivo Kitchen in Apple Valley a South of the River go-to restaurant!

I mean, they have my absolute favorite salad:

Heirloom Grain spinach, red pepper, avocado, tomato, provolone, parmigiano reggiano, lemon, evoo 7.95 / 12.95

Heirloom Grain Salad – spinach, red pepper, avocado, tomato, provolone, parmigiano reggiano, lemon, evoo $7.95 – small  / 12.95 – large

Geez, that photo doesn’t even do the salad justice. It’s got nutty “grains” in it including quinoa and, I think, barley. That is the small and it is plenty of food! I always add grilled chicken breast for $3.95. It’s simple, filling, lovely and healthy, too!

Last May, we took Rob’s parents to Vivo for lunch when they were in town. To me, lunch sandwiches are often overrated in restaurants. However, the ones they ordered were top notch. I made a mental note {or maybe even a verbal one!} that we have to remember to take out-of-town guests here for lunch more often.

Just look at that bread and those fries!

On that same afternoon, Rob ordered pasta of all things. He was craving it; but didn’t have high expectations…


While this pasta carbonara doesn’t appear to be currently on the lunch menu, Rob did not a expect a velvety pasta dish that was creamy, flavorful and cooked al dente.

Vivo Kitchen also offers a stellar Happy Hour daily from 3p to 6p.

At the time of this writing, this includes:

  • $2 off any wine by the full glass {What full glass means, I have not asked, because I don’t see any half glasses on their menu!}
  • $3.50 and $4.50 pints of beer
  • $5 and $6 specialty cocktails
  • $5, $6 and $7 food specials

Rob likes both the $6 Vivo Burger, Jr. {which comes with fries!} and the $7 Pepperoni Pizza. Really, most people don’t think to go out for pizza at this sort of restaurant; but this delectable pie is highly is underrated. Both of those Happy Hour specials can be considered full meals… and steals!

My fave appetizers off the HH menu include the Ahi Tuna Crisps and the Parmesan Shrimp. I don’t expect either to fill me up; but then again, I’ll snag a piece of Rob’s pizza if need be. 😉

All of this and I haven’t even mentioned how great the service is when sitting at the bar at Vivo Kitchen – some of the best South of the River.

One of the best non-Happy-Hour drink deals on the menu, though, happens to be their Bourbon Flight for just $11.95! You’ll be served three generous pours of selected Bourbons, in which Vivo specializes. In fact, rumor has it that they have an exclusive Bourbon Bar in the back that is open Friday and Saturday nights. We have yet to test that one out!

All I know is that whenever we go to Vivo Kitchen, whether I’m indulging in their Happy Hour or my favorite salad, it’s my Happy Hour.

Do you have a favorite Happy Hour you take advantage of near you?




5 Things from Yesterday for Friday



1) Yesterday, I had my first Malaysian Milky Bun at Satay 2 Go.

Milky Bun

Milky Bun

2) Yesterday, my husband bought a bottle of my favorite hard cider of all time.

photo 3(2)


3) Yesterday, we took in a visitor.



4) Last Night, It snowed six inches. I got stuck at the end of the driveway this morning. Happy Spring?

5) Last night, I painted the Eiffel Tower à la Van Gogh. (No, I did not deface La Tour Eiffel, I painted it on canvas.)

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I’m still addicted to these painting classes. It’s very therapeutic and relaxing, even when I don’t think mine is as good as the original. I’m still a novice!

What’s the best thing that happened to YOU yesterday?





Yes, our once-per-month girls’ dinners out are the best because we rotate who chooses the restaurant. It’s almost always something new to us. In January, Kim chose the Mill Valley Kitchen. In February, Jen suggested Vivo in Apple Valley, which now occupies the old Enjoy! digs.

What does Vivo mean?

From their website:

In a home, the kitchen is the spot where families gather, parties migrate, and food draws friends around. That’s also the spirit of Vivo kitchen: we are a place to come as you are. We use local, seasonal ingredients to prepare food that’s delicious without being mysterious.* Vivo translates as “life” — and that is what we want every guest to experience to the fullest. We look you in the eyes, care for you personally, and make you feel as welcome as if you are in our home. Because, for us, a kitchen is the heart of a home — and great hospitality is the heartbeat.

The space was only updated a bit. Gone was the Tuscan feel of the restaurant. In were shapes and flowers. It’s a little strange; but I always love the concept of fresh, seasonal and local ingredients.

Jen tried to make a reservation, but there weren’t any available. We decided to meet at 5:30 on Saturday night, intending to wait at the bar if need be.

But there was an hour and a half wait!

Boy, was this place popular. And I don’t think it had even been open for a full month! The bar was completely full, too. The only thing we could find was a table top with an awkward pole in the middle of it, which made it hard for the three of us to even talk face-to-face. We barely ordered our drinks when we saw three seats at the bar open up and snagged them as quickly as we could.

It was Happy Hour (every day from 3p – 6p), so a cocktail was in order!

4 or A nge b L ossom sparkling wine, orange bitters, st germain elderflower liqueur

Orange Blossom – sparkling wine, orange bitters, st germain elderflower liqueur

I never go wrong with a St. Germain – bubbly cocktail! We also ordered an appetizer from the Happy Hour menu to start. It was highly recommended by our bartender.

Ahi tun A crisps spicy mayo, avocado, sweet soy, sesame

Ahi Tuna Crisps – spicy mayo, avocado, sweet soy, sesame

He was right. They were soooo good! But don’t be thrown off by the “mayo” in this dish. You’d be surprised how many dishes these days have mayo “sauces.” Here, they just didn’t use the fancy buzz word: aioli. And people, don’t be fooled. Ail is the French word for garlic. Aioli is just garlic mayo. Get it? Got it? Good. The mystery is forever solved.

Jen started with a the side salad version of my dinner (see below) and then chose this flat bread:

Wild Mushroom mozzarella, gruyere, brie, truf e oil 11 Flatbread

Wild Mushroom Flat Bread – mozzarella, gruyere, brie, truffle oil

I tried a piece and loved that the flavors were so subtle!

Kim’s dish:

Pesto Crusted Seabass white & wasabi mashed potatoes, crispy fried onions, thai chili beurre blanc 28 Ciao Baby organic greens, pine nuts, local goat cheese, balsamic vinaigrette 6 / 10

Pesto Crusted Seabass – white & wasabi mashed potatoes, crispy fried onions, thai chili beurre blanc

The mashed potatoes aren’t pictured in the photo because Kim substituted a Ciao Baby Side Salad with organic greens, pine nuts, local goat cheese and balsamic vinaigrette. The seabass was perfectly cooked and seasoned. Kim loved it!

I was in the mood for a salad:

Rocket apples, arugula, spinach, lavender vinaigrette, spiced pecans, local blue cheese 7.5 / 13 + grilled chicken breast 4

Rocket Salad – apples, arugula, spinach, lavender vinaigrette, spiced pecans, local blue cheese {I added grilled chicken breast}

This salad had everything I loved, but they may have sold me on the lavender vinaigrette. But it was a bit overdressed. The chicken was the perfect addition to the salad.

Believe it or not, we didn’t have room for dessert.

I’m looking forward to going back again because there are so many interesting things on the menu I’d like to try… Not only the dishes, but I’ve been wanting to learn about Bourbon. And they have a Bourbon Flight. I think that’s a great place to start.

When a new restaurant opens up are you the first to give it a try or do you like to wait until they have their “kinks” worked out?