Tag Archives: eagan restaurant

Yankee Tavern

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Yes, it’s true. It’s been a while since I’ve posted about dining out.

But I need to do it – for my memory’s sake!

We recently returned to a new restaurant in our area. We had only been there once and we couldn’t remember what we liked, didn’t like and wanted to try next time! It kind of all mixed together. I even texted our friends who were with us on the first visit and they couldn’t remember either. Maybe it’s safe to say that the food was not memorable?!

In any case, here goes… I’m going to attempt to get back into the blogging game… or help my memory.

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Yankee Tavern is the new South of the River overhaul of the old Valley Lounge, an old dive bar in Eagan we stopped in a time or two. Let me tell you, they put some money into this place to revamp it!

The prices are a bit high for the area; but I imagine it’ll take some time to turn a profit. Also to note… all items are à la carte. No sides are included. There are no prices online, so I can’t offer those up on the blog from memory.

There’s no real “about” information on the Yankee Tavern website at the time of this writing, but a few reviews and Facebook posts from friends and foodies indicated that this place is known for brisket, fried chicken and southern comfort food. But the menu truly is extensive.

When Rob and I went with the girls, we ordered wide variety of food.

First, sammies!

The girls’ general consensus is that these sandwiches were just okay, nothing anyone would order again. I think we agreed the Thin Sliced Sea Salt Kettle Chips were good as was the Blue Cheese Pickled Onion Cole Slaw. I know someone liked the Jalapeno Corn Bread with Salted Caramel Butter

Jalapeno Cornbread with Salted Caramel Butter

… but I found it to be a little burnt and dry.

I bet you’d never guess that Rob ordered a burger:

Neither of us remember which burger it was. He said it was fine; it just wasn’t seasoned at all. The side he ordered ^^Grilled Garlic Kiev Butter Smashed Potato. Also, just okay. I think he was hoping for the unforgettable, mouthwatering smashed potatoes that we had at Heirloom a month or so before, but those boots are just way too big to fill!

I went straight in and ordered according to a recommendation I saw online:

Two Piece Regular Crispy Style Fried Chicken | Louisiana Red Beans & Rice w/Ham & Andouille

The fried chicken was juicy, but the batter had no flavor, nor seasoning. I did get the regular crispy style, instead of the other flavors offered, though. Still, crispy fried chicken at your good ol’ Popeye’s and KFC still has flavor! The red beans and rice were good, but there was definitely way more rice than the red bean concoction, making it seem dry overall.

~

When Rob and I went back to give this place another try, we forgot all of this. All we knew is that it was close to another event we were attending and we should probably order something different.

I remember eyeing the “Bowls” on the menu, specifically the Thai Peanut one, the last time we were there. Though on this day, it was particularly chilly and the American Bowl just sounded comforting:

American Bowl – Mashed potato, shredded cheese, corn, deep fried chicken tenders, peppercorn gravy, sour cream, green onion

I liked that the corn was roasted and the gravy had a yummy peppercorn flavor, but biting into whole peppercorns started to get old! The chicken was nice and juicy, I just wished it would have been a bit crispier. The mashed potatoes weren’t completely mashed, which I don’t mind some chunks from time to time; but there were a lot of them. One of them was even under-cooked.

But then we found the star of the show:

Chicago Brisket Sandwich – Smoked brisket, pepper jack, giardiniera, ciabatta bread | Fried Shallot Haystack

It seems the brisket is where it’s at here! Rob loved the brisket along with the way the ciabatta was nicely toasted and the giardinera really set off this sandwich for that little kick that’s to his liking. He added the Fried Shallot Haystack as a side. These were very good! But I find them strange as a side rather than something you’d use as a topping.

Yankee Tavern is still in it’s opening months, so we’ll need to give it some time to work out some kinks. It really seems to be hopping thus far, though. It also appears to be a Viking Football hotspot. So consider timing if you plan to venture out on game day! Yankee Tavern serves breakfast, lunch and dinner.

What’s your favorite southern dish?

Cheers~
Carrie

 

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A Little Creole & Cajun in MN! {Closed}

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I would have never heard of BlueStone Steak & Seafood

if it weren’t for Living Social.

“Steak, Seafood with a Creole Cajun flair”

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Um, yes please!

While you’ll find plenty of BBQ joints, Thai restaurants and Indian fare all over the Twin Cities; you don’t find many Creole or Cajun style restaurants. You may find a random blackened item on a menu or two, but that is about it. Another missing cuisine here in Minnesota? Hawaiian. But that’s for another post…

So when we found out about this restaurant South of the River, we stopped in one night before heading to our friends’ place for a little poker.

You’ll find BlueStone in a newer commercial development right off of Highway 55 and Dodd Road. I don’t know how anyone would know about this area if you weren’t driving past it every day. Getting in and out of the development and driving around to the building to find the entrance is a little tricky, too. But trust me, you’ll get there!

We’ve been there a handful of times now.

Upon entering BlueStone, I was a bit disappointed by the interior. It was not very interesting at all. Although it’s a newer building, the space kind of reminded me of a chain restaurant. But there were a few saving graces: the nice patio outdoors, the bar and the colorful fish swimming in the tank near the restrooms.

On our first visit, we pulled up to the bar, per our usual. There is a small, but decent tap selection. The service was superb! Our bartenders were attentive, worked well together and were quick to offer suggestions. One of which was:

Sparkling White Sangria - House Made Sangria Topped with Sparkling Wine - $9

Sparkling White Sangria – house made sangria topped with sparkling wine – $9

We both swooned over this well-concocted Sangria. However, on our second visit, I ordered another and it wasn’t good at all. If it were my first time ordering it, I would have never ordered it again. I’m not sure why it was not the drink I remembered! 😦 Luckily, during Happy Hour, most drinks (draft beer, bottled beer, rail drinks, house wine and specialty cocktails) are $1.50 off.

I bet you can guess who ordered this:

blue stone burger - meh

Blue Stone Burger – lettuce tomato, onion, lemon aioli with rosemary garlic fries – $9.95

Rob was pretty ho-hum about this burger. Still, he knew that there were so many other items on the menu that we both wanted to try! And despite that menu, I had to order a “special” because it sounded so good and I knew that I wouldn’t be able to order it on my next visit:

shrimp and grits special! Now on regular menu - blackened shrimp & grits - creamy white cheddar grits/collard greens - $23.95

Blackened Shrimp & Grits – creamy white cheddar grits/collard greens – $23.95

The great news? This dish has now made its way to the regular menu! It really was terrific. Although, this was before our trip to New Orleans, where we had the best cheesy grits of our lives.

Per the BlueStone website:

BlueStone Steak & Seafood specializes in American classics as well as authentic Louisiana Cajun & Creole cooking.  We offer many enticing dishes that will keep you coming back.

Such is the truth. I look at the menu and always have a difficult time deciding! Upon return, Rob tried another approach. This time, he ordered off the Happy Hour menu:

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He chose the Smoked Cheddar & Bacon Sliders with a side of Hashbrowns:

Rob was again a little ho-hum about the sliders… Had he not learned his lesson!? But the hashbrowns made up for everything. They were crunchy, yet creamy and cheesy in the middle. They promptly made our “best of” list. However, they are no where to be seen on the menu now. Did they do away with that potato perfection?! We must remember to ask.

There is a section of the BlueStone’s menu that intrigues me so: Rice Bowls:

  • Pork Rice Bowl – sweet bourbon BBQ glazed pork shoulder, trinity, red beans, fried egg, bacon pepper relish and andouille cream $13.95
  • Beef Brisket Rice Bowl – portabella mushroom, asparagus, caramelized onion, roasted roma tomato, fried egg, horseradish cream $14.95
  • Veggie Rice Bowl – portabella mushroom, asparagus, broccoli, roasted roma tomato, red pepper slaw, fried egg, basil cream $10.95  {Add Shrimp or Salmon $5.00}

I wanted to try every single one! With some help from our attentive bartender, I finally made a choice.

Veggie Rice Bowl - portabella mushroom, asparagus, broccoli, roasted roma tomato, red pepper slaw, fried egg, basil cream (I added salmon for $5, but they forgot it.)

Veggie Rice Bowl – portabella mushroom, asparagus, broccoli, roasted roma tomato, red pepper slaw, fried egg, basil cream – $10.95

I added blackened salmon to this bowl, but it was forgotten. So it is not pictured. They did bring it out eventually and it was cooked perfectly. I loved everything about this bowl! The only problem was that it was sooooo much rice. It’s hard to portion that and not eat too much of it. I loved this bowl so much that it’s going to be hard to try the others.

On another visit, my friend Stacy and I went for brunch. This wasn’t even a week after we returned from New Orleans. So naturally, we had to order the French Quarter Beignets!

French Quarter Beignets with chicory sauce, salted caramel sauce & powdered sugar - $5.95

French Quarter Beignets with chicory sauce, salted caramel sauce & powdered sugar – $5.95

$5.95 is quite a deal for the number of “beignets” offered. The only problem? These are not beignets. They are donut holes with powdered sugar. Highly disappointed!

Brunch is offered both Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 2pm. Both the breakfast and lunch menus are available.

I ordered from the breakfast menu:

jambalaya on Scrambled eggs - served over baby red potatoes - $9.95

Jambalaya on Scrambled Eggs – served over baby red potatoes – $9.95

This is exactly what it sounds like, and to be honest, a little boring. It was waaaaayyy too much food.

Stacy ordered off the lunch menu:

Cajun buttered shrimp po' boy - w/rosemary garlic fries (or sweet potato chips) - lettuce, tomato onion, garlic aioli - $13.95 (full)

Cajun Buttered Shrimp Po’ Boy – lettuce, tomato, onion, garlic aioli served with rosemary garlic fries – $13.95

While I can’t remember a time a shrimp po ‘boy didn’t come with fried shrimp, this does make it a bit healthier. Stacy loved this sandwich!

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Our most recent visit was last Friday.

It was a completely different experience.

When we walked in, it felt like there was no one there! However, it was a beautiful day and the patio was open. A number of people were sitting outside enjoying any glimpse of sun they could.

Service was horrible. Perhaps they were way under-staffed. Our normal bartenders weren’t there. The guy behind the bar was perhaps new; so I’d like to give him the benefit of the doubt. However, he seemed unable to focus on more than one thing at a time. He also was not very attentive. He didn’t seem aware when someone from the patio came inside up to the bar to order a drink. {Yes, there was a server out there and yes, that was happening.} He also wasn’t aware when any of the five people sitting at the bar needed a beverage refresher or were ready to order.

Later, another bartender arrived. So this got better. But neither of them seemed very happy to be there. It was all very odd.

I ordered a Sazerac to start – my first since New Orleans! I was saddened to find that our bartender had to look up the drink. It turned out okay, if only  a bit sharp. Rob ordered a Dark Horse Crooked Tree IPA. It came out all cloudy and nasty. I thought it tasted funny. Rob decided to drink it anyway, despite the fact that I saw another guy order one earlier and it came out looking just fine out of the other tap.

For dinner, Rob chose:

Blackened Filet Mignon (6 oz) with Chimichurri Sauce  6 oz - $23.95

Blackened Filet Mignon (6 oz) with Chimichurri Sauce 6 oz – $23.95

Now that I look back at the menu online, all steaks are to include a “house salad and one fixin’.” Rob was not offered nor did he receive a salad. I’m sure he wouldn’t care about that, though. Obviously, he went with the asparagus for his side.

I was really surprised he ordered the filet, just one day after I had ordered my favorite filet at Sul Lago while celebrating our anniversary. There is no way that the two could compare! However, Rob was pleased. He liked the fact that this is one place where he could order his steak blackened. He also devoured that chimichurri sauce!

Since we were dining at BlueStone Steak & Seafood, it only made sense for me to order some seafood while Rob got the steak. I considered another Rice Bowl, but in the end went for an appetizer and a side:

I was pleased with my Creole Shrimp Scampi, although I wasn’t sure it was “creole” in any way. Those grilled baguettes were so tasty that it was too difficult to eat just one! The asparagus was nicely grilled! However, I prefer thin spears better. I have to remember that steakhouses prefer everything to be bigger. Though, I don’t think the ends were snapped off of these, making them even more woody-tasting.

If that had been our first visit to BlueStone, it probably would have been our last.

But because we had exceptional experiences the first few times and there are so many things on the menu we want to try, we will be back!

What experiences have you had while dining out that have been inconsistent? 

Have they kept you from returning?

Cheers~
Carrie

The Mason Jar

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You may have thought this post was going to be about Mason Jar Salads… or all of the non-traditional uses of a Mason jar.

But it’s not.

Au revoir, Pardon My FrenchCupcake has taken your place. And who knew that inside a Cupcake, you’d find a Mason Jar?

I came upon The Mason Jar by accident, so I decided to surprise Rob with dinner there before our movie on Friday. Usually it’s he who surprises me with new-to-us restaurants like he did here and here.

My turn!

The space in Eagan which once housed Pardon My French has not changed a whole lot. But they do try to distinguish somewhat of a separation between Cupcake and The Mason Jar. Cupcake is adorned with whisks, while you’ll find at The Mason Jar… Yeah, you guessed it… Mason Jars.

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Mason jars line are found on every table and it’s how you’ll receive your silverware:

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But I’m not sure what else Mason Jars have to do with the place. They menu includes a lot of comfort foods. Perhaps they are connecting Mason jars with comfort food?

Speaking of the menu, there are absolutely none online for The Mason Jar at the time of this writing. Cupcake’s first location, which opened in 2004, has exploded into four after its exposure on the Food Network’s Cupcake Wars. The Cupcake-Mason Jar location in Eagan, though, has only been open about a month or so.

Also, at the time of this writing, there is only a Facebook page for The Mason Jar. But there is no official website, nor is there any mention of it on the Cupcake website. So there was not a menu to be found! I snapped a few shots of the menus put in front of us to share with you here.

We arrived during Happy Hour and took a seat at the bar.

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There were a few craft beers on tap, including a selection of local beers, as well as wines on tap sold by glass, carafe and decanter.

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They also have a liquor license, so cocktails are offered as well.

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We had to take them up on their 1/2 off beer and wine Happy Hour! They were out of the Bad Weather Ominous (a new local fave of ours, but only on tap), so we decided to try the tap wine.

What I like about the wine here is that it isn’t as generic as you find other places when it comes to house or bulk wines. All of the wines come from specific regions, not just a particular state. Generally speaking, it means the wines are better quality than a wine, say, just from California or Washington.

In the Midwest, it’s hard to find a wine from the Finger Lakes region of New York. So I had to opt for that wine when I saw it on the menu:

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I tend to prefer drier, Alsatian Rieslings and I knew this would be nothing of the sort. But I had no idea when I’d have the next opportunity to try a Finger Lakes Riesling! My next glass was the Cab from Monterrey County, which I have to say that for a wine-by-the-glass, was pretty darn good.

We learned of the four pizza specials of the day and decided to go with that $6 Happy Hour pizza deal. It was only after we ordered that we discovered this menu for even more Happy Hour snacks:

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Our pizzas arrived and they were pretty good. However, we thought they were worth about the $6 we paid, not $10 – $13 quoted on the regular menu. Save those pizza dollars for Pizzeria Lola.

Toadstool – mushrooms, mozzarella, thyme, cream sauce, kale, basil oil

Blue Cheese Burger – seasoned ground beef, blue cheese crumbles, red sauce, blue cheese dressing

Rob liked the mushroom one better, but the mixture of fresh and rehydrated mushrooms threw me off a bit. I thought the blue cheese on the burger pizza was good. But to me, it seemed like the meat was unseasoned, despite that I could see what looked like a sprinkle of oregano on top.

Rob’s crust ended up in the crust graveyard…

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Personally, I liked the doughy crust; but it would be even better if it was brushed with olive oil and/ or some seasonings. Or if diners were given a little of dish of olive oil for dipping, like one is given for bread at some restaurants. We probably wouldn’t get the pizza again. There is so much comfort food to try on the Late Night menu!

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And although The Mason Jar claims to serve breakfast, lunch and dinner, they weren’t seating tables until 5pm. Huh? It also appeared that those who were seated at tables after we arrived may have received different menus. Much to learn!

And despite the fact that we had this dessert menu in front of us…

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We couldn’t possibly order from that… Especially when meany these cupcakes were at our disposal.

My choice compared with Rob’s choice:

I loved my cupcake and so did Rob. We tried each others’ found that neither had cupcake remorse because we liked our own cupcakes better!

Although I loved my cupcake, I personally think I like the cupcakes at The Bulldog NE better. When I said this to Rob, he looked at me with wide-eyes and said, “Uh… I doooon’t knoowww…”

Here are the differences:

  • I kind of like the fact that the cupcakes at Cupcake are a bit smaller because they don’t make you feel so guilty.
  • But the Bulldog NE cupcakes are always filled, so they need to be bigger to get a taste of that filling.
  • Cupcake has many, many flavors, so you  have a lot of options!
  • Whereas, NE Bulldog only has two to three flavors each day.

That being said, I would try another of Cupcake’s cupcakes, without a doubt. It’s kind of dangerous how close we live to this place…

What is your favorite cupcake flavor or the best cupcake you’ve ever had?

Cheers~
Carrie

R.I.P. Pardon My French

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Oh Pardon My French, how we loved you!

You were where we took out-of-town guests. Why? It didn’t matter what time of day, we could come and get omelets, sandwiches, your wonderful tartes flambées or just have coffee or wine. We could sit as long as we wanted. Pass the time. Catch up.

And the pastries. Oh, the pastries!

Although they were twice the size of what you’d actually find in overseas, those pastries still gave this francophile a taste of France.

~

On Saturday, I saw the following posted on Facebook by Pardon My French, a bakery café and wine bar in Eagan:

Thank you to all our loyal and valued customers. Due to circumstances that are outside of our reach we are closing and we were just notified of the situation less then 48hrs ago. We would like to honor any gift card that is out there and would ask that you please come in and redeem it by 4:00 P.M. Sunday 1/13/13. Sorry for the inconvenience we would not have sold any cards knowing that we were closing.

I was seriously stunned and saddened. We were on our way to a party and I was trying to figure out how I could get to PMF on its final day. It had been a while since we’d been there.

But we couldn’t make it. And I hadn’t even had a chance to write a Restaurant Impression. So this good-bye will have to be it.

Good-bye, Wine Bar – one of the few with reasonably priced wines…

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Good-bye to the breads that went beyond your usual French baguette…

Good-bye, peasant bread with the cheese baked inside that my husband so adored…

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Good-bye, Prosciutto Déjà Vu Sandwich…

If I ever have one like it again, my déjà vu flashback will bring me back to you.

Good-bye, side of greens dressed with that sweet vinaigrette…

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Good-bye, Haute Ham…

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Good-bye, sandwich case with all of the others I had been meaning to try…750

Good-bye, chocolate truffles and macaroons…

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Good-bye, cookie case that I always overlooked because of the pastries….756Good-bye, Éclairs, Napoléons, Fruit Tarts, Opéra Cakes, Caramelise and Triolgie Chocolate Cakes…

You were hits at every party to which we brought you…

752Good-bye to one of my favorite non-chocolate desserts – the Strawberry Napoléon

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Farewell, Pardon My French.

Merci Beaucoup.

We will miss you.