Tag Archives: Edina

Arezzo Ristorante – Edina

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Two years ago, my husband and I were married on Pensacola Beach.

He proposed in Tuscany. We honeymooned on the Almalfi Coast.

It’s only appropriate that on our anniversary, we give you an impression of an Italian restaurant!

It had been a few years since we’d been to Arezzo Ristorante. I guess it’s technically located in {south} Minneapolis, but I like to say Edina, because that’s what I think of when I think of 50th and France.

The last time we were at Arezzo, we went with my friend Bridget and her husband. This time, after we parked, Rob said, “Hey, we should have invited Bridget and Digits!” It made me laugh. Rob gave Bridget’s husband the Poker moniker “Digits” because he works with numbers. Isn’t it funny how certain places, foods and wines remind you of people, places and experiences?

Well, we had a couple of Groupons to Arezzo. So that’s what brought us back. On our first return visit, we were in search of a good affordable bottle of Chianti Classico. Rob never liked Italian wine until our trip to Tuscany, a trip I earned doing Wine Tastings with The Traveling Vineyard. We decided on that trip that the Italians kept all the good stuff for themselves and sent the crap to the U.S. {Or maybe we just weren’t spending enough money when we bought Italian wines.}

In any case, we found one that lived up to our standards:

Tenuta La Gabbiola Chianti Classico

We liked it so much that we ordered it on Groupon Visit #2. It gets better as you give it time to evolve and open up in the glass. 😉 And at $39, it’s a pretty decent price for a restaurant.

A small part of the extensive wine list...

After you place your order, this will be brought to your table:

Rosemary Flatbread

I also like the fact that they use real candles, rather than the stinky oil kind:

Real Candle

Rob said that if we hadn’t gone to the Lexington {post coming soon!} a few months back, he would have given this his seal of approval that it was the best spaghetti carbonara he’s had in the Twin Cities. However, he did order it again on Groupon Visit #2 and said that it does come in second place as the Twin Cities’ best spaghetti carbonara and will order it again and again and again…

Spaghetti Carbonara - sautéed pancetta in extra virgin olive oil and parmesan cheese, tossed with egg over spaghetti

Rob was also intrigued by a side item to another entrée and asked if he could order it à la carte:

Truffle Mash

The Verdict: Meh. They smelled of truffle oil, but the flavor was lost. To be fair, maybe they would best accompany the steak they were supposed to on the menu. Nonetheless, we were glad we gave them a try.

I ordered different entrées on the two visits:

Fettucine Verdi with Sausage

I saw this item on the menu and they had me at San Marzano tomatoes and sausage. I don’t normally order red sauces at restaurants because, more often than not, they end up being too sweet. But when it comes to San Marzanos, it’s another story. The spinach {verdi} pasta was cooked perfectly al dente, the sausage spicy and I loved me the San Marzano sauce. 😉

On Groupon Visit #2, I was intrigued by the advertisement of “Neapolitan Pizzas”. I’ll be the judge of that, I thought. A nice margherita pizza sounded good anyway.

Margherita Pizza

The Verdict: It was good. The first bites were really yummy. However, as I kept eating, I wondered why I was… It wasn’t great. In true Italian fashion, they served a whole pizza. And somehow, I ate the whole thing. My complaints about the pizza were that they should have used San Marzano tomatoes {if they did, I couldn’t tell} and there should have been more cheese {just a personal preference from a Wisconsin girl!}. I would have liked basil leaves rather than chiffonade pieces, too. {Boy, do I sound like a food snob right now or what?} Would I get it again? Probably not. There are too many other things on the menu I’d like to try!

Still, Arezzo Ristorante is certainly an authentic Italian restaurant in the Twin Cities. You’ll find simple Tuscan ingredients and flavors, interesting combinations and portions that are much more reasonable than you’ll find at your local Italian chain restaurant. It’s a great place to enjoy good wine, good food and good company.

What’s your favorite Italian Restaurant where you live?

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Peoples Organic Coffee & Wine Café – Edina

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I’d been to Peoples Organic Coffee & Wine Café with a friend once before.

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Now it was time to try it out on Rob. Although Rob loves restaurants that offer quality, fresh ingredients as much as I do, I knew that he already had his mind made up about this place – that he wasn’t going to like it. He didn’t need to say out loud that there were only a handful of items on the menu that suited him {and our Groupon only offered a choice from the Farm-to-Table menu, limiting his options further} or that many of the options were vegetarian, vegan or gluten-free.

So I asked him to keep an open mind.

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We sat at the bar. It’s what we do best. 🙂

I love the bar design and the sunflower seeds instead of popcorn or peanuts!

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Our groupon included one “Light Side” item. We chose the Salami Plate:

nitrate-free salami, smoked prosciutto, taleggio cheese, pepperoncini with house-made crackers & crostini

Our Verdict: We probably wouldn’t have ordered this “Light Side” normally at $15. However, the meats were top quality and the crostini… Oh my! Rob said that this bread has now beat out the bread at La Chaya Bistro! {However, he does note that they are very different from each other: crostini vs. soft bread, so a comparison may not be fair.} Whatever kind of oil they brushed it with had incredible flavor. And the crunch was perfect!

Rob's new favorite bread!

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I ordered the Salmon in Parchment because I loved it so much when I previously dined there with Lisa:

Salmon marinated in ginger & tamari with organic sautéed seasonal vegetables & organic salad with house-made blue cheese dressing

Carrie’s Verdict: I was disappointed with the salmon this time around. It was a little fishy, which masked the ginger and other flavors that I knew were supposed to be there. The greens were still great and the house-made blue cheese dressing was creamy and exceptional. So much so that this may make you cringe: I dipped some of my salmon in the leftover dressing. {Sounds just wrong, doesn’t it?} The vegetables were nicely seared so that the brussels sprouts had a tasty brown, caramelized crust on the cut side. Who knew I would like this vegetable?

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Rob ordered the Grass-fed Cheeseburger:

Thousand Hills beef, swiss cheese, organic bibb lettuce, carmelized onions, tomatoes, aioli and pickles on an organic 100% sprouted wheat bun served with a side of cole slaw

Rob’s Verdict: “This is the best cole slaw I’ve ever had! But I kind of had a feeling it would be the moment I saw it.”

I’ve never heard Rob ever comment on cole slaw before. As for the burger, he gave it a “very good” thumbs up. He said that there was a lot going on with the toppings flavor-wise. I took a bite and particularly liked the caramelized onions. Although, I don’t remember this, Rob said that the tomatoes were actually sun-dried tomatoes, something of which he is normally not a huge fan. And while the high quality beefwas cooked perfectly, the bun left a bit to be desired. It didn’t bother me any, but Rob’s not exactly a whole-grain kinda guy.

We relaxed as we finished our beverages and scanned the crowd. “Wow!” Rob said, “If I were younger and single, this would be the place to meet women!” I laughed and reminded him of a sports bar near our home that is seems to be frequented by single men.

How could we merge the two? We could be matchmakers! Or not. Would the beer-drinking, sports-watching men have anything in common with the organic-loving, health-conscious women? Maybe. After all, Peoples Organic does have three varieties of Surly on tap! {For those of you who are outside of Minnesota, it’s an excellent local craft brew.} There are many more beers by the bottle as well as some unique wines on the menu. A little something for everyone, perhaps…

Would I return?

Probably. The portions seem to be just the right size. It’s a great place to go if you are looking for healthy options. There are several items on the rest of the menu that intrigue me, too. This includes the breakfast menu that is served all day.

Do you like places that serve organic and health-conscious foods?

Have you been to any restaurants lately that have surprised you?

If so, where and why?

Cheers~
Carrie