Tag Archives: izzy’s ice cream

Signature Café & The Craftsman

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I really, wanted to like Signature Café when I went there with the girls last weekend. It’s a small restaurant that focuses on local and sustainable foods and wines. I’m all about supporting that kind of thing!

When I pulled up the menu online, I saw that they have a Chef’s Tasting Menu that changes weekly for just $30! This includes four courses that change weekly. Wine Pairing can be added for $15. When I read this menu for the week, I was stoked:

  • Crostini with Pesto, Tomato, and Fresh Mozzarella
  • Spinach Salad with Dried Cranberries, Candied Pecans, Goat Cheese and Red Onion Balsamic Vinaigrette
  • Cumin Chicken Breast with Smoked Tomato Rice and Chorizo Greens
  • Chocolate Cake with Butterscotch Drizzle

Every piece of that menu intrigued me! However, in talking with the girls on our way to the restaurant, I learned that I had mistaken. This was the 4-course meal for the following week. I totally missed the current menu, which consisted of some barbecue beef, firecracker coleslaw and basically nothing which suits my palate. I was going to have to order off the menu.

Signature Café is located in a beautiful residential neighborhood of the Prospect Park/East River Road area of Minneapolis. It was too cold to sit out in the outdoor patio, but I loved the twinkle lights! And the ambiance inside was cozy, too.

The Wine

There were some unique wines on the menu. I was quite surprised to see a wine from Traverse City, Michigan on it! I haven’t seen those wines outside of Michigan before. It must have made Signature’s menu due to the vineyard’s sustainability.

Since we all decided that we were either having chicken or fish, we selected a Pinot Gris, from the Willamette Valley in Washington:

I have to admit, I cannot describe this wine. We had no problem knocking it back, but I can’t tell you much about it. I think I was lost in the conversation with the girlies!

The Food

To be quite honest, we were all underwhelmed by our food. The flavors weren’t all that enticing and it tasted more like a home-cook made them. When I dine out, I want it to taste better than that.

056The bread in the bucket was a cute touch. The bread is supposed to be homemade, but was kind of mushy and not very satisfying. I’d pass up on the bread bucket next time.

Pan Seared Wild Atlantic Salmon with Roasted Mixed Vegetables and Roasted New Potatoes

Pan Seared Wild Atlantic Salmon with Roasted Mixed Vegetables and Roasted New Potatoes

Kim’s piece of salmon was huge! She orders salmon a lot and was unimpressed by this one. She was bummed when on her first bite, it tasted fishy. Yes, it’s fish, but it shouldn’t taste the way it did.

Pasta with Scallops

Pasta with Scallops

Jen chose the featured pasta, which I believe was dressed with a white wine sauce. She said the scallops were cooked just fine; but that the dish, overall, was bland. It, too, was a lot of food. She took the leftovers home.

Lemon Thyme Broiled Chicken Breast with Risotto and Sauteed Greens

Lemon Thyme Broiled Chicken Breast with Risotto and Sauteed Greens

There is a reason why you don’t see “chicken breast” on many restaurant menus. They aren’t very exciting and anyone can make them. I chose it because the seasoning sounded good and the dish sounded healthier. However, it did taste like something I could just make at home. {If I can ever make chicken!} And it wasn’t trimmed. I got a few of those fatty, grizzly, cartilage-y pieces on the edges. Ewwww!

The risotto was a tomato and spinach one with gorgonzola. It wasn’t bad. And the sauteed greens were seasoned nicely.

One of the things I really did like about Signature Café was that you can pick your own sides.

The other thing I liked? They belong to a program called Eatiply. It’s a meal-for-meal donation program. For each meal that you purchase at an Eatiply-participating restaurant, a meal is donated to local food banks to help fight hunger. It’s the first time I’d heard of such a thing. Kudos to Signature Café for participating!

~

Do you ever find that when you aren’t satisfied with a meal, you just want something else? I mean, you might not necessarily be hungry, but your lack of satisfaction leaves you with an empty sort of feeling.

This happens to me when I put all my love and care making something and it turns out okay enough to eat, but not something I’d make again.

Well, we wanted dessert.

I can’t speak for the other girls if this feeling was the case for them that evening. But Kim said that she was in the mood for dessert. I suggested that since this place didn’t satisfy us that we go somewhere else for a sweet treat. We each got out our Smartphones and used various apps to find something close by with dessert.

Enter: The Craftsman.

It’s not a dessert-specific place, but it was nearby and after pulling up the menu and finding Izzy’s Ice Cream along with some delectable sounding desserts, we were sold.

We had no idea how busy it would be, if they’d have room for us or if it would be strange there to just pop in for dessert. But everything worked out just fine.

It was too dark in there for photos. No would do these desserts justice anyway. But he’s an account of our experience…

  • We sat at the bar and had the best bartender ever! You’ll read why below.
  • Jen and I have already experienced the wonderfulness that is Izzy’s Ice Cream. Kim was an Izzy’s virgin. She is no longer!
  • When we couldn’t decide on the exact desserts, not only did our bartender tell us her favorites, but she also gave us suggestions on how to add to them!
  • For example, she said that she likes to get the Cinnamon Sugar Beignets with a scoop of Izzy’s Ice Cream on the side.
  • I was conflicted. I considered the Chocolate Torte so that I could pair it with a glass of Port.
  • The Dessert Menu also listed an Orange Muscat {dessert wine} that I thought might work well with the beignets. When I asked the bartender what she thought, she let me sample the port and muscat side-by-side!
  • I chose the beignets, ice cream and orange muscat in the end because how often do you get that combo for dessert?!
  • FIVE beignets arrived on a plate! While they were nothing like I’ve had in New Orleans, they were delectable. I passed one each over to Kim and Jen.
  • They both got the Apple Crisp with Izzy’s Salted Caramel Ice Cream.
  • They could have split one of these huge desserts! They took a bite, finished their ice cream and ended up taking the majority of their crisps home to warm up for breakfast.
  • Jen said the crisp was nothing like her mom’s, but she still loved it!
  • Jen also got a coffee with Bailey’s to warm up and our best-bartender-ever offered splashes of coffee to warm it up whenever it looked like she might need it.

I was the creepy girl at the bar asking the guy next to her anything and everything about his burger. He saw me eyeing it when we arrived, so I took the opportunity to have the discussion. It looked like one Rob would love! It’s another restaurant that supports local farmers who use sustainable and organic practices. And with four local beers on tap, I think I just may be taking a trip back.

Do you ever go out just for dessert?

What’s your favorite place to have dessert where you live?

Cheers~
Carrie

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112 Eatery – Minneapolis

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It’s been a few years since we’ve been to the 112.

All I remember is that I ordered the Nori Encrusted Sirloin with Ponzu and my husband ordered the Bacon, Egg & Harrisa Sandwich. And while we were both pleased, we weren’t blown away like some say that they are when dining here.

I do, however, remember Rob craning his neck to follow a burger that was being delivered to a table across the restaurant. While staring in that direction, he vowed that we would be back.

For his birthday dinner this year, he chose 112 Eatery with every intention of finally trying the 112 Cheese Burger.

We made early reservations as we had planned our night out around the Ike Reilly Thanksgiving Eve 10th Anniversary Celebration. Our friend Jen joined us. {If you haven’t heard of the Ike Reilly Assassination, be sure to check them out!}

I ordered a glass of French bubbly: Bouvet-Ladubay Brut; Jen went with a Sammy Smith’s Oatmeal Stout; while Rob was seduced by the fact that they had San Pellegrino beverages on the menu. He went with the Pompelmo flavor {grapefruit}. His favorite flavor is Blood Orange, but we haven’t seen that since Chicago.

While we waited for our beverages and perused the menu, some pre-dinner snacks were brought to our table:

Greek olives and wasabi almonds

This reminded me very much of France because at parties, you often see nuts and olives served with an apéritifs.

Rob already knew that he wanted a burger, but I was a little perplexed on what to get. I asked for recommendations and favorites. The menu was even a little too “foodie” for me, but sometimes we can be turned off by an entrée just because of the name. The 112 menu doesn’t give much for descriptions, but I will tell you that our server did an excellent job once I asked! It helped me make my decision.

I decided to start with and share this:

(partly eaten) fresh ricotta w/ white truffle honey – $8

Oh dear, was this sinfully delicious. The bread was toasted. The ricotta was whipped and creamy and the sweetness of the honey with the hint of earthiness of the truffle flavor balanced beautifully.

I chose another appetizer as my entrée:

sea scallops w/ oyster mushrooms – $16

I probably would not have ordered these with that description alone. However, the way our server described them sold me. And by now, you know how much I love scallops. These were decadent, perfectly seared, and if you like mushrooms, these will make you swoon. There’s a lot of umami going on here! However, as I kept eating, it eventually became too much, almost too salty. Maybe just one scallop would have been perfect. Now I know why it’s an appetizer, perhaps meant to share.

For the table, we ordered some sides:

(half eaten) pan-fried gnocchi w/ parmesan reggiano – $10

The sides here are meant to be shared and while we did order two sides, we couldn’t finish either of them among the three of us! This gnocchi was just the way I like it. I think gnocchi is always the best the next day, when you sear it so that it has a nice crust. These had just that along with those yummy shavings of parmesan reggiano. Perfect.

Of course, to go with the burger, we had to get a side of fries:

french fries – $7

Again, a huge portion! Luckily, the fries were the kind Rob likes – the perfect ratio of potato to fried surface {read: skinny fries}. And while they were no Pops fries, they did the trick. However, the ketchup and almost-too-tangy mayo-like dipping sauces didn’t thrill us.

Both Rob and Jen ordered burgers:

112 cheese burger – $10

So there is no real description on the menu about this burger, but Rob has been hearing about it for years! The meat sits on an English muffin and is topped with brie cheese. Rob said that the brie overpowered the entire burger. He was a little thrown off, too, because he looked at the menu online prior to dining out and there was a picture of the 112 burger. By the looks of it, the 112 burger had cheddar, or at least some sort of orange cheese!

It’s not that he doesn’t like brie cheese. In fact, one of his top 10 burgers in the Twin Cities is a truffle burger with brie that also sits on an English Muffin. But he didn’t come for that burger. And this one didn’t compare. The meat was high quality though, and he ate most of it. But I was sad that his birthday dinner choice was a bit of a let down.

But something made up for everything:

izzy’s ice cream, salted caramel flavor – $4

We first discovered Izzy’s Ice Cream at Scusi in St. Paul. We fell in love. So much that, one of the items I put in Rob’s birthday box was a “coupon” for a trip to Izzy’s.  I had no idea that we’d be having some of Izzy’s ice cream the night before he opened his gifts!

Both Jen and Rob ordered the salted caramel ice cream, so I elected to get something different:

caramel cake w/ dulce de leche whipped cream

This cake was quite yummy and caramel-y, but when I had a bite of the oh-so-decadent salted caramel ice cream, I was entirely jealous. Both Rob and Jen tasted my cake and were happy with their choice. Jen said that if we had just ordered the caramel cake to split, we would have enjoyed it just fine. However, after trying the salted caramel ice cream, it just didn’t compare! And there was so much going on with caramel-y sweetness in the cake and on the side, that I couldn’t tell if the whipped cream was of a dulce de leche flavor or not.

With our tummies full, we asked for the check and were also brought this:

spicy caramel corn

We were too full to take more than a taste. For flavors, I got cayenne and cardamom. Jen said she didn’t understand who would like a combination like this! While I didn’t mind it, I just couldn’t eat anymore at this point. But I love the thought of a complimentary post-dinner treat!

What’s a flavor combination that you’ve been surprised by?

Cheers~
Carrie