Tag Archives: quesadilla

Barrio Tequila Bar

Standard

I’d been wanting to go to Barrio for a while.

I learned on a trip to Puerto Vallarta that I earned through The Traveling Vineyard, that I like tequila tasting as much as I like wine tasting. I also learned a thing or two about tequila.

  1. Jose Cuervo gets away with calling themselves tequila because they are 51% agave and 49% caramelized sugar. For that reason, it’s not a friend of MINE! {For the real deal, look for 100% agave instead.}
  2. I have expensive tastes in tequila.
  3. I was margarita’d out when I got home and thought I’d never have another one again.
  4. But give me some anejo on the rocks with a squeeze of lime and a splash of cointreau and I’m good.

Wow. I think that trip was back 2007. Time flies. I think I’ve recovered from no-margarita-ever-syndrome. But I still rarely drink them. Still, Barrio didn’t seem like a place where I could drag Rob. We’d always pass it by in Minneapolis while walking along Nicollet Mall. So when it was my turn to choose where to dine for girls’, night, I suggested Barrio.

There are three locations – one in Minneapolis, one in Edina and one in St. Paul. Based on where the three of us live, no location stood out as more convenient. So I chose St. Paul because, there, Barrio is situated in Lowertown. I figured that after dinner, if we weren’t really feeling Barrio, we could head over to the Bulldog for some brews, Bin Wine Bar if we wanted something more mellow or I could even return to FACES for a drink. They are all right within walking distance of each other, facing Mears Park.

We arrived early on a Saturday night and very few people were there. That’s because, well, it’s a bar and early on a Saturday night. However, there were still some really drunk people there at the table next to us! It had me wondering how long they were there.

Inside, it felt spacious and although it was still light out, I imagined it could feel a little dark and ominous in the evening. I loved the candelabra-styled chandeliers.

As much as I would have liked to try one of their tequila flights {they have a whole menu of tequilas!}, none of us really have that kind of dough to throw around at the moment, especially with my expensive tastes! So we each opted for one of their fun tequila cocktails instead.

Kim’s:

Mama Cita Hibiscus margarita with pineapple and orange juices, cabrito blanco and a splash of cava ...9.5

Mama Cita
Hibiscus margarita with pineapple and orange juices, cabrito
blanco and a splash of cava – $9.50

Mine (almost gone!)

Macho Comacho Blood orange margarita made with ancho infused tequila and a splash of cava ... 1 0

Macho Comacho
Blood orange margarita made with ancho infused tequila
and a splash of cava – $10

Jen’s:

Cesar Chavez Our champion margarita with cabrito reposado, mandarine napoleon and orange ... 1 0

Cesar Chavez
Champion margarita with cabrito reposado, mandarine
napoleon and orange – $10

Of the three, I liked mine the best! I can’t believe how perfectly balanced the chile was in the drink. You could definitely tell it was there, but it was neither overpowering nor too subtle.

The menu isn’t very large and most of it consist of appetizers, small plates and tacos. All of the flavor descriptions sounded like they knew what they were talking about when it comes to elevating Mexican cuisine. We each decided on one small item and then chose to share a couple of small plates, too. The food came out randomly, just as if you are to order tapas.

Kim chose:

Sugarcane Skewered Tequila Shrimp • tequila, lemon and ginger marinated shrimp are grilled and served with lemon mojo ...7.5

Sugarcane Skewered Tequila Shrimp
tequila, lemon and ginger marinated shrimp are grilled and served with
lemon mojo – $7.50

Jen and I each ordered a taco:

Barrio4

Pork Carnitas Taco
duroc pork shoulder slow cooked in cinnamon and orange with salsa verde, onion and cilantro – $4.50

That is my kind of taco, with the dual corn tortillas with which to wrap the filling. They make me think of what a street taco should be like. We’ve had similar ones at Chino Latino. And there’s something about shredded pork with salsa verde and cilantro that I always love!

Then we got a few plates to share:

Grilled Chicken Chimichurri • skewered chicken is marinated in chimichurri and served with a mango-black bean salad ...8.5

Grilled Chicken Chimichurri
skewered chicken marinated in chimichurri and served with a mango-black
bean salad – $8.50

The chicken on these skewers was way over-charred. That is all I could taste. That’s really sad because chimichurri has such a lovely, fresh flavor that would have made this chicken sing. The black bean side salad was good and would have rounded this dish out perfectly if it weren’t for the lasting char flavor.

And I thought I’d love these since I once learned how much I love the spice of guajillo chiles:

Adobo Grilled Chicken Quesadilla guajillo, chipotle and garlic marinated chicken filled flour tortilla with queso oaxaca, roasted corn and poblano peppers ...8.5

Adobo Grilled Chicken Quesadilla
guajillo, chipotle and garlic marinated chicken filled flour tortilla with queso
oaxaca, roasted corn and poblano peppers – $8.50

I was right! The have the perfect balance of flavor and heat! I think the poblano peppers added something extra, too. I would highly recommend the quesadillas here. Okay, so if I’m in Lowertown, St. Paul and craving quesadillas, how am I to choose between Barrio and The Bulldog?!

And as I suspected, we were feeling a little mellow, so we opted to head over to Bin for a glass of wine afterward. But alas, they were closed for a private event. We enjoyed our after dinner drinks at FACES instead.

I think Barrio is a great place for groups. If you are eating {or just need to soak up some of that tequila!}, there’s lots of stuff to share. And if you like to tequila and fun cocktails, you won’t be disappointed.

They do have happy hour pricing on food and beverages and offer private party menus, too.

My husband is not a fan of sharing plates with others when dining out.

What is your stance?

Do you like to split appetizers and dishes to try many things?

OR

Would you prefer to keep your plate to yourself?

Cheers~
Carrie

Advertisements

The Bulldog – Lowertown St. Paul

Standard

Okay, so it’s not the same as the Bulldog NE. Can I say it’s as good? Hmmm… It’s almost like comparing apples to oranges. Well, maybe not that different. Maybe just two kinds of apples that you really like and you can’t choose between the two of them. Okay, so I’d probably choose the Nordeast location most of the time. But the Lowertown location of the Bulldog was actually much better than I expected.

Although you will find no cupcakes here. 😦

My husband suggested we stop by for dinner before another event we had taking place in downtown St. Paul. My friends Sally and Ryan love this place. I really wasn’t too excited about the menu online. And when we arrived, nothing sounded good to me. It was one of those days.

As I mentioned in the post about our beloved Bulldog NE, the Bulldog in the Lowertown area of St. Paul isn’t related. In fact, I didn’t think any of the Bulldog locations were related. But after checking out The Bulldog Lowertown website, it appears that of the four Bulldog Bar/Restaurants throughout the Twin Cities, the Bulldog NE is the only one not affiliated with the others. To make things more confusing, the websites for each location are different from what they actual title each restaurant:

I guess the non-affiliated location in Northeast/Nordeast Minneapolis is a bit confusing, too. The website is www.TheBulldogNortheast.com. But I’ve seen it written and/or called the following:

  • The Bulldog Northeast
  • The Bulldog Nordeast
  • The Bulldog NE
  • The Bulldog N.E.

I digress. Now that we’ve got all of that out of the way, back to The Bulldog – St. Paul, which is where this experience occurred…

I was immediately surprised by how big the interior is! For some reason, I wasn’t expecting that. The focus here is on Belgian beers, just like at the Bulldog NE. They also have descriptions of beer styles in their beer menu:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

But they have other rotating taps as well. I’ve been off my usual IPA kick for several months for some reason. On this particular occasion, I chose what I would probably consider more as dessert beers.

BulldogLT Tap

My choices of the day were the Young’s Double Chocolate Stout and the Lindemann’s Francoise Lambic

I just love how the new Young’s tap handle looks like a chocolate bar in the midst of being unwrapped. 😉

For dinner, Rob was in the mood for this:

PHILLY CHEESESTEAK Thin-sliced sirloin, sautéed peppers & onions topped with our spicy cheese sauce on a hoagie $9.50 with Cajun Tater Tots

PHILLY CHEESESTEAK
Thin-sliced sirloin, sautéed peppers & onions topped with spicy cheese sauce on a hoagie –  $9.50 {served here with Cajun Tater Tots}

Oh, boy was he in heaven with that Philly Cheesesteak. {The tots were fine. He’s had better; but it didn’t stop him from eating them!} I had a bite and thought it was rather good, too. I’d recommend it. Still, believe it or not, I thought my dish was so much better!

QUESADILLA Shredded cheese, beans & pico de gallo hand-rolled in a tortilla with your choice of tasty goodness. Beef $9 | Chicken $9 | Pulled Pork $9 | Veggie $8

PULLED PORK QUESADILLA
Shredded cheese, beans & pico de gallo hand-rolled in a tortilla with choice of filling. {Options: Beef $9 | Chicken $9 | Pulled Pork $9 | Veggie $8}

I chose pulled pork because I read somewhere else on the menu that it was house-made. Otherwise, I normally order my quesadillas with chicken. I thought Rob could try it, too. But then I realized it had beans. Sometimes, I do win out with his allergies! 😉

This quesadilla was stuffed to the max and oh-so-flavorful. It actually put the cheesesteak to shame on the flavor-meter. I wouldn’t exactly call it a quesadilla though. It was probably more like a grilled burrito. Yes, it was stuffed that much! But I loved it. I did end up giving Rob a taste of just the pulled pork and I think he got a little jealous. I couldn’t even give him a section because the beans were well mixed-in. When we go back to the Bulldog in Lowertown St. Paul, I’m going to have a hard time ordering anything else.

What is your favorite dessert-like beer?

What is your favorite quesadilla filling?

Cheers~
Carrie