Tag Archives: restaurants

Top 10 Restaurants with the Best Tap Beer Selections in the Twin Cities

Standard

The availability of craft brews has increased throughout the Twin Cities in the last couple of years. It is much less expensive to get a good craft brew these days than it is to get a decent glass of wine!

To round off American Craft Beer Week, Rob and I would like to list our Top 10 Restaurants in the Twin Cities with the Best Tap Beer Selections.

Because we couldn’t even begin to rank these, I’ve put them in alpha order instead.

1) Acadia CafeMinneapolis | Part coffee shop, part restaurant, part bar, this joint is about as eclectic as they get. The motto here: “NO CRAP ON TAP!” And they live by that. There are even a couple on cask. They have a nice selection of local (home), domestic (away) and international (far away) beers. Your favorite isn’t on tap? Not to worry, there’s many more in the bottle.

2) Devil’s AdvocateMinneapolis | While meatballs are the name of the game here, the selection of brews is just as impressive. A bartender told us that they get only one keg of each beer, so they are constantly changing things up! With 40 tap beers, you can’t go wrong. It’s the first time I’ve had a Lambic not out of a bottle.

3) Groveland TapSt. Paul | This is where we first discovered Lucid! They put old tap handles on the wall and ceiling. There were a lot that I hadn’t seen before!

4) Happy GnomeSt. Paul | If we had to name one place the best-of-the-best for tap beer selection in all of the Twin Cities, it would be the Happy Gnome. A new beer menu is printed every day. And sometimes, by the time you get that menu, something will be sold out. It’s not just the fact that they have a large beer menu, it’s the wide variety that makes it stand out from the rest. Seriously, a Guajillo Chile Cocoa Mole beer? Yes, please! If you come visit and like beer, don’t let us forget to take you here.

5) LowryMinneapolis (Uptown) | Excellent Happy Hour prices found here! Beer Selection varied and changing. {I’ve tried some new ones here!} But this hipster place can get busy and doesn’t take reservation.

6) NE BulldogMinneapolis | What doesn’t this place have? Fantastic beer selection {including a rotational firkin!}, food that includes parmesan truffle tater tots and the best cupcakes you’ve never had. Seriously.

7) Pig & FiddleMinneapolis | Truthfully P&F’s older sister restaurant, the Muddy Pig in St. Paul, should be listed here. It was where we were told to go before the Twin Cities knew what craft beer was. However, we haven’t been there since the Surly Bill passed and our palates evolved. So P&F wins. Check out yesterday’s post.

8) RepublicMinneapolis | Republic has two locations. We’ve only been to the newer one in Uptown. It probably has one of the best selections of local beers on tap. Can’t decide what to order? The flight options are very reasonably priced and, in my opinion, the way to go!

9) Town Hall BreweryMinneapolis | Town Hall is the first real brewpub in Minneapolis. {Well, since we’ve lived here.} They not only brew their own beer on the premises, but also offer some others that you probably haven’t had many other places. Can we say Blackthorne Cider from England on tap? It’s where I experienced my first cask beer, too!

10) Lone Oak Grill Eagan |Yes! We’ve got one “South of the River.” Pair that with the Happy Hour burger {which Rob likes better than their regular burger} or the Mac & Cheese with blackened chicken or smoked pork and you are golden…

Where can you find the best craft or local beer selection on tap where you live?

Cheers~

Carrie & Rob

Heist Brewery Brunch

Standard

Brewery Stop #5 – Heist Brewery

After our tour of the Charlotte breweries the day before, we were all brewed out. But that didn’t stop us from going to brunch at Heist Brewery!

adfasda

I think this is one place Tay and Brendan knew that they wanted to take us before we even arrived in Charlotte. And they knew they wanted us there for brunch.

Now I know why!

We arrived at about 11:30am, knowing there would be a wait…

What I found interesting is that in North Carolina (or maybe just Charlotte or even that particular county), alcohol cannot be served until noon. Forget the fact that, in MN, we pay 9.5% sales tax {plus more in certain cities} on alcohol or that we cannot buy alcohol in stores on Sundays. At least we can have a good Bloody Mary on a Sunday morning! 😉

Looking around, it was odd to see people dining in the bar area drinking coffee and orange juice. However, when the clock struck 12:00, a bell was rung and servers with readied trays began delivering bloodys, mimosas and brews throughout the room. It was quite festitve! I decided on a Bloody, which doesn’t come with a beer chaser in the south. Rob decided to try a Craft Beer Cocktail. That’s something I’d never seen before! Check out the menu:

Heist-Cocktails

I know some wine connoisseurs don’t like to use good wines to make mixed drinks. What do you think about Heist using their beer to create cocktails?

While we didn’t take a look at the regular menu, Brendan said we could still order from it. But we wanted to see what all the hype was about regarding the brunch here, so we stuck with the buffet.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get many photos of the food! It turns out that it’s hard to take photos with an iPhone while you are carrying a plate. But let me tell you, it was worth the wait!

But here’s a list of a few of the things I can remember on that buffet line that day:

  • Scrambled Eggs
  • Sausages
  • Cheesy Grits
  • Biscuits & Gravy
  • A huge wheel of melty Brie
  • Chocolate Donuts
  • Muffins
  • Hard Boiled Eggs on Toast with some sort of meat
  • Pasta topped with Chicken Wings
  • Omelet Station – I had one made personally for me and it was one of the biggest ever!

But the best thing for brunch could be found at the Waffle Station. These waffles are the best ever! They are made with meringue and sooooo fluffy. I don’t normally order waffles, but I wanted to try these because Tay said it was absolutely necessary. And she was right. Best. I’ve. Ever. Had. I didn’t know that waffles could taste like that!

And of course, there were more items that I can’t remember, nor did I have enough room to try!

Oh yeah. We enjoyed some sangria with our brunch as well as sampled their Oatmeal Stout – one of the best beers of the trip! It’s a good thing we don’t live there because that place could be very dangerous… {In other words, we kinda liked it.}

We left Charlotte that day, after such a wonderful long weekend with friends. Aside from the small flatbread Rob and I split at the airport, knowing we wouldn’t be home until after 9pm, we didn’t eat a single other thing. Such is the way with brunch sometimes. 😉

What is your favorite brunch food, drink or place to enjoy it?

Have you had anything unique for brunch lately?

Cheers~
Carrie

Ambiance vs. Atmosphere and Best of the Twin Cities

Standard

If you haven’t seen it yet, please check out my new tab above titled “Best of the Twin Cities“!

I’ve compiled a list of my personal favorites throughout the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area and listed them for you. Whether you live in town or are just visiting, if you are craving something specific, give my “bests” a try. If my jury is still out on a particular category, but my husband has a favorite, I’ve listed his favorite as such: (Rob).

Of course, it’s impossible to try everything and by no means am I a professional food critic. This list may just end up being posted for my memory’s sake. If you have some favorites of your own, please share so we can give them a try as well!

I may be updating this list from time to time, but will that be monthly? Annually? Probably just whenever I find a new fave. We’ll see.

Until then, I’d like to clear the air….

I’ve gotten in the habit of saying ambiance when describing the mood and feel of a restaurant. Why? Whenever I’ve said, “This place has a really nice atmosphere,” Rob comments that the atmosphere is composed of the same gases there as anywhere else. Haha. You’d think that he is a science geek; but it isn’t so. Now that I’ve become so accustomed to using the word ambiance, I catch other people using the word atmosphere. And while it technically isn’t wrong, I just can’t get the thought of describing the air in a building as “nice” as being anything but just plain weird.

Why do we have to be so literal?

On that note, we could move on to topic of the overused and misused word literally. For fun, here are a few of my favorites. You’ll get the message. Enjoy!

What misused phrases annoy you?

(All in good fun, of course!)

Cheers~
Carrie

Vegas Baby Vegas!

Standard

Well, we spent a long weekend in Las Vegas this past weekend. It was actually my fifth time there, so without realizing it, we took absolutely no photos!

I am not much of a gambler, so I once told Rob that if we ever went back to Vegas, we would each bring the same amount of money and he could use it to gamble and I would go to the spa. We would both come back home with the same thing – but I’d be much happier. 😉

I do play poker, though. I grew up in a family where it’s a focus of many holiday events! In addition, Rob and I host a monthly Texas Hold ‘Em Tournament with friends. We attend another friend’s event each month, too. So, I do know how to play. I just haven’t been very good as of late, so I didn’t have the guts to play in Vegas.

poker

Despite these hypothetical plans, our trip to Ireland this past fall set us back a bit. But I still intended on just enjoying my non-spa time! I knew we’d enjoy some time with my co-workers with whom we were traveling, maybe eat at a nice restaurant, walk the strip, wander around downtown a bit, perhaps see a show… and of course, watch the Packer-Vikings Playoff game! What? Have I really never told you that I’m a Packer fan living in Minnesota?

Rob and I at the December 23rd Packer game at Lambeau Field

Rob and I at the Packers vs. Titans game at Lambeau Field – 12/23/12

Back to Vegas…

This trip, we fell in love with the Video Poker machines – Double Double Bonus Poker that is. It was a good way to pass away some time in this city that never sleeps. We made $50 last a good 24 hours and even won $250 at one point. In the end, we didn’t come out ahead… But that is generally the case in Las Vegas, isn’t it?

Since I’ve been to Vegas a few times, I’ve put together a list of things for the first-timer to do, but based on what I personally have enjoyed the most. And so I don’t forget, I wanted to make a note on what I’d like to remember to do if I ever go back. There are so many other places in the world to explore, but if someone is going to send me to Vegas, I’m not going to argue!

Keep in mind that there is a so much to do in Las Vegas, whether you are a gambler or not. Still, gone are the days of spending a cheap weekend in Vegas, even if you aren’t a gambler.

If you are a first-timer in Las Vegas, you must:

Walk The Strip.

Bring your walking shoes! It’s a long haul. But you do have to check out each hotel and it’s accompanying casino. Each has it’s own theme and feel to it. Some of them are just beautiful. If you are staying someplace cheap, it’s nice that you can go into these hotels and dream!

Spend an Evening Downtown on Fremont Street.

The casinos here have an old school feel. However, the street itself is far from that. You’ll find performers, kitschy souvenirs and the ultimate people-watching. {But that is the case anywhere in Vegas!} The canopy covering the street offers an entertaining light show in the evening.

Still things downtown have changed a bit since we had last been there in 2006. {Or was it even earlier than that?} On this trip, we went downtown on a Saturday night to find music pumping, people dancing in the streets, alcohol being sold outside of the casinos and people who were just crazy-drunk having a good time. It took a bit to get through the crowd! Then I heard a loud buzz and looked up. Someone zipped right over my head. There were zip-liners! Yes, you can ride the zip line under the canopy on Fremont Street. I wonder how much one pays to do that.

Tip: A bus ride downtown from the furthest end of the strip should cost you under $5 versus a $25-$30 cab ride. If it’s just two or three of you and you aren’t in a hurry, you can save some dough that way.

See a Show. 

Well, how would I know? I’ve never seen one in Vegas!

Those of you who know me are probably surprised. I love plays, concerts and musicals. Not being much of a gambler, you’d think it would be one of the first things I’d be sure to do. It hasn’t happened… yet.

The first time I went was in college. We just had the day wrong for the cheapest show that we wanted to see and could afford. I think we only had another day left and it wasn’t showing.

Another time we were there for my husband’s best friend’s wedding. There were other festivities taking place that weekend!

When I went with The Traveling Vineyard for a Leadership Conference, a friend and I had originally planned to go to a show, but decided to spend the money on a nice dinner instead. We rarely saw each other, being from different states, so spending the time talking with each other over a meal and catching up was way more appealing. And it was absolutely the best decision ever.

Something that wasn’t in Vegas when I was there last in 2006 are the Half-Price Show Ticket Booths. There are several located along the strip. They also offer dining discounts as well. This trip, we checked the list of shows and didn’t see one that we were really excited about – at least not enough to wait in line for the half-price tickets nor pay full-price. Next time, though, the show will go on!

Enjoy a Nice Dinner.

There are a few times that I’ve been to Las Vegas that I thought, “Wow. I thought this was supposed to be cheap here!” It’s not really the case. However, I also used to think that you could only have a nice meal if you went to an expensive restaurant. That’s not necessarily true now either.

If you need a cheaper weekend, you can find deals, hints and tips online about lesser-known casinos and restaurants; though many are out of the way. There are also more fast-food places between the hotels and casinos than I ever remember before. My husband likes to call Las Vegas “Disneyland for Adults”. There are so many shops and food courts now that I swear they are catering to the shopping mall teenager!

But splurging on a dinner can be a nice way to treat yourself on vacation. Have a favorite celebrity chef? Seek out their Vegas restaurant if they have one! Adore steak, Italian, sushi… {insert your favorite cuisine here}? Then find the best of the best and scope out the menu online to see if you might like to dine there. Two of my favorites from my TTV trip are Bouchon (The Venetian) and Mon Ami Gabi (Paris, Las Vegas).

But you still can get excellent food without dropping as much cash as you may have on that blackjack table. We had exceptional food at the following restaurants this trip. {Sorry! No photos this time!}

  • Burger Bar (Mandalay Bay) – Great specialty and BYO burgers and and above-average beer menu.
  • Zefferino (The Venetian) – We weren’t excited about the lunch menu, but were pleasantly surprised with what we ordered.
  • Rí Rá Irish Pub (Mandalay Bay) – We had better food here than we had in Ireland.
  • T&T – Tacos & Tequila (Luxor) – For some reason, I was craving some sort of Mexican or Tex-Mex since the moment we arrived. Extensive Beer Menu and undeniably the best queso fundido I’ve ever had. We both ordered enchiladas – chicken divociadas (me) and beef barbacoa (Rob). I think I’d be hard pressed to order anything else.
  • The Public House (Luxor) – This is where our group watched the Packers beat the Vikings. Even if they would have lost, we still would have been wowed by the Kettle Chip Nachos {beer braised short rib, smoked gouda fondue, tomato salsa} and the Filet Mignon Sliders {mini onion brioche, caramelized onions, blue cheese, hand cut fries}.

I also remember that  on a previous trip, I tried a dish with truffle oil for the first time. That was at the at Lupo (Mandalay Bay), a Wolfgang Puck restaurant. I also enjoyed one of the best martinis at the Red Square Bar (Mandalay Bay), as well.

There are just too many restaurants and so little time. So Rob and I decided we have to try new restaurants every time we go.

By the way, I swear Starbucks and Pepsi own Vegas.

Gamble.

Okay, so that one’s obvious. You just wouldn’t believe all the ways you can gamble. Play blackjack tables, roulette wheels, slot machines, video poker or in a poker tournament. Bet on sports or even Beer Pong at Bill’s Gamblin’ Hall! {Oh how we miss you O’Shea’s!}

When you gamble, you drink for free. We tip a dollar per drink, unless we want them to come around faster. 😉 The little bloody marys I’ve had are actually pretty decent. Sometimes I sip slowly and make my second drink a bottle of Blue Moon. It’s my favorite Bloody Mary chaser. Such a bottle would be $6 otherwise if you belly up to the bar. That’s a win, even if I’m losing at the machine.

My plans for next time:

  • Get the guts to play in Texas Hold ‘Em Tournament. The ones at the Luxor were only a couple of tables and my boss assured me that they were pretty casual. I’m still intimidated.
  • Go to a show already!  Next time, I’ll look up all the shows in advance and make a list of the ones I’m thinking of seeing.
  • Have a list of nice restaurants and pick one to try.
  • Learn how to play craps. Many casinos have morning lessons to encourage people to play!

And one of the favorite things I’ve ever done in Las Vegas:

Watched the Bellagio fountain show from the balcony bar with a nice glass of bubbly.

That was a gorgeous evening!

~

Have you been to Las Vegas?

What are your favorite things to do?

Cheers~
Carrie

Don’t Order the House Wine!

Standard

Seriously. Don’t do it.

No-more-low-quality

Well, unless, of course, it’s one you like. There’s nothing wrong with that.

Still, you may think you are saving by ordering the cheapest wine on the menu; but did you know that the cheapest wine is usually the most marked up?

Knowing that many people order the least expensive wine available, restaurants often make sure that their house wine is the cheapest they can get and sell it for the highest price possible. So it’s the worst value on the menu.

You are paying extra for the lowest quality.

If I’m going to spend calories on wine, I want it to be good stuff. I’m not talking about $100 bottles here. I’m talking about a decent value. As you may know, I’m all about quality over quantity!

House wines are generally ordered in bulk and come from those large 1.5 liter bottles or even a box. {To be honest, the stuff coming from the box is often better because you know it’ll be fresh!}

Of course, there are some exceptions.

For example, the house wine in a former Twin Cities restaurant was a blend that came directly from the Francis Ford Coppola winery. They got the wine by the barrel and tapped it. It was pretty decent for a house wine.

I know it’s tough to shell out money for wine in restaurants these days with such high prices. However, if you want a better bang for your buck, I’d like to offer you the following advice:

Choose the 2nd or 3rd least expensive wine on the menu.

It’s almost always a better value. Sometimes, the wine at this price point is such a good value that the owner or sommelier drinks it at home as their every day wine or offers it as their own “house wine” when company drops by.

Of course, if you really enjoy the house wine on a particular restaurant’s menu, by all means, order it. I won’t judge.

Just know that you’ll be getting the least quality wine on the menu for the most amount of money. The fact that it’s the restaurant’s least expensive wine is deceiving. For an extra dollar or two per glass, trying something else is worth the splurge.

How do you choose a wine on a menu when you are dining at a restaurant?

Do you have a “House Wine” you serve to guests at your own home?

If so, what is it?

Cheers~
Carrie

Top 10 Fries in the Twin Cities {A Guest List}

Standard

*This List was updated on 2/26/14*

My husband is a burgers and fries guy. I guess that just happens when you are allergic to anything with fins or feathers. This year, I asked him to give me a list of his Top Ten Burgers and Fries throughout the Twin Cities metro. He gave me the lists separately, because very rarely will the fries and burgers both be extraordinary. They deserve to stand on their own. This post is the edition on fries, as you may have guessed from the clever title.

For me, when it comes to French fries, I can take ’em or leave ’em.

Let me rephrase that.

If the fries are there, I will eat them. And I will eat too many of them. But I don’t ever crave fries. I don’t say to myself, “Oh… I sooooo want some fries tonight.” But if I did {and maybe you do}, I’d want them to be the best stinkin’ fries ever.

I’d want them to be worth it.

While I’m working on losing weight, ordering something at a restaurant sans fries is the way I tend to go. If I’m feeling that rare “need” for fries, I will steal a few of Rob’s. {I find it much easier not to eat too many if the fries are not mine or if it wasn’t established up front that I’d be sharing them with someone.}

When I received back the list of Rob’s Top 10 Fries in the Twin Cities, I got this as the number one answer:

Pops for Champagne – Chicago

“Words cannot do them justice.  Firm outside, soft inside, brown buttery, boiled goodness.”

Um… I’m sorry, honey. We can’t just get in the car and go there for dinner. I know you loved them beyond anything you’ve probably ever eaten, but they just don’t count! Still, I guess you win because they made it into the blog post anyway!

So here are my husband’s Top 10 favorites {with his descriptions!} within dinner-driving-distance of those of us in the Minneapolis-St. Paul Metro area. If we’ve written a Restaurant Impression on the restaurant, I’ve linked to it. Feel free to add your comments if you have enjoyed {or didn’t enjoy} fries at any of these establishments.

Rob’s Top 10 Fries in the Twin Cities – 2/26/14

2/26/14 – To be fair, restaurants with an * indicated that we haven’t had these fries in the past year.

1 ) Red Stag Supperclub* Minneapolis | Great local potatoes and the olive oil/rosemary seasoning works wonderfully.

2) Burger JonesBurnsville | Served in a cute tin, and not a small order, these are wonderfully cooked fries.  A side of chipotle aioli doesn’t’ hurt.

3) Dakota Jazz Club & Restaurant*Minneapolis | Perfect pomme frites served with bearnaise.

4) Harry’s CafeLakeville | A multi-stepped fry, Harry’s Angela Fries are terrific with their mozzarella drippings. A side of ranch dressing (the only fries on my list benefitting from ranch) sets them off!

5) Barbette*Uptown/Minneapolis | Wow!  FRENCH fries.

6) Groveland TapSt. Paul | Parmesan Garlic Fries…yummy slender little spuds.

7) Mosaic CafeMinneapolis | If you would have told me that I would have enjoyed BAKED Rosemary & Garlic Fries, I would have laughed at you. But then I did. We couldn’t finish them, so we actually took these home and rebaked them. Not kidding.

8) Vincent* Minneapolis | Funny. A French restaurant with fries patterned after McDonald’s. These are quite tasty.  But, not quite as good IMO.

9) Relevé Champagne Lounge Minneapolis | 🙂

10) Cavé Vin*Minneapolis | Happy fun time shoe-strings.

~

What makes the perfect French fry for you?

At which restaurant in your neck of the woods would we find your favorite fries?

Cheers~

Carrie & Rob

Pops for Champagne – Chicago, IL

Standard

After a day wandering Chicago, I was still contemplating what we were going to do for my birthday dinner.

I was most intrigued by a restaurant called Naha. I had found it somehow by clicking around online. It had also popped up in my inbox by Serious Eats as a restaurant with one of the “Best Burgers in Chicago”. Although it was my birthday, I still wanted to make sure there was something on the menu Rob could have and enjoy. I also read that Naha’s Chef Carrie Nahabedian was a James Beard Award Winner.

But what was most important was that there were so many things on the menu that I wanted to try!

Still, I had not set up reservations anywhere. I know that’s not the best idea for dinner out at a nice restaurant in Chicago. When this happens at home, our plan is usually to go to a restaurant right when it opens and snag a seat at the bar.

However, after our nap and a few birthday phone calls {one being from my dad indicating that he was going to visit us one weekend/aka come for Rob’s birthday surprise party}, we didn’t get out the door until probably 6:30.

And I still wanted to stop at that place I found on our trek to the hotel: Pops for Champagne. {Fitting for Wine Wednesday, don’t you think?} So we headed off in that direction.

I don’t think Rob was too happy when we walked in the door and they asked him to take off his hat. It was packed and there would be a wait if we wanted a table. However, I spotted the last two open seats at the bar.

We pulled up to the bar as Rob fixed his disheveled hair and perused the drink menu. While there are so many different Champagnes {oh gosh, I’m just giddy thinking about it!} on the list, I knew I couldn’t talk Rob into a bottle of bubbly before finding our dinner destination, so I suggested we order a couple of Champagne cocktails.

Sparkling Cocktail List

There were too many I wanted to try, but finally I settled. And do you think three weeks later I can remember what we tried? Must be a sign of old age.

Carrie’s Sparkling Cocktail – Start Wearing Purple, I think

Rob’s Sparkling Cocktail – Corcorvado, I think

When asked if we’d like to peruse their menu, I said, “Why not?” Knowing Rob just wanted to get the hell out of the a place he had just exclaimed was “Probably the most expensive place in Chicago,” I knew that looking at the menu was just to pass the time while enjoying our cocktails. {Wine was $12 – $17 per glass, cocktails $10 – $14.} I knew we’d be dining elsewhere.

But instead, he asked me if I was interested in trying a Snack.

“Hmm… What are you thinking?” I said.

{I knew he had something in mind.}

Two things under the Snack Menu caught his eye:

Frites Garlic-truffle-brown butter, jalapeño aioli, ketchup  – $6
Tempura Wisconsin Cheese Curds Harissa romesco, ranch – $6

I told him to go ahead and choose one. I know, I know, it was my birthday. I’m sure I’m that annoying girl who always says, “I don’t care. You pick.” Or at least it seems that way. Truth be told, if I *really* do care or have a preference, I will tell you! In those rare instances when I can make up my mind, I’m not too shy to let you know.

After much debate – okay, not really – Rob chose the fries.

One of the other reasons why we often sit at the bar for dinner is that we like to strike up a conversation with the bartender, if possible. However, after being served, the bartenders were too busy attending to the other people swigging Champagne patrons to linger and chat with us, which is completely understandable.

Then the fries arrived. And the heavens parted.

Frites of the Gods

They were beyond excellent, if that is possible.

Rob dubbed these the best fries he’s ever had. It was then that our bartender, I believe his name was Greg, came over and asked how they were.

Rob went on and on about the fries… that we were from Minnesota and that these were worth a plane ticket down to Chi-town. Greg started to tell us how the chef prepared the fries. They are all fresh cut and boiled before they are fried. He said that was the “secret” to them. For me, the fries stood well on their own, the truffle butter gave them great flavor. The fancy sauces on the side were just an afterthought, that maybe even cluttered the dish with too many flavors. I tried each one, but then left them alone.

Greg asked where we were planning on dining that night and when we mentioned that we didn’t have reservations, but were considering Naha. He said, “Oh, we know those guys there! We love that place. You’ll really enjoy it.”

When Greg gave us our bill, he came back and said, “Don’t leave just yet. Our manager knows the owner over there. He’s making a call to get you hooked up.”

Wait a minute…

WHAT?

In retrospect, I keep thinking of these things:

  • We didn’t ask for them to do that!
  • They didn’t know us from any guy off the street.
  • I don’t even think that Rob mentioned that it was my birthday.
  • He just knew that we wanted to go there and we only had one night in Chicago.

Wow. This blows Minnesota Nice out of the water!

Within minutes, the Manager of Pops for Champagne came over and introduced himself. He gave us his card and said how wonderful a place Naha was. In fact, he had just dined there the previous night and spent $200 on himself alone because he kept ordering dozens of oysters. {This might scare some people away, but I had a look at the menu and the prices seemed reasonable for a nice restaurant in a big city. I wasn’t planning on ordering dozens of oysters and expensive Champagne anyway.}

Then he said that he contacted Naha and the owner, Michael, was going to be expecting us. He talked with us a while and I just kept thinking… “Wow! We’re getting into a restaurant with a James Beard-Award-Winning Chef without reservations and the menu looks amazing.”  We no longer had to think about nor worry what we were going to do for dinner.

We walked out the door arm-in-arm with smiles on our faces to begin the four block walk over to Naha…

Come back tomorrow to hear about our dinner!

Cheers~
Carrie