Tag Archives: Rochester

Twigs & Rocks

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We had a girls’ dinner night out in Rochester a few weekends ago. Our friend Stacy gave us many choices of restaurants to try. Surprisingly, we did pretty well getting it narrowed down to one restaurant in particular:

Twigs

Twigs Tavern & Grille intrigued us with its Hot Rock Grilling concept. It’s something I hadn’t heard of before. The owners of the restaurant brought back the idea after cooking on a hot rock at a restaurant in Spain.

I wanted to try this myself!

What’s more is that it is quite a healthy preparation. We’ve heard Hot Rock Grilling described as “fondue without the oil.” Basically, you cook your meat atop a 650-degree rock right at your table. I knew this is something I’d never be able to do with my husband. Rob thinks it silly to go to a restaurant and pay to cook your own food. 😉

So this was my chance…

Apparently, they like dogs here, because there are photos of them on the wall as well as one as part of the logo, holding a twig in his mouth.

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We started with a bottle of Rosenblum Zinfandel. Just as I experienced the last time I dined in Rochester, some things are just cheaper than in the Twin Cities. Our bottle of red was just $23 for a perfectly decent wine!

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And then there is the Hot Rock menu…

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As you can see, there are three steps to placing your Hot Rock order:

  • Choose your meat – Stacy, Kim and I chose the Combo Platter for Two and the Shrimp to split amongst us so that we could try many different sources of protein. We were in a shrimp-sort-of-mood that night, so that’s where the extra shrimp came into play.
  • Choose your sauces – Since it was the three of us ordering, our server just brought us one of each sauce to try them all.
  • Choose your side – Ours consisted of veggies, cilantro white rice and sweet potato fries. We each ate one of them. It was just too difficult to share/split them with our small plates. Or maybe just too confusing that we didn’t think of it?

First, we received our rock, which looked like more of a slab of marble than an actual rock to me:

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Then our raw meat arrived:

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Combo Platter – 3 oz of each: Filet Mignon, Tavern Cut Steak, Babcock Pork, Scallops and Shrimp

We received our additional six ounces of shrimp, too. Then, we just put our meat atop the rock!

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Interesting tidbit: You are not supposed to season the meat before grilling or the seasoning will burn. The sauces are meant to be the flavor boosters.

You flip your meat and cook to your desired doneness. Although I love, Love, LOVE scallops, I couldn’t get mine to cook evenly. My favorite ended up being the steak. The shrimp were excellent, too. And I adored the horseradish sauces.

But overall, it didn’t feel like enough food to me. We did each have about 7 ounces of meat and I had my side of cilantro rice and a pre-dinner roll. That seems like it should have been more than enough. But I was not satisfied. I’m not sure if that was the nature of the meal or if I just hadn’t really eaten much that day before venturing on our little road trip down to Rochester.

The one thing I knew, I was ready to get back to the house with the girls and indulge later in a little cider, wine and the cupcakes I had brought!

Stacy said that if we ever come back to Twigs, we need to try their regular menu. She’s had a few full-flavored items, like the Peri Peri Shrimp. The rest of the menu does intrigue me! There are a lot of unique dishes like the Babcock Pork Quinoa Chili and the Shrimp Nachos with Caribbean Jerk Sauce. Okay, now just thinking about this, I’ve got the urge to go back…

Tip: Twigs also offers an extensive gluten-free menu for those who are sensitive.

Have you ever done any Hot Rock Grilling when dining out?

Cheers~
Carrie

Redwood Room – Rochester

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I can hardly believe that it was July when my friend Stacy and I dined at the Redwood Room in Rochester. In this post about Pinot Gris, I told you to “stay tuned tomorrow!” to hear more about this gem of a restaurant. Then I wrote nothing about it.

Well it’s time.

Because this place deserves some recognition.

You can dine at the Redwood Room either casually or if you are celebrating a special occasion. The dark interior and lighting give the basement venue a special sort of ambiance that might even make for a great first date. Better yet, they also have LIVE music nearly every night of the week. Although, on this trip, we dined too early to see any of that. I am not sure what time music generally starts. The online calendar just lists the date and name of the musician(s) that will be performing, but not what time they are expected to begin. I’d recommend calling for details and then making a reservation to ensure you get seating!

I remember being intrigued by the cocktail list online, but not finding those that interested me on the menu upon arrival. No matter. As I mentioned here, we happened upon a particularly delightful Pinot Gris:

Four Graces Pinot Gris - Willamette Valley {pronounced will-AM-met, damn it!}, Oregon

Four Graces Pinot Gris – Willamette Valley {pronounced will-AM-met, damn it!}, Oregon

We were brought some bread, which I remember as delightful as well:

543We started with an appetizer to share:

Risotto Fritters Spheres of Arborio risotto with a gooey center of smoked mozzarella and a crispy exterior of panko breadcrumbs . Served with a creamy artichoke tomato sauce. $8. 95

Risotto Fritters
Spheres of Arborio risotto with a gooey center of smoked mozzarella and a crispy exterior of panko breadcrumbs . Served with a creamy artichoke tomato sauce. $8.95

They were tasty; but we both agreed we would try something else next time. They were nothing like the risotto cakes that we were blown away by one New Year’s Eve at Sul Lago.

Stacy already knew what she wanted as her main course:

Shrimp Risotto Arborio rice cooked in our house made chicken stock tossed with Black Tiger sh rimp, sweet corn, pancetta, cream and fresh basil . $1 7 .95

Shrimp Risotto
Arborio rice cooked in our house made chicken stock tossed with Black Tiger shrimp, sweet corn, pancetta, cream and fresh basil. $17.95

The dish was just devine. Look at all of that fresh basil!

I was in a craving salmon that night. When I saw this entree for just $16, I was shocked. In the Twin Cities, you’d find a dish like this {and probably the risotto above} for at least $22. What a steal! Only an hour and a half south of from The Cities, Rochester offers some more affordable cuisine without sacrificing quality.

Cracked Pepper Salmon Fresh Atlantic salmon filet brushed with ro semary & garlic infused olive oil. Served with a creamy dill sauce and Redwood Room house rice. $1 5 .95

Cracked Pepper Salmon
Fresh Atlantic salmon filet brushed with rosemary & garlic infused olive oil. Served with a creamy dill sauce and Redwood Room house rice. $15.95

So good. For appearance purposes, the sauce could have been thinned a bit. But it tasted just fine. I love me a good creamy dill sauce and this hit the spot!

We did take a look at the dessert menu, but opted to pass, if only because our bellies were way too full.

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I guess we were in a seafood-kind-of-mood that night. But now I’m curious about those gourmet pizzas on the menu….

What’s your favorite seafood dish?

Have you found a restaurant that seems to be a better value for the quality than others?

Cheers~
Carrie