Tag Archives: south of the river restaurant

Yankee Tavern

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Yes, it’s true. It’s been a while since I’ve posted about dining out.

But I need to do it – for my memory’s sake!

We recently returned to a new restaurant in our area. We had only been there once and we couldn’t remember what we liked, didn’t like and wanted to try next time! It kind of all mixed together. I even texted our friends who were with us on the first visit and they couldn’t remember either. Maybe it’s safe to say that the food was not memorable?!

In any case, here goes… I’m going to attempt to get back into the blogging game… or help my memory.

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Yankee Tavern is the new South of the River overhaul of the old Valley Lounge, an old dive bar in Eagan we stopped in a time or two. Let me tell you, they put some money into this place to revamp it!

The prices are a bit high for the area; but I imagine it’ll take some time to turn a profit. Also to note… all items are à la carte. No sides are included. There are no prices online, so I can’t offer those up on the blog from memory.

There’s no real “about” information on the Yankee Tavern website at the time of this writing, but a few reviews and Facebook posts from friends and foodies indicated that this place is known for brisket, fried chicken and southern comfort food. But the menu truly is extensive.

When Rob and I went with the girls, we ordered wide variety of food.

First, sammies!

The girls’ general consensus is that these sandwiches were just okay, nothing anyone would order again. I think we agreed the Thin Sliced Sea Salt Kettle Chips were good as was the Blue Cheese Pickled Onion Cole Slaw. I know someone liked the Jalapeno Corn Bread with Salted Caramel Butter

Jalapeno Cornbread with Salted Caramel Butter

… but I found it to be a little burnt and dry.

I bet you’d never guess that Rob ordered a burger:

Neither of us remember which burger it was. He said it was fine; it just wasn’t seasoned at all. The side he ordered ^^Grilled Garlic Kiev Butter Smashed Potato. Also, just okay. I think he was hoping for the unforgettable, mouthwatering smashed potatoes that we had at Heirloom a month or so before, but those boots are just way too big to fill!

I went straight in and ordered according to a recommendation I saw online:

Two Piece Regular Crispy Style Fried Chicken | Louisiana Red Beans & Rice w/Ham & Andouille

The fried chicken was juicy, but the batter had no flavor, nor seasoning. I did get the regular crispy style, instead of the other flavors offered, though. Still, crispy fried chicken at your good ol’ Popeye’s and KFC still has flavor! The red beans and rice were good, but there was definitely way more rice than the red bean concoction, making it seem dry overall.

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When Rob and I went back to give this place another try, we forgot all of this. All we knew is that it was close to another event we were attending and we should probably order something different.

I remember eyeing the “Bowls” on the menu, specifically the Thai Peanut one, the last time we were there. Though on this day, it was particularly chilly and the American Bowl just sounded comforting:

American Bowl – Mashed potato, shredded cheese, corn, deep fried chicken tenders, peppercorn gravy, sour cream, green onion

I liked that the corn was roasted and the gravy had a yummy peppercorn flavor, but biting into whole peppercorns started to get old! The chicken was nice and juicy, I just wished it would have been a bit crispier. The mashed potatoes weren’t completely mashed, which I don’t mind some chunks from time to time; but there were a lot of them. One of them was even under-cooked.

But then we found the star of the show:

Chicago Brisket Sandwich – Smoked brisket, pepper jack, giardiniera, ciabatta bread | Fried Shallot Haystack

It seems the brisket is where it’s at here! Rob loved the brisket along with the way the ciabatta was nicely toasted and the giardinera really set off this sandwich for that little kick that’s to his liking. He added the Fried Shallot Haystack as a side. These were very good! But I find them strange as a side rather than something you’d use as a topping.

Yankee Tavern is still in it’s opening months, so we’ll need to give it some time to work out some kinks. It really seems to be hopping thus far, though. It also appears to be a Viking Football hotspot. So consider timing if you plan to venture out on game day! Yankee Tavern serves breakfast, lunch and dinner.

What’s your favorite southern dish?

Cheers~
Carrie

 

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Vivo

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Yes, our once-per-month girls’ dinners out are the best because we rotate who chooses the restaurant. It’s almost always something new to us. In January, Kim chose the Mill Valley Kitchen. In February, Jen suggested Vivo in Apple Valley, which now occupies the old Enjoy! digs.

What does Vivo mean?

From their website:

In a home, the kitchen is the spot where families gather, parties migrate, and food draws friends around. That’s also the spirit of Vivo kitchen: we are a place to come as you are. We use local, seasonal ingredients to prepare food that’s delicious without being mysterious.* Vivo translates as “life” — and that is what we want every guest to experience to the fullest. We look you in the eyes, care for you personally, and make you feel as welcome as if you are in our home. Because, for us, a kitchen is the heart of a home — and great hospitality is the heartbeat.

The space was only updated a bit. Gone was the Tuscan feel of the restaurant. In were shapes and flowers. It’s a little strange; but I always love the concept of fresh, seasonal and local ingredients.

Jen tried to make a reservation, but there weren’t any available. We decided to meet at 5:30 on Saturday night, intending to wait at the bar if need be.

But there was an hour and a half wait!

Boy, was this place popular. And I don’t think it had even been open for a full month! The bar was completely full, too. The only thing we could find was a table top with an awkward pole in the middle of it, which made it hard for the three of us to even talk face-to-face. We barely ordered our drinks when we saw three seats at the bar open up and snagged them as quickly as we could.

It was Happy Hour (every day from 3p – 6p), so a cocktail was in order!

4 or A nge b L ossom sparkling wine, orange bitters, st germain elderflower liqueur

Orange Blossom – sparkling wine, orange bitters, st germain elderflower liqueur

I never go wrong with a St. Germain – bubbly cocktail! We also ordered an appetizer from the Happy Hour menu to start. It was highly recommended by our bartender.

Ahi tun A crisps spicy mayo, avocado, sweet soy, sesame

Ahi Tuna Crisps – spicy mayo, avocado, sweet soy, sesame

He was right. They were soooo good! But don’t be thrown off by the “mayo” in this dish. You’d be surprised how many dishes these days have mayo “sauces.” Here, they just didn’t use the fancy buzz word: aioli. And people, don’t be fooled. Ail is the French word for garlic. Aioli is just garlic mayo. Get it? Got it? Good. The mystery is forever solved.

Jen started with a the side salad version of my dinner (see below) and then chose this flat bread:

Wild Mushroom mozzarella, gruyere, brie, truf e oil 11 Flatbread

Wild Mushroom Flat Bread – mozzarella, gruyere, brie, truffle oil

I tried a piece and loved that the flavors were so subtle!

Kim’s dish:

Pesto Crusted Seabass white & wasabi mashed potatoes, crispy fried onions, thai chili beurre blanc 28 Ciao Baby organic greens, pine nuts, local goat cheese, balsamic vinaigrette 6 / 10

Pesto Crusted Seabass – white & wasabi mashed potatoes, crispy fried onions, thai chili beurre blanc

The mashed potatoes aren’t pictured in the photo because Kim substituted a Ciao Baby Side Salad with organic greens, pine nuts, local goat cheese and balsamic vinaigrette. The seabass was perfectly cooked and seasoned. Kim loved it!

I was in the mood for a salad:

Rocket apples, arugula, spinach, lavender vinaigrette, spiced pecans, local blue cheese 7.5 / 13 + grilled chicken breast 4

Rocket Salad – apples, arugula, spinach, lavender vinaigrette, spiced pecans, local blue cheese {I added grilled chicken breast}

This salad had everything I loved, but they may have sold me on the lavender vinaigrette. But it was a bit overdressed. The chicken was the perfect addition to the salad.

Believe it or not, we didn’t have room for dessert.

I’m looking forward to going back again because there are so many interesting things on the menu I’d like to try… Not only the dishes, but I’ve been wanting to learn about Bourbon. And they have a Bourbon Flight. I think that’s a great place to start.

When a new restaurant opens up are you the first to give it a try or do you like to wait until they have their “kinks” worked out?

Cheers~
Carrie

The Pear & Half-Priced Wine

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Happy Wine Wednesday!

I heard on Robert Irvine’s Restaurant Impossible that the slowest night of the week for restaurants is Monday. It makes perfect sense. Weekends will be busy. When it comes to the start of the week, people get back to their routines and often reconnect with health or financial goals.

In Europe, you’ll often find restaurants closed on Mondays. You may even see that where you live.

But for those that are open, one way to get people inside…

Half Price Wine Nights

Monday just happens to be Half Price Wine Night at one of the most convenient restaurants for us South of the River – Roasted Pear. And this post is long overdue.

We’ve been frequenting this place for quite some time. In fact, The Pear (as we affectionately call it) has been in business for about ten years now – just as long as Rob and I have been together!

For us, this place is an easy choice. We can always get a seat, even if it’s just at the bar. We know what we like {and don’t like} to eat there. And the service is great. {Shout outs to The Michelles, Olaf and Dan!}

The Wine

So the wine list isn’t stellar, but it’s inexpensive. Actually, even when it’s not half-price, it’s affordable. My only beef? Reds are not usually the right temperature. They have what looks like a cellar where they house the wines, but it is not temperature controlled. Red wines should not be warm. They should not even be room temperature. Go for cellar/basement temperature and you are usually golden. To rectify this? I ask for a wine chiller to bring it down a few degrees.

My absolute favorite wine to order on half-price wine night is the Edmeades Zinfandel:

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This is a flavorful wine for any restaurant. It’s any wonder why I choose any other wine when we go there on Mondays. I do like to vary things a bit and try new things. But a lot of the other reds on the menu, I have found, have that “sweet” generic taste to me.

Because we’d easily spend $25 or more elsewhere on a crappy bottle of wine any given night, we decided to try The Pear’s highest price wine ($50) on a half-priced one night. We knew it would be a much better value.

Decoy

Only that wine really was a Decoy! The menu (shown below) said that the wine was from Napa Valley (most known for its cabs), but the one we received was from Sonoma. But it’s a region I love anyway!

RP-redwine

One Monday not too long ago, the lights went out while we were dining at The Pear. In fact, the entire block of businesses had a power outage. Michelle was bartending and brought out flashlights for her guests. And some of us lit up our tables with our cell phones. However, when one diner left, the headlights of his car shown through the window illuminating our half-price wine bottle like this:

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Actually, we see a lot of people who are dining alone ordering a bottle on half price wine night. I’ve even seen one couple who ordered a red for him and a white for her. Yes, they had two bottles of wine at their table. Why on earth? Because you can doggie bag it! Why not get what you like?

The Food

We honestly don’t love everything at The Pear. But we do have a few favorites that never do us wrong! First, you can always start off with a good bowl of soup.

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Tomato Basil Soup

This is the best tomato soup I’ve had in the entire Twin Cities. {Sul Lago takes a close second.} When they finally put this soup on the menu full-time, I felt that it was the best thing they ever did. For just $5, you can get a filling BOWL {they don’t serve it by the cup} of Tomato Basil Soup topped with a grilled-cheese crouton. It is served with of a triangle of their yummy bread topped with herbs and served with a composed butter:

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But at dinner time, you can’t order a grilled cheese with their tomato soup. 😦 Instead, I opt for the Cheesy Garlic Bread. Dip it right in the tomato soup. I’m not telling you that this is low-calorie or healthy by any means; but you won’t be disappointed! During Happy Hour, you can get the Cheesy Garlic Bread for just $4, making your entire dinner just $9 when you add the soup.

We are nearly always pleasantly surprised with their pizzas. {Note: We hear that you won’t find pizzas at the Brooklyn Park location. As I understand it, they don’t have a pizza oven.}

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Reuben Pizza – $13.50
Thousand island dressing, corned beef, sauerkraut, five cheese blend and swiss cheese

The Reuben is Rob’s favorite pizza. It’s what he orders the majority of the time. The Thousand Island you see above is not how the pizza arrives though. While the crust is absolutely perfect, the pizza doesn’t always turn out consistently the way he wants. So he orders an side of Thousand Island, just in case. Before we boxed up and took this half of the pizza home, he poured the remaining dressing on top.

If I’m to order a pizza at The Pear, it’s often this one:

Margherita Fresh basil, garlic, mozzarella, and roma tomatoes 11.5 - See more at: http://www.roastedpear.com/Burnsville-Menu/Dinner#sthash.5tmnwn2W.dpuf

Margherita Pizza$11.50
Fresh basil, garlic, mozzarella, and roma tomatoes

During Happy Hour, you can get a mini version of the Margherita Pizza for just 5 smackaroos.

There is a signature item on the menu that cannot be missed:

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Roasted Pear Spinach Salad – $11
Spinach, roasted pears, caramelized pecans, gorgonzola cheese and balsamic vinaigrette, Add grilled chicken – $3

I adore this salad! But I love spinach and always add grilled chicken. So, it makes me happy. The salad, I’ve found, hasn’t been consistent either. Sometimes it’s under or overdressed or there is a limited amount of blue cheese. You can always ask for the dressing on the side. But somehow, I think that’s wrong here.

We also have liked:

~ Cajun Tenderloin Bites – $10.50 – Spicy sauteed tenderloin tips with bearnaise and horseradish sauce

~ Roasted Pear Baked Brie (though it’s been years since I’ve had it!) – $10.50 – Caramelized onions and roasted pears wrapped in puff pastry

~ Rotisserie Chicken – $15.50 – Rubbed with a house spice blend and served with vegetables and choice of potato, as well as a salad to start

~ French Dip – $9.75 – Slow roasted beef and swiss cheese on a french roll with au jus (Ask for a side of horseradish sauce to give it more of a kick.)

What we have tried a few times at The Pear and haven’t really enjoyed are the steaks {minus the cajun tenderloin bites app} and the burgers. The fries aren’t memorable either. But we know we can get our favorites of those elsewhere and know what we really come to The Pear for that we can’t get anywhere else!

Brunch

The Roasted Pear has a very nice Sunday brunch, something I’m usually not a fan of when it means a buffet. Not included in the brunch, but something I like to order is a Bloody Mary. It was my fave Bloody Mary for a while. It’s still good, I just have a few others that have topped it since.

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Roasted Pear Blood Mary {meaning it belongs to the RP, not that there are roasted pears in it!} with beer chaser

Brunch is reasonably priced and includes the choice of sparkling wine or mimosa, their brunch buffet {which I normally won’t do!}, and your choice of a made-to-order Eggs Benedict on an English muffin. Once I get my complimentary beverage, I’ve got quite a variety in front of me. {Sometimes there is even coffee, too!}

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What I like about the Roasted Pear Brunch is that I can put a teensy bit of everything on my plate. They even have their Roasted Pear Salad on the line! One thing I never order off of any menu is lasagna. But The Pear’s is to die for. So I can nab just a bit at brunch time, without ever having to order it as a heavy meal in and of itself.

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And then there is dessert. I usually am filled up on my Eggs Benedict and one plate of food; but if there is room, I might try a couple of mini desserts to enjoy with my remaining bubbly.

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We rarely get dessert on any given night. But if you do, you must try their signature Roasted Pear and Craisin Crisp. Per their website, it’s “Pears and cranberries baked with a crunch topping served warm with vanilla ice cream.” It’s not something I’d normally ever order; but our table split it once and I was won over immediately!

I love that The Roasted Pear incorporates pears, especially roasted ones, in so many dishes on their menu. We love The Pear for it’s location, friendly staff, casual atmosphere and the signature dishes that you can’t really find elsewhere.

Happy Wine Wednesday! Twin Cities peeps, stay tuned in the next week or two… I have a Half-Priced Wine gift for you… 🙂

What’s your favorite signature dish at a restaurant?

Do you go out for half-price wine nights?

Cheers~
Carrie