Tag Archives: taco

The Post Fulton Diaries

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After our venture to Fulton Brewery, we sought out a bite to eat. We decided to drive around until we found something. We had nothing planned, so it would be spontaneous! This sometimes backfires when we I can’t may up our my minds.

We drove around and less than a mile away we passed the Smack Shack. Do you know how many times we’ve seen this place online and in local magazines?! We’ve heard rave reviews about their food truck and particularly their Lobster Roll.

As we passed it, we went in search for a place to park. {Note: Just because you can park, doesn’t mean it’s free. It cost us only $1.75 to park not far from Fulton for 3 hours. But it cost us $42 to park near Smack Shack. Why? We didn’t feed the electronic meter! DOH! I won’t be making that mistake again.}

We got out of the car and made our way over the block and a half to the Smack Shack. On our way, we walked passed Cuzzy’s. Oh no. Decisions, decisions. I made Rob choose. It was, after all, almost his birthday.

He said we’d start at Smack Shack. Maybe we’d hit Cuzzy’s, too. He wanted to check both boxes.

Smack Shack

I thought this place was named for the fact that you’d be smacking your lips because the food was so good. Silly girl. There is a another meaning to the word…

Smack: (Eastern U.S.) : fishing vessel, especially one having a well for keeping catch alive.

Okay. That totally makes sense now. No wonder they are known for their lobster rolls. The funny thing? I wasn’t in the mood for seafood. I have no idea why. Maybe it was because it was 7pm and I last ate at 11am and felt like I was just famished. I was also indecisive. I can’t tell you how long we looked at that bar menu.

They had a small handful of beers on tap, including the local Fulton we had just visited a few blocks down. I do love that in Minneapolis, restaurants are great about serving the beers from their local community! But at that point, I chose a Sparkling Sake instead.

Why? Because I saw it on the menu and I had never had one before.

I liked it.

It was low in alcohol.

And I like sake.

And I like bubbly.

Win-Win-Win.

Then we ordered a couple of small plates.

BRAISED BEEF SHORT RIB with Pickled Fresno & Ancho Garlic Mayo 6.95

Braised Beef Shortrib Taco with Pickled Fresno & Ancho Garlic Mayo – $6.95

There are no words to describe how good these are! The beef is tender and the flavors are so well integrated and balanced. When we raved about them, our bartender said that the smoked pork tacos were even better. We couldn’t even imagine that was possible!

Seasoned Fries 4

Seasoned Fries – $4

The fries were pretty good, but nothing to completely rave about. We didn’t finish them, especially since this was the point when Rob admitted that he wanted to go to Cuzzy’s, too.

We agreed that we’d go back to the Smack Shack, especially if we have people in town who love seafood!

Cuzzy’s

We walked into Cuzzy’s knowing it was going to feel more like a bar than a restaurant. And with that comes bar food. There were dollar bills all over the walls and ceiling, but nothing like McGuire’s in Pensacola, where we hosted dinner after our beach wedding.

It was the first time I realized why Fulton named their blonde ale the Lonely Blonde. A guy walked in, sat down at the bar and said, “I’d like a Lonely Blonde, please.” People are ordering Lonely Blondes all over Minneapolis! Clever. And I hadn’t even realized it until I heard someone order it.

We opted for a burger and tots to split. I never expect this when we mention that we are going to split something, but they split it in the back for us. Never, ever expected, but always appreciated!

 Black and Bleu Burger With portobello mushrooms, bleu cheese and Cajun seasoning 8.99

Black and Bleu Burger with portobello mushrooms, bleu cheese and Cajun seasoning – $8.99

This burger was excellent and hit the spot! I can’t even begin to explain how perfect those portobello mushrooms were. The flavor was well balanced with just the right amount of seasoning and blue cheese.

And although I was no longer hungry after we polished off our burger, when the gal next to us ordered a Mexican dish, I turned to look at it because it smelled so good! It looked fresh and yummy, too, not just slopped on a plate like you find some version of Mexican food.

Looking for bar food in the Warehouse District of Minneapolis or close to the Twins’ Target Field? I think you’ll be satisfied here. Maybe even impressed. We were.

The cuisine at Smack Shack and Cuzzy’s is completely different. Some would say that Smack Shack’s food is a bit more elevated; but for bar food, I’d probably say the same about Cuzzy’s.

In my opinion, while different, they are equally enjoyable. We’ll be back to both! The problem will be choosing which one. Maybe it will be depend on our food mood. But if we can’t decide, we just might have to flip a coin.

What are your favorite types of small plates?

What kind of food do you like to split?

Cheers~
Carrie

Barrio Tequila Bar

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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