Barbette – Dinner Time

A little background

Barbette is a casual, eclectic French Bistro located on the corner of Lake Street and Irving Ave. S. in Uptown.  The owners of Barbette are a collaborative bunch.  They work with local farmers, organizations supporting local and organic agriculture, local brews and spirits, and other restaurants supporting local foods.  It’s because of these relationships that Barbette is able to provide its guests with an incredibly fresh menu that changes with the seasons.  Chef Sarah Master’s background in French bistro cuisine and skills in “nose-to-tail” concepts with meats and produce contribute to success and outstanding creations of Barbette.

In addition to creating a menu with selections that are out-of-this-world good, Barbette is heavily involved in the arts and culture scene in Uptown.  The inside walls are used to display the work of local artists.  Stop by, take a look, and you won’t be disappointed.  In addition to supporting the arts, Barbette throws a huge bash every year in between Lake Street and Lagoon in Uptown to celebrate Bastille Day.  (Of course a French restaurant should throw a party on this day!)  They invite vendors and pretty decent musicians to come out and join the festivities.

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 My thoughts

I’ve got to let you know, this wasn’t my first time visiting Barbette.  Since stopping there for lunch, a few months ago, I’ve become a repeat customer and fan of the thriving atmosphere they cultivate in all of their endeavors.  Since my last post on Barbette, I’ve participated in Bastille Day festivities and their course night (more to come on that in a different post).  I’m going to give credit to one of my closest friends, Sarah, for this visit.  She gave Tony and I gift cards to some of our favorite places and Barbette happened to be one of them.  We decided to go for dinner, yes married people still know how to have awesome date nights! Here’s what we got:

shrimp

I went for the Shrimp with Sweet Corn Risotto (sweet corn, peas, pea tendrils, and parmesan crisp).  Tony ordered a full entree of the risotto and, to be honest, that was a smart decision.  The risotto was probably the most delicious dish I’ve had in a very long time.  The risotto was very creamy with a subtle sweetness thanks to the corn and peas.  Both Tony and I couldn’t help gobbling this up in a hurry, concluding that we have to reorder it the next time we are in.  Yes, the risotto is that good.

Now that I’ve gushed about the risotto, I’ll touch on the shrimp.  Yes, the shrimp was fantastic as well.  I actually loved the smokey flavor to complement the sweetness of the risotto.  They came out nice and hot and were easy to take out of their outer shell.  The chefs at Barbette definitely know their stuff!

If you couldn’t tell, I would highly recommend going here and ordering this dish.  Trust me, you won’t go wrong with Barbette’s Shrimp with Sweet Corn Risotto.  Top this off with a glass of wine and you’re all set!

For a full view of their menu, check out the link below:

Breakfast and Lunch
Dinner and Dessert
Late night

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Roat Osha – Uptown

A little background

Roat Osha is a casual, yet dramatic Thai restaurant located in Uptown.  By combining authentic Thai culinary techniques with an American flare, visitors will have a dining experience that will delight the taste buds.

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 My thoughts

I don’t know if I’ve ever digressed on Minnesota Munch about how much my fiance and I enjoy Thai food.  You know how Mac and Cheese, lasagna or a hamburger are usually the top foods that come to mind when “comfort food” is mentioned?  Yeah, my fiance and I think a little differently.  If we are having a bad day or, when in the depth of winter, we just need something to soothe our psyches, we instantly search out Thai food.  The spicy, hot chilies, peanut sauces, and garlic just hit the spot! If it’s not Thai food, we’re looking for Indian. Good thing we have access to many decent Thai and Indian places within the Twin Cities Metro!

To those who haven’t been to Roat Osha, you should really check this place out.  Not only is the food amazing, but they have a fun and trendy atmosphere with touches of traditional Thai/Southeast Asian artwork. We just couldn’t stop staring at the models of Thai ships or elephants. The intricate craftwork was simply eye catching.  Here’s another reason to love this place; they have a bar area if you aren’t feeling dinner and an outdoor patio for the warm summer months. I don’t know about you, but any place with a patio is okay in my books.

We decided to check this place out for our anniversary (when he officially asked me out, that is). On special occasions like this, we tend to order appetizers, entrees, drinks and desserts.  I like special occasions very much. 😉

We started with the Appetizer Platter. This includes three Chicken Satays, four cream cheese wontons, and three spring rolls. The chicken satays were marinated with Thai spices and grilled; and, they were served with a homemade peanut curry sauce and a sweet cucumber sauce. Literally, these are great for any guy who wants his meat. Plus, the peanut sauce was AMAZING with the chicken. I would actually order just an appetizer of these. The cream cheese wontons were like any other wonton: deep fried and filled with warm, delicious cream cheese. Lastly, the spring rolls consisted of ground pork, glass noodles, and vegetables. Since my fiance really enjoys his meat, I didn’t order the vegetarian kind this time. These were still a great app. and went well with the three sauces on the tray. The last sauce you see in the picture (the red one) was a basic sweet and sour.

Appetizer Platter: Chicken Satays, Cream Cheese Wontons, & egg rolls
Appetizer Platter: Chicken Satays, Cream Cheese Wontons, & egg rolls

He decided to get the Massamun Curry, mainly because he was craving a curry-based dish with chicken. According to the Roat Osha menu, this is a dish from southern Thailand. When you order the curries here, you can choose between a vegetarian option, which would include cauliflower, carrots, broccoli, onions, and mushrooms; or you can choose from a meat option, which includes chicken, pork, tofu, mock duck, beef, shrimp or squid, scallops, and a seafood combo.  Talk about giving you options.

Massamun Curry: Red Curry, peanuts, potatoes, onions, and Chicken added
Massamun Curry: Red Curry, peanuts, potatoes, onions, and chicken added

Feeling adventurous, I went with the Mee Kah Teeh. The base of this dish is rice noodles with red curry. The vegetables are all added later to preference.  At Roat Osha, they use red curry sautéed with rice noodles, egg, peanuts, garlic, and bean sauce. This Tum Rup Thai original is served with bean sprouts, fried chilies, scallions, cilantro and lime. Honestly, I thought this was perfect. It had a good amount of heat and a punch of flavor. Also, my serving contained a delightful balance of noodle to veggie ratio. Just look at this picture and tell me you don’t want to have a taste.

Mee Kah Teeh:  red curry sautéed with rice noodles, egg, peanuts, garlic, and bean sauce. Served with bean sprouts, fried chilies, scallions, cilantro and lime.
Mee Kah Teeh: red curry sautéed with rice noodles, egg, peanuts, garlic, and bean sauce. Served with bean sprouts, fried chilies, scallions, cilantro and lime.

At this point in our night, we were so full that we had to refuse dessert. Sad, I know, but filling up on the entrees, appetizers, and drinks were well worth it. Speaking of drinks, I forgot to mention what we ordered. I’ve listed them below. I’d definitely recommend the One Night in Bangkok. This was very refreshing and went well with the apps we ordered.

One Night in Bangkok: A cosmopolitan is made with UV Citruv, Triple Sec, cranberry juice and Rose’s lime juice, garnished with a lemon twist.

Bangkok Sunrise: This lemon drop martini is served in a sugar-rimmed glass, with UV Citruv, orange juice, sour, and a drop of grenadine, garnished with a lemon wedge.

Roat Osha is definitely the place to go for some amazing Thai food in Minneapolis. If you’re in the mood to try something new, you will not be disappointed.

For a full view of their menu, check out the link below:
Dinner Menu
Happy Hour Menu
Wine Menu
Specialty Drinks
Beer Menu

Barbette – Uptown

A little background

Barbette is a casual, eclectic French Bistro located on the corner of Lake Street and Irving Ave. S. in Uptown.  The owners of Barbette are a collaborative bunch.  They work with local farmers, organizations supporting local and organic agriculture, local brews and spirits, and other restaurants supporting local foods.  It’s because of these relationships that Barbette is able to provide its guests with an incredibly fresh menu that changes with the seasons.  Chef Sarah Master’s background in French bistro cuisine and skills in “nose-to-tail” concepts with meats and produce contribute to success and outstanding creations of Barbette.

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 My thoughts

I chose to check out Barbette’s Lunch menu because Minneapolis finally had a gorgeous day, which means outdoor patios are open for business!  Barbette has plenty of outdoor seating and fun, vibrant tables that reinforce summer’s arrival.

This was my first time here so I didn’t know what to expect.  I heard that they offer a darn good coffee so I had to order a cup.  I chose to go with their Thai coffee.  It was a pretty basic brew, meaning that it wasn’t overly strong.  This medium-roasted coffee had a little spice that I wasn’t expecting, but was surprisingly fitting for such a sunny day.  Unfortunately I was sitting outside so I couldn’t watch them make it; a “to-do” for my next visit.

IMG_1357

I had checked out their menu online and was dead-set on ordering the Star Prairie Smoked Trout Crepe.  Just look at the Breakfast and Brunch menu listed below and you’ll see why I was excited to try it.  When the waitress arrived to take my order, however, she totally changed my mind and I ordered the Pork Rillette & Terrine.

The Pork Rillette & Terrine was served with arugula, frisée, dijon vinaigrette and two grilled baguettes.  Big congrats to my waitress for recommending this one!  I totally understand that I’m about to talk about how good a salad and pureed pork ball was, but hear me out.

While this dish looks simple, the flavors were amazing.  Beginning with the salad, I was surprised and delighted to find spinach chips sprinkled on top.  They gave a regular salad a wonderful, salty, crispy texture that had me stopping to enjoy every last bite.  I haven’t been to a restaurant that’s done this before.  Additionally, I was so thankful to find that every vegetable was fresh.  I’ve been to a few diggs that actually serve the greens a little on the yellow side.  What’s included in this salad?  You get tomatoes, arugula, spinach chips, carrot, cucumber, pepper and asparagus.  Just delightful.

As for the Pork Rillette, I’ve never tried something like this before either.  (This was a day of “firsts” for me.)  Honestly, I would order this again for lunch.  Not only did the Pork Rillette taste fresh, but, with the addition of the dijon vinaigrette, it became perfect assortment of flavors.  Traditionally, the Pork Rillette is served at room temperature and that’s how I got it.  It was easy to spread and absolutely made my lunch a great experience.  A big thank you goes out to my waitress, who brought me more baguettes to help me finish it off.

IMG_1362

I’m definitely going back again.  If the rest of their menu is as delightful as the Pork Rillette, which I’m betting it is, I have many more surprises heading my way.  I do want to highlight a couple things about Barbette.  They have an extensive wine list and spirits list, which you can enjoy at their daily happy hours.  Also, be sure to check out their Prix Frixe Mondays where customers can have a four to five course dinner for $32.  I’ll have to check this one out myself!

For a full view of their menu, check out the links below:

Breakfast and Brunch Menu
Dinner and Dessert Menu
Late Night Menu

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Dogwood Coffee Company

A little background

open cafeDogwood Coffee Company is a small, specialty coffee roaster in Uptown right off Hennepin Avenue.   They serve their coffee single-cup style; single-cup style means that each espresso is brewed to order and not a minute before.

It’s important give a call-out to Dogwood Coffee Co. because of their dedication to working with producers, exporters, importers, agronomists and educators who focus on sustainable living.  Building relationships with these individuals is clearly important to Dogwood Coffee Co. and this goal is apparent when reading their blog.  Yes, a specialty coffee roaster that blogs!  They post valuable content ranging from their experiences sourcing product to their favorite coffee moments.

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In addition to their outstanding dedication to providing a quality cup of coffee, they also work with local groups within Minnesota to make their coffees special.  They even go as far as sourcing the milk from local Minnesota producers!  I have to say, I’m very impressed with their dedication, passion, knowledge and involvement in enhancing the coffee experience.

 My thoughts

With a motto of “We work hard so you can have good coffee in your mouth,” it’s no surprise that baristas at Dogwood Coffee Co. know how to whip up a fantastic brew.  To kick off my morning, I decided to step outside my usual (vanilla lattes or chai) and order a café miel.  A café miel has a shot of espresso, steamed milk, cinnamon, and honey.  The name comes from the French word for honey, miel.  While it’s not my usual, I did enjoy it.  I would prefer more of a stronger coffee flavor, but I realize that a café miel is supposed to be a little tamer.  Overall, I would order it again.  My cup had a nice, smooth flavor and definitely gave me the kick I needed to get my morning going.  In addition, the baristas knew what they were doing and served up the perfect ratios of steamed milk to espresso.  A huge plus for me is receiving a cup with coffee art.  Not gonna lie, I’m a huge sucker for awesome coffee art. 🙂

cup with logo

I quickly want to mention their location.  Dogwood Coffee Co. is located in the Calhoun Square Shopping Center.  This place piqued my interest even more when I saw the entire brewing station in an open space!  Literally, a shopper could walk right into the area behind the counter.  What a perfect way for customers to view their brewing technique!  Lastly, there is a seating section that gives you a great view of Hennepin Avenue.

P.S. I’m also a sucker for huge windows that let me look outside when I write.  This place definitely got my creative juices flowing!

Burger Jones – Uptown

A little background

Burger Jones is a classic, but trendy burger joint located close to Lake Calhoun in Uptown.  They specialize in creating a unique menu of Angus beef burgers finished with a unique blend of toppings.  For those who are not big fans of meat (myself included) they can whip up a mean veggie burger as well.  Along with amazing burgers, Burger Jones has killer waffle fries that are a must.  To wash it all down, order up a drink.  They have everything from a wide selection of craft beers to specialty cocktails.

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 My thoughts

My fiance is a meat kind of guy so he instantly loved it.  His burger of choice was the “White Trash”.  Yep, that’s the actual name and you’ll have a chuckle when you see the names of other burgers.  The “White Trash” was just about one of the most artery-clogging, heart-attack-waiting-to-happen burgers that I have ever seen…I had to have a bite!  (see image below)  Not only were the cheese curds, literally, prepared to perfection in all their cheesy goodness, but the chicken-fried bacon just made the burger.  It was that good and after talking with a college friend of mine, who also happens to live around Lake Calhoun, she agreed that the “White Trash” is what you must order on your first trip to Burger Jones.  Got a real appetite?  It comes in a double wide size.

The White Trash Burger via Burger Jones.

Now for those of your who would rather not eat meat or if you just want to be adventurous, let’s get to the veggie burger (seen below).  Personally, there’s nothing better than a good veggie burger.  They have so much flavor due to the ingredients used to make them and they can be paired with nearly any topping.  The Southwest Salsa veggie burger was topped with, wait for it, chunky garden salsa, pepperjack cheese, avocado mayo, and fresh alfalfa sprouts.  Could it get any better?  Not only did they have all of my favorite toppings, but they put it on a veggie burger!  I just about died and it tastes as good as it sounds.

Southwest Salsa Veggie Burger via Burger Jones.

For a full view of their menu, check out the link below:
online menu