Tag Archives: local eats

Sweet Peas Classic Neighborhood Pub

Maybe I watched too many episodes of Cheers when I was growing up, but I love a neighborhood bar where I feel like everyone could know my name. That’s the feeling that you get from Sweet Peas. Located on Snelling Avenue in St. Paul, Sweet Peas has a classic bar menu filled with burgers, fries and sandwiches. They’ve added their own touch of intrigue with homemade tater tots (not for the vegetarians in the group), lobster grilled cheese sandwiches, and spicy stuffed pickles. Despite the meat-centric menu, I liked my veggie burger so much I returned for a second visit!

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Best Waffle: The Lowry

I blogged about my visit to the The Lowry in July, but I have to post again. In my mind, the primary reason to go there for breakfast is to indulge in this:
peanut butter waffle

The Peanut Butter Waffle is the closest thing to culinary perfection that I have ever tasted. The light and tender waffle is served with crunchy Skippy, vanilla custard, and candied peanuts. Your first impulse is to skip adding the maple syrup, but that is a mistake; adding maple syrup to this delectable feast only enhances each of its flavors. It simply has to be the best waffle in Minneapolis.

I’ve been to The Lowry for breakfast several times since that first visit in July and while all of the food is spectacular, it’s the Peanut Butter Waffle that keeps me going back. I have introduced it to friends and watched their eyes widen in pleasure after that first tentative bite. Then they dig in with gusto, trying to isolate the secret to this wondrous waffle. Trust me. Try the Peanut Butter Waffle and let me know what you think.

Feeling Like A Cheeky Monkey

I love a good name. Coming up with clever names and titles has never been my strong suit, so I have a lot of respect for people that can. When I was looking for dinner recommendations a few weeks ago, I did a double take when The Best-Good Friend suggested The Cheeky Monkey. The cheeky what? I had to learn more.

The Cheeky Monkey is located in one of my favorite neighborhoods in St. Paul, historic Cathedral Hill. The dining room’s cozy atmosphere is accentuated by a fireplace and matches their comfort food menu perfectly. Our server was a huge help that evening, telling us her favorite items and pointing out how The Cheeky Monkey makes standard comfort food items their own.

The Husband loved his Mac & Cheese. They make this dish cheeky by adding chicken, montchevré goat cheese, and rosemary:
macaroni and cheese

My entree didn’t seem very cheeky, but I went with our server’s suggestion. She said one of her favorite menu items was the Roasted Vegetable Sandwich, but I should make it into a salad – an option for all of the sandwiches on the menu. I’m glad that I took her recommendation:
roasted vegetable salad

The Husband and I could not agree on one dessert to share, so we splurged and ordered our own. He surprised me by ordering the homemade French Silk Pie:
french silk pie

I did not surprise him by ordering the Pumpkin Whoopie Pie and oh, my, it was good:
pumpkin whoopie pie

The Cheeky Monkey prides themselves on being gluten-friendly, but I would love to see more vegetarian items on the menu. We both had delicious meals and loved the atmosphere, so we’ll definitely be going back. Who knows, maybe the next time there will be a vegetarian comfort food entree on the menu?

Fat Tuesday

When you want a classic Italian dinner, it’s time to head to Fat Lorenzo’s. Fat’s has been in business for over 25 years and has won awards for their pizzas, we love getting those delivered. But tonight, we opted to dine in and took advantage of their 1/2 priced wine and beer special.

mural
Fat Lorenzo’s features murals by local artist Ed Charbonneau

We started our evening with the Garlic Cheese Bread served with their house marinara sauce. I love their cheese bread, it’s super cheesy.
cheese bread

From there I moved onto the Manicotti Lorenzo. They stuff their manicotti with a mixture of spinach and ricotta cheese, top it with marinara and bake until bubbly.
manicotti

In my excitement to dig into my manicotti, I blurred all my photos of The Husband’s Shrimp Alfredo but you get the idea. Shrimp sautéed in garlic butter and served with penne pasta and tossed with Alfredo.
alfredo

You can’t go wrong with dinner at Fat Lorenzo’s, just don’t make the same mistake we did. Save room for their award-winning gelato!

Living Large at The Lowry

After a long week, The Husband and I treated ourselves to a breakfast date at The Lowry. I left loosening my belt after overindulging, every bite was better than the last.

I had the Breakfast Burrito (vegetarian). It came with hashbrowns, Wisconsin cheddar, scrambled eggs, black bean salsa, cilantro sour cream, and salsa roja rolled up in a soft flour tortilla. YUM!! breakfast burrito

The Husband ordered his breakfast standard, Biscuits & Gravy.  Sausage gravy slathered over buttermilk biscuits and eggs,  served with hashbrowns on the side. This was his first time having Biscuits & Gravy served with scrambled eggs, but he declared it delicious.
biscuits and gravy

We had to order the Peanut Butter Waffle, peanut butter is one of my all-time favorite things. I’d meant to have a bite and take the rest home but between the two of us, we polished the entire things off. The waffle is served with crunchy Skippy, vanilla custard, and candied peanuts.
peanut butter waffle

I’m ready to go back for seconds, but this time I’m wearing stretch pants.

Cozy Comfort at Carmelo’s

I have been driving past the Carmelo’s sign for years, always meaning to stop in but never making the time. Last night that changed and I expect to be stopping there regularly from now on.

A cozy little Italian restaurant on Snelling Avenue in St. Paul, Carmelo’s believes in the wholesomeness of homemade food. Making everything from scratch using recipes passed down through the generations, the entire meal was a comfort after a long day. While Frank Sinatra softly crooned in my ear, I slathered butter on the fresh baked bread, dug in to my Primavera and sipped a crisp Pinot Grigio:

primavera
Fresh sautéed garden vegetables with aglio olio sauce, tossed with fettuccine (vegetarian)

The Husband opted for their signature dish, The Chicken Carmelo. He loved every bite:

chicken carmelo
Lightly breaded, baked & topped with fresh crab, parmesan & a lemon cream sauce served over angel hair & garnished with roasted vegetables

We couldn’t leave without dessert. Their tiramisu was heavenly, so light and creamy:tiramisu

Gluten free? No worries, they have options for you too. Trust me, you don’t want to wait to stop in.

Relaxing at Merlins Rest

I love finding a neighborhood joint to relax after a long day. Growing up watching “Cheers,” I feel compelled to find a place where everybody knows my name. That’s the kind of place Merlin’s Rest could be.

Known for their Bangers & Mash, authentic Fish & Chips and whiskey stocks, they also serve up a delicious veggie burger:
veggie burger

And from what The Husband says, an awesome Reuben sandwich:
reuben sandwich

And according to my girlfriend, they have a knitting night that I just can’t miss. Who could ask for more?

Dinner Dates in French Meadows

Do you ever get so hungry that you just can’t figure out where or what to eat? That happened to us the other night. We ran through a list of restaurants that would feed us very respectable dinners, but we weren’t excited about any of them. That’s when inspiration struck, how about The French Meadow? It’s a favorite breakfast joint for us but we’ve never had their dinner before. Turned out to be just the ticket.

The Husband dug into the North Start Bison Burger. It comes with St. Pete’s Bleu Cheese (his favorite), bacon, and red onion marmalade on an organic brioche bun:
bison burger

I was having problems deciding but our server sold me on the vegan special: Chickpea Croquettes on Pita with Greens. She was right, the little croquettes were light and satisfying:chickpea croquettes

When you go to The French Meadow, you have get dessert. It took a lot of soul searching, but we finally landed on the Seasonal Berry Cake:
cake

Take a lesson from us. The next time you’re so hungry you can’t decide on where to eat, head to The French Meadow!