Friday, June 20, 2014

Muffin Top Cafe

Go ahead and laugh, Muffin Top Cafe isn't just a great name for a hole in the wall, they also make muffin tops from scratch! I picked up two tops, a blueberry and a strawberry rhubarb. Both delightful bake goods were fresh and tasted obviously home made. They weren't perfect, in fact the blueberry one had a large burn on one side but tasted good anyway. I was glad to know I was eating something that didn't have preservatives or come packed frozen in a box the size of my apartment.

I am reminded of the Seinfeld episode, you know the one, where they fight over the top of the muffins. Well, you don't have to fight! You can get a delicious local muffin top right in the Loring Park Neighborhood on Nicollect Ave. While you're there, enjoy seating for up to 40 people and plenty of electronic hook ups for the laptop lingering crowd. The owners also own The Nicollect Diner which is to open sometime this summer (2014) which I am super excited about. I found out that the owner's wife makes those cute little gardens in the vases (terrariums?), featuring tiny owls and fairies, check them out at The Muffin Top Cafe.
The best part: Home made muffin tops and tasty coffee.
The worst part: I missed the door three times. It's tough to spot!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Throw It Back - Uptown Tavern and Rooftop

It is my own fault for imagining that a tavern that specializes in charging me $8.50 for a single Surly Furious would ever have good food. That being said, it was the worst fish 'n chips I have ever eaten. The entire experience made me worry for other customers.  I will not order food from The Uptown Tavern and Rooftop ever again.

Had it been a one time incident, I may have excused it, but everyone in my party experienced the same issues with their fried fish. The Uptown Tavern, located next to the Lagoon Theater, has a Friday night all you can eat Fish and Chips special. The fish pieces were barely 2 inches long, not even a fish stick, and every tiny piece is covered in mushy undercooked batter with very little flavor. The only thing special about their Friday night fish 'n chips is that in every 2 or 3 pieces you get one piece that is solid fat and hard as a rock. I'm not saying that it is unappetizing, I am saying it is completely inedible.
The worst part: The worst fried fish I have ever eaten.
The best part: Nice service and decent drink specials.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Farm Fresh Food with a Refreshing Farm View

I would eat here every single day. If Oasis Eatery were closer to the cities I would stop reviewing restaurants and only eat there. Careful, you might miss it! Out in the middle of open fields along a lone highway in Wisconsin, near Redwing, is Oasis Eatery at Nesbitt's Nursery. I cannot rave enough about this place. The food, the location, the people, the pie!

Let me start at the end. After the meal we visited the Nesbitt's new Red Wing Confectionary. Unbelievably fresh and delicious samples of homemade chocolates, ice cream, and other desserts are available the first week of June 2014 for their Grand Opening. While we visited, peanut butters cups and rhubarb croissants were sampled. We went home with way too many sweets, including fresh made peanut butter cups that were the best I had ever eaten. I cannot wait to get more. Had I not been stuffed from brunch I would have bought a slice of pie from the restaurant, which the locals at Uffda raved about.

At Oasis the menu is very limited. When we visited on a Sunday morning the menu consistent of two options: Brunch or Lunch. All ingredients are local, organic, and homemade. They hand craft every day's menu, depending on what is available. When the food came, the presentation was just as appetizing as the rich and delicious food. Here was brunch:

Sausage gravy with a house fresh biscuit
Farm fresh eggs with asparagus and spinach
Roasted potatoes with herbs
Rhubarb croissant with Lilac Ice cream

The staff were extremely accommodating and down to earth. Since we are vegetarians we requested to omit the gravy. The cook came back and asked if we would like fresh morel mushroom gravy instead. Who does that?! The morels were so fresh they still had a little dirt on them. The flavor of the gravy, biscuit, and eggs were so rich I was stuffed half way through the meal. I will probably never experience food as fresh as at Oasis Eatery at Nesbitt's Nursery.

The best part: Freshest farm food with a beautiful farm view
The worst part: Everyone will hear you sit down because of the heavy, handmade, steel chairs. Ambiance could use some drop-down lighting.